Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, is found in the eighth chapter. BRINGING THE BONES OF KINGS BEFORE THE SUN! BRINGING THE BONES OF PRINCES BEFORE THE MOON! BRINGING THE BONES OF PRIESTS AND PROPHETS BEFORE THE HOST OF HEAVEN! These words might not seem like. They have any significance or meaning, yet when you read the third verse of the eighth chapter you will understand the significance of what the house of Judah and Jerusalem had done. “And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the Lord of hosts” (Jeremiah 8:3). The first three verses of this chapter are actually quit astounding, for they reveal a tremendous tragedy many men and women in our generation are presently living in. What we read in the first three verses of this chapter is a sad declaration of how many men and women have spent their days, their weeks, their months, and their years living. The prophet Jeremiah emphatically declared and proclaimed that death would be chosen rather than life but all the residue of them that remained of that evil family. How incredibly tragic it is when men would rather choose death than life—when men and women would rather live among the bones of princes and kings rather than living in and experiencing life to the fullest. WHEN MEN WOULD RATHER LIVE AMONG THE BONES OF PRINCES AND KINGS THAN EXPERIENCE LIFE! WHEN MEN AND WOMEN WOULD RATHER LIVE AMONG THE BONES OF PROPHETS AND PRIESTS RATHER THAN EXPERIENCE AND WALK IN LIFE! Please don’t miss the significance of what we read in this particular set of verses, for it reveals something incredibly significant concerning how many men and women choose to spend their days—choosing and living in and around death rather than living in life. I am reminded of the words of Jesus when He declared that He came to give men life, and life abundantly; yet, countless men and women have chosen death rather than life.
To help illustrate this point even further, I am reminded of an account within Scripture concerning the region of the Gadarenes and a man who dwelt in the midst of it. “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, WHO HAD. HIS DWELLING AMONG THE TOMBS; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, AND IN THE TOMBS, CRYING, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by Godthat thou torment me not. For He said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And He asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was there night unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought Him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine” (Mark 5:1-16).
Did you catch the description of this man who dwelt in the region of the Gadarenes? Mark specifically mentions how this man had his dwelling among the tombs, which is incredibly significant. Mark wastes no punches in declaring how this man had consistently lived and dwelt among the tombs, for the tombs had indeed and in fact become his home. This is quite alarming and tragic, for this man undoubtedly become more comfortable surrounded by death than he was around life. This man was more comfortable around the bones and graves of dead men than he was around the those who were living and breathing and walking upon the earth. I can’t help but wonder how incredibly lonely it must have been to dwell among the tombs both day and night. Consider what it must have been like to have your home and your dwelling surrounded by death, and being constantly bombarded with the reality of those who once walked upon the earth. The demon which had entered into and taken this man captive had forced him to spend his days and nights living among the tombs—living among the graves of those who had once walked upon the earth. It’s worth noting that the legion which was present within this man weren’t content to torment him day and night, but they actually forced him spend his days and nights among the tombs. The legion which had taken possession of this man had completely isolated and separated him from society around him, and had forced him to dwell in the mountains and in the tombs. It wasn’t enough to separate and isolate this man from society, for this legion had kept and held him captive within and among the tombs. It’s absolutely imperative that we recognize and understand this, for when seeking to understand the work(s) and activity of the kingdom of darkness, we must understand that the powers of darkness don’t simply seek to isolate and separate us from society, but they also seek to isolate us within and among the tombs all around us. The powers of darkness desire to isolate and separate us from brothers and sisters, but they also seek to bring us to the place where we’re more comfortable with death than we are life. The powers of darkness seek to bring us to the place where we are more comfortable living in the past than we are living in the present, or even the future. Living among the tombs not only confines and chains us to death, but it also confines us to the past as well. SEPARATION FROM FELLOWSHIP! CHAINED TO THE PAST! CONFINED TO DEATH
When I read the fifth chapter of the gospel according to Mark, I am incredibly and powerfully gripped by the incredible significance of this man—not only being possessed by a legion of demons, but also the tremendous impact and effect these demons had upon him. The more I read this particular chapter, the more I am taken by the reality that this legion of demons had so possessed and taken hold of this man that they had managed to completely separate him from society. This legion of demons had completely isolated and separated him from the culture and society around him, and perhaps even from his friends, family and loved ones. This man could not enjoy or experience any type of life among others, for when he was around others they tried binding him with chains fetters. What an incredibly horrible place to live in—that place when others seek to bind you with chains and fetters. Try and try as those around him attempted to bind him with chains and fetters, he would break asunder both and could not be tamed. Unable to be tamed by those around him, this man found his dwelling among the tombs and in the mountains. Day and night this man would be in the mountains and in the tombs crying, and cutting himself. Please pay attention to this reality, for it reveals something truly incredible regarding this man. This man could not be bound with chains and fetters, and he spent his days and nights crying and cutting himself. Alone, separated from society, chained to the past and surrounded by death, this man could do absolutely nothing but cry and cut himself. SEPARATED FROM SOCIETY, CHAINED TO THE PAST AND SURROUNDED BY DEATH! Oh, I can’t help but wonder how many men and women find themselves in this very place right now in their lives. How many men and women in this generation have been separated from society, chained to the past, and surrounded by death? How many men and women in this generation have been separated from fellowship, chained to the past, and surrounded by death? I mention being chained to the past, for the only thing that is present in a graveyard are tombs which are not only filled with dead men’s bones, but are also markers for those who once lived, dwelt and moved upon the face of the earth. Consider that upon every tombstone—at least in our modern generation—there are inscriptions which reveal the name of the deceased, and the length of life they lived (the moment of birth to the moment of death). What’s more, is that this man was chained to the past of others—not even his own past, for he was still very much alive upon the earth. How incredibly terrible and tragic it is to not only be chained to the past, but to also be chained to the past of others. Having his dwelling among the tombs, this man spent his days and nights being chained to the past of others—to the past lives which others lived.
CHAINED TO THE PAST LIFE OF ANOTHER WHILE BEING PREVENTED FROM LIVING YOUR OWN! This man was held captive among the tombs—chained to the past lives of others, while being unable to enjoy and experience life for himself. Have you ever found yourself in that place? Do you find yourself in that place presently right now at this very moment? Do you find yourself being chained to the past of others—to the lives which others have lived—while subsequently being unable to live your own life? This man was completely and totally prevented from living his own life—a life of freedom, a life of victory, a life of deliverance—for he was confined to the tombs. This man was chained to the past—to the past lives of others—and was surrounded by death. CHAINED TO THE PAST AND SURROUNDED BY DEATH! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt there are men and women who right now are living in this very place—the place where they are chained to the past and surrounded by death. The adversary has so infiltrated their lives that he has managed to chain them to the past and surround them with death. What’s more, is that this place is more often than not found in that place separate from the lives of others—separate from fellowship, separate from relationship. IF you want to know where you are the most susceptible to being chained to the past and surrounded by death, you need look no further than that place of separation from fellowship and separate from relationship. If the adversary can somehow separate and isolate you from others—especially the body of Christ—he can and will do whatever he can to cause you to be chained to the past and surrounded by death. I wonder how often this legion of demons taunted and tormented this man with his own place among the tombs which he had dwelt in. There—living among the tombs of others—this man might very well have been taunted with the lives others had lived, while being tormented with the life he would never live. OH, have you found yourself in this place within your own life? Have you found yourself in the place where you are taunted and tormented with the lives others have lived while being tormented concerning the life which you yourself might not live? Is the adversary taunting you with the lives of others, while simultaneously tormenting you with the life you will never live? Has the adversary taunted and tormented you telling you you will never experience life the way you were created and intended to live? Are you continually and constantly being bombarded with declarations and taunts of the enemy and adversary that you will never live the life the Lord promised you? Is the adversary taunting and tormenting you with the lives others have lived while at the same time making you believe you can never and will never live the life you were created to live? This legion of demons had isolated this man from society, chained him to the past of others, and surrounded him by death. Oh that we would have eyes to see and ears to see this tremendous reality as set forth in Scripture, for it describes the life many men and women are presently living right now.
Have you found yourself chained to the past—perhaps the past of others, perhaps even your own past? Have you found yourself surrounded by death? Have you found yourself separated and isolated from fellowship and relationship? Such realities are the works and manifestations of the powers of darkness at work in the earth today. Jeremiah prophesied of the remnant of Judah and Jerusalem bringing out the bones of princes, kings, prophets and priests, and presenting them before the sun, the moon and the heavenly host. These men and women chose death rather than life—chose to surround themselves with death rather than life. Oh, you have to get this; you have to see this within the very depths of your heart and soul. Remember the final days of Saul when he was confronted with an imminent threat from an enemy and adversary of Israel? Consider the twenty-eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel and Saul enquiring of the dead rather than the living. “Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land. And the Philistines gathered themselves together and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa. And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at En-dor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then latest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? For thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be no afraid: for what safest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself” (1 Samuel 28:3-14).
I can’t help but wonder how many men and women the adversary has not only surrounded by death, but has also consumed with death. I believe with everything inside me there are men and women who are so chained to the past that they are completely unable to escape it. There are men and women who right now are chained to the past—to those who once lived among them and were once a part of their lives. There are men and women who right now spend their days and times focusing on the lives of those who have passed rather than living their own life. Remember what the angels said to the woman who came to the tomb of Jesus looking for Him? “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringin the spices which they had prepared, a nd certain others with t hem. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed therabot, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: and as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again? (Luke 24:1-7). WHY SEEK YE THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD? Do not miss the significance and importance of this question, for there are a number of men and women who spend their days looking for the living among the dead. It is true that we celebrate the lives of those who have gone before us—especially if they were righteous before the Lord—yet we are not to spend our days living in and being chained to the past which others have lived. How many men and women are missing the living because they are still looking among the dead? MISSING THE LIVING BECAUSE WE ARE LOOKING AMONG THE DEAD! MISSING LIFE BECAUSE WE ARE LOOKING UPON DEATH! There is a tremendous prophetic word that is contained within this passage of Scripture—namely that we must not allow ourselves to miss out on life because we choose to live in and surrounded by death. The woman came to the tomb where the body of Jesus had been laid, yet they weren’t realizing they were looking for the living among the dead. These women came to the tomb expecting to find death, yet what they found instead of death was life, for Jesus had risen from the grave. Let us pay close attention to this passage, for we cannot, we dare not, we must not allow ourselves to miss out on life because we continue to revisit death. This man in the Gadarenes spent his days and nights among the tombs crying and cutting himself, and there are a number of men and women right now who are in the very same place within their own lives.
There is a passage in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy that I can’t help present at this very moment, for it presents us with an incredibly powerful and important choice within and in regards to our lives. “If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto. Us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passes over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them” (Deuteronomy 30:10-20). I’m also reminded of the words of the apostle John as recorded in the first chapter of his account of the life and ministry of Jesus. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and his own received him not” (John 1:1-12). I am also reminded of the word of Jesus in the third chapter of the same New Testament book—“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
THE DARKNESS COMPREHENDED IT NOT! THE WORLD KNEW HIM NOT! HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT! MEN LOVED DARKNESS RATHER THAN LIGHT! Let us read and consider these various passages within the Scriptures, for they present us with an incredibly powerful picture concerning out own lives. One of the single greatest questions we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to not only come unto the light, but also love the light. There were those who loved darkness rather than light, and we must not find ourselves in such a place. Consider what is recorded in the book of Jeremiah concerning those who brought out the bones of the kings, the princes, the prophets, the priests, and the like: “And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth. And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the Lord of hosts” (Jeremiah 8:1-3)The prophet Jeremiah goes on to reveal how the house of Judah gave themselves to a perpetual backsliding, and how they held fast deceit and refused to return. The Lord spoke to them, yet no man spoke right, and no man repented of his wickedness, saying, What have I done. Every man turned to his own course, as the horse rushes into battle. What’s more, is the Lord declares how the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming, yet His people knew not the judgment of the Lord. The hurt of the people was healed only slightly, for many proclaimed and pronounced “Peace, peace,” when there was no peace. Those within the land of Judah were not ashamed when they committed abomination, nor could they blush. This day the Lord has placed and set before us life and death, yet the question we must ask ourselves is what we will choose. Will we choose life, or will we choose death? The time for us to be chained to the past, separated from fellowship, and surrounded by death has come to a close. Oh that we would emerge from the tombs sitting with Jesus, clothed and in our right mind like this man from the Gadarenes who would eventually go and spread the good news of what Jesus had done for him to the entire Decapolis.