It Was Really Impressive
James E. Farley
A friend of mine attended a local seminar concerning “last time” issues. It was presented by a denominational preacher – a self-proclaimed “expert” in such matters. This friend of mine also attended our “Winter Series” Bible classes last year, where we studied “Premillennialism: True or False.” He is a good man, and a relatively new student of the Bible. He is now also attending my class on the Book of Romans on Wednesday nights. Because of attending our classes on Premillennialism, he knew that much (even most) of the material presented by this preacher was error, but he said, “Jim, it was really impressive. He had beautifully designed and colorful charts, and he knew his topic really well. He could quote Scripture after Scripture. It was impressive!”
Well, I agreed with him that it was probably very impressive, but I reminded him that these are the kinds of things the devil has. Actually, the devil does not have much other than lies and showy or flashy things. His time is short, and he works very hard at impressing people to his ways of thinking. Hal Lindsey has a book about him entitled, “Satan Is Alive and Well On Planet Earth.” Well, he is alive, but that old dragon is not well at all. Our Lord has delivered a death blow to him, and he’s dying. (Hebrews 2:14-15; cf. Genesis 3:14-15). He is angry and knows his time is short, so he walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8-9; Revelation 12:12). His great tool is the lie, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44). He and his “ministers” can appear very impressive, indeed. Paul warns about him and them: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
Oh, yes, Satan is real, and he is really working. His main tool is the lie. He wants people to be in ignorance, for it is much easier to lie to an ignorant person than to an informed one! Brethren, we must study him to know his devices, for, if we are ignorant of his devices, he can gain an advantage over us. (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Yes, I agreed with my friend and neighbor about the denominational preacher’s being “impressive.” No doubt he was impressive. Satan is impressive, too, so it is no wonder that his ministers are impressive. He can transform himself into an angel of light. His angels can seem as ministers of righteousness, or right things, and they can fool ignorant people. (cf. Romans 10:1-3).
Satan seeks to be impressive through his man-made denominational churches. Think of all of their pomp and ceremony. Think of their various and impressive rituals, their special titles, their special clothing, their choirs, their great pipe organs, their “glass cathedrals,” their theme parks, etc. I asked my friend to imagine with me that we are back in the first century and the High Priest of Israel, with his great entourage, passes by us on the streets of Jerusalem in his robes and all his regalia. It would be impressive, would it not? Then imagine that just one hundred yards behind him walk thirteen men, Jesus and His twelve apostles, on the same street. Would they seem as impressive?
Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:2-3).
No, just to look at Jesus of Nazareth, one could not tell any difference in Him from any other Jew of His day. He was not physically impressive, but He was and is Christ! Today, we may not seem to be as physically impressive as the sects, but we are the church of Christ! -1179 Mark Wayne Drive, Louisa, KY 41230. firstname.lastname@example.org
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