Friday, December 9, 2011

Exposing And Expelling Heretics (Part 19)

Today we pick up from where we left off last week on our expository journey through the Epistle of Jude having finished looking at the four characteristics of apostates that Jude outlines in verse 8 - that they appeal to their own revelations, are carnal, insubordinate, and blasphemous! Today we will move on into verse 9 which is both an example of how not to be an apostate, but also an intriguing story by itself! This is a part of my verse by verse exposition through the Epistle of Jude for our church plant in Denmark (Kristuskirken).

1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. 8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you." 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude 1-13)

My charismatic background exposed me to a lot of what they called "spiritual warfare". Telling Satan off on a regular basis was par for the course for any self respecting arm waving charismatic. Singing militant songs was also thought to scare the devil away - you might remember this classic:

Well, I went to the enemy's camp and
I took back what he stole from me (x3)
I went to the enemy's camp and
I took back what he stole from me

You know
He's under my feet (x6)
Satan is under my feet

We also see examples in Scripture of irreverent fools playing fast and loose with Satan:

Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims." Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?" And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. (Acts 19:13-16 v13)

We would do well to follow Michael the Archangel's example in Jude verse 9 who dared not bring any accusation against the Devil other than telling him "the Lord rebuke you"! Bob De Waay who was in deliverance ministry for many years arrived at this conclusion – the best way to fight spiritual warfare is to preach the Gospel. That the Holy Spirit may come and dwell in a person when he is converted.

But what of this strange story that only appears here in Scripture. This fascinating little window into the Spiritual world where Michael has an argument with Satan. Satan who is described as the Prince of this world - it would seem he had some knowledge of people and their deaths. But with the death of Moses there was obviously some information concealed from him. Something was different about the death of Moses and where his body was. This is a fascinating mystery and I will now give my opinion (there are good scholars who disagree with me on this - just giving my five cents worth - please don't stone me if you disagree) on what I think this is about.

The first five books of the Bible were written by Moses but the last chapter of the fifth book tells us about his death. So one mystery is who wrote Deuteronomy chapter 34. Let's take a look at some of it:

And the LORD said to him [Moses], "This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, 'I will give it to your offspring.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there." So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. (Deuteronomy 34:4-7)

There are four mysteries in these verses:

1.How did Moses die?
2. Who buried him?
3. Where was he buried?
4. Why does it say that in Moses' death “His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated.”

Go forward now to 2Kings 2:9-11:

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, "Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me." And he said, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so." And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:9-11)

Go forward now to Zechariah:

And the angel who talked with me came again and woke me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, "What do you see?" I said, "I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left." . . . Then I said to him, "What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?" And a second time I answered and said to him, "What are these two branches of the olive trees, which are beside the two golden pipes from which the golden oil is poured out?" He said to me, "Do you not know what these are?" I said, "No, my lord." (Zechariah 4:1-3,11-13)

Go forward now to Luke 9:28-31:

Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9:28-31)

Go forward again to Revelation 11:3-12:

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here!" And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. (Revelation 11:3-12)

My opinion is that like Elijah, God is actually keeping Moses to return as one of the two witnesses to Israel to preach the Gospel together during the end times and rise of the Antichrist. Anyway, that is my view on what the Scriptures may well teach on this subject. I cannot be 100% certain about this, there are many better Bible teachers who would disagree, and we need to remember that this is not a doctrine of first importance. It is something we can agree to disagree on. But Jude 9 is todays text, so today I give my understanding of this subject.

In Revelation 12:7 Michael and his angels are waging war with Satan and his angels. And, of course, Michael and his angels defeat Satan and his angels and throw them out of heaven and throw them down to earth. He is, then, a powerful heavenly holy angel. He knew Lucifer. He knew him when he was the son of the morning, when he was the anointed cherub, when he was around the throne, when he was the heavenly choir director. He knew the other demons, all of them being created together at once. And when they fell, he knew they fell and he did battle with them and was part of the force that threw them out of heaven. He knows he has power over Satan then, he knows Satan is fallen. And yet he has respect for those angelic enemies of God and even though he is a powerful holy angel, he knows that there are limits to his power and there are limits to his knowledge. His name Michael, means “who is like God”. Michael is not omniscient, nor is he omnipotent. His power as a holy angel is delegated and his function is to do whatever God tells him to do and not act independently on his own. He will not usurp divine authority. He will not exercise his own will over Satan. He will not on his own blaspheme even Satan. God has His plans for Satan and God knows what they are and Michael will carry them out but he will not act independently (John Macarthur).

Most importantly, we need to understand that we should not play around with authorities that are way more powerful than us. We need to remain in Christ, Who is our strong tower and more powerful than everything in the universe. Everything in the Bible revolves around the Gospel because it reminds us of how weak we are and how we need to depend on the certain saving power of Him Who fulfilled the law, took our sins upon Himself, took God's wrath in the place of helpless sinners, graciously gives the sinner His righteousness, and proved it by conquering the grave. He came as a Lamb the first time, but He is coming again as a warrior king to destroy all his enemies. Whether we go to Him or He comes to us, we need to be clothed in His righteousness that we might be spared from the wrath to come.

Go Back To Part 18
Go Back To Part 1

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After having been there myself years ago I couldn't agree more. Charismatics and Pentecostals with their caviler and warped view of spiritual warfare, made worse by their Arminian "It all depends on me and my words" foundation is just frightening in its ignorance. Many of these people do not understand practically what is involved in being clothed in the Righteousness of God and yet they will quite happily take on these authorities with gay abandon without it. Good luck to 'em I say..they might end up like the fellas in Acts 19:15?