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Bible verses about Rebellion
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Satan's influence extends over the whole world. In some places, we see it in war after war, and in others, unrest and instability. In America, we have political, racial, and religious factions at each other's throats. Gangs of young men and women roam the streets of our cities, robbing, destroying, and killing without regard for the laws of the land and absolutely no consideration for human life.

Our populace chafes under the restraint of law. Many are willing to cheat on their taxes, take money under the table, steal from their employers, exceed speed limits, and stab their competitors in the back. Everyone seems to be working to get around the national, state, and local laws—and God's laws too!

The television and movie industries contribute massively to the nation's problems through the fare they offer for our viewing consumption. Many—if not most—of the shows we watch depict the breaking of God's commandments. They produce story lines glorifying rebellion, sexual promiscuity, adultery, murder, war, stealing, lying and aggressive competition. Movies like Thelma and Louise; Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels; Natural Born Killers; Pulp Fiction; The Terminator, and the James Bond movies make heroes out of the ones who are breaking all the laws!

Governments also show the effects of Satan's rebellious influence. Our leaders, who should be setting an ethical, honest, moral example for the rest of us, must frequently defend themselves against charges of fraud, sexual misconduct, obstruction of justice, and illegal covert operations. This list does not include wasteful spending on pork projects, expensive travel junkets, unbalanced budgets, and questionable lawmaking.

From the Supreme Court to local juvenile courts, the judicial system makes a mockery of our laws. Appeals courts overturn good and just laws because of minor technicalities that may discriminate against one in a million people. Proper convictions and sentences are derailed by wealthy or powerful parties who can afford high-priced, famous attorneys who work the system's loopholes or confuse the jury by manufacturing "reasonable doubt."

Whether we realize it or not, all of this corruption and rebellion has an affect upon us. We may not understand how it could influence us one way or another, but nevertheless, we cannot help noticing it and being influenced by it.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Should We Obey the Laws of Our Government?


 

A sovereign is a ruler, a monarch. Such a person has the authority to reign, to make laws, and to mete out punishments. When one claims sovereignty, he puts himself on an extremely lofty pedestal. Webster's Dictionary defines sovereignty as "supreme excellence or an example of it; supreme power especially over a body politic; freedom from external control: autonomy; controlling influence; one that is sovereign."

When "citizen" is added to the mix, a strange oxymoron results. A citizen is one who lives in a certain place and is subject to its laws. Granted, citizenship implies being entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman, but these rights and privileges are bestowed by law and common consent, not by individual sovereignty. A sovereign citizen feels he is totally in charge, free from all external authority and influence.

The last verse of Judges perfectly describes what is happening today in America: "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25) It is this attitude that the sovereign citizenship movement holds; it is in reality rebellion against the laws of man in this society. Seeing the flaws of man's government and the weakness of its leaders, they perceive a "better way," reject the laws of the land and do what they feel is right.

But is this what God wants?

Rebellion is "the act of rebelling; revolt; open resistance to, or defiance of any authority or control." Does this idea have a familiar ring to it, especially considering Satan's rebellion described in Isaiah 14? God hates rebellion, comparing it to witchcraft: "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you [Saul] have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king" (I Samuel 15:23).

From Satan's insurrection, God knows the price of rebellion. A rebellious, stubborn, unsubmissive heart will destroy one whom He has called, denying him entrance into the Kingdom of God. God will not allow anyone into His Kingdom whom He cannot rule!

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Should We Obey the Laws of Our Government?


 

Genesis 19:26

Her sin appears to some to be trifling: She "looked back." What she did may seem to be of little consequence, but it reveals a great deal about her character. She directly disobeyed the clear command of God's messenger given just a few verses before. I Samuel 15:22-23 says that "to obey is better than sacrifice, and . . . rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft." She rebelled.

It is a solemn and a fearful thing for one to die quietly in his bed. But to die suddenly in a moment, in the very act of a sin, by God's direct imposition is dreadful indeed. Jesus warns, "Remember Lot's wife" (Luke 17:32). He did not say, "Remember Korah, Dathan, and Abiram." They also died suddenly. He did not say, "Remember Nadab and Abihu," who were burned by the fire of God. He did not say, "Remember Uzzah," whom God struck dead in a moment. He said, "Remember Lot's wife," for it has particular application to those who are living at the time of the end, who are facing the destruction of the very society, the very nation, in which they live. They will be living amidst the greatest contagion of worldliness that has ever existed on the earth since the time of Noah. Remember Lot's wife.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part 4)


 

Leviticus 4:2

The word presumption does not quite mean in Hebrew what it does in English. In English, it simply means "to assume," to take a matter upon oneself without considering all the factors and doing it. However, in the Old Testament, it carries the idea of acting arrogantly—of rebellion. In fact, it means to do something with audacity or to be headstrong. It refers to those who overstep their bounds or dare to act in a disobedient manner. A willfulness is implied in the word that is not contained in English, making it much more forceful.

In other words, a person who sins presumptuously is fully aware of what he is doing; he is fully educated and not in ignorance either of what he is doing or the potential cost of doing it, and he deliberately sets his mind to do it. It is an act of rebellion, an audacious setting one's will, despite all he knows, to go ahead and do it anyway.

By these usages, the word "unintentional" in Leviticus 4 and Numbers 15 can include within it someone who is conscious of what he is doing but does not act audaciously. He does not plan it. He is not rebellious—but weak. God will forgive that, but He will not forgive the sin that is presumptuous according to usage of the word in the Old Testament.

In the New Testament, the word begins very similar to the English usage of the word. It means "to think" or "suppose." Howevver, according to the context in which it is used in the New Testament, it contains the idea of dealing proudly, defiantly, and recklessly. It means to look down upon. A tremendous amount of pride is implied in it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Examples of Divine Justice


 

Leviticus 10:1-7

What did these men do that was so awful? They were priests, sons of Aaron, the High Priest, nephews of Moses. If anybody had a close relationship with God and would receive a measure of leeway in judgment, it was these two. Nevertheless, there was none; with God, there is no respect of persons in judgment (see Romans 2:11). He reacted swiftly and violently, wiping them out on the spot. This incident involved no Temple prostitutes, no human sacrifices, just "strange fire." Surely, such a little thing would not matter! God's reaction allowed no time for a trial; there was just a summary execution, a terrifying supernatural judgment by God.

Verse 6 contains an interesting sidelight to this violent event. Undoubtedly, Aaron was shocked into an emotional reaction that may have ranged from pitiful wailing to a consuming anger toward God, but Moses cautioned him to control himself and give no outward demonstration of his emotional state! Why? Moses understood that they had sinned grievously and got what they deserved. Aaron was told that, despite the shocking nature of what had happened, he should express no disagreement with God's judgment.

Consider this in a larger context. Beginning in Exodus 40:1, the Tabernacle, its altar, and the laver were erected and the interior furniture arranged, then all was consecrated in a solemn ceremony. At that point (verse 34), God came to dwell in the Tabernacle.

Leviticus 1 follows the sequence of events, showing God giving the sacrificial rituals to be performed at the Tabernacle. In Leviticus 8, Aaron and the priesthood are officially consecrated. In Leviticus 9:1, the priesthood's ministry formally begins. In verse 24, a startling occurrence takes place during that first offering: ". . . and fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar." This signaled God's acceptance, showing that all had been done according to His will.

However, there is more to this story, giving us understanding of the term "strange fire" that follows in chapter 10. Within the instructions regarding the sacrifices, Leviticus 6:12-13 gives the priests an interesting charge:

And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. A perpetual fire shall burn on the altar; it shall never go out.

The term strange means "what is alien to." Foreigners are called "strangers" in Scripture because they are aliens to Israel and to the covenant (Ephesians 2:12). In this case, the fire used by Nadab and Abihu was alien to what God had commanded regarding fire. Together with Exodus 30:7-9, their infraction becomes clear. The priests were to make the morning and evening incense offerings only with the special incense mixture God commanded, and they were to take the coals for these offerings only from the continually burning fire under the altar of burnt offerings, which He started in Leviticus 9:24.

Aaron was undoubtedly confused and displeased, not understanding what happened, but Moses gave him God's answer. In Leviticus 10:3, the Lord says, "By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified." Nadab and Abihu were among those chosen to come near Him in service. They revealed their disrespect for Him by treating His command regarding the fire as something common. They simply did not follow His instructions.

They added or subtracted to what God said and did, attempting to get by with what they carnally assumed was acceptable to Him. By this incident, holiness is defined. Among those who are consecrated to serve God, His instructions must be explicitly followed. Thus, this example appears especially pointed toward the ministry.

The instructions are not ambiguous. Each step and instrument in the process is designed to teach certain spiritual concepts. They had been completely instructed, so they blatantly twisted God's teaching. In response to Moses, Aaron remained silent, knowing the judgment was correct. This incident is of special importance to us because of the context and because of who we are. The context is the consecration of the priesthood in service to God, and we are, according to I Peter 2, a royal priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices. By this incident, God shows, perhaps more clearly than in any other place, what holiness is in relation to Him.

Holiness is not merely consecration or dedication to a god, but it is both moral and ethical as well. True holiness is what results from His consecration, but the consecration must be combined with our submission to His commands. In pagan religions, a person could be dedicated but not moral, as is clearly shown by the ritual prostitution practiced at their temples. The prostitute was indeed consecrated to her god, but she most certainly was not moral—nor were they who used her services.

Today, a person may claim that his god is the Creator God, but if he is not obedient to the Creator God's commandments, he is merely deluding himself. Sincerity is only part of the picture. We are to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24). The closer one is associated with God's work, the more necessary it is to ensure that the relationship with God is not marred by spiritual blemishes. Otherwise, the person cannot function properly as a channel for God to work through. God will not be glorified before the people unless His servants submit to His commands.

A similar careless notion got Cain into trouble. If we add or omit with knowledge, it is presumption, and presumption springs from pride. It is as if we are telling God He does not know what He is doing. We have elevated ourselves to His level. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else than His will must be our attitude.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Presumption and Divine Justice (Part Two)


 

Numbers 16:1-2

This would be similar to all the leading men of a worldwide church marching up to the person in charge of that church, and demanding that he kowtow to their terms.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Countering Presumptuousness


 

Numbers 16:3

This is an example of a person who is dissatisfied with what he has and stirs up others because of his ingratitude for what God had given him already.

The consequences of Korah's "taking action" are clear: God destroyed all these who rose up against Moses and Aaron—against Him. Does this pattern look familiar? It should. It is the age-old and oft-repeated sin of pride manifesting itself in ingratitude. Satan did the same thing (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:14-17). It was not enough for him to be a covering cherub at God's throne. It was not enough to have the lordship over the earth and one-third of the angels (Revelation 12:3). No, he wanted to resemble or compare to the Most High (Isaiah 14:14)! His pride led him to go to war against God, a battle he soundly lost (Luke 10:18). Revelation 12:7-10 prophesies that his pride will drive him to attempt another coup d'état before Christ's return.

This is where ingratitude can ultimately lead a person: into total rebellion against God. It lends to an individual feeling a false sense of worth, that he deserves more. If not checked, it becomes a plague of discontent that soon infects others, as Satan's ingratitude spread to other angels.

If this kind of attitude lands us in trouble, just what should our attitude be? A truly humble and grateful person will never rebel against God because he knows that even the very breath he breathes is a gift and calls for praiseful thanksgiving to the Father. Sharing this thanksgiving with others in the church works like soothing oil that helps to heal the body.

Mark Schindler
Ingratitude


 

Numbers 16:8-10

Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and all the other two hundred and fifty men were not content with what God had given them to do in the church of the wilderness. They did not want to be porters and bearers. They did not want to be the setup crew or the take-down crew. Instead, they wanted to be the mediators between God and men. They wanted the cushy job—the one they saw that had the most going for it, the one that had the most authority. They were not content with where God had placed them in the body at the time.

Seeing this, Moses tells the rest of the Israelites, "Clear out! Get away from Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. If you don't want to be caught in what they've just done, stay away!"

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Countering Presumptuousness


 

Numbers 16:9-10

These people wanted more authority, more autonomy. They did not see that God had appointed the authority, and they were actually part of the authority. Some of these leaders came from the tribe of Levi, which was part of the constituted authority within Israel. God had separated them, yet they wanted more. Their desire, the way their pleasure would be gratified, was to be given more than they had already been given.

God has separated us from the congregation of Israel to serve Him. He has made us a part of a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to do the work of the church. By this, we become part of His body. So this is exceedingly important to us, as Paul explains in I Corinthians 12. We are a part of the Lord's body, a spiritual body, and who is the Head? Jesus Christ. If we attack or rebel against another part of His body, we are attacking Jesus Christ! That is the principle involved here. We may not like to see it that way, but it is the truth.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Submitting (Part 2)


 

Numbers 16:9-10

Moses lays it right back on them! They had been appointed apart from the rest of the congregation just as he had been. They despised and took lightly that appointment, desiring the higher job! They did not despise hierarchy—they despised not being HIGHER in that hierarchy! They wanted to call the shots their way.

The same is true today. Even in those groups condemning organized church government, someone emerges as spokesman, organizer, and/or leader. Those who disagree with this then split off again. The process tends to continue until little or nothing remains. Are these fruits godly?

Staff
For the Perfecting of the Saints


 

Numbers 22:24-25

What does God do? His first attempt to get Balaam's attention fails—not with the donkey, but with Balaam. The man is totally oblivious to what is going on. So God narrows him in or hedges him in. The path that Balaam was taking led between two hedges or walls. There was enough room,however, for the donkey to turn aside, which is what she did. She turned away, but in doing so, Balaam's foot became crushed against the wall, causing him pain. Perhaps God thought that a little pain would help him come to his senses.

However, Balaam does not think about God at all. He thinks, "You stupid donkey! Why did you do that to me?" He does not say anything at this point but beats the poor donkey. His injury does not cause him to consider at all that God may be trying to get his attention. It never comes to mind that God may be telling him something. He takes all his pain and rage out on this innocent donkey, which was only trying to obey God.

Think of the donkey in terms of this passage:

But my eyes are upon You, O GOD the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave my soul destitute. Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, and from the traps of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I escape safely. (Psalm 141:8-10)

The donkey who saw God would have avoided the trap and escaped, if it were not for Balaam controlling her. He made her go back into the trap—and on to his own ruin.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Balaam and the End-Time Church (Part 2)


 

1 Samuel 8:7-8

This circumstance highlights Israel's insatiable curiosity for variety that continuously revealed their badly divided mind toward God, leading them astray. They did not want a king in Israel like God wanted. God indeed would give them a king; the book of Deuteronomy lays out rules regarding that (see Deuteronomy 17:14-20). God had nothing against the nation having a king, but He wanted that king to be a man who was subject to Him. This was the only real stipulation.

But they did not want a king like God wanted; they wanted a kind of king like other nations had. This is why God says that they had rejected Him. In rejecting the kind of king God wanted them to have, they were also rejecting God. This fits into the pattern they had followed from the beginning of their relationship with God, which is why He mentions what He does in verse 8.

God provided mankind with this natural curiosity. However, by nature, it is undisciplined, so it needs to be wisely managed. It is here that the underlying problem between God and man lies: We have a powerful tendency not to believe Him, and thus we will not willingly listen to His counsel, creating division. This strong need for variety, mixed with prideful stubbornness, keeps telling us that we know better than He does. Therefore, humanly we are often driven to ignore Him and His wise principles.

Despite our age, we are frequently like children—particularly like teenagers. Those in their teen years begin to think that they know more than their parents, and rebellion and hardness of heart begin to come to the fore. They start believing that their parents are awfully dumb, or not really with it, not aware of what is going on. It is almost as if they think parents have no brains.

In I Samuel 8, Israel believes that the solution to their national and personal problems is to have a despotic king like the other nations, a monarch who would rule with iron-fisted control. They apparently never stop to think that the real problem resides in each one of them, because they have divided themselves from Him. As the beginning of the chapter relates, Samuel's sons had separated themselves from Samuel, and the Israelites are just like Samuel's sons, having separated themselves from Samuel and from God.

All of us have divided minds to some degree. Some have quipped that this is why all of us are insane to some measure. By way of contrast, God's mind is totally undivided. This points out why Paul writes in II Timothy 1:7: "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." We need to be less like these Israelites and more like God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Knowing God


 

1 Samuel 15:23

God hates rebellion! He hates the attitude of lawlessness it produces, as well as the crop of wicked fruit that results from it.

The prince of all rebellion is Satan the Devil, also known as "the sum of all moral impurities." Though we do not see this demon physically, the influence of this arch-rebel permeates our society. We need not look far to see children rebelling against their parents, artists rebelling against the status quo, and fringe groups rebelling against the government.

Satan personifies rebellion. It was Lucifer's rebellious action that saw him tossed out of heaven and renamed Satan, Adversary:

How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God [angels]; I will also sit [rule] on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north [God's government]; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High." Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15)

Lucifer, "Light Bringer," rebelled against the laws of God, thus he rebelled against God Himself. Desiring independence from God's legislation, he tried to depose God and become the sovereign ruler of the universe. Great chaos and destruction resulted among the heavenly bodies and on earth (Genesis 1:2) when God "cast [him] as a profane thing out of the mountain of God" (Ezekiel 28:16).

Because of his rebellion, we are today experiencing its evil fruit. Notice how Isaiah describes the reaction of people who will look back upon Satan's career after God finally binds him forever in the Lake of Fire:

Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying, "Is this the man [Hebrew ish, male, individual, person] who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?" (Isaiah 14:16-17)

These people are describing the effects of Satan's rule on this earth now!

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Should We Obey the Laws of Our Government?


 

Psalm 78:40-42

Provoked means "rebelled against." Their disrespect and irreverence produced the fruit of limiting His willingness and power to provide for them in any situation. In their minds, they set boundaries upon what they thought He would or could do. The psalmist does not mean they literally hogtied God to keep Him from doing things, though the practical result of their relationship virtually amounted to that. However, in their lack of faith and fear of God and their failure to make practical use of His sovereignty over His creation and His willingness to help His people, they mentally drew lines, concluding that God could not or would not provide for them in their circumstance. Thus, they chose to arrive at their own solutions that resulted in sin and death. They were obviously not living by faith but by sight. Hebrews 4:1-2 confirms this was at the base of Israel's failure in the wilderness

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God and Human Responsibility: Part Eleven


 

Proverbs 24:21-22

This is an overall principle: "Do not rebel! Do not associate with revolutionaries. Have respect for God. Have respect for the authority that He has constituted to rule over the land—the king!" The warning can be taken two ways. One, when one rebels, the ruler and the rebel are ruined: "who knows the ruin those two can bring?" Two, the rebel may be ruined by the both of them. God wants us to realize that there is no real liberty in rebellion.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Submitting (Part 1)


 

Proverbs 29:15

If a child is "left to himself," where is his training coming from? Obviously, in this case, mom and dad are not having a great impact on their child. The training must then be coming from society, most likely from the child's peers. Because "foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child" (Proverbs 22:15), a child left to himself brings shame—he is bound to get into trouble if his training is haphazard or undirected, or if he is not drilled or disciplined. The flipside of this verse says, "But the rod of correction will drive it far from him." The rod symbolizes that someone has taken an interest in the outcome of this child's life. He is giving direction, correction, instruction, to steer this child where he is to go. The training, the teaching, makes all the difference in the world.

An example from the life of David illustrates this proverb. "And [Adonijah's] father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, 'Why have you done so?' He was also a very good-looking man. His mother had borne him after Absalom" (I Kings 1:6). David was very old and was very shortly to die. His family and his close advisors probably knew that he intended to pass his crown to Solomon. But Adonijah tried to prevent that. He made a political move to grab the throne before Solomon had a secure grip on it. His ploy failed because Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, and David's faithful advisors appealed to the king, and he made it very clear whom he had chosen to succeed him.

David, though a man after God's own heart, did not take an active hand in teaching Adonijah. In this verse God states why Adonijah rebelled. In essence, David actually encouraged his son to rebel by not taking an interest in rearing him. David failed to train him in the way he should go, so that he would not depart from it. Instead, David trained him in a way that was bound to produce rebellion. This flaw of David's shows up in others of his children: Absalom, Amnon, and others. It does not matter whether one is a child of God having His Spirit or not. If a parent does not carry through with the right kind of training, then the results will surface in his children.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Guard the Truth!


 

Ecclesiastes 8:2-3

This advice calls on us to refine our behavior to be delicate, reserved, and careful so we do not appear obstinate when a difference arises between civil authority and us. Solomon's counsel is that, if the king does not grant us what we desire, depart discreetly out of respect for his office.

On this verse The Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary observes, “A wise man will avoid everything in thought, temper, and action tending to sow the seeds of sedition.” Another expanded on this thought by advising, “We must study, even while in his presence, to find the proper behavior for the occasion so as to not imperil either our safety or the general society's.” Study, in this case, means “concentrate on” or “give attentive scrutiny to.”

The thrust of this counsel is that a person must be careful not to let his wounded pride build to such a passionate defense that it carries over into haughty disdain for the authority's office. This can even expand to calling God into account for His “failure” to remove that person from his office. Such an attitude may sow the seeds of rebellion far and wide. It is a major flaw in carnal thinking that people often fail to consider the long-range effects of even a single sin, a clear example of this being Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Fifteen): Deference


 

Isaiah 14:12-15

It becomes clear, once we fit this together with II Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6; Revelation 12:3-4,9; and Ezekiel 28:12-14, that God assigned the angels to the earth under their commander, Lucifer (Hêl?l in Hebrew), who was the sum total of all that God could create by fiat in a created being, perfect in his ways until iniquity was found in him. We see a picture of a being of awesome beauty and power, of tremendous intelligence, and like us, a creature of free moral agency.

Something happened to that great being, and he began a campaign of deceit. He began to separate from God a number of the angels, undoubtedly using the reasoning that they should have more, that God should treat them better, that God was being unfair, that they did not have the liberty or the power that was due them. At some point he began to express, "I will be like the Most High."

Some commentators say that the Hebrew says in reality, "I will be God," not just like God. We can see what he wanted: complete power, authority, and control. He did not want to be under another; he did not want to be submissive. He did not want another being pulling his strings or controlling him.

He wanted to sit, as it says, on the mount of the congregation. So he decided, "I will make war. I will ascend into heaven." So the demons left their first estate, the realm of their authority, and they mounted up in war and attacked God. They were soundly defeated and cast down. Their first domain became a place of restraint, literally "a silo," a pit, where they were chained. This suggests that, as a result of their rebellion, they no longer have the liberty that they once had, but are now held in restraint. A great deal of their free moral agency was taken from them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 1)


 

Amos 5:12

Amos says that the people went to Bethel bearing abundant rebellions on their consciences, but they returned with them still there. Outwardly, they sinned because inwardly was a heart of rebellion. There was not any real concern about the rebellion in them.

If they had really sought God, they would begin to do something about these sins, their rebellions. A person who is really seeking God is so concerned about having God's approval that he will pay any price, make any sacrifice necessary to stop sinning and thus have His approval. These people did not care. They went right on sinning.

He shows them returning from Bethel unconcerned with what people were in their character (whether they were just or upright), but they were concerned about what they had and what they were prepared to pay as a bribe. This is the gist of, "You afflict the just and you take bribes." The poor person who was telling the truth had no chance in court unless he was willing to pay a bribe to those who were judging him.

These people were not concerned with morals or ethics but how much money, influence, and status they and others had so that they could use one another to get ahead.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prayer and Seeking God


 

Matthew 21:28-32

Matthew 21:28-32 contains the story of two sons, one who said he would not do the work his father asked of him, yet did, and another who promised to work, but did not.

Jesus may have taken the theme of this parable from Isaiah 5:1-7, which some commentators call "The Song of the Vineyard." God pictures Israel and Judah as a vineyard. He does all He can for them, planting, protecting, and feeding them, but instead of the vineyard producing wonderful grapes, it produces wild grapes that are good for nothing. The reason: His people will not listen to Him. They promise to obey and give the appearance of belonging to Him, but they will not really work at it. Thus, they do not produce what God expected.

Who are the characters in the Parable of the Two Sons? The father is God. The first son, who flatly refuses to work in the vineyard, represents the weak, foolish, and base of this world (see I Corinthians 1:26-27). The second son, who promises to work yet never shows up, represents hypocrites, those who appear or profess one way but act another. The work the father asks them to do corresponds to living God's way of life.

The first son, who answers, "I will not," gives a carnal answer from a carnal mind. This is the mind all of us had before God called us out of the world. His answer displays no hypocrisy because he sincerely did not want to come under God's authority. He is guilty of bold rebellion.

The second son, who says, "I go," makes a promise that he never fulfills—and possibly never intends to fulfill. His word contradicts his performance. While his father is present, he conceals his determination to disobey; he is a liar. As Jesus says in Luke 6:46, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" This son's guilt combines deception with disobedience.

In the parable both sons hear and respond verbally to their father's command, one negatively, one positively. The one who promises to obey but never follows through is just as guilty as if he had refused from the first. Though his promise to work may make him look good on the surface, his father will never accept his act of disobedience.

At this point, we have no reason to prefer one above the other; both are guilty of sin. However, their ultimate actions prove them different. After his blunt refusal, the first son repents of his sin and goes to work for his father. He sets his heart to do what his father wants. Though he promptly promises, the second son fails to perform. The first changes from bad to good, but the second does not change at all—if he makes any change, he goes from bad to worse!

Toward the end of the parable, Jesus poses the question: "Which of the two did the will of his father?" The obvious answer is he who repented and went to work. Then Jesus tells the Pharisees that the tax collectors and harlots would go in to His Kingdom before them because these blatant sinners believed and repented, while the "religious" people did not.

The warning to us is not to be a son who promises to work, then neglects to keep his word. God has called us, and we have accepted that calling, promising we would work. Now we must perform what we have promised.

We are living in the Laodicean era of God's church, and the effect of this is that many are letting down. Many are not faithfully keeping God's commandments and are neglecting His Sabbath and holy days. Church attendance is sporadic. Tithing is erratic. Too many have lost their zeal for God and His way of life, and they are veering away from the path to the Kingdom.

For many, things are going well, as they are indeed "rich and increased with goods" by this world's standards. Somehow, we equate this as God's approval, but God may well be patiently letting out rope so that we will either hang on to what God has given us or hang ourselves.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Giving Your Word


 

Matthew 21:28

The character of each son is vastly different. One son is independent, disobedient, and insolent, but after thinking about his ways, returns to carry out his responsibility. The second is a big talker, full of promises but no action. In these two men, Christ describes, on the one hand, sinners of all types, who, when convicted by John the Baptist and Himself, turned away from their iniquities, repented, and obeyed God. On the other hand are the scribes, Pharisees, and other self-righteous people who feign a zeal for the law but will not receive the gospel.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Two Sons


 

Matthew 22:11-14

The guests do not enter the wedding hall immediately. Those gathered from the highways would be inappropriately clothed, so time is given them to clothe themselves in proper attire provided by the king (Isaiah 64:6; Zechariah 3:3-4). The parable suggests that, not only did the man not have on a wedding garment, but he did so intentionally. He decides against clothing himself properly, even though the appropriate clothing is available. His presence at the wedding is a sign of his rebellion against the king's authority and majesty, symbolized by the feast. When the man realizes his sin against the king's order, he is speechless as his judgment is pronounced.

The wedding garment, conspicuous and distinctive, represents a person's righteousness. It symbolizes the habit of sincerity, repentance, humility, and obedience. It replaces the street clothes that stand for the habits of pride, rebellion, and sinfulness. Biblically, beautiful clothing indicates spiritual character developed by submission to God (Revelation 3:4-5; 19:7-9). Paul exhorts Christians to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" like a garment (Romans 13:14). Clothing, then, represents a Christ-covered life, and as a result, character consistent with God's way of life.

Staff
Is Heaven the Reward of the Saved?


 

Matthew 22:12

In verse 12, the King condemns this "guest" for not being properly attired. The Greek for "without" here, me, signifies rebellion, refusal. It is as if the guest says, "I will not put a wedding garment on!" Remember to whom Christ speaks! The leaders of His day rejected Him—would not don His teaching or accept His person. Perhaps some being called today are also rebelling at the idea of making the effort to become righteous. Is there not a tendency today to take God's way lightly, lukewarmly, as we pursue our business and the cares and entertainment of this life?

Staff
Who Are the 'Guests at the Wedding'?


 

Matthew 25:32-33

Christ concludes His interpretation of the parable in verse 46, where He indicates that the sheep are given eternal life, but the goats are cast into the Lake of Fire. It is clear from this section of Scripture that we want the attributes of sheep and not those of goats!

What is it about goats that causes God to use them in such a negative light? Goats are capricious. They are impulsive and unpredictable, devious and contrary. If they are not poking their heads through fences, they may be standing on their hind legs, stretching for those tender leaves just out of reach. Goats are never content with what they have.

They are experts in opening gates and squeezing through small gaps because they hate to be confined. Fences that will handle sheep, cattle, and horses will not hold goats. They will work tirelessly to spring themselves from any situation they deem inhibiting.

Consequently, goats are not very good followers. "Gregarious behavior" is a term that refers to the flocking or herding instinct which is found strongly in sheep, cattle, and horses. Again, this quality is rather weak in goats; they prefer leading or going off on their own. Meat packers use this instinct in sheep and goats to their advantage. They will train an old goat, appropriately called a "Judas," to lead sheep to the pens for slaughter. A well-trained Judas will lead group after group of sheep to the slaughter all day long.

A sheep follows its Shepherd, peacefully moving forward with the flock. He is content to be led because he has faith in Him. A sheep responds to his Shepherd's voice and goes where He directs. On the other hand, a goat follows only its own lead, creating disunity when he comes in contact with others in the flock. Because of his independent nature, he often finds himself in contention with the Shepherd for leadership of the flock, leading some astray. A goat often eats things—a symbol of ingesting spiritual instruction—sheep would avoid because they have no real value and cause sickness.

Goats are not inherently evil, but some of their traits could be deadly—spiritually—if found in a Christian. A Christian who is unpredictable, who thinks he is above it all, who independently does his own thing, who wants to take over, has trouble functioning in a group, or does not want to be led, is exhibiting the characteristics of a goat—one Christ says will be cast into the Lake of Fire!

Mike Ford
Goats on the Left


 

Luke 5:39

Our responsibility is to step out in faith, trusting Him, yielding to His truths taught to us. We do this by putting it to work in our lives, but it is not always easily done. What we are, what we have become since birth, is deeply entrenched in our character, and our nature does not cede control easily. Notice the example of Israel: "And the LORD said to Moses, 'I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!'" (Exodus 32:9). "Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people" (Exodus 33:3). "But they did not obey nor incline their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction" (Jeremiah 17:23).

This theme runs throughout the Bible. When Hebrews 4:1-2 says that the Israelites failed in the wilderness because "the word which they heard . . . [was not] mixed with faith," Paul is referring to this principle. They simply would not yield their mind to admit that He was right. They seized upon their own opinions, observing them rather than what God commanded. Each individual Israelite may not have actually gone through the process of rejecting each command, but simply keeping their habitual attitudes and conduct produced the same end. Their actions and attitudes, then, like the basketball players who never "buy" the coach's system, spoke for them, revealing what they, in their heart of hearts, really believed.

In Luke 5:39, Jesus uses an illustration to help us understand this rejection syndrome. He teaches that man has a natural resistance to the things of God. A wider and equally true application is that we humans almost immediately resist anything different from what we believe at the time. This is both good and bad. The important thing is whether we honestly consider and appraise behaviors and ideas before rejecting them.

Are our minds honest enough that, when hearing God's Word truthfully expounded, we will consciously and promptly take action to change when wrong? The Israelites appear to have had an automatic negative reaction to God's Word. They definitely did not have a childlike, submissive attitude! The Bible records that their conduct never changed, nor did their attitudes. In the game of life, they kept right on doing things as they always had, so they died in the wilderness. They left Egypt, but Egypt never left them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Five)


 

Luke 21:36

The "praying always" that Jesus commands in Luke 21:36 affects every part of our Christian lives. It is the tool that God gives us to be in constant contact with Him so that we can truly bring every thought into captivity, under the control of God (II Corinthians 10:5). We are encouraged to make bold use of this tool for our every need (Hebrews 4:16). We need to explore some of the important implications that striving to pray always—praying at all times—has on this life to which God has called us.

In Luke 21:36, Christ also commands us to "watch." The underlying Greek word stresses the need to be alert or on guard. This fits with a major requirement of Christian life, that we examine ourselves. We are to be alert to those things about ourselves that will disqualify us from entering God's Kingdom so that we can change them.

Self-examination is such an important spiritual activity that God includes it as a major part of one of His seven festivals, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. II Corinthians 13:5 exhorts, "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified." Our ongoing efforts to submit to God's laws and standards are evidence that Christ and His faith are in us (James 2:18).

God always gives us choices (Deuteronomy 30:19). Consider the example of Jonah. He could have done exactly what God asked of him, but instead, he rebelled, having to suffer an intense trial to bring him to obedience to God's will. Notice, however, that God's purpose never changed. The only variable was how much pain and suffering Jonah chose to experience before he submitted to God's purpose. Initially, he chose rebellion and trials over submission to God.

Pat Higgins
Praying Always (Part Five)


 

Romans 13:1-2

Of course, God's spiritual law is of prime importance and takes precedence over all other law. As Peter said, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29) when a conflict between the two occurs. Though breaking man's laws may not always be sin, a rebellious attitude against what God appoints over us will in time lead to transgressing God's law. One who will not submit to law in one area will not submit to it in others.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Sin Is Spiritual!


 

Romans 13:1-7

Once we understand God's sovereignty over the nations, it is not difficult to understand where Paul bases his instructions in these verses. Thus we can understand why Moses so quickly and surely considers the actions of Korah and his group as rebellion against God rather than merely against himself (Numbers 16). When Israel rejects Samuel as judge over them because they want a king, God reveals to the prophet that the people are really rejecting the rule of God Himself (I Samuel 8:7). It does not matter whether a Christian considers his nation's government to be unlawful. What matters is whether God permits it. If He permits it, this One, who is aware of even sparrows falling, has allowed it or has directly brought it to pass because of the purpose He is working out. That is all that matters. God is ruling His creation, and this is what we are here to learn and trust.

Jesus lived His entire life under an unlawful civil government. The Roman government ruled over Judea as a result of military conquest. Moreover, at times even the ecclesiastical government was not in the proper hands because corrupt Roman officials discovered that just-as-corrupt Jews were willing to pay bribes to "buy" the high priesthood. But the Scriptures repeatedly show Jesus subject to them, though He called both, especially the ecclesiastical one, into account. Matthew 17:24-27 is a clear example:

When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?" He said, "Yes." And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?" Peter said to Him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you."

The Temple tax was one-half shekel per year for every Jew over 20. Since Jesus Christ was Lord and Owner of the Temple, He and His "children" should have been free of taxation. Jesus orders Peter to pay it anyway for both of them to avoid a bitter and offensive debate on the merits of His claim. By doing this, Jesus sets the right example looking by faith beyond a legal technicality to the True Ruler, the Father. God likely brought this episode to pass for our instruction.

Perhaps a brief statement of Solomonic wisdom will summarize Christian understanding of God's sovereignty over the governments of men: "There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the LORD. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the LORD" (Proverbs 21:30-31). His meaning becomes clearer in other translations. The Living Bible renders it, "No one, regardless of how shrewd or well-advised he is, can stand against the Lord. Go ahead and prepare for the conflict, but victory comes from God." The Revised English Bible translates it as, "Face to face with the Lord, wisdom, understanding, counsel avail nothing. A horse may be made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord."

It may seem a remote possibility, even strange, that we would fight against the Lord, yet because human nature remains in us, we do. The apostle Paul complains in Romans 7:14-23 that what he did not want to do he did anyway because a law of enmity against God worked within him. Proverbs 21:30-31 tells us that human wisdom, insight, and counsel must be in conformity with God's will to be successful. God's children must understand His sovereignty over everything and conduct their lives knowing that nothing avails against God and nothing without Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Five


 

Galatians 4:12

Paul's plea here is found in numerous other epistles as well, where he beseeches his readers to follow him: "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (I Corinthians 11:1; see also I Corinthians 4:16; Philippians 3:17). Paul is not trying to put himself above God or establish a position for himself; Philippians 3:17 gives the reason: "Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern." Paul is pointing to himself as an example, as someone more spiritually mature and experienced—someone who knows the ropes and understands the consequences of the weighty decisions the Galatians were facing.

The Galatians appear to have been spiritually immature. Had they been of the same mind and inclination, they would not have rejected authority (a sign of immaturity), and Paul would not have had to concentrate so much on establishing his credentials at the beginning of the letter. When children do not respect their parents' advice, they grow up missing the significance of much that they encounter and slow the development of wisdom. Similarly, if the Galatians were rejecting the authority that Christ gave to Paul, it is likely that they were not of a wise or mature mindset, which explains the foolishness they were exhibiting (Galatians 1:6; 3:1, 3; 4:9).

Paul has just finished a stern and lengthy rebuke of the Galatians, which they may not have responded to well if they were spiritually immature and rebellious. His tactic changes here, as he urges them to consider his own example and conduct as a guide. Rather than just telling them what to do, he also shows them.

If the Galatians followed Paul's example, they would have kept the Sabbath (Acts 13:13-14, 42, 44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4), observed the holy days (Acts 18:21; 20:6; I Corinthians 5:7-8; 16:8), obeyed God's law (Romans 2:13; 3:31; 6:15; 7:7, 12, 14, 16, 22, 25; 8:7; I Timothy 1:8), and at the same time abstained from the customs, rites, and traditions of Judaism (Acts 22:3; 26:4-6).

The phrase translated as "become as I am, for I am as you are" is misleading in its verb tense. A closer rendition would be "become as I am, for I became like you." Paul is exhorting the Galatians to follow his example, to take the same steps that he did in renouncing the traditions and stumbling blocks of Judaism. He encourages this "because I became like you"—that is, in the past he was so consumed by Judaism (Galatians 1:14) that he was exactly where the Galatians were now or would be shortly: rejecting the word and law of God in favor of the "traditions of the fathers," whose emphasis was on being able to save oneself through a personal level of righteousness.

David C. Grabbe


 

Galatians 5:23

Meekness (gentleness, NKJV) is the by-product of a number of elements, not the least of which are deep, thorough humility and an awareness of the seriousness of what our past conduct produced, especially toward Jesus Christ. These things have tamed the beast, broken our self-will, and made our minds receptive to the pure influences of God's Spirit. This is not natural but supernatural, the product of God's grace toward us and His Spirit working and growing in us. It very deeply, sometimes radically, alters our perspective of God, His purpose, the trials of life, the self, and other people.

This is very important regarding trials because meekness is the opposite of self-will toward God and of ill-will toward men. In his commentary on Matthew 5:5, Matthew Henry writes, "The meek are those who quietly submit themselves to God, to his word and to his rod, who follow His directions, and comply with His designs, and are gentle towards all men" (p. 1629).

Meekness is the fruit of God by His Spirit working in us. Godly sorrow softens our stiff-necked rebellion and our hearts so that we are made receptive to the workings of the Creator to produce His image in us. Therefore meekness, along with the qualities already mentioned, also includes our becoming pliable, malleable, submissive, and teachable. A New Testament term for this condition might be "childlike."

God disciplines every son He loves (Hebrews 12:6), and sometimes His disciplines are very difficult to bear. We have passionate drives within us to flee from them, or at the very least, to grumble and murmur under their burden. But the meek will not do this. They will endure the privation, embarrassment, pain, loss, ignorance, or persecution with quiet patience because they know that God is sovereign over all and He is working in their lives.

Aaron's response to God's execution of his two sons is an example:

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke, saying: 'By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.'" So Aaron held his peace. (Leviticus 10:1-3)

This was a shocking, bitter pill to swallow, but Aaron took it properly, meekly. He was growing. In Psalm 39:9, David refers to a difficult situation he was experiencing, leaving us this example: "I was mute, I did not open my mouth, because it was You who did it."

The supreme example of this is Jesus Christ, who endured horrific trials though He was the Son of God's love. John 18:11 says, "Then Jesus said to Peter, 'Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?'" Acts 8:32 contains more insight on Christ's meek reaction: "He was led [not dragged] as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so He opened not His mouth." He was the very King of meekness.

Meekness enables a person to bear patiently those insults and injuries he receives at the hand of others. It makes him ready to accept instruction from the least of the saints. It allows him to endure provocation without being inflamed by it. He remains cool when others become heated. Meek people seek no private revenge; they leave that to God's sense of justice while they seek to remain true in their calling and meet God's standards.

The spirit of meekness enables its possessor to squeeze great enjoyment from his earthly portion, be it small or great. Delivered from a greedy and grasping disposition, he is satisfied with what he has. Contentment of mind is one of the fruits of meekness. The haughty and covetous do not inherit the earth. As Psalm 37:16 says, "A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Meekness


 

Hebrews 3:12

"Departing from," although it is not incorrect, is really a rather weak translation, because in order to get the forcefulness behind what is in the context it should really read "rebelling against." When we rebel against, or depart from, it is not against or from some dead doctrine, but it is from a living and dynamic Being - the Father or the Son.

This entire exhortation is directly tied to us in verse 6: "But Christ as a Son over his own house; whose house we are." This aims this section directly at us and our responsibilities to Christ in this deceptively perilous time. We are the people of God, and it is our responsibility to glorify God by being tenaciously faithful in all circumstances.

It was Israel's unbelief that was the breeding ground for her capriciousness. Israel's insatiable curiosity and the desire for variety and control continuously led them astray. This in turn produced the mistrust and the unreliability in the relationship with God. We must not follow her in this. Our stakes are much higher: This is addressed to "Christ's house."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 7)


 

Hebrews 4:1-2

God willed that they possess the land of Canaan as He had promised the patriarchs. However, many of the people chose to die in the wilderness through disobedience. They did not have to die there. They chose to sin with the Golden Calf, to complain bitterly, to rebel with Korah, to commit fornication with the daughters of Moab, and so on. The Bible never indicates that God predestined they do these things and die before reaching the Promised Land.

On the contrary, Numbers 14 shows that He wanted them to be in the Promised Land by the end of the second year. But because of their lack of faith and the resulting fear of the Canaanites, they chose not to enter it, so God switched to "Plan B." They condemned themselves to wander 40 years. An entire generation - those over 20 who left Egypt, the fearful and rebellious, those too deeply impressed with the nature of Egypt - left their bodies strewn across the wilderness.

If God permits something, we should not automatically assume that He predestined it from the foundation of the world. The Bible does not support such a view. At best, it only indicates He decides to use such a circumstance for His purpose, perhaps to see what we will do with it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Seven


 

1 Peter 2:13

Peter agrees perfectly with Paul (Ephesians 5:21). He agrees with Romans 13:1, where Paul says that all authority comes from God. We submit, not because we are weak, but out of respect for God because He governs everything. He either causes or permits things to take place.

The word "ordinance" is not translated well, as it does not mean "law." It is more closely related to the English word "institution"—"every institution of man." What is more interesting is that this word is rarely used in a context in relation to men. It is always used in relation to God! Peter means, then, that we must submit to every institution of man because it was instituted by God!

Notice this in context. Peter is referring to agencies of the Roman government—the Roman equivalents of the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Defense, etc. He is talking about the Roman equivalents of the Secret Police, the DEA, the NEA, or any other part of the Roman government that may have had some police or administrative power over the lives of Christians. Peter is saying that God permitted these institutions to be organized. We should not look upon them as if God condones them, but recognize that these governmental authorities exist for His ultimate purpose. They, therefore, have His authority behind them.

Americans love to rebel. They love to feel as though they are free and are just as good as anybody else. But it is not a matter of being "just as good as anybody else." In the eyes of God, His people are far better than anybody else! Yet, even those who are far better than anybody else in the eyes of God are still required by Him to submit to the authorities that He has permitted to be in place—whether in the civil government, church government, or family government!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Submitting (Part 2)


 

1 Peter 2:18

We may feel our boss takes advantage of us. He may not pay us what we are worth. He may make us work longer hours than we feel that we should. He may put the pressure on regarding the Sabbath, the holy days, or the Feast of Tabernacles. He may give us work that is beneath our dignity or for which we are overqualified, and we may not feel challenged. There all kinds of ways we can feel pressure from employers.

In these kinds of situations, Peter is not saying we should not compromise at all. He is saying for the Lord's sake, that is, out of regard for Him, we are to control ourselves so we do not rebel. To allow our emotions to have free reign to the point of rebellion is the same as calling God into account—that is, we are (at least indirectly) telling Him that He does not know how to run His creation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 4)


 

Jude 1:6-9

Jude is attacking false prophets, and thus men and demons are interwoven in the context. He indicts these false prophets for three sins:

1. Lust: They defile the flesh, allowing a feeling to take them over the edge into sin.

2. Rebellion: They flout authority in general, but primarily that of Christ. It is hidden in the Greek, but the word authority is really "lordship." It normally refers to Christ and His lordship over us.

3. Disrespect or disregard of spirit beings.

This third sin is interesting because he is saying that it is not that these false prophets will not talk about Satan, but their speech is gratuitous, despising, or denigrating of angelic powers. Their preaching suggests that these demons are not something Christians need to be concerned about. They side-step the issue.

Why would they do that? Because a false spirit is leading them, so they downgrade the existence and powers of demons through their preaching. This is clearly seen in Protestant Christianity, especially the mainline denominations that have gone to the point that they almost universally agree that Satan the Devil and his demons do not really exist. It shows how successful the demons have been in their deceptions.

On the other hand, there are evangelical or Pentecostal groups who talk about demons and Satan in a flippant, dismissive way: "Oh, we're going to put down the Devil tonight!" They say such things in their tent shows as part of their evangelistic campaigns. But what they are doing? They are putting Satan into a position where they seem to have power over him. They are so deceived.

The truth in regard to Satan is somewhere in between. The true church of God will have that truth, and they will understand that, yes, Satan is, he is powerful, but because of God, they do have power over him in that they can reject him and his deceptions. We are not puppets on a string, and he cannot influence us unless we give him the opportunity. If we are spiritually aware and can see him at work, we do not have to submit to him.

Jude is giving us signs to look for in the preaching of false ministers. They will denigrate Satan and his demons, there will be indications of lusts, and they will flout the authority of Jesus Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 4)


 

Jude 1:6

Jude puts this in an interesting way. They were not "the bad angels," or even "the angels who sinned." He calls them "the angels who were not content with where God had placed them."

We know from Revelation 12:4 that one-third of the angels were under Lucifer's, or Hillel's, hand, and he convinced them to leave their proper domain—the place where they had dominion, the place of their responsibility and authority—so that they could get more for themselves. In doing this, they sinned. Their discontent caused them to attempt to take by force what had not been given, but which they thought they deserved. This is the same thing that happened in Korah's rebellion (Numbers 16:1-35).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Countering Presumptuousness


 

Jude 1:11

The apostle provides the examples of Cain, Balaam, and Korah as illustrative of apostates. All of them were rebellious and anti-God at the core but in different ways.

Cain's sin manifested itself in a sullen, selfish hatred that ended up in murder. Balaam's sin was manifested in the form of covetousness and greed, which he used to induce others to sin. (Recall that Jesus says in Matthew 5:19 that whoever teaches against God's law will be least in the Kingdom. These men may not even be there at all. Balaam certainly taught others to sin.)

Korah's sin manifested itself in speaking against the God-appointed authority and attracting a following to wrest away an office that was not his. He is forever an example of that, reaching above his station, as it were. We do not hear much about rising above one's station in these democratic days, but the church is not a democratic society. The church is God's Family, and He places people in His body as it pleases Him (I Corinthians 12:18). Korah had been placed in Israel in a certain spot, and he tried to go above his station, persuading others to do the same and support him in his coup—and he ended up as a black spot in the wilderness of Sinai along with many of his supporters.

Jude, then, is not only showing sin, but also God's judgment and severe punishments for sin.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jude


 

Revelation 4:8-11

The One who receives continuous praise and submission from these awesome angelic beings is our Savior and Creator. Without directly saying it, this passage touches on a major issue in this great purpose He is working out: that, unlike Satan and His demons, will we be loyal, faithful, to our Creator God, as He works out and governs His purpose for each of us personally? Or in our impatience will we resist and rebel?

Verse 11 contains the key statement that is vital to our living by faith: He created all things in the first place and all—including us—is created for His purpose to be fulfilled. The King James Version translates this phrase, "For You have created all things, and for Your pleasure they are and were created."

Satan could not accept this. Consider deeply what has resulted! So we need to take this sobering thought down to our level and to our time and examine it in more detail against the issues of our own lives.

Can we live by faith that He is, that He knows what He is doing with our lives, and that by His merciful act He has included us as part of His good pleasure? Can we accept that He knows exactly where His creative efforts are headed and what it will take to form and shape us into what He pleases? At the same time, we know His goal for us only vaguely, yet we must fully accept whatever He brings to bear on us for His purposes.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part One)


 

Find more Bible verses about Rebellion:
Rebellion {Nave's}
 




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