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A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 7)

The initial history of the Early Church occurred during 32-70AD. Afterwards, until the early 300s, real Christianity grew exponentially. Then the enemy made a masterstroke…

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The Christian Tower Builders had been preparing well. During a period of roughly 230 years after the destruction of the nation of Israel (70AD) and the establishment and great fruitfulness of the Lord’s spiritual Kingdom throughout the Roman Empire, the enemy had been stealthily at work. He had developed a plan to strike back at his hated nemesis even though its full effect would be long in coming. His first intention was to undermine the original teachings of the Lord by introducing familiar philosophical reasonings and standard ancient religious concepts which centered on idolatry. He would add Gnostic understandings which initially emerged during the apostle Paul’s time primarily in Asia Minor centered roughly at Ephesus, having likely originated in Alexandria, Egypt. In essence, the enemy would do what he had always done to lead people astray: Obfuscate their thinking, corral them into cults, and draw them into eventual worship of him whether such people knew it or not.  

He would also begin the process of recreating and applying the accoutrements of tyrannical rule which would largely mirror the Roman emperor and his court and thus generate the means to rule over as many Christians as possible through as few as possible. This had always been a successful strategy in other cultures in prior times in that it created influential figureheads by which to control and manage the herds of humanity regardless of realm—government/politics, religion, the military, or even economics. Regarding Christians who had already adapted to following one Leader—the Lord Jesus—the enemy would have to make the attempt to introduce sub-leaders, those who stood between God and the follower and who would act as religious mediators. In this way he could cut off a believer’s direct communication with the Lord by making him go through a surrogate and compel him to become dependent on a stand-in—a hireling—and by this muddy the believer’s knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. Sound familiar?

One may wonder how the enemy thought he could be successful at any of this after the great triumphs of the Lord’s Community, the far-reaching application and successful results of its spiritual power and authority (greater than any other), and the prodigious number of born again believers to the tune of multiple millions. Why did he think his subterfuge may work?

To start with, one may consider all that God had done for His ancient people and what He equipped them with, starting from Adam to the nascent nation of Israel escaping Egyptian bondage, and onward to the full burgeoning of the nation, and then see what happened to each. How did Adam fare? How did the promising initial population of the world deteriorate so badly that it required the Flood of Noah to cleanse the land? What happened to that first generation after the Exodus? How did the conquest of Canaan go? What eventually happened to the promising nation of Israel? You see, the Lord was positively involved in all these efforts, had great plans, unlimited resources, and the spiritual power to see them through and grant success but they all botched it. How was any of this failure even possible?

So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. [Hebrews 3:19]

Unbelief: ἀπιστία (ap-is-tee’-ah): faithlessness, disbelief, unfaithfulness (disobedience), want of faith, weakness of faith:—unbelief.

—Adam introduced sin into the world. The world population destroyed in the Flood had grown far from God, willingly distant from His will, exponentially evil, and characterized by the sin of murder. The first generation of Israelites after the astounding miracle of the Red Sea Crossing at the Exodus were wiped out in the desert and never entered the Promised Land due to unbelief, disobedience, rebellion, and obstinate opposition to the divine will. Joshua’s Conquest was great in part but the assignment was never completed fully per his instructions and far too many Canaanites remained which eventually assisted in corrupting God’s people.

So you see, the devil had much to be hopeful for. He felt assured that he could corrupt Christians as he had corrupted so many others in world history. He knew what he had assisted in doing to the nation of Israel, which no longer existed, and was confident he could do the same to the Lord’s new spiritual Community. Though this may have appeared inconceivable early on and certainly a daunting undertaking due to the Lord’s people being a much greater foe than past heroes of the faith, the enemy knew he was still dealing with human beings who had their flesh to contend with. They were imperfect. They may have chinks in their armor. They may be vulnerable to certain sins. Those Christians who failed to stay filled with the Holy Spirit, die daily, and crucify their flesh would be susceptible to a successful attack and such were those who would be targeted.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. [1Peter 5:8][1]

He would attack indirectly. He would make a play on the flesh. He would mess with people’s minds. He would conjure up the specter of religious pride. If these sound familiar they are exactly what He tried on the Lord Jesus with obviously no success whatsoever. But they had worked in the past. They worked with Adam and Eve and later Israelite kings, notably Solomon. They certainly worked with the Pharisees et al. It was a known strategy and a very familiar story. If he managed to make steady inroads during the second and third centuries he could eventually reach the plain of Shinar phase of the operation. Would the devil be able to foment a maneuver in which the spiritual reality of living stones could be transformed into a religion of fake rocks? Made of burnt mud brick? Could he gather enough faux believers to overcome the real believers and therefore institute a new Christianity, one based on syncretism and hybrid renderings, on ultra-ceremonialism, and authoritarian rule?

This was certainly his aim. Again, he knew the concept well and knew it worked well. The challenge would be furthering the notion that Christians need not obey the Lord Jesus exclusively or obey His directives of being Spirit-filled as per the Book of Acts model. It was the only model that worked, of course, at establishing a real Christian and equipping him or her to successfully overcome the world, crucify the flesh, remain properly subjected to the Lord, walk in the Spirit, and defeat spiritual enemies.

The devil knew he must thus construct his own oppositional monolith to counteract the real Church, his own vast “community,” and his own hierarchy through which to rule.

When the fourth century dawned, he decided the time was right. He had worked hard over two centuries to blur the lines of what Christianity was and had introduced damnable heresies as it were, an echo of ancient OT times when he raised up false prophets in the land of Israel. Peter wrote:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly… [2Peter 2:1-5 KJV]

The devil had convinced enough Christians to betray the Lord the same way the faithless Israelites had. He must now create an opposing force sufficient to engage in battle on equal terms. He had a means in mind. He had a particular man in mind. He would now foist it upon an unbelieving unaware world and do it quickly so as to deceive enough of the population to render them willing accomplices.

The Christian Tower of Babel was becoming a reality.

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


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

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.

Fighting For the Promised Land

         Sometime today, find the time to take a break. Turn off the TV. Step away from the computer. Find a quiet place to think and pray. See if you can hear the Lord. He is speaking. He is trying to tell us something very significant.

         When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.”

         Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”

         But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” [Numbers 13:25-33]

         Twelve men were sent into the land. Ten returned displaying a wicked heart of unbelief. Only two of the ten, Caleb and Joshua, believed. 

         Pessimists, religious traditionalists, and Christian wimps are everywhere. They man our pulpits, saturate the airwaves, and insist that all is lost.

         Only they are not saying it in quite those terms. They say it in the sense the ten weasel spies of Hebrew infamy said it. They say it the way every fearful, non-believing betrayer of the Lord in a Christian costume always says it:

         “All is lost but we must carry on, taking our shots, knowing we have lost and will continue to lose, the country is too far gone, all have bowed the knee to Baal, the enemy is too powerful, the fix is in, there is no way to change the status quo, they’re gonna get us. O woe to us, the persecuted! On we go with sad faces and depressed demeanors, we are left with merely going through the motions and waiting for our blessed rapture, can’t wait to get out of here, this world is not my home, I’m only passing through, let America die, let the devil have our country. The sons of Anak are giants! We are mere grasshoppers! Alas, God is too weak…”

         And we wonder why the Lord will have to toss most of mankind headlong into hell.

         Christian unbelievers are the worst unbelievers on the planet. They say all of kinds of great stuff but at their hearts are weak, wimpy, and very unclear-on-the-concept Judas Iscariots. Keep in mind, the Lord is not asking us to do His job. He is only asking us to agree with Him and obey Him so He can do His job. He considers this whole human mess as His problem in a certain sense, and has created the requisite perfect solution. He personally paid the price for our sins. He blesses us with undeserved favor called grace. He enlists in His movement toward spiritual liberty whoever might be willing.

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

         Everyone on the planet has sinned, yet the Lord desires to release us from the pain and bondage of our sin so we can be free. Many have been set free. His desire is to bless all and love and care for us. He tries to take the pressure off our minds and burdens from our backs if we will only let Him. Imagine someone who deserves the death penalty or a life sentence in some hellhole prison suddenly being released. Would that not solicit off-the-scale joy?

         But our joy is curtailed as His is often curtailed through Christian unbelief and disobedience. No group of people betrays the Lord more often and more consistently than those who call themselves “Christians.” There are real Christians, of course. There is a real remnant of true believers and obedient followers, but these comprise a distinct minority.

         To this I say, “So what?” God’s followers have always been in the minority. The majority has always been wrong. God has never needed them. He has always made do with whatever small group or community He can muster together. Consider the fight facing the first Jewish believers of the first century who had to go up against the powerful and bigoted religious parties of Judea. By 70 AD, the vaunted Jewish Temple was destroyed but real believers were growing by leaps and bounds. How did these believers stand fast against the brutal Roman Empire? They were getting killed and persecuted right and left but continued winning the spiritual war.

         Fast forward to America of the present: Real Christians in this country are not facing the Roman Empire. We are not facing hateful Pharisees and Sadducees willing to kill and butcher us on a whim. AMERICA IS OUR COUNTRY AND WAS PAID FOR WITH THE BLOOD OF PATRIOTS. Christians have constitutional rights here that Christians in other countries do not possess. Great victories have already been won but most American Christians continually fail to take advantage of them. The Lord is asking us to take what is ours just as He commanded the twelve spies to take hold of their promised land.

         No, we are not supposed to “take over the country.” Christians are simply supposed to obey God and let everyone feel our weight. Christians in this country are weak for two principle reasons: (1) A general refusal to obey the Lord Jesus fully and (2) A further refusal to unite as one people under His dominion. “Christians” insist on denominations and separate camps and hate and resistance toward our fellow believers. “Christians” demand to indulge their flesh and pride. “Christians” hate love and “Christians” hate unity. Instead of doing things God’s way, “Christians” attempt to have “interfaith” dialogues and major on things held in common.

         IT WILL NEVER WORK. This is what will work: Each Christian must get right with God and obey Him. It starts with the individual. At the end, we will all be judged as individuals, so why do most Christians continue to hide behind their denominational beliefs, church communities, religious leaders, and dead traditional practices?

         We have an incredible opportunity at present to show this country what Christian love and unity are all about. The country is coming unglued and the fracturing will only continue. Very hard times are ahead. American citizens are turning against one another like never before in history. No one really knows what will happen or how bad it will get but experts know these times are unprecedented. It is the perfect setting for the greatest Great Awakening America has ever seen.

         There are two choices for American Christians: The majority will continue to wimp out like the ten spineless spies who had no faith in God. The minority will be like Joshua and Caleb who will fight any fight and take down any giant in their way. Only this time, the country will not be saddled with the unbelieving majority. This time, Caleb and Joshua will not have to pay a forty-year sentence for something they never did. This time, the Lord will not condemn America to further wandering in the Sinai deserts.

         This time, Real Christians will win. And by that win, the nation itself will be renewed and restored. Think about that when the Lord hands out the spoils of war. Those who fought and followed the Lord into freedom will be blessed as Joshua and Caleb were blessed. All other “Christians” will look under their Christmas trees and find a one-way ticket to diddlysquat.

         © 2011 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.