Considering Proverbs 11:10-11

10 When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.

11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

It is generally true that people of a city or nation are glad when things go well for the righteous and they celebrate when the wicked are removed. As the upright are blessed, the whole is made exalted for a number of reasons.

The upright influence the culture, and this creates a people that is also upright. A nation of upright people can be free because they are self-governing, and a free people can pursue a prosperous life without fear of the wicked taking everything they have. A nation led by upright people will prosper, generally speaking, because those who lead have the best interest of the nation at heart.

This was once the aim of our nation, but it seems as though the mouth of the wicked will overthrow it. Before long, the proverb is turned on its head and the opposite become true.

What manner of time do we live in when the wicked prosper and the people rejoice, and when the righteous perish, there is celebration? What manner of time do we live in when a people is exalted by the wicked, and the mouth of the righteous have to speak out against them, knowing that they are considered to be the wicked ones?

That is the time we see in Revelation 11, and it is not so difficult to imagine. As evil becomes good and good becomes evil, all things are out of sorts. Yet, God is in control of it all and one day He will set it right.

Before all of this, the Wicked One must be revealed. He must come and attempt to establish his rule and all who refuse to worship him are cast out as evil, rounded up, and slaughtered. He will seem to overcome the saints of God, and the people will be glad because they think that the wicked perish, but Jesus will soon come and destroy them all with the sword of His mouth and the brightness of His coming.

It is good to get to know Jesus because as He said, “many will kill you thinking they do God’s service, and these things they will do because they have not known the Father nor me.”

No matter how backwards things get, we can look to Jesus. He will make it so that we can see what is good and true. In Him we find the strength to take our stand with Him no matter what the rest of the world is doing.

One day, there will be a city in which righteousness dwells and Jesus is the King of the whole earth. Before that day, there is darkness as He has said, but we are not left without the Light of the World and the undying hope of His return that will make all things right.  

When Jesus returns and His holy city is established, the people of that city rejoice. When the wicked are removed, there is celebration. By the blessing of the saints the people of the earth are enriched, and there will be none that can stand against God’s people anymore.

God Gives Strength, but We Don’t Always Notice.

It’s back again, as it custom every few weeks or so. The headaches. The muscle and joint aches and extreme fatigue. The nausea and appetite loss. The insomnia. The chest pain and arrhythmia. It’s the natural result of taking on too much, and taking on too much is my lot in life, it seems.

God gives strength, doesn’t He? I don’t blame Him. I’m not angry. I just wonder, where is the strength I need?

Have you ever felt like that?

The thing is, God does give strength, but often times that strength is wrought through struggle. I’ve said this before, and it is true: it’s not that you aren’t getting better. Things just keep getting harder.

My responsibilities have doubled in the last couple of years, and a couple years ago I thought that I could not handle a single thing more. That was true. I couldn’t, but I knew Who could. I still know Who can, and He does.

The physical effects are still here, but the mind is more resilient. The spirit is more resilient, and there is peace so long as I look to the Lord and know that He has purposed it all and a lot of the trouble comes from making the right choices. He will not look away from that. I don’t see the fruit or reward readily, and some days it all feels like a futile, hamster wheel of a life, but deep down I know better.

Sometimes I’m tempted to look at people who have it “easy” and wonder what I have done wrong. Sometimes I am tempted to look at those who look down on me and my family for our United States level “poverty” and I feel shame because many think that if you are poor then you must be lazy or a sinner of some sort. They don’t see the sacrifices and choices made for good, not for wealth, but for doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

He sees, and I should look to Him and not those who seem to have it all and follow Jesus at the same time. I should look to Him and not the shame, because me and my family are not a shame to Him–we are and will be a story of victory for His glory. Of this, I am certain.

He gives strength to the weak, but this does not always look like strength. To the outside world it looks like shame, a life of sin, and being forsaken by God. The same will be true for many of us should we be here in the final days, but Jesus will give us strength–and though our strength might seem to be shame–it is not. As Jesus said in Joel, “my people will never be ashamed.”

Think of Others Before Yourself

41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. – Matthew 5:41-42

We can look at these statements from Jesus as being literally true, but how often are we asked to walk a mile with someone? We might be asked to lend to someone in need, but there seems to be a bigger issue that Jesus is getting at:

Think of others before yourself.

When someone makes a request of us, it can be tempting to turn the person away because of sheer inconvenience. Maybe we have other things we’d rather spend our time doing instead of helping someone else, or maybe we don’t want to part with possessions that someone needs more than we do.

The ideas that Jesus teach here don’t seem strange to many of us now. It’s no big deal to help someone out or put someone ahead of us in some small way, and I think that is because we have benefitted from living in a predominantly Christian culture.

Some say that basic morality can exist without God, but the fact that Jesus had to teach such simple niceties to others seems to say otherwise. We can see how simple morality has already become corrupted in many ways as the world goes down the path of godlessness, esteeming the ways of Jesus to be outdated, oppressive, or foolish, to name a few slanders held against Him.

The more we get away from His ways, the more these simple niceties will become rarities. As Christians, we hold all teachings of Jesus dear to our hearts, and all the more as we see the world cast them off as some useless thing.  

There’s always an opportunity to deny self and do good to another, and sometimes these small acts provide the greatest opportunity for preaching the gospel or showing others what being a Christian is all about.

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series. Subscribe for notifications of future posts.

Considering Proverbs 11:9

An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

When we think of the word, “hypocrite” in English, we think of a person who says one thing but does another. Here, this word is translated from “chaneph,” which means a profane or godless person.

The wicked love to speak evil of others, but the truth comes out eventually and the just are delivered.

This is a good proverb to remember in our time. Those who stand by true and good things are slandered, accused, and hated by the masses. Those who do wickedly are praised, feared, and counted as the next best thing to God Himself—and to the godless, a worthy substitute.

In time, as it pleases God according to His perfect timing and purposes, all things will come to light. The wicked are revealed and the just are delivered from them.

As Jesus says, those who love evil do not come to the light because their deeds are evil and they do not want to be corrected. Those who do righteously walk in the light. It is better to walk in the light, even when we make mistakes, because we do not fear man—but God—and He knows all already. If we walk in the light, we are covered by Christ—and nothing can come against us.

Sure, the wicked will persecute those who stand up for what is good and true, especially as we stand up for the gospel of Jesus Christ and His teachings. They might even seem to succeed for a short time, but just when all hope seems to be lost for those who are faithful to Christ and just when the wicked seem to have the victory, then comes Jesus Christ in power to overthrow them—and those who were killed for His sake are raised in glory to meet Him and establish His rule.

Those who trust in Jesus are delivered, even from death. Those who trust in the strength of man, lies, and persecute the righteous will “see the Son of Man coming in great power and glory” and “He will destroy them with the brightness of His coming.”

The light is deadly to the darkness, and the darkness cannot overtake it, because Jesus is the Light of the World. Many claim to be light, but as Jesus said, the light in them is darkness, and how great is that darkness!

Let people create and perpetuate rumors, cast you out as evil, and project their own wickedness and self hatred onto you. Abide in the Light of Christ and trust in Him to reveal all things according to His perfect timing—and pray that He remember mercy in judgment—because He was merciful to you.

These Things Saith He – Ephesus Overview

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (Revelation 2:1-7).

In keeping to a method of interpretation that considers the spirit, or heart, of what is written to the angels of the seven churches, here is what the Lord, Jesus is saying by His Spirit:

There is a time for standing up for what is true and good. Doing so requires a lot of work, even in the face of great opposition. However, when being right becomes what is most important, we can lose sight of what matters most: Jesus Himself and His teachings—teachings that encourage us to love one another.

When being right becomes our aim, we can become inflated with a false sense of superiority, and all the more as we take our focus off of Jesus and steadily go after the sins of others.

Furthermore, the higher we are, the further we will fall—just as Satan himself—who says, “I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I also will sit on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the North. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the most high.” As it is written of him: “Thou shalt be brought down to the grave, to the sides of the pit.”

In general terms, the spirit of this church is one that feels superior to all others, viewing themselves as the “true” church while esteeming others to be lesser than themselves. They also have great pride in their knowledge, feeling themselves worthy to assume positions of importance or authority.

Even so, this one thing they have: they hate the deeds of the worldly church.

This church takes the truth seriously, devotes themselves to working for the Lord, and takes a stand against sin and all manner of corruption within the church and the world at large as they see fit. This is not wicked. However, when the heart is corrupted, they lose sight of Jesus who is their first love. They also lose sight of their brethren—who Jesus holds in His right hand.

These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks

Jesus is the One who holds all ministers in His hand, and none will rise above Him. Therefore, we should not be as he who says, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” We should not esteem ourselves as better than another, because all belong to God and all serve Him. Jesus is in control and He walks among us all. We are not He. Therefore, we should look to Him, and in so doing, we cannot help but be humbled by the only One who is truly holy and perfectly true.

The spirit found in Ephesus goes beyond our churches or beyond any specific Christian denomination or sect. This spirit is common to all of man. Anytime we stand up for what is true and good, but in a manner that is not of God, we are forgetting our first love. Being right is not as important as being righteous—and they are not always the same thing.

This idea is further explored in, “These Things Saith He—Overcoming Ephesus.” Biblical precedence is explored in, “These Things Saith He—Ephesus Scripture.”

In closing for this chapter:

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

3And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever (Revelation 22:2-5).

When we overcome—when we keep the faith of Jesus Christ and that which He taught—we enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therein is the tree of life.

It is far better to heal the heart than it is to fill the mind with knowledge that puffs up. When that which is perfect is come, there is no need for all our knowledge apart from the knowledge of the Lord. All vain knowledge vanishes away and what remains is that we loved Jesus and one another.

In Jesus’s Kingdom, He alone will give us light. He will show us what is truly good, truly holy, and truly healing. There is no need for, nor is there any place for, high-minded ministers and individuals because Jesus Himself is there. Those who overcome will reign with Him, but they will also be as He is. “It does not yet appear what we will be, but when He appears, we will be as He is.” This is only possible because He makes us as He is and we all need Him.

The above is the draft version of the fourth chapter to a book I plan to write and publish in a manner that is free of charge to the public.

I wrote in These Things Saith He: Contents that I will publish the drafts here first and offer opportunity for others to share their thoughts before the final work is completed.

I’m open to and greatly value the insight, experiences, and thoughts of my Christian brethren because we are a body knit together in Christ that is meant to work together without over reliance on our leaders. I am not your leader, but I do try to be faithful to what I have received to the best of my ability, and I look to Jesus for gracious judgment of my service and the service of all who truly love Him.

Previous Chapter: These Things Saith He–Symbolism and Phrases Used in the Letters to the 7 Churches

Turn the Other Cheek

38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. – Matthew 5:38-39

An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. This sounds just, but this is not the calling we are called to as Christians. Rather, we are told that we are not supposed to repay evil for evil. Instead, we are to “turn the other cheek.”

Another scripture states, “be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 12

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Vengeance is mine. I will repay, saith the Lord.

We serve a God of mercy but also a God of justice, and He is the judge and ruler of us all. We all deserve to face the upmost penalty for our sins: death. Having received so great a gift as the forgiveness of sin by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we should strive to show the upmost mercy to all as much as is possible.

It is not easy to turn the other cheek. Doing so requires us to adopt certain mindsets so that we can seek Jesus who can change our hearts in these regards.

For one, having the humility to know that we are not worth good treatment—but rather worthy of death—can help us keep the right perspective.

We can also consider the good that might come from showing restraint. We might give room for repentance and create an opportunity for preaching the gospel.

When we behave in a manner that is not typical, we can let people know that we do so because this is what our Lord, Jesus commands.

There are times when no apparent good comes from showing restraint. Sometimes the only thing we can do is focus on our desire to remain blameless as those who are “perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.”

There are practical reasons for this teaching of Jesus also, and we can see this in our present time.

There is a lot of cheek slapping and justice seeking today. There are entire movements founded on the idea of justice, so called. We might become tempted to join in with these movements, and not in a way that is fitting for a Christian. Before long, it becomes difficult to distinguish a believer in Jesus from the rest of the world. That is not good.

We are not murders, but those who are will face the judgement of God, and He will avenge.

He will avenge all of the blood that was shed, including that of His faithful servants who keep these teachings of Jesus—He who said that we should turn the other cheek.

God is in control, and this includes control over the things we suffer in this life. We should not rebel against God. Remember Jesus who said, “you would have no power over me if it were not given to you by my Father.”

If our enemies are given power over us, then this is because God has ordained it. We can trust in Him and focus on doing what is right, even in the face of great adversity. If we fail, we return to Jesus, acknowledge our sin, and seek strength to do better.

There is day of vengeance, but this is a day for the meek (self-controlled) who hold the ways of Jesus dear and precious, strive to keep them, and seek the Spirit so that we might.

Peace is precious in the face of great warring. God will see and He will deal with all injustice for our sake. Yet, He is patient with the wicked everyday so that His purposes are fulfilled and His glory revealed. His glory is revealed in the destruction of the wicked, but also in the patience of His saints who endure trouble for His sake with faith and fear of the Lord.

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series. Subscribe for notifications of future posts.

These Things Saith He – Symbolism and Phrases Used in the Letters to the 7 Churches

Prophetic symbols and phrases convey ideas and meaning that goes beyond natural understanding. Some of these are explained explicitly while others are not, leaving room for interpretation based on what is revealed in scripture and by the Spirit of God.

This chapter considers the interpretation of symbols and phrases seen throughout the letters to the seven churches of Revelation as found in Revelation Chapters 2-3. These include:

  • Seven Stars and Seven Golden Candlesticks
  • The Synagogue of Satan
  • The Doctrine and Deeds of the Nicolaitans
  • “I will remove your candlestick out of its place.”

The Seven Stars and the Seven Golden Candlesticks

The seven stars and seven golden candlesticks are introduced in Revelation Chapter 1. The meaning of this symbol is also given.

The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches (Revelation 1:20).

The letters to the seven churches are written to the stars—or angels—of the seven churches.

The word, “angels” is translated from the Greek word, “aggelos.” This word means, messenger. This is generally used to describe a supernatural messenger.

The assertion made within “These Things Saith He” is that these messengers are not celestial beings exactly, but more like those we read about in Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works (2 Corinthians: 13-15).

As it is written, there are many false christs—many “Lucifers” also translated as “bright stars” and “sons of the dawn.” These attempt to usurp the roll of Jesus Christ who is the True Bright and Morning Star. Jesus Christ is the Angel of the Lord, and only He.

However, we can also assert that true apostles of Christ who are not falsely appointed are stars, and in a sense, types of the angel of the Lord—though not He explicitly—but adopted sons of God paid for by the blood of the First Begotten Son of God.

As you can read in Revelation Chapters 2-3, there are letters written to two of the angels that do not contain rebuke, and those who are led by them are not threatened with removal. These are apostles appointed by the Lord, Jesus Christ—and not of man or of the Adversary, also known as the Dragon, the Serpent, the Devil, and Satan:

The son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2).

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14).

But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.

But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.

For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days (Mark 13:15-20).

The Synagogue of Satan

“The synagogue of Satan” is mentioned in the letters to the angels of the seven churches. These are “the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews and are not, but lie.”

A synagogue of Satan is a gathering together of the followers of Satan and his ministers. Why are these called Jews?

There are a few ways one might look at this.

First, consider this scripture:

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God (Romans 2:28-29).

The opposite could be true for a synagogue of Satan. These are those who are outwardly religious, yet inwardly corrupt. These walk after the ways of the world and judge as according to the flesh and not the Spirit. These also seek glory for themselves and not for the Lord.

Jesus also said this:

I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father.

Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it (John 8:38-44).

Here are additional scriptures to consider:

For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee (Romans 11:16-18).

As Christians, we are grafted into the natural olive tree, as Paul the apostle writes of in Romans 11. In that sense, we are Jews if we follow the Messiah of the Jews: Jesus Christ. If we claim to be Christians, but do not follow Jesus, then we are as those who claim to be Jews but are not.

We could also consider the idea that Christians are waiting for a Holy City: New Jerusalem. We might claim to be of that city falsely. This can occur in a spiritual sense as those who do not follow Jesus but instead follow Satan. This can also occur in a literal sense should the false christ establish his rule in the physical city of Jerusalem, which the scriptures seem to indicate, as seen above.

The Doctrine and Deeds of the Nicolaitans

In following suit with the ideas above, it is the opinion of the author of These Things Saith He that the “deeds” and “doctrine of the Nicolaitans” refers to the doings and teachings of carnal Christianity: the synagogue of Satan.

What do these teachings and deeds include? The letters to the angels of the seven churches reveals more on this matter.

“I will remove your candlestick out of its place.”

The churches, called candlesticks, are either given words of affirmation and comfort or warned with being “removed out of its place.”

Why are they removed and in what manner?

These are removed because they do not follow the true Lord, Jesus and those who He has appointed. Rather, they follow the ways of Satan and his minsters who have done as Jesus said in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares (Matthew 13).

Those who follow Satan and his ministers hate the truth of Jesus Christ and all that He taught. Rather, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them (Isaiah 66).

Paul echoes this idea in his second epistle to the Thessalonians:

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish;

because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:7-12)

This is the method by which the candlesticks are “removed out of their place.”

These are “taken” by great deception, even the great deception of the false prophet. These become the fullness of the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon. In joining with Satan—who they already love and worship, though they call themselves Christian—they commit great whoredom because they accept the false christ as God and join with him in persecution of the saints and true church of Jesus Christ.

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Behold, I have told you before.

Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together (Matthew 24:23-28).

Also see Luke 17.

I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together (Luke 17:34-37).

This is the same event as the Battle of Armageddon: a time when the beast and false prophet make war against the saints and the Lamb of God. They will not prevail.

 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh (Revelation 19:19-21).

However,…

We are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work (2 Thessalonians 2: 13-17).

In Conclusion

There are many “false apostles and deceitful workers” that lead many astray from the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are the synagogue of Satan, and in the end, the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon.

There are problems within the Christian world that make us prone to deception, and if we love these ways and not the truth of Jesus Christ, then we are going to be given into these delusions.

However, there is time to repent and we do so knowing this: we are all in part the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon and there is time to turn to Jesus more fully.

Although the false christ has not appeared in fullness, “the mystery of that wicked one does already work” and we can “come out of her my people that you partake not of her sins and receive not of her plagues.”

Jesus is very merciful, slow to anger, and quick to kindness. He is faithful and He will not lose a single soul that belongs to Him.

Read John 8. There was a woman caught in the very act of adultery, and Jesus forgave her.

Friend, we are the same. At least in part. Therefore, “let he that is without sin among you cast the first stone at her.”

“Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.”

It is easy to look at the failings of the Christian world, but if it were not for our history, we would not be who we are. It is more profitable if we look to our own heart, pray for one another, and built one another up. It is the Great Whore who is “drunken with the blood of saints.” Not us. Though, there is a time of vengeance that is taken up by the two candlesticks not removed, also called the Two Witnesses. As of now, there is time to repent, and we should.

If we pay attention to the timeless lessons of our Lord, Jesus as given in the letters to the 7 churches and throughout the entirety of the gospels and the epistles of the true apostles of Jesus Christ, we can repent and turn our hearts to Jesus more fully.

Though we are forgiven of sin by grace through faith in the blood of the Lamb of God, a heart that is not towards Him does not have faith in Him. We can be forgiven of a truth. Yet, as Jesus said to the woman taken in adultery, “go and sin no more.”

I wrote in These Things Saith He: Contents that I will publish the drafts here first and offer opportunity for others to share their thoughts before the final work is completed.

I’m open to and greatly value the insight, experiences, and thoughts of my Christian brethren because we are a body knit together in Christ that is meant to work together without over reliance on our leaders. I am not your leader, but I do try to be faithful to what I have received to the best of my ability, and I look to Jesus for gracious judgment of my service and the service of all who truly love Him.

Previous Chapter: These Things Saith He — Method of Interpretation

Considering Proverbs 11:8

The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.                       

If I’m reading this correctly, this proverb states that the righteous are saved from trouble and the wicked take their place.

There are stories we might think of, like the time when Haman was hung in gallows that he had prepared for Mordechai (Esther 7).

There are many times throughout history when wicked men who killed others were killed themselves, and the people they persecuted were saved.

However, as a Christian, one of the first things that comes to mind is Jesus—who fulfilled the opposite of this proverb.

Jesus—who is perfectly righteous—was delivered into the hands of His enemies and was killed for the sake of sinners. He took our place.

Because of His sacrifice, we who are wicked can live. Though we die, we are not bound to death because Jesus promises to raise us up at His coming.

What more can we say about this proverb?

We could also read it to say that when the righteous are removed, the wicked take their place. Meaning, without the righteous to hold back the wicked, the wicked simply move in and take over.

We have a recent example of this in Afghanistan due to the extreme negligence of the current president of the United States. What a horrid situation.

When I first heard about this, one of the things that came to mind was this command from Jesus:

“Occupy until I come.”

What happens when those who serve the Lord of Hosts fail to occupy properly? The wicked take over. “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, wherewith can it be salted? It is good for nothing but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of man.”

What a horrid situation.

Some like to say that the false Christ comes after a rapture of the church, but not so. He is revealed after the falling away of the church, as Jesus stated, and Jesus will overthrow Him with the brightness of His coming.

This is true in more than one way. Jesus overthrows that wicked one in our heart when He comes to us by His Spirit, and He will overthrow that wicked one and the fallen away, whore church when He returns to establish His rule. Knowing this, who should we be loyal to?

What will He find His servants doing when He comes?  “Watch ye therefore because you know not when the master of the house cometh.”

Jesus—who was perfect and took the place of sinners—gave us the high ground, so to speak. He took the land away from our greatest enemy: Sin and Death. He took that land and made it into a holy city, and we were instructed to occupy until He returns and put all things under His feet once and for all.

How well have we done? Not so well, by my estimation. Yet, thanks be to God that there are many who remain faithful to Him—or at least want to learn how to be more faithful—and we serve a God who is in full control and nothing can remove His chosen from His hand.

Though some repentance is in order, we still have time to turn to the Lord more fully, trusting that He will strengthen us. He will make a way just as He always has.

“Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land and to his people.” – the Song of Moses, Deuteronomy 32

Praying for the Right Kind of Strength

Have you ever prayed for supernatural strength in some form? Maybe you want the strength of God to overcome an illness or some other form of physical ailment. Maybe you want to have the ability to work hard without feeling exhaustion. Maybe you want to find the strength to find a solution to a life circumstance that is physically and/or emotionally draining.

Although we can pray for strength in many areas, and sometimes the Lord will answer, there are times when we pray amiss because we do not understand the will of God for us.

Contrary to what some might believe, sometimes it is the will of God that we should suffer–especially for the sake of Jesus and the gospel. In-fact, being counted worthy to suffer is a blessing.

The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.”

Instead of praying for strength that will give us the supernatural ability to be strong like those who do not suffer physical ailments, trying life circumstances, and the like, maybe we should pray for the strength to accept any suffering that is ordained of God and push forward anyway.

For example, if God were to make it so that our bodies supernaturally handled large amounts of stress without effect, where is the glory in that? Rather, there is glory for God’s sake when we endure large amounts of stress–and the associated physical and emotional ailments–without backing down. Even if it means staring death in the face while trusting in Jesus to raise us up again. Lord wiling, we are also given strength to endures such trials without sin.

When we are faced with life-threatening situations, we naturally go into defense mode and sometimes this leads to sin–like complaining overmuch, lashing out in anger, or speaking ill of God. Having the strength to go through such times without a sinful response is also a good form of strength to seek.

Jesus provides the best example of this when He prayed at Gethsemane before His crusifixion.

36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

3Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. — Matthew 26:36-

Every Christian faces times of “not as I will, but as though wilt.” “It is given unto us on behalf of Jesus Christ, not only to believe on Him, but to suffer for His sake.”

However, He can give us strength–not strength to escape suffering–but strength to endure it with peace, thankfulness, and an eager expectation of reward from our Lord, Jesus Christ. We have our moments of doubt, despair, and attempts to refuse the will of God. Jesus did too and God the Father did not forsake Him. “When he cried unto him, he heard him.” Psalm 22.

It is also true that sometimes our suffering happens because of the actions or negligence of others. When this is the case, what do we do? Jesus provides the best example of this also:

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53.

Forgive them, Father. For they know not what they do.”

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

The Book of Revelation states that the Lamb that was Slain and the Lion of the Tribe of Juda is given authority to open the sealed book. Of course, this is Jesus. However, this is true for all of the adopted sons of God bought with the blood of the Lamb. If we follow Him, we will suffer. Jesus is compassionate to this so He strengthens us when we do not pray amiss.

He also rewards His servants. All things are by Him and for Him. Yet, He graciously gives much to us.

“As it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Swear Not At All

33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:

34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

What does it mean to “forswear” thyself? This means to swear falsely. The idea is that we should not perform false oaths to God, but instead, we should perform our oaths.

Jesus instructs that to make any oath to God can result in evil, so we should not do this at all. We should also refrain from taking oaths that bet our lives against the word or action we intend to keep. Instead, we should live and speak truthfully and with simplicity. Yes means yes. No means no.

Why?

“I am on earth and God is in heaven. Therefore, let my words be few.”

We do not always know what God has in store and He is the One who is in control. How can we make an oath to God stating that we will or will not do something? Do we know what the future holds? How can we make an oath on our own heads? Do we know where our lives might go? Do we know whether we might live another day or not?

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”

This is one good reason not to make oaths to God. We simply lack the foresight to make wise choices in this regard.

Another good reason is that we might have a good intention but we lack the ability to follow through, then we are liars and we have to bear the shame of defeat or a feeling of rejection from God because we took something up that was not meant for us. We took the high seat instead of the low seat.

“But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes, he may tell you, ‘Friend, move up higher’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Another good reason is that we might not know what we are asking for. As Jesus once said to some of His disciples that wanted to be great in His Kingdom, “can you be baptized with the baptism I am baptized of?”

Sometimes in our hasty desire to be pleasing to God or to take on something meaningful, we make commitments without realizing the full context of what our commitment might mean.

What should we do then once we become aware of the implications of our oaths? Do we take it back, tuck tail, and run from what we foolishly and perhaps hastily vowed to our Lord? Or do we seek Him so that He might strengthen us to perform all that we said we would do? Do we plead for forgiveness and learn a lesson in humility?

I suppose it depends on the unique context of the situation for each person.

Or do we consider that God has ordained all things—even our foolish oaths—and in the end He is still in control and all things work together for the good of those who are called for His purposes?

Jesus’s instruction to live a life in simple faithfulness as one whose yes is yes and no is no makes good sense and can certainly keep people from the evil that could fall upon them from making false oaths to God or upon their own lives.

However, if we find ourselves in this situation, though we are foolish, this was God’s doing in the first place and He will see to it that we can follow through—at least with the oaths that were placed in our heart by His Spirit—who cannot lie. Our own desires will come to nothing and we are humbled by that. However, all that He has ordained will come to pass and nothing can stop it.

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series. Subscribe for notifications of future posts.