Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Hebrew Month of Nisan 2012 (Part 1)

         According to the lunar-solar Hebrew calendar of modern Rabbinic Judaism, last Saturday, March 24, was the first day of the month of Nisan. Historically, this is a very important month and, coinciding with the season of spring, denotes a new beginning.

         Nisan is the first month of the festival, or ecclesiastical year.

         It is the seventh month of the civil year.

         (In an intercalary year, when there are thirteen months, it is the eighth month.)

         The name Nisan is Babylonian, and was named during the 70 year captivity in Babylon in the sixth century BC. In the Old Testament, in the Torah, this month was originally known as Abib in most Bible versions. The word Abib means, “fresh, young barley ears,” and refers to the time of the year when the barley first becomes ripe.

         Each Hebrew month begins and ends with the new moon. But because the official rabbinic calendar is predetermined, technical problems arise. The calendar is not dynamic but fixed to allow for the setting of dates decades or even centuries in advance.

         For example, the actual new moon which began the current lunar month took place in the USA on Thursday morning, March 22, at 9:38 Central Daylight Time, though the official Hebrew calendar did not start the new month of Nisan until Friday evening, March 23 (Hebrew days always begin at evening, in keeping with the account in Genesis 1:5: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day”).

         So, technically, Nisan 1 began in the USA at sunset on Thursday, March 22. You’ll have to check your own lunar cycle wherever you may live in the world to discover when Nisan 1 began in your area.

         The following list of dates includes the happenings of this time of year in relation to the days of the ancient calendar of the Hebrews. Many believe that God still honors His calendar and therefore, these days are very important. Each feast day carries prophetic overtones. The spring feasts were all fulfilled two-thousand years ago when Messiah Jesus arrived the first time, and the fall feasts will be fulfilled when He returns at some point in the near future.

         To eliminate confusion, the listed dates are according to the official rabbinic calendar.

         Regarding the month of Nisan:

         Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.” [Exodus 12:1-2]

         There are several significant events in Biblical history that took place on Nisan 1, the above passage of Scripture being one of them. God still pays close attention to His calendar, and His timing for personal events in our lives often involves calendar dates. Many of us are feeling a new spiritual beginning of some sort at this time.

         What follows is a sampling of important dates to orient us to the beginning of this new season.       

Nisan 1 / March 24, 2012 (Began at sunset on March 23):

         It was on this date that the Mishkan was set up for the first time:

         Now in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected. [Exodus 40:17]

         The nation of Israel had left Egypt after the first Passover almost one full year before this event. The people had been in the Sinai since the Exodus from Egypt, and because of their lack of faith, they denied themselves entry into the Promised Land many months before and were destined to wander in the desert a full forty years. In that time the design was revealed, and the elements needed for the tabernacle were built, including the Ark of the Covenant. It was on this date that the tabernacle in the wilderness was set up for the first time in its history.

         This is indicative of a new spiritual start and a new beginning. It is indicative of the beginning of a new ministry. Since the Great Awakening in America is on course, though in the early stages, the beginning of a new chapter is undoubtedly taking place now. We are in transition to a greater fulfilling of this process, and individual believers are sensing this in their own lives and walking it out. Many are feeling a strong tug on their hearts to get closer to the Lord, whatever that may involve.

         The next section is dedicated to two different eras: (1) The nation of Israel entering into the Promised Land for the first time thirty-nine years later, and (2) The events of Passion Week almost fifteen hundred years after that.

         The Mishkan had repeatedly been set up for ministry and taken down in various locations as the nation of Israel traveled about the Sinai. At the end of their wanderings, Israel stood at the precipice of destiny. The prophecy was about to be fulfilled. They were now on the threshold of entering the Promised Land and would soon partake of their first Passover in the new land.

         Notice the similarity of events when compared to Passion Week, to be discussed in Parts 2 and 3, when our Lord first entered Jerusalem as the officially recognized and honored Messiah. Is there any doubt that God creates new beginnings and fulfills prophecy on a specific timetable according to certain dates?

Nisan 7 / March 30, 2012 (Begins at sunset tonight on March 29):

         While the nation of Israel was camped on the eastern side of the Jordan, two spies, or scouts, were sent out by Joshua across the Jordan River to Jericho to gather intelligence for the first battle of the conquest of the Promised Land.

         Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.’”[Joshua 1:10-11]

         Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. [Joshua 2:1] [1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1 of 3] [Part 2 will be posted on April 1]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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Sound Familiar?

         For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

         Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

         For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

         And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. [Romans 1:1-32] [1]

         In these wonderful modern times of bright enlightenment and the disavowing of outdated Christian moral standards, it is good to know we have a record, almost two-thousand years old, which tells us the more things change, the more they stay the same.

         The preceding passage from Paul’s letter to the believers at Rome was most likely written in the city of Corinth in early AD 58. Writing in Corinth certainly inspired him with regard to the lack of morals in the place. Corinth was one of the most depraved cities of first century times, if not the most. Laden heavily with sexual immorality, blatant idolatry, and paganism, its sins even invaded the churches in a profound manner, causing Paul to write strong instructions in his letters to the Corinthians and serious rebukes regarding the behavior of some. Can ancient Corinth be compared to modern America? To American “Christians” in general?

         Morals are plunging fast. A complete reversal of realities has taken place. The filth of immoral idiots is broadcast all over the airwaves. Our own government has been taken over by money-hungry traitors who have essentially sold their souls to the devil for profit and prestige.

         Modern American Christianity has also sold out to the money god, and grows farther away from the teachings of the Lord as each day passes. They refuse to honor Him in heart, and restrict their praise to lip service. They also refuse the reality of the Gospel message, with all its power, strength, and light. The Book of Acts is not seen as a how-to manual, but a mere dusty history book, dead to the reality of the present.

         Christians should not bother reading the Book of Acts if they refuse to practice it.

         The real community of the Lord still has the answers and power to do anything, face anything, overcome anything, and be victorious over any foe. The hitch for most faux Christians is that it will cost—it will cost you everything. And such a price is far too high.

         It’s okay for Messiah Jesus to go to the cross. It’s okay if He is beaten almost beyond recognition. It’s okay if His blood is spilled in preaching the Gospel. It’s okay if Stephen was stoned, if Paul was stoned, if the apostles went through hell, and if foreign believers are currently being persecuted all over the world. But no one may dare to even think about telling American Christians we must possibly go through the same.

         We have a corrupt government growing more corrupt every day, and corrupt sell-out churches and ministers who exist to glorify and enrich themselves. American Christianity in general has grown just as material, controlling, and money-grubbing as the world it supposedly seeks to save.

         Despite all this, however, there is Good News. Persecution is coming to America. The real Gospel is coming forth. Real Christians are coming forth like we have not seen in a long time. A powerful, mature, unified spiritual effort in the works for decades is about to explode on the scene.

         Watch what happens. All those who refuse to obey God will be left behind in their staid, comfortable, sleepy-time, cold-hearted, controlled, regimented, disobedient, material, boring, lifeless, and snooty versions of Christianity. But all those who hear God and obey will continue to experience greater life, truth, miracle power, spiritual joy, and strength. And they will be fought against like never before. Yet, these real believers will not be stopped or denied because they are with the Lord, doing the will of the Lord, have given their whole hearts to the Lord, and will follow Him and obey His commands whatever the cost. They have not only passed through the Red Sea, they have crossed the Jordan River.

         The Great Awakening is happening.

         The following text is an excerpt from Real Christianity, written way back in the go-go 1990s and published before 9/11, before the Patriot Act, before the disastrous American foreign policy of the last decade, before the dissolution of Fourth Amendment rights, before smart phones, before the exponential rise in our surveillance society, before roughly another 20 million butchered babies in the ongoing and unchallenged slaughter of American innocents, before the crash of 2008 and the devastation of the American economy, before multi-trillions in debt, before the groping madness of the TSA, and before Christians used their right to vote to help elect the very people responsible for all of the above with no apparent remorse:

SLOW TRAIN COMING

         When was the last time you saw somebody murdered for Jesus? When was the last time somebody was dragged out of your congregation and executed? When was the last time you saw somebody whose obedience to the Lord caused him to risk his very life rather than submit to the wishes of the enemy? Too radical? Then how does one explain the killing of so many Old Testament prophets, or the violent deaths of the apostles, or the violent persecutions of the early church? Where is the violent persecution of today’s church? Where are followers of Jesus being maimed and murdered today?

         Not in America. And why? Is it because America is the land of the free and the home of the brave? Is it because Christians have such firm control of the goings-on in this country that violent, physical persecution could never take place here? Look again. The fact of the matter is that persecution campaigns will come, as a matter of course, when the church in America, like the prophets of old, reaches a pre-determined level of strength, maturity, unity, and spiritual power. It is a given. It is a law. This principle cannot be circumvented, nor should it be. The Church is not only supposed to be loving, kind, and gentle, but also able to kick the corpulent posteriors of demons and take their names. When the church in any geographic area reaches this point of maturity and commitment, the human instrumentalities of the devil will strike back in defense of their turf with violent, bloody persecution.

         The church in America has become much too timid and confused about its role in this area. Even those who claim to have prophetic ministries appear somewhat squeamish about upsetting any apple carts (or money-changers’ tables). For the most part, we go to church and are nice and mind our business. We hear the news about the moral strength of America going down the drain and shrug our collective shoulders. As a majority of the population, far too many of those who call themselves Christians in this country are still running around in diapers.

         There is, however, a group of Christians on the rise—a group that has grown weary of the toddler section, a group that has long since left the nursery to which they were assigned. A dead church structure is still an impediment, but no longer a jail. These individuals are so committed to Jesus that, like the prophet, they have overcome their fear and apathy and laid everything on the line. They have risen to such spiritual heights that they can see right through the feeble attempts and various losing methods which the business-like old guard uses in an awkward effort at ruling both Christians and Christianity.

         The community of saints which Jesus is presently raising up is not independent but fully under His authority. Its members are not nonconformists but merely mature in the Lord. They are fully committed and dedicated to His agenda. Their banner is love, their love is for truth, and their righteousness is a precious blood-bought gift. These are included in the ones who will stand in the gap, who will be hated by all nations for His name’s sake, and who will be misunderstood, reviled, and rejected by the “brethren.” As long as the great silent masses of Christians in America think they can get by without attracting violent, bodily persecution, they will likely do everything in their power to do so. But the Word of the Lord is plain concerning this Laodicean attitude. Those who are neither hot nor cold will be spewed out of the mouth of God. [2]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[2] Pages 99-100 Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Give me more darkness said the blind man,

Give me more folly said the fool,

Give me stone silence said the deaf man,

I didn’t believe Sunday School.

Take it away said the hungry man,

Although I’m starving I’ll get by.

Take it away said the thirsty man,

I’ll find a drink before I die.

I’ve got plenty of time to think of Heaven,

But right now there’s too much on my mind.

And I’ve had enough of that religious stuff

And besides I can’t relate to your kind.

© 1980 by Phil Keaggy  

A Heavenly Homeland on Planet Earth

        

         Many of us are aware of a world beyond the senses.

         In the moments we allow ourselves the time to reflect on life instead of merely living it out day by day, we often perceive something beyond mere nature—an unanswered depth—a fleeting reality that is both difficult to grasp and easy as a dream. There is something there, beyond us, and certainly beyond a cheap existence characterized by routine and the mindless pursuit of material needs.

         Yes, we must possess the material if we are to live—we must have a living—but for what purpose? I learned very early in life that working to earn a living meant survival for most people. It meant something to do to pay the bills. It rarely was something enjoyed or chosen for its own benefit. For the few who enjoy their work at earning money, as if it is not about earning money, there is a happiness and lack of anxiety that does not exist in the lives of seemingly everyone else.

         For those who make peace with their profession—not because they enjoy it as a first choice or would choose it if earning money was not the primary option—they have accepted the sacrifice of themselves for the greater good and being comfortable as a solid member of society. They have eliminated any possible criticism of failing to carry their own weight, have their financial bases more or less covered, and the resultant peace is worth the price.

         But there is another peace that cannot be found in living for this world. This is the peace many search for but often never find or have a very difficult time finding. It is a peace that arrives from without, again, in those rare moments of reflection we allow ourselves. It is the same peace a child knows in his time of innocence when he doesn’t know any better. He never considers that he will not be taken care of or protected or fed. The child simply considers it a given.

         Most people want that kind of peace. It is never really about whether or not we will work and achieve and stay busy and accomplish things and be productive. It is instead about doing something and achieving something that goes beyond this mere mortal world in which people live for a short time and then go away forever.

         When we allow ourselves such a time of thinking about bigger concepts and deeper perceptions, we are actually attempting to look into eternity.

         We are attempting to secure our place there.

         We are trying to find our way home.

         Jesus came to us and met us on our level. There is no possible way for God to meet us otherwise. We can certainly never get where He is through our own means, even though we may try through various pursuits. Real Christianity is thus characterized by God reaching out for us, whereas religion breaks down into a fruitless search for God.

         The irony of searching for truth is that one will never find it.

         But the hungry in heart are those who God sees and appreciates, and at some point He begins guiding the searcher to Himself. The one who refuses to cease from the search is the one who can be led and eventually lands at his or her destination.

         Contrary to this, most people, including most “Christians,” accept substitutes for truth or watered-down versions of the Lord’s message. It is sad when people allow their strong wills and discipline to chain them to a religious life they see as a better life than the mere mundane—a spiritual life of sorts—but one falling far short of the spiritual reality the Lord wants for us. It is sad because these people cut themselves off from the very thing they are ostensibly searching for.

         It is as if one desires a college education and a Masters Degree, but becomes so enthralled with graduating from third grade he desires to travel no further. As a seasoned nine-year-old, he compares his new life of enlightenment to his old life when he was an ignorant child of five and could not read, could not understand arithmetic, and had next to no knowledge beyond his tiny existence. He ponders the facts: A third-grader can read. A third-grader can add and subtract and multiply and divide. A third-grader is a quantum leap above the child he was a mere three or four years before.

         This is how most Christians are. They become satisfied with eating manna because it’s better than starving. They have no desire for moving on and fighting for an elusive future. They have next to no faith to allow God to take them into a Promised Land of milk and honey. They exist in a quotidian circular pattern of routine and redundancy that takes them nowhere but where they were yesterday and last year and last decade.

         They are not following God. Maybe they did. But they stopped at some point and became comfortable with a Sinai wilderness light years from the birthright and the place God tries to take them.

         You see, God is a romantic at heart. He is a traveler. He is an explorer. He loves doing new things. But when you know everything it’s no fun unless you can take others on the journey with you. It is the same as when you read a book that has a giant impact on your life. You want others to read it and enjoy it as well. You may not want to see your favorite movie again at a particular time, but would love to watch it with someone else who shows an interest. It becomes a new experience due to the possibility of someone else enjoying it as you do.

         God is like that. He loves to turn us on to stuff and take us to places we’ve never been. He loves it when we have eyes filled with wonder, when we trust Him as an innocent child, and when we expect something really cool to come our way because He loves us.

         But there is a problem. There is a guy named Snidely Whiplash whose entire goal in life is to tie us and our dreams of eternal things to railroad tracks. He strives to destroy us by first destroying our dreams and innocence. He attempts to tempt us into the bondage of sin and bad habits and hate and fear. He tries to develop within us a cynical and bitter attitude. More than anything else, he tries with all his might to distance us from God and keep us from God and stymie every effort we make toward God.

         In the end, he will make many, many more converts than the Lord Jesus ever will. He will be more successful than God in this sense. Of course, he is not so much making converts as he is enforcing the default destination of the unrepentant soul without God.

         But God doesn’t keep score by numbers. He never has. And He has made a Way toward Life for all to discover. That the majority of humanity will miss the boat is not His problem. Eternity is not for timid souls with third-grade educations. It is for those with an explorer’s heart who love adventure and risk. It is for those who are forever getting up after being cast down. It is for those who never say die.

         It God’s book, this is the definition of winning. With Him, despite pain and suffering and setbacks and reviling persecution, the one deserving of eternity is the one who never quits. Spiritual success is the mere process of rising again, and again and again and again. It is the defeat of the devil by outlasting him. It is the defeat of this world by getting the hell out of it and into the kingdom of God. It is about disciplining oneself not to stay a third-grader forever but continuing on to greater spiritual heights and adventures. It is about seeing the mountain top and vowing to get there regardless of any obstacles no matter how hellish. It is not about giving up and constructing a proxy golden calf, which is what most churches and Christian expressions have become, but continuing on, even though we may leave, like Abraham, almost everything we know on the other side of the needle.

         The search for truth is the search for eternity. Nothing can replace it. Nothing else will be accepted by the real Christian.

         “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” [Matthew 6:33] 

         The secret is following the Lord. The next time you pause to reflect, don’t just gaze at eternity for a few seconds the way you often do, but get up and walk toward it. Take the Lord by the hand and let Him take you ever closer to the Promised Land. The kingdom of God is here, now. It is the city Abraham searched for his entire life. It is the place where faith activates all things possible according to the will of God. It is the place where dreams come true.

         And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

         By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

         By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.

         By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

         By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE.

         All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. [Hebrews 11:6-16]

         Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” [Luke 17:20-21] [1]   

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

THIS MEANS WAR

         “The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His name.” [Exodus 15:3]

         The LORD will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies. [Isaiah 42:13]

         “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” [Zephaniah 3:17]

         In the above passages, the word LORD is used instead of the actual word — YHWH. The Hebrew scribes considered it sacrilegious to write down the name of God so they substituted the Hebrew word Adonai, which is translated into English as “LORD.”

         YHWH is truly a great Warrior. He is the greatest of all warriors. When He became a Man, He never stopped fighting, but actually upped the ante several million times and began to fight all the more. When the Lord Jesus arrived on this planet, He effectively declared war like He had never declared war before.

         He declared open warfare against the devil. He declared open warfare against the world constructed by unrepentant sinful mankind in league with the devil. And He declared war on sin, sinful human nature, and the binding power of sin upon humanity.

         He determined to set the captives free.

         As a result of His declaration of war, He suffered libel and slander. They said He was the fruit of a sinful liaison, that He was illegitimate, and that His blessed and pure mother had done the unthinkable.

         They said He was crazy, that He had a screw loose, and that He was missing a section of His mind.

         They said He was a common drunk because He drank wine.

         They said He was a glutton, despite His very thin frame and a forty-day fast.

         And they said He was demon-possessed, that He was filled with and controlled by filthy demonic entities who gave Him His power and spiritual standing.

         Have you suffered any of these things because of your Christian stand? When you became a real Christian, did people (mainly other “Christians”), say the same kind of things about you?

         If so, you can relate to God. You understand what spiritual war is all about. And you understand why war is necessary.

         Spiritual warfare is not to be avoided but embraced.

         The Lord began His warfare by becoming as one of us, born into the world the way all humans are. He lived a quiet life of preparation until the age of thirty. He then made a public show of Himself, coming out into the open, answering His calling, and positioning Himself for the warfare He would embrace. Though He needed no repentance, He came to John and was immersed in water as everyone else was commanded to do. He then received the infilling of the Spirit of God, as all those believers on the Day of Pentecost would later receive.

         Then He left “Egypt.” He left the world of man. He went into the wild lands alone to fight the devil. But before He fought the devil He had to defeat His flesh, not that He was sinful or would ever be sinful, but to show forth the correct example of what spiritual warfare required. One cannot fight the devil while also indulging his or her own passions. He defeated His flesh in this sense by fasting for a full forty days.

         Only two other men are listed in Scripture as having undergone a forty-day fast. This does not necessarily mean others did not do it, but only two men, Moses and Elijah, are listed. Moses did it twice. These three men were later present on the Mount of Transfiguration, representing the Law (Moses), the Prophets (Elijah), and Grace (the Lord Jesus). The other two men also had powerful anointings and were able to work miracles. But the other two men were not God.

         Defeating “the World” by leaving it and refusing to partake of its lusts is something most “Christians” never do.

         Do not love the world nor 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 and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. [1 John 2:15-17]

         Outside observers see little difference between Christians and non-Christians because there IS little difference.

         Once the Lord left “the World,” He began a back-breaking fast that would put Him in the stratosphere of spiritual power. He would fight His flesh by denying it. He was already holy and pure and always had been. But as our example, and to solidify and concentrate His spiritual power and authority, he fasted away His outer humanity.

         But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

         But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [Galatians 5:16-25]

         After defeating the world and the flesh, it was time for the Lord to go toe-to-toe with the devil himself. Through speaking forth the Word of God, he defeated Satan, answering each temptation with powerful spiritual resistance and truth. When He returned to begin His ministry, He had defeated all three enemies and had established the means through which to keep them defeated. Everywhere He went from that time on He had power OVER the world, the flesh, and the devil. And used this power to openly attack His enemies, hitting them head-on with ballistic missile after ballistic missile, giving no quarter, and destroying them at every turn.

         In the end, He even destroyed death.

         He showed us how it’s done.

         Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. [Ephesians 6:10-13]

         The fact that we are at war with very powerful spiritual forces explains everything.

         Then the Lord awoke as if from sleep, like a warrior overcome by wine. He drove His adversaries backward; He put on them an everlasting reproach. [Psalm 78:65-66] [1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Real Chosen People (Part 3)

         “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” [John 15:16]

         Most of the people who refer to themselves as some form of “Christian” choose God on their terms. But God chooses real Christians on His terms. Thus, unreal Christians create their own unholy covenant with God according to their own stipulations and provisos. It is not a real covenant, though, because God is not involved in it. He signed none of the papers. He did not agree to the terms. Such minor details do not concern the pretenders, however. They continue onward by themselves insisting God is with them. And these people preach about the Jews being stiff-necked? 

         Many “Christians” have been duped into thinking they have the power to choose Messiah Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But Christians don’t do the choosing. What they do, before they become real Christians, is have a hungry heart for truth and light. They know there must be something much more than this temporal world of sin. As a result they begin searching for that “something more.” In the process they find belief systems, gurus, false forms of Christianity, and eastern religions that look real and are quite promising. But after looking within these and practicing their tenets for a while, they continue to move on because there is no heart connection. They do not feel fulfilled. They are not satisfied. Something is missing. Knowing this, they realize they have identified yet another fake. Most people in the world are content with fakes, but real searchers of truth never allow this for themselves. They continue seeking, not knowing God is attracting them magnetically by His Spirit until they are chosen.

         For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. [1 Corinthians 1:26-29]  

         Among every pagan nation in the ancient world, each dwelling in deep darkness and rebellion, God chose one nation to represent Himself: 

         For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. [Deuteronomy 7:6-10]

         Fifteen hundred years later, the very nation He called forth to be His own rejected Him. It became the opposite of faithful. It no longer loved Him or kept His commandments. It chose to hate its own Messiah.

         “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” [Matthew 23:37-39]

         There was always a believing Remnant, however. In the first century, the Lord Jesus managed to gather together the hungry in heart and those searching for truth among His people. He chose them because of their condition of heart. With 120 people, including the remaining original eleven apostles and His own mother, He created His own community. These were people who loved and honored Him, who recognized Him for who He is, and who pledged their lives to serve, obey, and trust Him forever. They are the chosen of the Chosen.

         “Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” [Luke 9:35]

         He chose many more after Peter delivered the first message of the Qahal:

         So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. [Acts 2:41]   

         Can you hear the echo in the writings of Isaiah?

         Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. The beasts of the field will glorify Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people. The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise.

         Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob; but you have become weary of Me, O Israel. You have not brought to Me the sheep of your burnt offerings, nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, nor wearied you with incense. You have bought Me not sweet cane with money, nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices; rather you have burdened Me with your sins, You have wearied Me with your iniquities. I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance, let us argue our case together; state your cause, that you may be proved right. Your first forefather sinned, and your spokesmen have transgressed against Me. So I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary, and I will consign Jacob to the ban and Israel to revilement. [Isaiah 43:19-28]

         Was it just a coincidence that what was left of the geographic kingdom of David was utterly ruined forty years after the nation rejected their Savior? Was it coincidence that Jerusalem was razed and the Temple destroyed in 70AD?

         Prior to this, He had made a Way for His real people, whether Jew or Gentile. He established a New Covenant. For forty years He continued adding thousands of believing Israelites, creating a new spiritual nation, as He said He would do through the prophets of old:

         “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” [Jeremiah 31:31-33]

         “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” [Ezekiel 36:26-27]

         As most “Christians” reject the Lord, so did most Jews initially reject the Lord. But of those who accepted the invitation to the kingdom, Peter says:

         And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” This precious value, then, is for you who believe;

         But for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE;” for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

         But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. [1 Peter 2:4-10]

         There are only two kinds of people in the world—those who are chosen by the Lord Jesus as members of the New Covenant and those who are not. Real Christians are not only called by the Lord and chosen for His community, they are also faithful and true warriors. Non-members of the New Covenant oppose it.  

         These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the Called and Chosen and Faithful.” [Revelation 17:6-14] [1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 3]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Real Chosen People (Part 2)

         “BEHOLD, MY SERVANT WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN; MY BELOVED IN WHOM MY SOUL is WELL-PLEASED; I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT UPON HIM, AND HE SHALL PROCLAIM JUSTICE TO THE GENTILES. HE WILL NOT QUARREL, NOR CRY OUT; NOR WILL ANYONE HEAR HIS VOICE IN THE STREETS. A BATTERED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK OFF, AND A SMOLDERING WICK HE WILL NOT PUT OUT, UNTIL HE LEADS JUSTICE TO VICTORY. AND IN HIS NAME THE GENTILES WILL HOPE.” [Matthew 12:18-21]

         In these days when seemingly everyone but the devil is gaining heaven and “Christianity” is watered-down to a consistency barely above water itself, why do we think God even cares about doing any choosing? This is how far fake Christianity has traveled. There is hardly any distinction at all between so many so-called Christians and a world going to hell. And it is the touchy, thin-skinned, aggressively defensive and convicted Unchosen itself that is first to speak out strongly against any perceived judgment, however slight, regarding its perceived standing in God.

         The motto of real Christians, on the other hand, is thus:

         “Talk about me if you please, but I’ll talk about you on my knees.”

         Where in this country is there a voice that represents the real presence of God? Where is the voice that distinguishes truth from error and fake, dry, dead, boring lifeless expressions of faux Christianity from the real thing? Those who have dissolved the life-giving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will have to account for it. All those who have been deceived by their “other gospel” will rise up against them at the Judgment, not that it will matter then.

         Why does one think the people in hell will be gnashing at each other with their teeth like a pack of wild dogs? There is the clear indication that the Unchosen do not agree with their ultimate status.

         “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.

         “Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.

         “But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire.

         “Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.

         “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

         “For many are called, but few are chosen.” [Matthew 22:2-14]

         This is a perfect illustration of God’s selection process. It goes like this:

         (1) The first thing the king does is send out invitations. He makes his choices based on his own criteria. But these criteria must be based on those whom he considers His friends, relatives, and select subjects of his kingdom.

         (2) What do the invited guests do? They refuse. They ignore him. They ignore the invitation. They treat the king with supreme indifference and disrespect. They are all completely unwilling to attend the wedding feast.

         (3) Curious as to why no one wants to come after having been chosen, the king sends out another group to ask the invitees yet again, explaining how much trouble he has gone to, how much He has prepared, and how much he really wants them all to come and share in his joy. The slaves tell everyone what a great time will be had. There will be barbecued oxen and fatted livestock and a great dinner! My son is getting married and I want you all to come!

         (4) This time the invitees not only continued to reject the king but some of them actually mistreated the king’s slaves, and they even killed them! What would compel the invited guests to resort to killing the messenger boys sent out by a loving king? (“Hey Joe, check out this story in the paper. Some dude up north was throwing a wedding for his son and one idiot killed the mailman when he got his invitation.”)

         (5) The king was enraged! So He sent his army, executed the murderers, and torched their sorry city. I mean, all they had to do was politely decline. Why all the rage and murder about a simple wedding invitation?

         (6) Now the king decides He is just going to invite everyone he can find. He no longer makes any judgment whatsoever on who may be qualified to come to the wedding. Those who were qualified, by a particular standard anyway, proved themselves to be completely unworthy. He therefore sends out his slaves to invite one and all, whether good or bad. This time, he ended up with a packed house. His estate was filled to the gills with the rabble of the countryside. They must have thought themselves to be impossibly blessed. No one had ever done anything like this for them before. “Huh? You want little old nobody nothing me to go to a wedding at the king’s estate? Woo Hoo!” They all wasted no time in taking showers and getting their fancy wedding duds on, however humble, and high-tailed it to the big barbecue. The king was most happy!

         (7) But all was not perfect. You see, there was this one guy who made no acknowledgement at all of the great thing that happened to him. He didn’t consider himself fortunate and honored to be invited. He didn’t try to get cleaned-up. In fact, he had so little respect for the proceedings that he didn’t even put on a wedding garment. He just kind of wondered in off the street with no expression on his face loosely holding an invitation. The king confronted the man. He even called him his friend. But the man had no answer regarding his lack of proper attire. As a result, he was effectively thrown into hell. To close out the story, the Lord Jesus said:

         “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

There are three kinds of people in this parable:

         (A) Those who are called and chosen but do not respect the king and reject his invitation, some of whom even kill the king’s servants. By their own decisions, they revoke their called and chosen status.

         (B) Those who are called but are not chosen because they do not properly respect the king or his invitation and dress incorrectly.

         (C) Those who are called and chosen because they respect the king, honor his invitation, and dress correctly.

         The man without the wedding garment was masquerading as a real Christian. The “wedding clothes” represent the robe of righteousness. Righteousness is a gift.[1] It cannot be earned but can be accepted after one shows the proper respect and honor for the King, who made payment for sin. Those who wear the robe are those who properly repent (turn from sin), trust (turn to the Lord), and obey (do His will). To be righteous means to be cleansed of all sin by the sacrifice of the Lamb.

         I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. [Isaiah 61:10]

         The following verses give us an indication of what God requires with reference to the proper wedding clothes:

         “But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” [Revelation 3:4-6]

         “Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. [Revelation 3:14-20] [2]

            © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2]


[1] Romans 5:17

[2] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Real Chosen People (Part 1)

         Many Christians have been conditioned to believe that “The Chosen People” are the Jews, regardless of whether they honor the Lord Jesus as Messiah or not. Christians have been taught that Jews are the only people on Earth who belong to God and will forever belong to God even if they deny that Jesus is their Messiah, if they deny He died to save them from their sins, if they disparage His Name and character, if they actively fight against and oppose real Christianity, especially in Israel, and if they as individuals refuse to repent of their sins and submit to His Lordship.

         For some odd reason, Christians have been taught that the New Testament teachings do not apply to the Jewish people. Why? Simply because they are Jews? We are living in a day when Messianic Judaism is very popular and growing. The followers of Messianic Judaism honor Jesus as Messiah. They are still Jews, of course, but believe in and follow the Lord Jesus as did the Messianic Jews of the first century.

         Well then, what is a Jew? What is Judaism? Historically, after the complete destruction of what was left of the Jewish homeland in 70AD when Jerusalem was invaded and destroyed by the Romans, and when the Jewish Temple was completely razed to the ground and burned, there was only one segment of traditional Judaism that remained.

         The Sadducees ceased to exist, since there was no longer any Jewish state. The Essenes, those likely responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls, also faded away. Some Jewish nationals held out after Jerusalem was destroyed, comprising segments of the Zealot Party, but committed mass murder against one another and suicide on the heights of Masada in 74AD. There were two other large uprisings against the Romans, the largest and last of which was the Bar Kochba Revolt from 132-135AD. After their defeat, there was no longer any effective and organized Jewish resistance against the Romans. It was the end of the Zealots. The Jewish homeland was lost.

         The Pharisees, however, were the one party that lived on. They did not die out as all the other major religious parties had. They continued to exist as the sole religious representatives of the Jewish people. The Pharisees became Judaism, later known as Talmudic or Rabbinic Judaism. The same people who gave the Lord Jesus so much trouble during His ministry and fought the apostles at every turn, especially the apostle Paul, never ceased to exist. They continued teaching as they always had. They continued to deny Jesus as Messiah.

         Again, Jesus was 100% a Jew (Hebrew: Yehudi; Greek: Ioudaios), from the Tribe of Judah, and a direct descendant in the kingly line of David. Every original apostle had Hebrew ancestral roots, and so had every single member of the Community of the Lord we read about in the earliest history of His Movement as recorded in the Book of Acts. For seven to ten years after the Resurrection of the Lord, the entire Qahal of the Lord Jesus was composed entirely of Hebrew descendants, members of the nation of Israel, and of the twelve tribes. It was not until the salvation of Cornelius and his group, as recorded in Acts 10, that the apostles understood that non-Hebrew Gentiles were also to be included among the Lord’s people. Prior to that time, the Hebrew followers of Jesus had somehow assumed that only Hebrews and full proselytes to Judaism would qualify for membership.

         So here we see the first great division, especially after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, of the Israeli people. One Hebrew camp saw that Jesus was indeed their long-awaited and hoped-for Messiah. The other Hebrew camp rejected Jesus as Messiah. The camp of rejecters coalesced around the Party of the Pharisees, the lone remaining representatives of overall first century Judaism. The Pharisees have existed throughout history ever since, and continued as the sole Hebrew organized religious force against Jesus the Messiah.

         What happened to the first century Jewish believers in Jesus? After Cornelius, more and more Gentiles entered the fold of real Christianity. Indeed, the apostle Paul was called by God to be the first and foremost apostle to the non-Jewish Gentiles. Later, at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), it was decided by the Jerusalem Hebrew believers that Gentiles did not have to undergo all things Torah in order to attain official membership in the Body of Christ. As more Gentiles flooded in, ethnic differences between Hebrew and non-Hebrew believers were downplayed over time. This did not mean that Jewish followers of Jesus did not retain their Jewish identity. Such would have been tragic. These first century Jewish believers in Jesus were descended from the great Patriarchs of the distant past and represented the then-current true remnant of Israel.

         Paul, a Hebrew in very high standing, both ethnically (of the Tribe of Benjamin) and religiously (a Pharisee)[1], as well as a solid Roman citizen says this:

         “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

         “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” [Galatians 3:26-29]

         This is a very powerful statement. From this we know that strict Jewish distinctiveness no longer matters with respect to membership in the kingdom of God. Whether one can trace his or her physical lineage to Abraham is no longer an issue. One can be a descendant of Abraham whether he or she is connected by genealogy, Judaism, or Israeli national identity.

         It is not an ancestral link that makes one a seed of Abraham but a spiritual link by faith according to promise.

         The Jewish non-believers discount and reject this entire notion. To them, it destroys Jewish identity. As a result, they hated Paul with the same passion they hated the Lord Jesus (How dare these heretics dispose of our status as God’s chosen people!).

         Which brings us back to the original point: God’s chosen people are only those who honor the Lord Jesus as Messiah. Yet, even as you read this you probably cringe and think such cannot possibly be true. But it’s right there in your Bible. As is this:

         “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” [Romans 2:28-29]

         Throughout the Gospels and New Testament writings we see, then, that the “Chosen People” are those who are in Christ, who embrace the Lord Jesus as the only Messiah and Savior, whose hearts have been circumcised, who are in spiritual relationship with Him, and who submit to His full Lordship.

         Though the Hebrew people were originally chosen by God as descendants of Abraham, the majority of the Hebrew people rejected God. All one must do is pick up the Old Testament and read a few pages to find that this is true.

         There has always been a believing Hebrew remnant, however, and there were always enough who honored God to keep the ancient nation of Israel intact though diminishing. Israel split in two after Solomon’s death, the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom went into captivity and never returned, effectively ceasing to exist, and only the Southern Kingdom of Judah remained until the time of our Lord as a national entity, which was originally also comprised of the tribes of Levi and Benjamin. After its destruction by the Romans it was the end of the Jewish nation. The unbelieving and disobedient had so outnumbered the believing remnant who dutifully followed YHWH that the geographic and religio-political nation ceased to exist.

         The Community of the Lord, however, began at the same time once the Messiah was revealed. Therefore, there is no hope for those who reject Jesus and look for another. There is no other Messiah and never will be. And without Messiah Jesus, there is no salvation, because He is salvation—it is the very meaning of His Name.

         Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:8-12] [2] 

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1]


[1] Philippians 3:5-6

[2] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Remember the Alamo 2012

Image Via Wikipedia

         In the pre-dawn darkness 176 years ago this morning, the courageous defenders of the Alamo were attacked and eventually overwhelmed by thousands of Mexican troops after a thirteen-day siege.

         They knew what was coming but defended their ground. Expecting major reinforcements early on, they all came to realize with each passing day that less than sufficient support would come to San Antonio, yet they realized they still had a direct role to play in the fight for Texas independence.

         In what is considered “A Masterpiece of American Patriotism,”[1] Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis penned the following:

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World:

Fellow citizens & compatriots—I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna—I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken—I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch—The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country—Victory or Death.

William Barret Travis

Lt. Col. comdt

P.S. The Lord is on our side—When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn—We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels & got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.

Travis

         A mere fifty-five years after the battle of Yorktown in which American Patriots defeated the British and won the Revolutionary War, the battle of the Alamo is the most celebrated event of the Texas Revolution. It represented a sacrificial fight for liberty in that every defender gave his life fighting against incredible odds. Greatly outnumbered, the men fought courageously and valiantly against the forces of an arrogant little dictator whose hubris later caused him to lose a vast and rich territory to men fighting for liberty, much like those of the earlier Revolutionary War.

         The Battle of the Alamo allowed for the gathering of Texian forces to the east under the authority of Sam Houston and bought time for a final victorious battle against Santa Anna on April 21st at San Jacinto, east of Houston, where Texas independence was won and the Republic was born.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Historian Mary Deborah Petite

The Christian-Muslim Hate Fest (Part 2)

SWORDBROTHERS

         “And I say unto you, you must encourage the Zealot Party among your people to rise up against the Arab occupation. You must also arm yourselves and go forth into the world and kill all those who stand in the way of establishing this gospel of peace. War is what we must have to defeat the heretic and those who fight against my movement. It is common sense that no one will listen otherwise or get the message. Our interests are at stake throughout the world and we must defeat the pagans who will fight our cause.

         “Then we can make the necessary peace to spread the gospel. War is our friend in bringing people the good news.”

         But then a Zealot spoke up and said, “It is not in our Law to go all through the world and fight, but we must only fight for our homeland, the land God has granted to us as His chosen people.”

         “Woe to you! For you think the gospel can somehow be spread without war and murder. You think we can somehow preach the message of peace without fighting against the evil people who hate us and hate our cause!

         “Woe to you for thinking that the message of love for all others can be spread without killing those who get in our way and refuse to release their territories for our purposes! We are the ones who are right. All these others in the world are heathens and defiers of our good and honest principles.”

         “But sir,” spoke one of the disciples, “How can we love if we kill?”

         “It is a fact of life that we must kill or be killed,” he replied. “Otherwise how can we love?”

         Then the Zealot said, “Now you are even confusing me…”

         “Woe to you! For do you not know that stoning sinners is a fundamental part of the Torah? Do you not know that we must stone those who resist the way of light? How can we have a peaceable and holy community if we allow resisters to exist and fight against us? All who dissent against my holy way must be eliminated. Otherwise evil people will overrun the world and make it impossible to spread the way of peace and allow for the establishment of economic markets that benefit our people.”

         “What?!…”

         “THIS IS WHAT! Eternal war means eternal peace. Killing sinners is the way of God. Kicking people out of our fellowships who refuse to toe the mark and believe like us is the way of spiritual unity and love. Have you not heard? Love means death for all who rebel. Love means removing all those who are different. Love means blowing the hell out of anything that stands in our way. Love means transforming all people into slaves with no rights to walk as they should. This is the love of God!”

         “You know, You have convinced me,” replied the Zealot. “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! Kill the heretics! Destroy the dissenters! YEE HA!”

         American Christians in general insist that Muslims are all about murder and terror and decapitation and killing their enemies with a desire to establish an Islamic Caliphate and rule the world. While I do not disagree with this in general terms in that there is an obvious movement among Muslims for such, and while I know the evidence for Muslim hatred and persecution of Christians is equally obvious, I think many Muslims would rather distance themselves from these strict precepts and find a way to live in peace with some semblance of personal freedom. It is not so much that they want to deny their faith, it is that they want the same thing the peoples of the free world possess. They are seeing that personal liberty is good, though perceived as incombatible with the heart of Islam.

Today, all the Islamists acknowledge that the freedom enjoyed in the West is a hundred times better than in the Islamic countries. [Saudi Scholar ‘Aql Al-Bahili]

         But they also see that much of what passes for “Christianity” is hypocritical to the core.

         Real Christianity is spreading steadily in Islamic countries through a remarkable underground cell movement, but American Christians either don’t know this, do not care to know it, or resist it. It has largely been censored by our censored mainstream media.   

         We had the same attitude immediately after World War II when General Douglas MacArthur essentially begged for Christian missionaries to Japan. But Americans in general so hated the Japanese they denied them the Gospel. They didn’t want the “dirty rotten” Japanese to be saved. It was a perfect time of openness toward Christianity for Japan, which MacArthur knew. But the Japanese were denied the opportunity of the Gospel, not only by the American people, but by the American government and the vast majority of American church leaders. There is much blood on their hands as a result.

         Of course, if America wants to do the same thing the purveyors of an Islamic Empire want to do, such as invade sovereign nations militarily,  set up puppet leaders, kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians (like the elderly, the women, the children, and the babies that made up most of the 120,000 Japanese killed immediately by the two atomic bombs dropped on their country), then it is a different story. The overseas Islamic enemy is seen by most American Christians not as potential partakers of the Gospel, but as evil ragheads bent toward our destruction who should be eliminated.  

         There are many fewer Christians in Iraq now than there were before the Iraq War, for example. The US war with Iraq did not make the country safe for democracy, and certainly not for Christianity. Instead, it created a much worse situation for Christians there and decimated the Christian population, many of whom have fled the country and continue leaving as they are able. Iraqi Christians had more numbers and freedom under Saddam Hussein. Yet, the United States is now on board to attack Iran in the not too distant future and continues to support the possibility of Israel using nuclear weapons against Iran if “forced to.”

         Suffice it to say, there will be many war-first American Christians at the Judgment seat of Christ with a lot of explaining to do. And for all those who insist that loving our enemies is a wimpy attitute, these must also believe that the Son of God was the greatest wimp of all time.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2 of 2]

The Christian-Muslim Hate Fest (Part 1)

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

         The rhetoric against Islam has been growing louder recently. Some of our guys burned some Korans by mistake, apparently, and the usual ultra-overreaction among Muslims has transpired. (But it’s okay for Muslims to burn Bibles.)        

         Every time this happens it reminds me of what Jewish non-believers did in reaction to the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. There were so many incidents in which those Jewish non-believers went stark raving crazy and instantly wanted to kill and maim and butcher and slander and what have you. They eventually had their way against the Lord. They were responsible for killing many followers of Jesus in those early days. The Gospels and Book of Acts are filled with such incidents. The Lord called the ringleaders children of the devil, and He meant that literally.

         Of course, what has often been lost in the conversation is the fact that our Lord Jesus had a perfect Jewish ancestral pedigree, as did all the apostles and every single member of the early community of saints. I remember the humorous anecdote of a friend after his Bible study. He overheard the conversation of two ladies brand new to the preceding knowledge:

“How could Jesus be a Jew when His mother was such a good Catholic?”

         They were all Jews (Yes, including Mary). The Lord’s community was a purely Jewish movement then; there were no Gentile converts to the Way of the Lord for about seven to ten years after the Resurrection. Claims of anti-Semitism against the Jewish religious idiots who were responsible for all the carnage are therefore completely disingenuous. The greatest obstacle and problem the apostle Paul ever had, of course, were not Roman government authorities or crazy Goyim, but unbelieving Jews who considered followers of the Lord the vilest creatures on the planet.

         This is how many Americans view Muslims. They see them as vile perpetrators of an evil false religion responsible for the deaths and mutilations of thousands. I am certainly not here to defend Islam. Islam in general hates Christianity. It hates Christians. One may not see this underlying hate until something is done to bring it to the surface. The guy in Florida threatens to continue burning Korans as a way to bring attention to the plight of persecuted formerly Muslim Christians in Iran and elsewhere. Conversion to Christianity is anathema to Muslims and those who are doing it are paying dearly. We in the West have concentrated our efforts in this area on the Iranian Christian leader, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, a former Muslim who remains under a death sentence for converting to Christianity. But there are a great many Muslims who have decided to follow Jesus, certainly in the hundreds of thousands and most likely more.

         Rather than attack Islam, I think the better thing to do is shine a light on Christianity. Most “Christians” are not real Christians, and this is why a mere cultural war between these two religions will go nowhere and never has. Real Christianity transforms hearts. Real Christianity is a wholesale turning away from all that opposes the Lord. It is a one hundred percent embracing of Him, all He stands for, and all He teaches. When the early converts actually obeyed the Lord Jesus regarding their conversions and discipleship, incredible things happened. The Book of Acts happened. Miracles happened. They were filled with the actual Spirit of the Lord Jesus and began doing what He did.

         Most Christians do not do this. Most Christians do not want to do this. Rather, they find a way not to do it. They find a way to make fun of it, and discount it, and reject it.

         The Koran contains many passages about killing infidels and etc. But at least the strict practitioners of Islam actually do what the Koran commands them to do. Can Christians say the same? Do Christians really believe and practice what the Bible teaches?

         Of course not. If all Christians did, the effort against Islam would not be fought with weapons of war and hateful rhetoric. This obviously does not mean we should not defend our country! It does not mean we should not fight for freedom. But the Lord stated very clearly that the highest form of freedom is spiritual freedom. He also taught us that we should fight for the liberty of whosover wants it, in that the kingdom of our Lord Jesus is for everyone, regardless of nationality. If we practiced real Christianity, we would not see Muslims as evil incarnate. We would see them the way the Lord sees them, the way He sees us, as those in need of life. That’s what the preaching of the Gospel is supposed to be about, right? Go into all the world and make disciples? Preach about the Lord and the way of salvation for all?

         This is exactly what is happening in Muslim countries. Pastor Youcef found salvation after his family was witnessed to by former Muslims who had found the Lord, after they had been witnessed to, etc. Indigenous Christian ministers fighting an underground spiritual war in Iran and the Muslim world are not fighting against Islam; they are fighting against the same forces all real Christians fight against.

         But unreal Christians fight in the natural. Rather than love our enemies, as the Lord directly commanded, and which results in salvation for our enemies, false Christians spew hate and wish violence against Muslims for their hateful and often murderous ways.

         What self-respecting Christian would ever even think of sharing heaven with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

         I seem to recall something in Scripture about a certain future apostle who hated Christians and wanted to kill them all. What ever happened to that guy?

         Have we forgotten what the Lord Jesus said as He hung in excruciating pain and abject misery on the cross?

         “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” [Luke 23:34]

         Have we forgotten what Stephen said as big jagged rocks hurled like baseballs were tearing his flesh and shattering his bones?

         “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” [Acts 7:60]

         Ask yourself what it was that had so incensed the murderers of our Lord Jesus and Stephen. Ask yourself what Pastor Youcef thinks about Muslims even as he sits in jail, separated from his family, with a death sentence hanging over his head. Is he possibly embarrassed by the activity and beliefs of faux Christians who act not from love but hate?

         The more fake Christians shine a light on the unchristian dictates of Islam, the more God will shine a light on the unchristian dictates of fake Christianity.

         And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

         He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” [Mark 7:6-9] [1]

         The tradition of the unrepentant Jews was in part a murderous tradition. How is it any different from the murderous traditions of unrepentant Muslims and Christians?

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1 of 2]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.