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REAL REPENTANCE AND THE BLOOD COVENANT (AND ABEL AND CAIN)

In my last post I said repentance means to change one’s mind. That is the actual definition of the Greek root word metanoia. In our culture this means something far less…

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IT COST THE LORD JESUS EVERYTHING

It is the same for every real Christian. The Lord Jesus, the Man who is God manifest in the flesh and Immanuel—God with us—gave everything He had to purchase our salvation. He did everything He possibly could. He left nothing undone. At the end, right before He died on the cross, He said, “It is finished!” He absolutely completed His course and thereby made everything readily available regarding abundant life:

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” [John 10:7-15]

Yet, why is it and how is it that so many Christians, a likely majority, fail to recognize this? How did it come to pass that so many Christians seem to take the Lord’s suffering and death in stride? It appears as if most take His death for granted. It doesn’t register as it should. There is a disconnect from the reality of Calvary and the understanding of many believers: These people were apparently never told they must also give all, or were told to do so in some rudimentary sense that has no spiritual impact, or maybe they simply chose to never do their part in full so as to apply it. For these, it means the Blood Covenant has never actually gone into effect in their lives. For a replacement, something to assuage their conscience, they may have given mental assent to the covenant or merely acknowledged it without giving their heart.

REAL REPENTANCE

In my last post I said repentance means to change one’s mind. That is the actual definition of the Greek root word metanoia. In our culture this means something far less, as merely changing how we may think about something in particular. If we take the word literally, however, which is how it was presented in Scripture, it means to change one’s mind in total—to transform it. This process must have a starting point, of course, and is something in general generated from without. This is because one most often cannot convict himself of sin. One’s conscience can convict which may result in changing certain behaviors, but after years of such conviction the work of one’s conscience is usually only acknowledged without the person doing anything substantial to change overall behavior.

When the Word of God is properly applied, however, there is a much different scenario. The Word of God, especially when delivered by an anointed minister of the Gospel, flashes like a bright laser light show within one’s mind and exposes everything in it and puts it on full display so the person can actually see what is resident there the way God does. It’s like living for years in a very dark house with heavy dark drapes and next to no interior light while wearing dark sunglasses and never doing any cleaning and simply losing track of actual conditions and everything resident there and not being aware of just how bad it has become and then suddenly have the brightest LIGHTS on the planet shining full bore in every room at the same instant. Yikes. This can be quite unnerving (understatement alert) and quite motivating. After the initial shock. Any sane person would want to immediately start a floor to ceiling whole house deep clean and not stop until everything was spic and span.

Such cleaning is accomplished through the application of the Blood of Jesus.

This is what the Word of God means by repentance. It involves commitment. It demands a real changing of one’s mind and a complete change of heart as well.       

THE BLOOD COVENANT

For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. [Hebrews 9:17-22]

Therefore, if one is to answer one’s half in the Blood Covenant he or she must also shed blood as the Lord did. This is not literal, of course, but real repentance does invoke the Old Testament Tabernacle Bronze Altar where the animals were sacrificed. Repentance essentially also means throwing oneself upon the altar of sacrifice and destroying the old life in order to save the new life. It is the end of the old mind, the mind containing the stain of sin, rebellion, and disobedience to God. It is the beginning of the new mind, the changed mind. John the Immerser said:

“Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance…” [Luke 3:8][1]

Real repentance is the initial act causing spiritual fruit to grow where it never grew before. The changed mind born of repentance and given to God, devoid of sin, is fertile ground for good fruit. The good fruit proves real repentance. It is the first step of the Blood Covenant. It proves one has laid down his life as the Lord did His. This good fruit is spiritual fruit and not mere works of the flesh disguised thereof. For illustration, Adam and Eve’s son Abel had properly repented and continued on to become mature in the Lord. He offered the correct sacrifices that God required. Cain, on the other hand, never repented and merely offered fruit from the ground which was indicative of the works of the flesh. Many Christians perform such “good deeds” as Cain did but do not please God. Abel understood what God required.

I wrote the following in my book Real Christianity:

To start with, there was a guy named Abel. He refused to do anything which didn’t show absolute respect for God. Because of his pure stand on this central issue of life, his brother killed him in a jealous rage. Abel was not like his mom and dad, and he was certainly not like his brother. He was thus the minority. His brother killed him because he couldn’t stomach the fact that Abel was blessed by God due to his righteousness which came as a direct result of obedience. Many Christians “kill” their brothers today for the same reason. Their sacrifice to God is not acceptable by God because their Christian service is not done in obedience to God but in obedience to man. Modern day Abels, therefore, are hated by the religious Cains who are envious of their brothers’ walks with God.

Abel was going to do the will of God even if it cost him his physical life. Contrary to prevailing popular opinion expressed through the worldly attitude of Cain, Abel understood that God required a pure sacrifice—a sacrifice represented by the ultimate in giving, with no strings attached. Cain, on the other hand, merely offered the fruit of a cursed earth.

In spiritual terms, Abel gave of his spirit, while Cain gave of his flesh. In order to relate this to the present, we must see Abel as the very first type of Christ. We must also see the true followers of Christ as those who are set on doing His will regardless of the costs involved. Abel’s sacrifice, therefore, relates in the present sense to recognizing the sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God, followed by the giving of ourselves—a sacrifice which must come before any other we might make and which must be complete. This is what real repentance is. If we understand this and apply it to ourselves, there is no need to make Abel prove his case. Instead, the burden of proof should fall squarely on Cain, an Old Testament type of the religious Christian whose alternative sacrifice has not been accepted by God. [2]

© 2022 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.

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

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (8)

They have created an Ishmael—an illegitimate counterfeit. Most Americans are none the wiser (sleeping). This illicit replacement imitation is wreaking havoc on what’s left of the country.

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ISHMAEL

His name was Ishmael. He was the product of an unholy and faithless union. Ishmael was conceived because the great patriarch abandoned his faith in God and did the unthinkable. He had illicit relations with a foreign woman not his wife. Yet this great sin was not characterized as the adultery it surely was because Abraham performed this unholy deed at the behest of his wife Sarah. She convinced him to do it. It was a strange love triangle born of spiritual infidelity and outright rebellion against the Lord God. The good man was overcome by the incessant pleadings of his faithless barren wife. Sound familiar?

What Eve did to Adam is what Sarah did to Abraham. However, what these two women did obviously reverberated far, far beyond their respective significant others though they never saw that at the time. Both men knew better but both failed in their faithfulness to God. Had these two men stayed faithful to their overriding spiritual covenant as God had highly advised and counseled them, the great evil that resulted which continues even until this day would never have happened.

Both men made a spiritual recovery later on but the great damage had already been done. There was nothing that could stop the ongoing burgeoning of sin and evil in this world which has grown exponentially ever since. We are currently seeing evil shooting upward as never before like a proverbial rocket, as so many explosive and fiery launches over the last sixty plus years has enthralled a rapt but clueless audience beholding the wonder though never understanding the means and motive.

We see that the serpent was responsible in Eve’s case. Was the serpent also not responsible in Sarah’s case? God had promised Abraham a son, a very special son. He had made the promise to Abraham and Sarah roughly fifteen years before. This childless couple had kept the faith throughout those years. Sarah had always been barren. For all they knew it could have been Abraham’s problem also. The point is that this couple called by God could never have children yet God promised them a very special child who would have an immense and immeasurable beneficial effect on the world.

But they wavered. They grew tired of waiting. This was especially pronounced in Sarah. Her hopes were raised to the heavens when she first heard the promise many years before but then nothing ever came of it and her hopes were dashed. Abraham held on but only in a weakened state. He did his best. There was less and less to sustain his faith. Once Sarah quit and returned to her faithless condition, which barrenness portends, it would only be a matter of time before Abraham’s little remaining supply of faith in God regarding the promise would drain away. And it did.

A surrogate wife was found. The surrogate would be the mother of the promised child. Sarah decreed this. Sarah was just as wrong as Eve, of course, but because the correcting voice that had authority over her was effectively silenced—the voice of Abraham—as Adam’s voice was also silenced by his wife, Abraham proceeded to engage in the unholy, faithless, adulterous union. Again, Sarah did not merely suggest he do this or tell him to, she insisted upon it. Abraham was waylaid. Perhaps he was also tempted in his own right with forbidden fruit that was pleasing to the eyes and flesh. Perhaps he thought of his future great patriarchy and enjoyed the prospect of having another mate for such a purpose. Whatever the case, these two chosen ones messed up really, really bad. Being born into this world wasn’t Ishmael’s fault but the replacement boy later proved to be what he was—the fruit of an illicit union of which God had never approved.

Thirteen years went by. Abraham and Sarah apparently kept up the ruse the entire time, at least in part, and treated young Ishmael as the promised one. Hagar, the boy’s real mother, had something to say about this however. She likely never bought into the narrative and didn’t care. She only knew Ishmael was her boy and she couldn’t help but fight in the tug of war instigated by Sarah. Abraham thus had two wives and they were at odds always and he had to play the referee always, and as his faith had waned which brought forth Ishmael so had his good nature waned, being caught between two warring women, and he must have grown seriously weary as a result.

He also knew in his heart that Ishmael was not really the promised child. He was forced to engage in the deception initially to please his wife and was also forced to continue the charade to stay in her graces. As far as Sarah was concerned Ishmael was her son and anything contrary to this was forbidden. There is thus no possible way she could have had a relationship with God during the entire time for if she had she would have been convicted of her sin and changed her way of thinking.

It is quite interesting how the Word of God gives us clues that bypass most Christians, likely because most Christians are also stuck in false narratives as Sarah was and cannot see them. We know in Adam’s case he lived another 130 years after his initial sin and banishment. At that point he finally repented and did what was required to get right with God. Eve also repented and got right. Their third son listed in the Genesis account—Seth—was the result. He was the fruit of their return to God and effectively replaced Abel who the devil had eliminated by the murderous hand of the abominable Cain.

The point here is the 130 years. It is ten times thirteen. Ten is the Biblical number of ordinal perfection and thirteen is the number of rebellion. Once the rebellion ended, the Messianic generational bloodline was reestablished. For 130 long years there was no hope of a future Savior. If Adam had never gotten right with God there would have been no Lord Jesus. We would all end up in hell with no remedy. The devil would have won the universe. It is therefore no surprise that the number thirteen entered the picture once again in the case of Ishmael:

Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the very same day Abraham was circumcised, and Ishmael his son. [Genesis 17:24-26]

It was imperative that Abraham be circumcised prior to the birth of the promised child. Should he not have known that Isaac was impossible until he had done this? That Isaac would not only be the product of pure faith but also, by implication, the circumcision of the heart? How often do we as Christians make claims upon God’s promises but remain unwilling to fulfill the terms thereof? Circumcision portends spiritual cleanliness. It portends pure seed. It was the cutting off of the flesh. Though Ishmael was conceived while Abraham was uncircumcised (flesh), Isaac, the promised son, must be conceived in circumcised purity (spirit).

Also, the outward end of Ishmael’s development as a son of flesh must be officially stopped and was stopped at thirteen years. The big picture, of course, illustrates the nature of Abraham and Sarah’s sin in that, like Adam and Eve, it was a sin of disobedient faithless rebellion. Abraham’s faithlessness and rebellion against God ended, fully, with his circumcision. In fact, everyone in his entire household was also circumcised. God does not merely suggest spiritual purity if an Isaac is to come forth—He demands it.

Perhaps this is why much of Christianity never brings forth an Isaac but can only ever manage an Ishmael.

ISAAC

Immediately after this wholesale repentance/circumcision event when Abraham returned to rightness with God, he was paid a visit by God and God confirmed the initial promise He had made many years before. Keep in mind that God never would have shown up if Abraham did not fulfill what he must. God always has more time than us and will wait forever if need be. Also, the wholesale repentance/circumcision event of Abraham’s household broke the power that Sarah had gained over Abraham and to which he had fallen victim to when he obeyed her in forcing him to bring forth an Ishmael. As long as her power over the situation remained, Isaac could not possibly be born because he must be born of Sarah and not a surrogate. His birth would never happen as long as Sarah was in charge. Sarah would never have an ounce of faith as long as she was in charge. She would never be fertile. She would be unworthy of receiving spiritual seed. Of course, in her case, she was also unable of bear children in the flesh. She was barren both physically and spiritually. She was also faithless. The only way this could change is if she submitted to God. Fully. Why was Sarah so hardheaded and stubborn in this regard? Why did she demand to have her own way? Was this not the vestige of fallen Eve in her nature? (Abraham had also partaken of the vestige of fallen Adam by weakly complying with the demands and/or manipulation of his wife.) 

The process toward spiritual life and away from fleshly rebellion, as it was in the exact case of Adam and Eve, started when Abraham took back control from Sarah and then submitted total control to God. (As long as Sarah was in authority she would never submit to God and there would never be an Isaac.) This is why there was such an immediate dramatic change for the better once Abraham repented and was circumcised. The change was so dramatic that even Sarah herself would be blessed with pure faith and her newfound faithfulness to God would result at last in spiritual fruitfulness. God had initially told them Isaac was coming 29 years before. The time had now arrived for Him to tell them again, this time face to face:

Now the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth, and said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by. Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant.” And they said, “So do, as you have said.” [Genesis 18:1-5]

Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” He said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” [Genesis 18:9-14][1]

THIS PRESENT DARKNESS

Though an Ishmael has taken over and gained great power at the behest of evil forces he will not and they will not have the last word. Regardless of their success to date in establishing a counterfeit which appears to be legitimate, there remains much more to this story. We see many forms of attack against this Ishmael but none have worked so far nor will any other work. Except one.

As I have faithfully reported over the last eleven and a half years, primarily through this medium, a Great Awakening had always been in the plan of God for America. Just as He has done on countless other occasions, if we as His followers fulfill the terms of the promise, the present illegitimate Ishmael in control will not only be stopped but circumcised. Its evil fleshly power and connection to the devil will be cut off. This will happen when the rebellion is complete, when the perpetrators thereof have spent themselves in an ultimately losing cause. And every real Christian in America has a vital part to be engaged in toward that end. The Lord Jesus will do this, as He always has, through His people, His spiritual kingdom-minded Community of Called-Out Ones who bow the knee to Him, confess His holy Name, and circumcise their hearts.

In the interim, get faithful and stay faithful.

Isaac is coming.    

© 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.

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (1)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (2)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (3)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (4)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (5)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (6)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (7)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (9)

THE REAL GOSPEL

The odds are great that most Christians in the world have never experienced the real Gospel or are aware of it, and have embraced another gospel in its place.

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I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! [Galatians 1:6-9]

Christians in general are not so discriminating in their gospel choices. Rather than do the required reading and research which the Lord Jesus, as our Teacher, demands, in order to locate the real one, they accept whatever gospel they are most familiar with or the one their particular tradition mandates. Many apparently do not even refer to their respective denominational beliefs as a gospel. They have been taught, and have accepted, the notion that anything Christian is close enough and anything Christian is the gospel, and that denominational separation and variation are the norm. This attitude makes a mockery of the Lord’s extensive teachings as though His full curriculum were optional, as though one can deviate from it and create partial gospels based on segments of His teachings. It makes a mockery of all He went through and the struggles and great victories of the Early Church which they achieved through never-ending spiritual warfare and incessant prayer. What they accomplished was extremely difficult and demanded real discipleship. Such remains a foreign concept in most of today’s churches.

Therefore, what I write here is an attempt to set the record straight. The record, of course, is contained in the actual written Gospel presented in the New Covenant Scriptures. This record is our Christian foundation. And though the early first-century believers had no written New Testament, the written New Testament is an absolute necessity in our day. For by it we can discern truth from error.

THE GOSPEL, THE COVENANT

We call it a testament. The better word is covenant—from the Greek word diatheke. The writer of the Book of Hebrews explains the nature of this covenant (in a passage we will get to shortly) in a manner most often not acknowledged or fully understood by the very Christians who claim to invoke it. How is it that the majority of Christians spend their lives going through their respective Christian motions yet never participate in the covenant which decides their eternal fate?

A covenant is a binding legal contract or agreement between two parties. This is exactly what the New Covenant is. The Gospel, or Good News, announces this covenant. The Good News, or Good Tidings, or Glad Tidings, is that God has made a way for people to be delivered from the bondage of sin and have their sins paid for and remitted completely. It is an agreement instituted by our benevolent Creator for the sake of being relationally reconciled with the wayward people of His Creation. And unlike most contracts which involve the participation of both parties in the authoring of the contract, the New Covenant is a contract in which God authors the terms. But unlike authors of covenants who control the terms and thus write for themselves the best terms, God blesses the wayward offending party with the best terms—the highly beneficial terms normally granted by the controlling author to himself. And what is more, the Author of the New Covenant must not only be the Priest which divides the sacrifice to shed its blood (for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin), but be the Sacrifice and shed His own Blood. God has so loved the wayward people of his Creation that He was willing to become one of us, shed His blood for us, and die for us. There is no greater love than this.

The Greek word diatheke, translated into English primarily as covenant, is also translated in some Bible versions in a few locations as will, as in last will and testament, which is a covenant that goes into effect only at death. Paul uses it this way in Galatians 3:15, for example. For our purposes here, we may focus on Hebrews 9:16 in which most versions translate diatheke as either covenant or testament, but a few as will. Thus, the New Covenant necessitated the death of the Testator—the Author of the will—whose last will and testament went into effect only upon His death and which involves the rights of inheritance for the second party.

And due to the nature of the sacrifice He made for sin, it is also a covenant of blood—a Blood Covenant in that two parties agree that a sacrificial death must take place to institute it (the death of the Lord Jesus, the first party), but also that a second sacrificial death must take place to ratify it (the death of the second party):

15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. [Hebrews 9:15-17]

Now, the death of the first party of the New Covenant was a brutal physical death involving horrific torture and suffering. It was, of course, undeserved. The Lord Jesus was absolutely innocent of the false charges His accusers threw against Him. He never committed a single sin and kept the Law of Moses perfectly. This, of course, made His an extremely difficult and dedicated life. His love for wayward humanity was such that He subjected Himself to the otherwise impossible task and living a life with no sin so He could defeat sin and release us from the evil power of sin. The Lord had to be completely innocent and pure in order for the New Covenant to be instituted. He was the Sacrifice Lamb and the sacrifice had to be without blemish.

The death required of the second party in this covenant, however, is not a physical death but a sacrifice of the totality of one’s life. It is illustrated by the anguish, agony, and grief of the full repentance process as one expresses pronounced sorrow for one’s lifetime personal sins and is broken and “burnt” as an offering upon an intangible altar of sacrifice as one surrenders completely to the terms of the covenant which mandates such a death.

The second party, of course, has no leg to stand on as it were and no defense, since he or she is the guilty party, the party of sin. The Author’s terms which one must agree to in order to accept and ratify the agreement cannot possibly be any better, however, since they entail not only a brand new clean and purposeful life in the here and now but eternal life as well. And this eternal life, of course, demands that there also be a later resurrection after physical death, just as the first party had undergone resurrection. The Lord Jesus had died physically but later came back to life. The second party of the covenant will also undergo physical death and will also later come back to life.

But regarding the present, there is more. If the second party repents properly, correctly, and fully, which means he or she effectively dies, the pure Blood of the Sacrifice Lamb, the Lord Jesus, will then be applied to his or her life. The Blood is applied at repentance. Thus, if there is no real repentance, there is no application of the Blood, and there is no ratification of the New Covenant for any particular second party.

If there is real repentance by the second party, then he or she will be thoroughly cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb and all personal sin will be washed away. And since the second party does not actually die physically to ratify the covenant, the Lord Jesus has instituted full immersion water baptism in His Name—it must be in the Name of Jesus—as a type of burial for the “dead” second party. In other words, real repentance signifies death and full immersion water baptism signifies burial.

Now what? You’ve got a person, the second party, who is dead and buried. When he or she then emerges from the waters of baptism it signifies in one sense a resurrection from the tomb. In effect, however, though one is now clean and pure, his or her spirit must be resurrected as well in order to complete the process of attaining the same state that Adam and Eve existed in before they sinned. Remember, God had told them that if they ever sinned they would die. Yet, when they did sin, they did not die physically, but spiritually. They continued living physically but Adam’s spirit had died. Eve’s spirit had died. Because of this, their sin and their dead spirit cut them off from spiritual relationship with God. And because they were no longer innocent and pure they could no longer live in the spiritual Garden made for spiritual people but were required to leave the Garden and go into the wild world.

The last Adam, however, restores this spiritual relationship. He has made a way in which one can return to the Garden (His Kingdom). He does it through the infilling of the second party with His Holy Spirit:

But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. [1Corinthians 6:17]

TRANSFORMATIVE SPIRITUAL POWER

Thus, we now see the complete process toward total restoration. This is what was demonstrated in the early history of the Lord’s Community per the historical record of Acts. This is the fullness of the real Gospel. This is the Good News. The second party, previously completely helpless and bound by sin with no chance of changing his or her condition for the better, is fully transformed into a new creation by the sacrifice and power of the first party.

Therefore, the New Covenant is actually a covenant of transformative spiritual POWER. This was demonstrated throughout the ministry of the Lord Jesus in the Gospel accounts. He possessed and demonstrated the power of God. People were miraculously healed. They were miraculously delivered of possession by demons. The poor and downtrodden, those beat down and taken advantage of by others, were blessed with the uplifting Gospel of hope and joy. And the dead were raised to new life.

This great spiritual power and the one Gospel—the only real Gospel—were and remain a package deal. They go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Not only was this great spiritual power (Greek: dunamis) demonstrated in the Lord’s ministry, it was also demonstrated after His initial ministry through the ministry of the Early Church in the first century. So the power never ended with His direct ministry, continued after His direct ministry according to the clear historical record, and was obviously intended to continue throughout the age of His Kingdom on earth until the present and beyond. To support this fact, we have these three passages for starters:

So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. [Mark 16:19-20]

“For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” [Acts 2:39]

After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. [Hebrews 2: 3-4]

The New Testament, therefore, is: (1) A written record which reveals the spiritual power of God in action, the very cause of the miracles which took place among them and without which the Gospel would have no power or ability to transform. (2) A written record which documents the full teachings of the Lord Jesus—the real Gospel—but also exposes any and all consequent false gospels.

ANY Christian teaching that deviates from the Lord’s pure curriculum is in essence a false teaching, either because it contains error, that which the Lord never taught, or it acknowledges only a portion of His teachings. Whatever gospel thus contains additions to His teachings denotes a false gospel. Whatever gospel thus contains omissions from His teachings denotes a false gospel. And whatever gospel that denies and does not possess the transformative spiritual power of God is a false gospel. It was none other than the renowned Apostle Paul who first claimed this fact in his second letter to Timothy when he wrote:

…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these. [2Timothy 3:5]

For greater insight and clarification, the phrase “form of godliness” in the preceding verse is from the Greek words morphosis eusebeia. The first is defined as “a forming, shaping, semblance, a form, embodiment.” The second is defined as: “reverence, respect, religion, piety.” Putting the two together, using various existing Bible translations, we see much better the man-made formulation of the many false gospels in the world and their inherent character:

A Form of Godliness

A Form of Religion

A Form of Piety

A Pretense of Religion

An Appearance Indeed of Godliness

The Appearance of Godliness

The Form of Religion

The Outward Appearance of Religion

The Outward Form of Godliness

THE REAL GOSPEL

Partial salvation is not real salvation. Partial cleansing of one’s soul is not real cleansing of one’s soul. A partial born again experience is not a real born again experience. Partial healing is not real healing. A broken heart cannot be partially healed and actually be healed. The real Christians of this world know they had to surrender all and give their entire heart to the Lord in order to receive all that He had to offer and must be offered in order to be fully transformed. With the Lord Jesus, there are no partial or halfway measures. He will never allow a person to think he or she is okay when he or she is not okay.

HE IS NOT A QUACK MINISTER LIKE MOST OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTERS IN THIS WORLD, EACH OF WHOM HAVE THEIR PRICE AND HAVE SOLD OUT.

And a lawyer (a Torah teacher) stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” [Luke 10:25-28]

“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” [Matthew 12:30]

“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.” [Luke 11:23]

According to the Lord Jesus, who is our only authority, real Christianity is a 100% proposition. One is either with Him or one is not. If one is with Him one is with Him 100% or one is not with Him at all. He has all authority and all power both in heaven and on earth. As part of His ministry, He shares his power with His real followers. He even said His real followers, those who believe in Him, could do anything He did and more:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” [John 14:12-14]

To this astounding statement, however, He adds an apparent caveat:

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” [John 14:15]

And it is here that we see the answer. We discover how real Christianity works. We understand how the people of the Early Church, not only the apostles, were able to be used of God to allow for the doing of the same miracles that the Lord performed. They must have loved Him with all their heart. No one would ever do all that He commanded otherwise.

Though they believed in Him and trusted Him completely, their obedience went beyond mere trust. They obeyed Him because they loved Him. This is why they kept His commandments. He loved each of them with all His heart. And they loved Him the same. We know the Lord was willing to do pretty much anything for anyone to help them and bless them and that His help went beyond the mere natural into the supernatural. He empowered His disciples to do the same works He did but they were only able to do them after they reached the same point of love for Him that He had for them, and by this they were able to love each other.

It was the bond of spiritual love (agape) which made the early believers so effective in doing miraculous works (ergon). Their love of the Lord Jesus meant that they trusted the difficult discipleship process they had to go through to receive the spiritual power (dunamis) through which the works were activated. Their love of their neighbor allowed them to work well together and meet the spiritual needs of their neighbor.

And this is why the one Gospel—the real Gospel—is founded upon spiritual love and works through the power of spiritual love.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” [John 15:12-14][1]

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

ALL “SUCCESSFUL” CHURCH LEADERS PREACH TO MONEY

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

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

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

DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOWING TO THE WIND AND REAPING AN F5 TORNADO

         The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… [1Timothy 4:1-2] [1]

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

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

          © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

THE ONGOING AWAKENING: RECENT SIGNS AND PORTENTS

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      Almost three months ago, at the conclusion of my five-part series regarding America’s immediate future, I wrote an article regarding the call to national repentance. This post is an update.

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       On August 23, two days after the transcontinental national solar eclipse this summer, I posted At the Crossroads: Will America Repent? We have already seen substantial changes in the country as a whole but especially in the realm of perception. We are seeing a veil lifted. We now know all the more that what is being presented as reality is not reality. The following is an excerpt from the article:

         “Religious pride and personal repentance don’t get along. In fact, these two hate each other. Only one can win. The other gets destroyed. Most people choose pride. A comparative few find life, though it will cost them. The unrepentant religious pride people always attempt to throw the repentant life people off a cliff. Their pride, conviction of sin, and refusal to repent demands it. Thus, those who find life have a harder row to hoe and constitute the fewer. Not only must they dodge the cliff-throwers, they also take the time to pray for them. That’s rare. Also, staying on the path of life, due to the demands of real discipleship, sometimes causes their numbers to be reduced over time.”

THE 2016 ELECTION PORTENT

         To better understand this phenomenon we can see an excellent example of it in the 2016 presidential election. The entire mass apparatus of the collective mainstream media got the election completely and absolutely wrong, and they got it wrong by historically huge margins. There had never been a presidential election forecast that was so off base and one-sided. The entire media establishment was anti-Trump and pro-Clinton, and the people thereof were so full of themselves (and have been for decades) that they were completely fooled. We see this exact phenomenon on a micro level regarding how individuals and small groups set up their social parameters. For the people who endlessly promote “diversity” most of them have the very opposite. Their level of hatred and rejection of anyone who does not agree with them is truly off the charts and as a result they become blinded to reality. This is what happened to the media in the fall of 2016.

      Did they repent for being so wrong? NO. A few individual reporters and media personalities did but the entire hegemonic media never repented or admitted failure but instead mashed the accelerator through the floor all the more and went into hyper drive attack mode. THIS HAS ALSO FAILED. This is what happens when someone is desperate after putting all their eggs in one basket and betting the entire farm. Because these entities are so huge and worth billions it will take a while to see the full failure effect transpire, but it is happening. At the same time, the alternative media, where truth thrives, is growing by leaps and bounds and has captured the truth narrative.

         What is most important, however, is that the Internet has made it possible that any American can create a website and start exercising their First Amendment right to Freedom of the Press by becoming the press.

         All successful freedom movements throughout history have involved the ability to get the word out. But no group was ever more successful than the early Church. Our Christian forebears, especially in the first century AD but also over the next two centuries (the real Christians, not the later fake constructs), were said, in the King James English, to have turned the world upside down:

         But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. [Acts 17:4-7 KJV]

         No group had ever done this before. The early Christians had more spirit, more power, more strength, more perseverance, more unity, and more love than any group in history. And they managed to succeed in an epic manner in a place and time where their belief system was illegal, there was no freedom of the press, no freedom of religion, and the level of idolatry was such that a human being was forced to be worshipped as god (government works much better that way), which the Christians obviously refused to do. Nothing that the governing authorities did to stop them worked. In fact, the more they tried to stop them the more they grew. Religious authorities tried to stop them and that didn’t work either. The unbelieving Jewish religious authorities were the worst. But again, regardless of ongoing censoring and persecution, none of it worked. They really did turn the world upside down.

          But when Christianity became official everything went south.

        “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.” [Luke 6:26] 

THE CHRISTIAN DARK AGES PORTENT

         As the heavily-biased mainstream press completely missed the 2016 election, the same thing has happened with mainstream Christianity. Most Christians are so used to the goings-on in their own exclusive clubs they are never aware of the big picture until it lands right on top of their heads from on high. So the answer to the question “Has America Repented?” is yes and no. For those Christians so encased in their own limited paradigms with the resources to stay afloat, they have not repented and will not. They will keep going as usual, like the hypocritical Pharisees, refusing to see the proverbial handwriting on the wall until it is too late. Entities such as this always ride the revenue wave until the money is gone and social support ceases. Remember the Lord’s clear prediction:

         And while some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, He said, “As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.” [Luke 21:5-6] [1]

         No matter what the Lord attempted to do to convince the religious leaders of His day that they were playing a fool’s game it ended up doing no good whatsoever. Though a great many Jews became His followers, perhaps hundreds of thousands, what was left of the once great nation of Israel was destroyed forever and the city of Jerusalem became a fiery heap of fallen stones. This did not have to happen. It was a fate they chose. Their pride was too great. Their hubris had no rival.

THE NEW DARK AGES OF CHRISTIANITY

         This is in part why the Lord teaches humility. Human pride is a killer and religious pride is the worst. It promotes sinful flesh, the last thing that should ever be promoted. Thus, when the Lord Jesus does something new it always starts small and always involves societal nobodies. The same thing happens to churches in need of light (not the perfect ones). The Lord brings the Word in whatever way He can but the establishment powers always reject it unless it lines up perfectly with their respective doctrinal statements and bylaws. And, of course, all churches and denominations have different doctrinal statements and bylaws, some of which are contradictory to the others.

         Churches can get away with rejecting truth for a while but unless they repent at some point and began following the Lord as they should they will begin a slow decaying process. This is happening all over America at present, and many think this means that American Christianity is dying out, but the opposite is happening. Christianity is only dying out from the perspective of those who can only see the institutional paradigm, just as those churches out of the will of God can never see what He is really doing in the Spirit because they are not in the Spirit. Once such Christians take their religious blinders off, change their attitudes, and get out of their boxes, a whole world opens up they never saw before. In reality, the Great Awakening is right on schedule.

         Regarding those who don’t see any signs of an Awakening, it is most likely for the exact reason the media completely missed the 2016 election, which was yet another sign of present reform as opposed to the false construct.

         © 2017 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.

MAKING PROVISION FOR UNKNOWN TRUTH: BEING TEACHABLE

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         “The very nature of teaching is the act of revealing information that a student had not known previously. This means we only know what we know…”

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         Before we address the content of this post I want to thank my faithful readers. Some of you have been following this blog for a few years now and I do appreciate it. The material here is not mainstream in the least and that causes a decided lack of traffic flow to begin with, but some of you are supporting me anyway. I know many of you do not agree with everything I write and it is refreshing that we continue to share in a level of spiritual fellowship. But the very nature of teaching is the act of revealing information that a student had not known previously. This means we only know what we know, which is not something we usually know that we know. It can also be stated this way:

         “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” [1]                       

         This means we must be humble. We must be teachable. As followers of the Lord Jesus, it is dangerous to believe we know it all. We must be ever-learning. There’s a strange phenomenon that takes place in the soul of some Christian ministers when they insist on doctrines not supported by the Lord’s teachings. In order to enforce said doctrines, such ministers force themselves to adopt guises out of character with the fruit of the Spirit. They prove by their very actions that something is wrong with the teachings they espouse. They become less like Christians and more like hard-edged turf-defenders or stagnant dogma pushers.

         They become quite used to having their way. They demand next to blind obedience. It borders on religious brainwashing. It establishes what can only be termed Christian cults. But when a cult goes mainstream by attracting (or forcing) great numbers of adherents, it morphs out of cult status into perceived orthodox status. When the authority of the Lord Jesus is circumvented in such a way and people are thus deceived (not realizing He is not in charge), it allows for great abuse which demands great reform. This brings us to the reality of the two different camps in overall Christianity:

CONTENDERS AND PRETENDERS

        The usual traditional camp has already made up its mind what Christian truth is and spends all its time preaching what they know and attacking anything that does not agree with their chosen paradigm. I say chosen because that is exactly what it is. We all choose to believe whatever it may be. There is Christian truth that is obviously foundational that most Christians share, but so much of what the Lord Jesus originally taught is not being taught by most Christian bodies and this is obviously by design.

    Such Christians make no provision for possible unknowns.

         Consider the fact that the Lord and His original apostles had no religious superstructure surrounding them and one will begin to get the big idea what the dissemination of truth actually entails. He kept His operation extremely streamlined and materially limited and did that for a reason. He even taught very clearly that giving up one’s possessions is a vital part of discipleship. One can define that anyway one wants to but the best definition comes from simply studying the lifestyle of the early Church. We must also acknowledge that they had massive success with comparatively very few material resources. They did without that which most Christians insist upon as indispensable and still turned the world upside down. “Official” Christianity in the modern world can only be described by comparison as lacking.

         The Lord knows we need stuff. We need food and water and shelter. In modern society we need a whole lot more simply to carve out a life of sustenance within a complex, ultra-developed, increasingly urban grid. But churches and individuals must be on guard against material props that actually hinder spirituality rather than help. Therefore, giving up one’s possessions does not necessarily mean going homeless and penniless by choice. Perhaps it means not allowing the material to outweigh the spiritual. It certainly means joining a spiritual Community in which the Lord Jesus is the sole Leader. Call it a love-based voluntary lifestyle of willing assistance toward others as echoed in the writings of the prophet:

         A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” [Isaiah 40:3-5] [2] 

         It is in looking at the lifestyle and teaching method of our Leader that we gain all the insight we need to figure out how we should live and learn. I will have more on this later. In the next post we will consider America’s recent call to repentance in further preparation for the Awakening.

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.    


[1] D. Rumsfeld 

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

AT THE CROSSROADS: WILL AMERICA REPENT? (5)

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         Repentance is the action of individuals. People are saved one person at a time. It is a highly personal decision. It has always been this way.

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         Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’” [Matthew 3:1-3]

DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS

         When a person hears the real Gospel and becomes convicted in heart, standing guilty as charged before the Lord and knowing without any doubt that he is guilty, he must act. He has no choice. At this early stage, personal faith arises from within that had never arisen before. He sees himself as God sees him, as a sinner in need of salvation. But also, though shattered by the knowledge of his personal sin, he senses a concern and a brief glimpse or feeling of mercy directed toward him from some unidentifiable spiritual place beyond himself, and from that place a small hope arises. From this initial entry point one stands at a spiritual junction.

 

I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees

Down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees

Asked the Lord above for mercy, “Save me if you please”

 

I went down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride

Down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride

Nobody seemed to know me, everybody passed me by

 

          Many years ago I had a friend who gave his heart to the Lord a couple of months before I met him. I had never known him before his salvation experience, one which had been quite dramatic. I remember him telling me that the night he decided on the Lord, it almost never happened in that he felt too weak to make the decision the way it must be made. He told me people had been earnestly praying for him, though seemingly unsuccessfully. He had received a very powerful witness. He wanted to get right. Spiritual war was going on for his soul but he knew little of that at the time. He did know, though, that he was in a new place he had never been in before and seemed to lack control to do anything about it. He had been prayed out of darkness temporarily and found himself down at the crossroads.

        Essentially, he was in the process of being yanked out of his hell-bound status, with which there was otherwise no remedy, even by his own efforts. He had certainly made an effort, but had been so far away from God and so deep in sin it was all he could do to gain his present circumstance, powerfully aided by the prayers of others. Yet at that new and unidentifiable place, in which he could very easily fall right back in the pit from which he arose, he would have to be the final arbiter and make a choice. He told others afterward that he pictured the proverbial angel on one side and the devil on the other. He referred to the devil as a hell’s angel. They were both fighting for him. He felt himself slipping away. He saw the good angel fading out and growing farther into the blurry distance, far up above as he was sinking fast. Then, all of a sudden, the good angel reached way down and somehow grabbed him, all in an instant, and pulled him into life…

THE UNACKNOWLEDGED EFFECT OF REAL CHRISTIANITY

         In reality, nations do not repent. Great Awakenings are not a “nation” awakening but a comparatively large group of individuals within and across that nation that is awakening. In this sense such occurrences are defined as national. They happen when a much larger percentage of the populace than usual turns to the Lord together in a relatively short period of time. They are not repenting and getting right with God to save their nation, however, but for God to save them, one another, and whosoever will.

         All countries, nations, states, empires, etc, are temporary, as this world itself is temporary. It is only the Community of the Lord Jesus, or His kingdom, that lasts forever, and His kingdom is not and never has been an earthly kingdom.

         When it happens that the majority of a country is composed of real Christians or if a minority of real Christians is very effective spiritually, that particular country becomes a comparatively better place because it means the Lord has more authority and control. It means a greater number of people show real love and obey the Golden Rule. It means there are fewer sinners. It means sin has less overall effect. It means there is greater conviction of sin. It means there is less demonic activity. When such countries begin backsliding away, it is because the real Christians are backsliding away.

          But real Christians as large groups usually never devolve into blatant sin but merely get co-opted. They give in to watered-down gospels, false narratives, and throw their weight behind teachings the Lord never taught. It usually happens on the sly, over a gradual period of time. There is a sinister author but such Christians lose sight of the author. They make peace with the world. They compromise. Their lights grow dim and unless they make corrections their lights eventually go out.           

         Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES—THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.” From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 4:12-17]

         Of course, John had been preaching way out in the wilderness, unconnected to the ultra-legalistic religious entities that controlled the synagogues and temple complex. He preached until the Lord was baptized and began His forty day fast. According to the Gospel accounts, it was during those forty days or shortly thereafter when John was arrested and thrown in prison. When the Lord returned from the wilderness, He also was unconnected to the religious establishment, though He began preaching in the synagogues of Galilee “and was praised by all.”

THE GREAT DIVIDE

         Then He went to His hometown. The people of Nazareth initially accepted Him warmly. He spoke in the local synagogue.

       What happened next is what always happens when two distinct and very different kingdoms with different agendas abruptly share the same territory, as warm moist air from the south runs into cold dry air from the north. They will clash. Thunderstorms happen. Lightning flashes. Thunder rolls. One would think the people of Nazareth would embrace Him. They did at first, until He began preaching a message contrary to their message. This created a message tornado, a spiritual cognitive dissonance whirlwind which at first confused the synagogue members and stunned them into silence. They sat there with open mouths and unblinking eyes. Then they got it. Then they went absolutely nuts.

         The following passage is an eye-opening illustration of what happens when the anointed Word of God goes to war against false teaching masquerading as truth:

        And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. [Luke 4:28-29]

        For real Christians, this is all quite familiar. It is what happens when light shines on darkness. It’s what is supposed to happen. If it is not happening, it means truth is not being revealed. It means the real Gospel is not being preached. The devil continues to hide successfully, operate behind the scenes, and dumb-down the people he controls into dead, ineffectual religious compliance. In that darkness all manner of false doctrines germinate. The next thing you know, “Christians” act the same way those people did in that Nazareth synagogue.   

         This is why Great Awakenings are most often completely unconnected to compromised, establishment Christianity—that which has accepted spiritual chains in the guise of any number of replacements and the false doctrine foundations upon which they rest, most of which involve cultural conformity, coerced donations, and religious pride.

CONTENDERS AND PRETENDERS

         Religious pride and personal repentance don’t get along. In fact, these two hate each other. Only one can win. The other gets destroyed. Most people choose pride. A comparative few find life, though it will cost them. The unrepentant religious pride people always attempt to throw the repentant life people off a cliff. Their pride, conviction of sin, and refusal to repent demands it. Thus, those who find life have a harder row to hoe and constitute the fewer. Not only must they dodge the cliff-throwers, they also take the time to pray for them. That’s rare. Also, staying on the path of life, due to the demands of real discipleship, sometimes causes their numbers to be reduced over time.

         The Lord preached to tens of thousands during His ministry. Several thousand were following Him from place to place. He often had a hard time escaping the crowds. This even happened when He went to Jerusalem the week of His death. Many were praising Him and shouting Hosannas. Then, once the crowds found out what supporting Him would cost, they all abandoned Him. Many turned on Him. The signal was given, “Release the hounds!” You know the rest of the story. Except for one man and several women close by the place of execution, all of His friends vanished by the time they killed Him, including His own disciples.

         Even after His resurrection the same dynamic played out. There were as many as five hundred who saw Him at one time. Yet, the majority of these drifted off. By the time it came to the full end which also signified a brand new beginning, only a hundred and twenty people made it to Pentecost. The tens of thousands had vanished. They all left Him except for a few. The majority could never bring itself to go all the way and put everything on the line. Heaven will thus be sparsely populated.

DOWNTOWN DOGFIGHT

         We are at yet another crossroads and things are taking a giant turn toward societal civil war. Those paying attention knew this would happen, could see it emerging quite a while ago, and are somewhat surprised that it took this long. I say that because the evil agenda has been in place for so long. The Great Awakening will subdue it somewhat. This emerging civil war is indeed a spiritual reaction to what the Lord is bringing forth. A great many will join up with the Lord. But until the people who have control, authority, and wealth start becoming real Christians, nothing substantial can possibly change long term because those guys have a completely different agenda and will never relinquish it.

         They are helped in their pursuit by Christians who have aligned themselves with the aforesaid false gospels and cultural Christianity in which they mix two competing entities to make one powerless, low wattage entity. Christians such as this want nothing to do with the only thing that will ultimately save them and reject it because they have no frame of reference yet to how bad things may get. They therefore see real Christianity as something completely unnecessary and exaggerated, not worth the discipleship, not worth the upsetting of their lifestyles, and even overbearing within a construct of relatively good times. Their karma chickens will eventually come home to roost. They will then get a better frame of reference. Some will attempt to apply what they know that seemed to work in the past. It will have little effect. It will be too late.

         Yet, for all the real Christians out there, the strong and the faithful, they know the Lord Jesus ALWAYS takes care of His own. But they also know there is a job to be done. The real Gospel must be heard. His light must shine. Darkness must be exposed. People must be set free.

         But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

         See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. [Hebrews 12:22-25] [1]

         © 2017 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.

PART 1: ECONOMIC CRASH AND BURN

PART 2: THE THIRD SIGN: IT’S DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN 

PART 3: REVEALING THE HIDDEN ECONOMIC JUDGMENT PATTERN

PART 4: SOLAR ECLIPSE ACROSS AMERICA SIGNALS ONSET OF REPENTANCE

SOLAR ECLIPSE ACROSS AMERICA SIGNALS ONSET OF REPENTANCE (4)

Blog Pic 82117        

   Today’s rare celestial event is strangely coinciding with emerging economic and social turbulence that will likely grow worse in the coming weeks.

 

On August 7, I wrote and finished editing Part 1 of this series.

On August 8, the Dow Jones reached its highest peak in history after climbing all year.

On August 9, before dawn, I posted Part 1, Economic Crash and Burn. On that very day the market immediately began dropping, losing 335 points over the next two days.

On August 11, before dawn, I posted Part 2, The Third Sign: It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again.

On August 12, Charlottesville happened.

Over the next few days, in a series of fits and starts, the Dow made up what it lost.

On August 17, before dawn, I posted Part 3 of this series, Revealing the Hidden Economic Judgment Pattern. On that very day the Dow plummeted precipitously, losing 335 points once again from its high the day before.

On August 18, it lost another 76 points. Those two days saw the biggest drop in three months. From its all time high on August 8 until Friday August 18 the Dow Jones has lost a total 504 points. This is an obvious signal of economic turmoil at the top.

THE SUN BLOCKED OUT COAST TO COAST

      Coinciding exactly with this economic phenomenon is an extremely rare celestial phenomenon: Today we have the big solar eclipse.

          As most of you know by now, an eclipse of this kind has never happened before on the American mainland at any time, going back as far as the early colonial period which began in 1607. In fact, the last time a coast to coast solar eclipse occurred across what is now America that touched no other landmass was in 1257. The solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 will only occur on the Pacific Ocean, the continental United States, and the Atlantic Ocean. It will touch no other country. It will make landfall in Oregon, move across the country, and exit at South Carolina. It is absolutely exclusive to the United States.

       As far as celestial signs go, this eclipse could not be more clear. The new moon, beginning a new month, takes place at the same time as the eclipse, as solar eclipses can only take place during new moons. But this particular new moon begins not just any month. It begins the last month of the Hebrew civil calendar. It signals the beginning of a forty day period of spiritual reflection, repentance, fasting, and prayer, and culminates on September 30, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This was in all likelihood the exact time period when the Lord went on His forty day fast before beginning His ministry. Just after those forty days He became thirty years old, coinciding perfectly with the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, five days after Yom Kippur. All of these anniversaries are in our immediate future.

THE NEW MOON

         The total eclipse begins on the Oregon coast at 10:16am Pacific time. The total eclipse ends in South Carolina at 2:50pm Eastern time. The new moon occurs officially at 11:30am Pacific time in Oregon and at 2:30pm Eastern time in South Carolina. Incidentally, the new moon and the eclipse occur simultaneously at 1:30pm Central time on the east side of Nashville, Tennessee, the largest city in the path of totality. Not sure what that means…

THE JOB ECLIPSE

         This celestial event can be characterized in part as “The Job Eclipse,” named after the Biblical Character and OT book of the same name. All real Christians know what that means. Christian scholar E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913) wrote an extremely detailed book on Biblical numbers and their meanings and said the Biblical number 19 refers to a combination of 10 (Ordinal Perfection) and 9 (Judgment):

         “Nineteen is a number not without significance. It is a combination of 10 and 9, and would denote the perfection of Divine order connected with judgment. It is the gematria of Eve and Job.” [1]

         I know this may sound like a real stretch, but hear me out. From 1257 until 2017 is 760 years. This is 19 times 40. Both of these are very significant Biblical numbers. 40 refers to periods of probation, trial, and chastisement, specifically in connection with a covenant people (whereas 9 indicates the punishment of enemies). This upcoming 40 day period thus refers to both, because I am seeing indications that the next scheduled economic recession will be primarily an economic judgment on the financial elite. I will have more on that in a future post.

         For more 9’s (judgment), the last American transcontinental total solar eclipse took place in 1918. That was 99 years ago. That one was unlike today’s eclipse because other lands were involved. The last solar eclipse that crossed any part of America before now was in Hawaii in 1991. The one before that was in the Pacific Northwest in 1979. After one in 1970 there was yet another long string of 9’s: 1963, 1959, 1954, and 1945.

         Another indication of 19 is associated with the number 335 which has popped up twice in a period of ten days referring to specific point losses on the Dow Jones. The first drop (335.17) occurred from August 8 to August 10. The second (335.39) was from August 16 to August 17. Maybe it’s just coincidence. Maybe this is way too much minutia on my part. However, when looking closer at the number 335 which twice occurred with regard to big losses in a very short period of time, it breaks down as thus: 335 = 5 x 67. Five is a prime number and the Biblical number of grace. 67 is the 19th prime.

         So here again we have God’s grace and Job, which denotes a time of probation, trial, and chastisement for the Lord’s people in concert with His divine favor, while at the same time, a period of judgment on those who refuse the Lord.

         Keep all of this in mind when following the eclipse today. It is time to prepare our hearts for the immediate future. If you’re right with God all is well. Time periods such as these are designed to get everyone on track, especially concerning the Great Awakening. 

THE JOEL ECLIPSE

         The following is just one proof that the Lord uses signs in the sky:

         “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.

        ‘I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’” [Acts 2:16-21 NKJV] [2]

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]  


[1] Number In Scripture ©1921 E.W. Bullinger

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

PART 1: ECONOMIC CRASH AND BURN

PART 2: THE THIRD SIGN: IT’S DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN 

PART 3: REVEALING THE HIDDEN ECONOMIC JUDGMENT PATTERN

PART 5: AT THE CROSSROADS: WILL AMERICA REPENT?

When Sinners Die: Rejecting the Sacrifice Lamb (1)

         If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;

         Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. [1Peter 1:17-19]

         “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” [1John 1:29]

THE SIN DISEASE

         The Lord always warns us. He warns us repeatedly. He has warned us all from the very beginning. His is a heart of mercy.

         He tries to explain to us the nature of sin. He attempts to explain how and why sin works, and why every human being is stricken with the disease from birth, though one must reach an age of accountability before personal responsibility for sin kicks in.

         Most sinners do not necessarily have an agenda against God, I don’t think, but are rebels against Him nonetheless. Yet, there are people on this planet who certainly have an agenda against Him and His pure teachings, who hate Him, and who fight against Him every day.

         Their focus, like the focus of all sinners in general, is SELF. Hence, the reason for sin is nothing more than pure selfishness and what can be gained for self through any means, including the violation of any and all moral restraints. Moral restraints, however, are not simply the result of what many people see as arbitrary rules created out of thin air.

THE CONSCIENCE

         Regardless of the various forms of moral restraints and statutes in this world, and chosen or accepted guidelines by which to live, there is one very personal, genuine, legitimate warning mechanism given to each and every human being designed to alert us and govern personal conduct.

         We call it the Conscience.

         For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

         For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. [Romans 2:12-16]

         Therefore, we have no excuse, and will never have any excuse, and all those who die as sinners in an unrepentant state will have a record of sin when they go before the Lord at the judgment.

         Each individual record of sin could have been expunged prior to physical death.

         Everyone is given that opportunity. Even those who have never heard of the Lord Jesus or heard the Gospel have an opportunity to repent due to their convicting conscience that warns of sin and reveals good and evil.

         Therefore, when sinners die they will be judged appropriately. There will be a clear, exhaustive record of everything ever done in one’s life including the committing of every single sin—a multitude of sins, and the record will show that they liked it—they enjoyed their sin or at least certainly made compromises toward it instead of standing against it.

         Would that it could be that all unrepentant sinners sinned only against themselves and never harmed another. But it is obvious that sin affects other people, and some sins greatly affect other people, and some sins affect great numbers of people.

         None of this had to be. None of it was written in stone. All sin is due to wrong choices. We learn, then, if we are to advance in life and grow morally, to cease from wrong choices. This is what childhood and pre-adulthood is for.

         Whoever goes down the path toward moral righteousness, however, eventually figures out that human strength and human will alone will not get the job done. We need a higher power. Temptation is too strong. The power of sin has too great a hold on us. There must also be a way to clear our existing sin record and give us our release. This is why the search for truth always ends successfully when one chooses the Lord Jesus. The human conscience helps us in this process. Those who never grow up, however, who never seek to overcome sin and temptation, never cease from sinning.

         They have decided to bypass their conscience.

REJECTING THE SACRIFICE LAMB

         Human beings do have an amazing capacity for sin and keeping stone-faced about it, and refusing to do something about it, even though their individual consciences are warning them loudly and continuously. But the reason they refuse to address it is because they have rejected the only cure—they refuse to surrender to the Lord Jesus so He can help them. They have thus learned that their chosen cures don’t work so they quit trying and give in to being what they are.

         What a conundrum this is, that a perfect cure is always available but for most it is always rejected. Why? —Selfishness—which returns us once again to the reason for sin:

         Their focus, like the focus of all sinners in general, is SELF. Hence, the reason for sin is nothing more than pure selfishness and what can be gained for self through any means, including the violation of any and all moral restraints.

         If one builds one’s life on sin and constructs a framework of sin that keeps one’s life together, it is only a matter of time before such a weak and ridiculous foundation and structure is revealed.

         What to do?

ATTACKING SIN AS ONE’S MORTAL ENEMY

         The best thing to do about sin is deal with it… NOW. The Lord told us how. If one’s conscience is doing its convicting work, it is a great sign. It means one’s conscience is alive and well.

         Sinning is bad, but refusing to repent for sin is worse. Again, the best thing to do is simply surrender to the Lord Jesus, admit that one is a sinner, that one is stricken with the sin disease (the worst of all diseases), that one is tired of fighting against conviction, that one is tired of feeling spiritually dirty, that one wants to be whole again, and healthy, and happy, and FREE, and begin attacking sin as one’s mortal enemy.

         It is obviously better to do it now than attempt it after death, when it will be absolutely impossible. One cannot repent after death. Those who say one can are not telling the truth. The Lord Jesus never taught such a lie. The time to repent is NOW.

         So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. [Philippians 2:12-13]

         At this very moment there are uncounted millions of souls in the unknown geographic location of dead unrepentant sinners who are waiting for trial, tormented each second by what could have been.

         Though they had the incredible opportunity of a wonderful and loving defense attorney while alive, they rejected His counsel.

         They died in sin. They know it. They knew it then. They have no chance. They will be found guilty. Each of them, and all those who are added to them as time goes on, wasted their life. They traded eternal life with the Lord Jesus in heaven for this temporary world and for very temporary self-rule.

         “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

         For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” [Mark 8:36-38]

         They are as much alive and conscious at this moment, though in a different state, as they always were. However, their fates are sealed. Repentance and getting right with God is no longer an option.

         You know what else? Even if the option existed, because they had repeatedly rejected the Sacrifice Lamb during their earthly sojourn, it appears readily apparent that NOT A SINGLE ONE WOULD EVER REPENT IF GIVEN ONE FINAL CHANCE.

         Their desire is not to get right with God.

         It is only to escape the restriction of their incarceration.

         Focusing on SELF promotes sin and destruction.

      Focusing on the Lord Jesus and others promotes love, salvation, and spiritual freedom.  

         For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

         For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” [Galatians 5:13-14] [1]

            © 2015 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.

He Steadfastly Set His Face To Go To Jerusalem

Mount Everest from Kalapatthar.

Mount Everest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         There are times in our lives when we have to make tough decisions.

         We must decide to obey God.

         I remember hearing a relatively well known preacher several years ago make a statement regarding such tough decisions. In all honesty he said, “I’ve rebuked the Holy Ghost so many times…”

         What he meant, of course, is that there was no way what he was hearing was from God. It was too hard. Too difficult. Impossible, even. No way could it be God. He would never ask (command) me to do such a thing.

         But, of course,  it actually WAS the voice of God…

         Not only does the Lord have “hard sayings,” He also has very hard things for us to do at times. And this portends the theme of this article, that God, in all His grace and love, commands us to do impossible things that put our lives in peril and sometimes destroy our comfort zones.

         A lazy, lolling river suddenly becomes fast and filled with white water and giant boulders. But instead of simply getting over to the bank ASAP, the Lord directs us to enter headlong into the churning, violent rapids and commands us to ride the wave of the future.

         Right.

         These are some of the stepping off points in one’s walk with God. How many Christians are there in this world who are no longer real Christians because they refused such commands? How many are merely playing games, fooling themselves and almost everyone else in an attempt to live for God in disobedience?

         It can’t happen, you know. Would that you were hot or cold…

         You get the picture. Refusing God’s commands while claiming to be right makes one a veritable dab of spit at best and pool of vomit at worst.

         Yes, the Word of God actually says that. As Yogi Berra would say, “You could look it up.”

         The title of this post illustrates such tough obedient choices. The Lord knew all along He would make that fateful trip to Jerusalem one day and enter into the mouth of the dragon. He would drop His defenses, lose all protection, and become the object of not only the wrath of mankind, but the wrath of God.

         But how is that possible? Jesus IS God.

         And again, that’s the point. The strong must support the weak. The strong must do very difficult things on behalf of the weak. The strong must carry the day.

         Now, in English, the phrase Set His Face To Go makes no sense. We think it makes sense but only because we have discovered what it means. This phrase is an obvious example of a Hebrew idiom that found its way into the literal translation. It comes to us from the KJV translators and is over 400 years old. However, it is based on the earlier English translation of William Tyndale which is going on 500 years old. I do not think those people had any clear understanding of Hebrew idioms. Later translations give a clearer understanding in English. The following is from the NASV:

         He was determined to go to Jerusalem… [1] 

         Young’s Literal Translation states, that he fixed his face to go on to Jerusalem.

         The Hebrew idiom, from an original Hebrew Gospel, means that the Lord Jesus could not possibly be swayed from facing His fate. He was resolutely determined to complete His mission. He set His face like a flinty rock to enter the belly of the beast. This was not only sheer determination and willpower to do the job He was called to do; it was also the determination to face the greatest physical, emotional, and mental torture ever suffered by anyone in taking on the massive burden of our sins, and actually become sin on our behalf.

         He had every reason, in the natural, to reject such a trip. How could it be God’s will for me to face such a horrible fate? Anyone else would have found a way out, and would have justified his disobedient behavior.

         But not the Lord Jesus.

         He wasn’t thinking of Himself.

         He was thinking of you.

         So, we must set our minds at ease in that whatever difficult circumstances He is commanding us to undertake, He will never ask us to go to the cross the way He went to the cross.

         But we must go to the cross. We must be crucified. We must destroy our sinful and selfish human nature through real repentance and allow His life to course through our born again veins and arteries, and allow our hearts of stone to be transformed into living hearts of spiritual love and mercy.

         He made it relatively easy for us, you know. There is a place in each of us reserved for His Holy Living Spirit. The key to being like Christ, therefore, is not to engage in some ascetic attempt to be “holy” and Christlike through our own power and religious methods, but to unlock the door of our hearts, open the door wide, greet the Lord who waits patiently on our doorstep with a gracious smile and a loving hug, invite Him in, and give Him the best room in the house.

         Whatever price we must pay to get us to the point of accepting such a visitation is worth it, don’t you think? And so is anything else He asks us to do, no matter how scary or difficult.

         We must all Set Our Face to do the will of God. We must go to our own version of Jerusalem. We must swim across the ocean and ford every stream and climb every mountain (including Everest) and dream the impossible dream.

         We must sacrifice our lives in the greatest act of giving for the sake of His abundant life.

         It’s what people do when they’re in love.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

The Lighter Side of Darkness

        

         When human beings are subjected to the full authority of the Lord Jesus, they treat other human beings with equal respect. They have long since gotten down off their high horse. They see by the light of the Gospel that they were formerly sinners destined to hell and realize they were saved from that hell by the sacrificial death of their Lord and Master. They consequently can no longer be critical of others as “sinners” since they themselves are former sinners saved only by the grace of God.

         Real Christians still commit sins, however. What changes is the lifestyle of sin. Those not subjected to the Lord have no true awareness of their sin and no true desire to cease from it. They exist in a fairy tale land of no recompense for their evil deeds. Indeed, the idea that they do “evil deeds” is ridiculous to them. In their reasoning, only vile criminals, murderers, etc, engage in “evil deeds.” But God has a different opinion. And when people come into contact with God for the first time through the hearing of the powerful Gospel message, which includes the cutting truth that one is a sinner in opposition to God, it causes them to bow before their Creator and seek His pardon.

         Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.

         And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

         Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” [Luke 7:36-50]

         Real repentance is often done with much emotion. For those who refuse to repent, they consider the Gospel message as inapplicable to themselves, in that they see themselves as righteous apart from God.

         These reject the Gospel message and continue on their journey toward hell.

         Those who repent, on the other hand, cease being sinners in that their previous sins are removed by the cleansing blood of the Lamb of God. They do an about face. They start walking in the opposite direction. They get off the train to hell and hop on board the train to heaven.

         They still sin from time to time, partly from ignorance, partly from not yet fully overcoming the dictates of their sinful nature, and partly from not continuing in their spiritual disciplines. An altar of repentance always awaits them for personal use when needed, and the blood of the Lord is once again invoked to cleanse them. In time, they grow more spiritually mature and their faults grow fewer.

         They learn to take it on the chin. They learn to not fight back against others who treat them with contempt. They see other people as those in need of salvation the same way they were. They become more accommodating and graceful. They learn the art of spiritual tact. They attempt to help others see the light that was shown to them. They do not consider themselves better, or holier, or a greater specimen of humanity, but someone who was saved from a life of sin and eventual hell by a loving Savior through no effort whatsoever of their own.

         They understand that their righteousness is a gift.

         They see clearly that the death of the Lord Jesus paid for all sins for all time.

         They see there is nothing to crow about, that though they are cleansed, they personally had nothing to do with it except merely saying yes to God and accepting His generous offer of salvation.

         Humility becomes their standard.

         Obedience to the Lord becomes their modus operandi.

         Loving the Lord and others becomes their purpose.

         Telling others about the Good News becomes their principle occupation.

         They want to see others saved from sin and set free the way they were.

         They want others to meet the Lord.

         “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30] [1]

         © 2012 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.

THANKS TO ALL FOR READING AND SPREADING THE WORD