Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Psalm 22: The Spiritual Suffering of Jesus

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Did you know that the spiritual suffering of Jesus was prophesied 1,000 years before he endured it on the cross?

I was in Jerusalem Easter of 2008 on a video shoot with my old friend Evangelist Don McGee. Don is the founder and director of Crown & Sickle Ministries based in Amite, Louisiana. Don travels all over the Unites States preaching about the soon return of Jesus Christ and speaking at Bible prophecy conferences.

Don and I then got together on my television show "Christ in Prophecy" to discuss how Psalm 22 is one of the most prophetic chapters concerning the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (watch!). We discussed how particularly remarkable it is that the descriptive prophecy concerning Jesus' death was written more than one thousand years before Jesus was born, and more than 700 years before the Romans perfected crucifixion as a method of execution.


Don McGee


The Spiritual Suffering of Jesus

Dr. Reagan: In addition to the fact that Bible prophecy validates Jesus as God in the flesh, it also helps us to better understand Jesus, to understand who He was and what He did.

Psalm 22 is one of the most remarkable prophecies in the Bible. Keep in mind that it was written by David 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus.

The psalm begins with a cry of lament with these words, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest." Well, as you can see, the psalm begins with an agonizing cry of despair. David cries out, "Where are You, God?" He bemoans the fact that although he has been seeking the Lord's help both day and night, all he has received in response is silence.

Don McGee: Have you ever had that experience? Well, if you pray regularly, I know you have. It happens because God answers prayers in three ways: Yes, No, and Wait. Yes and No we can deal with. It is the waiting that wears on our nerves. We usually desire instant gratification rather than God's will in His perfect timing.

Dr. Reagan: David had experienced this feeling before. An example can be found in Psalm 6 where he wrote, "I am weary with my sighing; every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears. My eye has wasted away with grief; it has become old because of all my adversaries." David is saying here, "Lord, my bed is wet from my tears. My eyes are weary from my grief. When are you going to hear me and respond?" This type of statement is not evidence of a loss of faith. The psalmist would not even bother to cry out to God if he had lost his faith. It is more an expression of impatience and a verbalization of a sense of desperation.

Don McGee: In fact, after issuing his cry of despair, David immediately reaffirms his faith in God. He reminds himself of God's faithfulness by proclaiming, "Yet, You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. In You our fathers trusted; they trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out, and were delivered; In You they trusted, and were not disappointed." As if to preserve his sanity in the midst of suffering, the psalmist reminds himself of God's faithfulness in responding to the desperate needs of his forefathers.

Dr. Reagan: It is one thing for David to cry out to God in desperation in his frail humanity. But, how can the fact be explained that Jesus, the Son of God, exclaimed the same plaintive cry while hanging on the cross? Listen to what it says in Matthew 27:46. Matthew writes, "About the ninth hour, 3 p.m., Jesus cried out in a loud voice saying, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?' that is, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'" Again, how can such words coming from the mouth of the Son of God be explained? I believe, as with David, this expression was not related to a loss of faith. Rather, it was a desperate cry of inexpressible agony and lament over the separation from God the Father that Jesus experienced on the Cross.

Don McGee: You see, the greatest suffering that Jesus experienced in His passion was not physical or emotional, it was spiritual. Think of it. He had experienced eternally a perfect fellowship of love with God the Father. Then, suddenly, that sweet communion was broken because your sins and mine were placed on Jesus, and the wrath of God, which we deserve, was poured out on the Son. Here's how the apostle Paul put it in 2 Corinthians 5, "He (that is God the Father) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Dr. Reagan: The perfect fellowship between Father and Son was broken because our sins were placed on Jesus, and the holiness of God cannot countenance sin. God the Father had to turn His back on His Son, prompting Jesus to cry out from the depths of His soul, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"


In the next part of this series on the Passion in Bible Prophecy, well begin to understand the intense physical suffering Jesus endured at the crucifixion.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Psalm 22: A Statistical Phenomenon

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Do you know how phenomenal the statistical probability is that so many Bible prophecies could be fulfilled in the life of one man — Jesus Christ?

I was in Jerusalem Easter of 2008 on a video shoot with my old friend Evangelist Don McGee. Don is the founder and director of Crown & Sickle Ministries based in Amite, Louisiana. Don travels all over the Unites States preaching about the soon return of Jesus Christ and speaking at Bible prophecy conferences.

Don and I then got together on my television show "Christ in Prophecy" to discuss how Psalm 22 is one of the most prophetic chapters concerning the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (watch!). We discussed how particularly remarkable it is that the descriptive prophecy concerning Jesus' death was written more than one thousand years before Jesus was born, and more than 700 years before the Romans perfected crucifixion as a method of execution.


Don McGee


The Hill that Looks Like a Skull

Dr. Reagan: Skull Hill, also called Golgotha, is one of the possible sites of the crucifixion of Jesus. This hill is located in Jerusalem just north of the Old City's Damascus Gate. There is an image on the front of the hill of what appears to be a skull. You can see two eye sockets and the bridge of a nose.


Golgotha

During Old Testament times, leading up to the time of Jesus, this was a place of execution where people were stoned to death. This site fronts on the highway to Damascus. The Romans always crucified people along such major highways in order to maximize exposure to what happened when you challenged Rome. Regardless of where the crucifixion took place in Jerusalem, whether here or some other site, the event itself was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures over one thousand years before it occurred.


The Remarkable Statistics of Bible Prophecy

Dr. Reagan: There are many reasons to study Bible prophecy. One of the most important is that it validates Jesus as God in the flesh.

Don McGee: There are over 300 prophecies concerning the First Coming of the Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures. One hundred and nine of these are separate and distinct. The odds of only eight being fulfilled accidentally in the life of one person are 1 in 10 to the 17th power, or one in one hundred quadrillion. Such fulfillment is beyond the realm of possibility!

Dr. Reagan: A mathematician by the name of Peter Stoner in his book Science Speaks illustrates the meaning of 1 in 10 to the 17th power. Now, I have never met Peter Stoner, but I tell you one thing, I know he must be a good man because he uses the state of Texas to illustrate his point!


Peter Stoner

Stoner says that if you want to get an idea of 1 in 10 to the 17th power, you must start by filling the state of Texas knee deep with silver dollars. Then you fly over the state and you drop out one silver dollar from the airplane that has a black check mark on it. Then you turn about 10,000 bulldozers loose and let them just rampage around the state for several years to get those silver dollars really mixed up very well. Then you take a blindfolded man and you turn him loose in the sea of silver dollars. The odds that on the first draw he will reach down and pick up that silver dollar with the black check mark is 1 in 10 to the 17th power.

Don McGee: We're not talking about mere coincidence here. This is beyond the realm of coincidence. And, keep in mind, Stoner was only talking about eight of the prophecies fulfilled in the life of Jesus. The total that was fulfilled was 109!

For more on the science of probability in the Scriptures, please see my article entitled "Applying the Science of Probability to the Scriptures".


In the next part of this series on the Passion in Bible Prophecy, well delve into the most remarkable prophetic chapter concerning the crucifixion of Jesus Christ — Psalm 22.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Christians Fight For Righteousness

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Should Christians fight for righteousness?

As Christians we are called to share the Gospel, leading hearts and lives to Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). But, we are also called by Jesus in Matthew 5:13-18 to be "salt and light" in the world, showing by our loving example what Jesus stands for. As Hebrews 13:16 states, "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

And so, it is not just us sharing the Gospel that the Lord wants, though that's primary, but for us to share Jesus' love with everyone based on the living example He demonstrated for us while on earth (Lk. 10:27). And, what was Jesus' example? He healed the sick, fed the poor, showed mercy to the sinner, and gave the world the truth.

Not every Christian agrees with this direct approach to dealing with social evils, though. They believe the key to changing society is to focus solely on sharing the Gospel in the hope that changed lives will change society. One friend of the ministry kindly wrote in to share this view (and gave me permission to repurpose it here):

I just read your latest email about standing up for righteousness in the end times. I know my attitude is flawed, but here it is. I don't see the point in putting forth the effort in trying to bail the sinking ship of the world by trying to fight against unrighteousness when the world is surely and quickly heading to that "hot place" in a hand basket. I do believe we are in the end of the end times, and I do believe what is prophesied to transpire will transpire.
What's the point of trying to whitewash the house when the foundation is consumed by termites? Besides which, taking a stand against all the awful things going on in the world — too numerous to mention — only accomplishes polarization. Don't misunderstand, I stand for righteousness, and will gladly say so (whatever the issue) whenever the occasion arises. It would be wrong to do less. But, to go off with the agenda of finding a cause to crusade against and doing so... well, I just think it's a waste of precious time that could be better used preaching the gospel (rather than alienating those who most need to hear it) and warning of the soon return of Christ. This old world and world system is way beyond patching up, and in my opinion it's a waste of time to try to do so or even fight against it.
Instead I'd say, "Take that passion and go forth proclaiming the gospel and the soon return of Christ," (which I know Lamb and Lion does) and then live or die (if need be) for that, not some issue that will be irrelevant after the Kingdom is established. We'll never changed the behaviors of man until we change the hearts of man.

Presenting the Gospel is our Great Commission. We certainly cannot change the behaviors of man until we change the hearts of man, true, but as Christians we have to face the reality that we cannot bring more than a gleaning of the world to salvation. Today's days are just like the days of Noah when, "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen. 6:5). Just as Jesus foretold in Matthew 24:37, the end times we live in will not be conquered for Christ without Jesus' actual return. Before Jesus' Second Coming, only a small fraction of the world will have their hearts changed by Jesus.

An interesting experience our ministry friend went through a short time after sending their first email helped them see the value in standing up against evil for righteousness' sake. They were willing to let us read the experience to encourage other believers to take action.

I wanted to share my experience regarding standing up for what you believe. I don't know if you'll recall, but I wrote a couple weeks ago expressing that — other than the gospel and soon return of Christ — I thought it a waste of time for Christians to get involved in secular matters. I kept that opinion until the following happened.
In my area we have what is colloquially referred to as "sexpresso stands" with "pastie baristas" who wear near to nothing and sometimes provide "extra services." I'll leave that to your imagination. I have two within 1/4 mile of my driveway. Of course, as a Christian I'm unhappy with this, but I've never said anything, mostly because it's like spitting in the wind to do so.
However, when the contributing editor of our local paper wrote an article stating that all of us who objected were old fashioned prudes who needed to get over it, I was prompted to act. I wrote a brief and to the point opinion to the paper. See below:
"I'm writing in response to Rob Woutat's 'Barely Clad Barista' article of 3/12/10. I find both the baristas and patrons of these stands to be pitiable. How is it that we've raised our daughters with so little self respect that they are willing to sell the viewing of their bodies to merchandize a cup of coffee plus tips? And how is it that the customer's have so little self control that, at the promise of seeing a little flesh, they lose control of something below the waist — their wallets? The greater fault lies with the owners of the stands who exploit the baristas and the public and callously denigrate the morals of the community just to make a buck. How is that we, the people, allow this? If we don't stop this now we will soon be seeing a lot more nudity in a lot more public places. I guarantee it."
Of course, I subsequently got lambasted by a lot of hate email from people with pseudo email names who hadn't learned to spell yet. I expected as much, so I didn't think much of it other than I was surprised that out of 80+ responses there was only one person who felt as I do and was willing to say so.
However, yesterday I went to a medical appointment and was quite surprised when the receptionist rushed up to me effusing, "You are my hero! I read what you wrote in The Sun and I agree with everything you said! I had an incident at one of those stands." Later, when we were alone I asked her about the "incident." She related that she, nearly nine months pregnant with her and her husband's second child, had driven by one of the stands to find her husband parked in line.
I've pondered all of this, and I know a lot of people feel like I do about the issue; but they are hesitant to say anything because they don't want to put up with all the flak that is sure to follow. But, I see now that in many cases it's not enough to mentally assent to what's right. You need to have the courage to stand up for your convictions, otherwise those who are being hurt have no ally.

As Edmund Burke (1729-1797) warned so well, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Use the time we have left on earth wisely to make a difference in people's lives, being "salt and light" for Jesus Christ. Teach the world the Gospel, but in life and action show them the difference between good and evil. Do as our friend counsels, "have the courage to stand up for your convictions, otherwise those who are being hurt have no ally."

Who can fathom what opportunities to share the Gospel will arise and great things God will bring about from your speaking out against evil?

Friday, March 26, 2010

America Becoming an Enemy of Israel

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Is America becoming Israel's enemy?

American-Israeli relations are at a 35 year all-time low, according to the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren.

The relationship between the United States and Israel has not been this battered since Gerald Ford was president, sparring with Israel after their refusal to withdraw from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, which Israel eventually did. There were some rocky moments since then between President Ronald Reagan and Israel over Israel invading Lebanon and bombing Iraq's nuclear reactor, as well as American actions over the U.S. selling air defenses to Saudi Arabia. Again in 1991, President George Bush, Sr.'s government denied loan guarantees to Israel over disagreements on West Bank settlements. Those past disputes were merely disagreements among committed friends, though. Today the tone has become far, far worse.

The United States and Israel began to see rapid deterioration in their relationship as soon as President Barack Obama took the reigns in January 2009. President Obama began his term of office by reaching out to Muslims in a speech in Cairo, and since then has repeatedly given his ear to Israel's enemies while publicly berating Israel at every opportunity. With world public opinion set hostilely against Israel over the fallacious Goldstone Report which accuses Israel of war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, Israel needs a real friend that doesn't talk like an enemy.


Obama vs. Netanyahu

Mr. Obama next began calling for something no previous administration has insisted on. He demanded that Israel completely halt all "settlement" activity in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

For Israel supposedly being one of America's closest ally, Mr. Obama has yet to visit Jerusalem as president. Politically such a disregard is considered a snub.


How has the United States responded to Israel's threat to their very existence?

Israel now faces a crisis of epic proportions as Iranian Muslim clerics and their President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are hell-bent on developing a nuclear weapon and arming terrorist regimes like Hamas and Hezbollah to follow through on their threat to "wipe Israel off the map." The world has tried every diplomatic means possible to curtail Iran's development, but every effort has been met with a slap in the face by Ahmadinejad. All attempts at placing serious sanctions on Iran have been vetoed due to the gas interests Russia and China have in Iran.

American support of Israel in their dealings with Iran has ironically only been friendly to Iran. The World Tribune reports: "Since taking office, Obama has refused to approve any major Israeli requests for U.S. weapons platforms or advanced systems. Officials said this included proposed Israeli procurement of AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, refueling systems, advanced munitions and data on a stealth variant of the F-15E."

And the latest, President Obama has blocked a 2008 deal to deliver to Israel bunker-buster bombs capable of destroying underground facilities such as the Iranian nuclear weapons sites. The bunker-buster bomb is a "2,000-pound bomb, produced by Boeing and coupled with a laser guidance kit" that "was designed to penetrate concrete bunkers and other underground hardened sites." While en route, the U.S. military was ordered to divert the shipment of 387 bunker-buster bombs from Israel to a military base in Diego Garcia.

What the Obama administration is effectively doing, according to the World Tribune's congressional source, is to place an embargo on Israel. This makes good on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's threat to reduce military aid to Israel because of its construction policy.

With Iran just a year away from having two atomic bombs and already proving they have the delivery missile system capable of delivering a warhead to anywhere in Israel, Washington's timing couldn't have been worse. The Obama administration believes that once the Palestinians have their own country Iran will back down, naiveté at its best considering Iran is willing to irradiate the very land they say belongs to the Palestinians. The Palestinians are a pawn to Iran and nothing more; a pawn that Washington is too focused on, missing Iran's larger and often announced ambitions to bring Shiite Islam to the whole world.


What is the source of the breakdown in relations between America and Israel?

On the surface, the degradation of relations is over the Israeli right to build homes in Jerusalem.

Having proven historic ownership of Jerusalem since King David 3,000 years ago, only since the Six Day War of 1967 has Israel again regained control over Jerusalem, having lost it when the Babylonians conquered it in the sixth century B.C. Though contested by some Muslim nations, by all legal rights Israel owns Jerusalem and has the right to build on their own land. As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed in a March speech to the pro-Israel lobby group, Aipac, "Jerusalem is not a settlement, it's our capital" and Israel has a "right to build."

The Obama administration sides with Israel's enemies, declaring the left-over Syrian invaders now called Palestinians have the right to the eastern portion of Jerusalem and all the West Bank lands in the very heart of Israel. President Obama has made the freezing of all Jewish construction the paramount factor in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. His eventual goal is to forcibly make Israel cede East Jerusalem to the Palestinians as their capital, rather than Ramallah, and set up an independent Palestinian nation.


Construction in Jerusalem

Below the surface of the souring American-Israeli relations is President Obama's well known ego. The continuation of Israel building apartment complexes and businesses on their own land against President Obama's wishes has been taken by the President as a personal insult — ultimately as an act of disobedience.

BBC News reports that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed Mr. Obama's anger by calling Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's continued defiance of Obama's will by continuing construction "insulting." David Axelrod, an aide to President Obama, has dubbed Netanyahu's persistence "an affront" and a "calculated attempt to undermine the expected launch of indirect talks." Vice President Joe Biden in his March visit to Jerusalem displayed Mr. Obama's contempt by showing up hours late to all of his meetings and publicly berating Israeli officials on their own soil.

The bedrock reason for Americas' continued distancing from Israel is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

Israel is in the processes of regathering from the four corners of the world back into their own land, which is a fulfillment of Isaiah 11:11-12. Israel becoming a nation again as it did on May 14, 1948, was a fulfillment of Isaiah 66:7-8 and Ezekiel 37:21-22. The Jews reoccupying the city of Jerusalem found its fulfillment on June 7, 1967, as Zechariah 8:4-8 said they would. The Jews restored the barren land making it fertile again, just as Ezekiel 36:34-35 said would happen. And finally, the reason for America's increasing hostility towards Israel, the fulfillment this very day that all the nations of the world will come together against Israel over the issue of the control of Jerusalem, as written in Zechariah 12:1-3.

The United States is unwittingly playing its role in Bible prophecy, coming against Israel over its ownership of Jerusalem. It will ultimately fulfill its role along with every other nation by invading Israel and having its armies destroyed by Jesus Himself in the final battle of the upcoming 7-year Tribulation — Armageddon (Rev. 19:11-21).

The United States has been soured by Satan's hatred of the Jews. Satan hates the Jews with a passion because through them God brought the world the Messiah and His salvation, the Bible, and the promises of future restoration. Israel fulfilling Bible prophecy today proves that God's destiny for Satan — the Lake of Fire — is unalterable and conclusive (Rev. 20:7-10).


Is God today warning us ahead of judgment?

God never brings about judgment without forewarning, for He is a just and loving God. The Bible says that God will bless those who bless Israel, and He will curse those who curse Israel (Gen. 12:3). The Bible also says that he who touches Israel touches "the apple of God's eye" (Zech. 2:8).

The current administration has been poking God in the eye tremendously as of late. When Vice President Biden was in Israel, God responded with a freak storm in the Northeast that flooded New Jersey and left half a million without power. God then held His restraining hand back, and now Americans have been straight-jacketed into socialized healthcare, suffocating under even more governmental control and losing hard won freedoms.

In the Bible, whenever a leader disobeyed God (such as King David did when making the census), the people also paid the penalty. God's method of operation has not changed, and the American people have paid the price for our elected leaders' sins against God. We have injured ourselves by trying to divide Israel, just as Zechariah 12:3 warned. We will continue to pay the price for our leadership's stand against Israel and God Himself, ultimately being destroyed as a nation when we side with the Antichrist against Israel in the last days.

Christians should prepare for God's warnings through natural disasters and economic chaos by humbly calling out to God to forgive us, holding back His anger against the United States, at least until after the Rapture. During hardship we should continue doing as we've always done — pulling close to God in prayer and Bible reading, living holy lives, and using the time we have to share the Gospel with others.

In these tumultuous and terrifying times, as our leaders rocket us to our own nation's destruction, we should heed what Psalm 56:3 teaches us concerning God, "When I am afraid, I will trust in you."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Psalm 2: Call to Commitment

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at the significance of the believer's works. Today I'll look at the believer's call to commitment.


A Call to Commitment

As we await the Lord's return, we are to "worship the Lord with reverence" and we are to "rejoice with trembling." The third thing the Spirit calls us to do is to "do homage to the Son" (Psalm 2:12).

What the Hebrew actually says here is very clear but is seldom literally translated because it sounds so strange. Literally, the Hebrew words say "Kiss the Son."

For years I wondered what those words meant. I consulted commentaries and found a lot of conjecture, but none of the answers seemed to click in my spirit. So, I continued to pray that the Lord would show me the true meaning of the words.

One day, as I was reading the book of Hosea, the Spirit suddenly impressed a verse upon my heart that gave me the answer I had been seeking. The verse is found in chapter 13.

As this chapter begins, Hosea has just completed his preaching tour of Israel in which he calls the people to repent of their idolatry. To his horror, when he arrives back home, he finds a neighbor bowing down before a silver calf, and he cries out, "Men kiss calves!" (Hosea 13:2)

When I read those words, the Spirit witnessed to my spirit. I immediately thought of the words of the psalmist: "Kiss the Son!" Suddenly, this strange statement made complete sense to me.

You see, if Hosea were alive today and could preach to us about America, I think he would say, "I have traveled all over your land to seek its spiritual temperament, and I say to you, everywhere I go I find men kissing calves!"

Except, I suspect he would put it in modern English: "Everywhere I go in this land I find men kissing CD's in the bank, chrome plated automobiles, and audacious houses. I see men in love with money, power, and fame. I say to you, take all that the world has to offer, set it aside in a junk pile, and put God first in your lives. Fall in love with Jesus!"

That's what it means to "Kiss the Son!" It is a call to commit your life to Jesus by falling in love with Him and putting Him first in your life — above career and family. It's a call to make Him the Lord of everything in your life — your family and job, your hopes and dreams, your thoughts and words, your music, reading material, food, drink, recreation — everything!

By making Him your refuge, you will be delivered from the wrath that is to come (Romans 5:9 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9), and you will come to know the full meaning of the last line of Psalm 2: How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!


Summary of Psalm 2

God is on His throne. He is in control. Three thousand years ago He promised Mankind that His Son will triumph in history. He is currently working out that purpose in history.

God has the wisdom and the power to orchestrate all the evil of Man to the victory of Jesus. The world may appear to be out of control, but what we are experiencing are the death throes of a worn out world and the birth pangs of a new one.

End time events may be fearful in nature. But believers can find peace and comfort in the assurance of Psalm 2 that Satan will be defeated and Jesus will triumph as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The signs of the times tell us that Jesus is at the very gates of Heaven, ready to return any moment to take His church out of this world. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Live with an eternal perspective. Rest in the confidence that while evil men scheme and Satan plots, God sits on His throne in Heaven and laughs.


[Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Psalm 2: The Importance of Works

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at the warnings of the Holy Spirit in verses 10-12. Today I'll look at the significance of the believer's works.


A Call to an Unusual Form of Rejoicing

The future judgment which we face for our works is the reason that the Spirit expresses His next command in such an unusual way. He calls us to "rejoice with trembling" (Psalm 2:11).

Have you ever thought about what a strange command this is? A person normally rejoices with laughter, dancing, singing, or hand-clapping. How does one rejoice with trembling?

I think the command relates to the tension that exists in the Scriptures between grace and works. We are saved by grace, and we should rejoice over that and over the completion of our salvation (the glorification of our bodies) that we will enjoy when the Lord returns. But at the same time we should tremble over the prospect of standing before Jesus to have our works judged.

There is both good news and bad news about the Lord's forthcoming judgment of the redeemed. The good news is so good that many Christians find it hard to believe, but it is true nonetheless. The incredible good news is that the redeemed will not be judged of their sins to determine whether they will spend eternity in heaven or hell.

The reason, of course, is that we have already been judged of our sins. That judgment took place at the Cross when all our sins — past, present, and future — were placed on Jesus, and He received the wrath which we deserve.

That's why the Bible teaches that if you are covered by the blood of Jesus, your sins have been forgiven and forgotten (Isaiah 43:25 and Hebrews 8:12). They have been removed from the presence of the Lord "as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12-13). As Corrie ten Boom used to say, "The Lord has placed our sins in the deepest part of the ocean, and He has put up a sign that says, 'No Fishing!'" (See Micah 7:19.)

What does it mean for the Lord to "forget" our sins? It means they will never be held against the redeemed again with regard to the determination of their eternal destiny. That's why the writer of Hebrews could confidently assert that when Jesus appears a second time, He will come "for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him" (Hebrews 9:28).

So, if our sins have been forgotten, what will be the nature of our judgment when we, the redeemed, stand before the Lord? This brings us to the bad news that should cause us to tremble. We are going to be judged of our works, not to determine our eternal destiny, but to determine our degrees of reward. And in regard to our works, our shortcomings and failures will be remembered.

This news comes as a great shock to most Christians for most seem unaware that their works have any significance, and others do not realize that there will be degrees of reward.


Degrees of Reward

The concept of degrees of reward is clearly spelled out in the Scriptures. In 1 Corinthians 3:8 Paul says "each will receive his own reward according to his labor." He then says that our works will be tested by the Lord to determine their quality (1 Corinthians 3:13). He indicates that some will, in effect, be saved with their tail feathers smoking! This is because their works will not stand the test of the Lord's "fire" (His judgment). He thus concludes, "If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:15).

Some of the last words Jesus spoke on this earth had to do with degrees of reward. Those words are recorded in Revelation 22:12 — "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done."


The Judgment of Works

How will the Lord judge our works? What criteria will He use?

I believe the starting point will be the gifts of the Spirit which we received when we were born again. The Word teaches that at the moment of salvation every redeemed person receives at least one gift of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7 and 1 Peter 4:10). Some receive more than one gift, and some may receive additional gifts as they develop in the Lord, particularly if they are good stewards of their initial gifts (Matthew 25:14-30).

I believe the Lord will ask each one of us how we used the gifts He gave us for the advancement of His kingdom. And then I believe He will test our works in terms of quantity, quality, and motive.

What about you? Do you know what gifts you have been given by the Spirit? Are you using them to advance the kingdom? And are your motives pure? Are you serving the Lord in the power of His Spirit for the purpose of His glory?


In the final part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll look at the significance of the believer's call to commitment.

[Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Psalm 2: The Holy Spirit Warns

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at the second promise of Psalm 2 concerning the future reign of Christ. Today I'll look at the warnings of the Holy Spirit in verses 10-12.


The Spirit Warns

Psalm 2 begins with David speaking as a prophet, lamenting over the way the world's rulers scoff at the Lord. It proceeds with the Lord laughing over the feeble attempts of men to frustrate His will. It is then punctuated by a proclamation of Jesus in which He announces His Father's promise that He, the Son, will one day triumph over all the kingdoms of the world.

The psalm concludes with a warning given by the Holy Spirit:

10 "Now, therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with reverence,
And rejoice with trembling.

12 Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry,
and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled."

(Psalm 2:10-12a)


The Audience

The Spirit's warning is addressed to the kings and judges of the earth. It is a solemn call for the political leaders of the world to clean up their acts and submit themselves and their nations to the Lord's will before He bursts from the heavens in wrath.

Unfortunately, this stern warning seems forever to fall on deaf ears and hardened hearts. The warning was spoken 3,000 years ago, and power grubbing and political corruption continue unabated to this day. The world's political leaders continue to thumb their noses at God and mock His Anointed One.

But a "day of reckoning" (Isaiah 2:12) is fast approaching, and what a day it will be! The book of Revelation says that on that day "the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong..." will hide themselves in caves and will cry out to the rocks of the mountains: "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb" (Revelation 6:15-16).

The Lord has delayed the outpouring of His wrath because He does not desire that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But there is a limit to the Lord's patience, and while He waits, "He reserves wrath for His enemies" (Nahum 1:2). The Lord may be slow to anger, but "He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished" (Nahum 1:3).

But the political leaders of the world are not the only audience for the Spirit's warning. The warning is also aimed at the redeemed, for — as I have already pointed out — we will one day serve as the kings and judges of this world. So, let the redeemed take notice of what we are called to do as we await the Lord's return.


A Call to Worship

First, we are called to "worship the Lord with reverence" (Psalm 2:11). The actual Hebrew word here is "serve" rather than "worship." But I like the use of the term, worship, because it emphasizes that our ultimate worship of the Lord is expressed in how we serve Him.

We so often think of worship only in terms of what we do when we come together corporately as a congregation of believers. Don't get me wrong — corporate worship is extremely important. We were created to worship God (Deuteronomy 6:13), and God actively seeks people who are worshiping Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23).

But the ultimate worship is expressed in what we do when we leave the congregation and return to the world. Do those who come in contact with us recognize that we have been in the presence of the Lord? Do we return from worship "to bless our household," as was the case in King David's life? (2 Samuel 6:20)

Do you have a passion to worship God? Do you desire to celebrate Him for who He is and what He has done? And do you desire to express that worship not only with the praise of your lips but with the labor of your body and the money you have earned?

One other thing — Do you understand that one day soon You will stand before the Lord and be judged of your works?


In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll look at the significance of the believer's works.

[Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]

Monday, March 22, 2010

Psalm 2: The Coming King

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at the first promise of Psalm 2 concerning the future reign of Christ. Today I'll look at the second promise of Psalm 2 concerning the future reign of Christ.


A Worldwide Reign

The second promise that the Father makes to His Son in Psalm 2 is a natural corollary of the first. Not only will Jesus inherit the earth, but He will also reign over it: "I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance... You shall break them with a rod of iron" (Psalm 2:8-9).

Jesus is coming to reign. That is one of the most persistent themes of the Scriptures from beginning to end. And again, the redeemed will be joint heirs of this promise. We will reign with Jesus.

These truths were graphically portrayed to Daniel in a series of night visions. In one he saw the "Son of Man" appear before the "Ancient of Days" and receive dominion and a kingdom that included "all the peoples, nations, and men of every language" (Daniel 7:13-14). Then Daniel was told that "the saints of the Highest One" would receive the kingdom and would exercise "the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven" (Daniel 7:18,27).

In the book of Revelation Jesus promises that He will give overcomers "authority over the nations" and they will rule over the nations "with a rod of iron" (Revelation 2:26,27).

In Revelation 4, when John is raptured to Heaven and finds himself in the throne room of God, he hears the heavenly host singing a song of praise to Jesus. In the song the statement is made that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb have been made a kingdom, and "they will reign upon the earth" (Revelation 5:9-10).


The Glory of the Lord

And what will be the purpose of all this? There are many reasons for the Millennial reign of Jesus. God is going to use that period of time to fulfill promises He has made to the nations, to nature, to a remnant of the Jews, and to the Saints. But the fundamental purpose is to fulfill His promise to His Son that He will one day be glorified in history, just as He was humiliated in history.

This promise is a persistent theme of the Scriptures. It is the essence of the Father's promise in Psalm 2, and it is echoed throughout the Bible, in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament.

The prophet Isaiah says that when the Lord returns in "terror" and in the "splendor of His majesty," all proud men will be humbled, and "the Lord alone will be exalted in that day" (Isaiah 2:10-11). The Lord's name will be honored, and He will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). He will return to manifest His glory before His Saints (Isaiah 24:23) and before the nations of the world (Isaiah 66:18).

Paul affirms this purpose of the Lord's return in 2 Thessalonians 1:10 where he states that Jesus is returning "to be glorified in His saints" and "to be marveled at among all who have believed."


In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll look at the warnings of the Holy Spirit in verses 10-12.

[Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]

Friday, March 19, 2010

Psalm 2: Jesus Rebuilds the Earth

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at verses 7-9 and Jesus' glorious proclamation. Today I'll look at the first promise of Psalm 2 concerning the future reign of Christ.


The Roles of Jesus

The first time Jesus came, He came as our Suffering Savior (Isaiah 53). After His resurrection, He became our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16). He continues in that capacity today, ministering as the mediator of our prayers before the throne of God (Hebrews 8:1-2). But one day very soon He will return, and when He does so, He will return as our Glorious King to reign over all the nations of the world (Revelation 19:16).

Jesus is not serving as a king now. He is never pictured as currently being the king of this world or the king of the church. His relationship to the church is portrayed as being like the head to the body (Ephesians 5:23) or a bridegroom to a bride (Revelation 19:6-9).

Jesus is a king-in-waiting. The situation is like that which prevailed in the life of David for many years. David was anointed the King of Israel by Samuel. But David had to wait many years before he was coronated. Likewise, Jesus has been anointed King of kings and Lord of lords, but He will not be crowned as such in history until He returns to earth.


An Incredible Inheritance

When Jesus does return, the promises of Psalm 2 will be fulfilled to Him. The first of those promises is that He will inherit the earth — "the very ends of the earth" will become His possession (Psalm 2:8).

There is a popular myth that when Jesus returns the earth will burn up and cease to exist. That can't be true because the Bible affirms that the earth is "eternal" (Psalm 148:6, Psalm 78:69, and Ecclesiastes 1:4).

It is true that the earth will be radically changed when the Lord returns. The change agents will be earthquakes and supernatural phenomena in the heavens (Revelation 6:12-13). We are told that every island will be moved and that every mountain will be lowered and every valley raised (Revelation 6:14 and Isaiah 40:4). The image that is portrayed is one of the earth's surface being smoothed out, with Jerusalem being lifted up to become the highest point on the face of the planet (Micah 4:1).

The earth will also be refreshed. The deserts will bloom (Isaiah 35:1,6-7). The hills will "drip with sweet wine" and "flow with milk" (Joel 3:18). The abundance of agriculture will be so great that "the plowman will overtake the reaper" in the sense that a new crop will be planted as fast as the old crop can be harvested (Amos 9:13). Even the Dead Sea will come alive and teem with fish (Ezekiel 47:8-9).

The animal kingdom will also be restored. We are told that the carnivorous animals will become herbivorous. Thus, "the lion will eat straw like the ox" (Isaiah 11:7). This change will enable the animals to live together in peace with each other and with Man. "The wolf will dwell with the lamb" (Isaiah 11:6), and a "nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra" because the cobra will no longer be poisonous (Isaiah 11:8).


The Eternal Earth

Even when the Millennium ends, the earth will not cease to exist. Instead, its fundamental nature will be changed once again. This time the change agent will be fire.

God will take the redeemed off this planet and put us in the New Jerusalem. From that vantage point we will watch as the Lord superheats the earth and burns away the pollution of Satan's last revolt.

Then, working with the earth like a hot ball of wax, the Lord will reshape it, and out of that flaming inferno will come a new earth, a perfected earth, an earth which will serve as our home eternally (Revelation 21:1).


Joint Heirs

God has promised to give that redeemed planet to His Son and to His joint heirs — namely, those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In Psalm 2, He promises the earth to His Son. In Psalm 37:11, He extends that promise to the redeemed: "The humble will inherit the earth." That promise is repeated in verses 22, 29, and 34.

These promises are the ones that Jesus referred to in His Sermon on the Mount when He said: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). Paul recognized that the same promise was inferred in the Abrahamic Covenant when he wrote that God's promise to Abraham and his descendants (by faith) is that they would "inherit the world" (Romans 4:13).


In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll look at the second promise of Psalm 2 concerning the future reign of Christ.

[Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Psalm 2: The Glorious Proclamation of Jesus

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at verse 6 for the third reason why God is laughing at His enemies. Today I'll look at verses 7-9 and Jesus' glorious proclamation.


Jesus Proclaims

The next spokesman after David in Psalm 2 is Jesus Himself. He makes a glorious proclamation about the future in which He confirms His Father's intention to establish Him as the King of kings:

7 I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, "You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.

8 Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

9 You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware."

(Psalm 2:7-9)


The Begotten One

Jesus begins His proclamation by repeating the Father's promise to Him that He will one day rule from Mount Zion over "the very ends of the earth." It is a promise that undoubtedly dates back to the foundation of the world itself. I say that because the Bible tells us that Jesus was foreknown as the Savior who would shed His blood "from before the foundation of the world" (1 Peter 1:19-20, Revelation 13:8, and Ephesians 1:4).

Because Jesus is the Worthy Lamb who was slain for the sins of Man (Revelation 5:9), He is the only one eligible to assert dominion over God's creation. In that sense, He is the "only begotten" (John 1:14,18) — the only Anointed One of God who is authorized to act in the Father's behalf as the Regent of planet earth.

This sense of meaning is reflected in the Living Bible's paraphrase of Jesus' proclamation: "I will reveal the everlasting purposes of God, for the Lord has said to me, 'You are my Son. This is your Coronation Day. Today I am giving you your glory. Only ask, and I will give you all the nations of the world'" (Psalm 2:7-8).

Note that the statement, "Today I have begotten You," is paraphrased to present the real meaning: "This is your Coronation Day." That is why Jesus could address Himself to the church at Philadelphia as the one "who has the key of David" (Revelation 3:7). He is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant and its promise:

"I have made a covenant with My chosen;
I have sworn to David My servant,
I will establish your seed forever,
And build up your throne to all generations."

(Psalm 89:3-4)

Once again, keep in mind that the Father's promise to Jesus is yet to be fulfilled. Remember, Jesus was "slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8) because that is when the Father willed it to happen. But the Father's will did not become an historical reality until thousands of years later. In like manner, Jesus was crowned from the foundation of the world — also because the Father willed it then — but it is an event that is yet to take place in history.


In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll look at the first promise of Psalm 2 concerning the future reign of Christ.

[Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Psalm 2: Jesus Will Reign

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at verse 5 for the second reason why God is laughing at His enemies. Today I'll look at verse 6 for the third reason why God is laughing at His enemies.


A Coming Reign

Psalm 2:5 - "But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain."

The passage in Psalm 2 indicates a third reason that God is laughing. God explains it by saying, "As for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion My holy mountain" (Psalm 2:6).

The wording here is very interesting. God speaks of a future event — the Millennial reign of Jesus — as if it were an accomplished historical fact. This strange manner of speaking of the future as if it were past is a very common feature of Bible prophecy — so common, in fact, that theologians have coined a word for it. They call it "proleptic" speech.

Such speech is particularly characteristic of God in the Scriptures. The reason is that God is not in time as we are. We are on a time line. We have a past, a present, and a future. God is outside of time. If He wills something, it is accomplished, whether or not it has yet happened in history as we know it.

Take for example the crucifixion of Jesus. We think of it as happening 2,000 years ago on the outskirts of Jerusalem — and it did, as we perceive time. But when did the crucifixion take place as God sees time? The Bible says that Jesus was slain "from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8) because that is when God willed it.

The proleptic principle is best expressed by God Himself in 2 Kings 19:25 — "Have you not heard? Long ago I did it; from ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass."

But let's get back to our point. The point is that God sits in the heavens and laughs at the rebellious kingdoms of the earth because He has ordained that one day soon His Son will return as "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Revelation 19:16) to reign over all the earth and bring it into submission to God's perfect will (Isaiah 9:6-7).


An Unfulfilled Promise

How do we know this is a proleptic statement — that although it is stated in the past tense, it is a promise yet to be fulfilled? The answer is obvious — namely, there is no fulfillment in history. Does Jesus reign today as King of kings from Mount Zion in Jerusalem? Has He ever?

There are those who argue that He is spiritually reigning over the nations of the earth. If so, then He is doing a very poor job, for the earth is dominated by evil rebellion against God.

When you consider what the Bible says will be the characteristics of the Lord's reign over the earth, it is easy to see that the reign is yet future. Isaiah 11 says the reign will be characterized by righteousness, fairness, and faithfulness. Are these the characteristics of national governments today? In that same chapter Isaiah says "the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9). How could anyone argue that such a prophecy has been fulfilled? The promise of God in Psalm 2 that His Son will one day rule over all the earth is yet future. The King is coming! The kings of the earth are living on borrowed time. They plot and connive, but their fate is sealed. So, God sits in the heavens and laughs.


In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll look at verses 7-9 and Jesus' glorious proclamation.

[Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Psalm 2: The Day of Wrath

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at verse 4 for the first reason why God is laughing at His enemies. Today I'll look at verse 5 for the second reason why God is laughing at His enemies.


A Day of Wrath

Psalm 2:5 - "Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury..."

The second reason God is laughing is because "He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury" (Psalm 2:5). This statement refers to the fact that God has appointed a day when He will deal with all the kingdoms of the earth and their political leaders by pouring out His wrath through the return of His Son, Jesus the Messiah.

Paul spoke of this momentous day during his sermon on Mar's Hill in Athens: "God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:30-31).

This day is often mentioned by the Old Testament prophets. They called it "the day of the Lord" (Joel 2:1). The prophet Zephaniah described it as "a day of wrath, trouble, distress, destruction, desolation, darkness and gloom" (Zephaniah 1:15). He said that the Lord will bring such distress upon people that they will reel about, walking like blind men (Zephaniah 1:17).


Satan's False God

This day of wrath that God has reserved for the rebellious nations of the world and their leaders is one of the best kept secrets in the universe. Satan doesn't want anyone to know about it. In his attempt to cover it up, he has created a false image of God that has been bought by both Christians and unbelievers.

The false god Satan wants us to believe in is a push-over that could be characterized as "the cosmic teddy bear." He is big and warm and soft and cuddly. And when we stand before him to be judged, he will put his arm around us, snuggle us up to him, and say, "I know you never accepted My Son as your Lord and Savior, but that's okay, because you were a lot better person than the reprobate who lived down the street from you. So you just come on into My kingdom and enjoy eternal life with Me."

No such namby-pamby god exists. He is a cruel hoax created by Satan. All of us stand condemned before the true God, for "all of us like sheep have gone astray" (Isaiah 53:6). Our only hope is through faith in Jesus (Romans 3:21-24). God does not grade on the curve nor is He some patsy who can be easily hoodwinked. God cannot be deceived or mocked (Galatians 6:7).

Yes, God is full of grace and mercy (Psalm 86:15), and He does not desire that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), but He is also a God of perfect righteousness, holiness, and justice — and as such, He cannot countenance sin.

God must deal with sin, and He does so with either grace or wrath. That is why John the Baptist declared that every person on earth is under either the grace of God or His wrath (John 3:36).


In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll look at verse 6 for the third reason why God is laughing at His enemies.

[Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]

Monday, March 15, 2010

Psalm 2: Satan in Frustration

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at the ongoing spiritual war between God and Satan. Today I'll look at verse 4 for the first reason why God is laughing at His enemies.


God Laughs

Psalm 2:4 - "He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them."

God laughs at Satan and all the politicians in league with him as they attempt to thwart God's purposes in history. He laughs for three reasons.

First, the passage says, "The Lord scoffs at them." The Hebrew here means literally that "the Lord has them in derision."

In short, this means that no matter what Satan does, God sees to it that it backfires in his face to the glory of Jesus. Psalm 76:10 says that even "the wrath of Man" shall go to the praise of God.


Satan's Frustration

In this regard, Satan has got to be the most frustrated personality on planet earth. All his schemes ultimately fail. All his plots sooner or later unravel.

The Cross is the classic example. Satan thought he had gained his greatest victory. Instead, it proved to be a defeat. God took history's most dastardly event and converted it into something majestic through the power of the resurrection.

In World War I Satan managed to put together a conflict of unparalleled carnage, but God worked through the evil of that war to accomplish a spiritual purpose. He liberated the land called Palestine from the Turks and delivered it into the hands of the British who immediately proclaimed it to be a homeland for the Jews.

Likewise, during World War II, God worked through the incredible evil of Satan's Holocaust to prepare the Jewish people for their homeland. They came out of the Holocaust saying, "Never again! Never again! We are going to have our own land, our own nation, our own state." Accordingly, they began to return to Israel by the hundreds of thousands.

God used World War I to prepare the land for the people. He worked through World War II to prepare the people for the land.

God sits in the heavens and laughs while Satan writhes in frustration.


In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll look at verse 5 for the second reason why God is laughing at His enemies.

[Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]

Friday, March 12, 2010

Psalm 2: The Struggle Between God and Satan

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at why the nations of the world are raging against God. Today I'll review the ongoing spiritual war between God and Satan.


Satan's Havoc

The Bible attests to this never-ending cycle of God appointing and Satan attacking. I think, for example, of the tragic story of Saul, the first king of Israel. He began with such promise, having received a special anointing of God's Spirit that even enabled him to prophesy with the prophets (1 Samuel 10:1,6,9-11).

But Satan immediately encouraged Saul's pride and attacked him with a spirit of melancholy that drove him into fits of depression. Out of pride Saul began to "act foolishly," assuming for himself the duties of the priests (1 Samuel 13:8-13). In depression, he turned to mediums and witches for advice rather than relying on the prophets of God. The tragic result was that the Spirit of God departed from him (I Samuel 16:14), and Saul committed suicide on the battlefield (I Samuel 31:4).

In like manner, Solomon began his reign on his knees before the Lord, receiving a special anointing of wisdom and knowledge (2 Chronicles 1:7-12). His future looked so bright.

But Satan came against him, tempting him with worldly riches. Solomon's turning point came in the year when he received 666 talents of gold (I Kings 10:14). From that point on, he became obsessed with three things: riches, women, and military power (I Kings 11:1-8). He ended up doing "what was evil in the sight of the Lord" (I Kings 11:6).

The empire divided following Solomon's death, and during the 209 year history of the northern kingdom of Israel, there was not one king who was considered good in God's sight. The southern kingdom of Judah lasted a hundred years longer, but during its three hundred years, only 8 of its 20 kings were considered righteous by the Lord.


The Continuing Struggle

When the New Testament opens, we find the tug of war between God and Satan continuing. Satan inspires King Herod to slaughter all the babies of Bethlehem in an attempt to cut off the Messiah at His birth.

Later, Satan orchestrates a conspiracy between governing authorities who hated each other. He brings together the Roman governor and the Jewish Sanhedrin, and through their joint efforts he accomplishes the murder of the Messiah.

Satan's triumph was, of course, short lived, for it was overcome by the victory of the Messiah's resurrection. But Satan was not to be deterred for long. He renewed his relentless attacks on God's sovereignty by launching an all out persecution of the Messiah's followers.

When Satan realized that this persecution of the church was only spreading it and increasing its strength, he shifted to a new strategy — the wedding of the church and the state so that the church could be compromised. This occurred around 331 A.D., and it marked the beginning of the dark ages when the church became subservient to the state. The church quickly became penetrated by the world, and its testimony for Christ became secondary to the pursuit of politics.

But, thank God, Jesus had made an important promise concerning His church. He had promised that "the gates of Hades shall not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18). So, even during the darkest years of the Middle Ages, there was always a faithful remnant preserved by the Spirit of God.

Finally, the day came when Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door and called for a return to God's Word. Satan was put on the defensive once again as the church experienced reformation and began to send out missionaries all over the world.


The Conflict in Our Time

As the 20th Century dawned, Satan went back on the offensive. He orchestrated one of his greatest victories with the birth of Communism in Russia in 1917. Satanism became incarnate in the atheistic ideology of the Communists as they attempted to exterminate both the church and God's Word.

Simultaneously, Satan launched an internal attack on the Western democracies by energizing the philosophy of Secular Humanism. The Judaic-Christian foundation of Western Civilization came under direct attack from within while the Communists hammered at it from without.

The Communist threat has collapsed from the weight of its own internal inconsistencies. But Satan has provided no breathing space. He continues to promote the advance of Secular Humanism, and he has brought about a resurgence of Islam.


The Focus of the Conflict

Perhaps the clearest example of Satan's determination to exert his dominion in defiance of God's will is to be found in his opposition to the re-establishment of the nation of Israel.

Throughout the Old Testament God promises repeatedly that in the end times He will regather the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth to the land of Israel (see Isaiah 11:10-12 and Ezekiel 36:22-37:12). God reveals that His purpose is to do a mighty work in the hearts of the Jews that will result in a remnant accepting His Son as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10, 13:1 and Romans 9:27, 11:1-6, 25-32).

Satan hates this purpose of God because he hates the Jewish people with a passion. His hatred is fueled by the fact that God has used the Jewish people as a vehicle to bless all the nations of the world. Through the Jews, God gave the world the Scriptures. Through the Jews, God gave the Messiah.

Satan is determined to destroy the Jewish people so that God cannot keep His promise to bring a remnant to salvation. This is the reason that Satan is orchestrating all the nations of the earth against Israel today. God has raised up a nation that Satan, as the prince of this world, is determined to destroy.


Rage vs. Laughter

I am personally outraged by Satan's many attempts to frustrate and defeat the will of God in Israel and throughout the earth today. I often feel so frustrated that I want to shout, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging" by sending your Son back to reign in glory and majesty and righteousness and justice?" (Revelation 6:10)

The only way I am able to restrain my anger is to remind myself of what God is doing in Heaven while I fume over Satan's plots on this earth. Do you know what the Scriptures say God is doing?

He is laughing! Yes, God is sitting on His throne laughing — not because He doesn't care, but because He has the world's events under control. This may be hard to believe, but I can prove it to you.


In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll look at verse 4 and the first reason why God is laughing at His enemies.

[Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Psalm 2: The Nations Raging

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In the previous part of this study on Psalm 2, we looked at a fearful world's need for hope. Today I'll explain why in the first three verses of Psalm 2 the nations of the world are raging against God.


Rulers Scoff

Unlike most of the psalms, Psalm 2 does not have a superscription that identifies its author. But we know it was written by David ben Jesse because Luke, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, identified David as the author in Acts 4:25.

The psalm begins with the author lamenting the world's condition:

1 Why are the nations in an uproar,
And the peoples devising a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth take their stand,
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His Anointed:

3 "Let us tear their fetters apart,
And cast away their cords from us!"

(Psalm 2:1-3)

The language of these verses is rather stilted in the English translation, so let me try to put the words into modern English for you.

The psalmist is asking: "Lord, why is it that everywhere I look in the world the nations are in turmoil? Why are they always devising some vain thing to the glory of Man — things like the tower of Babel, the Roman Empire, the League of Nations, and the United Nations? Why is it, Lord, that the presidents, and prime ministers, and kings of the earth are always conspiring against You and Your Anointed One, Jesus? Why is it that the world's political leaders are always saying, 'Let's put aside the limitations of God's Word and cast away His laws and do what we please!'"

As you can see, nothing has changed in three thousand years. As in the time of David, the nations of the world today are still in full revolt against the Lord. And so it is that Psalm 2 is just as relevant as if it were written yesterday.


Probing Questions

One thing you must understand about Psalm 2 is that the questions which David poses at the beginning were not asked for the purpose of eliciting answers from God. David already knew the answers.

These are rhetorical questions, asked for the purpose of provoking thought. They are designed to motivate the reader to think about the nature of the world in which he lives, and to do so in response to what God's Word reveals about that world.

I say David knew the answers to the questions because the answers are provided in the book of Genesis, and David must have been familiar with that book as well as all the Torah — the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures — if only by oral tradition.


A Phenomenal Gift

If you will think back for a moment to the opening pages of Genesis, you will remember that God presented an incredible gift to Adam and Eve shortly after their creation.

God gave them something on a silver platter that Hitler lusted for. He gave them something that Stalin dreamed of, that the Romans yearned for, and that Alexander the Great almost achieved. God gave them dominion over all the earth (Genesis 1:27-28).

But almost as soon as Adam and Eve had been given this gift, they lost it. When they rebelled against God, Satan stepped forward and stole the dominion that was intended for Man.

Satan became the prince of this earth. That is the reason Jesus referred to him as "the ruler of this world" (John 12:31). That is the reason that Satan could tempt Jesus by offering Him "all the kingdoms of the world" if Jesus would only worship him (Matthew 4:8-10). That would not have been a legitimate temptation if the kingdoms were not Satan's to give.

Even after the Cross, the apostle John stated that "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19). The Cross sealed the ultimate fate of Satan, but that fate will not be experienced until Jesus returns and Satan is crushed beneath the feet of the Lord's people (Romans 16:20).


God's Sovereignty

The fact that Satan rules as the prince of this earth does not mean that God has lost control. Satan is not omnipotent. He has always operated within limits prescribed by God.

The oldest book in the Bible, the book of Job, begins by picturing Satan before the throne of God asking permission to afflict Job (Job 1:6-11). God gives him permission to touch all that Job has but denies him permission to take Job's life (Job 1:12).

Satan was further limited by the Cross, for since that time believers have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and "He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

The book of Daniel makes it clear that God is the one who raises up nations and puts them down. As Daniel put it, "He [God] removes kings and establishes kings" (Daniel 2:21). Paul affirms this in the New Testament when he speaks of "governing authorities" and states that "there is no authority except from God" (Romans 13:1).

But the other side of the coin is the fact that the moment God puts someone in a position of governing authority, Satan comes against that person and attempts in every way possible to corrupt and compromise the person so that he ends up serving Satan's purposes.

It doesn't matter whether the person is a school board member, the governor of a province, or the president of a nation, Satan attempts to control all governing authorities. That is why we are so strongly urged to pray "for kings and all who are in authority" (1 Timothy 2:1-2).


In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll review the ongoing spiritual war between God and Satan.

[Watch on Christ in Prophecy!]

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Psalm 2: Hope for a Fearful World

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

"And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations... men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Luke 21:25-26).

We live in a world gripped by fear. Among all segments of society and all nations of the world, there is a foreboding sense that we are marching toward some cataclysmic consummation of history.

The news is filled with reports of increasing violence — muggings, kidnappings, child abuse, terrorism, wars, and rumors of wars. We seem to be bombarded by an endless stream of natural calamities such as earthquakes, famines, hurricanes, floods, and fires. And the increasing immorality continues to spawn new diseases that threaten Man's very existence.

Significant too is the fact that all these frightful trends are taking place within the context of a world armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons. And to make things worse, these weapons of mass destruction are now spreading to irresponsible outlaw nations like Iran and North Korea. We have giant weapons in the hands of moral pygmies.

All the while, the nations of the world continue on their spending binge, piling debt on debt, preparing the way for a colossal worldwide economic collapse.


The Reality of Fear

In the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt tried to rally a despondent nation by declaring, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." Those words ring hollow today as we face a multiplicity of very real and unprecedented fears.

It is no wonder that people are scared. They are afraid of losing their jobs, their homes, and their life savings. They fear for their personal well-being, the safety of their children, and the security of their nation. They are frightened by the prospect of menacing plagues and the potential for devastating civil disorder. And lurking in the background is always the possibility of nuclear holocaust.

People are desperately searching for security. They are buying guns and securing their houses with electronic devices. They are altering their lifestyles to protect themselves against the violence of muggers and diseases like AIDS. They are turning to Eastern religions and pop psychology to find solace for their souls.


Increasing Questions

As the world disintegrates before our eyes, even Christians are beginning to question the trends. Increasingly, Christians are asking: "Is God in control? Is evil going to triumph? Is there really any hope?"

The good news is that God in His grace and mercy gave the answers to these questions almost three thousand years ago when He spoke to the heart of a shepherd boy by the name of David ben Jesse. He gave the boy a poem that was short, sweet, powerful, and full of hope. It contains a message that a fearful world desperately needs to hear today.

The poem is found in the Hebrew Bible. It is called Psalm 2.


In the next part of this study on Psalm 2, I'll explain why in the first three verses the nations of the world are raging against God.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bible Prophecy in the News Conference

Lamb & Lion Bible Prophecy ConferenceA Conference Sponsored by Lamb & Lion Ministries
and Hosted by Rose Heights Church in Tyler, Texas
[brochure]

Dates: March 13-14, 2010
Location: Rose Heights Church, 2120 Old Omen Road, Tyler, Texas
Cost: Free!

Registration: Due to limited seating and the need to plan for the number of lunches needed, registration is required. Please call the church at 903-566-2080 to register, or register through the church's website at roseheights.org.


Featured Speakers

Dr. David R. ReaganDr. David Reagan — Founded Lamb & Lion Ministries in 1980 after a 20 year career as a professor of international law and politics. He serves as host of the ministry's national television program, "Christ in Prophecy." He is the author of several books about Bible prophecy and has led more than 40 pilgrimages to Israel.


Don McGeeDon McGee — Founder and director of Crown & Sickle Ministries in Amite, Louisiana — a ministry specializing in the teaching of Bible prophecy. He is a Vietnam War veteran who has served both as a pastor and a Louisiana State Trooper. He established his ministry in 2002 and has since spoken at churches and conferences all across the United States.


Nathan JonesNathan Jones — Serves as Evangelist and Web Minister for Lamb & Lion Ministries. He divides his time between writing about Bible prophecy in the news and serving as an apologist in defense of the Christian faith. He is firmly grounded in the Scriptures, and has quickly become a recognized expert in the field of Bible prophecy.


Music

Jack HollingsworthJack Hollingsworth — Jack is the featured singer on the Lamb & Lion television program. Jack lived homeless on the streets for 20 years before his life was totally transformed by Jesus. He and his wife, Sally, formed Acts 29 Ministries in 1993 and have traveled constantly ever since in their mobile home, ministering in song while teaching and preaching the Word.


Conference Schedule

Saturday, March 13
8:30am — Doors Open
9:00 to 9:30 — Welcome and Opening Worship led by Jack Hollingsworth
9:30 to 10:30 — Dave Reagan: "Bible Prophecy in the News"
10:30 to 11:00 — Break
11:00 to 12:00 — Don McGee: "Prophecy & the News: The Wheat & Tares"
12:00 to 1:00 — Lunch Break
1:00 to 1:30 — Concert by Jack Hollingsworth
1:30 to 2:30 — Nathan Jones: "The Impending Invasion of Israel"
2:30 to 3:00 — Break
3:00 to 4:00 — Dave Reagan: "Spiritual Apostasy in the End Times"
4:00 to 5:00 — Question and Answer Forum with all the Speakers

The church will supply a Saturday lunch consisting of a chicken sandwich, potato chips, brownie and drink for $6 per person. Coffee will be available on Saturday morning.

The conference will continue on Sunday morning, March 14, with Don McGee speaking to the early service (8:30 a.m.) and Dave Reagan speaking at the second service (10:30 a.m.). Jack Hollingsworth will be singing at both services.