Just passing through…

 

For the past few months, I’ve been studying the Book of Revelation… and this past week I found myself in Revelation 12:7-12

This is one of my favorite sections of the Bible. This is the section where the reader is told that Satan is cast out of heaven for all time… right now he and his fallen angels have access to heaven, where he is accusing us before God day and night… and we’ve seen biblically what that looks like in Job 1.

In this section of Revelation… we are told that there is a war going on in heaven during the Great and Terrible time of the Tribulation. Now, this is not new. There has been war between heaven and Satan since God declared war on Satan in Genesis 3:15.

But when Satan is cast out of heaven in Revelation 12:9… as we read… And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Satan and all is henchmen are confined to earth… to wreck havoc on humanity… for we read in:

Revelation 12:12… For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.

And it was in this verse… a verse that I have read and studied scores of time… that the Lord brought something to my attention that I had never seen before… and that is what I’d like to share with you today.

As, I stated earlier, Satan has been at war with humanity since the Garden of Eden… but clearly something is different about this time, when Satan is cast out of heaven… So, I asked the Lord… what has happened to bring out Satan’s Woe upon the earth?

When I asked that question, I was drawn to the first part of Revelation 12:9…For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. I thought to myself… hey, we will be in heaven- the Church, during this time! We won’t experience this wrath of Satan…

Then I was reminded of a verse… Ephesians 2:2… in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

Satan is the prince of the power of the air. And the Lord, spoke quietly to my heart… Bryan, it’s the Rapture of the Church that sets off this woe… the Church being translated into the clouds to be with Jesus… Satan is going to see that, and know that all his attempts to undermine God’s plan of redemption have failed and his time is very short…  and all the wrath he possesses will be poured out upon the earth!

Wow. When that thought occurred to me, I was just so excited! I hope to get a glimpse of that ol’ snakes face (the shock and awe) as we pass through on our way to the Lord Jesus.

Emptied Himself…

Recently, I was leading a bible study. We were studying the Gospel of John and found ourselves in chapter four. There, Jesus and His disciples are enroute to the Galilee area from down around Jerusalem… and Jesus went into Samaria and met a woman at a well. We are told there in John 4:6 in part… So, Jesus being wearied from His journey…

This is important to note. Jesus got tired… we also know from other places in Scripture that He got thirsty… and was tempted. In short, Jesus demonstrated all the traits of humanity… except sin.

Duh, you might say… He’s Jesus… fully man and fully God… so what’s the big deal?

That verse in John 4:6 led me to Philippians 2:5-7… Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

That phrase “emptied Himself” is the Greek word: Kenosis and from that we what in theology is known as the Kenosis Doctrine.

In short, this doctrine asks: What exactly did Jesus empty Himself of to come to earth?

He did not empty Himself of His deity.. no, He came to the earth fully God and fully man… “God with us” as Isaiah 7:14 tells us. So, what did He empty Himself of exactly?

Well, He emptied Himself of :

  1. His heavenly glory. Again, as Isaiah 53:2 says in part… He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him…
  2. His independent authority. As we are told in John 5:19… Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
  3. His divine prerogative, to allow Himself to be led by the Holy Spirit. Dr. Luke tells us in Luke 4:1…Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness .
  4.  Eternal riches of heaven. Again, Dr. Luke records for us the words of Jesus in Luke 9:58… And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head…
  5. He emptied Himself of His favorable position with Father God, taking on God’s wrath for us on the cross… for we read in Matthew 27:46… About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Jesus did this so that in all things of His life, He would be aligned to the Father’s perfect will. In a real sense, He could not do any of His earthly miracles, unless it was the Father’s will. That is why we see Him praying before miracles as in feeding the 5000 in Matthew 14:18-19… we see Him praying early in the morning, before others had risen in… to begin His day aligned with the Father in Mark 1:35 and it was how He ended His day as we see in Matthew 14:23.

And His public ministry began with that perfect alignment as we are told in Luke 3:21-22.

He also emptied Himself to show the world what it looks like to live a human life pleasing to the Father… which is why Jesus is our example. Our perfect example on how to live every aspect of our lives… as we are reminded in 1 Peter 2:21… For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.

The Kenosis Docterine. It is key to understanding  Jesus love for the Father and His love for us… and why as a Christian, we have such a dear and personal relationship with our Savior… because as Hebrews 4:15 tells us… For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus knows what we are going through down here and has compassion on us. What a beautiful Redeemer… and all because of Kenosis… for us.

Thankful and Grateful for July 4, 1776…

Freedom is a blessing!

243 years ago, a bunch of men (and women- I love Betsy Ross’s flag)… took it upon themselves to become free from the tyranny of a king, thousands of miles away. They yearned to be independent and free from the law of others… taking the bold action of forming these United States of America- at great sacrifice. I am thankful and grateful for that.

A little over 71 years ago… a people dispersed and persecuted throughout the world… made a bold stand and declared their sovereignty in the world and in fulfillment of Isaiah 66:8… Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons. Israel on May 14, 1948 once again became a free people- and they did it at great sacrifice (Immediately after declaring independence, they were attacked by their Arab neighbors.)

As great and significant as both those events are… they pale in comparison to what Jesus did for all humanity 2000 years ago on the cross! John 3:16 says: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

That occurred at great sacrifice as well… for Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:18-19… knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

So, no matter what flag you are born under… regardless of the political system you find yourself subject to… in Christ Jesus, you are free! Free from sin… free from fear of death… free of the chains of this world and the liar (Satan) who would bind you.

Because we are told by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:1 (Kenneth Wuest- Greek Translator translation) Therefore, now, there is not even one bit of condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

So, on this Independence Day holiday… be grateful and be thankful… we are free indeed… and that freedom was bought at a great price! Amen.