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THREE TYPES OF CHRISTIANS IN AMERICA (Part 4)

 

In this post I will identify the first of the three types. For those of you who have been faithfully following this series you have likely deduced the three types by now…

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THE PHARISEES

On the surface, the original Pharisees didn’t look so bad. They were dedicated (one may say ultra-dedicated) to their belief system. Outwardly, it looked as though they were faithfully following the Word of God. They overtly held the Word of God in high honor. But this must be qualified. Their emphasis was not actually on the entire Word. As many Christians today, they had their prejudices and were quite selective regarding Scripture, though they convinced themselves otherwise. Regarding this practice, and how they made their supposed application thereof, the Hebrew Scriptures of that time (the OT) had a different format than that which we have today in our “Christian” Bibles. Their Scriptures consisted of three main divisions:

(1) The Law (Torah, or “Teaching”), which comprised the Pentateuch, the first five books of the OT

(2) The Prophets, which included not only the individual accounts of the Major and Minor Prophets but also the earlier historical books of Joshua, Judges, Kings, and Samuel

(3) The Writings (the remainder of the OT, primarily the Psalms, which the Lord referred to often)

The Pharisees were specifically very high on The Law. They emphasized the teachings of Moses. And though Moses was certainly a prophet, they didn’t necessarily see him that way nor do most Christians. They saw Moses as the great lawgiver and ostensible head of the nation in that he revealed all the particulars of how they should live.

Moses (1526-1406BC) predated the kings of Israel and the many prophets, both the well-known and the not so much, which arose several centuries later. The Pharisees certainly had respect for Abraham (1946-1771BC), but focused primarily on the Law and neglected (often spurned) The Prophets.

The latter is due in part because the Pharisees (Separated Ones) originated at a time which was already far into the “Silent Years” in which the prophetic voice was entirely absent from the nation. Regarding a specific date of their founding, some say it coincided with the beginning of the Maccabean Revolt in 167BC. However, there had likely already been a loose organization by that time which may have existed for a few decades which rapidly coalesced in response to the attack and desecrations of Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

The last Hebrew prophet was Malachi in approximately 450-420BC. Therefore, since there were no longer any prophets or prophetic voice speaking to the nation in what remained of Israel (primarily Judea) after that date, the entire focus shifted to The Law, since this was the area of expertise of the Tribe of Levi, along with the temple and its ceremonies, rites, etc. The Levites were the only ones remaining in authority in charge of anything “spiritual,” so to speak. Lacking the very necessary prophetic Word and the highly anointed Prophets to balance them out, correct them, and keep them in line (theses two camps often clashed), it is not difficult to see how the nation drifted away from the heart of God and proceeded to emphasized dogma, laws, rites, externals, liturgies, and unbridled religious authority from an ecclesiastical caste which superseded the heart of the Lord as characterized through the prophetic writings.

Which made it all the more strange that the Pharisees and their precursors effectively dishonored the Law. How did they do this? First of all, one may recall the apostle Paul’s admonitions about the letter of the Law and the Spirit of the Law:

But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. [Romans 7:6]

Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [2Corinthians 3:4-6]

Those who look at The Law from a strictly legal perspective have a problem with it covertly though they may honor it overtly. The problem? It is not specific enough. Though it contains a great many laws (613), including the ceremonial directives, it correspondingly contains behavioral commands about what to do and what not to do and lists many “for instance” particulars which are very specific. It also defines sin. Yet it cannot possibly list all the sins known to man and could not possibly list all the possible “for instances” that might occur. So even though it appears to be a comprehensive collection of all conceivable thou shalts and shalt nots that would satisfy the strictest Torah teachers and certainly everyone else, who would otherwise think it to be much too extensive and far-reaching (and extremely difficult to follow and obey), there were some who thought it to be quite limited.

Why? Because they could conjure up other specific particulars that Moses never addressed. In their defense, they likely experienced such particulars or heard of such and knew as lawyers they must address every possible occurrence. So while God was giving specific laws through Moses these laws were seen as somewhat general laws and needed to be further parsed out. This is why the Torah teachers, over several centuries, began adding greater specificity to the original Torah so as to have an answer for pretty much any eventuality. All these additional “laws” were collected over time and became quite extensive. And because they could never write all these additional laws down and thereby give them the same legitimacy as the Torah, their vast collection became known as the Oral Law. It was passed down orally over the centuries and collected greater weight and honor along the way.

But this large collection of specific oral additions to the written Law of Moses caused a problem. By attempting to be too fine, the Oral Law had a tendency to lessen the impact of the original. After a while, those guys went even further in their attempt to add to the Law by adding much additional fine tuning to their initial fine tuning. For example, if the Law stated plainly “Don’t Do This,” they would break down all the possibles of what that single command entailed so as to have every possibility covered. One may see this as a good thing in that it merely added greater clarity to the issue, especially since there were penalties involved in breaking such a law, sometimes severe.

But as I alluded to previously, a very strange thing happened. Within the list of further particulars and possibles contained in the Oral Law was the possibility of some particulars which seemed to get one off the hook. In delving into all such possibilities an even stranger occurrence took place. The Torah teachers actually started making laws designed to do that very thing. They eventually created a massive system of statutes that only they were privy to and they learned exactly how to implement them to gain a particular outcome.

Therefore, is it surprising that the Oral Law tended to favor its most loyal supporters, those who actually created it? Is it not a phenomenon in this world that laws are often written to favor those in charge and do damage to perceived political enemies? This was the inherent danger in adding to the Word of God, whether one was sincere or not. Mixing religious prejudicial renderings from the hand of man causes the Word of God to lose its impartial and holy nature.

Remember, this was the “Oral Law.” It was never written down before 70AD when the nation ceased to be. The only way to learn it and know it was by being taught by the few who did, and the only way that could happen was by being an ultra-dedicated student who would honor their Torah teachers (lawyers) exclusively and never question them or their teachings.

SOUND FAMILIAR?

Though it may seem obvious to people from without (or should), those people who created, passed on, and taught the Oral Law had actually created an elite Secret Society with its own precise rules and regulations in which only the top members knew what their Oral Law actually stated in total. Most Israelites were apparently completely unaware of these sinister goings-on. Maybe they never noticed because the internal goings-on were always done essentially in secret though in appearance in the open. (There existed a superficial front of legitimacy hiding the actual unspoken agenda.) In other words, the few candidates to become members of the next generation of Oral Law teachers learned their craft in schools which only they attended. The people at large had no idea what went on in such places but were conditioned over time to believe that the Torah schools (in which the Oral Law predominated) were a great and holy enterprise created and supported by God. They learned to never question anything that went on there.

Now, while this was true for the majority of Israelites, whether some actually believed in the institution fully or not but went along with it anyway, there were a few who disagreed. And some of those who disagreed and saw through the false façade of the Oral Law institution and its teachers were strongly opposed. Yet, not having a voice and being appropriately wary of crossing powerful people who had tricked the general public into supporting them and gaining their trust, few ever spoke out. But the time came when the centuries of silence finally ceased. The blessed day arrived when God’s voice returned.

THE AGE-OLD CLASH SUDDENLY REIGNITED

It was the coming of John the Immerser that blew the lid off and exposed them. A Great Awakening had begun. God was intent on exposing this secret society and all others like it which had gained illicit control over the nation and its people to their detriment. We have seen the same thing happen throughout our current Age of Grace which has existed from that time. There have been many occurrences when great corruption was exposed within Christianity in general. We are now living in one of those times.

Never forget that corruption always thrives in secret. John had to be completely and absolutely disconnected from society at large in order to be incorruptible and effective. He did an excellent job. May real Christians in the present be as effective.

It is always the case that a lack of proper accountability results in eventual corruption. When the ability to correct is removed, especially from those who lead and have great power, their corruption will spread throughout whatever it is that they control. When the corrupt controllers have the ability to threaten, coerce, and make demands upon the people they rule over and have the law and the means on their side to carry out their threats, there is no remedy or ability to counteract them outside the Kingdom of God. It is why countries, societies, and yes, religious organizations, should never allow the establishment of a tyrannical government, secret society, ruling class, or religious clergy group to take control because once they do, freedom will be the first casualty. And they will twist everything around for their own benefit.

It is why America, in its original form post Revolution, was the greatest country and form of government ever created. And while America now has an ever increasing amount of domestic enemies, some in very high places, who hate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and never have any problem ripping apart the Founders and their hope of a place in this world where individual freedom may reign, they never address any better alternative in the world. Even in its present degraded condition, America arguably remains the best country on the planet in the eyes of a likely majority, though freedom is under severe attack and will not last much longer without a powerful corrective.

However, one must know that the necessary corrective will never come from this first type of Christian in America which I identify here. Their political equivalent in the 1770s were the American Tories who continually betrayed the cause of freedom and independence by staunchly siding with the English Crown and Parliament. These people comprised about one third of the American Colonists. Many if not most of them were directly connected economically to the higher money interests in England and Europe which essentially controlled the government of England since the Bank of England was created in 1694. For the Tories, then, it was a power and money issue. Why should they fight against the very hand that feeds them? Why should they sacrifice their comfortable position in American society or allow it to be threatened for a mere political cause?

There are Christian denominations that still exist which were identified as Tory at the time of the American Revolution. They opposed the relatively smaller Protestant denominations who stood for freedom, those who actually had ministers of the Gospel who took up arms and fought for the cause. One particular well known large denomination which still exists today, though a mere shell of what it once was and almost thoroughly taken over by the sinful culture, was so against the American Revolution that many members left the country or went into hiding. They supported the English money-controlled tyrants absolutely. Those that remained refused to fight. And then when the War was over and their side lost, the many members of this denomination suddenly came back out of the woodwork and began evangelizing in America again, taking full advantage of the new religious freedom won in the War. Talk about your blazing hypocrites!

In essence, those who believe in high church, who cannot exist without customary church structures and a ruling clergy, who must be told what to believe and do, who have no desire to do their own research into the written Word, who refuse to put the pure teachings of the Lord Jesus first and always, and who revert to the beliefs of their denomination or church or pastor though such beliefs often clash and disagree with the New Testament, are identified as this first type of Christian. They will stand by as real Christians who honor the Lord Jesus are persecuted. They are the equivalent of the religious acolytes who refuse to get their hands dirty by helping the unfortunate victims of assaulting robbers left dying on the side of the road. They are as the rich man Dives who neglected a destitute Lazarus asking for mere scraps to stay alive and viable. They will rarely do anything which may threaten or sacrifice their standing in church society or as members of a higher group. Their money, salaries, prestige, and success are always more important. They place a high premium on their social status and are mortified if people see them as something other than legitimately mainline.

They are opposed to the total authority of the Lord Jesus, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and the free exercise of spiritual gifts. They are against the spiritual love and close fellowship as characterized by the originals and their unity in the Spirit. They insist that Christian unity can only exist through an authoritative establishment which must include institutional church structures just as the unbelieving Israelites insisted on the physical temple and its priesthood instead of the Lord’s new spiritual Temple comprised of every single believer as a priest thereof.

They gag at independent Christian home groups or Bible studies. They will only support whatever their church or leaders sanction and nothing else. They cannot see that church as we know it is much different than it was in the beginning. They don’t care about the beginning. They don’t care about Biblical Truth. They much prefer their own respective “Christian” interpretation which is more comfortable, socially acceptable, and not threatening to the devil. They love playing church. No matter how much someone may point out that so much of what they hold dear has no precedent or support in Scripture, they will continually insist they are perfectly satisfied with their interpretations, doctrines, and church formats to the point of actually holding Scripture in contempt. They hate it when Scripture proves them wrong. Even five hundred years after the Protestant Reformation we still have a great many Christians who insist on putting clergyites and church governments on the throne and allow their oppositional pronouncements and beliefs to counteract and overcome the Word of God.

These people are best defined as Christian Pharisees. They are perfectly described by the Lord Jesus in the following passage as He reveals the fallacy of the Pharisees’ vaunted Oral Law (the tradition of the elders), which Unreal Christianity has their own many examples of (extra-Biblical church doctrines, traditions, bylaws, statements of faith, confessions, catechisms, specific denominational beliefs, etc.) which render the Word of God of none effect:

The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’; but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.” [Mark 7:5-13][1]

© 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.

THREE TYPES OF CHRISTIANS IN AMERICA (Part 1)

THREE TYPES OF CHRISTIANS IN AMERICA (Part 2)

THREE TYPES OF CHRISTIANS IN AMERICA (Part 3)

THREE TYPES OF CHRISTIANS IN AMERICA (Part 5)

THREE TYPES OF CHRISTIANS IN AMERICA (Part 6)

 

TIME TRAVELER

 

After His resurrection He told Mary Magdalene He must travel “to the Father.” If He could do that He could travel anywhere. He could even travel back in time…

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He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind. [Psalms 104:3]

Many years ago I was doing my usual research. I had been delving into the Word of God for years up to that time. Directly after my born again experience when I was filled with the Spirit of God I had an insatiable hunger for the written Word. Though I knew well it is our duty as Christians to read and study the written Word it should not be forced labor. It should not have to be a chore. It was certainly not that way with me. I simply couldn’t get enough. My employment at the time entailed hard physical labor but I would often spend my entire lunch hour reading the Word. On days I didn’t fast I was still out in my car reading. It didn’t take me all that long, relatively speaking, to read through the entire Bible. There was also much study on various topics and paying more attention to certain passages.

In this process I was always coming across things that reminded me of interesting topics I had studied and books I read prior to salvation. In those years pretty much nothing in literature was off the table. One cannot restrict oneself in the search for truth. One must be open and even consider subjects the world at large may think are different or weird. I didn’t care. That never bothered me. Time travel was likely one of those subjects I looked into. What could be cooler than that?

There is so much associated with the doings of this world that most people know nothing about. The majority of people seems to spend their short lives running on treadmills to nowhere and extremely limiting their intake of knowledge and are perfectly satisfied with being told what to believe. Most are apparently not at all inquisitive nor do they consider learning on their own. This demands they must always be taught by others. Their level of knowledge is thus often limited to what they learn in school and directed additionally by whatever they learn passively from television or read in a newspaper. If they ever worked in television or for a newspaper they likely wouldn’t do that. They would see how “news” is received, packaged, and delivered. They would know there is always an ulterior agenda attached. The media people have to make money, you see, and they must use their product in such a way. They also “teach” through subtle manipulative practices. Today, much such news is pure for-profit propaganda. It’s not that it wasn’t that way in the not too distant past, but was not as bad as it is now.

I discovered when young that the more one read, from different sources and forms of literature and media, the more one would eventually know because everything one reads has bits of knowledge in it that lead elsewhere. One’s curiosity in piqued by something read in Book 1, which leads to checking out Book 2, which opens one up to seeking knowledge from Books 3-1000. It never ends. After a while one learns to disseminate knowledge properly, retain the real and reject the hokum.

When I first began reading the Bible as a young adult I likely had that same attitude. Yet, I found things that didn’t appear to add up. I would keep reading and then discover confirmation of something I read before which made it more plausible. I wasn’t doubting the Word but only trying to make it make sense to me. I was building consensus and forming the big picture. It is a process that takes much work and many years but becomes extremely satisfying over time. The Lord does not fear our little doubts or tests. It is all part of learning. We must have an attitude that we are in it for the long haul, however, or may succumb to deception and deem His Word unreliable or not worth our efforts.

One of the unique things I noticed in His Word that initially appeared otherworldly (and approaching science fiction) were the various Old Testament appearances made by God in the form of a human being. I thought that was a tad odd, but again, from my prior experience before salvation of letting my mind loose to wander in consideration of discovering whatever, knowing there is so much out there we don’t know (and knowing there is much we are not supposed to know), I figured, okay, God visits us (a few anyway). He has to appear to a few chosen ones on occasion in order to relate and communicate something important and specific. He is (I thought) great and powerful and way out in the Universe somewhere and also invisible, but is nice enough to take the time to come see us, though we are unworthy little human mud balls without a clue. He somehow becomes a human being (we are talking Old Testament here, long before the Lord Jesus came) and walks among us. He travels through space and time and then somehow changes from being invisible to visible and manifests as a human being.

He did this with Adam and Eve. And with Abraham and Sarah. And with Joshua. And with Moses. And others. There I was, a rookie Christian, reading the Word of God for essentially the first time with Spirit-filled eyes-to-see and ears-to-hear and it was as if I was back in my prior element under the influence of a hazy helper getting into all kinds of cool stuff, all based on historical literature and suppressed news of the time. But I was as clear-headed as possible and the Lord was showing me stuff. In my thinking at the time I considered it very cool stuff that I had no idea ever existed in the Bible. It was as if all the cool stuff I had studied before proved I was not necessarily that far off track and that God was now showing me stuff in His Holy Word that backed up my previous desires to know beyond what I was allowed to know. In other words, by what I was seeing in His Word, His Word would be considered “weird” according to the straight-laced close-minded attitudes of the overall culture at that time which strove at all costs to be perceived as so far down-to-earth that it may as well put brick ballast in its shoes.

I discovered later that these Old Testament appearances of God in human form had a name. They were called theophanies. And I thought, “Okay, this is really getting good.” Here I am an open-minded guy in search of truth and I am finding that the Bible contains the kind of weird stuff the world rejects as untouchable that I was used to researching before. Think about it. How many people actually believe in a Creator God? And how many of the relatively few who believe this also believe He could travel down here from heaven, whatever that may be, and manifest Himself as a human? And then actually meet with people and talk to them? If it wasn’t in the Bible Christians in general would think it was stupid. There’s probably a lot of Christians who would think it was stupid anyway if they were aware of it.

PUTTING TWO AND TWO TOGETHER

Maybe just a few years later I started thinking about these discoveries again and then applied them to the Lord Jesus. I thought along these lines:

After the resurrection, and after the Lord ascended to the Father and then returned during that forty day period He spent on earth before He ascended to heaven for good, He still had work to do. He still had more teaching and ministry to do among His chosen disciples. He had to make final preparations. But He also had an apparent habit of discarding the use of doors and walking through walls. Okay, now that’s weird. That’s bona fide weird. And the Lord didn’t seem to think too much of it. I guess, since He just raised Himself from the dead, that walking through walls was simply not that big a deal. From there, it didn’t take me long to start thinking of other possibilities of things He could do. He said before He left that He had all authority in both heaven and earth so I am fairly certain that means He could pretty much do anything he wanted.

It then came to me. He could time travel. Those theophanies of God back in the Old Testament were not necessarily God traveling from heaven to earth, they were the Lord Jesus traveling back in time from the first century AD. Think about it. God had always planned to become one of us. Before He ever began the Creation process He arranged for His eventual arrival. He was not human at that time, of course. Humans had yet to be created. The only way He could become a human, since He would limit Himself to enter this world the way everyone does, was to be the product of other humans. He would therefore have to create Adam, then Eve, and then be born as one of their progeny at a future date. That being the case, He would have to wait a long time to become a human. And then, in order to appear as a theophany in the past, He had to travel from the future…

Here is something else to consider: On the Mount of Transfiguration He met with Moses and Elijah. Now, I understand in the orthodox that these three men represented the Law, the Prophets, and the Living Word, or Grace. Moses was apparently long dead, of course, but he had his own private funeral which leaves room for speculation. Elijah, of course, according to the Old Testament account, apparently never died. And here they both were with the Lord up on the mountain. I’m thinking, well, if those two guys could travel from wherever they were and meet with the Lord in His time, then why couldn’t the Lord travel to meet with them in their time? While they were still living on earth? We know He did meet with Moses on Mount Sinai after the Exodus, though it is not generally characterized as Him but as “God.” But whoever it was, He had to have human form to some degree. (He certainly did have human form when He met with Abraham.)

So rather than God assuming human form many centuries before He actually became a human being, why didn’t He just wait to become a human and then travel back in time to meet with those people? Too farfetched? You think I’m being too weird? If so I will remind you that we Christians actually believe a Man came back from the dead. And not just any Man but God. This is easy to believe if we simply keep it in our minds as a concept and read it on paper. But consider the possibility of it happening right now with someone you may have known. Do you still think it is something that is easy to believe? Though we have many Biblical examples of people being raised from the dead, have you ever heard of this happening to anyone you know? What if the Lord sent you to pray for someone to be raised? What then? Therefore, I ask that you consider the strong possibility that what I am postulating here as merit.

Do you think the Man in the following account is the Lord Jesus?—

Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” The captain of the Lord’s host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. [Joshua 5:13-15]

How about the account in Genesis when the Lord apparently appeared with Adam and Eve?

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. [Genesis 3:8][1]

Keep in mind that the phrase “in the cool of the day” actually means “in the wind (or breeze) of the day.” It sounds like the aforementioned quote from Psalms 104: He walks upon the wings of the wind…

In the account with Abraham, God is seen doing very human things much like the human things the Lord Jesus did in His time such as walking, talking, and eating a meal (See Genesis 18).

THEY SAY TIME IS A DIMENSION

Whatever time is, the Lord is not restricted by it, because He is not restricted by anything. Past, Present, and Future is a concept based on our perspective, not His. The ancient philosophers had their studied ideas on the nature of time as did Einstein and many modern scientists. Some say all time is one. Whatever the case, it should be obvious that we humans live in an extremely limited dimension in that our life experiences are based on mere sensory input for the most part. We can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. Yet there are physical forms of life on this planet with senses that far exceed our own. There is much more out there than we are aware of simply because we do not possess the means to sense it or experience it. Our abilities are thus greatly limited. There is a vast amount we do not know or can perceive. The Lord Jesus, however, showed us what is possible by doing the impossible things He did. He had already done the impossible countless times during His ministry, even though He had limited Himself to human spiritual abilities, and even gave these spiritual abilities to His disciples. But after His resurrection He went beyond these. Walking through walls is not something most humans can generally do, for example. Such things are said to be theoretically possible, however, at least on a drawing board.

Keep in mind that scientific discoveries have increased exponentially almost from nothing over the last two centuries or so, especially during the last one. And if one trips back to the times of the ancients one would see that they had next to nothing compared to what we have today. They were still capable of great feats however, but were simply not in our class. What if such knowledge and discovery continues on its current track? What else is there to know? What else will we discover?

We can say the same about our understanding of real Christianity. There is far more there than most Christians are aware of. In fact, Christianity in general is often the virtual opposite when we trip back and consider the way they operated. Our forebears in the first century AD did things that we for the most part only dream about. The vast majority of Christians don’t even try to emulate them, apparently of a mind that what they accomplished was effectively impossible for us guys in the present. Their spiritual record is undoubtedly one that puts us to shame by comparison. Rather than be like them most Christians are either not aware of them or shun them. And sadly, Christians of the present often substitute worldly and material counterfeits as replacements for signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

We must learn to follow their example, however, because what they did was in direct obedience to the Lord Jesus and they had massive success in the world.

We must learn to start walking through the walls of our limitations.

We must travel back in time.

© 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.

A GREAT AWAKENING PRIMER: STRONG INDIVIDUALS CREATE STRONG CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES

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The individual is the deciding difference. Strong, independent, spiritually mature Christians dedicated to the Lord are the building blocks of churches made in their image.

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I have an old history book. It is old in the sense that it was originally written in 1930 but has been updated several times. The book itself is in great shape. I found it several years ago in a vast library book sale in Plano, Texas. My copy has a 1969 copyright. It is an excellent book. Entitled The Growth of the American Republic, Volume II, it covers the century from just after the Civil War to the late 1960s.

Chapter IV is called Labor and it deals with the initial sorting out process of labor relations with reference to the post war economy, increasing industrialization, and the rise of impersonal corporatism. This chapter covers the story in our country’s history from after the Civil War until the dawning of the 20th century, a roughly forty year period of vast transformation regarding the conditions and opportunities of working men and women and how labor was forced to make immense adjustments.

The Civil War itself was great change. It never should have happened. When one studies the real causes of the war behind the overt and official though false narrative, one sees the shrouded figures of economic henchmen intent on taking a spoil. The name Civil War is obviously part of that false narrative. Southerners prefer the term The War of Northern Aggression because that’s exactly what it was. It was a power play to gain the vast reaches of the South and Texas by the northern industrialists and the money powers. By fighting the war, the South, which had the Constitution wholly on its side, was merely protecting itself and attempted to win against all odds as did the original thirteen colonies against the Brits in the American Revolution. The odds were greatly against victory then as well.

Updated figures show that upwards of 750,000 Americans were killed in the Civil War. There was a forced unconstitutional draft on both sides. Factories were turning out war materiel on a mass scale. Soldiers fought according to an old outdated method that left them wholly vulnerable to modern armaments. Thousands died in single battles. Arms and legs were shot off (or sawed off later). The lives of young Americans had suddenly become very cheap. Approximately one third of Southern men in the prime of life met their doom. The South never recovered. These were the great men, on both sides, of strong character and vitality, American men shortly descended from the greats who won the Revolution. But they were being butchered. It was a terroristic war, one whose excesses and brutality could never possibly be forgotten. In that short four year period from 1861-1865, American men, especially in the South, were transformed from free, independent, and liberty-loving to mere chattel used, abused, and forsaken. It was a betrayal of the highest order.

After the war, labor suffered. The identity of the American working man was forced to undergo great change in order to fit into the new reality. Workers were cheap. The great money powers gained such control that labor was whatever they said it was. One was forced to play by their rules. If not, a man lost his job and was quickly replaced by another. Millions of new immigrants entered the country to add to the cheap labor pool. It was during those last decades of the 1800s that a completely new form of movement began in this country in the attempt to right these wrongs. It was the beginning of Labor Unions.

The following passage from the book gives an excellent indication of the thinking process of American workers as they were confronted with the new economic reality and what they attempted to do to save themselves by fighting back. It was in reading these words that I saw yet another direct indication of what happened to American Christianity, which also suffered great change for the worse at the same time:

In the years after the Civil War two rival approaches—reform unionism and trade unionism—vied for the allegiance of the American workingman. The reform unionists rejected the factory system, with its division of labor and its sharp differentiation of interests of employer and employee, and sought to restore a society which valued the independent artisan. Determined not to become machine tenders assigned to a small part of the process of production, they strove to preserve their status as craftsmen. To safeguard equality of opportunity, they fought those forces of monopoly, especially in finance, which they believed aimed to shackle the worker. They viewed themselves as members of a ‘producer class’ which embraced master as well as journeyman, farmer as well as artisan. [1]

Thomas Jefferson had a dream of America becoming a vast agrarian society composed of individual Americans working the land. Constitutional principles and directives that every man must be free did not last so long, however. Jefferson’s dream died less than a century later at the hands of dominant money-first power barons who merely wanted to use labor for their own empire-building purposes as if flesh and blood humans with hopes and dreams were not attached to said labor. One can see by the preceding quote from the book that working men saw themselves as much more than mere workers used as machine parts. They were skilled artisans. They were masters at their trades.

This resonates with me, because I can identify as a master at my trade. I spent many years as a multipurpose self-employed independent carpenter and contractor from the time I was a young adult. I never cared for highly specific quantity-ordered specialty trades within the trade, though I did participate on occasion. I certainly do not fault those who prefer such, but real carpenters should be able to build a structure inside and out instead of simply focusing on one aspect of the trade for the sake of greater and faster production. We have long since gone from one end of this equation to the other. The same thing happened after the Civil War. The independent artisans and craftsmen found a harder row to hoe, less appreciation for their skills, and less demand overall. It became a production game. Wages went down. Craftsmanship suffered.

The same thing has happened in Christianity. In the beginning the Lord had a real Community composed of various spiritual trades based on spiritual gifting and anointing. As I mentioned in a recent post, Romans Chapter Twelve lists seven motivational giftings of which every real believer has one primary. This is where he or she excels. It is a labor of love. Christians should never waste time trying to be something they are not. And churches must stop rejecting those believers who demand being what the Lord created them to be. The reason they are rejected is for the same reason the economic controllers want human machines that always do what they’re told and simply continue to drone on and on. Pews are filled with such people who rarely do anything but sit and watch and give their money to support a system that goes nowhere spiritual very fast. It’s pathetic.

What about a church filled with mature independent spiritual artisans who are masters of their craft? THAT is the Lord’s model. Until more Christians become aware that their churches are mere authoritarian perpetual elementary schools in which next to no one rises above a third grade level, nothing will change. Those who do progress discipline themselves toward much study and training on their own, which means they outgrow their pastors very early on and only attend because they believe they must or they like the social aspect.

The good news is that things have changed. We are progressing. But just like the mainstream news media which caters only to veritable babies in high chairs due to its ridiculously dumbed-down and often phony content while gaining most of the outward attention, most churches benefit primarily those few who run them and make money off them. Everyone else is made to grab a galley oar and row, and give money, not their heart or talent. Thus, an unbelievable amount of pure Christian talent has been wasted and shunted aside for the sake of catering to the big boys—the clergyized robber barons who make everything centered around and in support of them. These authoritarian controllers who have captured the money, the power, and the limelight may appear sincere and fool people with their fake smiles and false Pharisaic attitudes, but they are not fooling the Lord.

He wants His people to be free. And mature. He wants them to fully develop their talent and giftings. He then wants these strong and independent spiritual artisans to work together in community. This is what a real church is. It is what He created in the beginning. They proved what they were by pretty much converting the Roman Empire! Most Christians today have problems converting themselves. And what have we done here in America? Instead of converting others to the Lord Jesus, Christians have largely been converted to and taken over by the culture. It’s the main reason why America is hanging on for dear life.

There are certainly fighters for the Republic and those trying to save the country, as well as those trying to reform American Christianity, but they graduated from Sunday School a long, long time ago. All Christians who haven’t and refuse to progress should be utterly ashamed.

Their false tradition is a killer.

And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” [Mark 7:6-9] [2]   

© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. (Originally Posted 12/6/18)


[1] The Growth of the American Republic, Volume II © 1930, 1937, 1942, 1950, 1962, 1969 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Sixth Edition.

[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.

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 15)

Beyond the spiritual manifestations of the infilling of the Spirit, there were also the emotional and physical ones. To outside observers, it appeared as though the Upper-Roomers were drunk or high on something.

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INTRODUCTION   

Ch 1: LESSON 1   LESSON 2   LESSON 3   LESSON 4   LESSON 5   LESSON 6   LESSON 7

Ch 2: LESSON 8  LESSON 9  LESSON 10  LESSON 11  LESSON 12  LESSON 13  LESSON 14

LESSON 15

Acts 2:12-15

12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” 14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day… [1]

In the ancient city of Babel, God transformed the one language of all people into many languages. The people could no longer understand one another and were consequently dispersed into separate regions. Conversely, on the day of Pentecost, the languages of the dispersed peoples of the world were spoken by the power of one Person who resided within many. This was a reversal of the confusion of Babel. This act would unite instead of divide. The builders of the city and tower of Babel were united against God. The constructors of the Church are united for Him. This was the clarion call sent out to all nations to join the kingdom without walls, the spiritual kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the new Jerusalem.

But as now and throughout the church age, some were not impressed. Some people openly mocked the work of the Spirit, claiming the boisterous activity and loud voices were merely the actions of the inebriated and ignorant. Though there have always been excesses, were the Upper-Roomers excessive? Was the Lord Jesus excessive? When He walked the earth, His detractors called Him a wino. Is it merely coincidence that the same accusation emerged once again?

Something about the disciples’ behavior reminded the naysayers of common drunks. Sweet wine, or “new wine,” was that which was produced the same year of its harvest. It was very intoxicating. In a relatively joyless world of difficult toil and little natural merriment, wine provided a relaxing and welcome respite from the rigors of the work week. Maybe few Jews drank to excess but those who did were obvious to all. It was indeed a cheap shot to label the Lord’s people Sunday morning Mardi Gras revelers under the influence of strong drink, but what else were the mockers to think? Such a thing had never happened before. It was relatively early in the day and a house load of fellow Israelites had taken on the apparent appearance of festival-goers too impatient or undisciplined to at least wait until evening before engaging the vino.

But the majority of those below sensed something else. Instead of simply making a quick judgment based on minimal evidence, they were drawn to the spectacle in wonder. The Spirit of God was everywhere around them. They began to feel what the Upper-Roomers were feeling. Joy was spilling out of the windows. Great smiles and laughter abounded. A release was taking place. Over and over the same thought kept running through their awestruck and somewhat confused minds, What does this mean?

Peter, sensing that the time had arrived to explain the current happening, moved to the forefront and prepared for his address. He was no longer the impetuous fisherman, but the articulate and well-versed spokesman of the “fishers of men.”

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 14)

While the unprecedented and astonishing miracle was taking place in the Upper Room with those inside oblivious to the outside world, a great stirring was occurring in the streets below: They had an audience.

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INTRODUCTION   

Ch 1: LESSON 1   LESSON 2   LESSON 3   LESSON 4   LESSON 5   LESSON 6   LESSON 7

Ch 2: LESSON 8  LESSON 9  LESSON 10  LESSON 11  LESSON 12  LESSON 13

LESSON 14

Acts 2:5-11

5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”

The Lord said they would be witnesses. I remember many years ago I heard a New Testament studies teacher expounding on the subject. He was a brilliant man and a friend, who has since made the big trip. By this time in my walk I had witnessed to countless people but I had never before heard one particular thing that man spoke forth. It stood out within his teaching and has remained strong in my memory ever since. He said, “Witnessing is a forced option.” What he meant was that Christians are witnesses twenty-four hours a day whether they want to be or not, or whether they think they are or not. We are not witnesses only when we are witnessing.

While that particular thought settles in, let’s think about the mindset of the believers in the midst of the greatest event of their lives. Many had their eyes closed, lost in the Spirit, emotions spilling forth. There were loud voices of praise at various levels, male and female, bass, alto, soprano, all speaking forth in languages they had never spoken before. Most were unaware of their surroundings, being completely focused on the Lord. Tears were streaming. Smiles were beaming. Pure joy was breaking out all over. They had been clothed with power from on high.

And in the midst of it all, those on the streets below, Jews from all over the empire in town for the great Feast of Weeks, were beyond perplexed. It was unprecedented for them as well.

The Upper-Roomers were already fulfilling their call to be witnesses and did not even know it.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” [Acts 1:8] [1]

Every one of those temporary residents of Jerusalem and the city dwellers themselves were receiving a forced witness. They had no choice in the matter. They heard unlearned and ignorant Galileans, given away by their accents, “speaking of the mighty deeds of God,” in their own respective languages. It was the first instance of this “sign for unbelievers,” as Paul mentioned, which would be given again and again—the evidence of a surrendered heart and the fruit of holy speech. It was also an awakening moment for those on the outside looking in.

Pentecost was a reversal of Babel.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 13)

It happened fast: A loud sound of wind filling the house—A visible Light filling the Upper Room—Division into smaller Lights upon each believer—Speaking new languages by the power of God…

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INTRODUCTION   

Ch 1: LESSON 1   LESSON 2   LESSON 3   LESSON 4   LESSON 5   LESSON 6   LESSON 7

Ch 2: LESSON 8   LESSON 9   LESSON 10   LESSON 11   LESSON 12

LESSON 13

Acts 2:1-4

1 And when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place, 2 when suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and that settled on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled—diffused throughout their souls—with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other (different, foreign) languages, as the Spirit kept giving them clear and loud expression (in each tongue in appropriate words). [1]

THE TONGUE IS A FIRE

The last member of the human body to yield to the Spirit of God is the tongue. The Lord’s brother James held nothing back when writing the following revelatory verses—strong, intense, and filled with spiritual import—explaining this phenomenon:

Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!

And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. [James 3:3-8] [2]

Speech is a powerful force. It is a great gift from our Creator. Humans are hardwired with the ability to speak. Small children gain the use of extremely complicated language skills, grammars, and word dictionaries with no scientific explanation. We take it all for granted but the evolutionists among us are stymied by this otherwise impossible ability possessed by mere babes.

As all things human can be corrupted and have been corrupted, so it is with speech. In the beginning, God spoke creation into existence. Sinful man destroys by the same power. This is yet further proof that every human is estranged from God until delivered from sin and born anew from above. Those who would gain the Lord’s spiritual life must humble themselves and surrender all. It is not an easy process. As illustrated perfectly by James, the tongue is the deadliest and most sinful member of our body. It dies the hardest.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

It is no wonder then that the Lord chose speech as an outward sign. It is the last to yield to the Spirit of God and the first to break forth in praises to Him. And this is exactly what the 120 did that morning. Like newborn babes who cry at birth, the first significant thing we ever do under our own power and will, so were these new born babes in the Lord crying forth. They had no idea what they were saying. Remember, these believers were disparaged as mere unlearned and ignorant Galileans, most of whom had no higher education or training. They were certainly not linguists. Yet, from the depths of their hearts, enabled by the newly indwelling Holy Spirit, they were all speaking perfectly and fluently in languages they had never learned.

Again, the same inexplicable phenomenon takes place with babies, whose first word is spoken as early as six months. By eighteen months there are multiple word sentences. They are soon communicating with eye-contact and inflection. Though they pick up this ability in part empirically, most arrives miraculously. Language is far too complex for such unaware babes to develop it at such a young age without some unknown, unexplainable ability.

So it was with the Upper-Roomers. Their speech was miraculous. The sign was unmistakable. The hand of God was evident.    

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] The Amplified Bible © 1965 by Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights Reserved.

[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.

A GREAT AWAKENING PRIMER: STRONG INDIVIDUALS CREATE STRONG CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES 2018

Blog Pic 12.06.18       

      The individual is the deciding difference. Strong, independent, spiritually mature Christians dedicated to the Lord are the building blocks of churches made in their image.

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          I have an old history book. It is old in the sense that it was originally written in 1930 but has been updated several times. The book itself is in great shape. I found it several years ago in a vast library book sale in Plano, Texas. My copy has a 1969 copyright. It is an excellent book. Entitled The Growth of the American Republic, Volume II, it covers the century from just after the Civil War to the late 1960s.

       Chapter IV is called Labor and it deals with the initial sorting out process of labor relations with reference to the post war economy, increasing industrialization, and the rise of impersonal corporatism. This chapter covers the story in our country’s history from after the Civil War until the dawning of the 20th century, a roughly forty year period of vast transformation regarding the conditions and opportunities of working men and women and how labor was forced to make immense adjustments.

         The Civil War itself was great change. It never should have happened. When one studies the real causes of the war behind the overt and official though false narrative, one sees the shrouded figures of economic henchmen intent on taking a spoil. The name Civil War is obviously part of that false narrative. Southerners prefer the term The War of Northern Aggression because that’s exactly what it was. It was a power play to gain the vast reaches of the South and Texas by the northern industrialists and the money powers. By fighting the war, the South, which had the Constitution wholly on its side, was merely protecting itself and attempted to win against all odds as did the original thirteen colonies against the Brits in the American Revolution. The odds were greatly against victory then as well.

         Updated figures show that upwards of 750,000 Americans were killed in the Civil War. There was a forced unconstitutional draft on both sides. Factories were turning out war materiel on a mass scale. Soldiers fought according to an old outdated method that left them wholly vulnerable to modern armaments. Thousands died in single battles. Arms and legs were shot off (or sawed off later). The lives of young Americans had suddenly become very cheap. Approximately one third of Southern men in the prime of life met their doom. The South never recovered. These were the great men, on both sides, of strong character and vitality, American men shortly descended from the greats who won the Revolution. But they were being butchered. It was a terroristic war, one whose excesses and brutality could never possibly be forgotten. In that short four year period from 1861-1865, American men, especially in the South, were transformed from free, independent, and liberty-loving to mere chattel used, abused, and forsaken. It was a betrayal of the highest order.

         After the war, labor suffered. The identity of the American working man was forced to undergo great change in order to fit into the new reality. Workers were cheap. The great money powers gained such control that labor was whatever they said it was. One was forced to play by their rules. If not, a man lost his job and was quickly replaced by another. Millions of new immigrants entered the country to add to the cheap labor pool. It was during those last decades of the 1800s that a completely new form of movement began in this country in the attempt to right these wrongs. It was the beginning of Labor Unions.

        The following passage from the book gives an excellent indication of the thinking process of American workers as they were confronted with the new economic reality and what they attempted to do to save themselves by fighting back. It was in reading these words that I saw yet another direct indication of what happened to American Christianity, which also suffered great change for the worse at the same time:

         In the years after the Civil War two rival approaches—reform unionism and trade unionism—vied for the allegiance of the American workingman. The reform unionists rejected the factory system, with its division of labor and its sharp differentiation of interests of employer and employee, and sought to restore a society which valued the independent artisan. Determined not to become machine tenders assigned to a small part of the process of production, they strove to preserve their status as craftsmen. To safeguard equality of opportunity, they fought those forces of monopoly, especially in finance, which they believed aimed to shackle the worker. They viewed themselves as members of a ‘producer class’ which embraced master as well as journeyman, farmer as well as artisan. [1]

         Thomas Jefferson had a dream of America becoming a vast agrarian society composed of individual Americans working the land. Constitutional principles and directives that every man must be free did not last so long, however. Jefferson’s dream died less than a century later at the hands of dominant money-first power barons who merely wanted to use labor for their own empire-building purposes as if flesh and blood humans with hopes and dreams were not attached to said labor. One can see by the preceding quote from the book that working men saw themselves as much more than mere workers used as machine parts. They were skilled artisans. They were masters at their trades.

         This resonates with me, because I can identify as a master at my trade. I spent many years as a multipurpose self-employed independent carpenter and contractor from the time I was a young adult. I never cared for highly specific quantity-ordered specialty trades within the trade, though I did participate on occasion. I certainly do not fault those who prefer such, but real carpenters should be able to build a structure inside and out instead of simply focusing on one aspect of the trade for the sake of greater and faster production. We have long since gone from one end of this equation to the other. The same thing happened after the Civil War. The independent artisans and craftsmen found a harder row to hoe, less appreciation for their skills, and less demand overall. It became a production game. Wages went down. Craftsmanship suffered.

        The same thing has happened in Christianity. In the beginning the Lord had a real Community composed of various spiritual trades based on spiritual gifting and anointing. As I mentioned in a recent post, Romans Chapter Twelve lists seven motivational giftings of which every real believer has one primary. This is where he or she excels. It is a labor of love. Christians should never waste time trying to be something they are not. And churches must stop rejecting those believers who demand being what the Lord created them to be. The reason they are rejected is for the same reason the economic controllers want human machines that always do what they’re told and simply continue to drone on and on. Pews are filled with such people who rarely do anything but sit and watch and give their money to support a system that goes nowhere spiritual very fast. It’s pathetic.

         What about a church filled with mature independent spiritual artisans who are masters of their craft? THAT is the Lord’s model. Until more Christians become aware that their churches are mere authoritarian perpetual elementary schools in which next to one rises above a third grade level, nothing will change. Those who do progress discipline themselves toward much study and training on their own, which means they outgrow their pastors very early on and only attend because they believe they must or they like the social aspect.

       The good news is that things have changed. We are progressing. But just like the mainstream news media which caters only to veritable babies in high chairs due to its ridiculously dumbed-down and often phony content while gaining most of the outward attention, most churches benefit primarily those few who run them and make money off them. Everyone else is made to grab a galley oar and row, and give money, not their heart or talent. Thus, an unbelievable amount of pure Christian talent has been wasted and shunted aside for the sake of catering to the big boys—the clergyized robber barons who make everything centered around and in support of them. These authoritarian controllers who have captured the money, the power, and the limelight may appear sincere and fool people with their fake smiles and false Pharisaic attitudes, but they are not fooling the Lord.

         He wants His people to be free. And mature. He wants them to fully develop their talent and giftings. He then wants these strong and independent spiritual artisans to work together in community. This is what a real church is. It is what He created in the beginning. They proved what they were by pretty much converting the Roman Empire! Most Christians today have problems converting themselves. And what have we done here in America? Instead of converting others to the Lord Jesus, Christians have largely been converted to and taken over by the culture. It’s the main reason why America is hanging on for dear life.

         There are certainly fighters for the Republic and those trying to save the country, as well as those trying to reform American Christianity, but they graduated from Sunday School a long, long time ago. All Christians who haven’t and refuse to progress should be utterly ashamed.

           Their false tradition is a killer.

          And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” [Mark 7:6-9] [2]   

            © 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] The Growth of the American Republic, Volume II © 1930, 1937, 1942, 1950, 1962, 1969 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Sixth Edition.

[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.

LINK: Exactly eight years ago, in late August of 2010, the Lord spoke to me very clearly: “WE ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A NATIONAL GREAT AWAKENING.”

HONORING THOSE WHO WENT BEFORE US

       They’re all dead and in the grave. Their mortal remains are all that remain in this three dimensional world. But they still live on. They have gone to the other side.

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         To those human beings who have no belief in a spiritual world, they truly are the intelligent animals they claim to be. Though intelligent might be a stretch. It is not so intelligent to have what is otherwise the obvious evidence of God’s presence and creation all around us and still not see.

         Have they been taught out of the truth? I suspect this is true. I remember, as a tyke, the wonder of it all. I believe with all my heart that all very young children are very close to God. They don’t question His presence. They don’t question spiritual reality because they don’t question goodness and life and laughter and joy. Even babies laugh out loud. I get tickled when they get so tickled they can’t stop laughing.

         One wonders what happens to most humans as they get older. It can be argued that maybe their environment is bad or their parents are not so good or whatever. But this is all a crock. There have been so many born of a low estate with strong challenges that later left that estate simply because they willed themselves to and refused to be brought down by circumstance. I know my own family was neither rich nor poor. We had a good house and ate well. My parents were responsible. They loved us.

        Speaking of eating well in otherwise humble conditions I heard of one man who came from a very poor family but said they always had plenty of food. He said he knew this was true because when he was a hungry kid he often asked for seconds and his Dad said he already had plenty.

          It used to be that families made do with a whole lot less. You do the best you can. The Lord looks upon our lives and will help if we have any faith but I believe He protects us anyway. But it is our own wills and bad choices that get us in trouble. At the end of the day we are solely responsible and will have to face the Lord alone. I think it is wise to practice this. I think it is a smart thing to do to picture ourselves before the Lord at the judgment:

         “What do you have to say for yourself?” And we would say “You died in my place Sir. Without You I have no chance. I have tried to do my best. I committed many sins but repented a lot also. It took a long time but You finally convinced me that I am worthy of eternal life but only because You say so, and I believe You, and I know You love me, and I love You, and you paid my way to make it possible…”

         And then I think, wait, hold on, shouldn’t one’s judgment before the Lord be a time of great joy? I mean, if we have been living by faith and trust in Him and are really trying hard to be a good Christian and have achieved something or another for Him, shouldn’t we believe that He will give us great news? I am not talking about presumption or spiritual arrogance and pride but just looking at it the way a child would. Would a young happy innocent child expect anything less than spending forever with his or her heavenly Father? This is why I think many Christians have made it all too complicated.

         Those who have gone before would tell us this. They had found that the secret to living for the Lord and eventually getting to heaven was along these lines:

         First of all, take the Lord at His Word. If He says the default destination of every soul is hell and that’s where you’re going without Him and all He can do for you then that’s where you’re going unless you do something about it. If He says there is another Way, a road that starts with a small gate and involves a narrow road pushed in on both sides by pressure that is sometimes not at all so comfortable, and that if one chooses this road and stays on it no matter what then one will eventually get to the destination which naturally occurs at the end of that road. We know this about every other road. No one travels without destinations in mind. The Lord’s Way has a destination.

         Secondly, we have to know why we are here. The first church I belonged to after my born-again experience majored on teaching witnessing. We were always being told to go out and witness to others. So I did. A lot. With many. I was so anointed and had so much to say and everything was so brand new. I wanted everyone to know what I knew and how great the Lord was. A few years later in a new church I learned about something that was relatively new back then, or at least new to me. It was a “spiritual gifts” test based on Romans Chapter 12. Through this test I found out that I had a teaching gift. Teaching always came up first and prophesying second. This made perfect sense because I had an insatiable hunger for the Word of God and loved telling others everything I learned. Long before this I had already bought a brand new leather bound Thompson Chain Reference Bible and one of those big Strong’s concordances. I was always doing word studies and etc.

         Knowing who I was and why I was here made it a lot easier to live for God. I know this will sound goofy to some who have no qualms about making fun of spiritual things, but I had discovered my mission in life. I have tried my best to honor my calling and stay on point in my mission, but as all real Christians know, we are simultaneously fighting a spiritual war and sometimes the enemy gets in some good licks and slows us down. Sometimes we mess up on our own. Sometimes we get knocked right down on our butts and it takes a while to get back up and get going again. But if we do what we had always done we will get back up. We will go on. It is due in part to a strong sense of duty and responsibility but it’s also because the work we are called to is something we enjoy and which actually charges our spiritual batteries. We also want to go stomp the devil the way he stomped us. We must never let the big idiot have the final say or the last lick. One must get up to fight again and give that piece of garbage yet another black eye and bloody lip.

        Those who went before us know this also. Those solid and powerful believers did damage to the idiot’s disgusting little kingdom and rescued souls by the thousands. They knew what could be done and they did it. Their examples give us great inspiration because we see that they were just human as we are human, and the Lord was able to work through them, often in a mighty way, which gives us confidence that He can do the same with us. What a great thing it must be to complete one’s course and come to the end of the narrow road with the Lord Jesus Himself there to greet us! How cool is that?

         So I encourage you all to continue on and know that if they could do it we can do it. It might seem highly unbelievable that flesh and blood human beings can somehow be transformed from this three dimensional world into an unseen spiritual world when for all practical reasons it looks like we just die and go to the grave and that’s it. But real Christianity, that which is based exclusively on the teachings of the Lord Jesus, says the grave we see is not the end of us but merely the end of a flesh and blood temple housing an eternal spirit until a future resurrection, and that we will live on forever in great joy and peace with the Lord. If we believe this and stay on the road, what He says will happen will happen. We will get there. But we must have a purpose. We must have a reason to live this life that brings honor to Him.

         Those that went before us figured out early on who they were and what their purpose was and then they got after it and stayed after it. Attending to their callings made their life’s work possible, and it made life go by relatively fast. The more they paid attention to their walk the easier it was to stay on the road.

         Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” [Luke 2:46-49] [1]

         © 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.  


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

LINK: Exactly eight years ago, in late August of 2010, the Lord spoke to me very clearly: “WE ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A NATIONAL GREAT AWAKENING.”

THE GREAT AWAKENING (1)

The Great Awakening 8.29.18

         Exactly eight years ago, in late August of 2010, the Lord spoke to me very clearly: “WE ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A NATIONAL GREAT AWAKENING.”

         On August 30, 2010 I began writing a research paper about the original American Great Awakening that began in late 1734. I had been writing several papers over the previous two years, most of which centered on the teachings of the Lord. These papers were usually in the range of 4-12 pages depending on the content. I would post some of them on my former website. The paper I began in late August of 2010 about the Great Awakening, however, was different. As I got into September, the paper kept growing. I began doing an incredible amount of research. The Lord had blessed me with much anointing. Prior to that I had worked very hard earning the money I would need to support myself through the process but I did not know the overall purpose I would be engaged in until later. In the course of the project, I worked six days a week averaging about twelve hours a day. By the following spring I had completed the “paper.” It became a book of 340 pages and my second book after Real Christianity.

         This alone was proof I had heard from the Lord. Other proofs would have to wait.

THIS PRESENT AWAKENING

        Whoever has been paying attention knows that something greatly extraordinary has happened in America over the last two years. The term “Great Awakening” is on its way to becoming mainstream. I have not made any posts for this site since May 10 of this year. I have not been planning on making any, though there were a few times when I thought about it. I knew the Lord said to stop when I did. I had completed exactly seven years with this blog at that time. Many of the readers I had just prior to that time had gone. I also know I will probably be starting over again to gain readership but I am sure some of you will still be with me. But for now, let’s go back to eight years ago.

         You see, only a month after I finished my new book in early April of 2011, I began this blog on May 10, 2011. This blog is thus an extension of what I began in August of 2010 and what I began then was inspired by a direct Word from God. I have now written in the vicinity of 500 articles for this site. I installed the direct prophecy I received from the Lord on the upper left for all to see. I knew what I heard eight years ago and wanted everyone to know what would eventually be happening in America.

THAT PRESENT DARKNESS

         You must try to remember the times of eight years ago. Try to remember where you were, what you were feeling, and what was going on in the country. Christianity in America was obviously at a low point depending on one’s perspective. We were all in great need of a new anointing and refreshing. We needed something that was deep and would last, something to sustain us and something to turn the tide.

         As Christians, we know the Lord is always in control and always watching over us, but there is only so much He can do if we do not possess the required level of faith and obedience. Christians in general had gone soft and were subsisting on far less than what was needed and certainly less than what the Lord Jesus was willing and wanting to supply. Once one goes a long time in a dry land one gets somewhat used to it and acclimates himself to the circumstances. Real Christians do the best they can but depending on the spiritual atmosphere of wherever they happen to be and the level of control we allow the Lord to have it is not always easy. When I heard what I did from the Lord I was heartened for the future but I knew we probably had a ways to go. It was only the start or not too long after the start.

       When evil gains control and keeps control over a relatively long period of time it becomes endemic. It can even extend to the very roots and foundation. It can permeate everything. Its unchallenged presence allows the wrong people to gain power. It can brainwash a lot of people. The people in general become unaware of what is going on. Many become “followers” even more so than before. Few have any resolve to stand up for the great reform that is needed. Most no longer even see any need for reform. People become lazy. They become blinded to the evil around them. They are especially blind to the evil at the top and even find themselves supporting it, in that they are deceived into believing the false outer image and have no understanding of the great evil going on behind the scenes.

        Students of the Bible know this. It is relatively not too difficult to become aware of societal trends and cultural structures once one has a strong knowledge of the Word of God. It is His light that shows us the way but only if one is dedicated to serving Him over many years. Some Christians are shallow. Many Christians seem to have up and down spiritual lives and because of this their loyalty to the Lord can waiver. They can get sidetracked. Many even quit. A possible majority essentially gives up but continues to go through religious motions with little or no spiritual fruit, as if simply staying busy or continuing to move might make a difference. This can be construed as faithfulness but one must never substitute what is effectively a mere quotidian practice for the greatness the Lord desires we achieve for Him.

NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD

         The Lord Jesus was very clear when He stated: “All things are possible with God”—ALL THINGS. That pretty much means all things. All things are possible with Him. It is even possible that a greatly sinful, fallen, corrupt nation and national government can be reformed. It means materialistic, compromising, and refrigerated Christianity can actually be warmed up and cleaned up, and that the Lord Jesus can actually be given authority once again.

         The effort toward such great reform in general terms has always been here. There have always been those who give it everything they have to expose evil and bring forth goodness and attempt to right a wayward ship. There are those who can see things most cannot see. They have either worked extremely hard to gain the necessarily knowledge and spiritual effectiveness available to all but known only by a few since most people seem to lack the necessary time or effort, or they are anointed of God for the task, or both. They are often in the minority, however, and are usually outvoted. People in general have a tendency to prefer the status quo and seem to be apprehensive regarding spiritual improvement. Many people make excuses and do nothing or very little. Some people take care of their responsibilities but also use their remaining free time in working very hard at higher purposes. Most of these people are obscure. They are not in it for the limelight. They are largely anonymous. The vast majority of real Christians in the world are anonymous. The vast majority of real Christians in the first century remain anonymous.

         Regarding the only way to bring overall reform to a wayward nation or any other entity, I have been saying for decades that the Lord first works with individuals. He knows who these people are. They see the need. They have the burden. They are very hungry spiritually. They long to do His will. They love Him with all their hearts. They want much more in their spiritual lives but it is usually rarely offered, unavailable, or doesn’t yet exist. Thus, it must be brought forth anew. He must do it through them. First, each one of these must work to gain maturity. Then, He begins to join them together in maybe twos or threes. As iron sharpening iron, they gain more spiritual maturity through this process. In time He brings greater unity. He almost never begins His work with a pre-existent group. Such groups are already bound together by something else and also already have their respective leaders. I knew a long time ago, much longer than these past eight years, that this process had started and I knew it was only a matter of time before He would suddenly bring forth a great movement. These things take years of preparation. Christians have been praying for decades.

SUPPORT THE LORD OR SUPPORT THE OLD ORDER 

         Eight years ago the people I talked to about the Awakening saw nothing. This even included ministers. Ministers I talked to in other parts of the country saw nothing. By saying this I am merely trying to set the stage because things have definitely changed. The people who love the old order never appreciate the new one and will actually hate it. This always happened whenever the Lord brought reform. There were those who were so invested in the old corrupt order that they hated the mere thought of necessary change for the better. I mean, look what they did to Him. On the other hand, those who supported the reform the Lord brought forth had longed for it and were at last blessed by it. They were previously on the opposite end of things. They had been too good and conscientious to get involved in the previous corrupt order and had a rough time. Imagine the thousands of people who had at last seen the Lord Jesus in action when He arrived. The Last became First. They had previously subsisted in a barren and dry land but all of the sudden pure spring water was bubbling up all around! Spiritual rivers flowed. The Lord Jesus had arrived!

         This is what is happening a little more now. We are further along. Eight years have passed. I don’t know the exact beginning. The Lord didn’t tell me that then. He told me we were in the early stages eight years ago. I don’t know what stage we are at now but I do know massive incredible change for the better is happening. One of the signs of this is that the aforementioned corruption and evil that was so successfully hidden is now becoming exposed. There is nothing like a good reform to bring the rats and roaches scurrying out of their hiding places. Many of you are probably aware of the political side of the Awakening and that part of the movement is now gaining a lot of notice. We now have the tools to do an incredible amount of research in search of truth relatively fast and this is becoming a popular thing to do. It must be righteous research, however, and done properly for the right purposes without breaking the Golden Rule or it will backfire.

         Another part of the reason I am making this post now is to let everyone know my history with the Great Awakening and to distinguish this site from others. There will be many more sites as we move into the future. There are sincere people who really want to know more about the Lord’s movement and veterans who have fought a long time to see this happen. Remember, though much progress has taken place the old order will always fight to preserve itself. This is just as true within the stodgy realm of Unreal Christianity which houses some of the worst people and worst attitudes on the planet regardless of their benign exterior.

        For long time readers, you have traced my particular perspective of the development of the Great Awakening through these many articles I have posted over the last seven years. They are filled with clues. They tie in together and relate overall. For those of you who have been regular readers, you know I have been teaching some things you were not necessarily familiar with before, as if there was something there that was more than the words on the screen. Teachers must obviously know more than students.

THE REAL COMMUNITY OF THE LORD

         For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. [Romans 12:4-8]   

        From a New Covenant perspective, a teacher is someone anointed to search, do detailed research, learn subjects in-depth, and discover truth way beyond what others are willing to do. This gifting has been defined as that of a spiritual detective. Those of you who have taken spiritual gifting tests probably know this. One cannot teach what one does not know. Real teachers learn the hard way. They don’t teach out of text books. I have spent decades in much research and study. Because of that I have learned many things thoroughly backed up by Scripture that many are not aware of and which may even appear foreign at first. Whatever the case, no one knows anything until they know it and this requires learning it somehow or another. We must allow the Lord to be the arbiter. Many Christians, however, allow their leaders to be the arbiter of what they know, should know, or be allowed to know, and they thus reject the possibility of greater truth, which keeps them ignorant, which keeps them controlled. The Lord said the following for a very good reason:

         “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” [John 8:31-32] [1]

       Sometimes Christians are unaware of greater truth because they have a different spiritual gift and are predominantly involved in another form of spiritual work. This is as it should be. The Lord eventually raises up mature specialists in their respective fields. Then He attempts to bring them together in community so we can all learn from one another and work together as a team. This is what the Lord actually created in the beginning. It was a true fellowship and they engaged in what I term “mutual ministerial sharing.” It is how so many learned so many things so fast and spread the Gospel so rapidly. This is not how things operate in “official” Christian groups and churches, however, and is in large part why America was almost lost. The Lord did not call a mere few into His work—He called every single one of His children into His work. Because the vast majority of Christians have been trained to sit on a pew and be quiet, the greatest portion of the Lord’s workforce has historically been rendered ineffective. The enemy always has a field day under such conditions.

         Unreal Christianity is not good. It has no salt. It has no light. It possesses no real faith or spiritual love and gives little hope. It gives aid and comfort to the enemy. We must have the real thing.

         Every real Christian knows that when one becomes a real Christian he burns his bridges behind him and never looks back. Some are willing to go forward a ways but tend to go wobbly and opt out when the level of discomfort or false insecurity arises. Some make excuses on why they cannot follow the Lord past a certain point. This was another one of the Lord’s teachings. Some have an ongoing difficulty in crucifying their flesh. Some get stuck in masquerades.

         One of the issues the Lord presented me with in the very beginning when I received this revelation eight years ago was that there were false revivals already happening at that time and that these would continue. He told me there would be false awakenings. This has certainly happened and there will be more. Watch out for the counterfeits. When one studies the prior Great Awakenings in America one discovers that there were always those who wanted to co-opt the process for their own purposes. If they couldn’t defeat it they would try to redirect it. Regarding that particular scenario, always know that the Lord Jesus must be in charge. Real Great Awakenings are impossible without Him. Be Blessed.

         © 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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


NOTE: My friend Richard Barker just informed me of a very interesting and powerful prophetic word he posted on his site today by Veronika West about the current Great Awakening. Excellent timing! I encourage all to check it out at the link below. Also, what she saw reminds me of the cover of the print version of my book Real Christianity.

LINKVERONIKA WEST: A GREAT AWAKENING DAWNING IN THE NATIONS

 

The Prophetic Word—The Gift of Prophecy

         In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul clearly places special emphasis regarding spiritual gifts on the gift of prophecy.

         It is as if he thinks it is most important. On the face of it, this makes little sense. All of the gifts are obviously important and necessary.

         Perhaps this is one of those teachings of Paul that some so-called Christians like to put in a separate category. You know, the ones they have a problem with because they’re either unwilling to understand or too rebellious to accept.

         Let’s review the verse in question:

         Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. [1 Corinthians 14:1]

         Paul certainly has the priorities right. Love must always come first or the ministry process will not work. This has everything to do with putting the Lord first in all things, but also because the Lord is Love, and love never fails.

         The second thing he tells the Corinthians is to desire earnestly spiritual gifts. These are actually spirituals, or “spiritual things,” since the word “gifts” does not appear in the original Greek. The Greek word is pneumatikos and is defined as that which is spiritual, or pertaining to the spirit. These pneumatikos are referenced in the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians:

         Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

         Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.

         And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.

         There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

(1) For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit,

(2) and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;

(3)  to another faith by the same Spirit,

(4) and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

(5) and to another the effecting of miracles,

(6) and to another prophecy,

(7) and to another the distinguishing of spirits,

(8) to another various kinds of tongues,

(9) and to another the interpretation of tongues.

         But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. [1Corinthians 12:1-11]

        The nine spirituals listed above are directly connected to the Spirit immersion of Acts Chapter 2. In fact, they are the result, or effect of the Spirit of God working through believers.

         In 1 Corinthians 12:6, the Greek word energema is translated in the NASV as “effects,” and in other versions as “operations, working, or activities,” and is explained as spiritual things energized by God for His purposes.

         Many people have discounted this direct association primarily as a way to discount the Acts 2 experience since they personally oppose it. But this is grossly incorrect. I say this so people will no longer be deceived by false teaching. Pneumatikos are given by the Lord Jesus to His people for service in the kingdom. One of these is prophecy, and without prophesying, the Prophetic Word would be absent.

         The third directive Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 14:1 is to pursue especially the gift of prophesy. I use the term “prophesying” because spiritual energema have to do with function. If they are not being used, they effectively do not exist.

         There is the potential for spiritual pride within individuals who believe they possess gifts and are thus worthy of greater honor, and consequently appropriating titles for themselves based on what they think is a resident gift.

         However, the gift shows itself by our use of it, or its functionality, not because it is added as a title to a man-made spiritual resume. It is much more correct to state that a person functions in the gift of prophesying rather than that he is a prophet. Yet, it does not mean that a believer cannot be characterized as such if it is obvious that he functions on a regular basis in that particular place of service. This point is more important than one might think due to the desire of so many false prophets within Christianity who are more concerned with their standing among men than before God. They like the high places and open doors that come with titles. They also very much like the money than can be derived from their position.

         Real prophets, however, like real apostles, know that serving God according to their calling means that they will be treated the opposite of the false prophets. Paul states several times the perils of true apostolic ministry. It appears oftentimes that the Lord has thrown them into an evil world without much concern for their welfare. The apostles and prophets of the first century suffered greatly in their walk with God though they were very close to Him, leading us to surmise that the “initial” ministries are subject to often greater persecution, just as pioneers have it the hardest compared to later generations. False prophets, particularly those of the present, cannot relate to this and reject the entire idea. The apostles and prophets of the first century often did not know where their next meal was coming from, and that is the way God wanted it.

         For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.

         To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now. [1Corinthians 4:9-13]

         Does this look like any ministers you know? (They would never allow Paul in most pulpits in America and certainly not on Christian television.)

         We must never forget as real disciples that the Lord has chosen for us a walk of faith and obedience. This is characterized as “Go here, do this.” What about the next step, one may wonder? The Lord almost always reveals the next step after a person has completed the prior step. Therefore, being a “prophet” cannot possibly be a static, entitled position associated with high standing among the Christian elite and with popularity among people in general, but one of obedience to God (not man) and functionality.

         Again, since there are nine energema, or effects of the Spirit, why would Paul single out prophesying as seemingly the most important?

         We must look at the context. He was referring to what was taking place in meetings of believers in first century Corinth. He was simply trying to explain that in open meetings it is better to speak in an understandable way, so that proper communication takes place.

         Speaking in tongues is all fine, good, necessary, and scriptural in individual prayer or prayer meetings, or in an open meeting if an interpreter is present (Paul himself wrote in verse eighteen, “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all.”) Otherwise, it is largely a waste of time for the group as a whole in community meetings when people need to hear from God.

         Prophesying, on the other hand, is a Word from God spoken in the language of all, or pretty much all, and subsequently edifies the entire group. Thus, the Prophetic Word is that which is spoken by the inspiration of God and by the power of his Spirit to benefit another, and oftentimes many others.

         Moreover, groups of real believers usually contain more than one person who functions in the gift of prophecy, or should, and should thus take turns, though in polite order (see 14:29-32).

         The reason for all of this is to allow the Lord to speak to His people. If it is attempted through a way contrary to this model, or if another method is formulated which is actually in opposition to it, it generally means that the Lord Jesus is no longer in charge and has been subverted by false believers who have circumvented His authority. And if the group allows this, they are also guilty partakers.

         It should not be difficult, then, for an objective observer to note that traditional Christian church practice, regardless of denomination, is usually much different from that of first-century believers.

         This is why, for those who violate Scripture, the Prophetic Word has ceased.

         Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. [1 Corinthians 14:39] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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