Yearly Archives: 2021

MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;

And the government will rest on His shoulders;

And His name will be called

Wonderful Counselor,

Mighty God,

Eternal Father,

Prince of Peace.

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,

On the throne of David and over his kingdom,

To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness

From then on and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. [Isaiah 9:6-7]

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (5)

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. [Luke 2:1-20][1]

© 2019 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.

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (4)

There was an unknown circumstance in Mary’s young life that spoke of great humility. We don’t know what this was exactly, and Luke does not elaborate. But there are directive clues. Read on:

.

The following is from Part 1: There is something else here that Luke’s narrative hints at which he does not delve into, possibly because he knew his audience was aware of whatever particulars were involved with Mary and the circumstances of her humble life.

In the very beginning, after initially being told by the angel Gabriel that she was highly favored and the Lord was indeed with her, Mary became, depending on the translation, troubled/disturbed/perplexed. The Greek says greatly agitated. She wondered where this extraordinary greeting came from and what it could possibly be about. One senses she thought it must be meant for another, that the joyous messenger must have the wrong house.

In answering a faithful reader’s comment on Part 3 when I first wrote this series two years ago, who said of Mary, She must have indeed been a highly intelligent, spiritually sensitive young woman, I wrote the following:

“Yes. A perfect choice. And she had to somehow come to a quick understanding of this fact though her humble nature would otherwise preclude it. She had to look beyond her humble circumstances and do her best to see herself as God saw her. He needed her. He wanted her to be the one. Here we have a good look into the counterintuitive nature of humanity. If Mary had previously thought herself as the best choice she would be disqualified, since that would reveal the presence of sinful pride. But if she thought herself unworthy and could never be persuaded to the contrary she would disqualify herself.”

Why did she feel so unworthy? And why did she refer to herself not once but twice as a bondslave? I mentioned this in Part 1. The Hebrew word for a female slave is shiphchah. The Greek word used here is doulos, which speaks directly to a slave of the basest order and is used throughout the New Testament. One gets the idea that young Mary was somehow familiar with such status.

It is also quite interesting that the New Testament never mentions any interaction with Mary’s parents or possible siblings. We know her father’s name was Eli (Heli), from her genealogy in Luke 3:23, but there is never any mention of her mother or her mother’s name. It appears they were no longer around. It is also evident that Mary was an only child. Imagine that. There is also a distinct possibility that Joseph, her betrothed, was her father’s adopted son, as alluded to in the genealogy. This was actually a Hebrew tradition going back centuries for men with no natural male heirs, so the idea isn’t so far-fetched. Any or all of these challenging life circumstances might be the cause of her feelings of unworthiness, but there is yet another, and it is here where we shall gain even greater understanding of the well known verse, “For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1Samuel 16:7).

There is a Greek word that only occurs four times in the NT. It only applies to two specific people in the NT. Those two people are the Lord Jesus and His mother Mary. The word is tapeinosis. It is defined as “lowness, low estate, and humiliation.” Regarding the Lord it appears in Acts 8:33 in which the author references Isaiah 53:8. Here are both verses with the translated English word underlined:

“IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY; WHO WILL RELATE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH.” [Acts 8:33]

By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? [Isaiah 53:8]

Here is the verse that references Mary, again with the translated English words underlined:

“For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.” [Luke 1:48]   

The Hebrew word is otser. It is defined as “restraint, coercion.” It is translated primarily as “oppression.” It refers in a sense to prison or being a prisoner. This indicates a form of slavery. Mary did refer to herself as a bondslave. This speaks indirectly of possessing a particular humble state or condition and we now have a better understanding of what that was. Isaiah chapter 53 is an OT prophetic picture of the Lord Jesus. Here is the verse that ties both Son and mother together:

He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. [Isaiah 53:2][1]

In addition to this appearance circumstance shared by both mother and Son there is a much greater condition shared by both. These two people had extremely high character quotients. Of course, there is no comparison between the Lord’s character and that of Mary (or anyone else) in that He is God and is perfect. But regarding their humanity, and because both were exceptionally concerned with their spiritual standing and desired greatly to have as sterling a standing as possible, it was enormously difficult for them to answer the call because their respective callings would serve to destroy their outwardly perceived characters.

Mary was a chaste virgin with perfect spiritual credentials. She was obviously not without sin and thus required a Savior like everyone else but had striven in her young life to obey God and follow the Law of Moses. She was likely the very best at this among young women of her generation. Her heart was right and this is why she was chosen. But being chosen to be the mother of the Lord would also subject her to endless gossip and the wicked mockery of unbelievers who would believe her to be a gross sinner. This would destroy her sterling reputation among all those who rejected her claims of innocence and the highest of callings. Yet, she accepted the mission anyway, knowing it was always far better to serve the Lord than to decline the calling to protect one’s reputation.

This is one reason why many people never answer their callings and even reject salvation. They are far too weak to handle any affront by society to their public character and artificial social status.

© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[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.

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (3)

Prior to her visitation by the angel Gabriel, Mary was burdened by an undisclosed life circumstance. We gain further clues of this by her reaction to Elizabeth’s powerful prophetic message.

.

To set the scene for the next historical interlude which bears upon the foundational Gospel account after her journey to Judea to visit Elizabeth, we must acknowledge the fact that, according to Luke’s account, Mary had yet to speak to anyone about the great news.

She had left Nazareth in a hurry, almost immediately after she had consented to God’s plan. The Holy Spirit had indeed descended upon her and she was overshadowed with the power of the Most High. A miraculous conception had taken place in her womb! She had told no one, not even Joseph. Her elder relative Elizabeth would be her confidant. As the many repercussions played out in her thinking, Mary had remained amazed but laden with knowledge that no one else possessed.

GOD’S PERFECT TIMING

In Part 1, we covered Luke 1:26-38. In Part 2, we covered Luke 1:39-45. There are several components of the narrative within these verses to be addressed. The first thing we must do, however, is address the timing of the events. The angel Gabriel had told Mary that Elizabeth was already with child and in her sixth month. The human gestation period is 280 days, which is almost exactly 9.5 lunar cycles. An exact 9.5 moons would be a half day longer. Here is the math: A lunar cycle is 29.53059 days. Multiplied by 9.5 the gestation period would be 280.54 days. Since we know the Bible grants much importance to the number 40, it is not a coincidence that 280 is 40 times 7 (another significant number). Regarding the number of days into her pregnancy for Elizabeth at the time, it was somewhere between five and six months because Luke’s account says she was in her sixth month. She had yet to complete her second trimester.

I submit that it was exactly five and a half months and during a new moon.

It should have taken Mary less than a week, probably about five days, to get to Elizabeth’s house in Judea from Nazareth since the journey was at least 70 miles as the crow flies but maybe 80 or more considering the roads and terrain. Luke does not tell us the town or Mary’s specific destination in Judea. This was also during the winter rains though most of the precipitation was in the north. We have no knowledge regarding who may have accompanied Mary on the trip. There is no mention of Joseph. Would she have gone alone? From the narrative it certainly appears that she was alone when greeting Elizabeth.

Regarding the time of year, my research has long indicated that the Lord was born in the autumn. I believe it was likely on the 15th of the month of Tishrei on the Hebrew calendar, which was the first day of the weeklong Feast of Succoth (Tabernacles / Booths) and during a full moon. In 2021 this day fell on September 21. We have a hint of this as the Lord’s birthday in John’s gospel. The word “dwelt” in the following verse is from a Greek word meaning “to fix one’s tabernacle or tent:”

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. [John 1:14]

Tishrei was the seventh month of the ancient sacred calendar adopted originally by the Lord during the time of Moses. The spring is the natural beginning of the year and was also the time of the Exodus and the Resurrection of the Lord. It is thus quite clear that the spring feasts are first and then followed by the autumn feasts. Tishrei later became the first month of the civil calendar and begins with Rosh Hashanah, the “head” of the year which is considered the Jewish New Year. This can get confusing, of course, but for the purposes of this study I will number the months as beginning in the spring from the vernal equinox.

Since the Lord was likely born on Tishrei 15 in the autumn, it would mean the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary nine and a half months before, during a new moon on the 1st of Tevet, the tenth month (if it was a twelve month year, which was most probable). Tevet occurs in Dec/Jan. From this we get a clear timeline of these two miraculous pregnancies of Elizabeth and Mary:

YEAR 1: John was conceived in the summer on the 15th of the fourth month during a full moon.

YEAR 1: The Lord Jesus was conceived in the winter on the 1st of the tenth month during a new moon.

YEAR 2: John was born in the spring on the 1st of the second month during a new moon.

YEAR 2: The Lord Jesus was born in the autumn on the 15th of the seventh month during a full moon.

After Elizabeth’s greeting and anointed word, Mary responded once again, as she did to Gabriel, with amazement and great humility. It was no insignificant response but revealed a woman of strong intellect, spiritual grace, and much insightful knowledge of Scripture for one so young. Her words reverberate through the centuries illustrating the profound nature of the Lord’s great plan and her own unique circumstances. We don’t hear much from Mary ever again but the following passage is filled with spiritual portent and the faithfulness of God. He has come to His people:

And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM. He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; and sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.” [Luke 1:46-55][1]

Luke tells us that Mary stayed in Judea with Elizabeth for about three months after her arrival. The two would have had many long talks. As I stated earlier, Elizabeth was Mary’s only confidant. She was the only one who would have understood her circumstances because she had the same circumstances. These two ladies would have discussed all the implications of what they were presented with and how best to deal with the outcome and responses of others, especially as how it affected Mary. She still had to tell Joseph. She had to tell her parents. How would they react? She knew how everybody else would react and it was a hard pill to swallow. The time with Elizabeth was cherished because she gained the support she would need, to build herself up, and prepare for the coming storm of controversy.

And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home. [Luke 1:56]

One would think Mary would have stayed for John’s birth. We are tempted to add to the narrative and think she must have stayed, but Luke did not present it that way. With regard to why she left early, the calendar gives us a direct clue: It was now the early spring. The first month of Nisan had arrived. The spring feasts, to which Mary had remained faithful her entire life, were upon the nation. Passover week would be happening very soon, within about a week or so. Did Mary leave a few weeks before John’s birth to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem?

© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[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.

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (2)

 

 

The conventional perception of the mother of our Lord is off. It is way off. She is commonly depicted in religious art, iconography, and statuary as Caucasian, and often northern European.

.

Knowledge of her Hebrew heritage among Christians is largely lost. Even her actual name is mostly unknown. The name Mary derives from the Judeo-Aramaic variant Maryam, from the Greek Mariam, which was derived from the original Hebrew Miryam, the name of the elder sister of Moses and Aaron (which is translated into English primarily as Miriam). New Testament readers know this was a popular name for Hebrew women at that time, as there are several with the name in the Gospel accounts.

As a young Hebrew maiden of eastern Mediterranean stock, she was likely dark complected with dark hair and Semitic features. Semitic refers to one of the three sons of Noah—Shem—whose descendants predominantly populated the Middle East and still do today. We know from early OT accounts that the ancient Hebrews shared their DNA with many different ethnos of the greater region, including the Canaanite tribes. There were also the two great disruptions to the nation when the ten northern tribes of Israel were deported to the east in 722 BC followed by the Babylonian captivity of Judah 136 years later. The three remaining tribes of the latter—Judah, Levi, and Benjamin—were removed to Babylon for 70 years. They were allowed to return but many chose to stay. The lands of Israel and Judah had been repopulated somewhat by foreigners in the interim, especially the Samaritan region. The land was then ruled by a succession of Persians, Greeks, and Romans. It is therefore difficult if not impossible to arrive at a definitive Hebrew nationality by the first century AD.

Even so, we do have two extant genealogies of our Lord Jesus from that time, both of which stem from the tribe of Judah and feature the persons of Abraham and David. The genealogy of Joseph the carpenter in Matthew’s gospel descends through King David’s son Solomon, the third and final king of a united Israel. After Solomon’s death the kingdom split into the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. Luke’s gospel contains the genealogy of Mary, which also goes through David but by his son Nathan, Solomon’s brother. This family tree divergence took place over 900 years before the Lord’s birth. The last of the Hebrew kings of the Judaic line ceased with the Babylonian captivity in 586 BC. Zedekiah was the last king of Judah, but was somewhat illegitimate in that he was installed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BC after the siege of Jerusalem. The king before Zedekiah was Jeconiah (AKA Coniah, Jehoiachin), who was carted off to Babylon a prisoner in chains. This is what the prophet Jeremiah said about him:

“Is this man Coniah a despised, shattered jar? Or is he an undesirable vessel? Why have he and his descendants been hurled out and cast into a land that they had not known? O land, land, land, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the LORD, ‘Write this man down childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.’” [Jeremiah 22:28-30]   

The Hebrew monarchy was thus abolished. There were no more kings. No one could ever again qualify. Joseph the carpenter’s line included Jeconiah and he is listed in Matthew’s genealogy. Nevertheless, it was established that Joseph, the legal stepfather of the Lord, could trace his direct lineage to Solomon and David. Mary’s genealogy could also be traced directly to King David. This means the Lord Jesus had a legal right as king through Joseph and a biological right through His mother. Though the monarchial birthright was essentially revoked by Jeremiah’s prophecy, this did not apply to the Lord Jesus because he was not a blood descendant of Jeconiah. Thus, the only possible way the Davidic line of kings could be restored, even after a six century interval, would be through the following:

“Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” [Isaiah 7:14]

GREETINGS FROM THE WOMB

As described in Part 1, Mary was soon on the road south to Judea to visit her relative Elizabeth. The two women were anxious to share the great news of their pregnancies, both of which were only possible through direct miraculous means. Elizabeth was greatly humbled in her long life of barrenness but maintained her faith regardless. Mary was also burdened somewhat by an undisclosed life circumstance. Here we have the young and the old, both of whom must deal with the inevitable gossip of unbelievers, yet blessed abundantly as major players in the great plan of God for the salvation of Israel and humanity. But besides these two who knew each other well, there were others who met for the very first time:

Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said,

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” [Luke 1:39-45][1]

© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[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.

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (1)

NAZARETH

She was given the opportunity to be the mother of Messiah—the Son of the Most High. She accepted without question, filled with wonder, in humble awe of being chosen.

.

In reading between the lines in the initial Gospel references to the mother of our Lord, we happen upon facts otherwise escaping our notice, primarily, her humble origin. We already know her hometown was not the greatest of places, as none other than one of the twelve, Nathanael Bar Tholmai (Bartholomew) articulated,

“Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” [1]

The rustic community is never mentioned in any of the Old Testament writings, meaning it had yet to exist then, suffered utmost insignificance, or was known by a different name, one of which might have been “white town” or a variation, named after the ready supply of limestone rocks in the area. Nestled among the lower hills of the Nazareth Range in the ancient tribal land of Zebulun, the city lay about halfway between the seas—the great Mediterranean on the west where sailing ships launched for far-off lands, and to the east, the indigenous, often mysterious Sea of Galilee, loved freshwater fishery of the locals.

From the little we know, Mary was likely born in this little village by the cliffs in circa 18 BC. This was during the early years of Augustus, who became the first Roman emperor in 27 BC, and the local reign of the ruthless client-king Herod the Great who had gained power a decade earlier. How she or her family arrived in the area is lost to history. Though Nazareth was within the small area originally allotted to the Tribe of Zebulun (the tenth son of Jacob and sixth born to Leah), Mary was actually a distant descendent of King David of the ruling line of Judah. Her connection to the latter tribe is somewhat problematic for a Galilean from the north due to her clear connection to relatives in the territory of Judea south of Jerusalem. The unknown story of her family’s transplantation is an intriguing one.

We know from the later annual pilgrimages made by the holy family to Jerusalem for the feasts that young Mary likely also made such trips as a child growing up, probably as part of small caravans. She was thus familiar with the territory and probably looked forward to such opportunities to see the great city and visit family. Journeying from the north in Galilee, one would traverse the disparaged Samaria, sandwiched between Galilee and Judea, and venture through the ancient tribal areas of Issachar, Manasseh, and Ephraim in the process, and lastly through the allotment of Benjamin on the approach to Yerushalayim which was located on the southern edge of his tribal land.

The eastern border between the two famous territories of Benjamin and Judah actually runs north and south along the Kidron Valley. The Kidron divides the city of Jerusalem in Benjamin’s territory to the west from the Mount of Olives in Judah’s territory to the east. The southern border between the tribes is divided by the valley of Hinnom which was immediately due south of the ancient city. Beyond these two natural demarcation lines was the fatherland of Judah and the ancestral land of King David to which Mary and her family sojourned frequently. It was also the ancestral homeland of her new husband Joseph, the strong but tender carpenter, chosen also as she was, and suited well for the calling.

AN ANGELIC VISITATION

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. [Luke 1:26-27]

Luke makes it clear in his definitive account that Mary was a virgin when the angel Gabriel revealed to her the plan of God which would soon go into effect upon her consent. She was betrothed to the carpenter, meaning the marriage was not yet fully contracted, and both were honorable and chaste. It is often not acknowledged that young Mary had a choice regarding the Lord’s plan for her life. We all have a choice, and for everyone there is a plan. Notwithstanding the discipline required to live and work for the Lord according to His will and not our own, any other plan created and chosen by a person is always inferior to His. Mary understood this. It is why she replied to Gabriel with no hesitation in her heart:

And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. [Luke 1:28-38] [2]

Mary’s use of the word “bondslave” is not without import. It is from the Greek doulos and is defined accordingly as a female slave without any ownership rights of her own. This word, also translated as bond-servant, is used throughout the New Testament denoting the pure servanthood and dedication to the Master by real believers. The Hebrew equivalent for a female servant is shiphchah and has an ancient etymology dating to the book of Genesis. Though we often fail to perceive, in these brief Scriptural renderings, the full connotation and significance of the choice she made, Mary knew exactly what she was doing by deciding in the affirmative. She understood the gravity of the situation, the ramifications thereof, and that is was a lifelong commitment.

But there is more. Mary alluded to her current state of life before the angelic visitation as thoroughly humble and insignificant. We see this first in her initial reaction to Gabriel’s greeting when he referred to her as “favored one” and said the Lord was with her: But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. She was also afraid, probably for the same reasons you or I would be startled at the appearance of an angel. It was more than this, however. She was concerned about what it meant for her life and, in those first few seconds, that she was in no way worthy of such an astounding visitation and calling.

Why did she feel this way? There is something else here that Luke’s narrative hints at which he does not delve into, possibly because he knew his audience was aware of whatever particulars were involved with Mary and the circumstances of her humble life.

In Part 2, I will continue delving into such lesser-known particulars. We will look closer at Mary’s upbringing, family, and momentous visit to her elderly but expecting relative Elizabeth, also a chosen woman of the Lord who found much grace in His sight.

© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] John 1:46  

[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.

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (Intro)

 

Two years ago at this time I wrote the following six part series with the above title. I will repost each part daily until Christmas. Blessings to all 

.

Hello friends. I hope all is going well for you during this special time of year. I started a new article with the above title early in the week and it has expanded beyond one posting. I am giving you all this head’s up that I will be posting Part 1 soon.

Mary is one of history’s most intriguing figures and it is especially that way for Christians worldwide. Even so, there is little historical material regarding her life. Perhaps this is why there is so much traditional information which actually has no backing in Scripture. However, within the extant Scriptural material we have there are many captivating clues about her life that lead to greater knowledge. This is what we will be sharing with one another for the next few posts.

Thanks for reading. In the meantime, blessings to you and Merry Christmas!

.

© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

THE TEARS OF GOD

For all the senseless sins of humanity

For all the hate

For all the children

Whose lives are snuffed out

By their parents.

And other beautiful children

Born deaf or blind

Who love their lives

And give their might to prove their worth

While privileged ones

Throw theirs away

For so many so rebellious

No one can reach them

Intent on evil

Who deceived them?

And on it goes

Century after eon

Nothing ever changes

Man’s inhumanity to man

Brings untold misery

And hard, hard work for nothing

Destroyed in a day

Lifetimes achieving

She said it wasn’t worth it

And darkness descended

But what of another choice?

What of beauty?

What of kindness and love

And compassion?

What of joy?

Why the hate and discontent?

When air can be so pure

And nature so rich?

How can creatures so bright

Descend into such a pit?

Day after day after day

Misery upon misery

And evil people in power

Will no one ever stand to save?

Will we let it all slip away?

Day after day, tears fall

Year after year, tears fall

Century after…

The dry void receives the wet

Salty, salty tears

The levels rise

Overflowing banks

And continuing upward

So much sin

So much pain

So much flat out rejection

Of the cure

Of the means to stop it

To live right

To get it right

To stop the bleeding

But they would not

And the levels rise

More tears, flowing daily

Won’t you stop?

Won’t you try to live right?

Won’t you take care of one another?

I’ve given all I can give

I can give no more

And the levels rise

Drowning continents

Filling the earth

Overcoming all bounds

An unending stream

Of the Creator’s anguish

Oceans of tears

Jesus Wept

.

© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING 2021: FIGHT FOR YOUR COUNTRY

I wrote the following post one year ago. Today is the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving in 1621. What I wrote last Thanksgiving holds true. We are making progress. Many have fought hard over the last year and continue fighting. There is no longer any doubt that the devil’s dirty work over the last two years was to stop the Great Awakening which continues to advance. It is sad that so many American Christians have joined the enemy, are still sleeping, or refuse to fight as they should. A great many non-Christians certainly understand, however. Sometimes those who do not profess the Lord Jesus do His will while those who do do not. The apostle Paul wrote about this. I encourage you, dear readers, to continue doing your best to do His will for your life, attend to your callings, continue showing His love, and most of all, continue to praise, honor, and obey the Lord Jesus, our loving Creator and Savior. He gave His all so we could have Life. We are most thankful for Him on this wonderful day.

.

We have much to be thankful for. Though American liberty and freedom is under severe attack at present, it remains strong, which is quite a feat after 400 years.

Earlier this year I decided to take a research dive into the founding of Roanoke Colony, the first English colony in America. This was the so-called “lost colony” founded on the Carolina coast in the 1580s, which then somehow disappeared. I discovered it never actually disappeared but simply moved down the coast several miles away. The colonists had joined up with a native tribe but this was largely unknown to the outside world for over a century. There is much about this story that nobody knew for the longest time but an archaeology project began a few years back that is filling in some blanks. It’s a fascinating tale.

In 1607 Virginia Colony was founded and it suffered some serious setbacks and almost came to ruin. It was for the most part a mercantile colony founded for profit, and fully supported the Anglican state church. And though it certainly has its place it never captured the hearts of later colonists and modern day Americans the way Plymouth Colony did. The latter was founded for a distinctly different and very rare purpose. Its English Separatists founders, known as the Pilgrims, were seeking not monetary profit or greater territory, but religious and political freedom.

I wrote an article about these stalwart, wonderful people several years ago and reposted it this past Saturday on the 400-year anniversary of their landing. It’s a good article with much history, focusing primarily on the backstory and the incessant trials and persecutions these people suffered beginning long before they ever left England. Real Christians of the present can certainly relate to their story in these times, when it appears that religious and political freedom is just about done. Indigenous evil forces that hate America have been on the prowl for decades and they stand, as I write, on the very threshold of taking over. If we let them there will only be a brief segue remaining before America is done.

I have hope that it will never happen. I have hope that these indigenous evil forces will be defeated. Anyone paying attention over the last several years noticed that these guys no longer cared about hiding their evil practices. Much evil came forth from them, mostly because they knew no one could stop their evil deeds. They got pretty bold and lowered their guard, and as a result not only engaged in greater degrees of evil but did so more openly. And now, with this election, they obviously either did not care whatsoever about the level of lawbreaking they would engage in, in their desperation to regain power, or actually thought they could get away with it. Their effort was a clear in-your-face attack against freedom, liberty, justice, and fair play, and showed all the more their abject hatred of American ideals and the Constitution.

I’ve been following this election fraud story very closely and I can tell you that many small victories have already happened. But much greater victories are about to come forth. I am also encouraged that so many Americans already know much of the truth about the stealing of this election. And I am encouraged that a few great fighters have already risen to the fore and are manning the battlements. It will get a lot worse before it gets better and I have hope that it will get better. Who knows how many times something like this was done in the past and most Americans were none the wiser. But this time is far different. The scale is off the charts. Nothing so blatantly evil has ever happened in American history before.

There is no guarantee, of course, that the forces of good will end up winning. The odds are greatly against it. Many have already thrown in the towel. I am thankful that the major players have not. I have not. And I trust you have not. The case is being made as I write. It is a great case. The fraud is growing ever more obvious. The good news is that a fight of this kind reveals all the shysters and Judases. All those people you thought were good guys have revealed themselves as evil grifters in love with money, power, and prestige. They appeared to change teams pretty fast but in reality were only faking people out all this time. They only cared about themselves and never about you.

Regarding this great day, this Thanksgiving Day 2020, I am thankful that real Americans, though in apparently short supply, still exist, and that enough still exist to make this a viable and winning fight. You must mark all those that have already quit or joined the other side, or refuse to fight for the country. You must also mark those who are putting their lives, reputations, and sacred honor on the line. Sound familiar?

Also, the enemy, though apparently in full control and about to win it all, likely underestimated his opponents. He also made the mistake of thinking he covered enough bases to get away with it or that there would never be enough time to overcome his great advantage. He also either doesn’t know about a little something called The Great Awakening or knows about it all too well and has gone to these great lengths of evil in a last ditch desperate effort to overcome it. I don’t think it will work. I believe there remains way too much good, way too much strength, and way too many real Americans who will never surrender. It certainly looked that way for much of this year, however. Far too many allowed themselves to be deceived by this false pandemic and were far too willing to lay down at the feet of evil authoritarians who have nothing but contempt for America and Americans. This is likely why they thought they could pull it off.

As it turns out, America is not quite ready to give up. More are waking up every day. This Thanksgiving Day must be different. We must return to our roots. We must stop seeing ourselves as the other bookend to the Pilgrims of 400 years ago, ready to die. Instead, we have to allow the natural fight God put within us to come forth. We must immediately stop putting up with garbage and take a stand. We must rally the troops. We must not only consider the Pilgrims but match their powerful resolve. They didn’t lay a great foundation only for us to allow it to be destroyed.

Roanoke was rough and Virginia almost didn’t make it. But Plymouth Colony opened up a massive highway of freedom that has blessed this country for four centuries. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated the next autumn in 1621. That makes today Thanksgiving Day #400. Rather than it be the last Thanksgiving, we must make it like the first, in that we have a whole new birth of freedom.

Whatever you believe the Lord Jesus has called you to do, now is the time to attend to it like your life depends upon it. Don’t hold back. Don’t stop short. Don’t be cowed. Encourage one another. Build each other up. Be strong. KEEP THE FAITH. Engage in spiritual warfare like you never have before. Make the Lord proud. We can still win this thing.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.  


© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

REMEMBERING JFK (2021)

I remember when it happened. As was my routine, I had gone home for lunch. My grade school was within easy walking distance.

.

I wrote the following on November 22, 2019:

It was getting close to the time when I should be heading back. I was sitting right in front of our small black and white television. My mother was a few steps away in the kitchen. Suddenly, whatever I was watching was interrupted. There was a news bulletin. One could almost sense the haphazard effort of the station in relaying the shattering news while trying to maintain professional decorum. A man with a strong and hurried voice began speaking. The president has been shot…

The United States of America changed forever on that fateful day. After 56 years, the majority of Americans know the official story is full of holes. This was proven early on. But a very strange thing happened. Though evil people were having their way, Americans insisted on supporting the official narrative. As more truth leaked out regarding what really happened, and as many knew in their gut something was not quite right, it became one’s patriotic duty to do the very opposite of what should have been done.

This let those in control know they were in good shape. The country was in their hands. They could do whatever they wanted and would not only get away with it but would never even be questioned. Everything changed at that point. Fast, dramatic change ensued. Regarding the country, it was all for the worse. In the space of less than four and a half years our president was murdered in cold blood right out in the open in the bright sunshine in a gruesome display. His brother, who surely would have become president in 1968, was also killed right after securing the Democratic nomination. Martin Luther King was also murdered by a sniper two months earlier. Each one of these cases involved much subterfuge and unanswered questions. Quick verdicts were reached in the official narrative. The vast majority of Americans went along with the official stories though many had private doubts. What happened to the country?

THERE WAS ONCE A REVOLUTION

Throughout the period of the 1760s to mid 1770s patriotic American colonists grew increasingly concerned about the great lessening of personal liberties and the increasing power plays of a distant British government. These people were a relatively small minority. Most American colonists were full- bore Tories who either supported the King and Parliament without question or were too apathetic and ignorant to care one way or the other. By the time independence was declared these three groups comprised roughly the same percentage. Only about a third of Americans were willing to commit themselves fully to the cause of outright revolution to secure their individual liberties which had been under severe attack for several years by those who saw their control weakening and who must strongly reassert its position of rule to overcome any notion of freedom from said rule.

How did only a third manage to overcome the other two-thirds? It is fully understandable that the third of Americans which fully supported the British overlords did so to protect their wealth and social standing. People like this are cowards at heart. They have little or no concern for others, those who make up the majority, who are on the outside looking in and do not share in their upper class stature. Their lives are not about higher ideals and ideas but merely a social position brought on by comparatively greater wealth and the desire to make friends with power—those who would advance them in their careers and protect their higher place in society.

Regarding that other third, the apathetic group, these people are also well-represented in history. They are those who never stay informed, don’t care about truth, will stand for nothing of any real importance, are willingly ignorant, and are basically only along for the ride. They like floating down lazy rivers. They find the whole idea of taking a stand for higher values and ideals ridiculous. They have no understanding for laying good foundations for future generations. They can barely see beyond the end of their nose. The present is what they care about, just like the Tory group, but they don’t care about it enough to make any attempt to excel.

REAL PATRIOTS

Back in the 1960s the generation in charge still held to the false notion, “My country right or wrong.” The most insane occurrences were taking place all around from day to day and it seemed that most would insist on keeping a stiff lip and hard face refusing to question anything. Had they been brainwashed? Why could they not see the evil? Why did they continue to support those in power who were violating the Constitution on a daily basis and doing whatever the hell they wanted to insure that the rich and powerful gained even more wealth and power?

King George III and the British Parliament never came close to the violations inflicted on America less than two centuries later. It has only gotten worse since. We now live in a semi-surveillance state in which our God-given rights and freedoms have been seriously curtailed by the very entity supposedly existing to insure them. Where are the real American patriots? How many are left?

Exactly 56 years ago powerful people conspired in the dark to remove the President of the United States because he refused to go along with an ongoing sinister plan to run roughshod on We the People. They were willing to kill him in broad daylight to achieve their goal.

And they got away with it.     

© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.  

.

I wrote the following on November 22, 2020:

It has been exactly 57 years. An American President was brutally gunned down by an evil element in Dallas, Texas. That evil element gained great power that day. It has only increased in power since.

One can always tell when evil has gained a foothold: Evil unlawful acts not only proliferate but have no remedy. No matter what one may do to overcome the evil nothing works. It may be stopped temporarily. There may even be modest gains against it at times but such minimal losses are often quickly gained back. Exponentially speaking, evil continues on an upward trend.

At last a few bright people figure out that the reason for evil’s upper hand growing greater is because it is being fed. Somehow or another evil has gained access to great funding and support. These few bright people then figure out that evil is gaining this funding and support surreptitiously. In other words, otherwise good people have been deceived into supporting an evil element. Such good people are not so wise because only the unwise allow themselves to be fooled continually.

This is why, in Old Testament parlance, God always sent prophets. The prophetic voice was clean and clear. It was strong and unwavering. It was sent to shine a Light on TRUTH. It was sent to wake people from their spiritual slumber. Through the prophetic Word, the Lord Jesus identifies good and evil. He tears away the cloak of deception. He reveals the evil element behind the curtain.

When the unwise but otherwise good people then understand that which comprises the evil element, they cease supporting it. As its funding and support begins being cut back it no longer has the free ability to wreak havoc as before. In the effort to save itself it uses that much more of the only weapon it possesses: More evil. —More sin, more lies, more cheating, more obfuscation, and more dissembling. By this it only reveals itself all the more.

We are living in the days of a Great Awakening. Pay attention.

© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


© 2021 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

UNREAL CHRISTIANITY IS A FLAWED MODEL (IT THUS DEMANDS CHRISTIAN PROGRAMMING TO MAKE IT WORK)

It appears to function properly. The people who exist within it appear to have a correct perspective. Appearances, however, can be greatly deceiving.

.

In writing my book, Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church, I coined the term “Unreal Christianity.” This term is defined as everything Real Christianity is not. Real Christianity is: (1) The total curriculum of the Lord Jesus and everything He taught and carried out during His ministry as revealed in the New Covenant writings. (2) The sum total of everything taught and practiced by His initial real followers in obedience to Him during the first century AD as revealed in the New Covenant writings.

Discovering Real Christianity is not difficult. The Word of God reveals it. The Spirit of God is active in the world leading whosoever will to Life and Truth. There are millions of people with solid testimonials who have experienced it. We have historical records. The first century written record is a spiritual gold mine. Also, the central core of the Lord’s teachings regarding salvation are easy to understand and apply, and one does not need full knowledge of the New Testament to gain salvation.

However, one does need such knowledge to reveal the unreal. One must know the New Testament very well to overcome false teachings. Those who add to or take away from the Lord’s teachings are not working for Him. That should be obvious. The reason so many Christians are deceived and are teaching and practicing that which the Lord never did or does not support need the proper frame of reference to discover their error. They will never gain this within their limited circles.

The teachings and practices of the original Community of the Lord were commanded to be carried out perpetually from generation to generation. We have ample historical evidence that this is true. There is therefore no justification whatsoever for deviating from the original, though a great many Christians have done this and continue supporting false forms of Christianity. It makes no difference that the majority of Christians belong to the unreal camp. The majority is always wrong. The rigors and full commitment of real discipleship are such that only a relative few will follow the correct path. The majority chooses the broad well-traveled way.

Thus, Unreal Christianity is an all-inclusive term denoting every Christian belief system and practice that deviates from the perfect original. The New Covenant writings do an excellent job at defining the real and exposing the unreal. If one cannot find confirmation for his Christian beliefs and practices in the New Testament then such beliefs and practices are incorrect. There is no proof or reason for their existence.

TWO TYPES OF CHRISTIAN INTELLIGENCE     

In general, there are two basic types of intelligence which Christians choose to adopt. The majority type can be referred to as programmable intelligence. This is characterized by people who accept indoctrination willingly. They rarely or never question authority. They never seek confirming proof. They go along to get along. Truth is much less important than fitting into the group. Therefore, the belief system of the overall group, the glue which binds the members together, is predominant with reference to any other belief system, including Biblical truth.  

Of course, anybody can be programmed. Yet, to the consternation of religious tyrants everywhere, some people can only be programmed to a point. These people adopt the second type of intelligence. The time always arrives when such people, always in the apparent minority, will start to notice flaws in their programming and begin to ask questions. They will notice that elements of their indoctrination don’t add up. Because they are also independent thinkers, they measure their programming against the Word of God. They then become fully aware of their programming. It is a life changing moment when their eyes are suddenly opened, so to speak. It can be a shock, not only because they realize they were deceived by their previous Christian beliefs but that the ones in authority in which they trusted had lied to them. They then begin to deconstruct their programming and allow for the pure teachings of the Lord.

This form of intelligence can be referred to as non-programmable intelligence. Though these people can certainly be deceived, their deception is always temporary. Over the long term, it is impossible to keep them in an ongoing state of deception. No matter what the religious programmers do, they simply cannot keep these people programmed to a flawed belief system. The mindset of those with non-programmable intelligence, because they possess an inherent hunger of and love for the truth, is one composed of critical thinking, testing, and ongoing questioning of authority. Their only supreme loyalty is to the Supreme Being. They can hear His voice and will only follow the Good Shepherd. They know that the curriculum of the Lord Jesus is the only flawless Christian belief system.      

Those with only programmable intelligence never notice any flaws in their programming. They also do not perceive that they have been programmed. Whatever denominational beliefs they espouse have been programmed into them. They are very well indoctrinated. Some would use the term brainwashed. These people never test their programmed beliefs against the Word of God. They never see the need to test them. They fully trust their religious authority figures. They simply believe what they are taught and look no further. They have little or no critical thinking ability regarding their Christian beliefs. Why question what is right? If by chance they happen to find apparent flaws in their indoctrination (or have them pointed out to them by others), they often chalk it up to concepts which can never be understood in this life and thereby invoke the spectre of mystery in that such concepts are impossible to comprehend.

Though there are certainly mysteries in this life there are none within the teachings of the Lord. It may appear that way if one never studies the Word. Therefore such defeatist attitudes actually reveal intellectual laziness and a refusal to search for available answers, as well as a strong reluctance to deviate from the teachings of the group because they fear rejection by the group. They know they can never make it without group support.

Those who choose mere programmable intelligence have this in common. They rank social standing very high. It is extremely important to them to belong and be well thought of by the overall group of which they are a member and that they fit in well and maintain their standing in the group. This demands that the overall members of the group have essentially the exact core beliefs. Core beliefs are so important they must never be questioned whatsoever and any member who does so is quickly rendered a social violator. The punishments of such social violators are the proverbial cold shoulder at best or excommunication at worst. In the middle exist all manner of punishments designed to inflict enough abuse to force one back into compliance. Any one of these punishments inflicts social humiliation and can be quite damaging though most are temporary. The abused accept their abuse willingly, though they still may not understand why they are being punished so severely. The last thing they want is cancellation because they consider actual removal from the group the worst possible outcome. It is the social death penalty.

Those with programmable intelligence could never handle such an outcome. Their place in the group is far too important. It is not only fear of banishment from the group, it is also the great fear of being thought of as different, strange, quirky, or as a deviant. They will do anything to keep either of these two outcomes from happening. They know they must strive to be a well thought of member of the group at any cost and will strive for that social standing. They crave group support to bolster the way they think about themselves. Doing all that is required as a member of the pack, the gang, the group, or the congregation validates their standing and shields them from outside attack. They must have a structured environment in which they are told what to think and believe. They often do not have the capacity to do their own research. They can rarely stand alone.

This means they must believe as the group believes. They believe the beliefs of the group are paramount. They do not understand, however, that the group has only a low common denominator set of basic elementary beliefs. And they also do not understand that the heart of these core tenets are founded upon control. The beliefs are used to keep everyone in the group under control to a higher authority. Though there is a higher authority—those few in control who dictate what will be believed and practiced—the members perceive their set of beliefs as their foundation instead of the sly controllers who use the “foundational” beliefs to program them and thus control them.

The members of the unreal assembly believe their chosen beliefs are fundamentally sound and true but they never test them. Their Christian beliefs appear on the surface to agree with Scripture. But because the beliefs are never actually tested against Scripture (and because any such testing is often forbidden) it does not take much further programming to convince the members that their beliefs are absolutely confirmed by Scripture (falsely). The controllers know those who are successfully programmed will never demand proof. Such followers believe that whatever testing is required has already been performed by the authorities in charge. Members learn that their core beliefs must never be deviated from by any member because it negatively affects the unity of the group. And even though most have undergone abuse to conform it will not stop the abused from engaging in abuse against others. All must defend their group and their group’s practices and beliefs, whatever the cost.

All that I describe here is the essential definition of a cult. Unreal Christianity contains a collection of Christian cults with a false façade. The leaders thereof are wolves in sheep’s clothing and are often demonic.

Such cultish thinking is based on primeval aspects of survival. Groups survive because they stick together against enemies (those who believe differently). Over time, small groups become large groups but their basic tenets remain the same. Whoever does not believe and act as the members are characterized as deviants and must be opposed. It becomes a joke when all Christian denominations adopt the same attitude—everybody is wrong except us—we have the full truth—our church is the right churchour leaders are the only real leaders.

Regarding Real Christianity, the Lord Jesus is the only Leader. His teachings are the only Christian truth. His Community is composed of the only Christian unity. His disciples follow and obey only Him because they love Him. They are not programmed.

AWAKING TO THE TRUTH

If the faux bros tested themselves against the Lord’s model they would discover their error. They would understand they possess a flawed model of Christianity. And then they may wonder how this happened. If they’re not careful they will start adopting the other form of intelligence, one that cannot be successfully programmed. And then, horror of horrors, they will start thinking critically. They will even test their beliefs against the Word of God. They will start questioning their betters. The next thing you know a great many Christians will break free from their Christian programming, stop being religious zombies, and actually gain more fear of losing their soul than losing their place in their chosen Christian society. It will dawn on them what living for God actually is and how blessed they are to have the opportunity to do so.

And they will see the Lord Jesus as He was at one time—rejected, betrayed, banished from the group, and left completely alone, and they will lose their fear. They will see that He overcame it all. It never stopped Him. He was victorious anyway.

He exposed the flawed models. He defeated the programmers. He did it all to set us free.

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. [Romans 16:17-20] [1]

© 2021 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 DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION AND WATCHING THE RIVER FLOW: JOURNEY TO THE SOURCE

Every river has a source. And every river flows downhill. Though many people are aware of rivers few are aware of the point at which a river begins.

.

This holds true even for those familiar rivers flowing by one’s locale where a man might fish or kids swim or families gather, or those city rivers spanned by bridges and shadowed by tall downtowns. People may know all about a section of the river closest to them or that part which they may frequent for whatever reason. They may also know about a portion of the river flowing away from them to various degrees because anyone who’s ever been on a river has drifted downstream either on purpose or not, maybe in a boat or a tube or a canoe or two. But fewer are familiar with any great distance in the other direction, that upstream direction that requires more effort as you go, both to overcome the current and the faster currents in the main current and also because you be going uphill toward them thar hills where the gold is and the higher you go the more effort it takes, which kind of removes the whole point of being on a river in the first place. One will also figure out that the day goes faster on the upstream track and it gets darker sooner and unless you got a plan for Z-catching time you’ll be up a river without a plan. Or a paddle. Plans and paddles always seem to work better going downstream.

Which only proves my point all the more. Going with the flow is cake and even dogs can do that. Speaking of which, in a former life I was once the very proud master of the greatest dog that ever lived. We would go to the lake together. I had a big inner tube. I would lay across it out there on an inlet of the lake and my good doggo, a fifty plus pound mostly black lab would stand on the tube crossways with her fore feet on one side and hinder feet on the other. We’d ride like that, a captain and his mate, me relaxing and her on her high perch on the lookout alert to all of nature with senses in overdrive locked in on distant pirate ships off on the horizon only dog eyes can see and maybe sensing or smelling a school of fish in the unseen underworld swimming under us and catching wind from distant points and occasionally making a clean jump overboard and a dog splash with nary a degree course shift to said tube undoubtedly to protect me from Leviathan (or probably just to get wet and do some doggo paddling).

And speaking further of which, those big inner tubes from tractor tires that people used to float around on back in the day curiously only work in one direction even though they came from a large rolling farm machine that goes in several. Go figure. Going downstream requires a couple of oars. Going upstream requires gasoline, or maybe a lot more oars, probably manned by guys that look like Vikings. It’s fun to be following a river to its mouth where it exits into a nice day at the beach. Going the other way on the other hand is work.

A river’s source is much less familiar than its terminus. Fewer people are aware of where a river begins. Many more people sit on a bank of sand and watch the river flow than those who think about where it flows from. And many fewer than that ever do something tangible with such thoughts. Maybe it’s because the source, or headwaters of a river, are often difficult to trace and sometimes very difficult, like tracing anything else to its source, especially those things that have sources which seem to try awfully hard to hide the way there if you get my drift. There may be an area far upstream toward headwater country when the main channel branches off into several small streams which most often don’t have traffic signs and one must choose one or another and this may involve some or a lot of backtracking and getting familiar with tricky cricks that may only end in mud and much bugs.

Going downstream from a not so well defined source may have smaller streams converging into larger ones which become at a certain point a single channel. This is somewhat equivalent to capillaries. There may be a slightly larger small stream among the many when going upstream that can be traced to a single origin point and that’s what you’re looking for. The sources of some rivers are more defined than others.

Rivers obviously begin at higher ground and flow downward. It is often the case that major rivers fall fast in the beginning due to their headwaters being inconveniently located in what may effectively and certainly by comparison be the great white north in cold snowy icy mountain regions where rivers for some odd reason aren’t quite as much fun. You likely won’t find too many people up there having laid back family reunions with barbecue and little kids running around with arm floaties.

After rivers go through their contrary stage in the early going, falling fast and dangerous as if having no time to lose and needing to get somewhere yesterday, they start catching their breath a tad as the lay of the land becomes increasingly less pronounced and angled. The slope lessens and eventually flattens out in comparison to the upriver rocky waterfall stage. Some rivers reach areas where they spread out with very wide banks. What was once a clear and cold quickly running rivulet becomes a wide slow moving body of water appearing almost as a lake, kind of like a butterfly turning into a worm. The gradient continues to lessen over large stretches as the river at last approaches the place it was so fired up about reaching back in the beginning—the flat land of its ultimate destination in which it finally exhausts itself and goes to river heaven, pouring itself out with one last primal scream and a few deathbed prayers into a vast sea or the big bad ocean becoming one with all as it were. It may even decide on splitsville prior to exiting at its technical terminus, becoming a many branching delta as it might have been in the beginning and completing the river circle of life in that the many became one and then the many again. This is really philosophical but rivers, as you know, can be deep.

Thus, since water always seeks its own level, which explains why it was in such a gol-dern hurry at the start, the waters which begin in the high mountains always end their long winding descending journey at level (unless obstructed, usually artificially). This is why they call it sea level because water always has to level out. Once water escapes anything that may be holding it, from Lake Superior to a drinking glass, it will do its best to get flat as quickly as possible and the more of it there is the more this force is compounded.  This is why sea level is the zero point and benchmark for all land elevations. It’s because the ocean is the place most rivers go to die where they simply can’t get any more level. I guess this makes them happy.

THE DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION

Information works the same way water works. It has a source. The source is often limited or even singular. The information chosen for authorized channels must be approved before being released and thus becomes official. Approved official knowledge or information then flows relatively quickly from the top down through hierarchical levels until reaching the initial lower levels of distribution. It is then disseminated throughout the flat land of the masses in which the information flow shifts from vertical to horizontal.

At this point information which once descended from a mysterious and largely unknown elevated source is shared laterally across a virtual plane. The receivers become the final distributors. Though the indoctrinated are blissfully unaware of the source or legitimacy of the information or the process of mental manipulation which they are undergoing, they accept the information presented to them as truth. They believe it and compel others to believe it. News spreads from person to person within the proverbial ocean of people. Cultural belief systems are created. Narratives are formed. And the majority are none the wiser that it was all planned that way.

Imagine therefore all the rivers of the land flowing into a single ocean at sea level. The waters of multiple rivers converge and mix together in the ocean waters. Again, it works the same way with information. The information is rarely vetted. It is assumed to be true. Next to no one ever goes on a perilous journey upriver seeking the source. Such can be extremely difficult. Many different terrains will be encountered along with whatever other dangers may lurk upon them such as hostile inhabitants or wild animals. Imagine getting into the high mountain regions presented with bottomless crevasses and vertical icy cliffs. Whoever the long ago down-streamers were, those non-indigenous to the unexplored high country, that discovered a major river’s headwaters were indeed the hardiest of souls. They were seeking the source.

As opposed to the ancient source seekers, the vast majority of the people downstream in gently sloping relatively flat regions and on the coast usually had no desire to discover where their water came from. They simply accepted the water for what it was, the life-giving element essential for all. In prior times when the earth was clean the water was also usually safe. People were not aware of the microscopic dangers inherent in some waters. Over the last two plus centuries when areas of the earth were subjected to industrialization and the pollution thereof, some waters became slightly polluted, but again, nobody understood the lurking danger. In areas of very high populations settled in a section of river in which the flow was not sufficient to overcome the pollution, many people came down with unexplained illnesses due to the higher concentration of pollutants in the water and many died. It became a serious problem.

Those were the days of unsanitary practices engaged in by relatively everyone. Very few ever made a connection between such practices and ill health. For example, it was the same during the Black Death in Europe in which great numbers died. No one had understood that unsanitary practices in the highly concentrated population centers attracted rats which had fleas which transferred disease to humans. Therefore, those who imbibed in dirty water had no clue that dirty water caused illness and death. The people who lived far upstream in small villages in which the river water was clear and cold had few such problems.

Though there were large systems of water distribution in ancient times among high population centers, some were upgraded significantly and became relatively modern engineering feats. A great example was ancient Rome. As the city grew larger in the first few centuries BC they began building long aqueducts from distant high ground many miles away which carried fresh water into the city. Many of these were built around the turn of the millennium under the rule of Augustus who had thoroughly modernized Rome. These aqueducts were built primarily for water distribution, however, and not necessarily for access to cleaner water though it was certainly of better quality than what they had previously. Most other large population centers in the ancient world never possessed the thought process or means of the ancient Romans, much less the engineering ability, to build such sanitary systems, and always struggled with disease and death by dirty water. And again, the problem was compounded by never understanding the connection. Lesser cultures suffered more than relatively enlightened ones.

Whatever knowledge in this field might have been gained by the first century AD was apparently lost once again as concentrated population centers continued suffering the effects of water pollution throughout the Middle Ages. It was not until modern times when water distribution became so advanced that much waterborne sickness and disease was eliminated. We have all seen the signs stating that a city’s water supply is “approved.” Municipalities and water districts make water quality literature available for the few who may be interested. One can peruse tables and charts containing the levels of remaining contaminants after filtration. One may also see something else. They may discover the levels of various chemicals added to the water to kill the contaminants. We are told that such industrial chemicals are at such a low level of concentration that they are harmless.

This has long since been proven to be false. That which is flowing through the distribution systems of our cities and towns is roughly equivalent to swimming pool water. Most people do not understand that such municipal water systems are self-contained in that whatever flows down the drain eventually returns through the tap. Drain water and its ingredients must go through multiple levels of high filtration to remove the many contaminants as best as possible and then the water is chemically treated before eventually returning for multiple uses including drinking. In other words, from the time such systems were first constructed the water has never been pure. Dirty water will get you relatively fast. Chemically treated water will likely get you later. In the past, people never made the connection between dirty water and disease. Today, most people do not understand the connection between chemical water and disease.

However, such a problem is comparatively benign compared to information pollution. Few people ever vet the sources of information they receive. Just as we are conditioned to believe that whatever comes out of a tap is perfectly safe, so are we conditioned to believe that everything presented on television, radio, and newspapers is true. You could say the same for history books. For Christians, you can say the same for pulpits. Few ever vet what comes from a pulpit. Even fewer vet the pulpit sources. The original sources and hierarchies that send the information through Christian distribution centers, including pulpits, are often completely unknown. Christians in general have historically been the equivalent of some guy reading a newspaper or watching TV news. The content is not only rarely or never questioned, the creators of the content remain unidentified and anonymous.

Of course, much Christian information comes through the distribution channels from denominational headquarters. And much comes from approved Christian literature through various Christian colleges and seminaries. But most Christians don’t know that or apparently care about the upstream vetting of these information sources. That which is chosen to distribute has agendas attached. There is much that is not chosen. Who is the arbiter? Who makes such decisions? The main final delivery connection point for most Christians, like a household faucet, is the local pulpit, but if the pulpit is ever vetted it is usually because the congregation insists on a particular denominational viewpoint. Sadly, Christian information sources are rarely properly vetted against the only Source that matters.

THE WATER OF LIFE      

It is not possible for a Christian to be a well-informed disciple without attending the school of the Lord Jesus. The Lord has seen fit to preserve His written Word. Thus, by praying for Light and direction, and reading and studying the Lord’s actual teachings, one is effectively attending His school. This is the purest of all waters. Reading His Word can obviously be supplemented by accurate Bible preaching and teaching, and vetted Christian literature. There are several means of distribution of the Lord’s teachings but the emphasis must always be on His pure Word. Direct reading and study eliminates the middle man. It is the same as drinking from a perfectly pure mountain stream or cold water spring.

Consider those who were able to sit at the feet of the Lord Jesus. They were getting the pure Word directly from the Source. I highly recommend that those of you who have yet to have your initial Upper Room experience to seek it. It is where the originals first received the infilling of the Lord’s Holy Spirit. This is a gift to all but it must be sought. Rather than get your information from a downstream unfiltered and likely polluted source in which vital nutrients are missing and contaminants are present, I suggest all take a trip to the Mountain of the Lord to the very Source of the Water of Life. His Spirit will filter and vet everything and keep one from being misinformed and/or deceived.

The evidence is in one’s spiritual health. The Water of Life creates strong, healthy, and joyous disciples.

THE SOURCE  

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. [John 7:37-39]

“‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.’” [Acts 2:17-18]

“Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” [Acts 2:33]

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb… [Revelation 22:1] [1]

© 2021 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.

NATIONAL REPENTANCE MUST BEGIN IMMEDIATELY

Though the following Psalm obviously applies to ancient Israel, there are many parallels within it which relate to our present. Seek the Lord.

.

PSALM 106: Israel’s Rebelliousness and the Lord’s Deliverances

1

Praise the Lord!

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;

For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

2

Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord,

Or can show forth all His praise?

3

How blessed are those who keep justice,

Who practice righteousness at all times!

4

Remember me, O Lord, in Your favor toward Your people;

Visit me with Your salvation,

5

That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones,

That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,

That I may glory with Your inheritance.

6

We have sinned like our fathers,

We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly.

7

Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders;

They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses,

But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.

8

Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His Name,

That He might make His power known.

9

Thus He rebuked the Red Sea and it dried up,

And He led them through the deeps, as through the wilderness.

10

So He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them,

And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.

11

The waters covered their adversaries;

Not one of them was left.

12

Then they believed His words;

They sang His praise.

13

They quickly forgot His works;

They did not wait for His counsel,

14

But craved intensely in the wilderness,

And tempted God in the desert.

15

So He gave them their request,

But sent a wasting disease among them.

16

When they became envious of Moses in the camp,

And of Aaron, the holy one of the Lord,

17

The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,

And engulfed the company of Abiram.

18

And a fire blazed up in their company;

The flame consumed the wicked.

19

They made a calf in Horeb

And worshiped a molten image.

20

Thus they exchanged their glory

For the image of an ox that eats grass.

21

They forgot God their Savior,

Who had done great things in Egypt,

22

Wonders in the land of Ham

And awesome things by the Red Sea.

23

Therefore He said that He would destroy them,

Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him,

To turn away His wrath from destroying them.

24

Then they despised the pleasant land;

They did not believe in His word,

25

But grumbled in their tents;

They did not listen to the voice of the Lord.

26

Therefore He swore to them

That He would cast them down in the wilderness,

27

And that He would cast their seed among the nations

And scatter them in the lands.

28

They joined themselves also to Baal-peor,

And ate sacrifices offered to the dead.

29

Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds,

And the plague broke out among them.

30

Then Phinehas stood up and interposed,

And so the plague was stayed.

31

And it was reckoned to him for righteousness,

To all generations forever.

32

They also provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah,

So that it went hard with Moses on their account;

33

Because they were rebellious against His Spirit,

He spoke rashly with his lips.

34

They did not destroy the peoples,

As the Lord commanded them,

35

But they mingled with the nations

And learned their practices,

36

And served their idols,

Which became a snare to them.

37

They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons,

38

And shed innocent blood,

The blood of their sons and their daughters,

Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;

And the land was polluted with the blood.

39

Thus they became unclean in their practices,

And played the harlot in their deeds.

40

Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against His people

And He abhorred His inheritance.

41

Then He gave them into the hand of the nations,

And those who hated them ruled over them.

42

Their enemies also oppressed them,

And they were subdued under their power.

43

Many times He would deliver them;

They, however, were rebellious in their counsel,

And so sank down in their iniquity.

44

Nevertheless He looked upon their distress

When He heard their cry;

45

And He remembered His covenant for their sake,

And relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.

46

He also made them objects of compassion

In the presence of all their captors.

47

Save us, O Lord our God,

And gather us from among the nations,

To give thanks to Your holy name

And glory in Your praise.

48

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,

From everlasting even to everlasting.

And let all the people say, “Amen.”

Praise the Lord! [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.

ONLY THE FULLY AWAKE SEE HIS GLORY: A GREAT AWAKENING UPDATE

Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory [Luke 9:32]

.

Yes, it was about the Transfiguration. But the Transfiguration is about a Great Revelation. Only the fully awake can see this. Christians who do not see this are not awake.

I can’t tell you exactly when the majority of American Christians went to sleep but it was fairly recent—about a quarter century ago. Prior to the present Great Awakening there was the Great Sleep. The Great Sleep stretched all across the country. It affected all denominations and independents. Of course, many of these have always been asleep so there was no change among them and no frame of reference to discern the times. Most Christians are still asleep.

We were in the early stages of the Great Awakening eleven years ago. I received this revelation from the Lord directly in late August of 2010. I knew of no one else at the time that had received it. I received no confirmation from others I knew at the time but within a few years I did start receiving some. People I knew were seeing breakouts here and there.

Recently, I was watching an interview of a prophetic believer, an older man with a solid record. At one point he said the prophetic people he knew had been saying we entered into the beginning of an awakening around eight to ten years ago. This interview was conducted in the summer of 2020. His statement would make the beginning of the Awakening, according to them, in 2010-2012. This was more confirmation. The Great Awakening likely began only a short time before the year 2010, maybe only a few years at the most. That settles the time frame.

There is obviously no need for a Great Awakening unless there has been a Great Sleep. As a country, America has been sleeping a very long time. It is why so much evil was allowed to happen during the 1900s. The Christians in official high places with most of the influence were not minding the store, were sleeping, and were actually in cahoots with the enemy whether they knew it or not. There were always voices of truth speaking forth because the Lord always has witnesses but these were drowned out by the unseeing sleeping majority. It’s impossible to speak truth to a sleeping man. They must wake up first. Most don’t want to wake up. They like the faux world. They like the fantasy world between their ears and not only don’t know they are deceived but don’t care. They enjoy sleeping.

However, during the last 120 years, despite the official Christian gatekeepers and all their followers being zoned out and snoring away, there were Christians who were absolutely serious about serving the Lord Jesus and made a full effort at being real disciples. These people were fully awake. It began at midnight on January 1, 1901 in Topeka, Kansas. The next huge spiritual wave hit in 1906 in Los Angeles, California. From then it was off to the races. The entire Christian landscape began to change for the better. Around 1960 Pentecost began happening all across the country. By the mid-1960s all denominations were touched powerfully by the Spirit of God. In pretty much every Protestant denomination and even the Roman Catholic Church people were getting filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in other tongues per the Book of Acts experience.

The movement continued unabated well into the 1970s. By the 1980s the movement began going into overdrive all across the world. It began in China in roughly 1976. Today it is estimated that over 100 million Chinese people are filled the Holy Spirit and having a massive impact. The same has happened in South America and many other places.

Something bad happened in North America, however, at some point in the 1990s. The movement subsided. Christians in America who should have known better began appropriating a Laodicean attitude. Churches were flush with money. Christian television had gone into the stratosphere. Somehow or another it all went off track. The enemy was able to gain much influence. Spiritual pride set in. A spirit of narcissism rose up. What was once a purely organic movement much like the initial movement of the Early Church was raided and invaded with the same revival killing practices that end all moves of God. A clergy-laity divide enshrouded the Community. Celebrity Christianity rose dramatically. Prosperity preachers and motivational speakers became the standard. Everyone else returned to form and became mere spectators and clergy worshippers.

What had made the 1900s movement great was the participation of every believer and the equality of all believers. This was lost. It was thrown out the window. If an honest anointed man didn’t have the false credentials of the faux leaders who had gathered together as a bloc he had no influence or open door for ministry. Christians were conditioned to trust only those with false résumés who stood on high taking the place of both the Lord Jesus and His people. They had the money, the power, and the prestige. They wrested control from the Lord and their people supported it. Together, they effectively killed the movement. Christians all across the country lapsed in their devotion to the Lord and simply went along with the program. This allowed for an influx of sin which remained unaddressed.

People who were once fully awake seeing the glory of the Lord fell asleep and no longer saw Him for who He is. They stopped serving Him. And then the devil had a field day. Though the outer structure remained intact and Christian routines continued the glory had largely departed. American Christianity became the Church of Ichabod.

PAY ATTENTION:

Now Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were fixed and he could not see. The man said to Eli, “I am the one who came from the battle line. Indeed, I escaped from the battle line today.” And he said, “How are things, my son?” Then the one who brought the news replied, “Israel has fled before the Philistines and there has also been a great defeat among the people, and your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas are also dead; and the ark of God has been taken.” When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell off the seat backward beside the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for he was old and heavy. And so he judged Israel for forty years.

Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was pregnant and about to give birth; and when she heard the news that the ark of God had been taken and that her father-in-law and her husband had died, she kneeled down and gave birth, because her pains came upon her. And about the time of her death the women who were standing by her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have given birth to a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. And she named the boy Ichabod (no glory, or where is the glory?), saying, “The glory has departed from Israel,” because the ark of God had been taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband. So she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, because the ark of God has been taken.” [1Samuel 4:15-22] [1]

Thus, when American Christians started waking up 10-15 years ago they had no effect on the great shell of spiritual emptiness which is what became of the outer expression of much of American Christianity. Though it looked great on the outside it was empty on the inside. Those in control had already given themselves over to mammon since the Spirit of the Lord was no longer there. Mammon became their lifeline. They connected with the secular holders of mammon. They became mammon addicts.

The real Christians who never went to sleep soldiered on through it all looking forward to the day when the Lord would be invited back. The Lord, of course, never left the lives of those who stayed awake but they were largely rejected as He was. Those who were awake and working didn’t fit in with the sleeping. Imagine the God of all Creation being shut out of His own movement and relegated to the sidelines. Sound familiar?

The Great Awakening continues. Such happenings always start with repentance. Those who serve the Lord want to be right with Him! But the last to repent are the controllers. Their lives are good. They really don’t need or want the Lord. Or they want Him only as a lesser Lord Jesus. They don’t want Him in His power. They don’t want His power. It would mean giving up their power. You see, when a Christian exalts himself the Lord Jesus is dethroned and those sitting on their thrones have an extremely hard time giving it up. We know from history, however, that unless they do a time will come when the Lord will take it away from them. For His own sake, for the sake of His people, and for the sake of His movement in the world, He will take it away from them and give it back to His children who want Him and recognize Him. It allows Him to rise again.

As more sleeping Christians begin to awaken, rubbing the sleep from their eyes, they will somehow manage the strength to get out of bed. They will break free from the false dreams and entranced state into which they had succumbed. They will start to see the Lord for who He really is. If, after a good jolt of spiritual coffee, they are able to fully come to their senses, a great thing will happen. Their sleepy visions from enchanted dreams of an alternative Jesus which never existed will suddenly vanish:

FOR THE FULLY AWAKE THE LORD JESUS WILL BE TRANSFIGURED BEFORE THEM.

Only the fully awake see His glory.

© 2021 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.

BLOG UPDATE! ANNOUNCING NEW POST

THE GREAT ERROR OF TRUSTING DUPLICITOUS HIRELINGS AND POMPOUS PUPPETS

KICKING AGAINST THE GOADS

KICKING AGAINST THE GOADS

I wrote my first book, Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church, in the 1990s in part to show the clear distinction between real and unreal Christianity. It released a sword of separation.

.

All Christians must understand that the New Covenant writings contain contrastive material. The Word of God is designed to draw clear distinctions, cause sharp divisions, and assist one in making positive decisions. It presents Light and darkness, good and evil, sheep and goats, wheat and tares, and righteousness and sin. Real repentance is challenging (understatement alert). Personal sin, false beliefs, contrary attitudes, and uncircumcised hearts all must be addressed. It is not an easy process nor should it be. The Light shines on the darkness and everything hidden in the darkness gets exposed. Whenever one comes to the Lord he or she is exiting darkness and entering Light.

THE SWORD OF SEPARATION

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.” [Matthew 10:34-36]

Over the last quarter century, the spiritual climate in organized American Christianity has radically changed. Previous errors have been compounded. It is apparent that American Christians in general have consistently rejected the fullness of the Gospel. Most have certainly rejected the Book of Acts. The instructions and warnings of my book went unheeded. One might recall that the 1990s were considered the good times. Does not the Lord always warn during the good times that bad times are soon coming if one does not stay right with Him?

Real Christianity is based firmly on the full teachings of the Lord Jesus and the New Covenant writings. Our Lord is the Master. What He says goes. He instructs us to build our entire lives upon His foundation. Most of what we term “Christianity” has never done this. This means most “Christians” are actually not on the Lord’s side at all. Maybe most are deceived. It is more likely most simply refuse to follow the Lord as He said we must.

A Christian’s bullheaded balking at the Lord’s direction becomes evident, as kicking against the goads (Acts 26:14), when he or she reaches a point of refusal to go any further or in the right direction, though the Lord gently applies pressure to do so, and he or she insists on staying put wherever personally anchored or wander off wildly on a course of his own choosing. From the Lord’s perspective, those who have pledged their lives to Him have no call to refuse Him. But not only does an apparent majority of Christians refuse Him and decide on their own how far their discipleship will go, some are also guilty of persecuting the Lord (Acts 26:15). This is not something to have on one’s Christian résumé.

The Lord has never needed large numbers of followers to have a great impact in the world. I have consistently reiterated this point in all my writings going back decades. What He actually needs are fully obedient followers who trust Him fully and make a stand as He did. It is easy to discern a Christian who is not standing properly with the Lord because they do not put His teachings first. Instead, they will appeal to church leaders or teachers or writers or speakers or whoever else that has an alternative perspective and agenda which most often includes false and opposing denominational doctrines. They cannot understand that they have been compromised. Rather than put their trust in the Lord Jesus they put it in others and in themselves though outwardly insisting otherwise. This likely explains the great amount of Cognitive Dissonance among Christians.

The best way to break free from any accepted “Christian” belief that is contrary to the Lord’s teachings is to simply pray for direction and then dive in to His teachings. Don’t pick and choose. Have no agendas other than learning His full curriculum. Read the gospels focusing on all of His statements. Get familiar with everything He taught. Do your best to apply it. We are all a work in progress in this area in one sense. In another, however, we must understand that the early members of His initial Community immediately hit the ground running from the very start. They didn’t know everything as individuals but were always open to instruction; they acted on what they knew and continued. Also, the Community as a whole did know pretty much everything and it is why every voice mattered. They believed and practiced the adage, “Nobody is as smart as all of us.” What one didn’t know another did. When one was not operating correctly or speaking fullness of truth another lovingly corrected him. Fellow believers were never censored. It was an organic fellowship of the Spirit. They never waited to become “perfect” disciples in knowing and applying everything the Lord said before doing their Christian duty, though they certainly believed in everything the Lord said. They preached and taught the most foundational and important teachings first and went from there. They put first things first.

The first thing is salvation from sin and establishing trust and faith in the Lord Jesus. This requires a complete change and transformation of one’s life, initially through repentance of sin and walking away from all sinful practices. Ongoing obedience must follow. And because the Lord would never leave us powerless or defenseless against powerful spiritual enemies He commanded we be filled with His Holy Spirit. Those filled with His Spirit in the first century turned the world upside down. Every real Christian has the same influential impact.

Most Christians, however, are not filled with His Holy Spirit as the originals were and are thus not much of a threat to the enemy. This is largely why the enemy has come into America like the proverbial flood. It is why the enemy now controls pretty much everything.

The majority of American Christians insisted on being spiritual wimps, biblically illiterate, and embarrassed by the Lord Jesus.

The enemy has taken full advantage and likely couldn’t believe it would be so easy. And now, after a quarter century, much of American Christianity, compromised by sin and enslaved to mammon, has gone over to the enemy.

THE SPIRIT OF JUDAS

The problem arises from a consistent refusal to do what the originals did and instead substitute their own various forms of “Christianity” which look nothing like the original. The most reprehensible consequence of all the false gospels and False Teachers is their rejection of the Lord Jesus and His teachings and those who truly follow Him. Therefore, long before such disruptive times as these when so much hate and division is being openly presented, real Christians in America have had to deal with such throughout their entire walk. They are used to it. They are quite familiar with betrayal. Such negativity is not necessarily coming from non-Christian Americans, however, most of whom really don’t care all that much what real Christians believe, or even from secular authority which has most often been neutral and even supportive of religious freedom. No, the worst battle has always been with the various forms of what I term “Unreal Christianity.” This is where most of the hate and rejection has consistently come from. This can only mean the devil has an established presence there.

It was no different in the first century. The very worst and most extreme persecution of the Lord’s followers came from among their own. It came from religious leaders and family members. It was brother against brother. Even the Lord’s own family were against Him for a time. Some within the nation saw the Light and received the Lord as the long hoped for Messiah. Others hatefully rejected Him. This dynamic remains in place. Some Jewish people, a relative few, the Messianic Jews, have embraced the Lord Jesus. The rest reject Him, hate Him, and mock Him. It was the relatively small group of unbelieving Messiah-rejecting Israelite/Judean religious and political leaders and those indoctrinated by them that led the effort in murdering the Sacrifice Lamb. They turned against their own blood, against vast numbers of their own nation. Remember, as I have always pointed out, the entire original Community of the Lord Jesus, every single one of the 120 in the Upper Room, and all twelve apostles were also composed only of Israelites/Judeans, including the Apostle Paul. For some of you, such a betrayal might be familiar.

The movement started by the Lord Jesus which later became termed “Christianity” was originally an entirely Israelite/Judean movement for roughly nine years. There were no Gentiles until the time the apostle Peter was sent by the Lord to preach to and preside over the salvation of the Gentile Cornelius and his family/associates (See Acts Chapter 10). Those people all received the infilling of the Holy Spirit in the exact manner of those on the Day of Pentecost. Peter was initially shocked by this. In time, Gentile believers far outnumbered Israelite/Judean believers. Regardless of nationality, the Lord Jesus always consistently did the exact thing on every occasion of a new spiritual outpouring and it is all recorded in the Scriptural history book of the Early Church. Each occasion was an exact repeat of Pentecost.

However, from that time to the present, scads of false or incomplete gospels have been presented and the majority of “Christians” have believed and accepted something very different or incomplete compared to that of the originals. Those Christians who are participating and having a positive effect in the current Great Awakening have one primary thing in common: They are fully dedicated to the Lord Jesus. They have pledged to do His will. They do their best to know and obey His teachings. They identify with the Early Church of the first century. They will not stay in a place where He is not fully supported. They want the full curriculum of the Lord. They want to excel. They have become aware of the difference between the real and unreal. If the Lord directs them to, they will walk away from the faux bros.

COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM

It is why so many have walked away. They are tired of sleepy time Christianity and less than the best Churchianity. They are tired of hanging around the willing sleepers and pew droolers. They want the whole catalogue. They want to be exactly like the originals. THEY WANT EVERYBODY TO WAKE UP. They are tired of all their spiritual efforts pretty much going nowhere because only watered-down common denominator stuff is accepted so the stragglers won’t be offended. (We must never offend; it keeps the money from rolling in.) Things keep getting worse, the people in charge still refuse to change and get right with God, and those who see know the Titanic has struck an iceberg and is going down.

The great Ark of the Lord, however, sails on unimpeded. It’s got this cool Upper Room that keeps going 24 hours a day. There is much joy! The Lord guides His ship expertly and anyone and everyone is welcome aboard, though a few New Covenant papers will have to be signed.

Remember, according to the Gideon Paradigm and the Upper Room 120, all it takes is a comparative few to have great success and rout the enemy. It is not necessarily the big crowds that make the difference but the obedient few separated from the rest and united in heart and Spirit. The Lord proved this with Gideon’s 300. He proved it with the 120.

And He proves it every day when as few as two or three are gathered together in His Name.

Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. [Daniel 12:3] [1]

© 2021 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 GREAT ERROR OF TRUSTING DUPLICITOUS HIRELINGS AND POMPOUS PUPPETS

Sans salvation, such human leaders are hell bound sinners awaiting a surefire inevitable judgment before God. Trusting them blindly is outright foolishness.

.

Many Christians learned the hard way once again. When he had the power of office, at a time when it was needed most, he failed to use it. He thus revealed himself for what he was—at worst a compromised puppet effectively controlled by higher powers like most of the rest, and at best a well-meaning man without the means or courage to follow through. He did many good things, possibly went farther than anyone else would go, and attracted much vitriol for his efforts, but not only did he lack the ability to close the deal, he left the nation defenseless against an unrelenting enemy. In the end, millions of Christian supporters were left in the lurch. It’s a terrible thing to believe in a leader’s apparent sincerity and ostensible truthful speech only to be left hanging when such speech is proven to be mere dissembling rhetoric and his supposed earnestness a con.

And that’s what these people are, pretty much all of them. They are merely con artists working their trade on the payroll of unseen puppet masters, making fools of the people and laughing behind your back.

DUPLICITOUS HIRELINGS

The Lord Jesus did His best to tell us. For the most part His warnings and wisdom go unappropriated in this area, as in many other areas, as so-called believers only trust Him to a point and no more while they fall at the feet of human pretenders both secular and religious, and essentially worship them. It is, as they say, a spectacle to behold, as if the Lord commands His people to surrender to someone other than Him which makes no sense but remains an extremely successful lie.

Real Christians learn early on in their walk with the Lord Jesus that the devil is real, that he is an excellent liar, and that he lives to steal, kill, and destroy. He loves to corrupt the good, innocent, and wholesome. He is a tempter extraordinaire. The devil always plays fast and loose with the truth and uses segments of truth to do his dirty work which always involves his skillful abilities of deception. The devil is a deceiver of the highest order; there is no one better. And we can tell who his disciples are because they do the same. He teaches them well. The greatest liars and deceivers are the greatest disciples of the evil one. They lie, they cheat, they steal, they kill, they destroy, and they fool a great many into believing in them. Such people could not possibly have their great powers, however, unless the greatest of evil powers granted his power to them. They cannot function without their evil spiritual master. And the people of this world who have no power in the unseen spiritual world are easy marks, very easily taken advantage of, used and abused, and then cast away. They have no chance whatsoever without the Lord. It is not a fair fight. Even those who get wise and figure it out have little ability to do anything about it. All are mere sheep without a shepherd.

One would think, therefore, that the few sheep who become aware of the truth of this fallen world would seek the One they know must exist somehow, someway, somewhere, and many do. But sadly, before establishing a solid relationship with the Lord Jesus many of these get cut off at the pass by the religious chucklehead posse and they end up bowing to a shepherd who is not a shepherd but just another hireling.

Such hirelings are much worse than other false leaders because they pretend to be spiritual leaders. And the very worst of these are false Christian leaders. Even though it may seem highly unlikely at the onset that anyone could ever pull off such a great deception—that one could actually deceive Christians—these have turned out to be the greatest deceivers of all. Though they are nothing more than lying sellouts, they are world class at pretending to be something they are not. In essence, their greatest powers of deception are as masters of disguise. The best are so good at their trade they can fool the best and deceive to the tune of millions. All it takes is the proper window dressing. And it is apparently quite helpful to also wear such window dressing, as their costumes often appear as explosions in a vestment factory.

Also, they understand very well that broken, hurting, needy, shamed, and weakened people need someone to look up to so they play this to the hilt. They become all the more the pompous pretenders they are. They love to dress up and pull rank. They love it when people bow down to them. They love being false idols. They are infatuated with titles, the longer the better. They are among the world’s greatest narcissists. But alas, when it comes to real Christianity they’re spiritually powerless. They’re also insincere cowards. They don’t care in the least that they rarely ever do a damn thing for those who need real spiritual help (you know, the kind the Lord Jesus supplies), and who look to them for assistance, but instead only offer worthless mumbo jumbo, possible temporary fixes, and false hope. They’re great at making excuses. All they really are is the personification of the devil’s trick to keep sincere seekers from the Lord.

Jesus therefore said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:7-13 NASB77]  

A hireling, or hired hand, is one who works for money. Rather than serving the Lord and the people in his care, he serves mammon. The Lord said a man cannot serve both God and mammon. He will love one and hate the other. Thus, hirelings don’t really care so much for the people supposedly in their care since their heart is not in the work. If there was no money to be made they wouldn’t be there. If they received no salary they wouldn’t serve. If they had no promise of an income they would find another job. And that’s what ministry is to them. It is nothing more than a job and career. The reason many Christians are not aware of this is because they either don’t know the Word or the Word they know is overcome by the more forceful word of the hireling ministers who never miss a trick at justifying their false standing. Of course, it helps tremendously that the hirelings outnumber real ministers of the Gospel.

Nevertheless, Christians should know better. They should never let themselves become so deceived. The Lord Jesus never looked like the hirelings. He never acted like them. Though He is the most powerful Man who ever lived He is also the most humble. He was so humble he out-humbled Moses who was previously said to hold that title. (Remember, this is God we are talking about. Consider that.) Though humble, He had such a powerful presence in His time that every man knew the Lord was a much bigger and tougher Man than any of them. He exuded manhood. He exuded great strength and courage. Men of wisdom rightly give Him His due. It is only the disgusting and deceived who do not.

The religious leaders of the Lord’s time painted a perfect picture of what a mature follower of the Lord is never supposed to be and yet the majority of Christian leaders have always looked more like effete Pharisees than the Lord Jesus, who only wore simple utilitarian clothing, kept a low profile, and presented Himself as a common Man of the people. He never wore a sleek business suit or a bizarre pope hat. He was never ostentatious or drew attention to His humanity but always directed people to the spiritual. This means the majority of “Christians” tend to also gravitate to the pretender side since they support the hirelings and not the Lord, or they are among the vast ranks of the deceived. Why are so many so fooled? As I said previously: They are merely con artists working their trade, on the payroll of unseen puppet masters, making fools of believers and laughing behind your back.

Regardless, no one has a viable excuse. Though we are all possibly deceived at any given time to a certain extent and certainly unaware of the Lord’s full curriculum to various degrees, the Lord has made a way for us to see the Light and WAKE UP. He has overcome the deceivers and their great powers of deception so we can see the charade for what it is. He told us very plainly that “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” That is, in part, that one will no longer be bound by the powers of deception. It will no longer be possible to be fooled. One can then see behind the curtain, as it were. Though the enemy still works hard at his great masquerade, real Christians will see all the pretenders for what they are. Their elaborate vestments and attire will no longer hide them. Their fake sincerity will suddenly be seen as such. Their speech, which before had seemed so honest will be perceived as mere lies and religious gobbledygook. It’s a great thing. It’s great that they look at you fearfully and realize their cover is blown, that you see them for what they are. The look in their eye is priceless. The Lord Jesus got that look often.

The moral of the story, of course, is that there is only one Person who is 100% trustworthy. You can trust Him absolutely and fully. He will never walk out on you. He will never betray you. He will always be faithful and honor His Covenant. The Lord Jesus is that Person. He is the only One. He knows we need Him. And He never made any provision that a Christian should ever put another before Him.

ONE MAN SHOW CHRISTIANITY

This is also why the Lord never allowed for one man shows. Sadly, Christianity has long since fallen into the deception of single “pastors” leading “churches.” It is just one more thing the fakers and deceived appropriate in order to have their way. This is why there is so little accountability in organized Christianity. The pretenders and deceived always feel they must have a ruling “pastor” that everyone can submit to. It does not matter that there is no New Testament support for it. This is what they have been fooled into believing and they are bound and determined to enforce it. It is as if they are so superior to everyone else they are pretty much like the Lord. Some of these morons even claim to be infallible, but that high country is clearly only reserved for the Lord Jesus. That’s His territory and His alone. Whoever attempts to trespass on His sacred ground is obviously working for the devil. There is no one who is as pure, holy, powerful, humble, and loving than Him. It is extremely dangerous when one attempts to equate himself with God or demand that which only God should receive. This would otherwise be obvious but not in the world of the deluded. As I wrote in my book, Real Christianity, “The most fully evolved form of an idol today is a living human being.”

You see, the Lord refers to His Community as His Bride. No one treats women better than the Lord and He will certainly treat his own Bride the best way possible. And though it may be a hard concept for many Christians to grasp, He expects the members of His Bride to treat each other the same way. We are all in this together and are supposed to work together. He says everyone in His Community is on the same level ground in that we are all equal (See Galatians 3:26-28). There are no separate classes of people. There should never be anyone exalted over another. There are no ridiculous hierarchies. He never created a clergy-laity divide, which is the invention of imposters and only exists as a means to a false power grab. How is it then, that a few within the Bride (likely posers) insist they have authority over the Bride? This is asinine. Is the Lord Jesus going to allow another man to have authority over His own Bride?

This is why the Lord carefully and evenly distributes His authority. When He grants authority, and all believers have a level of spiritual authority, He doesn’t grant it so some Christians can take authority over other Christians. THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS AUTHORITY OVER A REAL CHRISTIAN IS THE LORD JESUS. In the Lord’s real Community, He works through each believer. He will obviously work through mature believers to assist new and developing believers, and mature believers must be respected for what they are called to do. Real ministers are servants. This is another way to distinguish between shepherds and hirelings. But how can the Lord work through those who have never received His Spirit? The Spirit of the Lord is what unites the Bride. It is what every member has in common. Since the majority of “Christianity” has rejected Pentecost or substitutes some fake version thereof, the majority of Christian “leaders” doesn’t have or want the Lord’s Holy Spirit anyway. This is why they are forced to disobey the Lord’s actual teachings in this area in order to procure their supposed authority since they are not granted authority by the Lord. They bypass Him. This, again, makes them pretenders. They refuse the prerequisite of Acts 101 and simply skip from the Gospels to the Epistles thereby circumventing that which would allow them to be actual ministers. And many of these are not content to merely reject Pentecost but are hostile to it.

Those who actually read the New Testament and study it know the Lord never allowed for a one man show. He actually set up groups of elders. He did this not only to look after the various small congregations making up His larger Community but also for the elders to look after each other. The Lord always knew, obviously, that He was dealing with human beings prone to sin and error, and He would never put one man in charge because there would be no accountability. Meaning, of course, that such a one would stray—always. This rule is forever in effect. Put one man in charge, no matter how good he looks or how gifted he is, and he will screw it up. The Lord does not want His people being led by a screw up. And it doesn’t matter what the deceived supporters of such a one may think but only what the Lord thinks. It also doesn’t matter how “successful” such ministers may otherwise outwardly appear. We all need to be told when we are wrong in order to get right or we will end up in hell. And when a Christian group is operating correctly there is no place for error to hide.

Now, it is certainly true that some ministers will give the appearance of having it all together despite extracurricular side trips if you get my drift, but that’s usually because of one of the following or a combination thereof: (1) They hide error and sin very well. (2) They are preaching watered-down nonsense or presenting a spiritually dead liturgical pageant that doesn’t attract the devil’s attention or is anything he would be afraid of. (3) They have mastered the craft of showmanship. (4) They have fulfilled the traditional expectations of the congregation (very important). For others, they simply take authority without any pretense whatsoever, letting everyone know who the boss is, meaning that the Lord Jesus IS NOT the boss. It is always an amazing thing to see some young “on fire” minister take control of a congregation. The next thing you know it becomes “his” church and “his” people and “his” pulpit. The people become beholden to him. He is thus not a servant according to the Lord’s requirements but is there to be served. He even puts his name and his name only on the church sign out in front (and all the church literature and letterheads and legal documents and bank accounts). Again, everyone knows who’s in charge. (We get it, okay? You da man.)

Thankfully, one other man in the congregation might actually do some New Testament research, gain some spiritual maturity, and then have the courage to speak the truth. Now, that man is actually doing what should have been done in the beginning. He is being used of God to show the need for accountability which the “pastor” refuses to have though he may appropriate a yes man or two or even a whole church board of dignified sycophants. Those guys also know who’s in charge and will never buck the man or system that gave them their position of prestige. They all cover for one another. So here we have yet again, for the umpteenth time, The Great Error of Trusting Hirelings and Puppets.

REAL MEN OF GOD

Real men of God, after being properly schooled, sometimes in the most effective but difficult manner, learn to never engage in such blind belief and non-scrutinized unverified trust in so-called leadership because they know the devil is a master deceiver who has master actors working for him. Remember, the Lord called the Pharisees hypocrites precisely because the word means “stage players.” The Pharisees were religious actors engaging in a high form of deception. They certainly fooled much of the nation of Israel. The Lord said the bulk of them were working for the devil. Christian Pharisees in America have done and are doing exactly the same. Few Christians can see through the masquerade or perceive the subterfuge but should certainly be able to understand its effect. We all should be able to put two and two together using the brain the Lord gave us and see that these people have not only not stemmed the tide of evil but have instead embraced it and promoted it. Rather than being part of the solution they’re part of the problem.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” [Matthew 23:25-28]   

Real men of God are smart enough to know that embracing spiritual pride is a sin. They know that appropriating God’s authority for themselves and using it for their own power and purposes is a sin. They know that taking advantage of well-meaning church people to insure their own salary and success and feather their own nest is a sin. They know they are supposed to properly teach the Word of God and assist the Lord in developing strong mature Christian disciples instead of keeping the congregation spiritually immature and under control to be used for their own means. Real men of God know the humble road is the right road. They know they will be subjected to endless insults and dishonor but will have to wade through such flak in order to fulfill their callings. It doesn’t mean they are not strong and spiritually powerful. It certainly does not mean they are not real men. In fact, real Christian men who are Holy Spirit-filled and fully dedicated to the Lord Jesus are the most powerful men on the planet. It is because they know who the real power is and they always humble themselves before Him so He can work through them.

Then the Lord blesses them and they go out and win spiritual victories. And duplicitous hirelings are exposed and called to account. And lost people are saved and find a home with the Lord. And miracles take place. And New Testament Truth is taught. And the Book of Acts happens. And people are filled with the Holy Spirit. And dead churches come alive. And Christians actually develop, mature, and become unified and loving and love each other. And whole societies are turned around. And Great Awakenings break forth.

It’s an awesome thing when we do it the Lord’s way.

The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who watches his way preserves his life.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.

It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.

He who gives attention to the Word will find good, AND BLESSED IS HE WHO TRUSTS IN THE LORD. [Proverbs 16:17-20] [1]         

© 2021 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.

BLOG UPDATE! ANNOUNCING NEW POST

The Great Awakening continues to gain momentum. And Americans are becoming more aware by the day that we are in the midst of a great spiritual war.

.

Yet most American Christians appear to be clueless. One can certainly understand. It is hard to keep one’s focus on spiritual things when so much warfare is breaking out all around us. There is no doubt that we are under severe attack. The enemy has made his move and will not relent. He is committed. There are, though, very encouraging signs that many are resisting the devil and fighting back.

I’m sure many Christians wished we could return to simpler times and go back to the routines they once held so dear but, as always, nostalgia has a bad memory. The reality of the present is what we must focus on. The Lord Jesus told us to always be prepared and that the enemy never takes a day off. Sadly, however, American Christianity takes many days off and in general has long since gone off the deep end. It no longer has the strength and sense of purpose it once held. Many of those we honored as leaders led us down the wrong path and we are now paying for their gross errors, their spiritual pride, and their love of money, position, and prestige. There were always Christian voices speaking the truth and pronouncing warnings but as always, such were shunned and cast aside. The high hats didn’t want anyone messing up their good times or compromising their social standing. They acted invincible. And most pew-sitters sat back and let them get away with it.

Christians who knew the Word of God knew it was a battle that each much engage in and some did their best. It is not their fault that the majority rejected their dedication, discipleship, and close relationship with the Lord. Real Christians appeared as idiots who overstated everything and refused to lighten up. Well, the majority got its way and now things in this country have devolved into a massive mess. It never had to happen, but it is what happens when believers become spiritually lazy and rebellious toward the Lord.

GIDEON’S 300

I believe my series on Gideon’s 300, now consisting of six parts, will continue. Since I last posted on September 14, forty days ago, I simply have not been led to post the next segment. Those of you who have been keeping up may recall that my term, the Gideon Paradigm, is one that not only fits perfectly in these times but is necessary as well, since the majority has been immobilized and compromised, and is not qualified to be used of God in the present spiritual warfare. That leaves the battle up to a few.

These times, of course, have not surprised the Lord Jesus. He obviously knew where we were headed years ago and has already prepared His spiritual army. Like Gideon, and like the nature of spiritual warfare, the Lord will often work through those rejected by the thoroughbreds. Those who appear ultra-qualified are most often spiritually worthless when real battle breaks out. They’re great in the good times when the enemy is at bay, however, and they know how to appropriate wealth and prestige. Good for them, right?

But these times are a tad different. Many of the qualified upstanding Christians in this country prior to two years ago have now been proven to be bootlicks and cowards. They are now tattooed and branded as the 31,700 who failed the test. That leaves a mere 300, meaning of course a very small percentage of Christians in America who must now do as Gideon’s 300 did.

In the event anyone may want to brush up on the series to gain some insight, encouragement, or strength for the battle at hand, each post is easily accessed in the left hand column.

Also, I have written a new article over the last two days and plan on posting it Monday morning. It is entitled THE GREAT ERROR OF TRUSTING DUPLICITOUS HIRELINGS AND POMPOUS PUPPETS. Please watch for it.

As always, I greatly appreciate your time, attention, and support for my work. Remember, there are MANY things to be encouraged about but the main thing, as always, is that real Christians serve a God who is 100% dedicated to His children. There is nothing better than His will for your life. He has a plan. He will not be denied. He cannot be defeated. He has all power in heaven and on earth. The enemy is deathly afraid of Him. The Lord suffered greatly on our behalf and gave His perfect life to buy back our freedom. Each Christian should know that ALL things are possible with Him. This is especially true in times like these.

The Great Awakening continues! More are waking up each day.

See you Monday morning.

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 6: Christian Qualifying Tests]

God ran two qualifying tests upon 32,000 prospective warriors. The vast majority failed. What are God’s qualifying tests regarding the New Covenant?

.

There are Christians in the world who believe being a Christian is no big deal. The vast majority of Christians have never done much to differentiate themselves from the world. They are Christians only in the cultural sense. Their parents were likely Christians of a particular denomination and they merely became adherents of the same only because it was the group their parents and family belonged to. They were simply raised that way. It is often the case that these denominational connections go back several generations.

Some denominations are more authoritarian than others and thus engage in greater enforcement through the application of greater religious control, indoctrination, intimidation, and even fear. These methods have always worked extremely well and are in part why the most populous Christian denominations have such great numbers. And it also helps, of course, to have been around a very long time.

The major Christian denominations have been around for centuries. One would like to think their great numbers must be due to their acceptance of the Gospel and its propagation. Their success, however, is not necessarily because they have historically stood for the original teachings of the Lord Jesus but because they have stressed certain teachings to the exclusion of others, watered down His teachings, and even appropriated different “gospels” to suit their cause. One should think, regarding this, that their cause should have been serving the Lord Jesus and honoring His Gospel:

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! [Galatians 1:6-9]

When one particular denomination gained the upper hand many centuries ago it did so largely through executive fiat and forced conversions. It became illegal to belong to any other Christian denomination than the one they set forth as the “legitimate” one. In other words, only one denomination was ruled the official one and all others were forced to disband or they would be persecuted until they did. This meant that not only the then existing few Christian offshoots that gained a following but also contained gross error were declared illegal, it also meant real Christianity was declared illegal. Why? Because the real Christianity of the early to middle first century created by the Lord Jesus and embraced by the first Christians had come to look so different from what became the mainline syncretic denomination of three centuries later that both could not possibly exist together in harmony. There were far too many differences. It was also impossible to achieve their goals using the Lord’s methods.

Hence, the real was rejected and a form of the unreal was embraced. Whereas the Lord Jesus instructed His disciples to take the real Gospel into the entire world and allow each person the freedom to arrive at a personal decision one way or the other, the predominant Christian denomination went into the world as a conquering religious juggernaut with a decided imperialist character often in direct competition against the Lord. 

The great Protestant Reformation, peopled by those who protested against the gross illegalities, false doctrines, rampant authoritarianism, and rejection of the pure teachings of the Lord Jesus and the early church by “official” Christianity, made great strides toward reform and correction. A great part of their success was due to the relatively new Gutenberg Printing Press, invented circa 1450, that made it possible to get the written Word of God into the hands of individual believers. The Word of God had been completely unavailable to Christians for a great many centuries and these believers had no choice but to trust the extremely few ecclesiastics in power that had access to it. Rather than make the Word available they had done the opposite. They closed it off to all and used the lack of the Word of God as a control mechanism. They made sure it was never translated into the native tongues of all those “conquered” by forced conversions. The written Word of God was retained only in the official language of the denomination. In order to have access to it, one would have to be a member in perfect standing, have the proper education, and participate in every initiatory and maintenance rite demanded. This, of course, eliminated 99% of the population. An ignorant, illiterate, and fearful population was absolutely perfect for controlling and dictating to and the masters of such were able to maintain “Christian” religious control for a very long time.

Sadly, the new Protestant denominations eventually also engaged in some of the same corrupt practices of the former to varying degrees. They also discovered it was impossible to control people according to the Lord’s teachings and if they would have any success in the world they must make allowances for authoritarian control also. Those Christian denominations which have existed for so long have thus done an excellent job of growing and maintaining their organizations. This, of course, does not mean they are right according to the Lord’s standard. It only means they have excelled in gaining religious market share, kind of like the successful ministers on Christian TV.

CORRUPTION IS PROGRESSIVE

The Lord’s standard is perfect. His standard perfectly agrees with His teachings and the early historical record. The application of His standard allows for Truth and spiritual purity, and keeps incorrectness and corruption at bay. But as in everything else, if not subjected to ongoing correcting and cleansing, corruption only grows and metastasizes over time. The reason why is otherwise easy to understand but cannot be grasped when one is deceived or under the heavy thumb of religious potentates. If corruption is never properly addressed or allowed to be opposed, and if righteous opposition forces are continually overcome, then corruption will not only remain but flourish. It will increase. It will eventually reach a point of full corruption and darkness. And because the hubris and arrogance of the leaders within it grows as well, corrupt organizations become, in their own estimation, bulletproof and beyond censure. They feel they are so superior and powerful they can never be defeated.

They then begin to lower their guard. They fail to understand that initially buying into corruption for whatever reason allows for corruption to spread unchecked throughout the entire organization. The corruption extends to a corruption in decision making. The organizational unifying adhesive begins to fail. Then communications start to break down. Fissures appear. Light shines into the fissures. Light exposes the corruption. And just as sunshine is the best disinfectant, Light begins its cleansing action. A few insiders previously under the entrancement of the outwardly legitimate organization start seeing the oozing gunk leaching out in fissures everywhere and reach a point of great awakening. The blinders come off. They see the masquerade for what it is. They wake up to the ruse and become animated toward correction. They cease being part of the problem and become part of the solution. This is why most of the great Christian reformers were previously members of corrupt Christian denominations.

This is the world we live in. Despite its fallen nature it is still a world of both darkness and light and not darkness alone. Though darkness may thrive for a time, the light will eventually expose it. Great people, those who act as did the Lord, understand that the Truth of the real Gospel must go forth and are willing to take on the spiritual fight and do the will of God. These people are always grossly outnumbered in the beginning. Many of them pay dearly. They will lose their good reputations. They may lose their earthly goods. They may even pay the ultimate price. This is what happens when the corrupt majority turns against them. Sound familiar? But the only other choice is to let darkness prevail.

That the majority of the world is wimpy in this regard and refuses to fight the enemy does not mean the enemy cannot be successfully fought. The Lord Jesus proved this. The Early Church proved it. Untold millions were saved from sin and the dominance of evil. They kicked demonic backsides and took their names. This was and remains the Lord’s approach. But for those Christian organizations that refuse the Lord’s full program and have no desire or ability to fight the enemy, but instead have a lust for control, power, worldly wealth, and prestige, they simply join up with the enemy. And the enemy accommodates them.   

Remember, it is the Gideon Paradigm. The Lord always proved the majority is wrong. The majority is always fearful. The majority will always oppose Him. The majority chooses the broad way that leads to destruction. Thus, if one is not willing to face off against the majority then one simply cannot be His disciple. And if one looks the other way and refuses to bring the necessary reforms and corrections to oneself and one’s own Christian denomination and would rather exist as a nameless nobody within a fearful, compliant, corrupt majority, then one can call himself a Christian all he wants to. As long as he stays within his member denomination as part of the non-reform corrupt majority and maintains the support of the majority as his proof of right standing with God, he may prolong the charade but will never fool the Lord.

Reasonable people would agree that it would be far better to actually get right with God in the here and now according to God’s requirements than face Him at the Judgment unprepared, even though one may have been falsely granted full commendation and approval by his member denomination. It should be obvious that trusting the Lord and His teachings regarding one’s soul is better that trusting one’s Christian guru. Christian denominations cannot dictate right standing with God and cannot confer righteousness by one’s mere good standing within them. Nevertheless, the majority of Christians would rather have right standing within their Christian social circles and overall culture than have right standing with God. And in case there is any confusion on this matter, actual spiritual righteousness is a gift. It cannot be falsely appropriated or earned. It was bought with a price. It was obtained by a great Sacrifice. The only way one will ever receive actual righteousness is by submitting 100% to the Lord Jesus. Substitutes will never qualify.         

CHRISTIAN QUALIFYING TESTS

Rather than spell this out I will direct your attention to Acts Chapters 2. I stated in Part 5 of this series that of the many thousands who heard His teachings and followed Him during His ministry, He only chose 120 for the Upper Room. These 120 individuals had to be qualified for the honor. That only 120 did qualify suggests costly requirements. It further suggests that many desired to be disciples and tried to be disciples but were unwilling to be the disciples the Lord needed them to be. When one considers the absolute miracle of Pentecost one must also consider the absolute miracle that the 120 not only obeyed the Lord Jesus in full but got along with one another perfectly. They demonstrated the love of God. They were each willing to become brand new solid and strong empty vessels to be filled with the Lord’s Holy Spirit.

Based on Luke’s historical record, the 120 Upper Roomers passed the following universal tests:

1. 100% faithfulness and obedience toward the Lord Jesus, their recognition of His atoning death as the complete and only payment for all sin, their acceptance of His full teaching and discipleship curriculum, and their absolute belief in His resurrection from the dead.

2. 100% repentance of personal sin and a full turning away from sin and their former life to their new life in the Lord.

3. 100% immersion in water invoking the Name of Jesus the Messiah, their only Master and Savior.

We know these were the initial tests in part because it is exactly what Peter preached by the anointing of the Holy Spirit right after he and the 120 were filled with the Holy Spirit. Whoever would thus become a member of the Body of Christ must do as they did and meet the standard the Lord put forth. This standard was consistent throughout the early historical record in the Book of Acts and New Covenant Scriptures and all the early believers held it in common and were also filled with the Holy Spirit in the same manner.

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” [Acts 2:38] [1]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[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.

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 1: Take My Yoke Upon You]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 2: The Attack of the Midianites]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 3: Introducing Gideon]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 4: Destroying Spiritual Strongholds]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 5: Make Your Calling and Election Sure]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 5: Make Your Calling and Election Sure]

The Gideon Paradigm was invoked by the Lord Jesus. He claimed that only a relative few would gain salvation. The same is true for “Christianity.” Only a small percentage of “Christians” will be saved.

.

“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]

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

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. [2Peter 1:10-11 KJV]

DEFINING THE NEW COVENANT AND THE NEW COVENANT BELIEVER

In the beginning every believer knew that becoming a real follower of the Lord Jesus was a life-changing event. He demanded that every candidate for inclusion in His Community must effectively destroy his former life. He demanded that every candidate must undergo complete repentance, which amounts to sacrificing oneself on an altar of burnt offering. It means everything about one’s former life must be subjected to destruction in order for a complete new life to come forth.

The Lord taught on this theme always. It was a vital component of the new birth. He said there MUST be a new birth. He said one must be “born of the Spirit.” Is this not a commandment? A new birth demands an end of whatever existed before. The new life demands the death of the former life. There is the first birth that every person experiences as a baby being born into this world. Every human birth is a momentous miraculous event, especially, of course, for mother and child. It is an event that demands total participation of both and no mother ever forgets the experience. Family and friends mark the great event and honor the annual anniversaries—birthdays—with celebrations. Nevertheless, the Lord referred to this event as being born “from below.”

It is exactly the same regarding one’s new birth. It is a momentous, miraculous event. Being born again spiritually is actually a much greater event than one’s natural birth. When the early believers were born again they were totally changed. They had surrendered their old life. It ceased to exist. Each of them then became a new person, a completely new creation, with new spiritual desires, new intentions, and new ambitions and aims. They became totally dedicated to their Lord and Master and sought only His will for their lives. Each became real disciples. Each was born “from above.”

There was clear separation between the old and the new. There was a sharp line of demarcation between one’s old life and new life. This was illustrated perfectly in the historical record of those early initial days of real Christianity. There was no blurring of the lines or gradual transformations. Lives were changed quickly and completely. Bridges were burned. They never looked back. They had no rearview mirrors. There was no possibility of returning to one’s old life since it had been destroyed. Putting Him first meant replacing whatever was previously first. The early believers loved the Lord Jesus so much there was never any thought of not giving Him their entire hearts. This is the very definition of the New Covenant.

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:5-7]

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. [2Corinthians 5:17]

“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” [Matthew 10:32-39]

THE EXAMPLE OF PENTECOST

The greatest case in point regarding the Gideon Paradigm was what happened on the initial Day of Pentecost when the New Community of the Lord was birthed. This Community, otherwise known as the Ekklesia (Greek), or Church, or Qahal (Hebrew), or spiritual Temple built with living stones, was brought forth with the simultaneous new births of 120 people. Though this might be characterized as a large group, especially since they were congregated in a single Upper Room, it was actually an extremely small group compared to the multiple tens of thousands that heard the Lord’s teachings, and the likely thousands of those who followed Him.

If the 120 in the Upper Room represented Gideon’s 300, which was chosen from 32,000, then the total from which the 120 were chosen was 12,800.

It is entirely possible that there were 12,800 people who followed the Lord during His ministry. They were dedicated enough to follow Him to varying degrees but the vast majority were not chosen for Pentecost.

The powerful impact the initial 120 made is still being made today. They were the initial seed of the entire worldwide Body of Christ of which the Lord was the initial seed of them. Just as He was planted into the ground in death to bring forth new life, so were the 120 planted in death, characterized by their absolute repentance and sacrificial offering, to bring forth new life.

Regarding the Great Awakening in America, it is no different than what happened in the beginning or at any other spiritual awakening in history. It began small, behind the scenes. It grew in strength and numbers. It is not connected to Christian business as usual, in which there is no spiritual power or dedication toward great change for the better.

Unlike Unreal Christianity, which refuses to fully submit to and honor the Lord Jesus, has made friends with the world and declines to engage in spiritual battle, is complacent under the ever-restrictive yoke of the enemy, serves money rather than serving the Lord, and embraces spiritual pride to the nth degree (sound familiar?), the relative few real Christians in this country have been chosen “for such a time as this.”

DESTROYING THE ALTAR OF BAAL

When we last left off with Gideon in Part 4 of this series, he had overcome his fear, obeyed the Lord, and destroyed his father’s altar of Baal and accompanying wooden Asherah, a female goddess totem. This altar and graven image obviously was honored by the entire village which chose to serve Baal and his consort rather than God. As the Lord had done so many times before and afterwards with specific chosen ones, he directed Gideon to the location where the devil had made an outer monument to lay claim to that particular territory, which was both physical and spiritual. One might recall the Lord did the same with Abraham when He first brought him to Canaan. Abraham effectively placed a spiritual flag in the ground on the very spot of the devil’s seat of power and spiritual war for the rights to that land was inaugurated. This is exactly what the Lord called Gideon to do, as follows:

Now on the same night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.” Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had spoken to him… [Judges 6:25-27] [1]

An Altar of Baal has been established in America for a very long time. It has grown more pronounced and powerful. What is much worse, however, is that this altar has been extended to exist within the realm of American Christianity in general. Large numbers of Christians have accepted this demonic altar, whether they know it or not. Most have likely been entranced, unaware that their leaders, who they have pledged themselves to, are compromised. Because most of these reject the actual new birth, they do not possess the “eyes to see” what is actually transpiring in the spiritual world and are thus deceived.

To counteract the enemy, the Lord Jesus brings forth new spiritually born-again believers to do as Gideon did. He begins the process of reformation by destroying the altars of Baal belonging to “their fathers.”  Before Gideon acted, however, he had to experience his own personal Great Awakening. It is the same with all such new believers.

VALIANT WARRIORS

Like these new believers before their born again experience, Gideon had been convinced that he was worthless and inferior, that he was a totally ineffective and obscure nothing of a man. He was in the same fight for survival as everyone else and had no clue what he really was. His true identity, that of a valiant warrior, had been attacked by an unrelenting vociferous enemy—possibly beginning in childhood—the same enemy that attacks all real believers and real believers to be. What is probably the most important point here is that Gideon was likely made to feel this way about himself by his own father Joash and members of his household, society, and sect. They forced and browbeat him into compliance with their socially mandated dead religion and threatened disfellowship and abandonment if he wavered.

It is often the fear of social rejection that keeps people bound to groups that oppose the Lord Jesus or pretend to be Christians. When God called Gideon out and raised him up, He also called him to expose and oppose his former errant religious affiliation and all others in contention against the Lord.

Indeed, it takes a valiant warrior to do that.

Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it.” But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal, or will you deliver him? Whoever will plead for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has torn down his altar.” Therefore on that day he named him Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he had torn down his altar. [Judges 6:30-32]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[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.

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 1: Take My Yoke Upon You]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 2: The Attack of the Midianites]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 3: Introducing Gideon]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 4: Destroying Spiritual Strongholds]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 6: Christian Qualifying Tests]

 

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 4: Destroying Spiritual Strongholds]

Now on the same night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it…” [Judges 6:25]   

.

The official United States population as of today is approximately 332.67 million. According to the Gideon paradigm, in which Gideon’s prospective army to be used against the Midianites starts out at 32,000 but is reduced by God to 300, the reduction in percentage terms is over 99%. Imagine that. God reduces a sizable force of 32,000 warriors to a microscopic 300.

Thus, the actual percentage of the people who made the team—Gideon’s 300—is less than 1%. Technically, it is only .9375%. In terms of the United States population, this greatly reduced force would be equivalent to roughly 3.1 million people (3,118,781.25). In other words, if the Lord wanted to perform another Gideon power play to rout the forces of invading evil, and if He started with the entire U.S. population, He would make such a drastic reduction to arrive at those who qualified for His team that He would only have the equivalent of a mere 3.1 million Americans remaining.

This makes one wonder, of course, what the remainder would be if He started with only those who qualified at the onset as warriors. In other words, after eliminating children, the too young, the too old, and all the others who do not qualify for various reasons, He might start with only a fraction of the U.S. population. Americans between the ages of 20 and 40 are approximately 25% of the populace. If, let’s say, only 75% of these qualify, the Lord would start with about 62 million. Reduced according to the Gideon paradigm, the final fighting force would be only about 600,000. This represents less than a fifth of 1%. Could a minuscule 600,000 Americans perform the necessary work to do what Gideon did?

WICKED EXCEEDINGLY

This reminds me of Abraham’s prayer regarding Sodom and Gomorrah. When the Lord told Abraham that judgment might certainly befall the dwellers of those cities Abraham asked Him, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” (Genesis 18:23).

“What if fifty righteous people dwell in Sodom?”

“I will spare it.”

“What about forty-five?”

“I will spare it.”

“How about forty?”

“I will spare it.”

“Thirty?”

“I will spare it.”

“Twenty?”

“I will spare it.”

“What if only ten righteous people dwell there?”

“I will spare it.”

It is difficult to gauge what the population of Sodom was but ten people would have to be an extremely small percentage. As it was, God was able to rescue only four people and help them escape. No one else cared. Nobody else wanted to leave. One wonders if even those four wanted to leave. It is safe, to say, therefore, that Sodom had reached a point of total depravity with absolutely no hope of redemption. If the four that escaped represented 1%, then the population of Sodom was 400. If the four represented a fifth of 1%, the total population was 2,000. Of course, it was likely larger than this, maybe much larger. But God never would have destroyed Sodom if only ten righteous people lived there. He would never release His wrath on His own people. He would make a way for them to escape before judgment fell.

These two Biblical accounts tell us two things: (1) Righteous people have a much bigger impact on society than is otherwise supposed or acknowledged. (2) The Lord can do great things with only a few.

AMERICA 2021

Christians have been predicting great judgment upon America for a very long time. It is not any different today. Is it true, however, to say that the country is more depraved now that at other times in the past? Not necessarily. The real history of America involves massive amounts of unreported sin, much of it in very high places. It is often the case that gross sin is legitimized or even recategorized as not sin at all. Sometimes people at the top make decisions that negatively affect millions of people because they have a different agenda that benefits them and no one else. They must thus use excellent propaganda to eliminate suspicion. This is sin of the worst kind but if people don’t recognize it as such the perpetrators go unpunished and are never stopped. The Lord sees it all, however. That’s why He raises up spiritual Gideons.

Much of the sin at various points in history was not seen as sin at the time. Much of past sin is still not seen that way. In reality, God could have judged America many times already. Maybe He has in part. But those calling for outright destruction due to sins of the present are not only out of their tree, they are not considering God’s mercy and compassion, His abundant grace, and the fact that large numbers of righteous people have always lived here and still live here today.

If we define the righteous as those who do the will of God, who can be used of God, who strive to please the Lord, who have 100% trust and confidence in the Lord, and who are spiritually effective in making a positive difference for the better, then it is probably a small number of people percentage wise. But what if it was, as I mentioned previously, only 600,000? Could a mere 600,000 righteous people make a big difference in a nation of 332.67 million?

To answer that we need only look at what Gideon’s 300 did. We can look at the extremely powerful impact Abraham had both in his time and that of his descendants. These men and those comprising the ongoing remnant of Israel were righteous. They acted as the salt of society, as a preservative, and an antiseptic force that enabled a flowing distribution of righteousness throughout society against ubiquitous rot. If not for the righteous it would have been all over when the last of the righteous died off, but Israel never reached that point. No matter how far the nation strayed into sin there was always a faithful portion that stayed true to God. It was because God always found someone to stand up for Him to do the hard thing—the difficult but victorious task—against the forces of evil that always caused evil to be checked and allowed righteousness to make a comeback.

Consider what the young obscure Gideon did in the following passage. Get inspired.

Now on the same night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.”

Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night. When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar which had been built. They said to one another, “Who did this thing?” And when they searched about and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash did this thing.” Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it.” [Judges 6:25-30] [1]  

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[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.

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 1: Take My Yoke Upon You]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 2: The Attack of the Midianites]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 3: Introducing Gideon]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 5: Make Your Calling and Election Sure]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 6: Christian Qualifying Tests]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 3: Introducing Gideon]

Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. [Judges 6:11]

.

The teachings of the Lord Jesus often appear counterintuitive. Rather than choosing a big gnarly giant with massive weapons and a killer reputation like the warrior Goliath, a man that pretty much every other man on the planet is deathly afraid of and respects absolutely, God instead chooses a young teenage shepherd of likely less than average height with no reputation armed with a mere slingshot.

He did the same thing in the very beginning when He chose Abel over Cain:

Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. [Genesis 4:2]   

Abel was the second born. He was a gentle shepherd with a heart for God. Cain, the firstborn, was a hard-nosed redneck farmer with an apparent mean streak and no concern whatsoever for spiritual matters. This is no knock on farmers or those who produce necessary food from the ground but does tell us that shepherding in general is apparently more conducive to and indicative of spiritual work and has a higher priority than farming.

One may recall that the Lord Jesus referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd but not as the Good Farmer. He also said that food from the ground is produced pretty much automatically by the ground though the process otherwise calls for a level of work depending on conditions. Excellent soil produces great fruit with less work. Lesser soils and conditions demand more work and produce less.

And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.” [Mark 4:26-28]

Concerning the one whom God chooses, the same dynamic took place with regard to the first two sons of Isaac, the twins Esau and Jacob:

Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them. When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. [Genesis 25:27]

Esau (“hairy”) had no heart for God or for spiritual matters. He also had no control over his appetites. Any man who would sell his birthright for a pot of stew is not worthy of God or His kingdom. While Jacob was a conniver who participated in fraud, he remained the better choice as history proves. Though it took time and much discipline, he learned to overcome his lower nature and serve the Lord.

I could go on. There are many examples of this kind. In fact, the Word of God is consistent regarding such choices. God often chooses the very opposite of those chosen by unregenerate mankind and this world:

And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” [Luke 16:15]

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. [1Corinthians 1:26-29]

The preceding is the calling of the real Christian. He or she will be seen as an idiot in the eyes of the world, a person they simply cannot relate to or understand. The life of the real Christian involves spiritual righteousness and Godly concerns. It involves a great desire for spiritual matters, a love of the truth, and a refusal to compromise regarding sin. Above all a real Christian honors the Lord Jesus and strives to serve Him and do His will. The world makes light of such things and cannot understand such things. Goliaths and Cains and Esaus simply don’t get it. They are more likely to make fun of, insult, defy, and reject those serving the Lord. They cannot conceive of the spiritual much less understand spiritual priorities. They put all their eggs in a very temporary worldly basket and have no future in eternity. 

CHOOSING GIDEON

As it is for the real Christian, the same was true of Gideon. This man had no great heritage or birthright. He was of the tribe of Manasseh, a people whose tribal allotment spanned both east and west of the Jordan. Though Manasseh’s father was Joseph, his mother was an Egyptian. Gideon says his family was the very least in the entire tribe. He says further that he is the youngest in his family. He is a man who, in his own eyes and those of everyone else, is seen as the most unlikely candidate to be chosen by God for anything. Above all this, with no experience whatsoever or reputation to prove it, the Lord calls him a valiant warrior. Gideon was entirely perplexed by this. The perceived projection of his life changed completely when the angel of the Lord met him under the terebinth tree (it was not actually an oak):

Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites.

The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.” Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

The LORD looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” But the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.” So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me. “Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” And He said, “I will remain until you return.”

Then Gideon went in and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour; he put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to him under the oak and presented them. The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. Then the angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight.

When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.” The LORD said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. [Judges 6:11-24] [1]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[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.

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 1: Take My Yoke Upon You]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 2: The Attack of the Midianites]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 4: Destroying Spiritual Strongholds]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 5: Make Your Calling and Election Sure]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 6: Christian Qualifying Tests]

 

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 2: The Attack of the Midianites]

So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried to the LORD. [Judges 6:6]

.

For those of you who read Part 1 of this series, which is a prerequisite for Part 2 and future segments, you know we concluded on kind of a down note with an ending left hanging in the air. Therefore, the preceding quote from Judges 6:6, in standing on its own, will not convey the true meaning of this chapter or how it came to be that the Midianites took power and control over the Israelites. How did a heathen tribe of people opposing God take authority over the people of God?

For this, which I listed at the end of Part 1, we return to the opening verse of the Book of Judges Chapter 6:

Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD gave them into the hands of Midian seven years. [Judges 6:1]

And there you have it. The reason Midian rushed in and caused untold havoc over the Israelites is because God gave them authority over His own people to do that very thing. I could spend the next several paragraphs explaining this in much detail but in this instance it is better to simply get to the heart of the problem: The Israelites turned their back on God. They violated their covenant with God. They removed themselves from the yoke of God. They no longer wanted to be yoked together with a gentle God humble in heart in an easy yoke with a light burden that blessed them with peace, safety, and plenty. They rebelled against God and for planting the seed of rebellion against Him Israel got rebellion right back in its face.

So even though in one sense God gave them over to the Midianites, in another sense He allowed it because He could not do much about their obstinate choice anyway. In short, His covenant demands His people do their part and when Israel no longer did its part the nation opened up a door toward destruction. However, it wasn’t simple laziness and non-adherence to an agreement by both parties, but a wholesale turning away from holiness and the upright lifestyle they pledged to lead. They went from doing right to doing evil. That is quite the precipitous drop and a total breach of faithfulness, fidelity, and proper conduct.

In Part 1 I related this to what has been happening in America over the last many decades. American Christianity has gone from having much influence to having much less and rather than setting the standard of righteousness has largely adopted the mores of the culture. Of course, Christianity in America has always had its blind spots and a decided tendency to live according to extra-Biblical mandates rather than solely by the fullness of the pure teachings of the Lord Jesus but even then had a relatively high level of righteous conduct especially compared to other belief systems in this world. American Christianity has historically existed as salt and light and a preservative of the overall culture. Some will undoubtedly take offense at that yet the teachings of the Lord Jesus have no equal. No other belief system comes close regarding one’s responsibility toward God and one another. What other “religion” or belief system in the world adheres to the following enriching teachings of peace and love?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” [Matthew 5:43-45]

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” [Matthew 6:24-25]

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ [Matthew 22:36-39]

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” [Luke 6:31-37]

In Part I of this series I mentioned Wokism as the antithesis to the Great Awakening. In the above latter verse of Scripture from Luke’s Gospel we see that a central tenet of the Woke is the very opposite of what the Lord taught. Cancel culture is all about destroying people, judging people, and condemning people. There is no actual love or mercy there. Not only are the Lord’s preceding teachings poles apart regarding generally accepted standards of human behavior, they are also obviously difficult to carry out. Real enemies are those who hate another and find another despicable and assign blame to others even though such others are often innocent parties. Group think is such that those who prescribe to it lower their otherwise normal relations with their fellow man and latch onto hateful behavior thinking it is justified. But the Lord’s teachings never allow for any of this. And even if one’s enemy is guilty it doesn’t change the Lord’s overall intent. His standard is the same in all circumstances and reduced down to the simple but very direct it becomes the following:

“Love your enemies.”

“Serve God, not wealth.”

“Love God. Love your neighbor.”

“Treat people the way you want to be treated.”

“Do not judge or condemn, but pardon.”

It is apparent that, prior to Judges 6:1, the ancient nation of Israel was doing these things at least in part but enough to satisfy God in that they were putting forth effort and actually succeeding. In fact, prior to the Midianite invasion in verse 6:1, Israel had a long time of peace, protection, and prosperity. Here is the verse immediately before:

And the land was undisturbed for forty years. [Judges 5:31]  

Israel had been doing very good. The land was at rest. There was no fear. One can relate Israel’s behavior on either a large or small scale. It is indicative of countries, nations, and large groups on the one hand but also of small groups, immediate families, and even individuals on the other. God’s standard is always the same. By being in covenant with Him it gives us the greatest chance to live right, be righteous, and engage in righteousness. Without that connection one will undoubtedly fall under the sway of human authority rather than God’s authority. Since human authority has historically been seasoned with fear to varying degrees in that a fearful populace is much easier to control and manipulate, the replacement of God’s authority with human authority is often driven by fear. Humans fear that which they cannot control whether it’s an invasion or a disease. And unless they manifest trust in God they must place their trust elsewhere. The following passage illustrates this:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. [1John 4:18-21]   

Humanity without the Lord Jesus is a lost cause. Human beings are sinful fallen creatures always coming up short of what they could be otherwise. We only have multiple reams of documentation and libraries full of sinful and disgusting human activity on this planet for multiple millennia to prove it true. As another indication that things have gotten progressively worse, approximately 200 million people were killed in the prior century, not counting abortions, and most of these by human governments. These governments were obviously acting outside the will of God and in direct rebellion against Him.

Though previously successful in living for God with the spiritual fruit to show the world, Israel had simply quit trying. God blessed them for forty years, and it could have been effectively forever. The nation apparently grew bored with righteousness and reached a point of weakness when it could no longer resist temptation. The people then went full bore into disobedience and wholesale into sin. That which was healthy started becoming rotten. And that which grew rotten, though not yet completely rotted away and therefore still possibly turned around and saved, needed a stimulus in a positive direction. Since their pride was such that they would no longer bend their knees in prayer and get on their faces before God they would have to be driven there for their own good and the good of the nation into the future. Perhaps the wholesale slaughter of their newly-embraced evil lifestyle would get their attention. In this case, the nation of the Midianites would serve as a corrective and the means to get Israel back on the right track before it committed national suicide.

So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried to the LORD. Now it came about when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD on account of Midian, that the LORD sent a prophet to the sons of Israel, and he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt and brought you out from the house of slavery. I delivered you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hands of all your oppressors, and dispossessed them before you and gave you their land, and I said to you, “I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not obeyed Me.”’” [Judges 6:6-10] [1]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[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.

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 1: Take My Yoke Upon You]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 3: Introducing Gideon]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 4: Destroying Spiritual Strongholds]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 5: Make Your Calling and Election Sure]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 6: Christian Qualifying Tests]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 1: Take My Yoke Upon You]

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29-30]

.

The Lord is putting a team together. The odds are great most will not make the cut. Christians in general have a strange traditional mindset in which they believe eternal life is automatic, that there is little effort in gaining it, and that this life is essentially a smooth ride into heaven because the Lord Jesus has already done the work to assure our arrival there.

While this is true in a sense it is also highly problematic. The Lord said we must each take on His yoke. Each of us must allow a spiritual yoke to be wrapped around our heads. Each of us must submit to being yoked together with Him in order to do the work He has called us to do. He does His part. We do our part. Each of us and the Lord are to work together in tandem. We can do nothing in accordance with His will unless we do it this way. He is the Leader. We are the followers. We put our head in a yoke beside Him. He already has His head in the other loop of the yoke awaiting us. And then we work together. The point is that the Lord Jesus is not in the habit of dragging dead weight around. One will have to do one’s part. One will have to pull one’s share of the load. If one gets it right one will never be working alone but always working with Him.

This denotes full commitment. It denotes great activity on our part. It denotes real discipleship. When one gets it right there will be spiritual fruit. There will be miracles. Things will happen that we can claim no credit for because we will know the fruitful things that happen could only have happened by His hand. We may otherwise work our fingers to the bone but without the Lord’s involvement and direction all we will get is bony fingers.

If, however, we couple our hard work with His hard work we will receive the fruits of our labor but only because the Lord Jesus was involved in making it happen. Many Christians work themselves silly every day but never gain the spiritual payday hoped for simply because they think their hard work is the answer. But hard work only works in His kingdom if He is also working on the same project we are working on, which means it was His project to begin with and we are working with Him but under His authority to make it happen.

I mean, how humble must the Lord be to yoke Himself up with us, essentially making us equals, to go out there and plow a spiritual field? He could simply dictate to us instead and make us do all the work but we should know the only thing that will do is cause rebellion because rebellion against God is the first reaction of unregenerate flesh. So He has to greatly lower Himself to our level in order to work with us to get anything done. And remember, He can do nothing unless He does it with and through humanity. So the big question for Him is will He be able to actually find anyone willing to work with Him in the only way that will work regarding spiritual reality?

For many Christians this is a big fat no. Tell some big boy religious pretender he will have to humble himself, junk his titles, replace his fancy church duds, and become a lowly servant, and then watch the unregenerate prideful flesh come oozing out like a lard bin in summertime with a fast leak followed by high rebellion and red-faced anger. How often do we see this in the Gospels? For some, the religious pride was way off the scale. The Lord gives the same directions to all Christians but only a relative few get the big idea. No matter how many times the Lord patiently explains that humility is a door into the miracle realm and He runs a spiritual kingdom it does no good if a Christian refuses the narrow road. In other words, who needs to vaya con Dios when he’s already got money and thinks he’s awesome?

“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…” [Revelation 3:17]

Whoa. How much more plain can the Lord make it? Christians who think they are rich but don’t know they are poor. What’s He talking about? How can it be that a Christian can believe he or she is well off and apparently in the will of God when he or she is actually “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” In other words we may be sitting there in the pew all prim and proper and well off and not understand we are sick and poverty stricken. How does that happen?

YOKE OR WOKE

I was around at the onset of Christian television. I saw it go from what it was to what it is. In the beginning it was largely a reflection of what went on in churches and for the most part much better things went on in churches back then compared to now. If you don’t quite see this simply do some research and find some old telecasts. You will see how much things have changed.

In time, as it always seems to happen, an inevitable devolution takes place. The more successful Christian television has become the more spiritually worthless it has become. It has now become thoroughly invaded by what we used to call “worldliness.” It has become a reflection of this world, of current human cultures. Because the medium has appropriated a growing lack of love for spiritual truth it has largely become blinded to it and has thus embraced much untruth masquerading as truth. And it keeps getting worse. The things that pass for Christianity now are laughable. And to add to all the worthless chatter from endless droning talking heads all pretty and facelifted, Christian television has also gone woke.

And if I need to remind you, here goes: The Lord revealed to me almost eleven years ago that we were in the early stages of a national Great Awakening. Wokism is the devil’s answer to the Great Awakening. Any Christian who has refused to get properly yoked up with the Lord will never partake of the Great Awakening but will instead fall for some form of deception courtesy of a fake angel of light. If you need some Scripture for that here you go:

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. [2Thessalonians 2:11-12]

Here’s another, an oldie but goodie:

But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Matthew 16:23-26]

In case you may be interested, the operative Greek word in the above verse is apollumi. It means “to destroy utterly.” So the choice is that a person will either destroy his life in order to have new life or not destroy his life only to have it eventually destroyed in hell. And until one destroys his life and is born again one will never put one’s head in a yoke with the Lord or drag around a cross for the remainder of one’s life.

And speaking of the deceitfulness of riches, there is this:

And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” [Matthew 19:23-25]   

Perhaps if Christians ever heard such verses in their churches and Christian television programs they would no longer be deceived. But, of course, this cannot happen because many churches and much of Christian television in general is highly dependent on relatively large outlays of funding. Whoever preaches the truth as the Lord Jesus preached the truth will likely not have a church to preach in or a television show to preach from which tends to eliminate funding. To remedy this one must simply join Christian Fake World and preach a watered down inoffensive feel good gospel in the form of mushy baby food so no one out there will get their dander up or be offended and thus keep receiving cash instead of getting trashed. Better to tell everyone how great and awesome they are because it increases the chances of being thought well of and gaining greater wealth in the meantime.

THE CULLING PROCESS

See if any of this sounds familiar: American Christians screwed up. They turned their backs on the Lord. They loved the Lord’s blessings more than the Lord. They got so full of themselves they couldn’t see the Lord with the Hubble Telescope. This was the Lord’s solution:

Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD gave them into the hands of Midian seven years. The power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. For it was when Israel had sown, that the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites and the sons of the east and go against them. So they would camp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, they would come in like locusts for number, both they and their camels were innumerable; and they came into the land to devastate it. [Judges 6:1-5] [1]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[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.

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 2: The Attack of the Midianites]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 3: Introducing Gideon]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 4: Destroying Spiritual Strongholds]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 5: Make Your Calling and Election Sure]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 6: Christian Qualifying Tests]

 

SHOW US THE FATHER

The Lord Jesus taught in part by using parables. The greatest parable in His teachings is largely unrecognized. It regards His actual identity. Many Christians have yet to receive the full revelation.

.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. [Isaiah 9:6-7]

“These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.” [John 16:25]

WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?      

Real Christians believe that Jesus is God. Most Christians do not believe that Jesus is God the Father. Think about that.

We obviously have reams of New Covenant Scripture expressly proclaiming in no uncertain terms that Jesus is not only the Son of Man and the Son of God but God Himself. We also have reams of Old Testament prophetic Scripture expressly proclaiming the same thing. As a method to prove this, focusing only on one aspect of the Lord’s identity—that of Savior—are the following verses:

I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me, hear my speech. Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand from those who rise up against them. [Psalm 17:6-7]  

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no Savior besides Me.” [Isaiah 43:10-11]  

“Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me.” [Isaiah 45:21]

“Yet I have been the LORD your God Since the land of Egypt; and you were not to know any god except Me, for there is no Savior besides Me.” [Hosea 13:4]

Regarding who is referred to as Savior in the New Testament, we have additional Names and Titles:

And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” [Luke 1:46-47]

“From the descendants of this man (David), according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.” [Acts 13:23-24]

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; [Philippians 3:20]

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. [1Timothy 2:3-4]

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. [1Timothy 4:10]

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. [Titus 1:4]

…Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus… [Titus 2:13]

From these verses it is obvious that Scripture claims there is only one Savior, not two or several, and that this one Savior is God. Yet the preceding verses of Scripture also refer to this one Savior by several different Names and Titles:

  1. God (El)
  2. God (Elohim)
  3. God (Theos)
  4. LORD (Adonai—YHWH)
  5. Lord (Kurios)
  6. Jesus (Iesous)
  7. Lord Jesus Christ (Kurios Iesous Christos)
  8. Christ Jesus (Christos Iesous)

This obviously does not mean that these are different persons but the same Person with different Names and Titles.      

KING OF KINGS

The OT prophets said an Israelite Messiah (Anointed One) was coming. Most Christians understand that. But the OT prophets also said the coming Messiah would not be as the culturally understood anointed ones of that time, primarily the Hebrew kings, but would be the greatest Anointed One: The final King, the everlasting King, and the King of kings. In ancient times, many centuries before the Messiah’s arrival, they proclaimed there would be a time far into the future when the Messiah would once again take His rightful place that He formerly possessed among His people prior to their rejection of Him.

This term King of kings was used three times in the Old Testament as a reference to the greatest earthly king on the planet. It referred twice to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Babylonian Empire and once to Artaxerxes, the king of the Persian Empire. King of kings also occurs three times in the New Testament, each time, of course, referring to the Lord Jesus. So again, the Messiah is referred to in Scripture as the greatest King of all with all authority in both heaven and earth (far greater authority than any earthly king or emperor).

With reference to the nation of Israel, historians refer to King Saul as Israel’s first king. He became king of Israel in 1050BC. In reality, Saul was Israel’s first earthly king. From the beginning, however, it was always God who was Israel’s King. The Creator became known to Israel primarily as YHWH, the “Self-Existent or Eternal.” Though the actual pronunciation of this Name is largely unknown, we have come to accept its pronunciation as Yahweh (´Yah way). A later constructed form is Jehovah, but there is no letter J in the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew scribes, due to their great respect and honor for God, rather than writing His Name and possibly profaning it, substituted another word in Scripture. The word they used to replace His Name is the Hebrew word Adonai which is translated in the English Old Testament as LORD (all caps). So whenever you see the word LORD in the OT, it would have otherwise been directly translated as YHWH.

The nation of Israel, however, due to its great rebellion and sin, often had a big problem with YHWH. This came to a head during the time of Samuel the prophet, the last of the Hebrew Judges. Israel had reached a point of such great sin it rejected its distinct calling as a light to the Gentiles and select of God, and insisted upon being as other nations. They demanded an earthly king. This was a total rejection of their God who had always been their rightful King:

The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.” [1Samuel 8:7]

In reading the Old Testament regarding the identity of the future Messiah and coming King of kings, many Christians don’t really make the connection that this Man, the Messiah, would also be God. Or they do, but they don’t. They get it maybe in part but not completely. They fail to see that the Messiah would be YHWH reclaiming His sovereignty. It is often simply too difficult a concept to grasp that a mere Man could be God, that the God of the Old Testament is the Son of God of the New Testament. I mean, if Jesus was God, why was He always praying to God? And yet, Jesus revealed Himself as God on multiple occasions. Many people state that He never said any such thing, but I will remind everyone that God speaks in different languages, such as by spiritual revelation, in parables or figurative language, and also “plainly” through words and grammar.

Others have turned the identity of the Lord Jesus into an unexplainable mystery. They have created mental constructs and counterfeit personas with apparent surface meaning that inevitably fail the test of wholly agreeing with Scripture. Some cop out of the discussion completely by weakly asserting that we’ll figure out the Lord’s identity when we get to heaven in that there is no way to know it otherwise. For such people there is no use in trying to go deep into Scriptural truth since they limit themselves to their shallow understandings. There is nothing in Scripture, however, that gives forth the idea that we cannot know God or that God is hopelessly mysterious, but the very opposite. It is a major part of why God became a Man. He arrived on these shores to reveal who He is and show what He is like. How else was He to do this toward human beings severed from communication with Him, dulled by sin, and spiritually distant unless He became one of us?

FATHER AND SON

The following passage is rich in meaning, so rich that many pass right over it without understanding its full import. It is parabolic in nature and again, involves direct revelation:

“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” [Luke 10:22]

In this verse, the Lord Jesus states:

  1. The Father has handed over all things to the Son
  2. Only the Father knows who the Son is
  3. Only the Son knows who the Father is
  4. Others can know who the Father is but only if the Son wills to reveal Him to them

From this we know that no one will ever know who the Father is except by direct revelation. If the Lord Jesus wills to reveal the identity of the Father to a person, then that person will know. Otherwise a person will never know. This means the Lord chooses to whom He will reveal the identity of the Father. This also means that there must be some common denominator among those who receive the revelation of the identity of the Father. In other words, the Lord is not capricious or arbitrary in His choosing. He never plays favorites. It is therefore up to the individual on whether or not to be qualified to receive the revelation.

Take a look at these clues from Luke 10:22:

  1. The Father possessed “all things” but gave “all things” to the Son. This must mean the Father no longer possesses “all things.” It means the Son then possessed “all things.” The Father had “all things” and then no longer had them. The Son did not have “all things” and then took possession of them.
  2. Only the Father knows who the Son is? How can this be? Did not more than a few during the Lord’s time know who the Son of God was? Affirmative. But those who did only knew by divine revelation. That’s how Peter found out: “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17). The point here is that the Son had always been hidden by the Father. Only the Father would know who He was. The Son was incognito in this sense. He would never look the part. He was likely the very opposite of a guy like King Saul who was tall, handsome, popular and specifically chosen by all the people.
  3. The Son is the only One who knows who the Father is and also the only One who can reveal Him. The Father revealed the Son to Peter. On the other hand, the Son revealed the Father to Philip. Both revelations pointed to the same Person.

One might recall (as I mentioned previously) that the Lord Jesus said, right before He ascended to heaven, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). This is a very bold statement. Only God has that kind of authority. If one insists that God is someone other than the Lord Jesus then how can the Lord Jesus have all of God’s authority in both heaven and earth?

THE LANGUAGE OF SPIRITUAL REVELATION

The Old Testament patriarchs were noted for being relative loners and wanderers. They were seen as somewhat eccentric by the world at large because they were seemingly forever drifting around in a nomadic spiritual sense marching to the beat of a very different Drummer. They traversed the great quiet of deserts and wilderness areas raising their head to the winds and hearing voices.

It reminds one of Ray Kinsella in the movie Field of Dreams hearing a voice out in his corn field. On a trip into town one day after hearing “the voice” Ray tries to gain some understanding of what has happened to him. Seeking clues, he has the following conversation with a veteran farmer at the farm supply store:

Ray: “In all those years, did you ever… I’ve heard that sometimes farmers out in the field… hear things. Voices.”

Old Timer: “You’re hearing voices?”

Ray: “No. It’s just that I heard some farmers do, and… I, of course, don’t, so I was wondering if I was doing something wrong, or something. Did you ever hear voices out there?”

Cashier: “Who’s hearing voices?”

Old Timer: “Ray is! Out in the fields.”

Ray: “No! No, I’m not. Really. Noises! That darn tractor, it’s… Well, I’ll just get some 3-in-1 oil, that should… Nice talking to you.” [1]

One wonders if Abraham had a similar conversation with Sarah. Or anyone. The point, of course, is that if one is hearing voices out in the wilderness (or in a corn field near you), and in the case of the Biblical patriarchs, one particular voice, then one might be careful with whom one might share the information. This should not be a problem for Christians, however, since the entire Bible has the same theme running through it. Christians should not be embarrassed by this. All those who were close to God were hearing His voice, both in the Old Testament and New, and some were even seeing Him. Aghast.

These people were in the decided minority (understatement alert). There were only a few. Which means the vast majority probably thought those guys were nuts because they themselves never heard or saw anything. And they never hung out in the wilderness alone either. Prior to the coming of the Kingdom of God (of which He is the King) the Lord Jesus said the greatest man born of women who ever lived was a prophet who hung out in the wilderness alone, just like those eccentric patriarchs of many centuries past. But this guy John the Immerser was greater than all of them, which was quite astounding when you think about it. And he looked like a caveman. And the Lord spent much time in the wilderness alone also. And so did Noah. And Abraham. And Moses. And the apostle Paul:

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia… [Galatians 1:15-17]  

Paul was out in the desert a long time. Some say three years. I have no doubt he went on a forty day fast at least once. It was where, hearing the Voice, that the Lord taught him one on one. It was where Paul received the revelation of the Father’s identity and where the Gospel was revealed to him:

For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:11-12]

So here we have yet again that spiritual marvel known as direct revelation. The only One who ever revealed to Paul the Gospel was the Lord Jesus Himself, out in the wilderness, alone. Imagine that. This is not how 99% of Christian ministers receive the Gospel. Perhaps this is why their various versions of the Gospel are different than the one Paul preached.

The direct revelation thread runs all through the Bible. It is God reaching out to man. It is God actually attempting to communicate with man. Why then, if God is talking, do so few hear Him? Apparently, Noah, Abraham, Moses, John the Immerser, and Paul were all listening. They were paying attention. They sought God. They had a hunger for Truth. So those who revert back to the tired argument that these men were simply special and chosen in some unknown arbitrary manner, which explains their communication with God, and that their spiritual status had nothing to do with a greater personal faith in God and an unceasing desire to seek Him, are being their usual shallow selves as part of a status quo faithless Christian majority. We even have otherwise brilliant Christians who have latched onto Cessationism and believe that Book of Acts happenings ended in the first century. What? Are the hundreds of millions of Pentecostals and Charismatics in the world all deluded or faking it?

Again, the greatest parable in the Bible is the true identity of the Lord Jesus. Without the actual revelation one reverts to any unspiritual and unscriptural natural understanding and interpretation, either by indoctrination or personal opinion. The tried and true among Christians in this regard is that Jesus must be a lesser entity than God even though some are forced to admit that Jesus is God simply because there are far too many verses of Scripture stating such. But how can Jesus be both God and less than God?

“If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” [John 14:28]

“I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” [John 10:30-33]  

Some Christians think they must seek out God the Father because their relationship with the Lord Jesus is somehow lacking or limited. Of course, whoever does this has no actual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Some Christians pray to the Holy Spirit the same way one would pray to the Lord Jesus. Some teach that we must pray only to the Father “in the name of Jesus” but never directly to Jesus. Whatever the case, any effort to do an end around or bypass the Lord Jesus to get to God is a violation of His teachings:

“No one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]

THE MESSIAH

The word Messiah is from the Hebrew word Mashiach which means “Anointed” or “Anointed One.” It is Christos in the Greek and transliterated into English as the word Christ. In terms of relative spiritual anointing, the Messiah is seen as He with by far the greatest anointing of God. One may recall that the Lord Jesus possessed the Spirit of God without measure (John 3:34). Prior to Pentecost, He would thus be the One who gave the Holy Spirit.

Speaking of which, there is an interesting word construct in two separate verses exactly a chapter apart in the Gospel of John regarding both the identity of the Father and Son and just who it would be that would send the Holy Spirit. One might think it to be a contradiction. Another will understand it as a clue to a revelation:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” [John 14:26]

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” [John 15:26]  

To be anointed is to be anointed with the Spirit of God. The Messiah was the Anointed One anointed with the Spirit. Yet the Messiah, the One who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, says He will also send the Holy Spirit. He says this after first being reported to say the Father would send the Spirit. Of course, before the Son could send the Spirit He would have to “go to the Father.” Therefore, the One who sends the Spirit is identified as both Father and Son.

On one occasion the Lord was off in a remote location away from the crowds. His close disciples were with Him. He chose this occasion as a teaching moment and to gauge their understanding of His identity:

And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?” They answered and said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.” And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone… [Luke 9:18-21]   

The Lord’s time was one of Messianic expectation. It is said that the Israelites were the only nation that lived in the future, in that no matter what happened in the present there were prophecies telling of great times to come. Part of that was, of course, the arrival of the Messiah. He would be the One to lead them to victory at last, to assist them in overcoming their low stature and becoming who they were always meant to be. He would help them reach their destiny.

As times grew closer to His advent, starting about two centuries before in the early second century BC, several unprecedented events took place, one of which was the first successful Israelite uprising against the major powers. The Maccabees, a national Israelite political entity which began as a group of rebel fighters revolting against the Greek Seleucid kings, came forth throwing off the yoke for a time and created a new independent kingdom, the Hasmonean Dynasty. The spirit of the first century Zealots can be traced to the Maccabees. Presently, the Zealots have manifested as the Zionists of our time.

Also, the major religious parties got their start: The Essenes were created from a priesthood group breaking off from the temple priesthood and setting up shop in the desert out by the Dead Sea in a settlement known as Qumran. These were thus somewhat akin to the ancients but existed primarily as a fraternal communal brotherhood. They later expanded and segments were found in the populated areas.

The Pharisees, or separated ones, also began in this era, rooted in a group known as the Hasidim. Two central divisions of this major sect eventually arose about a century later based on its two greatest rabbis, Hillel and Shammai, who each began Pharisaic schools in the generation prior to that of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul (Saul) was a student of Gamaliel of the Hillel school. In New Testament times this Gamaliel, a respected member of the Sanhedrin, was the voice of reason against the murderous crazies of the court and essentially saved the lives of Peter and the apostles (See Acts 5:34).

The Sadducees emerged as a distinct party at this time as well. This group was the latest organized form containing the wealthy and those with large landed estates who had essentially ruled Judea in place of a king since the return from the Babylonian Captivity in the sixth century BC. The Sadducees were thus tied in closely with Seleucid, Ptolemaic, and eventually Roman wealth and politics. Choosing to live for this world, they had no concern or belief in the resurrection or a spiritual realm.

We can see this same general breakdown in parties and beliefs in Unreal Christianity. Much was coming together in those two centuries BC for the final conflict of the Last Days of the nation and they each had their own version of who the Messiah was and what He would do for them.

When at last, the Messiah arrived, in perfect accordance with Daniel’s prophecy of weeks (right on time), He was largely unrecognized. Indeed, according to the major parties and pretty much everyone in power with a stake in what He could and would do for them, He was unrecognizable. Incognito, as it were. This was their King, the One the nation had rejected over a thousand years before when they selected King Saul. And to show just how stiffnecked the proponents of these major religious and political parties still were after all those centuries and even more so, they did a lot more than just reject Him this time around.

They had invested everything in a false interpretation. When their version of the Messiah never showed up in the life of the Lord Jesus, even though He perfectly met all the applicable prophetic requirements, they continued looking elsewhere. How dense must people be to either not see and/or reject all the clues? How could they be so wrong?

As it turns out Christians have been just as wrong. God Himself is looking right at them and they still don’t see Him. They fail to see Him for the very same reasons the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and bloodthirsty Zealots never saw Him. This is especially surprising regarding the Essenes. They saw the times better than any of their major counterparts. Indeed, because they were out in the desert and away from the corrupt religious, monetary, and political activity of Jerusalem, one would think they couldn’t miss. They came somewhat close. Their Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in 1947 in caves next to their ruined compound, contained many references to their “Teacher of Righteousness.” They wrote of The War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness. They knew what was afoot regarding the coming Messiah but from what we know, as a group, they never recognized the Lord Jesus as such.

The problem each of these groups shared was that their focus remained on this world instead of the spiritual world. They each wanted a Messiah within that context. Again, erring facets of Christianity, including major mainline bodies, make the same mistake. They refuse to accept the reality of the Lord’s spiritual Kingdom and create one of their own with their own respective version of King Saul.

With the exception of the Pharisees, the other three major Jewish parties each came to an end after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70AD. The Sadducees faded out and dissolved shortly thereafter. The Zealots, the party eventually granted authority by the others who brought on the conflagration against Rome, ceased to exist at the tragedy of Masada in 74AD. The Essenes might have gotten an extinction head start on the others around 68AD when the Romans destroyed their settlement at Qumran. It is thought that this disaster is what precipitated the hiding of their cherished library in nearby caves before their final retreat and disappearance. They obviously never returned to reclaim them.

The nation of Israel also came to an end and was forever gone with the wind. The Pharisees reconstituted themselves from the smoking detritus and burned rubble in even greater stubbornness and rebellion to keep their party alive though barely breathing. Through many transformations and geographical movements over the centuries their party eventually became what we know today as Orthodox Judaism. And they still hate the Lord Jesus with a passion.

THE REMNANT

The only ones who did recognize the Lord were apparently part of an obscure unconnected group of nobodies known originally by the Scriptural term as the “Remnant.” We first hear of this idea of a surviving remnant in Genesis 45:7 when Joseph explains to his family that he was sent ahead as a slave to Egypt as a method to preserve them. Spiritually speaking, of course, he was assisting God in not only preserving his family and the future nation of Israel but also preserving the Messianic genealogical line. This line had suffered severe attack from the very beginning when Abel was killed by his own brother. Since the Lord Jesus was to descend from Abel his murder made that impossible. It was a victory for the devil. However, the line was reestablished over a century later with the birth of Seth, the third listed son of Adam and Eve:

Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD. [Genesis 4:25-26] 

A few millennia later, this concept of the remnant is illustrated as follows in the times of Hezekiah, circa 700BC:

“The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD will perform this.” [2 Kings 19:30-31]  

Two and a half centuries later, long after the Babylonian Captivity during the time of Ezra’s arrival in the land of Judah, approximately 458BC, we hear again of this surviving remnant of God’s people. In the ninth chapter narrative, the book of Ezra uses much descriptive and dramatic imagery filled with pathos and hope describing those few who remain of the once great nation of Israel, including clear prophetic undertones. Ezra is quoted wailing against the current great sin of his remaining people:

“O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens. Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and on account of our iniquities we, our kings and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity and to plunder and to open shame, as it is this day. But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. [Ezra 9:6-8]

“After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since You our God have requited us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us an escaped remnant as this, shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples who commit these abominations? Would You not be angry with us to the point of destruction, until there is no remnant nor any who escape? O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.” [Ezra 9:13-15]  

In the interim since the first return of the Hebrews from Babylon to the time of Ezra, a period of roughly eighty years, factions of this returned remnant in the land, including priests, had intermarried with local non-Hebrew women of various heathen peoples including Canaanites, Moabites, and Egyptians and produced offspring. This was no way to reestablish the Yehudi as a distinct people. As a result their racial mix was even further diluted. This same lack of discretion had occurred many times in the past going all the way back to the time after Joshua a millennia before. Ezra appears to have made a successful effort to correct the problem as much as one could but this departure led to the dedicated remnant becoming ever smaller over the next five centuries until the Lord’s arrival.  

In its long history, the devil was constantly scheming and attacking the Messianic generational line because he knew he must keep the Messiah from arriving. And unlike so many Israelites and Christians, the devil and his minions knew very well who the Messiah was long before He came and who He would be when He arrived, and had great respect for Him. The following historical account is a great study in microcosmic terms of the ongoing spiritual battle from ancient times on this planet and a revealing depiction of what goes on daily all around us in the unseen spiritual world: 

Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.” For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert. And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss. Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission. And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. [Luke 8:26-33] 

Why didn’t the demons attack the Lord? If the name of this hoard of demons within a single man was a correct indication of their numbers, the demons amounted to over five thousand. Empowered by internal demonic forces the man was able to break chains and shackles. But instead of going after the Lord, the man and his many demons voluntarily fell before Him! They begged Him not to send them to the abyss. There was never any Man of such great and powerful magnitude in all of Israel. Even demons were terrified of Him: 

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. [James 2:19] [2]

Down through the centuries, despite ongoing demonic attacks, and at last an attempt through King Herod to kill the baby Jesus, the Messiah arrived anyway. And the Lord always had a believing remnant who knew exactly who He was. They were there in the first century. Though initially very small in number, they served as a solid, tested, and unrelenting nucleus to build around. Their presence allowed for the eventual blossoming of the Lord’s Community into multiple millions worldwide.

SHOW US THE FATHER

It seems as though the Lord Jesus was often not openly admitting to His true identity. I think it is because He knew it was necessary for people to receive the spiritual revelation rather than hear mere words which could easily bring on refutation and anger. This happened anyway among the hard core religious unbelievers who often flew into a rage at the mere semblance of His actual identity. It can thus be difficult and otherwise impossible to overcome such flagrant religious indoctrination and programming and this includes, of course, the Christian kind which is often the absolute worst. Direct revelation is the only thing that works best. As Peter discovered, what works better than God revealing to one’s heart the Word of Truth?  

Perhaps the best verses which address the revelation of the Lord’s true identity are found in the fourteenth chapter of John’s gospel. By this time the disciples had heard much of the Lord’s figurative language, especially regarding His discourses on the Father. He was attempting to lead them to the revelation portal that they may gain answers and understanding from a spiritual source. In the following passage, Thomas had sincere questions about the Lord’s statement, especially as it regarded the unseen and unknown Father. So did Philip. Both had matured enough to ask direct queries of the Lord. They were ready to graduate from the figurative to the clear revelation:

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” [John 14:1-9]  

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.  


[1] © 1988 Field of Dreams Screenplay by Phil Alden Robinson 

[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.

 

OUTING EVIL, RESISTING TEMPTATION, AND DODGING DESTRUCTION: A SPIRITUAL VICTORY PRIMER

 

Someone is causing a problem. But you don’t know who it is. At first, you actually don’t even know what it is.

.

God created a perfect world. Much of His original Creation still exists to a great degree, continues uncorrupted, and remains extremely beneficial. One thinks of the great outdoors, fresh fields, an isolated seacoast, clean air, and soft breezes. In such places one is much closer to the heart of the Creator because there is so little interference. In such a setting, one can quickly be saturated with good—with natural and spiritual benefits effectively raining down upon one’s presence—with no personal effort whatsoever.

Someone once said the best things in life are free. While this is a seemingly noble sentiment, though not actually true, the point is that much of what we require for good health in every respect truly is free, such as our aforementioned pure natural settings and the natural gifts thereof God has bestowed.

AND THEN CAME EVIL

Evil arises in many forms from apparently unknown invisible origins. It has a decided presence on the planet. It reaches out from a ubiquitous unperceived darkness not so far away from each of us. Some locales are darker than others. Its desire is to corrupt, infect, and distort. It hates purity and innocence.

Where does it come from? Rather than get into a far-flung exegesis, relegating the subject to the unexplainable, or addressing the philosophical problem of evil as it were, God goes right to the heart of the matter and makes it all very simple. He clearly identifies evil. He reveals its exact starting point. He shows us how it operates. He identifies a single source.

This source is extremely beguiling. It has its best results by operating through humanity. God tells us how this first occurred. It has been occurring that way ever since.

But how so? How does the source of evil cause people to listen to it and then convince people to obey it? Again, God makes it very simple for us by revealing the only three avenues the source of evil uses to tempt people to do its bidding. These three methods of temptation were revealed in the very beginning when the source of evil convinced the very first person in history to go over to the dark side. Before then humanity was absolutely good and pure. Afterwards every human being became familiar with evil and subject to the dark side. An iniquitous force had entered into the realm of humanity that it could not throw off. It could not purge itself of this evil. No matter what humanity attempted to do in ridding itself of immoral inclinations toward shameful behavior and undesired aftereffects that many members wanted no part of, it could not find a cure.

THE THREE TEMPTATIONS

Though it may appear that evil uses a wide array of schemes and procedures, and though this is true on an elementary level in which one is initially unaware of evil’s presence, objectives, and essential means of operation, its technique actually breaks down to only three principle methods. There is Door #1, Door #2, and Door #3. Sound familiar? All sin originates from behind these three doors. These are the three connecting points the source of evil uses to corrupt humanity. Each is one of the only three foundational means of temptation. These doors are presented as ways for evil to enter into a person.

Of course, an otherwise innocent naïve person does not comprehend that the entity attempting to cause one to enter such doors is the source of all evil, is pure evil, desires to spread its evil, and make yet another disciple of evil. Nevertheless, the person being tempted has a predisposed inherent interest in answering said door due to long held resident tendencies passed on by hundreds of generations in part because he or she never fully understands how malevolent, malicious, and wicked evil actually is or what will become of him or her as evil takes effect.

This makes one essentially defenseless. For the most part, a human being is no match for the great deceptive powers of the source of all evil. The devil is a superior actor. He pretends to be the opposite of what he is. This is how he takes advantage of simple-minded humans. He presents himself as innocent and good, a being no one should fear:

Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. [2Corinthians 11:14]

Therefore, one must first be aware of fakes. Almost everyone knows to fear obvious evil, but many do not protect themselves against those who merely pretend to be good, who wrap themselves in faux innocence, who adorn themselves with fake righteousness, who know how to put forth fake smiles, fake attitudes, and fake presentations. This is the devil’s game. It is the devil at his best. And since this is the ultimate manner of disguising himself in order to fool even the best and brightest among us, one should pay much more attention to getting up to speed in this area. One should study hard to gain the proper education in differentiating between the real and the fake so as not to be overcome by smiling shysters and glowing fraudsters wrapped up in faux decorum attempting to take advantage of you, gain authority over you, rip you off, and steal your soul.

This is where to start:

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. [1John 2:15-17]

These are the three temptations:

  1. The lust of the flesh
  2. The lust of the eyes
  3. The boastful pride of life

This is how the devil got Eve:

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food (the lust of the flesh), and that it was a delight to the eyes (the lust of the eyes), and that the tree was desirable to make one wise (the boastful pride of life), she took from its fruit and ate… [Genesis 3:6]

This is how the devil tried to get the Lord:

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. And the devil said to Him,

“If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.’”

And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”

And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’ and, ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”

When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. [Luke 4:1-13]

NO REPRESENTATION WITHOUT TEMPTATION

Whoever chooses to follow the Lord Jesus will be tempted by the devil in the same way. Whoever chooses to become a mature disciple of the Lord Jesus will be tempted by the devil in the same way. Whoever chooses to serve and work for the Lord Jesus will be tempted by the devil in the same way. Our spiritual success comes in part by successfully resisting temptation. This is obviously not an all or nothing proposition, however. There will be times of failure. Failure is when we disobey the Lord and obey the devil. There will be times of success. Success is when we obey the Lord and disobey the devil. The more we obey the Lord the greater the chances of spiritual success. The more we succeed the more spiritually mature we become. The more mature we become the better we are able to resist temptation.

The proper representation of the Lord on our part then, as disciples of His, depends on staying victorious in the temptation war. Whatever may cause us to be defeated must be defeated. We must live in spiritual victory and this demands overcoming the devil’s temptation and thus defeating him in spiritual battle. In order to insure victory, the Lord has made available the gift of His Holy Spirit.

A TALE OF TWO CITIES

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. 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. [2Corinthians 10:3-6][1]

The devil has constructed strong military forts and fortifications with thick walls and armaments. He has many weapons at the ready trained and focused upon his enemies. Paul speaks here of the necessary spiritual attack upon the devil’s fortresses and strongholds. He tells us the Lord Jesus has supplied powerful spiritual weapons for His people that are very effective in blasting holes in the devil’s walls and even leveling the devil’s military forts. The Community of the Lord Jesus even has the power to blow the devil’s fortifications off the map.

Those who are actually doing this are the real Christians. They are those who have overcome temptation. They do not submit to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life. They are not lovers of money. Christian Pharisees, however, are indeed lovers of money. They must have it in very large amounts. They cannot live without it. It helps them gain whatever they need to fulfill their lust of the flesh, their lust of the eyes, and their boastful pride of life. Rather than resist temptation, they serve the devil in order to receive all he can give them. How then is it possible for Unreal Christianity to fight a successful spiritual war? Those who not only fail repeatedly in the temptation wars to the point of surrender but also assist the devil in building and maintaining his military fortifications are the antithesis of the real Christian. However, things have become so clouded and deceptive within overall Christianity in general only a comparative few can see through the deception.

The original church community at Corinth was composed not only of the usual immature believers but also some who were still being heavily influenced by the particular evils of that city. The apostle Paul was working to help the congregation gain the necessary spiritual maturity all believers need but it was initially a tough fight. We may think of a similar circumstance regarding the nation of Israel after the Exodus. It was very tough for God to get the Egypt out of them. It was somewhat the same for Paul and his mature spiritual associates in getting Corinth out of the Corinthian believers. They were tempted with speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.” As residents of a powerfully sinful city, these believers previously had a big problem with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It was difficult for them to overcome spiritually but they did. The gift of salvation, God’s grace, and the infilling of the Spirit of God made all the difference. The devil could not compete with the Corinthian Pentecost.

When the congregation became mature, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” Paul was then ready to punish all disobedience. The remaining vestiges of demonic and fleshly control were singled out for defeat. The Christian Community at Corinth and other Gentile cities thus became powerful and strong toward defeating the devil’s authority in their respective locations. They may not have had complete success but each had various levels of success where none existed previously.

On the flip side, Jerusalem was a city where the devil’s authority was never defeated spiritually. Evil maintained its presence there to the point that the only remaining option was physical destruction. This is what awaits every collection of human beings large or small. Each will either change its ways and submit to the Lord Jesus or will face certain destruction. It is only a matter of time. And if you may be wondering, the Lord really doesn’t even have to be materially involved. They usually do it to themselves. This is what happened in Jerusalem in 70AD. Having rejected their Messiah who would have brought peace and victory, they chose leaders who ended up fighting one another and the vastly superior Roman forces who never wanted such a fight. This was a repeat performance of Israel’s ancient enemies who used to be subjected to the same, such as Midian during the time of Gideon when the Midianites turned against one another and destroyed themselves.

ON THE EVE OF DESTRUCTION      

Whoever opposes the Lord Jesus is allied with the antichrist spirit. This can be a single individual or a vast metropolis. Destruction will always come to such people. It is inevitable. It may come through a series of destructive actions on the part of those in control, intentional or not. Whoever rejects the Lord Jesus will face destruction because He is the only cure against it. He is God. He is the Creator. It should be obvious that whoever opposes the Creator will also oppose anything and everything associated with His goodness. That leaves only one remaining choice and that choice has a time stamp. Why? Because God will not allow evil to exist except on a temporary basis. The same holds true for anything built that does not have His direct involvement or sanction.

Have you noticed that ancient builders were sometimes so good at their work that portions of it still stand? Other than the obvious massive structures that still remain, such as the Egyptian pyramids, we still have a few remaining structures from ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. The Romans were especially proficient at architectural design and developed a great understanding of natural forces and the requisite engineering to overcome them. To this day we have massive multilevel valley-spanning aqueducts, for example, that have withstood all natural earth movements and weather forces since first constructed. Imagine having that on your resume. And though earthquakes have destroyed many structures and even cities of the ancient world into the present, such aqueducts and other structures were built so well they remain victorious, though in ruined form, against the forces that would destroy them.

At the top of the list of destructive forces however, are entities of the non-natural and effective non-temporary form. These entities predate humanity. They were here before us. They are masters at their craft. They oppose God and always have. Most human beings are aligned with them whether they know it or not. Such people have been overcome by deception—“speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.” They exist for a while, as do their cities and structures, maybe a long while, but all is temporary. Every world empire was seemingly invincible in its time. This was especially true of Rome. It was without question the greatest empire the world had ever seen, but was eventually overrun and completely destroyed. Other lesser forms of it arose but no other empire existed at the same level until the present, which too will cease to exist at some point in the future. One must understand, therefore, that those whose mission is destruction sow the seeds of their own destruction.

Whoever engages in the opposite of what the Lord taught us will thus receive the opposite of what He died to give us.

In the meantime, other forces are at work to give the destroyers a run for their money. We live on a planet with a moving, shifting surface that often shifts greatly and violently. Sometimes powerful explosive volcanoes burst forth. Massive floods happen. Disastrous hurricanes and tornadoes spin forth. Whatever lies in the vicinity of these purely natural destructive wonders is leveled. But earthquakes are perhaps the most deadly, largely because they happen with no immediate warning whatsoever. This is especially true even in areas of previous earthquake activity along moving, shifting tectonic plates and those containing known fault lines. Experts in the field are good at identifying where but not so much at when. They speak in terms of decades or perhaps centuries. Since many of these areas are monitored they only know when the big one hits right before it hits or as it hits, meaning actual warnings remain ineffective.

Regarding America, two locations of particular notice are the San Andreas Fault along the west coast running through California and the New Madrid seismic zone in the eastern Midwest located at the junction of Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee stretching into Arkansas. The experts say both areas are not only due but overdue. I recently read a book about the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. It was published in 1971. The authors not only went into great detail of what happened in that event but also strongly warned against the next one which would surely come. According to expert predictions of that time an even greater earthquake should have already happened by now and is actually long overdue. I remember very well the San Francisco-Oakland earthquake of 1989. I also remember the Northridge, California quake of 1994. These were actually relatively minor, 6.9 and 6.7 on the Richter scale, while the quake of 1906 was a much larger and much more destructive 7.9. The later two may be seen as mere wake-up calls but it appears most people have gone back to sleep.

ETERNAL LIFE MATTERS

I find it extremely interesting that people so easily lose sight of these coming hugely destructive events. It reminds me of Noah. He warned everybody what was going to happen. He preached and built the Ark over a 120 year period. The more he preached the more they laughed. The more he warned the more they scoffed. The closer the time came for the great Flood to begin, the more the people collectively disbelieved and/or refused to pay attention. Noah eventually became a complete laughingstock, a madman. All the newspapers and social media of the time constantly portrayed him as an absolute moron. The peer pressure was so intense that anyone who may have otherwise heeded Noah’s warning chose instead to surrender to the will of the cultural narrative setters and religion hustlers as a false form of survival. To do otherwise would cause the complete destruction of their livelihoods and social standing. They knew they would suffer the same persecution as Noah but also knew they would never be able to handle it. The doomed were thus much more concerned about their reputations and current comfort level than righteousness and eternal life.

They did not want to be put out of the synagogue. They did not want to be perceived as crazy by their church friends. Still, one would think there would have been at least a few individuals who didn’t care what the great unthinking majority thought and joined Noah anyway. But no. They all went to their deaths believing the lie and rejecting a providential place of safety and survival.

Only Noah’s immediate family believed him.

Maybe that was the miracle.

© 2021 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 DAY OF PENTECOST 2021

Today is Pentecost. It is the 50th day since the anniversary of our Lord’s resurrection. On this date almost two thousand years ago the Holy Spirit outpouring began.

.

In the beginning God initiated the initial Great Awakening. He brought forth a great spiritual event heavily prophesied in Old Testament literature and in His own ministry. He told everyone with ears to hear what would happen and it is apparent that only very few had such ears. As recounted here often, the Lord Jesus had preached to tens of thousands at the populous height of His ministry. They came from near and far. Word had spread rapidly. For a while He was the most sought after and popular Israelite in history. But alas, like all things spiritually solid and truthful in a fickle, unbelieving, sinful, and shallow religious world, His popularity and support began to fade.

WAS IT SOMETHING I SAID?

Though it was the greatest of Messianic ages in that a probable majority were aware of the prophetic times, there was much difference of opinion and confusion over what the Messiah must be. Most Israelites were obviously put off with their station in life and with the status of their nation as a whole, though it was no longer much of a nation. From the heights of the later portion of King David’s time a thousand years before when the Lord had brought together a roughly unified people after the defeat of Saul and emerging Israelite interlopers intent on the throne, a time not unlike the heights of Joshua’s conquest when the warrior David regained and established much territory, Israel began its long and steady decline. David’s son Solomon, like King Saul before him, had started out well but fell into sin and eventually descended into abject idol worship and tyranny. All that David had gained was lost not soon after Solomon’s death when the nation was split in two. From there it was a precipitous fall. The great nation began hemorrhaging and never recovered. Over the next millennium God did all He could to keep His believing remnant intact for His eventual arrival.  

The Lord’s ministry experienced a similar pattern. The tens of thousands of followers were reduced over time due to various reasons, though He was as powerful and consistent as ever. It appeared as though His school might end. The Lord even alluded to the possibility of being reduced completely in the following passage:

As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” [John 6:66-67]

By the time the great prophesied and hoped-for event of Pentecost arrived, only a relative fraction remained as His faithful followers.

The people of the Lord’s time thus looked back with great remorse over what had become of a once profound nation and also seethed with anger over its centuries-long perceived mistreatment at the hands of various world powers. Little did they know or appreciate that such powers—Babylon, Medo-Persia, the Macedonian Greeks, and now the hated Romans—were actually being used to keep the nation intact. Without the strong unifying governmental structure applied from without, the Israelites would have easily destroyed themselves years before from within. Which brings to mind a statement of God made early in their history which encapsulates and defines Israel’s true identity that it would never be able to slough off or prove otherwise:

And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people… [Exodus 32:9 KJV]

This descriptive term arrived in the English language in 1526, undoubtedly associated with William Tyndale’s first printed English translation of the New Testament of the same year, the first to be translated directly from the Greek. Most of the much later King James Version (1611) was taken directly from Tyndale’s version, though not credited to him. The echo of the preceding statement of God referencing the early Israelites in Exodus 32:9 is found in its only New Testament occurrence, translated by Tyndale and spoken by Stephen, telling the world that nothing had changed in the intervening centuries:

“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” [Acts 7:51KJV]   

And they still resist the Holy Ghost. And most Christians do likewise. In fact, Christianity has taken such stiffneckedness to entirely new levels beyond that of its early Israelite forebears. In somewhat reasonable defense of the Pharisees et al who pretty much had no impulse control whatsoever when it came to any perceived slights against their prideful exalted religious standing and highly slanted, opinionated, and goofy interpretations of OT Scripture, they never had any hands-on frame of reference to Pentecostal happenings as later Christians did. In fact, the history of Christianity in the world contains a world class stiffnecked opposition toward all things New Covenant spiritual that actually puts the rebellious Pharisees to shame, if that were possible, and thus evokes the notion, judging by having so much in common, that those same Pharisees had somehow morphed into fake Christians.  

RESISTANCE AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT

There are several strange non-New Testament beliefs held by some Christians who are not so clear on the concept regarding the Holy Spirit’s identity. Many Christians actually believe that God is literally three different persons. They believe this because they were taught it. They did not acquire this belief from the Lord’s pure teachings or the New Covenant writings because it simply isn’t there. Call it an interpolation. The classic trinity doctrine was invented two to three centuries after the Lord’s time. There is obviously no such thing ever alluded to in OT literature which consistently and repeatedly states, in direct contrast to the rest of the world, that God is one. He is one Person. This was a quite radical departure among the ancient Hebrew patriarchs from the polytheism of the time. The prophets especially reveal this truth. Isaiah shouts it. But whatever. That was a long time ago and those guys just didn’t get it, right? I wrote about this in my post, IF ISAIAH SAID THAT HE’S A LIAR!

To illustrate this further, I remember seeing a Christian production a few decades back likely put on by some mega church and broadcast on Christian TV that featured the Lord Jesus in the usual stage depiction but also added the Holy Spirit as an additional personage. One might have thought prior to production, “But how do we display the Holy Spirit?” They solved that problem by essentially using the Casper the Ghost model. I kid you not. They made a Holy Spirit effigy out of a very white sheet flowing loosely below but gathered together at the top in a clearly delineated rounded head motif by installing the required wadding and utilizing an unseen band at the neck. They were somehow controlling this from above with piano wire or something to make it flit about. So there was the Lord and His disciples and some other hangers on all in the usual Biblical dress with robes and head wrappings and whatnot and among them flitted this “Holy Spirit” ghost thing, in appearance pretty much exactly like a ghost and invoking memories of Halloween. As far as I remember this person of the Holy Ghost had a non-speaking part, which, when one thinks about it, probably did much to further the notion of etherealness and spiritual distance from lower level humans. But I think it might have been just this side of awesome if this depiction of the Holy Ghost did speak just to see how far they might have taken it.

I would think if this is the real Holy Spirit no one should have anything against Him. It has been opined in the past that if Jesus was the super cool hippie dude as often presented by the know-nothings, why would anyone hate Him? Who in their right mind would crucify Mister Rogers? But again, Scripture is quite clear that the Israelites in general and the Israelite religious leaders in particular really hated the Holy Spirit pretty much the same way they hated the Lord Jesus (clue alert). And I guess since we’re on the trinity theme they must have also hated God the Father.

HEART CIRCUMCISION (OR NOT)

Stephen told them what their problem was. He said their hearts were each encircled with a fat encrusted infected mass that also had metastasized to their ears. Now, the concept of fat encrusted infected masses on human hearts was not a new thing. It too, as the previously mentioned stiffneckedness, was spoken of in the vast distant past in Old Testament lore which came to the fore through Moses (15th century BC):

“So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.” [Deuteronomy 10:16]  

Jeremiah (late 7th to early 6th century BC), brought a prophetic explanation to the issue 800 years later in the following:

“For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of your heart, men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or else My wrath will go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.” [Jeremiah 4:3-4]

Imagine then, a thick foreskin-like wrapping encircling the heart encrusted and hardened like sun-baked fallow ground impervious to plows. Then imagine the stiffest of necks reinforced with #18 rebar. Then imagine ears plugged with epoxy and spiritual eyes sealed with super glue. How is a loving God supposed to get through to such evil people? How are such spiritually diseased people to apply a remedy? What concoction from great grandma’s dusty cupboard might do the trick and heal the sick?

In the few more explanatory Bible translations we get a fuller academic meaning of the word stiffnecked. A more expository definition of the Hebrew and Greek originals results in the well known English word obstinate. And if you’re wondering how that plays out consider the thesaurus entries of this word from Misters Merriam and Webster:

obstinate  adjective:

    1. unwilling to submit (as to reason or control) <he had an obstinate determination to live as he pleased>

Synonyms: bullheaded, closed-minded, deaf, hardheaded, headstrong, incompliant, intractable, intransigent, muleheaded, muley, mulish, pertinacious, perverse, pervicacious, pigheaded, refractory, self-willed, ||sot, stiff, stiff-necked, stubborn, tough, unpliable, unpliant, unyielding, willful, wrongheaded; Compare UNRULY 1

Related: resistant, unsubmissive, withstanding; contrary, crabbed, recalcitrant, renitent; inexorable, inflexible, obdurate; opinionated; resolute, staunch, steadfast, unbudging [1]

Yikes. Now that we have a greater understanding of the heart, neck, eyes, and ears condition of those on the other side of rightness with God, we must get to the (ahem) heart of the matter regarding Christian religious prejudice against the Lord’s teachings and spiritual ways of operating. Again, the Pharisees and those guys in powerful opposition to the Lord were certainly bad enough but the later Christians who subverted the New Covenant were in my opinion far worse. Once the Light has come there is no longer any excuse for darkness. Once the first guy way back when decided to reject particular aspects of the New Covenant and opened the door for later anti-Christian hordes successfully masquerading as pro-Christian to further undermine and sabotage real Christianity to the nth degree and coerce millions to follow accordingly (or else), the die had been cast as it were and evil gained a great upper hand. It would do all Christians good to admit there is a devil and that he is extremely good at what he does. And it should not be so difficult to believe he has power to convince anyone to follow him and believe his tripe. And furthermore it must follow that there is only one cure for his great ability to deceive and if that one cure is not applied then one has no chance.

THE DEVIL GOES TO CHURCH

Many years ago there was a popular minister who pastored a very large denominational church, one of those “First” churches located in a large metropolis. He used to shout from the pulpit something to the effect that if one didn’t like something in the Bible then just tear it out! I am not sure if he only pretended to tear pages out of his Bible or just acted like it but he made his point very clear. Of course, this man also had his extreme prejudices against holy writ and had effectively already torn much from the New Testament, but this mattered little. No one among his own ever called him on it because they all believed the same. His church had a membership role in the tens of thousands. His denomination consisted of thousands of churches. Except for the ever-present minor squabbles among those otherwise perfect Christians they all believed basically the same thing. Isn’t that why they call them denominations?

Anyway, this particular minister apparently made a definitive anti-Pentecost statement at the forefront of the Holy Spirit outpouring of the early 1960s which I’ll get to shortly. A little background: The Lord had begun blessing Protestants with the infilling of the Holy Spirit at that time. Before then, due to religious prejudice, this experience was only possible for the most part among Pentecostal Christians. The new outpouring of the 20th century dated back to the Topeka, Kansas event in 1901 and the Azusa Street Revival which began in 1906 in Los Angeles. In the 1950s a few Protestants from various denominations began receiving the experience and their influence spread the word among their own. By about 1960 the movement had started to spread throughout Protestant churches and by early 1967 the movement even found favor among Catholics. Catholic priests and nuns were suddenly speaking in tongues, which brings me to the statement apparently made by the minister in question:

He supposedly said “Tongues are of the devil.” This was very well known at the time in Pentecostal circles. After all these years we must attempt to understand that “speaking in tongues” was a huge cutting-edge issue at the time and extremely divisive. Nevertheless, and despite the shenanigans of more than a few within the movement, the overall historical Pentecostal outpouring of the 20th century was decidedly very real. It has since spread all across the planet. Multiple millions have received the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

Returning to our origins then, what happened on the first Pentecost in Jerusalem in about 32AD was clearly unprecedented. Also, in true Gideon paradigm form, many thousands of the Lord’s one time followers were eliminated from participating in the Upper Room Experience by their own unwillingness to walk with the Lord to the finish line and were reduced to a relatively microscopic 120 ever-faithful ones. In line with Gideon’s retort to God, how could the Lord’s future ministry, after so much work and spiritual achievement, possibly be successful with so few remaining disciples? The point here is that many were called but few were chosen. To put it another way, real disciples were not only called, they were also chosen and remained faithful, no matter what. That last part is really tricky because a Christian’s faith in the Lord Jesus will be tested greatly, far beyond the point one ever would have previously thought. The remaining 120 had been through the ringer. They were threatened always and sometimes with death. The disciples knew the religious leaders were out to stomp them into the ground. Sound familiar? The others could not handle it. It was simply too much. There were various reasons for departing, all involving some form of fear. For the most part it was simply because they either refused full obedience or could not bring themselves to the 100% commitment level. They were concerned about their status and livelihoods unlike the 120 who pretty much lost everything and had their reputations destroyed. It was the cost all real disciples must pay and are willing to pay.

But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” [Luke 9:62]

THE FINAL MEMBER TO YIELD

The Lord’s brother James, in the third chapter of his noted epistle, taught that the unregenerate human tongue is evil. It is a condition, of course, that every human has in common prior to spiritual regeneration and commitment to the Lord. Whereas the tongue is a miraculous creation with great abilities and is capable of many astounding achievements, it is also responsible for the worst atrocities. The following are the descriptions James used to define the tongue:

    1. A boaster of great things
    2. A fire
    3. Able to create allegorical forest fires
    4. A world of iniquity
    5. A body part that defiles the entire body
    6. It sets the course of one’s life on fire
    7. Is set on fire by hell
    8. A restless evil
    9. Full of deadly poison

Wow. James certainly didn’t stutter. Everything he wrote, however, is absolutely true though not often acknowledged. It is clear then, that this body organ we call the tongue is the most powerful organ we possess. Of course, James is referring to human speech. He gives the cure in chapter four and it essentially comes down to giving one’s all to the Lord Jesus in total surrender. This is actually what a real believer is. One either gives 100% to the Lord or one does not. If one never submits completely then one’s tongue is never tamed. Why? Because only the Lord can tame the tongue. Only He can bring it out of subjection to sin. And this means He must be in total charge. Any remnant of remaining human control will subvert the process.

It is thus completely within the realm of spiritual rationality that there must be a universal sign that the most unruly, rebellious, and sinful member of the human body has been tamed and brought under control. The New Covenant writings, especially the Book of Acts, reveal this sign. Paul mentions it directly in First Corinthians 14. In the recorded historical events regarding the infilling of the Holy Spirit it was not only the event that proved something profound and miraculous took place, but also that each one additionally proved in some way the taming of the tongue and a brand new use of human speech never utilized before. Just as the human heart must be spiritually circumcised to remove the fat encrusted infected mass encircling it so must the human tongue be cleansed of evil. Both are a vital part of the sin removal process. Both require the hands on participation of the Lord Himself. Only He can do it. Our part is to fully surrender to Him so He can. The tongue is the last member of the body to submit.

THE EVIDENCE

Though most Christians probably look for long term evidence proving one’s genuine relationship with God, from a New Testament perspective there was also immediate evidence. Just as there were immediate healings, immediate miracles, immediate answers to prayer, and immediate occurrences of deliverance, so were there immediate transformations of heart and tongue. These things did not have to take long. They did not need to be drawn out. It was simply a matter of the Lord Jesus taking authority. He has ALL authority on earth and in heaven but will never force anyone to do anything. Thus, a person must simply submit to His authority. When the Lord Jesus is given authority to act on one’s behalf by that person then all things become possible according to His will, and it is certainly always in His will to excise the evil from one’s heart and tongue. Once a person has been spiritually cleansed and becomes a clean vessel the Holy Spirit can then take up residence.

For perhaps most Christians, this is an entirely new definition of faith in Jesus. It demands total trust. And this demands the complete abdication of our own personal opposing authority which makes His work on our behalf impossible. When we allow Him to work, miracles happen. Always.

Happy Day of Pentecost everyone.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:1-4] [2]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] ©1997, 1996 Merriam-Websters Collegiate Dictionary/Thesaurus. Zane Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.             

[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.

HAPPY TENTH BIRTHDAY REAL CHRISTIANITY

Today is my site’s ten year anniversary. I appreciate all of you who have read my posts over the years and have contributed. Thank you.

.

It’s been a long haul. Like many of you, I have had roughly a million other things to attend to over the last decade but have always been faithful to this site. I have written posts from several locations. There have been interruptions, major changes, a few seriously tough times, and all the usual getting-on-with-life adjustments. I have written and posted roughly 700 blog posts so far, most in the two to four page range which amounts to thousands of pages.

There have been times when circumstances forced me to leave off writing but I always returned and hit it hard again. I have built up the site with many faithful readers only to lose most due to inactivity and then started over again. This has happened quite a few times, the most recent being the spring and summer of 2019. That is, until this year.

It is impossible to not be seriously affected by all that has happened in America over the last fourteen months. After the events of last autumn and especially at the beginning of this year I started sensing that we as Americans had been taken for a ride, yet again, and that the very worst was on tap. Rather than continuing to have hope I saw that no one was actually coming to the rescue. All those who appear to have tried got nowhere. Many who appeared to be for real have been proven to be frauds. A great many Christian “prophets” were dead wrong about what would happen. Many people trusted them. As usual, I would guess that most of these people explain it all away and keep on trucking.

There is no use getting into specifics at this point but everything has changed. I said fourteen months ago that nothing would be the same again. I spent a difficult summer writing many long posts revealing much truth. At the end of the day, did it matter? Have enough people really paid attention? I told you in my last post of 2020 on the last day of December last year what would happen in 2021: 2020 IN REVIEW AND A LOOK INTO WHAT’S COMING NEXT…

For all those Christians in America and their “churches” and denominations which have once again thrown in the towel and did what they were told, dumbing themselves down to an even lower level and surrendering whatever semblance of spiritual reality they had left, I can only say at this stage of the game that I have been warning of this very outcome over the life of this blog. But I started my warnings much, much earlier than that. I’ve been advertising a book here that I wrote in the 1990s. It hasn’t done any good. I had hoped to be a successful author so I could keep writing but the former never happened. I have kept writing however, though under more difficult circumstances, and plan to continue at some point.

At the moment I am inundated with practical matters that must be attended to and am making progress in that regard. My writing and teaching will have to wait. It might wait long enough that I will lose most of you. I don’t know. It is likely that few will even see this post or read it. For those of you who do I am thankful.

Regarding the Great Awakening, I will remind everyone that the Lord Jesus is God and He is still very much in control. He still lives to save. He still needs our help. For all the Christians in America who got sidetracked over the last year, they must simply be added to all the others who have done the same throughout history. At the moment it appears the goats and tares have the upper hand. Remember, I am only talking about “Christians” now. Forget about everything else. The devil has taken control over what the Lord has allowed him to. What’s done is done. Don’t engage in false hope.

When the Lord referred to sheep and goats, and wheat and tares, He was not talking about the world at large. He was referring to real believers and false believers. What happened in the first century obviously proved that. As we continue on, the unreal believers will become that much more closely aligned with the bad guys. You will have to use your own spiritual eyes to see this. This world is not what it appears to be. “Christianity” is not what it appears to be. But again, the Lord Jesus is very real and in control. He has all power and authority in both heaven and earth. If you want your life to really count you must join Him all the more. His kingdom is the only reality. The rest is mere illusion.

Going forward, those segments of Christianity which refuse His full will and direction will fall by the wayside, as always. I said many years ago that if every leadership team in every church in America were presented with a form pledging themselves 100% to full obedience to the Lord Jesus most would refuse to sign. It has always been this way. The goats have always outnumbered the sheep. There is likely a Judas for every twelve Christians.

Be careful. Get close to the Lord and stay there. If you are close get closer. Ask Him for all the spiritual power and strength you need. He has an unlimited amount available. Believe in the Lord! Trust Him! Great days are ahead. Many victories await. All things are possible.

Every story He writes has a happy ending.

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. 

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (4)

Every person who ever lives and dies will be resurrected one day. Soul will be reconnected with body. The majority, however, will then undergo the second death…

.

RESURRECTION CONNECTION

We were never meant to die. God did not create us for death to overtake us. Nevertheless, due to His foreknowledge, He knew Adam would inevitably choose incorrectly and open Pandora’s Box. He knew Adam would sin.

And He made provision for it. Still, it was not inevitable that Adam would choose incorrectly. This man had the best Teacher. He was prepared for any and all events. He was warned. Adam, the first man, a type of Him who was to come, knew everything he needed to know and had an exemplary record of obedience and wisdom until that one fateful day in the garden. Though certainly tempted on that day, as he likely was any number of times before, he was never deceived. He knew full well what was going on. And when he decided to sin and break fellowship with his Father it was only because of one reason: He chose Eve, the first sinner, over God.

At that point perfection ended. Then the ultimate plan of God kicked in. The last Adam would have to come and fix what the first Adam did. Paradoxically, somewhat, the last Adam would also die. But unlike the first Adam he would not stay dead. And He arranged things in such a way that whoever applies His perfect sacrifice for sin to their own life will not stay dead either.

“Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” [John 5:28-29]   

Thus we see that souls will be reunited with bodies. And just as sin caused a disconnection between Adam/Eve and their perfect garden, so does it also cause an inevitable disconnection between body and soul. In essence, because of personal sin, every human soul is eventually separated from its body. The animate is disconnected from the inanimate. One part goes to the grave and the other part goes to a nebulous netherworld of which we don’t know much about.

But there is more to this resurrection story.

THE DEATH CYCLE

The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” [Genesis 2:16-17]

They surely did die. But they were still walking around. From without, at a certain distance, one could not have ascertained a change. But from within, Adam suddenly felt a coldness, a spiritual draft as it were, a cold wind blowing upon his innards. He was suddenly empty. He was lost. He didn’t know which way to turn. What had happened? He couldn’t think. His brain no longer worked as it did before. He was a mere fraction of his former self. Eve, feeling the same, clung ever closer to her mate, but neither felt the slightest bit of relief. Something had gone terribly wrong.

Scripture reveals that the human being is actually composed of three principle parts and not only two. Adam and Eve had died but remained animate, meaning that there remained an animate life force within them that was still alive. What, then, had died? And this is where the entire human question gets really tricky really fast. From Adam’s original perspective, before he sinned, he possessed some form of higher strength, ability, and intelligence. He was also a spiritual being because he communed with God. He was actually born of God:

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. [Genesis 1:27]   

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. [Genesis 2:7]

Hence, Adam was originally, by this world’s standards, not a normal human. Of course, this world’s standards are based on a worldwide sinful consensus created by people with a sinful perspective whether they know it or not or know they are sinners or not. I would think that the vast majority in this world would agree, however, that the very idea of actual communion and communication with God is perceived as the haunt of the weird and the wacky. It gets laughable when one considers the fact that most Christians in the world also hold this view. They never talk to God and nobody they know in their awesome circle of friends and associates talks to God. Therefore, the notion of talking to God is strange. But God talking back is even stranger.

Anyway, getting back to the narrative, Adam was created of the Spirit of God. He had the same spirit within that God has, or that God is. God is a Spirit. When He breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life He wasn’t just exhaling air into Adam’s lungs but was filling Adam with His very Spirit. Sound familiar? Also, when Adam was formed, before receiving the breath of life, was he simply an inanimate slab of beef lying on the ground? Or was he already animate the way all other creatures are animate? How is it possible to create a human being without animation? Babies are conceived in the womb, in the very beginning, by the connection of an animate seed with an animate egg. Both of these pulse with life and animation. Each must be alive. Therefore, Adam must have been alive once the Lord formed him but the life he possessed was a lesser form. At that point he was the crown of Creation but was essentially the same as all other earthly creatures. When he received the Spirit of God, however, he became both a person of this lower world and also a person of the higher world. He became a spiritual man. Again, Scripture clearly states this:

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. [Romans 5:14]

Adam was a type of the Lord Jesus. He was not simply a soul man but a spirit man. Some animals are what we might term soulish and some are more soulish than others, such as dogs and horses. These animals have a higher propensity toward communicating with human beings. These kinds of animals can relate so closely to humans they can actually love people and people can love them. We can see then, that just as animals can communicate with people and vice versa, that humans can communicate with God and vice versa. But why is it the case that most people do not communicate with God? Is it not for the same reason that Adam and Eve could no longer communicate spiritually with God after their fall into sin? Once they sinned, the only remaining communication with God was on a merely soulish level. This descent from the spiritual realm to the soulish realm is what happened right after they ate the fruit.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” [Genesis 3:7-14]

And that, my friends, is the entire human story in eight verses. It plays over and over again every day in this world as the only song on a 24 hour radio station. Translated, it becomes:

“I’ve messed up!” “I keep trying to fix it but I can’t!” “Now I’m afraid of God!” “I must hide from Him!” “It’s that woman’s fault!” “The devil made me do it!”

The preceding is not spiritual communication (Duh). These people go from having a close loving relationship with God involving who knows how many in-depth conversations and wonderful fellowship to actually being afraid of God and wanting nothing to do with Him. They were far too fearful to have any relationship with Him. Their entire concept of God changed. This is what they passed on to everybody else until now. Their spirit within them died and Adam and Eve became mere soulish individuals likely finding it far easier to communicate with animals than with the Lord. Every human is initially infected with the same attitude.

When humans die physically in this condition further separation takes place. Where there was once in Adam’s case a perfectly intact person composed of spirit, soul, and body, there eventuates after the first death only a mere fearful soul floating around in an undefined nebulous netherworld likely in the heart of the planet (See Matthew 12:40). The soul’s separated body is decaying somewhere up on the surface. The soul’s spirit had never been alive to begin with. And if that soul’s body died while the soul was in sin then the time will come when the soul will die also, completing the celestial strikeout.

But before being called out by the celestial Umpire some final business will have to be attended to. God will resurrect that person’s body and rejoin the soul within it. Then that person will stand before God in judgment. Then that person will suffer the second death by taking a one way trip to the hot place. So much death! Sin is a killer! The spirit dies, then the body dies, then the soul and resurrected body die together.

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” [Matthew 10:28]  

SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION

There had to be a way to fix the mess Adam and Eve created. Logically, it would simply be a matter of creating a way for the human spirit to be regenerated. But how does one go about doing that unless the candidate involved agrees with the process and submits to it? Every human on the planet is composed of body and soul but also possesses a “dead” spirit somehow existing in seed form. There must be a way to reactivate this spirit. There must be a way to bring it back to life. In the beginning God breathed His own Spirit into Adam. Eve was then created from a part of Adam and also possessed a living spirit. How must God go about trying to implement this plan for anyone else, as a kind of Garden of Eden do over? Wouldn’t it be logical to simply breathe the breath of life into anyone willing as He did with Adam in the beginning?

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” [Luke 11:13]

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. [John 7:37-39]

So you see, God wanted to give His Spirit and reanimate our spirits but the only way to do that was to first become one of us so He could have a pure Spirit originating from His humanity to give. The Spirit of God must first become resident in a human being before it can be transferred to other human beings. The Holy Spirit is therefore the form of God’s Spirit that can safely become resident within people. The Holy Spirit is obviously still very powerful but also able to reside within relatively fragile human bodies. (Think of the way electricity must be transformed down to a safe level before entering our dwellings and electrical devices so it will not cause harm.)

Regarding the chosen candidate who must be the last Adam, there was obviously no human being in existence who qualified for such a Spirit-through-humanity mission so God would have to do it Himself. The process of God becoming a human being and living a life without sin would thus allow Him to share His Holy Spirit. Remember, the Lord Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Unlike everybody else, His human spirit was always alive, animate, and active. Also, the Lord Jesus had the Spirit of God without measure (John 3:34).

To sum up, the Lord said whoever believes properly and correctly would be eligible to receive His Spirit. His Holy Spirit is a gift. How hard can it be to simply receive it? Ah, but there is spiritual battle involved. Evil entities exist to censor this Good News and keep people ignorant of it. The devil fights the process. The world makes fun of it. Fake Christianity denies and opposes it. And human flesh, perhaps the worst enemy, is all too often so caught up in pride (including the religious variety) and the promotion of oneself, though the Lord called such people “evil” (which denotes an otherwise obvious incongruity) that people are themselves often their own worst enemy. Then when one considers that the new birth could end relationships and one must make the relational choice that corrects Adam’s huge relational miscue, one can see that receiving the Lord’s Spirit can be quite challenging with reference to one’s residence in this fallen world and the resistance thereof.

You see, Adam chose Eve over God. Before he joined her in sin Adam could have simply refused. She would have been banished but he would remain sin free in the garden with God. So in order to reverse what Adam did, a person must be willing to embrace relationship with the Lord at the possible loss of every person in one’s life. One must be willing to want the Lord’s Spirit and the resultant animation of one’s human spirit more than any other relational connection. Adam made the wrong choice. We must make the right one. The Lord Jesus must always be first.

If one chooses to live for Him and believe in Him the way He said one should, his or her spirit will be resurrected from death. Again, such a spiritual resurrection is and should be a powerful experience demonstrating a great transformation. One will for the first time in his or her life become whole, composed of body, soul, and spirit with sin removed and be filled with His Holy Spirit. And it will not be some innocuous by osmosis not sure when it happened occurrence but a powerfully memorable event just as the Day of Pentecost was an event:

“It is this Jesus whom God raised up, a fact to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” [Acts 2:32-33]

“For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” [Acts 2:39]   

FIRST DEATH / SECOND DEATH / ETERNAL LIFE

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” [John 11:25-26] [1]

By His sacrificial atoning death for our sin the Lord Jesus makes it possible for us to be rescued from the second death and be given spiritual life. It cost Him everything to do this. It will cost us everything to receive it. This is the definition of the New Covenant. It is a covenant between two members giving their all to bring forth new life and it includes the promise of the Holy Spirit, an advance security toward our eternal inheritance.

Thus, the Ministry of Reconciliation demands the greatest love.

© 2021 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

IMPORTANT NOTE: The actual anniversary date for the Lord’s resurrection this year is Tuesday, March 30. This date is Nisan 17 on the Hebrew calendar. Nisan 17 is the day of First Fruits and the THIRD day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: RESTORING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (1)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: WORD STUDY AND APPLICABLE VERSES (2)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: THE REMOVAL OF SIN (3)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: Announcing Part 4

Hello everyone. Hope all is well. I completed Part 4 of this series and will likely be posting it on Monday morning, March 29. It is entitled Spiritual Resurrection. There are many Biblical facts within it that some may not be aware of so I hope it will be interesting to you and fill in some gaps in your understanding. I wrote it on Thursday and it turned out to be five pages but I think it reads well. Because it’s been several days since I posted Part 3 I am making this announcement to make you aware it is on the way and to prepare for it.

The Lord Jesus greatly desires reconciliation with everyone and has done all He can to make that happen. When we do our part it does happen. The following is the central passage in His Word revealing The Ministry of Reconciliation:

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [2Corinthians 5:18-20]

Thanks to all of you who have read all or parts of this series so far, and thanks for the many excellent comments that have added to our understanding of the subject matter. You are all appreciated. If anyone wants to read parts they may have missed I have added links and their titles below. Be blessed. See you on Monday.

3/11: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: RESTORING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (1)

3/14: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: WORD STUDY AND APPLICABLE VERSES (2)

3/17: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: THE REMOVAL OF SIN (3)

3/29: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (4) Coming Monday

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: THE REMOVAL OF SIN (3)

“Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:7]

.

RETURNING TO GOD

The innocence of early childhood can be regained. Our sin can be removed. We can become completely spiritually cleansed. This is what the Lord’s perfect sacrifice achieved if one chooses to apply it. He not only provided a free ticket to heaven but allowed for the complete removal or remission of our sins. The weight of years of sin can be absolutely removed from a person freeing one not only of the incessant conviction of one’s conscience but the actual extraction of the sin content stuck fast in one’s being. The Lord Jesus provided the only means to do this. There is no other way. And He did it not only to free any who may be willing but primarily to restore relationship with Him.

This is the Ministry of Reconciliation that the apostle Paul refers to in his second letter to the Corinthian believers. He explains it as the ultimate reaching out from God to us. It is why God had to become one of us. It is why He had to live a sinless life. And it is why He had to sacrifice His perfect life on our behalf. He had to defeat death. The only way to do that was to die without sin. It was the greatest act of love possible and illustrates perfectly the degree to which God was willing to go to ransom our souls and restore us to the original intention He had for each of us. He never wanted anyone to be burdened with sin and separation from Him.

FREEDOM AND SIN

God created human beings as free individuals allowed to make choices. If one does not possess the freedom to choose then one has no freedom. True freedom means one can choose anything. One might not have the means but retains any number of possibilities within reasonable parameters. Most people have limited and often severely limited means. Their possibilities are woefully finite. Others have greater means. Regardless, each choice one makes has its own ramifications, either good or bad.  

Everyone will eventually choose wrong to varying degrees and incur bad results. It may be that we do not understand the seriousness of bad choices when we make them and the impact they will have upon our lives. It is often the case that the results stretch far into the future. Thus, there is not only the ever growing cumulative weight of sin to deal with in the life of the sinner but the personal time bombs waiting down the road that will surely go off on schedule. Sometimes a single sin choice can have a devastating effect on one’s future and affect many people. Sometimes people make such choices willingly with an apathetic attitude. Sometimes people are entirely selfish and simply do not care what happens to others as a result of their bad choices.

Whatever the case may be one always has the choice of making the one choice that makes all the difference for the better. When people get convicted of crimes that involve fines or jail time they understand they must pay the cost of their crimes by paying the fines and going to jail for however long it may be to fulfill the requirements of their sentencing. They will not be free of these obligations until the requirements are fulfilled. Imagine then, the blessing of having someone else pay one’s fines and serve their jail time for them. Imagine if one is convicted of a crime requiring the death penalty but someone else dies in one’s place. To those who simply refuse to attempt an understanding of sin and eternal life this will make no sense and they will not consider the possibility.

Others, however, have a gnawing sense of sin in their lives. They have a working conscience that convicts them. They may try to silence their conscience through inebriating substances or simply remain functionally inebriated so they will not have to deal with the subject of sin. Again, sin is very powerful and if not dealt with properly through spiritual means it will have to be dealt with through physical means that have no effect on the soul but only deaden the feelings of the body and mind toward it.

People have also been taught to deaden one’s feelings through religion. If they simply go through their religious rites and rotes it will give them a feeling that all is well. This is, of course, bewitching. It is a false feeling. It is highly deceptive and damaging. The process may indeed keep them in somewhat better mental shape than not having such an outlet but will have no actual effect upon one’s sin. Right standing with God demands that we get rid of sin. Unless we do it His way—the only way—the only way that actually works—we will remain in our sins though we may have been convinced or convinced ourselves otherwise.

The devil is a liar. Human nature is often quite despicable. This world is a fake sensory illusion for the most part that deceives and defrauds. There are those who want to use you, control you, scare the hell out of you, and enrich themselves through you. But the best of those at such things are those who are excellent at appearing as the very opposite of what they actually are in order to gain your trust. They insist that all is above board and everything they ask one to submit to will be wholly beneficial. It obviously helps that an unthinking majority buys into such fakery which makes the participants thereof more comfortable and secure.

The best among such manipulative entities are those in the realm of religion. The very best of them are those within fake forms of Christianity, together of which as an overall entity I refer to as Unreal Christianity. The leaders within this realm are highly proficient at the presentation of illusion as something real. They are actors. They are actually only surface-oriented though suggest spiritual depth. They make much use of symbolism. Their efforts have an ultimate purpose which is to keep people from spiritual reality and use them instead for their own means. As the Lord called the Pharisees whitewashed tombs, one may refer to the entities that make up Unreal Christianity, regardless of size, as whitewashed cults.

THE REAL AND THE UNREAL

Real Christianity is that in which the Lord Jesus has total control and authority. Unreal Christianity is any entity in which the Lord Jesus does not have total control and authority.

All Christian organizations are composed of people. Each person makes a choice to join and participate. Each person has his or her reasons for doing such. Each person submits to the authority thereof. He or she willfully surrenders to the dictates and beliefs of the religious organization. This is in essence a contract in which the individual consents to the terms of those who author the contract. There is obviously no negotiation of terms.

It is generally the same when one becomes a real Christian. The main difference, of course, is that one submits to the actual Founder and not mere pretenders and hirelings. One voluntarily chooses to surrender wholeheartedly to the Lord Jesus. The Lord then gains control and authority over one by his or her individual submission to Him. By the terms of the covenant one is bought with a price. Real Christians owe Him their lives. He ransomed them from the enemy. He saved them from the debilitating effects of sin. He did this freely of His own will. He demonstrated the greatest love possible. He absolutely proves His love in this way.

Thus, the terms of the Lord’s covenant are clear: There must be 100% submission. Our trust in Him must be 100%. Our faith must be 100%. Our obedience must be 100%. We must have a personal spiritual genesis. Anything less than this will never work. He gave everything He had in His life including making a supreme sacrifice to pay for our sins and remove them forever. He initiated a blood covenant. The only way this covenant can work is if we also make a 100% commitment to Him as He did for each of us. Our blood must be figuratively shed in repentance as a type of blood sacrifice in which we destroy our old lives in order to bring forth the new.

“Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose (destroy) it, and whoever loses (destroys) his life will preserve it. [Luke 17:32-33]   

It is why He said we MUST be born again. Receiving the complete remission of our sins demands a new birth. Receiving His salvation demands a new birth. Being fully reconciled to the Lord Jesus demands a new birth. It is the only possible way the covenant can work. Without a new birth there is no covenant. This is exactly what the Lord Jesus taught. All of His teachings reflect this. The entire New Testament reflects this. Written throughout the New Covenant Scriptures is the central theme of an entirely new birth that must take place for each individual if the covenant is to be ratified. The Lord has already fulfilled His part of the covenant 100%. He awaits each of us to fulfill our part. We must never settle for anything less because if we do, regardless of how we may think or feel, we will come up short of the full requirements which He initiated and expects us to fulfill. Without fulfilling the requirements we will never receive the spiritual benefits of the covenant. We will remain in our sins.

His teachings on this are not secret but fully transparent. Whoever reads and studies the written Word of God will discover them. We are blessed to have this record of His full curriculum and one can be certain that the Lord has made this record available so all will have the opportunity to know. His teachings reveal the new birth, the new covenant, and the new and living way. His teachings reveal the reality and necessity of the cross through which we can be reconciled to God.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. [Hebrews 12:1-3] [1]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued] 


[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 MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: RESTORING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (1)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: WORD STUDY AND APPLICABLE VERSES (2)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (4)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: WORD STUDY AND APPLICABLE VERSES (2)

There are two types of Christians in the world—those who desire and choose to have an actual relationship with God, and those who are content to pretend they have one.

.

Thanks to everyone who read and enjoyed Part 1 of this series. In Part 2 we will learn the applicable New Testament English words and their Greek counterparts relevant to this study and also the verses where they occur. This will get a tad technical but I will keep it as concise as possible. It is important to gain a better understanding of the original Greek words and their meanings. As you read consider the apostle Paul as he dictated the NT letters from which we derive this study. Think about the original copies he created by the Lord’s inspiration and the rounds they made to the many groups of Christians in the various cities of that time.   

BIBLE VERSION

Those who follow this blog know my Bible version of choice is the New American Standard 1995 Update. This is an excellent version and likely the most literal. It is extremely important when doing NT word studies to use an accurate version faithful to the Greek and limited to its original transmission. The three translated English words used here are from the NASB95. They are (1) reconciliation, (2) reconciled, and (3) reconciling. The next section gives us a brief overview of each.

WORD STUDY

RECONCILIATION

The word reconciliation occurs four times in the NT. Each one is translated from the same Greek root word. Three of these occurrences are applicable to this study.

The Greek root word is katallagh. It is pronounced kat-al-lag-ay’. The following definition is from Strong’s Concordance (#2643):

(1) exchange (1a) of the business of money changers, exchanging equivalent values (2) adjustment of a difference, reconciliation, restoration to favor (2a) in the NT of the restoration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ.

The following are the three applicable verses in which this word occurs:

And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. [Romans 5:11]

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, [2Corinthians 5:18]

namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. [2Corinthians 5:19]

RECONCILED

The word reconciled occurs seven times in the NT and is translated from three different Greek root words. Five of these occurrences are applicable to this study and are translated from two Greek root words.

Four of these occurrences are from the Greek root word katallasso. It is pronounced kat-al-las’-so. The following definition is from Strong’s Concordance (#2644):

(1) to change, exchange, as coins for others of equivalent value (1a) to reconcile (those who are at variance) (1b) return to favor with, be reconciled to one (1c) to receive one into favor

The following are the three applicable verses in which this word occurs:

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. [Romans 5:10]

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, [2Corinthians 5:18]

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [2Corinthians 5:20]

One occurrence is from the Greek root word apokatallasso. It is pronounced ap-ok-at-al-las’-so. The following definition is from Strong’s Concordance (#604):

(1) to reconcile completely (2) to reconcile back again, bring back a former state of harmony

The following is the one applicable verse in which this word occurs:

yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— [Colossians 1:22] 

RECONCILING

The word reconciling occurs once in the NT and is also translated from the Greek root word katallasso as is the word reconciled (See the preceding).

VERSES IN CONTEXT

The title of this series is The Ministry of Reconciliation. The phrase ministry of reconciliation appears only once in the NT, in 2Corinthians 5:18. There are three epistles where Paul refers to this ministry: Romans, 2Corinthians, and Colossians. Regardless of the book of Romans appearing first in the NT among Paul’s letters, Paul wrote his Corinthian letters before he wrote Romans. Of these three he wrote Colossians last. According to New Testament scholars Conybeare and Howson,[1] Paul wrote 1Corinthians in the spring of 57 and 2Corinthians in the autumn of that year, both in Ephesus. He wrote Romans from Corinth in the spring of 58. He wrote Colossians in Rome in the spring of 62.  

From this we know he first revealed the Ministry of Reconciliation in 2Corinthians. Also, of the nine applicable occurrences of the three English words of our study, five occur in the three verse segment of 2Corinthians 5:18-20. Thus, we refer primarily in this study to Chapter 5 of that book, notably to verses 17-21, as the definitive passage of Paul’s teaching:

17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. [2Corinthians 5:17-21] [2]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] The Life and Epistles of Saint Paul by W.J. Conybeare and J.S. Howson

[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 MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: RESTORING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (1)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: THE REMOVAL OF SIN (3)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (4)

 

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: RESTORING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (1)

God’s great desire is to be reconciled with everyone. He has already done everything He possibly can do on His part to achieve this and has made it as easy as possible for us.

.

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation… [2Corinthians 5:18]

WHERE AM I? 

Many people grow up perceiving the world at large as a great unknown and somewhat of a mystery. We don’t necessarily see our own immediate surroundings that way, however. From the beginning of awareness at a very tender age we are presented with a family structure we must live within. This structure, whatever it may be, wherever we may live, contains certain expectations we must adhere to even though much within our young lives is granted as a gift, though we do not initially recognize it as such. We are not aware of the great effort it took to bring us into this world or the extreme care and expense required immediately afterward. We have no knowledge or memory or those early months when we were completely helpless and dependent on 24 hour-a-day attention and devotion prior to our later conscious understanding. We simply have no conception of the meaning of love at that time.

When we do begin becoming aware of our surroundings and are able to make cognitive connections we only know of our limited direct environment and this is usually filled to overflowing. We become as thirsty sponges taking it all in. There is so much to know and learn. We must develop as little humans and it is a fulltime endeavor. We continue to major on receiving and expect that our needs will always be met. Some children, of course, are not so fortunate to be blessed with the level of stability and protective environment necessary for proper development in the first years of life, but development continues onward anyway. Time waits for no one. Growth proceeds ready or not.

Regardless of parental love for children, and most parents are very good in this regard, they can only do so much. Most parents are limited. They are limited regarding what they would like to do for their children compared to what they can do. They are not necessarily limited in love and may attempt to love all the more to make up for perceived deficiencies. It must be understood, though, that love comes in many forms and people express their love in different ways. Sometimes love is not appreciated because it is not acknowledged or understood. Sometimes parents go way out of their way to get their children the best life possible according to their conception of whatever that may be but it is not appreciated. And it is sometimes the case that children of poor parents remain well adjusted in life despite not having much at all growing up. There are several reasons for such outcomes and it can be complicated, but maybe the common denominator is whether or not one understands loving intentions.

LOST RELATIONSHIP

And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” [Luke 18:15-17]

Children are close to God. They may not understand this but it is true. We know it is true because the great separator of people from God is personal sin. Young children have no sin. Regardless of their actions that sometimes do not reveal them as saintly, they are simply not accountable for their actions. For the most part they are innocent, open, and kindhearted. They also have greater perception of heavenly things. They are not weighed down by sin. Because of their lack of sin they remain in close contact with God even though there may not be any overt communication on their part. Yet, God does communicate with children, though on a level they can understand and through a means they can receive.

But the inevitable always happens. The children grow older and begin to sin willingly. At first their conscience may bother them terribly and they will respond with fear. In other words they know whatever sinful actions they engage in are wrong. They are able to know right from wrong. In much the same way God has created the means and ability for incredibly complex language skills that come forth almost automatically in a relatively very short period of time, so has He blessed each person with a working conscience. This functions as an automatic right/wrong indicator. It allows a young growing child to know what bad behavior is and to steer clear of it. Parental and societal rules certainly play a part in this and there is also a certain level of fear of both when rule-breaking is involved. Nonetheless, once a child even thinks about engaging in sin his or her conscience kicks in and red lights starts flashing. What else can this be but a built-in warning system placed there by the Creator?

Eventually, of course, the warning system will be bypassed. It only has the ability to warn but never stop one from acting on sinful desires. And though it will continue to work as designed it becomes less effective the more it is overridden. There is a long-term danger here, however. A person can neglect and reject the warnings of the conscience to the point that it actually will effectively stop working in the sense that it can be so tuned out its warnings do not register. This means a person will no longer have a working conscience. And this means he or she loses any and all conception of personal sin. Paul gives a good illustration of this in the following from his first letter to Timothy: by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… 

Most people may never arrive at that place but learn to deal with their conscience differently. The red light warnings may simply be overridden by a competing set of rules which justify sin. You see, the human conscience is programmed according to God’s definition of sin and no other. This is the default position. Sin is what God says it is and the conscience will always warn on that basis. However, if one adopts a different set of moral rules (or decides on no rules whatsoever) that conflict with the default, one can eventually override the default in the same way one can destroy his or her conscience by repeatedly rejecting the warnings. This is in part why so many people are able to sin without remorse and remain for all intents and purposes contributing members of society. They teach themselves how not to be bothered by their sin by simply convincing themselves it is not sin. They allow their desires to define good and bad behavior. As Eve did, on that terrible day in the Garden, people choose to imbibe and fulfill the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life rather than resist such soul-shattering temptations. This is why and how everyone eventually falls out of contact with God. Their willing personal sin destroys the lines of communication with Him. The contact they had with God when they were small children, innocent and pure, becomes lost. When communication is lost, the relationship is lost.

LOST IN A LOST WORLD

When the majority is lost it appears on the surface to not be lost at all. This is because sinful people usually invoke the tenet of majority rule with regard to moral standards. This social majority rule ideology simply means that whatever the majority within a culture decides is morally right is what is right. The majority sets the standard. Such standards vary by majorities which can be relatively small or composed of millions. If the majority does not convict a person for some personal sin then that person makes peace with such sin. It is as if there is no law against it. He or she may know on some level it is wrong but because no one in his or her sphere of influence holds him or her accountable, one effectively gets away with it so to speak. If everyone one hangs around with thinks the same and engages in the same sinful practices then sin as sin disappears. It becomes nothing more than what everyone else partakes of and is commonplace. Rather than there being any bulwark against it there is instead the cultural acceptance of it. Of course, sin is still there, behind the scenes as it were, destroying and eating away at the good. It is surely progressive but often works relatively slowly and the damage being inflicted does not register. Such will certainly register eventually, however, and show up in a form that appears to have a different source.

Majority rule regarding moral standards rather than God’s law is why some cultures fall to the point of adopting particular sinful activity as a vital component of their culture. When the majority accepts it, engages in it, and even honors it, it becomes part of a traditional belief system. We can think of the worst and most heinous examples of such cultures, such as those which are cannibalistic or those which practice infanticide. World history reveals many such cultures dating from ancient times. Historical accounts in the Bible give us several examples as well. Such heinous sins also exist in the present within so-called higher cultures.

But not all of these are so egregious on the surface. There are some cultures within an outer culture that engage in truly disgusting and vile sinful practices but keep it fairly well hidden. These have an outer cloak of respectability. The general rule of thumb, therefore, is to watch out for those who love to dress up in overtly “respectful clothing.” Such people must forever put forth the effort to hide what they really are. They know people are surface oriented and are easily deceived by mere appearances. If one dresses right, looks right, and acts right, one will largely shield himself from further inspection. These people know the majority will essentially revere them as people they wish they could be and will try to live vicariously through them. It is why celebrity status works so well. It is why celebrities in any field not only capture the hearts of masses but also shield themselves from close inspection. They know that such easy to deceive people are obsessed with image and not reality, and that they perceive the image to be reality. Thus, for them, image is everything.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. [Matthew 23:27-28]

Did anyone other than the Lord know these outwardly righteous religious leaders were actually filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness? Had they fooled everyone else? Or did others know it as well but the Lord was the only one courageous enough to expose them? Why was everyone else so fearful? Have you ever noticed that regular people never came to the defense of the Pharisees?          

Making peace with personal sin is not good and has an expiration date. Those who not only make peace with sin but insist they actually have no sin are another story altogether. If people ever figured out that such individuals are the opposite of what they claim to be and are just as sinful as anyone else, if not much more so, their entire lives would come crashing down. On the other hand, many people know they are sinners, wish they were not sinners, and have tried to stop sinning but to no avail. They do their best to cover it up and act like it isn’t there in order to get along in life and keep some semblance of respectability but remain blessed with a conscience in good working order. Still, without a cure what are they to do? We get an answer here:

He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.

“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” [Luke 18:9-14] [1]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[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 MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: WORD STUDY AND APPLICABLE VERSES (2)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: THE REMOVAL OF SIN (3)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (4)

THE LORD AT THE HELM

 

In those times when adrift on the ocean

And all horizons are water and sky

And there is little breeze to fill our sail

And nil forward movement as waves float by

 

—Direction be unknown

—Through sunrise and set

—And heat of day exhausts

—And weariness stems rest

 

The cool soon arriving as night comes forth

And bright blinding light yields to twinkling stars

Which render the word that all is not lost

Their journeys beheld but though from afar

 

—To’ard proving perspective

—Allowing to behold

—That traveling proceeds

—Though languishing be sold

 

In perceiving the celestial we see

The Lord is steering! The heavens insist!

For no other message can e’er be told

The sky is ablaze with starry inscripts!

 

Wonder abounds though alone w’ hardship

The raft floating still? is moving on path

His guidance is clear with spiritual eyes

Our faith the force that saves us from wrath

 

As mighty attacks from enemies strike

No perfect storm or terrible tempest

Succeeds in defeating the sailing mate

Or stalls our motion aligned with His best

 

—And though we seem floundered

—And held fast and anchored

—Our journey goes onward

—Our Savior at Starboard

 

© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

A GREAT AWAKENING PRIMER: STRONG INDIVIDUALS CREATE STRONG CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES

.

The individual is the deciding difference. Strong, independent, spiritually mature Christians dedicated to the Lord are the building blocks of churches made in their image.

.

I have an old history book. It is old in the sense that it was originally written in 1930 but has been updated several times. The book itself is in great shape. I found it several years ago in a vast library book sale in Plano, Texas. My copy has a 1969 copyright. It is an excellent book. Entitled The Growth of the American Republic, Volume II, it covers the century from just after the Civil War to the late 1960s.

Chapter IV is called Labor and it deals with the initial sorting out process of labor relations with reference to the post war economy, increasing industrialization, and the rise of impersonal corporatism. This chapter covers the story in our country’s history from after the Civil War until the dawning of the 20th century, a roughly forty year period of vast transformation regarding the conditions and opportunities of working men and women and how labor was forced to make immense adjustments.

The Civil War itself was great change. It never should have happened. When one studies the real causes of the war behind the overt and official though false narrative, one sees the shrouded figures of economic henchmen intent on taking a spoil. The name Civil War is obviously part of that false narrative. Southerners prefer the term The War of Northern Aggression because that’s exactly what it was. It was a power play to gain the vast reaches of the South and Texas by the northern industrialists and the money powers. By fighting the war, the South, which had the Constitution wholly on its side, was merely protecting itself and attempted to win against all odds as did the original thirteen colonies against the Brits in the American Revolution. The odds were greatly against victory then as well.

Updated figures show that upwards of 750,000 Americans were killed in the Civil War. There was a forced unconstitutional draft on both sides. Factories were turning out war materiel on a mass scale. Soldiers fought according to an old outdated method that left them wholly vulnerable to modern armaments. Thousands died in single battles. Arms and legs were shot off (or sawed off later). The lives of young Americans had suddenly become very cheap. Approximately one third of Southern men in the prime of life met their doom. The South never recovered. These were the great men, on both sides, of strong character and vitality, American men shortly descended from the greats who won the Revolution. But they were being butchered. It was a terroristic war, one whose excesses and brutality could never possibly be forgotten. In that short four year period from 1861-1865, American men, especially in the South, were transformed from free, independent, and liberty-loving to mere chattel used, abused, and forsaken. It was a betrayal of the highest order.

After the war, labor suffered. The identity of the American working man was forced to undergo great change in order to fit into the new reality. Workers were cheap. The great money powers gained such control that labor was whatever they said it was. One was forced to play by their rules. If not, a man lost his job and was quickly replaced by another. Millions of new immigrants entered the country to add to the cheap labor pool. It was during those last decades of the 1800s that a completely new form of movement began in this country in the attempt to right these wrongs. It was the beginning of Labor Unions.

The following passage from the book gives an excellent indication of the thinking process of American workers as they were confronted with the new economic reality and what they attempted to do to save themselves by fighting back. It was in reading these words that I saw yet another direct indication of what happened to American Christianity, which also suffered great change for the worse at the same time:

In the years after the Civil War two rival approaches—reform unionism and trade unionism—vied for the allegiance of the American workingman. The reform unionists rejected the factory system, with its division of labor and its sharp differentiation of interests of employer and employee, and sought to restore a society which valued the independent artisan. Determined not to become machine tenders assigned to a small part of the process of production, they strove to preserve their status as craftsmen. To safeguard equality of opportunity, they fought those forces of monopoly, especially in finance, which they believed aimed to shackle the worker. They viewed themselves as members of a ‘producer class’ which embraced master as well as journeyman, farmer as well as artisan. [1]

Thomas Jefferson had a dream of America becoming a vast agrarian society composed of individual Americans working the land. Constitutional principles and directives that every man must be free did not last so long, however. Jefferson’s dream died less than a century later at the hands of dominant money-first power barons who merely wanted to use labor for their own empire-building purposes as if flesh and blood humans with hopes and dreams were not attached to said labor. One can see by the preceding quote from the book that working men saw themselves as much more than mere workers used as machine parts. They were skilled artisans. They were masters at their trades.

This resonates with me, because I can identify as a master at my trade. I spent many years as a multipurpose self-employed independent carpenter and contractor from the time I was a young adult. I never cared for highly specific quantity-ordered specialty trades within the trade, though I did participate on occasion. I certainly do not fault those who prefer such, but real carpenters should be able to build a structure inside and out instead of simply focusing on one aspect of the trade for the sake of greater and faster production. We have long since gone from one end of this equation to the other. The same thing happened after the Civil War. The independent artisans and craftsmen found a harder row to hoe, less appreciation for their skills, and less demand overall. It became a production game. Wages went down. Craftsmanship suffered.

The same thing has happened in Christianity. In the beginning the Lord had a real Community composed of various spiritual trades based on spiritual gifting and anointing. As I mentioned in a recent post, Romans Chapter Twelve lists seven motivational giftings of which every real believer has one primary. This is where he or she excels. It is a labor of love. Christians should never waste time trying to be something they are not. And churches must stop rejecting those believers who demand being what the Lord created them to be. The reason they are rejected is for the same reason the economic controllers want human machines that always do what they’re told and simply continue to drone on and on. Pews are filled with such people who rarely do anything but sit and watch and give their money to support a system that goes nowhere spiritual very fast. It’s pathetic.

What about a church filled with mature independent spiritual artisans who are masters of their craft? THAT is the Lord’s model. Until more Christians become aware that their churches are mere authoritarian perpetual elementary schools in which next to no one rises above a third grade level, nothing will change. Those who do progress discipline themselves toward much study and training on their own, which means they outgrow their pastors very early on and only attend because they believe they must or they like the social aspect.

The good news is that things have changed. We are progressing. But just like the mainstream news media which caters only to veritable babies in high chairs due to its ridiculously dumbed-down and often phony content while gaining most of the outward attention, most churches benefit primarily those few who run them and make money off them. Everyone else is made to grab a galley oar and row, and give money, not their heart or talent. Thus, an unbelievable amount of pure Christian talent has been wasted and shunted aside for the sake of catering to the big boys—the clergyized robber barons who make everything centered around and in support of them. These authoritarian controllers who have captured the money, the power, and the limelight may appear sincere and fool people with their fake smiles and false Pharisaic attitudes, but they are not fooling the Lord.

He wants His people to be free. And mature. He wants them to fully develop their talent and giftings. He then wants these strong and independent spiritual artisans to work together in community. This is what a real church is. It is what He created in the beginning. They proved what they were by pretty much converting the Roman Empire! Most Christians today have problems converting themselves. And what have we done here in America? Instead of converting others to the Lord Jesus, Christians have largely been converted to and taken over by the culture. It’s the main reason why America is hanging on for dear life.

There are certainly fighters for the Republic and those trying to save the country, as well as those trying to reform American Christianity, but they graduated from Sunday School a long, long time ago. All Christians who haven’t and refuse to progress should be utterly ashamed.

Their false tradition is a killer.

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] [2]   

© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. (Originally Posted 12/6/18)


[1] The Growth of the American Republic, Volume II © 1930, 1937, 1942, 1950, 1962, 1969 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Sixth Edition.

[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.

WORSHIP JESUS

Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus. Worship Jesus.

STRANGE DAYS HAVE FOUND US

The 1960s ushered in the full-flowering of a new age, a weird age, with strange days, and pills that make you larger, and pills that make you small.

And today’s pills are consumed in mass quantities by young and old alike, but regarding truth and finding the path of God, don’t do anything at all.

So turning on, tuning in, and dropping out apparently didn’t achieve the desired result. Instead, it was a generation’s call to self-deception and the beginning of a mass exodus to the devil’s strange little wonderland.

DOWN A RABBIT HOLE

Since then the weirdness quotient has been gaining steady ground, through a process of fits and starts, as America decides it will do the wrong thing, then the right thing, then the wrong thing…

The “sane” generation of the sixties supported without question a government that slipped off track, while the up-and-coming insaners kept warning of gross evil and injustice to the nth degree. The sane rejected said argument and continued to blindly follow the lemmings trail. In time both groups merged by believing the big lie and the big liar.

It was only those who got close to the Lord Jesus, stayed close, and obeyed His Word who had a real handle on things, but these were rejected and are still, as the deceived majority always castigates the seeing minority.

And nowadays it has reached such crisis proportions that the majority seems to sit back and be led around by anyone and anything other than the Lord. Like one of those giant schools of fish in the nature vids all packed together like a single organism, moving in mass, darting here and there, told what to think, how to live, and what to believe.

Media manipulation has since sailed way off the charts, as good old Americans do the strangest things. It’s become an upside down world where evil has suddenly been vaulted to the top and worshipped as good. And anyone trying to right the course is seen as a complete idiot and moral degenerate while the real moral degenerates parade around in all their filthy glory with a zero shame index and a conscience long since destroyed:

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… [1Timothy 4:1-2]

Some will fall away from the faith. This reveals the exodus of turncoats and destroys one of the greatest and most deceiving false doctrines, meaning many will quit on God and doom their souls for love of themselves and this fallen world.

Paying attention to deceitful spirits. HELLO? Sinners have always accessed the devil’s media, read his books, attended his lectures, and followed his lying advice, but unreal Christians? Uh, YEAH. When the devil speaks, people listen, as to a stockbroker with a hot tip. Better stay in the Word. Otherwise, newspaper taxis will appear on the shore, waiting to take you away.

Doctrines of demons—the teachings of invisible fallen angels—powerful entities that warp men’s minds with convoluted logic and outright deceptions, bringing mass confusion and a complete lack of understanding of the real spiritual world the Lord taught us about. Or tries to. It’s bad enough that people religiously believe the most idiotic things, but “Christians?” Unreal Christianity has possibly done more harm than all other false religions put together.

The hypocrisy of liars. The Lord Jesus warned us about the leaven of the Pharisees, mixing pure grade A extra virgin first cold press hypocrisy into all their teachings, and baking a bulbous loaf of dead bread guaranteed to confuse, obliterate critical thinking, make the partakers thereof spiritually deaf and blind, and leave their sanity on the docks as they sail away into a faux spiritual la la land.

Seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron. Yep. Rejected the Lord. Burnt to the core of their little cerebellums. Up is down and black is white and good is evil, and magnetic polarity reverses course, and they spend their days opening up one giant Pandora’s box after another, beckoning the contents to flee like released rats into the world of the unsuspecting neutered and brainless to passively accept the Last Days Big Fake-Out.

Strange days have found us indeed. The weird quotient is rising exponentially. Hold on to your walk with God, folks, because it’s starting to get really wacky out there. In fact, staying as close as possible to the Lord will be the only thing that will save us from the great deception coming our way.

THE WHITE KNIGHT IS TALKING BACKWARDS

And this is just the start! Wait ‘til you see what’s coming next. If you think it’s weird now, and it is, you will be shocked and awed as the future unfolds. The cat is out of the bag. And more cats and bigger cats will follow. It’s going to look like Alice in Wonderland in plain sight. A nationwide epidemic of slappy face will break out as people keep trying to wake themselves up from the real time nightmare emerging.

These are the strange days of deep deception, the times of night descending into day. The deceiving power of the enemy is so strong we have largely not understood that a vast bizarro world has been surreptitiously built up all around us.

1984 is no longer knocking on your door—it’s in your living room.

LIFE HAS BECOME AN ILLUSION

“…For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.” [Mark 13:22-23]

Fake Christians could get a clue if they obeyed God and honored His Word, but the great deception never stopped at the church doors. In fact, such places can easily hold their own against any New Age freak on the planet, both in weirdness quotient and outright rebellion. Instead of openly welcoming those dark wispy spectres traipsing down the aisles humming the theme from Star Trek and blowing their otherworldly breaths into passive minds, perhaps checking their credentials first would have been a good idea:

Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. [1John 2:22-23]

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.[1John 4:1-3] [1]

And it is still in the world.

And it took the pill that makes it larger.

Go ask Alice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2013 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.

LOVE

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

.

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. [1Corinthians 13:1-13] [1]

© 2021 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.

DESTROYING DECEPTIONS THAT CAPTURE THE MIND

The Words of Jesus are Spirit and Life that overcome ingrained mental falsehoods. Knowledge of the written Word leads to greater relationship with the Living Word.

.

My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge… [Isaiah 5:13]

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” [John 8:31-32]

The Lord has made access to His written Word extremely easy. The essential purpose for initially accessing the written Word of God is to discover God. One learns who He is, how much He cares for us, and also what He requires on our part to facilitate a lasting relationship. By acquiring knowledge of the Lord’s pure teachings one can break free from misleading false narratives, lies masquerading as Truth, and disabling deceptions imprisoning one on the other side of an otherwise bridgeless chasm.

OVERCOMING GUIDELINE GRIDLOCK

One must remember that the Early Church of the first century had no New Testament. Many did not even have access to the Old Testament Scriptures. Even at that time, people often believed and practiced not that which derived from the pure Word but from some religious leader’s interpretation of it, whether his intentions were noble or otherwise. There were scads of rabbis, doctors of the Law, synagogue leaders, and most notably, casuistic Pharisees who went so far as to essentially rewrite the OT through their endless oral traditions filled with Truth-debilitating minutia. The more they attempted to explain the Word of God the more they took their listeners away from God. Moses never did this. The prophets never did this. Moses, who was himself a prophet, and all the other real prophets in those ancient times simply delivered what God told them to deliver. If anyone got the message and understood, great. For those who did not it was their problem.

It is no different in our day in that so much of what Christians believe about the Word of God is actually not what is written right there in black and white but interpretive slants delivered by questionable Christian practitioners who often merely parrot denominational precepts, much as the Pharisees did, and overlay them upon the written Word in such a way that they have precedence and gain priority. All one must do to verify this, short of actually reading and studying the Word of God on one’s own (a novel concept for a probable majority of Christians), is visit a few other denominational churches.

Rather than cementing oneself in one place forever and hearing ad infinitum the same old same old that everyone there believes is the verbatim veracious version of the Lord’s teachings as if delivered from on high, one must at least occasionally visit the weirdos in other locales who beg to differ. One will discover that those Christians are also burdened with the same attitude of budgeless caution which was inflicted upon them, again, with good intentions or not, by interpretive teachers doing interpretive word dances as the conservative counterparts to the strange artsy folk who engage in odd expositions of poetry and dance.

Some churches put forth what are essentially emotionless drones who must think God requires them to be religious robots and otherworldly autocratic automatons appearing as ecclesiastically-cloaked talking statues. Emotion with these guys is verboten. Other churches at the other extreme have moving, walking, emotive talker-shouters who appear as fidgety née ferocious hyperactives which may or may not be under God’s actual spiritual anointing. In between are all manner of speakers-forth delivering various shadings of the same Word of God though emphasizing some parts and neglecting others (and often violently rejecting others).

And God looks down on all this duded-up strangeness and wonders how such strayings have taken hold in the minds of apparent believers because the very opposite of His intentions have been established in that He came here to unify His children rather than Tower of Babel them into impossible religious divisions which were also all the rage in His day. He did come to separate, of course, but only the sheep from the goats. What Unreal Christianity has done is to separate, at least on the surface, the sheep from the sheep and in that process created a construct for the invasion of conquering goats who seek to rule the sheep and effectively shroud the Word of God rather than share it. And instead of assisting the Lord to create open green pastures of luxuriant spiritual richness containing much more sustenance than enough for all, we have the equivalent of a barbwire kingdom of sectioned off partisan neoranches each sternly guarded by hardened shotgun-wielding cowhands intent on maintaining division and hatred for those unlike themselves. Rather than a dude ranch it’s a rude ranch. There’s a vast ponderosa of non-ponderable opposing pardners.

A CONFUSION OF LANGUAGES

Like their ancient contemporaries though in reverse, Christian dissemblers have confused God’s one universal language into a multitude of languages and rejected His one Gospel for many counterfeit variations thereof. Rather than joining and supporting the Lord’s single Community created at Pentecost they have created thousands of non-relational communities each with its own distinct language. And they continue with ongoing multiple subdivisions. Rather than “accurately handling the word of truth,” [1] they inaccurately mishandle it and thereby create doctrinal divisions which further divide the people.

The only cure for all their resultant multitudinous nonsensical wordfare permeations is entirely bypassing the faux bloviaters pontificating from fixed pulpits and lecterns of luxation and going straight to the Word of God. When the middleman does not assist us correctly under God’s authority, eliminate the middleman! Christians must learn, on so many levels, to show some spiritual spine, but most of all through the simplest, most profound, and potentially abundant fruitful process of reading the Bible.

I know, it’s tough. It’s pretty much impossible. It’s so big! It’ll take forever! Working one’s life away to old age for money is much easier. Going to a million church services to hear mere drips which never get collected into so much as the bottom half of a bait bucket is far preferable to wrenching open a fire hydrant and flooding one’s soul with life-giving Word water from which one will never thirst again. Better to drag oneself through a religious desert and occasionally suck out the moisture from a dead cactus, thorns be damned, than float upon and dive within an endless bottomless fresh water ocean filled with nutritive spiritual plankton satisfying all hunger, answering every question, and fulfilling every need.

THE GREAT AWAKENING DEMANDS GREAT DISCIPLESHIP

We must be disciples. Considering what is now upon us, as I have been warning of for the last quarter century (it’s all mapped out in my book), fence-sitting not-clear-on-the-concept don’t-confuse-me-with-facts Christians in general will either get it together finally at last or never gain the required closeness to the Lord, spiritual strength and stamina, eyes to see, and knowledge of God’s Word to overcome. We are way past the watch out for weirdos stage and the I’m too cool for school cred demanded by the social media acceptance wokesters. The enemy is here. He’s not hiding anymore. He’s determined to get you. He’s no longer playing the long term deceive you gradually into oblivion game. Instead of slowly boiling the frog he is now simply stomping on it. If you are not ready for the fight you must get there quick. The battle is upon us whether we know it or not or acknowledge it or not. This is not a drill.

In the meantime, here is an encouraging word that applies forever in every instance on every applicable occasion and illustrates the Lord’s great love for His children and ability to kick the devil’s backside always:

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” [Luke 10:17-20] [2]

Upgrade your New Testament reading plan now.

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] 2 Timothy 2:15

[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 PARABLE OF THE CHURCH CHAIRS

Then Peter and John went to church.

It was the day after the Sabbath. The new padded church chairs had arrived from Antioch. The tasteful gray tones of each identical chair matched well with the muted shades of the carpet and fabric-covered acoustic wall panels.

Strolling to the front row, the two apostles looked forward to seeing their own new church chairs with their names scripted tastefully on the backrest, but otherwise denoting a pure spiritual humility in that the chairs were identical to all the others.

They had learned this from the Master, who had decided it best to no longer sit in His huge and decorative platform throne but down among the little people in a regular chair. And His new chair was a regular chair like all the rest, of course, except for being gold-plated, just a tad larger, with His name embossed, and with special wiring and comports to facilitate better communication and access to His laptop.

The usual comforting din of low voices and polite conversation had ceased momentarily as the two great men took their seats on either side of the big chair in the center of the first row like all the rest. Church was about to begin. All was in good order.

The church song leader and choir director strode to the front. Also known as Pastor of Music, he was beaming. Some thought it was because his new contract increased his salary to match that of the top 5% of mega church song leaders and choir directors across the land. But others whispered something about a new friend. The congregation had always admired his polished taste in manner and clothing, as well as his unashamed emotive expressions and being able to cry so easily at the moving of the Spirit. He always worked very hard at putting forth an excellent expression of taste and unity toward the outside community. He handpicked and/or created the choir robe fabrics, wall hangings, platform arrangements (though he abhorred the term “platform”), and all else associated with his music and performance. He believed that God deserved the very best and was thankful for the generous monetary outlays which allowed him to give God the very best.

At last, the moment that everyone anticipated had finally arrived—the time had come for the church members to enter and stand in place among the rows of new chairs. The joy was palpable. There was a kind of hush all over the church.

Within seconds all was quiet. All children below the age of thirteen had long since been tucked away out of sight in Sunday school rooms and all the precious little toddlers and infants in their Sunday best were ensconced in the large permanent cry room and nursery far in the back. Amid the dignified and inspirational silence, the church lights were dimmed, and the low opening strains of introductory live instrumental praise and worship music commenced. Since only standing was allowed during praise and worship, trying out the new church chairs would have to wait. Thankfully, though many were tempted, every single person in the congregation continued standing and no one gave in to temptation, though many were sorely tried.

Some were visibly saddened on this momentous day because the Master would not be in attendance. If only He could be here! Instead, and much more important, He had a church business meeting in Jerusalem regarding the purchase of a new plot of land near the old city of David to build a new satellite church facility including extensive grounds for multipurpose use in sight of the Temple Mount. Among the attendees of the church business meeting would be highbrow Sadducees and high-level temple priests who had no little concern at such a radical-appearing move of the young upstarts. They were especially concerned about the large parking lot and the effect on traffic flow, not to mention further strain on the local Gihon Spring water supply. But Christianity must prevail, of course, regardless of such outright persecution.

Praise and worship had finally ended. After almost an hour of standing and singing, some with arms raised, most congregants were ready to take a rest and try out the new chairs. After resisting temptation for so long several people hesitated. But those who sat instantly felt the difference! The new chairs were a hit! Although the previous padded pews had been quite comfortable, the padding in the new chairs was better, and even more relaxing. Some of the older church members were sad at the loss of their favored pews, but the pews were deemed much too “churchy.”

Though not nearly as dignified as the stately old state-of-the-art padded pews in muted taupe, the new shade-of-gray padded stackable chairs represented well the new freedom everyone was feeling—the chairs lightened the mood and helped bring the local church into the twentieth century. Of course, the chairs had to be fastened together in clearly delineated exact rows with perfect spacing and placement. But unlike the former pews, these new chairs were not bolted to the floor. That particular fact alone was an obvious unspoken cry of freedom and spiritual liberty.

The brand new chairs, like each congregant, illustrated very well the clear New Testament concept that freedom of spiritual expression should be greatly encouraged but never allowed to go so far as to affect controlled unity, church uniforms, or correct and proper attitude and decorum. Though such facts were much appreciated by those of the older generation, they would have to understand that church must be brought closer to the original model, though even many young adults were concerned that change was happening too fast. But they appreciated the freedom to dress down somewhat and be more comfortable.

Some of the younger men actually got together beforehand and made a pact, vowing to bring the church into even greater liberty by no longer wearing neckties with their business suits. Though applauded on one level, these boat-rocking young men knew that such a radical move would cost them when unpaid entitled staff positions became available. And they could forget about church valet parking without a considerable increase in gratuity. Such is the cost paid by spiritual pioneers.

It was now time for the preaching to start. The Lord had left the Apostle Peter in charge, of course, as He always did when He was on the road. The Apostle Peter was noted for being the first among equals and relished his place in the pecking order. As the Lord taught, the big man was to be addressed by his title and never his name, hold his head high, and walk in the dignity of his office. And unlike the religious Pharisees who insisted on wearing specialized ecclesiastical clothing, the Apostle Peter, as did the other apostles, dressed instead in the simple attire of mere business executives and CEO’s.

Being second in command to God was certainly okay under such circumstances. The Apostle Peter celebrated the day by wearing a brand new blazer with a new gold “key” motif on the front, designed specifically for him by the Pastor of Music and fashioned by a local tailor who had also received the contract to make the choir robes, special singer costumes, and general performance attire.

Then, exactly on cue, with the Apostle John looking on (who was also looking forward to the day when the Apostle Peter would get promoted to Senior Pastor of the new satellite church so he could have his own opportunity to preach on such occasions when the Master left town on important church business), the Apostle Peter arose from his humble new front row padded church chair and strode toward the huge handcrafted wood pulpit atop the platform, climbing each step with dignity and decorum, his head held high, a servant to all.

It had taken him years to get the smell of fish off his hands.

© 2013 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.   

LOVE IS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW

We are taught while growing up that there are certain borders we must never cross. There are boundaries established by the authority figures in our lives that are designed to protect us, but often do much more.

.

They stifle us. They destroy our dreams. They force us to conform to a very low common denominator in which everyone looks the same, acts the same, and lives in fear of the inevitable consequences of violating the code.

It’s called culture. And the worst cultures are religious cultures.

There was a time in the American culture when almost everyone bowed to the dictates of a so-called religious moral code that superseded much of what our hearts were designed to experience.

Rather than being loved-based, it was fear-based. And the sad thing about it all was that it played right into the devil’s hands. Though there was undoubtedly limited success against sin in the code, there was also success against life. Proverbial babies were constantly being thrown out with the bathwater.

Have you ever wondered why the God of all creation made it so easy to sin? It did not matter how oppressive a culture might be, or how strict the mores of that culture might bind a person up into a little shell of being becoming too fearful to take a chance on venturing forth. If a person wanted to sin, a person could always find a way.

But while all the authority figures were displaying their very heavy hand at stopping any potential moral failure or embarrassing cultural code-breaking by the young deviants among us, where was God? Why didn’t God surround everyone with angels with big sticks ready to whack us all into kingdom come when we stepped out of line? Where was God when and if we decided to test the boundaries of our cultural arrangement?

Why does God seem to take the attitude that we can do whatever we want but He will get us in the end? Why does it seem as though God doesn’t seem to care all that much about our little lives but is taking big notes that He will use against us at our final trial?

And how in the world have Christians in general bought into this picture of God even though God’s great act of love blares out at us day after day and hour after hour through any one of thousands of reminders, most notably a simple cross?

God became one of us!

We must throw our false religious garbage and idiotic moral codes right out the window if they do not address this simple fact.

God became one of us, and He lived among us, and He knows how hard it is, and He knows how lonely people are, and He cries inside all the day long about how broken people have become and how our hearts are often destroyed by the very nature of this fallen world and the evil among us.

And He wonders how His wonderful perfect creation could all go so wrong…

But there was no other way.

There was no other way to create people just like Him unless He also blessed them with the freedom to choose their own path.

And that’s what this world is all about. It’s the simple answer to the philosophical problem from evil. Human choice creates bad stuff and sometimes some really, really bad stuff. And free will is why God does not stop us from making bad choices. Oh, He will try to convince us otherwise. He will try to reason with us. He attempts to tell us about the eventual fallout when what appears to be a good decision will turn into a complete disaster later on. He really does try to guide us and stop us from doing stupid things. That’s essentially what the Law of Moses is all about.

But at the end of the day He will not deny our free will. He will allow us to choose incorrectly. He will let us have the final say.

What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise. Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be!

For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. [Galatians 3:17-21]

But righteousness is not based on law. Tell this to all the moral cultural crusaders throughout history, especially in America, who tried to force compliance toward morality. Tell this to all the dimwitted quasi-Christians who refuse the fullness of a walk with God because it violates their religion and false Christian doctrines and stupid lame-brained attitude that continually attempts to force God to be like them, instead of surrendering their lives completely to be like Him.

Many people think America took a nose dive in the 1960s but refuse to consider the actions of the previous generations that were the real cause of the cultural breakdown. The 1960s in America was actually the time of a great Spirit outpouring and spiritual awakening in that Christians in all denominations and people everywhere were being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues and engaging in miraculous works. But most churches were against it all, and fought it, and opposed the Lord Jesus because He didn’t do it their way! And many fake Christians continue to oppose God and insist on their lifeless religion, negative attitudes, and dead churches to this very day.

How much of this is based not on the unconditional love of God, his unmerited grace, and one’s total dependence on Him, but on a giant misapplication of Scripture? Sound familiar? Though the Law of Moses seems to be filled primarily with Thou Shalt Not’s and that the heavenly Author is a negative NO! God always preoccupied with stifling the free wills of His creation, the truth is actually the opposite.

A parent tries to tell a child, “Please don’t do this because if you do it will hurt you,” but then must watch as the child does it anyway and feels just as much pain as the child does if not more when the bad results come forth. Yet parents know the child will eventually have the final say.

Is it any different with God? He knows we will mess up. He knows we will mess up repeatedly. But He has the ability, the strength, and the means to clean up our messes. And this ability, strength, and means stems from His great and powerful love for us. He is able to cleanse our hearts with His precious blood spilled on our behalf, no matter how much we may be stained with sin. And He has the power to raise us to new life!

So why does God seem to be aloof and uncaring even though the direct opposite is true?

Because living right is not about force or religious compliance.

It is about love.

And no one can make a law that forces a person to love someone.

And God will never attempt to force anyone to love Him.

It is not about living a perfect life but finding a perfect love.

God loves us just the way we are. He does not condemn us for the sins we have committed. His great desire is to guide us as the Good Shepherd He is into the green pastures of abundant life where His grace and perfect sacrifice cleanses us and allows us to be free. Things are the way they are on this planet because it is the only possible means of allowing free-willed beings to love God as much as He loves them.

God is Love, and—

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. [Romans 13:10][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.

LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE

Pleased to meet you

         Hope you guess my name

         But what’s puzzling you

         Is the nature of my game

                                    Rolling Stones

.

The secret to the devil’s success is keeping people dumb and deceived by lying his sorry head off, beguiling, distorting, and misinforming constantly and incessantly in an ongoing attempt to create a false narrative and a bizarro world of opposites in place of each other, through willing dupes who see and appreciate the sham rather than the truth.

(Sound familiar?)

And once such people have been brainwashed they will fight to their last breath and final drop of blood for the idea that their perceived version of events and conceptual understandings are the correct version, and that it’s not a mere “version,” but absolute truth from which they will never retreat.

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… [1 Timothy 4:1-2]

You gotta love Paul’s to-the-point ultra-descriptive exposé of liars. They lie because they’re convinced by the lie and believe in the lie and live by the lie and honor without question the original wearer of the flaming hot pants who was himself torched in mind by rebelling against God and all truth, and was thereby forced to embrace FICTION as a belief system.

And every person who rejects The Truth does exactly the same. Their life and everything about their life is a spiritual fabrication and a complete fiction, though it appears otherwise in the here and now. “Success” in the world of man has absolutely no bearing on success in the afterlife. Those who only live by what their senses tell them have no chance.

This is the true nature of real deception: The deceived do not know they’re deceived.

Thus, the devil’s curriculum is nothing more than a pack of lies encased in a faux intellectual construct that gives arrogant narcissists, high minded nitwits, fighters for self whether or not self is completely stupid and asinine, and the willingly deceived exactly what they want to make them feel superior and seemingly in charge of what they think is a good fate.

“Indeed, HAS God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” [Genesis 3:1]

This is deception of the highest order and whoever plays the devil’s game will be totally outclassed. And the devil knows this, of course, and continues to nurture the giant pus pockets of pride inherent within any and all who refuse to honor the Lord and thus be set free and healed.

In other words, all those who will be thrown in the lake would never repent anyway, never in a million years, because they love the devil and his deception rather than the Lord Jesus who is the Truth. And they love the fact that they can indulge their flesh to the nth degree with the devil’s hearty approval without any trace of guilt or second guessing.

“Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

“But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.” [John 8:43-45]

Well, here’s an interesting conundrum: They cannot understand the Lord’s teachings, cannot receive His Word, and thus do not believe Him or believe in Him.

Why?

Because they bought into a false paradigm. They programmed their computers with a counterfeit operating system they thought was the real thing, and believe is the real thing, and thus, the truth is perceived as nonsense and a fable. And because their hard drive is full, there is no room for the truth in their thinking.

But some are more susceptible to this than others. The devil knows very well those who are easily deceived. They are most often lovers of themselves, the self-appreciators of the world who use either their brains or good looks to get by and excel. They have no focus whatsoever on the fact that such things were gifts that they had absolutely nothing to do with but claim full credit for anyway and consequently rate themselves superior—especially when the big money comes flowing in, that is, the payoff for selling their eternal soul for a bowl of nano-second rot soon gone with the wind.

As they say, rich guys don’t have a Brink’s truck following their hearse on the way to the sweet by-and-by and beautiful movie stars that make it to their elderly years usually fail to keep their babe status intact though some give it the old nip and tuck Hollywood try.

Clothes make the man! And possessions convey status. But the dead body of a rich jerk lying on cold steel with a toe tag looks curiously the same as that of a poor righteous man.

The story of the rich man and Lazarus is also the story of a sell-out Satan appreciator and a poor man who wanted nothing to do with Beelzebul, even though this “Lord of the High Place” made the life of Lazarus a living hell.

However, his resultant suffering did not stop Lazarus from answering his call and fulfilling his mission to be a light to the purple-wearing pinhead who could only see as far as his mirror and bank account. Had he shown any concern for the sores-ridden starving man laid at his gate his frozen evil heart might have melted and God would have been able to save his soul. But no! He wouldn’t give Lazarus squat and thus he deserved to spend time with his idol in the hot place and suffer his sorry backside off.

He could have hired a doctor to help Lazarus get healed and healthy.

He could have fed Lazarus so he would no longer be so hungry day after day.

He could have given Lazarus some spare clothes.

He could have built Lazarus a little shelter so he wouldn’t be laying in the street scorched by the sun and freezing at night and in the winter.

He could have at least given Lazarus some water “to cool off his tongue.”

But no. He was a self-worshiper which made him a devil worshiper and he considered Lazarus a lowly piece of trash not worth his time or the least investment.

This is what “looking good” and having big money does to a lot of people. Such things cause them to fall headlong into the devil’s trap.

Many years ago there were big billboards all over the place advertising a certain brand of cigarettes. The only thing the ads contained was a picture of some physically attractive unsmiling woman or man staring straight ahead at the viewer. A friend of mine said, “You know? That’s the devil. People think he’s some ugly little guy but he’s actually the opposite…”

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. [2 Corinthians 11:13-15]

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. [Galatians 6:7-8]

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling. [Proverbs 16:18]

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them,

“I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” [Luke 10:17-20]

But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” [Revelation 21:8][1]

But I’m getting ahead of current events. Before the day the liars are thrown away, their phony colossal construct must be revealed so people can see what’s really going on in the event they want to break out of their deception penitentiaries, especially religious ones.

For the most part, the world of mankind is a Grand Illusion.

It’s a Fake World.

And the majority can no longer perceive the difference between the Real and the Unreal.

Sinful, unregenerate, rebellious humanity working in close consort with the devil himself and obeying his lead has built a worldwide illusory “city” and “tower” permeating the entire planet, extending even into houses of worship (reaching into heaven), on the backs of the unsuspecting deceived.

It’s all around you. You’re surrounded.

And it is absolutely no different than your standard movie set or false backdrop. Except for the fact that it appears to be incredibly real, and one still bleeds real blood, and real souls are lost every day.

Kind of puts a whole new spin on this place we’re living in, huh?

Beware the fake and steer clear of liars.

You might catch on fire.

© 2013 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.

NOTE: I wrote the preceding article over seven years ago. It not only remains topical and relevant at present, especially regarding current events, but even more so, and reveals the sad fact that the liars and fraud hustlers among us have increased “sevenfold.” Lying, deception, and selling out to mammon have now shot up exponentially far into the stratosphere like a massive Saturn rocket.

The evil ones still fail to understand or care that there is a holy God in heaven who will only put up with so much. The more they cheat and deceive the more truth God reveals. The more truth is revealed the more they are exposed. The more they are exposed the more vulnerable they become.

Those who work in evil are playing a losing game. Their victories are weighted toward the early going but justice catches up and overtakes them in the end. They may be winning big in the first half building what appears to be an insurmountable lead but then get destroyed in the fourth quarter, just as the Lord said: “But many who are first will be last; and the last, first” [Matthew 19:30].

Stay faithful.

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.