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BAPTISM OF OPTIMISM: REJOICE!

 

He was born to die. He always knew it. He planned it. But even at the very darkest hour He knew there was a call for unbounded optimism: He would soon open the Way to Life.

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Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [Hebrews 12:1-2]

COUNT IT ALL JOY

Mature Christians of the real variety are very well acquainted with giving a message most will reject. As the Lord Jesus engaged in the greatest ministry of all time with a perfect message expertly delivered and a perfect teaching curriculum second to none, no one was more aware of the inherent difficulty of the task at hand than Him, in that His perfect message would be wasted on the majority.

It would seem, during His time, that all impartial hearers and personal witnesses of His love, compassion, mercy, mighty works, and incessant miracles would immediately join up with Him in a veritable heartbeat if for no other reason than that nothing they experienced could be denied. Denial of His extraordinary presence and perfection was impossible. His ministry was that clear. It was absolutely astounding.

And yet, as a stark testimony to the sheer impossibility of errant and immoral human beings besought with a sinful human nature—obstinate and unyielding at its core to any and all reform—recalcitrant and unruly—not only did the majority of His own people reject His message, they also rejected Him and drove His Name into the dirt.

His “own people” constituted not only His fellow Israelites in general but also the political leaders of His nation, the religious leaders of His nation, the foreign leaders in positions of authority in His nation, an untold number of His relatives, and even members of His own immediate family. One can only wonder at the great mental, moral, and emotional disconnect existing in the heart of the willfully lost and the message that could set them free. The Lord had effectively given everything He had, even acting as a supernatural electrician running miles of spiritual romex connected to the power plant of Heaven directly to their hearts and all they had to do was flip a switch. BUT NO.

And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.” The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” [Mark 3:2-22]

Rather than acknowledge the great Light that had arrived for their salvation and honoring Him and praising Him and being thankful for Him they instead said He had an illegitimate birth, that He was a drunk and a glutton, that He was crazy, and that He was demon possessed. If this does not reveal to an impartial observer the wickedness of humanity nothing ever will. These hell bound moral laggards, at that time the greatest DAs in the history of the world though perceived by the world as upstanding and trustworthy, were the epitome of deceived demon-influenced dunderheads which a sinful unseeing nation prostrated themselves before and trusted exclusively with no thought of thinking for themselves or even giving God a glance. The blind were truly leading the blind but only because the wimpy blind yielded to the authoritative blind because they were far too fearful to risk thinking for themselves.     

And yet none of it took the Lord by surprise. No one was more aware of the utter depravity of humanity. He created humanity. He watched humanity fall. He saw humanity from the very beginning from the Garden up to His present and knew very well what He was dealing with. And He came to this earth anyway. He subjected Himself to the vast stupidity and hate anyway.

He knew most would reject Him. He knew most would find fault with Him. He knew most would count themselves better than Him. He knew most would trust their own inclinations or those of their betters. He knew most would not budge an inch from whatever their chosen belief system was. He knew the majority of the indoctrinated and brainwashed would willingly remain that way.

He knew, for most of the people He preached to, that facts would never matter. Nor would the truth matter. Most would not and could not appreciate the truth. For most there was simply no love for facts and truth if these in any way violated their chosen beliefs.  

BLINDED BY SIN

And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains. [John 9:39-41]

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2Corinthians 4:3-4]

“Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.” [Revelation 3:17-18]

How spiritually blind must one be to indignantly and continuously reject the very Light that would heal their blindness and allow them to see spiritual reality? How dark are the hearts that refuse the Light which would otherwise brighten their being and deliver them from the eternal night?

THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM

Yet there were others, a decided and relative few, who took a completely different tack. They were personally bold enough to go against the grain of the fallen world and deceitful sinful culture. These were spiritual pioneers who would rather seek Light and salvation even it meant inviting the wrath of the wayward and cause ongoing personal suffering. They possessed a gravitas that strengthened them against all onslaughts from evil, both human and demonic, and allowed the Lord to greatly supplement their strength with a spiritual power none could resist.

These composed the Remnant. He would rescue these. He knew they would comply. He knew they would surrender to Him and obey. Why? Because they had already been communicating with Him through prayer and supplication for years, long before He ever arrived as one of us. They had been asking for His help. They knew He could help. They wanted Him. They longed for Him. They would do anything for Him. They knew He was and had always been the answer.

Of course, due to their excellent attitude and desire for actual spiritual reality they did not fare too well with other members of society who were impossible to communicate with on a spiritual level. These had a different mindset. They had very little in common with the unrepentant. The Remnant, with reference to this world, knew something was off. They refused to make peace with sin or accept the sinful ways of the world, though they also knew it would make life more difficult.

They knew the way of the Lord Jesus was the highest way, the most pure and righteous way, and they would do their best to follow it. Thus, they rejected the social relativism of the sinful culture which always sought an extremely low common denominator. Such relativism is, of course, the administered agenda of the controllers since dumbed-down masses all on the same drivel-inspired page of monotony are much easier to control and use to do their bidding. And the exact dynamic is present in Unreal Christianity.

OUR GLORIOUS PRESENT

People are waking up. People are gaining their sight. By allowing evil the upper hand and freedom to show itself in all its wickedness, that which had previously been hidden behind dark shadows has emerged into the open. They think the coast is clear. They think they are free to sin to their heart’s content with no ramifications or accountability. They have revealed themselves for what they are. And people are noticing. Those who desire righteousness are raising up a standard, first, in their own lives and then against the wicked. Many are coming to an understanding of repentance, what it is and why it is necessary.

Real Christians have always known from the time of their born again experience that a spiritual Rubicon must be crossed and that one can never go back. They know that when a person makes a commitment to the Lord Jesus it is an irrevocable commitment. There is no looking back or turning back or desire to do so. They know they have crossed a line of separation. The terms of the New Covenant demand it. Those who have recently been awakened know they can never unsee what they have already seen. They know too much.

They know the only remaining direction is forward.

The world of fakery, much of it media-inspired, whether cultural or religious, must be left behind.

BAPTISM OF OPTIMISM

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. [Psalm 23:1-3]

But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it, and I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones. [Psalm 52:8-9]

The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. [Psalm 92:12-15]

He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like the green leaf. [Psalms 11:28]

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” [Jeremiah 17:7-8]  

Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, for the Lord has done great things. Do not fear, beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness have turned green, for the tree has borne its fruit, the fig tree and the vine have yielded in full. So rejoice, O sons of Zion, and be glad in the Lord your God; for He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, the early and latter rain as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. [Joel 2:21-24]

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” [John 10:10b][1]

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY: SHOW US THE FATHER

The Lord Jesus taught in part by using parables. The greatest parable in His teachings is largely unrecognized. It regards His actual identity. Many Christians have yet to receive the full revelation.

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For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. [Isaiah 9:6-7]

“These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.” [John 16:25]

WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?   

Real Christians believe that Jesus is God. Most Christians do not believe that Jesus is God the Father. Think about that.

We obviously have reams of New Covenant Scripture expressly proclaiming in no uncertain terms that Jesus is not only the Son of Man and the Son of God but God Himself. We also have reams of Old Testament prophetic Scripture expressly proclaiming the same thing. As a method to prove this, focusing only on one aspect of the Lord’s identity—that of Savior—are the following verses:

I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me, hear my speech. Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand from those who rise up against them. [Psalm 17:6-7]  

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no Savior besides Me.” [Isaiah 43:10-11]  

“Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me.” [Isaiah 45:21]

“Yet I have been the LORD your God Since the land of Egypt; and you were not to know any god except Me, for there is no Savior besides Me.” [Hosea 13:4]

Regarding who is referred to as Savior in the New Testament, we have additional Names and Titles:

And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” [Luke 1:46-47]

“From the descendants of this man (David), according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.” [Acts 13:23-24]

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; [Philippians 3:20]

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. [1Timothy 2:3-4]

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. [1Timothy 4:10]

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. [Titus 1:4]

…Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus… [Titus 2:13]

From these verses it is obvious that Scripture claims there is only one Savior, not two or several, and that this one Savior is God. Yet the preceding verses of Scripture also refer to this one Savior by several different Names and Titles:

  1. God (El)
  2. God (Elohim)
  3. God (Theos)
  4. LORD (Adonai—YHWH)
  5. Lord (Kurios)
  6. Jesus (Iesous)
  7. Lord Jesus Christ (Kurios Iesous Christos)
  8. Christ Jesus (Christos Iesous)

This obviously does not mean that these are different persons but the same Person with different Names and Titles.  

KING OF KINGS

The OT prophets said an Israelite Messiah (Anointed One) was coming. Most Christians understand that. But the OT prophets also said the coming Messiah would not be as the culturally understood anointed ones of that time, primarily the Hebrew kings, but would be the greatest Anointed One: The final King, the everlasting King, and the King of kings. In ancient times, many centuries before the Messiah’s arrival, they proclaimed there would be a time far into the future when the Messiah would once again take His rightful place that He formerly possessed among His people prior to their rejection of Him.

This term King of kings was used three times in the Old Testament as a reference to the greatest earthly king on the planet. It referred twice to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Babylonian Empire and once to Artaxerxes, the king of the Persian Empire. King of kings also occurs three times in the New Testament, each time, of course, referring to the Lord Jesus. So again, the Messiah is referred to in Scripture as the greatest King of all with all authority in both heaven and earth (far greater authority than any earthly king or emperor).

With reference to the nation of Israel, historians refer to King Saul as Israel’s first king. He became king of Israel in 1050BC. In reality, Saul was Israel’s first earthly king. From the beginning, however, it was always God who was Israel’s King. The Creator became known to Israel primarily as YHWH, the “Self-Existent or Eternal.” Though the actual pronunciation of this Name is largely unknown, we have come to accept its pronunciation as Yahweh (´Yah way). A later constructed form is Jehovah, but there is no letter J in the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew scribes, due to their great respect and honor for God, rather than writing His Name and possibly profaning it, substituted another word in Scripture. The word they used to replace His Name is the Hebrew word Adonai which is translated in the English Old Testament as LORD (all caps). So whenever you see the word LORD in the OT, it would have otherwise been directly translated as YHWH.

The nation of Israel, however, due to its great rebellion and sin, often had a big problem with YHWH. This came to a head during the time of Samuel the prophet, the last of the Hebrew Judges. Israel had reached a point of such great sin it rejected its distinct calling as a light to the Gentiles and select of God, and insisted upon being as other nations. They demanded an earthly king. This was a total rejection of their God who had always been their rightful King:

The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.” [1Samuel 8:7]

In reading the Old Testament regarding the identity of the future Messiah and coming King of kings, many Christians don’t really make the connection that this Man, the Messiah, would also be God. Or they do, but they don’t. They get it maybe in part but not completely. They fail to see that the Messiah would be YHWH reclaiming His sovereignty. It is often simply too difficult a concept to grasp that a mere Man could be God, that the God of the Old Testament is the Son of God of the New Testament. I mean, if Jesus was God, why was He always praying to God? And yet, Jesus revealed Himself as God on multiple occasions. Many people state that He never said any such thing, but I will remind everyone that God speaks in different languages, such as by spiritual revelation, in parables or figurative language, and also “plainly” through words and grammar.

Others have turned the identity of the Lord Jesus into an unexplainable mystery. They have created mental constructs and counterfeit personas with apparent surface meaning that inevitably fail the test of wholly agreeing with Scripture. Some cop out of the discussion completely by weakly asserting that we’ll figure out the Lord’s identity when we get to heaven in that there is no way to know it otherwise. For such people there is no use in trying to go deep into Scriptural truth since they limit themselves to their shallow understandings. There is nothing in Scripture, however, that gives forth the idea that we cannot know God or that God is hopelessly mysterious, but the very opposite. It is a major part of why God became a Man. He arrived on these shores to reveal who He is and show what He is like. How else was He to do this toward human beings severed from communication with Him, dulled by sin, and spiritually distant unless He became one of us?

FATHER AND SON

The following passage is rich in meaning, so rich that many pass right over it without understanding its full import. It is parabolic in nature and again, involves direct revelation:

“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” [Luke 10:22]

In this verse, the Lord Jesus states:

  1. The Father has handed over all things to the Son
  2. Only the Father knows who the Son is
  3. Only the Son knows who the Father is
  4. Others can know who the Father is but only if the Son wills to reveal Him to them

From this we know that no one will ever know who the Father is except by direct revelation. If the Lord Jesus wills to reveal the identity of the Father to a person, then that person will know. Otherwise a person will never know. This means the Lord chooses to whom He will reveal the identity of the Father. This also means that there must be some common denominator among those who receive the revelation of the identity of the Father. In other words, the Lord is not capricious or arbitrary in His choosing. He never plays favorites. It is therefore up to the individual on whether or not to be qualified to receive the revelation.

Take a look at these clues from Luke 10:22:

  1. The Father possessed “all things” but gave “all things” to the Son. This must mean the Father no longer possesses “all things.” It means the Son then possessed “all things.” The Father had “all things” and then no longer had them. The Son did not have “all things” and then took possession of them.
  2. Only the Father knows who the Son is? How can this be? Did not more than a few during the Lord’s time know who the Son of God was? Affirmative. But those who did only knew by divine revelation. That’s how Peter found out: “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17). The point here is that the Son had always been hidden by the Father. Only the Father would know who He was. The Son was incognito in this sense. He would never look the part. He was likely the very opposite of a guy like King Saul who was tall, handsome, popular and specifically chosen by all the people.
  3. The Son is the only One who knows who the Father is and also the only One who can reveal Him. The Father revealed the Son to Peter. On the other hand, the Son revealed the Father to Philip. Both revelations pointed to the same Person.

One might recall (as I mentioned previously) that the Lord Jesus said, right before He ascended to heaven, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). This is a very bold statement. Only God has that kind of authority. If one insists that God is someone other than the Lord Jesus then how can the Lord Jesus have all of God’s authority in both heaven and earth?

THE LANGUAGE OF SPIRITUAL REVELATION

The Old Testament patriarchs were noted for being relative loners and wanderers. They were seen as somewhat eccentric by the world at large because they were seemingly forever drifting around in a nomadic spiritual sense marching to the beat of a very different Drummer. They traversed the great quiet of deserts and wilderness areas raising their head to the winds and hearing voices.

It reminds one of Ray Kinsella in the movie Field of Dreams hearing a voice out in his corn field. On a trip into town one day after hearing “the voice” Ray tries to gain some understanding of what has happened to him. Seeking clues, he has the following conversation with a veteran farmer at the farm supply store:

Ray: “In all those years, did you ever… I’ve heard that sometimes farmers out in the field… hear things. Voices.”

Old Timer: “You’re hearing voices?”

Ray: “No. It’s just that I heard some farmers do, and… I, of course, don’t, so I was wondering if I was doing something wrong, or something. Did you ever hear voices out there?”

Cashier: “Who’s hearing voices?”

Old Timer: “Ray is! Out in the fields.”

Ray: “No! No, I’m not. Really. Noises! That darn tractor, it’s… Well, I’ll just get some 3-in-1 oil, that should… Nice talking to you.” [1]

One wonders if Abraham had a similar conversation with Sarah. Or anyone. The point, of course, is that if one is hearing voices out in the wilderness (or in a corn field near you), and in the case of the Biblical patriarchs, one particular voice, then one might be careful with whom one might share the information. This should not be a problem for Christians, however, since the entire Bible has the same theme running through it. Christians should not be embarrassed by this. All those who were close to God were hearing His voice, both in the Old Testament and New, and some were even seeing Him. Aghast.

These people were in the decided minority (understatement alert). There were only a few. Which means the vast majority probably thought those guys were nuts because they themselves never heard or saw anything. And they never hung out in the wilderness alone either. Prior to the coming of the Kingdom of God (of which He is the King) the Lord Jesus said the greatest man born of women who ever lived was a prophet who hung out in the wilderness alone, just like those eccentric patriarchs of many centuries past. But this guy John the Immerser was greater than all of them, which was quite astounding when you think about it. And he looked like a caveman. And the Lord spent much time in the wilderness alone also. And so did Noah. And Abraham. And Moses. And the apostle Paul:

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia… [Galatians 1:15-17]  

Paul was out in the desert a long time. Some say three years. I have no doubt he went on a forty day fast at least once. It was where, hearing the Voice, that the Lord taught him one on one. It was where Paul received the revelation of the Father’s identity and where the Gospel was revealed to him:

For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:11-12]

So here we have yet again that spiritual marvel known as direct revelation. The only One who ever revealed to Paul the Gospel was the Lord Jesus Himself, out in the wilderness, alone. Imagine that. This is not how 99% of Christian ministers receive the Gospel. Perhaps this is why their various versions of the Gospel are different than the one Paul preached.

The direct revelation thread runs all through the Bible. It is God reaching out to man. It is God actually attempting to communicate with man. Why then, if God is talking, do so few hear Him? Apparently, Noah, Abraham, Moses, John the Immerser, and Paul were all listening. They were paying attention. They sought God. They had a hunger for Truth. So those who revert back to the tired argument that these men were simply special and chosen in some unknown arbitrary manner, which explains their communication with God, and that their spiritual status had nothing to do with a greater personal faith in God and an unceasing desire to seek Him, are being their usual shallow selves as part of a status quo faithless Christian majority. We even have otherwise brilliant Christians who have latched onto Cessationism and believe that Book of Acts happenings ended in the first century. What? Are the hundreds of millions of Pentecostals and Charismatics in the world all deluded or faking it?

Again, the greatest parable in the Bible is the true identity of the Lord Jesus. Without the actual revelation one reverts to any unspiritual and unscriptural natural understanding and interpretation, either by indoctrination or personal opinion. The tried and true among Christians in this regard is that Jesus must be a lesser entity than God even though some are forced to admit that Jesus is God simply because there are far too many verses of Scripture stating such. But how can Jesus be both God and less than God?

“If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” [John 14:28]

“I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” [John 10:30-33]  

Some Christians think they must seek out God the Father because their relationship with the Lord Jesus is somehow lacking or limited. Of course, whoever does this has no actual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Some Christians pray to the Holy Spirit the same way one would pray to the Lord Jesus. Some teach that we must pray only to the Father “in the name of Jesus” but never directly to Jesus. Whatever the case, any effort to do an end around or bypass the Lord Jesus to get to God is a violation of His teachings:

“No one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]

THE MESSIAH

The word Messiah is from the Hebrew word Mashiach which means “Anointed” or “Anointed One.” It is Christos in the Greek and transliterated into English as the word Christ. In terms of relative spiritual anointing, the Messiah is seen as He with by far the greatest anointing of God. One may recall that the Lord Jesus possessed the Spirit of God without measure (John 3:34). Prior to Pentecost, He would thus be the One who gave the Holy Spirit.

Speaking of which, there is an interesting word construct in two separate verses exactly a chapter apart in the Gospel of John regarding both the identity of the Father and Son and just who it would be that would send the Holy Spirit. One might think it to be a contradiction. Another will understand it as a clue to a revelation:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” [John 14:26]

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” [John 15:26]  

To be anointed is to be anointed with the Spirit of God. The Messiah was the Anointed One anointed with the Spirit. Yet the Messiah, the One who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, says He will also send the Holy Spirit. He says this after first being reported to say the Father would send the Spirit. Of course, before the Son could send the Spirit He would have to “go to the Father.” Therefore, the One who sends the Spirit is identified as both Father and Son.

On one occasion the Lord was off in a remote location away from the crowds. His close disciples were with Him. He chose this occasion as a teaching moment and to gauge their understanding of His identity:

And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?” They answered and said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.” And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone… [Luke 9:18-21]   

The Lord’s time was one of Messianic expectation. It is said that the Israelites were the only nation that lived in the future, in that no matter what happened in the present there were prophecies telling of great times to come. Part of that was, of course, the arrival of the Messiah. He would be the One to lead them to victory at last, to assist them in overcoming their low stature and becoming who they were always meant to be. He would help them reach their destiny.

As times grew closer to His advent, starting about two centuries before in the early second century BC, several unprecedented events took place, one of which was the first successful Israelite uprising against the major powers. The Maccabees, a national Israelite political entity which began as a group of rebel fighters revolting against the Greek Seleucid kings, came forth throwing off the yoke for a time and created a new independent kingdom, the Hasmonean Dynasty. The spirit of the first century Zealots can be traced to the Maccabees. Presently, the Zealots have manifested as the Zionists of our time.

Also, the major religious parties got their start: The Essenes were created from a priesthood group breaking off from the temple priesthood and setting up shop in the desert out by the Dead Sea in a settlement known as Qumran. These were thus somewhat akin to the ancients but existed primarily as a fraternal communal brotherhood. They later expanded and segments were found in the populated areas.

The Pharisees, or separated ones, also began in this era, rooted in a group known as the Hasidim. Two central divisions of this major sect eventually arose about a century later based on its two greatest rabbis, Hillel and Shammai, who each began Pharisaic schools in the generation prior to that of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul (Saul) was a student of Gamaliel of the Hillel school. In New Testament times this Gamaliel, a respected member of the Sanhedrin, was the voice of reason against the murderous crazies of the court and essentially saved the lives of Peter and the apostles (See Acts 5:34).

The Sadducees emerged as a distinct party at this time as well. This group was the latest organized form containing the wealthy and those with large landed estates who had essentially ruled Judea in place of a king since the return from the Babylonian Captivity in the sixth century BC. The Sadducees were thus tied in closely with Seleucid, Ptolemaic, and eventually Roman wealth and politics. Choosing to live for this world, they had no concern or belief in the resurrection or a spiritual realm.

We can see this same general breakdown in parties and beliefs in Unreal Christianity. Much was coming together in those two centuries BC for the final conflict of the Last Days of the nation and they each had their own version of who the Messiah was and what He would do for them.

When at last, the Messiah arrived, in perfect accordance with Daniel’s prophecy of weeks (right on time), He was largely unrecognized. Indeed, according to the major parties and pretty much everyone in power with a stake in what He could and would do for them, He was unrecognizable. Incognito, as it were. This was their King, the One the nation had rejected over a thousand years before when they selected King Saul. And to show just how stiffnecked the proponents of these major religious and political parties still were after all those centuries and even more so, they did a lot more than just reject Him this time around.

They had invested everything in a false interpretation. When their version of the Messiah never showed up in the life of the Lord Jesus, even though He perfectly met all the applicable prophetic requirements, they continued looking elsewhere. How dense must people be to either not see and/or reject all the clues? How could they be so wrong?

As it turns out Christians have been just as wrong. God Himself is looking right at them and they still don’t see Him. They fail to see Him for the very same reasons the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and bloodthirsty Zealots never saw Him. This is especially surprising regarding the Essenes. They saw the times better than any of their major counterparts. Indeed, because they were out in the desert and away from the corrupt religious, monetary, and political activity of Jerusalem, one would think they couldn’t miss. They came somewhat close. Their Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in 1947 in caves next to their ruined compound, contained many references to their “Teacher of Righteousness.” They wrote of The War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness. They knew what was afoot regarding the coming Messiah but from what we know, as a group, they never recognized the Lord Jesus as such.

The problem each of these groups shared was that their focus remained on this world instead of the spiritual world. They each wanted a Messiah within that context. Again, erring facets of Christianity, including major mainline bodies, make the same mistake. They refuse to accept the reality of the Lord’s spiritual Kingdom and create one of their own with their own respective version of King Saul.

With the exception of the Pharisees, the other three major Jewish parties each came to an end after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70AD. The Sadducees faded out and dissolved shortly thereafter. The Zealots, the party eventually granted authority by the others who brought on the conflagration against Rome, ceased to exist at the tragedy of Masada in 74AD. The Essenes might have gotten an extinction head start on the others around 68AD when the Romans destroyed their settlement at Qumran. It is thought that this disaster is what precipitated the hiding of their cherished library in nearby caves before their final retreat and disappearance. They obviously never returned to reclaim them.

The nation of Israel also came to an end and was forever gone with the wind. The Pharisees reconstituted themselves from the smoking detritus and burned rubble in even greater stubbornness and rebellion to keep their party alive though barely breathing. Through many transformations and geographical movements over the centuries their party eventually became what we know today as Orthodox Judaism. And they still hate the Lord Jesus with a passion.

THE REMNANT

The only ones who did recognize the Lord were apparently part of an obscure unconnected group of nobodies known originally by the Scriptural term as the “Remnant.” We first hear of this idea of a surviving remnant in Genesis 45:7 when Joseph explains to his family that he was sent ahead as a slave to Egypt as a method to preserve them. Spiritually speaking, of course, he was assisting God in not only preserving his family and the future nation of Israel but also preserving the Messianic genealogical line. This line had suffered severe attack from the very beginning when Abel was killed by his own brother. Since the Lord Jesus was to descend from Abel his murder made that impossible. It was a victory for the devil. However, the line was reestablished over a century later with the birth of Seth, the third listed son of Adam and Eve:

Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD. [Genesis 4:25-26] 

A few millennia later, this concept of the remnant is illustrated as follows in the times of Hezekiah, circa 700BC:

“The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD will perform this.” [2 Kings 19:30-31]  

Two and a half centuries later, long after the Babylonian Captivity during the time of Ezra’s arrival in the land of Judah, approximately 458BC, we hear again of this surviving remnant of God’s people. In the ninth chapter narrative, the book of Ezra uses much descriptive and dramatic imagery filled with pathos and hope describing those few who remain of the once great nation of Israel, including clear prophetic undertones. Ezra is quoted wailing against the current great sin of his remaining people:

“O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens. Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and on account of our iniquities we, our kings and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity and to plunder and to open shame, as it is this day. But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. [Ezra 9:6-8]

“After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since You our God have requited us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us an escaped remnant as this, shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples who commit these abominations? Would You not be angry with us to the point of destruction, until there is no remnant nor any who escape? O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.” [Ezra 9:13-15] 

In the interim since the first return of the Hebrews from Babylon to the time of Ezra, a period of roughly eighty years, factions of this returned remnant in the land, including priests, had intermarried with local non-Hebrew women of various heathen peoples including Canaanites, Moabites, and Egyptians and produced offspring. This was no way to reestablish the Yehudi as a distinct people. As a result their racial mix was even further diluted. This same lack of discretion had occurred many times in the past going all the way back to the time after Joshua a millennia before. Ezra appears to have made a successful effort to correct the problem as much as one could but this departure led to the dedicated remnant becoming ever smaller over the next five centuries until the Lord’s arrival.  

In its long history, the devil was constantly scheming and attacking the Messianic generational line because he knew he must keep the Messiah from arriving. And unlike so many Israelites and Christians, the devil and his minions knew very well who the Messiah was long before He came and who He would be when He arrived, and had great respect for Him. The following historical account is a great study in microcosmic terms of the ongoing spiritual battle from ancient times on this planet and a revealing depiction of what goes on daily all around us in the unseen spiritual world: 

Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.” For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert. And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss. Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission. And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. [Luke 8:26-33] 

Why didn’t the demons attack the Lord? If the name of this hoard of demons within a single man was a correct indication of their numbers, the demons amounted to over five thousand. Empowered by internal demonic forces the man was able to break chains and shackles. But instead of going after the Lord, the man and his many demons voluntarily fell before Him! They begged Him not to send them to the abyss. There was never any Man of such great and powerful magnitude in all of Israel. Even demons were terrified of Him: 

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. [James 2:19] [2]

Down through the centuries, despite ongoing demonic attacks, and at last an attempt through King Herod to kill the baby Jesus, the Messiah arrived anyway. And the Lord always had a believing remnant who knew exactly who He was. They were there in the first century. Though initially very small in number, they served as a solid, tested, and unrelenting nucleus to build around. Their presence allowed for the eventual blossoming of the Lord’s Community into multiple millions worldwide.

SHOW US THE FATHER

It seems as though the Lord Jesus was often not openly admitting to His true identity. I think it is because He knew it was necessary for people to receive the spiritual revelation rather than hear mere words which could easily bring on refutation and anger. This happened anyway among the hard core religious unbelievers who often flew into a rage at the mere semblance of His actual identity. It can thus be difficult and otherwise impossible to overcome such flagrant religious indoctrination and programming and this includes, of course, the Christian kind which is often the absolute worst. Direct revelation is the only thing that works best. As Peter discovered, what works better than God revealing to one’s heart the Word of Truth?  

Perhaps the best verses which address the revelation of the Lord’s true identity are found in the fourteenth chapter of John’s gospel. By this time the disciples had heard much of the Lord’s figurative language, especially regarding His discourses on the Father. He was attempting to lead them to the revelation portal that they may gain answers and understanding from a spiritual source. In the following passage, Thomas had sincere questions about the Lord’s statement, especially as it regarded the unseen and unknown Father. So did Philip. Both had matured enough to ask direct queries of the Lord. They were ready to graduate from the figurative to the clear revelation:

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” [John 14:1-9]  

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.  


[1] © 1988 Field of Dreams Screenplay by Phil Alden Robinson 

[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.

ALL BECAUSE THEY REFUSE TO REPENT

 

To repent means to change one’s mind. It means one must allow for new Truth to update one’s mindset. Unfortunately, this demands a commitment many cannot make.

.

Gonna change my way of thinking

Make myself a different set of rules

Gonna change my way of thinking

Make myself a different set of rules

Gonna put my good foot forward

And stop being influenced by fools

                                             Bob Dylan [1]

LAST DAYS ARCHETYPE

The Lord Jesus taught that real salvation demands radical change. He expressed a true turn or burn message. He actually stated this literally. He said His own nation would eventually burn due to its refusal to repent. He did everything He could to get this message across.

And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’” [Luke 23:27-30]

This prophecy points directly to the Sixth Seal of Revelation:

Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” [Revelation 6:15-17]

One might say the Lord failed in His warning. In reality, though He knew the nation was at an end and would cease to exist forever in forty years, and that it would actually involve destruction by fire, He never came to His people to save the nation itself. Why would He try to save a nation that was already destined for destruction? He certainly wanted His nation to be saved and preserved. Again, He did everything He possibly could to gain that outcome.

It must be remembered, however, that He had been fighting that battle of preservation for multiple centuries. He was the one who created the nation in the first place. It was His nation. It began with Abraham. He called out Abraham for this very purpose. He created the miracle child Isaac to exist as the first generation of His nation. Thus, the future nation of Israel was founded on a miracle. And there were untold miracles performed by God to preserve the nation throughout its long history. No one was more involved in creating, preserving, and blessing the nation of Israel than God. He loved Israel with all His heart.

Therefore, no one was more saddened by what ended up happening to His nation than the Lord. His heart was broken. You can see this in the words He spoke to those women lamenting Him. They were words drenched in pathos. He had done everything He could over the many centuries of its existence to keep what ended up happening from happening, but to no avail. He lost the battle. Ironically, those who won the battle against Him destroyed their nation. They destroyed His nation.

And He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. The owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.” [Luke 20:9-16]

And it was all because they refused to change their minds. They refused to allow for new Truth to update their mindset. They had already committed to a different mindset which they adhered to totally which left no room whatsoever for the introduction of anything else. Though absolutely nothing the Lord Jesus taught was ever refuted by His enemies according to the Law of Moses and objective truth, they rejected Him anyway. Why? Because their minds were made up. They were stubborn as mules. Not even the Lord could get through to them. They were obstinate, hard-headed, religious rednecks. At one point their off-the-scale close-mindedness caused the Lord to exclaim the following:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” [Matthew 23:29-33][2]

Even then the Lord was thinking of their souls and their eternal destination. Again, He knew they were lost and many were filled with the devil. He knew they were the religious leaders of the most wicked generation of Israel to date. And that is saying a lot in light of so many evil generations of the past. Their world class obstinacy was one thing, but something even greater was the abject weakness of all those who submitted to them. Almost everybody in Israel was scared to death of those guys. There was such rampant fear in the nation drummed up by its leaders, next to no one was willing to challenge them. They knew they would be destroyed if they did. They knew their evil leaders controlled pretty much everything and could make their lives a living hell. How did such an outcome ever transpire in a nation created by God? How could a nation founded on spiritual freedom devolve into such a hellhole? To save their nation, all the people had to do was turn to God and repent. All they had to do was change their sorry way of thinking and get right with God, and then God would have taken care of the rest.

BUT NO! This proved there was something more than simple fear of religious leaders going on. It proved the majority of people actually preferred being led around like a bunch of stupid morons by idiots in charge. Otherwise they would have to do what God required. And what God required was crucifixion of the flesh. He required an elimination of sin from their lives. He required that they quit engaging in sinful practices. He required a total clean up on Aisle One. He required a circumcision of the heart. And though the sins of the average Israelite was less than that of those who led them, they still preferred a life of sin (though often sins of omission) to making the necessary changes that God required.

INSISTENT INSINCERITY

Keep in mind most of these people went to church every week (synagogue). They did what they were told by the leaders thereof. They bought into the program. For many, however, they never actually gave their hearts to God. They only obeyed because they were required to do so. To do otherwise would put them on the outs in society. Doors would close. They would be looked down upon. They would no longer be welcome at the cool kids table. Their popularity would plummet. They would be cancelled. They would get stuck with a low social credit score. Yet as long as they continued to surrender to the religious leaders in charge and obey the main prerequisites they could otherwise sin to their hearts content. The main prerequisites were based on:

(1) We are in control here and you must surrender to our control. (2) What we teach is what you must believe. You are to have no other teachers or doctrines before you. You must have no independent religious or spiritual thought. What we say is what goes. If you don’t understand it you must believe it anyway. (3) In order to be in good standing you must make a full commitment and dedicate yourself fully to our program. If so, all will go well with you. (In other words, you will avert our wrath and the possible disfellowship which could break your back socially.)

The people of the nation thus discovered that as long as they paid the proper obeisance to the religious leaders they could be free to do what they wanted within the set parameters. Some freedom was better than no freedom. As long as they deferred to them, genuflected before them, and essentially kissed their ring then all would go well. Whether they saw themselves as religious sellouts is another issue. There were certainly some who were completely brainwashed and actually believed all the tripe presented to them. Maybe this was the majority. It probably was because over time the constant pontificating from those who dwelt on high would have had an effect. The total lack of any alternate viewpoints would also serve to cause most to become indoctrinated. The fact that no one could ever stand up to the idiots in charge would eventually remove the backbone of the nation and cause it to become docile and subservient toward them. Once the big boys were successful at eliminating any testosterone directed in their direction, the men of the nation were made impotent toward them. They thus couldn’t change their nation for the better if they wanted to.

All the ultimate testosterone and manliness was thus reserved only for the religious elite in charge. Only they were allowed to throw their weight around. Only they could do whatever they wanted and get away with it. The law didn’t apply to them. Only they had no accountability except to themselves which was a circle to nowhere. Sound familiar? And because they controlled the rage factor they could draw up a rage response among those they controlled at any time. Because the men were held in estrogen prison they were ever-burning to get out and allowed the opportunity to vent. Then, whenever they got the word from on high they could be easily directed to enter into instant rage response mode and attack whoever they were directed toward, which were always those with the audacity to question “the elders” and “our tradition” or (aghast!) whoever may preach or teach a different message.

The Lord Jesus had managed to subvert this demonic process much of the time because the people in general were overcome by His great love and compassion, and His willingness to do miracles in their midst to help them. He would heal blind eyes, eliminate their illnesses in a flash, bless them with everything their souls were longing for, forgive and remove their personal sin, assist the poor on a grand scale, and even raise their dead on occasion. He was a force! He was winning hearts and minds!

In the end, however, everyone realized they would also have to change their ways, repent, change their way of thinking, love their enemies, change their hearts, submit fully to God, change their minds, and stop engaging in dead religion.

It was simply too much. There would be way too much to change. Their entire lives would be affected. They would have to start over. It was just too much. It would require way too much faith and too much effort. It would be much easier to simply continue on as before. And that’s the choice they made. They declined the great spiritual power the Lord offered them to make changes for the better.

THE REMNANT

This was not the case for the Remnant. There were some, many untold tens of thousands of Israelites, who actually did obey the Lord Jesus. They recognized Him as their Messiah. They saw that He was the great I AM. They became aware of just who this Man was and the great privilege they were allowed to know Him, be with Him, and honor Him. This brought forth the very first Great Awakening! For forty years the Lord’s new born again Spirit-filled people continued to work toward the salvation of as many of the people of their nation as possible. Many were saved, taught, and made secure. Many developed and came to full spiritual maturation. It was the greatest thing that had ever happened to Israel in all its history, even though the good guys, those who believed in love and loving, were outnumbered and always had to face the incessant hateful wrath of the bad guys.

But the wrath, rage, and hate of the rebellious religious tyrants along with those under their control—the unrepentant majority of insincere, spiritually lazy, surrendered silent sellouts who chose to continue being influenced by fools—caused them all to be without the one thing they needed to save the country: None of them were saved. How could they therefore save the nation or anything else? Their lack of salvation and lack of saving ability left only one other outcome: Their national rebellion and sin content insured they be destined for destruction.

And it was all because they refused to repent.

They refused to change their way of thinking.

They refused to allow for new Truth to update their mindset.

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Copyright © 1979 by Special Rider Music

[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.

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 4: Destroying Spiritual Strongholds]

Now on the same night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it…” [Judges 6:25]   

.

The official United States population as of today is approximately 332.67 million. According to the Gideon paradigm, in which Gideon’s prospective army to be used against the Midianites starts out at 32,000 but is reduced by God to 300, the reduction in percentage terms is over 99%. Imagine that. God reduces a sizable force of 32,000 warriors to a microscopic 300.

Thus, the actual percentage of the people who made the team—Gideon’s 300—is less than 1%. Technically, it is only .9375%. In terms of the United States population, this greatly reduced force would be equivalent to roughly 3.1 million people (3,118,781.25). In other words, if the Lord wanted to perform another Gideon power play to rout the forces of invading evil, and if He started with the entire U.S. population, He would make such a drastic reduction to arrive at those who qualified for His team that He would only have the equivalent of a mere 3.1 million Americans remaining.

This makes one wonder, of course, what the remainder would be if He started with only those who qualified at the onset as warriors. In other words, after eliminating children, the too young, the too old, and all the others who do not qualify for various reasons, He might start with only a fraction of the U.S. population. Americans between the ages of 20 and 40 are approximately 25% of the populace. If, let’s say, only 75% of these qualify, the Lord would start with about 62 million. Reduced according to the Gideon paradigm, the final fighting force would be only about 600,000. This represents less than a fifth of 1%. Could a minuscule 600,000 Americans perform the necessary work to do what Gideon did?

WICKED EXCEEDINGLY

This reminds me of Abraham’s prayer regarding Sodom and Gomorrah. When the Lord told Abraham that judgment might certainly befall the dwellers of those cities Abraham asked Him, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” (Genesis 18:23).

“What if fifty righteous people dwell in Sodom?”

“I will spare it.”

“What about forty-five?”

“I will spare it.”

“How about forty?”

“I will spare it.”

“Thirty?”

“I will spare it.”

“Twenty?”

“I will spare it.”

“What if only ten righteous people dwell there?”

“I will spare it.”

It is difficult to gauge what the population of Sodom was but ten people would have to be an extremely small percentage. As it was, God was able to rescue only four people and help them escape. No one else cared. Nobody else wanted to leave. One wonders if even those four wanted to leave. It is safe, to say, therefore, that Sodom had reached a point of total depravity with absolutely no hope of redemption. If the four that escaped represented 1%, then the population of Sodom was 400. If the four represented a fifth of 1%, the total population was 2,000. Of course, it was likely larger than this, maybe much larger. But God never would have destroyed Sodom if only ten righteous people lived there. He would never release His wrath on His own people. He would make a way for them to escape before judgment fell.

These two Biblical accounts tell us two things: (1) Righteous people have a much bigger impact on society than is otherwise supposed or acknowledged. (2) The Lord can do great things with only a few.

AMERICA 2021

Christians have been predicting great judgment upon America for a very long time. It is not any different today. Is it true, however, to say that the country is more depraved now that at other times in the past? Not necessarily. The real history of America involves massive amounts of unreported sin, much of it in very high places. It is often the case that gross sin is legitimized or even recategorized as not sin at all. Sometimes people at the top make decisions that negatively affect millions of people because they have a different agenda that benefits them and no one else. They must thus use excellent propaganda to eliminate suspicion. This is sin of the worst kind but if people don’t recognize it as such the perpetrators go unpunished and are never stopped. The Lord sees it all, however. That’s why He raises up spiritual Gideons.

Much of the sin at various points in history was not seen as sin at the time. Much of past sin is still not seen that way. In reality, God could have judged America many times already. Maybe He has in part. But those calling for outright destruction due to sins of the present are not only out of their tree, they are not considering God’s mercy and compassion, His abundant grace, and the fact that large numbers of righteous people have always lived here and still live here today.

If we define the righteous as those who do the will of God, who can be used of God, who strive to please the Lord, who have 100% trust and confidence in the Lord, and who are spiritually effective in making a positive difference for the better, then it is probably a small number of people percentage wise. But what if it was, as I mentioned previously, only 600,000? Could a mere 600,000 righteous people make a big difference in a nation of 332.67 million?

To answer that we need only look at what Gideon’s 300 did. We can look at the extremely powerful impact Abraham had both in his time and that of his descendants. These men and those comprising the ongoing remnant of Israel were righteous. They acted as the salt of society, as a preservative, and an antiseptic force that enabled a flowing distribution of righteousness throughout society against ubiquitous rot. If not for the righteous it would have been all over when the last of the righteous died off, but Israel never reached that point. No matter how far the nation strayed into sin there was always a faithful portion that stayed true to God. It was because God always found someone to stand up for Him to do the hard thing—the difficult but victorious task—against the forces of evil that always caused evil to be checked and allowed righteousness to make a comeback.

Consider what the young obscure Gideon did in the following passage. Get inspired.

Now on the same night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.”

Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night. When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar which had been built. They said to one another, “Who did this thing?” And when they searched about and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash did this thing.” Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it.” [Judges 6:25-30] [1]  

© 2021 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.

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 1: Take My Yoke Upon You]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 2: The Attack of the Midianites]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 3: Introducing Gideon]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 5: Make Your Calling and Election Sure]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 6: Christian Qualifying Tests]

SHOW US THE FATHER

The Lord Jesus taught in part by using parables. The greatest parable in His teachings is largely unrecognized. It regards His actual identity. Many Christians have yet to receive the full revelation.

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For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. [Isaiah 9:6-7]

“These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.” [John 16:25]

WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?      

Real Christians believe that Jesus is God. Most Christians do not believe that Jesus is God the Father. Think about that.

We obviously have reams of New Covenant Scripture expressly proclaiming in no uncertain terms that Jesus is not only the Son of Man and the Son of God but God Himself. We also have reams of Old Testament prophetic Scripture expressly proclaiming the same thing. As a method to prove this, focusing only on one aspect of the Lord’s identity—that of Savior—are the following verses:

I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me, hear my speech. Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand from those who rise up against them. [Psalm 17:6-7]  

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no Savior besides Me.” [Isaiah 43:10-11]  

“Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me.” [Isaiah 45:21]

“Yet I have been the LORD your God Since the land of Egypt; and you were not to know any god except Me, for there is no Savior besides Me.” [Hosea 13:4]

Regarding who is referred to as Savior in the New Testament, we have additional Names and Titles:

And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” [Luke 1:46-47]

“From the descendants of this man (David), according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.” [Acts 13:23-24]

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; [Philippians 3:20]

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. [1Timothy 2:3-4]

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. [1Timothy 4:10]

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. [Titus 1:4]

…Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus… [Titus 2:13]

From these verses it is obvious that Scripture claims there is only one Savior, not two or several, and that this one Savior is God. Yet the preceding verses of Scripture also refer to this one Savior by several different Names and Titles:

  1. God (El)
  2. God (Elohim)
  3. God (Theos)
  4. LORD (Adonai—YHWH)
  5. Lord (Kurios)
  6. Jesus (Iesous)
  7. Lord Jesus Christ (Kurios Iesous Christos)
  8. Christ Jesus (Christos Iesous)

This obviously does not mean that these are different persons but the same Person with different Names and Titles.      

KING OF KINGS

The OT prophets said an Israelite Messiah (Anointed One) was coming. Most Christians understand that. But the OT prophets also said the coming Messiah would not be as the culturally understood anointed ones of that time, primarily the Hebrew kings, but would be the greatest Anointed One: The final King, the everlasting King, and the King of kings. In ancient times, many centuries before the Messiah’s arrival, they proclaimed there would be a time far into the future when the Messiah would once again take His rightful place that He formerly possessed among His people prior to their rejection of Him.

This term King of kings was used three times in the Old Testament as a reference to the greatest earthly king on the planet. It referred twice to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Babylonian Empire and once to Artaxerxes, the king of the Persian Empire. King of kings also occurs three times in the New Testament, each time, of course, referring to the Lord Jesus. So again, the Messiah is referred to in Scripture as the greatest King of all with all authority in both heaven and earth (far greater authority than any earthly king or emperor).

With reference to the nation of Israel, historians refer to King Saul as Israel’s first king. He became king of Israel in 1050BC. In reality, Saul was Israel’s first earthly king. From the beginning, however, it was always God who was Israel’s King. The Creator became known to Israel primarily as YHWH, the “Self-Existent or Eternal.” Though the actual pronunciation of this Name is largely unknown, we have come to accept its pronunciation as Yahweh (´Yah way). A later constructed form is Jehovah, but there is no letter J in the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew scribes, due to their great respect and honor for God, rather than writing His Name and possibly profaning it, substituted another word in Scripture. The word they used to replace His Name is the Hebrew word Adonai which is translated in the English Old Testament as LORD (all caps). So whenever you see the word LORD in the OT, it would have otherwise been directly translated as YHWH.

The nation of Israel, however, due to its great rebellion and sin, often had a big problem with YHWH. This came to a head during the time of Samuel the prophet, the last of the Hebrew Judges. Israel had reached a point of such great sin it rejected its distinct calling as a light to the Gentiles and select of God, and insisted upon being as other nations. They demanded an earthly king. This was a total rejection of their God who had always been their rightful King:

The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.” [1Samuel 8:7]

In reading the Old Testament regarding the identity of the future Messiah and coming King of kings, many Christians don’t really make the connection that this Man, the Messiah, would also be God. Or they do, but they don’t. They get it maybe in part but not completely. They fail to see that the Messiah would be YHWH reclaiming His sovereignty. It is often simply too difficult a concept to grasp that a mere Man could be God, that the God of the Old Testament is the Son of God of the New Testament. I mean, if Jesus was God, why was He always praying to God? And yet, Jesus revealed Himself as God on multiple occasions. Many people state that He never said any such thing, but I will remind everyone that God speaks in different languages, such as by spiritual revelation, in parables or figurative language, and also “plainly” through words and grammar.

Others have turned the identity of the Lord Jesus into an unexplainable mystery. They have created mental constructs and counterfeit personas with apparent surface meaning that inevitably fail the test of wholly agreeing with Scripture. Some cop out of the discussion completely by weakly asserting that we’ll figure out the Lord’s identity when we get to heaven in that there is no way to know it otherwise. For such people there is no use in trying to go deep into Scriptural truth since they limit themselves to their shallow understandings. There is nothing in Scripture, however, that gives forth the idea that we cannot know God or that God is hopelessly mysterious, but the very opposite. It is a major part of why God became a Man. He arrived on these shores to reveal who He is and show what He is like. How else was He to do this toward human beings severed from communication with Him, dulled by sin, and spiritually distant unless He became one of us?

FATHER AND SON

The following passage is rich in meaning, so rich that many pass right over it without understanding its full import. It is parabolic in nature and again, involves direct revelation:

“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” [Luke 10:22]

In this verse, the Lord Jesus states:

  1. The Father has handed over all things to the Son
  2. Only the Father knows who the Son is
  3. Only the Son knows who the Father is
  4. Others can know who the Father is but only if the Son wills to reveal Him to them

From this we know that no one will ever know who the Father is except by direct revelation. If the Lord Jesus wills to reveal the identity of the Father to a person, then that person will know. Otherwise a person will never know. This means the Lord chooses to whom He will reveal the identity of the Father. This also means that there must be some common denominator among those who receive the revelation of the identity of the Father. In other words, the Lord is not capricious or arbitrary in His choosing. He never plays favorites. It is therefore up to the individual on whether or not to be qualified to receive the revelation.

Take a look at these clues from Luke 10:22:

  1. The Father possessed “all things” but gave “all things” to the Son. This must mean the Father no longer possesses “all things.” It means the Son then possessed “all things.” The Father had “all things” and then no longer had them. The Son did not have “all things” and then took possession of them.
  2. Only the Father knows who the Son is? How can this be? Did not more than a few during the Lord’s time know who the Son of God was? Affirmative. But those who did only knew by divine revelation. That’s how Peter found out: “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17). The point here is that the Son had always been hidden by the Father. Only the Father would know who He was. The Son was incognito in this sense. He would never look the part. He was likely the very opposite of a guy like King Saul who was tall, handsome, popular and specifically chosen by all the people.
  3. The Son is the only One who knows who the Father is and also the only One who can reveal Him. The Father revealed the Son to Peter. On the other hand, the Son revealed the Father to Philip. Both revelations pointed to the same Person.

One might recall (as I mentioned previously) that the Lord Jesus said, right before He ascended to heaven, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). This is a very bold statement. Only God has that kind of authority. If one insists that God is someone other than the Lord Jesus then how can the Lord Jesus have all of God’s authority in both heaven and earth?

THE LANGUAGE OF SPIRITUAL REVELATION

The Old Testament patriarchs were noted for being relative loners and wanderers. They were seen as somewhat eccentric by the world at large because they were seemingly forever drifting around in a nomadic spiritual sense marching to the beat of a very different Drummer. They traversed the great quiet of deserts and wilderness areas raising their head to the winds and hearing voices.

It reminds one of Ray Kinsella in the movie Field of Dreams hearing a voice out in his corn field. On a trip into town one day after hearing “the voice” Ray tries to gain some understanding of what has happened to him. Seeking clues, he has the following conversation with a veteran farmer at the farm supply store:

Ray: “In all those years, did you ever… I’ve heard that sometimes farmers out in the field… hear things. Voices.”

Old Timer: “You’re hearing voices?”

Ray: “No. It’s just that I heard some farmers do, and… I, of course, don’t, so I was wondering if I was doing something wrong, or something. Did you ever hear voices out there?”

Cashier: “Who’s hearing voices?”

Old Timer: “Ray is! Out in the fields.”

Ray: “No! No, I’m not. Really. Noises! That darn tractor, it’s… Well, I’ll just get some 3-in-1 oil, that should… Nice talking to you.” [1]

One wonders if Abraham had a similar conversation with Sarah. Or anyone. The point, of course, is that if one is hearing voices out in the wilderness (or in a corn field near you), and in the case of the Biblical patriarchs, one particular voice, then one might be careful with whom one might share the information. This should not be a problem for Christians, however, since the entire Bible has the same theme running through it. Christians should not be embarrassed by this. All those who were close to God were hearing His voice, both in the Old Testament and New, and some were even seeing Him. Aghast.

These people were in the decided minority (understatement alert). There were only a few. Which means the vast majority probably thought those guys were nuts because they themselves never heard or saw anything. And they never hung out in the wilderness alone either. Prior to the coming of the Kingdom of God (of which He is the King) the Lord Jesus said the greatest man born of women who ever lived was a prophet who hung out in the wilderness alone, just like those eccentric patriarchs of many centuries past. But this guy John the Immerser was greater than all of them, which was quite astounding when you think about it. And he looked like a caveman. And the Lord spent much time in the wilderness alone also. And so did Noah. And Abraham. And Moses. And the apostle Paul:

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia… [Galatians 1:15-17]  

Paul was out in the desert a long time. Some say three years. I have no doubt he went on a forty day fast at least once. It was where, hearing the Voice, that the Lord taught him one on one. It was where Paul received the revelation of the Father’s identity and where the Gospel was revealed to him:

For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:11-12]

So here we have yet again that spiritual marvel known as direct revelation. The only One who ever revealed to Paul the Gospel was the Lord Jesus Himself, out in the wilderness, alone. Imagine that. This is not how 99% of Christian ministers receive the Gospel. Perhaps this is why their various versions of the Gospel are different than the one Paul preached.

The direct revelation thread runs all through the Bible. It is God reaching out to man. It is God actually attempting to communicate with man. Why then, if God is talking, do so few hear Him? Apparently, Noah, Abraham, Moses, John the Immerser, and Paul were all listening. They were paying attention. They sought God. They had a hunger for Truth. So those who revert back to the tired argument that these men were simply special and chosen in some unknown arbitrary manner, which explains their communication with God, and that their spiritual status had nothing to do with a greater personal faith in God and an unceasing desire to seek Him, are being their usual shallow selves as part of a status quo faithless Christian majority. We even have otherwise brilliant Christians who have latched onto Cessationism and believe that Book of Acts happenings ended in the first century. What? Are the hundreds of millions of Pentecostals and Charismatics in the world all deluded or faking it?

Again, the greatest parable in the Bible is the true identity of the Lord Jesus. Without the actual revelation one reverts to any unspiritual and unscriptural natural understanding and interpretation, either by indoctrination or personal opinion. The tried and true among Christians in this regard is that Jesus must be a lesser entity than God even though some are forced to admit that Jesus is God simply because there are far too many verses of Scripture stating such. But how can Jesus be both God and less than God?

“If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” [John 14:28]

“I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” [John 10:30-33]  

Some Christians think they must seek out God the Father because their relationship with the Lord Jesus is somehow lacking or limited. Of course, whoever does this has no actual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Some Christians pray to the Holy Spirit the same way one would pray to the Lord Jesus. Some teach that we must pray only to the Father “in the name of Jesus” but never directly to Jesus. Whatever the case, any effort to do an end around or bypass the Lord Jesus to get to God is a violation of His teachings:

“No one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]

THE MESSIAH

The word Messiah is from the Hebrew word Mashiach which means “Anointed” or “Anointed One.” It is Christos in the Greek and transliterated into English as the word Christ. In terms of relative spiritual anointing, the Messiah is seen as He with by far the greatest anointing of God. One may recall that the Lord Jesus possessed the Spirit of God without measure (John 3:34). Prior to Pentecost, He would thus be the One who gave the Holy Spirit.

Speaking of which, there is an interesting word construct in two separate verses exactly a chapter apart in the Gospel of John regarding both the identity of the Father and Son and just who it would be that would send the Holy Spirit. One might think it to be a contradiction. Another will understand it as a clue to a revelation:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” [John 14:26]

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” [John 15:26]  

To be anointed is to be anointed with the Spirit of God. The Messiah was the Anointed One anointed with the Spirit. Yet the Messiah, the One who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, says He will also send the Holy Spirit. He says this after first being reported to say the Father would send the Spirit. Of course, before the Son could send the Spirit He would have to “go to the Father.” Therefore, the One who sends the Spirit is identified as both Father and Son.

On one occasion the Lord was off in a remote location away from the crowds. His close disciples were with Him. He chose this occasion as a teaching moment and to gauge their understanding of His identity:

And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?” They answered and said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.” And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone… [Luke 9:18-21]   

The Lord’s time was one of Messianic expectation. It is said that the Israelites were the only nation that lived in the future, in that no matter what happened in the present there were prophecies telling of great times to come. Part of that was, of course, the arrival of the Messiah. He would be the One to lead them to victory at last, to assist them in overcoming their low stature and becoming who they were always meant to be. He would help them reach their destiny.

As times grew closer to His advent, starting about two centuries before in the early second century BC, several unprecedented events took place, one of which was the first successful Israelite uprising against the major powers. The Maccabees, a national Israelite political entity which began as a group of rebel fighters revolting against the Greek Seleucid kings, came forth throwing off the yoke for a time and created a new independent kingdom, the Hasmonean Dynasty. The spirit of the first century Zealots can be traced to the Maccabees. Presently, the Zealots have manifested as the Zionists of our time.

Also, the major religious parties got their start: The Essenes were created from a priesthood group breaking off from the temple priesthood and setting up shop in the desert out by the Dead Sea in a settlement known as Qumran. These were thus somewhat akin to the ancients but existed primarily as a fraternal communal brotherhood. They later expanded and segments were found in the populated areas.

The Pharisees, or separated ones, also began in this era, rooted in a group known as the Hasidim. Two central divisions of this major sect eventually arose about a century later based on its two greatest rabbis, Hillel and Shammai, who each began Pharisaic schools in the generation prior to that of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul (Saul) was a student of Gamaliel of the Hillel school. In New Testament times this Gamaliel, a respected member of the Sanhedrin, was the voice of reason against the murderous crazies of the court and essentially saved the lives of Peter and the apostles (See Acts 5:34).

The Sadducees emerged as a distinct party at this time as well. This group was the latest organized form containing the wealthy and those with large landed estates who had essentially ruled Judea in place of a king since the return from the Babylonian Captivity in the sixth century BC. The Sadducees were thus tied in closely with Seleucid, Ptolemaic, and eventually Roman wealth and politics. Choosing to live for this world, they had no concern or belief in the resurrection or a spiritual realm.

We can see this same general breakdown in parties and beliefs in Unreal Christianity. Much was coming together in those two centuries BC for the final conflict of the Last Days of the nation and they each had their own version of who the Messiah was and what He would do for them.

When at last, the Messiah arrived, in perfect accordance with Daniel’s prophecy of weeks (right on time), He was largely unrecognized. Indeed, according to the major parties and pretty much everyone in power with a stake in what He could and would do for them, He was unrecognizable. Incognito, as it were. This was their King, the One the nation had rejected over a thousand years before when they selected King Saul. And to show just how stiffnecked the proponents of these major religious and political parties still were after all those centuries and even more so, they did a lot more than just reject Him this time around.

They had invested everything in a false interpretation. When their version of the Messiah never showed up in the life of the Lord Jesus, even though He perfectly met all the applicable prophetic requirements, they continued looking elsewhere. How dense must people be to either not see and/or reject all the clues? How could they be so wrong?

As it turns out Christians have been just as wrong. God Himself is looking right at them and they still don’t see Him. They fail to see Him for the very same reasons the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and bloodthirsty Zealots never saw Him. This is especially surprising regarding the Essenes. They saw the times better than any of their major counterparts. Indeed, because they were out in the desert and away from the corrupt religious, monetary, and political activity of Jerusalem, one would think they couldn’t miss. They came somewhat close. Their Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in 1947 in caves next to their ruined compound, contained many references to their “Teacher of Righteousness.” They wrote of The War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness. They knew what was afoot regarding the coming Messiah but from what we know, as a group, they never recognized the Lord Jesus as such.

The problem each of these groups shared was that their focus remained on this world instead of the spiritual world. They each wanted a Messiah within that context. Again, erring facets of Christianity, including major mainline bodies, make the same mistake. They refuse to accept the reality of the Lord’s spiritual Kingdom and create one of their own with their own respective version of King Saul.

With the exception of the Pharisees, the other three major Jewish parties each came to an end after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70AD. The Sadducees faded out and dissolved shortly thereafter. The Zealots, the party eventually granted authority by the others who brought on the conflagration against Rome, ceased to exist at the tragedy of Masada in 74AD. The Essenes might have gotten an extinction head start on the others around 68AD when the Romans destroyed their settlement at Qumran. It is thought that this disaster is what precipitated the hiding of their cherished library in nearby caves before their final retreat and disappearance. They obviously never returned to reclaim them.

The nation of Israel also came to an end and was forever gone with the wind. The Pharisees reconstituted themselves from the smoking detritus and burned rubble in even greater stubbornness and rebellion to keep their party alive though barely breathing. Through many transformations and geographical movements over the centuries their party eventually became what we know today as Orthodox Judaism. And they still hate the Lord Jesus with a passion.

THE REMNANT

The only ones who did recognize the Lord were apparently part of an obscure unconnected group of nobodies known originally by the Scriptural term as the “Remnant.” We first hear of this idea of a surviving remnant in Genesis 45:7 when Joseph explains to his family that he was sent ahead as a slave to Egypt as a method to preserve them. Spiritually speaking, of course, he was assisting God in not only preserving his family and the future nation of Israel but also preserving the Messianic genealogical line. This line had suffered severe attack from the very beginning when Abel was killed by his own brother. Since the Lord Jesus was to descend from Abel his murder made that impossible. It was a victory for the devil. However, the line was reestablished over a century later with the birth of Seth, the third listed son of Adam and Eve:

Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD. [Genesis 4:25-26] 

A few millennia later, this concept of the remnant is illustrated as follows in the times of Hezekiah, circa 700BC:

“The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD will perform this.” [2 Kings 19:30-31]  

Two and a half centuries later, long after the Babylonian Captivity during the time of Ezra’s arrival in the land of Judah, approximately 458BC, we hear again of this surviving remnant of God’s people. In the ninth chapter narrative, the book of Ezra uses much descriptive and dramatic imagery filled with pathos and hope describing those few who remain of the once great nation of Israel, including clear prophetic undertones. Ezra is quoted wailing against the current great sin of his remaining people:

“O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens. Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and on account of our iniquities we, our kings and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity and to plunder and to open shame, as it is this day. But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. [Ezra 9:6-8]

“After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since You our God have requited us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us an escaped remnant as this, shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples who commit these abominations? Would You not be angry with us to the point of destruction, until there is no remnant nor any who escape? O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.” [Ezra 9:13-15]  

In the interim since the first return of the Hebrews from Babylon to the time of Ezra, a period of roughly eighty years, factions of this returned remnant in the land, including priests, had intermarried with local non-Hebrew women of various heathen peoples including Canaanites, Moabites, and Egyptians and produced offspring. This was no way to reestablish the Yehudi as a distinct people. As a result their racial mix was even further diluted. This same lack of discretion had occurred many times in the past going all the way back to the time after Joshua a millennia before. Ezra appears to have made a successful effort to correct the problem as much as one could but this departure led to the dedicated remnant becoming ever smaller over the next five centuries until the Lord’s arrival.  

In its long history, the devil was constantly scheming and attacking the Messianic generational line because he knew he must keep the Messiah from arriving. And unlike so many Israelites and Christians, the devil and his minions knew very well who the Messiah was long before He came and who He would be when He arrived, and had great respect for Him. The following historical account is a great study in microcosmic terms of the ongoing spiritual battle from ancient times on this planet and a revealing depiction of what goes on daily all around us in the unseen spiritual world: 

Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.” For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert. And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss. Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission. And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. [Luke 8:26-33] 

Why didn’t the demons attack the Lord? If the name of this hoard of demons within a single man was a correct indication of their numbers, the demons amounted to over five thousand. Empowered by internal demonic forces the man was able to break chains and shackles. But instead of going after the Lord, the man and his many demons voluntarily fell before Him! They begged Him not to send them to the abyss. There was never any Man of such great and powerful magnitude in all of Israel. Even demons were terrified of Him: 

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. [James 2:19] [2]

Down through the centuries, despite ongoing demonic attacks, and at last an attempt through King Herod to kill the baby Jesus, the Messiah arrived anyway. And the Lord always had a believing remnant who knew exactly who He was. They were there in the first century. Though initially very small in number, they served as a solid, tested, and unrelenting nucleus to build around. Their presence allowed for the eventual blossoming of the Lord’s Community into multiple millions worldwide.

SHOW US THE FATHER

It seems as though the Lord Jesus was often not openly admitting to His true identity. I think it is because He knew it was necessary for people to receive the spiritual revelation rather than hear mere words which could easily bring on refutation and anger. This happened anyway among the hard core religious unbelievers who often flew into a rage at the mere semblance of His actual identity. It can thus be difficult and otherwise impossible to overcome such flagrant religious indoctrination and programming and this includes, of course, the Christian kind which is often the absolute worst. Direct revelation is the only thing that works best. As Peter discovered, what works better than God revealing to one’s heart the Word of Truth?  

Perhaps the best verses which address the revelation of the Lord’s true identity are found in the fourteenth chapter of John’s gospel. By this time the disciples had heard much of the Lord’s figurative language, especially regarding His discourses on the Father. He was attempting to lead them to the revelation portal that they may gain answers and understanding from a spiritual source. In the following passage, Thomas had sincere questions about the Lord’s statement, especially as it regarded the unseen and unknown Father. So did Philip. Both had matured enough to ask direct queries of the Lord. They were ready to graduate from the figurative to the clear revelation:

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” [John 14:1-9]  

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.  


[1] © 1988 Field of Dreams Screenplay by Phil Alden Robinson 

[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 3)

In the first century AD, the Israelites continued to be obsessed with the restoration of their kingdom. Other than brief independence under the Hasmonean Dynasty (c142-37 BC), they had been ruled by foreign powers since the Babylonian Captivity six centuries before.

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INTRODUCTION   LESSON 1   LESSON 2

LESSON 3

ACTS 1:6-8

6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 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.” 

The Lord continued attempting to patiently explain to his disciples that His was a spiritual kingdom. In His Olivet Prophecy, as recorded in Matthew 24 and 25, Mark 13, and Luke 21, He warned them that great tribulation was coming and what was left of the nation of Israel would cease to exist within a generation.

Then He shifted His answer to the immediate future when they would be endowed with a power giving them greater ability to understand. He told them they would become dynamic witnesses of the Gospel message. The Greek word is dunamis and is defined as “strength, ability, inherent power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth.” This would be an entirely different ballgame. The powerful OT prophets and John the Baptist had the spiritual power of God upon them, but they were not indwelt by the Spirit of the Lord. In fact, the Lord said:

11 “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” [Matthew 11:11]

How is this possible? John was obviously a great and fearless preacher, the forerunner of the Lord. He had what would otherwise be an impossible objective—to prepare the collective heart of the nation for a soon arriving future. For many, if not most, it would be a future of growing tribulation and destruction. The independence and freedom sought by the Jews would continually diminish just as John had prophesied:

7 So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 “Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. 9 “Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” [Luke 3:7-9] [1]

smaller percentage of the people did repent, though not enough to save the nation, and it was the Community of this repentant Remnant composed entirely of Israelites that the Lord initially gathered as a spiritual people for a spiritual kingdom. For this, they would have to be like Him and receive His power. They must each be filled with the Holy Spirit.

© 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.

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THE HEBREW MONTH OF NISAN 2020: CROSSING THE JORDAN (Part 2)   

4/3/2020: According to the official Hebrew calendar, Nisan 10 begins tonight at sunset, meaning the anniversary of the Jordan River Crossing is tomorrow, April 4. In reality, however, according to the lunar cycle, it is today. See the above link for historical content.

BIPOLAR AMERICA: The Cementing of Division

         Regardless of who gets elected on Tuesday, one thing is certain: America has become absolutely divided into two distinct halves and each half has coalesced into powerfully unified blocs in complete opposition to the other.

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         The Presidential Election will only cement this divide.

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TWO AMERICAS    

         One side still possesses a modicum of respect and honor, is still able to feel shame and thus possess a level of humility which leads to apology and even repentance when called for, is aware of right and wrong, and honors America. It displays real love, is largely unselfish, and understands that sacrifice for the greater good is a must. It acts as a preserving and building agent, and can be counted on to do the right thing. If judged on its overall deeds and intentions, this group would do well before the Lord.

         The other side, however, has descended into a disgusting pit of sinful slime in which some members engage in the most vile practices known to man, unleash and let fly with the most repulsive language that would gag a maggot, and displays a level of hatred that makes the devil himself stand up and applaud. And though the majority of this second group may not engage in all these evil practices, it supports the evil practices of their group instead of renouncing them. Many in this group fulfill the following: …paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron…

DIVIDE AND CONQUER

         The effort to divide America has been in the works for several decades and has now been achieved. The conquering of America will now follow. America is no longer “one nation, indivisible,” but two nations, and thus there is no longer “justice for all.” In fact, the entire idea of justice has become a joke. Though America was created as a Republic and not a Democracy, both the majority and the individual were protected under the Constitution.

         This is obviously no longer the case. One branch continues to reject core Constitutional principles by legislating from the bench and thus violating the rights of the majority while also eroding the Constitutional rights of the majority of individuals. The other two branches have been hopelessly compromised by money and a largely unseen and secretive ruling elite. The three branches no longer serve, honor, respond to, or obey “We the People.”

         The following excerpt is from my prophetic book Real Christianity. I wrote it over twenty years ago. I knew it then. I warned against it then. Christianity in America paid no attention then and it stills pays no attention. But this record remains and will stand as an excellent testimony of unheeded warning. For young or uninformed Christians of today unaware of this truth who think the current sinister happenings in America have suddenly descended at this time without warning, it is only because God’s repeated warnings have been repeatedly rejected.

         I predicted that an anti-Christian ruling elite was taking over the country over twenty years ago and that it had almost achieved its goal. I also gave the means of stopping it. However, the means was rejected then and has continued to be rejected by the dingbats in charge of American Christianity. Though conditions were very bad then, this is why conditions in the country are so much worse now than they were twenty years ago.

         This is also why the same division that has happened to the country has happened to American Christianity. It has also been divided into two distinct camps. The majority camp, Unreal Christianity, looks the part and talks the talk but refuses to walk the walk. The minority camp, the Remnant, the one composed of all Real Christians, is the only hope remaining for both American Christianity and the country itself. Why? Because the Lord God of heaven and earth—the Lord Jesus—dwells in the latter. He has control within Real Christianity. He is the actual effective King of this body because Real Christians have given Him and only Him complete control. Because of this a Great Awakening is coming forth.

         Read the following excerpt from my book and relate it to today. You will discover in part how the inexplicable has happened in America and why all guilty parties deserve their fate:

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         In ancient Israel, the spirit of Nimrod rose from within. The Old Testament gives us a Hebrew king list which is largely composed of one despot after another who ruled the descendants of Jacob with complete disregard for God’s first intention—His children’s life and liberty. When the people of Israel turned their back on God, they turned their back on everything, and thus received the leadership they deserved.

         The USA will also fail to stop the current Nimrod insurgency if we don’t get our priorities straight. Each citizen of this country is guaranteed by the Constitution the right to life. This right has been greatly curtailed, paradoxically by the government itself, that is, the government of “We the People.” We have surrendered much of the substance of our original right to life. We have created a hierarchical, bureaucratic machine which has no feeling or regard for our true welfare. We now largely look to the government instead of to God for answers to our problems. Even though our government was built in such a way to keep Nimrod from taking over, Nimrod is about to come to power anyway—we created him, and the exact creation has transpired within American Christianity.

         In the early church, God spread out power and authority evenly among His people, but in the majority of today’s churches, the religious upper class rules with a velvet-gloved iron hand. If one doesn’t think this is true, then one has never challenged the ruling class as Jesus did. Those who do find out post haste that it has a dark side, that it often regards its dependents with contempt, and that its holy exterior remains that way only as long as one remains its fool:

         And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. [Luke 4:28-29] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


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

You Will Know Them By Their Fruits: WOLVES IN WOOL (2)

        Real Christianity was originally written twenty years ago. Everything I said then has come true or is in the process of coming true. However, the book remains as fresh as if it was published yesterday.

         The reason real Christians still continue to struggle two decades later is not because the enemy has not been identified. It has been. I revealed in the book exactly who the enemy is and who continues to powerfully resist the truth and the consequent spiritual freedom and power the Lord Jesus is bringing forth.

         The enemy is not far. In fact, exactly as the Lord Jesus taught, the bad guys are right next to the good guys. The enemy is intermingled among us exactly as all those invisible fallen angels the Lord Jesus saw and outed. He revealed them. They could not hide from Him as they did from everyone else. And as we continue on toward the Great Awakening, both the invisible fallen angels of our time and their “invisible” human counterparts will be increasingly exposed.

         You will know them by their fruits.

         “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” [Matthew 7:15-20] [1]

         The following is an excerpt from Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church:

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         Jesus has always maintained a remnant of true believers within the earth. His Qahal has never ceased to exist.

         Though only a small minority compared to the vast collection of Christian adherents in the world, its members continue to honor their Messiah as did the upper-roomers. However, since the Lord’s community has never been concerned with geopolitics, the forced subjugation of people groups, or the writing of very subjective chronicles, it has faded from historical view. Even if this knowledge cannot be satisfactorily documented for the skeptics among us, the fact of the matter is that the characteristics of the first Christian community, the prototype, remain extremely different from most of the churches and church organizations throughout history and modern times, both in practice and doctrine. Christians continue to be tied to structures promoting dual class division and institutional formats which have little to do with real Christianity. Christians have largely rejected the work of their most distant ancestors, and have lost due respect for the truths they taught, and the One who taught them.

         Will we continue to be so blind and arrogant that we place the blame for this fact on them, rather than ourselves? They are the ones who built the foundation. They are the ones who paid in blood to set the example which all successive generations were to follow. If their very immature spiritual juniors of the present continue in this vein of quiet mockery and religious complacency, the Unreal Church of the Conformed will grow even larger with greater determination against truth. In fact, the bloody persecution of real Christians will expand from the present hell-holes of this world and will soon go international. Every nation will take part. The greatest enemies of the present day community of called-out ones, however, are not modern Herods and Neros, but modern religionists intent on protecting their turf. And who are these chief persecutors? Who are the new Christian Pharisees? In what form do they exist today? Who are the ones influenced by the same spirit that gave Saul of Tarsus his commission to fight the Church? Such deceived ones are much closer to all of us than we think. Through their resolute and unwavering stand for their chosen form of Christianity, they have allowed themselves to become the very image of the unreal.

         Our greatest enemy wears virgin wool. [2]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

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

Spiritual Pioneers: The Faithful Remnant

         Today is Rosh Hashanah.

         Happy New Year!

         And what a new year it is. Much spiritual progress has been made over the preceding years, and the time has now arrived when fruit is forming on the trees and gardens are bringing forth produce. A ton of work was done to get us to this point, and in the early going it was hit and miss.

         There was much suffering. It is always this way for those who attempt the impossible, for those stalwart pioneers who envision a much better future than their less than ideal present, and are willing to go to any lengths to achieve the desired result.

         Our Lord Jesus was such a pioneer. He entered into this world during a very trying time for His own people as a Savior and Mentor, and as One who would get the nation back on track. But for the nation of Israel proper, or actually what was left of Israel, He failed to remedy the situation.

         Perhaps it was because He was dealing with the worst generation in the nation’s history:

         “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” [Matthew 11:16-19]

         Or in their case, stupid is as stupid does.

         The nation rejected God. And forty years later it ceased to exist.

         But within this nation at that time was a faithful remnant. There was always a remnant. And it was the remnant that kept the nation alive. It was the faith of the remnant that kept God involved because He had signed an everlasting covenant, and as long as there were some, though few, who abided in the covenant as He did, the covenant would stay in effect.

         Nevertheless, for the nation proper, it was doomed. It was doomed for the same reasons it suffered judgment on far too many occasions in its history to recount. The people actually doomed themselves due to their love of sin and rebellion, disobedience and stubbornness, pride and trust in themselves, and an overwhelming desire to be like all the rebellious nations around them instead of being the nation of God.

         Mostly, though, it was because of their unbelief.

         But again, there was always a faithful remnant, and at times the faithful remnant had gained such a foothold it brought the entire nation back on course and in right standing with God.

         Yet in the first century A.D. the opposite happened—the bad guys had wrested control. And their control was so great and far-reaching they would never lose control, and thus, they doomed themselves since they rejected God’s authority. They failed to discern the times. They did not understand that no matter how hard they clutched control their grip would be broken. 

          And unseen by many, in the midst of all this spiritual warfare and transition, regardless of all the political machinations and skullduggery, something else very significant was taking place at that time that had never happened before—a new nation was forming.

         The birth of the new coincided with the death of the old.

         There is solid research that makes what most have been taught to believe to be a specious claim—that by the end of the first century, more descendants of Abraham accepted their Messiah than rejected Him.

         How can this be?

         It is the same dynamic taking place in America at present. Polls consistently show that the American people in general generally disagree with the actions and beliefs of their government, regardless of the party in power, yet they keep returning the same people and kinds of people to leadership within their government.

         How can this be?

         Do we not recall Scriptures such as the following?

         His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. [John 9:22]

         Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. [John 12:42-43] [1]

         This exact dynamic happens within many American churches. The majority is such that it never makes waves, never rocks the boat, never questions authority, and thus is more or less a blob of nothingness that looks great but is less filling, because they are not filled with the Spirit of God, and because they love the approval of men rather than God. And everyone knows it is far better to be a good little boy or girl and always go along to get along.

         That’s how America was founded.

         NOT.

         And it’s not how the community of the Lord was founded!

         The Lord’s new nation was formed by those who stood up for God and His Truth regardless of what it cost them personally. Thus, one can see that there were many, many people flying under the radar at that time within the nation of Israel proper for fear of those in control. That’s why the Lord Jesus was subjected to a kangaroo court and their idiotic decision, and why no one came to His defense. Most were scared to death and had been conditioned by those in power, though only a relative few, to never buck illicit authority.

         But after the nation was dissolved many descendants of Abraham saw the light that much more. The Lord predicted exactly what would happen, and He warned those to escape the judgment when it arrived, and these were even told where to go to be safe.

         But for those in control who refused to listen, the ones who ran their nation into the ground, there was no escape. There was nothing but judgment.

         Keep this in mind at this time. A new year has dawned and with it a new time for the people of God. It would be good for every single person who claims to be a real Christian to stand up for the Lord Jesus and be counted, though also understanding well that it will cost.

         So, what? It has always cost. Pioneers must take it on the chin for those coming after. They must fight and persevere so the squeamish will have someone to look upon to cure them of their squeamishness. Our Lord paid the greatest price of all and gave the greatest gift of all. The original apostles followed in His footsteps. Their walk with God and work for God cost them everything.

         But as a result, look what we have two thousand years later. And look at what is coming forth just now. The Lord’s people are gaining in strength and unity, and are maturing en masse. What is the devil to do?

         How about the same thing he’s always done? Convince people to fear him rather than God. Convince people to go along with a dead set-up instead of mustering the courage to journey into life. Tell people to always seek the approval of men, even if they be a member of the religious ruling class. The devil destroyed Israel in this way. And he is trying very hard to destroy the community of the Lord the same way.

         This is how he does it (Pay attention):

         He puts in power those who are in it for themselves. And those he puts in power kick out all the stalwarts who stand for God. This is exactly how Israel became a non-prophet nation and is how most churches and ministry organizations become non-prophet organizations.

         Prophets and those like them stand up for the Lord whatever it may cost. They die with their boots on. They die with their integrity intact. They stand up to the purveyors of false doctrine. They rail against religious and/or political idiots who stand in the place of authority but against the God of all authority. How many of the Lord’s rebukathons must we read before we see this?

         They got Him because He revealed them, and He wasn’t afraid of what they would do to Him.

         Yet many people are presently afraid. They are very afraid. They are consumed by fear. Hence, sluggish, dead churches and a country on the brink.

         But also, a new nation forming.

         And a Great Awakening in the making…

         But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.

         You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.

         Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

         And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? [Romans 11:17-24]   

         © 2013 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.