Something unusual happened in Babylon during the captivity. After being deported to a faraway land, a clandestine priestly caste laid the groundwork for a new approach toward divine knowledge.
Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ And I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’ Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth: behold, I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their plans, because they have not listened to My words, and as for My law, they have rejected it also.” [Jeremiah 6:16-19]
If one reads the gospels looking for similar clues and seeking this particular theme, it is not difficult to find. In fact, the theme jumps right out at you. Certain religious authorities were always questioning Him. They questioned His teachings, His manner, His motivation, the way He went about things, and even His mental makeup. They repeatedly struck out, however, on all their attempts to discredit Him.
SECRET SECTS A-STIRRING
One wonders how those people ever gained their religious authority. How did it happen? Many Christians never seek out the back story, but there was a lot of really weird stuff brewing up in good old Judea in the two centuries prior to the Lord’s arrival. There was also really weird stuff going on in the centuries before then but it started getting concentrated and coming together in an organized manner by that time.
Let’s go further back for even more background, to just prior to the Babylonian invasion of Judah and the first destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 586BC. Up to this time, the many spiritual departures and vile depravities that began with Solomon and continued through later generations of kings and priests laid a foundation for the destruction. We know of the strange pagan practices they adopted and never completely disavowed. One can only imagine how deep the sin became, but judging by the manifold mentions in OT lore, it was quite extensive. We know the results but little of the conspiratorial underpinnings. By the time of the Babylonian captivity, the degeneracy and corruption level reached a point that demanded judgment.
This was the period of the early origin of obscure precursors, factions, and mysterious esoteric sects that had begun forming behind the pages of OT history that would essentially rewrite it and which later came to full fruition. It stemmed from the ongoing sin and rebellion plaguing the dwindling kingdom of Judah. The failing nation, at intervals, had already become the client state of great world powers and most of her final kings were weak, though King Josiah brought a great reform which sadly failed in the end.
The captivity actually began circa 600BC (many scholars say the first deportation to Babylon took place in 597BC). I will not go into all the particulars, but these early divisions within Judah began to coalesce into distinctive groups and eventually produced the various religious sects, mini-cults, political parties, and whatnot by 200BC and shortly thereafter.
HEADING FOR A SHOWDOWN
This resultant splintering and ongoing four century sorting out process had begun long before the captivity, however, primarily with the first big split—that between the priests and prophets. There was a war simmering beneath the surface for what should be obvious reasons. The priests and associates were always on the scene daily working in and around the temple and this put them in close authoritative proximity with the political rulers and kings. The prophets, however, were often the wild card which those in authority didn’t like. They didn’t like them precisely because they were largely incorruptible (and paid a great price for it), and could never be counted on to go along with the program since they always followed God’s program.
But wait. Were not the kings, priests, and prophets all supposed to be on the same page? Did not God create the priestly tribe in the first place and give them a legitimate function? The answer is, of course, yes, but the priestly tribe would often get weirded out and appeared fixated on a never-ending fight with the other major authority God created, that of the prophets, seemingly because of some strange inferiority complex and disagreement with the prophets’ perceived Wild West manner. And compared to them, the prophets definitely had a Wild West manner.
If Clint Eastwood was involved, for example, he would always be a prophet.
To outside observers (the ruling authorities), the prophets were always flying by the seat of their pants and making crazy unfounded pronouncements, meaning they could not possibly be like God or be in obedience to God because God just wasn’t like that. He would never do that. He was structured and organized and orderly and demanded strict attention to detail and doing things in a set manner on a consistent daily basis. According to those in charge, the wacko solitary head-in-the-clouds eccentrics with powerful and perfect unsettling utterances and fiery eyes scaring everyone all the time and getting in the face of those who ruled and telling them off for all their many peccadilloes and transgressions proved they could not possibly be on God’s payroll and therefore must be stopped.
After centuries of this bickering battle the prophets finally were stopped. The prophetic word ended somewhere in the vicinity of 400BC. The preservative was gone. The lights went out. The priests took over. They got their way. And they relished the moment.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
Over the next two hundred years, from 400BC to 200BC, a sifting and settling process commenced among those vying for the official priestly perspective and narrative. Then, from roughly 200BC and a few decades thereafter, the origin and early beginnings of the later major religious sects emerged. Their beginnings are still historically sketchy, but enough information can be found to follow their trail. These major sects—Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, et al—wayward and odd, and each with its own agenda, claimed close proximity to God but were truly quite distant compared to the rich relationship with the Lord possessed by the early patriarchs and later prophets.
These new groups came to full flower and strength by the first century AD, just in time to do battle with the greatest of the prophets and His forerunner who was otherwise the best of all time. One wrested control of the people and another wrested control of the temple.
The Pharisees in particular, most of whom were not priests or overtly priestly but certainly not prophetic, had long since undermined the Law of Moses and created their own hyper-sacerdotal encyclopedic answer-all mega index and then orally codified it, meaning it was known only to them and they controlled it. They were thus the holders of secret knowledge. Their illicit work was only possible because there had been no prophet for over four hundred years to stop them. Thus, the Lord obviously knew what He was doing by creating prophets—in part to keep an eye on and balance out those incommunicado priests and kings in authority that seemed to always have a problem with His authority. The absence of the prophets and the clear voice of heaven—the voice of God Himself speaking through the prophets—allowed the priests to create a non-spiritual dimwit faction that took over everything.
After surviving early skirmishes and gaining ever-greater power over a couple of centuries, the Pharisee and Sadducee parties and smaller groups like them were used to having their way. They never had a prophet in their face. They had nothing whatsoever to draw on in all their collective experience regarding how to deal with a prophet. There was never a prophetic correcting voice against them. Squabbling among themselves did nothing regarding correction and only served to foment more hatred and division.
Unlike the prophets, the new religious rulers put their faith not in God but in money, outward appearance, and themselves. They ended up being the epitome of religious spoiled children constantly whining and demanding their way. Every little thing was an offense to them. They were ridiculously easily offended. Everything they said was right—down to the most ludicrous and preposterous detail with little or no bearing on the written Law. They were thus relentlessly pointing out everyone’s errors and tacking on an endless minutia stream of counterintuitive religious do’s and don’ts.
THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU QUIT ON GOD
One wonders why in the world the rest of the nation didn’t simply rise up and stomp these idiots out of existence and get them off their backs. Was it part of God’s judgment? Being constantly rejected by His people going back many centuries, was God giving the people what they demanded, the same way He allowed them to replace Him with King Saul a thousand years before?
In searching for the reason why Judea allowed these religious pretenders to gain such prominence and ruin their lives, one discovers the not so secret answer when one acknowledges the results of their sordid rebellion: When the people rejected God they eliminated His strength, power, and anointing within and upon them. They lost their ability to fight spiritual battles. They were thus forced to surrender to the use of their mere natural strength, something demonic forces could easily overpower and much stronger individuals could take advantage of. The people of the nation meekly surrendered, having no wherewithal to overcome their religious oppressors who were intent on control though guised in false light.
It is for the same reason that the exact religious development has transpired in Unreal Christianity. It should look very familiar.
THE RETURN OF THE PROPHETIC VOICE
But the Lord God was not through. He would take it upon Himself to return and restore, and do battle with the demonic pretenders to His throne. He would bring freedom to those sincere ones caught up in the struggle who loved Him and wanted to be free to serve and worship Him. He would come for them. He would fight for them. He would put everything on the line for them. In one fell swoop the powerful voice of the prophets was gloriously restored.
“Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them. So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs. For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.’” [Luke 11:47-51] 
The evil ones returned fire by doing to Messiah what they did to all those prophets. He returned fire by coming back from the dead and claiming His throne. Like those in Ezekiel’s boneyard, He continues to return fire through every man and woman He raises up from spiritual death, anoints with His Holy Spirit, and sends into spiritual battle.
All glory, honor, and praise to Yehoshua HaMashiach.
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 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.
As of today, Real Christianity has completed a full six years and begins year number seven. My thanks and sincere appreciation goes out to all of you for your gracious and faithful support.
It means a lot. I remember well when I was a rookie Christian brimming over with the Spirit of the Lord and wanting to give everything I had. I was in the process of devouring the Word of God. I could not get enough. I was breezing through the Bible and was forever continually amazed. I distinctly recall the day when I read 1Corinthians 14:1 for the first time:
“Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”
The apostle Paul made it very clear in this passage that there was something very special about the prophetic gift. I knew next to nothing at the time but was learning fast. I really did not understand the full impact of the request I was about to make, but my brother Paul appeared to be talking directly to me. I took his advice personally. I figured that if the prophetic gift had the word “especially” attached to it then I had better seek it. It seemed that Paul was saying it was needed the most. I had some understanding of the gifts at that time since I read 1Corinthians 12 before I got to 14, and I had also seen the gifts in action.
But again, when I saw 14:1 I went directly to the Lord in prayer and told Him that if the prophetic gift was what He wanted me to have and it was needed the most then I wanted it. I was seeing the bigger picture. I wanted to be of greater service.
“For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.” [1Corinthians 14:2-3]
After about a year I was preaching in a pulpit. I did most of my preaching outside the church building, however. Yet, in my estimation at the time, I wasn’t really preaching out there, and it was not preaching in the conventional sense. Instead, it was what I may term anointed witnessing. And Boy Howdy, I was witnessing to everyone. It was not at all unlikely for me to go 45 minutes at a time. I had so much to give and the Lord just kept on anointing me to keep going. Those poor people! I know many appreciated it but I also found out early on that many did not. I started getting called “Reverend” and “Little Jesus” and other names I forget but you get the gist. I caught some flack but not all that much. Most of the flak came from a few.
What I discovered was that the majority of the people were very open and respectful. The ones who caused me the greatest grief were those in closer proximity, if you get my drift. It seems the people who are connected relationally understand without really knowing why that the relational connection put an ongoing pressure on them to consider the truth, whereas people I didn’t know could simply walk away and would likely never see me again. It is easier to be polite that way. The Lord summed it up as thus:
“A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” [Mark 6:4]
Most Christians never make the connection that one’s “own household” is often one’s own church. This is in part why church as we know it doesn’t work past a certain point. Whoever wants to get in deep with the Lord and go all out like every real disciple should finds out that after about two years or so he or she will come to a previously unseen spiritual fork in the road. One will either continue to move on with the Lord and stay strong and continue developing or one will succumb to church life.
Since you just read something considered by some to be quite pejorative, a caveat is called for: Some Christians outside of the preaching profession are meant to serve long term in local churches. Therefore, I am not saying that one cannot find their ministry and exercise their calling within a local, traditional body. The problem is that most can’t. And the problem there is that there are only a few places where one can. So even if one wants to serve there is most often no place in which to serve except on a very limited basis.
But the Lord did not call us to limited service. He demands our entire heart, our entire life, and our entire everything. If a Christian holds back he or she is limiting God and can never become a fully developed and mature disciple.
“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46]
This is why He used a different method from what most Christians are used to. He had to create a venue in which every single one of His children could minister in exactly the way He called them to minister. This is also why He created diverse spiritual giftings. Again, in reading 1Corinthians 12 and 14 we see many of these giftings and also several different places of service. However, there is no room whatsoever for the vast majority of these giftings and places of service in traditional local assemblies.
“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.” [Luke 5:37-38]
And there it is. That’s the key. The key word is FRESH. An old wineskin might be good for something but it is never good for new wine.
In my six years here on WordPress I have met a great many people doing exactly what we were all called to do—that being whatever the Lord has placed on our hearts. It is limited to putting digital words on a screen but is unlimited regarding what those words are. The Lord sees it all and will judge it accordingly. We should all be seeking His approval but that can only come through faithful obedience. The great thing about venues such as this is one can preach or teach or write or witness to their heart’s content without any limitations save for those coming from the Lord.
The greater impact is that internet communities are formed. Friends are made. Brothers and sisters come together. Truth is disseminated. There is no one telling you that you must comply with some traditional outlook or force you to believe a certain way if it conflicts with what God says. If we make mistakes the Lord is forgiving. Children make mistakes. Do we hold it against a child for not knowing any better? Neither does the Lord. He loves us no matter what we do. But if we are fully dedicated we will learn. We will grow in wisdom. We will come upon truths we never saw before. The Lord can open our eyes.
My hope for each one of you is to continue growing ever-closer to the Lord Jesus and being even more effective for Him and one another. We know what happens when we achieve it: We help each other to change for the better—we all minister to one another. This is the essence of true koinonia. The Great Awakening is being driven by all those who are fully committed, insist on appropriating the full spiritual liberty the Lord died to give us, strive to fulfill their callings, and never look back.
“What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets…” [1Corinthians 14:26-32] 
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 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.
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? First of all, one must distinguish between the Old and New Covenants.
We picture Old Covenant prophets becoming suddenly anointed of God. We see them grow strong and bold, and begin making powerful pronouncements regarding the will and desires of the Lord. Indeed, those men were God’s spokesmen. They were the Lord’s chosen, anointed, and discipled vessels who paid a tremendous price—a very high personal cost to engage in their calling.
It was often them against the world, and just as often one man against the nation of Israel. It is a sad thing but an obvious historical fact that the prophets were usually hated, rejected, and thought to be complete morons and idiots who refused to just go along to get along. They made people feel uncomfortable.
And that is exactly how the Lord wanted it.
It was God who was speaking through them, and God often had a lot to say about the evil practices and very sinful nature adopted by His chosen people. He refused to let them go without letting them know how wrong they were. And because His people could not get back at Him personally they took it out on His prophets.
We often relate John the Immerser, the one the Lord Jesus referred to as the greatest man ever born of a woman, to the New Covenant. But John was actually the last Old Covenant prophet. Further, he bridged the gap between covenants in a sense, being the Lord’s forerunner and preparer of the people’s hearts:
As they were leaving, Yeshua began speaking about Yochanan to the crowds: “What did you go out to the desert to see? Reeds swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? Someone who was well dressed? Well-dressed people live in kings’ palaces.
“Nu, so why did you go out? To see a prophet! Yes! And I tell you he’s much more than a prophet. This is the one about whom the Tanakh says, ‘See, I am sending out my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’
“Yes! I tell you that among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than Yochanan the Immerser! Yet the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he!” [Matthew 11:7-11] 
Imagine that. Some may think that because they are a Christian they are somehow greater than John the Immerser, though such a thing obviously does not compute. John moved an entire nation!
Therefore, there must be something more that nominal Christians do not partake of, since there is often absolutely no evidence of anything spiritually powerful in their lives that would indicate they are residents of the Lord’s Kingdom.
Most Christians do well to occupy a place in a pew, and are made to do it by usually not well-meaning reverends who would rather have firm control and regimented order for their congregants than liberty and maturity in the Spirit, and the free-flowing ministry of the Lord Jesus in charge. And church-goers are forced to think this is the right thing to do.
But most Christians have little or no power with God and look like nothing even close to John the Immerser. And it is never kosher to simply make a weak mental assent to a supposed but unexplainable “fact”—(“I, a Christian, am greater than John the Immerser”)—without some serious evidence to prove it.
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Jewish New Testament. Copyright © 1989 by David H. Stern.
The ministry of John the Immerser was to prepare the way for the ministry of Messiah.
Part of the preparation was preparing hearts.
Part of it was to prepare the spiritual eyes and ears of the people who possessed them, though all were most likely affected by the general blindness of the nation at that time.
“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.
“In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.” [Matthew 13:13-16]
One may wonder why most of the people could not see and hear, and why only a few did. The above passage reveals the answer:
“The heart of this people has become dull.”
The word “dull” is translated from the Greek word pachuno, which is translated into English as “to make thick, to make fat,” and metaphorically, “to make stupid (rendering the soul dull or callous).”
The Hebrew word from the Isaiah passage regarding this sad heart adjective is shaman, and means, “to be fat, make fat, grow fat, or become fat; to show fatness.”
It is variously translated as fat, dull, gross, sluggish, and insensitive, the latter of which appears to be the modern PC definition, which segues from identifying Christians who can’t understand squat no matter how hard one may try to fix their sub-Forrest Gump spiritual IQ with words right on target but extremely offensive—to a nice word which renders such individuals as merely somewhat out of touch with God with no harm done to one’s religious or church social status (or preaching credentials).
The Lord, however, pulled no punches, as did prophets before Him. For whoever may care, it is extremely serious to claim to be a Christian without knowing or wanting God. Just as the Lord said that blind people leading blind people will result in multiple AAA calls to rescue from ditches, so is it the case when preachers with fat hearts lead people with fat hearts. The whole congregation, church building and all, falls into a proverbial ditch, lists to one side, and remains there as a spiritual testament to fat hearts out of touch with God everywhere, while attendance continues by people who make downward adjustments and learn to walk on a slant.
These people cannot see or hear, though they have eyes and ears, and cannot understand, though possessing a mind. It must be noted that their blindness and deafness is, quite strangely, willing. They have closed their eyes and ears by choice. They have also closed their minds. They have willingly chosen to become spiritual dullards with heavy eyelids, sound-deadening headphones, and minds the Lord could not squeeze truth into with the assistance of compressed air or pneumatic tools. Imagine an entire nation of people like this before John the Immerser appeared, topped off with fat-hearted religious leaders who wouldn’t know God if he became a Man and looked them in the face.
It is often the case that our brains are less than lightening fast, but we enjoy those moments when trying to grab hold of something intellectually difficult and actually succeeding, and having a happy “Aha” moment when the tumblers all come together in the correct order and we finally “get it.” Christians with fat hearts never get it, so they build mathematical and verbal formulas they do get, such 1+1=2 (I think) and c-a-t, and then proceed to build their entire religious super structure around such kindergarten principles and easy to understand concepts, thus dumbing-down future generations within that particular Christian culture if said foundational and structural concepts become fully accepted and remain.
This is exactly what the nation of Israel did. The Hebrew prophets, who could see, hear, and understand extremely well (and paid the price for it—both in getting there and staying there), and had the spiritual equivalent of world-class athlete’s hearts, lean and strong with no blockages or cholesterol problems but expressing the epitome of perfect working order with all chambers, valves, and parts pumping and opening and closing like that well-oiled machine we hear so much about with the express result of KNOWING God first and speaking forth His Word second, that all could hear from the Lord On High and thus subvert the devil’s deadening process on the understanding of sinful human beings racked with the ongoing consequence of spiritual disease.
Don’t blame the prophet for having a heart for God,
And for being strong and anointed and doing his job.
The prophets were the cure for blindness and deafness among God’s people, but when the Hebrew priests finally succeeded in killing them off, finishing the job started by the Hebrew kings, principally Solomon, Mr. Fat Heart himself, and took over—priests who had no prophetic abilities and did not know God—the cure ceased to exist for four centuries and the anti-cure did anti-work on the hearts of the people.
Therefore, the nation of Israel did not just become spiritually stupid as by some generational downward drift due to laziness or whatever, but by and through the leading and teaching of those who had no business leading and teaching and were never called by God for that service.
The Pharisees were the later evolutionary product of those Hebrew priests and the very blind men leading the blind people they created that the Lord Jesus was talking about.
Then the disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?”
But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” [Matthew 15:12-14]
The same, exact, and what should be obvious parallel is playing out today, in that so many Christians over so many decades and even centuries have been led around by the blind though they neither realize nor acknowledge they are blind and refuse to admit their ears simply do not work and their hearts look like a giant sack of potatoes rolling down a hill.
The Greatest Prophet is the cure but the cure is deemed too strong, too powerful, too mean even, and completely inappropriate for our traditional Christian comfort levels and far too much to deal with when one is thoroughly ensconced in a fleshly anti-world of illusion and preoccupied with pride and money and uncrucified flesh and religious standing and social cred that would all and must all dissolve in an encounter with the King—Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession (Hebrews 3:1).
The Lord did not mince words in the Matthew 13 passage and expressed perfectly and clearly the fate of the dull at heart.
One can almost hear the prophet Nancy singing, with the end notes heading down the stairs,
These hearts are made for burning
And that’s just what they’ll do
One of these days these hearts
Are gonna burn all over (Gehenna)…
Why did John the Immerser say the following to the nation of Israel?
“You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.
Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” [Luke 3:7-9]
Fat hearts cannot produce good fruit.
Good fruit results from the process of repentance.
Repentance allows for closeness to God.
Closeness to God creates lean, athletic, and pure hearts.
Pure hearts break the power of the Delusion Illusion.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” [Matthew 5:8] 
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
There are professional sports in which it is fairly obvious that the proceedings are a farce. It’s not real. It may look real to some, but it’s actually all a set-up.
Then there are sports in which people swear up and down it can’t possibly be fixed and that everything must be on the up and up.
Maybe some of this attitude comes from the idea that most people may be honest, or that they are simply too ignorant or naïve to understand such sinister possibilities. We may call this being naïve to the point of being willing dupes. If so, it is a fatal naiveté. And by fatal I mean that people have bought into the proceedings to the degree that they can never find their way back out. They have not only been deceived, they have been captured.
Minds can be captured quite easily. Sometimes people suspect they are being played but turn from the idea quickly because the thought is too scary. If such things were true it would mean their life is based in part on falsehood. But shouldn’t they be more scared that it is, and want to do something about it?
Professional boxing has always had a reputation for subterfuge. Organized crime was involved in the sport seemingly from the get-go. It does not mean that all fights were fixed. It would be too obvious. But many were. There was way too much money involved. Good fighters were paid relatively well. Big gates were consistently produced. Promoters knew exactly what to do to get the best crowds. Boxing became an art of deception. To the common man it was just a fight that people paid to see. To promoters, however, it was a way to make some serious money, to separate as many people as possible from the money in their wallets by promising a great event well worth the price of admission.
Whenever money is involved, greed happens. And in the case of sports, it is always much more about entertainment than honesty.
Sports other than boxing et al are seen as impossible to fix. But here’s something to think about: How many sports have rules and officials? And how many of those rules are interpreted by the officials? How many judgment calls are made? When a basketball referee calls a foul is the call always consistent with all calls made by all basketball referees?
One of the most obvious cases of judgment in officiating in which an official is granted much power to interpret the rules involves balls and strikes in baseball. Though some may think all umpires call the same game behind the plate nothing can be farther from the truth. Each umpire has a different strike zone though the rules only allow for one strike zone. The players must learn all the different strike zones possessed by all the different umpires, the same way they must learn all the pitchers and the different pitches they throw. Some umpires call a lower zone and more hitters are called out by strikes a tad below the knee on good days, and sometimes far below the knees. The players are okay with it as long as the ump is consistent. Other umps have a higher zone. Sometimes umpires will give a pitcher a strike though the pitch is off the plate. Veteran pitchers often get calls that rookie pitchers never get and must earn.
What does any of this have to do with game fixing? Simply the fact that a whole lot of interpretation is going on, and when games are called (interpreted), the written rules take a backseat.
Boxing has traditionally had three scorers to call a fight—the referee in the ring and two ringside judges. They award each round to the fighter whom they think did better. If there is no knockout, as is often the case, a boxer wins or loses by the decision of the judges and referee. These judgments are purely interpretative. It is sometimes the case that all three scores are fairly close. Often, though, there are wide discrepancies, which result in split decisions, which mean one judge thought fighter A won, while the other two thought it was fighter B. In the early days, draws were fairly commonplace, meaning neither fighter won.
It would be better that someone was knocked out, because then a clear winner could be declared. But then, are knockouts actually obvious? Of course not. Fighters were often paid to take a dive. Fighters learned early on that if you wanted to make a living you better play by the rules, but I’m referring to the rules behind the rules. Rule number one was to obey whoever was getting you the money.
Most fighters never had a chance at any big paydays or championship fights. Those that did had much more say in the proceedings. There were certainly honest fighters. Not everyone was corrupt. But there was also such a thing as institutional corruption. There was and remains such a thing as business as usual. It becomes traditional. People accept it. They like particular sports enough to look the other way. And the promoters of sports know exactly what the people want and they know exactly how to get the paying customer to fork over the cash.
They know how to jazz up the proceedings. They know how to get peripheral people on board. It used to be that only men and very few women appreciated watching organized sports. The promoters then worked on methods to gain the confidence of the female fan. Sports began being marketed as female friendly and then family friendly. When baseball was the undeniable American pastime, it was certainly family friendly to an extent, but it remained rare in the early days for regular fans to attend games, simply because they often didn’t have the money or the time.
Radio and then television changed all that. In fact, television changed everything.
One would think that entire games and matches being televised and put on film would make it far less likely that arranging outcomes could be possible. Actually though, it is easier to deceive people by putting the show right in front of them than in keeping it hidden. This is the very nature of showmanship. The show has never been reality, but the secret of good showmanship is to make it appear that way.
Movies started out as poor methods of entertainment, but people were so struck by the medium they were not very discriminating. In a relatively short time though, moving pictures or “movies” became so artful and the technology so professional that it was very easy to impress the paying public to pay up to see the show. In reality, movies are a very deceptive exercise in not only giving people what they want but causing them to pay great amounts of cash for the privilege. After a century of moving pictures, next to no one understands what’s really going on in the process, or how whole populations are swayed and deceived by the art and content of the “entertainment.”
In politics, how many times have we heard about the “smoke-filled rooms” in which powerful movers and shakers make decisions that will affect an entire populace? And how many people actually care? The fact of the matter is that political decisions are always decided behind the scenes with the perpetrators knowing they can manipulate the process after the fact, especially by rigging the vote.
Now, at this point many people leave the discussion because they cannot handle the possibility that elections may be fraudulent. However, we certainly know that many elections have been, and some were presidential elections. But these were only the ones later discovered. How many fraudulent elections have never been discovered?
After a while, one begins to notice that much of what is portrayed as legitimate is not legitimate at all, but since people lack total proof or the ability to do anything about it they accept it. Thus, the manipulators behind the scenes continue to get away with their manipulations and even outright lies, since the public at large is either duped, apathetic, or powerless to act. Every now and then, however, someone not only figures it out, but speaks out about it.
And now you know why God made prophets…
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS; To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel. [Luke 1:76-80] 
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]