This Is the Victory That Overcomes the World :: By Gene Lawley

Faith is the victory, so declares 1 John 5:4b-5, saying, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

The chapter starts off with this: “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” Notice it reads, “Jesus, the Christ,” not just Jesus Christ. Why is “the” important? “Christ” is not just a last name for Him; it is His identity, the Messiah, the Son of God, who was promised as the Savior for the world lost in sin. It also appears in multiple places in the Scriptures in reverse form—“Christ Jesus”—thus indicating a particularly sovereign authority and presence.

This Jesus is the One who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the human body of a virgin named Mary, as Matthew and Luke both wrote of the account.

It is my speculation, but not without merit, I think, that Jesus was conceived on or about December 25 and was born after about 280 days of gestation, and that would bring his birth date to the date of the Feast of Tabernacles, as John 1:14a indicates: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us….” In the year 2018, the Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated on September 23-30. The average gestation period for humans is 280 days, we are told. Counting from December 25, 2017, to September 30, 2018, there are 280 days. So, the spiritual connection and the timing connection fit that event, thus making sense. Or, have you noted how the conception of Jesus and His birth are so closely entwined in the Scriptures that we hardly think there is a nine-month period before birth?

This Jesus, the Christ, is the One who told the Jewish leaders, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58), and they picked up stones to stone Him for blasphemy! He said it “most assuredly,” that is, with certainty and authority.

This Jesus, the Christ, fed five thousand, plus women and children, with a small boy’s lunch of five loaves and two fishes, and twelve baskets of food were leftover. He later calmed a storm and walked on the water to calm their fears.

This Jesus, the Christ, gave His physical body to die on a cruel cross that He might carry the sins of mankind to the grave where they are paid for by death only. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commended His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Overcoming has to do with this present life, of course, and the greatest verse that identifies the foundation of our overcoming the assaults of the enemy of our souls is Revelation 12:11, which says, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” The blessing is that if it so worked in that context, it will work in any other situation. The same basic principles are what Satan cannot prevail against, anywhere, any time.

Let’s review each of those three principles of overcoming.

“The blood of the Lamb” refers to our forgiveness of sins made sure by having accepted the gift of salvation made possible by Jesus having died on the cross for us. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” As long as one remains unwilling that Jesus comes into his life, there will be no overcoming of Satan, for the latter has control of him.

“The word of their testimony” refers to the life a person is living. It is one of obedience and of fellowship with the Lord, revealing a relationship described by 1 John 1:7, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us of all sin.” In other words, he is not living a sinful, ungodly life that dishonors the Lord.

Finally, “they loved not their lives unto death” reveals a depth of commitment that does not draw back from the prospect of death for faithfully following the Lord without turning back. This means affirming our commitment to Christ, no matter what results from it. It actually starts with being willing to say “no” to opposing demands to compromise on one’s beliefs.

This level of overcoming demands such strength from God that only He can provide. Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me.” It begins, however, with overcoming even simple temptations by practicing saying “no” to whatever challenges our commitment to Christ. James writes that a “crown of life” is offered to the one who overcomes: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). Remember—Jesus rebuked Satan by quoting relevant Scriptures to answer that adversary’s temptations (Matthew 4:4 ff).

This same Jesus, the Christ, says just as assuredly that He is coming again to claim those who have believed that He is the Christ, the One from God, and will take them to be with Him forever (John 14:1-3). In that passage He says, “If this were not so, I would have told you.”

Paul enlarged upon that happening with greater detail in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, saying, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

John wrote in 1 John 3:1-3, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Just like Stephen, looking up as he was dying, exclaimed, “I see the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56), we shall see Him in human body form, just as we are! (Was God looking ahead to this when He said, “Let us make man in our image” in that time of creation so long ago?)

In summary, then, because He, Jesus the Christ, is the overcomer, so it is that those who belong to Him also are overcomers!

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Is the Real Restrainer Now Restraining? :: By Gene Lawley

A simple meaning for “restrain” is “to hold back, or resist.” In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 and 6-7, Paul introduces the restrainer into the end-time scenario:

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

This is the fulfillment of that prophecy made in Daniel 9:27b and 11:36:

“…But in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate….” (:27b);

“Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done” (11:36).

It was the foretelling of the desecration of the temple and repeated by Jesus in Matthew 24:15:  “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand) then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

This is a future event, not at the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D., as some would have you believe. That event was done by the Romans with no spiritual intentions as to presenting anyone as God in the temple. Jesus foretold that event merely by saying, “Not one stone will be left upon another,” (Matthew 24:2) picturing the Romans tearing everything apart for the gold, silver, and precious stones in the temple construction.

Let’s return to the matter of the Restrainer, He who holds back the relentless push for evil to overwhelm mankind.

“And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).

The falling away must come first, before the Day of the Lord. Then, the man of sin is revealed, the one who opposes God. Then, the One who restrains becomes apparent. Who is this?

In order to support their pre-conceived ideas, in my opinion, various names are forwarded as the “one who restrains,” such as early church resistance to the Roman Empire. More recently is the claim that perhaps it is the angel, Michael, who is known to have resisted the devil in their confrontation over the body of Moses (Jude 1:9); but look how Michael handled that situation, for Jude reports that the angel said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you.” So that leaves us to some form of deity, a member of the godhead, or as in the days of Noah and Lot, a direct involvement from heaven. Look at Luke 17:26-30:

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man.  They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot, they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

In those early Genesis accounts, we are told that God put Noah and his family in the ark, after the creatures were loaded, and closed the door on them. Then the flood came. In Lot’s case, the two angels led him and his family out of the city, and immediately, the city of Sodom and its inhabitants were destroyed. So, in those instances, the direct intervention of God also delivered those of faith.

In these days, the only One who is specifically left in the world is the Holy Spirit, who indwells the born-again believer. The wide range of ministry of the Spirit of God in the believer is a voluminous topic of study. The specific ministry to the individual believer in regard to this context is summarized in 1 John 4:4 where we are told, “…He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

The Scripture assures the believer that he is sealed by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ as Christ’s down-payment on His purchase of that lost soul from his bondage of sin. So the question that might be raised, “Who can take away a member of the godhead?” is answered in the amazing mystery of the Rapture.

Jesus promised this in John 14:2-3: “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

In a recent article, I wrote of observations that indicate the coming destruction of the United States of America, pointing out a whole spread of areas where falling away from faith and to lawlessness is now happening. It raises a question of whether that alone is representative of the whole world. Apparently, the evil forces behind these arenas of the falling away believe that as long as America stands, their cause will not climax in victory. Thus, we see a concentrated effort to bring America down to an entity without sovereignty.

One cannot deny the true meaning of that statement muttered by President Obama at the annual DC Correspondents’ Dinner on April 30, 2016: “The end of the Republic has never looked better!” He was so caught up with anticipation that Hillary Clinton would be the winner of the 2016 presidential election that he could not contain himself. Thus, the goal of destroying the United States from her perch at the top of the nations is Satan’s plan in his drive to pose as God in the place of the God of the universe. This is told of in 2 Thessalonians 2 and is referenced at the beginning of this article.

Topple the United States and the whole world will go down. Why? America is the only nation which allows its citizens the freedom of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as individual rights coming from God, not the state. That arrangement just cannot be allowed by those who envision a New World Order and a one-world government where no such freedom is planned—except for the elite. There is one thing, though, that is troubling to them—BUT GOD!

No promise made by God or Jesus, as different members of the godhead, will contradict the other. Thus, when the promise is made, “I will never leave nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), it means just that. When the One who restrains (note the pronoun capitalization in the 2 Thessalonians context) is “taken out of the way,” the believer goes with Him, meeting the believers from heaven who are being joined, their soul and spirit, with their resurrected bodies from their graves.

That is the picture Paul presents in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

The current question is whether or not the growing resistance in state governments and churches against a full-blown pro-abortion effort indicates the work of the Restrainer of the last days which Paul writes of in 2 Thessalonians 2. The pressure to look upon a pregnancy as a type of disease, or merely a tumor-like growth in the womb, has awakened the moral sensitivities of many church members and leaders as well as state government officials.

As I noted in another recent article, the attack upon the only creation that was made in God’s image could only be the work of Satan. His efforts to destroy mankind through direct destruction, as in abortions and in confusion of the sexes in the gender manipulation frenzy, may well be his final effort to oppose the Creator of the universe, Almighty God!

“Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.”

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(Other articles I have had posted may be found at: )