The Idol of “Me, Myself and I”… (Ezekiel 14:1-11)

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I have recently been working through the Book of Ezekiel in my personal seeking of the Lord in scripture. Although there is much in his prophecy which begs for further understanding, I have always been drawn to God’s disposition in dealing with Israel, through this man.

Ezekiel is a book filled with fantastic visions of the throne of God (Ezekiel 1), the rebirth of Israel in the vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37), and the end times war of Gog of Magog (Ezekiel 38-39).

Perhaps the most meaningful revelation to me, in the midst of all the outlandish things the prophet is called to do, is what the LORD admonishes Ezekiel with not once but twice, in this book (Ezekiel 3:16-21, Ezekiel 33:7-11).

Ezekiel 33:7-9 7So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. 

It is for this reason, that I am writing today about Ezekiel 14:1-11 and the “Idol of Me, Myself and I”. We Christians must heed the warning in God’s dealing with Israel, or potentially suffer a similar falling away. 


Ezekiel 14:1-31 Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me. 2 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 3 “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?

It is important to note that these men are not the full compliment of the elders of the nation of Israel. Even though these elders were no pagan in their practice, the LORD reveals they had set up idols in their own heart, causing them to profess trust in God, but walk in unbelief.

This is important for earlier in Ezekiel, the LORD carries the prophet in the Spirit, to the temple in Jerusalem, where he witnesses the priests and elders of Israel, doing abominable worship rituals to a multiplicity of false gods (Ezekiel 8). Those who were responsible for the religious and civil life of the nation, were almost completely corrupted in idol worship of pagan deities.

The result is that the glory of the LORD would depart the temple, God’s city and the nation itself. Imagine how disheartening the revelation in Ezekiel 14, concerning these elders must have been.

The elders in Ezekiel 14 were not involved in the abominable rituals of Chapter 8, but still had a problem. What were these idols?

We can identify them, by understanding what idols are used for. Remember that idols represent a false god, machinated by the fallen angelic watchers. These created beings that left their first estate, used their God given authority to fool the people and become false gods the people could serve, instead of the God they knew but were no longer thankful for.

The idols of Ezekiel 8 provided shortcuts to gaining what God promised, only with the added bondages of pagan ritualism of varying abomination. In that understanding, we can look at the god mammon, so called in Israel (same Chinese god called Fortune or Hotei).

Our Lord Jesus declares in Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters. One cannot serve God, while performing worship rituals to mammon. In Matthew 6 our Lord explains the reason people would confess following YHWH, while serving mammon is anxiety over needed provision… what we will eat, drink, and cloth ourselves with.

We Christians must be concerned about this anxiety ourselves. We may not go to China and throw a penny in the water at a shrine of the god Fortune, believing we will gain necessary provision, but the want of more and faster, may still be and idol pulling us away from our Provider.

Although God will supply our needs through the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19), His supplying our needs does not satisfy our want, of more than our daily bread. Therefore, an idol can be anything which we run to for the purpose of gaining the upper hand on anxiety or fear, when we need provision or protection, or feel the need for more.

Idols are tied to more, faster and that which makes “Me, Myself and I” feel in control and safe. That is why, idols are not always wood, hay, stubble or stone. The  elders of Ezekiel 14 were in a deception, believing themself followers of YHWH, while being in bondage to iniquity. Perhaps their idol was self-righteous religion.

God, also declared everyday, ordinary, average guys, had the same idols.

Ezekiel 14:4-5 4 “Therefore speak to them, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols, 5 that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols.”‘

Before we move into the product of a person with idols in their heart, let us consider that the definition of an idol, in a society like America, may literally be a religious relic of some sort, or even a statue of a false deity.

The Golden Smiling Buddha or Hotei is the Chinese God of Happiness, Wealth  and Good Luck Stock Image - Image of figure, asian: 245577625

Although this example may seem innocuous to some, consider one of the Chinese god’s Hotei, or the god of good luck and fortune. In China he is placed around bodies of water, where devotee’s looking for the luck of wealth, drop money into the water. Hotei in return for the payment is to pass along the material blessing.

Only ten miles from my house is a Chinese restaurant where a fountain serves as a whishing well for Hotei, represented by a three foot high idol, like the one to the right (he is also the first piggy bank).

I realize that means little to the ignorant American parent’s and children who toss money into the water, but to the Chinese owners, who have placed the idol there, it is in an effort to gain the false deity’s patronage and blessing.

Outdoor Garden Statues of Mary | Catholic Faith Store

It is for the same reason, Roman Catholics display a grotesque crucifix with a dead Christ on it, on their bedroom wall, or an idol of Mary in their yard, in an effort to gain the false deity’s patronage and blessing. 

Yes there are actual idols of false God’s being worshipped in America, as well as things like job and career, sports and entertainment, people, politicians and programs, that are also idols, as well.

What ties them all together is the place in us, which the enemy tempts and tricks, for the purpose of looking to and idol, rather than trusting the Living God… “Me, Myself and I”.

In considering “Me, Myself and I” in relation to idols, we look no further than to the “I” which is the first letter in the word “iniquity”.

“Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity,…”

Once again let us remember that iniquity, which means “depravity and perverseness” in the Hebrews of the Old Testament, refers to the depravity and perverseness in all humanity. How did we get this “iniquity”?

Iniquity has been passed on from Adam, through all fathers, to all of their offspring. It is the spiritual genetic trait all mankind is affected with (Romans 5:12-21). This inward crookedness, a bent towards “Me, Myself and I”, is what leads us until we are awakened by grace to consider sin, righteousness and judgment, as we hear the Gospel.

The only person, not having this iniquity, is Christ, as He was born in THE miraculous conception, without a human father (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-24; Luke 1:26-38).

In Ezekiel 14 the LORD declares that the person with idols in his heart, or “go too” strongholds rather than seeking God, will stumble in iniquity. That is because iniquity is the inward and crooked bent towards “Me, Myself and I”. In this understanding let us consider the one idol we see every day, when we look in the mirror.

This is not a stretch, when we consider, that although our old man of sin (with transgression, iniquity and missing the mark) was crucified with Christ and is perishing, that old rascal dies very harder than Bruce Willis (Romans 6:4-8). It is for this reason we are commanded to actively put our old sinful tendencies to death and refuse to follow them. 

Colossians 3:5-10 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him

If we do not, then the LORD Himself will bring affliction, so we are forced to choose His will or continue to be a half-hearted, carnal professing Christian.

I the LORD will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols, 5 that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart

The Elders of Ezekiel 14 as well as the majority of the nation’s population, were riding the fence of God’s will and pursuing their own desires. I should not have to say, but we have the same proclivity hanging on to us (Romans 7). We are called in Christ to put to death our will, for the sake of pursuing the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

In many Christians communities we have turned God’s will, into affirming us personally and providing for what we think is right in our own sight. This is what the leaders and people of Israel were doing. We should not need a history lesson to understand the many times God brought affliction, to get their heart back to Himself. He will do the same in our life, to seize back our heart.

James 4:1-5 1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

In considering the truth that the LORD demands our devotion, for that is what the word “jealously” means, we understand it falls in line with God’s love, through chastening us. This is important, for not only does Hebrews 12:5-17 discuss this truth at length, but David gives us the blessedness of God’s chastening.

Psalms 119:67-68 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. 68 You are good, and do good; teach me Your statutes.

Psalms 119:71 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.

In closing, it is important to ask “How does one know they have the potential to set an idol in front of themselves?” 

In the first place, we all have the potential. Secondly we must remember that the appeal of an idol to one person, may not have the same appeal to another. Although we all have the iniquitous “Me, Myself and I”, our differing anxieties, fears and inordinate desires, will set us to search for idols to meet those differences.

Simply put, the best way to combat this problem, is to seek the LORD asking Him to reveal what are the areas of life your are most prone to be anxious, fearful, and pulled into excess by temptation. Once discovered, seek the LORD for understanding in patterns in your life, which lead you away from seeking the LORD to meet your anxieties, fears, and temptations to excess.

Finally, commit to daily seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness, daily. Much of our falling to “Me, Myself and I” begins, when we desire to be secure in tomorrow or next week. Remember we are given grace for provision, protection and presence, for today not tomorrow.

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Five Basic Effects Produced by Revival #2

Your First Love (Dec 10) | pastor jeff's neighborhood

During our last discussion concerning the nature of biblical revival, we discussed two of the first five effects produced by a God-instituted revival. These first two effects are as follows…

  2. AWAKENED AND REPENANT SAINTS FORSAKE THEIR SIN (Luke 9:23-26; Acts 26:17-18, 20; I Thessalonians 4:3-5, 5:23; I Peter 1:13-16).

Let’s continue with…


It should not be a shock to anyone, that those who need revival have at some point left Christ, as their First Love.

Revelation 2:4-5 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

Drifting from our First Love is not difficult and when we have been drifting, leaving our first love can be almost imperceptible. With the Ephesian Church, we see a church of good doctrine, hate of false teaching and overall good Christian practice. The problem is their appearance and self-estimation deceived them into thinking they were tight with our Lord Jesus Christ, yet in actuality they were a universe away from from Him relationally.

Regard the seriousness of His call to repentance, “unless you repent” HE would remove their lampstand. Now repentance in Revelation 2:5 was not and is not saying “Gee, Lord Jesus, I am sorry and I’ll try not to do it again”. Our Lord commanded “repent and do the first works“.

It is important to remember that true repentance comes with works worthy of repentance, as delineated by John the Baptist, our Lord Jesus Christ and all the New Testament writers (Luke 3:7-14; Matthew 4:12,17; Mark 1:15; John 5:12-15, 8:11; Acts 26:20).

Works befitting repentance do not save the induvial, but they prepare the heart of lost person, to receive Christ by faith. In the saved, repentance removes the clutter and unlocks the door of the heart, that Christ, who is knocking can come in again, as Lord. Without repentance there can not be a walk of faith and obedience to Christ.

From the passages above you will find repentance means forsaking sin, but it also means doing those things within our power to do, that please God and aid others. Consider what John the Baptist declares are works worthy of repentance from Luke 3:7-14.

In the same passage, he defines repentance as regular folks giving to those in need, which means to forsake our personal view of extra property–he instructs tax collectors to only charge the tax, rather than extra for themselves, hence denying their greed and thievery– he instructs soldiers to be content with their wages, rather than using force to extort extra money from the citizens.

Again, let us understand, this does not bring salvation, for one could never do enough good works to overcome their sin debt before God, but these works are the person obeying the conviction of the Holy Spirit and God’s word, to make a straight path for Christ to travel on into their heart (Isaiah 40:3-5).

How does this work with the saved, who have left their first love and need to repent and do the first works, as an evidence of revival?

Although works do not save us, our obedience to God’s word, by the leading of the Holy Spirit is how we grow in our salvation, through being sanctified by the washing of regeneration, by the Holy Spirit, with the word of God. The problem arises when the church begins to believe doing ministry means we are close to Christ.

When this occurs, our life seeking to commune with the Lord Jesus Christ in the secret place, our desire to be led by His Holy Spirt is reduced to praying for Him to bless our plans. This replaces grace with religious Christianity, almost imperceptibly. This is the same sin, of Israel, where the Lord declared “all your righteousness is as filthy (used menstrual italic mine) rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

In revival, the church of Jesus Christ recognizes it has given lip service to Christ, concerning its love for Him, and in emaciated dryness of soul, returns to seek Christ with passion and perseverance, to once again live a holy life and experiencing Jesus in all live activity

The revived Church is therefore marked by an outpouring of continual love toward God, fixed on removing every hindrance to our growing in knowing Him.


Yes, those who are saved by grace through faith have the Holy Spirit resident with them. Whether the Hoy Spirit is the president of their life, will determine whether they are filled with the Holy Spirit. The revived Church will experience a wave of baptism in the Holy Spirit and many who are being filled with Spirit again and continually.

Ephesians 5:18-21 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

When we read “be filled with the Spirit” the Greek phrase means to “be being filled” or to be currently and continuously filled with the Holy Spirit. This is an ongoing, continuous and progressive action, that we can limit; hence Paul’s command to be being filled with the Spirit of God.

Read the context from Ephesians 4 until the verses cited above, you can see the Ephesians, who approx. 35 years later had already turned from their first love, and it was effecting their ministry to each other.

Let us understand that to be filled with the Holy Spirit, one must have been baptized in the Holy Spirit for the first time, subsequent to salvation very close to being saved. This is seen in the Ephesian Church at its beginning.

In Acts 19 Paul comes to the Ephesians believers, who believed on Christ, continued together and were disciples, but had not yet been baptized in Christ’s name, having not been told to be so.

Paul, asks them if they have received the Holy Spirit since they believed, not the residency of the Holy Spirit, as they would have had Him, the same as any disciple. Consider the first disciples the day of Christ’s resurrection in John 20:19-23.

This was prior to Pentecost, Christ rebukes their unbelief in the same encounter from Mark’s gospel, they believe, he gives them the resident Holy Spirit and then they are able to understand the scriptures (Luke 24:45; I Corinthians 2:14).

Even thought the Spirit of God was with them, the Lord Jesus still commanded they wait in Jerusalem, after His ascension to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:4, 8).

So, we understand the Ephesians in Acts 19 were as the original disciples, saved and sealed by the resident Holy Spirit, with Him as a deposit, but not being continually filled with the Holy Spirit as Christ prophesied (John 7:37-38). Therefore, after Paul baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, they experienced…

Acts 19:4-7 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

Of great interest is that we can neglect our first love Jesus Christ and go from being continuously filled with Spirit of God, to being dry and empty, while we carry on in ministry and life, believing we are filled. It is for this reason Paul prays for the Ephesians in this fashion.

Ephesians 3:14-19 14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

You’ll notice that being strengthened with all might and being filled with all the fullness of God begins with Christ dwelling in their hearts by faith (as LORD and president not simply resident deposit)–with the believer being rooted and grounded in God’s love–then understanding the immeasurable nature of the love.

Therefore we see the revival characteristic of the church returning to its first love, being the impetus for the next characteristic… experiencing the gift of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, leading to being currently and continuously filled with the Holy Spirit.

This wonderful blessing is not so we can sing all night in an auditorium and fall all over the floor, then make commitments that we will not fulfill. But it is for holy lives, empowered by the same power that raised Christ from the dead, for the purpose of being His witnesses and completing His mission of disciplemaking.  This gift is for all of us, until He comes

Acts 1:4-5 4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 1:8 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 2:38-39 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”


Finally, we come to the ultimate impact of revival in God’s church. Saints reconciled to Christ, as their first love, are being continuously filled with the Holy Spirit and begin to share the gospel in the power of His Holy Spirit. If you read a Acts of the Apostles in a survey fashion, you will discover that whenever the church is baptized in the Spirit for the first time or filled again, their is an immediate an lasting impact on in the church and on lost world.

Study the results of Acts 2 after the 120 are baptized in the Holy Spirit and its continuing effects, at beautiful gate through out chapter five–look into the events of Acts 6 and chapter with Stephen the first martyr or Philip who is mentioned as filled with the Holy Spirit (as a deacon), as we follow him through acts chapter 8–or events following the first gentiles filled with God’s Spirit in Acts 11 and also the Ephesians in Acts 19.

What you will discover is that God’s fills His redeemed with the Holy Spirit to empower the preaching of Christ and by faith, do miracles which testify to the truth of the message. These revival characteristics effect the lost world we live in.

Let us be mature enough to understand the results in the community of lost men, is not always what took place with the ministry of Phillip.

Acts 8:4-8 4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.

Often, the results bring glory to God in manifold salvation, but also manifold sufferings for the saints. Revival means, the world will hate us even more than before. The reason is that Christ has come to bear on them through us, in His presence and conviction which can not be ignored. So crime will drop, immorality and ungodliness repented of, but the kingdom of men locked in war with the LORD and His anointed (Psalm 2), will rage more violent and abominable.

Worry not, the fulness is even to persevere that tribulation.

Acts 4:23-32 23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:

‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the LORD and against His Christ.’

27“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

After this filling, there was more trouble, but the church was sweeter and better, because they, who loved Jesus Christ more than their own lives, were filled and poured out ruth in love upon one another and the world around them..

Do you need revived?

Your First Love (Dec 10) | pastor jeff's neighborhood

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Five Basic Effects Produced by Revival

holy-spirit-fire-of-pentecost – Messiah Lutheran Church, Auburn WA

After examining the three passages most easily associated with revival (II Chronicles 7:13-15; Jonah and Ephesians 5:13-19), we turn at last to five effects produced by a true Revival. If you have not read the two part series “In the Midst of Revival” click here to do so In the Midst… Part #1, Part #2.


I my last post we look at Ephesians 5:13-19, in regard to the church needing to awaken in revival. This comes from Ephesians 5:14, a prophetic quote about the church, from Isaiah 26:19 and Isaiah 60:1, which declares “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ with give you light“.

Remember this is spoken to the church, a fellowship, in Ephesus, that had begun to drift from Christ as its first love. The idea communicated is that of awakening someone out of a deep sleep, or coma like state. Revival, therefore, comes with an awakening that reveals what we have missed in the way of loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Ephesians 5:14-18 14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit

Revival is an awakening to how we have walked into worldly entanglement, rather than walking circumspectly or around and avoiding the world. It is an awakening which reveals we have foolishly and to our own hurt, wasted precious time in our won pursuits. It is an awakening that we have left the will of God undone, as we have unwisely pursued our own.

This awakening, therefore, is an awakening to sin. Make no mistake, to walk as asleep in the light is sin, because all unrighteousness is sin (I John 5:17). In this awakening to sin, we grieve over how we have allowed men to perish while we played in our own desires. We grieve over how we have left our Lord Jesus Christ unglorified in our lives. We grieve over how our lack of holiness has been an example to other saints to live carnally.

This grief is godly sorrow which must produce something or our awakening will fall back to sleep.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

In error, many have declared this passage to be about unbelievers coming to faith for the first time. I say in error, because although this must take place in and unbeliever to be saved, those being instructed in this process are Christians in a fellowship that had fallen into a coma like spiritual state of carnality.

Remember that the word salvation, in New Testament Greek, does speak to the atonement being applied to the sinner by faith for the first time, but the word carries with it a current, progressive delivering or salvation, as moment by moment or day to day, as well. This is important, because it does not matter if your past was wonderful and intense for Christ, if your present is a cold coma like spiritual state of falling away.

Hence the need for godly sorrow working repentance, or renouncing and walking away from the world, the flesh and the Devil, throughout our Christian life. The heart of repentance is a change of mind, concerning your sin, the judgment deserved for that sin and true righteousness, but its seen effect is a forsaking of sin and self. This is the second effect of true revival.


As I previously wrote, the heart of repentance is a change of mind, concerning your sin, the judgment deserved for that sin and true righteousness in Christ; but repentance seen effect is a forsaking of sin and self.

Luke 9:23-26 23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 

This is very important, in understanding revival. True awakening in the church, has always included saints, who believed they were “good with God”, seeing their true heart condition, and in fear of God, not only repenting, which includes restarting their stalled walk with God, but forsaking their sin also.

Revival produces a true understanding of holiness and sin. No longer can those who have been asleep pretend that there are acceptable sins, because we’ve got grace.

Dishonesty, lying, undue anger, sexual immorality, time wasting, silly pursuits, bitterness, love of worldly accouterments, self-righteous religious Christianity and selfish spending of money (as well as a host of others) are often seen, as behaviors we may grow out of. From a Bible perspective they are as unacceptable iniquitous intrusions to our relationship to God; the very compromisal stuff of falling away or an indication of never having repenting in the first place.

The forsaking of sin and its practice, in those who call themselves Christians is a huge sign that revival and awakening has taken place in the church, which leads me to some of the contemporary events of Christian culture promoting revival in America.

“The Jesus Revolution”

Recently, “The Jesus Revolution” movie, which is a biopic covering the first year and half of the “Jesus People” movement or what is referred to as the “Hippie Revival” of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, passed the 50 million dollar mark. It is true that what took place in the overall movement, has the hallmarks of true revival.

In this film, the viewer gets a look inside the relationship of of three men, at the middle of the “Jesus People” movement; Chuck Smith, Greg Laurie and Lonnie Frisbee.

What the movie does not reveal is the cautionary tale of a person, who is ministering, while not having fully repented of something or many things. Lonnie Frisbee, at the time of the “Hippie Revival” was a hippie, who “got saved” and “filled with the Holy Ghost” (allegedly). Prior to his testified salvation, he was involved in the drug culture and “free love” movement, which led him into homosexuality.

He never left behind what was characterized as flamboyance, in dress and attitude, although he preached the Christ, while not being heavy on “works of repentance”. At one point, he began to hob nob with the likes of Kathrine Kulmine, who’s practice and theology, have been the stuff of Pentecostal controversy.

After a year and half, Lonnie left the growing revival, eventually divorced his wife, was excommunicated by Calvary Chapel and voluntarily left the Vineyard movement, after admitting to a gay relationship while ministering.

These revelations are not to disparage a dead man, for Frisbee’s homosexuality was referred to by many in leadership, as an “open secret”. This means that Lonnie was encouraged to stop, but not called to forsake the sin completely or not be able to minster or fellowship in the church. This of course  was the case, until the secret would become too open for leaders to tolerate.

The point is that in revival, the preaching of repentance with the forsaking of known sin, becomes primary, when it has fallen to the wayside. Remember that repentance always carries with it turning towards God and away from the Devil and His works.

Acts 26:17-18 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

Acts 26:20 20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

This is important because we are known by our fruit and a good tree cannot bring forth bad fruit.

By this definition of forsaking of sin, the supposed revival at Asbury College, comes into question. During the events of this movement, known homosexuals led worship and were being interviewed, as to how God was bringing legitimacy to those who were students, and identify as “queer”, on campus.

Those of an LGBTQ persuasion, who identify as “celibate” but queer, were not counseled to seek freedom from temptation to what God calls abominable sexual immorality, and to renew their minds in God’s word accordingly, but to embrace it as a unique platform to minister for God.

To call someone a “celibate” queer (or allow themselves to identify as such on a Christiaan campus) is an oxymoron. By nature, sodomy and lesbianism are perverse sexual deviancy and will not be forsaken, unless the one tempted, knows it is absolutely evil and does not seek to deal with same sex attraction, but forsakes even a thought of it being normal or allowed by God.

This of course may take some hard work of reforming the  mind, but that is what Christians do, empowered by the Holy Spirit, concerning any practice which offends God.

Revival comes with a conviction in all who desire Christ to forsake sin, and a call to forsake sin, that causes the insincere to humble themselves or walk on. This is because revival restores the holiness of the church, by setting the individuals stones to pursue holiness, without which none will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

1 Peter 1:13-16 13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

In the next post we will discuss the last three elements produced in a true revival.

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In the Midst of Revival? Part 2

As we discussed in Part I of this series, many are claiming revival is taking place across the U.S. on certain colleges campuses (if you have not read Part I click here). In addition to these reports of the beginnings of revival, the movie “The Jesus Revolution” which chronicles the first year and half of “Jesus People Movement (or Hippie Revival) of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, has heightened Christian excitement.

Therefore, we must look to the word of God to understand the true  nature of revival, understanding the dire condition in the saints which necessitates this kind of movement from God. That last statement, must be the cornerstone of understanding revival.

Revival is God decided, God ordained and brought about when He sees fit. Revival cannot be cajoled, or teased out of God by spiritual exercise, although it has often begun when only a few sincere lovers of God are made aware, by God of the poor spiritual condition of the saints, and begin to cry out to Him.

We see this throughout the Old Testament historical books and prophets, especially in one passage that gets thrown about often, in dealing with revival. The passage is usually used out of its context.

“If a people who are called by my name…”

2 Chronicles 7:13-16 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

In the first place, this passage deals primarily with Israel. This does not mean that we cannot glean truth from it concerning the church of Jesus Christ, but it does means that the promise of healing the land, deals with the geography of Canaan, where Israel resided in Old Testament times.

This is important, for often with Christians in America who quote this text improperly, it creates expectation where God did not promise. Remember II Chronicles 7:14 is not a guarantee to Israel anymore either, because the place God’s ears are attentive too, the Temple, has not been around since 70 AD.

It is hubris to suppose we can bend this passage to mean the LORD will restore us to the Christians Utopia we often claim America was founded to be. History reveals that although there were good moral nominal Christians present at the founding of this country, there were few what we would call evangelicals.

The U.S  governance, was not founded as a Judeo/Christian state, but one that incorporated ideas such as Roman federalism and Greek democracy–British, Greek and Jewish aspects of law and education, and the idea French egalitarianism.

So what can we glean from II Chronicles 7:13-16 about the condition necessitating revival and revival itself?

First, we understand that in the people disregarding God’s law and commands, their practice becomes hypocritical. As they go through the motions, they move further from love for God, as seen in obedience, toward doing that which is right in their own sight. In their coldness towards God, they incorporate the world around them and its system into their lives, rather than trusting in the Lord with all their heart.

In this, they sin against God and forget Him, except when they desire blessing or deliverance from some trouble. They begin to die spiritually. God, in His mercy chastens them through drought, famine, pestilence, war from foreign enemies and other tribulation. This is for the purpose of revealing their condition, which grows worse, as they have moved away from God’s heart.

This occurred multiple times over the 490 years Israel was in the land, after the Exodus. Their pattern was to fall away into sin, only to find tribulation upon them, which leads them to cry out to God. It was this of falling into spiritual deadness or sleep, then awakening to recognize their sin, which led to the Jewish people being in captivity for 70 years.

Perhaps one of the most well know and out of context quoted passages of the Old Testaments prophets, is a result of the need for revival, which placed the Jews in circumstances that led to their reviving, in Babylon.

Jeremiah 29:10-14 10 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

You’ll notice this is not a passage to be quoted when trying to evangelize someone, but specifically about the Jewish people, who did not enjoy their captivity. The Lord is declaring this punishment is redemptive, not punitive; it is to turn them back to search for Him with their whole heart. Only then would He listen and bring them back from where they had been scattered.

When Israel did come back, they had what was necessary for a true revival… Godly sorrow, which works repentance.

In chronicling the relaying of the foundation of the temple, after 70 years of captivity in Babylon, Ezra testifies…

Ezra 3:11-13 Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.

Note the condition necessary for revival, is God’s people, either Israel in the Old Testament or Christians in the New Testament period, being cold, hypocritical, spiritually lethargic and insensitive to God’s conviction and at or near spiritual death (a coma like state).

We must remember that this condition requires sorrow first leading to repentance (II Corinthians 7:10). What hinders revival is the saints, who often believe they do not need revival, but the nation around them that is vexing to them. Consider Jonah.

The Book of Jonah

Many will look to the book of Jonah as a representation of revival based on how the Ninevites responded to the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3:1-10). Although their response reveals the potential impact of a true biblical revival, remember that revival deals with the reviving of God’s people. Evangelism is a wonderful product of the church awakening in revival.

In Jonah where was the revival most necessary? In the heart of the prophet Himself. Remember that Jonah fled from God, because He knew the outcome if the hated Ninevites repented: God’s mercy.

He knew this, as a prophet of God, because of merciful the LORD was to Jonah’s own wayward people, he at times had to call back to God. But Jonah, was self-righteous about his own people being far superior to these pagans. In this his heart was hardened and although walking with the title of prophet and “serving the LORD”, he had left his First Love, by boarding a ship to Tarshish.

heck out what he reports, once the LORD chastises him by putting the prophet in a living prison of a great fish.

Jonah 2:1-91 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said: “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, and He answered me. “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice. 3 For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all Your billows and Your waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ 5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; weeds were wrapped around my head. 6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever; yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God. 7 “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple

Interestingly, Jonah’s word acknowledge that God had placed him in his living hell, in the great fish, but for a purpose. To remember that YHWH is merciful and salvation. In the midst of this tribulation, he would “yet look again toward Your holy  temple“. Sounds a lot like what the LORD declared would happen, if the sinning saints would humble themselves, pray and seek His face and turning from their wicked ways.

We tend to look at Jonah with feelings of understanding for our desire not to walk in God’s will, rather than seeing what he did as wicked. He knowingly disobeyed God and refused to speak to the wicked to save his life (Ezekiel 3:18).

What leads to the church needing revived. Well like Jonah, years of self-righteousness, where we minister and live our lives our way, rather than being led by Him, and filled with His heart and holiness.

Remember a revived heart, or even one partially awakened through pain, as Jonah’s, can lead to massive salvation in the lost. Remember Philip, who did not need revived  because he was alive, filled with and led by the Holy Spirit, who preached in Samaria.

The results were multitudes coming to faith in Christ, being set free from demons, and receiving healing in Christ’s name, to the degree that character of that once pagan city was joy (Acts 8:4-8). With Jonah, we do not know if he fully repented and was revived, but praise God it was enough for thousands to avoid judgment.

Ephesus a Fellowship in Danger of Remaining Asleep

In the new testament, the church of Ephesus reveals a pattern withdrawal from our first love, which leads to a need of revival. From Revelation 2:1-8 we see Ephesus were the church that left its First Love; which is Christ. From this chapter in the Revelation, we can glean, that they left their First Love, through the business of good ministry, where doing ministry was seen as loving God.

This is a fallacy and the Holy Spirit addresses this 40 years prior, when Paul was inspired to write the epistle to the Ephesians. This was a very good church, but, as they were slow to come to the Baptism of the Spirit (read Acts 19:1-11), they were still struggling to hold to the One, who enables us to be “being filled”… Jesus Christ our Lord and First Love.

You will recall that the Holy Spirit speaks to them about the responsibilities of spouses in marriage, as a living example of Christ’s love for His church and His Bride’s love for Him. Yet, this was the message, because they had already begun to turn from their First Love. The results were poor behavior between them, that at times resembled their former gentile lives (read all of Ephesians 4).

Into this context we read…

Ephesians 5:8-21 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14

Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”

15See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit

When considering revival in the church of Jesus Christ, we must understand the idea of being asleep spiritually; a result of leaving our First Love. From the passage above we that this leads to walking in a way where we fall into various avoidable traps and temptations (not circumspectly)–where we waste time, and are clueless as to what is God’s will.

These are signs that we are asleep and in need of revival. In this faculty, we begin turn on each other. We become insensitive to a lack of God’s presence among us.

When the church arrives at this point, it begins to look for political saviors, rather than focus on the blessed hope, for the purpose of enduring in hope till He comes for us. Also the church looks for a way to pay for its overhead, rather than focus on making disciples. The unwritten plan is let us work to get people into our building, rather than going out to be light in the world.

Rather, than calling out to God in repentance of our carnal lives, we call on god to restore our land to a Christian Utopia that has never existed and will not this side of Christ’s return.

Revival is most often the painful process of waking out of a spiritual coma, where we need to relearn to seek Him, rather than our will and desire–where we need to relearn to pray and be led by the Holy Spirit–where we need to relearn to obey God’s word rather than redefine or reject its precepts–where we refocus on Christ alone–where we walk away from all that is contrary to those things just mentioned.

Genuine Revival – 2 Chronicles 7:14 – Summit Church

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In The The Midst of Revival?

The 'Asbury Revival' comes to a close

Over the last 2 months it has been reported, around the world, that revival has broken out on college campuses in the United States of America. We have been informed of possible spiritual awakenings on the campuses of Asbury College, Lee University, Belmont University, and Cedarville University.

In these locations it has been reported that students are repenting, praying for one another, staying for hours in praise services and that charismatic gifts have been manifested among participants.

Although these elements are biblical and may be present during times of revival, their presence neither confirms nor denies a revival. That said, only repentance of sin leading to prayerful seeking of the LORD, among those call by the name of Christ are indispensable to revival.

Truth told, it is too early to tell whether revival has taken place. Asbury for example, has concluded after about three weeks, therefore there will be little objective measurement on long term effect. Consider this fact concerning Asbury: since its founding in 1890, the college has had as many as 8 revivals or what was thought to be revival.

This is noteworthy because it may reveal a predetermined pattern, that may suggest man’s desire and promotion, rather than a genuine, sustained move of God, by God. And for a school, founded in the Wesleyan Holiness tradition,  that is less than 150 years old, it seems 8 revivals is a little suspect.

Jesus Revolution (2023) Movie Folder Icon by Nandha602 on DeviantArt

To compound the fervor of potential revival, in the Christian population in America, is the release of the movie “The Jesus Revolution”, detailing the important people and happenings of the “Jesus People Movement” or what is sometimes referred to as the “Hippie Revival” of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

It was this movement which gave birth to the Calvary Chapel Church denomination, as founder Chuck Smith was at the forefront of the “Jesus People Movement”, with hippie evangelist Lonnie Frisbee. The movie is basically the story of how celebrity pastor Greg Laurie came to faith in Christ, and how the Christianity spread among the youth counterculture population, in its first year and a half.

“The Jesus People Movement” had some of the same characteristics as the above revivals, yet with this moving of God, there was a focus on repentance and discipleship, among those who remained in discipleship with pastor Chuck Smith, which the movie does not do well to explain.

It must be clearly and definitively stated once more that prophesying, speaking in tongues, healing, casting out demons, hours of singing and times of spiritual emotional out cry, are not foundations to revival, nor indicative that a revival is occurring. These may be present during revival, but not indicative of one.

Additionally, many people seeking an encounter with the Holy Spirit, is not indicative of a revival. In fact, even though many in that pattern may be sincere, often their sincerity rises from a zeal without biblical knowledge, that  can lead to spiritual shipwreck.

Remember that the Holy Spirit was given to us by the Father, for the purpose of glorifying Jesus Christ (John 16:14-15).

We must remember that the Holy Spirit, in us, compels us to seek Christ, His glory and His fame. We seek Christ in love, the giver of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and His continuing fullness (Ephesians 5:18-19).

We seek Christ. Far too often people chase “revival” rather than be moved by the Holy Spirit to be revived into the mission of Christ in their city.

Associated with Asbury and the people and experiences inside of the “Jesus People Movement”, are also unsavory elements masquerading as right and biblical, which need to be dealt with. This should not blow us back, for whenever God moves in power, the enemy attempts to counterfeit and convolute what God has brought forth.

When these elements are unchecked and experienced by those in attendance, they can damage the faith of the unaware, as well as the name of Christ. Therefore, it is essential we understand the nature of revival.

So, what is revival?

This question is not easy to answer, as the word “revival” does not appear in scripture, but tends to be associated with times where God does something to awaken His people from backsliding or apostacy.

Therefore, a foundational aspect of revival is the repentance of God’s people (either Israel or since Pentecost His church). This repentance is seen in God’s people returning to simplicity in the faith and the expulsion of worldly ways, which have crowded out true biblical faith and practice. This spiritual transformation then comes to bear on the world around God’s people.

Over the last 40 years, it seems that whenever continual and protracted manifestations of the Spirit (either real or imagined) occur, where praise music seems to continue unending, where charismatic speakers whip people into a frenzy, where “dreams and visions” occur and masses of people begin to make pilgrimage, that it is believed to be a revival.

That belief does not jibe well with the true character of a biblical revival, which at its core exclusively begins with repentance in the church. In America, Christians must be careful to do the work of repentance and obedience to Christ, rather than chase charismatic movements.

Even when a reviving of the Church may occur, we must fight the urge to run to where we believe the Spirit of God is, for He is everywhere present with those who are Christ’s own. Therefore, we must be catalysts for God’s will, and His kingdom where we are at.

To understand revival, we must look to God’s word for for clarity. There are three places in God’s word that are apropos, in defining revival, they are…

  1. II Chronicles 7:13-16
  2. Jonah
  3. Ephesians 5:13-19

In my next post we will dive into these passages and discover the true nature of Revival.

In looking forward let us always remember that it is God that begins a revival and the church’s repentant response that either keeps revival rolling, or shuts revival down. We will find that God’s mercy, in reaching out repeatedly, is the only way revival takes place.

Let us remember that the LORD called Israel back to Himself, repeatedly, through prophets, invasions, pestilence and captivity. It was only when Israel responded with repentance and faith, that revival would come.

Let us remember this pattern exists in the New Testament as well, with the Church of Ephesus. Both Paul and John loved and served this Church. In reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesian Church, we can see 30 years in advance of Christ’s call to return to their “First Love”, that Christ was calling them to awaken.

Revival begins with the church awakening to the reality of God’s presence and how it has turned from Him sinfully, while being convinced of being faithful. This awakening brings godly sorrow, working repentance leading to a renewing of our faith and commitment, to the God, Who’s Son alone is our salvation (II Corinthians 7:10).

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WOE to you America! Repent!

WOE, WOE, WOE! To the inhabitants of the United States of America.

Your enemies are poised to strike and overcome you. Multitude will be taken in the fall of the people of America. This is not for the purpose of making you slaves of enemy nations, for you are enslaved to your lying idea of freedom, which pursues the lie “Do what every you want, and think is right, which is the only law”.

Your people pursue their inordinate desires as rights of religious idolatry. Though I have disciplined you through calamity in the past, you have ignored these chastisements, and doubled down on your pride, rebellion and stubbornness; then you call on Me to rescue you, as if your evil ways are sanctioned by Me, as if you are a nation favored by the LORD, the Almighty God.

Through your pride and arrogancy, you have allowed every perversity within your borders—you have relaxed, recreated and silently sat idle, while over 70 million children were surgically slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers. If that was not shameful enough the multitudes have blamed the incompetency of wicked leaders, but it is your error of freedom, which has produced the rot of your nation.

Sadly, the majority of those called by my name, in America, have never shed a tear, or spent time grieving over this abomination. They are too busy praying that I would bless more.

I the LORD am the Just and Holy LORD God Almighty, and I will avenge this blood, I will recompense the vast depths of the depravity of this nation, and how it has influenced the nations of the world, to conspire against Me, My Son, and those redeemed through His shed blood.

America, you have rejected My word and My servant’s sent to call you to salvation, through repentance and faith in My Son, Jesus Christ.

Be warned you men and woman who call yourselves “Christian” in this nation of deceit. American Christianity has influenced almost as many with false doctrine as the Satanic lie of Roman Catholicism, in the last 100 years. My patience has run its course, Judgment awaits.

Through the prophet Hosea I revealed My people were destroyed for a lack of knowledge of my word and of Me. Be warned you who claim My Son as Lord yet have never cared about His will or to know Him in the power of His resurrection, or share in the fellowship of His sufferings, and dying to yourselves daily to follow Him.

My fellowship of the called-out ones is small in America, but they are growing in holiness, because I, the LORD, know how to rescue the godly from temptation. Keep speaking the truth in love, and know that in the trial to come, which you will walk through, that I will be with you and give life to you. Though you walk into the jaws of death, I will strengthen you to stand for the name of my Son, and bring you into eternal habitations, when your mission is complete.

Be strong, My little flock, for you are the light of Hope, for those who will turn to me, in the calamity to shake the United States of America. Remember, I AM with you always.

But WOE to you America. The cancer of your error of freedom has metastasized and the whole body of your nation is sick, from the top of the head to the sole of the foot, little to nothing is sound. I will bring you into poverty like a wave rolling you over and over, and pulling you under, that you will despair of taking a breath, for to die is better than to live in the enfolding darkness created by the poverty you have earned.

All the escapes and recreation you sought will evaporate in a moment, and you will be taken in anxiety, as you can no longer run from dealing with the reality what your rebellion against me has brought forth. Famine, starvation, death and uncertainty will be around every corner for a people who have no HOPE.

I AM HOPE says the LORD of Hosts. All who run to me, through repentance and faith in My Son Jesus Christ, will experience peace forever in my Kingdom and my presence in the middle of the Valley of the Shadow of death.

Ezekiel 16:48-50“As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “neither your sister Sodom nor her daughters have done as you and your daughters have done. Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.  And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.

Isaiah 40:15  Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.

Psalms 2 Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.

“I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, You are My Son, today I have begotten You.  Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’

“Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

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Haile Nayzgi, one several Christians imprisoned in Eritrea for more than 18 years

Haile Nayzgi, one several Christians imprisoned in Eritrea for more than 18 years

Eritrea is governed by a totalitarian regime that seeks to control every aspect of life. In 2002, the government outlawed every form of religion except Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism and the Lutheran Church. All other religious groups are illegal, and the government maintains control of approved churches.

Many Christians have been arrested without warning, and imprisoned Christians are not given a trial or allowed to see their families. Conditions inside these prisons are some of the harshest in the world. Some 200 to 250 believers are believed to remain in prison, though it is unclear if all are still alive.

Christian prisoners are provided meager rations and often held in shipping containers in extreme desert conditions for years. Several Eritrean Christian leaders, like Haile Nayzgi, have been imprisoned since 2004.


Lerm and Dow are rebuilding their life after being evicted from their village.

On April 4, 2022, Lerm and his wife, Dow, accepted Christ and started to attend church. A few months later, Dow’s father, who was the head of a nearby village in their province in northern Laos, found out and demanded that they renounce Christ.

When they refused, he used his influence to have them evicted from their village and took away the income and food supplies they usually earned from farm work. Lerm asked his own father to take them in but was rejected because his father feared losing his government job.

Lerm, Dow, and their children lost everything when they were evicted. They now live in a temporary hut on the land of another Christian brother, but their faith has remained strong.

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#2 (Luke 1:1-7) “Righteous and Blameless”

Genesis 17:1KJV | God almighty, Kjv, Genesis

As we discovered in the last message Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous before God, by their faith in God’s word and promise of the coming Messiah. Having this understanding means that they were not attempting to be blameless in the commands and ordinances of God, as a means of salvation. So, what was their motivation?

This godly couple can serve as a model of motivation. In thanksgiving over God’s grace to bring Messiah to deal with their sin, they in turn walked out the commandments and ordinances of God “blameless”. This reveals that their effort, was not to save themselves, but a commitment of love to be a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-2).

The word blameless means that before men, there were no evidence that they walked contrary to God, in any way. Blameless often deals with “in the sight of men”. Zechariah and Elizabeth understood that their lives were to be examples and they applied themselves to that seriously

Are we called to walk blamelessly, as followers of Christ? The word blameless is used 15 times in the New Testament alone. Consider a few of these usages.

1 Corinthians 1:7-8 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:14-15 Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…

So, as Zechariah and his wife were examples to their fellow Israelites, so we are to be even more amplified examples of blamelessness, as we are being filled with the Holy Spirit, before the church and the world.

Let us examine the devotion necessary to be defined as blameless in the sight of men.

Psalms 101:1-4 I will sing of mercy and justice; to You, O LORD, I will sing praises. I will behave wisely in a perfect way. Oh, when will You come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.

Eight times in the above Psalm the writer determines, as we see in the phrase “I will”, to be blameless, righteous and godly. Once more, this was not for the sake of saving himself, but because of his extreme devotion to God.

The writer is king David, who was a man after God’s own heart—a man who’s desire to pursue God and His ways, would lead him to the breaking point. David knew salvation was in God alone, through the promise of one of his offspring to sit on his throne forever and because of God’s promise he ran after God’s heart.

In both David and John the Baptists’ parents we behavior that lines up with the word of God declaring that “faith without works is dead faith” (James 2:14-26).

Now consider that for Zacharias and Elizabeth, their works were seen and revealed to all their faith and righteousness before God. Remember they walk this way without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Should not we, who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, have an even greater walk in His commandments? Absolutely and that motivation is our love for Him for He first lived us (I John 4:7-10). Consider Jesus words.

John 14:15-17 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

We love Him, for He took our sin into His own perfect life on the cursed tree, and we by faith, had His perfect righteousness imputed to us (II Corinthians 5:21). Oh, what marvelous love, that Jesus died with our names and sin written into His body, as our atonement (Colossians 2:15).

The New Testament makes it very clear that we all ought to be concerned about our testimony when it concerns blamelessness, before men, inside and outside of the church. Consider these passages… I Corinthians 1:8; Philippians 2:15; Colossians 3:13; II Peter 14-17. Consider that blameless in the sight of men, is a requirement for elders and deacons.

Remember that this deals with our outward testimony, which for all who follow Christ ought to be ever growing toward blamelessness in testimony and should not take forever to develop or mature. None of this is the basis of being saved, but our reasonable service of worship to Him, for His love and mercy in the Atonement, through Christ’s death for both Jew and Gentile.


Although both Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous by faith and blameless before men, we see in Luke 1:8-20, there is always a need for further perfecting or maturing, in sanctification.

Luke 1:13-17 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.  And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

In the first place, we see that Zacharias is told his son, will be unique in the realm of men, being filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. Secondly Zacharias is told his son will fulfill the very last O.T. prophecy from Malachi 4.

Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

Can anyone fault the man for his hesitation? He and his wife we passed childbearing age and God had spoken to no one in 400 years. But to the LORD, faith must obey even if it does not understand (the Bible is meant to be obeyed, not understood first). This was a place in Zacharias heart and practice, which was not sanctified to maturity. This was an area of unbelief and doubt concerning God’s nearness and will, which needed correcting.

Luke 1:19-20 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”

We in the church often need correction for the same.

In the American church there are two predominant crowds. Those save by grace and living as if God expects nothing and those who believe that they do more than enough. Both cheapen grace and are in error.

We are to be transformed from glory to glory. This occurs as we go through crisis and progression, in the fulness of the Holy Spirit (II Corinthians 4:16).

The issue addressed in this message is one of sanctification. Both Zacharias and Elizabeth were blameless before men in practice. That did not save them, but it also does not mean they were not to grow more like the Christ, whom their son would herald and announce.

Sanctification does not cease for us in this life, and we ought never to complain about messages that reveal we need to be more like Christ, or the pain and difficulty associated with the call to be transformed, as we are corrected.

Yet so often we complain and even miss that it is God, in our difficulty, chastening some pattern of our past sinful life out of us. In fact, many Christians live most of their life never interacting with God intimately, where He reveals a pattern of sin. Many believe I have arrived and am all He desires me to be even though they may say differently in Christian company. This in fact is a sin.

So, let us as David in Psalm 101:1-4 and Zechariah and Elizabeth, determine to believe that Christ is our righteousness, by faith and determine to be blameless, as testimony of His salvation, in and through our lives. You may be the only Gospel anyone ever reads.

Genesis 17:1KJV | God almighty, Kjv, Genesis

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(Luke 1:1-7) “Righteous and Blameless”

Nov 5 - Saints Zekeriah and Elizabeth (1st cent) parents of John the Baptist  -

As we begin walking through the Gospel of Luke, it is important to understand the “who” and “why” of this Gospel, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Over the next several months we will deeply examine the truth contained in this wonderful testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s begin.

Luke is the author of this Gospel and writes just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding from the very first, to write an orderly account” (Luke 1:2).

In the words “eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered…” he is referring to Paul, Peter, John, and Miriam (Mary) the mother of Jesus. It is these believers Luke encountered in his travels with Paul.

Luke was a Greek and a physician by trade. Before we assume this is a pretext for God giving us doctors or medicine, when the Bible never says that, let us understand what being a Greek physician meant to those in the days of Christ’s first coming.

There was no approved practice of medicine in the Old Testament as the Old Testament YHWH declared “the LORD that heals us” and He, Himself, is the one “…who forgives our iniquities and heals all our diseases” (Exodus 15:26; Psalm 103:1-3).

Most doctoring came by way of Egyptian and Greek paganism. Remember John 5, at the pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed a lame man. This pool had nothing to do with Jewish faith or practice but was an Asclepeion, or pagan healing temple.

Each one of these temples had a pool, where rituals were performed to conjure an angel to stir the waters for healing. Of course, the angels were not God’s holy angels, but the fallen and demons. At these temples, there were doctors; this is what Luke was. It is potential that he was present in Chapter 5 of John, being an Asclepeion physician.

Asclepios founded these cultic healing pools and the trade of physicians. He received his medical knowledge from a serpent that whispered hidden knowledge into his ear. This knowledge was extensive concerning the human body and not previously known to any.

Luke, being called the “beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14) is important because he left that behind to follow Christ, as it was pure paganism.

Luke was one of Paul’s longest tenured traveling companions and was obviously present, as a witness to the birth announcement of the church, for the Holy Spirit inspired him to write the book of Acts. For the things he was not an eyewitness too, he received truth from eyewitnesses, such as Mary, Peter and John, in his travels with Paul.

Consider the intimate details of Christ’s life, in His early years, and this inspired text concerning Mary “but His mother kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51). This was revealed to him in Ephesus, a church Paul loved and where Mariam (Mary) resided for a time as John the apostle took care of her (John 19:25-27). With that background let us look further into Luke 1.

Let us read Luke 1:5-7.

Luke 1:5-7 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

In this passage we see an element of our walk with God, where God does something because of our faith, where we do something because of our right relationship to God and how we grow and mature, as we walk with the Lord.


In the passage above both of John the Baptist parents were “righteous before God”. This means that they were justified or considered not guilty before God. This righteousness had nothing to do with the next sentence, where we read of their walking in all the commandments and ordinances of God, blameless.

We know this because of what it says in Romans 3:20 “By works of the law shall none be righteous in His sight”.

Verse 6 is a testimony to their saving faith in God, as we understand “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17; Hebrews 10:35-38; Habakkuk 2:4).

The foundation for this truth is in Genesis 15:6, where Abraham believed God and the LORD accounted to him as righteousness. This means being considered righteous is a done deal, whereby God considered him as if he never sinned.

The word “accounted” also means “to impute”. David declares the blessing concerning this word Psalm 32:1-2 where the word of God declares “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit”.

It is important we understand that imputation or being accounted as righteous, is directly related to God’s promise of the Messiah to come, who would atone for sin. Therefore, it was still belief in God’s ultimate sin offering in the Christ, that brought justification or being deemed “not guilty” to Old Testament saints.

Abraham would have known that God’s promise to him would be the vehicle by which the promise seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15).

Let us consider Job, who was also righteous by faith (Job 1:1-5, 8). Job was recorded to have offered sin offerings for himself and his children, but it was who and what these sacrifices pointed too, that Job had placed his faith in.

Job 19:25-27 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

Job believed the Messiah would Redeem him with His own blood, as the Lamb of God slain—Job believed the Redeemer would be the Messiah who would return after dying and risings from the dead—Job believed that he would see the Redeemer himself even after Job had died. This is the hope of all the saints of God, in both the Old and New Testament times.

Old Testaments saints were justified by faith in God’s word and promise concerning Messiah; just as we are. When they died, they went to Abraham’s Bosom, to await the death and resurrection of the Messiah, then He would “lead captivity captive” (Psalm 68:18; Ephesians 4:8).

Zacharias and his wife, John’s parents, believed in the truth of Messiah the Redeemer (Luke 1:67-79). As Old Testament saints (Christ had not died or risen yet), we see the merging of justifying faith, with an effort that was blameless, in verse.

Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Ephesians 2:8-10 reveals the merging wonderfully.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Verse 10 moves us beyond being justified by faith in Christ, into the outcome of being counted as righteous by grace through faith… to walk with all our heart in those good works He ordained for us.

No we are not saved by obeying commandments and the ordinances of the LORD, but we obey the commandments and ordinances of the LORD, because being justified by faith in Christ, and made new creations, we gladly and with love desire to glorify our God and Father.

The Living... — Proverbs 13:6 (ESV) - Righteousness guards him...

This is a good foundation for understanding what Luke 1:6 declares “walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless”. So what does this speak to the follower of Jesus Christ today?

There are far to many teachers, who in error declare that to pursue holiness or expect change in our Christian lives, is an indication of one trying to save themselves. These teachers falsely preach a Gospel where Christ can wash away your sins, but is not powerful enough to give you a new life, evidenced by the good works of the Christian life; works which do not save, but certainly glorify God and His Christ.

Let me ask you Christian, do you rejoice to obey the commandments of the LORD? Do you strive to walk worthy of your calling in Christ and be blameless in keeping His word? The desire to do so does not save, but that desire is in the heart of every follower of Christ, justified by their faith in Christ’s finished work.

We were saved to do exploits for Christ, to live a life that displays Christ has destroyed the works of the devil in us and where we as new creations look like Christ in our character, thoughts and actions.

Peace until next time.

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“Behold, He is Coming in the Clouds!” VII

Jesus' Coming with the Clouds | Smoodock's Blog

This final post will be a short review of what we have discussed in the previous 6 posts. We will also examine a very real and biblical element of Christians sanctification, which is the suffering of tribulation. If you have not read the last post, please click this link to read Behold, He is Coming in the Clouds! IVI


The suggestion that the “in gathering of the church” or what is popularly termed the “rapture”, is anything other than pre-tribulational, is a preposterous assertion to most Christians in America. This is a sad state for the church, because as we have discovered over the last six posts, the rapture taking place after the beginning of the tribulation is a solid biblical assertion and much more biblical than a pre-tribulation position.

This ought to grieve our hearts, especially when those who hold a pre-tribulation viewpoint scoff at debate, as if there is no reason for conjecture concerning their position. What I would like to do is present you with the most plausible timelines from the most cogent passages containing references to the “rapture”. After these timelines, we will discuss the necessity of tribulation as an element of sanctification for the saints from the birth of the church.

MATTHEW 24:1-31

  • The beginning of the sorrows (1-8)
  • The beginning of the tribulation (9-14)
  • The midpoint of the tribulation (15-28)
  • Before or at the midpoint of the tribulation, the sign of the Son of Man (29-30)
  • The last trumpet (31a)
  • The rapture of the church (31b)

MARK 13:3-27

  • The beginning of the sorrows (3-8)
  • The beginning of the tribulation (9-13)
  • The midpoint of the tribulation (14-23)
  • Before or at the midpoint of the tribulation, the sign of the Son of Man (29-30)
  • The last trumpet (26)
  • The rapture of the church (27) 

LUKE 21:7-28

  • The beginning of the sorrows (8-10)
  • The beginning of the tribulation (11-19)
  • The midpoint of the tribulation (20-24)
  • Before or at the midpoint of the tribulation, the sign of the Son of Man (25-28)

*note verse 28 “look up for your redemption draws near” Luke’s account makes notation of the last trumpet.


  • The beginning of the sorrows (6:1-9)
  • The beginning of the tribulation to middle (6:9; 8:1-2; 11:1-2; 12:1-6; 13:1-4)
  • The midpoint of the tribulation (11:7-10; 12:7-12; 13:5-8; 11-15)
  • The last trumpet (11:15)
  • The voice of the archangel (11:15: 12:7-9)
  • The rapture of the church (14:14-16) 

Note that in a plain reading of the text, despite what has been reported, the rapture does not take place until after the midpoint of the tribulation. This presents us with a sobering proposition: That the church will go through tribulation. This ought not to surprise any of us. The church has been going through horrific tribulation through out its history and is prophesied upon us by Christ Himself.


When will the great tribulation take place? - BibleAsk

Yes, the church will go through the largest portion of the tribulation. For me to even write those words, brings a sense of anxiety, knowing how the pre-tribulation crowd reacts with mockery, when their viewpoint does not present one in context passage, suggesting a pre-tribulational rapture.

Note my anxiety does not arise from anxiety over suffering, because that is part of our life with Christ and ought to be expected, and in fact rejoiced in: that we would be considered worthy to suffer something on His behalf (Matthew 5:10-12; Acts 5:41).

To understand that the “in gathering” of the saints or what is referred to as the “rapture“, does not occur until after the mid-point is not bad news, but good news, because this too lines up with scripture.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-101 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

This passage, which directly follows the classic rapture passage (I Thessalonians 4:13-18) reveals two wonderful truths.

The first of which debunks the secret rapture element of the pre-tribulational rapture. Although to the world, the Day of Lord or the day of Christ, at which time the “in gathering” of the saints takes place, comes upon the world suddenly; it is not supposed to for us, as reported in verse 4.

4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.

Remember that suddenly to the world does not mean secretly. In fact, Christ’s own words reveal the idea of secret to be an error. We know the season of time He comes for us, because of the signs we just studied, three of which are detailed in the chapter before what we just read.

Remember, that the idea of the secret rapture is debunked by Matthew 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27, Luke 21:25-28, where it reveals the sign of the Son of Man and declares “every eye will see Him and all the tribes of the earth will mourn”. All the tribes accept those in Christ’s kingdom. For us it is our blessed hope. Following the whole world seeing Christ coming on the clouds, Jesus then reveals the rapture of the church.

Titus 2:11-14 11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

The second revelation is that the “rapture” is not pre-tribulational, but pre-wrath. Yes, and Amen, we are not appointed to wrath, as revealed in I Thessalonians 5:9. This also agrees with the timelines in Revelation 14:14-16, where the “rapture” takes place, only to be followed by Revelation 14:17-19, where the awesome terribleness of His wrath is poured out; producing bloodshed up to five feet high for several hundred miles.

Revelation 16-18 reveal the magnitude of God’s wrath poured out on the world, not the church.

Christians are to prepare for tribulation, and rejoice we avoid His wrath. That should not to be a shocking statement, for tribulation is built into the experience of the individual Christian and the church as large, historically and contemporarily.

Remember that tribulation, in any age, purifies the faith of the faithful and exposes those who merely profess faith in Christ, without walking in that faith.

Our Lord Jesus Christ told us we will face tribulation.

John 15:18-23 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also.

John 16:1-4 ​1 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.

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

The word “tribulation” is described as affliction or persecution for the purpose of exhausting one’s faith and causing them to shut up or be shut down completely.  The word carries with it an idea of pursuit, so it is difficult to avoid.

Tribulation is a result of those who live godly in Christ Jesus (II Timothy 3:12). From the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts chapter 7, until the present hour, the history of the church is a history of the godly and faithful suffering tribulation like atrocities and enduring through them.

One passage, in particular, points to the necessity of tribulation in our lives for Christ. Tribulation is described as trouble against us because of our faith, not just garden variety human suffering, but a satanic, carnal and worldly effort to eradicate our faith and faithfulness to Christ.

Romans 5:3-5 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Tribulation, is trouble meant to eradicate our faith and faithfulness to Christ, by any means, but produces “perseverance” or endurance. Endurance is necessary to produce something greater in us than we can build without the tribulation. When we persevere in our faith, regardless of the trial against us, it produces “experience” or “proven character”.

This is not good human character, but the character of Christ in and through us. This is what brings about the fullness of the Holy Spirit, where the fruit of the Spirit, the very character of Christ, is visible and life giving in us.

When Christ’s character is proven in our lives of faith, perfect love for Him casts out fear and the desire to run. This state is what brings “hope”, which means we are fully fixed on looking for “our blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”.

Tribulation and more specifically Christians enduring during the tribulation period, has another God glorifying effect. It stimulates Israel to jealousy, concerning our relationship to the God of their fathers (Romans 11:11).

Remember, during the first 3 and half years of the tribulation, two Jewish witnesses will call Israel to repentance, as they oppose antichrist. Also during that time, 144,000 Jewish evangelists will proclaim the gospel to the Jewish nation. Their message, lines up with what true Christ following Gentiles have proclaimed for 2000 years.

When the Jewish remnant sees, the sign of the Son of Man, the two witnesses and the evangelists of their own nation, in line with Christians who are dying in multitudes for the name of Yeshua, they will be provoked to jealous faith in the Messiah.

There are some who have said that to teach anything other than a pretribulational rapture is to say God would be beating up His bride and He would never do that. Not only is this an unscriptural straw man, it lacks historical context.

Was God beating up His bride when He prophesied decades a head of time, that Peter would be tortured to death by crucifixion and then it came to pass (John 21:18-19)? Or what of when Paul was beheaded in a very tribulation-like execution? Was God beating up His bride, when James was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple and when he did not die, had his brains smashed out of his skull with a fuller’s club? Was God raging against His bride when Thomas was impaled in India by priest of Kali? The answer is no.

In fact, all the original twelve, except Judas and John, died by beheading, stoning, being drawn and quartered, flayed, drowned or crucified.

Was God beating up his Bride, when they thousands were dressed in bloody animal skins, placed in an arena and eaten alive by animals and wild beasts for the pleasure of the crowds.

Was God beating up His bride, when millions of followers of Jesus Christ were tortured, burned at the stake or killed in various tribulation-like ways, by the Roman Catholic Church?

Was Jesus Christ angry with his Bride and punishing her, when tens of thousands of Armenian Christians were taken to the middle of the Black Sea and thrown overboard to watch them tread water until they drown in exhaustion by the Muslim Ottoman Turk Empire?

Or is the Lord beating up His bride, while hundreds of thousands of North Korean Christians are tortured in cruel medical experiments and executed in ways to despicable to speak of?

The answer is no. Tribulation is part of our experience for God’s glory.

Romans 8:35-39 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rather than dwell on what may take place, let us continue to live faithfully for Christ, everyday we are blessed to live. Let us endure now, looking of the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. And when our time arrives to stand for Christ is difficulty, let us be prepared, with a heart of love for God and hope in His glorious appearing.

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