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A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 6)

 

As noted in Part 5, there are two Christianities. Both are united. Real Christianity is united spiritually with the Lord Jesus. Unreal Christianity is unified in opposition against Him.

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CLUES TO A MASQUERADE

1Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. 2It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. 4They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.

5The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. 7Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. 9Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth. [Genesis 11:1-9]

TYPES AND SHADOWS

The preceding ancient passage is loaded with spiritual clues. Before we get into likely allegorical meanings within it we must first reiterate once again the existence of two Christianities: The real and the unreal. Regarding real Christianity we must remember that the Lord’s Kingdom is spiritual. Oppositional Unreal Christianity is not spiritual. Based on the following verse from Part 4 in this series there is only one other choice remaining:

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. [Romans 8:5]

To this I will add to what we studied in Part 5 regarding the Lord Jesus being the one Foundation and Cornerstone of a “spiritual house” composed of “living stones” as the apostle Peter termed it in his first epistle. The apostle Paul calls it “the temple of the living God” (2Corinthians 6:16). He gives a better description of this spiritual temple in the following passage:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. [Ephesians 2:19-22][1]

Based on these passages it is clear that the Lord is spiritual and His real followers are spiritual. We have an entire history book of the Early Church located between the Gospels and Epistles that tells us how this occurred. The Book of Acts contains one passage after another of individual believers getting filled with the Holy Spirit and all the signs that accompanied their transformation into Spirit-filled believers. We also have proofs located in the teachings of the Lord in the Gospels regarding the historical events in Acts. He instructed them about what would happen, how it would happen, and what to prepare for before it happened. Everything written in the epistles supports what happened in Acts. Paul even goes into greater teachings on the subject regarding spiritual gifts and manifestations.

Now that we have the preceding background information established we can go back to the Genesis Chapter 11 passage about the Tower of Babel and identify its allegorical significance:

AFTER NOAH

When the great flood was over Noah and his family remained in the general region where the Ark came to rest. We identified this region in Part 3. We know Noah lived another 350 years after the flood so his descendants had ample time to reproduce exponentially. Yet, instead of moving out into the world they remained all together in the same area. Now, there must be some reading between the lines here because it must have been the case that a small percentage of Noah’s descendants did obey the Lord and ventured out as pioneers and adventurers. Yet the vast majority did not. In this they were essentially just like those who were killed in the flood in that they were disobedient and rebellious toward God and likely very fearful instead of faithful. They were not the kind of people you could create a new spiritual civilization with.

LET US MAKE BRICKS

Here we have a direct opposite type of the spiritual temple of the Lord:  

They decided to find a new location in which to live. It was relatively close. They moved in mass as a uni-culture. They all believed the same, thought the same, and spoke the same language. We discussed this in Part 1. They left the hilly and mountainous region and came upon the plain of Shinar. This is loaded with clues. The flat plain with no variation describes these people to a tee. There was no rock anywhere. It was most likely an alluvial plain, one built up over millennia by multiple layers of silt deposited by flowing waters. There were likely very few trees as well and only relatively low vegetation. Thus, the place they chose had no building materials. But not to worry. We’ll just make bricks from mud.

Okay, there’s another clue. Remember when we discussed Adam’s creation from the elements of the ground in Part 4? The ground does not represent spirit. It represents flesh. Over 99% of Adam’s flesh was made of only eleven elements. But Adam was also filled with the Spirit of God. Because the New Covenant describes the Lord Jesus as a Rock—a Living Stone—and His people comprising the spiritual temple as living stones, we can gather that stones represent spirit and mud bricks represent flesh.

So here we have these disobedient non-spiritual fleshly people leaving a place filled with building materials and settling in a place with none. They then proceed to use alluvial soils as their main building material. In order to insure the strength and durability of their bricks they burn them. They created fake rocks. Then, instead of using actual mortar which contained sand (ground up rocks/quartz) and limestone as a bonding agent, they used tar! This was likely some form of natural asphalt or bitumen but likely not as thick or concentrated as that around the Dead Sea. There must have been great pits nearby where this substance was available. There are indications that it could have been reddish in color, based on the Hebrew root word. Did you know Adam’s name comes from a root word that means red or ruddy?

To burn in this sense calls to mind what Paul wrote about those hypocritical apostates who fell away from the faith. In the KJV it is written: “…having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1Timothy 4:2). These burned bricks represent the fully indoctrinated. Their minds are made up. You can’t build a tall religious edifice without making sure your members will never stray. This denotes the cultish nature of so much Christian indoctrination when such people never receive from the Spirit of God but must have their beliefs drummed into them.

LET US BUILD A CITY

Notice that they want to build a city first. The city represents their economic interests. It is an indication that they are putting money before God. The Lord Jesus said one cannot serve both. Flesh always puts money first. Spirit always puts God first.

LET US BUILD A TOWER

Rather than a desire for spiritual things these wayward people set their minds completely on the things of the flesh. Flesh doesn’t want God but it craves religion. Flesh also craves material representations of religion. Flesh never thinks in terms of the invisible spirit, or invisible faith, or invisible spiritual gifts, or the invisible Spirit of God. It must have only that which can be experienced through the five senses. Therefore, these people had to build a material representation of their religion which would thoroughly overwhelm and satisfy their flesh. And not only that, they would build it so high that it’s “top will reach into heaven” and overthrow the power and authority of God. Christian religionists have done this very thing on countless occasions over these many centuries of the Christian era. Regardless of the fact that the Lord Jesus, His original twelve, and His early Community never constructed any buildings “dedicated to God” but maintained everything on a spiritual level and met in private homes, it never stopped later Christians from engaging in the same practices as the Tower builders. This manifested powerfully for the first time in the fourth century by the Roman emperor Constantine when he began converting large Roman public buildings into “churches.”    

LET US MAKE FOR OURSELVES A NAME

Have you ever heard of a church that doesn’t have a name? How about a denomination? Have you ever heard of a church that doesn’t have a single “pastor” in charge? Should not only the Lord Jesus be in Charge? Shouldn’t His Name be on the church sign out front? Quick question: When the apostle Paul was out establishing spiritual communities did he ever name them? We know Christian communities were identified by the city where they were located but this is merely referring to all the real believers in that particular city. There were no church buildings.

It is obvious that Christians who are obsessed with names and identifying their stuff never properly consider the greatest Name of all, the Name above all names. The majority of Christians rarely or never put the Name of Jesus first.

They are obsessed with building their own Stairways to Heaven.

© 2022 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.

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 1)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 2)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 3)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 4)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 5)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 7)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 8)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 9)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 4)

 

The majority of what is referred to as “Christianity” in this world is counterfeit. It is not of the spiritual realm. It doesn’t work in the spiritual realm. It is a mere illusion.

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THE SPIRIT AND THE FLESH

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. [Romans 8:5]

The preceding verse gives a perfect illustration of mankind’s dual-natured composition: We are both spirit and flesh. We have also been blessed by God with a free will. That means at any point in one’s life one can (1) choose one or the other, (2) make a decision based on one or the other, and (3) can even devote one’s life to one or the other. Our eternal destination will also be based on one or the other.

However, our dual nature did not exist originally nor was it ever the intention of God for such a dual nature within humanity to exist. He did not create humanity this way. It is something that developed later.

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

The “breath of life” is synonymous in this instance with the Spirit of God. This phrase is derived from two Hebrew words: נְשָׁמָה (nesh-aw-maw’) “breath, spirit,” and חַי (khah’-ee) “alive, living.” The breath of life here is the living Spirit of God. The connotation is clear and denotes how all other living beings on the planet are fundamentally different from humanity: Adam had the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God was breathed into Him. This fact supports the following previous fact in the Genesis account:

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

Prior to Adam’s momentous and life-changing event when he received the Spirit of God—though he was a much greater physical specimen than any other created being on earth—he was closer in essence to the animals which he later named. Thus, after his initial creation but before the introduction of the breath of God, Adam was by all accounts merely flesh, whether animate or inanimate, but still a magnificent physical specimen “fearfully and wonderfully made.”[2]

He was created from the elements of this earth, or in Biblical terminology, the “dust from the ground.” His physical body was composed of flesh (as opposed to spirit), and based on an estimate of the average human body at present, approximately 98.5% of his flesh was composed of only six elements: Oxygen (65%), Carbon (18%), Hydrogen (10%), Nitrogen (3%), Calcium (1.4%), and Phosphorus (1.1%). Most of the rest was made of Potassium, Sulfur, Sodium, Chlorine, and Magnesium. There’s also another 49 trace elements involved as well.[3]

Therefore, flesh creation as he was, it was the Spirit of God that made him what he was to be. The breath of God finalized his creation. The Spirit of God within made him like God. It allowed for a closeness and fellowship with God. No other creature can claim this even though many if not most animals are sentient, and there are certainly those that relate very close to man such as dogs and horses.

BODY, SOUL, AND SPIRIT

Because all living creatures have the spark of life that animates them but do not have the Spirit of God as did Adam, a distinction must be made to differentiate the two. Did you know that all life is created from that which is not seen? For example, we must breathe to live. We can go without food for many weeks. We can go without water for several days. But we can only go without air for mere minutes. In breathing, we inhale invisible oxygen and exhale invisible carbon dioxide. Trees do the opposite. They draw in or “inhale” carbon dioxide and water, use the invisible energy of the sun to convert these into specific chemical compounds that provide sustenance (such as sugars), and produce or “exhale” oxygen. Trees actually clean the air and produce much of the air that humans and animals breathe. In other words, though all life is composed of elements it is also produced by the invisible energy all around us.

Thus, there is a wholly natural animating spark derived from the intricate system of Creation in which energy is combined with elements to produce natural life, whether it be mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, or trees. The life is in the seed and the seed responds to the correct combination of energy and elements to create what it was created from. In simple terms then, God created a natural world that works without His direct involvement not unlike an appliance or tool that is activated and runs when a power source is applied, such as electricity or a battery. His creation is one giant brilliant system that works perfectly indefinitely with no need of anyone to man the controls so to speak though God can and will intervene for His own purposes.

This appears to make God impersonal. For atheists, it makes it easier to see God as a non-entity. The old Deists perceived God as a possible personality who created but does not involve Himself with His Creation. Most people in the world never or rarely think of God or a Creator but merely spend their lives seeking to survive and thrive while here and thus put little stock in an afterlife. Are such people any different from animals?

In fact, due to the fall of mankind and the introduction of disobedience, sin, and rebellion into God’s perfect Creation, the resulting sinful nature of man caused a complete break in relationship with God and destroyed the close communication and relational love between Father and son. Also, of course, not only was Adam banished from the perfect garden in Eden, he also lost the animating breath of spiritual life: The Spirit of God left Adam.

God had told him if he ever sinned he would die. He did sin. And he did die. But he stayed alive on a lower level. It was his spirit that died. He went from being body, soul, and spirit to body and soul. Rather than become like God according to his destiny, the first Adam actually became more like an animal. He retained the spark of life shared among all life forms on earth but lost his spiritual life and his spiritual connection to God. Rather than be like his son Abel he became like his son Cain. Because he was no longer a spiritual man he was forced out of the perfect spiritual garden and sent to the natural world. He became a mere soul man, a man of flesh, because he had set his mind on the things of the flesh.

Whoever would reverse this destructive process released by Adam must set his or her mind on the things of the Spirit which were released by the last Adam.

CROSSING THE SPIRITUAL DIVIDE

God also created spiritual beings. These are the most advanced form of life. Man was made “a little lower than the angels” (Psalms 8:5 KJV). This translation, though done with likely proper intent, is misleading, however. The Hebrew word translated as angels in the KJV is Elohim which is the exact word used for God in all of Genesis Chapter 1. The NASB translates Psalm 8:5 not as angels but God. The point is that Adam was obviously created lower than God but was also a lower form of created being than God’s advanced spiritual angels, though only slightly lower.

Yet, He had the potential to be a being of a higher order than the angels.

In fact, it can be argued that Adam, being a recipient of the actual Holy Spirit of God, was given a golden opportunity to become that very thing. That was the initial plan anyway.

He failed.

His seed, however, would not, and was destined to graduate to the very throne of God.

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


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

[2] Psalm 139:14

[3] sciencenotes.org/elements-in-the-human-body-and-what-they-do/ (updated 5/2/21)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 1)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 2)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 3)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 5)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 6)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 7)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 8)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 9)

THE ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN

         And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.” [Revelation 12:9-10]

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FROM THE INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BIBLE ENCYCLOPEDIA:

124 Accuser: <a-kuz’-er> This word, not found in the Old Testament, is the rendering of two Greek words:

(1) Greek: kategoros, that is, a prosecutor, or plaintiff in a lawsuit, or one who speaks in a derogatory way of another (Acts 23:30, 35; 25:16, 18; Rev 12:10);

(2) Greek: diabolos, meaning adversary or enemy. This word is rendered “accuser” in the King James Version and “slanderer” in the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version (2Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3).

According to the rabbinic teaching Satan, or the devil, was regarded as hostile to God and man, and that it was a part of his work to accuse the latter of disloyalty and sin before the tribunal of the former (see Job 1:6 ff; Zechariah 3:1 f; Revelation 12:10).

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THE ADVERSARY AT WORK         

        We gather from the Book of Job that The Adversary (HaSatan) is in the business of doing everything possible to denigrate the people of God. As the early conversation goes, the Lord holds up Job to be a good example and a fine servant:

         The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” [Job 1:8]

         The Adversary was just getting started. He had plenty of fuel left. He rammed it into high gear and began telling the Lord it was only because He protects him so, and makes him virtually impervious to attack. He said:

         “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” [Job 1:9-11]

         And this, thus, is the challenge. The Lord indeed protects His people but there are times when they must be tested. They are often tested, as per the Lord’s example, when something profound is about to happen. They must be found with no pride or arrogance. In essence, they must be tested and submitted to a process by which they can be purged of anything possibly within them that causes them to act like the enemy.

OVERCOMING THE FLESH

        “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” [Matthew 26:41]   

         In New Covenant terminology, there is much reference to “the flesh.” It is defined as that part of a person which is indicative of one’s lower nature, that of purely natural processes, in which one acts according to one’s pure sinful humanity rather than according to the Spirit. The process of discipleship is therefore an ongoing progression toward developing a spiritual nature rather than a carnal one. The carnal nature wants to always be first, number one, and act out of personal pride. It is the antithesis of spiritual humility.

        As I mentioned in my last post, the Lord Jesus said we must be as children. Young children have yet to develop the carnal nature brought on by advancement in sin. They are often joyous, happy, trusting, and humble. In answer to those of His disciples who were arguing about which of them might be the greatest, the Lord put forth the following:

         But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.” [Luke 9:47-48]

         The Lord obviously has a different definition of greatness. One sees this greatness in Him, as He is the most humble Man who ever lived, very self-effacing and always willing to turn the other cheek. He allowed Himself to be persecuted in such a way that those close to Him did not understand. In saying at His ongoing trial right before His death that His kingdom was not of this world, it helps explain so many of His actions when it appeared He never took up for Himself the way most people do.

        He knew who He was, of course, but also lived according to a higher standard that is contrary to living according to basic human nature, in which selfishness and pride must rule.

         The Lord Jesus was filled with the Spirit of God without measure, as the Father in His fullness dwelt within Him. He is God in flesh. But He still had His flesh to deal with. He overcame His flesh on an ongoing basis and never, ever allowed it to have the upper hand. Because He disciplined His flesh in such a powerful manner, His flesh was always subservient to His Spirit. This took a lot of work, the kind most people know nothing about, which also includes many Christians. Overcoming the flesh is a must for the spiritual disciple of the Lord. It is the only way one’s spirit can rule. But long before that occurrence can ever happen, one’s spirit must be born. It is why all real believers undergo a born-again experience. Otherwise, the flesh, or lower human nature, remains in charge.

         Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. [Galatians 5:19-21]

       Those who do practice such things must be under the Law. They have not taken authority over their lower nature and must therefore be ruled from without by a higher power. They must be told what they can and cannot do on a daily basis. Their conscience must always be at work to give them every opportunity of assistance toward knowing right and wrong, since they cannot control themselves. It is, of course, possible to overcome the dictates and desires of the flesh somewhat through personal (non-spiritual) discipleship of a kind, but this usually involves the mere strapping-on-of-the-plow for singular purposes which have no bearing on taking full control, since such is impossible. Those who appear to achieve it only give the impression of overcoming their lower nature but at best all they do is temporarily suppress it. There is only one way to defeat the flesh and bring it under subjection and that is by the Spirit of God.

WINNING THE BATTLE

        Perhaps this is why there must be an accuser. As in the previously stated ISBE definition, the accuser is as “a prosecutor, or plaintiff in a lawsuit, or one who speaks in a derogatory way of another.” This is what HaSatan did to Job. The Lord spoke of Job in glowing terms. He was quite proud of His child. But the devil had to do his part, in that he must make every attempt to prove to God that Job was indeed not so great at all. He felt strongly he could prosecute him successfully if given the chance.

       “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” [Matthew 5:10-13]

         When people join in with the devil to help him in his work, they engage in the insults as listed above. The flesh hates such insults, in that it will always strike back against attack and accusations if at all possible, unless greater damage may be done to it. What the Lord taught in this regard is absolutely completely contrary to the will of the flesh. He said disciples must rejoice when under persecution and undergoing slander? Yes. It is counterintuitive. It makes no sense to a carnal mind. But all this is illustrated in the life of Job. He was put to the test. His life was virtually destroyed. He lost everything. But he never lost his faith in God. He was being made fun of and accused even by his friends. His own wife told him to curse God. How many could hold up under such an onslaught? How many can withstand such ongoing adversarial tactics? How many can overcome the Accuser of the Brethren?

         Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” [Mark 15:29-31]    

         But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” [Luke 23:33-35] [1]

            © 2018 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.

Judge Not: The Upshot of Carrying One’s Cross

         Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24]

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         Real Christians, like their Lord, always end up getting crucified. Let Him explain:

         “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

         Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

         Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” [Matthew 5:10-12]

         According to these difficult teachings of the Lord, the following are the real credentials of real believers:

(1) Real Christians will be persecuted for the sake of righteousness.

(2) Real Christians, because they have committed to the Lord Jesus and follow Him, will be insulted.

(3) Real Christians, because they have committed to the Lord Jesus and follow Him, will be persecuted.

(4) Real Christians, because they have committed to the Lord Jesus and follow Him, will be falsely accused of all kinds of evil.

         The Lord then taught that real believers are not to strike back in kind, but take the shots that come their way.

         This means that when one is insulted, persecuted, and falsely accused for being a real Christian, one is to take the insults, persecution, and false accusations without returning insults, persecution, and false accusations in kind. One must not throw another log on the fire, thus escalating the war of words, but pour water on it instead.

         This is certainly a form of crucifixion.

         Keep in mind that the Lord was even being insulted, persecuted, and falsely accused while He hung on the cross:

THE MATTHEW ACCOUNT:

         And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

         In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

         The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words. [Matthew 27:39-44]

THE LUKE ACCOUNT:

         And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.”

         The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

         Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

         One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”

         But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” [Luke 23:35-41]

         And there’s the point.

         If the Lord took all of that abuse while hanging on a rough wooden cross with spike nails in His hands and feet and suffering excruciating pain most of us will never know and still managed to say, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), then it is certainly possible to obey His teachings regarding insults and false accusations.

LIKE ONE FROM WHOM MEN HIDE THEIR FACE

         We must know that He was insulted repeatedly all the live long day throughout His entire life and especially during His ministry. He had ample reason to strike back in kind but never did, not even from the cross.

         Did He have the ability? Most certainly. Could He have climbed down off the cross? Without doubt. Could He have whipped any of those accusing pansies in a fist fight? I have no doubt He could have.

         But He didn’t. And it takes a MUCH bigger man to take abuse without returning it. He took it all and never struck back because He had a MUCH higher goal than simply winning stupid arguments or defending one’s “honor” or reputation:

         He wanted to ransom the souls of humanity.

         “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

         “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:44-48]

         The Lord Jesus not only taught this truth, He lived it. And He commanded all of His followers to do exactly the same.

ANTI-DISCIPLES

         Yet, “Christians” are some of the most easily offended people on the planet. It does not take much for certain “Christians” to become extremely angry. There are those who insist they are Christians but are as judgmental and condemning as the day is long. Some will betray another in a heartbeat.

         For many of these there is simply no impulse control whatsoever. The devil can play them like a drum whenever he feels like it. They are ready to fight in a split second. What is more, such people are proud of their desire and ability to insult and accuse in kind, not knowing or apparently caring that they are doing the devil’s work, especially if they engage in the inevitable maiming and murdering that results from being offended.

         Others may exhibit great impulse control and give forth the appearance of godliness. That is, until they feel slighted in some way and then all hell breaks loose. As long as they are never challenged there is no reaction, though many such perceived “challenges” are never personal and have no bad intent.

        They may think they are defending the truth, but they are actually egregiously violating the Lord’s commands, especially the love commandment.

         But for the real Christian, when one is insulted and falsely accused, often by other Christians of course, one does not strike back in kind though one may certainly want to, and though one may certainly do so very effectively.

         Instead, one must allow himself or herself to be crucified.

         It is the picture of a crazed little runt poking a giant hibernating grizzly bear with a stick and continuing to do so since he is getting away with it. In time he grows ever more bold. But the day will come when the bear will wake up. At that point the little man better have an exit plan.

JUDGMENT LOOMS

         All those who rejected and insulted and made fun of the Messiah when He came found out forty years later that crucifying Him actually meant they were destroying themselves, and the same thing eventually happens to all who persecute the Lord’s children. It’s what happens when the cure is rejected.

         Better to judge ourselves than judge others:

         Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? [2 Corinthians 13:5]

         Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

         But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

         But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

         There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

         For there is no partiality with God. [Romans 2:1-11]

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         “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” [John 12:47] [1]

         © 2015 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.