Risking Sanctification with a Spiritual Shell Game

what-you-need-to-know-about-moving-target-defense-630x330Have you ever witnessed the shell game while walking the streets of a city? The runner of the shell game, takes a bet from the player, then simply places a pea beneath one of the three shells, then mixes them up rapidly, almost as if his mixing is an art form. At the conclusion of the mix up, the game runner stops and asks the person playing against him, to choose where the pea is at. if the game runner is worth their salt, they will be a few bucks richer, as they moved the pea enough to avoid detection.

At times, those who would follow Jesus, as well as those who do follow Jesus are guilty of playing the shell game with God Himself. The only problem for us, is no matter how well we think we have avoided detection, or moved the pea (sin, bondage or self-indulgence) around He always finds it out. When we seek to shuck and jive and move that which we do not want to be discovered, our spiritual shell game puts our sanctification in jeopardy.

The Gospel of John gives us a good example of person playing the spiritual shell game.

John 4:13-26 (NKJV) Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

In our passage, Jesus has met a Samaritan woman of loose morals and practice. So contrary was her behavior, this woman was even outcast among a people of shady morals and religious practice. From the very onset of her encounter with Jesus, she was cynical, and seemingly sarcastic cornering our Lord’s request for water. Until Jesus found her pea!

When He defines Himself as the One who has the power to give anyone who asks living water, a supply that never runs out and is in fact internal and eternal, she responds along the natural line… “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”.

Jesus’ offer of living water, which needs no drawing will alleviate the shame she feels in being outcast among her people. This was the natural line we often come to God with. We want an answer to prayer, to alleviate some uncontrollable aspect of our life which makes us feel silly, shamed, stupid, ineffective or just plain old bad about ourselves. The problem is the discomfort we want removed is often a product of our own apathy toward God–or our neglect to obey Him–or some discomfort we need to keep us dependent on Him.

Paul even faced something such as this with his thorn in his flesh; a particular physical condition allowed by God, which knocked down the potential of his human pride.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV) And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Indeed, that which Paul wanted to avoid was for his own good. How often do we miss that truth about the trouble, trials and discomfort of our lives? The woman at the well takes the idea to an art form.

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.

As our Lord Jesus Christ points to the correct shell, lifts it up and exposes the pea or her painful life of sin, the woman pulls the shell game runners oldest rick… Look over there, did you see that!”

Rather than humble herself, repenting and seeking a solution for her sin, she tries to divert God’s attention away from that which makes her feel shame–that which she has been unable to leave behind– that which causes her shame and loss of the joy and love–that which has separated her from the God she has sought for, as a blind woman poking around in the dark. She tries to divert God’s attention and conviction toward a religious argument.

We often do the same, just more privately. I have found this to be true from over 17 years of ministry. Countless times, I have been involved with the Lord, in bringing a person to the point of deliverance, when that which holds them back or in bondage is exposed; only to have that person change the subject or walk out agitated.

But here is the truth about those times and situations and people… They were merely playing the shell game; trying to divert God’s attention with a distraction. Guess what? He is undeterred, He already knew where the pea was from the beginning; as He did with the woman at the well.

“Sir, I perceive you are a prophet!” In this statement and what follows, in the way of a religious discussion with the Author of true religion, we see her pivot to avoid dealing with that which caused her shame. She tried to move the pea, until her religious talk backed her into a corner, when in later verses she declares, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things. In this she was moving the pea, dropping the microphone in a fashion that says, “you know some things prophet, but when Messiah comes”.

Jesus then removes all her shells for good, “Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

With this statement, Jesus Messiah, God’s only begotten Son, “I AM” in the flesh, present in all His convicting Person ends the woman’s spiritual shell game. She was exposed and raw, but ready for freedom and transformation. Why are we so much like her?

The word of God preached in the power of the Spirit or read in the power of the Holy Spirit is for the purpose of exposing and reviving. We often like the outlay of what we think reviving is, not understanding, there is no reviving without exposing what is dead or dying and part of the old life.

Yet far too many Christians in America are pretending to know it all, be it all, and have it all together. Playing the shell game, whenever pressing into the Lord brings about exposure. Don’t play the spiritual shell game. We are called to sanctification, which means that which Christ attained through His death and resurrection is lived out in us progressively, as we walk in humility with Him.

This means all that remains in our life patterns from our life before Christ will be exposed and must be brought to death throguh self-denial; one area at a time. In the positive, once these patterns are exposed and removed, the Holy Spirit can freely lead us into being more like Jesus; for His glory.

This is our calling. Don’t put God’s plan to conform you to the image of Christ at risk, by playing the spiritual shell game.

2 Corinthians 7:1 (NKJV) Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

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We Need to Learn from the Church in China

BROTHERS AND SISTER BEWARE!

For decades the Three Self Patriot Churches in China, capitulated to government intrusion, in order to remain open to the public rather than joining the persecuted underground Church. Now they are being told hey cannon reopen unless if they praise the Chinese Communist Party in sermons and extol President Xi Jinping and slander the united States.

(here is a link to the Christian Post Article revealing these measures… Chinese pastors ordered to praise Xi Jinping, slander US from pulpit or risk closure)

They were allowed to preach… just not on divine healing, the return of Christ or the blood of Jesus. They were allowed to sing so long as they avoided those topics, and registered with the government, as an official government approved Church; and do not speak on political issues against the communist government’s culture or programs.

When they did as they were told, they were asked to give in more. What the Chinese government now asks, which is described in the articled linked below, is too far for many of them.

Perhaps now the practitioners of the pseudo Christianity, in the Three Self Patriot Christian Churches will recognize and repent; seeking to lose their lives for Christ’s sake with our wonderful underground church brethren.

Perhaps, we followers of Jesus Christ (in the U.S.) will understand that for over 93 years, through federal tax exemption, the church has been capitulating to the government in small but ever-increasing increments; for meager tax exemption.

This fatal flaw has conditioned Christian leadership to be careful, rather than courageous and bold—led us to a lack of sobriety in how we deal with the world around us—and kept the church always looking for the political person or movement to save us, for maintaining our hope for life as we desire it to be.

This flaw has led us to inappropriately teach Romans 13, concerning obedience to unlawful authority, which has been seen in abundance during the unconstitutional overreaches of Governors, mayors and leaders across the United States.

Remember, in this nation, the authority of leaders is vested only as they exercise constitutional powers. Otherwise we live at the whim and imagination of dictators. Sound familiar?

Now do we see how accepting mandates based on public health are only to condition the people of this nation to accept further unnecessary intrusions, till blind allegiance is achieved; and anything else is eradicated.

This flaw has been used to manipulate the Church to accept intrusions to our faith and practice and jump on the “social justice” train, so we avoid cultural guilt.

Truth told, we followers of Christ ought to expect this from the lost world around us, but we largely have been moving in behavior (speaking of the church), which is largely based on our fear of the government shutting us down, should we not comply with further non-proven methods of combating Covid-19.

Many Churches wrongly complied with shutting off fellowship in “the building”, back in March. To agree with the word of God (and some of my detractors who think I believe “the church is a building”) . The church of Jesus Christ, the bride of Christ is not a building. It is the “living stones” “being built together in a spiritual house” by which “we have access to the Father” together (Ephesians 2:17-22; I Peter 2:1-10).

Read Hebrews 10:19-31 and discover the true nature of the body of Christ in being together, in the “let us” statements—consider the penalty, when Christians forsake gathering together in that same passage of scripture.

Consider also, that although the Hebrews followers of Jesus (written too in the letter) were beginning to suffer invasive persecution, no excuses are made for the “living stones” to cease meeting together for any extended period of time.

The void of Christ manifest presence, left from weeks of not being together in fellowship (during the March to May shut down), agitated many Christians in the right area. Although in some case (perhaps many), reopening was necessary to gain needed funds to keep the building afloat.

The powers that run the world and its system, apart from Christ (Ephesians 6:10-18; I John 2:15), now understand that they can further encroach on Christian fellowships, who are willing to consider any unlawful mandate, in order to occupy their gathering spot, and keep their ministries afloat.

In Ohio, now it is wearing a mask, perhaps next a face shield with the mask or googles (yep that is being discussed). A growing number of states are mandating limits on numbers in attendance. Eventually will they maybe demand another unconstitutional lock down?

Let us learn a lesson from what has taken place in China. The underground church, which refuses to cease meeting together, has grown exponentially for almost 70 years. Yes, they get arrested, imprisoned and some of their leaders are never seen again, but they don’t complain or even ask for prayer that the persecution end. They simply continue to love Jesus, preach the cross and gather together.

They have learned well our Lord’s words in John 15:18-6:4 is meant for all Christians in every nation and age until the end. Like Paul they understand that God is our protector, and Christ our Healer from any physical malady experienced (they can’t run to a pharmacy to get medication to mask a condition, but make them dependent on said drug).

They meet in homes, caves, crawl spaces and only God knows where else, in order to please their Lord Jesus, as they love one another. They have no internet church, because the government will find them through using it. For them to live is Christ, to die is gain. They live by Jesus words “If you love me, keep my commandments”… Chief among them “love one another, as I have loved you”.

That commandment cannot occur through regular separation from one another.  Love is action, in your face and yes often times “touchy feely”.

Jesus Himself, laid hands on those with infectious diseases and healed the people He touched. He commanded the same out of the apostles, even before He was crucified and raised from the dead or were filled with the Holy Spirit. Not one of them came away sick.

We are called to the same in John 14:12-14.

John 14:12-15 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Why are we so afraid of getting Covid-19? It is a real disease, no doubt, but is Christ our Lord not still our Healer? Is the Holy Spirit not with us to empower, guide, bring peace and energize our faith?

It would appear that those who are not to fear death (US), as it has been swallowed up in Christ’s victory, either are holding to this life to tightly or have lost our focus on our only awesome blessed hope (Titus 2:11-14).

Why are we so afraid of the government shutting down our facilities, over non-compliance with unconstitutional orders, specifically meant to hinder our faith. Can we not continue to meet and minister and love one another in homes, crawl spaces or in caves? Sure enough, we can, but we may get dirty and sweat, and have to light candles.

These avenues may not be our top choice, we’ll have to give up our electronic music and majesty—part company with our teleprompters, smoke machines and lights—ministers mat have to exist on love offerings or actually work a job, rather than gain a salary.

This model has worked for His Bride from the beginning, the only time the church loses its way is when it is in bed with the world and culture, and has not clue that is it? Look to Rome, England and now the U.S. A. to understand this historical truth.

Will we learn too late, like the Chinese Three Self Patriot Churches? Or will we walk in faith and love? Will we continue to wither, complaining about our rights being trampled?

We are not on this earth to bring back some glorious age of a Christian America. We are called to make disciples for Jesus Christ and endure till the end, whatever comes our way. Not in belligerence or violence, but in love of God, love of neighbor and love of our enemies; obeying Christ’s command to gather together.

BROTHERS AND SISTER LET US WAKE UP!

 

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My Children, ESCAPE from Babylon! #3

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(Read also Genesis 12:1-4, Isaiah 48:20, Jeremiah 50:8-9, Jeremiah 51:7-9) 

Revelation 18:1-4 (NKJV) After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.” And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.

As we have discovered over the last two posts, Babylon is a place and a spiritual reality, which has functioned ever since the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). The geography, although real, is specifically related to spiritual Babylon: a one world government and religion, synergized for the purpose of defying God and deactivating His people. The purpose of Babylon is carried out either through captivity and assimilation of followers of YHWH or by killing every one of them.

Interestingly, the religion of Babylon tolerates many faith’s and false god’s, as it has been existed in one form or another throughout world history, where multiple deities exist; but are unified under one head deity. The only worship not tolerated, in Babylon’s religious system is that of the One True God and His Anointed Messiah. The government and the religion are animated by the hate expressed in Psalm 2:1-3.

Before we dive into the possible identity of end-times Babylon, we must first establish some ground rules. First and foremost, we acknowledge that some things in the Book of Revelation, as well as other important prophetic texts from the whole of scripture, are difficult to nail down. We can assert that in some cases we will not be able to know, for certain, until the sign or occurs.

Perhaps one of the most hotly debated items of the end times deals with the “mark of the beast”. Although many technological advances have appeared, which could potentially fit “the mark of the beast”, we will not really know until it is put forth as the only means to gain needed provision to live.

Secondly, we must agree that like the “spirit of Antichrist”, which I John tells us was alive and well in the first century, Babylon, as a spiritual and governmental desire of the world’s people, has existed since before Christ. This ungodly system has been spoken of in every age and culture, as well as pursued. One need not go far in our past, in western culture to see this fairy tale idea in John Lennon’s ridiculous song “Imagine” or the sappy “We are the World” from the mid 1980’s.

Seeing a governmental desire for what is referred to as the “New World Order”, can be seen in the failed “League of Nations” from the 1920’s until the establishment of the Untied Nation (another NWO organization). For Americans we only have to look at the language used from our four previous presidents. George H. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barak Obama all used phrases reminiscent of announcing the need for a New World Order.

The reason we must understand these elements before moving forward, is that the key pieces for end-times Babylon’s rise exist today, as they did 70 years ago and if the Lord tarries, they will exist and be ready for advance, as soon as the LORD of history declares “Babylon the great has fallen”; signalling its final rise and destruction.

In my opinion, I believe we are in those times, therefore our choices of end times  Babylon are few, but very possible, for our day. Let us explore the character of “Babylon”. We will focus mostly on Revelation 16, 17 and 18.

REVELATION 16

Revelation 16:19 (NKJV) Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.

When dealing with the phrase “Now the great city was divided into three parts” we understand this as referring to Jerusalem. The division occurs because of the most devastating earthquake in history, when the seventh bowl judgment of God’s wrath is poured out on the world. The reason we understand this “great city” to be Jerusalem is that Revelation 11:8 uses the same terminology “great city” and declares it the city where our Lord Jesus was crucified.

The rest of Revelation 16:19 reveals the earthquake also causes the nations of the world to fall and that Babylon was remembered by God and set for Judgment. This is important for the nations of the world are unified against God, under the last one world government of Babylon. Yet Babylon is also represented as a city of enormous economy, cultural and religious influence, in Revelation 18:19.

Babylon is a governmental/spiritual entity and a specific geographic location. Some have proffered that the city spoken of is Jerusalem or  the city of Tyre rebuilt, as Ezekiel 27 language is used in Revelation 18 to describe the city of Babylon when it falls. This could be a possibility, but as we understand much of prophecy in Revelation  is based on types (from the O.T.), we understand that end-times Babylon is so great because it encompasses all the economic power and might of all the YHWH hating nations of world history.

I believe it possible that end-times Babylon is not headquartered in Jerusalem, or a city on the Mediterranean Sea or in the middle east.

REVELATION 17

Revelation 17:1-6 reveals a few characteristics of end times Babylon. In the first place Babylon is referred to as a woman, in fact verse 5 declares BABYLON is the “MOTHER OF ALL HARLOTS AND OF ALL THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”. The word “HARLOT” is important for it means whore, or one who hooks up with anyone or anything for self serving purposes.

Babylon is also the mother of all “ABOMINATIONS”. This carries with it the most egregious sin and practice, including lying, witchcraft, sorcery, abortion, sexual immorality and licentiousness, and persecution of the saints under the guise of personal freedom. This means “Babylon” represents the satanic principal in its government and culture, which is “Do what you will, is the whole of the law”; while doing it under the guise of being benevolent to all.

Babylon, the whoring woman sits on many waters, which has a two fold meaning: 1) Babylon has been sitting as the most dominate nation in the world for some time, influencing the nations of the world in industry, culture, government, religion and economy (verse 15).

In Revelation 17:3-4 we see the woman on a scarlet beast that has seven heads (from the seven great empires of Old World) and ten horns (the ten king confederacy in the last days). We understand this beast is symbolic of the Antichrist and the governmental power of ten nations which gives him political and military clout.

Interestingly, the woman rides the beast, which indicates control of the beast or direction given to the beast. More likely, the beast allows the woman to believe she is in control, or has his favor, through her religious harlotry.  This makes sense after reading Revelation 13:11-17, where the false prophet gives the beast credence with the apostate church and pagans of the world through false signs and lying wonders. In my next post we will discuss the Roman Catholic Church and its participation, potentially, as the amplification of the last days one world religion.

In Revelation 17:16-18, we discover that the ten kings hate the WHORE, “BABYLON”. Most likely because “Babylon” has dominated them for so long. We understand that there is a point where these nations turn to destroy Babylon, with its pluralistic pagan religion and culture and its economic and military dominance. Finally we understand that Babylon is…

Revelation 17:18 (NKJV) And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”

In my biblically informed opinion, should the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ be sooner than later, there is potentially a nation that has had major influence in all these nations and Israel… The United States of America.

Let us look further at Revelation 18 to see the continuing character of end-times Babylon revealed.

REVELATION 18

In Revelation 18:1-4 we find that Babylon is a place of overt spiritual darkness, where demons dwell in plain sight, through the permitting of every sin in violation of God’s love and the image he made man in. Babylon is a place where every type of sexually immoral thought can find expression, where greed drives culture and entertainment, where Babylon’s reach of degradation is not just in its own nation and people, but world wide.

In addition we also discover that industry of Babylon and it’s trade and economy flood the world with all kinds of inventions and products. Consider the list of production, industry and innovation arising out of end times Babylon from Revelation 18:11-18.

In Revelation 18:23 we read “… For your merchants were the great men of the earth“. Consider the great men of wealth and industry in the last 150 years and their names… Carnegie, Rockefeller, Mellon, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Edison, Ford, Boeing, Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg, Bezos and Musk.

Babylon also deceives the nations through it’s sorcery, which is the Greek word pharmakeia. This is another interesting characteristic, for it is where we get the word pharmacy from. In John’s day pharmakeia was linked to the used of herbs and substances to gain altered states and commune with demons or false gods, for the purpose of divination and healing.

Interestingly, the United States is still at the forefront of research and development for pharmaceuticals for everything under the sun. These things are used as a lever to condition the people (and too often the saints) to trust in anything other than God Almighty.

In addition to the sorcery of pharmakeia, in the way of substances, let’s consider the sorcery of television, cinema and computer devices. Though labor for these things has long ago left the Untied States, the influence of development, implementation and connectivity are founded in this nation. If we merely diagnosed the influence of politics, entertainment and sport, through our mesmerizing devises, how many have come under their spell?

Can anyone argue that in the United States, our culture is filled with the demonic, the foul, the crass, the destructive. Our freedom has led to the enslavement of millions of our own people in sports and entertainment, pornography, useless pursuits and electronic comas, from devices. Our own inventions have taken Satan’s plans world-wide like no other nation, through the air and circuit.

We see that Babylon’s sins have reached to the heavens (Revelation 18:4-6). In America we have more money and infrastructure to care for the orphan, than any other nation on the planet. Despite this reality, the United States slaughters 1700 children a day, through abortion, which is a sacrifice to the god’s of this world. If the Lord were to repay the U.S. double for our approaching 70,000,000 abortions, we would loose close to 1/3 of our population of 330,000,000 in one day.

Let me ask you? Is there any other nation with such prolific influence economically, militarily, religiously, and culturally than the United States of America? I would venture to say, there has never been a more influential nation with cites of influence on a global scale; like New York and Washington D.C. San Francisco, Los Angeles. Nor do I see one in the future.

In my next two post, we will look at how the Roman Catholic Church and U.S. not only exhibit the governmental and cultural aspects of the end-times Babylon, but also that of the one world religion.

 

 

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My Children, ESCAPE from Babylon! #2

Revelation 17:3-5 (NKJV) So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

Jeremiah 51:45 “Come out, my people, flee from Babylon. Save ...

Revelation 18:4-8 (NKJV) And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.

In our last message from God’s word we understood the spiritual and historical nature of Babylon, from the tower of Babel to Abraham’s call out of the land of Babylon. We understood that when Israel sinned, the LORD used Babylon, even though it was evil, for the purpose of chastising the Jewish people of their idolatry and rebellion.  As we understand that Babylon had actual geography and function as the dominant world power, we see it as a spiritual reality that has continued in almost every world empire since and will coalesce into the last world empire.

This empire will be one world government, empowered by an apostate one world religion that will allow all belief EXCEPT that of followers of Jesus Christ.  The Antichrist will be THE final dictator bolstered by his false prophet and the lying signs and wonders he does. This Antichrist will follow the pattern of Nimrod, being head over all government and religion, while delegating operation of that religion to his false prophet (*it should be noted there is a point when the 10 kings that serve as the political base of the Antichrist’s initial rise to power, will throw off Babylon).

The above passages of scripture relay both aspects of the government and religion God will judge, when Jesus returns to put down all ungodliness. In our time today, we will be looking at God’s call to His children, redeemed through Christ’s shed blood (Revelation 18:4), to ESCAPE from Babylon, both its religious spirit and governmental spirit; and the dependence it creates upon the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Remember that Revelation was written to Christians; Christians who would not see the fall of the end times Babylon despite that truth, God’s call for them to ESCAPE BABYLON, was just as expedient as ours today. Let’s look to the world for an example in the times we live.

Over the last month China, India, Malaysia, Sudan, and Bangladesh have begun to command Christians to renounce their faith, get rid of Christian symbols, and cease evangelism or be denied access to food, jobs, and Covid-19 related assistance. These heinous acts against our brethren reveal the spirit of the Antichrist and his one world government and religion, with us right now and growing at an alarming pace.

ID, Wallet, Keys All In Your Hand: Sweden Moves Into The Future ...

Revelation 13:15-17 (NKJV) He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Escaping Babylon means we deny ourselves rather than our LORD Jesus, even when life sustaining food or work are dangled before us. In a positive fashion, escaping Babylon means trusting God to supply what we need, rather than fretting over what man can do.

BABYLON IS THE WORLD SYSTEM

To grasp what it means to escape, let us look to a portion of what we discussed in the last post…

We further understand the principal of Babylon, inherent in all the world system of government, even the USA and Israel, from I John 2:15-17.

1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.\

When understanding Babylon, apart from it’s end times incarnation, we must understand it’s influence in a system. The word “world” from the Greek language means “the orderly arrangement of the world system with its adornment, working in harmony with itself“.

This world system is the source of our undoing as Christians if not careful. Essentially the “world” is the satanic system of Babylon, at work, always pressuring, producing and searching for a place to get its hooks into the children of God through Christ Jesus our LORD.

Jesus declared in John 15:19-20, that in Him we are no longer of the world and its system, but He chose us out of the world, in fact He conveys us out of the world (from darkness to light), with each passing day, so long as we obey Him, while walking through the world system. Perhaps the prophet Daniel and his three Jewish cohorts reveal what this means best, practically.

The prophecy of Daniel is filled with examples of how set apart these men were from Babylon, although they had to live there. It appears their heart was never divided. In Daniel chapter 1 we see the underlying character needed to ESCAPE the allure of Babylon around us. When given an opportunity to have some great food from the kings own supply, the scripture reports something about Daniel’s faith and commitment to God.

LDS Scripture of the Day: Daniel 1:8,12

Daniel 1:8 (NKJV) But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 

It is very important we grasp that Daniel decided before he arrived in Babylon, he would follow the Lord and the law of God with all his heart. From the word “defile” we understand the meat and the wine came from animals and wine sacrificed to the pagan gods of Babylon. Daniel’s decision to refuse to be dependent on the governmental perks, religion, culture, and relationships afforded by Babylon, kept he and his friends in God’s care even in the face of death.

Interestingly, we find two churches in Revelation 2, that were not as faithful as Daniel and became dependent on the world system around them and it led them to defile themselves and put their relationship to Christ at risk.

In the Church of Pergamos (Revelation 2:12-17) we find that some in the church held the doctrine of Balaam (vs. 14), a reference to the faithful being intermarried with the lost pagan world around themWe understand Christians are not to marry a person if that person is not in the faith. In Pergamos, this truth was neglected and not only did it lead to sexual immorality, but Christians being led into idolatry and away from Christ. As Christians we trust the LORD rather than run to the world. Babylon calls us to depend on it for love and affirmation.

In considering Thyatira, we are introduced to the self-proclaimed false prophetess Jezebel, who led the church into sexual immorality and idolatry another way. Being a city of great commerce and paganism, Thyatira had many trade guilds (unions) each with it’s own patron false god. These powerful guilds controlled all business and industry, without which your business (from a  natural perspective) had no chance. Jezebel convinced the Christians, they could join the guilds and thrive.

The only draw back, was that the meetings were rituals of worship and devotion to the false god of whatever guild you were in. At these rituals abominable sacrifices and ritual prostitution for the favor of the god were common place. Hence, the idolatry and sexual immorality of the church. Here we see how Babylon (the world system) entices us to depend on it for life, provision and protection. Fleeing Babylon means no compromise, only trust of Christ and being led by the Holy Spirit.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US

In order for us to flee Babylon, we must first admit that living in America is strikingly similar to the character of Babylon in Revelation 18. Secondly we must admit, that as holy as we may want to be, we may be quite fooled as to how much we depend on the system of Babylon around us. Consider how dependent we are on devices. Ask yourself how you would function for one week, without a computer, wireless phone or tablet, and T.V. (sorry friends these are not creations ordained of God).

Thirdly, consider how dependent we are on the culture and economy of the nation in which we live. How many Christians miss fellowship on the Lord’s day or prayer or any meaningful interaction throughout the week, because of work, play, workout, or personal pleasure with culture.

Coming out of Babylon means we disconnect from the system of Babylon–turning from depending on it in order to depend on and be led by God alone (regardless of consequences).

Rather than leave you with a list of do’s and don’ts, let me close with a scripture and ask you to seek the Lord in solitude as to what the passage means and if you are captive of Babylon and need deliverance to escape.

2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1 (NKJV) Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” ​ therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

NEXT TIME WE WILL LOOK AT WHAT NATION QUALIFIES AS BABYLON, SHOULD JESUS’ RETURN BE SOON IN COMING.

REVELATION 18;4 - ''COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE!'' 👨‍👨‍👧‍👧 - YouTube

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My Children, ESCAPE from Babylon!

Revelation 18:1-5 (NKJV) After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.” And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.

Jeremiah 51:45 “Come out, my people, flee from Babylon. Save ...

Come out of her (Babylon), my people, lest you share in her sins“. Thus the call of God comes to those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; to leave behind Babylon. Many have conjectured what or where the end-times Babylon is: current day Iraq, Rome, Jerusalem and even the United States of America. For the purpose of our discussion today, we will acknowledge that end-times Babylon has real geography (which will be discussed in the second post), and is the real end of days one world governance. This governance will be headed by the final most terrible Antichrist.

It is imperative we understand that the command to “Come out of her…” is a command to escape from Babylon, as the Greek phrase “Come out” expresses. This understanding is important, for a call to escape implies the real potential of captivity ending in judgement with Babylon; should one not escape.

It is imperative that we deal with an obvious an divisive issue for some of my readers, who believe that the church of Christ will already be with Jesus when Babylon is destroyed. Therefore some believe Revelation 18:5 must apply to end-times Israel. Regardless of this position we must admit that to the first readers of this prophecy, the rapture had not taken place, nor were the first readers Jewish, but Christians of seven cities in Asia minor.

Let us also acknowledge, the rapture has still not taken place yet, though we are waiting with great anticipation for our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-14). Let us acknowledge most of us aren’t Jewish, and the call to “Come out” of Babylon is still real for us. This is because in the final one world government, there is an apostate faith that even today is entangling many who call themselves by the name of Christ.

In order to “Come out” to escape Babylon we must understand what it represents and see how God has called the faithful to escape its allure since the time of Abraham.

BABYLON BEGINS AT BABEL

Please understand, for the purpose of grasping what it means to escape Babylon, we will summarize some Old Testament events. Therefore the history given, not being exhaustive, is to provide context for God’s call to escape Babylon to His faithful throughout both Testaments. That being said, the Mystery of Babylon begins at the tower of Babel.

In Genesis 11 we find all people in rebellion against God. After the flood, the LORD commanded Noah and his sons to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). In defiance of this command, the people, being led by the first Antichrist figure, decided to congregate in one area. Nimrod was their rebel leader and the first Antichrist figure. Nimrod, the head of the government, commanded a tower which would serve as an alter of sacrifice to false gods, and defy God’s authority.

In Babel, Nimrod was the unmitigated head of all government and religion, but he delegated practical authority of the false religion to his wife Semiramis. Interestingly Nimrod would assume the deity of sun god, his wife the Queen of heaven, their son Tammuz a miraculously born son of the god of the sun. This unholy trinity has been replicated in almost every pantheon of pagan worship. After the nation of Israel entered Canaan and they rebelled against God, He chastised them for the worship of these three, under other names (Baal, Ashtoreth and Moloch).

What must be understood, is that Nimrod’s one world government exercised absolute authority over the politics, religion, economics and therefore morals and culture. All of it was tied together through demonic worship of false deities, propping up Nimrod as deity. Into this world we turn to God’s call to Abraham, which is the first call to the faithful to leave Babylon behind.

ABRAHAM

Message: "The Faith of Father Abraham" from Rev. Robert S. Oliver ...

Genesis 12:1-4 (NKJV) ​Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

To understand God’s call to Abraham, we must begin in Chapter 12:28, where we see Abraham following his father Terah;where they had already left the land of their birth. That land was Ur of the Chaldean’s. Babel was the capitol city of that area, before God had confused the languages. After Abraham’s father died God speaks to Abraham, who is now the head of his deceased father’s family and God clearly delineates he is to leave Ur (Babylon). Not only is he to leave the nation (Government and religion), but it’s economy and culture; even the influence of his father’s family.

This is important, for although Babel was not what it once was, its government, economy, culture, and influence was all from demonically inspire governance and religion. For those called of God there is no mixing with this system at all.

ISRAEL

This command was to be carried out by Abraham’s descendants, the Israelite’s. It was for that reason, after entering the land of Canaan, that God commanded the annihilation of the Canaanite tribes who followed Nimrod’s sexually immoral and abominable religion. As we understand from Joshua and Judges, Israel came up short of God’s command and even adopted a bastardized religion that acknowledged YHWH, while practicing the abominations of the pagan culture around it.

It was for that reason (among many others) that God prophesied their captivity in Isaiah. In the prophet Isaiah chapters 47 and 48, we see the LORD declaring the fall of Babylon; which is fulfilled in the first place over 100 years later, after Israel enters into captivity; but finally in the end-times version of Babylon. In the midst of this God called to His people with a familiar message.

Isaiah 48:20 (NKJV) Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans! With a voice of singing, declare, proclaim this, Utter it to the end of the earth; Say, “The Lord has redeemed His servant Jacob!”

We also hear this call for Israel to flee Babylon, after many were in captivity and before the decree to return to Israel in Jeremiah’s prophecy, especially in chapters 50 and 51.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Jeremiah 50:8-10 (NKJV) “Move from the midst of Babylon, Go out of the land of the Chaldeans; And be like the rams before the flocks. For behold, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon An assembly of great nations from the north country, And they shall array themselves against her; From there she shall be captured. Their arrows shall be like those of an expert warrior; None shall return in vain. And Chaldea shall become plunder; All who plunder her shall be satisfied,” says the Lord.

Jeremiah 51:6-9 (NKJV) Flee from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; He shall recompense her. Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; Therefore the nations are deranged. Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed. Wail for her! Take balm for her pain; Perhaps she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed. Forsake her, and let us go everyone to his own country; For her judgment reaches to heaven and is lifted up to the skies.

In the last passage we see some allusion to the end times Babylon. God’s command could not be more clear and in addition to Revelation 18, God consistently calls us away from Babylon in every generation, but much more as we see the Day of the Lord’s return draw nearer than ever.

THE CALL IS IN OUR NAME

Interestingly, one of the names God gives to His redeemed Children as a body of Christ is “The Church“. In the Greek language the word Church comes from the word “ekklesia” which means “the called out“. Called out from Babylon, which is explicitly detailed as the world’s politics and law, economy, culture and influence in II Corinthians 6:14-7:1.

2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1 (NKJV) Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” ​ therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

We further understand the principal of Babylon, inherent in all the world system of government, even the USA and Israel, from I John 2:15-17.

1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.\

When understanding Babylon, apart from it’s end times incarnation, we must understand it’s influence in a system. The word “world” from the Greek language means “the orderly arrangement of the world system with its adornment, working in harmony with itself“. This brings to mind what David prophesied in Psalm 2, and that which will be more and more aligned against the Lord Jesus Christ and His church in the coming years.

Psalms 2:1-3 (NKJV) 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.”

This is the spirit of Babylon, which will coalesce into the last one world rebellion against God under the Antichrist. In our next post we will explore what it means to escape Babylon, and finally where the last Babylon may possibly be found right now in the world.

REVELATION 18;4 - ''COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE!'' 👨‍👨‍👧‍👧 - YouTube

 

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Food For Thought… or NOT!

Daniel 6: daniel praying(Daniel 10:1-3) In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeksI ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

Over the past month I have been reading from the Prophecy of Daniel. While watching a YouTube video concerning Daniel 10 (the chapter I just read), an interesting question was asked by the presenter; a question which is the basis of this article. Before we get to the question, a little background is in order, concerning this passage.

The message Daniel is declaring that which he received from the Lord in Daniel 9, concerning Jeremiah’s prophecy of the 70 weeks (Jeremiah 25). With great detail, God revealed many terrible things to befall His people after they would return to their nation and capitol city. This prophecy is super relevant to our own understanding of the time before and up to Christ’s return.

After being given great understanding in this matter, we find Daniel very distraught. In fact, he was in mourning for three weeks, signified by him not eating his normal diet (this partial fast is the basis for the modern “Daniel fast”). One radical characteristic of his mourning, which indicated it’s serious nature, was he did not anoint himself either. This means, as the most important counselor of the king, Daniel did not present himself for work, but mourned in isolation.

As a result, this powerful man of faith, receives a visit from the Son of Man, in His pre-incarnate glory (The Holy Anointed Messiah). When you get an opportunity, compare Daniel’s experience (Daniel 10:4-17)  with that of John the Revelator in Revelation 1:5-17; you’ll find it a remarkable testimony of Christ’s ministry to faithful servant’s who live in absolute surrender to Him.

At a certain point in this encounter with of the Son of man, Daniel is told something, concerning the moment his mourning led him to shut out everything in the world, to seek the LORD.

Daniel 10:11-14 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.  Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

Daniel was seeking the LORD, because although he had prosperity, wealth, favor and position, to him they were only platforms to glorify God. Whether he was famous and powerful meant nothing, because his people were in captivity for their sins. He knew they would go back to Israel, but he knew their national joy would once again turn to pain, at the times of the end (read Daniel 7-9 for further understanding). In verses 11-14 he is told, he will receive more revelation, but something else of interest to us now.

Daniel is told that from the first day he set his heart to understand, which would have been in chapter 9, the Divine messenger was sent to give him additional information, but right when he began to fast, there was a spiritual battle, coinciding with his intercession and fasting. Daniel, like Job, was part of a high stakes warfare, without knowing it. Can we be also and be equally ignorant of what is taking place?

This is where the question (from the YouTube video) comes to bear upon our discussion. The presenter asked… “I know it is impossible to thwart the will of God, but had Daniel quit on day 18, being tired and worn from seeking, what would have happened, or not happened?”

This question led me to think of possible outcomes: Could Daniel have missed this glorious vision and the revelation, The Lord having to wait until Daniel picked up seeking the Lord again? Would the Lord have needed to find someone else?

The point is we don’t know, because unlike Christians in modern America (most Christian’s in America), we give up or never begin to completely shut the world out and seek the Lord without interruption or intrusion for very long; if ever.

Daniel’s fast was not skin and bones starving, but it took discipline, and that can be a real problem for followers of Jesus in the land of the free. The desires of God’s heart, which are to be our own and in some cases, He makes our partnership necessary to their fulfillment. This is especially true when it relates to area’s we are to minister , for His will and glory.

Though this post is not primarily about fasting (its about the discipline and endurance  necessary live for God’s will in Christ), a lack of discipline in food often times impedes our dependence on God. A lack of self-control in this area can also hinder our relationship to God; as can a lack of obedience in being tethered to the electronic media of our lives (T.V., computer, wireless phone).

The presenter reminded me that the first break in relational harmony with God, came over temptation from food, in the Garden of Eden. Yet there are other examples where self-control, concerning food, produced good or bad results.

What of the rebellion, only a few days after Israel’s exodus from Egypt? In Exodus 17, Israel provoked God in rebellion, concerning their lack of food. What of Daniel and his three compatriots in Daniel 1, where they ate a diet according to the law, rather than the delicacies of Babylon (this was to their benefit). Take a look at some troubling passages concerning a lack of discipline in eating.

Philippians 3:18-20 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shamewho set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ

Titus 1:10-12 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.

The point here is not to bring shame upon folks who are overweight (most Americans are clinically speaking) or celebrate “in shape” narcissists because of their healthy bodies. What we need to understand is that the discipline it takes to seek the Lord, in order to be continuously filled with His Spirit and walk in bold faith (moving in the power of the Holy Spirit)–we must have the discipline and endurance of Daniel, which arose from a heart that would go to any length for the purpose of Gd’s will.

Look to Daniel again, who even put his responsibility to the king he served aside, to seek and serve the King of Heaven. Remember, it was this discipline which led him to pray when it was illegal; the penalty of which was being fed to lions. Yet Daniel, endured this and continued to seek the Lord. He was blessed with intimacy and revelation, which we still study today.

Friends, consider our times and understand, the world as we knew it is over. There will be more lock downs and law changes. (Check out Daniel 7:25 to understand the times we live in). Will we seek Him with disciplined perseverance, or give in to what is easier, more convenient, and less risky. We must be careful of obeying man, when they are blatantly in opposition to God’s call and commands.

We have just come through a season, where the church was tempted to disobey God’s clear commands, because of  spurious information growing more spurious by the day. Where will we be next year, like Daniel seeking the Lord in spiritual warfare and intercession, or hiding and seeking not to rock the boat. Consider Jesus’ illustration and outcome.

Luke 18:1-8 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

Today God is calling His men and women to cease attempting cultural change, prepare for His return and with callous knees seek Him for power to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ–He is calling us to seek Him for the power to endure the times, troubles and persecution has come upon the body of Christ world-wide–doing this with prayer and fasting, as we learn to truly surrender all to Him.

May I ask, when Jesus comes for us, will He find faith in you? Will He find faith in me? will He find faith in us? We can answer yes, but only if we will persevere in prayer and enduring in faith, seeking His way forward through trouble of our times.

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Escape or Endure… To which are We Called?

And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who ...Hebrews 12:1-61 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. The Discipline of God 3For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,   Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;  6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

While most reading this blog will have some familiarity with the first two verses of the above passage, verses three through six are likely less familiar; and for the most part misunderstood concerning their practical purpose in our lives of faith.

Consider the word “endured” used twice in relation to Jesus suffering on the cross. Remember only a 2 verses before, the writer challenged the Hebrews to live their Christian life, as a race run with “endurance”. This “endurance” is from the same word in the Greek; meaning our endurance is to be lived like His (in similar trials and troubles for His name sake).Why did the inspired writer do this? To contrast Jesus’ magnificent suffering with how weak and whiny the Hebrews faith had become.

I challenge you to read this passage through to verse 17 (on your own time). You will find the word of God directly attributes bitterness to how we endure suffering on behalf of Jesus Christ; suffering related to our faith. The point, when we have the wrong perspective of the circumstance we are in and how we ought to pray and walk in them, we often are disappointed and become disenfranchised in our faith. To find ourselves there is a short fall into bitterness and compromise.

Why am I writing about this? Because for the past few months among all the virus lock-downs, constitutional infringements, unnecessary murder of George Floyd, protests and now politically pushed riots, Christians (in America especially) have been anxious, fearful, confused and often clueless as to how to respond or even pray about our situation.

Let’s affirm, God’s word is profitable for correction, reproof and instruction in righteousness, that we may be profitable in our walk of faith (II Timothy 3:15-17). Let us also affirm that by the Holy Spirit, who is present with believers from regeneration, we partake of Christ’s divine nature and have all we need for life and godliness and have received precious promises (II Peter 1:2-4). Among those promises we are guaranteed to escape the second death and God’s wrath, which is poured out on the unrepentant in Christ’s second coming.

That is definitely a Hallelujah escape! AMEN! But alas let us understand we are not promised to escape the wrath of man or its instigator… Satan and his demonic minions. As a matter of fact as we barrel towards Jesus’ return, we are assured of some definite truths, I’d say prophetic guarantees from the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 3:1-71 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

CAN YOU SAY CHECK! We are living in those times, but still further in the same chapter…

2 Timothy 3:12-13 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

CHECK #2! Yet further still…

Matthew 24:11-14 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Luke 21:12-19 You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.

CHECK #3!

We could go further still, with John 15:18-26, where Jesus declares the same, but it is sufficient to declare we are not only blessed to be saved but privileged to suffer for His name (Philippians 1:29). These scripture portions above and countless other New Testament passages reveal all Christians who live godly will suffer persecution and trouble, yet Christians in America continue to pray in ways which speak of escape rather than practicing endurance, for Christ’s sake.

Consider the Covid-19 virus. Did Christians not pray sincerely or hard enough for it to be eradicated? No! But we were not praying according to God’s will. Let us admit that the excess of wasted time with sports and entertainment all but came to a standstill. People in America could no longer hide in fantasy land to avoid dealing with death, it was and still is to a lesser degree everywhere. Many lost people became open due to a renewed or awakened fear of death.

Also the veil of unlimited provision was lifted immediately, as we could no longer take for granted what is needed would be available. And what of the church of Jesus Christ, whom found out how much we need to gather together through what amounted mostly to being shamed into staying home.

We must remember that this virus was either ordained by God or allowed for his purposes. Purposes which are still being worked out.  Without the quarantine of a nation of people free to do what they want when they want, the wide spread violence and anti-authoritative behavior would not have been possible. You may ask why? Simply because locking free people down causes anxiety–with all the media bashing about who was right and wrong, it created cynicism of authority (whether rightly or wrongly)–people became unfamiliar dealing with each other and the police.

The murder of George Floyd was a match on that gasoline. What could God’s purpose in that be? Realigning powers to fit His end times plan. Which does not include America as a Christian Utopia.

We must understand that Jesus did not die on the cross to redeem the Untied States of America, as a nation. He died on the cross to save individuals from every nation tribe and tongue. These redeemed with the blood of the Lamb of God, make up the Kingdom of God.

Herein we return to Jesus’ suffering on the cross and the admonition in Hebrews 12:2-6. We Christians in America must regard the suffering of the church since its birth, and understand since 1948 more Christians have been martyrs for the faith than in the prior 1900 plus years (hated by all nations). Our brethren have been led as sheep to the slaughter all day long, live in abject poverty and governmental fear; yet they don’t pray to be taken out, but to have faith to endure, until Christ comes for them. Their hope is not a return to the glory days of their nation, but Jesus coming for them in the clouds.

Please listen to what I am writing…

The bad things we see, will grow worse. There will be periods of release, where it will look to be getting better, but alas trouble will return with the heat multiplying. This will happen, until there will be one hated class of people in the United States, as is in almost every other nation… Followers of Jesus.

Now is the time to check ourselves, as we have not yet shed blood in our struggle against sin or the wicked. Let us remember Jesus endured the cross, yes for our redemption and the joy set before Him; Praise His Holy Name! But He also endured the cross as an example that we can endure for Him, with the joy set before us; which is absent from the body in death is present with the Lord or should we endure until the last trumpet, we will be raptured to see Him and be with Him forever.

Men and woman of God, our times are bringing the toppling of many things we held dear. Many of these things are good things, like laws,  statues, names of city’s, and national ideals, of which many died to protect. It is heart breaking, but their demise causes us to hold to the only dear thing which will not burn in the day of the Lord… our holy faith, given to us by Christ Himself. This is the one thing that no one can remove from us.

So as Christ endured, we must as well, as Jesus proclaimed to us all…

Luke 9:23-25 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?

Let us rejoice in escaping God’s wrath and the second death. Let us pray that we may endure any hardship coming, on his behalf, that we may shine as lights in this perverse generation (Philippians 2:124-16).

 

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What Jesus Death Accomplished Part I (Hebrews 2:9-18)

In Part one of this series we we discover Jesus tasting death for us, brought us instant access to God the Father in two powerful ways.

 

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Can Racism be Overcome?

In this Video message, we look at the only antidote to racism… well for that matter, any SIN… The CROSS of JESUS the MESSIAH.

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TRAVELING BEYOND THE INK AND PAGE Part II

All Scripture Is God Breathed – Growing As DisciplesGrowing As ...In Part I of this teaching (here is a link to the Part I), we looked at how the Lord will illuminate the scripture for us, beyond the mere ink and page upon which it is written. We found it is important to understand passages, especially from the Old Testament in their grammatical, historical, and cultural context.

Why is this understanding so important? Because often times, well-meaning Christians and flock-fleecing false teachers and false prophets (and there are a slew of them today), not only blow by practical considerations such as context, historicity, and even grammar, but force their special “anointed” understanding on a passage. When this takes place, everybody loses.

We began looking into Exodus 30:17-21, as a means to explore what happens when we are taken beyond the ink and page the word of God is written on.

Exodus 30:17-21 (NKJV) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the LORD, they shall wash with water, lest they die. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them—to him and his descendants throughout their generations.”

To summarize what we already learned we understand the Bronze Laver was between the Tent of meeting (where they would meet with God in the Holiest Place to present the blood of the atonement upon the mercy seat (upon which the Presence of God would come to judge His people’s sin as covered) and outside the alter of burnt offering, where the rest of the offering was completely consumed.

We came to find out that the burnt offering pointed towards Christ, our completely consumed perfect sacrifice, and to us, as living sacrifices, wholly consumed for the call of Christ (Romans 12:1). If that is not beyond the ink and the page, there is still more.

While I read the passage, two questions came to mind. “Why the stipulation to wash, when going between the tabernacle of meeting and the alter? Why was it so important, that death would come should the priests not obey the command?

In the most primary sense, the priests, to whom this command directly applied, were to be in constant remembrance of three realities:

  1. The Holiness of God
  2. The necessity and holiness of the burnt offering and blood atonement
  3. Their own need to have lives that were clean before God, as they were ministering to the LORD of heaven and earth.

Let us remember that the priestly class had no land inheritance of all the tribes of Israel. This was because they were chosen by God to minister to Him on behalf of the people. He alone was their portion.

Deuteronomy 18:1-21 “The priests, the Levites—all the tribe of Levi—shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and His portion. 2 Therefore they shall have no inheritance among their brethren; the Lord is their inheritance, as He said to them.

From this passage we understand that the Levitical Priests were to be set apart for God (because of the LORD being their portion), in such a way, that even when not ministering they were sustained by His provision and presence. Their life was not their own.

Why? Because they were those who lived God’s redemption (by faith) through atonement and sacrifice, on behalf of the people. Their ministry required a different level of consecration.

It is for this reason the bronze laver was where it was located: between the two most important and sacred points of Jewish faith: the alter of sacrifice and the Holiest Place (in the Tabernacle of meeting). Hence the stipulation of washing, each time in and out; or death. But how unclean could they be from place to place, and was that really the point? Was God setting a type in place for those of us who would follow Christ, after He had completed His mission in the future?

The washing at the bronze laver was for the purpose of training them in the mind of sanctification (their need for cleansing from the blood of atonement), even when not ministering. This serious discipline was to enable them to realize sin intrusion into their lives at any time, brought risk to their relationship to God, as well as their physical life. Is it really any different for us?

This washing also tied them to the burnt offering they would sacrifice to the LORD. Let us recall that these animals needed to be clean, spotless, and blemish free. Even sacrificed inward parts were washed in a very specific way.

In like manner, the Levites were supposed to model an awareness of their need for cleansing. This desire would point toward the need of Messiah. To God Himself, the washing was no mere ritual, but an act of faith, without which their sin would not be covered, and death would come.

They were called to wash their hands and feet; a reminder that their walk of faith (feet) was to be clean as were their everyday practical life and work (hands), even outside their prescribed service.

Let us remember that the Levites are a direct foreshadowing of believers …

1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Revelation 1:5-6 To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

It is important to note that those who served in the Tent of Meeting and the alter of burnt offering, had a ministry that was time sensitive. Once their time was complete, others would continue the service. For those in Christ, our ministry for Him is all day every day. We are called to an even more intense washing from within, because the once for all Atonement has been made by Christ’s shed blood, by which He purchased us (Acts 20:28).

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV) Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Therefore, our life is not our own, not even for a second of time (I Corinthians 6:18-19).

Christ’s Atonement in His own blood is so important, as not only for the forgiveness of sins, but also for our being able to be righteous, as we submit to the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:4-14). This reality makes us able to literally be a completely consumed sacrifice, or what the burnt offering pointed to:  1) First Christ’s perfect offering of Himself 2) our being living sacrifices.

In the words of a friend, this means we are consumed by the call of God; not just a call to minister, but a call to love and a call to be clean before Him in word and deed from the world, the flesh, and the devil—a call to be wholly set apart for His purpose and use at all times.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 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;

Let me be clear. If the Levites were called to wash as a living testimony of the call of God on their lives, or die, how much more should we be taking the call to holiness and sanctification, as very serious.

Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

This washing is not a passive reception, but an active positioning, as we handle and obey His word and are cleansed by the Holy Spirit, in our submission. This takes love, obedience, and perseverance in faith (John 14:15) when we have a place of much spiritual dirt. May I say it is an all-day every day wonder in our walk.

Wow! Beyond the ink and page, we learn from Exodus 30:17-22, that God calls us to obey details. This obedience is not for salvation any more than the Levites call to obedience, but not to obey places them and us at existential risk.

The difference in obedience to the washing and renewing is that we have a full view of why. Christ’s complete once for all sacrifice and all it gained for us; but even more, His love which brought Him to the cross in the first place.

Do not bypass the dry ink on the page. Let the Holy Spirit take you in the depths and heights of His love and calling, as He leads you by the Holy Spirit.

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