Shaking the Serpent Into the Fire: Captains of Salvation & the Attack of the Serpent

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament account of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ—the Church—as it was written in the book of Acts by the physician Luke. More specifically today’s passage is found in the twenty-eighth chapter of this New Testament book. “And when they were escape, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of stick, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escape the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god” (Acts 28:1-6).

 

            “IN the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary” (Acts 28:7-10).

 

            “And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux. And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days. And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we can the next day to Puteoli: where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome. And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him” (Acts 28:11-16).

 

            “And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let them go, because there was no cause for death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that cane shewed or speak any harm of thee. But we desired to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we ,now that every where it is spoken against, and when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets, from morning till evening” (Acts 28:17-23).

 

            “And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken the word, Well spake the Holy Ghost be Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people ix waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with t heir eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves” (Acts 28:24-29).

 

            “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, not man forbidding him” (Acts 28:30-31).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul together with all of the other individuals who were aboard the ship having survived the storm and tempestuous wind that rose up upon the sea making it safely to the land. In the final verses of the twenty-seventh chapter you will find Luke writing how as the ship drew closer to a certain piece of the land they ran the ship aground with the forepart sticking fast and remaining unmoveable while the hinder part was broken up. In this particular moment the soldiers thought to kill the prisoners for fear of them somehow escaping their custody. Despite this desire of the soldiers the centurion desire to save Paul and kept the soldiers from their purpose thus sparing all the prisoners alive. Pause for a moment and consider how the apostle Paul was not only captain of salvation in the midst of the storm but the apostle Paul was also captain of salvation as it pertains to the murderous intentions of the soldiers. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it is absolutely undeniable how the Lord Jesus not only raised up the Lord Jesus as the captain of salvation in the midst of the storm delivering all the souls aboard the ship into his hand but the Lord Jesus also raised up the apostle Paul as captain of salvation as it pertained to the prisoners which the soldiers would have killed for fear they would have somehow escaped when the ship ran aground. Oh how utterly captivating this truly is when you take the time to think about it for it brings us face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the appointment and raising up of the apostle Paul as captain of salvation in the midst of the storm—not only as it pertained to the storm itself but also as it pertained to the murderous intentions of the soldiers who thought to kill all the prisoners.

 

            We dare not and must not miss the appointment of the apostle Paul as the captain of the salvation of all those aboard the ship in the midst of the storm as the angel of God appeared unto Paul in the midst of the storm and not only encouraged him to not be afraid, and not only declared unto him that he must stand before Caesar but also that all those aboard the ship had been delivered into his hand. With the appointment of the apostle Paul as captain of salvation in the midst of the storm it took this lowly captive whose words and warning were ignored prior to setting out from Crete and made him captain of salvation in the lives of all those who were aboard the ship. It is truly remarkable and astonishing when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for the Lord Jesus had deliberately and intentionally appointed the apostle Paul as captain of salvation in the midst of the storm and as such delivered the souls of all those aboard the ship into his hands. Oh we cannot afford to miss this tremendous truth for it calls and draws our attention to the reality that even though the storm threatened both the ship and all the lives which were aboard the ship the Lord Jesus had purposed and determined that none should perish. Despite the fact that neither the sun nor the stars appeared for many days and despite the fact that the tempestuous wind was against the ship the Lord Jesus would not allow any of those aboard the ship to perish. In all reality it might very well be said that the Lord Jesus was unwilling that any of those aboard the ship perish and therefore delivered them into the hands of the apostle Paul.

 

            I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Peter wrote in the second epistle he wrote unto the scattered and suffering saints as he emphatically declared that the living God was not willing that any should perish. Even in the third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find Jesus speaking unto a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus and declaring unto him that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. The words and language found in the third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John as well as the words which are found in the second epistle written by the apostle Peter unto the scattered and suffering saints both paint a powerful picture of the unwillingness of the Lord that any should perish. Despite the fact there would be mockers and scoffers who would dare speak against the patience and long-suffering of the living God the apostle Peter boldly declares that it is the long-suffering of the living God that provides space for men and women to repent and therefore be saved. Oh it is something we must needs recognize and understand when considering the character and nature of the living God for what we find within the Scripture is a powerful picture of a living God who is not willing that any should perish but that all should experience eternal life. What’s more is in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel you will find the Lord of hosts emphatically declaring and proclaiming through His servant Ezekiel that the soul which sins shall die . Furthermore the living and eternal God goes on to declare that He takes no pleasure in the death of the men upon the earth but would that all men would experience salvation and live. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John, the words found in the second epistle written by the apostle Peter, as well as the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel:

 

            “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believed not is condemned already, because he hath. Not believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:16-21).

 

            “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 Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered Just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the ungodly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government, presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and they shall utterly perish in their own corruption; and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time” (2 Peter 2:4-13).

 

            “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass way with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligently that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:1-18).

 

            “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye” (Ezekiel 18:30-32).

 

            It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay attention to the words which are found in these chapters for that which is presented within them brings us face to face—not only with the long-suffering of the living God but also the unwillingness of the Lord that any should perish. When speaking unto Nicodemus the Lord Jesus declared that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish. In the second epistle written by the apostle Peter unto the scattered and suffering saints we find the apostle writing of the Lord saving righteous Noah during the days of the flood as well as saving Lot during the days of the judgment which came upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Moreover it would be in this particular epistle the apostle Peter would emphatically declare that the Lord is not willing that any should perish—a truth which is in direct alignment with the words the living God Himself spoke unto and through His servant Ezekiel. It would be Ezekiel who would prophesy according to the word of the Lord that the Lord has no pleasure in the death of him which dies and then encouraged those unto whom the prophet was speaking to turn themselves and live. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is presented within these chapters for what we find here in these chapters brings us face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the living God being unwilling that any should perish—a truth which we find on center stage in the twenty-seventh chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. That which we find in the twenty-seventh chapter of the New Testament book of Acts is an incredibly powerful picture of the living and eternal God being unwilling that any should perish—and not only being unwilling that any should perish but also delivering the souls of all those who were aboard the ship into the hands of the apostle Paul.

 

            The more I think about the words which are found in the twenty-seventh chapter of the New Testament book of Acts the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the angel of God appearing and speaking unto the apostle Paul declaring unto him how the souls of all those who were aboard the ship were delivered unto his care and into his hands. The living and eternal God was not willing that any which were aboard that ship should perish but that all should be saved and experience life. As a direct result of this—despite the fact the ship would be lost after running aground upon a certain island and despite the fact that in the midst of the storm tossed in the sea they would cast everything aboard the ship into the sea—the lives of all those who were aboard the ship would indeed be spared. Oh I find myself being absolutely and utterly captivated with the words presented in this passage of Scripture for the Lord Jesus did in fact appoint the apostle Paul and raise him up as captain of salvation in the midst of the storm that none who were aboard the ship should perish but that all should experience life. Despite the fact the sea and the storm threatened all those aboard the ship the living and eternal God had not only determined that none should perish but had also delivered all of them into the hands of the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul would be taken from being a captive and prisoner in the midst of the ship to being captain of salvation in the midst of the storm. As captain of salvation—a captain of a different caliber and breed than an earthly captain of the ship—the apostle Paul would not only encourage them according to the word the angel of God had spoken unto him but would also later on instruct them to take unto themselves meat and to eat that they might have the strength to survive the storm and make it safely to the land. Oh despite the fact the ship would be entirely and utterly destroyed there would not be a single soul aboard the ship whose life would be lost because all had been given into the hands of the apostle Paul. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the twenty-seventh chapter of this New Testament book concerning the appointment of the apostle Paul as captain of salvation and the words which he spoke unto all those aboard the ship:

 

            “But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island” (Acts 27:21-26).

 

            “Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon the rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day. And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off. And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: For this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea” (Acts 27:29-38).

 

            Oh it is absolutely incredible to read the words which are found within this portion of Scripture for within it we find the Lord Jesus raising up the apostle Paul as captain of salvation in the midst of the storm. When writing this particular portion of the treatise Luke makes it very clear that there were a total of two hundred and seventy six souls aboard the ship and the Lord Jesus had given them all into the hand of the apostle Paul. Pause for a moment and think about this and how absolutely incredible it is that there were two-hundred and seventy-five souls aboard the ship aside from the apostle Paul and the Lord Jesus had given each and every one of them into the hand of the apostle Paul. Despite the fact the words and warning which the apostle Paul had spoken while still upon Crete went entirely ignored and disregarded the Lord Jesus was not willing that any should perish but that all should live. It would be because the living God was not willing that any should perish and because the apostle Paul was destined and appointed to stand before Caesar in Rome the Lord Jesus would preserve the lives of all those who were aboard the ship and not allow any of them to perish. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and consider the tremendous truth surrounding truth of the apostle Paul and how the Lord Jesus had indeed and had in fact appointed him to be captain of salvation in the midst of the storm. As captain of salvation the Lord Jesus would deliver the souls of all those who were present upon the ship into the hands of the apostle Paul that all might be preserved and none should perish. What a tremendous truth it is to read this chapter and consider how the Lord Jesus would deliver two-hundred and seventy-five souls into the hands of the apostle Paul that none of them should perish but that all should experience life.

 

            The more I think about and consider this and how absolutely incredible it is the more I am brought face to face with the truth that there have indeed and there have in fact been scoffers and mockers who have disregarded and ignored the words and warnings of the servants of the Lord Jesus in recent days. There have been servants and voices of the living God who have been raised up to speak warning concerning the days which are ahead for this nation—and not only for this nation but for the whole world itself—and there have been countless men and women who have scoffed, mocked, rejected and ignored the words which such servants of the Lord have spoken. The tremendous danger in this is that such scoffers and mockers are not only in danger of despising the word of the Lord but also in being swept away by the coming judgment, devastation and destruction that is going to come upon the face of the whole earth. There is and there cannot be a doubt in any of our minds that we are living in the Last Days and as such dark and dangerous and turbulent days lie ahead for us. There is absolutely none among us who cannot declare that we have already entered into certain dark and dangerous days within this nation and even within the world and yet even with that being said we must needs recognize and understand the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and His being unwilling that any should perish. Even though there are scoffers and mockers who would disregard the words and warning—not only spoken by the servants of the Lord but also in the Scripture itself—the Lord is not willing that any should perish. Even during the days of Jeremiah when the prophet warned of impending judgment, destruction and devastation the prophetic word was repentance that men might turn themselves unto the living God and live. The living God would cause the book of the Law to be found in the Temple and read in the hearing of all the people, the living God would raise up Josiah to implement holiness and cleansing in the midst of the land, and the living God would raise up Jeremiah as a prophetic voice calling the nation back to Himself and unto repentance.

 

            As I sit here thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the fact that the Lord Jesus was not willing that any should perish in the midst of the storm. It was indeed true the apostle Paul must needs stand before Caesar and yet even with that being said the Lord Jesus didn’t merely spare the life of the apostle Paul. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that the Lord Jesus could have spared the life of the apostle Paul alone knowing the purpose and intention of the apostle to stand before Caesar. The Lord Jesus would have chosen to spare the apostle Paul and keep him as the only man alive which was upon the ship and allowing all others to perish in the midst of the sea and in the midst of the storm. The truth of the matter, however, is that if the Lord spared the apostle Paul the Lord would also spare all two-hundred and seventy-five souls which were present upon the ship. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and consider how the Lord Jesus would indeed deliver the souls of all two-hundred and seventy-five who were aboard the ship into the hands of the apostle Paul for He was unwilling that any of them should perish. Prison, centurion, soldier, captain of the ship and the like—the Lord Jesus was entirely and altogether unwilling that any should perish but that all should find and experience life. It would be this tremendous truth that would cause the apostle Paul to be raised up as a captain of salvation in the midst of the storm that none who were aboard the ship should perish.

 

            Upon further reading of this chapter you will find the apostle Paul was not only captain of salvation as it pertained to the storm but the apostle Paul was also captain of salvation as it pertained to the intention of the soldiers to put to death all the prisoners. Luke writes how the soldiers thought to put to death all the prisoners fearing they would escape after the ship ran aground and perhaps their own lives would be given in exchange for the prisoners. The centurion, however, was unwilling that the apostle Paul be put to death  and not only kept the soldiers from putting the apostle Paul to death but also kept them from putting to death the prisoners which were aboard the ship. Pause for a moment and consider the tremendous truth that the apostle Paul was appointed as captain of salvation—not only in delivering the souls of all those who were aboard the ship from the storm which raged all around them but also delivering the prisoners from the murderous intention of the soldiers. The Lord Jesus would not allow the storm and the sea to take the lives of any who were aboard the ship and the Lord Jesus would not allow the soldiers to take the lives of any of those who were present aboard the ship fearing they would somehow escape upon the land and out of their custody. Oh how absolutely remarkable and powerful it is to read the words found in this passage of Scripture for the words we find here bring us face to face with the awesome and incredible truth of the apostle Paul being raised up in the midst of the sea and in the midst of the storm as captain of salvation that none which were aboard and upon the ship should perish. The apostle Paul would be taken from being captive aboard and upon the ship to being captain of salvation as the souls of all those who were on the ship should retain and hold on to their lives. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the apostle being raised up and appointed as captain of salvation in the midst of the sea and in the midst of the storm.


            With all of this being said concerning the apostle Paul being raised up as captain of salvation in the midst of the sea and in the midst of the storm we must needs recognize and understand this same truth applies to our generation. I have previously written how I believe the Lord Jesus has raised up, is raising up and will continue raising up captains of salvation in the coming days. I firmly believe the Lord Jesus can and will raise up men and women in the midst of the coming days—those into whose hands the souls of others might be given that they not perish. Despite the fact that dark and dangerous days lie ahead of us in the coming days I am absolutely convinced the Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to eternal life. Even during the days of Jeremiah the Lord was not willing that any should perish and not only raised up the voice of Moses among the people of Jerusalem and Judah but the Lord also raised up the voice of Jeremiah. Pause for a moment and consider how despite the fact that days of judgment, devastation and destruction were decreed for those who were present in the midst of Judah and Jerusalem the living God would raise up the voice of the Law and the voice of the prophets to call men and women unto repentance. As if this weren’t enough we also find the Lord raising up Josiah the king of the southern kingdom of Judah as a powerful witness in the midst of the land who would not only bring holiness to the land but would also bring cleansing in the midst of it. Josiah would go throughout all the land and would utterly and completely destroy all manner of idolatry and anything that brought displeasure to the living God and would anger and offend Him. After hearing the words which were written in the book of the Law and after hearing the voice of Moses in his hearing Josiah would be moved with fear and would entirely and altogether go throughout the land removing anything and everything that would anger and offend the living God.

 

            There is something which we must needs recognize and consider when reading the narrative of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah for although days of judgment, devastation and destruction lie ahead for the city of Jerusalem and the land of Judah the Lord was not willing that any should perish. It would be because the Lord was not willing that any should perish that the Lord would not only raise up the voice of Moses and the Law in the land but the Lord would also raise up the voice of the prophet Jeremiah. During the days of Josiah king of Judah the people of Judah and Jerusalem would not only have the Law of Moses present among them but they would also have the voice of Jeremiah as well. It would be during the days of Josiah king of Judah that both the Law and the prophet(s) would be present in the midst of the land thus calling men and women unto repentance. This is something we must needs recognize and pay close attention to for the days of Jesus would be days marked with even more significance for not only did those in that generation have the Law and the prophets which they claimed and clung to but they would also have the voice and presence of the only begotten Son of God and the Word which was made flesh. The days in which Jesus walked upon the earth as the Word made flesh and dwelling among men would not only be days marked with the voice of Moses through the Law, and not only marked with the voices and words of the prophets, but they would also be marked by the words and voice of the Lord Jesus. Oh pause for a moment and consider the tremendous truth surrounding this particular portion of Scripture and how what we find here brings us face to face with a generation who not only had the Law, and not only had the prophets, but also had the voice and presence of the living God.

 

            We would like to think we can somehow point our fingers at the generation that was present during the days of Josiah king of Judah and their rejection of the word of the Lord which was found in the book of the Law and even through the prophetic word of Jeremiah. It would be very easy to point the finger and accuse and condemn that generation which was present during the days of Josiah king of Judah—and not only during the days of Josiah king of Judah but also during the days of his sons leading up to the captivity of the southern kingdom of Judah. What’s more is we would like to even point the finger at those which were present during the days of Jesus for not only despising the voice of Moses as being found in the Law, and not only despising the voice of the prophets which had spoken in generations past but also despising the words and voice of the Lord Jesus. There would be those among us who would think that we can indeed and can in fact point the finger at each of these generations and yet the truth of the matter is that we who are alive in this generation might very well be held accountable to an even greater degree and measure. Those who were present during the days of Josiah king of Judah had the Law of Moses and the voice of Jeremiah warning them and calling them to repentance. Those who were present during the days of Jesus not only had the Law and the prophets but also had the voice and words of Jesus Himself. What we must needs understand concerning our generation is that not only do we have the Law of Moses, and not only do we have the words of the prophets, but we also have the voice of Jesus and the teachings of the apostles. Moreover we have all of this written and presented to us in the Word of God which is available in countless translations and is readily available in bookstores and stores alike throughout this nation. If those who were present during the days of Josiah were without excuse and if those who were present during the days of Jesus were without excuse then how much more are we in this generation without excuse? Oh I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in the second half of the first chapter of the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Roman saints concerning this very truth:

 

            “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God,  neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burn in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over toe reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, without. Natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:18-32).

 

            What we find in the first chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome are absolutely necessary for us to recognize and understand—particularly and especially when we consider how the second chapter begins and opens. As you begin reading the words which are found in the second chapter of this New Testament epistle you will find the following words which were written by the apostle Paul: “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judged: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things; but we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God” (Romans 2:1-3). Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced we must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in the first and second chapters of the epistle which was written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome for within this epistle we are brought face to face with the fact that those who were present during the days of the apostle Paul were without excuse for the invisible things of God were evident and manifest in creation. With this being said we must also recognize and understand that they were without excuse for they not only had the Law and the prophets but they also had the words, the witness and the testimony of the Lord Jesus. Those who were present during the days of the apostle Paul were entirely and altogether without excuse for the voice of the Law and the prophets as well as the words and witness of the Lord Jesus were present among them thus leaving them unable to say they had no knowledge and they weren’t warned. Those who were alive in the generation of the apostle Paul and the other apostles were indeed without excuse and had warning presented unto them through the Law, the prophets and even the words and witness of the Lord Jesus.

 

            Building upon this particular truth it is absolutely necessary we come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that we who are present within this generation are indeed without excuse. Not only do we have the Law and not only do we have the prophets but we also have the words and witness of the Lord Jesus and the writings of the apostles and early church leaders such as James and Jude. What’s more is we have all of this contained within the divine word of God which is readily available to us at any point in time. Even more than this I think of someone like myself who not only has digital and electronic versions and copies of the Scripture but also has multiple copies and translations of the Scripture. If I am being honest with you who are reading these words I would have to say that I have probably two dozen or more various copies and translations of the Scripture within my apartment. Not only this but I grew up in the church and in a pastor’s home and even attended and graduated from Bible college. I look at someone like myself and must admit that I am without excuse—not only because of my upbringing and education but also because of what is contained within the Scripture as the Law, the words of the prophets, the words of Jesus, and the words of the apostles. I cannot say that I am without excuse and that I am without warning or caution for I have absolutely everything that would be needed to be warned and to be instructed in matters of righteousness in this generation.

 

            With all of this being said I find it absolutely necessary to transition back to the narrative of the apostle Paul and all two-hundred and seventy-six souls who were aboard that ship in the midst of the sea. The apostle Paul was ordained and appointed as captain of salvation in the midst of the storm and the souls of all two-hundred and seventy-five who were present upon the ship outside of the apostle Paul were given into his hands. The apostle Paul was ordained and appointed as captain of salvation in the midst of the storm for the living and eternal God was not willing that any should perish but that all should come to eternal life. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to read the words found in this particular portion of Scripture for although the words and warning of the apostle Paul went ignored, despised and rejected the souls of all those who were present upon the ship were entirely and altogether given into the hands of the apostle Paul. The Lord would not allow any who were aboard the ship perish on account of the apostle Paul and not a hair on their heads would perish. Although the ship itself would be destroyed and although everything that was carried upon the ship would be lost to the sea there would not be a single soul which was present upon the ship that would perish in the midst of the sea and storm. The apostle Paul was raised up as captain of salvation in the midst of the storm and sea that none which were aboard the ship would perish and lose their life. The apostle Paul was ordained and appointed as captain of salvation in the midst of the storm and would not only encourage all those who were present upon the ship in the midst of the storm but would also advise them to eat and take meat unto themselves for their health and strength to survive the storm and to make it safely unto the storm.

 

            I have previously written and believe that dark, dangerous and tempestuous days lie ahead for us in the coming days. I am absolutely convinced that there are dark and dangerous days which lie ahead for us in this nation and even within the world itself. We must needs be aware of the tremendous fact that dark and dangerous days are ahead of us within this nation and that in spite of the days which are ahead and despite the storms which can and will rise up in the midst of the nation and upon the earth the Lord is not willing that any should perish. What’s more is that we must needs understand that the Lord is not willing that the wicked should perish and that the Lord does not take any delight in the death and perishing of the wicked. It would be very easy to think the Lord delights and takes pleasure in the death of the wicked and somehow desires to spare the righteous alone and yet to think such a thing would be to ignore and reject that which is found in the prophetic book of Jeremiah for during the days of Josiah the Lord sought to warn that generation—both the righteous and the wicked—not only through the Law of Moses but also through the voice(s) of the prophet. The underlying message which was spoken during those days was indeed that of repentance and calling men and women back unto the living God. Despite the fact that in previous generations men and women had departed from the truth of the living God and had gone every one unto their own ways the living God was calling them unto repentance. Despite the fact there were countless men and women who were living for and unto themselves we must needs recognize and understand that the living and eternal God earnestly desired that men and women be brought to a place of repentance before Him in His sight that none should perish—neither the wicked nor the righteous which were present in the midst of the land.

 

            The more I read and consider the words which are found in the twenty-seventh chapter of this New Testament book of Acts the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the apostle Paul being ordained and appointed as the captain of salvation for all those who were aboard the ship caught in the midst of the storm. Despite the fact that the ship and all those aboard it were subjected to the storm because of feeling to heed the words and warnings of the apostle Paul the Lord still ordained and appointed a captain of salvation unto all those who were present upon the ship. Despite the fact there were perhaps scoffers and mockers who did not believe the words which the apostle Paul had spoken unto them concerning the voyage being with hurt and much damage to the lading the ship and even to their lives the Lord Jesus would not allow any to perish in the midst of the storm. Despite the fact that all who were aboard the ship were caught in the midst of the storm and their lives were entirely and altogether threatened by the storm the Lord Jesus would appoint among them a captain of salvation in whose hands their souls could be given. It would be the presence of the apostle Paul aboard the ship that would secure the lives of all those aboard in the midst of the storm and it would be the presence of the apostle Paul that would keep the soldiers from putting to death the prisoners which were aboard the ship. It is truly something remarkable and wonderful to read the words found in this passage of Scripture for it brings us face to face with the tremendous truth that not only was the Lord Jesus unwilling that any should perish in the midst of the storm but was unwilling that any should be put to death. It would be the apostle Paul who would be the captain of salvation in the midst of the storm upon the sea that would secure the lives of all those who were present upon the ship.

 

            With all of this being said I find it absolutely imperative that we recognize the appointment of captains of salvation in the days in which we are living as well as the days which lie ahead for us. I am absolutely and completely convinced that the Lord Jesus has raised us, is preparing to raise up and will raise up captains of salvation during the days in which we are living that the souls of men might be given into their charge and care. This is not to say that the souls of all men will be spared for there will indeed be scoffers and mockers who will reject and despise the word of the Lord. What I am speaking of and referring to is captains of salvation whom the Lord Jesus has strategically planted and placed in various industries, companies, business, churches, neighborhoods, communities, cities, towns, and even in governments themselves that the souls of men might be delivered into their hands. There are men and women whom the Lord Jesus has appointed and ordained to be captains of salvation that the souls of those entrusted into their care might not perish in the midst of the storms that can and will rise in the midst of the nation and land. We must needs recognize and acknowledge this particular truth for even in this generation and during the days in which we are living the Lord Jesus is not willing that any should perish. It is neither the will nor the desire that any should perish—regardless of whether or not we are speaking of the righteous or the wicked. It is the divine will of the Father that all should believe and that all those who believe on His only begotten Son should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

            We know from Scripture the Lord Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith and how Jesus is the ultimate captain of salvation, however, we must needs recognize and understand that even with this being said the Lord Jesus has appointed and raised up other captains of salvation in the midst of our generation into whose hands He can entrust the souls of men. There is absolutely no denying the tremendous truth that the Lord Jesus has indeed and has in fact ordained and appointed captains of salvation in the midst of the days which are ahead and that at the appointed time such individuals will be revealed and raised up. I am convinced that there are men and women whom the living and eternal God has ordained and appointed as captains of salvation into whose hands He can commit the souls of men that those who are entrusted into their hands and care might not perish but receive and experience life. It is absolutely astonishing when reading the words found in the twenty-seventh chapter of the book of Acts how the apostle Paul was appointed as a captain of salvation unto all two-hundred and seventy-five souls aboard the ship and that none of them would perish—this despite the tempestuous wind and storm which raged before and all around them. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it is for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth of these captains of salvation and how the Lord Jesus can and will ordain and appoint such individuals to be captains of salvation into whose hands the souls of others might be delivered. We must needs recognize and understand that the living and eternal God is not willing that any should perish and that He can and will raise up captains of salvation who much like Noah will be responsible for the salvation of those who have been entrusted into their care. You will recall that it was Noah who was appointed a captain of salvation during the days of the flood and that seven other souls were appointed into his charge and care that the Lord might preserve a remnant upon the earth to replenish it. Moreover it would be during the days of Noah that not only were seven other souls entrusted into the care of Noah but so also were two of every living thing that moved upon the earth both male and female.

 

            If you read and study the Scripture you will find the appointment and raising up of captains of salvation—those into whose hands the living God entrusted the souls of others that they might not perish. You will recall that Lot was in and of himself a captain of salvation to a certain degree as he, his wife and their two daughters were delivered from Sodom and Gomorrah before the judgment, devastation and destruction of the living God was poured out upon the cities of the plain. Moreover you will recall how Joseph himself—that one who was betrayed, sold into slavery, falsely accused and even imprisoned—was sent ahead of the house of Jacob that he might be a captain of salvation unto them. Despite everything Joseph endured and experienced from the betrayal of his brothers, to his being sold into slavery, to being falsely accused, to being imprisoned, and to even be forgotten the living God would send him ahead of his brethren, his father and their families that he might be a captain of salvation for them during a time of famine. It would be a famine that would strike the heart of the earth—the third famine recorded in the Old Testament book of Genesis—that would cause Joseph to be appointed as a captain of salvation unto the Egyptians but also unto his own father, brethren and their households that they might be preserved in the midst of the famine. Joseph would be ordained and appointed as captain of salvation unto the house of Jacob that they might preserved in the midst of famine in the land of Egypt just as Moses would be ordained and appointed to be a captain of salvation unto the house of Israel—not only in the midst of the land of Egypt during the plagues and judgments of the living God but also in their deliverance from the slavery, bondage and oppression of the land of Egypt.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the serpent’s intention and desire to strike down these captains of salvation. We know that from the time of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden of Eden the living God declared that He would place enmity between the serpent and the seed of the woman. We know that the serpent would indeed bruise the heel of the seed of the woman and that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. If you read the words which are found in Scripture you will find the serpent continuing to raise and lift himself up against the seed of the woman and against the remnant of the people of God. What we find in the twenty-eighth chapter of the book of Acts is a serpent and viper emerging from the heat and fastening itself upon the hand of the apostle Paul. When those who witnessed and observed this sight saw the serpent hanging from the hand of the apostle Paul they assumed the apostle Paul had been spared from the sea only to be consumed and destroyed by the serpent as a mean of judgment for some wickedness he had committed. What we find in this passage of Scripture, however, is the apostle Paul shaking the serpent and viper off his hand into the fire and suffering no effects of the serpent having latched on to his hand. When those who witnessed it expected him to suffer harm and to potentially even fall over dead the apostle Paul would remain in good health and show absolutely no signs of the serpent’s attack on him there in the midst of the camp. Oh it is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand this particular truth for when we truly do we recognize and begin to see the intention of the serpent to assault, assail and attack these captains of salvation. That which is found in this passage of Scripture—the twenty-eighth chapter of the book of Acts—brings us face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the attempt of the serpent to destroy the apostle Paul after the Lord had successfully saved all two-hundred and seventy-six souls which were aboard the ship.

 

            The more I read the words found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the desire and intention of the serpent to assault and attack those captains of salvation whom the living God has indeed raised up. The serpent attempted to assault and attack the ultimate captain of salvation—the Lord Jesus—and Jesus was even crucified and put to death, however, he would be raised from death to life on the third day and would ascend unto the right hand of the Father. There must be absolutely no mistake about this particular truth for the serpent can and will seek to assault and attack those who have been raised up and ordained as captains of salvation in the midst of the earth. The serpent can and will attempt to strike against the captains of salvation in the midst of the earth that he might destroy them and yet what we find here in this particular passage is the apostle Paul shaking the serpent off into the fire being completely unaffected by the serpent. It is absolutely necessary we recognize and pay close attention to this for not only must we recognize the intention and desire of the serpent to assault and attack us but we must also recognize the authority we have been given to shake the serpent off into the fire. What’s more is that the serpent has always been and will in the future—not only be shaken off and cast down but even shaken off into the fire. There is coming a day when the serpent—despite the fact that he is a seven headed dragon—will first be bound and cast into the bottomless pit where he would remain for one thousand years before being loosed for a short time before ultimately being cast alive into the lake of fire with the beast and the false prophet. Oh that we would recognize and understand how not only are we given authority to shake the serpent off into the fire but the serpent who is also known as the dragon will suffer his ultimate fate by being cast into the physical lake of fire as the final judgment against himself, against the beast and the false prophet, against all the fallen angels, and against all the souls of men which lived in rebellion to and against the living God.

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