Monthly Archives: October 2015

the ruler of the darkness

Just as surely as you and I exist, satan exists. Though he is not all powerful–he is as far from it as you and I are–nevertheless, he does wield considerable power. Ultimately, however, he cannot now exercise any power over us that we don’t give him, because if we resist him, he will flee from us (James 4:7). To resist him takes considerable spiritual strength and faith because he attacks our weaknesses at our weakest moments (e.g., Matt. 4:1-3). Knowing his nature gives us something of an edge at defeating his offensives (II Cor. 2:11). By putting on the armor of God, we are enabled to stand against his villainous wiles and thereby are all his fiery darts are extinguished (Eph. 6:10-17). A few examples of how satan is described in the Bible helps us to know his insidious nature.

In the Apocalypse, satan is described as “abaddon” in the Hebrew and “apollyon” in the Greek, both words meaning destroyer or destruction (Rev. 9:11). While the context likely speaks of the destruction left in the wake of the advancing Roman army, satan is their spiritual leader. The Bible tells us that destruction and Hell are closely linked, for, as the wise man declares, “Hell and destruction are before the Lord…” (Prov. 15:11; cf. Job 26:6; Prov. 27:20). The goal of satan is nothing less than the complete and total destruction of our hope, our influence for good, our lives and our salvation.

Again, in the Book of Revelation, satan is decided as the “accuser of our brethren” (12:10). The image is reminiscent of our look behind the scenes in the Book of Job at how satan sought to bring Job down by accusing him of false motives in serving God. Undoubtedly, satan seeks to accuse us, as well.

These kinds of attacks clearly make him our adversary, as he is called by Peter: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8). In the fight for the salvation of our souls, he is our adversary. Jesus also described him as the enemy who sows the tares in the wheat (Matt. 13:39). We must remember that our battle is against satan and evil, that monster that brought sin, death and damnation into the world.

The apostle Paul uses the term “belial” to refer to satan. This word means “worthlessness.” Paul uses it in the context of fellowship, making it clear that Christ has no concord with belial (II Cor. 6:15). There can be no harmony with evil for the Christian. The devil doesn’t mind this association because that relationship only corrupts the good and the pure. Just as a little arsenic in good food doesn’t make the arsenic more agreeable, it just completely poisons the good food, a little goodness doesn’t harm the evil, or make the evil good, but the arsenic completely corrupts the good.

Surprisingly, Jesus referred to him as “the prince of this world” (John 12:31). While the Lord created the physical and spiritual creation, the devil, through his evil influence, has won most of the moral world under his control, whether they do so willingly or not. The spirit that now “worketh in the children of disobedience” is the spirit of the devil (Eph. 2:2). As the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), he is the “ruler of the darkness of this world” (Eph. 6:12). Because of his power to blind the minds of those that believe not, Paul refers to him as “the god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). While many acknowledge him as the god of this world through their blind acquiescence to his will, in the end the God of all creation will meet out Justice to him and his angels (Matt. 25:41).

Matthew describes the work of satan as one of temptation. Temptation is the lure to get us into satan’s snare, to be taken captive by him (II Tim. 2:26). Jesus was subjected to and defeated the temptations of this tempter (Matt. 4:3). Paul feared for the brethren in Thessalonica, lest they had submitted to the tempter, just as we might do also (I Thess. 3:5). We can overcome this temptation because God provides a way of escape that we may be able to bear it (I Cor. 10:12).

In this Halloween season it is unfortunate that many children, some the children of Christian parents, will be dressed up in devil’s outfits. Those who do so cannot possibly understand the evil satan has brought into the world and continues to spread or they would not take the matter so lightly as to have their children portray a sterilized version of him. All of the things that are wrong with this world–death, sickness, calamity, lying, cheating, molestation, murder, famine, and a million other sick violations of God’s will–are the direct result of his activities. How can this be trivialized or so easily dismissed? And, yet it is. Another of satan’s devices.

Eric L. Padgett

The Day The Lord Wrestled A Man

Jacob was alone and afraid and distressed (Gen. 32:24-32). He had sent his family on before him to safety. All of his possessions he had divided into two camps so that at least one group might survive. The desperate sound of his prayer to God had earlier ascended up before Jehovah’s Throne as he beseeched the Almighty for deliverance from the hand of his brother. Soon, he would face his brother, from whom he had taken birthright and blessing, and offer himself upon his mercy and God’s. But before this, Jacob was left alone. Almost alone.

We are not privy to the circumstances initiating the encounter, but sometime during that night before Jacob would meet his estranged brother, Jacob encountered a mysterious figure, “a man.” This was not a quiet encounter for the Sacred Record tells us that Jacob wrestled with this “man” until the breaking of day. This scuffle was fairly equal until the stranger “touched” Jacob’s thigh and it came out of joint. He demanded to be let go before day break but Jacob, even though he must have been in pain and very much afraid, refused to set the “man” free until he blessed him.

It seems fairly certain that Jacob, by this point, must have recognized that his opponent was more than a mere man, otherwise he would not have sought a blessing from Him (Heb. 7:7). This “man” then lifted the veil from Jacob’s bewildered mind when He told him that his name would be changed from Jacob to Israel, because, “as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed” (Gen. 32:28). His opponent was no mere man but was, in fact, God in the form of a man. Jacob realized in all this, “I have seen God face to face” (32:30).

This was not the first time the Lord had appeared to man as a man. He had so appeared to Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather, in the plains of Mamre (Gen. 18:1,22,23, 33). It would not be the last time He appeared. One like the Son of man appeared to Daniel and the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:25). Of course, God was with us in the flesh (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23). But this was the only time a man literally wrestled the Lord!

This encounter gave Israel new hope. Not only had he seen God face to face, he had wrestled Him all night and his life was preserved (Gen. 32:30). Now he was prepared to face his brother, Esau, who was coming to meet him with four hundred men. But instead of confrontation, Jacob found reconciliation, for Esau “ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept” (Gen. 33:4). Esau had apparently forgiven and forgotten his brother’s affronts and perhaps had seen the hand of God in them all.

He did not leave the night without scars. He halted upon his thigh, the one which had been touched and came out of joint. Who knows if this lameness followed him all the rest of the days of his life, but it is possible. It is certain, however, when we face spiritual battles in this life, we do not come out of them without wounds. Paul stated, “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Gal. 6:17). After Paul had faced opposition in Athens he came into Corinth “in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling” (I Corinthians 2:3). But the Lord told Paul, “in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city” (Acts 18:9,10).

There may be times in our lives when we feel alone and afraid and distressed. Sometimes we are seemingly left alone to face great problems in life. We need to know that it is the Lord who will make us stronger and better prepared for the uncertainties of life. The Lord “hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:5-6).

Eric L. Padgett
* The following hymn, written by Charles Wesley, describes the encounter of Jacob with God. I offer it for your consideration.
Come, O thou Traveler unknown,
Whom still I hold, but cannot see!
My company before is gone,
And I am left alone with Thee;
With Thee all night I mean to stay,
And wrestle till the break of day.

I need not tell Thee who I am,
My misery and sin declare;
Thyself hast called me by my name,
Look on Thy hands, and read it there;
But who, I ask Thee, who art Thou?
Tell me Thy name, and tell me now.

In vain Thou strugglest to get free,
I never will unloose my hold!
Art Thou the Man that died for me?
The secret of Thy love unfold;
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go,
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

Wilt Thou not yet to me reveal
Thy new, unutterable Name?
Tell me, I still beseech Thee, tell;
To know it now resolved I am;
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go,
Till I Thy Name, Thy nature know.

’Tis all in vain to hold Thy tongue
Or touch the hollow of my thigh;
Though every sinew be unstrung,
Out of my arms Thou shalt not fly;
Wrestling I will not let Thee go
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

What though my shrinking flesh complain,
And murmur to contend so long?
I rise superior to my pain,
When I am weak, then I am strong
And when my all of strength shall fail,
I shall with the God-man prevail.

My strength is gone, my nature dies,
I sink beneath Thy weighty hand,
Faint to revive, and fall to rise;
I fall, and yet by faith I stand;
I stand and will not let Thee go
Till I Thy Name, Thy nature know.

Yield to me now, for I am weak,
But confident in self-despair;
Speak to my heart, in blessings speak,
Be conquered by my instant prayer;
Speak, or Thou never hence shalt move,
And tell me if Thy Name is Love.

’Tis Love! ’tis Love! Thou diedst for me!
I hear Thy whisper in my heart;
The morning breaks, the shadows flee,
Pure, universal love Thou art;
To me, to all, Thy bowels move;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

My prayer hath power with God; the grace
Unspeakable I now receive;
Through faith I see Thee face to face,
I see Thee face to face, and live!
In vain I have not wept and strove;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

I know Thee, Savior, who Thou art.
Jesus, the feeble sinner’s friend;
Nor wilt Thou with the night depart.
But stay and love me to the end,
Thy mercies never shall remove;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

The Sun of righteousness on me
Hath rose with healing in His wings,
Withered my nature’s strength; from Thee
My soul its life and succor brings;
My help is all laid up above;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

Contented now upon my thigh
I halt, till life’s short journey end;
All helplessness, all weakness I
On Thee alone for strength depend;
Nor have I power from Thee to move:
Thy nature, and Thy name is Love.

Lame as I am, I take the prey,
Hell, earth, and sin, with ease o’ercome;
I leap for joy, pursue my way,
And as a bounding hart fly home,
Through all eternity to prove
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

Come To The Feast

One of the great blessings of life is eating food! To be able to sit down at a table and partake of various foods that suit our palate is a wonderful experience. Corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, carrots, hot rolls and either turkey or ham or some form of beef, how delicious! I am speaking for myself, of course, but this is what I like and what makes my mouth water. Naturally, I am also content with a cheeseburger and fries or hot dogs, either cooked on a grill or from my favorite fast food store. I am also just as happy with a can of tuna on cheese crackers with mustard. I better stop because I am making myself hungry. The point is, eating food is a wonderful thing!

Eating is one of those rare activities that we not only enjoy but that we must also do to survive. It is both necessary and pleasant. And God has given us all things to eat if we receive them with thanksgiving (I Tim. 4:4). But while we have to have food to keep our physical bodies alive, we also need other food to keep our spiritual selves healthy. Many times in Scripture we find God’s word being spoken of as food. Notice a few passages.

When Jesus was tempted by the devil after He had fasted for forty days and nights, the tempter urged Jesus to make bread out of stones (Matt. 4:1-3). That would have been a great temptation to Jesus, as it would to anyone else, as well. But Jesus defeated that temptation when He responded by pointing out the simple truth that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4; Deut. 8:1-3). Buttered pancakes with molasses is good, but spiritual food, the word of God, is even more necessary and ultimately far more satisfying if we want eternal life.

In the beatitudes, Jesus said that the man is blessed who hungers and thirsts after righteousness (Matt. 5:6). Jesus here describes the proper attitude toward the word of God. Except, perhaps, in extreme medical cases or when a person is sick, there are very few people who do not like to eat. You hardly ever hear someone complaining about having to eat. Most are eager to sink their teeth into a good piece of food and savor the delightful tastes that go along with it (Ezek. 3:1-3). But how many Christians have the same attitude about going to Bible class or worship? How many Christians become excited when they are offered the opportunity to consume the word of God (Ps. 122:1). Who sits down at the dinner table and constantly looks at their watch to see when the dinner is going to be over? Who grows agitated if they have to sit and eat food for longer than fifteen minutes? But, sadly, that is what many do when the word of God is being served. As newborn babes, we should desire the sincere milk of the word (I Pet. 2:2).

I like to drink milk. I still drink milk often. A good nice, cold glass of milk sometimes just hits the spot. But I also like things like meat and potatoes, something with a little more substance and taste. Paul said that spiritually there is also a time when we need to be eating meat (Heb. 5:12-14). Some Christians never grow, they just feed on a diet of milk, never stirring the pot, eating only pablum. This is dangerous. Paul said the Corinthian brethren were not able to bear the meat and he still had to feed them with milk (I Cor. 3:1-3). That is what made them carnal and caused envying, strife and divisions in the congregation. It is not Bible knowledge or Bible study that causes trouble in a congregation or in the brotherhood, but it is the lack of it that does. Too many professing Christians do not want to chew on a piece of spiritual meat and grow uneasy when sound doctrine is presented for their consumption.

Another drink that hits the spot when the throat is dry is a good, cold glass of water. When you are weary from work, when you are exhausted from labor, there is nothing quite like it to quench the thirst. David longed for it (II Sam. 23:15). The rich man in the Hadean realm craved a drop of water from the finger of Lazarus to cool the tip of his tongue (Luke 16:19-31). Jesus craved it from the woman at the well in John 4. Jesus also told the Samaritan woman that He could give her living water which would keep one from ever thirsting again (John 4:10,13,14). God’s word is that living water. W should drink from it often (Acts 17:11; II Tim. 2:15).

Jesus said that we should not labor for the meat which perisheth (John 6:27). He did not mean by this that we should not worry about food, this is necessary for life, but He went on to say that we should labor for the meat that endures unto eternal life. Furthermore, He went on to say what this bread of life is, He said: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). While the Jews boasted of the manna that their fathers had eaten in the wilderness, Jesus showed them that those who ate it now are dead, but the bread which the Father gives brings eternal life (John 6:47-51). To eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood is to consume His teaching or His word, just as Philip began at the same scripture and preached Jesus (Acts 8:35).

Even our eternal reward is depicted in terms of food. “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:1-2). John would write, “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9). In portraying the kingdom of heaven as a marriage, Jesus said, “Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage” (Matt. 22:4). If we do not like the spiritual fare that the Lord offers here, we certainly will not like it in heaven, either.

Are you hungry? The spiritual feast is prepared. You are bidden to come. Now you must partake! To conclude, the words of Charles H. Gabriel’s great hymn seem fitting just here.
“All things are ready,” come to the feast!
Come, for the table now is spread;
Ye famishing, ye weary, come,
And thou shalt be richly fed.

Hear the invitation,
Come, “whosoever will”;
Praise God for full salvation
For “whosoever will.”

“All things are ready,” come to the feast!
Come, for the door is open wide;
A place of honor is reserved
For you at the Master’s side.


“All things are ready,” come to the feast!
Come, while He waits to welcome thee;
Delay not while this day is thine,
Tomorrow may never be.


“All things are ready,” come to the feast!
Leave ev’ry care and worldly strife;
Come, feast upon the love of God,
And drink everlasting life.

Eric L. Padgett


The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6,7). The word “peace” means “a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies, or inwardly, within the soul.” In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated “peace” is “shalom,” meaning, primarily, “soundness,” “health,” but came also to signify “prosperity.” In the New Testament the word translated “peace” is “eirene,” from which we get our word “irenic” and the name Irene. Jesus, as the Prince of Peace, came to bring peace (Luke 2:1-14).

Christianity is a religion of peace. Islam claims to be a religion of peace. But when you compare the teaching of Christ with the teaching of Mohammad, when you compare their practices, it is easy to see which one really promotes peace. For instance, Christ taught us to turn the other cheek; Mohammad says kill the infidels. Of course, there are always abuses, but Jesus, the Author of Christianity, teaches us in word and in deed to turn the other cheek (Matt. 5:38-42). Furthermore, Jesus left us an example that we should follow in His steps of peace (I Pet. 2:21-24).

God is a God of peace (Rom. 15:33; 16:20). The Bible tells us that God is not the Author of confusion, but of peace (I Cor. 14:33). God blesses His people with peace (Ps. 29:11) and gives the peace of sleep to His people (Ps. 4:8). Those who focus their thoughts on God, He will give them perfect peace (Is. 26:3).

But just what exactly is the nature of this peace which Christ brings? Many in the religious world view this peace as political or international or social. The world seeks first the cessation of violence and war and hostilities. Those who profess to be Christians join numerous organizations, both religious and secular, to seek to wipe out poverty or some social injustice. But poverty will always be with us (Matt. 26:11). Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse (II Tim. 3:13). While we should help those who are less fortunate (Gal. 6:10), to seek to wipe out poverty and injustice is a futile task. As we look around the world we see famine, pestilence, strife and conflict. If political or international or social peace was Jesus’ goal, then Jesus failed divinely! But Jesus, Himself, said, “In the world, ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). Furthermore, He said His peace was not as the world gives (John 14:27; Rom. 8:6).

Notice that this peace and good will was to be “toward” men not necessarily “between” men (Luke 2:14). What good would it be to have peace among men but not with God? We must not forget that Jesus brought not only peace but also the sword (Matt. 10:34). However, the warfare we fight is not like the world’s, but it is a spiritual war with spiritual weapons (II Cor. 10:3-5) and spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-16). Just as the battle we fight is a spiritual one, the peace obtained by this battle is a spiritual one, too.

Jesus came and preached peace to them that were a far off and those that were nigh (Eph. 2:11-19; Col. 1:20). How do we access this peace? When we are justified by faith, we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). To be justified by faith is to obey the Gospel (Rom. 16:25,26). Jesus made peace between Jew and Gentile by first making it possible for them to have peace with God (Eph. 2:14-17). God was in Christ reconciling–making peace–the world unto Himself (II Cor. 5:17-21). We are called to this peace in one body (Col. 3:15), the church (Eph. 1:22,23; Col. 1:18).

Isaiah said in Christ there would be an increase of peace (Is. 9:7). Surely, this cannot mean material, physical, worldly peace. The peace of the world seems to grow more unstable every day. The “government” spoken of here is the rule of Christ in the hearts of men. The “kingdom” spoken of here is the church (Matt. 16:18). Because His peace is not of this world, Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). The good news which brings peace is the gospel of the kingdom (Mark 1:14). This gospel of the kingdom is an everlasting covenant of peace (Eze. 37:26; cf. Is. 11:1-9).

As Christians we are dedicated to the spread of peace with God through the spread of the gospel (Matt. 28:20). As we go into all the world teaching, our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15; Rom 10:15), more people are reconciled back to God. The more people who apply the teachings of Christ in their lives, the more the peace of Christ will spread. As Christians we follow after things which make for peace (Rom. 14:19). We endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3). We throw away carnality, for to be carnally minded is death; to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom. 8:6). The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace (Rom. 14:17).

We most definitely are to seek peace. We should follow after those things in life which make for peace (Rom. 14:19). Understanding and applying the teaching of Christ will produce real, spiritual peace in our life (Gal. 5:22). Not only should we seek personal, spiritual peace but we should seek to be at peace, when possible, amongst ourselves (I Thess. 5:13; Rom 12:18). A healthy fear of judgement will keep us found of Him in peace (II Pet. 3:11-14).

Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means – II Thess. 3:16

Eric L. Padgett