Taking the Epistle

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Category Archives: Ezekiel

Gods authority is challenged by the serpent – Genesis 3:1-7

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Gods authority is challenged by the serpent – Genesis 3:1-7 – 04/19/2016

Genesis 3:1 (ESV) Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in chapter three verse one…

V1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

As the title suggests this was the first challenge to the authority of God and although the text does not clearly state that this was Satan, however elsewhere in the bible it does make it clear, let’s look at the book of Ezekiel…

Ezekiel 28:13 (ESV) You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14 You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. 18 By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.”

And we read that the serpent was crafty and cunning and this is a warning to us today not to engage Satan in a battle of wits or attempt to even outsmart or try to do battle with the word of God against Satan, he knows the word of God and knows how to twist it to suit his ends and we see this in this text that this is what he tries to do with Eve. It is important to recognize that Satan is a created being; he is not equal or equivalent to God. To elevate him to such stature is giving him what he desires most, to have the power of God. He can be defeated and Jesus is more than a match for him.

He understood the woman and understood that by going to the woman and attacking the one that the command was not explicitly given (see Genesis 2:15 onwards) to he may expose a weakness in the relationship of the man and the woman. The question is not a friendly one and exposed by Satan’s purpose in all of our lives that is explained in John 10 where he is listed as “the thief”…

John 10:10 (ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

I know all about Satan’s plan in this area as often times we have been attacked as a family unit when either myself or my wife has been at their weakest and here is how he attacked “He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” He decided to go against the very word of God and whilst this may be a bold assertion for us mere mortals, Satan genuinely believes that he is equivalent to God and will attempt to place himself in that place.

He would have had foreknowledge of whether Adam did a good job telling Eve God’s plan for the garden and he approached it in a manner taking what God had said as a positive (He gave them so much to eat and a perfect paradise to roam in) and the devil focused in on the ONE LIMITATION that was given and even then he asked the question in a manner that was designed to trip up Eve.

V2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

Eve was really proud to be asked this question and answered him in the first place and secondly that she answered in her own pride and here is the first mistakes made in this whole unfortunate encounter. She also does not name the tree by name and lastly she adds her own addition to the end of the command from God. Here is what God actually said…

Genesis 2:15 (ESV) The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

No-one expects Eve to repeat the command verbatim but she was not supposed to add to the words of God and this is what Satan jumped on. She added the “nor shall you touch it” and whilst it may have been a sound policy to avoid temptations she was not bound by that recommendation by God and I see that a lot with Christians who bind themselves up in a whole bunch of traditional dogma that is not actually biblical and have been passed down as a tradition as opposed to sound theology. Eve really had a poor understanding of what God had actually said and did not understand the heart behind it. This for me as a man, husband and father falls squarely on Adams shoulders as he was the one who was supposed to take care of that.

V4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

As stated prior, Satan jumped on this like a flash exposing her false doctrine he had planned this and from the first moment asking the question in the way he did he opened up this situation to his benefit. He did not have to discredit God’s word; he just had to make Eve doubt and want to defend it. That is how he got a foothold in that conversation and from this he then went on the attack.

He stated “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He starts with questioning to make sure that Eve did not know what she was talking about and now moves in for the kill by contradicting God’s word. God’s word shows two good ways of dealing with the devil…

Jude 1:9 (ESV) But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Ephesians 4:27 (ESV) and give no opportunity to the devil.

Basically the bible states that we should not be tackling him dead on and instead leaving him to the Lord because greater is he that is in us than the one who tempts us. The devil concentrates on what he believes the benefits would be to them if they carry out this sin. The most dangerous part of this that there was a little truth in that their eyes would be opened…to their sin and just how inferior and different they were to God. Satan promised the opposite, he played on the pride that was in the heart of the woman wanting to be like the one who created them and made them fall in the same way he did, by wanting to be equal with God.

V6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Satan focused on how good the food was and Eve looks at the food and is enticed by the very thing that we are warned about in the epistle that we call First John…

1st John 2:15 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Eve did all of that…

  • She gave into the desires of the flesh – when the woman saw that the tree was good for food
  • the desires of the eyes – was a delight to the eyes
  • and lastly the pride of life – desired to make one wise

Now the seed was sown Eve was sunk, she had backed herself into a corner and now wanted to go against God. This is a common story because every sin, whether it is a small sin like disobedience or a slightly larger one like lusting after another, they all start in the same manner, they start with pitching your tent closer and closer to the place of sin until the sin overtakes you. Whether that is a look that gravitates to a thought that cultivates a desire and concludes with an obsession it is all the same.

Up to this point it was all temptation and Eve still had to make the choice to sin and she chose that path but before you get to hard on Eve please note that it does state that her husband was with her and he took the fruit from his wife and ate it. As the man of the house he should have covered his wife and protected her from the devil. Eve was deceived but Adam had all the information direct from God and he chose to willingly rebel against God.

V7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

True enough their eyes were opened and the promise was fulfilled, they saw their nakedness and understood shame for the first time. They understood exposure, they understood vulnerability and they were experiencing things that God did not want them to have to go through. We know this as guilt, suddenly everything was worse and they had realized that they had done something wrong and they decided to cover their shame with leaves and for the first time they had a desire to be modest. God made us to be beautiful in who we are, our sin and fallen nature is the reason we wear clothes.

Lord willing, in our next article in Genesis we will look at verses eight through thirteen in chapter three when we look at what happens the next time Adam and Eve talk to God. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

John the Baptist prepares the way (part two) – Matthew 3:3-12

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John the Baptist prepares the way (part two) – Matthew 3:3-12 – 03/02/2016

Matthew 3:3 (ESV) For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” 4 Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

This is a series in the Gospel of Matthew which looks to visit the text from the Gospel of Matthew on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Matthew, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.

Let’s start our bible study in verse three of chapter three.

V3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”

In the last article we dealt with an introduction of John the Baptist and who he was and now John introduces himself by quoting Isaiah 40:3 and in the previous few paragraphs we get an idea of who John was genealogically and Matthew draws this comparison (also made in John 1:23) and John was clear in his mission. His mission was that as a prophet, to warn and to prepare the hearts of the people to receive the Messiah. To create an understanding of their sin as a forerunner to Jesus, John knew his role as the warm up man and not the main event.

The idea of make his ways straight comes from what would be done for a visiting monarch or visiting royalty that the route that would be travelled would be prepared and be mended to make sure that the visit and journey was as smooth as possible. The hearts of the people were like the wilderness that John was preaching in, they had to be prepared and smoothed out and I have seen it with my own life and own eyes that often times the one who prepares the hearts and sows seeds is not the one who harvests.

V4 Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

John had a rather odd attire, personality and diet; (he literally lived off what God provided in the wilderness – locusts and wild honey) he dressed and spoke like an Old Testament prophet He took his fashion sense straight from the books of Isaiah, here is Old Testament confirmation of this…

2nd Kings 1:8 (ESV) They answered him, “He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”

He was prophesied as coming prior to being born by Malachi…

Malachi 4:1 (ESV) “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts. 4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. 5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Now you understand why great care is told to tell the story of his birth! John knew who he was, what was promised and why he was on the mission he was on. If we had the attitude that John had of Jesus first – I second and just think for one second how more effective our ministries would be for the Lord. Often times we struggle because we feel entitled to some kudos in the role of the ministry. The more I do ministry and the more articles I prepare and the more lessons I teach I realize that it is not about me but the one I am following.

The last part talks about the fruit of John’s ministry, John was blessed by God and was given fruit in his ministry as evidence of his obedience. People were realizing that the words he were speaking were from God, they were convicted in their hearts and were confessing their sins and more importantly they were willing to put that conviction into action and actually make a life change. John convicted these people of their sins and they responded by the outward sign of faith in baptism, and this became so famous that it reached the ears of the ones who were the religious establishment. Let’s see how John deals with the religious establishment…

V7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Talk about putting a target on your back! John takes on the ones who are perceived as being the “holy ones” with a righteous anger that came straight from heaven. As much as they were different groups in that the Pharisees and Sadducees and had huge theological differences, they came together to see who this new guy was who was convicting them of their sins. The Pharisees believed in the Law and the righteousness that gave you a local and moral spirituality and be seen as being closer to God by doing so. The Sadducees were more worldly and normally the Pharisees would not be teaming up with them but this new threat to the status quo had to be looked at, perhaps they were seeing if they could align this popular prophet to their tribe or cause?

John responds as they arrive calling them snakes, he mocked their genealogical arguments that they were righteous because of a lineage of birth as opposed to personal repentance or sacrifice. Even if they had come to be baptized to look as if they were prepared for the coming messiah we see that John concluded that like everything else they did that it was to put on a religious show and reminded all who were there that the important. John wanted to see that they had repentance on their hearts as well as their lips.

He reminded them of the wrath to come and who it was from. God was about to send his son to preach words direct from the Father and that this Messiah would come and shine the light of God into their lives and tell them of some really uncomfortable truths. They will not survive that wrath and the only way to sustain is to flee from it. He lastly uses the analogy of an axman, getting ready to chop out the unrepentant branches of that olive tree and graft in those who would repent (see Romans 11 for the culmination of that picture) John then advises why he was baptizing…

V11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

And John again states that he is not the main attraction and when you are in ministry it is very easy to be lifted up and people to hold you higher than you should be held up. John remembers his place and states that he is not worthy to perform the tasks of the lowest servant in a house. What a heart to have and it certainly challenges me about my heart when I take on tasks that I have been allowed to do for the Lord, he culminates that and shows his heart in his words in John 3:30 when he says that “He must increase and I must decrease” and we have to remember that in ministries where you are giving a public recognition, that it should not be about you but the Messiah you serve! John brought them to a place of repentance but he was not the one who would save them.

John finishes by telling those in attendance about the judgment that is coming and to be prepared for the Messiah and his coming because he was going to come in judgment. John brought the water baptism but the messiah and only the messiah was the only one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit, if you have been following along in our series “the ACTS files” then you would see the fulfilment of that prophecy that was first stated in the book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37:14)

He speaks of the wheat and the chaff, the wheat would be the harvest that is useable by the Lord and pure and he will purify those who were pure, not by their own efforts but by the grace of God and the repentance of their hearts and the chaff are the ones who choose to live in their wickedness and never repent. Chaff is the unusable, inedible residue that the agricultural people used to separate from the good stuff using a form and allow nature to blow it away from the stuff that was kept as good. A question to ask yourself is are you wheat or chaff?

Lord willing, in our next article in Matthew we will continue to look at John the Baptist and we will see that John gets a visitor wishing to be baptized and despite protestations by John, he allows him to be baptized I love this scripture because prophetically and theologically it is such a great passage of scripture that I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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TGBTG
SDG

BIAY – Bible in a year – September 9th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for August check out our September page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for September ninth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Ezekiel 47-48.

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BIAY – Bible in a year – September 8th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for August check out our September page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for September eighth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Ezekiel 44-46.

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BIAY – Bible in a year – September 7th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for August check out our September page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for September seventh.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Ezekiel 41-43.

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BIAY – Bible in a year – September 6th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for August check out our September page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for September sixth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Ezekiel 39-40.

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BIAY – Bible in a year – September 5th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for August check out our September page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for September fifth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Ezekiel 36-38.

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BIAY – Bible in a year – September 4th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for August check out our September page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for September third.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Ezekiel 33-35.

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BIAY – Bible in a year – September 3rd 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for August check out our September page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for September third.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Ezekiel 31-32 .

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BIAY – Bible in a year – September 2nd 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for August check out our September page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for September second.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Ezekiel 28-30 .

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TTE