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"Captivity Led Captive" 1-6 By Pastor Russell S. Miller Empty Re: "Captivity Led Captive" 1-6 By Pastor Russell S. Miller

Post  Admin on Sun 12 Dec 2010, 1:47 pm

"Captivity Led Captive"*
* Part 5 of 6*
*Conclusion*
* By Pastor Russell S. Miller*
*THE PARADISE OF GOD*
*
**
In Revelation 3:12, the Lord Jesus Christ inspired and revealed to the
Apostle John these words concerning Himself and the New Jerusalem:
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and
he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God,
and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh
down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name"
(Rev. 3:12).
We next read of this great "city of God" in Revelation 21:2 which,
during all that time, from Revelation 3:12 to Revelation 21:2, has still
not arrived upon planet earth:
"And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out
of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev. 21:2).
It is during this time of Great Tribulation that all the terrible
plagues and judgments of the Book of Revelation shall be poured out upon
this earth for its rejection of Jesus Christ. It was concerning this
period of time that Jesus warned His disciples of "false Christs" and
"false prophets" that "shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:4-14).
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (Matt.
24:13).
Again, it is the Apostle John who writes by divine inspiration:
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the
churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life4
which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7).
*
*THAT BLESSED HOPE*
*
The Apostle Paul, unlike Joel and Peter and John, does not exhort
believers to "endure unto the end," nor to "overcome," in order to be
saved in this dispensation of the grace of God. His words are words of
"love" and "grace" and "peace."
"For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our
Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thes. 5:9).
"...Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (I Thes. 4:13-18).
And this is why he exhorts believers to be: "LOOKING FOR THAT BLESSED
HOPE, AND THE GLORIOUS APPEARING OF THE GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOUR JESUS
CHRIST" (Titus 2:13).
But if you're not saved, my friend, you have only "hell" and "the lake
of fire" to look forward to without Jesus Christ. For now, however, God
still has good news for you. Won't you ask Jesus to save you from your
sins? Trust Jesus Christ today as your Saviour.
"God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
CHRIST DIED FOR US" (Rom. 5:8).
"In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins,
according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7).
Don't delay another moment, because time IS running out. "Behold, now is
the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Cor. 6:2).
God wants you to enjoy Heaven with Jesus for all eternity but you must
believe in Jesus.
"BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED, AND THY
HOUSE" (Acts 16:31).
Endnotes
4. See the writer's article, titled: "The Lamb's Book of Life."

Lord God of resurrection, I praise You for the resurrection of Your
Son, Jesus, my Savior. Lord Jesus, I am so thankful that you have placed
me in the body of Christ and that I have been given a wonderful place in
the heavens you truly have blessed we Gentiles, thereby missing the day
of Vengeance of our Lord. Please work in my life the richness of Your
grace, secured by Your sacrificial death and resurrection victory. In
Your mighty name, I pray, Amen.
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Post  Admin on Fri 10 Dec 2010, 12:24 pm

Captivity Led Captive"*
* Part 4 of 6*
* By Pastor Russell S. Miller*
*
WHAT A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE PLACE HELL MUST BE (Rev. 20:11-15).
God wants to save you from hell, my friend, if you will simply trust the
Lord Jesus as your Saviour. Ask Him just now to save you from your sins.
"But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, WHILE WE WERE YET
SINNERS, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).
"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His
blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are
past, through the forbearance of God;
"To declare, I say, AT THIS TIME His righteousness: that He might be
just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:25,26).
*
*CHRIST'S GREAT VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL*
*
The Lord Jesus Christ went down "into the lower parts of the earth"
(Eph. 4:9) or "Sheol," called "Hades" in the New Testament (Acts 2:27,31).
"Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into
the lower parts of the earth" (Eph. 4:9).
And on that Resurrection morning as He came out of "Hades" He led these
Old Testament saints in "Abraham's bosom" triumphantly to heaven.
The Apostle Paul further states in Verse 8 that, "When [Christ] ascended
up on high, He led captivity captive...." And who were "captive" if He
came out of where He descended, but those in Abraham's bosom!
Indeed, "that Great Shepherd of the sheep" (Heb. 13:20) led a multitude
of captives, a triumphal procession, in celebration of His victory over
sin, death, the grave and hell, even "triumphing" over Satan himself "in
the cross" (Col. 2:15).
"...THAT THROUGH DEATH HE MIGHT DESTROY HIM THAT HAD THE POWER OF DEATH,
THAT IS, THE DEVIL: AND DELIVER THEM WHO THROUGH FEAR OF DEATH WERE ALL
THEIR LIFETIME SUBJECT TO BONDAGE" (Heb. 2:14,15).
*
*"HOW THAT PAUL WAS CAUGHT UP INTO PARADISE"*
*
"It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions
and revelations of the Lord.
"I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body,
I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
such an one caught up to the third heaven.
"And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I
cannot tell: God knoweth;)
"How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words,
which it is not lawful for a man to utter" (II Cor. 12:1-4).
Of the three references to "paradise" in the New Testament, not one of
them refers to the same location. Our Lord spoke to the dying thief of
going "down" into paradise (Luke 23:43). Here, Paul speaks about being
"caught UP into paradise" (II Cor. 12:4). But John reveals that paradise
is coming "DOWN from God out of heaven" (Rev. 2:7; 21:1,2; 22:1-7).
A question seems to linger, Was Paul actually "caught up into paradise"?
He, himself, informs us that he, in fact, was "caught up to the third
heaven"2 and this event evidently occurred when Paul was stoned at
Lystra in Acts 14:19:
"And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who
persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city,
supposing he had been dead."
Acts 14 informs us that "as the disciples stood round about him, he rose
up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas
to Derby" (14:20). This is consistent with Paul's words in II
Corinthians 12:1-4. Paul was caught up into paradise.
And furthermore it is consistent with what we have seen regarding Christ
having "led captivity captive," a surprise of grace for those Old
Testament saints, for the Kingdom of Heaven ON EARTH is promised them
(Matt. 8:11), not Heaven above!3
*
Endnotes
1. One writer has decreed there to be not one shred of Scripture to
substantiate these thoughts. But what is this that I read in Matthew
12:40; in Acts 2:27,31; in Romans 10:7; in I Peter 3:18-20. Dr. C. I.
Scofield's center column reference on Acts 2:25-31 refers the reader to
Luke 16:23 and his note on "Hades" before and after the ascension of
Christ. But most importantly is the record of Scripture itself.
Consequently the Apostle Peter at Pentecost in Acts 2:25-31, and after
coming to see the grace message through Paul's influence (Gal. 2:7-9;
Acts 15:7-11), declares in I Peter 3:19 that the Lord did, in fact,
preach to those in Hades. And the Apostle Paul makes it very clear in
his declarations that the Lord Jesus Christ not only "descended into the
deep" (Rom. 10:7), but he also declares this "deep" to be "the lower
parts of the earth" in Ephesians 4:9. Furthermore, brethren, "When He
ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men"
(Eph. 4:8). So it would be systematic deception for a man "to think of
himself more highly than he ought to think" (Rom. 12:3)! Or, as Paul's
words to the Corinthians express it---"to think above that which is
written" (I Cor. 4:6). This, of course, would therefore lead to wrongly
dividing the Word of truth and handling God's Word deceitfully: "For we
are not as many, which corrupt the Word of God: but as of sincerity, but
as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ" (II Cor. 2:17).
2. Did Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob hear those "unspeakable" and "unlawful"
words that Paul heard in II Corinthians 12:4? Imagine being "caught up"
into the now place of Old Testament saints to receive another
installment of "this Mystery among the Gentiles!" Just a thought!
3. Now we see how Paul's words in Ephesians 4:8-10 do not contradict
Psalm 68:18, but rather complement the Psalmist. So what is the
conclusion of Ephesians 4:(not 7-16 but) 8-10? It is true that Paul
quotes a Messianic Psalm (68:10), however he did not minister to the
Messianic Church. Nevertheless he did confirm the events that occurred
in the ascension of Christ. But the "gifts" that were given, in the
context here, are very obviously not those of Mark 16:15-18, nor Acts
2:38, nor those chapters subsequent. Even the office of apostles and
prophets were temporary, since only evangelists, pastors, and teachers
remain!
4. See the writer's article, titled: "The Lamb's Book of Life."
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Post  Admin on Thu 09 Dec 2010, 1:59 pm

Captivity Led Captive"*
* Part 2 of 6*
* By Pastor Russell S. Miller*
*ABRAHAM'S BOSOM*

Let's discover, with God's help, where Abraham's Bosom was. Of Abraham
it is written:
"Then [he] gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man,
and full of years; and was gathered to his people" (Gen. 25:8).
Surely his grave was not paradise nor did it contain his people. Moses
and Aaron were also both "gathered unto their people," but it is clear
that neither of them were buried in the same cemetery. See Numbers
20:23-29; 27:12-14; Deuteronomy 32:48-52.
Thus we see that these Old Testament saints were "gathered" to a
particular place that sheltered them, just as the blood of the
sacrificial lamb "covered" their sins from God's wrath until such time
as He could welcome them into His presence.
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the
judgment: SO CHRIST WAS ONCE OFFERED TO BEAR THE SINS OF MANY..." (Heb.
9:27,28).
But where were those saints "gathered"? Luke 16:19-31 speaks of
Abraham's bosom, and Abraham was there!
"And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the
angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And
in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar
off, and Lazarus in his bosom" (Luke 16:22,23).
The word "bosom" is found six times in our New Testaments and is
translated "creek" in Acts 27:39. (Twice it is used figuratively- --Luke
16:22,23; thrice it is used literally--- Luke 6:38; John 1:18; 13:23).
Just as that "creek" into which they "thrust" Paul's ship was a shelter
from a raging storm for the Apostle Paul, so Abraham's bosom sheltered
those kingdom saints until the sacrificial blood of Christ was shed.
Interesting! Is it not?
*
*IS ABRAHAM'S BOSOM PARADISE?*
*
Now the question must be asked, "Was the thief `gathered' to Abraham's
bosom?" Abraham himself, like Moses and Aaron, was "gathered unto his
people," not unto the Lord. Luke 16 confirms that the place to which
their souls were gathered was called Abraham's bosom, the place to which
all Old Testament saints were "gathered." The dying "thief" would also
have been "gathered" unto that same place which our Lord called
"PARADISE" in Luke 23:43.
Now if "TODAY" the thief was to be with Christ in "Paradise," Luke
23:43, then it was at the time of His death that he went to "Paradise."
Since Christ had "not yet ascended to [His] Father" (John 20:17) and
could therefore not be "touched," it is more than logical that
"Paradise" was "IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH"1 where "the Son of man" spent
"three days and three nights" (Matt. 12:40).
We know from I Peter 3:19 that after His crucifixion, our Lord, "...by
the Spirit...went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God
waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few,
that is, eight souls were saved by water" (I Pet. 3:19,20).
The Greek word for "spirit," here, is used of the Holy Spirit of God in
Matthew 3:16 and many other places as well. It is also used of demons in
Matthew 8:16. Paul uses it of "the spirit of man" in I Corinthians 2:11,
and of his own "spirit" in Acts 19:21 and 20:22. Furthermore, God is
"the Father of spirits," the Justifier of "the spirits of just men made
perfect" and His Word "divideth asunder soul and spirit" (Heb. 12:9,23;
4:12). It is also used of the angels of God, "Who maketh His angels
spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire" (Heb. 1:7).
"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them
who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. 1:14).
Dear Lord, I thank You and praise You for Your great grace toward me.
Just to think that you chose me be for the foundation of the world, and
are so gracious even beyond that to allow me to walk in the good works
that you did on the cross, your burial, your resurrection, and to know
that you have seated me at the right hand of God the Father as you have
placed me in Christ. May I become an instrument of Your grace in the
lives of others, all for Your glory and honor, in Jesus name, Amen.

"Captivity Led Captive"*
* Part 3 of 6*
* By Pastor Russell S. Miller*
There are three Greek words for our English word "hell"---Hades,
Gehenna, and Tartarus, none of which are rendered by the word prison.
Hades had a section commonly known as "hell" and a compartment known as
"paradise," separated by "a great gulf fixed" (Luke 16:26). Gehenna is
used of our Lord in the warnings and "danger of hell fire" that the
"whole body should [not] be cast into hell" (Matt. 5:22,29,30; etc.).
While "tartarus" is found only one time, in II Peter 2:4, to describe
the intended purpose for this "hell":
2Peter 2:4 "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast
[them] down to hell, ( Gr. tartaroo the deepest abyss of Hades) and
delivered [them] into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;"
"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to
hell [tartarus], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be
reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the
eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon
the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha
into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample
unto those that after should live ungodly" (II Pet. 2:4-6).
2Peter 2:4-6 "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast
[them] down to hell, and delivered [them] into chains of darkness, to be
reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah
the eighth [person], a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood
upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and
Gomorrha into ashes condemned [them] with an overthrow, making [them] an
ensample unto those that after should live ungodly"
The context of I Peter 3:18-22, however, tells us that Christ preached
to those "disobedient" in the days of Noah. Did our Lord only preach to
those antediluvians and demons in the prison? Or did He, like Abraham,
have some good news also, a message of deliverance for the captives in
"paradise" on that Resurrection morn? No doubt His sermon incorporated
glorious victory to the saints, "many" of whom "arose" and "appeared
unto many" (Matt. 27:52,53). But what horrible agony and torment must
have been the scene in "Hell" that morning! If those poor hopeless souls
had no hope before our Lord descended, what hopelessness now existed at
His ascension! Their deluded and despairing thoughts were completely
shattered now!
"Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without
measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he
that rejoiceth [against the truth], shall descend into it" (Isa. 5:14).
*Life is a gift... *
*Live it... *
*Enjoy it... *
*Celebrate it... *
*And fulfill it....
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Post  Admin on Tue 07 Dec 2010, 2:15 pm

"Captivity Led Captive"
Part 1 of 6*
* By Pastor Russell S. Miller*

Our purpose in this lesson is to discover what, exactly, the Apostle
Paul meant in the phrase, "When He ascended up on high, He led captivity
captive..." (Eph. 4:8).
Whom did our Lord lead "captive"?
The reason this text has been chosen is that much confusion has been
generated amongst God's people as to the events and details of this
aspect of our Saviour's ascension. Was it those in "Paradise," or some
"principalities and powers" that were "led captive"?
We believe that it was "Paradise" that our Lord "led captive." The word
"paradise" is found but three times in our Bibles---Luke 23:43; II
Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7.
Genesis Two describes what was a Paradise existing in the days of Adam
in what the Bible calls, the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:4-9). Did this
paradise still exist during our Lord's earthly ministry? When He spoke
to the thief on the cross, "Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise"
(Luke 23:43), what did He mean? Genesis Three reports that Adam and Eve
were "driven" (Vers. 23,24) out of the garden, or paradise. Certainly
Jerusalem was no paradise in our Lord's day, nor does the earth contain
any paradise today, for the world is definitely not a paradise
regardless of the efforts that man puts forth to make it so.
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12).
"VERILY I SAY UNTO THEE, TODAY SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN PARADISE"
Obviously our Lord spoke these words to the dying thief from His cross
that before the day was out he would be with Him in paradise.
"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be
with Me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).
Paradise could not have been the Garden of Eden, for it had long since
been protected from Adam by "a flaming sword, which turned every way"
(Gen. 3:24) and later, evidently, by drought (Isa. 1:30). Where then was
the paradise that Christ promised the dying thief?
We know that only our Lord's body was buried in Joseph's tomb---that
tomb was surely not paradise. Matthew 12:40, however, may shed some
light upon this subject:
"For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so
shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the
earth."
Wouldn't three days and three nights in "the belly of a whale" be more
or less "hell" on earth!?! Well, the people of Nineveh must have thought
it was! Now Jonas was not actually in "Hades," but this does not mean
that the whale's belly did not typify "the heart of the earth"!
*Many seem to be without hope today,*
* focused upon circumstances, *
* rather than the power of God,*
* and His promise.*
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