Category Archives: THE NATION ISRAEL

What is the significance of The Parable of the Good Samaritan?

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Anyone familiar with the Holy Scriptures has heard of Christ’s Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). Yet, almost no one grasps its significance. How can this classic passage, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, enlighten us concerning God’s purpose and plan for the nation Israel?

We read from Luke chapter 10 for the context: “[25] And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? [26] He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? [27] And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. [28] And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”

The “lawyer” here is a scholar of the Law of Moses, a theologian of Judaism, Jewish religion. He has come to test or challenge the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, as with all religious people, he is obsessed with works—doing—to have eternal life. Upon asking the Lord as to what he should do, the Lord forces him to answer his own question: “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” Being an “expert” of the Law, the lawyer is one of the few in his ranks who knows his Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus commends him for correctly summarizing Moses with two passages. “Firstly, Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:18).

Indeed, if one can keep the Law perfectly, it results in eternal life. Unfortunately, sinners cannot perform flawlessly, so the Law is simply the knowledge of sin instead of the knowledge of salvation (Romans 3:19-20).

The scholar of the Law of Moses, evidently under conviction, retorts in verse 29: “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” Has that lawyer really kept the second part of the Law—not merely loving God with all his being but also loving his neighbor as he loves himself? The Lord now issues that famous story to drive the point home!

“[30] And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. [31] And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. [32] And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. [33] But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, [34] And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. [35] And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. [36] Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? [37] And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”

With spiritually-mature hearts and minds, let us explain the Parable of the Good Samaritan. In ancient times, the road between Jericho and Jerusalem was lengthy, steep, winding, and lonely. Caves and crevices made excellent places in which thieves could hide as they waited to assault and rob any passersby (particularly merchants). Such was the case of the unfortunate soul traveling this route in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (verse 30). As the Lord delivers this message, His audience knows all too well its plausibility. Having departed Jerusalem and heading toward Jericho—the order highly important, as we will see later—the traveler is beaten up and his clothes are taken. Suffering extensive injuries, he lies helplessly, dying on the side of the road.

By “chance” or coincidence, and not by Divine design, a priest is using that route when he encounters the dying man. Nevertheless, the priest does not come to his aid; he moves to the farther side of the road and continues his journey (verse 31)! A Levite, also traveling, then makes his way to see the dying man. While the Levite looks upon the vulnerable soul with a bit more sympathy, he too “switches lanes” and carries on with his trip (verse 32)! Finally, a Samaritan arrives on the scene, and is moved with such compassion as he beholds a most terrible sight (verse 33). Here is a naked man, bloodied and bruised, and left to die! The Samaritan rescues him, tending to his injuries and paying for his recovery in an inn (verse 34). In closing, the Samaritan speaks to the innkeeper, promising to return one day and recompense in full any debts accumulated (verse 35). Paraphrased, Jesus thus reasons: “Lawyer, you go love your neighbor like that Samaritan esteemed that hopeless soul” (verses 36-37).

Circa 722 B.C., the Assyrian Captivity of Israel’s 10 northern tribes began. Scripture says in 2 Kings chapter 17: “[23] Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day. [24] And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof. [25] And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them. [28] Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD. [29] Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt. (See also verses 30-32.)

After removing Israel from the Promised Land, the King of Assyria settled Gentiles therein. These idolatrous heathens subsequently intermarried with the Jews, creating a hybrid religious system of paganism and Mosaic Law. Children resulting from these unions were the Samaritans of Christ’s earthly ministry. Such national/religious differences caused great animosity between these “half-Jews/half-Gentiles” and the pure-blooded Jews. As chapter 4 of John bears out, “For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (verse 9). Therefore, to a Jew, Jesus making the Samaritan a “hero” in that famous parable was the equivalent to Him commending a Gentile!

Now, let us delve into the symbolism. The man leaving Jerusalem for Jericho represents wayward Israel, forsaking the center of God’s presence and words (cf. 1 Kings 11:36; Isaiah 2:3) and preferring a cursed, idolatrous city as its destination (cf. Joshua 6:26; 1 Kings 16:29-32). As the thieves robbed the traveler, so Satan’s evil world system spoiled and fatally wounded Israel. Distracted, unrighteous (lacking spiritual clothes), and now dying, she can do nothing to save herself. Her sin has found her out!

Along walks a Levitical priest, but this Jew cannot help the man, for the man is mortally wounded and unable to offer a sacrifice. Here comes a Levite, a teacher of the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 31:9-13,24-26; Deuteronomy 17:18; 2 Chronicles 15:3; Ezra 7:6,10-11). However, while this Jew can teach the man what he needs to do according to Moses’ instructions, the dying man cannot perform according to the LORD’S strict rules and regulations. The priest and the Levite, both having looked at the unfortunate soul and gone on their way, can do nothing for him. All hope is lost!

Suddenly, there appears a Samaritan—a societal outcast in Israel. He notices the dying man and pities him, applying antiseptic wine and soothing olive oil to treat his wounds. Whereas the Jews (priest and Levite) did none of this, the Samaritan takes it a step further. He pays to lodge the man in a hotel, that he recover from his injuries. The next day, the Samaritan entrusts the man to the innkeeper, and finally leaves after promising his return. Here, Christ turns Israel over to the 12 Apostles (cf. John 19:25-27; Luke 19:12-27), dies, resurrects, and ultimately ascends to His Father’s right hand wholly rejected. He is coming again to repay them for their service (Matthew 16:27; Revelation 22:12)! Indeed, the Samaritan of that noteworthy parable symbolizes Jesus Christ Himself and His work on Israel’s behalf!

Let us return to verse 29, the question that led to that renowned parable: “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” This lawyer, wishing to be made right in God’s sight on the basis of keeping the Mosaic Law, was endeavoring to find an escape. He assumed “love thy neighbor as thyself” simply meant “seek the highest good of those who live literally right next-door to thyself.” The parable he subsequently heard, however, corrected his erroneous belief. To say the least, he was shocked to learn this magnificent story would be Jesus’ response to his self-centered inquiry!

To briefly recapitulate the Parable of the Good Samaritan. A man was traveling when thieves assaulted, robbed, and left him for dead. Whereas neither a (Jewish) priest nor a (Jewish) Levite came to his aid when they encountered him on that lonely road, a Samaritan (half-Jewish/half-Gentile) came from afar to tend to his wounds and pay for his recovery. After relaying this story, the Lord Jesus asked the lawyer, “[36] Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? [37] And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” The lawyer, being Jewish, knew the “good guy” was indeed a Gentile, but he could not even bring himself to say, “The Samaritan was neighbour unto him that fell among thieves.” His lame, simple reply was, He that shewed mercy on him,” upon which hearing Jesus retorted, “If you want to keep the Law perfectly, you go and follow that Samaritan’s example!”

CONCLUSION

The lawyer in Luke 10:29 was incorrect. Using Jesus’ definition, a “neighbour” is anyone we encounter in life whom we can and should help—not necessarily someone whose house is next to ours, but even complete strangers. Here was the original teaching of Leviticus 19:18, as JEHOVAH God Himself described for us here during His earthly ministry (verses 30-35). To show the impossibility of a sinner keeping the Law, the Lord ordered the lawyer to love everyone (!) he met to the degree (!) the Samaritan loved the wounded traveler (verses 36-37). Yet, have carefully examined that well-known story, we can look at it with mature spiritual eyes to see more than the common, simple Sunday school children’s lesson of “Jesus wants us to do good to others.” The Parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates what the Lord Jesus Himself did and will do for Israel.

Whereas the Law of Moses (the priest and the Levite) could do nothing but condemn Israel as a nation of sinners worthy of death (spiritual and functional), Christ (the Samaritan) offered them grace, forgiveness, and restoration through the New Covenant. He delivered her from deception in Satan’s evil world system by imparting spiritual light to her (preaching during His earthly ministry). When they rejected Him to the point of crucifixion and exile to Heaven, He temporarily left her in the care of His 12 Apostles, kingdom doctrine being their “goods” to trade until His Second Coming (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 12:35-48; Luke 19:11-27). When He returns from His Heavenly Father’s right hand, He will bless Israel with the New Covenant, forgiving their sins and making them His kingdom of priests (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-28; Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:25-32; 1 Peter 2:9,10). No more will they be helpless and hopeless, for the Samaritan was “neighbour unto them!”

Also see:
» Who were the Samaritans?
» Why did Peter and John need to lay hands on the Samaritans for them to receive the Holy Ghost?
» Does God give us “points” for trying to be good?

Why did Peter and John need to lay hands on the Samaritans for them to receive the Holy Ghost?

WHY DID PETER AND JOHN NEED TO LAY HANDS ON THE SAMARITANS FOR THEM TO RECEIVE THE HOLY GHOST?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8:14-17). What is going on here? Is it something we should practice?

Hebrews 4:12 should always be kept in mind when considering any passage of the Bible, especially the controversial ones: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” God’s Word is a “discerner” as in a “judge,” evaluating our views and motives.

Firstly, if we want the truth, if we come with a longing to believe verses, God honors that wish and enlightens us as we read and believe the Scriptures. We will therefore teach verses as He desired us. Secondly, if we want to use the Bible to teach what we want—that is, seeking to defend and uphold our theological system—God will give us over to this error. Yea, it is entirely possible to thus use the Bible and still wind up in spiritual darkness. These two alternatives demarcate the difference between the propagation of God’s pure words to His glory versus the foundation of cults, sects, and denominations to our glory.

Beyond any shadow of a doubt whatsoever, the Book of Acts is the most abused and most misunderstood part of the Bible. Over the course of the last 2,000 years, innumerable readers have taken these precious words of God the Holy Spirit and taught all kinds of heresies and absurdities. It is a real shame that Acts has frequently been used to teach what denominationally-minded people wanted instead of what the Holy Spirit intended. Acts 8:14-17, which we now analyze, is an excellent case in point. May we wish to have the truth regarding it.

In chapter 6 of Acts, seven men “of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” (verse 3), were chosen to manage the food distribution amongst the Messianic Jews in Jerusalem. One of these seven believers was Philip. When Saul of Tarsus ruthlessly persecuted the Jerusalem church, Philip fled the city and traveled to Samaria in the north to preach to them (Acts 8:5-13). The 12 Apostles, who had remained in Jerusalem (verses 1-4), hear of Philip’s converts in Samaria and send Apostles Peter and John to investigate (see Acts 8:14-17). Strangely enough, although these Samaritans are now believers, they do not receive the Holy Ghost until Peter and John lay hands on them. Nearly 2,000 years later, and Bible readers still needlessly struggle with this unusual situation.

One of the curses of the violated Law of Moses was Israel’s political destruction: “I will break the pride of your power,” the LORD promised them in Leviticus 26:19. This prophecy was fulfilled once idolatrous King Solomon died, David’s kingdom split into two kingdoms, 10 northern tribes and two southern tribes (see 1 Kings 11:1-13,28-39). “Samaria” eventually became a title for the Northern Kingdom. Due to their isolation from Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem (Southern Kingdom), the northern tribes quickly fell into pagan idolatry or devil worship (see 1 Kings 12:25-33; 1 Kings 13:32; 1 Kings 16:23-33; et al.). Furthermore, when their evils led to their eviction from the Promised Land centuries later, idolatrous Gentiles resettled the area and further corrupted it with false religion, Jews even intermarrying into these families (2 Kings 17:24-41). Samaria languished in spiritual darkness all the way to Christ’s earthly ministry.

The Samaritans were ethnically, religiously, and politically distinct from the pure-blooded Jews: hence, “the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). Samaritans, although sharing Israel’s patriarch Jacob as their own forefather (verse 12), resulted from Gentile-Jewish marriages during the centuries before Christ. The Samaritans had a hybrid religious system (syncretism), some Law of Moses mixed with heathen beliefs. Instead of worshipping at Jerusalem (Mount Zion), the Samaritans worshipped at Mount Gerazim to the north (verses 20-22). Samaritans vehemently opposed the Jews visiting Jerusalem for religious reasons (read Luke 9:51-56). Lastly, Samaritans (Northern Kingdom) had broken from David’s house or dynasty (Southern Kingdom).

Consequently, during the first installment of the so-called “Great Commission:” “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6). Like the Gentiles (non-Jews), the Samaritans (half-Jew/half-Gentile) were spiritually unclean. The full-blooded Jews were to be reached first with the Gospel of the Kingdom. Later, the Lord expanded the commission in Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Their order was to convert Jerusalem first, then Judaea (region surrounding Jerusalem, or Southern Kingdom), next Samaria (Northern Kingdom), and finally the world or the Gentiles (also, see Luke 24:47 and Matthew 28:19-20). However, with Philip and Acts 8:14-17, there was a radical departure from that sequence.

The Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant (see Luke 12:32), was not to preach to Samaritans until after converting Jerusalem and Judah (recall Luke 24:47 and Acts 1:8). Yet, with Jerusalem and Judah still in unbelief, the Book of Acts records Philip moving to Samaria and evangelizing the Samaritans (the context of Acts 8:14-17). Philip’s actions signal God is no longer operating the prophetic program, for Philip, filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 6:3,5), has departed from the commission given to the Little Flock.

Israel had fallen back in chapter 7, when Stephen, another one of the seven Spirit-filled men selected in chapter 6, was stoned to death (see Acts 7:51-60). Stephen’s murder was Israel’s unforgiveable blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32). From chapter 7 of Acts to the end of the Book (chapter 28) is the 30-year-long transition period from Israel’s prophetic program to our mystery program.

When the Holy Ghost had been poured out on the Day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), that was a foretaste or preview of the New Covenant blessings: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Though the prophetic program had been paused in Acts chapter 7, and our mystery program was beginning with Paul (see Acts chapter 9), the Lord through Luke writing Acts chapter 8 shows us how the New Covenant (yet future) will reunite the Samaritans and Jews under one government.

Remember, Jerusalem is “the city of the great King” (Psalm 48:2; Matthew 5:35). It will be Israel’s capital when the Lord Jesus Christ sits on David’s throne in the ages to come. The 12 Apostles are the new Jewish governmental leaders: “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28).

Also, recall the Samaritans (Northern Kingdom) had broken away from the Davidic dynasty (Southern Kingdom) many centuries before Christ. As the Son of David and thus Heir to David’s throne, Jesus Christ selected His princes to rule with Him. The 12 Apostles therefore represent Jerusalem’s government, and Samaria must be brought back under and submit to David’s house. After all, according to Jeremiah 31:31, the New Covenant will reunite “the house of Israel” (Northern Kingdom) and “the house of Judah” (Southern Kingdom). You can also read Ezekiel 37:15-23, the reunion of “Joseph/Ephraim” (Northern Kingdom) with “Judah” (Southern Kingdom) to enjoy Kingdom glory. “And David my servant shall be king over them: and they all shall have one shepherd…” (Ezekiel 37:24).

So as to preview these New Covenant blessings, the Holy Spirit in Acts 8:14-17 works through Apostles Peter and John—representing Jerusalem and David’s throne—to approve the Samaritans’ conversion. Samaria receives authority and power from Jerusalem’s Apostles, surrendering to David’s government, thereby reversing the political division brought about under the Law of Moses all those hundreds of years prior.

The Holy Ghost was given in Jerusalem (Acts chapter 2), previewing Israel’s New Covenant and Millennial Kingdom blessings. To demonstrate how He would one day rejoin the Northern Kingdom (10 tribes, including the Samaritans) to the Southern Kingdom (two tribes; capital city Jerusalem), the Holy Spirit moved Philip to preach to the Samaritans and then motivated Apostles Peter and John of the Jerusalem Church to confirm or authorize these Samaritans’ entrance into the Little Flock (Israel’s believing remnant).

Denominationally-minded people, no matter how sincere, are sincerely wrong if they believe Acts 8:14-17 defines what the God of the Bible is currently doing with us. We should be ever so careful before we “name and claim” passages—ignoring contexts and lacking a firm understanding of what the Scriptures have already stated about those topics. Contrary to popular belief, just because it is in the Bible does not mean it is our pattern. We can be “Scriptural” and still be outside God’s will!

According to the Bible, Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), God’s spokesman to us. We do not appeal to Peter or John—including Acts 8:14-17. If we study Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we will discover there is absolutely nothing about laying hands on anyone to impart the Holy Spirit to them. That is Israel’s doctrine, not ours. If anyone wants the Holy Spirit today, they need to believe Christ died for their sins, was buried, and rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed [preserved] with that holy Spirit of promise,…” (Ephesians 1:12-13).

Also see:
» Who were the Samaritans?
» Was Jesus Christ a dispensationalist during His earthly ministry?
» Did John 10:16 predict the Church the Body of Christ?
» Have I blasphemed against the Holy Ghost?

» Can you explain Acts 19:1-7?

Who are the “Samaritans?”

WHO ARE THE “SAMARITANS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The “Samaritans” (people) appear by name some 10 times in the Authorized Version (King James Bible), with “Samaria” (northern/central Israel, both a city and a region) found some 115 times. Who are these “Samaritans?” What is their significance in God’s Word? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

So as to understand the Samaritans, we must ascertain some basic political facts of ancient Israel. Firstly, one of the curses or punishments of the Law of Moses was Israel’s political destruction: “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power…” (Leviticus 26:18-19). This “power” is governmental strength (cf. Romans 13:1-3). During the administration of King Solomon (David’s son), an idolater with nearly 1,000 heathen female lovers, the LORD God promised to bring about the division of Israel’s government. No longer would the 12 tribes of Israel share one king and one dynasty. Upon Solomon’s death, the 10 northern tribes would go to Jeroboam (Solomon’s servant) and only the two southern tribes would remain with David’s house (Solomon’s son Rehoboam). Be sure to read 1 Kings 11:1-13: the northern tribes take the name “Israel” while the southern tribes are designated “Judah.”

Jump ahead 200 years. The Northern Kingdom, isolated from the Jerusalem Temple for so long, has deteriorated spiritually to the point of pagan idolatry being the official state/national religion. Another curse of the Mosaic Law is about to fall: “[27] And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; [28] Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins…. [33] And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. [34] Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths” (Leviticus 26:27-28,33-34). Here is the Fifth Course of Chastisement, and the Northern Kingdom will be deported from the Promised Land approximately a century before the Southern Kingdom (less idolatrous) will be removed to Babylon.

In 2 Kings chapter 17, verses 6-19, the armies of the Assyrians (Gentiles) took the northern tribes of Israel captive back to Assyria (in modern Syria and eastern Turkey). This occurred circa 722/721 B.C. Notice: “[20] And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight. [21] For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin. [22] For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; [23] Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.

Keep reading from chapter 17 of 2 Kings: “[24] And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof. [25] And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them. [26] Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land…. [29] Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt. [30] And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima, [31] And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. [32] So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. [33] They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.

When the northern tribes of Israel were forced out of the Promised Land because of the Assyrian Captivity, the King of Assyria replaced them with Gentile (non-Jewish) idolaters who also defiled Samaria with false religion (Satan worship). If necessary, read verses 24-25 above again. Also, re-read verse 33, observing how the Promised Land was corrupted with syncretism (combining Judaism with heathen systems). These Gentiles subsequently intermarried with the Jews who remained in the land, producing a mixed ethnic group (genetically and religiously different from pure-blooded Jews). Here is the origin of the Samaritans, who existed even in New Testament times and New Testament Scriptures.

During Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, He commissioned His 12 Apostles with the following words: “[5] These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: [6] But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel(Matthew 10:5-6). Although they were half-blooded Jews, the Samaritans were still considered Gentile (non-Jewish) because of their non-Jewish blood and non-Jewish religious beliefs. In keeping with the Abrahamic Covenant, Israel was to be converted to JEHOVAH God first, then redeemed Israel was to share God’s words with the Gentiles in the Millennial Kingdom (see Genesis 12:1-3; Isaiah 60:1-3; Zechariah 8:20-23). Since Christ has come to Israel only—and not the Gentiles (Matthew 15:24; Romans 9:4-5; Romans 15:8; Ephesians 2:11-12), including the Samaritans (John 4:22)—He orders His Apostles not to preach to Samaritans either. (More will be said about this commission later.)

Even though His earthly ministry is restricted to Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ demonstrates the wider purpose of Father God in John chapter 4. Whereas Israel is mainly in unbelief (refusing to convert by believing the Gospel of the Kingdom), Christ deliberately passes through Samaria to reach out to the Samaritans whom converted Israel would have been destined to teach! Sitting on Jacob’s well because He is tired, the Lord Jesus meets a Samaritan woman who has come to draw water. “Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans (John 4:9). She cannot fathom why Jesus, a Jew, would interact with her, a Samaritan! It is also noteworthy how she claims “Jacob” (father of the 12 tribes of Israel) is also her forefather (verse 12): again, the Samaritans have some Jewish DNA in them. Whereas the Jews worship in Jerusalem, the Samaritans worship in Mount Gerazim (verse 20): again, the Samaritans and Jews have vastly different religious views.

If you keep reading John chapter 4, you will discover how even this Samaritan woman (despite her and her people’s gross spiritual ignorance and darkness) is waiting for Messiah/Christ (verse 25)—in contrast to Israel who has mostly rejected Messiah Jesus who has been ministering to them! Moreover, not only does that Samaritan woman come to trust Jesus as Christ, verse 39 relays the following: “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.” Finally, verse 40: “So when the Samaritans were come unto him [Jesus], they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.” Although Israel could not care less about Jesus, the Samaritans welcome Him and He remains with them for two days!

As mentioned earlier, because the Samaritans were half-Gentile by blood and religion, they detested how the full-blooded Jews traveled down to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple. The Samaritans preferred to worship at Mount Gerazim (John 4:20). Furthermore, when the Jews from Galilee (north) passed through Samaria (north/central) for the three annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem (south)—Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles—the Samaritans refused to lodge the Jews for the night or two required to cross through Samaria. When Jesus went through Samaria (toward the end of His ministry, long after John chapter 4), the Samaritans did not welcome Him.

Luke 9:51-56 reports: “[51] And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, [52] And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. [53] And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. [54] And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? [55] But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. [56] For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” Apostles James and John, Jews, were quite eager to see the Samaritans destroyed. You can just sense their aggression in their plea, can you not? To their disappointment, the Lord said He would not punish these irreverent Samaritans. (For the fascinating reason, see our related study linked at the end of this article, “Was Jesus Christ a dispensationalist during His earthly ministry?”)

For more insight into the “strained” relations between the Jews and the Samaritans, notice this interesting fact. Israel’s apostate religious leaders were certainly not complimenting Christ in John 8:48 when they declared: “Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” To call a Jew a “Samaritan” would be to utter a racial slur, a religious slur (“you devil worshipper/apostate!”). Obviously, saying a Jew was possessed by a “devil” was an extra insult (“you are under Satan’s control!”). So as to humble these prideful Jews (who saw themselves are immune from the Devil’s influence), the Lord was careful to point out two inconvenient truths. Firstly, in His famous Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), the Lord Jesus Christ deliberately made the story’s hero a Samaritan—much to the dismay of His Jewish audience!! Secondly, in Luke chapter 17, verses 11-19, when He healed 10 lepers (those afflicted by various infectious skin diseases), only one turned around to glorify God and thank Jesus—and, the Bible adds, “he was a Samaritan!” This too disturbed His Jewish audience, for the ungrateful nine were Jews! Here were two believing Samaritans obedient to God, but where were Jews?!

When the Book of Acts opens, another commission to Israel’s believing remnant is given as the Lord Jesus speaks the following words: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Whereas the 12 Apostles had been ordered not to enter and preach in any Samaritan cities (Matthew 10:5-7), now they were authorized to evangelize the Samaritans. The order here, of course, was “Jerusalem” first (see Luke 24:47-49), followed by Judaea (southern Israel, region around Jerusalem), then Samaria (north/central Israel), and, finally, “the uttermost part of the earth” (full-blooded Gentiles).

It is important to see how, with Israel’s fall in Acts chapter 7, and Saul of Tarsus’ persecution of the Jerusalem Church in Acts chapters 7–8, the Little Flock begins a ministry to the Samaritans. A year has passed since chapter 1, and Jerusalem and its surrounding region (Judaea, southern Israel) have mostly refused to believe on Jesus Christ as urged in those early Acts sermons (see chapters 2–5). Ultimately, they stoned Stephen, filled with the Holy Ghost, in chapter 7. Therefore, the next area to reach in Acts 1:8 is Samaria (northern/central Israel). Remember, the Samaritans have been engaged in devil worship for centuries, so watch how there is a spiritual battle waged between Satan (using Simon the sorcerer) and God (using Philip the evangelist) here.

Chapter 8 of Acts: “[1] And Saul was consenting unto his [Stephen’s] death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles…. [5] Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. [6] And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. [7] For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. [8] And there was great joy in that city.

“[9] But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: [10] To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. [11] And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. [12] But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. [13] Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. [14] Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: [15] Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: [16] (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) [17] Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost…. [25] And they [Peter and John], when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.” As for the Apostles Peter and John laying hands on the believers in Samaria so they receive the Holy Ghost, refer to our companion study linked below.

While much more could be said about the Samaritans here, our other related articles are useful supplements to continuing in-depth discussions of this topic.

Also see:
» Why did Peter and John need to lay hands on the Samaritans for them to receive the Holy Ghost?
» Was Jesus Christ a dispensationalist during His earthly ministry?
» Did John 10:16 predict the Church the Body of Christ?
» How could “wise” King Solomon let foreign women deceive him?
» Was Israel’s fall a secret?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?
» When did Paul know about Israel’s fall?

What is the “senate” in Acts 5:21?

WHAT IS THE “SENATE” IN ACTS 5:21?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The term appears only once in the Authorized Version, Acts 5:21: “And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.” What is this “senate?”

In early Acts, the 12 Apostles are performing miracles to bear record of Jesus’ resurrection. Such is the case in chapter 5: “[16] There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. [17] Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, [18] And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. [19] But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, [20] Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.”

Notice, the High Priest—Israel’s head religious leader—is a Sadducee (verse 17). The Jewish sect known as the Sadducees did not believe in the miraculous or supernatural—angels, spirits, and resurrection (Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27; Acts 23:8). Consequently, they took great offense when the Apostles preached about Jesus coming back from the dead! “And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead(Acts 4:1-2).

In chapter 5, the Apostles have performed additional miracles, further incensing Israel’s apostate religious leaders. Therefore, they throw the Apostles into the common prison with the worst criminals, but the Lord sends an angel to rescue them. Again, the Apostles are out preaching in public. The apostate Jewish leaders, unaware of the escape, assemble the “council” and the “senate” to try the Apostles. “Council” is the Sanhedrin, the 71-member Jewish Supreme Court (of which the High Priest was head). (For more information, see our “Sanhedrin” study linked at the end of this article.) As for the “senate,” this would not simply be a portion of the Jewish leaders but rather all of them. The full Sanhedrin—each and every member—is implied in the “senate.”

“Senate” is from the Latin word “senatus,” derived from “senex” (“old man”). All the old men leading the nation Israel have assembled to persecute God’s preachers. The Greek term rendered “senate” is “gerousia,” from “geron” (“old”). Our English word “gerontology,” the scientific study of aging and problems of old people, finds its origin here. The chief problem of these “old people” in Acts 5:21 is unbelief!

Also see:
» Who were the “elders?”
» What was the “Sanhedrin?”
» Who were the “scribes?”
» Who were the “Sadducees?”
» Who were the “Pharisees?”
» Who were the “chief priests?”

Can you explain “importunity” in Luke 11:8?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN “IMPORTUNITY” IN LUKE 11:8?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Certainly!

The context is the Parable of the Needy Friend, which we read now in chapter 11 of Luke: “[5] And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; [6] For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? [7] And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. [8] I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. [9] And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. [10] For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. [11] If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? [12] Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? [13] If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

After delivering the “Our Father” Prayer as presented in Luke (11:1-4), Christ Jesus further enlightens Israel’s believing remnant concerning His Heavenly Father’s will for them. In the above parable, He describes Messianic Jews awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), an event several months away. The outpouring of the Spirit of God is necessary to ratify the New Covenant, empowering Israel to be God’s people in the Earth and do His will in the Earth (cf. Ezekiel 36:25-28; Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:14-18). Jesus knows the Little Flock (Israel’s believing remnant) has needs to be met, and the passage currently in view underscores His awareness of that fact.

We are interested in verse 8: “I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” Although the man in bed wishes not to answer his door, his friend is outside knocking, and he finally gives in to the request because the friend is engaging in “importunity.” What exactly is that? This English word is derived from the Latin “importunus,” simply meaning “unsuitable, troublesome, relentless.” He will not stop knocking because his need is urgent! The Greek term is “anaideia”—literally “no shame, no honor, no modesty, no bashfulness, no reverence, no regard for others, no respect.”

If a sinner will inconveniently rise out of bed at midnight to help a bothersome and rude friend, how much more will Almighty God (loving, sinless, merciful, gracious, et cetera) pour out the Holy Spirit on believing Israel during the early Acts period to enable them to accomplish His ministry? The point is well driven!

Also see:
» Should we recite The “Our Father” Prayer?
» How is the Holy Spirit “the Comforter?”
» Was the Holy Spirit really given in John 20:22?
» Why did the Samaritan believers not receive the Holy Spirit upon believing in Acts 8?
» Is the Holy Spirit a Person or a force?
» How should I pray?
» What about hindered and unanswered prayer?

» How can I have an effectual prayer life?

How could Israel welcome Messiah on Palm Sunday, but then demand His death later that week?

HOW COULD ISRAEL WELCOME MESSIAH ON PALM SUNDAY, BUT THEN DEMAND HIS DEATH LATER THAT WEEK?

by Shawn Brasseaux

What made the crowds vacillate from praising the Lord Jesus Christ on Sunday to killing Him on Thursday?

Anyone familiar with Scripture knows of the so-called “Triumphal Entry,” when Jesus rode a baby donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday just days before His crucifixion. (The title is a misnomer, for Christ’s true Triumphal Entry is Revelation 19:11-21!) He did this to fulfill Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Without a doubt, and entering right on schedule according to Daniel 9:24-26, Jesus was Messiah!

  • Matthew 21:6-9: “And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”
  • Mark 11:7-10: “And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.”
  • Luke 19:35-38: “And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
  • John 12:12-16: “On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt. These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.”

While Israel’s believing remnant, the Little Flock (Luke 12:32), was aware of Jesus’ identity—that He was Messiah/Christ—the city of Jerusalem was overwhelmingly ignorant of that fact. “And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matthew 21:10-11). To them, He was simply “another prophet.” Consequently, although there was a welcoming crowd into Jerusalem, the city itself abounded with spiritual darkness. The Lord did not receive unanimous acceptance. Most of the nation was in unbelief.

Luke chapter 19 relates the following: “And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (verses 39-40). Israel’s religious leaders were unbelieving, apostate, having thrown away the truth of the Old Testament Scripture; they so disliked the crowds paying more attention to Jesus than to them! (At Christ’s trial later that week, Pontius Pilate will sense their “envy” toward Jesus. “For he knew that for envy they had delivered him” [Matthew 27:18]. “For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy” [Mark 15:10].)

We should not be surprised to find a crowd welcoming and praising the Lord Jesus Christ on Sunday only to discover a crowd crying out against Him Thursday morning. Israel was already divided because Him long before the Passion Week. In fact, we see Him encountering hostile, bitter enemies throughout His 33 years of earthly life. Those last three years (His ministry) were especially perilous. From the very beginning, not all Israel believed on Him anyway. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:…” (John 1:11-12).

As Jesus stood before Roman Judaean Governor Pontius Pilate, soon to be sentenced to death, the Bible informs us of the following:

  • Matthew 27:20: “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.”
  • Mark 15:11: “But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.”
  • Luke 23:23: “And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.”
  • John 19:15: “But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.”

What ultimately influenced Israel to reject Jesus as Messiah was the very men He had appointed to take care of the nation’s spiritual needs! The elders (aged men leading the country) and the chief priests were knowledgeable of the Hebrew Bible. They studied it in great detail, they memorized it, and they claimed to be “experts” in it. Yet, they did not look at it through the eyes of faith. They did not have hearts of faith. It was vain, empty works-religion—so close to the truth and yet so far from it at the same time! Had they believed those Divine words, they would have seen Jesus as fulfillment of those Scriptures. The stunning truth is that atheists did not demand Jesus’ death. Neither did harlots (prostitutes). Nor publicans (tax collectors). Who urged Christ’s crucifixion? People who had the Bible and claimed to believe and love it! It is not enough to have the Bible, read the Bible, study the Bible, or memorize the Bible. We must believe the Bible in our heart—or we really do not appreciate it!

“But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:42-47)

Also see:
» Who were the elders?
» Who were the scribes?
» Who were the Pharisees?
» What was the Sanhedrin?
» Who were the Sadducees?
» Who were the chief priests?
» At what age did Jesus Christ die?
» Was Jesus really crucified on Friday?
» How did Israel manipulate Moses to murder Messiah?
» Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?
» Who was more responsible for Jesus’ death—the Jews or the Romans?
» If they were fulfilling Bible prophecy, how are Christ’s murderers culpable of wrongdoing?

What does “sottish” mean?

WHAT DOES “SOTTISH” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Jeremiah 4:22 employs the word: “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” It is such strong language, but it is warranted. The Prophet Jeremiah conducted his ministry in Judah 600 years before Christ, during a time of great apostasy—a falling away from the truth. He preached before and during the Babylonian Captivity, God’s judgment on the Southern Kingdom for its persistent idolatry.

“And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands (Jeremiah 1:16). “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water…. For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot(Jeremiah 2:13,20).

“As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets. Saying to a stock [wooden idol], Thou art my father; and to a stone [stone idol], Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah. Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD. In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion. O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee? Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number (Jeremiah 2:26-32).

“If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove. And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory. For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings” (Jeremiah 4:1-4).

Back to verse 22 of Jeremiah chapter 4. “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” The Jews are spiritually senseless, insane, lunatic. Instead of heeding sound Bible doctrine—especially the Law of Moses—they are thinking like idolatrous heathen. Rather than being spiritual adults, they are mere children; immaturity has so crippled them, and their religious silliness shows throughout the Book of Jeremiah as well as much of the Old Testament Scriptures! It is in this context that the adjective “sottish” appears. The word simply means foolish, with the Hebrew term (“sakal”) translated “fool” or “foolish” in Ecclesiastes (2:19; 7:17; 10:3,14) and Jeremiah (5:21). It is therefore no coincidence “sottish” is from the Middle English word indicating “fool.”

Rejecting God’s wisdom for her (Deuteronomy 4:1-10), Israel did not guard herself from the foolishness of the evil world system around her. What was true of the Gentiles at the Tower of Babel ultimately became applicable to Israel as well! “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:20-25).

Thankfully, in the Millennium, Israel will be given new spiritual leaders, people who will teach her sound Bible doctrine so she can think as the LORD God designed them to think. Pay close attention to verse 15 below (contrasted with Jeremiah 4:22).

Jeremiah 3:13-21: “[13] Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. [14] Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: [15] And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. [16] And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. [17] At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. [18] In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers. [19] But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me. [20] Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD. [21] A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God.

“Sottish” can also mean “stupefied with or as if with drink; drunken.” This is another key to explaining Israel’s lack of mental acuity in the spiritual realm. Revelation chapter 17, descriptive of the Antichrist’s (future) false religious system, relays the following: “[1] And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: [2] With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. [3] So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. [4] And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: [5] And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

The “wine” that will make the world and Israel drunken in the future under the Antichrist is false religion, Baal worship, pagan idolatry. Here is exactly what polluted the world and Israel during Old Testament times (especially throughout Jeremiah’s ministry). The Whore of Babylon is the culmination of the pagan idolatry that began at the Tower of Babel some 4,000 years ago. Even today, we believers in Christ are told not only to avoid inebriation with physical wine, but also not be drunk with figurative wine (mind-altering false teaching).

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:15-21).

Read Jeremiah 4:22 again: “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” This stands in contrast to the Holy Spirit’s will for the Body of Christ in Romans 16:19: “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise [skilled] unto that which is good, and simple [uninformed, ignorant] concerning evil.Have we been faithful in following Romans here? Nay! Have we grasped even the basics of the Dispensation of Grace as found in Romans? Nay!

Throughout the 20 centuries of its existence, the professing Body of Christ has been skillful in reciting denominational creeds and prayers, knowledgeable of the writings of the church fathers, and mindful of intellectual gymnastics and conspiracy theories, but—after 2,000 years of having a completed Holy Bible—can it identify what Father God is doing today and what He would have us do today? Nay! Beloved, we are following in the footsteps of ancient “sottish” Israel! If we are to grow up in grace, we had better listen to the Lord Jesus Christ speaking through the Apostle Paul, the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon!

Also see:
» What is a “lunatick?”
» What is the “madness” of Luke 6:11?
» What are some tips for faster spiritual growth?
» How do I know if I am maturing in the Word of God?

Can you explain Acts 19:13-16?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN ACTS 19:13-16?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Dr. Luke penned the following in Acts chapter 19: “[13] Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. [14] And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. [15] And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? [16] And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” To the say the least, like many accounts in the Book of Acts, this passage is quite unusual. What is its implication? Why did the Holy Spirit include it in Holy Writ? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

If we start back at verses 11-12, we will see the contrast: “[11] And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: [12] So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” During this time of the Acts transitional period, “special miracles” in the Apostle Paul’s ministry are being witnessed. The Holy Spirit is endorsing or authenticating Paul’s apostleship (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:12): what He did with Peter, He is now doing with Paul. Israel should take note of her God working amongst the Gentiles.

Remember the Apostle Peter’s miraculous demonstrations in chapter 5 of Acts: “[12] And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. [13] And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. [14] And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) [15] Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. [16] There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.”

In the case of Paul’s healing handkerchiefs or aprons, these were used to heal the sick and cast out devils. Israel’s God, once working with the Little Flock (Israel’s believing remnant), is now working with Paul and the Body of Christ. The Book of Acts is the record of God’s transition from Israel to the Body of Christ, moving from prophecy to mystery. (See our related “Acts” studies linked at the end of this article for more information.) In stark contrast to Paul casting out devils (Acts 19:11-12), the Holy Spirit speaks of vagabond Jews unsuccessfully exorcising unclean spirits (verses 13-16). This documentation further reinforces the concepts of Paul’s apostleship and Israel’s unbelief during the Acts period.

To grasp the thrust of the verses, we run through Acts 19:13-16 again, this time expounding line upon line. Verse 13 once more: “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” These Jews are “vagabond,” wanderers or drifters. Here is national Israel depicted, apostate and unbelieving, not knowing where they are going doctrinally (or what they are doing spiritually)! Presumptuous, having been audacious in assuming upon themselves some supernatural power over Satan’s evil spirit minions, they attempt to use Paul’s apostolic authority (for they have none themselves). They therefore declare to the devils, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.”

Move to verse 14: “And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.” These priestly men—plus Sceva (“left-handed,” or weak) their father and leader—should be down in Jerusalem serving at the Temple. Instead, as noted already, they are roaming about near Ephesus (western Turkey). Their failure to uphold sound Bible doctrine proves fatal to their mission, as shown in verse 15: “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” This evil spirit recognizes Jesus’ authority and Paul’s authority, but rightly sees the sons of Sceva as defenseless. Unsurprisingly, charlatans do not intimidate a devil! Verse 16 informs us: “And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” To say the least, this failed exorcism was most embarrassing! Such a disaster proved these sons of Sceva were nothing but counterfeit miracle-workers (cf. Matthew 7:21-23).

The news of this spread to nearby Ephesus, as verse 17 relates: “And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” Finish the rest of the account: “[18] And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. [19] Many of them also which used curious arts [witchcraft/occult/idolatry/philosophy] brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. [20] So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” This is actually the start of the church at Ephesus, to which Paul would write the Book of Ephesians many years later. Once these pagans heard how the evil spirit acknowledged Jesus’ power as well as Paul’s apostolic power, but refused to obey the sons of Sceva, these heathen converted to Paul’s ministry. Verse 15 again: “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?”

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A s for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Could you explain Acts 19:1-7?
» Why does the Book of Acts end so abruptly?
» Can you explain Paul’s ministry during Acts?
» Can you explain Peter and the 11’s ministry from Acts chapters 7 through 15?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?
» Should we use the word “demons?” Are they the same as devils?
» Why could the disciples not cast out the devil in Matthew 17:14-21?
» Does the Bible teach that mental illness is really devil possession?
» Is faith in Christ alone enough to go to Heaven? Do not the devils believe?

Who were the “Libertines?”

WHO WERE THE “LIBERTINES?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The title is found a single time in the Authorized Version, Acts 6:9: “Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.” Exactly who are these “Libertines?”

As their name implies, they are liberated. In Latin, they are known as “libertini,” meaning “freedmen.” According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Libertines “were probably Jews who, having been taken prisoners by Pompey [106–48 B.C.] and other Roman generals in the Syrian wars, had been reduced to slavery, and had afterward been emancipated, and returned, permanently or for a time, to the country of their fathers.”

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon supplies additional insight concerning Libertines: “Jews who had been made captives by the Romans under Pompey but were afterward set free; and who, although they had fixed their abode at Rome, had built at their own expense a synagogue at Jerusalem which they frequented when in that city. The name Libertines adhered to them to distinguish them from the free-born Jews who had subsequently taken up their residence at Rome.”

Ironically, the Libertines were physically free but spiritually bound—captive to sin and Satan. Instead of listening to Stephen and converting to Jesus Christ, they argued with him and conspired to get him in trouble with the common Jewish people in Jerusalem! They blasphemed against the Holy Ghost. Unfortunately, apostate (unbelieving) Israel subsequently killed Stephen and contributed to their fall in Acts chapter 7. (See our related studies linked below.)

Also see:
» What does “suborned” mean in Acts 6:11?
» Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?
» Did Acts 7:60 predict the Dispensation of Grace?
» Have I blasphemed against the Holy Ghost?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?

How did Israel manipulate Moses to murder Messiah?

HOW DID ISRAEL MANIPULATE MOSES TO MURDER MESSIAH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In chapter 3 of Acts, the Apostle Peter preached to unsaved Israel: “[13] The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. [14] But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; [15] And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. [16] And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. [17] And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. [18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”

Focus on verse 17: “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” How could Israel have been so blind in rejecting Jesus as Messiah, the God-Man who fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies? Simple. It was willful ignorance (like the millions today who still reject Him). They do not want to know the truth. Ignorance is bliss—they are happy exactly where they are spiritually. You could share verses with them until you were hoarse, and you would get nowhere with them.

Deuteronomy chapter 13 explains how Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah: “[1] If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, [2] And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; [3] Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. [4] Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. [5] And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

“[6] If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; [7] Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; [8] Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: [9] But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. [10] And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. [11] And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.”

When Israel’s religious leaders saw Jesus performing miracles (verses 1-5), and all His followers worshipping Him (verses 6-11), they used Moses (quoted above) to justify killing Jesus and His disciples. Jesus was seen as a fraud, a blasphemer. Their deluded, unbelieving hearts could not see that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law! Interestingly, yet future, the Antichrist will use Deuteronomy 13:1-11 to justify his killing of believing Jews. Indeed, if not handled properly, the Bible can be a dangerous book! Ironically, unbelieving Israel applied this death penalty to the true Messiah, Jesus the Lord. Viewing Him as a deceiver and blasphemer, they had no problem killing Him at Calvary. But, that is not the end of their spiritual insanity!

When the Antichrist, the false Christ, comes yet future (John 5:43), Israel will accept him as true (when Moses above was really telling Israel to kill him!). If not believed as a whole, the Bible can be a dangerous book! We must never rip verses from their context! In his farewell epistle, the Apostle Peter mentioned people who “wrest” the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:15-16): they distort the meaning or interpretation of Bible verses so the verses seem to support to their opinions or views (“private interpretations;” 2 Peter 1:20). However, the Bible has been turned into a lie at this point. Before you think about Christendom’s excessive mishandling of the Holy Bible to create thousands upon thousands upon thousands of denominations, remember that the Scriptures were often largely misused long before Christianity.

Again, consider how the nation Israel (mis)handled Deuteronomy 13:1-11. They chose to use those few verses to condemn and kill Jesus Christ, all the while ignoring over 300 Old Testament prophecies that justified and validated Him as their God manifest in the flesh! Aptly, Jesus said that they did not believe Moses. Had they believed Moses they would have believed Jesus because Moses wrote about Jesus (John 5:39-47)—animals killed to clothe Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark as salvation from divine punishment, Abraham offering his only begotten son Isaac, Joseph’s betrayal by his brethren, the Passover lamb killed to ward off the death angel, and the whole law system (priesthood, sacrifices, tabernacle, holy vessels, feast days, et cetera), all depicted the Lord Jesus in some way. Israel ignored the fact that Jesus arrived exactly when Daniel predicted Messiah would be born (9:24-26), disregarded Micah’s prediction about Messiah’s birthplace (5:2), and ignored Isaiah when he described Messiah’s ministry, message, and miracles (35:3-6; 53:4; 61:1-2). On and on we could go, but these must suffice.

Who was leading Israel’s rebellion against the Lord Jesus? Saul of Tarsus! First Timothy 1:13 is the Apostle Paul’s reflection on his early years, when he served in the Devil’s ministry: “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (cf. Acts 3:17). What grace and love God poured out on Saul (verse 14), when he deserved God’s wrath poured out on him! Yes, Saul had led Israel in manipulating Moses to murder Messiah, but to him, God’s goodness gave great grace!

Israel knew they were killing the Lord Jesus. It was great spiritual insanity. When God opened our Dispensation of Grace in Acts chapter 9, a twofold benefit arose. Firstly, the Gentiles whom God had consigned to Satan could now be saved by Jesus’ finished crosswork. Secondly, the Jews who were still in unbelief—the very ones who deliberately killed Jesus Christ—could also be saved by simple faith in Calvary’s crosswork. Saul of Tarsus was in the latter group. Upon meeting the ascended Lord outside Damascus, Saul realized and trusted Jesus Christ’s righteousness and he forgot all about his foolishness in works-religion. God certainly came back in Acts chapter 9, not to pour out His wrath, but to pour out His grace and start the Church the Body of Christ! The leader of the world’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, Saul, the one who mercilessly imprisoned and slaughtered God’s Messianic Jews, Saul, was now saved unto eternal life.

Decades later, Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15-16: “[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” If God saved such a rebel as Saul of Tarsus, a wicked and bloodthirsty theologian, there is no person “too far gone” in unbelief and sin, whom God cannot save in a literal heartbeat today. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound(Romans 5:20). For nearly 2,000 years, God has offered salvation freely to all, Jew and Gentile alike, by His grace through simple faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood for our sins, death, burial, and resurrection. The Gospel of the Grace of God, the heart of the Dispensation of the Grace of God, is the only way we can approach Almighty God today!

Also see:
» “But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!”
» If they were fulfilling Bible prophecy, how are Christ’s murderers culpable of wrongdoing?
» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?

» Who was more responsible for Jesus’ death—the Jews or the Romans?