Immediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council; and they bound Jesus, led Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. Then Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered and said to him, “It is as you say.” And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!” But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled. (Mark 15:1-5)
The Son Of God Had Nothing To Say
There is no scene so remarkable as the Son of God standing before the leaders of the Jewish nation, the Roman Empire’s stately guardians of the crown in Pilate and Herod and a rabble of a crowd intent on the murder of this man from Nazareth. He was God and was with God and created the world upon which He stood and formed man from the dust of the ground. The highest of the creative order formed to give glory to God was spitting in His face, cursing His name and wanting more than anything to see this man die. With all the regal splendor of a Roman court Pilate sat before the beleaguered Jesus and demanded the Galilean to answer his inquiries. The Preachers Homiletical study makes an impressive statement about this picture: “Pilate holding Christ’s life in his hand is the crowning paradox of history and the mystery of self-abasing love. One exercise of the Prisoner’s will and His chains would have snapped and the governor lain dead on the marble ‘pavement.’” Remarkable is the love of Jesus to allow the puny efforts of a miserable despot to act with any authority before the Son of Almighty God and not strike him dead. The chief priests, elders and scribes brought many charges against Jesus and He said nothing. None of the accusations were true and there was no value in arguing the points. Nothing in the life of Jesus could be found in contradiction as they had tried often to trap Him by His words, catch Him in some unholy deed or accuse Him of being in league with Satan. They never denied His miracles. The best they could do was challenging His teaching but on every turn He dismissed their human wisdom with the divine word. It must have seem incredulous to find Jesus standing before the Roman court and failing to lodge any solid claims to sedition, heresy or blasphemy. There was no proof and they could confirm any of their claims. Jesus remained silent allowing them to defeat themselves. When asked by Pilate if He was the King of the Jews Jesus answered in the affirmative. That is all He said. One can only imagine the frantic scene of the chief priests bringing charge after charge against Jesus and He silently stands bound with nothing to say.
Truth is defended sometimes by allowing error to prove itself lacking. Mark does not record the accusations leveled against Jesus but they would have been no different than what the Jewish leaders brought against Him during His short ministry. They could not prove the charges before and now before Pilate they made fools of themselves trying to accuse the man from Nazareth. Pilate marveled that Jesus remained silent. Why should a man take such abuse at the hands of skilled prosecutors? Any other man would have shouted down the false claims and demanded a fair trial before an unbiased court of inquiry. Jesus remained silent for two reasons: there was nothing to say because nothing they said was based on truth; secondly Jesus remained silent to proclaim to the whole world His willingness to accomplish the will of the Father. The silence of Jesus is the sound heard round the world. Jesus answered nothing and thank God He did not answer. His work was to die for all men and while He could have called down twelve legions of angels to destroy everyone within a thousand miles of Jerusalem He remained silent. Fulfilling the image of the suffering servant of Isaiah Jesus was led like a lamb to the slaughter; that before the shearers was silent. Earlier that week Jesus had spoken to a fig tree and it dried up. Imagine what He could have done to Pilate and the Sanhedrin.
The silence of Jesus was all that could be done. There was nothing else to say that had not already been said. The Lord had spent nearly three years teaching, admonishing, exhorting, instructing and showing His power through miracles and preaching. If men would not heed His words during His ministry, why would they listen more intently standing before the Roman government? Jesus came to die and die He would. He gave His life because He kept silent. Pilate may have marveled that day when Jesus kept silent but Pilate marveled more when he found in death the eternal realities of Jesus being the Son of God. Pilate is now the one crying out seeking the blessing of the man of Galilee. The roles were never reversed. Jesus stood before Pilate but Jesus was the King and Pilate was nothing more than a pawn of human wisdom. Eternity opened the eyes of Pilate to the reality of how great Jesus Christ of Nazareth was but sadly too late for the Roman despot. Jesus is silent today as there is no need of further revelation. All that men need to know is contained within the pages of the Bible and this is all the message God will send His people. There will be no further revelations or testimonies. Jesus will never come to earth again and speak because all that needed to be said has been completed in the full revelation of God’s will. Jesus is silent today but one day He will call forth the names of the righteous. His words resonate through the pages of holy writ and the only voice man can hear today is what is found in the word of God. Refusing to listen to the voice of God today will bring great sorrow in the world to come. Listen to the word of Jesus. They have not changed in nearly two thousand years and they will never change. Listen to the words of Jesus.
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him’” (Matthew 2:1-2).
Lessons From The Wise Men
Matthew is the only writer to record the visit of the wise men. These magi were from a country to the east of Jerusalem that is unidentified. Without a country of origin, we know nothing of their nationality and background. The purpose of the visit was to worship the one who was born King of the Jews. Arriving in Jerusalem, they sought help in finding the new King. Herod heard they were looking for the young sovereign and gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people and inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They knew from Micah 5:2 that the Ruler would come out of Bethlehem, in the land of Judah. Herod passed this information to the wise men and instructed them to let him know where the young Child was so that he too could worship Him. The wise men told of seeing His star while in the east and found this same star now directing them to Bethlehem and where Jesus would be found. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. Upon their arrival, they opened their treasures and presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Herod did not intend to worship Jesus but to kill him. Being warned by God, the wise men returned to their country another way.
Here are some things we learn from what God tells us. Please note that all we know about the visit from the wise men is what God tells us – neither man nor the Roman Catholic Church can change these facts without changing the word of God. The Bible does not reveal the number of wise men, we are not told their names or their nationalities. We do know they came from the east and traveled a great distance. They were looking for the one who had been born King of the Jews. They wanted to worship Him. They saw his star in the east and came to Israel to look from him. This same star helped them find Bethlehem and then the star stood over where the young Child was.
The star the wise men saw did not shine upon a baby in a manger. Matthew records in very plain language the wise men were looking for a young child and they found the young Child Jesus in a house. The Greek word used in this text indicates an “abode” or “residence.” A manger is neither an abode nor a residence and while the shepherds found a baby in a manger, the wise men did not see Jesus in a manger. What they saw was a young child, about the age of two years. The star they saw in the east was when Jesus was born and it would take some time to travel to Israel. When Herod heard he had been deceived by the wise men, he sent his army into Bethlehem and put to death all the male children from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Jesus was not a baby when the wise men came but a young child. The lesson in this story is that God tells it the way it happened and man creates a fairy tale. Do you follow a fairy tale, a myth, and a false version of truth? If it matters not how the story of the wise men is told, what else in God’s word can be corrupted? It makes a difference what we believe.
But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. (Matthew 14:6)
She Pleased Herod
John the Baptist was a bold preacher who denounced the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders and also challenged the tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea concerning his marriage. Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great who tried to kill the young child Jesus slaughtering all the male children in Bethlehem two-years-old and under. Herod had seduced his brother Phillip’s wife Herodias and married her. John the Baptist had told Herod his marriage was unlawful and was arrested and placed in prison. On the occasion of Herod’s birthday, the king invited Salome (daughter of Philip and Herodias) to dance before him and all the officials. She danced before the king and keeping with a promise to give her whatever she might ask, demanded John the Baptist to be killed. The life of a righteous man came to an end because of the fickle immoralities of a man who was excited by the dancing of a young girl. Matthew writes in simple language that Salome pleased Herod by her dancing. Mark will record in his gospel that Salome pleased Herod and those who sat with him. The pleasure was so great the king promised to give the girl anything she wanted. What drove a man to promise a girl up to half of his kingdom? The one thing that moved Herod to make such a rash promise was because a young girl danced before him pleasing his sensual eyes and the passions of all the men around him. They were aroused by her movements. Her dancing was in a provocative movement in unbridled lust of the flesh. That is the nature of dancing and she accomplished exactly what dance is designed to achieve.
Paul described the works of the flesh using some words that are not common in our English language. One of the sins condemned by the Holy Spirit is called lasciviousness. It is also called lewdness, sensuality, debauchery and licentiousness. These are not words most people are familiar with. The meaning of these words is given as that which is unbridled lust, wanton acts or manners (including) filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females. Dancing clearly falls under the heading of these definitions and is condemned by God. What is difficult to help the people of God understand is that dancing is not something that shows the light of Jesus Christ. Using the body to move about in a manner that exhibits the characteristics of the fleshly body is sinful. Dancing lends itself to the erotic and sensual nature of the body. Throughout the act of dancing the body is moved in such a way to mimic intercourse, teasing, suggestive movements to arouse and to please not only the one dancing but to excite others. Where in the course of dancing is Jesus Christ glorified or the Father exalted as Holy? The Christian is to use his body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and moving it in gyrations of sexual attraction is foreign to anything holy. Is it possible to teach the righteousness of Christ while dancing? The Father calls it sinful. There is no social acceptance and generational mandate that will change the will of God.
The people of God must not allow the influence of the world to destroy their credibility as saints of the most High God. Parents who allow their children to dance are teaching their children to live in the world and be a hypocrite to Jesus Christ. The dancing leg and the praying knee do not come on the same body. Cheer-leading is another form of sensual dancing when the movements are to excite and arouse others either by the body or the dress. Most cheer-leading outfits are immodest. Why would we allow our daughters to stand before crowds of people in skimpy outfits and move their bodies around in provocative ways and call that a sport? Salome pleased Herod by her body and shame on those who seek to follow holiness and truth that become disciples of Salome and please others. It’s too early for the prom but there are always dances that come up in school that parents blindly allow their children to participate in. Fathers should lead their families in the truth of righteousness that keeps their children in the holy faith of God’s word. Mothers must protect their children from the influences of the world. It is an utter failure for parents to allow their children to dance and dress immodestly in their youth and then expect them to grow up as faithful and dedicated Christians one day. One of the reasons we lose so many of our young people is parents who form the characters of their children early in life falsely believing their children will miraculously turn into God-fearing adults. It does not happen. Training up a child in the way that he should go is an imperative now. Allowing our children to please Herod will only end in death – a spiritual demise. How sad.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. (Revelation 20:11-12)
The Books Of God
There is coming a day when all humanity will stand before the Lord God Creator and impressed upon the minds of every soul gathered will be one single thought: is my name in the book held by the One who sits upon the great white throne. It will not matter if marble bears the name of the person or history has recorded the heroic deeds of a life spent in the carnal world. The accolades of men will vanish when death whispers a final dirge. The achievements of life will crumble in the dust of a wasted life when unprepared to meet the One who sits upon the great white throne. All eyes will gaze upon the books gathered before the Lord. The books will be the desire. Hearts will beat in anticipation of the opening of the books. Then the book all souls desire will be opened and everyone will recognize it as the book of Life. This scroll is impressed with the untold names of those who had a covenant relationship with God. For most their names were never inscribed and their names never found in the book of Life. They lived their lives in the fulfillment of their carnal pursuits denying the reality of a record being kept. It was far from the minds to believe decisions in life would reap a whirlwind of consequence in death. Now they stand before the Creator and do not hear their name written in the book of life. The smell of the lake of fire rises to their nostrils and they hear their names enrolled in the place of torment. No name is inscribed in the book of life and they are lost eternally. One book. One name. One fate. One God who loved them so much to given His only Son to die for them and offer them the grace of eternal salvation and their names are not found in the one book. The darkness of eternity envelops their fears as they are cast from the presence of the Almighty into an eternal pit of torment.
There are many names assigned to the book of life. A close examination of the book held by the one on the throne realizes there are names on pages that are blotted out by sin. At one time their names were clearly marked on the pages of grace but now cannot be found. Their hearts were filled with the love of God and they saw the power of the Lord believing in His love for them. Temptation drew them away and turned their hearts to the pleasures of sin. They saw the wrath of God in the flood of Noah’s day and turned away from calling upon the Lord. Many who came out of Egypt as the people of God who saw the power of the Lord against Pharaoh and his army died in the wilderness because they longed for the pleasures of carnal man. The nation of Israel fell into idolatry and untold numbers of God’s people wiped their names from the book of life seeking the pleasures of this world. Saints of the Lord who obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ turned back to the filth of the world and lost their names in the book of life. The greatest tragedy for many will be to see their names in the book of life blotted out by the wrath of God. Their names were once inscribed but no longer. There is no hope and no promise because they were not faithful until death. Lost on the pages of God’s books their names are blotted by sin and rebellion. They will share in the lake of fire as the Lord sends His rebellious children to eternal punishment. The greatest cries in torment will come from the voices of those names blotted out who once tasted the heavenly gift.
As the roll of names is called from the Divine, the book will reveal names impressed upon the pages of eternal love with the blood of Jesus. Names that served the Lord from Adam until the final day. The myriads of souls will eagerly surge forward to hear their names called as faithful and holy. To their eternal joy their names are found in the book of life and the glory of God’s light will shine in their hearts as they see Him face to face bearing His name upon their foreheads. Joy will fill the hearts as songs of praise echo from the souls of the saved whose names are found in the book of Life. Yearning for the eternal grace of God’s love, hearing the name read from the book of life brings eternal happiness to dwell in the presence of the Lord throughout the eternal ages. One book. One name. One Savior. One God. One hope. Nothing will give greater joy than hearing the name inscribed upon the pages of the book of life as faithful, true and everlasting.
The book of Life is the message of God’s wrath and His love. There are many names that will not be found and there are many names that once were written but now are blotted out. Only the names that remain will find joy in eternity. The lesson is clear: if your name is not in the book of Life you have no hope. Sitting on a church pew will not keep your name in the book. Doing the will of the Lord is how your name in placed in the book of Life and keeping the commandments of God, living through His grace, loving His mercy and embracing His word in your heart will help you see your name in that great and wonderful book called the book of Life. God has many books to open. Where will your name be?
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
The Works Of The Flesh Are Evident: Sensual Vices
Temptation is as old as the world. Satan lost very little time in coming to God’s creation with the intent of destroying all the Lord had established. He never forces anyone to disobey the will of the Lord; merely suggesting with soothing words and tantalizing thoughts of pleasure to entice the heart. Nothing has changed in his assault against the character and purpose of the child of God. Through the Holy Spirit the Christian has been armed with the word of God to know the pernicious tricks of the evil one and avenues of escape to follow in times of trial. Paul challenged the early disciples to walk after the nature of the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh. When Paul wrote the letter to the churches of Galatia he was living in a time of immorality unmatched by many generations. Remarkably the gospel prospered during this time as empty hearts found the saving grace of truth in Jesus Christ. Identifying the character of sin helped the disciples face the reality of sin and understand how to combat the wiles of the devil. It also made very clear the displeasure of God for things that society accepted as normal and if followed would render eternal condemnation. Sin was marked for what it was and sin has not changed in two thousand years. The words of Paul must challenge the hearts of the people of God to know the consequence of unrepentant actions where the vices of carnal pleasures are followed will be met in judgment.
Sensual vices are first on the list and include adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness and sexual immorality of any form. It is not the most important sin but it is the most prevalent sin. Sexual sins are the more common challenges faced by the Christian. The lure of the fleshly pleasure is an extremely power aphrodisiac. Fornication comes from the word which pornography derives its meaning including prostitution and harlotry. Uncleanness is the basic moral impurity that fills the mind with lustful and sexually pervasive thoughts and fantasies. Lewdness or lasciviousness are not common words in the language of modern man but they are very common in the hearts of many who profess to follow Christ. The idea of wantonness is found in the lewd mental pictures of depravity and shamelessness as the flesh lusts for sexual pleasures to be fulfilled through the mind. These sexual vices were prominent in the day Paul wrote this striking letter to the saints of God imploring them to refrain from the norms of Roman society. Far removed from those ancient days the world has filled itself with the lustful appetite of sensual favors once again as sexual freedom is viewed with an acceptable reliance by the world and many within the kingdom of God. The warning should be very clear: those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. What man tends to forget is that God does not forget. He has not changed His mind about the sensual vices and their consequences. What condemned a soul in the day of Paul will damn a soul in the modern age. Norms of society will change but the word of God is settled in heaven and remains unchanged.
Adultery and fornication are sinful. Arguments can be made that love is involved but love does not remove the will of the Lord. Engaging in sexual intercourse before marriage will not be accepted by the Lord because two people are in love and plan to marry. The Hebrew writer declared the bed must be undefiled in marriage and those who trifle with the law of God will pay the penalty. Ignoring sexual sin will not remove sin. Young people who engage in sexual sins will reap the whirlwind of God’s judgment. When a man and women find themselves in sexual unions outside the bounds of their marriage their souls are tarnished with the blight of rebellion and will suffer the eternal flames of God’s wrath. Pornography is not acceptable to God. It is a vicious and destructive plague that is sweeping through the ranks of God’s people impacting men and women alike. There will be no excuses. No man will be able to stand before the great I AM and argue acceptance to the prostitution of the mind. Heathenism is an immoral force of fleshly appetites being fed the lie of the great deceiver. The children of God should diligently present their hearts as righteous, clean, moral and pure from the defilement’s of sensual vices that are so common. Nothing has changed in God’s view of sexuality. He created the man and woman to enjoy the conjugal blessings of sexuality within the framework of marriage. Anything outside of this union is sin. Those who are Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isaiah 53:1-3)
What Did Jesus Look Like?
As the teacher was walking through her classroom she noticed one little girl intently drawing in her notebook. Inquiring what the little girl was so focused on she replied that she was drawing a picture of God. The teacher gently admonished the little girl that no one knew what God looked like and the little girl replied, “They will when I get finished.” Jesus told the Samaritan woman that God was a spirit and He must be worshiped as a spirit. In the Revelation John saw One seated on the throne but no information is given as to his visage with any certain details apart from having an appearance of jasper and sardius stone. Jesus on the other hand left His spiritual abode with the Father and became like a man taking on the form of a man and living in the flesh of the carnal man. His conception was by the power of the Holy Spirit but His birth was exactly like any other human. Jesus was born in due time and was wrapped in swaddling clothes as newborn babies would be treated. He had to learn to talk, to walk and move about and to learn how to eat and care for Himself. First as a young child in the city of Bethlehem He did what all young children do and then lived in Egypt for a time before settling in Nazareth where He would learn the trade of Joseph. Along with His brothers and sisters Jesus would be as ordinary as any Jewish boy in Israel. There was nothing unusual about Him from other children. As He grew into adolescences and his teen years His friends did not notice anything unusual about Him. He did startle the teachers at the Temple at the age of twelve but nothing is known of the next eighteen years as He grew into manhood.
Isaiah gives a hint to the appearance of Jesus in his prophetic text. Contrary to the Renaissance pictorials of Jesus glowing with a halo and shining face, the presentation of Jesus was unremarkable. If the text is taken to a certain conclusion Jesus was not an attractive man by any standards. The prophet Isaiah declared that if a person would look at Jesus there would be no beauty in Him that anyone would take notice. His face was as ordinary as any other Jewish citizen of Nazareth. In a crowd to twenty people no one would think the son of Mary as remarkable. On the yearly pilgrimages to Jerusalem where thousands of people crowded the roads to worship the Lord God no one would have given Jesus a second glance. He was so unremarkable He was plain. His presence was unobtrusive and unpretentious. It is hard to imagine the Son of God could not be picked out of a crowd of people. Not until Jesus was thirty years old did people take notice of Him. When He began to teach people were astonished. As the miracles multiplied the crowds began to seek Him. Throughout the ministry of Jesus people were drawn to Jesus for many reasons but it was not because of his debonair good looks and charming smile. It was His gentle touch and His compassionate heart that would leave a lasting impression on others. The force of His words moved people to change their lives. Jesus did not come to win a popularity contest. In fact Jesus came to die on a Roman cross. What He looked like was of no importance. The physical imagery of the Son of God could have been the most remarkable picture in all of creation. God sent His Son to give His life for man and the unremarkable man from Nazareth finished the work of His heavenly Father when He died on the cross. Hanging on the cross there was no glory around His head, no angels singing alleluia and few people took great notice about the man in the middle. He was a criminal and deserved to die. Only a handful of faithful disciples looked at the haggard face of Jesus and saw the love of God.
Isaiah’s statement about the coming Christ is critical for men to embrace and see the purpose of life. Jesus was a beautiful person because of what He was and who He was. His work was to save all men and through His blood bring all men to God. There is a divine purpose in looking at the man on the cross who had no form or comeliness and no beauty that we should desire Him. For those who are smitten with the grace of God what they seen in the cross is the most beautiful story man has ever known. They do not see the face of a man; they see the heart of God’s Son dying for their sins. He was despised and rejected by men but accepted by His Father. Jesus bore our sorrows and our grief so that we would be spared from the penalty of death. We hid our faces from Him but His face radiated the love of God. He was despised and while we did not esteem Him – the Savior asked His Father to forgive us. I know what the face of Jesus looked like. It is as clear as anything in this world. The face of Jesus is found in the word of God. Eyes of mercy, lips of grace, face of compassion and a heart willing to die for me. One of the great blessings of eternal life is found in John’s imagery of the Revelation. The aged apostle writes that we will see His face. I hope Jesus does not mind if I just reach out and touch that face. It is such a beautiful face.
The sons of Reuben, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh had forty-four thousand seven hundred and sixty valiant men, men able to bear shield and sword, to shoot with the bow, and skillful in war, who went to war. They made war with the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. And they were helped against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all who were with them, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him. Then they took away their livestock—fifty thousand of their camels, two hundred and fifty thousand of their sheep, and two thousand of their donkeys—also one hundred thousand of their men; for many fell dead, because the war was God’s. And they dwelt in their place until the captivity. (1 Chronicles 5:18-22)
Genealogies are not the most exciting areas of scripture to read but there are many jewels contained within the placement of those who begot one another. It has been suggested that Ezra wrote the “Chronicles” telling a history of Israel from the time of King Saul’s death to the remnants return following the captivity. Nearly a third of the first book deals with genealogy as this was vital to establishing a historical record of ancestry of the Jewish people. Between the families of Reuben, Gad and Joseph (sons of Jacob) there was an incredible force of fighting men numbering 44,760 valiant men. Manasseh was one of the sons of Joseph and along with Ephraim represents the family of Joseph in tribal identity. The Chronicle explains how these three families joined together to form a formidable fighting army that gained many victories for the Lord. They are described as courageous men skilled in the art of war and aggressive in their attack. United in their purpose through the avenue of prayer they put their trust in God gaining incredible victories with much spoil. During the battle they cried to the Lord for His intervention and He heeded the prayer because they put their trust in Him. These were mighty men of war very skilled but they knew the source of the power came from the Lord and they trusted His power more than their own. The bounty resulted in 302,000 animals being taken along with 100,000 of the enemy. It was a 2:1 ration against them in the final analysis but they gained the victory. Many were killed not because the men were valiant and strong in their own might but because the war that was waged belonged to the Lord. The war was God’s war.
The days of carnal warfare came to an end when Jesus Christ came into the world to save all men. Paul declared the weapons of warfare are now spiritual for casting down arguments and everything that exalts itself against the power of God. While the methods of fighting have changed the spirit of war has not; the battle still belongs to the Lord. Like the sons of Reuben, the Gadites and half the tribe of Manasseh, the church needs valiant men and women who are able to bear the shield of faith and sword of the Spirit to make war against the wiles of the devil. Courage is needed to face an overwhelming army of principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age and spiritual hosts of wickedness that war against the kingdom of Christ. Saints who are skilled in the word of God and the use of truth to destroy the arguments of immorality, false doctrine, religious error and complacency are needed to fight the great war of God. There is a greater need for trained soldiers of Christ to stand against the increasing pressures of a carnal world. As the war rages men and women must lift up their voices and cry out to God in the midst of battle for help. The war against unrighteousness will be difficult and fraught with danger. Without the protective blessing of the Lord there can be no victory. No man can gain the victory by his own power. Prayer is the incense of the smell of battle placed in the hands of Jehovah God to let His guiding hand bring about victory. When the people of God unite in prayer the Lord will heed their supplications and give the victory. The battle belongs to the Lord if trust is put in His will and His way. Prayer must be lifted on wings of complete trust that God will secure the victory as He did with the sons of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh.
Many fell dead in battle because the war was God’s. This is a profound statement of the power and majesty of the Lord God who reigns, rules and regards the affairs of man as His purpose and design for sending the Christ. The war still belongs to God. He gave His Son as the gift of love to show all men there is no victory without Him. Jesus rose from the dead and death has no power. God brought forth His Son from the grave and hades will be cast into the lake of fire. The governments of the world that stand against the kingdom of God will be cast into the second death along with the harlot of Babylon and the beast of spiritual error. Nothing will be able to stand against the King of Kings and Lord of Lords because the battle belongs to the Lord. The message of God’s word is the will of the Lord will be finished according to His power. He created the world and governs the affairs of the world and it will be by His power the world is destroyed. Man did not create the world and while given dominion of the world is banished to the role of servant to the great I AM. The destiny of man was not determined by the wisdom of man but the knowledge of God revealed the battle plan to defeat the great dragon and overcome death. The war belongs to God. He fights it His way and the outcome is determined by His will. Soldiers of Christ who stand in battle array against Satan will have the victory because they know the war is God’s and through courage and prayer bring glory to the cause of righteousness and truth. Fight brethren. Make war in the name of God.