Author Archives: RJ Dawson

THE END OF THE AGE—IN PROPHECY [Part 2]

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The early Christians of the New Testament era believed they were living in the Last Days. They believed the prophetic events thereof were being fulfilled in their generation.

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They learned this initially from the Lord, of course. He made it clear in the following passage:

“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” [Matthew 24:32-34]

He referred to this generation in many passages. He was consistent in describing it as the most evil generation in the history of national Israel. He also said it was the last one:

You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. [Matthew 23:33-36]   

THE TIME FRAME OF THE FINAL GENERATION

It began with the birth of the Lord. It lasted approximately 70 years. According to Scripture, an average human lifespan was 70 (Psalm 90:10). An average generation in general terms was 40 years. The Lord began His ministry at 30 years of age. Jerusalem was overrun and the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. The final generation officially began with the Lord’s ministry.

This approximate 40 year period included both the first generation of the Lord’s expanding worldwide spiritual Community and the final generation of collapsing national Israel.

These two overlapped. The principle participants on both sides were descendants of Abraham. At first, Christianity was seen by the world as a Jewish sect. This was because there were no Gentiles in the Lord’s Community for at least about seven years. It was composed strictly of Israelites. One might thus refer to the spiritual battle of that time as family oriented internecine warfare.

The spiritual war broke out first. The unbelieving Jews were the chief persecutors of the early Church. They were essentially the only persecutors until ten years into the time of Nero the Roman emperor. Nero came to power in 54 AD. He replaced Claudius who was emperor from 41-54. The early believers flourished during the time of Claudius who believed all peoples in the empire should be allowed to practice their religion. Things changed somewhat with Nero in the early going, persecution grew steadily worse due to anti-Christian influence in his court, and then went into overdrive in 64 AD when he falsely blamed the Christians for the great fire of Rome that summer. Many believed he was covering up his own crimes and the Christians were easy targets and scapegoats.

Meanwhile, things in Jerusalem grew progressively worse. The Zealot uprising eventually overtook all voices of relative reason. The great revolt began in the summer of 66. Jews were fighting Jews. The instability and increasing infighting centered on Jerusalem grew so great Rome had no choice but to eventually intervene in an effort to keep the peace and stem the outbreak of greater war. It was all beginning to happen at that time just as the Lord had prophesied and as the apostles had taught in the intervening 40 year period. Great numbers of believers had faced ongoing intense persecution from their unbelieving brethren who were bound and determined to use every weapon in their arsenal to stomp out the Christian upstarts who, in their darkened view, were making a mockery of their religion and heritage. Their hate was intense and continued growing exponentially. 

DESCRIPTIONS AND JUDGMENT OF THE FINAL GENERATION

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” [Matthew 12:38-40]       

“The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” [Matthew 12:41]        

The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” [Matthew 12:42]       

“Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came;’ and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.” [Matthew 12:43-45][1]

In the approximate 70 year period beginning with the Lord’s birth, a time when all was in relatively good order, the demonic presence within the religious and political controllers began manifesting steadily and eventually increased eightfold, in a violent hate-filled massive counter response to a loving God bringing abundant life to His hurting people.

The chosen chose Him.

© 2020 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 END OF THE AGE—IN PROPHECY [Part 1]

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The prophet Daniel pointed to it. John the Immerser said it was approaching quickly. The Lord Jesus gave the final warning.

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In 70 AD the end came. Jerusalem was decimated. The Second Temple was destroyed. This was exactly as the Lord prophesied forty years before:

“For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” [Luke 19:43-44]

Many still do not recognize that time of visitation. The Lord warned repeatedly that destruction was nigh, that the people must repent and turn back to Him or lose everything. But not only did they not recognize the times, they refused to honor their Messiah who came to save them. Everything would have been different if they did, but it was not to be. They had reached the point of no return. Though their national sin had not yet reached its complete fullness during the Lord’s time, it was almost there. The nation itself was essentially lost but many who were part of the nation heard the Word. They got the big idea. These were ones who comprised the last days Remnant of the Hebrew people who remained true to God. They recognized God when He arrived. They honored their Messiah. They understood the times. They knew it was the final generation.

“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” [Mark 13:28-30]

THE ANCIENT PRECEDENT

During the time of Abraham, roughly nineteen centuries before the time of the Lord’s ministry, there was a Canaanite tribe known as the Amorites. These were an iniquitous people. They were direct descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham, the son of Noah. God told Abraham (Abram), right after his legendary meeting with Melchizedek, in the immediate vicinity of the city of Salem which would later become Jerusalem, that his descendents would be “strangers in a strange land” but would eventually return after four centuries to this land of promise. In the meantime the Canaanite tribes would become increasingly more evil. The Amorites were especially identified as such:

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

God was invoking a spiritual principle. Sin is progressive. The Amorites were wicked and would continue growing more depraved over time. There was no check on this process. Degeneration had already begun and nothing would stop it. It was the will of the people. There may be some who escape but the nation itself was doomed. It was only a matter of time until the iniquity of the Amorite was complete.

Centuries later, after the Exodus from Egypt, we discover their fate. As noted in the Book of Numbers, the nation of Israel was traveling back to their date with destiny but the journey came to a standstill, having been blocked by the land of the Amorites. Israel sent messengers and asked Sihon, the Amorite king, for permission to pass through his land. He refused. He later decided to gather his forces, seek out Israel, and go on the attack.

Then Israel struck him with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the sons of Ammon; for the border of the sons of Ammon was Jazer. [Numbers 21:24]

This was the end of the Amorite kingdom. Yet, the influence of the Amorites remained. Regarding their destruction and the later final destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, there is the undying voice of the prophet speaking forth a connection and a clue:

“Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem, “Your origin and your birth are from the land of the Canaanite, your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.”’ [Ezekiel 16:2-3]    

 THE END OF THE ISRAELITE KINGDOM

Of course, the Israelites had no official kingdom since the destruction of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, in 586 BC when the Judaic line of kings ceased. They were ruled over by others after their return from Babylon—Persians, Greeks, and Romans—with a brief time of independence under the Maccabees. The Northern Kingdom of Israel, comprised of ten of the twelve tribes, had ceased to exist 750 years before the time of the Lord. What was left of the nation was the Roman province of Judaea which had already been absorbed into the larger province of Syria. It was a far cry from what had once been. Looking at it from an overall historical perspective, Israel had been degenerating ever since the death of King David in 970 BC. If you want to know why, read the Old Testament. It’s all there: An ongoing succession of rebelliousness and disobedience toward God, the very One who saved them from certain destruction through miraculous means and then ongoing saving and assisting after countless screw-ups and betrayals.

But again, during all this there remained a holy Remnant dedicated to the Lord that remained true to Him and faithful. God was never left without a witness. The genealogical line of the Lord Jesus always remained intact. The ongoing experiment of having a people for His own namesake in a world of evil, treacherous nations that hated Him must prevail. There were times when the percentage of good was almost tapped out. The prophet Elijah pretty much thought it was all over in his time until hearing from the Lord that it wasn’t quite as bad as he thought (though still exceptionally sordid), in that a relatively decent-sized Remant remained:

And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” The LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way… I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.” [1Kings 19:13-15, 18][1]

© 2020 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.

DEFINING NEW WINE (AND EMBRACING ADULTHOOD)

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       The Millennial generation has now overtaken the Baby Boomers. This development parallels the fading dominion of “old wine” Christianity.

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        We are on the threshold of a vast new transformation. The bulk of the coming-of-age Millennial generation, those born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s to early 2000s, likely will not be engaging in anywhere close to the same degree of hands-on, practical, do-it-yourself utility and blue collar work of past generations. In general, while brilliant and exceptional in many areas of expertise, its skill set is lacking in the use of tools and, though gaining, has less aptitude for practical self-reliance.

       As a result, since Millennials number in the 80-90 million range, the home improvement industry is particularly panicked about the upcoming diminishing demand for its products. To remedy the potentially huge future problem, how-to videos and tutorials on an extremely elementary and basic level have been created, such as “How To Use A Tape Measure.”

         Sound familiar? What are the otherwise veiled common denominators of the largely unchurched Millennial generation and traditional church congregations of past and present? How are these alike? Do both share commonalities through no initial fault of their own, such as being adulthood challenged, sheltered, dependency-bred, and subjected to Groupthink? (Traditional church congregations in general are rarely taught to graduate and go on into individual ministry, for example, as commanded in the Great Commission.) These common characteristics indicate far too much “old wine” influence and a dearth of the new.

NEW WINE

        And He was also telling them a parable: “…And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’” [Luke 5:36-39]

OLD WHINE

         Christians have labored for centuries trying to figure out this passage or trying to figure out why the Lord used it in the first place, since the subject matter causes discomfort in some circles. Yet it remains a classic “eyes and ears” parable of which the true understanding is often missed. Rather than seeing the deeper meaning and making the correct application the Lord is calling for, however, the passage often evokes the prohibition response among those Christians who believe wine is not good. Instead of censoring the Lord Jesus or taking Him to task for NT wine references, of which there are many, perhaps they should try to see what He’s getting at.  

         I say this because immature and out-of-touch past generations of Christians with such an attitude have also missed the boat on other spiritual teachings. Missing the one addressed by the New Wine parable, though, is enormously problematic since it directly regards the pure practicality of reaching the lost without forcing them into largely dead impractical religion and non-spiritual constructs. For example, it didn’t help that for much of the time since it was first published in 1611, many Christians only had a King James Bible with no alternative or were not allowed one that may exist, especially, of course, in England and the English-speaking world. Because the KJV was state-sponsored, it forced millions into accepting every word and punctuation mark therein without question. Yet, on the all-important New Wine and New Wineskins passage, a deeply important parable, the KJV translators got it really wrong by referring to the wineskins as bottles.

         Right. They all had glass wine bottles in the first century. But according to some, those people apparently were not allowed to drink the wine therein anyway. What grandiose minds are these who project their convictions on all prior generations? There is a reason we have better translations today. Yet there remain millions of Christians at present who refuse to use any other Bible and even insist other versions are sinful. This is evidence of remaining endemic authoritative bias which disallows the necessary developmental steps toward gaining maturity. It creates a purposed distance from the Lord’s pure teachings by an agenda-based clergy promoting subjugation to them and their old wineskins.

         Ironically, I guess we may say, the incorrect KJV translation of the New Wine passage proves the gist of the Lord’s New Wine parable.

FERMENTATION (SPIRITUAL EYES AND EARS ALERT)

        The process of fermentation changes mere grape juice into a completely different liquid with different properties. New Wine is wine still undergoing the fermentation process.

         In Biblical times, as fermentation commenced and the juice of the grapes foamed up, somewhat dynamically, the process was allowed to take place only in open vats or containers for obvious reasons. After this initial substantial fermentation the wine was poured into small containers made of animal skins, but it was most important that the skins be new and fresh. Why? Because the wine was still undergoing fermentation and the skins must be new, strong, and flexible to allow for further expansion. It was sometimes the case that the new skins filled with New Wine appeared close to bursting.

         This is why everyone with knowledge of wine-making knew to never put New Wine into old dried-up wineskins because such containers would never be able to handle the ongoing fermentation process. If this principle was violated the old skins would crack or tear and be ruined by the New Wine, which would spill out and be lost. Incidentally, and in light of what I have been addressing in several recent posts, the fermentation process lasted about forty days. This means something. You might want to take a look at those recent posts.

PUTTING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE

         The parable of the New Wine and New Wineskins appears only in the three synoptic gospels. It is apparent that Matthew and Mark were referencing Luke. Only Luke actually refers to it as a parable. Yet in each occurrence, the parable appears somewhat out of nowhere, especially in Luke, and there is no explanation. No one asked about the spiritual or allegorical meaning when the Lord addressed it. It is just there, and then the narrative moves on. What does it mean?

         We can find a clue simply by looking at the fermentation process. In His teachings regarding new beginnings and the necessity of both a New Covenant and new approaches to spiritual life, the Lord also referred to the absolute necessity of a new birth, meaning a spiritual birth. He is referencing by these illustrations a must-metamorphosis or a transformation from one stage to another, just as we are presently on the threshold of a vast new spiritual transformation. He also claimed that such a personal change, or birth, was both dramatic and all-encompassing.

BECOMING FULLY MATURE

(1) A butterfly lays an egg on a food plant

(2) The egg becomes a larva, or caterpillar, and the caterpillar grows rapidly

(3) When fully developed, the caterpillar enters the pupa stage and surrounds itself in a chrysalis

(4) When metamorphosis is complete, the pupal skin splits and a fully developed butterfly emerges, illustrating the final stage of maturation, and it soon takes flight

       Through the Lord’s mysterious ways, a relatively non-attractive many-legged worm thoroughly grounded and munching leaves and whatnot is inexplicably transformed into a lightweight beautiful butterfly able to escape the weighty hold of gravity. Remember, this is the same creature during all four stages. It merely exists in different forms on the way toward becoming fully mature, or complete.

DEVELOPING INTO SPIRITUAL ADULTS

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48]

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” [Matthew 19:21]

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed (metamorphoo) by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:2]

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you… [Philippians 3:14-15]

[The Greek word translated in the preceding as “perfect” or “complete” is teleios. It is defined as “mature, full grown, adult, or completed.”]

THE PROPER FRAME OF REFERENCE 

         Mere grape juice released through a violent crushing process somehow begins to be instantly transformed into another substance with powerful properties. What does this sound like? What does the Lord mean by New Wine and New Wineskins? Correctly defining these terms means we must first determine the proper frame of reference. The answer would seem to be otherwise obvious, since we have an Old Covenant and a New Covenant. The Old made possible the New, but the New replaced the Old. The New Wine replaces the old wine. It was a fact that due to the wine-making process of those times, the fully fermented wine lasted only so long. Old wine was wine stored for about a year or more, but it sometimes only lasted for about three years before turning into vinegar, though that could happen earlier.

FOR YOUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN

          It follows then, that wine-making must be ongoing. There must always be a new batch of wine on the horizon. (Think Great Awakening.) The Feast of Tabernacles, in the autumn of the year, was an annual time of harvesting the fall grapes. It was a time of great joy. All of these facts are clues.

        The Pharisees and Sadducees represented the old wine that had degenerated into sour vinegar. Those guys could not get any more sour.

         The Lord was bringing forth the New Wine with His new kingdom. The refusing-to-be-transformed religious killjoys hated both. They rejected the new birth as do most “Christians.” Little did they know that they were actually playing right into the Lord’s hands, however, in that by crushing Him they were assisting in the process of bringing forth a brand new vintage, the best New Wine of all time!

DRUNK ON THE HOLY GHOST

         When the 120 were filled with His Spirit in the Upper Room they acted very differently. Their actions were out of the ordinary. What transpired on that morning did not look at all like the standard, dour-faced, traditional, institutional, stuck-in-the-mud, ultra-religious old wine that was “good enough.” Instead, they were all filled with incredible JOY and displayed never-before-seen bright shining faces, dazzling smiles, and much laughter. They were overcome with the Lord’s overwhelming love. Highly concentrated LOVE was all around them and spilling forth everywhere. By their love everybody appearance and manner it looked to outside observers that the Upper Roomers had been swimming around in a giant vat of New Wine:

         And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them:

         “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

         “‘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…’” [Acts 2:12-18] [1]

       We are on the threshold of a vast new transformation toward real spiritual adulthood.

          “New Wine must be put into fresh wineskins.”

         © 2017 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.

IMPRECISE PROPHETS AND ILL-DEFINED PROPHECIES: WHAT ABOUT THE NEW COVENANT MODEL?

 

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        They rarely get specific. Their forecasts are open-ended. An uttered word here or there or a noteworthy phrase may qualify as fulfillment and might be used for that purpose. Sound familiar?     

MAKING THE GRADE

        Have you ever wondered why certain prophetic ministers have such high credibility ratings regardless of dubious track records? One may think it’s because they are right often enough or were right when it mattered, in that they made an impact at a key time or key event. One may think it’s a matter of perception, in that they have the mere appearance of being right. Or it could be that they reported the future before it happened but something intervened afterwards and changed the outcome. Sometimes some of these ministers actually do get it right but not without explanations of how and why or why certain words and phrases actually denoted this or that. “See? Don’t you understand?” But when perusing the “prophecy” again one notices that some of the things claimed as prophecy were quite a stretch. Oh, so THAT’S what you meant. Okay…

         The main reason these ministers are accepted as such and honored appropriately is largely for the same reason most ministers gain credibility: (1) They have managed to successfully establish a brand in that they have convinced enough people that they are what they say they are and also have the backing of other ministers or ministerial groups to enforce that supposition. (2) They are perceived as perfectly genuine due to the outer trappings of “legitimate ministry” such as utilizing a church building or “ministry center” from which they minister, belonging to a certified minister group, preacher union, or denominational hierarchy, and also have an ongoing ministry income (oftentimes quite large) which supposedly proves God’s blessing and endorsement. (3) Few people ever bother to grade their pronouncements or keep track of them to see if what they said actually came to pass.

         Regardless, once a prophetic minister establishes perceived credibility, it’s just a matter of staying in the public eye and continue doing whatever one may be doing and put forth as good an appearance as possible. The followers they capture become convinced such ministers are for real but most often for other reasons. They may like their outward appearance and “ministerial manner” but fail to recognize the impact of the surface level of such. They may notice an upscale wardrobe but have no idea how much money and work went into it. They like what appears to be a genial quality but do not understand that some of it is a mere put-on utilized for the sake of connecting with an audience. Remember, image is everything. And besides, how can so many followers be wrong?

HOW TO TELL THE REAL FROM THE UNREAL

         Though it has been overly used and has lost much of its effectiveness, the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” remains an effective question in sorting out legitimacy because it puts the spotlight on Him where it should be. It forces a comparison between His manner of doing things and those of Christian ministers who claim to be sent by Him. Are they teaching what the Lord Jesus taught? Are they doing what He did? Do their prophecies actually dovetail with the Word of God? Since most people who identify as Christians have never read the New Testament (much less studied it), it will be difficult to apply the preceding questions. This means they have no frame of reference when attempting to discover legitimacy. Due to their ignorance they are easily fooled. Due to personal pride they hate being told they lack the means for making correct identifications or properly differentiating the real from the counterfeit.

        But know this: Those ministers who depend on outward adornments to prove legitimacy are deceptive. Some use fairly innocuous means that go beyond simply being well-groomed, which, concerning the latter, everyone should engage in or strive for within one’s means. But as ministers they must appear as somehow better, you see? Other ministers go beyond this, however, and dress themselves up in clergy clothing to the degree that everyone knows they are clergy. They must have the whole lot because their lack of spiritual credentials is such that looking the part must override actually doing the part. They are much better at appearing to function spiritually than actually functioning spiritually. And then, beyond these people, you have those ultra-clergyites who wrap themselves up in the most ostentatious and ridiculous sheep’s clothing imaginable. They transition from clergy clothing to a clergy costume. They traipse around like the religious actors they are, largely letting their masquerading outfits and all-encompassing symbology do the talking for them. (What Would Jesus Do?) Well, for starters, He wouldn’t dress like THAT.

         We can see then, that the more one puts on the act, the more one has something to hide. The more one tries to convince others of one’s legitimacy, the more one is most likely illegitimate.

        Regarding actual New Covenant ministerial credentials, here’s what the apostle Paul wrote:

         And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. [1Corinthians 2:1-5] [1]

         Returning to our subject then, do prophetic ministers ever admit it when they’re wrong? Do they ever admit that the overall context of their messages, often filled with unspecific renderings or assertions which could be applied somewhat universally, actually proves they don’t really get it very clear very often, or that “what they see” is largely inapplicable regarding meaningful particulars? Are their messages so open-ended that timing does not apply?

         As I wrote in a previous post, the entire overall “last days” prophecy theme of the 1960s and 70s prophecy teachers and book authors was WRONG. See if you can find a record of any single one of them ever admitting it. Some of them continued with the same spiel beyond that time and even into the present, but have been forced to change major aspects of their content because what they had originally prophesied failed and could never happen. They had to keep making a living, you see. They had to keep donations coming in and sell books. They had to keep up appearances. For that they needed their fake exterior and faux content. And by the way, where are the real prophets exposing the fake ones? What happened to them?

THEY WERE REAL BECAUSE THEY WERE RIGHT

         Again, the Lord Jesus is our perfect example. Most Christians do not understand that He was also a prophet. He was and remains the greatest Prophet. Read His prophecies and see what happened later on. You can also look to John the Immerser. He was also a great prophet. He told it exactly as he was shown and got it perfectly correct. There were also prophets in the early Community of the Lord throughout the New Testament period. 

         For example, there was a prophet named Agabus who is mentioned twice in the Book of Acts. The historical record states that he made two brief, direct, and unambiguous prophecies on separate occasions about specific future events, both of which came to pass just as he said:

          Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. [Acts 11:27-28]

       As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” [Acts 21:10-11]

         Beyond these, there were the powerfully anointed OT prophets whose dedication and accuracy was legendary. You will notice by their lifestyle and outward appearance that they were all essentially the same. They had to make it on their own. They could not get by through simply gaining the endorsement of a ministry school or preacher group, or possessing a denominational stamp of approval. The enemy was a constant threat and often included their own rulers and fellow citizens. To the world at large their name was mud. They suffered. They did without. They were REJECTED and often hated. The Word of God burned within their hearts and they had to prophesy no matter the cost. They never gave up or gave in.

         And rather than cosmetic surgery to improve their appearance, the real prophets would have otherwise required actual surgery to repair their appearance. Thus, it was never carefully crafted outer images or ill-defined prophecies that exemplified their authenticity.

          It was battle scars and truth.

          © 2020 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.

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: HIDDEN PROPHECY AND THE SIGN OF JONAH

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Dear Readers: Due to several cataclysmic events of “Biblical Proportions” taking place throughout the world at present, and the UK’s recent Brexit from the EU, many Christians are of a mind that we are in the last of the “last days.” The evidence is unconvincing, however, and by itself is nothing more than an oft-repeated narrative.

For those of you who are old enough to have been taken in by the false pronouncements of so many prophecy teachers back in the 1970s and 80s, the following article I wrote two years ago will clear up a few things and expose the overall sham for what it was. Those people were relentless in their incessant insistence that the Rapture and the Great Tribulation and the End of the World were just around the corner and essentially imminent. They were wrong.

But not just wrong. They were absolutely positively wrong and ended up with egg all over their faces and leisure suits. Yet they learned to wear the egg very well. This is what happens when you become convinced of a false narrative or buy into it with much cash and careers and your entire reputation rests upon it. It works great for a while as long as there are enough willing dupes but then crashes and burns spectacularly in the end.

Whoever continues to push this false narrative upon yet another unsuspecting generation truly does not have a correct grasp of actual New Testament prophetic content. It is up to every believer in the Lord Jesus to do as He taught, therefore, and:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. [2Timothy 2:15]   

I highly encourage you to read the following article. It contains historic content regarding the founding of the original European Common Market and how it was utilized by prophecy teachers. Also, please read the comments. You will be blessed and likely enlightened. Some of you contributed, as did my friend Richard in the UK who also reblogged it. Anyone interested in Biblical prophecy or the current prophetic movement should add this post to their understanding of the present. They will gain greater insight toward the truth and a better understanding of both disinformation and incorrect interpretations so that what happened in the past may at last be seen for the trickery it was.

Remember, the Lord Jesus said deception would be so thick even the very elect would be fooled without His direct intervention.  

Blessings to you. Here’s the link:

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: HIDDEN PROPHECY AND THE SIGN OF JONAH

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

CATCH A WAVE! The Rise of Righteousness in America

Dear Readers: I wrote the following post over six years ago. Many of you liked it and contributed excellent comments. I feel very strongly that I must share this post at this time.

I came across it while in the process of editing my site. I have about 550 articles here and it is not possible, of course, to remember them all. But when I found this one it resonated in such a way that I knew many of you would appreciate it and be able to draw comparisons to that time and now. Many changes have transpired. Many have moved on. But it is clear that what I wrote then was not only true and confirmed by many of you but has continued to be relevant in the present. I encourage you to read this post again and also read the comments. You will be edified.

It is you, real Christian bloggers for the most part, who have proven my thesis and the thesis of my book. Where many of the official ministers have dropped the ball you have picked it up. You work tirelessly and faithfully every day. You enable the Lord to do His work and reveal His love in a greater way. Keep it up! Thanks for reading. Blessings to you all.

© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Real Christianity

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         But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound… [Romans 5:20]

        I’ve been telling whoever will listen for many years now that America will have a spiritual awakening. Most people have told me they don’t share my optimism.

         I wrote the following passage in the mid 1990’s:

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IS AMERICA A CHRISTIAN NATION?

         The price of compromise has been great. The United States of America is supposedly a Christian nation. Polls constantly show that at least ninety percent of the population refers to itself as “Christian” of some form or another. Yet, there is blood in the streets; there is an increasing number of kids who can’t learn; much of the population has discarded the idea of monogamy and have become so hedonistic in their relations they could learn morality from the example of numerous animal species; and diseases…

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GOD’S GIFT OF GRACE

Real Christianity

        Sometimes I wonder why the whole world isn’t lined up to receive the one thing that cures their eternal ills and reconciles them with God.

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      Though living a real Christian life is not easy, living in a cold, hard world is significantly more difficult and often impossible. We were designed to live for God and with God. We were created to be with Him, not apart from Him, and not lost on some weird avenue leading nowhere but down. Everything about the Lord is upward, and positive. He lifts spirits, He blesses with joy and peace, and He makes a place for the lonely and alone:

           A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity…

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ONE FRUIT TWO FRUIT GOOD FRUIT BAD FRUIT

Real Christianity

         “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. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.

         “Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” [Matthew 7:13-20]

         The gate to life is…

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THE PROMISE BY FAITH

Real Christianity

         But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.[Galatians 3:22]   

         The nature of God’s promise is that without faith there is effectively no promise at all. Not only that, but God will often make it difficult for His promises to be fulfilled in order to build our faith. Without faith it is impossible to please Him. Why else does the Lord sometimes wait until the brink of disaster before answering our prayers?

         The Exodus comes to mind. It is a story often cited in Scripture, and for good purpose. Everything was riding on that particular miracle taking place, and without it all was lost. You think you have problems? They were trying to kill the Lord long before He was ever born. Repeatedly, time after time, there arose continued…

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2019 REAL CHRISTIANITY ANNUAL REVIEW AND SUMMARY: ALL POSTS

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       2019 was a year of warning. The enemy, brimming with confidence, showed his hand. I did my best to keep you posted. As we head into the future, your life as a Christian will be more challenging.

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SPIRITUAL WARFARE

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

         Regarding trends, 2019 was the year when the attacks on the First Amendment went into overdrive. There are anti-American forces in America that will do anything they can, legal or not, to eliminate Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. For example, there are presently very powerful and extremely well-funded forces making their greatest push yet to declare the New Testament “hate speech” with the purpose of eventually eliminating it. While this may sound impossible or even ridiculous to you at present, the people who perpetrate it are relentless and have been going at it for a long time. If you’ve never heard of this movement, like everything else, I suggest you immediately do your own research. You will be shocked. This is only one of many efforts attacking fundamental rights and the liberty to obey the Lord Jesus without concern of reprisal.

         Real Christianity is under attack like never before. Christian persecution is rapidly advancing in the world and is now manifesting very powerfully in America. Most ministers and churches never talk about this. It proves they are either ignorant and unaware or remain a big part of the problem. The Lord does not appreciate Judases, money-firsters, and those who water down His powerful Word for social acceptance, and American Christianity is saturated with these at present. Believe me, it will only get worse.

          2020 will mark a time when you as a Christian will have to make hard choices on whether or not you will continue following the Lord and honor Him first or kowtow to the culture, including unreal Christianity. Great temptation to back off and to compromise is coming. While this temptation has always existed and is why most of what is referred to as Christianity is merely a faux form thereof, the heat is currently being turned up to its highest levels yet. For Christian organizations who have already succumbed to money and the sinful culture, some of which I hope are deceived, their presence will continue to influence others to follow suit.

         Do not take this warning lightly. I predicted in my book, Real Christianity, writing almost a quarter century ago, and seeing it before then, that great Christian persecution was coming to America. Those who remember that time also remember that such an idea appeared impossible, but everything I wrote then has been coming to pass. This has happened and continues to happen for one central reason: Many American Christians have betrayed the Lord for a fake “easy’ Christianity. Unreal Christianity has become the default and official form. This adds pressure to real Christians and allows for “Christians” persecuting Christians. It permits an unholy hybrid in which fake monetary Christianity and geopolitical economic interests join forces. Both of these have a common enemy.  

WE ARE WINNING

       The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe. [Proverbs 18:10]         

         So be encouraged. The Lord never leaves His people without the means to stand and continue on. He is always faithful. He always provides. There remains a very powerful spiritual kingdom on the planet where righteousness dwells in which we can have safety and support. We remain in the early part of a coming Great Awakening. It is based on Truth that will bring forth a powerful revelation of the Lord Jesus and His actual teachings along with His Light shining everywhere else. This means lies, misinformation, and disinformation are being exposed for what they are. The lies that hide the truth are being torn away. It will no longer be possible for these to remain hidden and includes exposing the perpetrators, some of which are fake and/or compromised Christian “leaders.”

          And He was saying to them, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” [Mark 4:21-23] [1]

          It is vital that we all grow closer to the Lord than ever before. What follows are links to every post I made in 2019 starting in January. There’s a lot of good writing here to further your Biblical knowledge and current events awareness. Take note of the titles.

          Blessings to you.

          © 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!” (5)

 

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        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!” (Intro)

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

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

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

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

 

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

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       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:

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        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 today, 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] 

           © 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!” (Intro)

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

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

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

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

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

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       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.

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         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 2019 this day fell on October 14th. 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!” (Intro)

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

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

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

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

 

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

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      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.

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         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!” (Intro)

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

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

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

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

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.

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         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 is 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)

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

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

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

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

 

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

       

         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.


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

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

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

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

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

SING FOR JOY

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       Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright.

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         Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.

         Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.

         For the word of the LORD is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness.

         He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.

         By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host.

         He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses.

         Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

         For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

         The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples.

         The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.

         Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.

         The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men;

         From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth,

         He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works.

         The king is not saved by a mighty army; a warrior is not delivered by great strength.

         A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.

         Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness,

         To deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine.

         Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.

         For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name.

         Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You.

[Psalm 33:1-22][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.

THE UNDYING THREAT OF NEW COVENANT TRUTH

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      They killed the Lord Jesus but He didn’t stay dead. It was a nice effort although a failure. Every other effort to destroy His living legacy also failed. All present and future efforts will end in failure as well.

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         “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” [John 10:10]

          It was the Lord Himself who was the initial target. Herod tried to get Him in the very beginning. There were probably pre-ministry attempts on His life that Scripture does not record. After stepping into open destiny He was under constant threat. The following are four historical instances of such murder attempts from each gospel to illustrate what He faced on a daily basis:

       Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. [Matthew 2:16]

         The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. [Mark 11:18]   

         Just at that time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, “Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill You.” [Luke 13:31]

         For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. [John 5:18]

         We can gather from the preceding accounts that the Lord had many enemies, both civil and religious. We also know the Lord never committed a single sin, never violated the Torah, and never broke any legitimate civil law. He was accused of violations, but interestingly, only by the actual violators.

         It reminds one of Catholics and Protestants taking turns burning each other at the stake. Catholics killed some people representing a threat who did not believe and practice the Catholic religion properly. Protestants killed some people representing a threat who did not believe and practice whatever Protestant religion properly. Protestants killed non-Catholics. Catholics killed non-Protestants. Why all the killing? Why were these crazy religionists so threatened?

     We know why the Pharisees were threatened. They didn’t spend two centuries formulating their perfect religion only to have the Lord reveal it for what it really was. There were no prophets during the time the Pharisees created their belief system, loosely based on the Law of Moses, but heavily dependent on oral commentaries and connections to Babylon. Because there were no prophets in the land no one had the spiritual anointing to object and expose them. It wasn’t until John the Immerser came forth that a true prophet was once again in the land of Israel/Judea. After him, of course, came forth the greatest Prophet of all time. These two revealed Phariseeism for the sham it was and its connection to the devil. It was just another thing prophets were sent to do on a routine basis. Prophets kept the land clean from false beliefs and interpretations. They stood only for the real Word of God.

         This same dynamic invaded Christianity in that new denominations were only based on the New Testament. Additions were made. Subtractions were made. Commentaries were added. This is what the New Testament really means, they said. The new denominations, of course, must have a priesthood or clergy to denote the real and rail against the unreal. But they were only defending their own man-made belief systems and not the actual New Covenant Scriptures. Hence, when they gained enough power, they forced people to believe what they advocated and installed strong penalties for those who refused, including, of course, the death penalty.

         All this within a religion of peace? Right.

         Regardless of all the initial attacks against the Lord, His men, and the early believers by unbelieving Jews, the Lord’s Community not only survived but thrived. Try as they might they could not destroy it. Keep this in mind when trying to differentiate among various Christian denominations and their early histories. The Lord NEVER operated this way, never would, and never will. If you chose not to follow Him or believe His teachings He would still love you. The early Community of the Lord never advocated for such a thing. But false religions know they can be destroyed without using every tool at their disposal including the death penalty. Real Christians know the Lord is eternal, His Word is eternal, the Gospel is eternal, and nothing will ever eliminate Him or them.

         This means New Covenant Truth is an ever-present threat against the forces of evil. Unreal Christianity is an enemy of the truth. Whatever religion or belief system is anti-Lord Jesus or antichrist is an enemy of the truth. One either honors the Lord and the fullness of His teachings or one does not. But if one does not, he or she is okay to believe whatever he or she wants to believe without being under threat by the Lord. The Lord threatens no one. He never stoops to such lowlife tactics as do the false religionists.

         He does warn us, however, that sin is a killer, and unless one does something about it one will pay. One will lose one’s soul. He paid the price for sin with His life. He can remove sin from a person. He can clean us up. He will remove the power of sin in a person’s life. Only He can cure us of the sin disease. This requires repentance on our part. If one refuses the Lord’s free gift then one stands in opposition to Him by his or her own choice. Unlike false religions, including the Christian variety, the Lord never forces conversion. Forced conversions are false conversions.

         Those who oppose New Covenant Truth are the enemies of God. Those who create false religions and belief systems espousing this and defending them to the point of taking lives are the worst offenders.  

        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, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.” And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” [Luke 9:20-24] [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.

ALL HOPE HAD VANISHED: THEN THE LORD SPOKE LIFE TO DEATH

     

     He had just been at Capernaum. A Roman centurion’s slave was on death’s door. Due to the centurion’s great faith, the Lord Jesus was able to heal the sick man without ever even seeing him.

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         He traveled with His disciples south from the northern environs of the Sea of Galilee through small towns and fishing villages along the west shore and then out across the plane to the southwest. Passing by the 1,886 foot rounded peak of Mount Tabor jutting up obtrusively on the right about six miles east of Nazareth, they continued on past Endor to the south. Arriving at the outskirts of the ancient town of Nain they were soon accompanied by a large party of locals no doubt enthralled by the many wonders and miraculous happenings associated with the Lord.

       However, rather than any expectancy regarding the immediate event in process before them upon entering the town, all parties adopted a hush of respect for the great mourning suddenly in their midst. A lonely, bereft widow had just lost her only son. Just inside the gate of the village, amid the weeping and wailing of mourners, the Lord’s disciples turned attentive caring eyes toward the procession playing out before them—a dead man was being carried on a crude bier in the opposite direction on the way to the hillside tombs within eyeshot close by. Amid the ordered tumult, the Lord’s gaze fell upon the dark-clad grieving woman whose life’s misery was now compounded beyond bearing. Her much crying since the dread event had lapsed into an intolerable somber anguish without any foreseeable remedy during her few remaining years.

         This was her only son, her only begotten son, a dead son of a dead father. What hope was left? If not for this otherwise chance meeting with someone whose life and mission could relate, who had always known His eventual fate and the dreadful effect it would have on His own mother, and who is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” the bedraggled procession would continue onward to the place of death and perpetual remembrance.

          But that was not going to happen. Not this time.

         When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.” And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. [Luke 7:13-14a]

        I believe He was weeping when he told the woman to stop weeping. What could she have been thinking? How incredulous she must have been in that brief moment. Do not weep? What? But she followed His movements. No one said a word. He walked over and placed his hand on the coffin. The procession stopped. The usual ongoing heartbreak and pain associated with life in this world stopped. All eyes were upon Him. He acted in such a way that no one had a chance to impede His interruption, as all were likely shocked at what was playing out before them. What is this stranger doing?

         And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and, “God has visited His people!” [Luke 7:14b-16]   

SPEAKING TO A DEAD MAN

         When something is done, it is done. It is over. This is what we are taught. Life teaches us this, often brutally. Yet the New Testament narratives persist in telling us this is not necessarily true. Are these just a bunch of old stories? Did the Lord actually do all those impossible things? Once one considers such he may as well throw it all out—throw out the New Covenant, throw out the Gospels, throw it all out. It’s either all true or none of it is true. Though many have done this and will never express any real faith in the Lord, others have seen His hand. It may not be as dramatic as the events of this story but are life-changing nonetheless. In many cases it is not the Lord stopping a horrendous event (often because He will not violate human will) but giving us the otherwise impossible strength to deal with it and overcome it. Such is just as viable and powerful.

         For example, though he gave this poor grieving widow her only son back, he did not stop the man from dying in the first place. He did not stop the death of His friend Lazarus. He was notified that Lazarus was sick but purposely waited two days before he headed over there. His sisters suffered great grief. He also did not stop His own death and thus allowed His mother to suffer terribly as a consequence of it. But in all three cases He raised the dead. In two cases he brought great joy to grieving mothers by doing something otherwise impossible.

         Everyone will die. We know the above two guys died twice. But the Lord promises that those who have faith in Him will rise again. There is a resurrection coming for all. Some will be resurrected to eternal life.

         In the meantime it could well be the case that something has died that the Lord wants to resurrect in the here and now. Maybe it’s something that suffered death as a result of spiritual attack and warfare. Maybe it exists in a weakened condition needing a spiritual jolt to live again.

      Whatever is attempted for the Lord will suffer attack. Some attacks are powerful. Sometimes such attacks succeed. It could be that the attack was so potent and soul wrenching that one cannot muster the strength, ability, or desire to fight back effectively. One wonders of how many things the Lord wanted done that never got done due to losing spiritual battles. Sometimes we do fight back but can’t quite get there. We try. We give maximum effort. We exhaust ourselves in the attempt. And we still know we must try again until we finally succeed.

         Regardless of how it all works out or what is supposed to happen, don’t ever forget that the Lord in fact spoke to a dead man. He did it more than once. Imagine the people standing around that heard it. And then, shockingly, the dead man also heard it and actually responded.

         The dead man sat up and began to speak. [Luke 7:15] [1]

         Is there something the Lord may be telling us?

         © 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.

A SHOCKING REVELATION

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      Something was wrong in the church. Great spiritual effort was being made to no avail. A hindrance was blocking progress. What could it be? I began praying earnestly to find out.

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         We were young, in our early to late twenties. In the space of six months to a year the Lord brought forth a new membership group by ones and twos in an otherwise small traditional church. We provided a new strength and energy. The church had been struggling. The existing congregation had recently moved from its previous location and built a large, tasteful building. It had not gone as planned. There might have been a split. The church maintained a solid core of strong faithful believers but most were older and determined to maintain traditional practices. The Lord, however, was doing something new.

A NEW AWAKENING

         A nationwide revival of sorts remained on the move. It began around 1960 and spread throughout all denominations. Prior to that time there had been a great divide between Pentecostals and Protestants. The Azusa Street Revival, which began in 1906, had brought Christians of many stripes together for a brief time but after only a few years a major divide had ensued. There were initially arguments among Pentecostals that resulted in splits that created what later became major Pentecostal denominations. Mainline Protestants were at first intrigued with the movement but in general had a hard time giving up or changing their long-held traditional practices. Nevertheless, there was a lot of healthy mixing and cross pollination. In time though, these two groups returned to being estranged from one another.

         What took place in 1960 was possible in part because a relatively few Protestants in key positions of authority were somewhat secretly engaging in Pentecostal practices. Because they were discreet it caused no scandal. They perceived the otherwise questionable practices as perfectly natural and solidly New Testament based. These believers would be used by the Lord to assist in opening doors when the new movement began. By the mid 1960s even Catholic priests and nuns were receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. It was in a certain sense a non-threatening revival, somewhat the opposite of Azusa Street, which blew the doors off and created a powerful worldwide movement. The 60s awakening spread steadily throughout all denominations and even began the new phenomenon of non-denominational churches. The traditionalists could not stop it but likely had great success at times in slowing it down. Non-Biblical traditions die hard.

         In the late 1960s a great many young people, especially it seems, on the west coast, began coming to the Lord. Some of these had no traditional underpinning and therefore had no understanding of how they should properly present themselves. In all the pictures of the Lord Jesus they had seen He wore long hair and a beard so the young men wore long hair and beards. Those who had dressed like hippies pretty much continued dressing like hippies after they became born again Christians. Their hearts were in the right place but their new attitude of spiritual freedom didn’t go over so well among buttoned-down conservative Christians. Even traditional Pentecostal churches had a major problem with this.

         By the 1970s battle lines had formed. It was yet another new guard-old guard paradigm. We know from the Word of God that the prior generation always has a problem with whatever new thing God is doing and regularly opposes it. The new generation, thoroughly enmeshed in the Lord’s new purposes, continues on, as they should, in obedience regardless of the opposition and obstacles. And the old does all in its power to maintain and hang on.

MY NEW CHURCH

         It was this very thing that I was born into. The Lord needed new blood and provided it. The latest members added much new energy and exuberance. It turned out to be a great mix. We thoroughly respected and honored our elders in the Lord, the older people who had supported the church for many years and kept it going. After the big move they had a problem. Most of the shiny new pews were empty every service and remained that way for the most part after the new influx. To rectify the problem the pastor was always preaching about the need for witnessing. This went over the heads of most of the older saints but us younger people took it seriously. We were determined to fill up the church.

       We had a meeting in a couple’s apartment. It was decided that we would continue witnessing all the more but also go on an extended fast and devote much time to prayer. I had learned all about fasting when I joined this church. We were expected to fast one day every week and go on a two day fast every quarter. These were real fasts that allowed only water or coffee. I was great at this. I often fasted two or three days a week though not in succession. I discovered early on that 24 hours was doable but going beyond that very difficult. Some of the guys had decided to fast for a week or two, and one guy pretty much indefinitely. This is how serious we were. We had a great passion to see people saved!

         I continued witnessing up a storm and bringing people to church. We were all on fire for God. This greatly assisted the older saints and gave them a charge. They appreciated how respectful we were and for all the new life! The big fast eventually came to an end. One man fasted an entire two weeks while never missing a day of work. We were praying all the time.

UH OH

         But not much changed. The church building remained as it was. We might have gained a new member or two. I couldn’t understand it. I began seeking the Lord earnestly in prayer. I kept asking what the problem was. I was still a relatively young Christian and had a lot to learn. I was naïve regarding church practice and churchgoers, believing everyone to be solid believers in step with the Lord. Remember, I had been wondering what was causing the problem in the church and why all of our efforts weren’t going anywhere. I had to know why.

         While praying one night alone I finally got an answer. I was stunned. It was the kind of answer one never expects to receive. The Lord had spoken very clearly. He said, “It’s the pastor.” That was all He said. He never said what the problem was. I had no idea what it could be. I never asked. I really wasn’t interested.

         I didn’t know what to do. I decided at last to reveal this shocking answer to my best friend and his wife, the ones responsible for witnessing to me which led to my salvation. I was very careful. I knew he greatly honored the pastor and held him in high esteem. I did my best to reveal the answer in as gentle but strong a way as possible. With the three of us gathered at their house one night, both of them expectantly waiting, I revealed what the Lord had told me. My friend almost immediately hit the roof. I couldn’t believe it. I was asked, or told, to leave. I had arrived there with them and ended up having to walk home. His wife, who never reacted as he had, came outside after me. She asked if I was okay. I will never forget her loving manner and her open tender eyes. But the relationship was broken. I don’t think I ever told anyone else. It wasn’t long after that incident that I had to move on. I moved away to start again. They stayed.

         About a year later the news had reached me. I found out what the problem had been. I discovered why our heartfelt sincere work for the Lord had been unfruitful. While we were busy witnessing, fasting, and praying, our pastor had been having an affair with a church member.

            © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

THE REJECTED BECOME THE CHOSEN: SEPARATIST PILGRIM PIONEERS AND THE JOURNEY TO AMERICA

       

      In the 1590s English Separatists and dissenters were finding life in England ever more difficult. Several were sentenced to hanging in an enhanced effort to kill off the movement toward spiritual liberty.

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         Laws were passed that made exile to the European continent the punishment and death if one ever returned. England would thus stop at nothing to rid itself of unwavering Christian reformers. There was no going back for those who had gone so far with God. Queen Elizabeth was determined to wipe them out and the level of her persecution continued until her death in 1603. She had no heirs and her passing thus ended the generational line of the ultra-dysfunctional Tudor monarchs.

         The new king was James Stuart I (1566-1625), the then present king of Scotland under the name of James VI. He had ascended the Scottish throne at a mere thirteen months of age in 1567 when his mother, Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587), had abdicated. As “King of Great Britain” James I united England, Scotland, and Ireland under his leadership. Though his mother was a loyal Catholic, James was raised as a member of the Protestant Church of Scotland. The developing church was attempting to continue the reform movement began a decade earlier by essentially removing all things Catholic, but James obviously felt more comfortable with those men manning church offices whose ecclesiastical nature lent them to monarchial rule.

         Of course, that’s what bishops and ruling prelates are by nature and why such offices were created. The Presbyterians were setting up a national polity in which churches would be administered by the Biblical model of elders and overseers, which simply does not mix with monarchy any more than does oil and water. The comfort level for kings had always involved close trusted ones, be they civil or clergy, and James was thus not prepared to get on board with the movement toward spiritual truth. In becoming king of England he had quickly embraced an anti-Puritan sentiment, which gives one an idea of his treatment of Separatists and other dissenters who continued pushing for reform and refused to conform to non-Biblical tenets. The Puritans still maintained membership in the Church of England and had consequently escaped the larger wrath of Elizabeth, but the heat began rising. Yet, regardless of the new king’s negative attitude toward them, it was their own compromise and apprehensive middle-ground approach that relegated them as unfit for the spiritual frontier. They were not of a mind nor possessed the strength of purpose to be used of God in the necessary major way as those Separatists who had given their all. The Puritans as a group had remained far too connected. They were unqualified as pioneers.

         After Elizabeth’s reign of terror, it seemed there remained only one Separatist church community in all of England. Located in the hamlet of Gainsborough, most of its members had fled to Holland two years later. There remained a few holdouts of this group in the town of Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, and it is here the story gets interesting. In Scrooby there lived a man who became postmaster there in 1590. He had attended Cambridge in his youth and later became greatly interested in the new Christian reformation movements. By the early 1600s he had taken under his wing a young man from Austerfield while ministering in the Scrooby area as a reforming Puritan when persecution raised its head once again. A group of perhaps 50 were meeting secretly at Scrooby Manor, having managed to cobble together a small community from the remains at Gainsborough, when the decision was made in 1607 to break ranks completely with the Church of England and establish themselves as Separatists. Thence began the great adventure.

         The two men were the postmaster William Brewster (c.1566-1644), who would become a leading Elder at Plymouth Colony, and his young protégé William Bradford (1590-1657), the future Governor thereof. These two were undoubtedly placed together by Providence. Bradford’s father died when he was only a year old and his mother when he was seven. The orphan was forced to live with several relatives in the interim. He met Brewster at the meetings of the Puritan Richard Clifton when only a young man of about twelve and at last found an appropriate father-figure. From this he received a better upbringing and someone to direct his already keen interest in the Reformation movement.

         The restrictive spiritual atmosphere in England was such that the young congregation decided they must leave the mother country and sail across the channel to Holland to live according to their convictions. Yet, as another indication of the severe trials and fight to come their way, they were robbed of all their possessions by the officers of the ship they hired and imprisoned for attempting to leave England illegally. They remained undeterred, however, and were able to make their getaway the next year, finding peace and religious toleration in The Netherlands. After a year in Amsterdam amid the bickering of two other congregations, they moved to the city of Leiden, approximately 100 strong, and settled into a peaceable and productive life.

         One can see by the trials they faced and tests they passed that God was preparing them for a much greater mission. Others had disqualified themselves for one reason or another, be it a lack of faith, selfish attitudes, inability to work together, or loyal connections to the state church, which prohibited a lack of complete loyalty to God. Those connected, as the Puritans, had not considered their inevitable betrayal through their association with ecclesiastical authority and the throne or the temptation of looking back. We see the same thing in the ancient history of the Jews when God had to remove all Egyptian influence and fleshly nature from His people through their wanderings in the Sinai desert. These Separatist future founders of the American Plymouth Colony had proved their loyalty to God by both their obedience to Him regardless of greatly challenging circumstances, and also their complete separation from the world.

         In Leiden, Brewster began publishing books for sale in England and was soon under arrest by English authorities in 1619, who had accused him of the same crime as William Tyndale—printing up non-official religious works that did not toe the mark of the accepted Anglican confession. The Dutch government agreed with England in a political move and confiscated the printing equipment. Brewster was able to escape to England and hide out. It was during this time that plans were made to make the most radical move of all—securing a land patent from the London Virginia Company.

        The community as a whole had become very concerned after ten years of relative comfort and security in Leiden that their children, if allowed to grow up and become established there, would lose both their English heritage and Christian beliefs. The Netherlands was a free pluralistic nation by comparison to England, but the resultant freedom also gave place to a more open mindset regarding moral values and sin. It occurred to the group that the time had come yet again when they must move on if they would maintain their walk with God. Their willingness to suffer so many trials for the sake of the real Gospel had undoubtedly impressed the Lord. Due to their relentless attitude toward holy living and walking in God’s new light, rather than fighting against the movement or holding back like almost every other group, they had become the chosen ones to take not only the Gospel to America, but a community form much closer to Scriptural intent.

       The 180 ton Dutch cargo vessel Mayflower was hired in London and sailed to Southampton on the southern coast of England in late July of 1620. Most of the Pilgrim community remained in Leiden, Holland and bought a small ship called the Speedwell to take them to Southampton, from which both ships would sail across the Atlantic to Virginia. The second ship proved unworthy of the journey, however, having leaked on the trip across the English Channel, and after repairs, began leaking again at the start of the great voyage. Stopping at Dartmouth, repairs were made a second time. On their second attempt at the Atlantic crossing, as they reached the open ocean after having traveled roughly 300 miles, the Speedwell continued leaking once again and the Pilgrims were forced to return to England. Many of the passengers had become so tired and frustrated they decided to stay home. Here was yet another test of heart and a further winnowing of the passenger list, from about 120 to 102. Of these, approximately 40-45% were members of the Leiden congregation.

         They decided to scuttle the second ship entirely and transfer all their goods and supplies to the Mayflower, making for very cramped quarters and a much less comfortable trip. After losing about forty days, the Mayflower finally set sail from Plymouth, England on September 16 (Gregorian calendar). The second half of the ocean voyage was very rough, having hit the severe northern Atlantic storm season, and piled yet more discomfort and trepidation upon the passengers. Imagine the battle these Pilgrims had with doubt and second thoughts, crammed together in a freezing ship tossed forth like a cork on the frigid seas.

         After 66 long days, the sturdy ship arrived intact off the coast of America around November 21, 1620. During the long and fitful journey there was one death but also one birth. The colonists’ destination was the mouth of the Hudson River, part of Virginia at the time, but the captain first sighted land off the coast of Cape Cod. In the attempt to go south the elements were again against them, almost causing shipwreck. As if by divine hand they returned to Cape Cod and dropped anchor. With great courage and whatever stamina remained as the biting cold winds of winter descended upon them, parties were arranged to explore the land for a suitable settlement site. By the next summer, 50 of the original 102 passengers had perished, the majority over the harsh winter, and most of them from disease contracted during the voyage.

            From these extremely difficult and humble beginnings Plymouth Colony was built upon the hope and grace of a committed people and the Lord Jesus. Having served as willing pioneers and taking the full brunt of the battle, many more parties were soon making the trip across the Atlantic and adding to the new colony. In time it became a routine crossing peopled primarily by English Puritans who began spreading out into the wilderness. In time the Separatist Pilgrims became greatly outnumbered, though their spiritual stand and way of life had a decided effect on later arrivals.

         © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.   

REMEMBERING JFK

        

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

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         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 talking 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.     

IN SUPPORT OF REAL CHRISTIANS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD IN THIS TIME OF PERSECUTION

       

        “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” [John 15:19]

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         Christian persecution is presently raging across the planet. Much of it is happening in the Middle East. The devastation against Iraqi Christians began with the war against Iraq, a country that never attacked the U.S. nor represented a threat. The Christian population in Iraq in 2003 before the war was approximately 1.5 million. Since the U.S. invasion, supposedly in part for the introduction of democracy, the Christian population there has been reduced to only 250,000, according to a BBC report in May of this year. The latest numbers as of October 2019 are said to be somewhere in the range of 150,000 to below 120,000. That’s a staggering drop of 92% in 16 years.

         What happened to these people? How many were part of the great loss of life brought on by that war? If one remembers the immediate aftermath of 9/11 18 years ago, many Americans were suddenly getting serious with God and singing “God Bless America” while war plans were being ramped up. Many of these were Christians. Did American Christians have any idea or care that upwards of 1.4 million fellow Christians in Iraq would be killed and displaced?

2019

         There were many reports at the beginning of this year that Christian persecution was set to rise dramatically in the world: Christian Post. Christian TodayBut sadly, the Christian witness in many former Christian countries is dying out. And Christians in America are being set up at present to take a fall. Be prepared.  

         Those who follow real news and not the corporate false narratives and fluff presented by the major media know we are presently in the midst of a powerful war. It is war of truth. Controlling interests have been subverting truth for decades and getting away it, mainly for two reasons: (1) They must cover up their dirty deeds, and (2) They control the major media. If one doesn’t believe this is true it is easily verifiable. Those who have been paying attention for the last fifty years know it to be true. The current Orwellian move toward mass censorship and destruction of First Amendment rights is only a response to the great success over the last decade or so in exposing evil. This success continues unabated and the only way to stop it is to kill the internet. But be encouraged. There are moves afoot to create an alternative internet in just such a case. If all this sounds spacey and strange to you then I suggest doing a bit of research.

IT’S THE SHOES

         Regarding China, remember the big NBA story a few weeks ago? A man who works for an NBA team tweeted out support for the pro-freedom demonstrators in Hong Kong. This was a giant no-no. But what would have been successfully repressed not long ago failed to be shuttered this time around. Even the NBA commissioner was forced to make a weak stand for freedom of speech and had to support the man. Somewhat. Then the big bombshell hit. A respected longtime sports journalist revealed something that all NBA insiders had always known but was shielded from the public. He said, in essence, that the NBA was effectively owned by a shoe company.

         The shoe company is worth much more than the NBA. The shoe company does really big business in China. NBA stars have extremely profitable shoe company endorsement contracts. This means the NBA is not only effectively owned by an international shoe company but is also effectively owned by Communist China. China has no respect for individual freedom and liberty. There is no Bill of Rights in China. It is run by cold-blooded Communists who harass, make life miserable for, jail, and even kill anyone who dissents against attacks on personal freedom and individual human rights, especially if they happen to be Christians.

        So after the NBA executive sent out that first tweet in support of the Hong Kong protesters who are fighting against the eventual takeover of Hong Kong and dissolution of rights by Communist China, the biggest star in the NBA tweeted his support for China. He did this because NBA exhibition games were currently being played there, there is a move to continue NBA expansion into China, he has a giant shoe contract, the NBA is dependent on the shoe company, the shoe company does big business in China and has many of their shoes made there by low paid workers in likely sweat shop conditions, and if he doesn’t support China and therefore not support the freedom protesters in Hong Kong he will lose big money and influence and so will the NBA. He is only protecting himself.

         The story got really comical when a couple of well-known NBA coaches who always rail on America never said a word against China. Neither did one single NBA player that I know of. They all know where the money is coming from. To hell with free speech and freedom. Money is much more important to them. And because money controls the major media and the NBA regular season was about to start, this story went away very fast.

AMERICAN CENSORSHIP AT WORK

         “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.” [Matthew 6:24] [1]

         And now to the point: A few in cable news revealed the hypocrisy in the NBA story and mentioned the suppression of freedom in Communist China and the great censorship there, social credit scores and all that. They also reported that many Muslims in China were suffering persecution. The far left MSM rarely mentions this even though they purport to be pro-Muslim. But guess what the so-called good guys of cable news never mentioned in their entire set-the-record-straight story? Well, the same thing they rarely mention and what no one ever talks about—persecuted Christians.

         I have written about this many times. I suggest you begin some serious research on the topic if you are uninformed. A great powerful Spirit-filled Awakening has been transpiring in China for forty years. Chinese Christians have grown exponentially in that time. These are not your regular sleepy time dead Christians having no spiritual impact like many of those in America. And they exist illegally. Real Christianity is illegal in Communist China. But the real Christians there don’t care. They are constantly hounded by government spies and routed by Communist goons. They must meet in secret. They are thrown into work camps. Many are murdered. Their gatherings are shut down. I will give the Chinese Communists their due, however, in one sense—they know who has the greatest power. They know these Chinese Christians are the greatest threat to their power. It is a spiritual war. They are only protecting themselves.

KARMA CHICKENS COMING HOME TO ROOST

         The same thing happened in the Roman Empire. It greatly persecuted the Christians. The Empire eventually lost. The greatest empire in world history faded out and ended ingloriously while the real Church of the Lord Jesus soared and grew rapidly. It grew so fast and became so powerful that after three centuries the Romans eventually threw in the towel and joined them. But not really. It was all a great deception. What they actually did was create a false government-sanctioned Christian “church” and forced everyone to join under penalty of law. They magically transformed Roman government buildings into “church” buildings. They made illegal all other forms of religion, including real Christianity. This is how the persecution of real Christians became diabolical in that the fake Christians fought the real Christians. This is how not only the government but “Christianity” itself became the enemy of real Christians.

         The same thing is going on in China. They have their government-sanctioned Christian churches in which the Lord Jesus is never allowed. And for those of you who really know what is going on in America, you will not only identify with this but also get a gold star, because the Lord Jesus is never allowed in American “government” churches either. If you don’t know what that is, then do some simple research into charter churches and the 501c3. Discover what is lost by receiving the benefit of tax deductions for your tithes and offerings. Remember free speech? Remember individual liberty? That’s what you lose in this deal. You can only be Christians up to a point. You only have free speech up to a point. You only have spiritual freedom up to a point. And that’s one of the reasons many American churches are dead and frozen over. They have traded their freedom to preach the full truth for thirty pieces of silver. They have sold Christians into slavery.

         Real Christians know all about the content of this post. And they have paid the price. But they have also prevailed. They know the key to spiritual victory is to always honor the Lord Jesus. They know they must preach the real Gospel. They must stand up for Truth. They must stand against corruption. They will never sell out and will never sell out the Lord. They will not trade their freedom for a bag of money. They will not be silenced. And if you are wondering who will win in the end I can guarantee you this: In spite of the greatest persecution against any people on the planet for two thousand years real Christians have not only survived but thrived. They have won against the powerful spirit of antichrist though it works hard to stay hidden… No one can defeat the Lord Jesus.

         The Christians in China have fought long and hard over four decades and they continue to grow. There are estimates that they currently make up 20% of the population. Though such an occurrence appears ridiculous on the surface to uninformed people who don’t know the truth, and unless the Chinese Christians quit fighting their successful spiritual war, their country will one day in the not too distant future become a Christian country. Such an occurrence would be astounding but it wouldn’t be the first time such has happened over the last two millennia.

         The bigger question, though, is what will happen to America?

         © 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.

EVERY TIME A DOOR SLAMS A PASTOR GETS HIS WINGS

“Next…”

“Hi. I’m Mrs. Jones. I sit in the third row every service, and…”

“I know who you are Mrs. Jones.”

“Well I know that but I wanted to make this official because it is an official thing we are doing here isn’t it?”

“Okay yeah go ahead.”

“Well, I think you should preach on the things that make people feel good but not so good that they won’t get the message, okay?”

“What does that even mean?”

“It means you should preach real good but not get too off or wacky.”

“Wacky? Wacky?”

“Well, I think you know what I mean so you just do that…”

“Next.”

“Pastor, I think you should be cognizant of the fact that people work hard and are busy and need things that are strong but not so strong that it adds to our burden okay? Because life has many burdens and…”

“What do you mean ‘Preach strong?’”

“Okay, I mean strong like in doing it in a way that we get a good message but not something weak but good. You know, strong.”

“Okay, strong. I’ll try that. Next.”

“Pastor Bailey I really like that you are giving us this opportunity to tell you what to preach and, no, wait, not tell you what to preach but suggest, er, to tell you what we would like, or need, er…”

“So what is your, uh, suggestion?”

“So, my thing is I like those kind of Scriptures that are like verses of poetry, you know? I really like those especially because they look great on little wall plaques or bookmarks and I like when I can go to church and picture in my mind mountain vistas and seascapes and scenes of nature. So I think poetry verses are good.”

“Poetry verses? (Are you for real?) You mean Psalms?”

“So, I don’t know what that is but if its poetry verses then I guess yes…”

“Sigh… Next. Please.”

“Pastor, I think you do a great job but we need more teaching! I like real teaching so we can get in deep! Are you familiar with Matthew Henry? Now he could get in real deep and we could all learn…”

“You want me to read Matthew Henry Commentaries from the pulpit?”

“Well no, not especially, but like that, because we need real teaching!”

“Okay, thank you. Real teaching. Please close the door behind you. Thank you… What do we have so far Jennifer?”

“It looks like you are supposed to preach things that make people feel good but not so good that they don’t get the message. Nothing wacky. And it must be strong but not too strong because people are tired. And, oh, it must involve poetry verses and also be deep teaching. Deep. Teaching. Got that?”

“Are you sure this is in the contract?”

“Page 16, Clause 3.”

“Do I have to listen to anyone else tonight?”

“Only one more. It says you must seek five new members each week.”

“Each week!”

“Yes. I’ll get the last one… Who’s next out here?”

“Me!”

“Okay, come in…”

“Hello Pastor!”

“Hello. Well?”

“Here’s what I think. I think you should preach whatever the Lord puts on your heart.”

“Do I even know you?”

“I’m new.”

“Okay. So you’re new. Hi. I’m George Bailey, er, Pastor Bailey. Good to meet you. Your name?”

“I’m Clarence. And I know all about you! What’s important is that you obey the Lord. That’s my advice.”

“But I have to obey all those people! It’s in my contract.”

“I know, but…”

“And next week it’s five more! And then the next! I can’t do this! I must be off my nut! This can’t be happening! I wish I was never born!”

“Oh, you mustn’t say that! …Wait. …You know, I think that could work! …Okay, you were never born. You don’t exist.”

“Don’t exist! Wait a second! This all sounds familiar! Are you some kind of angel or something?”

“Why yes.”

“Great! Now you’re the new pastor too! Later! Don’t hold my calls, Jennifer…” (Slam)

© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

ALL “SUCCESSFUL” CHURCH LEADERS PREACH TO MONEY

        That is, they preach whatever gives them the best monetary return. This would otherwise be obvious based simply on their “success” but deceived congregations are spiritually blind to this truth.

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       Most are willingly blind. They choose their church leaders and denominations, support them, and take great pride in them. They feel good knowing they belong to the right church teaching the right doctrines. Their leaders, knowing where their support comes from, preach only what their congregants want to hear. That is why, of course, their congregants are there. If they didn’t like what goes on there they wouldn’t be there. If they were not there their money would not be there either.

         This dynamic creates a synthetic non-Scriptural symbiotic giving-receiving relationship allowing only that which is acceptable by those giving financial support. These are usually comprised of the greater percentage of the congregation, though it is often the case that the few give the most. Anything which the financial supporters reject must never be taught. In this way both parties are pleased and satisfied and the relationship contract is fulfilled. The “leader” who gives the teaching receives monetary compensation. The “followers” who receive the teaching give monetary compensation. As long as the leader gives the correct teaching, that is, the teaching that the givers want, he will be compensated. The more he pleases them the greater he will be compensated.

DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION

         Real Christians understand right away that such a model is inherently flawed in that the Word of God cannot possibly work its wonders to convict people of sin under such an arrangement. Without conviction of sin there is no need for repentance, that is, admitting one’s guilt and subsequently getting right with God. This means sinners masquerading as Christians come to church with sin and leave with sin. They are never separated from their sin. Their sin is coddled. This only leads to more sin and the acceptance of greater forms of sin. Sinners find these places comfortable. Their sin is never revealed. Nobody cares about it including the preacher (or priest or reverend or minister or whatever).

         “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the LORD, “who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to sin.” [Isaiah 30:1]

        Successful preachers who partake of the false giving-receiving relationship rarely or never preach about sin. To do so could possibly anger their partners who would then likely withhold their support. In their estimation it is better to have compromised Christian sinners who support them financially than anyone who does not or cannot. Of course, in the Lord’s eyes congregations are not supposed to be made up of sinners. But if one never preaches sin, how will anyone ever be convicted of their sin and thus seek a solution to their conviction?

         If one never preaches the full teachings of the Lord Jesus, how will anyone ever learn the truth and act upon it?

         Real Christians know the New Testament definition of sin. They are aware of the many sinful practices mentioned or listed in the Word of God. The Lord Jesus certainly preached against sin and instructed His disciples to do the same. They were interested in bringing people to salvation. They were not there to make a living. They were not interested in money. They were not bought or controlled by money. If you supported them financially they would preach the same pure Word of God anyway. Whatever they received monetarily had no bearing whatsoever on what they would teach and preach.

         We know, however, that they did not receive so much. The Lord Jesus set the perfect example by his frugal lifestyle that He could be supported with next to nothing. Imagine that. The Lord did incredible things. Thousands were saved, set free from sin, and delivered. He was always performing miracles to help people. He could do anything. And it would cost you nothing. He did it all for free. He was fasting all the time and thus took food sporadically. He slept outside except for those occasions when he was in a village and stayed with a supporter. Other than food his stay added no additional expense to a household. And whoever did anything for Him was blessed many, many times over.

         I remember once, when I was a spiritual rookie, a young missionary family visited our church. I was already thoroughly enmeshed in the Word of God and well aware of the frugal practices of early Christianity. When I thought of missionaries I thought of hardy souls doing without and subjecting themselves to the rigors of preaching the Gospel and making converts in a foreign and often hostile land. The “missionaries” who showed up that night were nothing of the sort.

         They were well-fed, well-clothed, and appeared better off than many of the people in the congregation. The man was somewhat effeminate and soft (but he played piano very well).

         There was a hint of entitlement and smugness. These people were certainly none the worse for wear. I found out later that their “missionary” activity consisted in merely administering a conventional church plant. The denomination had simply created an American church building and grounds in a Latin American country in a relatively good area and called this missionary work, a far cry from early Church examples. They likely had more money and comfort than converts.

         I knew from my own “missionary work” in witnessing to pretty much everybody, that a man could get slammed and have his head handed to him in a heartbeat. It went with the territory. But I mostly had a great many enjoyable experiences telling people about the Lord and attempting to help bring them to salvation. And this was coming from a young man with little money working fulltime and going to church four or five times a week. To me it was always a labor of love and this is how it should be. And after working all week and witnessing “in the field” you would go to church and get preached at (slammed) and the Lord would make more progress through the Word to conform you to His will. It was not easy. And I always gave what was required freely and with a good conscience. I had no control whatsoever over the preaching.

SOWING TO THE WIND AND REAPING AN F5 TORNADO

         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] [1]

          At this point in American history the majority of conventional churches and ministries are abject spiritual failures. Many, however, are financially successful. Many preachers are very well off. They preach to money. American Christianity in general has thus also become an abject failure. There is more sin in the country now than ever before and it is growing exponentially. All of this happened on their watch, that is, the watch of those who refuse to preach the real Word of God but instead work for money and success. And it continues to happen on their watch. They have failed the Lord. They have failed the country. They are responsible.

         But they are not convicted. Like their supporters, no-sin preaching has lobotomized their own minds as well.

          © 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.

THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE

      “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.

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         “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

        “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

         “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’

         “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, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” [John 15:13-27][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.

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD

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       A Christian can determine how much love and respect he has for the Lord Jesus by whether or not he actually believes this statement and is willing to apply it.

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         And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” [Matthew 19:26]

          Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” [Mark 10:27]

         But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” [Luke 18:27]

I KNOW GOD LOVES ME ‘CAUSE I’M RICH

       Many Jews of the Lord’s time believed prosperity was a sign of God’s approval. The Sadducees were certainly well off. The Pharisees were lovers of money. Accordingly, those without such prosperity, though otherwise hard workers and sincere commandment keepers, were undoubtedly looked upon by more than a few as essentially forsaken or rejected of God. They were seen, even among themselves, as somehow falling short due to some unknown inexpressible inherent weakness. They likely believed that God knew something about them or their character that excluded them from His greater blessings.

         This is why the Lord’s disciples were shocked at His teaching regarding the rich:

         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]   

THE RICH YOUNG RULER

         There is a man referred to in Scripture as “the rich young ruler.” But don’t go searching for this particular collection of terms because you will not find it. It does not exist. The phrase appears nowhere in the New Testament. It is actually a descriptive compilation using separate single words from three different passages in three different gospel accounts which were later conformed into a whole, likely by preachers and Bible expositors.

         In the gospel of Matthew, this individual is referred to directly as “someone” and “the young man.” He is referred to by implication as “a rich man.” In the Matthew narrative it says he was one who owned much property. In Mark he is called “a man” and by implication “wealthy” and “a rich man.” Mark also says he was one who owned much property. In Luke the man is referred to as a “ruler” and by implication “wealthy” and “a rich man.” He is also said in the narrative to be extremely rich.

         So here we see an overall synopsis of a nameless historical character who unknowingly in his time provided a teaching example for all time. He became the subject of an object lesson that is still used today to present an eternal truth relative to everyone: Will we trade what we consider riches for a walk with the Lord? Will we take the chance? Will we risk everything? Those who do have satisfied themselves, at least to some degree, that all things truly are possible with God. In other words,

         They know that whatever they must surrender of this world to make the transformation to spiritual life simply does not matter and they would do it anyway regardless of what their new future may be.

         They know what the Lord has done in bringing them into the light and adopting them as His children, and that their life has changed dramatically for the better.

       They know as well that the Lord will provide spiritual riches far more valuable than whatever they surrendered.

         They also know He will bless them with compensation of a material or monetary nature necessary for sustaining one’s life in this world.

        (As an illustration, I will quote George Bailey from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, when he finds out that Clarence the angel has no money: “Ah, well, it comes in pretty handy down here, bub!”)

         The English word “ruler” is from the Greek word archon. Generally, this is one who has rule over others in either the religious or civil realms. The members of the Sanhedrin or synagogue officials were referred to as archons, as were civil magistrates and judges. Beyond these there were also men of wealth and influence known by this term. Scripture is not definitive on what kind of ruler the young man was but it appears clear that he had inherited great wealth from his father who must have been a significant individual. Hence, the young archon felt responsible not only for what he possessed and his own reputation but that of his father as well, who had undoubtedly worked very hard to attain his possessions and place in life.

         Yet we also know that this “rich young ruler” had spiritual things on his mind. Something had been nagging at him. From his demeanor there was no doubt he respected his father but he also had little or no input into the creation of the wealth he now possessed. He was grateful but he wanted something more. He knew there must be more. He had heard about this new prophet called Jesus and made it a point to address Him when he discovered the Lord was near.

         In the narrative we find that the man was raised well in that he knew the Law of Moses and kept it from his youth. Why could he not be satisfied? He was rich, a man of honor, from a good family, and respected the commandments of God. Why would he ever ask the following question: “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18). Had he not already fulfilled what the Law required? There is something missing here, and it is indicative of a person who is dutiful and respectful of God, his family tradition, and his culture, but is otherwise empty on the inside. His spirit is crying out for more, for spiritual sustenance, and his heart for something beyond the wealth of material and social benefits.

         When I was a young man my friends and I, though not Christians at the time or familiar with Scripture, would discuss such topics as wealth and social structure. We were raised on the lower end of middle class. We were not against wealth necessarily but could certainly see the adverse effect it had on people. In general, people with money appeared arrogant. They saw themselves as better than others. I was on a spiritual quest then and was searching for truth. Consequently, I was not as concerned with giving myself over to the acquisition of wealth and position. We worked. We earned money. But it wasn’t an obsession. I knew there had to be more. We talked about the concept of either owning stuff or stuff owning us.

         The Lord understood right away what the problem was. This is what that young man so long ago was going through. In his heart of hearts he wanted to follow the Lord. But with all of his wealth, obligations, and upper class authority over others he knew he could not. The simple solution then, was for him to just get rid of all his stuff, surrender his social status, and quit living for this temporary world. These things were holding him back! They were keeping him from going where he wanted to go and being what he wanted to be.

         “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” [Luke 18:22]

         Think about that. Would you rather have the world’s temporary treasure or treasure in heaven? If you lived back then and were given a direct invitation from THE LORD JESUS to come and follow Him and hang out with them and do all the fun stuff they were doing, would you do it? Could anything possibly be better?

          But the wealthy young archon could not. He couldn’t do it. And this is the test.

EXCUSES AD INFINITUM

         “He would have to give up everything!” And I answer that by saying that everyone who comes to the Lord has to give up everything. And whatever one must surrender is relative to one’s station in life. There is always a great cost because one must give his or her entire heart.

         “But what about making up for all one has surrendered or lost!” Well, I say, the Lord makes provision for that. He said as much in the same passages:

         “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” [Matthew 19:29]

         Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” [Mark 10:29-30]

          And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” [Luke 18:29-30] [1]

          If the young man had actually done it, if he had chucked it all in and threw in his lot with the Lord, the Lord would certainly have taken care of him. The cries of his heart would have been answered. Whatever he needed concerning the good things of this world the Lord would have given him. He would be rid of the monetary, family, and social obligations keeping him from a higher call. He would have activated his faith, trust, and confidence in the Lord. This in turn would have opened up a door to an entirely new life previously thought to be something that did not or could not ever exist. He would have entered into the glorious kingdom of heaven on earth. His heart would have been filled to overflowing with pure joy. Most importantly, he would have had a King who loved him.

           And he would have seen that all things are indeed possible with God.

           © 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.

THE MORE FALSE AUTHORITY THERE IS, THE LESS SPIRITUAL LIBERTY THERE IS

       

        All Christian authority is possessed only by the Lord Jesus. He permits the use of His authority only by those who completely submit to Him. His authority within others is never disconnected from Him.

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           And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” [Matthew 28:18]    

          Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” [Luke 24:44-49]

        It is not possible to be real witnesses of the Lord in the way He intended without receiving His power. This is why, forty days after the Resurrection and right before His ascension to heaven, He told the relatively few disciples He still had that they must receive His power first and be His witnesses second. To receive His power they were instructed to go back to the Upper Room, the same place where they had the Last Supper on the night of His arrest. They were to prepare themselves and wait in expectation for the promised outpouring of His Spirit.

HIGHER POWER

         So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “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.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free?’”

         Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.

         “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” [John 8:31-36] [1]

          (Notice how the Lord said there were slaves of sin in “the house.”)

        Many Christians have no understanding of the spiritual liberty made possible by the death and resurrection of the Lord. If He had not undergone that process He would not have had the means to release us from the power of sin and make us “free indeed” (instead of pretend free). In spiritual terms, repentance is representative of death. Without the death of the old there can be no birth of the new. We must hate sin and turn away from it. We must do our part to kill it. We must “lose” our life in order to find it.

        His resurrection had to precede our resurrections. But before we experience bodily resurrection we must experience a spiritual resurrection. We must be born again in order to gain spiritual liberty. But one does not become free from the power of sin by osmosis. One’s spiritual resurrection is an event! One knows when it happens! Thus, those Christians indifferent to spiritual liberty and the Lord’s spiritual power have yet to experience these events and are likely unaware of their existence. He knows we all need His authority and power to overcome the power of the evil one. Without it we are defenseless and unaware. He would never send His witnesses into the world (from then until now) without properly training and equipping them. Most important in this regard, of course, is receiving His Holy Spirit.

BYPASSING THE SPIRIT

      Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. [2Corinthians 3:17]    

         Various substitutions for the Lord’s correct spiritual model have been made by Christian religious authorities throughout the Church Age. It began in the early centuries with a drift toward philosophical thought and authoritarianism. This was a wrongheaded attempt by religious dullards to establish the Lord’s authority within unregenerate wannabe potentates.

         The result was nothing more than political authority dressed up in a ridiculous religious costume.

          Rather than having authority spread out and shared among several equal elders within Christian gatherings the way the Lord taught and the early Community demonstrated, the faux Christians developed a pyramid scheme with one guy at the top, whether it was local bodies with a single overseer in which all authority was vested, or hierarchical structures with a false “bishop” over large geographical areas.

       The alternate models perhaps reached their fullness during the 16th through 18th centuries at the time of the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment. What transpired was a high degree of ecclesiastical intellectualism and the strict authority thereof which continued to serve as a replacement for the Lord’s spiritual Kingdom. The clergy class had been well formed by this time, as Protestants learned well by the longtime example within Catholicism. Individual spiritual liberty, for the most part, did not exist within these structures. Due to their high level of spiritual pride and worldliness, the clergyites deemed the process of repentance and spiritual birth distasteful. 

          Even the laity, the voiceless and largely Biblically ignorant masses (by design) refused to forsake the false models constructed by those who transformed Christianity into a deceptive Nicolaitan power grab and money siphon over unsuspecting followers.

          The followers are just as guilty as the false authority that rules over them and obstructs their freedom.

            © 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.

UNREAL CHRISTIANITY MAKES THE TRUTH IRRELEVANT

        “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” [Mark 7:9]

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       “Your tradition” is any Christian belief or teaching that is not found within the teachings of the Lord Jesus. Some of these should be obvious. The reason they are not is because the Christians espousing and believing such are either Biblically illiterate or have been indoctrinated with a false teaching.

         Those who put the Lord Jesus first and are true disciples actually read and study His teachings. They become very familiar with them. They do their best to follow them and obey the Lord. If a Christian refuses to do this or is too lazy to do it, he or she is not a real Christian or at least will not be one for long. If such people remain churchgoers or insist on their particular brand they will end up being deceived the same way the followers of the Pharisees were deceived.

         It was the Pharisees and scribes that the Lord was addressing in the preceding Scripture. These people were evil. They showed it by their actions. They absolutely hated the Lord and everything He stood for. They hounded Him constantly and did everything they could to destroy His reputation. They lied about Him always.

         Unreal Christianity does exactly the same thing. Its members create a Jesus they feel comfortable with, one that suits them, according to their own limited understanding. This Jesus is not the real Jesus. It is only a figment of their imagination. The proponents of Unreal Christianity refuse to honor His pure teachings because they could never carry out their real reason for existence otherwise. They do not want to follow and serve the Lord Jesus; they want to be followed and served.

         That’s why they created a mass laity underclass and keep it subverted to their will. They gain their monetary and social support from this class. They do it through indoctrinating (brainwashing) their followers away from the Lord’s truth and toward their own impure teachings. They use fear, especially the fear of social exclusion. Because they are dealing with spiritually lazy people it is not so difficult to keep them dumbed-down. Some of their followers may be well-versed in their own denominational teachings but that only furthers their Biblical illiteracy.

         Why? Because the substitution of impure teachings makes them oblivious of the Lord’s real teachings. Or they are taught that the Lord’s real teachings are actually heresy and steer their followers away from them. There are millions of Christians who have thus been taught to hate the real teachings of the Lord.

         Regarding any particular issue, one cannot believe truth and untruth at the same time. Regarding a collection of beliefs, the percentage of false teachings and interpretations one holds is directly proportional to the lack of truth they hold. If one fills one’s brain with untruth there will be little left for truth. Another corollary is thus: The more one accepts that which is not true but only appears that way, the less one has a desire for truth. When people are no longer hungry for truth they will not seek it. Whatever then is left in their head is what they believe and what they believe is false though they think it’s true.

         It’s called deception. The Pharisees were masters at deceiving people. So are the Christian Pharisees. They have a different motivation. They put money and social standing above the Lord. They are also excellent liars.

         “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][1]   

THEY HAVE A DIFFERENT AGENDA          

         Though their followers would be shocked if they could shake themselves from their zombie status and see their leaders and churches for what they actually are, this rarely happens. Not only that, they don’t want it to happen. They often run from the truth. They cover their ears. The truth is far too upsetting. They would have to acknowledge their deception and admit their wrongheadedness. They would have to realign their lives. Such an occurrence is far too much for them to accept. Their pride can’t handle it. They would rather maintain their fake lives, stay socially connected, and keep the money coming in. Thus, actually following the Lord is out of the question. Following Him in some convoluted false manner is preferable. They are not actually following Him or obeying Him but convince themselves that they are. Where’s the proof? How can they deny Him and also obey Him?

         The early followers of the Lord Jesus teach us how it is done. What they believed is what we are supposed to believe. What they did is what we are supposed to do.

         However, the beliefs and practices of the Lord’s early Community are different from those of pretty much every Christian denomination. It is why one rarely or never sees the results the early Christians had within these compromised organizations. Their rejection of truth makes the truth irrelevant.

            As we say in Texas, most are mere drugstore cowboys. They are all hat and no cattle.

           © 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.

REVEALING THE FATHER’S NAME

          “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” [John 5:43-44]

IF HE CALLS HIMSELF A CHRISTIAN AND ENDS UP IN HELL IT’S HIS OWN FAULT

IF HE CALLS HIMSELF A CHRISTIAN AND ENDS UP IN HELL IT’S HIS OWN FAULT

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          He didn’t read the fine print.

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            The New Testament is the fine print. It includes anything and everything one must know in order to secure one’s heavenly eternity. It includes primarily the unabridged original teachings of the Lord Jesus. It also includes the first Christian history book explaining in full detail exactly what it means to be a real Christian by seeing Real Christianity in action. The New Testament includes as well several preserved letters of correspondence and teaching explaining in great detail the actual teachings of original first century Christianity, most of which were written by Paul the apostle, who was also the best teacher of the early Christian Community.

         The early believers paid close attention to the Lord’s teachings. In their mature state they followed them to the nth degree. But this did not make them legalistic like the later dogmatic DAs of Unreal Christianity who, like the Pharisees, loved legalism and forced indoctrination. They majored on the letter (though they didn’t follow it) but disdained and rejected the Spirit. Paul said this:

         Our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [2Corinthians 3:5-6]

         Those who major on the letter refused to be filled with the Spirit as per the Lord’s command. They will not walk in the Spirit, teach the Spirit, or be empowered by the Spirit. Consequently they walk around like religious zombies in new suits while deluding the world into following the dead faux forms of Christianity which the world is deceived into believing are the real thing. They also work very hard at attempting to make the real thing appear illegitimate.

         Some people, however, can see right through religious camouflage. Apparently, most people cannot. Thus, most Christians in the world do not follow the Lord Jesus; they follow their own pastors, ministers, reverends, denominational hierarchies, and etc. The more of a following the substitutes get the more powerful they become and the more easy it becomes to spout their false Christian teachings.

SO WE ARE WHAT WE ARE WHY?

         There are a few people, and only a few, who manage to discover the roots of their particular denomination. If they remain loyal to their denomination that’s as far as they go. If one is a Protestant, that is, a religious descendant of those who fiercely protested against the Roman Catholics, his roots go back about five hundred years at the most. If one is Catholic, his roots go back to Constantine in the early fourth century. That’s about seventeen hundred years ago. Of course, the Lord Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago. Wouldn’t it be smart to just keep going back until arriving at the source?

          “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” [John 5:43-44] [1]

         Of course, the vast majority of Protestants and Catholics have absolutely no idea of their actual denominational roots, nor do they care to put any effort into discovering them. Denominational lifers are what they are for various reasons, none of which has anything to do with actually following the Lord Jesus. Why? Because when one actually begins following the Lord Jesus one will intently read all of His teachings and then begin studying His teachings in-depth. When one does this he will find discrepancies between the Lord’s teachings and those of his church or denomination. He will then seek answers for why this is so. His innocent queries will inevitably lead to the leadership. The leadership will then downplay such questions and attempt to further circle the wagons around the straying sheep in an effort to get him back into the denominational corral. This often works. Those who succumb are doomed to being longtime members of a mere religious club who care more for social inclusiveness rather than the Lord’s truth.

         Though they start out great following the early truth trail they get cut off at the pass by the religious chucklehead posse.

        They then become denominational Christians in which their own denominational teachings always trump the pure teachings of the Lord. Whenever questions arise they never ask “What did Jesus teach?” Instead, they ask, “What does my church teach?” Or “What does the Pope teach? Or Martin Luther, or John Calvin, or John Wesley, or Fatboy, or Smiley. Or “What does my own pastor teach?”

          Of course, all of these people are mere men but judging by their fawners they are worshipped as deities. They are never questioned. Questioning one’s pastor is the new unforgiveable sin. It only works in that tiny location, however. When you walk away and shake the dust off your feet you get to be “saved again” and discover the Lord still loves you. You also rediscover cool things like eyesight and liberty and sunshine and places where seldom is heard a discouraging word.

         For a New Testament illustration regarding what happens to people who actually question the leadership or particular church doctrines, there is that which happened to the Lord and pretty much all of His early followers: If one was a member of a local synagogue and everyone there did everything they were told to do by the leadership and believed everything they were supposed to believe, then all parties, especially the leadership, were all smiles. It was a quasi-contented and quiet place though there was likely a massive cloud of fear just under the surface. All the good guys—the no power or influence members who desired truth and love—were scared spitless to speak or act or move in any such way which may be rendered religiously incorrect because they knew their entire lives were built on being members in good standing. And that meant following the controllers 100%. There was no independence of thought or seeking of truth. There was certainly no liberty in the Spirit. There was only a sad and spineless kowtowing to “the leadership.”

       When one stepped out of line, those beautiful contented costumed clergy boys were suddenly transformed into stark raving mad lunatics who wanted to abuse, maim, and kill. They always had rocks very handy at their disposal.

         Does this sound familiar? Because it also accurately describes roughly 90% of Christian “churches.” It used to be that they would disfellowship a person in a nano second but seeing the error of their ways and that it too easily revealed themselves as the Christian Pharisees they were, they reverted to the tried and true Silently Disparage, Gossip About, Reject From Fellowship and Communication, and Treat Indifferently Method. This works just as well and allows the good members thereof to practice world class Holier-Than-Thou smugness. You know, just like the Lord did.

SOMETIMES, TRUTH IS SO INCONVENIENT

         The reason so many of these kinds of Christians are so apathetic toward the Lord’s teachings is because it doesn’t matter anyway. They are all told what to believe. They can only legally believe what they are told. If they divert from that they bump up against the edges of their party boundaries. Many therefore refuse even an attempt to seek further Biblical truth because they may inconveniently discover greatly discomforting facts which depreciate the investment in their chosen religious culture. This could in turn cause a weakening of one’s personal foundation and social standing. What then?

            In the words of Luke Skywalker, “NO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O…!”                       

            © 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.

 

In the Beginning, Real Christians Didn’t “Go To Church” to “Have Church.” Real Christians ARE the Church.

         The following post is in answer to an excellent comment from one of my long time faithful readers found in the comment section here. I have always appreciated her support and insight. We have never met but have established a good rapport over the last several years. From my perspective, we are a good example of how two Christians might not believe everything the same but want to stay in fellowship anyway. This is what all believers should strive for.

 

         Thank you. Your comment brought many thoughts and memories to me as well. In my extensive church career I have been a member of the very big and very small. I have spent time in mega churches. I have spent time in many small house groups, some which were official “churches” and some not. I presided over my own group for several years. I learned early on that we will never be able to make disciples as the Lord commanded unless we change the focus to much smaller groups so each person has an excellent opportunity to develop. In my case it didn’t matter what size church I attended because I learned most of what I know through my own individual study and walk with the Lord, but I appreciate having a well-rounded perspective.

         No preacher should be “rich and famous.” Those who love the spotlight and insist on taking control are not demonstrating the humility of the Lord. They are not in it for the right reasons. Maybe some of them started out well but backslid into the usual false paradigm. The more the big shots claim their head honcho status the more the rest of the congregation must be relegated to irrelevance. They are not allowed to develop. The Lord ends up losing scads of potential ministers because the one guy claims it all for himself.

         In smaller groups this would not happen. People have a much greater opportunity to contribute and develop. Seeing the ridiculous seas of silent humanity in the vast majority of “churches” sitting back and doing nothing except honoring ad nauseam the lone dude in the pulpit or spotlight in no way represents real New Testament Christianity. The Lord and the early Church never did it that way. Each group of believers was relatively small and had several mature ministers who brought different gifts and abilities. Those were true communities of people in which everyone was contributing in a substantial way. They were no mere spectators, which now make up the vast majority of church-goers.

         People walk in the light they have. It appears that your parents struggled to keep it all together at times serving the Lord over many decades and greatly succeeded. They never looked back. How blessed they were! We play the hand we are dealt. We do the best we can. We work with the tools we have. We try to get better. This agrees with the New Testament example.

         But the fake preachers want none of this. They want power and control and money and prestige. They want exactly the same things the false prophets of old wanted and what the Pharisees demanded in the first century. That false set-up strives mightily against the Spirit of the Lord Jesus and exists as the greatest opposing force to doing things His way.

       “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?” [Jeremiah 5:30-31]   

         Instead of these mega churches and large congregations we would be much better off with as many small groups as possible spread all over the countryside and urban areas to reach people where they are and allow every single believer to have a voice and a significant place in real ministry. This is actually happening and has been happening for decades but the big boys have also been very successful in keeping the movement from taking off. They fear their bottom line. They don’t want to lose their money, prestige, jobs, and market share.

         In reality, if most of these various congregations and mega churches, along with the few very influential rich and famous who run them, disappeared tomorrow, it would make little difference in the country. Most of them serve no real spiritual purpose. America has become a sin-filled empty spiritual shell compared to what it once was on their watch. And they don’t care.

         Real Christians must continue to fight for and stand up for the Lord Jesus. We must submit to Him, serve Him, and serve one another. We must preach the real Gospel. When we do, the very clear evidence of His presence and direction become obvious. The reason real revivals and spiritual awakenings are rare is because stubborn religious flesh wins most of the time. Real Christians are fought against and their efforts curtailed. Worldliness ensues. Unreal Christians subvert themselves to the sinful and rebellious culture. And they submit to the wrong people. Then the devil works through the vast presentation of religious and personal pride. He has a field day. These fake Christians leave the Lord Jesus in the lurch, that is, in a vulnerable and unsupported position.

         Whoever has enough money to build cathedrals and mega churches has far too much money. Such vast sums should instead be spent on people, and it is people who comprise the real Church. There are millions of the Lord’s real ministers who struggle every day due to a lack of funds and their ministries are more difficult as a result. But there are always available funds (billions) to build what are essentially extremely expensive and comfortable barns to house those who refuse the Lord’s full counsel. Most of the early cathedrals no longer exist or are mere ruins.

         History repeats itself.

        “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” [Luke 6:46-49][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.

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 3)

        Desperation for money and spiritual faith don’t go together. People who do their Christianity for money are desperate. If they build their lives and ministries that way they only build away from God.

 

       And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. [Hebrews 11:6]

         One of you, my readers, had a recent post in which you quoted a famous preacher. I can’t remember the exact words. He had been a minister for decades and said something recently to the effect that he had really messed up a lot of people. I thought his sentiment, or apology, was in one sense a tad refreshing. Of course I also thought that it was about time he finally admitted what so many had always known. This guy was a first class idiot. The devil played him like a banjo. I used to wonder how such an obvious shyster managed to fool so many people.

          I don’t name names here. It’s not the way I work. If you know who I’m talking about and care to comment, don’t use his name. It could be that he might actually be repenting. It may be possible that he has headed down redemption road. But it could also be, and likely is, that he’s still the shyster he always was.

         And there are a lot just like him. The celebrity Christian world has gotten really dark recently. There was steady progress toward that goal. They may still look bright the way the devil looks bright with his fake lighting. They may be more rich and powerful than ever. They may command respect and have lesser “ministers” cowed and afraid to say a word. But the Lord knows the truth. He knows what they are. They took the wrong road long ago.

         Were they desperate? Well, if a man needs to make a buck and he’s really down on his luck he forces himself to do absolutely anything he can to survive. If he’s a good man he does honest work the right way. But there are men in this world who refuse to work like a man and instead seek an easy way out. “Ministry” has always been one of those easy ways. Once a man gets past that first plea for cash and gets a little offering money and sees how easy it was to do, his conscience doesn’t bother him as much. He then figures if a little money is okay why not more?

         I remember stories of this guy raking in so much cash he was paying ten thousand dollars for one night in a hotel. They could buy anything. While the people in congregations all across the country were trying their best to live right before God and were struggling to buy another used tire for their old car or more baling wire to hold it together and doing their best to feed their kids right, these fake idiot ministers had no money problems whatsoever. It would be different if they earned it. And it’s not wrong to give or receive help. But all these guys do is take up collections. There’s nothing hard about that.

         The Lord’s example means nothing to them. They don’t care. They reach a point early on when they can never go back. They are too dependent on the easy money. They had become masters at getting it. There was a guy in the gospels that did something similar but not as a preacher. He was just your common every day little runt rip off artist. And he found redemption:

         He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” [Luke 19:1-10]

         Based on this story I would say there’s probably somewhere in the vicinity of several trillion dollars that needs to be restored to Christians who were ripped off by fake ministers. It would great if every one of these high-living low-life idiots would make restitution just as little Zaccheus did. But that idea is a pipe dream. There may be one or two here or there but most of the whole lot will keep being what they always were.

          And now they have a lot more power. They have also made good friends with the world and the line between both has gotten so blurred it no longer exists. Nothing will convince them to give it up. They believe their success is due to God’s blessing. Their big brotherhood gives them solid protection. And though they know all about the gross sin among them they strive to keep it hidden so the others won’t suffer.

        That’s in part why you never see one of these guys rat out another. They know if they do they will likely lose their place at the trough.

         The Lord will have to separate these goats out from His sheep.

MEANWHILE, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN

          When you do it right you have to struggle. I’m old enough to remember the tales of old-timers when I was new to the Spirit-filled life back in the 1970s. I heard about how, in their early days, they often barely had enough to eat. These were good Christian people and real ministers. I was told they had to depend on prayer and “pray things in” just to survive. Think about that.

         I also remember a young evangelist who preached at our church. He had a wife and small children. They would travel the country in their car. He was dependent on offerings. These people received very little. I remember how thin he was but also how much the Spirit of the Lord had shone forth in his face. He was so sincere. He told the following story as I remember it:

         “We spent what little money we had from our last offering. I had what I thought was just enough gas to take us a few hundred miles to our next destination. We were traveling at night. It turned out that gas starting running low and we still had many miles to go. We decided to pray. We had a small console in the front seat. We asked the Lord if he would please bless us with the money we needed so we wouldn’t be stranded. I kept driving on in the dark and at last found an open gas station still a ways from our destination. My wife and I prayed again because we had no money for gas. Being satisfied that the Lord honored our request we lifted up the console and there before us was a five dollar bill…”  

         I remember another story from that time. I had a friend who was married with two small children and money was tight. His wife knew how to pray. She had to go buy a few groceries one day but had very little money. She asked the Lord for help. While walking to the store she heard a little rustling behind her and saw what looked like a small bit of rolled-up paper. She continued walking and it kept following her! I remember her laughing when telling the story. She finally stopped to pick it up and it was two or three dollar bills. She was able to buy some milk for her kids.

         The point with these stories is that the people involved had more desperation for the Lord instead of for mere money, and because their priorities were right they had greater faith. They knew when they prayed that the Lord would provide. They had no doubt. He didn’t dump gold bars on them but gave them what they needed at the time.

         “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” [Matthew 6:5-6] [1]

         Those who are monetarily successful in the ministry without using or needing faith and prayer are likely never receiving anything from the Lord. They are nothing more than carnal people using carnal means and are duded up to appear outwardly spiritual. When the time comes that they desperately need personal faith and prayer they’ll be up you know what creek without a paddle.

         But the Lord’s real sons and daughters will ALWAYS be provided for by Him. And I say Amen to that.

            © 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.

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 1)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 2)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 2)

       The Lord Jesus taught that His followers would do what He did. Since this is obviously not the case among the majority of Christians it proves such Christians are not for real. Something is off.

 

         The evidence of His presence is always obvious. When He shows up, believe me, you will know it. When the evidence is lacking His active presence is lacking. The Lord is omnipresent, of course, but that does not mean He has the authority to work. Human beings have free wills and most often reject Him. Thus, restrictions upon Him in Christian circles must be removed. Because one never sees any evidence of His miraculous work in most Christian gatherings it means not only that restrictions upon His work exist in such places but also that they were often put there on purpose and by design.

         Why would so-called Christians do this?

        Again, it is an authority issue. Let me give you a simple example. There are a great many free websites in the world. One can go to such sites and gain free information. Much of this information is excellent. People work very hard at bringing forth the information they present and then give it out for free. This is essentially what the Lord Jesus did with His teachings and what He taught His disciples to do:

         “Freely you received, freely give.” [Matthew 10:8]

         “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” [Romans 8:31-32] [1]

         But then there are those websites who keep much of their information behind a pay wall. There is nothing wrong with this. It is their right to do it.

         What model do most Christian churches and ministries use? One should notice that the offering always precedes the preaching. One may also notice that celebrity preachers sell tickets. Christian music artists have almost always done the same. Regular church singers never do this. It is because they are most likely not talented enough to charge for their efforts. Can anyone imagine the Lord Jesus insisting on an offering before He would teach? As it was, whatever money His ministry was blessed with by people giving freely likely never went to Him. He had pared down His life to such an extent that He needed very little to live on.

         I bring this up because there is a clear connection between churches and ministries who install a pay wall and exhibit a decided lack of evidence of the Lord’s presence and authority. These two most often go together. If the Lord was there and was allowed to work, miracles would happen. But someone else is in charge and that someone is charging for the services. They refuse to “have church” for free. They refuse to preach for free. They are professionals and they demand payment.

         Now, I believe in giving. I have given very large untold amounts in my time. I have given more money away to churches and ministries than most Christians have by far. I know this because statistics prove the majority of Christians give little or nothing. [2] But I also learned long ago to give it to the Lord. Though I was giving through the medium of a church or ministry, I was actually giving to the Lord Jesus through them, and I did my best to only give where He directed. The Lord also taught me long ago to never pay tithes. The tithe is not a tax. I have given tithes. I give the tithe to the Lord Jesus. If you pay tithes you will likely not receive the promised blessing or increase whatsoever.

         So again, we have this phenomenon in which the Lord Jesus taught for free and gave everything for free. HE EVEN GAVE HIS VERY OWN PERFECT LIFE FOR FREE. This was the greatest life ever lived in which He never, ever sinned. And He gave it away? His salvation is thus absolutely free. Whoever attempts to charge a person for salvation will have to answer to God.

         Since the Lord never charged anyone for anything He ever did in His ministry, where do the majority of “ministers” get off in charging for their “services?” The Lord even did miracles for free. He healed so many hurting sick people for free. They never had to pay a dime. He raised the dead for free. Fake ministers have no power to do miracles. But they charge money for what they offer. They operate behind a pay wall. Most people should see the connection between preachers who only work for pay and who never operate in the Spirit in which there is no evidence of the Lord’s presence. Non-Christians see the connection. It’s much easier to see the fakers from the outside.

        There is an old song by Charlie Daniels, [3] before he began living as a Christian, in which he expresses this idea perfectly. Here is the particular verse:

           Jesus walked on the water and I know that it’s true

           But sometimes I think that preacher man’d like do a little walkin’ too [4]

           © 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.

[2] Church Giving Statistics, 2019 Edition

[3] Charlie Daniel’s Testimony

[4] Written by: CHARLES EDWARD DANIELS Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 1)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 3)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 1)

       There can be no unity without division. All evil must be separated from the good. This is one’s life in a nutshell, to go one way or the other by the time he exits into eternity.

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         The Lord called them disciples. They were those who would follow Him successfully. Their first task was to lay down their lives and allow the inherent sin and evil within to be purged out.

         It was not at all easy nor was it supposed to be. His standard is the highest. He said all sin and evil must go. To assist in achieving such a monumental task He required His followers to take up an unseen personal cross—a crude and roughhewn, raw and rasping deadweight to serve as an ongoing execution stake.

         And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” [Luke 9:23]  

ALL REAL CHRISTIANS ARE DISCIPLES

         It stems from the word discipline. This invokes extremely hard work. The spiritually lazy need not apply. Discipline does not refer to mere busyness but to the wrenching chore of somehow being conformed to His image and living the life He lived. One’s humanity will always fight the process and most of the time human nature wins. This is why most of what we presently call Christianity is composed of losers and fakers who refuse to do it right and settle instead into a faux form they can handle without getting right with God. They would rather be comfortable within society and create a religion and deity to suit themselves. I guess they figure they will be clever enough to convince the Lord of their artificial righteousness at the Judgment. This is not a good plan.

         Since everyone who comes to the Lord is a sinner, the first order of business is plowing up the sin field and sowing it with salt. This process must go down deep to the very roots. All vestiges of sin and evil must be removed and eliminated. This process—initial repentance—allows for breaking up hard fallow ground and creating deep, pure nutrient-laden soil within which the Gospel seed can be successfully planted. Repentance is thus likened to the process of decomposition and death. The richest soil is that in which the greater decomposition takes place. Think of a healthy compost heap.

THE LEVEL OF REPENTANCE RELATES DIRECTLY TO REAL SALVATION

        “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” [Mark 4:3-8]   

         With no repentance the seed is stolen by the devil. With little or shallow repentance, whatever may spring up is weak and dies quickly. It must be noted that the level of initial repentance one engages in is directly related to surviving eventual persecution. If one attempts an easy way he will later fall away. He is too wimpy to survive the inevitable spiritual attacks that will surely come. If he had been harder on himself he would have been stronger:

         “In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.” [Mark 4:16-17]

DIVISION FIRST, THEN UNITY

       “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” [Luke 12:51-53]

           So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him. [John 7:43]   

         Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. [John 9:16]

         A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words. Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?” [John 10:19-21]  

BRINGING FORTH SPIRITUAL FRUIT

         No unregenerate human being has the required spiritual seed to bring forth spiritual fruit. It must come from the Lord. This is why one must be born again of the Spirit and not simply the flesh. Some unregenerate humans may be very nice and friendly people willing to help and do good things but they are worthless spiritually. The good things they may do are never eternal. Thus, the Lord put a premium on spiritual things, the same kind of things He was associated with and brought forth during His ministry.

          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’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” [John 14:8-12][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.

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 2)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 3)

STAND WITH THE LORD JESUS

           DO NOT WAVER. STAND.

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         And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.”

       The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”

         And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished!

         “But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house. Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

         Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” [Mark 3:20-35] [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.

WANT TO KNOW WHO THE REAL DECEIVERS ARE? HERE’S A HINT:

         When their actions are the opposite of their rhetoric.

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TRAITS OF THE PHARISEES

          The people who put on a big show spouting on endlessly in their bold bloviations do not care whatsoever if their speech is the opposite of their actions. In fact, their speech is designed to hide their actions. What they say is not what they do.

        Therefore, if one is swayed by the talk without investigating the walk, they will be hopelessly deceived. They simply do not grasp the fact that they are being manipulated. They are being tricked into joining the mass support class.

“HE WHO HAS EARS TO HEAR, LET HIM HEAR.”

         The Lord Jesus warned us about this. He exposed this trait of the Pharisees. But the majority always either reject the warning or are simply too dense to understand it. Those who have the lazy tendency to believe anything they are told simply need a grand presentation on the part of the Pharisees in order to enforce their laziness. In other words, if you dress up a lowlife huckster to the point that he or she appears to be a legitimate and honest proponent of truth, the majority believes what they see and what they hear at face value instead of making an investigation behind the scenes.

          Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:1-13][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.

REAL SPIRITUAL WARFARE: HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE AN EFFECTIVE CHRISTIAN

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        When a real believer obeys the Lord in presenting the real Gospel, the enemy strikes back and open spiritual warfare ensues.

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          Most Christians prefer non-spiritual warfare Christianity. Most Christians don’t even know what spiritual warfare is. Many have never even heard of the term. It is thus obvious that they are not at war.

        How is it that a great Man preaching love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and joy was treated as a despicable criminal? It is because the people treating Him this way are despicable criminals. Whoever hates and rejects the Lord Jesus tells the whole world they are the world’s biggest and vilest creature and is the farthest from God (one could not be any farther). Whoever loves the Lord Jesus and strives to honor Him is the one who is closest to God.

         Paul was sent on a mission. He was sent to preach the Gospel and rescue souls. What most people miss is that he was sent as a spiritual soldier into spiritual war. The Lord told him he would suffer for this. In watching one of the many D-Day memorials recently there was a clip I am sure many of you have seen. It shows General Eisenhower, the supreme commander of all allied forces, greeting paratroopers right before their mission. The video said that 40,000 paratroopers would parachute into northern France behind enemy lines. It also said that Eisenhower expected 80% casualties. In other words it was effectively a suicide mission. Yet here were all these soldiers geared up for battle in good spirits. They obviously had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Though many volunteered for the armed services, most were drafted and obeyed their government in good faith when forced into the service. The men on this particular mission would soon be decimated. I don’t know what the final figures were. Perhaps some of you reading this do. But it was a disaster.

         Also, about 2,000 men died in the initial D-Day invasion. Most were killed right away, as soon as they began. Their crafts were blown away on the open sea. Many were strafed by machine gun fire as soon as they lowered the ramps of their boats. They had little chance. They were lambs led to the slaughter. It is said that both of these groups had to be sacrificed for the greater good so the successive waves could succeed. But again, I don’t think most of these men had any idea what they were in for.

         This is what happens when you attack an enemy. The enemy will attack back. At that point you either quit or attack back again. The last man standing wins. It cost the lives of tens of thousands very early in this opening battle to bring eventual success. But it was the first group that suffered the highest casualties. Whoever is on the front lines gets hit the hardest.

         This is why right-thinking people understand what the Lord Jesus really did and why He should be highly honored and respected more than any man. He put His life on the line for all the others who came after. It is the same for His original apostles who were the first wave sent into an evil world with the Gospel. These men would be hit the hardest, and they were. The Lord prepared them perfectly. They learned it all from Him. They saw how He handled everything thrown His way. They experienced evil striking out at Him every day. They knew they must learn from Him and grow, and develop spiritually and be strong. They knew that when their time came they would have to be ready and attack with full force, and also have much and keep much in their reserve tanks for ongoing battle. Otherwise they would fail.

UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

         After doing exactly what the Lord told them to do at Philippi, they were beaten bloody and thrown into a filthy prison. But instead of feeling bad about what happened they praised the Lord Jesus. This set the stage for even greater miracles:

      “Hey Silas, can you imagine how much we accomplished today? The devil threw everything he had at us!”

         “He certainly did, Paul.”

         “The Lord knew exactly where to send us and what to say. The enemy had a fit. Now we know the people in league with the devil who have sold out to the enemy, and who the people are we need to rescue. We know what is holding them back, what is constraining them. We know this is a little hell hole of the devil but with many people who want to be free.”

         “And will be free! And are being set free!”

         “Yes! Let’s sing to the Lord and praise Him!”

         The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

         But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. [Acts 16:22-34][1]

         It was only after all of the above was accomplished that Paul and Silas were released and free to go in peace. It cost them with blood and suffering but they accomplished what the Lord sent them there to do. They showed themselves to be good and effective servants of the Lord by successfully attacking and defeating a powerful spiritual enemy and opening up doors of salvation.

         They won the spiritual battle.

         © 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.

THE GREAT PRETENDERS OPPOSING THE GREAT AWAKENING

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For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. [Isaiah 11:9]

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         They appear to be for real. They have garnered great market share and popularity. Yet, they not only refuse to preach the real Gospel, they oppose the Lord Jesus whom they claim to serve.

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AWAKE, O SLEEPER         

         False prophets are nothing new. Ancient Israel was plagued with them. Once the Lord’s Community came forth they began appearing at that time as well. The Lord Jesus warned us against them. The apostle Paul spoke of them often. The false apostles, prophets, teachers, etc, soon grew to large numbers and after a century or so eventually replaced the unbelieving Jews as the chief persecutors of the Lord and his people. They opposed all that was real. They created their own version of the way things ought to be and demanded that their followers fall in line.

         Which brings us to the present. Because America is largely Biblically illiterate, most people are easily deceived. Of course, they don’t know that. The bigger question is why so many Christians are so easily deceived. It’s the same answer. Most Christians are also Biblically illiterate. They may know much more Bible than secular non-believers but their Biblical knowledge is largely denomination-based. Their beliefs follow the dictates of their preachers, churches, and groups. If they want to be members in good standing wherever they happen to be they must adhere to whatever their preachers, churches, and groups teach.

         They don’t really care so much about truth. They don’t care about the Lord’s real teachings put forth plainly in His Word. They only care about what they have chosen to believe. They thus reject Scripture that can free them from the clutches of deception. Most preachers know they better preach what their denomination tells them to preach or they will be out of a job. They preach what their people want and expect for the same reason. When they do this they get great positive feedback. They climb in the ranks. They make more money. They become more popular. They garner more love and respect from the Christian masses. Millions follow them on Christian TV. They live in expensive houses, drive new cars, their kids go to big universities, they can afford to live in relative luxury, and their entire lives become models of the classic American success story.

         This is all because they refuse to teach the truth because they align themselves with money. They pay special attention to the biggest donors. They act, they put up false fronts, they master fake smiles like politicians, and instead of suffering persecution life just keeps getting better. As their stars rise the people they preach to are most often no better off and continue to struggle. But the church leaders don’t really care. They write off those who struggle as slackers who won’t obey the program. They blame the people for not being as good as them. They understand they themselves must be special, have arrived, and get it right because of their great place in the Christian world and secretly have contempt for those Christians who will never gain what they have.

YOU CAN’T HIDE FOREVER

         We keep hearing about all the fake preachers, their dastardly deeds behind the scenes, their money grubbing, and pedophile priests. But the Catholic Church protected all the pedophile priests and kept moving them around so they could abuse even more children. They still do it today. They know there is a big priest shortage. Some Catholics are livid about this but their voices never go anywhere for the most part. Most Catholics have their heads in the sand. It is same with Protestants. Many live on fossils of many years past and have been overcome by the growing sinful culture. All of these people who have such great and powerful platforms could do something to turn it all around if they wanted to. They have the money. They have the support. But they refuse.

         They have joined up with the devil. They made friends with the world. They like life the way it is. They are pretenders one and all.

         Many of these evil fakers were exposed beginning in the late 1980s. The pedophile priest problem began seeing the light about that time also. Yet nothing has changed. Most of the guilty saw what was happening and quickly tried to give off the impression that they cleaned up their act. A few evil ones got busted. Most not only got off scot free but once the heat was off went right back to doing the same things they had always done.

         We live in different times now, however. It is now possible for anyone to gain a platform and begin speaking out. Millions are doing this. We live in a time of an emerging Great Awakening in which Truth is coming forth like never before and evil is being exposed far beyond anything that has happened in the past. They are quickly running out of places to hide. Their only chance is to keep convincing people to stand by them and attack the honest ones.

         This is why the major social media platforms are no longer even pretending to not be the great discriminators they are. Their censoring is obvious to all. They must do all in their power to shut it down. They cannot afford to be exposed. But they will all be exposed anyway. It is happening as we speak. There are just too many truth tellers. There are too many who want justice. There are too many who want to be free. And for Christians, there are growing numbers who want the Lord’s real teachings to come forth and for all the false doctrines that hold people in spiritual bondage to be exposed for what they are.

         For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. [Ephesians 6:12-13]

         “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.” [Matthew 10:25-27][1]

          When I was a rookie many years ago and was out witnessing all the time something really profound happened that led to a spiritual victory. But because I was still a new Christian and had not yet experienced such a thing on that level I went to my pastor after a church service and told him about it. I’ll never forget what he said. He got a big smile on his face then laughed and said, “You’ve got the devil on the run!” I just stood there. I didn’t know what to say. But it felt great. It felt like I was actually having an impact. I later saw that the strange things happening around me when I was witnessing and teaching were manifestations of evil coming forth that would normally remain hidden. They were protecting their turf against attack. I was shining my light in the darkness and exposing error and sin. I wasn’t necessarily trying to do this but was only obeying the Lord under His anointing. I realized that even a young new believer could expose the enemy on his own ground and make a difference.

         But what if millions could do this at the same time? Those that know the spiritual present know this is exactly what is happening right now. But all the sleepy Christians remain blissfully unaware. They are too busy listening to pretenders.

         © 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.

HEAVEN WILL BE SPARSELY POPULATED

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        “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [Matthew 7:14]

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           If you like wide open spaces free from the maddening crowd you will love heaven. It will not be because heaven’s perceived billions will be spread out in such a way over a limitless expanse that it appears relatively empty, but because its population relevant to planet earth will be disproportionately less than many can imagine. This means most humans will never get there.

A HUNDRED MILLION TO ONE

         It reminds one of why the Creator is so generous with seeds so as to greatly boost the chances of fruitfulness. It appears He is thus wasting seeds but in reality He is only increasing the chances of fertility, productivity, success, and abundance.

         One might keep in mind that every human being is the result of one very strong unrelenting little fighting spermy guy who fended off all the other loser spermy guys to make it first to the interior of the great egg at the finish line.

          On average, when the sower sows his seed, 100 million sperm are released. 100 million. That’s roughly 30% of the current population in the USA. Yet these 100 million are reduced down to only one winner. So though we characterize extremely long odds as “a million to one,” this ratio is one hundred times that. This means 100 million minus one are losers. They never get to the finish line. The vast majority all die along the way.

         Now, these little guys can actually live up to about five days once implanted. This means they have five days to get to the egg. So it is not just each other they are competing against—they are also competing against time. Each one of them has the highest of callings but only one in a hundred million actually gets to fulfill it. Many of them get lost. Many run out of steam. Many get sidetracked. Many don’t have the capacity to get very far. They say this is nature’s way of insuring that only the very best make it to the very end. Only one gets there. There is no second place.

         “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [Matthew 7:14]

         It is the same with humanity. Billions of people exist but the Lord Jesus said only a relative few will make it to the eternal goal. It is not necessarily because He sets very high restrictions. It is mostly because human beings in general are stupid, lazy, selfish, and prideful. Most do not seek truth. Most do not seek deliverance from sin. Most people do not understand that seeds must be planted and that this action calls for sacrifice and self surrender. Most of those who do understand it cannot bring themselves to do it, or do it consistently, or they try but give up.

          Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” [John 12:24-25]  

          Survival of the fittest is also true in the spiritual realm. The Lord Jesus gives us the tools and opportunities to succeed but we must put it all to work and we must always trust Him faithfully regardless of circumstances. The human spirit is extremely strong. Once it is directed properly and functioning properly per the Lord’s will there cannot help but be success. This success, however, is according to the Lord’s standards and not those of this world. Worldly standards dictate that the apostle Paul, for example, was a loser. He left this world with no material possessions beyond the clothes on his back, no retirement, no 401k, no nothing. But according to spiritual standards he perhaps did more for the Lord Jesus and His kingdom than anyone else. All real Christians are still blessed recipients of Paul’s writings to this day.

         How much more can the same be said for the Lord Jesus Himself? He accomplished infinitely more than Paul or all the rest of us put together. He not only made it to the egg but He made it to the greatest egg of all time and opened up a door and a trail for us to get there as He did. Even so, most “believers” will never make it. This is why:

          “Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” [Matthew 13:18-23]   

           No one overcame as many obstacles in completing His course as did the Lord. The early believers illustrated for future generations how one must go about living for God, doing His will, and achieving the objective. They did not have it easy but they did it anyway. Most of today’s Christians take the opposite approach. Most will all die in the opening salvos and machine gun fire on the beaches of Normandy.

           It is an exceedingly tough journey for the little spermy guys to make it to the egg. Not only must they expend energy on the trip, they must also conserve the energy they will need for the end of the trip. Why? Because the egg is actually covered by a thick layer which makes it all the more difficult for conception to occur. The few sperm that get there must have enough left in the tank to penetrate the outer layer of the egg. This is where the remaining few greatest die. Imagine making it that far and not being able to complete the objective.

         This exact seed journey scenario mirrors life in a general sense, but it perfectly captures life in the spiritual sense. The Kingdom of the Lord is therefore only for those who have the unrelenting drive to make it all the way, to dedicate themselves completely to the Lord Jesus, and be determined against often ridiculous odds to complete the course.

              All real Christians will go though the following in the process:

          “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” [Matthew 5:10-12]

           If one is going to make it to heaven one will have to overcome all the persecution along the way. One will have to maintain love and always forgive. One must contend with betrayal and potential traps. The obstacles can be immense. There may be vast scorching waterless deserts to cross or giant mountain ranges with deep snow and icy winds. There will always be much resistance. Many elements of the journey will refuse to cooperate. At times the objective will appear impossible. But because the real Christian is blessed with the indomitable spiritual seed of the great Creator, he has the ability to overcome everything and continue to press on. On one occasion, Paul illustrated the challenge set before us as follows:

           I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. [1Corinthians 9:23-27][1]

         If Paul knew he could miss the mark, we should all know we could also. He put forth maximum effort to stay qualified. We should also. Anyone who has ever accomplished anything significant knows that it takes much work and dedication. This is even truer when it comes to working in the Lord’s kingdom. And it is entirely true when it comes to properly graduating from this life into the next.

            There will only be a relative few at the ceremony.

            © 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.

THE INDEPENDENT SOVEREIGNTY OF EACH REAL CHRISTIAN

        When the American colonies were first formed a few centuries ago, each was a sovereign entity. After the Revolutionary War (1775-1781), each colony became a separate sovereign state.

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         Each state was responsible for its own laws and welfare under the general umbrella of coexistence with the other United States. The Federal government had no jurisdiction in the internal affairs of the thirteen states, each of which was akin to a separate nation.

CREATING AN ENTIRELY NEW AMERICA

         The War of Northern Aggression (1861-1865), otherwise known as the Civil War, changed all that. The Federal government made the decision to grossly violate the Constitution by invading and destroying the Southern states. It also stole the authority of not only those states but all the states in the union. After the Civil War the states were no longer sovereign entities and were only separate states in the administrative sense. All states from that time forward were forced to bow to the newly garnered power of the Federal government.

        It is obvious, thus, that central control and power in Washington DC has only grown more immense and unaccountable over time until the present. And though there have been attempts at intervals in American history since the Civil War to correct this wrong and stem the tide, each has failed to curtail the overriding power of the Feds. Those who know history know such federal power was not the vision of the Founding Fathers. Indeed, after the Revolutionary War they had attempted to write a new Constitution (1787) that would continue to respect the sovereignty of states but also grant a greater unifying force at the federal level. Their effort diverged from the first constitution, the Articles of Confederation (1777), which was written and ratified during the war. Article II of the Articles of Confederation states the following:

         Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

         Thus, in the effort to grant a greater unifying force in the new Constitution of 1787, they took a great risk by granting the possibility of too much federal control. As opposed to the former Articles of Confederation, the Founding Fathers granted what eventually became far too large a loophole within the new Constitution that would eventually allow for unscrupulous and immoral scoundrels to usurp the authority of the states and thereby destroy the authority of the citizens of those states. Since that time, by deviating from the clear intent of the law, authority was unlawfully granted to those who gravitated to yet another man-made government ziggurat in which the few ruled over the many and from which great spoils could be extracted from the citizenry.

         The natural course of this action after 154 years is that much of the vast wealth and authority of America is owned by less than one percent, which is quickly growing to an even smaller fraction. The more they gain the more we lose. Foreign entities and dual citizens are buying up and controlling much of the country. Americans are being squeezed like never before. We are long since past the time of another Revolution, something Thomas Jefferson said we must have at not so long intervals, to maintain the freedom and liberty of the people. It was We the People who originally had the power and wealth. It was what the Constitution called for and to which the original sovereign states agreed to.

THE REAL CHURCH AND THE EVIL FAKERS

       But again, that sovereignty is long gone, as is the original freedom and liberty of Americans. This exact occurrence has also taken place within institutional, traditional Christianity: One must enter a “church” on their terms. One must sit down among a sea of people and remain silent. One is a mere spectator. On must go through choreographed routines and submit to dry “liturgies.” By this practice, if one never matures spiritually, one grossly violates the teachings of the Lord Jesus. He created a Community in which each of His followers has an independent mind and spirit. Each must walk in the freedom and liberty of the Lord. Each believer understands he or she has a duty to the Lord to participate significantly. Indeed, His is a participatory Community that demands the involvement, input, and contribution of every member.    

         According to His teachings, each real Christian is a sovereign entity accountable only to the higher power of the Lord. Any other authority is only lateral. It is why He refers to His people as a family and a Community. Everyone is the same. Each is equal. The only difference is that some believers are more mature than others but all begin at the same place and each can develop to full maturity. Followers of the Lord were never to rule over other believers. These simple facts easily tell us whose methods are wrong and who has robbed individual Christians of their God-given authority and freedom in the Lord. The vast majority of Christians and Christian leaders have gotten it wrong over these last twenty centuries. An extremely small class, the Clergy, has taken over and believes itself to be far superior. The vast 99% of everyone else, the Laity, has surrendered to a false authority as a wimpy dog to a pack leader. The people who comprise these classes will not fare well at the Judgment. The Lord will reprimand one for taking authority He never granted and He will reprimand the other for never taking the authority He did grant.

        Until then, however, millions of real Christians worldwide have thrown off their shackles and insist on doing Christianity the way the Lord Jesus intended. They are having a far greater impact than most people, especially unreal Christians, are aware of. It is the false Christians who are the chief persecutors of the real Christians. But it has always been this way. It is up to real believers to take on and maintain their sovereign authority, walk in spiritual maturity, take the battle to the enemy, and assist the Lord Jesus in doing the work and living the lives He has called them to. This is the only road to spiritual success. It is the only way to fully honor Him. It is the only way to get the job done.

THE REAL CHOSEN PEOPLE

         For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. [Galatians 3:26-29][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.

COUNTERING THE GREAT AWAKENING: THE RISING ASSAULT AGAINST FREE SPEECH IN AMERICA

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       Freedom of Speech is under attack like never before in this country. What’s worse, very few are even aware of it or seem to care. If something isn’t done fast, we will lose the rights great patriots of the American Revolution fought and died for.

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         In March of this year the Secretary of State made a chilling statement against the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and freedom of speech in particular. I’ll get to that shortly. But first I will present a lead-in quote he made a month after the first one. This man is supposed to uphold the Constitution. He claims to be a Christian. Before he was Secretary of State he was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. This is what he said about his job there:

         “I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like (laughing), we had entire training courses! It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”

           I have no idea what he was talking about with that last line, but the fact of the matter is that elements within our government have been in the lying, cheating, and stealing business for many years and it has grown much worse over time. This is no great revelation. Government officials admit it readily. And the American people in general, by majority, have apparently always accepted it. When the honorable Secretary made the preceding quote he got great applause and much laughter. The audience had no problem with official lying, cheating, and stealing. Perhaps their spouses cheated on them and they were fine with it. Perhaps they had their houses robbed and saw no problem. Perhaps they found out that good friends had been lying to them and about them for years and they just didn’t care one way or the other.

THE LORD JESUS MADE NO EXCEPTIONS

        Perhaps this fallen, broken world of sin which rejects the love and leadership of its Creator must resort to such tactics for survival and defense. Perhaps American officials have no choice but to violate the Lord’s teachings. And perhaps this is defensible against foreign enemies. But lying, cheating, and stealing should never be practiced against fellow Americans.

         Regarding any possible exceptions or caveats in His teachings, however, the Lord Jesus has never and will never okay lying, cheating (covenant breaking), and stealing for any reason, and whoever practices such sin is on their own and wholly responsible. He has never justified these otherwise blatant sins and never will. He has never said it is appropriate to engage in these sins on occasion, or use them as means to do a job. There will never be any lying, cheating, or stealing in heaven. This is what He said about the people who will never get into heaven:

         “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]

          Here is a refresher on the Ten Commandments, numbers seven, eight, and nine:

         “You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” [Exodus 20:14-16]  

         Yet, it is okay to violate the Lord’s commandments for the sake of “national security.” I submit that the only reason these practices got started long ago by wholly dishonorable men is because they could not possibly care less about what the Lord Jesus thought or what He taught. As the years went by the lying, cheating, and stealing (and justified officially-sanctioned murdering, mass murdering, and multiple mass murdering) just kept getting worse. The American people didn’t know early on. This is why so many revelations of wickedness perpetrated by those in high positions of power never came out until decades later. Too much time had passed to do anything about it. Yet, the practices continued and greater efforts went in to keeping the skullduggery secret. In time, it was no longer the perpetrators of the crimes who were made to pay, but those who exposed them. This is in part why the Lord Jesus was murdered. He exposed the gross immorality and evil of those among His people ruling over His people.

         “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. [John 8:43-44]  

TRASHING AMERICA

         Have you ever noticed, over the last half century or so, how America is incessantly trashed by Americans? Telling the truth and exposing secret evil is one thing but hating America is quite another. Have you noticed that Americans can say pretty much anything they want against their country? This has been happening on college campuses for decades, for example. Not only is America being trashed, early American history is being trashed. The Founders are being trashed. I’m referring to people such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. I’m referring to the great patriots who gave it everything they had to found this country. Well, their names are increasingly being dragged through the mud. What’s always interesting is the people doing this. They must think themselves to be far superior to everyone else. They have created in their own little minds a false morality and faux moral high ground that is actually more akin to a septic tank.

         Since it apparently is just super fine for Americans to trash their own country, one assumes it must be okay to do the same to other countries. Our current President, early in his administration, had something to say about certain $%#@* countries. But he is not doing so much about defending freedom of speech at the moment. I hope he will. I hope somebody will. The big tech companies are deplatforming, censoring, and silencing Americans to their heart’s content and nobody in Washington seems to care. Yet, one can say anything one wants against America and other countries. Well, except for one. There is one country you must never criticize or hold to account. This is what I was referring to early in this article when I said the Secretary of State made a chilling statement this past March that was even worse than the “lying, cheating, stealing” statement he made in April.

         Here you go:

         “The United States stands with the Jewish people and Israel in the fight against the world’s oldest bigotry. This bigotry is taking on an insidious new form in the guise of anti-Zionism. It’s discussed by our media. It’s supported by certain members of Congress, none of whom I suppose are here tonight. Don’t get me wrong, criticizing Israel’s policies is an acceptable thing to do in a democracy. But criticizing the very existence of Israel is not acceptable. Anti-Zionism denies the very legitimacy of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Friends, let me go on record: Anti-Zionism IS anti-Semitism. The Trump administration opposes it unequivocally and we will fight for it relentlessly.”

         I’m an American. I’m a Christian. I don’t have a dog in that fight. I care that the United States of America as founded has a right to exist. I care that American freedoms and rights remain intact and protected. I care that the Constitution is honored as bedrock law. I care that righteousness and light overcomes evil and darkness in this country. The citizens of every country should feel that way about their respective countries. But it would great if the honorable Secretary would talk about Christian persecution in America and the world. It would be great if he mentioned standing with the Lord Jesus and that this current administration promoted the Lord to a greater and more vocal degree. Christianity is disappearing in the Middle East and those who rule Israel both politically and religiously have nothing but utter contempt for the Lord Jesus.

         It might also interest otherwise unaware Americans and Christians, especially Christian Zionists, to know that there are a great many Jewish people and Jewish religious leaders, in America and abroad, who are not Zionists and that there are many Jews who outwardly oppose Zionism. Not only that, but within the current Israeli rhetoric whipping up war against Iran it must be noted that the largest Jewish population in the Middle East after Israel and Turkey is in Iran. Iran is also home to a large Christian population relative to such in that region of the world. Therefore, these clear facts add even greater weight regarding those Jews who oppose the Zionist warmongers to the former quote by the honorable Secretary in that these people have now been characterized as anti-Semitic Jews.

         Now, let that sink in. Can you figure it out? And I’m not referring to a mere handful. As an example, just to get started, if you are interested in the subject of Jews against Zionism, you can go here. Since a great many Jewish American citizens oppose Zionism, criticize it, or at the very least remain consciously noncommittal, does it now mean their first amendment rights have been subverted? Should they be concerned? One wonders what these Jewish people may know to take such a stand. Why are they against Zionism? One also wonders how they will eventually react to this new official policy violating freedom of speech and conscience once it becomes more entrenched. There are strong moves at present to actually make it law. What then?

         It is also quite curious that the central focus of such new laws is always anti-Semitism and perhaps “Islamophobia,” but never anti-Christianity. Why is it always okay to trash the Lord Jesus and Christians in America? Could it be because certain powerful forces have an agenda to do just that and most Christians refuse to speak out about it?  

THE FIRST AMENDMENT

           Here is the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

         The rights contained in the First Amendment are the rights of all American citizens and these rights are protected by the Constitution. Whoever violates these rights of Americans is breaking the law and is subject to prosecution. Period. Well, actually, that’s no longer true. The Constitution is still there, of course, but first amendment rights have been hollowed out over time, as have other rights in the Bill of Rights, especially the Fourth Amendment.

         Once violations become routine, freedom gets turned upside down and innocent law-abiding Americans are left to fend for themselves against great odds. This will all get straightened out at the Judgment, however, and the unrepentant minions of evil will get theirs. However, everyone on the planet currently has an ongoing great opportunity to get right with God before that fateful occurrence. His free grace extends to all. Until then, Americans, and especially real Christians, might want to keep in mind what eventually happened to the Lord in His time.

         Speaking of which, the Lord refused to be silent. He is the one who created freedom of speech. He is the one who grants it to all people everywhere. Part of His very purpose was to reveal light and showcase the truth. In that process, He was not afraid to expose those who were lying, cheating, and stealing while in the guise of religious or political legitimacy. Regardless of what they thought or the illicit means they thought they needed for success, He never supported or justified such violations of the Torah. One might also note that He called those people serpents and vipers, which is quite the pejorative since it references, in the minds of those Torah violators in positions of great power, the following:

         Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made… [Genesis 3:1]

          They all knew exactly what He meant.

THE ABUSE OF GOD-GIVEN LIBERTY

         The history of humanity is a history of abuse against God-given rights. Whoever knows real history including ancient history and Biblical history knows this. Evil people always manage to rise to the top to rule masses and they inflict said masses with such things as lying, cheating, stealing, slavery, and abuse. Most of all, they restrict personal freedom to their heart’s content. They absolutely loathe and despise liberty. This is in part why there has always been such unrest in the world. People fight for basic rights against evil people in power who hate them and only use them for their own benefit. They treat people worse than animals. With this background it is amazing that America was ever founded. It is a miracle that we possess the rights we have. It should be needless to say, but a great price was paid to obtain them.

         Regarding freedom of speech, the Founders were addressing primarily what may be termed political speech in that an American may address verbally or in print whatever they may want to articulate regarding their personal beliefs and interpretations of Constitutional principles, and legally question whatever its government does and what government officials and office holders speak forth and practice. The people are to act as a governor and disallow evil illegal practices and especially practices that violate freedom and liberty. This country is supposed to be presided over by We the People. But those who wrested control long ago laugh at the concept and trash it every day. They only care about themselves. They lie, they cheat, and they steal.

         Freedom of the press regards the literary freedom to write and publish whatever we want within the limited confines of not violating the rights of others. We used to have a free press in this country long ago but it was subverted by powerful people who use what they call a free press for mere monetary gain and propaganda purposes. There used to be a much greater appreciation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights in this country not long ago. It was often the left side of the equation that stood up for freedom of expression, speech, and the press, but the left of a generation ago, though it was obviously saddled with extremists, is nothing whatsoever like the crazy left of today, which advocates for censorship and the dissolution of Constitutional rights.

         The point is that Americans have rights that the vast majority of the people in the world do not have and have never had. The rulers that the citizens of other countries choose or allow to be in power refuse to grant them such rights. As far as they are concerned it’s their problem. If they don’t like what’s going on in their country, they can do something about it. That’s what the founders of America did. Yet now it is Americans who are subverting those very rights in their own country. The evil people advocating for overthrowing the Constitution are very few but they have had great success in manipulating and deceiving weak minded and willingly ignorant people to actually agree with their subversive agenda. Is it possible that enough Americans will stand up at this time and fight for their Constitutional rights and protections? Do enough Americans still care about civil liberties? Do Americans even know anymore what their rights actually are? How many Americans have actually heard of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

         Freedom is a great thing. When the people are free to know the truth they can hold evil people accountable and from gaining power over them. When people lose this freedom they have no chance to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Evil people take over. It then becomes an almost impossible fight. The American Revolution was one such impossible fight but against all odds the original patriots won that battle and secured the great and many rights we have.

THE LION FROM THE TRIBE OF JUDAH

         But a much, much greater fight than this took place two thousand years ago when one single Man stood up to the entire world of sin and faced off against the evil people who lied, cheated, and stole to gain it. He won a great victory and continues winning every day. Real Christians continue to support Him and live for Him. He possesses all power and authority in both the earthly and spiritual realms, and He always takes care of His own.

         So Jesus 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 will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” [John 10:7-10] [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.

HAPPY EIGHTH BIRTHDAY REAL CHRISTIANITY

        Hello friends. I want to drop a short note to let you know I’m still here but have been involved in a lot of practical matters and have not had any time to write. Much has transpired since my last post.

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       I created this site on May 10, 2011 and have been faithful to it regardless of circumstances. One never knows what most people go through, or what other Christians in particular go through in their daily lives, but at the end of the day it is all about being faithful. I discovered long ago that faithfulness leads to greater accomplishment, meaning that one must continue regardless of circumstances to maintain victory. Evil never stops which means righteousness must outlast it. Light must overcome darkness. But in order to do this light must be consistent.

        “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:14-16]

           Real Christians promote the Lord Jesus—always—in whatever way He calls us to do this. He is the Light. He is the only Light. Everything else is spiritually dark without Him. This is why the dark places of this world perpetrated by the dark hearts of this world are filled with lying, cheating, stealing, murder, mayhem, and destruction. We attempt to do our best for Him to overcome the darkness so He can set those people free who want to be free. He gave everything He had for us. He is the pearl of great price, the hidden treasure found in a field, and the reason for living. He said this:

           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.” [Matthew 10:32-33] [1]

            Be blessed this day. Thank you for your support and friendship.

            (I began a new article yesterday and will be posting it soon. See you then.)

            © 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.


*PLEASE SEE THE FOLLOWING POST FROM BILL AND MARY SWEENEY! IT WILL BLESS YOU! TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY: HANG IN THERE!

THE PHARISEES, INCLUDING THE CHRISTIAN VARIETY, ARE LOVERS OF MONEY

         I quoted Paul in my last post in his second letter to Timothy. One of the charges he made against false believers and rejecters of the Lord was that they were lovers of money. So was Judas.

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          Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. 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 16:14-15]

         There are a great many Christian bigwigs who are highly esteemed among men. They rule their roosts as the flaming little peacocks they are. It continues to amaze me how gullible Christians are in supporting these people. The Lord could walk in to most churches and everyone there would pay Him no mind. They would simply not recognize Him. He would not look the part. He would be invisible.

         But the great mighty platform-strutters and gaudily-attired clergyites, many of which are going straight to hell, are honored much as the original Pharisees were honored.

         Such Pharisees also loved dressing the part. They would do anything to pass themselves off as legitimate in order to gain great social standing and much money.

          Perhaps this is in part why gaining money is not so easy for real Christians or why they are less motivated toward wealth. Real Christians already know they are the wealthiest people in the world anyway because they have a close relationship with the Lord Jesus. What can possibly be better than that? The Lord ALWAYS takes care of His children but His children must put Him first.

        “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” [Luke 16:13]

         Those who knowingly reject the Lord do so in large part because they love money and refuse to submit to real discipleship which will curtail their gaining of it. Thus, without the Lord, they are free to seek wealth to their heart’s content. Those who put money before God will also engage in much evil against the Lord and His people. One of these evils is betrayal. Spending money on the Lord, His people, and His movement is considered a waste. He always wants to help good-hearted people who strive to do good. Such people are often looked down upon by the world because they are seen as losers who won’t fight, cheat, lie, and deceive to get ahead. The lovers of money do this. The two always go together. Here is a good example:

         Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.” [John 12:1-8]

          Right after this the indignant money-loving Judas left to make his deal with the money-loving chief priests to betray the Lord.

         Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus. [Matthew 26:14-16] [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.

EXPOSING CHRISTIAN PHARISEES (THEY’RE JUST LIKE THE REAL PHARISEES…)

Image is everything. The real person is the one hiding behind the carefully crafted outer person. There is no greater idol or graven image than a living human being.       

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But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.

Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. [2Timothy 3:1-15][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.

THE SECOND COMMANDMENT PROHIBITS GRAVEN IMAGES: WHAT WAS GOD THINKING?

THE SECOND COMMANDMENT PROHIBITS GRAVEN IMAGES: WHAT WAS GOD THINKING?

Blog Pic 2.27.19        

       God is against graven images. He is against idols. It is why the ancient Jews expressed a vigorous rejection of such imagery. There must be a compelling reason.

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         The Hebrew word for idol is pecel. It is defined as “a carved, graven, or sculpted image.” God’s injunction against such images is further defined by the Hebrew word temunah, which follows it. This word is most often translated as “likeness,” and is also defined as “form, similitude, picture, or shape.” What God is describing here is basic statuary of any size. Here is how Merriam-Webster defines the word statue: “A three-dimensional representation usually of a person, animal, or mythical being that is produced by sculpturing, modeling, or casting.” [1] That pretty much covers it.

         “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” [Exodus 20:4-6 NKJV]   

      The preceding is the second commandment as it appears in the list of the Ten Commandments, which is known in Hebrew as the Ten Words (Aseret HaD’vareem). This list of ten, or Decalogue, appears twice in the Old Testament, in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. The ten comprise an initial set of compulsory imperatives directed to the nascent nation of Israel which had just been delivered from prolonged Egyptian bondage. The commandments were designed as a foundational moral code and components of a covenant. From these ten we can construe the behavior and way of life essential for right standing with God. We can also discover what is most important, i.e. our relationship with Him, since the first three commandments refer to how mankind must think of God and relate to and honor Him. The last five commandments tell us which sins and bad behavior God considers to be the most heinous and despicable, which must be eradicated at all cost in order to create an ethical and peaceful community.

THE HISTORICAL SETTING, CIRCA 1446 BC  

         The descendants of Jacob had arrived at the mountain of God in the early part of the third month after the Exodus. God had wasted no time in bringing them to an unprecedented supernatural nexus in the remote wilderness of Arabia. The great mass settled in and camped below the majestic mount, while Moses ventured up to meet with God. After getting his instructions he returned, gathered up the elders, and delivered the covenant pronouncement he had just received. The people immediately agreed to it wholeheartedly. Moses climbed the great mysterious height once again to relay the message to the Lord. He was instructed to tell the people to consecrate themselves, wash their garments, and prepare for the third day. They must all be warned to not go up the mountain or even touch its border on pain of death.

         So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. [Exodus 19:16-20]

         Take a moment and consider what you just read. Does it sound believable? Biblically literate Christians in general become notoriously complacent regarding such passages due to their familiarity with accounts such as this one, often to the point of no longer being effected by them as they should be. But rookie believers or non-Christians must see them differently. One cannot read this for the first time and not be emotionally affected. It gives us a picture of God many would rather not reflect upon.

         There was thunder, lightning flashes, a thick cloud upon the mountain top, and the incessant high decibels of a ram’s horn. All the people down below were shaking in fright. Can you imagine being in that place, having never experienced anything close to that? There was fire, ascending smoke, and the entire mountain quaked violently. Picture Moses actually having to go up there. I would think God was dead serious about the covenant He was making with Israel and expected everyone else to be as well. Whoever may happen to discount the severity of the setting and not respect the laws God was giving may likely be beyond hope.

EDITING THE SECOND COMMANDMENT

         Would you believe that a particular Christian denomination which embraces statuary decided to eliminate the mention of idols and graven images in its preferred version of the Ten Commandments? Agree or disagree, editing the Ten Commandments is a bold move. Perhaps they may wish to mull over what happened at the mountain of God and reconsider. Though they have no discernible respect for the commandment, have never repented for the obvious editing, and justify their actions persistently, God had specific spiritual reasons for the prohibition and has never rescinded it.

        There is something in that particular denomination that is vitally dependent upon graven images and idols, so much so that it was willing to actually remove one of God’s commandments in order to keep them. What is it, exactly, about these graven images and idols? What spiritual power do they have? How are they used? Why could they not do without this statuary? Why are the leaders of this religion so willing to confront God Himself and insist they will not be subjected to His commandments? The ancient Israelites did the same on countless occasions. They often refused the whole counsel of God and took to picking and choosing what laws they would comply with and which to reject.

         This exact attitude also leads to pure idolatry, in that people choose to create a deity to suit themselves.

        They create a god in their own image, according their personal wants and desires. Rather than live under the command of God and subject themselves fully to Him, and thus rightfully subject themselves to all of His laws and teachings, they instead make themselves the personal arbiters of God’s laws. It is the same with so many Christians who refuse to believe in and follow the entirety of the teachings and commandments of the Lord Jesus but instead create syncretic hybrid religions loosely based on Christianity, Christian denominations, and various offshoots.

         If one has a proper attitude before the Lord he knows he must either follow the Lord Jesus completely or not follow Him at all. Such a person knows he would be better off never following the Lord at all than submit to a false or incomplete form of Christianity. Once we choose the Lord Jesus it is never in our power to choose what He does with us or what He wants us to believe. When we choose Him we also choose His entire curriculum. When some people insist they are Christians but refuse the Lord’s full curriculum or create another, it is a clear sign of rebellion and disobedience on their part and signifies that their heart has yet to be circumcised.     

WHY IS GOD AGAINST IDOLS AND GRAVEN IMAGES?

         I don’t pretend to know the whole counsel of God on this subject, but it should not be difficult for us to figure it out. One may recall that the Israelites, after having experienced the incredible spectacle of God on the mountain and agreeing wholeheartedly to the covenant, shortly thereafter decided to make a golden calf and engage in extremely wicked acts right there in that same location. Somehow or another, that false idol had assisted them in their bad behavior. Even though they saw the effects of God’s presence on the mountain, they were more impressed by a three dimensional crafted idol which they could easily behold with their natural senses. God would prefer that we behold Him supernaturally, though we can’t see Him. He would prefer we do not make counterfeits that substitute for Him or spiritual things. Statuary may be legitimized as mere representations or art, but God has a different opinion. He says that creating idols, graven images, and statuary eventually leads to worshipping and serving them.

         “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” [Exodus 20:4-6] [2]

         He is a jealous God. He refuses to allow the imposition of any false gods or deceptive demonic entities in His place. He demands that we worship and serve Him and not be led astray into serving idols. He loves us enough to tell us the truth—that He is the only One who is both loving and compassionate, and able to save us. He shows great lovingkindness to those who love Him and keep His commandments. What happens to those who don’t? What happens to those who edit His commandments?

         Somehow or another, though the advocates of statuary vociferously deny this, there is a hidden understated worship of these abstract representations, though they may be mere statues and works of art. They portend a mental visual within the minds of their beholders which overrides reality, to the extent that reality is replaced with a faux portrayal which serves to reject reality and the desire to discover truth. The people who accept these carved images as benign eventually accept them as genuine representations, but they are not photographs. They are not even good representations, in that they do no service to the original organic flesh and blood historical figures but are mere stylized versions heavy on presence but lacking in human frailty and flaws.

         Regarding representations of otherworldly figures or those whose actual portraiture is unknown, the creation which results is based merely on the whim of the artist or whoever may be directing the artist. Whoever then may behold such statuary as genuine realistic renderings can be convinced, often easily, that whoever or whatever is supposedly represented had actually appeared as such though there is obviously no proof whatsoever. For example, whoever carves a statue of Moses is merely making up the resulting image since no one knows what Moses actually looked like. No one knows what any Biblical character looks like. But this has not stopped Christians from several denominations which reject God’s second commandment from manufacturing millions of statues, paintings, and iconography throughout most of the Church Age. And it has not stopped millions of beholders from becoming grossly spiritually confused, sidetracked, and barricaded from spiritually reality.

         Rather than attempting to experience God in some grand architectural wonder filled with statuary and beautiful art, I suggest heading out to a distant, desert wilderness all alone. If fortunate, one may meet the same Person Moses did.

         © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. 


[1] © 1995 Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, Tenth 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.

BUSTING PETER OUT OF JAIL: THIS IS WHAT PRAYER CAN DO!

Blog Pic 2.7.19

       I originally posted the following two weeks ago on the morning of the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC. It illustrates what powerful prayer and intercession can accomplish.

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THERE COMES A TIME, WHEN YOU JUST KNOW, THE LORD HAS THIS…

       Peter sat uneasily against the grimy wall of his darkened cell, chained to two hardened Roman soldiers. He thought about what just happened to his good friend and fellow apostle James.

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         Agrippa was a bloodthirsty bastard. In his twisted mind he knew he could curry favor with the Jews by arresting followers of the man they called Yeshua of Nazareth. The Jews hated the Herods but made use of them. It was a symbiotic love-hate relationship. The Herod family—Idumean Jewish pretenders—were not unlike the inbred Roman imperial family. Their genealogical chart went off in every direction including sideways and often doubled back upon itself. The members thereof were not only plagued by abnormal DNA and sick minds but immoral behavior that would gag a maggot.

         His grandfather was Herod the Great. Through Agrippa’s close ties to Roman royalty, including a close friendship with Caligula, he eventually became king of the restored environs of his grandfather’s vast domain, including Judea. A cold and tactless political warrior, he knew early on he would have to bring the Jews and Romans into closer proximity, which he did accomplish, but only at the expense of the Jewish followers of the Lord. He figured correctly that such people were expendable and would do nothing for his kingdom, and most likely surmised them to possess an opposing kingdom. He stood strongly for Jewish orthodoxy and this put the Jewish Christians at odds with Rome and furthered the gap with the religious Jews who saw the Community of the Lord as a heretical faction.

          Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. [Acts 12:1-2]

         This happened very fast. The Lord’s people were caught somewhat unprepared at the sudden vengeance directed toward them. James, possibly the oldest apostle, probably put himself in peril at the start by stepping out to take the brunt of the brutality against his people. He likely sacrificed himself to protect the others. It didn’t help that the unbelieving Jews hated him all the more due to his strong personality and manly stature. Some say this Son of Thunder had a fiery temper to match Peter’s. Before anyone could do much to stop Agrippa’s treachery James was quickly executed for all to see, likely going out the way of the Baptist.

          When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. [Acts 12:3-4]  

         Peter was quickly rounded up and arrested as Agrippa was told by the Jews that he was another ringleader. Something had to be done speedily because a blood bath was in the making. The unbelieving Jews reveled in the emerging murder spree and wanted to wipe them all out. Agrippa knew he would gain ever greater favor with every believer killed. In no time at all the leadership of the early Church would be no more. What to do?

         As Peter pondered his fate He no doubt thought of his times with the Lord and his own early ministry. Had he misheard Him? Would he not actually live to a mature age as the Lord had implied? He wondered how it had so quickly come to this. He was chained to two Roman bikers and two more guarded the door. Three other sets of four replaced the previous ones every six hours. It looked like each new set was more gnarly than the others and undoubtedly threw their weight around. These were rough characters. Peter was no longer the bad dude he used to be. In his former life he could have taken any of them and made them pay dearly. James too, and probably John. The early apostles were very tough men. The Lord chose no pansies for apostle work. But Peter’s priorities had changed. Much fasting had sapped his physical strength in the intervening period of the early Community and the edge was taken off his spirit as he grew loving and kind, and in greater control of his notorious temper.  

         He was ready to go. There was nothing to be done. It may be a few days yet because Agrippa knew he’d better wait until after the eight day feast. James had likely been killed right before Passover, close to the very time his Lord had also been executed. In the interim Peter would make his peace and ready himself, but was greatly worried about his fellows. What would happen to them all?

          So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. [Acts 12:5]  

         Of course, they were all thinking the same thing and decided that rather than accept mass death they would pray for no more death. It was a tall task, but they went for it. They would pray for Peter and for each other. They would put their faith to the test and find out if spiritual power really did work on such a scale. Outside observers would have called them utter fools for believing any such thing. The faithless knew there was no way this could ever end well.

         They decided to act anyway, against impossible odds, and before long a level of prayer had risen up majestically in Jerusalem that knocked the devil over on his ear. Mature Christians know the great power of prayer and one had also better know that the enemies of the Lord were backed up on their heels. They were feeling a great weakness coming over them and a curious fear. Agrippa himself no doubt became deeply concerned in his dark soul that something was happening he could not explain. He felt fragile and scared. Unseen demons knew the feeling. And they didn’t like it. It was enough that massive sinister spiritual forces began shifting around in an unsettled state, their former confidence and unity shattered. The great incessant prayers of the Jerusalem Community were having a profound and powerful effect.

         On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. [Acts 12:6]      

         Peter stirred sleepily. He tried to understand what was happening. In his groggy state he thought he heard someone talking to him. The snoring unwashed soldiers beside him did not make things any easier. He had become accustomed to the jail, as least as well as one might, and had been blessed with an unearthly spiritual strength to handle the rough treatment, the dank smells, the darkness… What is more, he actually felt the prayers on his behalf. He was becalmed and strengthened by them. He should not feel this good under such circumstances. He was not only resigned to his fate but had an ongoing peace as he waited for the fast approaching time of his murder. But who was speaking? Was this a dream? There was a glowing form…  

         And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.

         When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” [Acts 12:7-11][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.

THE FUTURE IS NOW: FROM PREDICTED CHURCH DECLINE TO THE PREDICTED GREAT AWAKENING

 

Real Christianity

       

      I began the early research of Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church, in 1992. The Lord told me then what the future would be. That future is now coming to pass.

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       Mine was a voice that got it right. The book is a record from the past correctly foreseeing the future. Though soundly rejected at the time, including by the leadership of my own fellowship that I was dutifully supporting per the Lord’s will, the Lord revealed to me why the disintegration of traditional Christianity in America would not only continue but accelerate. If you’re into prophecy and possibly followed the major prophecy teachers of that time who never saw the Great Awakening coming, the following passage from my book may interest you. It was originally drafted almost twenty-five years ago:

         “If the ruling clergy class has been mandated by Jesus to be the movers and shakers of His teachings in this country, it has apparently messed up. Whatever guilt they do carry they steadfastly refuse to acknowledge, which makes correction impossible. This is why God is removing them—they refuse to act wholly on His behalf. And if you don’t think this is true, that they’re becoming history, check the stats. Their numbers are dwindling in this country, while the numbers of “nobodies” who simply want to do God’s will are rising dramatically. Will America be saved? No. But when certain people get out of the way and other people mature en masse, hundreds of thousands of hungry souls will find salvation, and America’s greatest great awakening will take place.” [1]

         There has been tremendous transformation, much Christian turmoil, and great spiritual warfare over the last quarter century. Many never understood the long term goal or supported it and preferred a dying status quo. This always happens in the early stages of reform and correction. Because there remain many disaffected Christians with dubious resumes and axes to grind, and by which people may judge yours truly, I am listing the following aspects of my overall profile to demonstrate a solid career church attendance and participation record, not to crow about accomplishments but to illustrate my dedication and faithfulness to the Lord. I spent many years as a dutiful church-going Christian attending untold numbers of church services and related assemblies. I bought into the program. I honored authority. I gave it my best. You might say I paid my dues. At one time or another I participated in pretty much every church-related and non-church related volunteer (non-paying) ministry task there was, including the following:

  1. Extensive street witnessing
  2. Wide-ranging personal evangelism and counseling
  3. Church follow up and visitor chauffeuring
  4. Sunday School recruiting director and bus driver
  5. Church seasonal program participant (multiple)
  6. Church seasonal program carpenter and set builder
  7. Church building remodeling
  8. Church property maintenance
  9. Usher (church and major offsite productions)
  10. Church softball coach and team builder
  11. Church services recording engineer
  12. Choir
  13. Post service prayer counselor and altar worker
  14. Pulpit preacher
  15. Group Bible Study teacher
  16. Home Group leader
  17. House church creator and director
  18. And much more

        I also engaged in extensive personal Bible study, reading, and research, becoming familiar not only with Scripture but also secular and historical knowledge relating to Scripture for use in witnessing and teaching. As I grew more knowledgeable I inevitably began discovering the differences between how churches and ministries were conducting themselves in relation to how our spiritual forebears did things in the beginning of the Lord’s Community. These differences fell into three principle categories: (1) Church Doctrine, (2) Church Format, (3) Ministerial Authority.

         Though some Christians reach the point I did, most of these apparently come to the conclusion that the departure from original norms was justified, most likely due to their investment in church culture and an unwillingness to attempt reform. I did the opposite. I believed in and fully supported the original teachings of the Lord and the apostles. And though I tried to maintain excellent relations with church authority (a notoriously challenging endeavor) and most often succeeded, I began attempting dialogue on the many new issues I discovered. Most ministers would acknowledge the differences of course, but never go beyond any elementary attempt to apply correctives. Most never did anything. Because I had to tell what I knew and teach what the Lord taught me, open ministry doors began to close. I had to find another venue. This is when I began to write. Long before I wrote my first book I wrote many notes and detailed Bible studies, and recorded extensive research. I had to get what I knew on paper. It was a lonely pursuit but was such as it had to be.

         I continually discovered that ministers in general were not interested in anything non-relatable to their personal beliefs, doctrinal statements, and church formats. Nor were they interested in greater truth or returning to our roots if it meant anything related to actual change. Most saw such reform efforts as entirely inappropriate at best and that they bordered on rebellion or heresy. Their attitude was often based on a fear of personal disruption and inevitable church problems. They insisted everyone in the congregation must buy into the program and remain in that place to assure church success, or something substantial, including their job, may suffer. I also discovered that the majority of church goers simply do not care about reform or doings things God’s way. Most Christians prefer to remain relatively spiritually unaware and allow their chosen leaders and authority figures to do their work for them. Many remain statically fixed on the teachings of mainline theologians and authors of the past or become swayed by flashy speakers and writers of the present. They end up trusting them instead of the Lord Jesus and often never progress beyond an elementary level. They are thus exceptionally easy to manipulate and make real revival impossible.

         This is in part why the Lord began telling me what would eventually happen to such churches and ministries in America. He began showing me the future. I tried my best to warn people. Few ever listened. Thus, what has happened to churches since, and it has only been a quarter century, has come to pass exactly as I was shown way back then, and even before that. The latest statistics, seemingly unbelievable as they are, are such that approximately 6,000 to 10,000 churches in America are dying each year on average. That’s about 100-150 per week.

        The above author cites no research but another quite reputable source, Church Leadership, claims that 4000 churches were dying annually in 2007. That was an average of 77 per week. If those trends held it would certainly account for 100-150 closures per week at present. Because the majority of traditional Christians in the past never progressed, noticed the trends, or heeded the warnings, but instead fought off any reform effort as if it was the enemy, most of their venues were unprepared for the vast American cultural change that began emerging about thirty years ago.

THE LAST BECOME FIRST

         They also didn’t understand that a powerful new group, very small in numbers at the time, was being formed by the Lord to usher in a new generation of reform in order to bring His full teachings to the fore. This group was composed largely of unconnected individuals who suffered various levels of persecution by their own brothers, much like the patriarch Joseph. The traditionalists also did not care that the new emerging generation of younger people wanted more than simply being told to come to church, to sit in church, to stay quiet in church, to go along with the church program with no questions asked, to participate only superficially in church, and to pay church tithes to support something they couldn’t wrap their heart around. Many of us in the prior generation did all that for many years but never received the full benefits we were striving for. We trusted in and respected an authority that ultimately proved itself to be cowardly and non-spiritually responsive. The next generation, however, had less church influence and were largely never indoctrinated to stoically accept things as they were and dutifully comply with a set-up that did little or nothing for their heart.

         This is in part why America now has an extremely large population of people with no religious affiliation. It is also why the long-standing American church tradition is fading rapidly. Traditional churches have no answer for this. Their programs no longer work. Many churches have become infested with cultural rot yet still refuse the Biblical directive. Many others have tried ever more watered-down programs but those don’t work either. Such efforts are actually going in the opposite direction.

THE RISE OF THE NEVER CHURCH CULTURE

          The young religiously unaffiliated Americans are categorized as the nones. According to the following article, Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why they’re Unlikely to Come Back, in 1991, the year before the Lord called on me to begin my first book, the nones represented a mere 6% of the American population. In 1972 it represented 5%. There was a slight rise in the 1980s. Thus, in the 19 year period of 1972 to 1991, this small religiously unaffiliated subsection of the American populace ranged only from 5%-8% and stayed relatively stable. It was not until 1993 that the nones began an upward track on the graph. By 1996 their numbers had shot up to 12%, doubling its population of only five years before. This marked 1992 as the year of demarcation, the very year I began my book. This was not a coincidence. It was the year that American Christianity began changing dramatically.

         According to the quoted source, the nones increased to 14% in 1998 and remained stable until 2004. But then it promptly rocketed rapidly upward, ballooning to a whopping 25% by 2016. After only 24 years since the pivotal year of 1992, their number had astonishingly grown fourfold. This is the same time period that churches in general engaged in a rapid die off. There is presently no end in sight to this phenomenon and any applied remedy of the present is for the most part too late. This changing church landscape is an obvious fast-happening disaster for those who wrongly decided years ago to stay in spiritual Egypt or the Sinai. Currently, the religiously unaffiliated represent almost one in four Americans. The church world is now suffering major loss with no cure yet it still obstinately refuses to change and get in line with what the Lord wants to do. Because they have been rejecting the corrective for decades, they don’t have a clue how to stop the process and their destruction continues.

         Most continue to blame it on the sinful culture, a ridiculous notion that only proves their ineffectiveness, irrelevance, and spiritual laziness. They obviously don’t know what the early believers faced regarding a sinful societal culture or they simply refuse to acknowledge it. The Roman Empire world of the first century was such that most church-going Americans, if transported in time, would be shocked to their core at what they saw. It was a thoroughly lost and wicked culture reveling in gross idolatry. But the early Church thrived anyway against powerful odds. The gist is that the Lord can do anything, anywhere, and wants to. He wants people free from sin and spiritual bondage! It seems that His greatest effort, however, is simply trying to find people who will honor Him and join His cause. Most of those who refer to themselves as Christians in some form or another simply refuse to obey and follow Him. They invent their own low wattage Christian hybrids and substitute these for the real thing.

WHAT ABOUT REAL CHRISTIANITY?

        Conversely, remember that small, persecuted, obscure, and rejected group that existed a quarter century ago? Well, with this group something quite different has happened. As dead churches died off it has grown exponentially. Churches may be shutting down by 150 per week on average but real Christians have gone in the opposite direction. Real Christianity is on the rise. For those paying attention who are close to the Lord, this is obvious. Though most of these real believers are effectively invisible, their effect is not. It reminds me of unseen, unknown prayer warriors who do their work in obscurity. The non-believing American culture has certainly gone in the tank and grows more sickeningly depraved every day due to no checks on its behavior, but these people are now losing the cultural battle. They had the world by the tail until about two or three years ago but now their paradigm is suffering major cracks and is on a downward slide. They are also beginning the inevitable historical process of destroying one another.

         Thus, a new American culture is emerging, based on the old ways, the ancient paths, and the foundations fought for and won in a righteous revolutionary battle 240 years ago. Real Christians are returning to their roots, following the Lord in big numbers and are undoubtedly affecting the culture in a positive way. It is a movement based on discovering, establishing, and standing up for the truth. These people are meeting and advancing in the same style as their early forebears—behind the scenes, in small non-descript venues of any number of forms and variety, and also through the greatest invention and change agent in human history—the internet. The World Wide Web is directly comparable with the advent of the Gutenberg Printing Press of circa 1450. That remarkable invention dramatically changed the world and ushered in the modern period. It allowed for an immense increase of knowledge and communication which led to the Protestant Reformation and the Age of Enlightenment. What happened then is happening now but on a much larger scale. The world is waking up.

        I encourage all of you to stay faithful and strong. These times are largely unprecedented and we are greatly blessed to be alive and involved in whatever work the Lord has called us to do.

POSTSCRIPT  

          For those of you reading this, especially my faithful readers, please be informed that a spiritual attack against this site is apparently in process. I started this blog in May of 2011. Readership grew steadily. 2018 was a record year. January of 2019 was a record for that month. Then something happened which caused the site to become somewhat invisible as confirmed by some of you.

         In general, Christian reform efforts are always opposed by the status quo and I have been personally quite familiar with this over many years. Yet the Lord is always faithful. Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church has had a decided impact on those who heard the message and supported it but was otherwise rejected by the majority. I could tell you some seriously shocking stories of underhanded efforts by so-called Christians, but this is nothing new. It is par for the course. My first book was far ahead of its time but the message inherent within it is timeless and remains fresh, especially now. It is thus a message for today and can assist in sorting out what has happened in the transformation of American Christianity over the last quarter century. For more information you can go to my author page here. I ask only for your prayers. There is much work to be done. Thank you and be blessed.    

         © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.      


[1] From Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.]

 

THERE COMES A TIME, WHEN YOU JUST KNOW, THE LORD HAS THIS…

Blog Pic 2.7.19        

        Peter sat uneasily against the grimy wall of his darkened cell, chained to two hardened Roman soldiers. He thought about what just happened to his good friend and fellow apostle James.

 

        Agrippa was a bloodthirsty bastard. In his twisted mind he knew he could curry favor with the Jews by arresting followers of the man they called Yeshua of Nazareth. The Jews hated the Herods but made use of them. It was a symbiotic love hate relationship. The Herod family—Idumean Jewish pretenders—were not unlike the inbred Roman imperial family. Their genealogical chart went off in every direction including sideways and often doubled back upon itself. The members thereof were not only plagued by abnormal DNA and sick minds but immoral behavior that would gag a maggot.

         His grandfather was Herod the Great. Through Agrippa’s close ties to Roman royalty, including a close friendship with Caligula, he eventually became king of the restored environs of his grandfather’s vast domain, including Judea. A cold and tactless political warrior, he knew early on he would have to bring the Jews and Romans into closer proximity, which he did accomplish, but only at the expense of the Jewish followers of the Lord. He figured correctly that such people were expendable and would do nothing for his kingdom, and most likely surmised them to possess an opposing kingdom. He stood strongly for Jewish orthodoxy and this put the Jewish Christians at odds with Rome and furthered the gap with the religious Jews who saw the Community of the Lord as a heretical faction.

          Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. [Acts 12:1-2]

         This happened very fast. The Lord’s people were caught somewhat unprepared at the sudden vengeance directed toward them. James, possibly the oldest apostle, probably put himself in peril at the start by stepping out to take the brunt of the brutality against his people. He likely sacrificed himself to protect the others. It didn’t help that the unbelieving Jews hated him all the more due to his strong personality and manly stature. Some say this Son of Thunder had a fiery temper to match Peter’s. Before anyone could do much to stop Agrippa’s treachery James was quickly executed for all to see, likely going out the way of the Baptist.

          When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. [Acts 12:3-4]  

         Peter was quickly rounded up and arrested as Agrippa was told by the Jews that he was another ringleader. Something had to be done speedily because a blood bath was in the making. The unbelieving Jews reveled in the emerging murder spree and wanted to wipe them all out. Agrippa knew he would gain ever greater favor with every believer killed. In no time at all the leadership of the early Church would be no more. What to do?  

         As Peter pondered his fate He no doubt thought of his times with the Lord and his own early ministry. Had he misheard Him? Would he not actually live to a mature age as the Lord had implied? He wondered how it had so quickly come to this. He was chained to two Roman bikers and two more guarded the door. Three other sets of four replaced the previous ones every six hours. It looked like each new set was more gnarly than the others and undoubtedly threw their weight around. These were rough characters. Peter was no longer the bad dude he used to be. In his former life he could have taken any of them and made them pay dearly. James too, and probably John. The early apostles were very tough men. The Lord chose no pansies for apostle work. But Peter’s priorities had changed. Much fasting had sapped his physical strength in the intervening period of the early Community and the edge was taken off his spirit as he grew loving and kind, and in greater control of his notorious temper.  

         He was ready to go. There was nothing to be done. It may be a few days yet because Agrippa knew he’d better wait until after the eight day feast. James had likely been killed right before Passover, close to the very time his Lord had also been executed. In the interim Peter would make his peace and ready himself, but was greatly worried about his fellows. What would happen to them all?

          So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. [Acts 12:5]  

         Of course, they were all thinking the same thing and decided that rather than accept mass death they would pray for no more death. It was a tall task, but they went for it. They would pray for Peter and for each other. They would put their faith to the test and find out if spiritual power really did work on such a scale. Outside observers would have called them utter fools for believing any such thing. The faithless knew there was no way this could ever end well.

         They decided to act anyway, against impossible odds, and before long a level of prayer had risen up majestically in Jerusalem that knocked the devil over on his ear. Mature Christians know the great power of prayer and one had also better know that the enemies of the Lord were backed up on their heels. They were feeling a great weakness coming over them and a curious fear. Agrippa himself no doubt became deeply concerned in his dark soul that something was happening he could not explain. He felt fragile and scared. Unseen demons knew the feeling. And they didn’t like it. It was enough that massive sinister spiritual forces began shifting around in an unsettled state, their former confidence and unity shattered. The great incessant prayers of the Jerusalem Community were having a profound and powerful effect.

         On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. [Acts 12:6]      

         Peter stirred sleepily. He tried to understand what was happening. In his groggy state he thought he heard someone talking to him. The snoring unwashed soldiers beside him did not make things any easier. He had become accustomed to the jail, as least as well as one might, and had been blessed with an unearthly spiritual strength to handle the rough treatment, the dank smells, the darkness… What is more, he actually felt the prayers on his behalf. He was becalmed and strengthened by them. He should not feel this good under such circumstances. He was not only resigned to his fate but had an ongoing peace as he waited for the fast approaching time of his murder. But who was speaking? Was this a dream? There was a glowing form…  

         And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.

         When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” [Acts 12:7-11][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.

AMERICA IS NOT BEING JUDGED!

       Many Christians continue to erroneously paint the entire country with a very broad brush. They could not be more wrong. Good is actually overcoming evil.

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         In my last post six days ago I revealed the truth of Selective Judgment. Regarding the bold, unapologetic political moves of the abortion industry last week, I asked the question: Is Selective Judgment Looming? The very next day judgment descended.

         A prominent state governor was exposed for being a hypocrite. Earlier last week he spoke in no uncertain terms about actually killing a baby that had just been born. On Friday, the day after my last post, a huge news story broke that served to expose the depravity of the abortion industry. Since then the mainstream media is doing all it can to reverse the process. This story, however, is not going away. It was featured prominently in the President’s State of the Union message last night. Ungodly practices are being exposed and condemned and the people who support such practices will no longer be able to hide.

          This is proof that America still has a moral conscience and that millions of Americans are good people living right and honoring the Lord. This is why Christians must stop insisting that God hates America and is bringing judgment. For example, there are Christians who actually support the idea of any number of doomsday scenarios, such as God allowing America to be struck with nuclear missiles. They talk about how depraved the country has become and that America must be severely punished. This perspective could not be more asinine and short sighted.

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY PRIOR POST?

         I’m not sure what happened to my traffic last Thursday but my post Re: Legal Baby Killing—Is Selective Judgment Looming? was effectively invisible. My post before that had received exceptional traffic. It appears as though many of you may not have known I posted anything at all last week. I wonder sometimes about the usual censorship suspects. I know the mainstream media always fights to ban Pro-Life news or anything that shines a light on the evil of abortion. Perhaps something of that sort is at play here. Whatever the case, the Lord is on the side of righteousness.

          Also, regarding The Notorious RBG, who has been missing in action for over six weeks, there was at last a claimed reported sighting the other day at a concert venue. But strangely enough, there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever. In a world of ubiquitous cell phones, this is curious. I waited until last night to see if she would show up at the State of the Union. She didn’t.

THE FUTURE OF AMERICA

         Many of us have children and grandchildren. We would like them to live in a great country. We would like them to be blessed. But the forces of anti-America have become so powerful they render such desires as evil. They hate the idea of America being great. Where the hell did these people come from? Why are they here?

         I assure you that the Lord Jesus is here to love us and save us, not condemn us. He has no plans to destroy America.

          He knows people usually end up destroying themselves without His intervention. It is His intervention that He cares about. He wants to save us, help us, and bless us. That’s what the Good News is all about. As Christians, we are supposed to be telling everyone the Good News, not that God is going to get you.

         The pastor of the previous President wanted God to damn America. That’s one of the most asinine messages to ever come forth from a pulpit. Such people are raving lunatics. The current President wants to make America great again, and for that he and his supporters are pummeled on a daily basis. By such behavior and rhetoric they are only hastening their own demise. Their treachery is being exposed. They are being outed for what they are.

          The same is true for the all the fake Christians who incorrectly see God as a destroyer of worlds. In reality, if He is forced to bring judgment, He does it selectively. One can read about this throughout the entire Old Testament. One can also see such judgment as it happened in the first century. When the forces of evil reach a place of such concentrated power that they defy the possibility of any societal corrective against their evil, and vast numbers of innocent people are being greatly harmed, something must be done to stop them. Otherwise they will eventually eliminate the righteous. Thus, the Lord fights on the side of goodness and supports those on the righteous side of battle for the sake of saving those who want to be saved and appreciate His great salvation.  

         “He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” [John 12:45-48][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.