Monday, December 17, 2012

Mark 8:37-38 commentary: ashamed of Christ?

37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Doctrinally, this is a Tribulation statement. When Christ returns in glory, the church will be the holy angels that had already been translated (rapture is not a word found in the Bible) and enjoyed the marriage feast of the lamb, that are come to judge and to reign with Him for a thousand years. But, practically and inspirationally, this is a great statement that should give us all pause. Are you ashamed of Jesus Christ and His Bible? What has the typical person of the world taken in exchange for his soul? A mess of pottage? What has the Christian taken in exchange for God speaking to him through His word? The pleasure to sit as a passive audience in churches across the land being spoon fed lies and distortions while they sit smiling and thinking about yardwork or what the person is wearing in the pew in front of them?

Here, Jesus Christ returns with;

1Thessalonians 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

2Thessalonians 1:7 – 10 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

Notice the parallel phrasing in these two letters to the Thessalonians. Unless you believe Christ is returning with two groups of people then you can see that “all his saints” is synonymous with “his mighty angels”.

Remember, an angel is an appearance of something that is somewhere else. It could be likened to a hologram only it is the person, thing, or place, for all intents and purposes with the ability to exert that person’s power or to receive judgment.

Here is a definition of an angel;

Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

An angel can look like a man. Notice the parallel phrasing from Daniel to Luke with angel and man as the key words;

Daniel 9:21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

Notice in Revelation this measurement;

Revelation 21:17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

The angel of the Lord is an appearance of God the Son, the Living WORD who created all things and by whom all things are held together.

Judges 2:1 And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

Acts 27:23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,

At the very least, churches and children have angels, appearances, before God in heaven.

Matthew 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Revelation 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Now, the theological twinkies that infest our seminaries and pulpits like devils across the land, corrupting the minds of their congregants so that the Bible is reduced to a complex mess or the Roman Catholics who borrowed their angels from the Persian religion and other various pagan edifices will object.

They will say that the word angel in both Hebrew and Greek means messenger. Well, apparently, the message they’re delivering is “here am I.” Seriously, what message was the Lord Jesus Christ’s angel delivering here?

2Kings 19:35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

No angel in the Bible has wings. An argument against this by the aforementioned theological twinkies is that cherubim and seraphim are “angelic creatures” and they have wings. There is no phrase “angelic creatures” in the Bible, nor is the concept even present. A cherub is a living creature, the obvious pattern from living creatures on earth. It is not a fat, little baby, with tiny wings floating around looking sweet and it is not an angel.

Ezekiel 10:20 This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.

Now, it’s up to you to actually read Ezekiel, chapters 1 and 10, and then Revelation 4. Another of the classic mistakes of the non-Bible believing “Christian” is the notion that Satan is a fallen angel. The problem is that Satan is a reptilian cherub (Ezekiel 28:14 and Job 41) who can only appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) to deceive. Note the word “ transformed”.

When Christ returns in glory with his holy angels, who are the spirits of “just men made perfect”, the “general assembly and church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23), Christ will take his vengeance on a wicked world (Revelation 14:10; Revelation 19). The marriage supper of the Lamb takes place first and that is spoken of in Revelation 19 before the return of Christ.

The Bible teaches very clearly, in a number of verses, that the church, which is always the people and never a building or an organization, is to be translated, removed from this present world, partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb with Christ as his wife, and that it will return when Christ returns to take over the kingdoms of the world. That’s what the Bible says and that’s what the early church believed, Pagan Christianity’s protestations and the confusion of so-called Bible scholars notwithstanding.

I am not scholar by the world’s definition. I have no advanced degree in Hebrew or Greek. I am not well-versed in philosophy, evolution, or “new age” religion. But, I can read sixth grade English. I can pray. I can hear. So can you.

Now, what does it mean to be ashamed of Christ and His words? In the Bible shame brings with it sorrow (2 Kings 8:11), people are brought to confusion and dishonor (Psalm 35:26). They are confounded (Psalm 70:2). Peter denied Christ three times. But many times, people who are not ashamed can speak boldly.

Psalm 119:46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.

I can remember one time, as a child, having the adult I was with stop me from praying in a restaurant to ask God to bless the food which I always did at home. The person, the adult I was with, was embarrassed that I was praying in public.

I know people today who are ashamed of Christ because the way he teaches us to live and to treat other people makes them feel weak. They don’t want any of that “turn the other cheek” stuff. They don’t trust Christ to protect or avenge them and they’re ashamed of Him.

In verse 35 the implication is that a true follower of Christ is willing to give up his own physical life and all he holds dear and valuable for Christ. That is going to be a hard row to hoe if you are so ashamed of Christ you won’t thank Him for the food He gives you in public.

It would be awfully difficult to be willing to die for Christ if you are always becoming enraged that you don’t get the proper respect from others or think that revenge, “get-backs”, is the price people pay for messing with you.

2 Timothy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

Many Christians are ashamed of Christ, sadly. If you were told you were dying would you praise God in front of the doctor for taking you home? If “the desire of thine eyes” (Ezekiel 24:16-18) goes before you will you still praise God and thank Him? Where does your faith end and your membership in the world begin? At what point will your “Praise God” and your “AMEN!” be silent. Death of a child? When are you ashamed of your faith?

What if, when reading the Bible over and over, you realized your political views were wrong, your enjoyments weren’t pleasing to God, your favorite possessions were in the way of your relationship with Christ, or even that your view of Bible doctrine was wrong in some way? Would you surrender to Christ or be ashamed of Him and just pretend everything was fine so you didn’t rock the boat at church, at work, or in your family?

What is your tipping point? At what point would you be ashamed of Christ? It’d be awfully hard to stand strong in the faith if your child was being tortured in front of your eyes, pleading for your help. This happens in some places in the world today. Would you be willing to suffer anything for Christ when you aren’t even willing to follow Him if it means currying disfavor with your church, your friends, or your family? Losing your job?

1 Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

Are you not expressing shame for Christ and His words when your actions, thoughts, and words imply that you don’t really believe they’re true or He’s real?

I know, for us fundamentalists, the usual talk about being ashamed of Christ runs to not being willing to preach on a street corner or knock on someone’s door. I’m just trying to dig a little deeper. In America we’re very fortunate. We’re free to stand for Christ in public. We’re also free to be ashamed of Him in private.

No comments: