March 4, 2018 LORD!

LORD!

What have we learned about God from Genesis 1.28 and 4.7? He created man to rule on the Earth! Why? Because of darkness (Genesis 1.2), and God wants there to be Life and Light in His creation (John 1.4). Also, because God is Omnipotent, and people made in His image should rule as His servants performing His assignments (Exodus 19.6; Leviticus 25.42, 55; Psalm 119.91, 125; Philippians 2.7; 1 Peter 2.9). We might say we were created to be warriors… against satan’s darkness and his harm to people and the earth (John 10.10). We are not to fight with human weapons (2 Corinthians 10.3) but under God’s direction and with Word (i.e., Jesus) of His authority (Luke 10.17; Psalm 8.2 & Matthew 21.15-16; Revelation 12.11). His goal is that we win, as He says in Luke 10.19 & 19.13 (Revelation 2.7, 11, 17, 26, 3.5, 12, 21), and said about Him in Mark 16.20. So, we should not be surprised by His revelation to Moses that He is LORD!

Small word, LORD, but with a focused and penetrating meaning. It is part of God’s identification of Himself to Moses at the burning bush as “I AM WHO I WILL BE” (Exodus 3.14 ESV; my paraphrase of the meaning confirmed in commentaries). God seems to pick up this conversation about identity in Exodus 6.3, after Pharaoh has predictably rejected Moses’ demand to let the Hebrews leave Egypt to worship God. In this verse, God reveals two of his titles: God Almighty (Hebrew El Shaddai) and LORD; the first experienced by the Hebrews beginning with Abraham (resourcing the assignment He had given him); the second to be revealed to those enslaved through various plagues on their masters. Then, continuing this thread of conversation into Exodus 12.12, God explains ‘LORD’ with exclamation by telling Moses about His pending completion of the subjugation of Egypt’s gods through one final plague. So, should we understand ‘LORD’ as God’s title for ruling over satan’s kingdom and its manifestation in the minds, bodies, and circumstances of mankind since Exodus 6.3? Is this Jesus’ meaning in John 10.10 and Matthew 16.18?

The ten (biblical numerology for fullness of quantity) plagues and the demons they represented are as follows. The context for these is Pharaoh’s response to Moses’ demand on behalf of God: “‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord’” (Exodus 5.2). You should note the progression of God’s answer through the following plagues, from least (#1) to most personal (#10). Exodus 7.14-12.32.

  1. Hapi: god of the Nile; water bearer. Aaron turned the Nile into blood for seven days.  Pharaoh was unimpressed because Egyptian magicians partially duplicated this miracle. This was an inconvenience for the people.
  2. Heket: goddess of fertility; water, renewal. A plague of frogs because her head appears like that of a frog. The magicians also brought frogs into Egypt, but only Moses could make them leave. This brought discomfort to the people’s contexts.
  3. Geb: god over the dust of the earth. A plague of gnats made from dust. Because the magicians could not duplicate the gnats, they told Pharaoh this was ‘the finger of God’ (‘finger’ as in “grasping with” {Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance h0676; Exodus 8.19). The constant swatting was a frustration to the people.
  4. Khepri: god of creation, movement of the Sun, rebirth. A plague of flies because his head appears like that of a fly. This moved the plagues to a new level, adding destruction (‘land was ruined’, Exodus 8.24)—as well as inconvenience, discomfort, and frustration—as a consequence of Pharaoh’s decision. Now, he tries to bargain with Moses to remove the flies but so as to preserve his power and authority over God by dictating the terms and conditions. However, there were no flies upon the Hebrews. This is the first mention of God differentiating the environment of the Hebrews.
  5. Hathor: goddess of love and protection. A plague of disease and pestilence on cattle and livestock because her head appears like that of a cow. This plague was so severe that all of the livestock died. This devastation increased the
“ruin” (Exodus 8.24) to the Egyptian economy because it, comprehensively, affected their food, transportation, military supplies, farming, and economic goods produced by livestock. However, the Hebrews’ cattle and livestock were not harmed.
  6. Isis: goddess of medicine and peace. This is the first direct attack upon people was through boils upon everyone but the Hebrews. Not even the magicians could stand before Pharaoh; only Moses and Aaron.
  7. Nut: goddess of the sky. Hail that became fires rained down upon man and beast, killing all servants and animals that remained in the fields (Exodus 9.19, 24-25). It, also, destroyed the crops of flax and barley (Exodus 9.25, 31-32), which were not used for food but for clothing and in drink offerings to their gods. Through Exodus 9.16, God reminds Pharaoh that the Lord could have destroyed him and Egypt at any moment but had “raised you up to show you my power” as a direct answer you Pharaoh’s question, “Who is the Lord?” (Exodus 5.2). Exodus 10.1-2 states that the reason for showing the Lord’s power was to communicate to the Hebrews that God is above all that claim deity. He still is!
  8. Seth: god of storms and disorder. The locusts devoured whatever plants that survived the plague of hail (Exodus 10.4-6). Thus, God makes clear that He could, potentially, destroy their food supply. Pharaoh’s servants remind him that “Egypt is ruined” even before the locusts (Exodus 10.7).
  9. Ra: Sun god. The Sun was worshipped by the Egyptians. So, there was profound psychological and religious impact during three days of a “darkness to be felt” (Exodus 10.21), because darkness connoted death, judgments, and hopelessness to the Egyptians. By contrast, the Hebrews had light from God! Light for God’s followers; darkness remains upon those who disdain Him (Romans 1.21)! [It is, also, interesting that the number three stands for the Trinity in biblical numerology. Perhaps this signaled agreement among the Trinity and prophesied Jesus’ three days in the tomb.] So, to this point, the Egyptians have experienced their natural resources becoming unusable, physical discomfort from pests and boils, their economic livelihood destroyed, and, now, God plays with their minds (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). But, Pharaoh holds firm!
  10. Pharaoh: thought to be the son of Ra manifested in the flesh (false incarnation of the Son of God?); thus, the ultimate power in Egypt. But, the death of only Egyptian firstborn children—the next generation of leaders—would show that, even, Pharaoh was impotent. The blood on the doorposts of the Hebrew homes foreshowes our forgiveness through the true Son of the Only God, Jesus’ blood and John’s Revelation 12.11.

[Source: http://www.stat.rice.edu/~dobelman/Dinotech/ 10_Egyptian_gods_10_Plagues.pdf.]

Thus, God showed Himself LORD over all the philosophies of mental health, present and future wealth, generational progeny, and daily protection symbolized by gods of the Egyptians. Finally, in an ultimate act of LORDship, God defeats Egypt’s army in the Red Sea, at “Pi-Hahiroth … the mouth of water which faces Mt. Tiran, which is Baal-Zephon” (a Canaanite god; Google; Exodus 14.1). Additionally, read what God says about Babylon (representing satan), centuries after the plagues, in Jeremiah 51.53. This is a reflection on an event centuries before the plagues, in Genesis 11.1-9.

Likewise, the LORD shows His Omnipotence against satan’s demons through Jesus in the New Testament. This should be expected from Apostle John’s statement in John 1.18. Jesus’ manifesting God included God Almighty and LORD! God Almighty is seen when Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding feast (John 2.1-11), when He feed the hungry people with bread and fish (Matthew 14.13-21; 15.32-39), and when He taught righteous living, like in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).

Jesus shows He is LORD through confronting religious leaders controlled by satan in John 8.44-45 and in reprimanding Peter for his words to prevent Jesus’ pending death and resurrection (Matthew 16.23). Matthew 4.23-24 and Acts 10.38 provide a summary of specific events, like healing the paralytic (because of his faith; Luke 5.18-26), straightening a deformed hand before unmerciful clergy (Matthew 12.10-13), casting out demons (Matthew 8.31-32; Mark 9.25-27), and raising from the dead a young girl (Mark 5.39-42) and His friend Lazarus (meaning “man whom God helps” {Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, g2976, form of Eleazar}; John 11.39-44). John (1.3.8b ESV) declares Jesus as LORD in his strong declaration: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” Amen! Praise God! [And, finally casting satan into the Pit of Hades (John 12.31), apparently condemned when satan was cast out of Heaven (Isaiah 14.12-15; Revelation 12:9-11)! Perhaps projecting this, Jesus’ Model Prayer states we should pray that God will “deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6.13b, NKJV)! Done!!!]

Are demons at work in our world today? Jesus’ Model Prayer states that they are: “deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13, ESV). Do you see evidence of the following? Paul said to watch out for them, in 1 Timothy 4.1, 2 Corinthians 4.3-4 & 11.14-15 (ex., Moroni’s visit with John Smith, Father of Mormonism), 1 Corinthians 10.19-20.

  • Astrology: “One of the oldest forms of the occult still practiced today is astrology. Contemporary astrology is a combination of what astrological cults practiced in Babylon, Egypt, and Canaan. In Canaan, astrology centered around the bull. The worship of the golden calf, child sacrifices to Molech, and Baal worship were all part of Canaanite astrology… In Egypt, God challenged the astrological gods of Egypt in sending ten plagues which directly attacked the authority of those gods” (biblesprout.com; Demons in the Bible – Different Types and How they Attack; google.com).
  • Witchcraft: “Around the world today, there exists a growing number of those who call themselves witches” (ibid). Robert Kamau writes concerning “belief is mystical spirits” in Africa: “Magic, demons possession, sorcery and witchcraft are among the mystical powers that should be counteracted and overcome… It is not surprising that the traditional African who joyfully receives the Gospel relapses to traditional beliefs when life gets difficult as they search for power to alleviate suffering… Spiritualistic activities are performed to the ancestral spirits to seek their favor and blessings for the power to live the good life that is full of wealth, prestige, status, honor and authority” (The Church and Culture; African Transformation Leadership, 1015, Oracle House Publishers, Ltd., Nakuru, Kenya, pp. 2-5).
  • Magic and Sorcery: “Those who practice magic [formulas and incantations] are under certain limits as to what they can accomplish (Dan. 4:7)… Closely related to magic is sorcery. Magic usually relates to accomplishing specific acts-such as rods becoming serpents-whereas sorcery relates more closely with calling upon demons to create situations around people. Thus the enchanter or sorcerer is one who uses incantations or omens. Their practices may have also included the use of mood-changing or mind altering drugs” (biblesprout.com, Demons…).
  • Necromancy: “’Necromancy’ is an effort to communicate with and interrogate the dead. As the Bible teaches the dead are unable to communicate with the living (Luke 15:27-31), it only stands to reason that those who claim to have this ability are lying or are themselves deceived” (ibid).
  • Divination: “Often this practice included the killing of a chicken or some small animal, and on occasions to observe its liver to determine the state of affairs and direction of the immediate future (Ezek. 21:21). Divination is an illegitimate means of determining the will of God” (ibid).
  • Secret Societies: You might Google for listings and descriptions of these. Generally, these are any group of persons following their imaginations that have been deceived by demons (Jeremiah 12.10).
  • What about theories of evolution, climate change, etc.?

The Holy Spirit continues identifying the LORD through Peter and John (Acts 3.4-8 & 9.40-41) and Paul (Acts 14.8-10 & 20.9-12). The LORD continues the instruction of Jesus in Matthew 10.7-8 even today. So, how are you following the LORD by carrying out Matthew 16.19 NASB and Luke 10.19 and Mark 16.20? How is this like Numbers 6.22-27 and Matthew 6.13?

The LORD still defeats the demons that deceive our imaginations from light into darkness (Jeremiah 13.10; 2 Corinthians 11.13-15; Matthew 6.22-23). So, storm the gates of satan’s strongholds with the Name ‘Jesus’ (Luke 10.17) and knowledge possessed by Jesus and with His faith (Ephesians 4.13 & 6.10-18a)! satan cannot defeat you (Luke 10.19; 2 Corinthians 2.14)! Philippians 2.9-11 is perpetually true!

Reflect upon Psalmist David’s contemplation of ‘LORD’ in Psalm 24.7-10:

Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory! Selah

LORD 180218/25
Praise God!!! Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com.

February 11, 2018 The Essence of Spiritual Warfare

The Essence of Spiritual Warfare

        In our previous study (The Breath of Life and Light), we considered Elihu’s declaration that “the breath of the Almighty…makes” mankind understand (Job 32.8, ESV). Further, he declares that this “breath” is “the spirit in man” (author’s emphasis; Job 34.14-15; James 2.26). So, the spirit within man explains the knowledge we acquire from teachers and through our senses (Exodus 28.3). This is why children can demonstrate physics and calculus before they learn the rudiments, as in throwing a ball between them and steering their bicycles around objects. [Elihu’s use of “spirit” was that of man (Proverbs 20.27, Ecclesiastes 12.7, 1 Corinthians 2.11, 1 Thessalonians 5.23) as distinguished from the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit, Who was given by God to men individually in the Old Testament (Exodus 31.3) and is reserved for followers of Christ Jesus in the New Testament (John 3.6-7 & 14.26, Ephesians 1.13-14, Romans 8.14).]

        Is this true in spiritual warfare, that the spirit in man is capable of engaging demons before we ever learn the principles of James 4.7 and Ephesians 6.10-18? Consider that Cain apparently understood what God meant in His instruction in Genesis 4.7, ESV: “‘[S]in is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it’” (author’s emphasis). Cain understood “sin” and the picture of its pending attack. But, how was he to “rule over it”, as a human being? Ruling over it would occur in his spirit and be expressed by his words. Note that God expected Cain’s actions to be successful, seen in His use of the conjunction “but”.

        Cain’s success would need to be directed by his spirit, of which he may have been aware. Perhaps, his verbal or intuitive conversation with God (Genesis 4.3-7) was a warning not to give in to the spirit of jealousy (Numbers 5.14, co-conspirator with a spirit of harlotry – Hosea 5.4) crouching at the door of Cain’s heart (contrast Revelation 3.20) that drove him to kill his brother, Abel (Genesis 4.8-10). The spirit of murder was too great for Cain to rule in his flesh. Apostle Paul writes about this in Romans 7.21-8.8. Be strengthened by 1 John 4.4!

        How was Cain’s spirit to rule over the sin of jealousy? This is the same question that might be asked of the instruction in James 4.7: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Paul answers for us in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6 and Romans 10.8-10. So does Apostle John in Revelation 12.11, illustrated by Jesus’ disciples in Luke 10.17 (see Philippians 2.9-11, too).
We are (author’s emphasis; Genesis 2.7) meant to rule over satan and sin by the words we speak!

        So, God placed in Adam the capability to identify sin and to rule over the spirits promoting it. This may be latent within you. So, study 2 Timothy 1.6-7 for encouragement.

The Essence of Spiritual Warfare, 180211

Praise God!!!            Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com