|Vol. 16 No. 2 February 2014||
There has been a great deal of interest in the Bible’s Ten Commandments recently. Some have stated that all but one of them is applicable to modern mankind. Others have become very upset because governments have taken a stand on having them removed from government buildings.
A close study of Exodus and Leviticus, however, reveals that they never were applicable to anyone but Israelites, and that much more than the 10 were involved. Time after time in these two books reference is made to the commandments in them being made to and for Israel. Gentiles are not being considered, except in certain cases where such would be dwelling among the Israelites. These commandments belong strictly to what is often considered the Old Testament, which was a guide for Israel until Christ ushered in His New Testament, which applies to everyone, Jew and Gentile alike. (See Galatians 3:17-29.)
Too often, modern man has failed to truly study the Bible, and thus, he has concluded that every command given to Israel is just as binding today as it was when delivered by Moses directly from God concerning Israel’s destiny. One needs to ask certain questions, though. Among the first to be asked is, “To whom was the passage addressed?” God answered this over and over in Leviticus. To take the passage out of that context is to make it a pretext (i.e., a lie), and to teach it in that way is to lead people away from the basic teaching and place their souls in danger!
Instead, the teacher needs to teach Scripture in the total context and leave his student with a true knowledge of God’s rule for living in the present world. The Law of Moses contains many good moral laws, but to bind them on others is adding to what God has revealed. As stated by the aforementioned Scriptures, those laws were a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. However, once having come to Christ, we should not seek to go back to the schoolmaster which was to bring Jews to Christ (Galatians 3:24-25).
We need to be striving to learn what is required by Christ’s New Testament. Several of the principles set forth by the Old Testament are repeated in the New Testament. It behooves all of us to learn what they are and live by them. Our future home in heaven depends on it!
James wrote in James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” In Matthew 4, Jesus was tempted by the devil with every temptation he could throw at Him. In verse 11 it says the devil left Him.
I believe that Satan preys on the weak in faith. First Peter 5:8 reads, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” James wrote in James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” It only makes sense to conclude that the devil works in those who are weak in the faith; they present the least resistance. He left Jesus because of His great faith and His determination and dedication to His Father. The same holds true for us. If we deny self and take up our cross and follow Jesus as He instructed, that doesn’t leave us much time to follow Satan.
Paul said in Ephesians 6:10-11, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” So, to get back to the question, “How can I resist temptation?”
Remember, God’s written Word is the most powerful tool you have. Use it not only for the salvation of your own soul, but for the souls of others.
Arlis D. Richardson
The evil spirits were subject only to Jesus and His appointed apostles! Brother Kenneth Jones, writing on this subject stated, “God allowed people to be possessed by demons to demonstrate Christ’s complete power over all the forces of evil.” The casting out of demons identify what this was. Matthew 4:23-24 show that evil spirit or demon possession was something distinguished from medical or psychiatric conditions in the New Testament. Further close studies of the Scriptures reveal some startling facts! Demon possession came on the scene suddenly in the time of Christ, but it is nowhere again mentioned after the Book of Acts, and it is only mentioned twice in Acts – and both times confirming the Word and establishing the divine power in the apostles.
In Acts 16:16-18, a certain damsel was possessed with the spirit of divination and was being used by her masters. The apostle Paul commanded the spirit to come out. It did, and the masters were so upset that Paul and Silas were sent to prison where they converted the jailer to Christ.
The second passage is Acts 19:13-16. In that account, certain Jews ordered an evil spirit out of a man. It is noteworthy that the spirit spoke and stated, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?” The evil spirit did not leave, but influenced the man to attack those Jews, and they fled from the house naked and wounded.
According to brother Jones, “The day in which a fountain would be opened for sin and uncleaness can only refer to the Christian dispensation of time. Therefore God said that in the Christian dispensation of time He would cause the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.”
First Corinthians 13:8-13 helps to confirm this. It states that all manner of spiritual gifts (miracles) would cease when “that which is perfect is come.” James 1:25 speaks of this “perfect law of liberty” that people could look into. This is the New Testament in written form. Since we are to accept Paul’s statement about the miracles ceasing when the Scriptures were completed, and since even the evil spirits themselves recognized that Christ and His apostles had the divine authority to drive them out of persons, and since the purpose was to establish that divine authority and confirm the Word of those apostles, it follows that those spirits are not present in our world today.
That was a situation which occurred during Jesus’ ministry on earth and during the activity of the apostles only. It is not something about which we need to be concerned today.