Given the times in which we are living and the distress that we have in the very seat of power for the United States of America, we are reminded of the veracity of Scripture, especially when we look toward the end of the New Testament at the little letter just before the Revelation -- the letter of Jude. It reveals powerful things, and something of the unseen world.
It tells about Moses who was buried by God on Mount Pisgah, and how his body was transported to heaven. The archangel Michael contended with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses, but Michael did not dare to condemn him with mockery. He simply said, "The Lord rebuke you." This remarkable statement tells you something about the unseen world and the powers and stratification of authority. It also shows something of the place of a fallen archangel, Lucifer the devil, and how the other archangel Michael didn't even contend with him. He let that be up to the Lord.
There is a great lesson in that for you and for me. Sometimes people say, with almost a cavalier attitude, "I bind the devil." We have to be careful how much authority we think we have. In fact, it is not uncommon for someone who may very well be giving out truth, revealing the work of Satan, to experience the incursion of difficulties. When we live in a sinful world, Satan is still the prince and power of the air. If you don't think he has force and power, look at what came to the disciples. All but one were martyred. The accounts of Scripture show clearly that if we are believers, we are not going to be on easy street. There is a battlefield.
Do you notice who came to destroy the works of the devil? Jesus Christ. I recognize that I am no match for battle with an archangel, but I do have a Savior to whom I can appeal. The archangel in this account in Jude said simply, "The Lord rebuke you." This is a very important lesson for us.
Statistics show that there have been more Christians persecuted and killed in this last year than in any year in previous history. This is a very hostile world when in comes to the work of the Lord.
There is hostility also against the things of the Lord when you consider how the clear directions in the Scripture about behavior are being set aside. The trauma we are experiencing in Washington gives evidence that we may say things don't count, but we find indeed they can lead to great distress. But we are not to despair. Jude gives us great hope. Although he recognizes the power of Satan who tried to prevent Moses' body from being transported to heaven, God had a special plan for Moses. He was to appear with Jesus, the Son of God, and with Elijah the prophet on the Mount of Transfiguration. In order to do that, he needed to be preserved for that purpose. It was in the plan of God.
There, on the Mount of Transfiguration, Christ, who was the fulfillment of the law represented by Moses and the prophets represented by Elijah, ushered in the age of grace. This is a remarkable provision.
As you are praying for the circumstances of our nation and for our own roles in the world, consider Jude 17-25:
"Now do remember, dear friends, the words that the messengers of Jesus Christ gave us beforehand when they said 'there will come in the last days mockers who live according to their own godless desires '. These are the men who split communities, for they are led by human emotions and never by the Spirit of God. But you, dear friends of mine, build yourselves up on the foundation of your most holy faith and by praying through the Holy Spirit keep yourselves within the love of God." Isn't that a powerful directive!
"Wait patiently for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ which will bring you to the life eternal. There are some whom you must pity because of their doubts; some you must save by snatching them out of the fire. But there are others whom you must pity with the utmost caution, hating the very clothes which their deeds have soiled." How contemporary.
"Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glory without fault and with unspeakable joy, to the only God, our saviour, be glory and majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord before time was, now, and in all ages to come, amen."
Dr. Robert Dallenbach -- 01-08-99