Jason Garwood

all of Scripture for all of life

Satan: The Unruly Helminth

Many Christians translate their New Testament’s this way: “Greater is he that is in the world than He that is in you” ().

Here’s what the text actually says:

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

The Bible makes several things clear about Satan and his demise. He has been disarmed, defeated, and triumphed over (; f; ). He is “fallen” (), and was “thrown” down out of heaven (). For the early Christians, he was crushed under their feet (). He has no authority over Christians (). Jesus tied him up, binding him so that the nations could no longer be deceived (; ; ; ). Satan has been “judged” () and cast out (). He can’t touch a Christian (). All his works have been destroyed (). Satan has nothing (). He flees when resisted (). He is alive on planet Earth, but he is a defeated enemy moping around in his own bitterness.

Gary North writes:

Why is it that Satan’s earthly followers, who violate God’s principles for successful living, supposedly will remain in control of the world until the Rapture? Are we supposed to believe that Satan’s principles produce personal failure but cultural success, while biblical principles produce personal success but cultural failure? Does this make sense to you? It doesn’t to me.*

It doesn’t to me either, Dr. North. The world belongs to King Jesus; Satan has been dethroned, dispossessed, and defanged. So why, dear Christian, do we act like we won’t win? Surely the empty tomb is more powerful than the works of a fallen angel!

_____

*Quoted in The Reduction of Christianity by Gary DeMar and Peter Leithart. (pg. 129) [Emphasis mine]
**Helminth: a parasitic worm.

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (ESV)

15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (ESV)

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, (ESV)

27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. (ESV)

18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (ESV)

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (ESV)

20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (ESV)

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, (ESV)

29 Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. (ESV)

27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. (ESV)

20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (ESV)

20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (ESV)

11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (ESV)

31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. (ESV)

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. (ESV)

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (ESV)

30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, (ESV)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (ESV)

Is the World a Sinking Ship?

Perhaps you’ve heard this phrase before: “We don’t polish brass on a sinking ship.” Usually it’s the pessimillennialists who say this, though I suppose even a humanist could agree with it. The meaning behind it is meant to convey the idea that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, and that it does no good to try and brighten things up. In other words, Satan owns the place, it is believed, and why would we try and changes things in the culture? After all, they say, we’re here to just preach the gospel. We don’t get caught up in anything but Rapture fever. (Did you like that pun?)

At any rate, I’ve heard this countless times, and it’s starting to bother me. We have an entire generation of young men and women who have grown weary of this nonsensical, unbiblical worldview. What have they been taught? This. Now, I respect Dr. MacAarthur a ton–I’ve learned a lot from him. But to say the you “couldn’t care less about the culture war,” is to continue to perpetuate the idea that we only exist here for spiritual things and that these “material” matters are pointless. By the way, this is Platonic dualism. And pietism.

The reason we’re in the moral mess we’re in—the culture of death, rampant injustice, and sexual promiscuity—is because the church has said, “We’re not here for very long as it is, and we don’t care about redeeming culture. We’re focused on just preaching the gospel.” Now, to be clear, we have to get the order right. “Culture” comes form the Latin, cultus, which connects to the idea of worship. Culture is merely the religious rites of a group of people–their way of life, language, accepted norms, and so on. Culture is religion externalized. We’re not trying to first and foremost change these systems. We want the Spirit of God to change the hearts of people which in turn changes these systems. We’re also not opposed to systemic change knowing that God uses His Law to point out sin and point people to the gospel. If we end abortion now, systems change. We want that. We want those things because the meek shall inherit the earth! (Notice that the inheritance is the earth, not some obscure disembodied existence).

When regeneration goes before the church through gospel preaching, lives are saved and cultures are changed. The porn culture is changed when women are rescued from its slavery. Local economies are changed when people’s hearts are changed towards charitable giving. Listen, if your gospel doesn’t address all things that sit under the feet of King Jesus, then your gospel is impotent for the here and now. The world is not a sinking ship, Jesus is the process of restoring it, and make no mistake, he will do it. Keep in mind that the increase of Christ’s government knows no end ().

Let me summarize three reasons why we are in the shape we are in (there are more):

  1. The Church has truncated the gospel message. If the gospel for you only applies to your heart and spiritual matters so that you can go ahead and get off planet earth someday, you have an incomplete gospel. Part of the gospel announcement is the arrival of God’s Kingdom in time, on earth, and in history; another part of the gospel is the actual rescue of both sinners and creation ( comes to mind). The gospel of the pietistic Christian is merely a private, spiritual affair; the gospel for the biblical Christian touches all of life–taxation, politics, private property, education, sound money, etc.
  2. The Church has given up on the world around her. Because of #1, #2 is the result. When we don’t see how the word of God can apply to all of life, we end up forsaking our duties here in search of the “higher life.” So the church retreats from battle with her tail between her legs, unsure if all that Kingdom talk is truth or fantasy or conjecture. There was a time when the pulpits across this nation prophetically proclaimed a robust gospel for all of life, including the social/political realm. Instead of giving up on the world, we must confront the world. The world belongs to those who bow before Jesus–and we will not go away.
  3. The Church has forgotten that it is hell who has gates. Consider this reality: Hell is the one in scripture who is on the defense. When Adam sold his birthright and inheritance to Satan for autonomous living fueled by selfish motives, he was dispossessed from inheriting the earth. Adam covenanted with Satan, believing that Satan had authority and God did not. When Jesus the Second Adam came to get the nations–and get the nations He did!–the world was bought back from its bondage to Satan, sin, and death. In other words, as King, Jesus has legislative authority in heaven and on earth. Christ’s Kingdom advances in time and space, in history (see and ), and this advancement is offensive. The church militant will advance because the battle has been won. Christ was given dominion and a kingdom that would not end when He ascended to the throne in fulfillment of after his death and resurrection. Satan was dethroned and is on the run (; ).

The world is not a sinking ship. Sure, it was cursed by God because of sin, but God is in the process of restoring all things under the feet of King Jesus. The gospel is truly that big; the world isn’t sinking: Evil is sinking.

Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (ESV)

8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)

2:1 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.” They answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation.” The king answered and said, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm— if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.” 10 The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. 11 The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

12 Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. 13 So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. 14 Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. 15 He declared to Arioch, the king’s captain, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel. 16 And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king.

17 Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

24 Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.”

25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who will make known to the king the interpretation.” 26 The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” 27 Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: 29 To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. 30 But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.

31 “You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. 32 The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

36 “This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. 37 You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, 38 and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold. 39 Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. 41 And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, 45 just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him. 47 The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” 48 Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court. (ESV)

13:1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“‘You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.

15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

34 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables;
I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51 “Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

53 And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, 54 and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. (ESV)

13 “I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed. (ESV)

31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. (ESV)

15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (ESV)

Grasping for Straws at College

Target came out of the closet (again) yesterday, stating that their changing rooms and bathrooms are fair game for anyone. Since they hold on tightly to their deeply held doctrines of “equality” and “equity,” it only makes sense that they turn the lustful human heart loose. The business group strongly believes in “inclusivity,” though it sounds like that only goes so far–they don’t believe that someone can self-identify as an employee of Target and receive the corporate discount on purchases (intolerance much?). Seriously: watch the video in the previous link. It’s fantastic.

In light of all the confusion of Target’s rolling out the red carpet to pedophiles and rapists, I figured that we could visit the epicenter of knowledge in our culture and gain some clarity on this controversial issue of self-identification. If anyone has something intelligent to say, surely we could go to our colleges and universities to get answers, right?

Wrong.

Take a look at the above video. WARNING: you may try to face palm yourself to death. Try not to. Also, you may need an antacid afterwards.

Oh, and I leave you with one more thing: when you reject the Law of God, you’re grasping for humanist straws. These are some of the dumbest answers and responses I’ve ever seen. If we’re going to do battle as the church militant, you better brush up on satirical mockery. Seems like Elijah the prophet had that down pat (). Oh, and let us not forget to pray that God would use us to take this stupidity and do something productive with it for the Kingdom. Unless you self-identify as something else and don’t care; that I can’t help you with.

20 So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23 Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. 24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26 And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. 27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” 32 and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34 And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. 35 And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water.

36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” 40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there. (ESV)

New Podcast! Check it out…

I want to point you all to a great new podcast over at Reconstructionist Radio. Each week you’ll get a fresh new episode from each particular channel, and each channel has its own flair–it’s “a network of Kingdom-building podcasts.”

I’m really excited to be able to contribute to the “Setting the Record Straight” show, as this one is done by pastors. In fact, my first episode is up today. The show’s vision:

Golden calves and sacred cows always emerge on the landscape when the Law of God is rejected. For there to be revival and a land under the judgment of God to be spared, we must remove the idolatry of the status quo within our midst.

On this show, various guest pastors help us dissect and understand many of the theological issues within American Evangelicalism today; both in the pulpit and the pew.

You can subscribe to each show individually, or subscribe to the Master Feed and get all the content in one convenient place. Either way, I believe you’ll be blessed as we seek to apply all of Scripture to all of life.

Check out the Facebook and Twitter pages, too. Enjoy!

The Intoleristas Have Come to Michigan

I was recently made aware that the Department of Education in the state of Michigan is currently soliciting opinions from the people of our beautiful state. As it turns out, “Every voice counts” when it comes to this particular issue. Of course, we all know what that really means: We will listen to you as long as you agree with us. That’s what the intoleristas are good at; tolerance only goes so far for those intolerant tolerance-proclaimers. In a war of “good news” messages, the “good news” for those a part of the sexual revolution is that sexuality and gender identity is entirely subjective, and man-made (or “woman-made,” if you prefer). This gospel message promises to you that the problem is the old way of doing things (e.g., when you’re born, if you have a penis, you’re a male!), and the redemption story is that you have the moral ability responsibility to defy the old way and embrace the new way. This (false) gospel is getting lot’s of airtime on television, and the beastly State herself has jumped on board, all in the name of “tolerance,” “love,” and “freedom.”

At any rate, here’s what the Michigan DOE is saying:

The State Board of Education (SBE) is committed to promoting a safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environment for all students and ensuring that every student has equal access to educational programs and activities. Due to a variety of factors, the school experience can be significantly more difficult for students with marginalized identities. Despite widespread efforts, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students continue to face challenges that threaten their health, safety, and learning opportunities in schools.

Now, I have to be up front lest I be charged with being an oppressive meanie-head. The Christian position is never one of frivolous mockery. There is, however, a place for Christian satire and godly mockery. Just ask Elijah and the prophets of Baal (). But the goal should never be to perpetuate the sky-rocketing suicide rates of those struggling with these issues (and they are out there). It does no good for the Christian to withhold the true gospel message while tossing insults at those who are stuck in sin (“such were some of you”). In fact, I would argue that to speak to this issue apart from the gospel would be wrong. The reason we can speak to this issue is because of the gospel. We have light and heat, an iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove. The message offends, but it should only be the message that offends.

To be clear: the state has no business in education, but I’m not going to go there right now. The church and family institutions are given this role in scripture. The state is not an institution of healing, but instead an institution of justice (). Nonetheless, these are the cards we’re dealt. So what should happen from here?

Here’s the deal. At some point redemption just can’t happen. Abraham tried, but Sodom was doomed from the start. You can’t always redeem something so massive as the state-sponsored-larceny system of public schools. I appreciate the many Christians who are laboring there, trying to be salt and light; it’s a mission field, that’s for sure. I have friends who are on the front lines trying their best to reach kids with the gospel. But at some point, the Christian teacher is going to be forced to teach that gender identity is subjective, decided by you, only by you, and without parental consent! What Michigan is trying to do is create a culture, because they know they can’t just drop this down on everyone. It starts with allowing boys who identify as girls go into the girls locker room to shower because that’s their god-given right. (“God,” in the case, being demos and the state.) But it won’t stop there. The goal is confusion, and the smoke and mirrors game starts by removing both parental authority, and Godly authority.

When you read what the DOE put forth, you’ll notice that the language contains things like “bullying,” “at risk,” “programs,” and “training.” I don’t like bullies, there are kids at risk, and programs and training aren’t always bad. But they want kids to determine their own gender, name, bathroom usage, and even the very pronouns we use to identify each other on a daily basis. If she identifies as a he but doesn’t like the pronoun “he” because she’s (it’s?) a feminist–what on earth are we to do?

Satan loves confusion. Evil loves immorality. But Jesus Christ died for sin. He became as sin on the cross so that we might become the righteousness of God (). We have a message of world conquest and so does the LBGTQYUNINERPX crowd (did I catch a “niner” in there?) It just so happens, however, that their message cannot last–the wages of sin is death. But we have a King who went through death and out the other side. And this gracious King has issued the terms and conditions of surrender. Instead of indulging one’s self in the confusion, in the immorality, know that your sins can be forgiven. The message we have is urgent: repent and turn to Christ and be saved–be reconciled to this King before it’s too late.

Make your voice heard, church. He has spoken, and therefore we must speak.

 

20 So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23 Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. 24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26 And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. 27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” 32 and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34 And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. 35 And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water.

36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” 40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there. (ESV)

13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (ESV)

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (ESV)

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