Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Partial Bliss of Ignorance

         Everyone acts upon what they know. People generally make choices based on an illusion of complete knowledge. Until one learns something new they act as if they know everything, or at least everything they need to know about a given subject.

         Few people consider the fact that their current choices and actions are based not on a pure perspective, but on incomplete knowledge. The decisions we all make at any given time are therefore almost always suspect.

         Our choices are imperfect but we don’t see this at the time.

         Accordingly, our lives are built on incomplete data. How can such a structure make for a strong and secure foundation? The reason hindsight is always 20-20 is because foresight almost never is, though we often think it is at the time of decision making.

         How many times must we say, “If only I had known…”

         Consequently, it is usually the case that people make choices based more on what they want, even though they may attempt to make a studied and informed decision.

         This means, of course, that it is desire that drives us. Such choices based on personal desire are relatively easy and simple. Of such are the choices of a child, including children of the adult variety.

         But how can we possibly choose by including information we do not have? And how do we know we do not have it? What if we discover something the day after our decision is made that would otherwise affect our choice? (“Well, if I knew that, I never would have done what I did…”)

         In time, some people get wiser. They don’t want to get burned again. They do not want to have to deal with the consequences of what turned out to be a stupid choice. So they become more careful. They learn about possible pitfalls. They develop a feel that goes into the mix of the decision-making process. Sometimes the feelings are based on truth.

         But more often than not, these feelings are based on fear:

         “The last time I went into the surf I stepped on a stingray/got nicked by a shark/got sucked into an undertow/got all stung-up by jellyfish.”

         Yet, sometimes a person decides to never step foot in the ocean due only to perceived fears, no doubt based on someone’s fear-based advice. Until he eliminates such fear, his choices will always be suspect.

         And he will never enjoy the thrill of the surf.

         Though making correct choices must be learned empirically through experience, we cannot allow perceived judgments to cloud the outcome. We cannot treat a new circumstance exactly as the old circumstance, because conditions are always different.

         This is why life is not formulaic—it is because God is not formulaic.

         Therefore, sinful man apart from God always tries to create a safe world and eliminate all risk. This is not living by faith, and as such can in no way be pleasing to God.

         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. [Hebrews 11:6]

         The more one attempts to eliminate risk, be ready for any bad scenario, have an answer for anything life may throw one’s way, cover all the bases, and prepare in detail for all things possible, the more one will actually open the door for disaster. If one feels he is covered no matter what may happen, one will unconsciously let one’s guard down, relax in a false security, and eventually get creamed with catastrophe.

         Why? It is obvious that such a person not only prepares for disaster but expects it, or else he would not put so much effort in the preparation. He is not preparing to avoid disaster or eliminate it, but building a supposed safety net to deal with it when it happens.

         He does not know the future but is convinced he must make a wise investment in covering himself. But his assessment of possible bad scenarios is very limited and full of holes. It is impossible to prepare for anything. “Anything” is way too large. Inevitably, one will take a hit where he neglected to cover himself with armor, in that the chink in his armor was previously unknown until his opponent’s sword found it.

         Living by faith in the Lord Jesus, however, actually does cover one from any possible scenario. The difference is that one has no knowledge of the future but God does, and by faith, one trusts God for his protection.

         It is the only possible way to live a secure and peaceful life.

         Otherwise, one will trust in one’s ability, one’s money, one’s ability to earn money, in insurance of every possible kind, false doctrines and teachings that appear sound, and anything and everything except the Lord Jesus.

         Following the Lord does not mean everything will be perfect, though. It is sometimes the will of God that we endure tests, trials, adversity, and persecution. I mean, we are in a spiritual war, right?

         But we know by faith that the Lord will see us through the storm, and we can have the peace that passes all understanding in the midst of storms.  

         On the other hand, the illusion of complete knowledge apart from God is highly deceiving, and creates the very opposite of what one intended. The false sense of security that arises is the very thing that destroys one’s life.

         “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” [Mark 8:35]

         It is a scary thing to reject God and choose to be one’s own boss apart from God, or follow another. It matters not how sensible one’s choices may be. It boils down to acts of pure pride, defiance, and rebellion. No faith equals spiritual death regardless of how many bases appear to be covered or sources accessed to make wise decisions.

         Not only that, but having no love for the truth of God’s Word will actually blind a person regarding it. The rejecting of living by pure faith and loving the Truth opens the doors of deception, and this deception will even come from the Lord Himself:

         For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. [2 Thessalonians 2:7-12]

         It is said that ignorance is bliss. This is true in part, in that a lack of knowledge promotes a false security.

         But real bliss arises from pure faith in the Lord Jesus and obedience toward Him. It is the only way to cover all the bases. It is the cure for ignorance and blindness.

         And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”

         Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”

         Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” [John 9:39-41] [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 Deceived Majority (Part 3)

         Our news is heavily censored. The mainstream media does not tell the whole story. It only tells part of the story. It has preset limits. It will not report anything regarding the real intentions and purposes of the power elite. Hence, the American citizenry have been conditioned to fight against the very thing they need.

         Instead of standing up for freedom, justice, truth, and the American way, the majority of the country stands up for the bondage, injustice, lies, and the un-American ways of the financial big boys running the world.

         Americans have been deceived into shooting themselves and one another while the bank robbers make their getaway.

         Why do you think we are currently in such a bad economic downturn? Indications are that there is no recovery in sight. Yet the government keeps doing everything it has ever done and more. We keep spending like there’s no tomorrow. We keep fighting wars we cannot win. Iraq turned into a disaster. The original goals were never met. Washington DC keeps raiding the pockets of Americans doing things that do nothing substantial for Americans. In fact, our money is being used against us, yet we still go along with the program. This is sheer lunacy. Americans are acting as if they are certifiably insane. All the signs are there that America is insane. We keep doing the same thing election after election hoping for a different result and nothing material ever changes for the better. The new boss is the same as the old boss. We keep electing their choices instead of ours.

         But America is not insane. America is deceived.

         I had high hopes for the 2012 elections. But the overall Tea Party Movement had already been co-opted and watered-down since the 2010 elections. It was the one force within the Republican Party demanding real change for the better but has currently collapsed into mediocrity in supporting globalist, establishment candidates. The majority of Christian “evangelicals” in this country also support the establishment choices. Go figure. American voters continue to choose candidates who promise the moon and but give us a different kind of moon. It’s happening all over again.

         The Tea Party Movement now sees very clearly that it has supported the wrong candidates. Newt Gingrich has gone south regardless of the Sarah Palin endorsement and the mega-millions of his Las Vegas casino supporter. Evangelicals threw their votes away as usual, the majority on the goofy and duplicitous Rick Santorum. And last and least, Mitt Romney, the bought and paid for rich guy of the mega rich, has actually garnered much Tea Party support, though he is about as Tea Party as the president.

         The Tea Party higher-ups blew it. They rejected the only Tea Party candidate in the race. They are starting to understand that they messed up big time, that they missed their moment in the sun, and that they handed the race to the very people they claim to be against. Mitt Romney is the chosen candidate of the economic elites who are destroying America. Tea Party people, Christian Evangelicals, and Catholics are supporting Romney in large numbers. As time goes on they will see what stunning dunderheads they were.

         There was a freedom uprising in the making after the Ron Paul Revolution of 2007-2008, the Tea Party breakout in early 2009, and the high point during the 2010 elections, but it has gone soft again. Some of the elected Tea Party candidates have proven to be disingenuous pretenders. We’ve been made to believe that the likes of the president, Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich are the only possible saviors of the nation, and the latter three are even being portrayed as pro-Tea Party, which is just dumb.

         Ron Paul remains THE ONLY Tea Party game-changing presidential candidate, and was so even among the full field of Republican aspirants.  

         Most do not study the policies and background of presidential hopefuls. Most do not care about their real views. Most Americans only care about surface stuff and personalities and sound bites and emotional rhetoric and political theater. The American electorate appears as a high school kid dreaming about a certain girl but never having the gumption to ask her out. Instead, he chooses someone easy and unchallenging—the crooked rooker and vain rhetorician—the pretender and the pretty boy—the mnemonic mime and crowd pleasing good old boy—the pseudo-evangelical and the believer in moron angels—a bunch of safe status quo Lego-equipped plug-ins, but no real game changers. Real change for the better can happen, there is no doubt about that, but voters keep choosing the “safe” route. Americans keep choosing mediocre snake-oil salesmen and double-agent politicians instead of truth-telling statesmen.

         Like the ten wimpy spies in the Sinai wilderness who chickened-out on facing giants and fighting for the Promised Land, the Deceived Majority has forced the real American Patriots to continue trudging around the desert instead of fighting for and gaining the prize. You know what happened next after the spies turned in their report. God was on fire with anger, upset by their lack of faith, courage, and refusal to man-up. (See my article, Fighting For the Promised Land.)

         This is what America is now facing. As Billy Graham said at the first Clinton inaugural in 1993, we have sown to the wind and reaped the whirlwind.

          The solution remains right in front of us. All we have to do is just do it.

         JUST DO IT.

         We must fix our country. We the People are the boss, not the hell-bound elites in power. We are being murdered in slow motion. Americans feel this effect and the pain associated thereof but continue to put up with it. We know something is very wrong but most are unaware of what is actually causing it or what to do about it. Who are the murderers of America?

         There is only one presidential candidate who consistently sticks to his views whether it hurts or helps him politically. He does not have the “lying politician gene” possessed by most office holders that they use to shade truth and protect themselves. He is not a politician. He is not telling you what you want to hear. He is telling you the truth. He is an American statesman. The others are political inserts. They are backed by very powerful people and interests.

         Ron Paul is backed by the people, and many of those are young adults. These young ones know what is going on. They are much smarter, more knowledgeable, and more aware than older Americans because they’ve only consumed relatively small amounts of the government and media-sponsored “believe what we tell you to” kool aid. These young patriotic critical thinkers are the hope of America and will eventually make the difference. They are supporting Ron Paul in ever-growing numbers with much passion. They are supporting their future dreams and American freedom.     

         With regard to the 2012 presidential election, freedom can still make it to the oval office this year, at least in some form, even though the fix is already in and the majority continues voting for the wrong people. (See my article, You’re Being Scammed.)

         But because real change is afoot, the young will right our course in due time, whether this year or later. The demographics are very clear: Older Americans are choosing Romney. Gingrich and Santorum land in the upper middle, and much of Ron Paul’s support is from the young. It is without doubt generational. The Freedom Movement will continue to advance. The truth will keep coming forth. God will bring forth those who will make the difference. Whoever is elected in 2012 other than Ron Paul will have the power to drive the final nail in the coffin of this country and will certainly try, but the opposite will happen. It will again be sad to see an election opportunity go down the drain, but it will serve as an ultra-serious wake-up call.

         Regarding deceived and wimpy majorities, only about one third of the American colonists supported the Revolution. Yet, this one third, a decided and very clear minority, defeated the greatest power on the planet with almost 70% of their own countrymen opposing them. How you like them odds? Remind you of a little guy named Gideon?       

         Real American Patriots are fighting back, not as a bunch of law-breaking rebels and senseless street rioters, but in the spirit of 1776 when the enemy was just as powerful and just as entrenched. Our founders knew the only way to be successful was through full commitment. They did not look back. They did not back down. They did not consider what losing would entail. It was all or nothing. They refused to quit. Americans did the impossible then, and Americans will do it again.

         God is on our side. The arrogant big boys are going down.

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

The Deceived Majority (Part 2)

         How do we know we have been sold down the river by a bunch of lying greedy traitors? Here’s one little reason: [US Debt Clock]

         Now, take the Debt Clock and imagine a Sin Clock. Sin has been rising exponentially for a while now and will soon hit epic proportions. As a case in point, it was intriguing to me when I first read the Old Testament passage many years ago regarding the collective cultural sin of the Amorites:

         “Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” [Genesis 15:16]

         The entire culture of certain Canaanite tribes was based on the most vile and disgusting sins. Yet, the Lord would say something to the effect, “Hold on, their sin has not yet reached its fullness. When it does I will judge them.” Or in other words, “I’ll exterminate ‘em and get their sorry filthy demonic hides off My planet.”

         But until their sin was full, there was always a chance of repentance. Once their cultural sin reached its zenith, however, there was no longer any chance for redemption. At that point, their minds and hearts had become totally depraved and they were hooked on sin 100% with no turning back.

         Will America ever reach such a point? One must do some gauging. One must compare the total national sin of today with the total national sin of fifty years ago and a hundred years ago. There has always been sin, but there has never been a time of such national sin and depravity as there is right now. Never.  

         We allow babies to be ripped apart piece by piece from the womb and it’s not a crime. The majority of the nation, THE MAJORITY, engages in every form of sexual sin known to man and most of it is not only not a crime, it’s not even considered immoral.

         Do we realize that the vast majority of Americans insist they are Christians? And do we understand that logically, it means all these “Christians” are the ones committing all these sins? Why do we think God is somehow okay with this? Who has been lying to the American people? Who is responsible for not bringing the necessary strong rebuke to get people back on track?

         Could it possibly be American “Christians” and “Christian” ministers of all denominations who have made friends with the world, with money, with fleshly pleasures, and with pride and prestige? Ya think? Could it be that most preachers talk a great game but deliver a bunch of shallow soup devoid of the sin-convicting and life-changing pure Word of God that the Lord Jesus delivered? Do we have pansies in the pulpit who may appear as strong and anointed messengers of God but are actually spiritually neutered generic pablum-producers that affect no real change of heart? Judging by the state of the country and American Christianity, this must be the case.

         The majority has turned its back on God.    

         Yet, people can believe any garbage they want to believe. Not only is this American, it’s the will of God, in that the Lord has granted to all the authority to choose. He encourages people to choose. He also encourages us to choose right, but He will never force our will.

         Do you realize what such portends for humanity? Do you know what is therefore really going on? It’s all part of a grand test. God wants to see who will be worthy. He gives us all a free will. He allows for temptation. Who will fall? Who will resist? Who will live for God? Who will do their best to get it right and try to live according to His revealed will and Word? Who will have the courage to continually overcome and fight back against evil?

         NOT THE MAJORITY. Except for possible brief moments, the Majority is almost always wrong, spiritually speaking. Always. In other words, if you want to run with the pack the odds are great you will lose your soul.

         Human life on this planet is therefore, in general terms, a Sinai desert experience:

         “All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your forefathers. You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

         “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.

         “Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.

         “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

         “He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.

         “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. It shall come about if you ever forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the LORD your God.” [Deuteronomy 8:1-20]

         Our Lord Jesus stated very clearly that only few will make it. Only a small minority will make it into the kingdom. Only a small minority will make it into heaven. Out of multiple thousands of those who followed the Lord during His ministry, only 120 made it to the Upper Room.

         “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [Matthew 7:13-14] [1]

         Since this is the case, it logically follows that if one is to do the right thing, live for God, and successfully resist sin and temptation, one must TRY. One must put forth EFFORT. One must often put forth FULL EFFORT. One must overcome the rip tide of sin and rebellion and the strong tug of temptation. The grace of God is free, but the powerful forces of evil are always around, probing, tempting, compelling, and willing to deal.

         The majority falls for the devil’s lies every time. The majority is deceived and does not even know it.

         So what’s the solution? It’s the same as it’s always been. The miracle of America is that it was formerly a place where enough people were living for God and desired His authority that the entire country was on the right track. Real Christians were still a distinct minority on the planet, but many were concentrated on our shores.

         But as Christian morals and real faith in God has diminished, so has the state of the country. The only solution is turning back to God.

         And you know what? It’s actually happening…

           © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2 of 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 Deceived Majority (Part 1)

         On January 7 of this year, I posted an article entitled, You’re Being Scammed. I highly recommend you check it out, both for content and the clear prediction made three and a half months ago. You can read it here.

         I also wrote a three part series called, Duping the Majority: A Foolproof Method of Success. These were posted on January 26, 27, and 29: Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

         The following are related articles:

         Fight the Good Fight of Faith

         When You Gonna Wake Up?

         WE’RE WINNING (Quit Listening to Liars)

         The point of these articles in part was to prove that the majority of people are somewhat lazy and willingly uninformed. In the case of what has happened to America, it’s because the majority of American voters are often lazy and stupid. At least, this is exactly what political pundit and former Clinton campaign manager James Carville once stated about Democrats. You can find his long quote regarding this in the fourth of the seven preceding articles.

         It always amazes me how shallow, forgetful, and deceived people are when selecting their President. We go through this every four years. And every four years, the campaign managers and major financial backers almost always succeed in duping the electorate.

         It’s pretty much the same every election. The big boys plan it all years in advance, groom their candidate boys for a decade or two, and then spring ‘em on us like a fresh new wind, all tidy and clean with bright shining smiles and full of inspiring rhetoric.

         And almost every single one of them is lying through his teeth.

         Nixon was a case in point. He was one of the greatest politicians that ever lived, and craftily played both sides of the street with ease. He would think one thing and say another in such a way that America was pretty much fooled every time, going way back to his Vice President days with Eisenhower. He was generally conservative in his early political career in the late 1940’s and early 50’s, but became the left’s point man within the Eisenhower Administration. He acted the anti-Communist but was actually double dealing. The history is there if you want to research it.

         Then the country unbelievably elected him President twice, the second time by trouncing the Democrat McGovern in 1972. What the majority has never figured out was that Nixon was a liberal wearing conservative clothing. His rhetoric and his record were two different things. (Sound familiar?) The majority of voters, however, never bother trying to match the two, being interested only in speechifying and promises.

         Thus, presidential elections rarely matter. The majority never pays attention to a politician’s real record. The majority is only concerned with the shallowest of surface perspectives. Continually electing the people we keep electing borders on insanity. But it never stops.

         There have always been chosen ones. But on the other hand, the big boys have controlled both parties and both major party candidates for the better part of the last 100 years. If one does not believe this, then one simply does not have the knowledge. What one probably has instead is the residue of lies and deceit stuck fast in one’s brain, and the propaganda masters smile and grin and laugh and even cackle at how easy it is to fool the public.

         And it is. It is very easy. All one has to do to be successful is deceive the majority.

         Parts 2 and 3 will delve further into this topic and also bring the pivotal 2012 election into play. Stay tuned.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1 of 3]

How To Stir Up Religious Spirits (And Start a Raging Persecution Fire)

The Death of Stephen by Gustave Doré

The Death of Stephen by Gustave Doré (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         Way to go, Stephen. Now look what you did!

         If only you would have left well enough alone. Why couldn’t you just find a nice little church somewhere and behave yourself? Why couldn’t you just sit down and shut up? Why couldn’t you just keep your crazy opinions to yourself? Didn’t you know this would happen? Didn’t you know those nice people would go crazy when you confronted them with the truth? Now they’re coming after all of us!

         The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

         And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.

         Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council. They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.”

         And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.

         The high priest said, “Are these things so?”

         And he said, “Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME INTO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.’ Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living. But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM.

         “But God spoke to this effect, that his DESCENDANTS WOULD BE ALIENS IN A FOREIGN LAND, AND THAT THEY WOULD BE ENSLAVED AND MISTREATED FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS. AND WHATEVER NATION TO WHICH THEY WILL BE IN BONDAGE I MYSELF WILL JUDGE,’ said God, ‘AND AFTER THAT THEY WILL COME OUT AND SERVE ME IN THIS PLACE.’

         “And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him, and rescued him from all his afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his household.

         “Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction with it, and our fathers could find no food. But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. On the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family was disclosed to Pharaoh. Then Joseph sent word and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all.

         “And Jacob went down to Egypt and there he and our fathers died. From there they were removed to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, until THERE AROSE ANOTHER KING OVER EGYPT WHO KNEW NOTHING ABOUT JOSEPH. It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race and mistreated our fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive.

         “It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father’s home. And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and nurtured him as her own son. Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand.

         “On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?’ But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND JUDGE OVER US? YOU DO NOT MEAN TO KILL ME AS YOU KILLED THE EGYPTIAN YESTERDAY, DO YOU?’ At this remark, MOSES FLED AND BECAME AN ALIEN IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, where he became the father of two sons.

         “After forty years had passed, AN ANGEL APPEARED TO HIM IN THE WILDERNESS OF MOUNT Sinai, IN THE FLAME OF A BURNING THORN BUSH. When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: ‘I AM THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC AND JACOB.’ Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. BUT THE LORD SAID TO HIM, ‘TAKE OFF THE SANDALS FROM YOUR FEET, FOR THE PLACE ON WHICH YOU ARE STANDING IS HOLY GROUND. I HAVE CERTAINLY SEEN THE OPPRESSION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT AND HAVE HEARD THEIR GROANS, AND I HAVE COME DOWN TO RESCUE THEM; COME NOW, AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT.’

         “This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ‘WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND A JUDGE?’ is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.’ This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you.

         “Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, SAYING TO AARON, ‘MAKE FOR US GODS WHO WILL GO BEFORE US; FOR THIS MOSES WHO LED US OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT—WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM.’

         “At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL? YOU ALSO TOOK ALONG THE TABERNACLE OF MOLOCH AND THE STAR OF THE GOD ROMPHA, THE IMAGES WHICH YOU MADE TO WORSHIP. I ALSO WILL REMOVE YOU BEYOND BABYLON.’

         “Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen. And having received it in their turn, our fathers brought it in with Joshua upon dispossessing the nations whom God drove out before our fathers, until the time of David. David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for Him.

         “However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: ‘HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?’ says the Lord, ‘OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE? WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?’

         “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”

         Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him.

         But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

         But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said,

         “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit! Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.

         Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison. [Acts 6:7-8:4][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.

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!) Part 2

        The fortifications of hell include the fortresses of false mindsets and lies that keep people in prison. Many are deceived by false ideas that become strongholds. These strongholds must be marched on, attacked, overwhelmed in battle, and destroyed to set people free. This can only be accomplished through spiritual means. The apostle Paul continued his narrative to the Corinthians as follows:

         We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. [2 Corinthians 10:5-6]

         We can plainly see that Paul is speaking of false ideas that make up a false mindset or even a false religion, and that such things must be destroyed. Speculations (“Imaginations” in the KJV) comes from the Greek word logismos. It means, “a reckoning or reasoning” actually hostile to faith in the Lord Jesus, as with the self-explanatory lofty thing. Part of the apostle’s mission is taking every thought captive, to imprison every false idea, to destroy every false argument, and to punish all disobedience.

         The point is to subject all thinking to Messiah. The mind of Christ is pure and correct. The minds of His disciples must be as well. His code is perfect. His teachings are complete and pure. However, because false ideas and lies masquerade as truth and people are brought under their power through deception, a war scenario fits perfectly. The Lord, for example, destroyed the devil’s arguments during His temptation in the wilderness by effectively using the Word of God. The devil was using the Word as well, but had deceptively corrupted it. He had amended it to include lies and a false application. He built strongholds into it.

         This is what corrupt ministers do as well. They adulterate the pure Word of God. They do not teach or live out the pure Word as the Lord Jesus and the apostles did. We have a written record of the Lord’s teachings and actions, as well as those of the apostles and first-century Church. It is not that difficult to make comparisons between then and now. When the Lord spoke the Word, lies were exposed and strongholds came down. The real Word of God is completely pure and very, very powerful:

         For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. [Hebrews 4:12]

         The mature believer is able to minister the Word of God properly in the tearing down of strongholds. The Word can penetrate not only thought processes but also intentions. The apostle Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit, as were all the original early believers. It was not possible to spread the Gospel as far as they did and as fast as they did without the ability to war in the spirit in this way. By the power of God, and with the Lord working with them, everything within and among the enemy’s camp was revealed.

         It is obvious that many people refused to relinquish their revealed falsehoods, however. Instead, being incensed, they would turn the spiritual battle into a purely physical event and beat or even murder the believers. By doing this, they reinforced their false belief systems and actually strengthened their road to hell.

         Yet, those who subjected all their thoughts and ideas to God were made aware of their deception and strongholds. By an act of their will, they allowed the Light of God to shine upon and within them and it exposed their darkness. Their darkness was consequently chased away and they were cleansed. Without the Light of God, they were unaware of the false concepts and ideas implanted in their minds.

         However, they allowed the Word of God to be spoken. They listened, they heard, they believed, and they embraced truth, confessing their salvation. This process can be summed up in the following verse:

         So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. [Romans 10:17]

         People who have not subjected themselves fully to the authority of the Lord Jesus have residing within themselves impure codes of living, false concepts, and lies masquerading as truth. These things are truly very strong fortresses. There are so many false belief systems in the world it is a wonder the planet is not even darker.

         The devil has formulated lies and darkness into what appears to the deceived as truth.

         It is only the Word of God that is able to cut to the heart of such false ideas. As warriors attacking a strong military fortress, real believers must continue to fight against all untruths, giving no quarter, and checking every section until all is secure. The deceived will be set free in no other way, and that, of course, includes all of us.

         “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” [John 8:36] [1]  

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

STRONGHOLDS (Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!) Part 1

        Truth can be very offensive. People formulate their perception of the world by the choices they make or those made for them.

         The New Testament talks about the concept of strongholds, and this concept is seldom more applicable than when it involves a person’s understanding of truth. Everyone has a code to live by, but of course, not every code is good. Of codes that do appear to be good, most are not pure. If an individual lives according to an impure code, the flaws within the code will eventually appear as flaws within his life.

         Unreal Christianity is loaded with such flaws. To quote from my book:

WHERE HAVE ALL THE TEACHERS GONE? (LONG TIME MISSING)

         Much church teaching is about things other than the pure Word of God. It involves specialized doctrine which is often in opposition to that of other churches and even Holy Writ, and is designed for gaining control and unity within a congregation. Such schooling will never result in the necessary graduation rates of spiritually mature believers required to fulfill our commission.

         The task of the New Testament teacher is to impart that which the written Word of God contains. He does not pick and choose. He shows no partiality toward certain scriptures. The Lord did not place him in the body to express denominational slants or biased doctrinal positions based on improper understandings or traditional outlooks. Since it is obvious that Christianity is still filled to the gills with doctrinal error and silly statutes, it is evident that real teachers are not wanted at the party. Anytime God sends a person to divide truth from error, he or she usually gets run off or becomes an MIA. Truth becomes the victim and error is protected, just as it happened with the Lord and Barabbas. [1]

         Some flaws are obvious. Most flaws are not. Anyone can be deceived or can deceive himself into living according to a flawed code, and thus not be aware of the inherent impurity. Yet, even if one becomes aware of a flaw within his personal or Christian code, it is often discounted or dismissed.

         This could be due to cultural influence or familial allegiance. It could even be due to personal stubbornness, since many people will hold fast to false concepts or wrongheaded ideas after such things are pointed out, usually because such a thing is perceived as an attack on their character or intelligence.

         Sometimes people might think or even know something within their code is wrong, but have no respect for the person or belief system that reveals it. Whatever the case might be, a mental or spiritual stronghold within an individual that is in opposition to truth is a detriment to said individual by limiting his freedom and clouding his understanding.

         What follows is the one New Testament passage that reveals this truth. Since so many believers have been taught from the King James Version or derivatives, and since it is from the KJV that the word stronghold was initially derived, I will list it first, followed by the same passage from the NASV, and from which all other passages in this article are taken:

         For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)…           [2 Corinthians 10:3-4 KJV]

         For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.     [2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NASV]

         In modern English, the words strong holds become fortresses. These are from the Greek word ochuroma, which appears only once in the NT and derives from a root that means, “To fortify, through the idea of holding safely.” It is defined in the physical as a castle, a stronghold, or a fortress—hence, a strong military fortification.

         However, in the sense that Paul uses, it is (1) anything on which one relies (1a) of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavors to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent.[2] In the Scriptural passage written by Paul, the teaching apostle uses the illustration of a powerful military fortification in referring to a false concept, idea, or false argument.

         The Lord Jesus used a similar method when He stated,

         “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” [Matthew 16:18] [3]

         Here we have, again, the illustration of gates, or bars, or a strong prison. It is the rock of revelation that the Lord Jesus is indeed the Messiah, and it is upon this rock that the Lord will build his community. In addition, the gates of Hades will not prevail against or overpower the Church. Death will not hold the Lord. He will die but will not stay dead and will break out of death, and subsequently lead all of those who recognize Him as Messiah out of death as well.

         In this case, hell, or actually Hades, is a real place. It is the place of the dead, apparently in the very heart of this planet. However, Hades is also among us in the here and now, in that spiritual death among living human beings is rampant.

         It is the community of the Lord Jesus, filled with and empowered by His very Spirit that moves against all strongholds and destroys them, especially the stronghold of death when an individual comes to salvation and freedom in the Lord.

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


[1] Page 118 Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

[2] UBS Greek Dictionary; Louw-Nida Lexicon

[3] 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 devil has formulated lies and darkness into what appears to the deceived as truth. It is only the pure Word of God that is able to cut to the heart of such false ideas. [Excerpt from Part 2]

The Miraculous Red Sea Crossing

         Today is Friday the 13th, a most superstitious day on the calendar. This is the second of three Friday the 13th’s this year. We had one in January and will have another in July, so the day isn’t all that rare.

         But today also happens to be Nisan 21 on the Hebrew calendar. Nisan 21 is the seventh and last day of Unleavened Bread. It is a holy day, as was Nisan 15 last Saturday.

         Traditionally, these seven days marked the time between the nation of Israel exiting Egypt and crossing the Red Sea. It was a time of unleavened bread because they were on the run, first to simply pack up and get out, and secondly to stay ahead of Pharaoh’s army. The king of Egypt first decided to let them go at last, but then changed his stubborn mind yet again. It was a fateful decision, as was every other decision he made against God. If he had left well enough alone after any of the ten plagues, he would have been better off. But because he kept fighting against the will of God and God’s people, he eventually lost everything.

         We can find such a place in Egyptian history when the nation was devastated, but that’s another story for another time. Today, we will remember a miracle.

         If the Red Sea miracle did not happen, there would be no Israel. If there was no Israel, there would be no Messiah Jesus. There would be no sacrifice for our sins. We would all go to hell. But it did happen because there was purpose in it. It was not only to save the nation for the sake of the future birth of the Sacrifice Lamb, it was to save the nation. God loved Israel and He still does, of course.

         But at that last moment, when the world-class army of Egypt was bearing down on them, and when they had no perceivable means of escape, God came through.

         And this is always the point: The more difficult and impossible the circumstance, the greater the miracle, the more love shown through the miracle, and the more glory gained by the Lord.

         In another words, the more magnified God is in one’s life, the more life one has. Our Lord Jesus called it abundant life. It means super-abundant in quantity, and superior in quality. It means the best. One cannot have the best without having the Lord. He proves His love by giving us His best. He proves His love the best by giving us Himself.

         This is what He did for the nation of Israel that day almost 3,500 years ago. It was not God that enslaved His people, and it was not God that decided to go after them one last time. That was strictly Pharaoh’s decision. It was God’s decision to set His people free, which He did, and it was God’s decision to protect them from certain death.

         He didn’t want to wipe out Egypt, but He had no choice. He loved His people.

         And He loves you and me.

         Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. [Exodus 14:21-22][1] 

         I don’t know what your miracle might be this day, but I believe there is a miracle. It might not be as dramatic as the crossing of the Red Sea, but it will definitely show God’s love. I learned a long time ago that the Lord never spoils His children. He wants to bless us and does, but we must be able to receive properly and not let the blessing go to our head or be distanced from God by it. So the Lord must be prudent. His ultimate goal is to get us to heaven with Him forever. He also wants to bless us in this life but such is secondary.

         I read a true story about a young preacher once. He was living day to day and largely hand to mouth, preaching here and there. He didn’t have much money, and never knew what he might receive through offerings, but the Lord always took care of him. One evening after preaching he received a sizable offering. It was enough to pay his bills for an entire month.

         As he was beholding the check with shock and awe, the Lord spoke to him. He told him to give the giant check to a missionary who was also there that night.

         What would you do?

         The young man knew he heard God. He knew He had to obey. And he gave away the offering.

         Imagine the scene. He had already seen his future a lot more brightly, and then saw it all seemingly snatched away. About an hour later at a restaurant, he and a bunch of people from the church were having dinner. The young evangelist was approached by a man who knew what had happened, not because the young preacher told anyone—he had made it a point to keep it all secret. The older man knew because God told him. And God also told him that the young preacher was to learn a valuable lesson about giving.

         Long story short, the man gave the young evangelist another check. It was ten times the amount of the first one, to the penny!

         Now, God’s blessings are not always that dramatic, but that particular one was made to serve a purpose. The Red Sea miracle was also made to serve a purpose. It was to show His people how much He loved them. And it was to scare the daylights out of every other nation in the region.

         Today, on Friday the 13th of all days, will be a day of miracles for those who love the Lord with all their heart and obey Him. It could very well be something out of the ordinary. Or it could be a seemingly simple but profound, “I love you.”

         Will you recognize it? Give the Lord Jesus the glory. He loves to come through for His people!

         © 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 Hebrew Month of Nisan 2012: Atonement and Resurrection (Part 3)

Nisan 14 / April 6, 2012 (Began at sunset on April 5):

         Four days after crossing the Jordan River, and exactly forty years after the first Passover in Egypt, the nation of Israel celebrated its first Passover in their new land:

         While the sons of Israel camped at Gilgal they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho. [Joshua 5:10]

         They had received this teaching from Moses:

         “Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.” [Exodus 12:5-6]

         Also on this date, the Lord Jesus became our Sacrifice Lamb:

         So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” [John 19:16-19]

         We know that the Lord Jesus died on the cross at some point after the ninth hour[1]—about 3:30PM. The time was according to the Hebrew manner of reckoning the hours in the day, which began at sunrise. On that particular day, there were actually about 12.5 hours between sunrise and sunset, and sunrise took place sometime between 6:00 and 6:30AM. However, the gospel accounts do not say the Lord died at exactly the ninth hour, because other events took place after the ninth hour and before His death. It is safe to say He died somewhere between just after the ninth hour and with enough time remaining to bury His body before sunset.

         Also, this particular Nisan 14 was a Thursday, not a Friday. It was the fifth day of the week. Five is the Biblical number of Grace. The Lord did not die on a Friday. He died on a Thursday.  

         On the equivalent of Wednesday evening, the Lord and His disciples ate the Passover meal. He then suffered the trauma of Gethsemane. After being up all night, shuttled around to various false trials, and beaten severely, our Lord Jesus had been stripped of His clothes and nailed to the cross at the exact time of the Temple morning sacrifice, which was at the third hour of the day. This was somewhere between 9:00 and 9:30AM.

         Over six hours of excruciating pain and suffering later, the Lord died. His body continued hanging on the cross until it was taken down at the request of Joseph of Arimathea.[2]

         If the Last Supper was a Passover Seder, it meant the sacrificial lambs were slaughtered a day before the Sacrifice Lamb. The Lord must have partaken of the Passover since it was commanded in the Torah, and it was during which that He instituted the New Covenant by introducing His broken body and shed blood as a memorial.

         Could it be that the Lord’s death was progressive? It certainly appears that the “death angel” passed over the Garden of Gethsemane the night the Lord made His final surrender. At some point the sins of the world were placed upon Him. This was a legitimate form of death. There was no protection for the Sacrifice Lamb. It would have cancelled out His purpose. Once sin was placed upon Him, the spotless Lamb became sin on our behalf.[3] He continued “dying” until the next late afternoon when He breathed His last, when full payment was made, and when all was finished.

         Theoriginal Passover in Egypt took place in the middle of the night, when the death angel “Passed Over” each house while looking for the shed blood of lambs upon the door posts and lintels of the dwellings. Whichever family’s house did not display the blood of a perfect lamb suffered the loss of its firstborn son.

         Those families whose houses displayed the blood were representative of having the blood of Jesus displayed on their hearts as a substitute sacrificial firstborn Son, who died in place of their actual firstborns, and thus suffered no loss.

Nisan 15 / April 7, 2012 (Begins at sunset on April 6):

         After crossing the Jordan, the nation of Israel ate the produce of the Promised Land for the very first time:

         On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. [Joshua 5:11]

         This was the first day of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pesach 1, a day of holy assembly, which concluded with Pesach 7, another high holy day on Nisan 21.[4] It was the day after the Lord was slain, the sixth day of the week, and equivalent to our Friday.

Nisan 16 / April 8, 2012 (Begins at sunset on April 7):

         It was on this day that the manna which God provided for forty years during the wilderness wanderings ceased. From that point forward, Israel would only eat the food of their new land.

         The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year. [Joshua 5:12]

         This was a Sabbath day. Manna never fell on a Sabbath, but a double portion always fell on the day before—the sixth day of the week (Friday morning). Therefore, there was still manna left over from Friday to eat on this day, but it never fell again. In the week of the Lord’s passion and death, this day was also the seventh day Sabbath, which always fell on a Saturday.

Nisan 17 / April 9, 2012 (Begins at sunset on April 8):

         The Captain of the Lord’s host appeared to Joshua:

         Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. [Joshua 5:13-15]

         It was also on Nisan 17 that the events of the week culminated in the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus.

         Scripture says that the Lord was resurrected on the first day of the week, which would have been equivalent to our Sunday. This means He was actually crucified, as stated previously, on Thursday, Nisan 14. That evening at sunset, after Joseph and the others had taken the Lord’s body off the cross, prepared His body for burial, and encased Him in the tomb, it become Nisan 15. This was not only the high holy day of Pesach 1, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, it was also the day before the Sabbath.

         Then, after the Sabbath was over and the night had passed, Sunday morning dawned. This was Nisan 17, or the day of First Fruits, which took place after the Passover Sabbath each year.[5] On the agricultural calendar, it was the beginning of the barley harvest, and our Lord Jesus was the first fruits, the choicest portion. Imagine the scene, then, as all these days and prophetic events played out perfectly, and imagine the shock and delight of Mary Magdalene at the tomb that morning: 

         But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”

         When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

         Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” [John 20:11-16]

         He had been physically dead, just as He said He would be, for three days and three nights:

         “For just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” [Matthew 12:40]

         But on that resurrection morning of Nisan 17, also in keeping with another prophecy, a new Temple was raised by the Lord Jesus Himself that will never be destroyed again:

         “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” [John 2:19][6]

         This is the hope that every real Christian has, that one day he or she will also be resurrected bodily just as the Lord was, to spend eternity with Him and one another forever!

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


[1] Matthew 27:45-50, Mark 15:33-37, Luke 23:44-46

[2] Mark 15:42-47

[3] 2 Corinthians 5:21

[4] Exodus 12:18

[5] Leviticus 23:11, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

[6] 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.

Two Days Before the Cross

         “I’m concerned about Him. It seems He has a death wish.”

         The noise of the city had died down considerably as evening descended. There was a slight cool in the air as the two men sat discussing the events of the day.

         “I’ve never heard Him say anything against Moses. He honors Abraham. He speaks well of our prophets. Someone did a good job of raising Him in the beliefs of our fathers.”

         “Yes, but He has also said some things that seem to oppose those beliefs. I was listening to Him one day several months ago and He seemed to discount our law. He was teaching against the concept of an eye for an eye. It seems He was saying there is a better way to go about things.”

         “But how can anything be better than what Moses has given us?”

         “Well, sometimes it seems we have to honor aspects of our law that go against a better outcome. I mean, if a man loses an eye through the accident of another, through the actions of a man who had no intent to do such a thing, such a man must be forced to pay with an eye anyway. Shouldn’t he be allowed to plead his case?

         “But that would violate the law, would it not?”

         “And why should a man of God ride a donkey into the great city in the manner He did? What was that?”

         “It was another one of those coincidences that point toward prophecy. You know the scripture.”

         “Yes, I know, I know. But then right after that His actions were completely unfounded. What man can come into our holy temple area and do what He did? Where is the justification for all the mayhem He caused? People were shocked at His behavior, many of them the same people who had been praising His arrival just before that. And you know He will never get away with it. It’s been two days now, and I fear for His safety. The men, the men He is dealing with will never stand for such actions.”

         “Do you know of something stirring?”

         “I feel it stirring in my heart. This man Yehoshua has not only attacked our traditions, He has attacked a cabal of powerful people, men whom even I fear.”

         “But we both know there is graft and usury, and these men have become rich in the process. Between you and me, in these moments of hidden conversation, can we not at least mention the violations before us? This prophet, or whatever He may be, He saw as we see. Yet we would never make any attempt to correct the wrongs as He did. He has displayed a power of character and a courage we do not have.”

         “And unless He has left the area, I fear He will pay for His courage. This whole thing against our religious traditions has continued building over time. He seems like a man who is starting a war. I had kept hearing reports of him, and also heard with my own ears on occasion, that He is constantly opposing some aspect of our religion, and has even railed against our holy men.”

         “Yes, He has. But no holy man of ours ever had a viable retort. His teachings keep trumping our traditions…”

         “But some of the things He’s done make a mockery of justice. I heard that He refused to press charges against a lowlife woman who was clearly caught and exposed in the very act of adultery. She should have been stoned according to our law. Moses gave no exceptions.”

         “But I remember His answer. Its profoundness and simplicity still amaze me. Very clear…”

         “That only one who has no sin can apply the sentence? How many times have such sentences been carried out in our long history? Were those who threw the stones always without sin? This idea makes a mockery of justice. Who is without sin?”

         “Those who make the proper sacrifices, that’s who. Those who live a pure and clean life. Those who keep the Torah. It is the burden of the righteous.”

         “I don’t know about that anymore. I have always believed in those things and supported our way of life and laws, but He has showed me that our application and interpretation of the law is not so pure. He keeps showing us holes and inconsistencies and misapplications within our traditions. He is showing that while the law may be perfect, we often do not do a very good job in its application.”

         “You think she should not have been stoned? Isn’t it clear the law says she should be?”

         “Yes. It says that. But they all dropped their rocks and walked away. They decided they could not be the ones who carried out the sentence.”

         “But how did that happen? They had all been so sure.”

         “It’s the same reason I’m wondering about all these things just now…”

         By then the night had fallen. The streets outside had grown quiet and a cool breeze touched their faces. It was one of those moments when one respected the silence and comfort of the evening, when work was done, and when one thought of things usually not possible during the busy day.

         The two men sat motionless, somewhat deep in thought. They happened to be looking east out a large window from a second story room, toward the Mount of Olives. Occasionally, one of them would take sip of tea. As they pondered the subject before them, not wanting to disrespect what seemed to be a holy time and a moment of reflection, they beheld an astounding sight.

         There before them, peeking up from the high eastern ridge, was a bright orange waxing moon, almost full. In a few seconds they were bathed in light. The darkness of the room and city streets vanished but their eyes remained fixed on the natural wonder before them. Brighter and bigger it became until it lifted off completely from the earth, as in a slow ascent toward heaven. In that moment their thoughts also shoved off into the air, and they saw things a little clearer.

         They could not express it, though. Both of these men knew there was something different about the Man of their discussion. They did not understand, what with all the competing thoughts and different doctrines and contrary applications of the great law. But each of them knew on a deeper level that this former carpenter from Nazareth, of all places, had captured their hearts.

         And in the deep darkness of ancient Jerusalem, on an early spring night long ago, the Light had come.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

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         [Thanks to all for visiting. Stay tuned. The third part and conclusion of this series, The Hebrew Month of Nisan: Atonement and Resurrection, will be posted tomorrow.]     

The Hebrew Month of Nisan 2012: Crossing the Jordan (Part 2)

Nisan 10 / April 2, 2012 (Began at sunset on April 1):

         Three days had passed since Joshua sent out the two spies. The long-awaited crossing of the Jordan River by the entire nation of Israel into the Promised Land was about to take place. This was a monumental event for the Hebrew people. Forty years after leaving Egypt, they were almost home.

         At the end of three days the officers went through the midst of the camp; and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it.” [Joshua 3:2-3]

         So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people, and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan. [Joshua 3:14-17]

         Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern edge of Jericho. [Joshua 4:19]

         The spiritual equivalent of crossing the Jordan River is profound. It compares to a time when training and preparation has ended and a full grasping of what one has trained for begins. Joshua and Caleb were effectively sentenced by the unbelief of the prior generation to forty years in a place they did not really belong. These two stalwart warriors had been ready to take the land forty years before. Imagine how ready they were at this time. They were bursting with desire to take the Promised Land.

         Here’s our lesson: When one is given a promise by God one must then prepare for the arrival of that promise. We think it will happen right away, right after receiving the revelation of the promise. But the actual achievement of the promise is often years into the future. It is like a seed that must be activated and generated into a fruit-bearing plant.

         The specific promise God has made to each of us is activated by ongoing prayers of faith.

         Praying in faith—believing the promise will happen and praying for it to happen—is how it does happen.

         One must put in the required effort to show oneself worthy. One must effectively pray it in, call it forth, and walk it out. One must allow for and actively participate in the Lord’s preparation and training for an event that would otherwise be impossible. Our part is to believe and pray consistently so the Lord can continue the preparation.

         It is like the development of a baby in the womb. There is a particular gestation period, but the birth of the promise will never happen without one’s spiritual effort. Ceasing to believe and pray ceases the development. Continuing to believe and putting one’s faith into action through consistent faithful prayer, regardless of circumstances or apparent lack of fruit or progress, is what keeps the promise on track.

         Though Joshua and Caleb understood this, the prior generation did not and would not. The prior generation was a collection of faithless, complaining gripers always looking back to Egypt (the world) instead of forward to the Promised Land (the kingdom). God would have to use Moses and these two men to train and prepare the next generation in belief, so that belief would be established with the nation of Israel, and so that Israel would be victorious when the time of the promise came to pass.

         This is why crossing the Jordan is so important. To attain the promise, one must cross over from the old into the new. But this is not possible without a Sinai “crucifying the flesh-establishment of belief” experience.

         The next event on the calendar is indicative of covenant. All the men of the second generation, the generation of belief, had never undergone circumcision while wandering in the Sinai. The entire previous generation that left Egypt had died off, except for the faithful and valiant Joshua and Caleb. After crossing the Jordan, the men of Israel were circumcised on the first day in the Promised Land. This indicates our own circumcision of heart as we enter God’s kingdom.

         Their children whom He raised up in their place, Joshua circumcised; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them along the way. Now when they had finished circumcising all the nation, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. [Joshua 5:7-8]

         Also on this date, the Passover lambs were chosen in preparation for the Passover. The following is the account of the first Passover preparations in Egypt, just prior to the Exodus, and forty years before the Jordan crossing:

         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. Speak to all the congregation of Israel,saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.’” [Exodus 12:1-3]

         The Israelites were commanded to keep and prepare each individual lamb for the next four days.

         It was also on this exact date, Nisan 10, that Messiah Jesus made His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. He was the perfect Lamb chosen by God and made officially public on the exact prophetic date. Though the people celebrated Him as the King Messiah, it was actually the unveiling of the suffering Servant Messiah, the Lamb of God, four days prior to His atoning death.

         They brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it; and He sat on it. And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!” Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple… [Mark 11:7-11] [1]

         Over the next four days, beginning Monday with the Jordan Crossing, consider what the Lord may be doing in your life relative to these events. It is time to take the Promised Land.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2 of 3] [Part 3 will be posted on April 5]


[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.