BEREAN ACTS 17:11

2 Corinthians 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

2 Corinthians 4:4
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Psalm 111:9-10

(9) He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. (10) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
King James Version

TEMPTATION

TEMPTATION

Genesis 3:1-5

(1) Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (2) And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: (3) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. (4) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (5) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.     King James Version

The word “shrewd” more closely captures Satan’s character than “cunning.”Shrewd means “sharp and clever in a selfish way.” Though “cunning” is not incorrect, “shrewd” has clearer connotation.

To be cunning and shrewd like Satan indicates malevolent brilliance—with the emphasis on malevolent. He is seeking to kill. His cunning is like that of a tiger, silently padding through the jungle with eyes malevolently seeking something to kill and eat.

Consider how clever his tactic was. He subtly made a suggestion rather than an argument to discredit God’s authority, casting doubt about God’s credibility. Satan asked, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?'”

Through the tone and inflection of his voice, Satan implied that there was doubt that God told them the truth. This is shown by the way Eve replied; she corrected him. She knew from the inflection of his voice that he was really asking a question and casting doubt. When she replied, she over-corrected.

Like a good salesman, the serpent got his victim to agree with him, getting the victim to say “Yes, yes, yes,” and then, “I’ll buy it!” Eve was already influenced when she gave her reply because she over-corrected.

Satan successfully magnified God’s strictness in her mind, reminding her that the way is narrow. She began to agree with him, thinking about God in terms the serpent wanted her to think. She began to agree, saying “Yes, yes, yes” to the salesman’s ploys.

Satan immediately minimized the penalty, saying an outright lie, “You shall not die” (3:4). Then to clinch the sale, he offers her a reward: “You shall be like God” (3:5). What a price she paid! Satan offered a reward that must have seemed so big to Adam and Eve that they could not afford to reject it. What he offered was enough to reorient their lives.

They did not catch the complete significance of what he offered, but enough to know it was big. He offered the self to become the dominating focus of life; “Youshall be God.” He completely reoriented their lives by turning their focus away from obedience to God toward obedience to the self. He gave them the right to choose and to set the standards of right and wrong. They bought it hook, line, and sinker.

From that point on, mankind has viewed God as a rival and competitor rather than a friend—Someone with whom to compete and outwit rather than cooperate, for they were now gods too!

— John W. Ritenbaugh

To learn more, see:
Satan (Part 2)

Shared with the permission of berean@cgg.org ==>  www.theberean.org

God bless all!

“Spirits”

1 John 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1 Peter 3:18-20

(18) For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (19) By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; (20) Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
King James Version

This passage in I Peter 3, particularly verses 19-20, is quite difficult to translate from Greek to English. This is so because each of the nine Greek words in verse 19 can be translated in various shades of meaning, making interpretation tricky. We probably do best by translating them in their most basic meanings, thus: “in which also He went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison . . .” (author’s paraphrase).

The “which” (“whom” in NKJV) in verse 19 probably refers back to “Spirit,” its closest antecedent, in verse 18, suggesting that Jesus was no longer in the flesh but by this time had been changed into spirit. This follows the historical chain of events in order from the preceding verse: He suffered, died, was resurrected, and was thus changed to spirit, leading to the next key words, “He went.”

What happened next in the gospel record after His resurrection to spirit? What did Jesus do after arising from the dead? Some might suggest that He revealed Himself to His disciples, which He did, but not by any stretch of meaning could it be described as going and proclaiming to imprisoned spirits! No, John tells us through the words of Jesus Himself to Mary Magdalene what the next momentous occurrence was: “[G]o to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God'” (John 20:17). When Jesus “went,” He ascended in glory to the right hand of the Father in heaven!

At this point, we will skip to the phrase “spirits in prison.” First, let us note that the Bible does not refer to human beings who have died as being imprisoned in any way, not even those who have rebelled against and rejected God. They may be said to be “destroyed” or “killed” or “cut off” or sent to “Sheol,” which is a pit or grave, but they are never imprisoned. As we saw, humans who die return to the dust of which they are made (see also Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 3:19-20).

However, the Bible speaks in several places about spirit beings – angels or demons – being imprisoned (see II Peter 2:4-5, where Peter again refers to Noah’s time; Jude 6; and Revelation 20:1-3, 7). Rebellious angels, unlike mortal humans, must be imprisoned because angels or demons, being composed of spirit, do not die as humans do. The “angels who sinned,” Peter and Jude say, were cast down to Tartarus (“a place of restraint,” a prison) where they are bound until God judges them. This Tartarus, this “hell” where the demons are restrained, is none other than their “first estate,” their “proper domain,” earth (see Ezekiel 28:17;Revelation 12:7-9)!

Second, Peter’s use of “spirits” is consistent with its use in the gospels (see, for instance, Matthew 8:16; 12:45; Mark 3:11; 5:13; 6:7; Luke 11:26; etc.). In the gospels, “spirits” consistently denotes “evil spirits,” “demons,” “wicked spirits.” It is highly likely that Peter refers to demons in I Peter 3:19.

This is confirmed by the first phrase of verse 20, “who formerly were disobedient” (NKJV) or “who disobeyed long ago” (New International Version, [NIV]). Peter is speaking of a time in deep antiquity, a time before the Flood. Perhaps he does not intend us to think of Satan’s original sin of rebellion against God (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28), although it may be included, but specifically of the demons’ corruption of mankind between the Creation and the Flood.

This would explain his time marker in the next phrase, “when God waited patientlyin the days of Noah while the ark was being built” (NIV). In Satan’s sin, only the demons themselves were affected, but when they corrupted mankind, human beings who were potential sons of God were affected. Once men and women began sinning under the influence of Satan and his demon horde, the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ became necessary.

Peter’s point, then, is that, though the wicked spirits seemed to be so successful in corrupting mankind, God patiently waited during Noah’s 120-year ministry to save only eight people by bringing them through the Flood, delivering them through a kind of baptism. The demons had failed to destroy mankind. So also, by having Jesus crucified, the demons thought again they had won, but through the resurrection, Jesus had the victory instead. Baptism is a type of this same victory, as it is a symbolic death of the old, wicked man and of his resurrection to newness of life (see Romans 6:4).

This brings us back to the word in I Peter 3:19 that we skipped: “proclaimed” (or in many Bibles, “preached”). Most objective commentaries will note that this word in the Greek (ekêruxen from kêrússô) means in general “to be a herald,” “to proclaim,” “to announce,” “to publish,” “to preach.” Although it can be used as such, it does not necessarily mean “to preach the gospel to” or “to preachsalvation to.” Because Peter does not specify what Jesus “proclaimed” or “announced,” to assume the preaching of the gospel is not warranted. The only clue we have of what He proclaimed appears in the immediate context: that He was “made alive by the Spirit.”

If this is the case, verse 19 says simply that, after Jesus was resurrected, He ascended to heaven, proclaiming to the imprisoned evil spirits that He lived! The demons, once again, had failed!

Verse 22 backs this interpretation: “who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to him.” This agrees with many scriptures that speak of His exaltation over all things, for instance, Philippians 2:9-10: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.” Jesus’ ascension to the throne of God proclaimed His victory over death and over Satan and his demons!

— Richard T. Ritenbaugh

To learn more, see:
Jesus and ‘the Spirits in Prison’

Credit:  TheBerean.org  shared with their permission*

God bless All

Nothing can hinder the LORD!

Be A Bearean Acts 17:11-Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Be A Bearean
Acts 17:11-Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

 
September 18, 2013
Jonathan’s Plan
1 Samuel 14:1-15
 
Read

“Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the LORD will help us, for nothing can hinder the LORD. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!”

“Do what you think is best,” the armor bearer replied. “I’m with you completely, whatever you decide.”

“All right then,” Jonathan told him. “We will cross over and let them see us.

If they say to us, ‘Stay where you are or we’ll kill you,’ then we will stop and not go up to them.

But if they say, ‘Come on up and fight,’ then we will go up. That will be the LORD’s sign that he will help us defeat them.”

When the Philistines saw them coming, they shouted, “Look! The Hebrews are crawling out of their holes!”

Then the men from the outpost shouted to Jonathan, “Come on up here, and we’ll teach you a lesson!” “Come on, climb right behind me,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “for the LORD will help us defeat them!” (1 Samuel 14:6-12)

 
Reflect

Jonathan and his armor bearer weren’t much of a force to attack the huge Philistine army. But while everyone else was afraid, they trusted God, knowing that the size of the enemy army would not restrict God’s ability to help them. God honored the faith and brave action of these two men with a tremendous victory.

Jonathan did not have the authority to lead all the troops into battle, but he could start a small skirmish in one corner of the enemy camp. When he did, panic broke out among the Philistines, the Hebrews who had been drafted into the Philistine army revolted, and the men who were hiding in the hills regained their courage and returned to fight.

Have you ever felt surrounded by the “enemy” or faced overwhelming odds? God is never intimidated by the size of the enemy or the complexity of a problem. With him, enough resources are always available to resist the pressures and win the battle. If God has called you to action, then bravely commit what resources you have to God, and rely upon him to lead you to victory.

 
Respond

When facing a difficult situation that is beyond your control, ask, “What steps can I take now to work toward a solution?” Taking just a few small steps may be just what is needed to begin the chain of events leading to eventual victory.