Month: September 2010

Sitting in the Pew and waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting.

Bored businessman.Sitting in the Pew and waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting.

by Rev. John Fryters, Ph.D., ICADC

President of CHAKAM School of the Bible

Professor of Biblical Counseling, Biblical Life College & Seminary

Over the last 6 months CHAKAM School of the Bible, in collaboration with Bakke Graduate University and the Mustard Seed Foundation in Seattle, has been developing a new course curriculum on “The Theology of Work” or better known in today’s circles as “Market Place Ministry”.

And I have astounded about the revelatory knowledge that comes with searching the Scriptures, as the Bereans did, on a consistent, systematic basis. It almost feels that the Holy Spirit is rewarding us for being in His Word a lot. Not only did He give us revelation about the topic researched but also revelatory nuggets just for today.

In our research we literally found countless definitions of the concept of work, but the one that is one of the most appealing was Dr. John Stott’s definition. He suggests that work is “the expenditure of energy (manual or mental or both) in the service of others, which brings fulfillment to the worker, benefit to the community and glory to God” (1)

 Ever come across a Scripture which sounds strange and even questionable?

 I Corinthians 11:1 (NCV)

 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Who does Paul think he is? How arrogant can you be? Ask me to try to follow Christ and (maybe) I will, but follow man, I have to think about it twice… And which minister would even dare to ask the same what Paul is asking: Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ?

But Paul seems to understand what God wants him to do as he keeps on repeating that same message.

I Corinthians 4:15-16 (NCV)

 For though you may have ten thousand teachers in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Through the Good News I became your father in Christ Jesus, so I beg you, please follow my example.

So, here Paul clarifies that you are not just following a man, but you are following a “spiritual father”. While this might be a topic for another sermon later, he continues to repeat “follow my example”. He not only told the Corinthian Church, but also the Churches in Philippi and Thessalonica.

II Thessalonians 3:9 (NCV)

 We had the right to ask you to help us, but we worked to take care of ourselves so we would be an example for you to follow.

Philippians 3:17 (NCV)

 Brothers and sisters, all of you should try to follow my example and to copy those who live the way we showed you.

I Thessalonians 1:6 (NCV)

 And you became like us and like the Lord…

The word “follow” used in this context is the Greek word “mimetes” where our words “mime”, “to mimic” and “to imitate” are derived from. So, we are to imitate our spiritual leaders (fathers) as they are imitating Christ.

The writer of Hebrews adds an additional element.

Hebrews 6:12 (KJV)

 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

The writer of Hebrews warns the Church in Thessalonica not to be lazy but to indeed follow its leaders.

While all of these Scriptures tell us to imitate our spiritual leaders as they in turn imitate Christ, none of them tell us that our spiritual leaders are perfect, infallible or imitate Christ correctly. Paul was a man, the apostles were men, and we, ministers, are men. The only thing the Holy Spirit tells us, through Paul, is that we are to imitate Christ so that in turn those who we are ultimately spiritually responsible for can imitate us.

No matter what, the statement made by Paul in I Corinthians still remains a tall order!!!

In the context of the “Theology of Work”, it becomes quite clear what Paul means when he said to the church in Thessalonica “not to be lazy”.

An in-depth study of the Scriptures reveals that:

1. The term “God” and “work” are almost synonymous

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Commentator Finis Dake tells us that God, through His Word, mentions the concept of “work” some 416 times. Scriptures related to work are mentioned 116 times. The word “works” appears 235 times.

God, in the Scriptures, made it clear that we are to work (Genesis 3:19; Proverbs 10:16) and that we are to work with Him (II Corinthians 6:1).

Our lesson learned: we have no choice. If we are to imitate God, we have to work and work with Him.

2. God’s projects usually begin and end, but his other work continues

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While God instituted “rest periods” such as at the end of the week (Exodus 20:8-10; 31:15; 34:21; 35:2; Hebrews 4:11), and at the end of special occasions such as the important Biblical Feasts (Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 23:3-36), since God is eternal, His work actually never ends.

So, since we are eternal, our work (manual and mental or both according to Dr. John Stott) never ends. So much for a set retirement age of 60 or 65!!!

Our lesson learned: our work during the week and on special occasions has to end some times (means “keep your Sabbath”). However, as it relates to end of a lifetime, our work never ends – we continue to work until the Lord calls us home and, I believe, beyond that.

3. God’s work is “perfect”

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In Deuteronomy 32:4 and Hebrew 13:21 it shows us that God’s work is “perfect”.

Our lesson learned: when we correctly imitate God, we need to strive for perfection (nothing less) – no matter who we work for.

4. God’s work was “good” and “very good”

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The term “good” is used in Genesis 1:10 and Genesis 1:21“and God saw that it was good”.

The term “very good” is used in Genesis 1:31 “and God saw that it was very good”.

The term “good” was used after creating most of creation, and the term “very good” was used after creating Adam and Eve.

Our lesson learned: when we work we need to imitate God in His work and make sure that it is at least “good”. And when we work with other people (humans) we make sure that it is at least “very good”. God, in fact, tells us that we are to become followers (imitate) of what is good.

I Peter 3:13 (KJV)

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of what which is good?

The Lord also gives us a hint that following what is good needs to be combined with what is perfect.

Hebrews 13:21 (KJV)

Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

And finally:

5. Not only do we have to work, but we have to do “greater works” than God

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John 14:12 (NCV)

I tell you the truth, whoever believes in me will do the same things that I do. Those who believe will do even greater things than these,because I am going to the Father.

Weekly church service after weekly church service, believers are sitting in the pew and are waiting…. and waiting….. and waiting….., and waiting…..

They are not told that they should mimic, should imitate, should follow their spiritual leader who is following (imitating) Christ. Those spiritual leaders are (should be) working hard. After all, that’s what the Lord showed us in His Word this week.

We, as spiritual leaders, should understand “The Theology of Work”. It is true that one is not saved by works, but by faith and through the grace of God. However, we need to tell our followers that once saved, we need to start working and what Paul tells us in I Corinthians, it has to start with us. Otherwise, those in the pew will be waiting…. waiting…. waiting….. and waiting.

© Copyright 2010 by John J.A. Fryters, Ph.D., ICADC. All rights reserved.

Sermon Endnote

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(1) John Stott, Issues Facing Christians Today, p162

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Rev. Dr. Fryters is the President and CEO of CHAKAM School of the Bible Inc. (www.worldoutreach.ca), an innovative Bible College in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, with campuses in Canada, Peru and Uganda. Currently, CHAKAM is also planning to open an additional campus in The Sudan.

He is on the International Faculty of Biblical Life College & Seminary. (www.biblical-life.com)

Currently, he also serves on the Board of Regents of the Timothy Program International, the Board of Directors of the Saskatchewan Association of Career Colleges, and the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Understanding How to Overcome the Kingdom of Darkness

Understanding How to Overcome the Kingdom of Darkness

by Michael K. Lake, Th.D.

victoryI have always been amazed at the depth of the God’s Word. The more I grow, the more I discover wonderful truths in the Word I have never seen before. In this article, I want to share some things the Holy Spirit has been sharing with me about the battle we are currently in.

The Kingdom of Darkness is made up of many types of angels and demonic forces. The Apostle Paul gives us a glimpse of them in the Book of Ephesians:

Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

It is clear from the writings of Paul that there is a rank and file or levels of authority and power in the Kingdom of Darkness. I want to first center in on "principalities." The Greek word translated "principalities" is arche . Arche means "1) beginning, origin; 2) the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader; 3) that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause; 4) the extremity of a thing; 4a) of the corners of a sail; 5) the first place, principality, rule, magistracy; 5a) of angels and demons." [1] Hence, we can deduce the arche are the first ones and the most power that God created.

There are many references to this supreme level of angelic beings throughout the Word of God, if you know what you are looking for. In Scripture, they are first referred to as b’nai ha elohim or "the sons of God." Dr. Michael S. Heiser is a noted biblical scholar and expert is ancient biblical languages. Dr. Heiser has done extensive research into what has become known as "The Divine Council." [2] Here are some interesting things about the Divine Council that you should know:

The Sons of God rejoiced and sang at creation.

Job 38:7 (NKJV)
7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Note: Science has recently discovered that stars sing and each one has a unique song. The longitudinal vibrations of each star can be converted to music. [3] The very stars reflect the reality of what the sons of God did at creation. It also shows us that creation continues to worship the Creator in song!

They appear before God to give account of their activities.

Job 1:6 (NKJV)
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

Job 2:1 (NKJV)
1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.

One third of the Council fell with Lucifer.

Revelation 12:4 (NKJV)
4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.

Revelation 12:7-8 (NKJV)
7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.

Note: Many commentators, to include Finis Dake, believe these verses are parenthetical in the Book of Revelation. Parenthetical means it is a "flashback" in time to reveal a truth. Whether it is parenthetical or in the exact sequence of events during the Tribulation period, God is casting out Lucifer and the Council members that aligned themselves with Lucifer.

At the Tower of Babel, God divided the tribes of mankind to the seventy council members (possibly the ones that fell).

Deuteronomy 32:8 (RSV)

When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of men, he fixed the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.

Note: The RSV provides an alternative rendering of this passage. The KJV states "the children of Israel." This variant is based on the 3rd-Century BCE translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, the Septuagint, as well as Hebrew manuscripts of Deuteronomy found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran.[4]

Man began worshipping these fallen council members instead of God.

Deuteronomy 4:19 (ASV)
19 and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun and the moon and the stars, even all the host of heaven, thou be drawn away and worship them, and serve them, which Jehovah thy God hath allotted unto all the peoples under the whole heaven.

Note: The heavenly hosts or the hosts of heaven refer to members of this angelic council.[5] Instead of guiding the direction of the 70 tribes of the gentiles, they began to receive worship from them.

Some of these Council members took women as their wives and produced giants that resulted in the Flood of Noah.

Genesis 6:1-4 (NKJV)
1 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. 3 And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." 4 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

We can see many places in Scripture where fallen members of the Divine Council were over Gentile nations. One of the most obvious is found in the Book of Daniel:

Daniel 10:13 (NKJV)
13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.

It is important to understand that every Gentile nation has a Council member of darkness over them. It was understood in the ancient world that there were seventy that matched the original tribes at the Tower of Babel. Esoteric groups that embraced the hermetic principle from Greece later changed the number to seventy-two (possibly because it was more mathematically perfect). [6] This understanding of these more seventy-two Council members was incorporated by the developers of the Kabbalah, and later on by Freemasonry. In Freemasonry, this can be seen in two very public places:

The Apotheosis of George Washington in the eye of the rotunda at our nation’s capital. Apotheosis comes from the Greek apotheoun "to deify", in Latin deificatio, and later in Italian gióvino, "to be made divine"), refers to the exaltation of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre. In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature. In art, the term refers to the treatment of any subject (a figure, group, locale, motif, convention or melody) in a particularly grand or exalted manner.[7] Freemasonry believes that our first president became a "god" at death. You can view pictures of this painting at: http://www.aoc.gov/cc/art/rotunda/apotheosis/apotheosis_1.cfm. Washington is seated among a pagan pantheon of gods and is surrounded by 72 stars (represented the fallen angels that are over the gentile nations).

The unfinished pyramid on the back of the seal of the United State (and our one dollar bill). There are 72 bricks on the pyramid, each believed to be essential for the coming “New World Order.”

These fallen Council members, and most likely, all the subdivisions of angelic hosts that were subordinate to them fell with Lucifer. They are all a part of the Kingdom of Darkness.

With the calling of Abraham, God began to extrapolate a people from these pagan tribes for Himself. Abraham was originally a citizen of Babylon (the cradle of all paganism) and was called him into covenant with God Himself. The moment that Abraham answered the call, he moved from the authority of darkness over Babylon to the authority of Almighty God. From Abraham sprang a people that belonged to God and were to only stay under His authority. This is one of the reasons Almighty God continually warned them not to entangle themselves with pagan practices.

From the loins of Father Abraham came One born from the House of Judah that was the Word made flesh – Jesus of Nazareth. Through the completed work of the Cross, Jesus was able to gather people of every tribe and kindred into His Kingdom and deliver them from the authority of these fallen angels.

Colossians 1:13-14 (NKJV)
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Each Kingdom Mirrors Its Lord

 

Everything in the Kingdom of God lines itself up with God, for it is His domain. This same alignment occurs in the Kingdom of Darkness. In that kingdom, everything lines up with Lucifer.

Over the years, I have heard it taught that when Lucifer fell that his name was changed to Satan. Although this is partly true, I believe it also reflects a misunderstanding of the use of descriptive names in the Word of God. Almighty God is called "the LORD of Hosts." This was not a name change, rather it is a title describing who He is. Satan (or haSatan in the Hebrew) means "Adversary." Lucifer and his Kingdom of Darkness have taken an adversarial role against both God (thus His Kingdom) and all mankind. Not understanding this truth can cause several problems in the life of a believer:

1. Not realizing that any agent of the Kingdom of Darkness can fulfill the role as a Satan causes us to think that Lucifer is more powerful than he really is. Lucifer is not omnipresent. He is restricted to one location in space-time. Any of the levels of authority that Paul mentions in Ephesians 6 can be a Satan or Adversary in our lives.

2. The very nature of the Kingdom of Darkness is adversarial. “Adversary” mean "one that contends with, opposes, or resists." [8] Any time the Kingdom of God begins to move or we begin to move with God, the Kingdom of Darkness immediately raises up to "content, oppose, and resist" both us and God.

Somehow in our contemporary theology, we have forgotten the adversarial role of the Kingdom of Darkness. We are being taught by some that if we are in the perfect will of God and moving in obedience (and faith) that everything will flow smoothly and it will be "roses and sunshine." The biblical account is that the Kingdom of Darkness only rises up as an adversary when God begins to move and mankind becomes obedient. This is why the Apostle Paul continues in teaching about these forces with the admonition:

Ephesians 6:10-11 (NKJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:13-18 (NKJV)
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–

We need to understand and plan for the enemy to take up an adversarial role anytime we are obedient to God. This can range from answering the call to prepare for ministry at BLCS to starting a new work for God (and about everything else in between). When we plan for resistance and take a stand of faithful and diligent obedience, Heaven will begin to take an adversarial role against the working of the enemy! But you have got to stand and be faithful to activate the counter-pressure! The counter-pressure begins to flow when you realize who Jesus is and who He is in you. Jesus promised us:

Matthew 16:18 (NKJV)
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

The Church is built upon the rock of revelation of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished for us. This revelational truth is so powerful that even Lucifer’s Council of Darkness cannot prevail against it!

Our preparedness for a fight because of obedience turns life’s situation into God’s Spiritual Gym. We enter into "resistance training" that develops maturity and spiritual muscle in our lives. The Apostle James said it this way:

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

The testing of our faith (i.e. obedience) produces patience. I believe patience is the ability to hold fast and continue in obedience until God reveals the next step. Patience doesn’t quit, rather it pushes on in faithful obedience to victory. The result of God’s Spiritual Gym is that you can become "perfect and complete." The word "perfect" is teleios in the Greek. Teleios means "1) brought to its end, finished; 2) wanting nothing necessary to completeness; 3) perfect; 4) that which is perfect; 4a) consummate human integrity and virtue; 4b) of men; 4b1) full grown, adult, of full age, mature." [9] The word "complete" (or "entire" in the KJV) is holokleros, which means " 1) complete in all its parts, in no part wanting or unsound, complete, entire, whole; 1a) of a body without blemish or defect, whether of a priest or of a victim; 1b) free from sin, faultless; 1c) complete in all respects, consummate." [10]

These two powerful Greek words paint a wonderful picture of a mature believer that has grown in spiritual resistance training. God has called all of us to attain this level of spiritual maturity, and has placed all of the resources necessary to get us there.

Every time I go to a gym to exercise, I expect resistance from the weights. By preparing myself and expecting the resistance will help me in overcoming it. In fact, in the gym, the goal is to be able to handle greater resistance as you develop your strength. I believe the same is true for us in our spiritual battles.

The Kingdom of Darkness will always oppose what God is trying to do in you and through you. When you prepare yourself in the Lord, and understand the nature of Kingdoms, you begin to learn to hold your ground and press forward. We are promised overcoming strength in Scripture. The world Overcomer is living on the inside of us. Jesus has already beaten all the Kingdom of Darkness when He was raised victorious over death, hell, and the grave. We need to develop a lifestyle of expecting resistance from the enemy, and then holding fast to who Jesus is for His victory to flow through us. The Lord will then use every situation to mature us for His glory. Remember, Peter was able to walk on the water as long as he was looking at Jesus!

1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

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© Copyright 2010 by Michael K. Lake, Th.D. All Rights Reserved.

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor and Founder

Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s "Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans," Sterling’s "Who’s Who Executive Edition," and the "Who’s Who Among American Teachers" for his accomplishments in ministry.

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This Week’s Featured Resource for Believers

Dr. Lake recently ministered a message on the "Healing of the Bride" at Biblical Life Assembly. You can download this free message in MP3 format using the URL below:

http://www.biblicallifeassembly.org/library/mp3/maturation/maturation_part_3.mp3

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Article Endnotes


[1] Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon. BibleWorks for Windows 7.0. BibleWorks, LLC, Norfolk, VA. Copyright © 2006.

[2] Dr. Heisler has posted some introductory articles that can be downloaded free of charge on the Divine Council at his website: http://www.thedivinecouncil.com .

[3] Article: The Sun Sings: Musical Sounds from the Atmosphere Revealed. Scientific Computing – http://www.scientificcomputing.com/News-DS-The-Sun-Sings-062210.aspx

[4] Huie, Byrian. Article: The Heavenly Divine Council. Copyright 2010. http://www.herealittletherealittle.net/index.cfm?page_name=Divine-Council

[5] Marshall, I. Howard. New Bible Dictionary 3rd Edition. IVP Academic, Downers Grove, IL Copyright 1996.

[6] Goodgame, Peter. Article: The Divine Council and the Kabbalah. Red Moon Rising Publishing. http://www.redmoonrising.com/agenda.htm.

[7] Definition from Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apotheosis

[8] Definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adversary

[9] Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon. BibleWorks for Windows 7.0. BibleWorks, LLC, Norfolk, VA. Copyright © 2006.

[10] Ibid.

We are approaching the Fall Feasts of the LORD

TheFeastOfTrumpetsWe are quickly approaching the Fall Feasts of the LORD.  At Biblical Life, we observe the Feasts according to the Barley Harvest in Israel – which in our estimation in the most biblical.  Here are the dates:

Feasts of Trumpets (Yom Teruah)

Starts at Sunset on Sept 10 through Sunset on the 11th.

Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

Starts at Sunset on Sept 19 through Sunset on the 29th.

First Day of the Feast of Trumpets (Sukkot)

Starts at Sunset on Sept 24 through Sunset on the 25th.

Last Great Day of the Feast

Starts at Sunset Oct 1 through Sunset on the 2nd.

The Feasts are all about Jesus and God’s Prophetic time table.  If you have not studied the Feasts, it might be a good time to purchase our DVD Set and Study Guide on “The Feasts of the LORD and Their Spiritual Significance in the Life of the Believer.”

http://store.biblical-life.com/servlet/-strse-19/Feasts-of-the-LORD/Detail