Morning Devotional

“He hath said.”

Heb 13:5

If we can only grasp these words by faith, we have an all-conquering weapon in our hand. What doubt will not be slain by this two-edged sword? What fear is there which shall not fall smitten with a deadly wound before this arrow from the bow of God's covenant? Will not the distresses of life and the pangs of death; will not the corruptions within, and the snares without; will not the trials from above, and the temptations from beneath, all seem but light afflictions, when we can hide ourselves beneath the bulwark of “He hath said”? Yes; whether for delight in our quietude, or for strength in our conflict, “He hath said” must be our daily resort. And this may teach us the extreme value of searching the Scriptures. There may be a promise in the Word which would exactly fit your case, but you may not know of it, and therefore you miss its comfort. You are like prisoners in a dungeon, and there may be one key in the bunch which would unlock the door, and you might be free; but if you will not look for it, you may remain a prisoner still, though liberty is so near at hand. There may be a potent medicine in the great pharmacopoeia of Scripture, and you may yet continue sick unless you will examine and search the Scriptures to discover what “He hath said.” Should you not, besides reading the Bible, store your memories richly with the promises of God? You can recollect the sayings of great men; you treasure up the verses of renowned poets; ought you not to be profound in your knowledge of the words of God, so that you may be able to quote them readily when you would solve a difficulty, or overthrow a doubt? Since “He hath said” is the source of all wisdom, and the fountain of all comfort, let it dwell in you richly, as “A well of water, springing up unto everlasting life.” So shall you grow healthy, strong, and happy in the divine life.

~ Charles Spurgeon ~

 

God Demonstrates His Love

God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Notice that “demonstrates” is present tense and “died” is past tense.

The present tense implies that this demonstrating is an ongoing act that keeps happening in today’s present and tomorrow’s present.

The past tense “died” implies that the death of Christ happened once for all and will not be repeated. “Christ died for sins once for all,the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

Why did Paul use the present tense (“God demonstrates”)? I would have expected Paul to say, “God demonstrated (past tense) his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Was not the death of Christ the demonstration of God’s love? And did not that demonstration happen in the past?

I think the clue is given a few verses earlier. Paul has just said that “tribulations work patient endurance, and patient endurance works proven character, and proven character works hope, and hope does not put us to shame” (vv. 3–5).

In other words, the goal of everything God takes us through is hope. He wants us to feel unwaveringly hopeful through all tribulations.

But how can we?

Paul answers in the next line: “Because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (v. 5). God’s love “has been poured out in our hearts.” The tense of this verb means that God’s love was poured out in our hearts in the past (at our conversion) and is still present and active.

God did demonstrate his love for us in giving his own Son to die once for all in the past for our sins (v. 8). But he also knows that this past love must be experienced as a present reality (today and tomorrow) if we are to have patience and character and hope.

Therefore he not only demonstrated it on Calvary, he goes on demonstrating it now by the Spirit. He does this by opening the eyes of our hearts to “taste and see” the glory of the cross and the guarantee that it gives that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39).

~ John Piper ~

 

Angels: Abaddon

Abaddon (Greek: Apollyon, Latin: Exterminans, Coptic: Abbaton, meaning “A place of destruction”, “The Destroyer”, “Depths of Hell”) in the Revelation of St. John, is the king of tormenting locusts and the angel of the bottomless pit. The exact nature of Abaddon is debated, but the Hebrew word is related to the triliteral root (ABD), which in verb form means “to perish.”

Biblical mentions

In the Hebrew scriptures, Abaddon comes to mean “place of destruction,” or the realm of the dead, and is associated with Sheol.

The Christian scriptures contain the first known depiction of Abaddon as an individual entity instead of a place. In St. John's Revelation 9:1-11, Abaddon is described as the king of the bottomless pit and of a plague of locusts that resemble war horses with crowned human faces and having women's hair, lions' teeth, locusts' wings, and the tail of a scorpion.

Other theological works

The text of the Thanksgiving Hymns—which was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls—tells of “the Sheol of Abaddon” and of the “torrents of Belial [that] burst into Abaddon”. The Biblical Antiquities attributed to Philo mentions Abaddon as a place (sheol, hell), not as a spirit or demon or angel. In the 3rd century Acts of Thomas, Abaddon is the name of a demon, or the Devil himself. Abaddon has also been identified as the angel of death and destruction, demon of the abyss, and chief of demons of the underworld hierarchy, where he is equated with Samael or Satan. In magic, Abaddon is often identified with the Destroying Angel of the Apocalypse.

Abaddon is also one of the compartments of Gehenna. By extension, it can mean an underworld abode of lost souls, or hell. In some legends, it is identified as a realm where the damned lie in fire and snow, one of the places in Hell that Moses visited.

In the lore of the Coptic Church, Abbaton is the name given to the angel of death. He is given particularly important roles in two sources, a homily entitled The Enthronment of Abbaton by Timothy of Alexandria, and the Apocalypse of Bartholomew. In the homily by Timothy, Abbaton was first named Muriel, and had been given the task by God of collecting the earth which would be used in the creation of Adam. Upon completion of this task, the angel was then named to be guardian. Everybody, including the angels, demons, and corporeal entities, felt fear of him. Abbaton engaged in prayer and ultimately obtained the promise that any men who venerated him during their lifetime stood the chance of being saved. Abbaton is also said to have a prominent role in the Last Judgement, as the one who will take the souls to the Valley of Josaphat. He is described in the Apocalypse of Bartholomew as being present in the Tomb of Jesus at the moment of his resurrection.

Identifying Abaddon

The symbolism of Revelation 9:11 leaves the exact identification of Abaddon open for interpretation. Some bible scholars believe him to be the antichrist or Satan.

The International Bible Students Association (precursor to Jehovah's Witnesses) identified Abaddon as Satan in C.T. Russel's 1917 posthumous work. Jehovah's Witnesses now take the contrasting view, believing that Abaddon is another name of the resurrected and enthroned Jesus Christ.

Some theologians believe Abaddon to be just an angel. Concerning the angel holding the key to the bottomless pit from Revelation 9 and 20, Gustav Davidson, in A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels, writes:

In Revelation 20:2 he “laid hold of the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years”. According to the foregoing, Apollion is a holy (good) angel, servant, and messenger of God; but in occult and, generally, in noncanonical writings, he is evil.

 

Abaddon