Posted in discernment, elijah, encouragement, eternity, moses, personal revelation, transfiguration

Talking with Jesus

Not the ‘Mount of Transfiguration’. Source

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. (Matthew 17:1-3)

A spiritually awe-filled scene, as we mentally behold it and picture Jesus glorified and being fully God. However, today I am picturing Moses and Elijah, talking with Him.

Imagine, in the Millennium Kingdom and in Eternity, we will do the same! We will stand casually on a mountain and talk with Jesus! My mind veritably breaks apart just thinking of this. What will I say? What were Moses, Elijah and Jesus talking about? What could I possibly have to say to Jesus, except only “thank You!”

But we are His friend. We will talk with Jesus, and He will talk personally and directly to us.

The Graphics Fairy

For all of you who envy Beth Moore and her personal conversations with a different Jesus, and for all of you who covet the personal touch Sarah Young claims to have had with Jesus Calling her, I have this to say. Those women and all those like them are having the only talk with “Jesus” they will ever have, except at the Great White Throne Judgment when He says “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” Will they then wonder, were the five or ten or fifty chats they thought they’d had with ‘Jesus’ worth an eternity of missing the real Him, and never speaking to Him again?

Yet for the persevering and patient Christian who clings to Hebrews 11:1 and believes that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (and not heard), we will be talking with Him just as Moses and Elijah were.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (John 3:2)

We will join Moses and Elijah and be talking with our wonderful Savior, Friend, Shepherd, every ‘day’ throughout all eternity.

Hallelujah.

Posted in asclepius, brazen serpent, moses, spurgeon

How satan twisted Moses’ brazen serpent into the rod of Asclepius

In around 1400 BC, Moses led the Israelites into the wilderness. They had been released from slavery by powerful acts of God, including ten plagues and parting the Red Sea to aid their escape. (Exodus 1-15)

However, it wasn’t long before the Israelites grumbled. They were sick of manna, they wanted an easier life, they wanted to get there. (Numbers 20:4). So they grumbled some more, against Moses and against God.

God heard their grumbles.

Wiki CC, Moses and the Brazen Serpent, Sebastien Bourdon

“Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.” (Numbers 21:6-9)

As with everything, God had a purpose. Jesus explained it to Nicodemus.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15).

And as with everything, satan is busy, too.

By 700BC or so, satan had encouraged the Israelites to worship the brazen idol, rather than worship the God to whom it pointed. Worse, the Israelites had actually named the idol! They called it ‘Neshutan.’

He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).” 2 Kings 18:4

Hezekiah removed them, which pleased God, but it was too late. The idol worship had taken root. By ~460 BC Cult of Asclepius was well underway. To the Greeks, and then the Romans and finally Europe, Asclepius became a god, represented as a man holding a rod with a serpent twined around it. This is actually the pale memory of the actual brazen serpent curled around the rod Moses held, where the Israelites were to look at the serpent lifted high and be healed, but since the world hates the bible, the truth, and anything to do with Jesus, they easily fell into the myth that it was Asclepius. He became known as “Asclepius savior,” in a brazen attempt to remove the righteous place of Jesus in saving souls and bodies.

The serpentine cross sculpture (the Brazen Serpent Monument)
atop Mount Nebo was created by Italian artist Giovanni Fantoni.
It is symbolic of the bronze serpent created by Moses in the wilderness
(Numbers 21:4–9) and the cross upon which
Jesus was crucified (John 3:14). Wiki CC photo

The Greek Island of Kos seems to be ground zero for the largest of the Asclepius cult followers, with a close second a HUGE cult temple at Pergamum. Remember the church at Pergamum? That Pergamum.

After 400BC or so, Asclepion complexes sprung up, monumental temples with a sanctuary, spas, baths, dormitories, patient intake, and a hall of records. (I.e., scrolls and marble carvings of patients who were served and who got healed)

Hippocrates is said to have received his medical training at an asclepieion on the isle of Kos. Prior to becoming the personal physician to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Galen treated and studied at the famed asclepieion at Pergamon. (source)

Asclepius was HUGE in the ancient world. Worship of Asclepius was such a part of Greek life that the false god remained on the Greek currency until 2001 when Greek money was replaced by the Euro.

The reverse side of the 10,000-drachma note, showing Asklepios,
the god of healing, with his symbol, the staff with a serpent coiled around it.
Beside him, a healing scene depicts a sacred snake licking or biting
the right shoulder of a sleeping patient. Source

Here is how the Asclepius worship went:

In honor of Asclepius, a particular type of non-venomous snake was often used in healing rituals, and these snakes – the Aesculapian Snakes – crawled around freely on the floor in dormitories where the sick and injured slept. These snakes were introduced at the founding of each new temple of Asclepius throughout the classical world. From about 300 BC onwards, the cult of Asclepius grew very popular and pilgrims flocked to his healing temples (Asclepieia) to be cured of their ills. Ritual purification would be followed by offerings or sacrifices to the god (according to means), and the supplicant would then spend the night in the holiest part of the sanctuary – the abaton (or adyton). Any dreams or visions would be reported to a priest who would prescribe the appropriate therapy by a process of interpretation.

Satan sure can twist things, and make them seem complicated and spiritual at the same time. The Gospel is so simple. Moses’ directions from God as to what to do to be saved was so simple. (Look at the lifted up serpent and be saved).

I mentioned Hippocrates a moment ago. You might know the Hippocratic Oath, an oath doctors swear by to this day. It first appeared around 400BC at the time the Asclepius worship got going. The Oath is one of the oldest binding documents in history. In its original version it read:

I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement:

Today, the modified Hippocratic oath doesn’t make the speaker swear allegiance to Asclepius but instead worships science.

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant: I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I also said a moment ago that Pergamon is mentioned in the bible, and that the largest mainland Asclepion hospital-temple sanctuaries were located there. It is thought by bible scholars that one reason Jesus called the city of Pergamos in the book of Revelation, the place where satan’s throne is located, could be because of the Asclepion there. Wikipedia describes the main feature of Pergamos:

Three kilometers south of the Acropolis at , down in the valley, there was the Sanctuary of Asclepius (also known as the Asclepium), the god of healing. The Ascelpium was approached along a 820 meter colonnaded sacred way. In this place people with health problems could bathe in the water of the sacred spring, and in the patients’ dreams Asclepius would appear in a vision to tell them how to cure their illness. Archeology has found lots of gifts and dedications that people would make afterwards, such as small terracotta body parts, no doubt representing what had been healed. Galen, the most famous doctor in the ancient Roman Empire and personal physician of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, worked in the Ascelpium for many years. Notable extant structures in the Asclepium include:

  • the Roman theater
  • the North Stoa
  • the South Stoa
  • the Temple of Asclepius
  • a circular treatment center (sometimes known as the Temple of Telesphorus)
  • a healing spring
  • an underground passageway
  • a library
  • the Via Tecta (or the Sacred Way, which is a colonnaded street leading to the sanctuary) and
  • a propylon
Wikipedia Rod of Asclepius

“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is...” (Revelation 2:13)

Rod of Asclepius is used by 62% of all medical professionals. As I drove home today, thinking about how to write this blog essay, I pass by my town’s fire department and an emergency vehicle was parked in the lot. The side of the vehicle was emblazoned with this symbol.

We are grateful to know Jesus, the only deity one should look to in order to be saved. Asclepius might be everywhere today, but Jesus soon will return to erase all the false gods, AND worshiped rightly.

Charles Spurgeon preached about the rod of Moses in a sermon called “The Mysteries of the Brazen Serpent“. He said,

But the picture blackens; we must have deeper shades to paint it. Behold the people after they were bitten! Can you picture their writhings and contortions when the poison of the serpent had infected their veins? We are told by the old writers that these serpents when they bit caused vehement heat, so that there was a pain throughout the body, as if a hot iron had been sent along the veins. Those who had been bitten had a great thirst; they drank incessantly, and still cried for water to quench the burnings within. It was a hot fire which was lit in the fountain, and which ran through every nerve and every sinew of the man; they were racked in pain, and died in most fearful convulsions.

Now my brethren, we cannot say that sin instantly produces such an effect as this upon the men who are the subjects of it; but we do affirm, that, let sin alone, and it will develop itself in miseries far more extreme than ever the bite of the serpent could have caused. …

And now comes THE REMEDY. The remedy of the bitten Israelites was a brazen serpent; and the remedy for sinners is Christ crucified. 

But remember, that much as those who heard of the brazen serpent might have despised it, yet there was no other means of cure. And, now hear me for one moment, while I tell the whole story of salvation. Men, brethren, and fathers, we are born of a sinful generation, and we have ourselves increased our guilt, for us there is no hope; do what we may, we cannot save ourselves.

“Could our zeal no respite know,
Could our tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone.”

But brethren, Christ Jesus, God’s eternal Son, came into this world, and was born of the virgin Mary, he lived a doleful life of misery, and at last he died a death accompanied by unutterable pangs—that was the punishment of the sins of those who, as penitents, come to Christ. If you this day so repent, and put your trust in Jesus, you have in your trust and repentance a sure proof that Christ was punished for you.

Posted in anna, jesus, john, moses

Ahijah was not too old, Jeremiah was not too young, John was not too remote, Amos was not too low…to be used by God

I’m reading 1st Kings. Still. LOL. I am up to chapter 14. In that chapter there is an old prophet called Ahijah. Jeroboam’s wife was told to disguise herself and go see him.

“Jeroboam’s wife did so. She arose and went to Shiloh and came to the house of Ahijah. Now Ahijah could not see, for his eyes were dim because of his age. And the Lord said to Ahijah, “Behold, the wife of Jeroboam is coming to inquire of you concerning her son, for he is sick. Thus and thus shall you say to her.”” (1 Kings 14:4-5)

As I read the bible I like to picture the scene. I am picturing Ahijah’s humble home, likely at dusk. If Jeroboam’s wife didn’t want to be seen, she would likely have gone when it was dusk or dark. So Ahijah’s house is dark, a few lanterns around. And he’s sitting there, in a rocking chair maybe, in the living room, enjoying the air and listening to the breeze or maybe the village around him.

Maybe he was thinking, ‘I am old and I cannot be used. I am old and used up’. Maybe he was thinking that because he was blind, the LORD would have no further use for him.

But it was not so.

“But when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why do you pretend to be another? For I am charged with unbearable news for you.” (1 Kings 14:6)

Despite his age, which the Holy Spirit deliberately included in the bible, despite his disability of blindness, which the Spirit deliberately included too, Ahijah was charged with a task. He had a personal charge from God to deliver the message. He did not flinch from it, despite it being unbearable. Really, is there worse news to give than the LORD has marked your son and your family for death? But Ahijah was charged with an important prophecy to deliver. It came true a few years later.

Despite Ahijah’s age and blindness, The LORD used him.

Anna was old also. Luke 2 records this

“And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:36-38).

Let’s guess, given the era, that Anna married at age 15. She was married 7 years and then became a widow. So from age 22 to 84 she was a widow devoting herself to the LORD- in the temple. As the years droned on, and then the decades, I wonder what Anna thought. We do know that at least for over 60 years, she worshiped. And then, she saw Israel’s redemption! And she “spoke to all” who were waiting Israel’s redemption. From the mouth of a widow the Lord used her to speak to all of Him.

Apostle John lived a long and important life. He followed Jesus, he was witness to the resurrection, he pastored a church, he nurtured hundreds in Christ, wrote a Gospel, wrote the epistles of John, and then he was sent to the Island of Patmos.

A more forbidding place there cannot be. It is Mars-like in appearance, rocky and hot, barren and isolated. It’s only 13 square miles.The Romans used it and islands like it as a modern day rendition- it was a place where legally, political and religious detainees didn’t exist. John was exiled there for the word of Jesus (Revelation 1:9). He was by that time well over 90 years of age.

I wonder what John was thinking. He was very old, and all his old Apostle friends had been killed. His younger friends had been killed or scattered too. Maybe he was sitting on the beach, looking out, thinking, “This is it, the Lord will not use me any more. I am here on this island and remote from the world. There is no one even to preach to.”

The bible records, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”” (Revelation 1:9-10).

John was charged with writing the monumental book of Revelation. The climax, the conclusion of all that the LORD intends, the end of history and the hope of the coming of Christ, was given to John to see in vision and then to write.

Despite John’s remote location, the Lord used him.

Isn’t it funny, the Lord used Moses, a murderer. Despite the fact that Moses stuttered, or had some kind of articulation problem, he was used as God’s mouthpiece as the most famous prophet in all the bible.

“But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”” (Exodus 4:10-12)

Despite Moses’s character and stuttering, God used him.

Jeremiah’s age was no barrier to being used. Just as Ahijah or Anna was not too old, Jeremiah was not too young.

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”” (Jeremiah 1:6-8)

Shepherd and fig-grower Amos was used by God, despite his lowly station in life. Shepherds were considered low, as noted here by MacArthur:

Shepherds spent most of their time in the fields away from society and had no influence to speak of. In modern terms they were blue-collar workers largely unnoticed by those in power. Shepherds were in the lower classes of society.”

“So Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I was not a prophet or the son of a prophet; rather, I was a herdsman, and I took care of sycamore figs.’ ” (Amos 7:14)

So we see that despite age, ability, character, location, or socio-economic status, the Lord Jesus can and will use you. You could be young and just starting out, like Jeremiah, or old and seemingly finished, like Anna or Ahijah- but Jesus can use you. Gender doesn’t matter either, He used Mary, Rahab, Anna, Miriam, Lydia, Huldah… His power will flow through you and enable you.

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;” (1 Corinthians 1:27)

If you are weak but being used of God, you are operating from a position of the strongest in the universe. Any and all persons in Christ with the Spirit in them will be used of God for His purposes. Any time, any where, there is no retirement rocking chair mentality. He uses you every day and despite your protestations over your age, location, status, or disability- He uses you. If He chooses you for a certain task, He will enable you to finish it.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.” (1 Corinthians 1:26)

The one thing these all had in common, was that they loved the Lord. Do you love Him? I hope you do. Jesus is the unique individual of the universe, distinct in holiness and perfection.