"Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and fight against them with the sword of My mouth." Revelation 2:16
The Canary Islands off northwestern Africa can be a beauty-versus-beast setting. We think of yellow songbirds and the sweet Madeira wine made there. However, the name comes from the Latin "canis," a dog, because of the large dogs the early owners kept to control the plantation workers.
Names can hide grim facts. Nain was a town meaning beauty because of its site in the Mount Hermon vicinity. The birds sang there. But the cruel hounds of death came there, too, for a certain woman. First her husband was taken, and then her only son, whom Jesus raised from the dead (see Luke 7:11-15).
For the third temptation in the wilderness Satan showed Jesus "all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor" (Matthew 4:8). You could visualize beautiful palaces, pleasure gardens, and whatever appeals to human ambition. But it was a deluding picture, a sample of satanic magic. To receive all this, Jesus would have to bow down and worship the devil. And that would have been the end of our salvation. No paradise with beautiful birds, only the realm of the hounds of hell, would have awaited us.
We next go to Pergamum to which Saint John wrote one of his seven letters in the book of Revelation (see Revelation 2:12-17). Satan was there with his human agents: the Balaamites and the Nicolaitans. Both put on a religious front camouflaging their advocacy of sexual immorality. The second group said that the way to subdue the sinful flesh was to exhaust it. People were led to believe that sainthood comes through sinning, through the misuse of sex. We are right back on the Canary Islands. What was offered as sweet Madeira wine was in fact a deadly poison.
The same Saint John writes: "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God" (1 John 4:1). Those who plainly teach and confess that Jesus Christ is God's true Son, who came to die for our sins and then rose again, are telling the truth. These friends we follow.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for not only speaking the truth, but also for being the Truth, the Life, and the only Way to the Father. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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