Angels of the Realm: Lesson 11 coming Monday.
Have a great weekend,
Angels of the Realm: Lesson 11 coming Monday.
Have a great weekend,
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been studying about Satan and his various aspects. I believe all of these traits can be summed up in one way: Satan counterfeits God. Whatever God does, he tries to copy. One of the ways he does is through the work of antichrists to carry out his many schemes and plans.
“Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.” 2 John 7
According to The Complete Word Study New Testament by Spiros Zodhiates, the term, antichrist, is from the Greek, antichristos. Anti carries the meanings of equivalence and exchange, in our stead, instead of, against, and may also mean substitution or opposition. The Greek christos means to anoint as well as a name applied to those who act as redeemers, and finally to Christ Himself. “The term antichristos is peculiar to Johns Epistles [and] occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Paul’s references to the same person include the man of sin, son of perdition, wicked one, [and] the one opposing… He will attempt to assert the fulfillment of God’s Word in himself and will seek to establish his own throne.”
Some versions of the Bible translate the word as the lawless one. Paul used the term in his second letter to the Thessalonians in a way that implies a singular being.
“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,” 2 Thessalonians 2:9
In this passage, Paul clearly distinguishes that this man of lawlessness, the antichrist, is not Satan but a separate entity connected with him. This same person is also called the Beast by John in Revelation 13:1-10. I shared about Satan being called the dragon in Lesson 7.
“…The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority… He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.” Revelation 13:2,6,7
The term, pseudochristos translated false christ is found in Matthew 24:24 and in Mark 13:22. According to Zodhiates, “The false Christ does not deny the being of Christ. On the contrary, he builds on the world’s expectations of such a person, but he blasphemously appropriates these to himself and affirms that he is the foretold One in whom God’s promises and men’s expectations are fulfilled. While the antichristos, antichrist, denies that there is a Christ, the pseudochristos affirms himself to be the Christ. Both are against the Christ of God. The final antichrist will be a pseudochrist as well. He will usurp to himself Christ’s offices, presenting himself to the world as the true center of its hopes, the satisfier of all its needs and the healer of all its ills. He will be a pseudochrist and antichrist in one.”
Jesus Himself warns believers that false Christs will come and try to seduce them. He says that they will serve as signs to the end of the age.
“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles, to deceive the elect- if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.” Mark 13:22,23
The Apostle John in his letter states,
“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” 1 John 2:18,19
When John wrote this letter, the early church was experiencing growing pains. Some early believers were distorting the truth of the message of Jesus. These followers were early Gnostics. John’s letter is addressing this philosophy called gnosticism. This movement focused on the search for a higher and special knowledge of truth. They believed in the separation of spirit and matter since all matter was considered evil and the spirit was good. For instance, the Docetic Gnostics denied the humanity of Jesus. They believed he didn’t have a real flesh-and-blood body. These Gnostics believed Jesus only seemed to have a body. Another Gnostic belief denied the deity of Jesus and denied that he came to bring redemption and salvation to all.
“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” 1 John 4:2-3
Throughout the Apostle John’s epistles, he states that many antichrists will come prior to the one enemy. He says we will recognize them by their works and behavior. These persons will deny the incarnation and deity of Jesus, they will deny God, they will be liars and deceivers, and they will leave the church because they don’t fit in with believers.
We need to be believers who are equipped and ready, who can recognize truth from falsehood, and who are able to resist the seductive temptations that come our way. May we be found faithfully waiting for Jesus.
“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert, ‘ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms; ‘ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:26,27
The Week 10 Lesson Plan contains study on fallen angels and demons, you can find the lesson by clicking here.
I hope that you are having a great week so far. This week in the Week 9 Lesson Plan of Angels of the Realm, we’re studying about God’s mighty angelic army. If you’d like to join in, you can find the study here.
“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh, my lord, what shall we do?’ the servant asked. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:15-17
The complaints of the Israelites began almost immediately into their forty year wilderness journey; kind of like traveling with children. I’m hungry. I’m tired. I’m thirsty. Are we there yet? Can’t you hear them?
“The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, … you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Exodus 16:1-3
The grumbling, the complaining, the road rage — Oi vey! What will Moses and Aaron do? They are as hungry as the people and no food is in sight. In Deuteronomy 8:15, Moses describes the desert as a vast and dreadful, waterless land with venomous snakes and scorpions.
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.”’ Exodus 16:4
God comes to their rescue. He will provide the food needed to sustain them on their journey. Each day the bread would come from heaven. The people were only to gather daily what they needed and then on the sixth day, they were to gather twice as much because they would be gathering for the Sabbath as well.
“in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.’” Exodus 16:13-15
“The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.” Exodus 16:31
“The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a handmill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes. And it tasted like something made with olive oil.” Numbers 11:8
Manna rained from heaven. A wonderful all-purpose survival ration. The Lord had given them the bread of angels to eat. They didn’t have to work for it. They didn’t even have to clean up the leftovers because only a daily portion was provided. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, the Hebrew word, manna means “What is it?”.
Scientists have discovered that the low tamarisk tree growing in the Sinai wilderness produces a sap that certain scale insects like to eat. As these insects eat the sap, they secrete a liquid called honeydew that when crystallized resembles manna and is a good source of carbohydrates. In the research, however, these scientists never mentioned if they had tasted it. Vine’s has a different viewpoint and states, “None of the natural substances called “manna” is to be identified with that which God provided for Israel.”
This source of nourishment, along with quail and water that God also provided, kept the people fed during their long years in the desert. As they neared the end of their wandering, Moses spoke with them.
“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son so the LORD your God disciplines you.” Deuteronomy 8:2-5
Under the guidance of Joshua, following the death of Moses, the Israelites finally crossed the Jordan river and made camp in their homeland. God had been their provider, their protector and their guide. When they made camp at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, God told Joshua that the reproach of Egypt had been removed from them. (Joshua 5:9) He instructed them to celebrate the Passover and so on the fourteenth day of the month, they held their first Passover in their homeland. On that night, they remembered how God had delivered them from the plague of the firstborn in Egypt, delivered them from judgment, and restored their freedom from slavery and oppression.
“The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan.” Joshua 5:11,12
Baked manna. Fried manna. Manna casserole. Manna stew. Manna pudding. Do you think they ever missed the bread of angels?
Only a few weeks are left in our summer study series on angels. I hope you have enjoyed this topic of study. If you are interested in learning more about spiritual warfare or about equipping yourself with spiritual armor against evil, check out this week’s lesson. Click here for the Week 9 Lesson Plan.
When Jochebed gave birth to her son, she knew he was no ordinary child.(Exodus 2:2; Hebrews 11:23) She placed him inside a basket and put him among the reeds along the bank of the Nile to protect his life from Pharaoh’s edict to kill all of the Hebrew male infants. Moses was drawn out of the mighty Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as Egyptian royalty. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, in his address to the Sanhedrin council, says of Moses;
“When he [Moses] was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” Acts 7:21,22
As a grown man, Moses has an encounter in the wilderness that sends his life into an entirely different direction. We studied this story of Moses and the burning bush in the Week 3 Lesson. Following that event, Moses leads the Hebrew nation out of their Egyptian captivity and into the desert towards their homeland. What began as a short term journey to the Promised Land quickly turned into a wandering of forty years due to their disobedience and unbelief. Three months after their exodus from Egypt, the Israelites reach Mount Sinai and God calls Moses to meet with Him at the top of the mountain. While on the mountain, Moses received instructions for the nation and the stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments from God and henceforth, becomes known as the Law giver.
Moses “was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us.” Acts 7:38
“What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.” Galatians 3:19; see also Acts 7:53
Moses served as the mediator between God and the people. Of Moses, the great Law giver, these words are also recorded.
“Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt – to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” Deuteronomy 34:10-12
Moses lived into that prophetic statement given by his mother at his birth. He lived an extraordinary life. He died in Moab and God buried him there. No one has ever located his gravesite.
Included in the New Testament is a letter Jude wrote warning Christians about immoral men who were trying to convince believers that salvation by grace gave them license to sin. These men were twisting the truth and causing confusion in the early church. Jude highlights in his letter that these godless men had no fear of slandering celestial beings and he continues by contrasting their behavior to that of the archangel Michael.
“But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’” Jude 9
Early church theologian Origen believed the reference was to an apocryphal work entitled The Ascension of Moses or sometimes referred to as The Assumption of Moses. This work was not included in canonized scripture but the original recipients of Jude’s letter would have been familiar with this work.
Some scholars suggest that Michael and the devil disputed over which place of rest for Moses. They believe that since Satan reigns over death, Michael wanted to take Moses somewhere else like heaven. Some have even suggested that this verse indicates that Moses was buried by Michael and that this dispute occurred at the time of the burial of his body.
Other scholars take a different viewpoint. They feel that Moses was so venerated that the knowledge of his gravesite would have turned the location into a place of worship, the third stop on the Moses pilgrimage. Even Peter slipped into this mindset on the Mount of Transfiguration when he makes the suggestion of putting up tents for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus.
On this side of heaven, we will never know Satan’s goal for Moses. Perhaps, he did want to retain power over Moses’s body in death or he wanted to use it to thwart the people’s faith in God by leading them into idolatry.
This week, I’m continuing our look into the work of Satan. I will focus on his interruptions into the life of Jesus. To follow along, the Week 8 Lesson Plan can be found by clicking here.