VIDEO What “We Do Not Wrestle Against Flesh And Blood” Really Means

September 23, 2014

In mostly any discussion in between Christians about the Crusades, somebody usually objects that the Crusades were unbiblical because of Ephesians 6:12:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places

Well I have done a video dealing with this very issue, showing that Ephesians 6:12 does not in any refute the concept of Christian holy war, but in fact, supports it:

It must be remembered that all of the Church’s battles are spiritual, even if they do involve physical fighting. And the purposes of these wars are not to kill, but to advance God over evil. While Paul said that we do not fight against flesh and blood, when forty Jewish bandits came to kill him, he did not quote Ephesians 6:12 and say, “oh don’t worry about it, my war is not carnal.” No. St. Paul had a Roman garrison of over 400 warriors guard him with arms:

And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. Now there were more than forty who had formed this conspiracy. They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now you, therefore, together with the council, suggest to the commander that he be brought down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to make further inquiries concerning him; but we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”

So when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their ambush, he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him and brought him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to say to you.”

Then the commander took him by the hand, went aside, and asked privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?”

And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask that you bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more fully about him. But do not yield to them, for more than forty of them lie in wait for him, men who have bound themselves by an oath that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you.”

So the commander let the young man depart, and commanded him, “Tell no one that you have revealed these things to me.”

And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.”

When he was being guarded by men armed with physical weapons and armor, St. Paul at the same time was bearing the full armor of God, protecting himself from spiritual threat that wanted to kill him. Even at that moment, when he had armed men protect him, Paul was in a spiritual war. Christian armies, then, can fight in physical battles that are spiritual wars. The Christians who fought the Muslims and the pagans in the ancient world, were indeed a part of a spiritual war, and they partook in it through physical means.

If Paul can use an army to defend himself on a religious conflict, then the Church can certainly use armies to defend itself religious wars against Muslims, pagans, and other heretics.

Paul’s statement in Ephesians 6 does not signify pacifism, but the spiritual war between light and darkness, that in many times is done through physical arms, not for the purpose of shedding blood and cutting flesh, but for the fulfillment of a spiritual victory over satanic forces. Just because something is spiritual, does mean that a physical involvement is excluded. The Crucifixion was spiritual, but it consisted of much physical phenomena, of nails, of a lance, a crown of thorns, scourges, and a cross.

When Paul had an armed guard protect him, he was fighting the forces of darkness, by protecting himself from people under the influence control of the demonic. Our war is not declared against flesh and blood, since its purpose is not to plunder and murder, but to defend the righteous and purge the world of evil and tyranny. At times the Church must fight against spiritual darkness with the pen of Orthodoxy, and at others, with the sword.

In his epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul writes:

For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:20)

Here Paul tells us to commit ourselves to a spiritual action with both spirit and body. This indicates that in spiritual actions, we must never forget the physical element. To walk in the spirit, is to emulate God, in His virtues and in His justice. Therefore, when the Crusaders executed righteous vengeance on the Muslim jihadists, they were emulating the justice of God, and were glorifying God with both body and spirit, utilizing the Sword of the Spirit, because they were fighting against a satanic religion, and the physical sword, since they were fighting against mortal bodies under the influence of demonic power.

One thing is for certain, a Crusade is not a war against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

By Theodore Shoebat

The real Jesus

pray in garden

When Peter brought the gospel to the Gentiles, he told Cornelius the story of Jesus. He explained how the Savior traveled throughout Judea healing people and casting out demons, died on the cross and rose again, and then appeared to His disciples and commanded them to tell everyone He was Israel’s Messiah. And right in the middle Peter added, “We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead” (Acts 10:41).

What an odd thing to say! Why did Peter make a point of the fact that he had shared a meal with the risen Lord? Because Jesus made it a big deal.

When our risen Lord first appeared to His disciples, they were “startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!” Jesus told them to “look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost.” When they still weren’t sure it was really Him, Jesus took “a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched” (Luke 24:37-43).

This is a pathetic scene, but I’m glad it happened. The triumphant Christ had said, in effect, “Look, I’m chewing! See, I’m swallowing!” But His humble act proved He had truly kicked down the door of death and come out the other side. The bodily resurrection of Jesus is essential for our salvation, because “if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). If Jesus had remained dead, He would have remained guilty. And you and I would be guilty too.

Jesus proved He was divine when He did what only God could do. He proved He was really alive when He did what only embodied humans can do—He shared a meal with friends.

by Mike Wittmer

Protecting Our Future

Genesis 25:23-34

We live in a pleasure-oriented culture that focuses on the present. God does not want us to sacrifice future blessings for short-term enjoyments. Let’s take a look at Esau’s story and learn from his mistakes.

As Isaac’s elder son, Esau was facing a secure future in the role of spiritual leader and head of the family. Yet he was blind to whatwas valuable in life an casually sold his birthright. He apparently cared nothing about his rights as firstborn or his impact on future generations and gave it all up for a bowl of stew.

Some of us are similarly shortsighted. We spend much of our time working or engaging in pleasurable pursuits of our own choosing. However, God wants our priorities to reflect His purposes—namely, to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love others through a life of service and sacrifice (Matt. 22:37-40).

Esau was ruled by his appetite and emotions. When he returned from hunting, his thoughts centered on his hunger and the quickest way to satisfy an empty stomach. He agreed to Jacob’s offer without weighing the cost. Giving in to our feelings can be a first step toward trouble and regret. Emotions that prompt us to act quickly or put ourselves first can lead us astray. Also, overindulgence can bring poor health, financial pressures, and even addiction.

We can protect our future by yielding to the Spirit’s control and living out what Scripture considers most valuable: knowing God and obediently serving Him. Make sure that you put Him in charge of your mind, will, emotions, and appetite.

Jesus and Jonah

“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17)

The Bible’s most famous “fish story” has been the target of skeptics for hundreds of years, but it was confirmed by none other than the one who Himself had prepared the great fish: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).

Jonah symbolically died and went to “hell.” “Out of the belly of hell [Hebrew Sheol] cried I,” said Jonah, “and thou heardest my voice” (Jonah 2:2). The testimony of Jesus was similar: “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [i.e., Sheol]; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10; also Acts 2:27). Jonah also prayed: “Yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God” (Jonah 2:6). His prayer ended: “Salvation is of the LORD” (v. 9), and this is the very meaning of the name “Jesus.”

Thus, 900 years before Christ died and rose again, Jonah symbolically died and rose again, a remarkable prophetic type of the mighty miracle that the Lord would accomplish one day to bring salvation and life to a world dead in sin. Only the power of God could direct a prepared fish to save Jonah, then three days later allow him to preach repentance and salvation to the lost souls in Nineveh. Then, finally God Himself, in Christ, died on a cross for the sins of the world, and this time it took the infinite power that created the very universe itself to bring His own soul back from hell and, three days later, to rise again. This is “the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20). Truly, “a greater than Jonas is here” (Matthew 12:41). HMM

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.—Psalm 27:14.

I ASK not that my course be calm and still,
No, here too, Lord, be done Thy holy will:
I ask but for a quiet childlike heart;
Though thronging cares and restless toil be mine,
Yet may my heart remain forever Thine,
Draw it from earth, and fix it where Thou art.
C. J. P. SPITTA.

TRUE union with God is to do His will without ceasing, in spite of all our natural disinclination, in all the wearisome and painful duties of our condition. FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FÉNELON.

When persons have learnt to look upon the daily course of their ordinary life, with its duties and troubles, however common-place, as their offering to God, and as the safest school for themselves of perfection, they will have made a very important step in the spiritual life. Another step, so simple that it is often despised, is to do everything, however ordinary, as well as it can possibly be done, for God’s sake. A third is to be always pressing forward; when a mistake is made, or a fault committed, to face and admit it freely; but having asked God to supply the deficiency caused by our own infirmity, to go on steadfastly and hopefully. H.L. SIDNEY LEAR.

Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 8:9

The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. — Thou are fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips. — All bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.

Ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. — He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself. — We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen.

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. — I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. — Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. —As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

John 1:14. Psalm 45:2. Luke 4:22. 1 Peter 2:3. 1 John 5:10. John 3:11. Psalm 34:8. Song of Songs 2:3. 2 Corinthians 12:9. Ephesians 4:7. 1 Peter 4:10.

It is good for us to draw near to God

It is good for me to draw near to God. Psalm 73:28

LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth. — A day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. — Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. — Therefore will the LORD wait that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us: … let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.

Psalm 26:8. Psalm 84:10. Psalm 65:4. Lamentations 3:25. Isaiah 30:18. Hebrews 10:19,20,22.