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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.

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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.