Monthly Archives: November 2014

Clothing In Heaven

King Jesus 2

And white robes were given unto every one of them; (Revelation 6:11)

Recently we were reading our daily devotional Days of Praise. The devotional for that day was entitled “Clothing.” In that article, the author, John D. Morris, Ph.D., points out the fact that Adam and Eve were naked when they were created, and only after they sinned did their nakedness become apparent to them. The last book of the Bible informs us that we will be clothed with white robes in heaven – that is, those of us who go to heaven. So the question came up, why are we not naked in heaven the way God created us in the beginning? The Bible tells us that we will be clothed “in fine linen, clean and white,” but it makes no comment about why we are clothed rather than naked. That made me think.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God had to clothe them in skins to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3:21). Someone suggested that before they sinned, Adam and Eve were “clothed” in light. The Hebrew word for light is ‘ôr (אור). This reminds me of the time when Moses was in the presence of God for forty days, and his face shone with a light so that the people were afraid of him. He had to veil his face (Exodus 34:29-35) so that the people would not fear him. Then there was the time at the Mount of Transfiguration when Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, and all of them glowed (Matthew 17:1-2). Adam and Eve may have had a similar glow about them. Then when they sinned, they lost that glow so that their nakedness became apparent to them (Genesis 3:7). God then covered them with skins. The Hebrew word for skin is ‛ôr (עור). There may be a play on words here. Note that both Hebrew words are pronounced “or,” but they have different spellings in Hebrew. Before they sinned, they were clothed in אור (light), but after they sinned, God clothed them in עור (skin).

That may be a part of it, but what is of greater importance is that the skins were a covering for their nakedness which represented their sin. The idea of covering conveys the meaning of “atonement.” Throughout Scripture the shedding of innocent blood has always been the requirement for making atonement or the covering of sin.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. (Leviticus 17:11, emphasis mine)

The robes given to the saints in heaven are made “white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). Once again, the innocent blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29), was shed, once for all, to cover our sin.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:13-14, emphasis mine)

Perhaps this is why we wear robes in heaven. The robes will remind us for eternity that Jesus shed His blood to cover (atone for) our sin. Our clothing in heaven is His righteousness, not our own. “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I [Jesus] will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5, emphasis mine). “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked” (2 Corinthians 5:2-3).

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Capitol Hill Cold Open – Saturday Night Live – YouTube

Capitol Hill Cold Open – Saturday Night Live – YouTube.

This is meant to be funny, but it’s not!



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It’s All Good!


And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  (Romans 8:28)

 There are many passages of Scripture that I count as favorites like Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and with it John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Both are foundational verses that identify who God is. Wrapped up in those words is the reason why we, as creatures, owe our allegiance to God as our Creator. Without Him, nothing that we enjoy, including life itself, would exist. Another favorite is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In light of His creative power that brought the universe into existence simply with His spoken word, it is incomprehensible to imagine that the all-powerful Creator could love His creation so much that He would condescend to the point of death on a cross to keep us from “perishing”! Then, as we trust Him, He promises to strengthen and to sustain us. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:21). And Jesus invites, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Then there are the promises of eternal life like, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).

But perhaps my all-time favorite verse is the one above, Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” This verse is often misunderstood because it is quoted out of context. The verse does not imply that everything will work out to our liking or that because we trust in God that nothing will ever go wrong in our lives – no loss of income, no loss of health, no broken relationships, etc. Quite to the contrary, the Bible teaches that we will face trouble and trials. In fact, Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Paul confirms this fact at the end of this chapter: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter” (Romans 8:35-36). The list of trials and persecution given here are as certain as Christ’s love for His children. So, Romans 8:28 is not my favorite because it paints a rosy picture. Indeed, it goes beyond a bed of roses.

What does Romans 8:28 really say? First of all it says that we “see” or “perceive” – the Greek word eidō translated “know.” In other words, this is something that we can observe; it is not a matter of “blind faith.” This is a fact that we can experience. “All things” – the Greek word panta is all-inclusive. All things “work together” – the Greek word sunergeō means to “cooperate” – for “good” – Greek agathon meaning “benefit.” So all things – good or bad – cooperate to the benefit – and here is the qualifier – “to them that love God.” In the Greek syntax priority is given to the qualifier. A strict rendering of the Greek to English would read “And we perceive that to them that love God, all things cooperate to their benefit.” So this verse is not universally applicable to all people – only those that love God. “Love” is the Greek word agapaō which is an unconditional love, the kind of love that God expressed to the world in sending His Son Jesus to die for our sins (John 3:16). To further focus the qualification, all things cooperate together for the benefit of “those who are the called according to His purpose.”

What is “His purpose”? That is explained in the verse that follows: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29, emphasis mine). God determined, before time began that man would be made in His image (Genesis 1:26). That image was marred by sin, but God’s purpose has never changed. He has determined that His “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) will be “conformed to the image of his Son.” It should be of no surprise that Paul later exhorts, “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2, emphasis mine).

So what have we learned? Those that are called by God “according to His purpose,” and who love God unconditionally, will experience (will see/know) the blessings of God even in the face of abject adversity. These are they that can say, even in the worst of circumstances, “It’s all good!”

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Who’s In Charge?

Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.  (Psalm 72:11)

The 2014 elections are history now. The Republicans are celebrating the conquest of the Upper House and the ousting of the evil Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada. They are exuberant after gaining control over both houses of Congress. Now we can really get things done! Me? I am not so sure. I participated in “early voting,” and I do not mind admitting that I voted a straight Republican ticket. Not that I believe Republicans are the salve for all our ills, but I simply cannot bring myself to vote for a Democrat under any circumstances. As I drew near the entrance of the polling place, I was approached by a young woman holding a sign who petitioned me to vote for her. I asked, “R or D?” She answered, “D,” to which I responded, “That’s too bad.” I embarrassed my wife, who thought I had been rude, but I only spoke truth, and I wasn’t ugly or hateful about it, just matter of fact. “D” to me has become repugnant and synonymous with Demented, Deranged, Deluded, Dubious, Destructive, Deleterious, etc. I do not mean to offend my Democrat friends, but, if you are a “D,” you really should repent. (I say that with all due love and respect.)

Having said that, I do not place a lot of hope in the Republicans either. I like them only slightly better because, for the most part, they still support the First and Second Amendments and the Bill of Rights in general. They are largely pro-life, and they favor traditional (male/female) marriage and family values. But beyond that, the distinction between R and D begin to blur. In many ways they are indistinguishable from one another. Yes, I know that we have several solid conservatives in the Republican Party, and I am encouraged by them; but they are not in the majority, and are often disdained by the Establishment Republicans. Still, they give voice to conservative values, and that gives me a dull glimmer of hope. It will be interesting to see how this new Republican Congress will act and how President Obama will react. Time will tell.

The Bible teaches that it is God who establishes and dismantles governments. Paul tells us that “there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1). “And [God] changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Daniel 2:21, emphasis added).  To the Babylonian king, Daniel said, “Thou, O king [Nebuchadnezzar], art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory” (Daniel 2:37, emphasis added). “The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret” (Daniel 2:47, emphasis added). “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Proverbs  21:1, emphasis added).

 We like to think we are in control, but the Bible is clear as to who is really in charge. “The LORD is King for ever and ever” (Psalm 10:16). However, that does not diminish our responsibility.  “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:1-2, emphasis added). While God is ultimately in control, He has given the stewardship of our nation to “We the People.” In all of history, there has never existed a nation like the United States of America, whose government has been placed in the hands of its citizens. Therefore, while we still are able, we should continue to pray for our leaders and exercise our constitutional rights as citizens to elect leaders who hold and exercise godly principles. (By the way, one does not necessarily have to be a Christian to hold godly principles, but it certainly helps.) At the same time we should maintain our national motto – In God We Trust. Leaders will disappoint us. Our nation will ultimately fail, but God remains faithful forever. We can trust that God is in charge.


Filed under Christianity, Current Events, Politics, Theology

Why Satan?

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.  (Luke 10:18)

Since God is omniscient and knows all things including the future, why would He create Satan knowing full well that he would rebel against Him and bring about the Fall of man? That question does not have a simple answer. I covered much of this in my article “How Thou Hast Fallen,” but perhaps this will answer some questions I did not address there.

To begin with, we cannot fully understand the ways of God or His thoughts. God says:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isaiah 46:9-10)

One of the first things we need to understand about God is that He is omniscient; that is, His knowledge is absolute. God does not “learn;” He innately knows all that there is to know. That’s why evolution is such a stupid idea. First of all it attempts to explain all that there is as having come about by natural causes without God. Even many Christians try to compromise by suggesting that God used evolution to create. Why would God have to use evolution to create, as if He is some kind of mad scientist experimenting in order to get everything to work just right? No, God did not have to “think” about His creation; He knew exactly how to make all things perfectly without needing a blueprint. Not only that, but as expressed in Isaiah 46:10 above, He knows “the end from the beginning” and everything will be accomplished according to His pleasure. Everything God does is for His pleasure and for His glory.

I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. (Isaiah 42:8)

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. (Isaiah 43:7)

In context, in Isaiah 43:7, God is referring to His bringing back all the Israelites that have been scattered all over the earth to the land of Israel; but notice why He is doing it. It is because He has created them all for His “glory.” In a larger sense, that is true for all of God’s creation; it is all to bring Him glory.

Now, if you have a good handle on that, we can talk about why God created Satan. When God created angels and humans, He gave them a free will so that they are able to choose for themselves whether they want to obey or disobey God. Humans, unlike the angels, were created in the “image of God,” and God gave humans dominion over all of His creation (Genesis 1:26). He did not give angels that kind of authority. In fact, of the angels, the Bible says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14). So God created humans superior to the angels even though, for now, angels have supernatural powers which humans do not possess.

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (Psalm 8:4-5)

Back to Satan: God did not create Satan as “the evil one” in the beginning. How do we know this? We know this because at the end of creation, God declared everything – all of His creation including all the angels and Satan – as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). We cannot have a “very good” creation, if evil exists. So, at this point, Satan – his name is actually Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12) – had not yet sinned. By sin I mean that he had not yet rebelled against God. Sin is rebellion against God, and it manifests in many different forms, but the root is rebellion against God’s authority. When Satan tempted Eve in the Garden, he told her “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). We still deal with that same temptation. We want to be gods. We want to decide for ourselves what is good and what is evil, rather than let God be God.

I believe that this is the point where Satan sinned. It started with his pride:

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:12-14)

You can see that he had an “I” problem. All of this he “said in his heart,” but it was not sin until he actually acted upon it:

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:14-15)

The Greek word translated as “lust” is epithumia and it means “a longing” or “desire” especially for something that is forbidden. “Conceived” is the Greek word sullambanō which means “to grasp” or “to seize.” So, it begins in the mind with a strong desire for something that is forbidden and once that desire is seized upon or acted upon, then there is sin, and then sin brings death. Death, in this case is speaking of “spiritual” death, i.e., separation from God. It happens this way for humans just as it happens for angels.

You can see the same pattern in Satan (Lucifer). He started with the desire in his mind to ascend above God. The way he planned to do it was to take God’s most prized creation, man, and cause them to disobey God. Knowing that God would “disown” them, he could then become their god. In many ways, he has accomplished that. When you think of all those pagan gods that people worship, Muslims worship Allah who is none other than Satan himself, and if they don’t worship idols, they worship themselves. Think about the attitude that people are encouraged to have today – “It’s all about ME!”

So, what have we learned? Satan was good in the beginning. Shortly after the creation was complete, he rebelled and was sentenced to “death,” but the sentence has not been carried out yet. Satan still has access to the throne of God (Read Job 1-2). So, since God knows the end from the beginning, why did He allow this? As stated earlier, humans and angels have a free will to obey or disobey God. If God removed that option from us, if He removed our will to love Him or reject Him, there would be no love in that. The Bible says that “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). For love to be love, it cannot be coerced for forced. It must be given willingly of our own volition and choice. Without giving us that option, God could not enjoy the love returned from His creation. He had to allow for, not create, evil.

Knowing “the end from the beginning,” God provided the “tree of Life” – the Lamb of God, “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8) “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The option remains, choose the Advocate (Jesus Christ), or choose the Accuser (Satan). Why Satan? Without Satan, there would be no choice. Without a choice, there would be no love. Without love, God could not be glorified


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