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William Andrew Dillard

Mary, the sister of Lazarus also had a sister named Martha. Mary was a common name in Biblical times. Consequently, that name appears often. What most people remember about Mary the sister of Lazarus is that she chose to sit at Jesus feet and learn of heavenly things rather than concern herself with food preparation. That choice brought rebuke from Martha, but praise from Jesus.
A more notable deed that Mary did is also recorded in the gospels. Near to the time of Jesus’ betrayal and subsequent crucifixion, He visited the home of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary as He had done several times before. On this occasion, Mary brought out a box of very expensive ointment and anointed the body of Jesus. Again, there was criticism. Some of the apostles wondered why the waste when the ointment could have brought a handsome price in the market place and the money given to the poor. But again, Jesus upheld her actions, knowing her true motive. She had anointed Jesus body for burial, something no one else had done or even thought about.
Because Mary put Jesus above earthly things and chose to learn of Him, she was given spiritual insight, and she comprehended things others had not. Therefore she was enabled to provide special service and honor to Jesus and that was so right!
Mary’s opportunity was not singularly hers. Others were there. Others had followed Jesus. Others had heard Him speak of being crucified. But it was Mary who understood and did what she could.
It is much the same way today. Everyone has access to a Bible. Everyone can be saved. Everyone can gain much spiritual insight into the things of God if they dedicate themselves to gaining it.
Moreover, one can be sure that even the best of deeds done from a pure heart will suffer criticism. Sometimes that comes from those who consider themselves to be close followers of Jesus. However, it is what God approves that is important.
Mary and her deeds were incorporated into the Word of God, and every generation since has knowledge of her. She was a shinning example, and while she enjoys heavenly rest, those wonderful deeds still multiply and follow her to God’s glory and her eternal reward.
One day the same will be true of all of God’s people who put Jesus first in their life. This will make the Judgment Seat of Christ a most rich and rewarding event for all such disciples, and that is so right!

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(In The Wrong Direction)

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

From the days of the Great Depression in the 1930s to the late 1940s following WWII, life changed very little in the tiny village of my birth. Most folks did well to eek out a living from truck patch gardening, and harvesting the products of milk cows, hogs, and chickens. Many worked in local strip coal mining that abounded in Sebastian County, Arkansas. However, the Bible was largely held in high esteem, and a fearful looking for of Antichrist was widespread. One major problem with that was they were looking for Antichrist in all the wrong directions.
The war caused rationing of goods and services needed for its support. Then, it was not uncommon to experience rationing stamps of sugar, gasoline, and auto parts to being named the “Mark of the Beast” produced by Antichrist. The next cry was over social security numbers.
Also, in those days, and especially in that place, there was no comprehension of Biblical heresy beyond the sawdust and tent meetings of holiness type folks with their so called speaking in tongues. The inroads of universalism, and ecumenism were unknown. So, was the vast importance of the Lord’s New Testament Church, and the role it must play in the heat of the last days. With cornfield plowing, circuit-riding preachers every first or fourth Sunday, and focus largely restricted to getting folks saved, the religious comfort zone of the times was largely undisturbed. Of course, this is the recall of a child growing up during those days.
The term “Antichrist” is found several times in the epistles of John. He emphasized that “. . . even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” I John 2:18.
To John in his day, it was the denial that Jesus was the Christ, and that He had come. That and kindred denials has grown exponentially. It is enlightening to consider that “Christ” is a Greek work transliterated rather than translated into English. It means “Anointed.” In the New Testament, two entities have been anointed: the Head of the body, and the body of the Head. That is: Jesus, the head of His body, the church, was anointed by the Holy Spirit at His baptism. It was appropriate then that His body which He put together in His earthly ministry should also be anointed if it is to carry on and represent Him throughout the age. That anointing of the body occurred at Pentecost, Act 2.
Therefore, counterfeit churches that oppose the teachings of the faith once delivered to the saints are in fact antichrist meaning those that are against the teachings and work of the anointed body. Folks of a generation ago were right to look for the work of Antichrist, but most of them were looking in the wrong direction. If the apostle John were to return to the 21st Century, I wonder how he would describe the myriad of anti-anointed or antichrists, presently. They abound as prophesied!

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