Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday, March 27th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 17-18, Psalm 62, Luke 18
Today's scripture focus is Jude 1:9-10

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.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.

MacArthur calls these deceivers that have crept into the church, spiritual terrorists.  And I thought that was an excellent analogy.

our nation, of course, is on high alert with regard to terrorism and what makes terrorists dangerous is, one, they are hidden among us and we don't know who they are, and secondly, they don't mind blowing themselves up in the process of accomplishing their goal to destroy others. That makes them very, very dangerous. And the same thing is true in terms of the church. And sad to say, while the nation takes seriously the threat of physical terrorism, the church doesn't take very seriously the threat of spiritual terrorism. The church is filled with spiritual terrorists. I read about them every time I open a newspaper, those who name the name of Christ, who were clerical garb, who claim to teach the Scriptures and represent the Scriptures and speak about God and represent Jesus and so forth and so forth, whether they're in the newspaper, whether an institution, television, radio, wherever they are, they are all over the place professing to belong to Christ and to represent Him and to have the insight on the truth and they are really spiritual terrorists, they are embedded in the church. And they are equally dangerous because one, the church doesn't take care to really discover who they are. And secondly, they don't mind blowing themselves up with the very damning error that they espouse that's so destructive to others.

These spiritual terrorists not only promote their own false spiritual insights as truth, not only do they live immorally, not only do they reject the authority of Jesus Christ and His Word, but they also blaspheme the glorious ones - the angels.

MacArthur shows, and I don't think I've ever noticed this before either, that angels have always been guardians of God's law.
In Deuteronomy 33 Moses reminds the people of how God came down at Mount Sinai to give them the law along with thousands of angels.
In Acts 7:53, Stephen says "you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it."
Consider Galatians 3:19  Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.
Hebrews 2:1-4 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Angels have a special role in the moral order of the world! And deceivers blaspheme them.

MacArthur:  it is a rather amazing irony that these false religions very often and these mystics and these Gnostics and these who have the elevated knowledge and these who get the visions and the revelations and the dreams are talking about the fact that this stuff is coming from angels when in fact they are blaspheming the holy angels who are the guardians of the sacred Word of God and they are really in connection with demons...

False teachers do not hesitate to indulge their flesh, reject lordship and revile holy angels. Reviling holy angels is something you better be careful about. Blaspheming holy angels by rejecting the Law of which they are the guardians is serious. It is a serious thing to revile holy angels. And the point that Jude makes here is very powerful because he says Michael who is himself a holy angel would not even revile Satan who was a fallen angel. That's an amazing contrast, isn't it? Michael who is himself a holy angel would not himself blaspheme a fallen angel and yet these false teachers will blaspheme holy angels....

He knew Lucifer. He knew him when he was the son of the morning, when he was the anointed cherub, when he was around the throne, when he was the heavenly choir director. He knew the other demons, all of them being created together at once. And when they fell, he knew they fell and he did battle with them and was part of the force that threw them out of heaven. He knows he has power over Satan then, he knows Satan is fallen. And yet he has respect for those angelic enemies of God and even though he is a powerful holy angel, he knows that there are limits to his power and there are limits to his knowledge. He is not omniscient, or is he omnipotent. His power as a holy angel is delegated and his function is to do whatever God tells him to do and not act independently on his own. He will not usurp divine authority. He will not exercise his own will over Satan. He will not on his own blaspheme even Satan. God has His plans for Satan and God knows what they are and Michael will carry them out but he will not act independently. He will not intrude. He will not do things on his own. And one of the things he will not do is he will not bring against the devil a railing judgment but rather he will say to the devil, "The Lord rebuke you." 

Apparently Satan wanted to fight with Michael over Moses' body - perhaps to desecrate it, perhaps to use it as an idol for Israel or some other evil plan - we don't know exactly why.  Rather than personally cursing Satan, Michael defers to the ultimate power of God - just like the Angel of the Lord (the pre-incarnate Jesus) in Zechariah 3:2, when the Angel of the Lord, Jesus Himself, says the Lord God rebuke you. The Son calls on the Father to rebuke Satan.  Michael was there, he knows that story, and he follows the very example of Jesus.

Apostates not only rebuke Satan with amazing presumption, but they teach other immature believers to do it as well. And in addition, they also blaspheme holy angels by their sinful lives which show disdain for the holy Law of God which is so precious and so sacred to the angels. They are, in a true sense, the guardians of God's holy Law. And wherever these false teachers are characterized by materialism, wherever they're characterized by pride, wherever they're characterized by insubordination to the Word of God, wherever they're characterized by anger or power-hunger, whatever it is, they are violating the holy Law of God, they are then in the truest sense blaspheming angelic majesties.

Why? Because they are ignorant.

These ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ, these who undermine the faith, these men, verse 8, these dreamers, these are those, verse 10, who revile the things which they do not understand.... They do this stuff because they are spiritually ignorant. 

They're operating not out of true knowledge but out of ignorance, out of their own blind instincts and they will end up being destroyed by their own deception.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Jude 1:11-13
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Deuteronomy 19-20, Psalm 63, Luke 19

1 comment:

Miriam said...

It always surprises me to see how often angels are referred to in the Bible. I don't know why. Maybe because angels were kind of glossed over all the time I was growing up. I don't really remember ever discussing angels in any way other than as messengers - such as the angel appearing to Mary to tell her she would have a son even though she was a virgin.