Reject Magic Arts
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86. Reject Magic Arts
Revelation 22.15-16

"Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, everyone who loves and practices falsehood. I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and David's Offspring and the Bright Morning Star." (Revelation 22.15)✞

Who are the dogs in Revelation?

A new phrase here is "the dogs" who practice magic arts. "Dogs" can have two meanings. Palestine's wild dogs are not obedient pets but the symbol of everything savage and unclean. They are greatly feared by people, especially when in packs. The English Biblical scholar H. B. Swete (1835-1917) writes from his own experience, "No one who has watched the dogs prowling in an eastern city will wonder at the contempt and disgust which the word suggests to the oriental mind." That is why the Jews in Jesus' day called the Gentiles "dogs." John of Patmos highlights "those who practice magic arts, sexually immoral, idolaters, everyone who loves and practices falsehood" and paints them all as "dogs."✞

What were temple dogs?

ChasedA rabbinic saying warns, "Whoever eats with an idolater is the same as he who would eat with a dog. Who is a dog? He is not circumcised." "The dogs" maybe not only shameless and unbelieving but also Christians who, after their baptism, abandon their faith. Eastern scavenging dogs are symbolic of all that is disgusting. Temple dogs are how Revelation describes immoral persons practicing magic arts, sexual immorality, and other evils in the Temple. A strange phrase in Deuteronomy 23.18 says, "You shall not bring a harlot's hire or a dog's wages into the Lord your God's house in payment for any vow." The first part is clear enough. It is forbidden to offer God money earned by prostitution. But the " temple dog's wages" is more complicated, for the term "dog" applies to ceremonially impure persons.

What happens when we break Biblical moral standards?

In this category are "those who practice magic arts," meaning spiritualism and the occult. The description "sexually immoral" means not conforming to Biblical morality standards, and "murderers" take another person's life. Biblical morality standards are broken routinely by many in our society, including leaders, parliament members, senators, officials, the wealthy, and prominent persons going right up to the US President and the Canadian Prime Minister. Truth to them often means the lies you need to tell to get what you want! Social media, television, and advertising engage in half-truths and false news. "Idolaters" worship wooden and metal idols and "everyone who loves and practices falsehood." Others readily spread these lies. In pagan temples, there were female and male or gay prostitutes, and these were commonly called "temple dogs." The Bible typically calls these male or female persons "homosexual," though this word is frowned on as being politically incorrect. Revelation Temple dogs may denote thoroughly immoral persons, which may be its meaning, but it may also refer specifically to male and female prostitutes, gays, and lesbians. "Everyone who loves and practices falsehood" is also shut out. Psalm 101.7 echoes this idea, "No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence."

What is Jesse's Root?

Jesus calls himself the "Root and David's Offspring" and the "Bright Morning Star" in Revelation 22. These are two of Jesus' specific titles. The Greek word for "root" is "rhiza" and is the same word used by John the Baptist in Matthew 3.10, "And even now the ax is laid to the tree's root. (rhiza)" Jesus also uses this word in the "Parable of the Sower" in Mark 4.6, "But when the sun rose, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. ("rhiza") Isaiah 11.1 also says, "A shoot will rise from Jesse's stump; from his root "rhiza," a branch will bear fruit." This latter example refers to Jesus who will "bear much fruit."

What are genealogies?

Jesus is also called "David's offspring." The Greek word translated as "offspring" or as "generation," referring to a family's descendants in our English language Bibles is "genos." Matthew and Luke's Gospels both have genealogies, showing ancestors from past generations up to Jesus. Matthew's line runs from Abraham to Jesus. Luke begins with Jesus and goes back to Adam. Luke 3.23 tells us, "Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli," and finishes in verse 38 "the son of Adam, the son of God."

Does Revelation apply to all?

In Revelation 22.16, we read, "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches." Jesus guarantees the truth of all that John sees and hears and especially to all committed Christians in the churches. The first person plural "you" indicates "many, many people." In Liverpool, where I come from, ordinary people would say the plural of "you" as "yous." The testimony's point is that the book begins by promising a revelation or an unveiling for all. Jesus goes on to offer, as it were, his credentials. In himself, Jesus is this prophecy's fulfillment, and the shoot is growing from Jesse's stump. He is one with God and simultaneously the eternal source of being from which Jesse, David, and his promised descendants come.

How is Jesus the world's light?

Jesus dispels the night of sin, and death flies away. Jesus said in John 8.12b, "I am the world's light. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have life's light." When the risen Christ claims to be the "bright morning star," he means the world's light and the vanquisher of all the world's darkness.

"Reject Magic Arts"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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