THE CONTROL TEST: PROVING THE MAJORITY COMPLIANT

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None of this would be happening without a predetermined confirmation that the controlled have reached a majority and will readily comply with every directive from upper management.

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HIDDEN THREATS EVERYWHERE ON A DAILY BASIS

When a person ventures into public areas everything he touches has already been touched by many other people. At the grocery store, for example, every item on every shelf has been handled by any number of people by the time it got there. Were any of them sick? How about the last guy to touch the item, the store employee that stocks the shelves, was he sick? One grabs a grocery cart that had been handled by an endless succession of people including the employees who went out and rounded them up from the parking lot. Every item in the produce section was handled by probably even more people on its way there and many of those items have no protective containers. How about the floors? What did people track in? What unseen entity did one step on or in during the day and then track into the house?

At the checkout line one unloads one’s groceries onto a conveyor belt that everybody else has used. Might any of them have been infected with something? If using cash to pay one may wonder how many thousands of people touched that cash on its way in and out of one’s wallet. If paying with a card, one uses a machine that has been touched by thousands who likely left unseen residual reminders of their presence which now transfers to your hands and your card, the latter of which goes back into your wallet infected with whatever. When one breathes, everything in the air around a person goes into one’s nose and mouth, travels to one’s lungs, and possibly enters one’s bloodstream. Not everything breathed in necessarily goes back out when exhaling.

Drinking unfiltered tap water likely does more to promote illness than breathing in possible pathogens. Tap water is loaded with chlorine, ammonia and many other unsafe chemicals. It is basically swimming pool water. Those with knowledge of built-in pools know what happens if one fails to keep the chemical levels correct. The water will turn green due to the presence of all the little unseen life forms that also like to swim and hang out there. They must be killed. Chlorine and other chemicals work very well. The same thing must obviously be done in municipal water systems which have infinitely more extremely serious contaminants than swimming pools. If one tests the water in either, one will get about the same result. Tap water, of course, is said to be safe because the chemicals in it are diluted to the point that they have no detrimental effect on one’s health. Right.

Over the last few weeks, there are suddenly many people who now comply, though not before, with the directives handed down from on high, such as hand-washing, using sanitizers, wearing face masks, donning gloves, trying not to touch their face while out in public, and attempting to keep the suggested proper distance from other people. They are responding very well to control directives. It is obviously good advice, but most never engaged in any of these protective efforts before. Every year hundreds of thousands die from the flu but this is never reported, meaning most people go about blissfully unaware of the danger or are simply too apathetic to act. Perhaps that’s why hundreds of thousands die from the flu.

But some people are already aware of the manifold threats to health out there. They have known most of their lives the great value in washing their hands and using sanitizers. They do their best to steer clear of unhealthy people and avoid those who are infectious. They never drink tap water but only the best purified water available. They have learned the value of organic Vitamin C. Those are the first two items in one’s pro-health anti-getting-sick starter kit. In addition to those one knows to take an excellent organic multiple vitamin, most of which one will never find in the usual haunts. Such vitamins provide a wealth of nutrients for the body starved by the lack of proper nutrients in most food available today. From there one can add additional supplemental vitamins as necessary. Vitamin D, for example, is excellent (among many other things) at defeating viruses. The Creator has blessed us with a wealth of proper foods to keep us healthy and strong.

THE KEY IS HAVING A STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM

The issue before us then, is not simply obeying control directives from on high during times of crisis that come and go, but being disciplined enough to take care of one’s health on a daily basis regardless of whatever else is happening or where one might reside. Many people have been preaching this for decades. The Creator has already blessed us with immune systems that fight off those evil little entities that cause sickness and disease.

THEREFORE, WHAT ONE MUST CONCENTRATE ON IS TAKING CARE OF ONE’S IMMUNE SYSTEM AND PROVIDING IT WITH EVERYTHING IT NEEDS TO BE AS HEALTHY AND AS STRONG AS POSSIBLE.

This is the real test. It is not principally about being fearful of exterior threats using exterior means but insuring interior protection. It is about being healthy enough to withstand the enemies of our health from the inside out. Those who educate and discipline themselves in this regard have the best chance at staying healthy and avoiding illness.

It is obvious, however, that only a relatively few people do this. Judging by the way many people look and function nowadays it is readily apparent they refuse to address the real problem. Weakness of will, lack of discipline, absence of critical thinking, and wholesale acceptance of authoritarian directives often prove weakness of health, lack of proper information and truth, and gross personal irresponsibility. By throwing caution to the wind and placing all of one’s faith in the medical industrial complex—excellent for many treatments but also a massive earnings-engineered economy in itself in which the profit-incentivized leaders thereof are treated as gods—it is no wonder that the time was ripe for scaring everyone to the point of mass hysterical panic and unadulterated obedience toward their worshipful masters.

Such people continually pass the control test. Rather than doing their own research, being extremely careful about whatever they ingest, and doing their due diligence to steer clear of the causes of illness, one of which is fear, they simply decide to bow down and obey a few effortless orders until the all clear sign is given and then quickly return to their unhealthy lifestyles.               

Their behavior proves the existence of a compliant majority under authoritative control.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.   

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 1)

After writing his gospel, “about all the things Jesus began to do and teach,” Luke begins Acts by recalling the morning of the Ascension when the Lord gave final instructions to His chosen apostles.

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INTRODUCTION

LESSON 1

ACTS 1:1-3

1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. [Acts 1:1-2]

Luke refers here to the Gospel which bears His name as the first of a two volume work. Though many accounts of the Lord’s life and teachings had previously existed in various forms and lengths from which to draw, Luke set out to write the definitive gospel. He would attempt to write the story sequentially, “in consecutive order,” fill in any gaps, and put the previous accounts into a workable whole. All agree that he did a masterful job. He would do the same with The Acts of the Apostles, though would also act as his own historical eyewitness on many occasions, which was not the case previously.

The “beloved physician” was a man of culture. As he did in the introduction to his gospel, he refers to an eminent associate named Theophilus, who likely lent his assistance and donated funding for the project. This man, whom Luke refers to in his gospel as the equivalent of “your excellency,” was probably a Gentile believer who held a relatively high office. Acts begins as if a letter to a friend recounting the life of the Lord Jesus until His Ascension into heaven. Luke uses the final instructions of the Lord to His close disciples as a starting point for his second volume, which draws in the reader and sets the tone for an energizing new phase of ministry in which all believers would participate in taking the Gospel to the entire world.

3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. [Acts 1:3] [1]

Luke reiterates the vast body of eyewitnesses who experienced the Lord’s living presence for almost six weeks after His resurrection. The apostle Paul said they were at least five hundred in number. These many accounts give conclusive proof of His resurrection as do manifold thousands of Jews embracing Him as Savior and Messiah. He was not a ghost but fully human and able to perfectly relate and communicate as He had before. God became manifest in flesh and remains so today.

© 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.

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Introduction)

 

Today begins a new teaching series entitled Early Church History 101. Each post will be based on passages from our only text book, The Acts of the Apostles. Your interaction and dialogue are encouraged.

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INTRODUCTION

Because this is an introductory course, I hope to post on as near a regular schedule as possible and keep the lessons fairly brief, hopefully interesting, and possibly compelling. I suggest engaging in your own research as you see the need.

Our goal is to become better acquainted with the beliefs, practices, and accomplishments of the Lord’s original Community. It served as a prototype and foundation of the Church Age which began at Pentecost in AD 32 and continues to the present. During this almost two thousand year period, the Lord Jesus never taught any subsequent transition or alteration which would negate or change the beliefs and practices of our early forebears. We in the present must therefore respect and seek to emulate their holy and courageous example as they worked in close cooperation with the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Early Church was sent into an often hostile world with the life-giving Good News in the opening salvos of a spiritual war destined to cover the planet. Their accomplishments were nothing short of miraculous.

The author of The Acts of the Apostles is Luke—Early Church historian, gifted writer, the beloved physician, oft traveling companion of the apostle Paul, and also author of his masterful “first account,” the Gospel of Luke. It is possible that Luke did not originally affix a title to Acts but the title we have is likely correct. However, based on the author’s chosen vocabulary and grammar, he clearly indicates that this historical record is a continuation of the ministry of the Lord, which means it could have been titled The Acts of Jesus. Some have suggested The Acts of the Holy Spirit.

Inserting Apostles in the title, however, serves primarily to indicate the Lord working through His original twelve (minus Judas Iscariot), but certainly was not limited to them. In fact, it was the entire Community through whom He worked, which includes each and every believer, though the apostles were the most spiritually mature at the time. Because they were His initial chosen ones who followed Him throughout His ministry and witnessed the Resurrection, they were the men primarily utilized in the early years. This was especially the case with the apostle Peter, whom the Lord powerfully anointed on that first Day of Pentecost in ancient Jerusalem to set the many authoritative precedents of the Early Church which continue until today.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

THE HEBREW MONTH OF NISAN 2020 (Part 1)

 

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I originally began studying the Hebrew calendar with reference to Biblical events many years ago and have written several papers and studies concerning them. The following post begins the republishing of a series of posts I first made in 2012 and then again in 2014. I have done some major updating and also installed the correct dates for this year. Though the spring feasts have been fulfilled, it does not mean these dates do not have current significance. I encourage you to continue studying God’s calendar on your own, and see how this time of year might be applied to a new beginning in your own life.

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THE MONTH OF NISAN

According to the ancient lunar-solar Hebrew calendar of modern Rabbinic Judaism, Yesterday, March 26 was the first day of the month of Nisan. Historically, this is a very important month and, coinciding with the season of spring, denotes a new beginning.

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

It is most often the seventh month of the civil year.

In an intercalary year, when there are thirteen months instead of twelve, it is the eighth month.

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

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

For example, the actual new moon which began the current lunar month took place in the USA this past Tuesday morning, March 24, at 4:28 Central Daylight Time.

However, the official Hebrew calendar did not start the new month of Nisan until Wednesday, March 25 at sunset. This is in part because Hebrew days always begin at evening, in keeping with the account in Genesis 1:5: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” This is also due to the static nature of the Hebrew calendar, in that the month should have actually began a day earlier.

So, technically, Nisan 1 began in the USA on Tuesday, March 24 at sunset. You’ll have to check your own lunar cycle wherever you may live in the world to discover when Nisan 1 began in your area.

The following list of dates includes the happenings of this time of year in relation to the days of the ancient calendar of the Hebrews. Since God’s original calendar remains in effect, these days are very important. Each feast day carries prophetic overtones. The spring feasts were all fulfilled two-thousand years ago when Messiah Jesus arrived as our Sacrifice Lamb and Redeemer.

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

Regarding the month of Nisan:

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

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

Nisan 1 / March 26, 2020 Thursday (Began at sunset on March 25):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nisan 7 / April 1, 2020 Wednesday (Begins at sunset on March 31):

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

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

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

© 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.

CHRISTIANS IN LEAGUE WITH THE ENEMY: THE TRAITOR WITHIN

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There is no effective difference between those in powerful positions on the world stage engaging in mass subterfuge who actively oppose the Lord Jesus, and deceived Christians who support them unequivocally.

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Though blissfully unaware, they are willing accomplices. They will not get a pass. Failing to correct this great wrong before passing into eternity means facing their Creator on the wrong side of justice. They will be shocked by the verdict. The Lord alludes to this outcome in the following:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” [Matthew 7:21-23]

You may be wondering what He means by “lawlessness.” On the surface it should be plain to see that He referred to such people as apparently successful users of His Name without knowing the bearer of the Name—they didn’t know the Lord Jesus personally. The Greek word is anomia. Though some Bible versions translate the word as “iniquity” or “evil,” the root of such is actually defined as “without the law, contempt for the law, or violation of the law.” In this case, the word must indicate the violation of God’s law.

How were these people who appeared to be disciples in good standing with the Lord Jesus and therefore keepers of His law actually violating it? Looking further into anomia, we discover that it points to something familiar: One can be violating the law unknowingly. He can be ignorant of it. He can be unaware of its existence. This also portends deception. And, as always, ignorance of the law is no excuse. This is why those Christians who violate their conscience, even to a small degree, open themselves up to blurred spiritual vision and an inability to properly delineate right and wrong.

THIS IS WHY GOD MADE PROPHETS

There is a gross misconception among “prophetic types” and those who follow them that prophecy is one of two things, either foretelling, which is obvious, yet primarily forthtelling. This is not necessarily untrue in that prophecy is not only seeing the future and pronouncing it before it arrives, but also addresses particular actions or steps one may take, for example, to get right with God, prepare for a certain outcome, or partake on a certain course. However, there is a third aspect just as important—correcting those in authority. For example:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” [Matthew 23:27-28][1] 

In other words, those Christians in authority without proper accountability due to the stature of their office must have a means of receiving correction, not primarily for their own benefit but for those subjected to their authority. And because God knew beforehand that people in authority would attempt to claim accountability by surrounding themselves with sycophants, yes men, and the rubber stamp guild, He determined that prophets must be independent so as not to be compromised by the same egregious false concessions made to maintain illicit authority.

Authority figures who engage in immorality or injustice, or refuse to be accountable to God are compromised, even though they may legitimize their power to their heart’s content barring any uprising by those under their rule. If the ruled over are content to live for less and usually much less than God intended that is their choice. God obviously saw this happening beforehand also. Therefore, the prophet also exists to encourage and strengthen those who refuse illicit religious rule and demand God’s rule and His righteousness. 

CONSPIRACIES EXIST BECAUSE THEY WORK

The murder of the Lord Jesus was the end result of a conspiracy. The plan was carried out in stealth by those who hated Him. They had tried to get Him several times without success but at last succeeded once gaining the valued assistance of a traitor.

They needed an inside man. They needed a dupe they could deceive. Dupes are not necessarily unintelligent but are compromised by a false perception of reality. The false perception arises from believing and acting on lies or propaganda masquerading as truth. All perceived knowledge must be vetted. If not, it entails a lack of discretion and proper discipline, which makes one susceptible to incorporating principles that are selfish in scope and evil at their core, though such evil is rarely perceived. In order to be fooled, that is, to accept the making of moral concessions, they must engage in an effort, however small and seemingly innocuous, to compromise their conscience.

And it is the violation of their conscience—that wonderful entity possessed by all that acts as an arbiter of good and evil—that opens the door not only to potential evil but also to deception.

Rather than reject all sin with the desire to serve the Lord and gain His righteousness, see the world from a positive perspective, do right, treat people right, engage in righteous acts, and attempt to spread goodness and joy, however idealistic such a course may be perceived, the conscience compromisers decide they have no choice, in order to get ahead in life, but to reject the Golden Rule (treating others as one wants to be treated) in areas in which they feel infringements are warranted. They deceive themselves by this practice and insist the bulk of their actions are good, or will have a beneficial end, and that somehow the greater percentage of good they do outweighs the minor amount of bad behavior. Or they may think a certain immoral response or ongoing behavior is justified based on prior maltreatment or perceived wrong. 

THE TRAITOR WITHIN

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.” [Taylor Caldwell, A Pillar of Iron.]

Like Judas, Christians must be deceived into supporting the enemy and his conspiratorial evil plans, and a great many do. Their lack of insight, spiritual laziness, and a willingly compromised conscience has blinded them to reality. They fail at seeking the Lord with all their heart. Rather than know Him they merely use His Name for their own benefit. As the Lord expressed in the preceding verses from Matthew’s gospel, such Christians appear to be for real but are merely chosen members of a club who all believe the same and therefore support one another in deception. They may practice foretelling and forthtelling but refuse the ultimate truthtelling. The prophetic voice of correction is rejected.

And also like Judas, they have their price.

© 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.

THE CURRENT SHUTDOWN: AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISCOVER AND PRACTICE ORIGINAL CHRISTIANITY

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They had no church buildings. They had no New Testament. They had no professional clergy. And still, they turned the world upside down.

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This is a difficult concept to grasp for many Christians. It sounds subversive. It appears incorrect. The reality of the matter, however, is that the early 1st century believers were acting exactly in accordance with the Lord’s teachings. They did just what He told them to do. They taught what He taught. They practiced what He practiced. It is not their methods which were odd and non-Scriptural, but those of today. They were not the rebels but the perfect example. Those who refuse to follow their example or engage in their methods are the actual rebels.

And He wasn’t far away from those early believers in a distant unknown heaven but right there with them bringing forth the spiritual fruit of His Word:

And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. [Mark 16:20][1]

THE REAL HIERARCHY

Actually, there isn’t any legitimate Christian hierarchy. There is the Lord Jesus, who has all authority in heaven and earth, which of course, is all the authority there is, and then there are His followers who all exist on the same spiritual plane, equal to one another, below Him. He is the only Leader, Master, and King. If such can be described as a hierarchy then it is the only one that exists in His Kingdom.

There is no legitimate middle man group or professional clergy. What there actually is are all Christian believers at various stages of spiritual maturity. Some have reached full maturity but this does not mean they have license to rule over other believers. The Lord made it very clear that all believers were equal with no one ruling over them except Him. He said the more spiritual maturity one gained the more of a servant he must be. Thus, if anything, there should be a reverse hierarchy in which the spiritual giants among us should navigate to lower and more humble stations rather than climb an ecclesiastical power ladder. Rather than a raised platform or stage there should be a hole in the ground. This is merely Christian Spirituality 101. Humility is a door.

I’m not keeping track of how many churches have suspended their services. I assume it is a great percentage. The leaders thereof were given orders to shut down and dutifully complied. One wonders if this would have happened without the internet, because it is largely internet streaming on various platforms keeping many churches going. There is nothing essentially wrong with this but Christians in general are still not seeing the big picture.

BOGUS TALKING HEAD MINISTRY

About a dozen years ago I was invited to a church service by a friend. I had never been there before. We drove up and parked in a large parking lot. We entered a large traditional church building. There were people milling around in the foyer and a central station where one could get some coffee. All normal things. We entered the usual large auditorium with standard pews and found a place about half way down on the right. After getting settled and looking around, however, I noticed for the first time something really odd. After the worship service it became odder. Instead of a pulpit or a preacher up there on the platform there was a big screen. It suddenly came on and there was a guy on the screen. This was the pastor. He was preaching from a remote location. There were three other churches connected to the transmission doing exactly as we were.

It was absolutely weird, and believe me, I am aware of most of the weird things about Christian practices in general, but had yet to experience such a thing. Here was a guy in a small studio somewhere preaching to a camera with the feed going into his four “churches” and everyone in those four churches were dutifully watching him on a screen. I was generally nice to my friend but let it be known that I thought it was a tad strange. In my heart I knew it was absolutely ridiculous but again, I was nice. I sat there and went through the motions with everyone else but the entire time was wondering how all these people could possibly put up with Mr. Big Brother up there in this weird 1984 style “church.” Everyone could have just stayed home and watched it on the net. Or gathered in small groups in homes. There was no need for the four church buildings and the great expenses they incurred. All that money could have been spent on, oh, I don’t know, maybe people?

AN AWAKENING

Which brings us to the present. All over America former church goers have been forced by strange unprecedented circumstances to stay home from church and watch their pastor or maybe a small service of a few online. So far, people seem to be getting what they need and are greatly enjoying themselves. Some states have ordered, from what I understand, only small groups of ten or less, even in private homes. This is actually about the perfect size of a home group. I would think that after several weeks under these circumstances the innovative intelligent Christians out there would figure out a way to minister to one another and take care of one another and soon discover a brand new method for organic Christianity.

Please stick with me here because this will sound really weird. What if Christians simply did their Christianity at home? And among their neighbors? What if they opened up their Bibles and shared with each other? And prayed for one another? And what if they organized a method to meet each other’s needs and the needs of their neighbors? I have seen many reports of people doing very strange things like collecting groceries and supplies and giving them away. One older woman who likes to sew was making surgical masks for the hospitals or for individuals to wear personally. When you start searching out such events it will astound you what is actually going on out there nationwide. There are apparently millions of good hearted people who have suddenly been released into various unofficial ministries more than happy to do whatever they can to help and provide. Rather than suppress ministry the current shutdown has actually promoted it. This is great news.

It is starting to look like 1st century Christianity out there!

© 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.

NOTE: Please see my friend Barb’s site, My Life in Our Father’s World, for this great post of current ministry in action: A SMALL ACT OF KINDNESS

THIS IS YOUR TIME: GREENER PASTURES ARE CALLING

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The Lord needs you to step up. It is time to make a move into greater spiritual maturity and quit being overly dependent on the Christian means and methods of yesterday.

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THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN

Churches are shutting down and forcing the use of other ministry options, such as live streaming on various internet platforms. Even those who were reluctant to make such a drastic change, though ostensibly temporary, have faced the facts of these strange days and complied with the overall transition taking place all across the country.

I will reiterate here that the threat is real but on a much lower level than advertised. There are any number of supposed threats at present that can be ginned up and harped on to drive a panic. It is all in the application. The means to drive a narrative have been here for decades and, of course, have been used repeatedly. What you as a Christian must do is discern the difference between legitimate threats and those which are merely hyped to become much more than what they are. If you are used to always obeying authority figures and never questioning them, then this post is not for you unless you may be willing to see things at least a tad bit differently.

Christians often forget that they are supposed to be serving a Lord who can do anything anytime in any circumstance, in that there truly is nothing impossible with God. In that regard He does not merely suggest living by faith, that is, stepping out of familiar comfort zones and entering a realm of miraculous possibility—He demands it. One cannot be a real Christian otherwise. A large part of a Christian’s means of operation must involve the unfamiliar and the unknown, which requires a close walk and willingness to operate far outside the box of conventionality.

There are some I am speaking to here directly. You have had this very sentiment on your heart for a while now. You are wanting to get it right. You are not as comfortable as you would like to be in going forward but you know you must. From personal experience, let me tell you—there are times when you never reach a fully “comfortable” feeling in making such a move. You feel something like a pressure but it is not really that, but more of a personalized directing into something different. You don’t have the full picture but you know you must act. You are not sure how because you don’t have all the facts. Guess what? You will likely never have all the facts. All you know is that you are being somewhat strongly led in a new direction. There is something out there you must do. There is a move to make. It is actually somewhat exciting but such is contained due to a reluctance to leave familiar surroundings. Sometimes it is geographic but it doesn’t have to be.

Many Christians refuse to obey when such a time comes. They would rather stick with sure security and not take a chance on a possible wrong move or upset a current lifestyle. This is not a bad move to make at first. It is the prudent thing to do. If the Lord has us where He wants us then we must be very careful to fend off any “calls” to a new thing somewhere else which has much more to do with one’s own personal desires or those of another, and usually entail running from God or away from Him. We must always test these things. There are times when it seems the Lord is calling us elsewhere or upward but time will tell if it is really Him or not. If it is not Him, whatever initial leadings we may feel will never get to the point beyond mere consideration. But if it is Him it will not stop. The directing will grow stronger. In these cases the Lord is telling us that the fruitful fields of the future are elsewhere, whether geographic or not, and that current fruitfulness is lessening and will continue to slide.

It could be that the Lord is driving both, in that He will no longer bless a current effort because He wants you to have greater fruitfulness and it can only come if you make a move. I will caution whoever may be reading this, however, that it must be by His direction and you will have to be close enough to Him to hear His voice and be sufficiently inclined to His guidance.

There is a surplus of examples in Scripture. Someone was going about his life as always when the Lord, somewhat suddenly, spoke and began preparing him for a move. There will always be a time of preparation. The Lord will initially speak, often with plenty of time beforehand (but this is according to His reckoning and not our own) and it is up to us to hear. After getting the message we must do the next thing which is to obey. We begin preparing. The Lord continues to speak to our spirit in stronger tones. We keep checking to make sure it’s Him. He will bring spiritual verification during the entire time. Things begin working toward the goal. The old begins to fade. He won’t bless it anymore. The new begins coming into greater focus. The blessing is in the transition but will soon be fully in the new. The new becomes more exciting. We reach a point when we want to do it and it cannot come fast enough but we must still be patient. He always does things the right way with no ups and downs or zig-zags.

It’s okay to make a few incorrect moves because He can fix that, but we must stay in touch. What He can’t fix, however, is willful intransigence and disobedience. This borders on outright rebellion. I have no idea how many Christians make these moves the right way or how many refuse to move altogether. But I know a real Christian is bought with a great price. We do not belong to ourselves but to Him. Each of us cost Him His own shed blood. That being said, we know He always treats us well and it is good to “try the spirits” to make sure what we are feeling or hearing is the Lord. He expects us to do that, of course. There comes a time, though, when we cannot allow conventionality, common sense, social pressure, or other elements to hold us back from the greater life the Lord wants to give us. And it is not primarily for our personal blessing but to be of greater use to Him and for others.

It will involve personal blessing, however. And it will involve all the joy of leaving a not so great but okay place in which fruitfulness is harder to come by though we remain in good standing with Him, into a new place filled with fresh new possibilities, opportunities, wonderful people, and increased spiritual fruitfulness. If this resonates with you, make absolutely sure it is the Lord and His direction. You will have to be mature enough to make the final decision and not depend on another to make it for you.

One thing all of us know, or should know, is that we are in the midst of a great change. Forces of evil are pushing a sinister narrative. The world is changing drastically as you read this. But again, the Lord is not surprised. He remains fully in charge. Our destiny with Him remains on course. New challenges may be throwing a wrench in the works somewhat, but His strength, guidance, and anointing will keep us secure and at peace as our mind is stayed on Him.

For some of you, now is the time to move on to greener pastures.

Vaya Con Dios.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


NOTE: My friend Beverley at Becoming the Oil and the Wine, nominated this site for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Please visit and congratulate Beverley on her nomination and also for her site’s sixth anniversary. Thank you and Be Blessed.

JESUS IS THE ANSWER

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Those in high positions of authority are not revealing all they know. Others in lesser positions may be clueless but will dutifully comply with the agenda and continue to drive the panic.

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BOY HOWDY, THIS GOT UGLY QUICK

From the beginning, back in early January or so, there were a few rational people who saw what was happening, as the few often do, and began warning against the warning. Since then both sides have ramped up their rhetoric, though the rational voice has been completely deluged by now. Once the major media gets on board and begins relentlessly driving the narrative it is case closed. That’s because the majority of Americans are addicted to the major media and treat it like God.

You might have heard me say this before a time or two, but this phenomenon is not unlike what goes on in many churches, in that members have knee jerk reactions in times of such trouble to seek out their leaders and abide by their pronouncements. Mainline Christianity is thus no different than the mainstream media, in that they all say the same thing, never tell their people to not honor them as difference makers, but accept their middle man role and dole out the advice, which not surprisingly sounds exactly like the government’s advice.

I was at the grocery store late last week. It’s a big store, and relatively new. There were loaded and semi-loaded shopping carts and shoppers waiting in a ridiculously long line that snaked all the way along the main drag checkout area to the far end and down an aisle. It was probably that way on the other side of the store also. I had never seen such before in that store. And when a store has about thirty or so check out stands that says something. I didn’t notice how many were actually in operation but it appeared to be most.

While finding my place in line, almost halfway down a central aisle, still somewhat amazed, I did what I always do. I tried striking up a conversation with the man in front of me but he wasn’t very talkative. Another middle-aged woman came by, with a small child, and a young man in a wheel chair with a leg injury. They asked if this was the line. They had to cut across from their direction. I said yeah and she, with a big smile and jovial attitude, and a slight incredulous manner, dutifully lined up behind me. As we got closer to the front of the store the line parted in two, one for shoppers with lesser items. And we waited, and shuffled along. I’m sure many of you have experienced the same thing by now.

I was successful in this particular line in finding someone to discuss the situation with, and we carried on a conversation the rest of the way to the checkouts. Our theme, of course, was this strange happening and the current crisis which suddenly jumped out of nowhere but without what one would normally associate with such a crisis. There were not thousands dead, for example. Not even hundreds. At that time, across the entire country, there were about fifty and most of them were in one specific location in one state.

But the authorities continued saying it was about to get much worse. By that time a national panic was in the works. It was not based on reality, however, but on projected reality. I was not thinking there was not a potential crisis but that the crisis continued to appear overblown. Those voices I told you about back in January, who were saying the crisis showed all the signs of being manufactured? Well, they continued on, some with greater fervor, trying their best to tell the truth of the matter. But as always, you had to search for them. The mainstream media was now in lockstep, all saying the same thing, that the end of the world as we know it is upon us, and for all of you out there who are unprepared, well, you better hunker down, bunker or not.

Even the President was reluctant to get on board. He knew the entire thing was fishy, apparently, but was soon forced to go along. Again, I am not saying there is not a real danger here, but only that it’s been blown entirely out of proportion. Nevertheless, national fear has now set it. It is being taken advantage of to drive an agenda. I tried to warn you with my latest posts. You can gain a lot by reading them. You will have greater understanding of how this crisis was planned and carried out. You may figure out who’s driving it and for what reasons. It gives the PTB a good look into the present American psyche. And it lets them know who the lemmings are.

WHAT ABOUT GOD?

Meanwhile, for all real Christians out there, those who actually follow the Lord Jesus, especially those who have been around a while and are mature disciples, what is presently occurring is not so earth-shattering. They have already been through much worse. When whatever crises that happened to them took place, it wasn’t national news. No one except a very few knew about those occasions. They had to weather the storm though, and do their best to overcome and survive. The world at large didn’t care. It didn’t know. These were private struggles. But the Lord came through for each and every one. He made a way where there was absolutely no other way. They learned all the more to live by faith in their Savior who loves them, and trust Him. They have confidence in Him. They know He does what He says. They learned to not give in to fear and panic, especially when it regards a largely manufactured crisis.

It is good that you can’t find any hand sanitizer anywhere. People know what they need. It is good that the nation is being instructed to wash their hands. Really? That says a lot, that the people of a nation this large and influential doesn’t even know they should wash their hands. A hundred and fifty years ago, no one knew germs existed. They never made the connection between unsanitary practices and conditions with disease and illness, or on some occasions, general pandemics. And then America apparently forgot this knowledge. And America continued to slip headlong into the worst social practices ever when very few understood or cared that such behavior has a massive downside. When the majority practices such the end of that nation is in sight.

So this, again, is a test, on several levels. Doing one’s best to stay away from the virus is good. Taking all the proper precautions is good. Those who do the best in this regard will have the better chance. Maybe this will help the country turn the corner. Maybe Americans will discover that proper sanitation actually works. Maybe they will learn to be more disciplined regarding how they protect their bodies, what they put into their bodies, and what they engage in with their bodies. Maybe more people will get the big idea that the Lord’s instructions along these lines are there to protect us.

But I’ll believe when I see it. I have been teaching whoever might listen about all of these things for several decades now, and have only seen things get worse overall, though there does exist a percentage of the country that pays close attention to healthy lifestyles and nutrition. Most people prefer ignorance and apathy. This makes them easily led. They are then taken advantage of and steered into whatever thinking is desired at the time. They become dense to the truth they need. They make the mistake of being led by the wrong leaders. These wrong leaders, whether civil or religious, don’t really care about people but only their own interests and agendas. When I see it among Christians, however, it is most disconcerting. People think they are escaping an evil world and joining Christianity but are unaware they are often only jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, so to speak. And then they continue to be misled.

Those who refuse anything less than the full truth never stay in a place where they discover the full truth does not exist. They move on. They continue seeking. Perhaps this is why all the spiritual greats mentioned in the Word of God were relatively obscure in their times and associated with only a relative few, especially the Master Himself. Not only did few follow Him, He suffered terribly by this world’s leaders, most of whom never knew Him or appreciated Him.

My advice at this time is the same for any other time: Seek the Lord. None of this is any surprise to Him. And carry on in your work. Never trust those who merely talk the talk but rarely or never walk the walk. You will be led astray. Rather, seek the One who has already walked it out and will even walk a mile with you, or a hundred, or a million.

You can trust a Man who gives His life so you can live.

2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

PANICKED OVER A TRICK PANDEMIC

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Whatever this actually is—a pandemic, yet another disease scare, a hoax, a biowarfare attack, or a government response testthe REAL pandemic remains unacknowledged.

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It’s getting worse. The infection rate continues to rage and rise, in some places exponentially. The worst perpetrators thereof are either too preoccupied to notice or care, or owe their lives to practices which make them vulnerable. If they stop they lose everything and their kingdoms crumble. They built their lives on dirt foundations with no escape hatch and could lose their existence of error when the big one hits. Many are so tied-in to a lesser-based life they will never get free without major disruptions from which they may never recover.

Yet there has always been a way out. Most humans see it, though, as too way out. Their social credibility suffers at the prospect of embracing it. Thus, those with the most invested in the fake world have the most to lose in leaving it, and choose a temp existence over long-term reality. This is why the Master opined on this quizzical matter by saying the worst are often first, in that they are less invested and more free to enter. Their baggage is the kind happily left behind. And besides, they’ve usually been treated like outskirts scum by the success party and denied membership since their résumés don’t add up. But the Master’s door is always open.

The rich man faithless deniers do anything they want with access to anything money can buy but will end up in the hot place with Mr. Dives craving a mere rain drop on their desert palates to no avail, while all the poor little faithful formerly sore-ridden Lazarus’ hang out safely in Abraham’s comfy air-conditioned crash pad. This reversal of fortunes is really cool when you think about it and does justice proud. It proves once again that playing by the rules of a dog-eat-dog world will get you a dead dog death in the long run regardless of manifold plaques on your wall and trophies in your case. None of those sorts of things are transferable to the great beyond.

Therefore, this latest scare we must beware means more effort wasted on things that don’t matter and playing right into the hands of the unseen gear grinders always coming up with more dastardly plans to insure their control and lessen yours. If you can’t see through it you must clean your windshield, change your perspective, and try harder to focus. Maybe take off those dark shades that look so cool. And don’t trust the ones the Master instructed us not to trust but trust Him.

Only He has the cure for the real pandemic.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

WAKING THE DEAD: THE DOOR

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The Door is not a concept. It is not one more Christian ethereal unreality pontificated upon by dead men in the guise of the living. The Door is real. Until one actually enters it, he is asleep to spiritual reality.

CONSTANT TOTAL AMAZEMENT

“My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.” [1]

This is how Christians should be and would otherwise be if the Lord had His way, but most are asleep and spend their lives sleeping. They even sleep at church. Almost everybody there, in most churches, is asleep. Some are even literally asleep (drool alert).

This is an amazing thing. The greatest Man who ever lived. The greatest story ever told. Reams of historical records of His great exploits and accomplishments. No Man anywhere close to His greatness in the history of the world.

And yet they sleep.  

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

And there it is.

DEAD CHRISTIANITY

It is the Lazarus Syndrome. Most of Christianity is dead. It is Lazarus all wrapped up in grave clothes, bound and sleeping in a cold dark tomb. The people who promote this are making a mockery of real Christianity. They are dead Lazarus supporters.

Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” [John 11:21]

“Lord, if You were here our church would not be dead.”

But what is the Lord to do when faithless disobedient dead Christians insist on barring the Door?

And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets;’ and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.’ [Luke 13:23-27]

The Christian willing dead are evildoers. Those who sponsor and insist upon dead Christianity violate everything the Lord is about. They transform Him into something He never was. This false form of the Lord they created is a perfect example of an absolute violation of the Second Commandment. They have created a god to suit themselves, one which will never convict them of their unashamed sins.

THE DOOR

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. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me…” [John 10:7-14] [2]

It is impossible to be shown the Door, enter it, find pasture, gain abundant life, and also be spiritually dead. No one sleeps in His presence but will instead be as lively as the day is long and try to tell the whole world about his great fortune. Such people were rescued from a pointless existence in a graveyard. They found the secret of life.

Why then, do most Christians sleep?

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] © 1990 Joe Versus the Volcano

[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.

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (4-Part Series)

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. [2 Timothy 1:7 KJV]

 

March 12, 2020: PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 1)

The Lord Jesus came to save His people. But many of His people had already sold out to their religious leaders. They did this in part because they were deathly afraid of them…

 

March 12, 2020: PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 2)

Regarding the sinning priest problem, some argue that the Catholic Church is not actually as guilty as claimed, in that such episodes are only rare sporadic events. This is simply more window-washing to minimize the charges…

 

March 13, 2020: PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 3)

It all started in Babylon during the Captivity in roughly 600 BC. It continued to develop over the next four centuries. It came to its full fruition with the emerging Pharisee Party two centuries before the Lord…

 

March 14, 2020: PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 4)

What I have presented with this four-part series goes beyond surface truth. There is a parable at work here revealing destructive forces. For the few who have ventured thus far, you are ahead of the curve…

 

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

 

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 4)

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What I have presented with this four-part series goes beyond surface truth. There is a parable at work here revealing destructive forces. For the few who have ventured thus far, you are ahead of the curve.

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“He who has ears, let him hear.”

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” [Matthew 13:9-13]   

GIVE HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE

One will notice several behavioral characteristics of high brow religionists. Perhaps the most noticeable is their demand for respect and honor. They tolerate no dissent. Violators are prosecuted. It is their absolute authority and the forced recognition thereof that holds their enterprise together and keeps them ruling over it. They refuse to express any real humility and only act out a role in that regard. As a final test, consider how they treat the Lord Jesus.

Pharisaical: Marked by hypocritical censorious self-righteousness. [1]

Now, we know how those idiots back then treated Him, which sealed their fate. But a likely majority of Christian ministers, priests, and reverends have treated Him exactly the same since then. You will know them by their fruits.

You will also know them by their absolute refusal to surrender all authority to the Lord Jesus.

It is not His ministry but theirs. It is not His church but theirs. If they were working for Him they would not be violating His teachings and refusing His directives. And American Christianity would not be in such sorry shape filled with Biblically illiterate Christians not knowing what to do, where to turn, or how to fix what is wrong. The predominant understanding such Christians have in common is to fearfully honor religious authority regardless of its behavior or track record. They meld into a status quo, low-denomination crowd of faceless ones, whose only actual apparent purpose is to support an enterprise they know very little about beyond the surface.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. [2Timothy 1:7 KJV]

Like traditional Catholicism, which traditionally withheld the Word of God or discouraged its members from reading it or acting upon it if by chance a few actually did, the majority of Christians are simply not aware of what the New Testament is, what it says, or what the Lord actually commands them to do. They have instead been indoctrinated to believe that their lives must consist primarily of obeying those in the rule over them with less regard for obeying the Lord Jesus. This is obviously true because if they honored Him they would never honor others in His place. Thus, their “discipleship” is something different from that which the Lord defined in the New Covenant model.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 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 10:24-27]   

There are likely millions of obscure “nobody” Christians who do obey the Lord. They strive to get it right. They do their best to do anything He asks. They give much effort toward being good disciples. Their lives are more difficult but also greatly fruitful. They are largely unrecognized. They do not attempt to revert to religious dress, manners, and shallow talking points to be noticed, but the opposite. They do exactly as the Lord and His original apostles instruct them to do, to the best of their ability. They read and study the Word of God to discover what is required of them. They honor ministers of the Gospel but never see them as substitutes for the Lord (vicars of Christ). It is the Lord Jesus who gave His life for them and no one will ever take His place. Therefore, they will not listen to or obey hirelings who do not teach what He taught. These real Christians are the ones to whom honor is due because they are the only ones actually trying and mostly succeeding in doing His will. Most of all, they honor the Lord Jesus as their Savior and recognize Him as God.

“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][2]

The Lord taught that every “Christian” enterprise not founded upon the Rock will eventually fail. It will eventually come to ruin. It will eventually be destroyed. Each one will suffer what eventually happened to national Israel, the original Jerusalem, and the Temple in 70 AD. It is only a matter of time.

His Kingdom, on the other hand, will last forever. It is the only Christian Community that will. All the counterfeit ones are temporary and their termination waits.

When He dwelt among humanity, the Lord Jesus was humble and obscure. He didn’t “look the part.” He was not at all like the ostentatious Pharisees or later clergyites, which includes those at present who refuse to serve and honor Him. His was not an earthly kingdom but a spiritual one. His kingdom has none of the outer trappings or dependencies of temporary, worldly enterprises. He never strove for money, position, or the world’s respect but sought only to do the Father’s will.

His followers do the same. They seek not the approval of men but the approval of God.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] © Merriam-Webster

[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.

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 1)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 2)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 3)

 

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 3)

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It all started in Babylon during the Captivity in roughly 600 BC. It continued to develop over the next four centuries. It came to its full fruition with the emerging Pharisee Party two centuries before the Lord.

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JUDAIC ROOTS OF UNREAL CHRISTIANITY

In the first century AD, the Lord Jesus called that last generation of Israelites the most wicked of all. Much of the wickedness, though, was being performed by, you guessed it, a few, those few not in the pew. Whether it was the vaunted Sadducees who controlled the temple and worked hand in glove politically with the otherwise hated Romans, or the ultra-casuistic Pharisees who created an entirely new “word of God,” the Oral Torah in which they themselves were the god and which was designed to suit themselves and gain and maintain power, the Jewish religious leaders lived to lord it over the people. The millions of Israelites at that time, whether at home in Judea or abroad, were under the absolute authority of such leaders, most especially the Pharisees, the Separated Ones. This was largely the genesis of rabbinical Judaism.

The people had no say so. They were told what to believe. They were held to extremely strict standards. Those who refused the authority of the Pharisees were utterly despised by them as mongrels and traitors to the commonwealth. What does that tell us? This is why the Pharisees had such disdain for Galileans and utter disgust for Samaritans.

They saw themselves as God’s highest and best. They were so “aware” and “in-tune” they legitimized an unwritten minutia-ridden oral law code that overstepped the Law of Moses and no one knew the finer abstract workings of this code than them.

They created it, taking upon themselves the guise of God, though God had nothing to do with it. And they then browbeat their constituents into compulsory acceptance under threat. This put everyone else on the defensive, both due to ignorance of the law and because one could never know for sure if they had violated it until confronted with the violation. It should be clear then, that Israelites lived on the edge and were often in a state of worry.

Yet the Lord indicated that the scribes and Pharisees inherited the seat of Moses, and He said one must do as they teach. The inference is that one must obey them as it regards the Mosaic Law. He also said, however, that one must not follow their example because they only talk the talk and do not walk the walk.

“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 23:13][1]

Who else other than the Lord Jesus had the boldness to instruct disciples in this way? Who else dared to use his position of authority to tell Israelites that the Pharisees set a rotten example? We know that answer is next to no one because if one did he would have an ugly fight on his hands in seconds.

It is why the nation was so afraid of the religious leaders. Their entire lives were subjected to whether or not a person was in good standing in the synagogue and only the few at the top had absolute control of their fate. The people thus must make sure they crossed every yod and dotted every tittle or the man would come down on their head. The most successful obeyers developed the worst attitude and became sideways browbeaters in league with the top-down browbeaters. If you kept trying to succeed at this idiocy but couldn’t pull it off (because you were normal), you got it from everywhere. Those who hated the entire insufferable enterprise, however, knew they best keep their opinions and facial expressions to themselves or word would get out. You couldn’t trust anybody. They would out you. You could get ratted out by any number of Judases in a heartbeat.

Here we have another of those amazing traits regarding humanity. Why not rise up? Why not make the attempt to throw off the yoke? There were only a few who fit this category, for one thing. But those who actually did it and meant to make something of it eventually began banding together. Their effort was not necessarily against the religious leaders but for national Israel. They couldn’t see how playing church would oust the Romans. But they were not about to do it God’s way. These were the Zealots. They were otherwise known in the New Testament as robbers. A faction of these, known for hidden daggers in their cloaks to be used on a moment’s notice, was the Sicarii.

The Zealots grew more ruthless over time. They developed a few key leaders who held sway over thousands of Israelites. In the end they would bring forth the Great Revolt that brought down the nation.

Another major sect was the Essenes. These were for the most part monastics that had long before rejected the authority of the corrupt temple priests and created their own highly-controlled aesthetic order. This too, of course, was run by an elevated religious caste.

What was a first century Jew to do? There was little escape from the suffocating lack of personal liberty and freedom in the Lord. Much of everything God did in the very beginning in the times of Abraham and Moses to create a people for His Name eventually got twisted and subverted. It developed into heavy-handed domination by a ruling cabal of autocratic religious despots and political subversives given over to money and power.

Sound familiar?

© 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.

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 1)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 2)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 4)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 2)

Regarding the sinning priest problem, some argue that the Catholic Church is not actually as guilty as claimed, in that such episodes are only rare sporadic events. This is simply more window-washing to minimize the charges.

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It appears that way because it was hidden and much of it remained hidden. Much of it is still hidden. But it’s been going on forever. And for forever they were never caught. They were never caught because it was part of an inner culture. It was part of the deep inner workings separated from public view and oversight. Those who knew were afraid to say anything. Catholics and the general public were never the wiser until victims of abuse began talking. Other victims of abuse had undoubtedly talked in the past but their voices were suppressed. It was not until enough victims of abuse began coming forth that the issue was finally addressed officially. Many Catholics were absolutely shocked. Some spoke out quite forcibly. Most Catholics said very little and would rather the entire issue went away. It was embarrassing.

THE LORD JESUS IS ON RECORD OF KNOWING HOW TO CLEAN HOUSE

But the fact remains that some insiders always knew about it but did nothing about it. They simply covered it up. The cause was never addressed. The house was never cleaned. The corruption was too widespread. It would cause a disruption. They were afraid. When the news was revealed the process began to deal with it and corrective measures were applied. Whether they have worked or are working is a different issue, but the Catholic Church should be commended for the attempt to right a wrong.

Yet, Catholics were taken advantage of and their absolute support with no questions asked was taken for granted. The Catholic clergy knows full well that most Catholics will always remain Catholics no matter what happens. They know this in part because they are well aware of the excellent success rate of their Catholic indoctrination program, which they have been masters at for centuries, and which starts upon the impressionable minds of very young children. So making quick priest transfers to new venues where the people are none the wiser solved two problems at once: The bad guy is gone but still works for us elsewhere.

It is interesting that by comparison, however, you don’t hear as much about the same problem in mainline Protestantism. Could this be due to a possible lowering of standards?

Whatever the case, there is no doubt that everyone knows who wields the power. A minister’s job (and for many that is all it is) and his very life is dependent upon upper management, unless he or she is part of an organization in which church members vote for prospective preachers, in which case he or she is controlled by them instead, because if they can vote you in they can also vote you out. Either way, including in Catholicism, the minister’s salary comes from above and he or she had better play by the rules, which, in essence, means to do what they say. This upper handedness and subtle fear mongering is even extended to the congregation, but rather than career and salary being used to keep one in line, it is the church member’s credibility and reputation. No one wants to be perceived as a deviant or become a social pariah. This is in part why all church and ministry organizations have bylaws. Again, they must protect the enterprise and the enterprise depends on everyone fulfilling their duty.

They create the doctrinal statement they live by, which may extend to book length, and then force all members to toe the mark. If changes to the doctrinal statement happen along the way, including radical changes, it is up to the membership to get in line with the new rules. Some may not like the new rules, however, but are powerless to stop their acceptance. Their only choice is to vote with their feet, though most don’t. The rules and rule changes often descend from on high though some Christian organizations involve a limited vote.

Regarding the selection of church leaders, most churches remain in the dark ages and grant their congregations no voice. These are not democracies. For example, when it comes to selecting a new Catholic pope, the highest ecclesiastical office on the planet, the voting is extremely limited to a small group within the College of Cardinals, which, as of December 2019, consisted of only 223 members. The inner group allowed to vote comprises an even smaller number of cardinals and its members are called the cardinal electors. As of last October there were 128 cardinal electors though there have never been more than 120 during any previous conclave that selected a pope.

These electors are appointed by the pope.

The new pope is almost always a cardinal.

This means that as of October 2019 there are only 129 men in absolute rule over an organization of a billion members worldwide.

The Pope appoints the voters.

The voters choose the Pope.

This is the definition of a top-of-the-pyramid controlling clique.

So again, the hierarchies of Christian organizations, whether Catholic or Protestant or Pentecostal or whatever, know that most of their powerless members will always go along with whatever they pronounce. How is this different from a cult?

It is the very antithesis of the Lord’s real Community in which every single member is an equal, the only difference being spiritual maturity level.

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]

© 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.

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 1)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 3)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 4)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 1)

The Lord Jesus came to save His people. But many of His people had already sold out to their religious leaders. They did this in part because they were deathly afraid of them.

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Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. [John 12:42-43]

Christians more concerned about their church social credibility than serving the Lord Jesus express a faithless fearfulness. At the heart of their infidelity is a refusal to fully submit to the Lord and real discipleship. The origin of their fear is usually traced back to the people in charge. They are the ones who make the rules, one of which is submission to their authority. Yet they subject themselves to no effective accountability. The laity, on the other hand, has little or no authority in most churches and thus represents a lower class. The members thereof must submit to the leadership to be in good standing.

This is similar to a two-tiered justice system in which the elite are shielded from liability. If one is a member in good standing of the higher-ups club, one gets away with anything. If not, one is on one’s own and is vulnerable. And if such a one refuses to obey the Lord, one had better suck up to a substitute leadership group for his own protection and livelihood.

NON-PROPHET ORGANIZATIONS

In this regard, we often see the professional clergy, the upper class ruling over the lower class, projecting the same status. They create a ruling clique and defend it. They institute complex initiation inclusion protocols. They authorize unifying doctrinal statements. They stick together. They never deviate from the script. They go to bat for one another, which is one of the highly desired perks of the profession. This results in career advancement and security. They also protect one another from justice when that need is required. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Roman Catholic hierarchy protecting sinful priests, Protestant officials of most stripes doing the same for their respective ministers who stray into the same sins or others, or the bigwigs in Christian television who never reveal the underhanded goings on in that field of ministry. It’s a shame too, because many Catholic priests, Protestant ministers, and Christian television personalities do not engage in such secret sins.

But the sin just as big is refusing to reveal what would otherwise be the bigger sins. And those who engage in this practice do it for one reason only: Fear. They must protect themselves. They must protect the brand. They must protect the reputation of the enterprise. They must also protect the cash flow. I remember watching Christian television probably a couple decades back and there it was, once again, like so many times before. A Christian television personality caught in serious sin was right back on the air doing his thing. He had repented of his sin, you see. And he was way too valuable to leave off the air.

Remember, it is often the case that the most successful ministers are the greater money magnets. Rather than serve the living God and operate through the power of His Holy Spirit, they operate through the power of worldly wealth and unregenerate flesh, both of which attract demonic influence.

“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.”

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 16:13-15][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.

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 2)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 3)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 4)

ENTERTAINING ANGELS UNAWARE

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I remember one time, in my first year or so as a new believer, a bunch of us went downtown early one night to do some street witnessing. These occasions were always fun. You never knew what might happen.

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We would break up in a few groups with a plan to get back together in a central area later on. I had done a lot of witnessing in those early days but downtown was always a special time. It was all cold turkey with no set plan, meeting people you never knew. The city was very large but thanks to a thriving tourist trade you didn’t have to watch your every step. It had a small town feel and the downtown area had a long and eventful history. People were generally friendly and laid back. The areas we frequented were well lit and maintained, and not all that crowded.

We walked the streets, handed out tracts, and talked to whoever may listen or wish to carry on a conversation, and attempted to tell them about the Lord. You always had to find the proper balance and recognize open doors. One time, a brother and I were walking up a street and noticed a couple of sailors in uniform stopped at a crosswalk waiting for the light to change. The guy on the right was smoking a cigarette. I approached him and, handing him a tract, said “God wants you to have this.” He looked right at me, got really angry, tossed his cigarette down, and replied, “You can keep your God…” I apparently struck a nerve. This often happens when sharing the Gospel in such a raw manner. One never knows what emotions may come to the surface when innocently touching a past experience or memory. God gets blamed for a lot for things He had nothing to do with.

Later on we all gathered back together at the preplanned meeting area on an active street. Someone might have brought a guitar. We used the term “edified” quite a lot back then. It was a spiritually edifying experience to hang out with your friends who had the Lord in common and enjoyed His work. Everyone was having a great time. We would share stories of the night’s events.

At one point I walked by myself a short ways to a busy corner bus stop. There was a bus parked on the side street with the engine running getting ready to load up. I thought I might try to talk to a few of the people milling around. After just arriving at the spot, I saw in my peripheral vision someone walking toward the bus in my direction. He seemed to appear out of nowhere. As he came into view I turned to face him, hoping to get a word in as he walked up. He was a relatively tall distinguished man dressed well in a light-colored tailored suit. His appearance was different somehow. There was a look about him. I approached, handed him a tract, and told him why I was there. He listened politely, his face never changing expression. Then, in answer to me, he kind of looked off into the distance and said, “Yeah, I’ve been wanting to look into that.” He turned and walked off, getting lost in the crowd. I never saw him again.

Right away, I was struck by what he said because it reminded me of the following verse:

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look. [1Peter 1:12]

And this:

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. [Hebrews 13:2 KJV][1]

On those downtown streets years ago, in the midst of a curious occurrence, I believed I had just met my first angel.

© 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.

NEED A MIRACLE?

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The Lord Jesus is available. He has never stopped being available. All things are possible with God.

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THE FAUX BROS

The faux brethren are preaching a different Gospel. It brings no honor to the Lord. But it does bring them a living, and that is what they desire the most.

“Christianity” is very different behind the scenes. Once a Christian performer leaves the stage he or she can be seen for what they really are. I remember very well the early days when idealism gave way to reality. While the reality of the Lord was always the same the Lord showed me how the faux brethren change when away from the spotlight. I wondered then, just how a Christian performer is supposed to represent himself in public. There is obviously no way he can maintain the same persona and attitude as the one presented onstage.

Again, these were the very early days of my new Christian experience. Everything was brand new, holy, and pure. I had no reason to doubt anything presented as spiritual reality. The preaching I became associated with was powerful and convicting. It was obviously inspired and anointed.

But I began to realize that I never saw that kind of preaching outside a church venue, unless it was a larger church venue transported to a rented auditorium or something similar. Why did I never see that kind of incredible preaching out on the street in a non-official setting?

THOSE BRUTAL ROMANS

This is how the early believers did it. They had no church buildings. There were in fact no church buildings for almost three centuries and yet those powerful early believers turned the Roman Empire on its ear. One must keep in mind that the Romans were brutal. That is probably the best one word description of their entire culture. They perfected crucifixion, for example. Gladiators fought to the death as entertainment. Massive crowds came to the many entertainment venues to see human beings suffer and die. Once the early believers became more numerous and were seen as a threat, they too were sentenced to die in entertainment venues, often ripped apart by wild beasts. Imagine being one of those early stalwarts of the faith.

Despite all the persecution and barbaric brutality, the early believers actually brought the Roman Empire to its knees. They did it with love. They did it by making themselves vulnerable. They were never two-faced. What you saw was what you got whether they were behind closed doors, in small settings, or out in the public on the street. They learned all of this from the Lord Jesus. It is exactly the way He was and the way He did things. He was always the same and He is still the same.

STAGE PERFORMERS

Official Christianity, however, has been transformed into a stage production. Preaching has become an art form. Yet, such is not close to being new. The Lord called the Pharisees and those like them hypocrites. Though the word has a different connotation now, hypocrites were stage performers. They were actors. The Lord called the Pharisees actors. They were merely acting out a part. Their outward performance was never how they really were. Off the stage and out of their religious costumes, they were the opposite. They were as fake as the day is long.

It should be obvious that without church buildings and professional preachers most Christians would have no clue what to do. Yet again, the early Church never “went to church.” They had no “church” to go to. Today, most Christians go to church in order to have church. Back then, real Christians were the Church. They couldn’t hide once they were out of the spotlight because they didn’t want to hide and the “spotlight” was a 24 hour a day proposition.

REAL CHRISTIANS

There are still Christians that are like this. They are always the same. They can do the will of God wherever they are. However, they are not professionals. They can’t be fake. It is simply not in them. Because of this they usually don’t have an easy time collecting donations. People are so used to having only one out a thousand presenting themselves as worthy “official” ministers that they are conditioned to support them, even though the great bulk of Christian work—99%—is being done by non-supported nobodies who must work closely with the Lord to gain a necessary living doing whatever they must. These are the real Christians. There are a few real Christians on stage and before cameras but are very, very few. You will know they are real because they do not perform. What they are in public is the same as what they would be in your living room or on the street.

It is largely why most of the early Great Awakening is not visible—it is not happening in official venues in churches, on stage, or on television. The controllers of those venues do not want a Great Awakening. They oppose it. It is too threatening to their cushy status quo. Almost all of it is happening out there among the nobodies, the forgotten Christians, the rejected Christians—the ones who never have and never will make the grade to be prime-time players. They are all lousy actors. They can’t make a living that way. But they are real— just like the Lord.

OUR LOVING FATHER

And the Lord Jesus is with them. He is always available. He takes care of them all because they have each presented themselves to Him as a living sacrifice to be used in whatever way He wants. These are true disciples. The one thing they have in common is their pure love and desire to help. Part of that involves believing the Lord for a miracle when a miracle is called for. They KNOW the Lord will always take care of them and one another and they have experienced the Lord’s miracles to that end. The Lord does miracles for them out of love and concern, however. He never does it as part of some twisted religious stage show. He blesses us in this way because He loves us and cares about us and because He can. He wants to meet our needs and if we let Him and obey Him and trust Him He can and He always will.

And sometimes He blesses us with a miracle not because there is a dire need but simply because He just wants to bless our socks off. He’s in love with us. He sometimes just can’t help Himself.

© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

THE END OF THE AGE—IN PROPHECY [Part 3]

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It is called The Olivet Prophecy. In response to the questions of His disciples about the End of the Age, the Lord Jesus clearly revealed the signs to watch for that some of them would live to see.

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DAYS OF VENGEANCE

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled.” [Luke 21:20-22]

A likely majority of Christians have been subjected to false interpretations of Bible prophecy. There is much confusion and misunderstanding. Most believers get lost in all the detail. But in reality, it is not the Word of God that is to blame, especially in regard to the Last Days prophecies made by the Lord Jesus. Many of His teachings have been taken out of context. Many have been misapplied. Thus, it is not His prophetic content or manner of teaching that is causing the lack of comprehension. It is dealing with the inaccurate interpretations that conflict with the truth.

Truth and error do not mix. Error does not add up. The light of truth exposes dark things and reveals inaccuracies. When one is able to identify error, as tares in a wheat field or masquerading goats at a sheep party, and thus eliminate it from the equation, the truth stands out. It comes out of hiding, so to speak. The truth suddenly becomes visible right there in front of us. And we think, it was always there but for some reason I couldn’t see it. We don’t know such truth exists. We are thus blinded by error because we do not perceive it as such. Sometimes we think error is truth.

How can this happen to Christians who otherwise dwell in the light of the Lord? Where does the obfuscation come from? Many Christians spend their lives in states of cognitive dissonance trying to make sense of the competing doctrinal factoids in their heads in an impossible effort at connecting dots and joining contrary puzzle pieces together. We take it for granted that we have the truth on any given subject but rarely or never subject it to the proper testing as the Lord said we must. Much of this arises from whatever Christian cultural arrangement we belong to. The following is an example:

When I wrote my series on Mary Highly Favored this past December, I included her genealogy from the Gospel of Luke. I noted that her father’s name was Eli or Heli, depending on the translation (See Luke 3:23). In talking to someone about this I was taken somewhat to task over it because the person insisted that Mary’s parents were Joachim and Anna. 

I said that was only tradition. And the New Testament does not actually mention Mary’s mother.

It did not matter what I said from that point forward because this person would not consider the truth. The scary thing about it was that the truth in the Word of God was rejected and a mere apocryphal traditional error which is strongly ensconced in that Christian denomination was accepted. If this attitude is applied to the entire Word of God such people could be hopelessly indoctrinated against various truths in favor of the erroneous teachings of their denominational beliefs regarding anything the Scriptures teach.

It is the same with Bible prophecy. Once a person has chosen to believe a particular interpretation and puts stock in it the odds of seeing it differently greatly diminish. But becoming convinced of something we believe to be true does not make it so. It is in part why the Lord has blessed us with His Word. There must be a final appeal to authority and that authority is the Lord Jesus and the written record we have of His teachings. His Word must be the final arbiter.

And His Word always dovetails together. The same way it works with Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah, all the prophetic content in the New Testament about the Last Days comes together into a single comprehensible whole. Of course, since we are dealing with several different books of the Bible which were originally not written by their respective authors as chapters in a single publication (though the Lord meant it exactly that way through His inspiration), it is up to us to do the research and also receive His revelation.

THE OLIVET PROPHECY

In this light, therefore, for those who want the truth of the matter, the Lord’s Olivet Prophecy exists in all three synoptic gospels. These accounts are easily accessible, relatively short, and quite clear. What the Lord prophesies is not all that difficult to understand especially in light of later history, which records exactly what happened up to the final conflagration in 70 AD. You can find the Lord’s prophecies of The End of the Age in the following passages:

         The Gospel of Matthew: Chapters 24 and Chapter 25

         The Gospel of Mark: Chapter 13

         The Gospel of Luke: Chapter 21

Keep in mind that there are no New Testament accounts of what eventually happened regarding the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. But there certainly are NT accounts written in the 60s AD immediately prior to that time. There are other accounts also, such as those in Paul’s letters written within one to two decades of the end that also clearly point to it as a fast approaching future of prophetic fulfillment.

The Lord left no one unaware. He warned His disciples of what was coming and also gave the specific time frame. He said it would come to pass in their generation and some of them would live to see it. Why would He otherwise warn them? Why did He tell them the specific signs to look for unless He knew some of them would be there and must know when to head for the hills? They were also responsible for telling their children and relations so they too would be prepared. Also, they must not only prepare at the time of the end but gear up for it over the duration of the final forty years from the Lord’s time until it happened. They would have to persevere.

It was not an easy thing to know your entire nation, capital city, and beloved temple would one day soon cease to exist through a horrendous conflagration in which millions of one’s fellow citizens would perish. This is how they did it:

“By your endurance you will gain your lives.” [Luke 21:19] [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.

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

Blog Pic 10.30.19

       

       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

Blog Pic 10.11.19

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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.