Feast: In Search of a Clear World View (Part Four)

#FT14-08-PM

Given 16-Oct-14; 65 minutes

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The Feast of Tabernacles is seven days, while the eighth day (what we have called the Last Great Day) is actually a separate festival, typifying the resurrection of billions of people to a physical resurrection, woefully needing the Spirit of God. In the narrative of John 7, a woman was caught in the act of adultery, the physical equivalent of idolatry, or faithlessness to God. Jesus healed a man born blind; in the Great Throne Judgment billions of spiritually blind people will be resurrected. John 7-10 describes the events of what we have termed the Last Great Day, an event which took place in 31AD (corroborated by the Hebrew calendar). If we value something, we will pay attention to it. The church is clearly a teaching union, and we must be a part of it, proclaiming the Gospel to the world, and magnifying it to the flock. We must battle the world's influences every day, even more-so as we enter the last days when deception and confusion will abound. Richard Trench defines aion as all the thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, impulses, and aspirations present in the world at any given time, which may be impossible to accurately define but which still constitute a real and effective power—the moral or immoral atmosphere we breathe. Aion could be considered a synonym for Zeitgeist or spirit of the time. Satan can fine-tune this aion or Zeitgeist, customizing the course depending on whom he may seek to murder. Even though Satan is out to get us, God will never leave us or forsake us; because the world is filled with evil forces, we need to be thinking and vigilant children of God.

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Yesterday as Mark Schindler was giving his sermon, he mentioned John 7:37. He read it, made some comments regarding it, and then he moved on. Then when his sermon and Charles’ sermon were done Evelyn asked me, “I wonder how many people caught what Mark said?” That question is what caused me to make a little bit of a change in my sermon. I am introducing my sermon in this manner; because it has been about four years since I introduced this change. It was not a major change, but it was nonetheless a change regarding the Last Great Day. I thought that I would just pass an overview on to you regarding it.

It is very simple to prove, but for some reason if anybody in the church of God found out before four or five years ago, I never heard it. Once I read a paper on it, I said, “I agree with this; this is right,” and indeed it is.

Today, Richard's entire sermon encompassed what follows John 7:37. I decided while Richard was speaking that I would devote the opening of my sermon this afternoon to a review of John 7:37, because many may have forgotten what I said four years ago in Topeka.

What I am going to review was not my discovery. Rather it was discovered by someone in United (UCG). He wrote a paper on it, and passed it on to those of higher rank, and they approved of it, and I am passing it on to you since it was passed on to me. I believe that it is truth. It is not an earthshaking thing at all, but it does clarify something regarding the Last Great Day.

John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”

That seems simple enough. But until a few years ago we assumed that this was referring to the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles. But it most certainly was not referring to the eighth day of what we consider to be the Feast of Tabernacles. It is referring to exactly what it says: the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles; the Feast of Tabernacles only has seven days in it; the day that this verse is referring to is the seventh day, not the eighth as we have been taught in the past.

Leviticus 23:33-36 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord, it is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it.’

The last day of the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7:37 is exactly what God said, it was the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It was the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles. In one sense that is so clear. But we will add enough proof to that so that you will be able to prove it for yourself.

What we assumed was that the eighth day was part of the Feast of Tabernacles; it was not. Do you get the picture here? Beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the Feast of Tabernacles lasted seven days. But the next day, the eighth day, was a separate feast all its own even though it was adjacent to the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles.

That is not really unusual because at the beginning of year we have Passover, which is a festival; then follows the seven days of the Days of Unleavened Bread. That is eight all together. But nobody has any problem (that is in the church of God) with Passover being a separate festival all by itself. It is not a holy day, but it indeed is a festival. That is the kind of thing we are dealing with here, only instead of coming at the beginning, it comes at the end of the first seven days. That is pretty clear.

The verse clearly states that the next day after the seventh is a separate festival all by itself. One Jewish researcher called it a festival in search of a name. You can see that it has no name, all of the others have a name and we quickly relate to that by the name, so we refer to them that way.

What in the world do you call a festival that has no name? We could do what God does here, even though He did not give it a formal title, in the normal sense. What He did do is take the Hebrew words that mean holy convocation and that became its name.

I do not have my Hebrew things with me, but it means, in English, holy convocation. This is why that researcher said, “This is a festival in search of a name.” Why did that researcher say that the way that she did? She had no idea about the second resurrection; no idea about those people coming up by the billions. They are going to be converted, and Jesus Christ is going to go out amongst them, and give them the truth.

We will go back to John 7. I will read enough to show you the sequence of days that are involved here. Verse 37: We know that it is the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles. The next day is going to be a holy day, and what do we call that holy day? We have commonly called it the Last Great Day. I have no problem with that. I will tell you that is going to be one great day of salvation—the Last Great Day—the end of God's purpose in terms of recreating Himself; having children that are like He is—in His image.

John 7:38-39 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

John 7:51-53 “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” And everyone went to his own house.

John 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

We will reconstruct this. What happened there in those few verses? The seventh day of the Feast came to an end, sunset occurred, and everybody went home (to where they were staying). Early the next day in the morning, He came again into the Temple. Why in the world would He go to the Temple even early in the morning? Because it was a holy day. It was what we call the Last Great Day. And what would a rabbi be doing at the Temple? He is preaching.

John 8:2-4 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.”

I am going to give you an overview of what happened on this day, what God arranged to occur, and how Jesus reacted to these things in the teaching that He gave during this period of time on the Last Great Day.

What is going to happen on the Last Great Day? Richard described it, at least in part in his sermon. It is the time when the billions of people who were never converted—went into their grave unconverted. Some of them were raging maniacs because of the way they reacted to Him. Others were just simply hardened from the world itself. What are those people going to need? They are going to need a new Spirit. Look at the way John 7:37-38 ends. He is talking about the Spirit of God and people needing it. We need it in this period of time, but those people who are going to come up in that second resurrection will really need help.

The first thing that the Father confronted Jesus with was a woman taken in the very act of adultery. What does adultery have to do with conversion? Conversion has to do with a person making a covenant with God. That covenant is a marriage covenant. Even with man's twisted thinking, what is it that breaks a marriage covenant? It is adultery. You can look at what Jesus said Himself about divorce: Adultery breaks a marriage.

What is adultery spiritually? It is a bad sin because it breaks the marriage with Jesus Christ. It is idolatry; idolatry is adultery of a spiritual sense.

The first thing that God confronts Jesus with is the question of showing what it is that breaks the covenant with God. Those people coming up in the second resurrection are going to be confronted with a New Covenant. And they are going be warned, “If you commit adultery, that’s all she wrote.” God may be merciful for a while, but they are going to be well warned that idolatry is adultery. There is the physical act and the spiritual act that is involved there.

John 9:1 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.

Here comes a second thing that occurs on the Last Great Day that God confronts Jesus with. He informs Him, “This is what I want you to preach about.” So what did He do? He healed a man who had been blind from birth. It is very likely that every single person who comes up in the second resurrection has been spiritually blind since birth, and God is going to give them spiritual sight through Jesus Christ.

Are you beginning to get the picture? It is still the Last Great Day in John 9, and God is leading Jesus Christ through these lessons that He then records in the book so that we will understand about this feast that has no name. It has a great name and we somehow stumbled across it by calling it the Last Great Day. I do not mean the Church of the Great God stumbled across it, but Herbert Armstrong gave it the name, as far as I know, and it was the right name. It just had the wrong timing.

Now, what happens in chapter 10 is still the same day. We did not go through chapter 8, but in it Jesus taught them again spiritual principles. He revealed to them that He was God in the flesh. He made it as plain as He possibly could. He said, "Before Abraham was, I AM (God)!" That is what He is going to reveal to people who come up in the second resurrection. I am God!

In chapter 10 He goes into another area that He is the great Shepherd. He takes tender care of those who come under Him as sheep. He not only has all power, He is also merciful to a tremendous degree.

John 10:19-22 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. And many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?” Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.

Verse 22 starts a new section with the Feast of Dedication and it was probably a month or more after the episode that is in involved in chapters 8, 9, and 10.

The Last Great Day goes all the way from the beginning of chapter 8, through chapter 9, and all the way through chapter 10 (John 7:37-10:21).

One of the interesting things about this is that the man who did the work on this decided to check it out with possible dates for the ministry of Jesus Christ, and you know what? The present calendar that we are using—the Hebrew calculated calendar—fits perfectly into 31 AD. It is the only calendar available at this time that actually fits exactly, lined up perfectly with the days of 31 AD.

This is pretty strong proof that we are using the correct calendar, because as far as researchers have been able to determine, He was crucified either in 31 AD or 33 AD. But AD 31 fits the calendar operations that we see in this sequence of events in John 7-10.

(That "sermonette" is now over.)

I want to review a little bit, and then I will go into something that I feel will be helpful to have in your mind regarding what we have been studying into.

You will recall in the first sermon of this series, “where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” This is important because placing great value on something has a tendency to make us pay a great deal of attention to it. Jesus gave us this principle to understand that the information that He was giving to us in our calling is not something to just toss around as being valueless at all. It is actually among the most precious things that have ever been given to us, and He wants us to know that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also.

This is important because if our treasure really is in the calling that God has given to us, it is going to affect the way that we react to the information that we are given. Jesus promises that it will affect the heart, and that is important because the heart determines conduct. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks; out of the abundance of the heart comes all of those sins that He listed there in Matthew 15.

If we consider something of being little value to us, then we are not going to pay a great deal of attention to it. So the lesson from this is that each of us must determine the value for himself; nobody else can set the value for anybody else. We are the ones who have to make that determination for ourselves.

The second sermon began to lay a clear foundation regarding the church’s overall responsibility to God, since we are the spiritual body of Jesus Christ.

We are called to continue the work that He began, as Matthew 28:19-20 clearly shows. He gives us a command there to go into all the world and make disciples—making disciples does not happen in a moment’s notice. Just because a person is converted does not actually make them much of a disciple yet. A disciple is one who steadily, carefully, continuously follows the lessons that are given. That means a relationship that goes on and on.

The conclusion has to be that the church is clearly a teaching institution. This is another element that absolutely must be in our world view. That is, our responsibility to God is to be part of a teaching institution.

This thought led into the third sermon, the church’s work assigned by God has two overall divisions. The first is to proclaim the gospel to the world; the second is to greatly magnify the gospel of the Kingdom of God as Jesus showed in the Sermon on the Mount. If you remember the order of things, there at the beginning of Matthew 4—Satan challenged Him, Jesus won that challenge, then you find Him preaching the gospel.

Then in chapter 5, the Sermon on the Mount begins. The Sermon on the Mount is an example of the magnification of the original preaching of the gospel.

Please turn to Isaiah 42. This verse is referring to Jesus Christ:

Isaiah 42:21 The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will exalt the law and make it honorable.

When you magnify (exalt) something you make it bigger; you make it plainer; you make one able to observe it, and see what is there in the teaching and of course find agreement with. That is what Jesus did in the Sermon on the Mount. He magnified the law where He teaches us in simple lessons regarding the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law is a magnification of the law, and it reaches into the very intents that are in people’s hearts and minds as to why they do what they do.

That is what the third sermon began with so that we would understand that our job is not just to teach the world. That is in a simple application of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Far more important in terms of what it is going produce, is the magnification of the law to the brethren so that they understand things with greater clarity and see applications that they otherwise would never be able to determine.

God raises up teachers who are able to break those things down, make them clear, and help them to understand the responsibility that we bear before God.

This we did not go into to any great extent. I think I did touch on it; in some ways it sort of looks like an afterthought but, believe me, it is not an afterthought. The timing was just exactly right. On the very night that Jesus was taken by the Jewish and Roman authorities for His trial and crucifixion, He warned the twelve to beware of the world.

Satan is the world’s major enemy in terms of a personality. But the main tool for the destruction of God's work as well as the deception of all of mankind is the world. This has to be a part of our world view—how dangerous the world is. It is nothing to fool around with and we had better have our eyes wide open.

God is not saying, “I want you to avoid it completely and totally, or bury yourself underground somewhere so that you just peek your head up every once in a while, and say, ‘What’s going on?’” But you be a thinking individual who is taking account of what is going on around you, and making the best decisions as you possibly can to glorify God.

Please turn to John 15. This is where the thing about the world is first brought up. And of course, the Passover has just taken place, and Jesus is out leading the group through the garden of Gethsemane.

John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 17:14 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

If we are following in the steps of Jesus Christ, He is not part of the world, and we have to make efforts to make sure that we are not part of the world.

John 17:16 “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

I John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

I John 3:1 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.

I John 4:4-5 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.

I John 5:4-5 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. 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?

I John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

I went right through them because he is painting a pretty clear picture of the enemy that we are going to have to face to some degree every single day of our life. There is just no escaping it. It is there. It is out there, and it has a tremendous amount of influence, if we allow it. This is why we are cautioned to be careful. The world cannot defeat us if we keep our faith in God and continue to go on growing in our knowledge of God, and in our closeness to God in the relationship that we have with Him.

The sum of this comes down to something like this: At this point we are like the apostles who are the characters in what we have just read. We are like the apostles, at an end—an end is occurring; they were at the end of Jesus human ministry; He was warning them regarding the dangers that were emanating from the world.

Here it is, about two thousand years later, and we are approaching another end—the end of the church’s work and the return of Jesus Christ. We too are being warned to beware of the influence of the world.

As I was giving that third sermon, I mentioned to you the Tavistock Institute following the mention of Abraham keeping the commandments of God. I mentioned the Tavistock Institute because the experimentation that they involved themselves in for decades through the latter part of the twentieth century and right on up here into the twenty-first century the things that are available to those who want to use the things that they have discovered.

Tavistock was not alone in their researching of the destructive psychological means of altering human personality and character. The Russians were doing it; the Chinese were doing it; the Americans were doing it; all the same sort of things. They may have had somewhat different procedures, but the research provided a nugget of historical proof for movies like the Manchurian Candidate, and the Bourne movies from which the authors then created a fictional novel.

Note the warnings right at the end of Christ’s ministry. Turn to the book of Luke. This is Luke's version of Jesus outlining of the last days, and the Olivet prophecy.

Luke 21:8-10 And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and. ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them.”

Luke 21:34-36 “But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly, for it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

So Christ is warning us as He was giving this Olivet Prophecy. It is helpful to know. Recall Pat Higgins’ article on watching. To me it showed convincingly that watching is not to be understood primarily as watching world news but being alert to one’s spiritual condition. This is why I mentioned Tavistock, and those other things, because the methods that they uncovered in their research are very dangerous—exceedingly dangerous.

Being on guard above all things to the encroachments of Satan's mindset into our thinking is what we have to watch for. Watching world news is of course something that we will be able to do to some degree, and we should do it because it gives us some kind of a clue, but it is far more important to be on guard for one’s spiritual condition. There is no comparison. We have to guard our mind about what we are hearing, what we are seeing with our eyes, so that it does not spoil our opportunities to do the right thing and bring glory to God.

I am interested in Tavistock because their methods proceed along a path of well-orchestrated lies fed into the subject’s mind, along with occasional intense pain, in order to induce fear as well.

The lies create mental conflict with the subject’s normal values and beliefs. It creates confusion in one’s mind, befuddlement, uncertainty, weariness, bickering, and on and on, until the subject becomes compliant; in fact, unable to resist the suggestions of his handlers. The handler almost becomes the savior of the person that they are inducing with these confusing lies.

The procedure closely resembles the good cop-bad cop routine that the police use. My concern regarding this is that I am finding more and more evidence that these procedures are being used against the American public, with the aid of mass media, especially the electronic mass media. This is why I said, you can hardly trust a thing that you are getting from electronic media anymore. You can be sure that it has been twisted to some degree in order to promote an agenda, rather than to give you straight news and truth.

This is why I mentioned ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX (to a lesser extent), because they are being used in an attempt to create confusion on a massive scale, until we are so weary with it all that the American people throw up their hands in resignation and simply comply not knowing who to believe.

Do you know that they—that mythical “they”—forced Nixon's resignation as President of the United States of America by getting him so confused he honestly did not know which end was up anymore. That whole Watergate affair was mostly lies; it was just a minor little break-in, but they blew it up to such an extent they brought down an American President.

It has been shown that over in England, Margret Thatcher was removed from office by her own party who became convinced that she was now detrimental to Britain and detrimental to the party. Just a travesty of justice.

These people have power, and they are using it against the American public, and they are doing it on a massive scale. Now the kind that a prisoner of war would get in a camp where they have free rein, they are, of course, going to do a great deal more damage. To us it is a lot slower, but I hope that you can begin to see that the main tool in all of this is confusion arising from lies.

Guess who the author of this system is?

This is one of the reasons why we have to be alert and careful to our spiritual standing before God, and why we have to watch the way our mind is going. That is far more important than merely watching world news where it is probable that we are receiving lies about anyway.

The Bible tells us to look to our fathers, so that is why I ended that sermon with the example of Abraham, and that the inheritance is going to come to him because he kept God's Word, he kept God's laws, he kept God's statutes, he kept God's commandments. That is what our physical father did and God put that in the Book to let us know that is what He is looking for from us—Abraham taught his children.

Ephesians 2:1-2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.

We have gone over this verse many times in the church, but I am going to go into something that maybe you have never heard of before, and it is true. So we are going to spend a fair amount of time on this one verse.

We are going to be looking at this verse in detail, because it is important that we grasp as clearly as we can why the world has such potentially great influence on us. These two verses are very meaningful to this sermon, especially verse 2 where one word is particularly meaningful—it packs a real punch.

Grasping that one word is particularly helpful toward understanding because it shows us why there is a very clear “them and us” cleavage described in the Bible, exemplified in this world’s beliefs and conduct. “Them and us” is “the world and the church.” You know that is the way it is. I read through all of those scriptures to show that we have a very powerful enemy who is using the world as his tool.

We already know the meaning of cosmos, which appears in verse 2, and is translated as world. The second term is also in verse 2. It is the Greek word translated as “course” in the King James Version, and also in the New King James Version. It is the Greek term, aion. It is a noun; it is #165 in Strong's Concordance.

In some contexts other than the King James and the New King James, it is translated as “age,” meaning a period of time. This is because its basic meaning indicates an unbroken period of time, but it is not that simple here for good reasons, because in the Greek language its usage is much broader. But at the same time even though it is broader in application it can be very precisely used, and that is what happened in this sentence. Though it is a noun, it is a vividly descriptive term for this sermon’s subject.

My Strong's Concordance adds to this definition, which is pretty significant. Aion means, “time viewed in relation to what takes place in that period; the force attaching to the word is not so much that of the actual length of a period of time, but that of a period marked by spiritual or moral characteristics.”

Now we are getting down to the meat of what this word means. One way of understanding this is that the term aion draws more attention to what is happening in a period of time than the length of time, which may be nothing, or very much.

Whether the term is translated as time, age, or course, is normally unimportant because all are correct. You may pick up a Bible and it will not say “course,” like the King James and the New King James do. It may have some other word, as long as you are careful, that word will probably not confuse you. But then again, without knowing the meaning of this word, it is not going to give you very much. You may observe the word translated differently in some versions, but I believe that the King James and New King James are more correct here because course provides a truer understanding of what Paul wrote in this verse.

For example: A course in English is a path or a way. It details the act of moving from one point to another as in a racecourse, like what a racehorse does. It goes from one point to another. It is called a racecourse. A water course goes down and empties into the river. That is its course. A golf course goes from the first hole to second, then the third. It goes through a regular course.

Then you can apply it in a situation. You are going to a university, and you are taking a history course, as they go from date to date, president to president, or whatever it happens to be. A course indicates an accustomed procedure or chosen manner of conducting oneself, as in the wisest course of action. In this case course is an ordered process.

I am doing this because this is one powerful word in terms of what we are to do with avoiding the world.

A word authority by the name of Richard Trench, an Anglican minister who rose to become Archbishop of Dublin, made his greatest impact in religious circles as a definer of Greek word usages. Eventually almost every theologian gets around to quoting Richard Trench.

What he says regarding aion is really an earful. Maybe I got a little dramatic here but wait until you hear the definition that Richard Trench gives it. Get a picture in your mind, envision something—a storm cloud is building toward a heavy rain; it is coming upon the horizon, and it is growing darker and darker by the minute, readying itself to unleash lightning, rolling thunder, a torrent of water to inundate all as it sweeps out of its world and into yours.

Listen to what Richard Trench says aion is: “All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, and aspirations at any time current in the world, which is impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitutes a most real and effective power being our moral or immoral atmosphere, which at every moment of time we inhale and again inevitably exhale.”

That is one powerful definition. To me the really distinguishing part is that at any time we inhale we are taking it into us, not resisting its influence, but it is there, and it gets into our mind, and it begins to work on our conduct, on our character.

All that floating mass—think of these words, thoughts, opinions, maxims—where do you hear these things? You hear them on the radio, in movies, at stage plays, you read them in books. “Speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, and aspirations at any time current in the world, which is impossible to seize and accurately define.”

We know it has happened; it is there. What is it doing to my mind? What is it doing to my heart? How is it twisting me? Can I believe it? What is true? What is not? When you have outfits that you know are broadcasting lies over NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CNN; if you are serious about life, what do you do with that information? That is what he is talking about. Richard Trench wants you to know it is out there, and we have to be protected from it, and we have to be careful.

Trench appears to be describing a spiritual power that surrounds and influences human thought and conduct. That is exactly what is happening. It is a part of this world’s influences.

I will give you in simpler terminology—this is Ritenbaugh's definition. I break it down this way: “Aion is the vague ever-present and immaterial realm of attitudes, words, and thoughts that our lives are surrounded by and lived in.” This is much simpler than what Trench said, this is a great deal more vibrant and powerful, but I have told you the truth.

I am going give you from another highly placed authority. Johann Bengel, a German Lutheran, a researcher who says regarding aion that it is “the subtle informing spirit of the world; the world of men who are living alienated and apart from God. It is the spirit of those who are living hating God, not obeying Him, doing everything they can to discredit God.”

These men are saying, and Paul is saying, that we are living within a realm of a vague but real deceptive power toward evil and away from God. I will give you a definition from an American. Kenneth Wuest, author of many commentaries and technical works from within the famed Moody Bible Institute here in America. He has this comparison of cosmos and aion that I think might be particularly helpful: “To distinguish between aion and cosmos, cosmos gives the overall picture of mankind alienated from God during all of history. Aion represents any distinct age or period of human history as marked out from another by particular characteristics.”

What he is saying is that Satan can customize the course depending upon whom he seeks to deceive and murder. That is the important part for us. Not everybody is going to get exactly the same thing out of what is being broadcast to this world as the person who might be standing right next to them, because their experiences are different, and they impact in different ways. Wuest is saying that Satan can customize it, depending upon whom it is that he wants to kill.

I will make this really simple. Aion is the Greek synonym of the German term, “zeitgeist.” It is that simple. The English phrase, “spirit of the times.” Aion is the spirit of the times. This is why we have to be thinking people. What are we picking up, what are we hearing, what are we doing with it, do we have proof that it is right, or proof that it is wrong? Aion is the invisible power emanating from Satan, this Satan-created system, and his intent is to destroy us through invisibly influencing us to follow a course of disloyalty to God.

If you research the term “course” in Roget’s Thesaurus you might find a hundred other different terms that parallel course in thought depending upon context: tendency, thoughts, disposition, character, nature, make up, bent, slant, frame, frame of mind, attitude, spirit, inclination, mind set, perspective, and on and on it goes. Jesus described words as being spiritual power. That is what we are looking at here. The only trouble is it is emanating from Satan and his world.

The Phillips translation renders it in this manner, “You drifted along on the stream of this world’s ideas of living.” The Living Bible says, “You went along with the crowd and were just like all of the others.” The New English Bible says, “You followed the ways of this present world order.” The Revised English Bible translates it, “You follow the ways of this present world order, obeying the commander of the spiritual powers of the air.”

We will conclude this sermon in Luke 22. This is the last night of Jesus life.

Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

That word “indeed” in verse 31 is a lot more forceful than it appears. That word “indeed” can basically be translated as, “Peter! Wake up!” That is what He said, “Peter! Get ahold of yourself.” “Peter! Pay attention, because I am going to give you something that is pretty important.”

You and I know that Satan is out to get us. We also know that Jesus prayed for Peter. We also know that Jesus prays for us. We also know that He says I will never leave you nor forsake you.

We do not have to be terrified of the world, but we do have to be careful because it is filled with powerful spiritual forces in the form of words, music, and things like that, which catch our imagination and motivate us to go in a wrong direction. That, brethren, is why God wants us to be thinking children, and not just taking every little thing for granted.

JWR/cdm/drm