“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
– Jeremiah 29:11
We open The Word and cannot hold back The promises of God that knew is before we were born!
As we set about our day, let this set in/and on your heart.
Where you are today is secondary to decisions you have made – understood!
Many wolud rather be at a different level, what holds you back?
Actually, advances are awesome! We can listen to The Word now, use technology as it can be used!
I admit, I stubbornly placed that link, some expect it to be directly provided; take the time to search for it. Have you had “quiet time” today? Spoke with your Creator?
God Knows how things will play out in your day today! Have you committed your day in His AWESOMELY capable ‘Hands’?
Let me point out a shred of evidence that you can follow up on…
Angels appear in the Bible from the beginning to the end, from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation. The Bible is our best source of knowledge about angels – for example, Psalm 91:11, Matthew 18:10 and Acts 12:15 indicate humans have guardian angels.
An angel of the Lord appeared to St. Joseph three times in a dream to make Mary his wife, to take the Holy Family on the Flight to Egypt, and then to return to Nazareth (Matthew 1:18-2:23). Angels announce the birth of the Christ Child to the shepherds (Luke 2:14), minister to Christ after his temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:11), comfort Jesus in his agony in the garden (Luke 22:43), and proclaim his resurrection from the dead (John20:12). Jesus Christ stated the angels of little ones continually behold the face of the Father (Matthew 18:10): this passage has been traditionally cited as biblical evidence of Guardian Angels. Angels will come with Christ on the Day of Judgement (Matthew 24:31), and the angels will separate the wicked from the just on the Last Day (Matthew 13:49), although they do not know the day of Judgement (Mark 13:32). Christ also said the children of the resurrection will be equal to the angels (Luke 20:34). God sent an angel to free the Apostle Peter after he was jailed by King Herod (Acts12:7-11)
The Greek word ἄγγελος or “angelos” means messenger or angel. Angels are purely spiritual beings that do God’s will (Psalm 103:20, Matthew 26:53). God stationed cherubim to protect the Garden of Eden after the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:24. An angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in Exodus3:2 to lead the Israelites from captivity in Egypt to the Promised Land. God sent an angel to punish King David and the Israelites, but stopped the angel from destroying Jerusalem after King David repented and offered sacrifice to the Lord in 2 Samuel 24. When Elijah fled Jezebel after his triumph on Mount Carmel, an angel brought him food, giving him strength to meet the Lord on Mount Horeb in 1 Kings 19. An angel restored the high priest Joshua in Zechariah3. Sometimes angels take human form, as seen in the men who appeared to Abraham and Lot in Genesis 18-19, or Raphael who appeared in human form to Tobias.
Michael as one of the leading angels is considered “Prince” of the heavenly hosts, and appears three times in the Book of Daniel (10:13, 10:21, and 12:1). He is the only one in the Bible referred to as an Archangel (Jude 1:9), and serves a major role in Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation. The angel Gabriel first appears twice to Daniel (Daniel 8:16 and 9:21), but is best known for the Annunciation to Mary that she would be the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38). The Book of Tobias(Tobit) 12:15 names Raphael as “one of the seven who stand before the Lord.” Revelation 8:2 also refers to the seven angels who stand before the Lord. The seven are Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the three named in the Bible, and Raguel, Remiel, Saraqael, and Uriel, named in Enoch 20:1-8, a book found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the Bible of the Oriental Orthodox Church of Ethiopia.
Thomas Aquinas was a great medieval theologian, and is known as the “Angelic Doctor” for his writings on angels in his Summa Theologica.Thomas Aquinas believed that angels, being spiritual beings, influence mankind by illuminating one’s mind with an idea. Quoting Scripture, he named 9 orders of angels in 3 groups: the highest hierarchy being next to God, Seraphim (Isaiah 6:2), Cherubim (Genesis 3:24, Ezekiel 10:1-22), and Thrones (Colossians 1:16); the middle hierarchy involved in government, Dominations (Colossians 1:16), Virtues (1 Peter 3:22), and Powers (Colossians 1:16); and the third hierarchy involved in work, Principalities (Colossians 1:16), Archangels (1 Thessalonians 4:16), and Angels. Here are a few of the more noted Scriptural passages on Angels.
THE OLD TESTAMENT OF THE BIBLE
THE FALL OF ADAM AND EVE
“The man gave his wife the name “Eve,” because she was the mother of all the living.
The Lord God made for the man and his wife garments of skins, with which he clothed them.
Then the Lord God said: See! The man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil!
Now, what if he also reaches out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life, and eats of it and lives forever?
The Lord God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden,
to till the ground from which he had been taken.
When he expelled the man, he settled him east of the garden of Eden;
and he stationed the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword,
to guard the way to the tree of life.”
“And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set.
And he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven;
and behold the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!”
GOD SENDS AN ANGEL TO LEAD MOSES
“Behold, I send an angel before you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place which I have prepared.
Give heed to him and hearken to his voice, do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression; for my name is in him.
But if you hearken attentively to his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
We will go on with the knowledge (hopefully) that there is another plane. The accounts:
When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran
from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth (a centenarian!), and said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by. “Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree..
Now the angel of The LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” Then the angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.”
This is the verse that our Islamic brethren refer to. The literal firstborn of Abraham – the father of all nations.
<a class=”verse-dropdown” href=”https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/Genesis/19/1″ data-cont=”Tools
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Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.” Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.read more.
<a class=”verse-dropdown” href=”https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/Genesis/28/10″ data-cont=”Tools
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Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
<a class=”verse-dropdown” href=”https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/Exodus/3/1″ data-cont=”Tools
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Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
<a class=”verse-dropdown” href=”https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/Numbers/22/31″ data-cont=”Tools
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Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed all the way to the ground. The angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was contrary to me. “But the donkey saw me and turned aside from me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and let her live.”read more.
<a class=”verse-dropdown” href=”https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/Joshua/5/13″ data-cont=”Tools
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Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
We have tarried in the Old Testament for a bit… Let us see what the New Testament shares:
There are more than twenty interactions humans have experienced with angels listed both in the Gospel accounts and in the rest of the New Testament. The below list of angelic appearances is listed in chronological order.
The first New Testament interaction with an angel happens to Zacharias in Jerusalem’s temple. He is told his wife Elizabeth will bear a son whose name will be John (John the Baptist). John will have the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb and live like a Nazarite (Luke 1:11 – 20, 26 – 38).
Gabriel (who is one of a class of angels called Archangels) is sent to a virgin named Mary to inform her that she will miraculously conceive of the Savior whom will be named Jesus (Luke 1:26 – 38).
From time to time an angel would stir the water in the pool of Bethesda. The first person to enter the pool after the water was stirred would be healed of their diseases (John 5:1 – 4).
God sent a spiritual messenger to Jesus to strengthen him before his suffering and death. The Bible states, just after Christ urged the disciples to pray so that they did not fall into temptation, “Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him” (Luke 22:43).
Yes, we have touched on this above, but I am moved to share it again. Does anyone recollect the ‘story’ of Peter? Who was to be tried the very next day!
About that time King Herod devoted his attention to mistreating certain members of the church. He had James, the brother of John, executed. When he saw how this pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter too. This happened during the days of Unleavened Bread. After capturing Peter, Herod had him thrown into prison with sixteen soldiers in squads of four to guard him. Herod wanted to bring Peter to trial in front of the people after Passover. So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was praying very hard to God for him.
The night before Herod was going to bring Peter to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers. His hands were bound with two chains, and guards were in front of the door. They were watching the prison.
Suddenly, an angel from the Lord stood near Peter, and his cell was filled with light. The angel nudged Peter’s side, woke him up, and said, “Hurry! Get up!” At that moment the chains fell from Peter’s hands.
The angel told him, “Put your shoes on, and get ready to go!” Peter did this. Then the angel told him, “Put your coat on, and follow me.”
Peter followed the angel out of the cell. He didn’t realize that what the angel was doing was actually happening. He thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guardposts and came to the iron gate that led into the city. This gate opened by itself for them, so they went outside and up the street. The angel suddenly left Peter.
When Peter came to his senses, he said, “Now I’m sure that the Lord sent his angel to rescue me from Herod and from everything the Jewish people are expecting to happen to me.”
When Peter realized what had happened, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark. Many people had gathered at her home and were praying. Peter knocked on the door of the entryway, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so happy that instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and reported, “Peter is standing at the door!”
The people told her, “You’re crazy!” But she insisted that Peter was at the door. They said, “It has to be his angel.”
But Peter kept knocking. When they opened the door, they were shocked to see him. Peter motioned with his hand to quiet them down and told them how the Lord had taken him out of prison. He added, “Tell James and the other believers about this.” Then he left and went somewhere else.
In the morning the soldiers were in an uproar over what had happened to Peter. Herod searched for Peter but couldn’t find him. So he questioned the guards and gave orders to have them executed.
Things here were never promised to be easy. There is an essence over the Earth.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1–2, emphasis added). In this text the apostle Paul describes Satan first as a “prince” with power, because he has authentic power in the world (1 John 5:19). This power has been given him by God (Luke 4:6). Satan has power over some illnesses (Luke 13:16; see also 2 Corinthians 12:7—it’s unknown if Paul’s “thorn” was an illness or something else). In some sense, Satan has power over death (Hebrew 2:14). The reason Satan is called a prince rather than a king is that there is only one King—Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 6:15).
Satan also has power over some people. The “sons of disobedience” referred to in Ephesians 2:2 are those who have not trusted Christ as Lord and Savior (cf. Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 13:12). The demons are also under the rule of Satan (Matthew 12:24), and one of his titles is “prince of demons” (Matthew 9:34). Satan has a kingdom (Matthew 12:26) and a throne (Revelation 2:13). Satan is called a prince because he is a ruler and possesses power to manifest evil in the world through influencing people and commanding demons.
“The air” in Ephesians 2:2 may refer to the invisible realm above the earth where Satan and his demons move and exist. This space, of course, is the location of the earth’s atmosphere or “air.” In Ephesians 6:12, Paul writes, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” This evil realm called the “air” could be an actual locality, but it could also be synonymous with the “world” of John 12:31. This whole world is Satan’s domain (Matthew 4:8–9).
Although Satan has power and authority in the current world system in which we exist, his power is limited, always under the sovereign control of God (Job 1:12), and it is temporary (Romans 16:20). God has not revealed all of the why’s and when’s concerning Satan’s rule, but He has made it clear that there is only one way to escape the power of Satan’s dominion, and that is through His Son, Jesus (Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:13–14). It is Jesus who, speaking of the impending cross, declared victory: “Now the prince of this world will be driven out” (John 12:31).
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.“
Mind you! It says “in Heavenly places.” This ties directly into the promise we live that at The name of Jesus EVERY knee shall bow, I need not say “Amen” for it is and was known and has been shared.
What power is there in The name of Jesus? When Jesus “stepped down”
The great truth revealed in the New Testament is that the eternal God became one of us; He became a human being.
And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
The Apostle Paul echoes John’s thoughts:
Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of humanity (Philippians 2:6,7).
The Incarnation Of Jesus Christ
God became a human in Jesus Christ. This is known as the “incarnation.” Incarnation is from the Latin meaning “in flesh.” Although it is not a biblical word it presents a biblical truth. Jesus is the eternal God who became flesh and blood. Jesus became a man at a point in time in history. He did so without giving up His oneness with God. He became a human being without a sin nature. “In flesh” means more than Jesus had a physical body – He was a complete human personality.
Jesus Took On A New Nature
By the incarnation we do not mean that God was turned into a human or that Jesus ceased to be God while he was a man. The incarnation means that while remaining God, Jesus took upon a new nature – a human nature. The incarnation was the uniting the divine and the human into one being, one person. Jesus Christ was fully God and fully human.
Jesus Laid Aside His Heavenly Glory
In becoming a human being Jesus laid aside His heavenly glory to live among us. The question is, why did He do it? The Scriptures give us several reasons why Jesus came to earth.
1. He Wanted To Further Reveal God To Humanity
The first and foremost reason was to give a further revelation of God to humanity. If you wish to know what God is like you need go no further than to look at Jesus. The Bible says.
No one has ever seen God, but God the one and only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known (John 1:18).
This verse teaches that Jesus explained God to humanity. We need no longer wonder what God is like; Jesus shows us. Jesus Himself said.
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father'”(John 14:9).
Jesus Did This By Both Words And Deeds
Jesus claimed that God guided both his words and deeds.
Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these” (John 5:19,20).
But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father (John 10:38).
Jesus’ work of reaching out to the vilest of sinners revealed the heart of God the Father. Those who criticized his work among the worst sinners revealed their lack of understanding with God’s desires.
The Old Testament Revelation Is Incomplete
While God revealed Himself to humankind in the Old Testament the revelation was incomplete. There were a number of things that waited till God Himself came to earth in the Person of Jesus Christ. Thus Jesus revealed God to humanity in a personal way.
2. Jesus Came To Fulfill God’s Promises To Certain People
God made a number of promises to people like Adam, Noah, Abraham, and David.
To Adam He was the promised Messiah – the seed of the woman
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel (Genesis 3:15).
To Abraham Jesus was his one descendant who would bless the world.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you (Genesis 12:3).
To David Jesus was the promised King that would come from His family.
When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom (2 Samuel 7:12).
The coming of Jesus fulfilled this promise. The angel said to Mary.
You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end (Luke 1:31-33).
Jesus Came To Bring Salvation To All Humanity
The covenants He made with them promised salvation for both Israel and the Gentiles. With the coming of Jesus to the world, these promises were fulfilled.
For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, and for the Gentiles to glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, “Therefore I will give praise to you among the Gentiles, and I will sing to your name” (Romans 15:8,9).
3. Jesus Came To Fulfill The Law Of Moses
Jesus also came to fulfill the Law of Moses. Jesus said.
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17,18).
By living a perfect life here upon the earth Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the Law in every respect.
4. Jesus Came To Die For The Sins Of The World
When sin entered the world God instituted the concept of substitutionary sacrifice where God required the sacrifice to die. However the sacrifices of animals could not take away sin. Neither would the death of an ordinary human being be satisfactory to take away sin. What was needed was the perfect sacrifice. This was accomplished with God becoming a human being. Christ’s coming was to die on the cross for the sins of the world. When Christ came He sacrificed Himself on Calvary’s cross. Jesus Himself testified.
Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).
His death on the cross has paid the penalty for ours sins. He died in our place so that we do not have to suffer eternally for our misdeeds.
The Bible says.
God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation . . . he made him sin for us that we may be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:19,21).
Jesus Christ came into the world to become humanity’s Savior. Without His coming humanity would not have a Savior.
5.Jesus Came To Bring In A New Covenant
Jesus not only fulfilled the promises of the old covenant, His coming brought a new covenant into existence.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28).
6. Jesus Came To Destroy The Works Of The Devil
His coming also was to destroy the works of the devil and the hold he has had over humanity.
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
Jesus’ death on the cross frees us from the power of sin. The devil no longer has any right to control us because Christ has given us the freedom to choose not to sin.
7. Jesus Came To Judge The World Righteously
Jesus came to be a righteous judge of humanity. Scripture says that it is He who will judge the world.
Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son (John 5:22).
Jesus also said.
And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man (John 5:27).
He is qualified to judge humanity because He became a human being. Since He has lived as a human being His judgment will always be righteous and fair.
8. Jesus Came To Sympathize With Believers As The Great High Priest
Because Jesus, the God-man, lived here upon the earth and experienced the limitations of being a human being, He is able to sympathize with the problems and concerns that humans face. The Bible says.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
9. Jesus Came To Be An Example For Believers
Jesus also came to provide an example for the believer on how to live one’s life. When a person puts his faith in Christ he has an example to follow. Jesus lived the perfect life as the perfect man with faith in His Father. Hence we are told, “to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6). Peter said.
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21).
Jesus Christ provides the pattern of how believers should live.
10. Jesus Came To Prepare Humanity For A Heavenly Destiny
Finally, Jesus came to earth to prepare humanity for their heavenly destiny. The Son of God became a human so that human beings could eventually be fitted with a new nature – a perfect one. One day we shall be like him.
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2).
We shall have a body like his.
Who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body (Philippians 3:21).
Believers who have borne the image of the earthly man Adam will also bear the image of the heavenly man – Jesus. Paul wrote.
The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven (1 Corinthians 15:47,48).
The thing that hindered this from happening was sin.
The incarnation means that the eternal God became a human being. When the Bible speaks about Jesus coming in the flesh it means that He had a complete, sinless human nature.
The coming of Jesus Christ into the world was for the following reasons. Jesus came to provide a further revelation of God. The Old Testament was incomplete and the coming of Christ completed God’s revelation. Jesus also came to fulfill promises to individuals. The Old Testament records promises made to a number of individuals that were fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus also came to fulfill the Law of Moses – He perfectly kept the commandments of the Law. Jesus also came to be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. Because He lived a sinless life He could sacrifice Himself. The coming of Christ not only fulfilled the old covenant, it also brought a new covenant into affect. Christ’s coming was also to destroy the works of the devil. Christ also became an example for believers. His perfect life sets the standard. Finally, Jesus coming has prepared the way for believers to receive their new body – one without sin.
There are untold examples in The Word. To show you that it is not always without repercussion here, but the rewars await where mold or rust are not.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.“
In following this fact, let us peak at what emotions can do,
As Paul continues his outreach to Jews and God-fearers, he is accosted by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future (literally, “a spirit, Python”; see note). She is twice bound, spiritually and economically, for her masters are making quite a profit by exploiting her occult powers. Yet what engages Paul with her is her spiritual opposition to his mission. Day after day she follows Paul and his team, shouting (literally, “crying out repeatedly”), “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved” (literally, “a way of salvation”). This announcement both helps and hinders the mission. To Jewish ears it rings of truth, using terminology (“Most High God,” el-selyon) that they considered the Gentile way of referring to the one true God (Gen 14:18-20; Num 24:16; Dan 3:26; 4:32; 5:18, 21). But to polytheistic pagans, who were henotheists as opposed to monotheists, there were many “highest gods”; the title had been attached to Zeus, Isis the mother-goddess of the kingdom of Lydia in Asia, and Baal. A pagan hearer would understand the term to refer to whatever deity he or she considered supreme (Trebilco 1989:60; contrast Levinskaya 1993:125-28). And “a way of salvation”? For the pagan it was release from the powers governing the fate of humankind and the material world (Longenecker 1981:462). So though initially this declaration may seem a help to Paul as it attracts crowds and provides a good starting point for discussing the gospel with pagans, it has to be corrected each time and thus soon becomes an annoyance (compare Acts 4:2). That a demon-possessed girl is the source of this true but potentially ambiguous statement is another difficulty (compare Lk 4:34, 41; 8:28). Such Satanic tactics have not changed in two thousand years. To counter them the message of salvation must always be proclaimed in clarity and fullness, with its divine source unambiguously credited.
The exorcism occurs via direct confrontation. He turned around and said to the spirit (authoritative command), “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” The results are immediate: at that moment the spirit left (literally, “came out,” compare the command). As at Jerusalem and Judea (Acts 5:16) and in Samaria (8:7), so now in a move across the sea toward the end of the earth, the advance of the gospel means the extension of the kingdom of God through a liberation of those under Satan’s authority (26:18). What must I do to be saved? Experience the liberating power of the Lord Jesus Christ, who not only opens but also cleanses hearts (15:9).
This exorcism is both similar to and different from Jesus’ ministry of exorcism. Christians confronting the forces of evil today can find guidance here. Persons who were certifiably demon-possessed, as indicated by their talk and action, attacked Jesus and Paul in order to hinder the preaching of the kingdom of God. Both Jesus and Paul dealt authoritatively with the demon-possessed using the simple command “Come out!” and the results were immediate (Lk 4:35; 8:29; 9:42; 11:14). There the similarities end. Jesus’ authority is personal and direct. The demons fear Jesus and what he can do to them, though they still seem to taunt (Lk 8:28 and parallels). He rebukes them. Paul’s authority and ours is christocentric and derived. In the name of Jesus Christ . . . come out of her (Acts 16:18; compare 19:13, 17). Exorcism must be approached today, then, with much care, humility and prayer. But there must also be bold confidence that Jesus is still bringing release to the captives (Lk 4:18).
Whenever the gospel threatens vested interests, especially economic interests, it is bound to meet opposition (compare 19:25-27). So the slave girl’s handlers, far from being pleased with her liberation, can think only of their loss of revenue. They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities (compare 21:30). The four large stone steps that led up to the bema, “speaker’s platform or judgment seat” where the authorities held court, at the midpoint on the north side of the marketplace forum, are still there today (Finegan 1981:102). Roman local administration of civil and criminal cases was the responsibility of the duoviri. Luke terms them strategoi (16:20), the equivalent of the honorable title praetor by which they often preferred to be called. Each was assigned two lictors, police escorts who carried the fasces et secures, the symbol of their authority, a bundle of rods bound together with thongs and often accompanied by an ax.
Paul and Silas are brought before these magistrates and charged with disturbing the peace and introducing customs unlawful for Roman citizens to accept. The handlers appeal to law-and-order nationalism, anti-Semitic prejudice and ethnic traditionalism. At the same time there is actually a kernel of truth in their words. In the Roman Republic a cult of Apollo centered on healing and prophecy, and under Augustus a magnificent temple to Apollo was erected on the Palatine. “Apollo Palatinus was in some sort the equal of Jupiter Optimus Maximus” (Rose and Robertson 1970:82). Preaching the way of salvation in the Lord Jesus, in whose name the “spirit Python,” inspired by Apollo, was cast out, might certainly be viewed as advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.
The crowd rises up against the missionaries, and the magistrates seem to apply rough summary justice by having the lictors use their rods to beat them (compare 2 Cor 11:25; 1 Thess 2:2). Such punishment was certainly within the magistrates’ rightful power, though it was not to be used on a Roman citizen (see below, vv. 35-40). Since prisons functioned in ancient times more as places of detention for those awaiting trial than as places of punishment, the praetors’ consignment of Paul and Silas to the jailer for safekeeping is not part of the summary justice (contrast Marshall 1980:271) but precedes handing them over for trial before the proconsul (Sherwin-White 1963:82). Security seems to have been of the utmost concern, for these pagan minds must have wondered, If they can cast out a soothsaying spirit, what will prevent them from using their magical powers to escape incarceration?
So delivered into the keeping of a jailer (probably a retired military man), placed in the innermost part of the prison (archaeology has identified a probable site adjacent to the forum; Finegan 1981:105) and with feet fastened in wooden stocks (there is no indication that it was for torture, as Bruce [1988:315] contends; compare Polhill 1992:353), the missionaries are left for the night. As Christians have found throughout history, the state is often an instrument of persecution.
A reason this is brought up is simply to show that ALL things in the lives of believers work together for good to them that are called of God. I would be silly to ask if you are called! God does not only call on the able; but allows y to shine through the ‘disabled’. Let His glory shine through you, Amen.
After they were whipped, we read what happens. Rather than weep and/or cry, they praised The LORD!
Paul and Silas were in Philippi as we shared above, more specifically now (a former city in present-day Greece), where they were arrested, flogged, and imprisoned for causing a public nuisance. What happened next, as recorded in Acts 16:25-31:
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
And they said, Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Wow! So much can be gleaned from this.
a) ALL is KNOWN and SEEN by God. The demon posessed girl above; why did she choose to ‘trouble’ Paul and Silas for days! Many things occured in the aftermath. They were dragged before the magistrate, whipped and thrown in the dungeon of the prison. We can see from above that people were executed for much less.
Post whipping (God sees time all ways – God Made Time!) they were thrown in jaiil.Tod Knew who He had thrown in jail and just what their actions would be! Were there people awaiting execution? Someone going to commit suicide? We do not know and possible never will. But, they fulfilled so many purposes. The statement:
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”
Came about as a result of this. Yet, their sores were bathed by the jailers household! And hours later, they were freed.
When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”
But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”
The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.<sup class=”crossreference” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-27523AG” data-link=”( After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.
We learn even more from this. It was against the law for Roman citizens to be treated in such a manner! So, the sentencing magistrates “were alarmed. They came to appease Paull and Silas and escorted them from the prison.”
I repeat: God does not call the qualified but qualifies the called! Amen.
Father LORD, we give You thanks for everything; our past, present and always, Amen. I give You full control of my life. Each breath I take, may it be taken from You in acceptance and thanks for my dependence on You LORD. Cleanse me, renew me, bless me and fill me with your Spirit till I overflow, Amen
In tests and trials, be Thou glorified, Amen