Hello everyone. Hope all is well. I completed Part 4 of this series and will likely be posting it on Monday morning, March 29. It is entitled Spiritual Resurrection. There are many Biblical facts within it that some may not be aware of so I hope it will be interesting to you and fill in some gaps in your understanding. I wrote it on Thursday and it turned out to be five pages but I think it reads well. Because it’s been several days since I posted Part 3 I am making this announcement to make you aware it is on the way and to prepare for it.
The Lord Jesus greatly desires reconciliation with everyone and has done all He can to make that happen. When we do our part it does happen. The following is the central passage in His Word revealing The Ministry of Reconciliation:
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [2Corinthians 5:18-20]
Thanks to all of you who have read all or parts of this series so far, and thanks for the many excellent comments that have added to our understanding of the subject matter. You are all appreciated. If anyone wants to read parts they may have missed I have added links and their titles below. Be blessed. See you on Monday.
3/29: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (4) Coming Monday
“Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:7]
RETURNING TO GOD
The innocence of early childhood can be regained. Our sin can be removed. We can become completely spiritually cleansed. This is what the Lord’s perfect sacrifice achieved if one chooses to apply it. He not only provided a free ticket to heaven but allowed for the complete removal or remission of our sins. The weight of years of sin can be absolutely removed from a person freeing one not only of the incessant conviction of one’s conscience but the actual extraction of the sin content stuck fast in one’s being. The Lord Jesus provided the only means to do this. There is no other way. And He did it not only to free any who may be willing but primarily to restore relationship with Him.
This is the Ministry of Reconciliation that the apostle Paul refers to in his second letter to the Corinthian believers. He explains it as the ultimate reaching out from God to us. It is why God had to become one of us. It is why He had to live a sinless life. And it is why He had to sacrifice His perfect life on our behalf. He had to defeat death. The only way to do that was to die without sin. It was the greatest act of love possible and illustrates perfectly the degree to which God was willing to go to ransom our souls and restore us to the original intention He had for each of us. He never wanted anyone to be burdened with sin and separation from Him.
FREEDOM AND SIN
God created human beings as free individuals allowed to make choices. If one does not possess the freedom to choose then one has no freedom. True freedom means one can choose anything. One might not have the means but retains any number of possibilities within reasonable parameters. Most people have limited and often severely limited means. Their possibilities are woefully finite. Others have greater means. Regardless, each choice one makes has its own ramifications, either good or bad.
Everyone will eventually choose wrong to varying degrees and incur bad results. It may be that we do not understand the seriousness of bad choices when we make them and the impact they will have upon our lives. It is often the case that the results stretch far into the future. Thus, there is not only the ever growing cumulative weight of sin to deal with in the life of the sinner but the personal time bombs waiting down the road that will surely go off on schedule. Sometimes a single sin choice can have a devastating effect on one’s future and affect many people. Sometimes people make such choices willingly with an apathetic attitude. Sometimes people are entirely selfish and simply do not care what happens to others as a result of their bad choices.
Whatever the case may be one always has the choice of making the one choice that makes all the difference for the better. When people get convicted of crimes that involve fines or jail time they understand they must pay the cost of their crimes by paying the fines and going to jail for however long it may be to fulfill the requirements of their sentencing. They will not be free of these obligations until the requirements are fulfilled. Imagine then, the blessing of having someone else pay one’s fines and serve their jail time for them. Imagine if one is convicted of a crime requiring the death penalty but someone else dies in one’s place. To those who simply refuse to attempt an understanding of sin and eternal life this will make no sense and they will not consider the possibility.
Others, however, have a gnawing sense of sin in their lives. They have a working conscience that convicts them. They may try to silence their conscience through inebriating substances or simply remain functionally inebriated so they will not have to deal with the subject of sin. Again, sin is very powerful and if not dealt with properly through spiritual means it will have to be dealt with through physical means that have no effect on the soul but only deaden the feelings of the body and mind toward it.
People have also been taught to deaden one’s feelings through religion. If they simply go through their religious rites and rotes it will give them a feeling that all is well. This is, of course, bewitching. It is a false feeling. It is highly deceptive and damaging. The process may indeed keep them in somewhat better mental shape than not having such an outlet but will have no actual effect upon one’s sin. Right standing with God demands that we get rid of sin. Unless we do it His way—the only way—the only way that actually works—we will remain in our sins though we may have been convinced or convinced ourselves otherwise.
The devil is a liar. Human nature is often quite despicable. This world is a fake sensory illusion for the most part that deceives and defrauds. There are those who want to use you, control you, scare the hell out of you, and enrich themselves through you. But the best of those at such things are those who are excellent at appearing as the very opposite of what they actually are in order to gain your trust. They insist that all is above board and everything they ask one to submit to will be wholly beneficial. It obviously helps that an unthinking majority buys into such fakery which makes the participants thereof more comfortable and secure.
The best among such manipulative entities are those in the realm of religion. The very best of them are those within fake forms of Christianity, together of which as an overall entity I refer to as Unreal Christianity. The leaders within this realm are highly proficient at the presentation of illusion as something real. They are actors. They are actually only surface-oriented though suggest spiritual depth. They make much use of symbolism. Their efforts have an ultimate purpose which is to keep people from spiritual reality and use them instead for their own means. As the Lord called the Pharisees whitewashed tombs, one may refer to the entities that make up Unreal Christianity, regardless of size, as whitewashed cults.
THE REAL AND THE UNREAL
Real Christianity is that in which the Lord Jesus has total control and authority. Unreal Christianity is any entity in which the Lord Jesus does not have total control and authority.
All Christian organizations are composed of people. Each person makes a choice to join and participate. Each person has his or her reasons for doing such. Each person submits to the authority thereof. He or she willfully surrenders to the dictates and beliefs of the religious organization. This is in essence a contract in which the individual consents to the terms of those who author the contract. There is obviously no negotiation of terms.
It is generally the same when one becomes a real Christian. The main difference, of course, is that one submits to the actual Founder and not mere pretenders and hirelings. One voluntarily chooses to surrender wholeheartedly to the Lord Jesus. The Lord then gains control and authority over one by his or her individual submission to Him. By the terms of the covenant one is bought with a price. Real Christians owe Him their lives. He ransomed them from the enemy. He saved them from the debilitating effects of sin. He did this freely of His own will. He demonstrated the greatest love possible. He absolutely proves His love in this way.
Thus, the terms of the Lord’s covenant are clear: There must be 100% submission. Our trust in Him must be 100%. Our faith must be 100%. Our obedience must be 100%. We must have a personal spiritual genesis. Anything less than this will never work. He gave everything He had in His life including making a supreme sacrifice to pay for our sins and remove them forever. He initiated a blood covenant. The only way this covenant can work is if we also make a 100% commitment to Him as He did for each of us. Our blood must be figuratively shed in repentance as a type of blood sacrifice in which we destroy our old lives in order to bring forth the new.
“Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose (destroy) it, and whoever loses (destroys) his life will preserve it. [Luke 17:32-33]
It is why He said we MUST be born again. Receiving the complete remission of our sins demands a new birth. Receiving His salvation demands a new birth. Being fully reconciled to the Lord Jesus demands a new birth. It is the only possible way the covenant can work. Without a new birth there is no covenant. This is exactly what the Lord Jesus taught. All of His teachings reflect this. The entire New Testament reflects this. Written throughout the New Covenant Scriptures is the central theme of an entirely new birth that must take place for each individual if the covenant is to be ratified. The Lord has already fulfilled His part of the covenant 100%. He awaits each of us to fulfill our part. We must never settle for anything less because if we do, regardless of how we may think or feel, we will come up short of the full requirements which He initiated and expects us to fulfill. Without fulfilling the requirements we will never receive the spiritual benefits of the covenant. We will remain in our sins.
His teachings on this are not secret but fully transparent. Whoever reads and studies the written Word of God will discover them. We are blessed to have this record of His full curriculum and one can be certain that the Lord has made this record available so all will have the opportunity to know. His teachings reveal the new birth, the new covenant, and the new and living way. His teachings reveal the reality and necessity of the cross through which we can be reconciled to God.
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. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. [Hebrews 12:1-3] 
© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
If you’re a Christian of some form or another, the odds are high that you’ve been religiously programmed in some way or another. They don’t call it indoctrination for nothing. You must find a way to break free.
A LONG TIME AGO IN A LAND FAR AWAY
Let’s set the scene: Two thousand years ago, in a small secluded land, a solitary figure arose from abject obscurity and began to teach. He gathered a small group of followers, twelve in number, to assist Him. He explained that they must be fully dedicated and so this small band of men lived as a brotherhood twenty-four hours a day. They traveled the countryside, visited small villages, and on occasion ventured into larger towns, even those not necessarily of their ancestral tradition.
These men were thoroughly unknown to the rest of the world, but also remained obscure among their own in the early days of the mission. If it were not for some extremely extraordinary events that took place among them by the hand of this Teacher, the group would likely have never achieved any notoriety at all and would have just as likely faded out, unknown to history. There were such groups that did. Local bands of rabbis and students dotted the place, this little country, a place with a centuries-old tradition of legends and stories of past exploits and endeavors. They said it was once at the top of nations, that it achieved the greatness reserved only for the rarest and best, and that it achieved it in a way no other country had ever done.
The residents believed these stories. Their priests and doctors of law, what some referred to as shamans and others as religious enforcers, kept the traditions alive through various means, at best to maintain revealed truths and at worse to control the populace and extract wealth. The people had no choice but to honor these men since they had attained power over the people by possessing closely held access to the ancestral writings and the ability to decipher their content. Only they could read from them and deliver teachings based upon them. No one else had access to any meaningful degree.
The new Teacher had been raised upon these traditions and knew them as well as anyone. He had become very well versed in the teachings thereof, as others had done, but most of the others had taken another turn long before by entering the ranks of the learned by joining up with the established denominations from which honor and wealth could be appropriated. Many a proud parent saw their grown children become exalted expositors of the law and sacred parchments, not knowing or apparently caring that such expositions had become stale and distant from those of the originals long before.
The great patriarchs, in a distant age, and later prophets, were said to be in close contact with what this strange and small people referred to as the One God. They had communed with Him and heard His great Words, and honored the great God with their lives. The people of the present knew conditions must have been much different and better in those days long ago and a few longed for such to be again.
The new Teacher did not take the traditional ministerial route. He was no mere ecclesiastic. He did not join the ranks of the powerful public officially-ordained clerics but struck out completely on His own. He was a solitary Man, a lone figure on the outer fringes, collecting not the learned ones from religious academies as student followers, but everyday men, fishermen and tradesmen, and even the lowborn and despised, like a certain tax collector. This merry band of misfits was truly unique and showed no future promise that anyone could see, and appeared destined, like so many others, for the scrap heap of wayward wonderers and wretched falsifiers.
Except, again, for the curious presence of those otherworldly occurrences that no one else had ever seen or experienced—those strange works that followed them wherever they went—those “extremely extraordinary events.” And when people saw the events, they also began paying more attention to this Man’s teachings and pronouncements. They noticed first, that His teachings were not actually so different at all from what they had grown up hearing, but secondly, that he delivered His teachings and pronouncements in a way that no one had ever done before or even heard of before. He was powerful. He never simply read a script or spoke in the usual dry and monotonous manner of the elders and priests, or carried any scrolls that anyone could see, but delivered His words as if somehow, in some unknown way, He actually was the words. His words did not simply fall to the ground or quickly dissipate in the immediate air as all were used to, but were delivered in a way in which the words entered directly into a person, like the air he or she breathed, and stirred his soul and revived his heart. It was not as if they were words, but food. They were like spiritual food. Yes, that was it.
Others came. They sat enthralled at what they were hearing. The Scriptures were coming alive as delivered by this obscure young Preacher, if one could call Him that. He was more like a Father teaching His children, but how could that be? He was so young. And a tradesman! He bore the mark of much physical strength and long toil in the hard and rough elements. No preacher or priest they knew ever looked like that. How does such a man have so much wisdom and ability? Old men with much experience, vaunted elders of the land, had not the vast wisdom and abilities of this Man.
Who is He?
From the above description we can ascertain quite the contrast between The Lord’s original ministry and that of later forms of Christianity which obviously do not possess this powerful spiritual dynamic. Their character exposes them not so much as Christianity light but as entirely different entities. We fully understand such a contrast in other fields or subjects, when something vibrant and energetic either becomes downgraded over time through use, neglect, or attack, or when it is entirely replaced by a facsimile which merely poses as the original. Why don’t we consider this in the case of Christianity?
The same thing happened to the nation of ancient Israel. There was time when it reached a zenith among nations and was blessed with God’s full protection and providence. And all throughout its history to that point there was at the very least a strong Remnant of the faithful which kept the fire burning, but this didn’t last. The Remnant certainly lasted and remained as vibrant as ever. What changed was the number of spiritually energized participants holding true to the Word first delivered. The majority had drifted away from the heart of God and flaked off. Whatever they did outwardly, if they maintained the correct geography, or became members of an official religious order, didn’t matter. They had turned on the Lord in heart.
Thus we see when studying the history of the nation, a new majority arose which was not connected whatsoever to the original or in fellowship to the Remnant. They certainly were not connected to God. The fruit was not there. The same has happened in Christianity. It has happened because Christians allowed themselves to be torn from their roots and planted elsewhere under the authority of counterfeit vinedressers in entirely different vineyards. In time the forms of Christianity these Christians became associated with were essentially the only ones they knew. They did not know a variant curriculum had been foisted upon them or their parents or ancestors. And through the use of the usual religious fear tactics by those in charge to keep everyone on the plantation, they had no heart to attempt an escape but settled into their respective cultural practices and identities. They had become captured and it often passed from generation to generation.
It is the clear evidence of indoctrination. Their lives reveal religious programming. Why their brand doesn’t match first century Christianity does not matter to them because actual history does not matter, both because those who know it reject it and those who don’t have no frame of reference. As far as the latter are concerned, their denomination’s version of events is the only one that matters. This is a bad bridge to cross because the next step is actually defaming the originals as primitive and unenlightened, and unaware of “higher truths” arising later, an otherwise clear falsehood. This perspective also implicates the Lord Himself as a veritable imposter, meaning a “new Jesus” has been created in the minds of these unfortunate ones, both to make their faux forms work and also to relieve their conscience. When presented with the real Lord Jesus He appears to them as a foreigner and His real curriculum is seen as wholly incorrect, unworkable, and even strange.
When we see the Lord for who He actually is we understand, as the Scriptures state, that He never changes. We are still in the Age of Grace. With reference to the Church it began at Pentecost. Nothing has changed regarding His pertinent commandments since then. What was done in the beginning remains in effect now. For those Christians who disagree, they may argue until the cows come home but have no leg to stand on and the Lord will never bless them. Until they get their hearts right before Him such Christians will never see what those people saw so long ago in His ministry. What He did then He is still doing now.
Maybe only a few have experienced this. Maybe the Remnant is comparatively small as it was in those OT times when the generational line was reduced to a thread. Or maybe many Christians are not doing their work to become good disciples, “rightly dividing the Word of truth.” Can it be that most are satisfied with far less than the Lord has appropriated? Don’t we all want the full blessing? Don’t we know our Lord will not only rain down His love but also His very Spirit to fill us with His energetic and vibrant life, to do as He did and as the early believers did? There comes a time when we need to get out more. Abundant life awaits for all those who seek it.
There’s a green pasture out there where dreams come true.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:7-13]
© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” [John 20:21-22]
2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Our author Luke characterized the loud sound from heaven that morning as a strong and driving wind, a bearing breeze “bringing forth.” But rather than the prevalent word for wind he used another—pnoe—which primarily means “breath” or “breath of life.” It had a purpose and destination: It was the holy breath of God.
The first thing we must recall is this:
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. [Genesis 2:7]
Adam had been formed—created from the element-rich dry soil of the earth—though was in an inanimate condition. He was the highest life form of Creation and made in God’s own image. This is beyond profound. For such a being there could only be one animating force possible. It must be the breath of God.
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” [John 3:8]
Though this verse is well known, it is also otherwise well known for containing a subpar translation. In the New Testament, there are a total of thirty-one occurrences of the Greek word for wind—anemos. As in Acts 2:2, this is not one of them. The word “wind” in this verse is from the Greek word pneuma which is translated as “Spirit” in every other instance of its use in the passage. Thus, the Lord never said, “The wind blows where it wishes,” but more like “The Spirit goes where it will.”
Now, let’s try this verse again and see how closely it matches up with Acts 2:2:
“The Spirit goes where it will and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” [John 3:8]
And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. [Acts 2:2]
The 120 people in the Upper Room were about to be born again, or born of the Spirit, just as Adam was once literally born of the Spirit, or the breath of God. The Lord specifically told Nicodemus that no one could see (perceive, discern, discover) or enter into the kingdom of God unless he was born again.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:6-7]
No one of us remembers our physical birth. Not so with our mothers. It goes without saying, of course, but human birth is a powerful process and unforgettable experience. So is the new birth. It denotes a completely new life and a total transformation. After all, it is the Spirit of God we are referring to here. He is like a rushing mighty wind. There was a sound, a noise. He filled the Upper Room and the entire house with His presence. He would soon fill each person with His Holy Spirit.
He would breathe new life into them just as He did with Adam.
© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
They’re all dead and in the grave. Their mortal remains are all that remain in this three dimensional world. But they still live on. They have gone to the other side.
To those human beings who have no belief in a spiritual world, they truly are the intelligent animals they claim to be. Though intelligent might be a stretch. It is not so intelligent to have what is otherwise the obvious evidence of God’s presence and creation all around us and still not see.
Have they been taught out of the truth? I suspect this is true. I remember, as a tyke, the wonder of it all. I believe with all my heart that all very young children are very close to God. They don’t question His presence. They don’t question spiritual reality because they don’t question goodness and life and laughter and joy. Even babies laugh out loud. I get tickled when they get so tickled they can’t stop laughing.
One wonders what happens to most humans as they get older. It can be argued that maybe their environment is bad or their parents are not so good or whatever. But this is all a crock. There have been so many born of a low estate with strong challenges that later left that estate simply because they willed themselves to and refused to be brought down by circumstance. I know my own family was neither rich nor poor. We had a good house and ate well. My parents were responsible. They loved us.
Speaking of eating well in otherwise humble conditions I heard of one man who came from a very poor family but said they always had plenty of food. He said he knew this was true because when he was a hungry kid he often asked for seconds and his Dad said he already had plenty.
It used to be that families made do with a whole lot less. You do the best you can. The Lord looks upon our lives and will help if we have any faith but I believe He protects us anyway. But it is our own wills and bad choices that get us in trouble. At the end of the day we are solely responsible and will have to face the Lord alone. I think it is wise to practice this. I think it is a smart thing to do to picture ourselves before the Lord at the judgment:
“What do you have to say for yourself?” And we would say “You died in my place Sir. Without You I have no chance. I have tried to do my best. I committed many sins but repented a lot also. It took a long time but You finally convinced me that I am worthy of eternal life but only because You say so, and I believe You, and I know You love me, and I love You, and you paid my way to make it possible…”
And then I think, wait, hold on, shouldn’t one’s judgment before the Lord be a time of great joy? I mean, if we have been living by faith and trust in Him and are really trying hard to be a good Christian and have achieved something or another for Him, shouldn’t we believe that He will give us great news? I am not talking about presumption or spiritual arrogance and pride but just looking at it the way a child would. Would a young happy innocent child expect anything less than spending forever with his or her heavenly Father? This is why I think many Christians have made it all too complicated.
Those who have gone before would tell us this. They had found that the secret to living for the Lord and eventually getting to heaven was along these lines:
First of all, take the Lord at His Word. If He says the default destination of every soul is hell and that’s where you’re going without Him and all He can do for you then that’s where you’re going unless you do something about it. If He says there is another Way, a road that starts with a small gate and involves a narrow road pushed in on both sides by pressure that is sometimes not at all so comfortable, and that if one chooses this road and stays on it no matter what then one will eventually get to the destination which naturally occurs at the end of that road. We know this about every other road. No one travels without destinations in mind. The Lord’s Way has a destination.
Secondly, we have to know why we are here. The first church I belonged to after my born-again experience majored on teaching witnessing. We were always being told to go out and witness to others. So I did. A lot. With many. I was so anointed and had so much to say and everything was so brand new. I wanted everyone to know what I knew and how great the Lord was. A few years later in a new church I learned about something that was relatively new back then, or at least new to me. It was a “spiritual gifts” test based on Romans Chapter 12. Through this test I found out that I had a teaching gift. Teaching always came up first and prophesying second. This made perfect sense because I had an insatiable hunger for the Word of God and loved telling others everything I learned. Long before this I had already bought a brand new leather bound Thompson Chain Reference Bible and one of those big Strong’s concordances. I was always doing word studies and etc.
Knowing who I was and why I was here made it a lot easier to live for God. I know this will sound goofy to some who have no qualms about making fun of spiritual things, but I had discovered my mission in life. I have tried my best to honor my calling and stay on point in my mission, but as all real Christians know, we are simultaneously fighting a spiritual war and sometimes the enemy gets in some good licks and slows us down. Sometimes we mess up on our own. Sometimes we get knocked right down on our butts and it takes a while to get back up and get going again. But if we do what we had always done we will get back up. We will go on. It is due in part to a strong sense of duty and responsibility but it’s also because the work we are called to is something we enjoy and which actually charges our spiritual batteries. We also want to go stomp the devil the way he stomped us. We must never let the big idiot have the final say or the last lick. One must get up to fight again and give that piece of garbage yet another black eye and bloody lip.
Those who went before us know this also. Those solid and powerful believers did damage to the idiot’s disgusting little kingdom and rescued souls by the thousands. They knew what could be done and they did it. Their examples give us great inspiration because we see that they were just human as we are human, and the Lord was able to work through them, often in a mighty way, which gives us confidence that He can do the same with us. What a great thing it must be to complete one’s course and come to the end of the narrow road with the Lord Jesus Himself there to greet us! How cool is that?
So I encourage you all to continue on and know that if they could do it we can do it. It might seem highly unbelievable that flesh and blood human beings can somehow be transformed from this three dimensional world into an unseen spiritual world when for all practical reasons it looks like we just die and go to the grave and that’s it. But real Christianity, that which is based exclusively on the teachings of the Lord Jesus, says the grave we see is not the end of us but merely the end of a flesh and blood temple housing an eternal spirit until a future resurrection, and that we will live on forever in great joy and peace with the Lord. If we believe this and stay on the road, what He says will happen will happen. We will get there. But we must have a purpose. We must have a reason to live this life that brings honor to Him.
Those that went before us figured out early on who they were and what their purpose was and then they got after it and stayed after it. Attending to their callings made their life’s work possible, and it made life go by relatively fast. The more they paid attention to their walk the easier it was to stay on the road.
Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” [Luke 2:46-49] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.” [Revelation 12:9-10]
FROM THE INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BIBLE ENCYCLOPEDIA:
124 Accuser: <a-kuz’-er> This word, not found in the Old Testament, is the rendering of two Greek words:
(1) Greek: kategoros, that is, a prosecutor, or plaintiff in a lawsuit, or one who speaks in a derogatory way of another (Acts 23:30, 35; 25:16, 18; Rev 12:10);
(2) Greek: diabolos, meaning adversary or enemy. This word is rendered “accuser” in the King James Version and “slanderer” in the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version (2Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3).
According to the rabbinic teaching Satan, or the devil, was regarded as hostile to God and man, and that it was a part of his work to accuse the latter of disloyalty and sin before the tribunal of the former (see Job 1:6 ff; Zechariah 3:1 f; Revelation 12:10).
THE ADVERSARY AT WORK
We gather from the Book of Job that The Adversary (HaSatan) is in the business of doing everything possible to denigrate the people of God. As the early conversation goes, the Lord holds up Job to be a good example and a fine servant:
The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” [Job 1:8]
The Adversary was just getting started. He had plenty of fuel left. He rammed it into high gear and began telling the Lord it was only because He protects him so, and makes him virtually impervious to attack. He said:
“Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” [Job 1:9-11]
And this, thus, is the challenge. The Lord indeed protects His people but there are times when they must be tested. They are often tested, as per the Lord’s example, when something profound is about to happen. They must be found with no pride or arrogance. In essence, they must be tested and submitted to a process by which they can be purged of anything possibly within them that causes them to act like the enemy.
OVERCOMING THE FLESH
“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” [Matthew 26:41]
In New Covenant terminology, there is much reference to “the flesh.” It is defined as that part of a person which is indicative of one’s lower nature, that of purely natural processes, in which one acts according to one’s pure sinful humanity rather than according to the Spirit. The process of discipleship is therefore an ongoing progression toward developing a spiritual nature rather than a carnal one. The carnal nature wants to always be first, number one, and act out of personal pride. It is the antithesis of spiritual humility.
As I mentioned in my last post, the Lord Jesus said we must be as children. Young children have yet to develop the carnal nature brought on by advancement in sin. They are often joyous, happy, trusting, and humble. In answer to those of His disciples who were arguing about which of them might be the greatest, the Lord put forth the following:
But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.” [Luke 9:47-48]
The Lord obviously has a different definition of greatness. One sees this greatness in Him, as He is the most humble Man who ever lived, very self-effacing and always willing to turn the other cheek. He allowed Himself to be persecuted in such a way that those close to Him did not understand. In saying at His ongoing trial right before His death that His kingdom was not of this world, it helps explain so many of His actions when it appeared He never took up for Himself the way most people do.
He knew who He was, of course, but also lived according to a higher standard that is contrary to living according to basic human nature, in which selfishness and pride must rule.
The Lord Jesus was filled with the Spirit of God without measure, as the Father in His fullness dwelt within Him. He is God in flesh. But He still had His flesh to deal with. He overcame His flesh on an ongoing basis and never, ever allowed it to have the upper hand. Because He disciplined His flesh in such a powerful manner, His flesh was always subservient to His Spirit. This took a lot of work, the kind most people know nothing about, which also includes many Christians. Overcoming the flesh is a must for the spiritual disciple of the Lord. It is the only way one’s spirit can rule. But long before that occurrence can ever happen, one’s spirit must be born. It is why all real believers undergo a born-again experience. Otherwise, the flesh, or lower human nature, remains in charge.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. [Galatians 5:19-21]
Those who do practice such things must be under the Law. They have not taken authority over their lower nature and must therefore be ruled from without by a higher power. They must be told what they can and cannot do on a daily basis. Their conscience must always be at work to give them every opportunity of assistance toward knowing right and wrong, since they cannot control themselves. It is, of course, possible to overcome the dictates and desires of the flesh somewhat through personal (non-spiritual) discipleship of a kind, but this usually involves the mere strapping-on-of-the-plow for singular purposes which have no bearing on taking full control, since such is impossible. Those who appear to achieve it only give the impression of overcoming their lower nature but at best all they do is temporarily suppress it. There is only one way to defeat the flesh and bring it under subjection and that is by the Spirit of God.
WINNING THE BATTLE
Perhaps this is why there must be an accuser. As in the previously stated ISBE definition, the accuser is as “a prosecutor, or plaintiff in a lawsuit, or one who speaks in a derogatory way of another.” This is what HaSatan did to Job. The Lord spoke of Job in glowing terms. He was quite proud of His child. But the devil had to do his part, in that he must make every attempt to prove to God that Job was indeed not so great at all. He felt strongly he could prosecute him successfully if given the chance.
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” [Matthew 5:10-13]
When people join in with the devil to help him in his work, they engage in the insults as listed above. The flesh hates such insults, in that it will always strike back against attack and accusations if at all possible, unless greater damage may be done to it. What the Lord taught in this regard is absolutely completely contrary to the will of the flesh. He said disciples must rejoice when under persecution and undergoing slander? Yes. It is counterintuitive. It makes no sense to a carnal mind. But all this is illustrated in the life of Job. He was put to the test. His life was virtually destroyed. He lost everything. But he never lost his faith in God. He was being made fun of and accused even by his friends. His own wife told him to curse God. How many could hold up under such an onslaught? How many can withstand such ongoing adversarial tactics? How many can overcome the Accuser of the Brethren?
Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” [Mark 15:29-31]
But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” [Luke 23:33-35] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’” [Luke 22:25]
In revealing His original and prototypical ministry model, the Lord Jesus set the perfect example for His followers in positions of authority:
“But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” [Luke 22:26]
REJECTING THE LORD
But like boiling the proverbial frog, it did not take long for His teachings on the matter to become completely rejected by later generations of “Christians.” The frog sits in the pan, in comfortable water, but if one turns up the heat ever so slightly and gradually, the frog will never notice, even to the point of being boiled alive.
It is the enemy’s ultimate strategy to take a secret gradualism approach. Anything else will tip his hand and make his sinister machinations obvious. He must start small. The goal, of course, is to take power by stealing authority. I explained this in Part 1 of this series.
It began at the beginning. The devil and his fallen rebellious cohorts were cast down to Planet Earth by the Lord God prior to Adam’s creation. The planet became their abode. Their evil presence, as a sinister spectral fog, spread across the earth and covered it like a dark shroud.
Then the Lord God decided to invade the darkness. In keeping with His humble servant plan, He would strike at the very heart of the devil by sending forth a spiritual warrior that initially appeared to the powerful, arrogant evil one as a mere dog. How humiliating.
The Lord God thus created the most humble of superior beings by creating him from the very earth itself—He was an organic being, sharing many of the organic physical traits of mere animals. In this, Adam was highly unlike angels, and even fallen angels.
But then, the Lord God would bless this organic, natural being with celestial star power. Adam would thus also be like the myriad of shining angelic beings among the heavens. He would be both an organic man and a spiritual man. In fact, Adam would be like God:
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. [Genesis 1:27]
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. [Genesis 2:7]
One of the great secrets of spiritual success is great humility. This is why Real Christians must go through a complete and thorough repentance process to begin their born again experience. Repentance is humiliating. It kills human pride. It allows for a brand new start by destroying the old. The way up is down. Through repentance, and ongoing repentance, we always know who is really in charge. It assists in making a follower of the Lord very powerful in spiritual warfare.
However, this spiritual process has been largely lost and rejected by the lords of Christianity. For example, you see the same ridiculous anti-New Testament leadership model on display day after day, Sunday morning after Sunday morning, and splashed all across the airwaves. It is a model in which the 99 are lost in the pew as mere spectators without a voice and the 1 “found” sheep is bleating away incessantly up in the forefront on a high platform in a big pulpit under the spotlight and before the camera. He or she hogs it all. No one else is ever allowed to speak.
There is no law against this and if everyone wants to engage in the practice that is fine. BUT IT IS NOT NEW TESTAMENT. IT IS NOT THE LORD’S MODEL. It can and has given rise to arrogance, power-seeking, and much cash. It provides the perfect place for the flesh. Perhaps the Scripture could be read this way:
And He said to them, “The kings (leaders) of the Gentiles (Christians) lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’” [Luke 22:25]
The Greek word translated as Benefactors is euergetes. It appears only once in the New Testament. Strong’s defines it as thus: (1) Benefactor (2) A title of honour, conferred on such as had done their country service, and upon princes. A.T. Robertson defines it as a “doer of good.”
Of course, the Lord Jesus was teaching how it came to pass that His disciples would fight about who would be the best and the top leader. Even among the Lord’s apostles in the early going there was behind the scenes intrigue, displays of pride, and a scrambling about to gain the top leadership position. How often the Lord must have been amused. He was in fact telling them that they had previously been subjected to a false model of leadership, and that these so-called Benefactors or “doers of good” had actually created the false title for themselves in the effort to legitimize their stolen place of “honor,” though it was occupied for the most part by men who were dishonorable.
It was the civic form of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Does anyone really believe that the Roman emperors, those who demanded they be worshipped as gods, were honorable doers of good? Well, if one fell into the category of upgrading their meager lives by becoming the recipients of Roman government-dispensed bread and circuses, then Yeah, I guess they would be considered “good.”
But the Lord inferred that they weren’t good. He also inferred that His disciples were acting like idiots by engaging in a power struggle to see who would be the greatest among them. What patience for relative children the Lord showed. You know He had to have a slight chuckle at their nonsense. (No! Me! I’m the one! It should be Me! No, you’re a dingbat fisherman! I’m the best! Look, you clowns, you’re both wrong! I’m the best…)
LORDING IT OVER THE BRETHREN
In reality this kind of garbage has been going on behind the scenes in churches for untold centuries. “Ministers” will fight for prestige, money, dedicated pulpits, and the opportunity to officially speak their minds whenever they feel like it with no possibility of accountability or the voices of others (or facts). Once they gain the speakership and fight off all comers and run off anyone who sees things differently they can safely rule and reign in their little faux kingdoms with nothing but docile pew-sitters arrayed out before them.
For the congregation, it is natural selection in reverse. It is the survival of the unfittest.
The same thing happens in government, even in a country with a Constitution that forbids it. Well, just as it has happened in most of “Christianity,” so it has happened here.
THE ORIGINAL ANTICHRIST
For the Hebrews it did not start with Gentiles taking over at some point and ruling over them. It reached its zenith with one of their own, the one they called the greatest, the one who actually inspired the dunderhead disciples whether they knew it or not. This man could have written the book on palace intrigue. But even before the great Solomon, the man who taxed his people into the poorhouse, who refused all prophets, who turned his nation into his own private ungodly fiefdom and laid the foundation of its own destruction, and before the coming of the first Hebrew king, Saul, the Lord God sent forth a very strong and clear prophetic warning about what the Hebrew people were doing to themselves by putting men in the place of God and what their future held as a result.
See if any of the following sounds familiar. The Lord God released it about 30 centuries ago using His form of Biblical WikiLeaks:
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. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.”
So Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who had asked of him a king. He said, “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you:
“He will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots.
“He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
“He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers.
“He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants.
“He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants.
“He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work.
“He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants.
“Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”
Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us…” [1Samuel 8:7-19] 
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
The Old Testament Scriptures have a lot in common with WikiLeaks: There is no holding back on revealing ancient Israel’s corruption and eventual destruction.
The same will happen for each of us on an individual basis at the Judgment. All of our sin and corruption will be revealed. We will be judged accordingly. Unless, of course, our hard drives have been wiped clean by the Blood of Jesus through real repentance.
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. [Hebrews 13:12-13]
THIS PRESENT DARKNESS
We live in an age in which the general level of corruption has gained Biblical proportions. Christians have long predicted this would happen. Yet now that is has, many people have become apathetic and indifferent toward it, and feel powerless to do anything about it. The same thing happened to ancient Israel.
How does a nation go from being the specially chosen people of God in whom He entrusted His pure Word, manifested His holy presence, and loved with all His heart, to a nation so corrupt it actually murdered Him? That’s pretty much Mount Everest on the corruption scale. But as I’ve said so many times before, this is not an indictment of the ancient Hebrew people, but an indictment of the entire human race. It was the Lord who decided to choose a people. But in seeing what His own people did we should also see what any nation would do. We should also see, then, what has happened to America.
Ancient Israel got into trouble every time it turned away from God. Every time the nation as a whole began slacking off and dishonoring their unique spiritual heritage—essentially becoming like any other godless nation on the planet—it not only descended into a pit of depravity, its depravity actually exceeded the depravity of the pagan nations surrounding it.
We recall several intervals when corruption went off the scale. These were times when the heart of the nation had so turned away from their loving Father that they no longer wanted Him around. If you think it hurts to be rejected by someone here and there imagine how the Lord must have felt when He was rejected by His own people in whom He had invested His entire heart and life, and long centuries of care and protection. One of these intervals in which Israel took a giant leap downward—insisting nonsensically on jumping into a deep pit of slime as it were—is recorded in the first book of Samuel:
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. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also.” [1Samuel 8:7-8]
Samuel felt rejected because the nation refused to hear him, but the Lord said no, it is not you, it is Me. They are not listening to you for one reason: You work for Me. They don’t want Me…
So how did Israel become the most corrupt nation? And how can anyone say such a thing? There were obviously some really bad nations at that time engaging in all manner of ungodly and immoral practices. I will answer with Scripture:
“THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES—THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.” From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 4:15-17]
We know from the Biblical record and extensive historical research what had happened to this land so many centuries before and exactly how the people therein arrived at a state of complete darkness, spiritual death, and in great need of repentance and restoration to the Lord God. The Northern Kingdom of Israel bit the dust long before the Southern Kingdom of Judah. But Judah had its own moment of utter darkness and absolute corruption, right before it ceased to exist forever:
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” [Acts 2:22-23]
The Northern Kingdom had essentially only rejected the Lord. The Southern Kingdom murdered Him. Was the destruction of Jerusalem forty years later the Lord’s retribution against a vile, corrupt people? Or was it actually the case that when Judah rejected its long-awaited Messiah it actually rejected every means of its own life and protection? Unlike every other nation, ancient Israel was entirely dependent upon the blessings, protection, and grace of God. It could not exist for long without Him, except in a grossly corrupt form. What more could the Lord God have done to showcase this fact and take responsibility for His wayward, corrupt people but actually show up among them as one of them in a final loving effort to get them back on the right path for their own good?
Can you imagine some good people showing up at a man’s home when times are bad and he needs some help and they shower him with love and groceries and some money to help him pay some bills to get him back on his feet and he turns to them with rage and demand they get their sorry backsides the hell away from him and never come back? And every time someone else tries to help he does the same thing? We all know what will become of this man. His final end will not be because of outward judgment but because of inward hardheartedness, rebellion, and stupidity.
America has a corruption problem because far too many of the people in positions of authority have become corrupt. This has become obvious but nothing changes. Americans keep voting corrupt people into office. Until recently most Americans either didn’t care or were too willingly ignorant to know. But this is changing. Light is starting to shine…
Part of the proof we have that the OT Scriptures are for real is that no nation writes such an incriminating history of itself. History is always written by the victors and by those with alternative agendas, and is thus skewed. This is not the case with the history of the ancient Hebrews. It is all exposed and it is all true.
THE FAITHFUL REMNANT
Intermixed with all the corruption in ancient Israel, however, is a crimson stream of repentance and righteousness, and an ongoing longing by an everlasting Remnant to do right by God. This Remnant remained viable until the first century when Messiah arrived. Though He was rejected by what was left of the nation as a whole and certainly by the entire religious establishment, there were thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Jews in the first century who recognized their Lord and Savior and embraced the Messiah wholeheartedly. They no longer identified with the corrupt outward nation. For those, their lives were saved. YHWH-Salvation saved them. They repented as per John the Immerser’s instructions, as per the Lord’s commands, and as per Peter’s demands on The Day of Pentecost. This believing Remnant of Jews became the very people that continued bringing forth salvation into the world.
“…For salvation is from the Jews.” [John 4:22] 
In those times long before this when the ancient nation of Israel had turned back to God, the course of the nation was righted, corruption was exposed and eliminated, the guilty parties either repented or were removed from power, and the Lord was once again in the right place in order to care for His people. This is the Lord’s heart. That He often had to use outside people is only a testimony to the fact that a corrupt elite in power will NEVER correct itself.
In ancient Israel, it was the anointed judges and prophets who were used of God as a corrective force, whose voices could only be silenced by death. Most of these did die and were silenced. The corrupt elite were not only slowly destroying their own nation, they were destroying their very souls.
In America at this time corruption at very high levels is being exposed. Much of this is unprecedented. But it will do no good whatsoever if the corruption never registers with the majority of the people. It could be the case and is in part probably the case that at least half of America is also corrupt and is therefore compromised from doing anything about the corrupt people in power. Much of America is simply blind and unaware of the facts. Many simply do not care. For all the proper percentages of the population and whatnot, a study of ancient Israel will give much perspective.
As I said in a recent post, America is doomed without a Great Awakening. The Good News is that an Awakening has begun, as I have been saying all along from the beginning of this blog five and a half years ago and over six years ago when I received the revelation. The first Great Awakening that began in 1734 was designed in part to create a nation. Perhaps the oncoming Great Awakening is designed to save the nation. But nations can never be saved unless individual citizens are saved and salvation can never come without true heart-rending repentance, a turning away from sin and false gods, a complete repudiation of systemic corruption, and an absolute turning toward and acceptance of the Lord Jesus, the sacrifice He made on our behalf, and His full authority and dominion.
The outward nation of ancient Israel was destroyed forever almost two-thousand years ago. The eternal Kingdom of the Lord Jesus began then, and it was composed entirely of Jews and those of Hebrew extraction for the first seven to ten years of its existence. That’s right—the Community of the Lord Jesus, His Qahal, His Ekklesia, was founded by a Jew and consisted only of descendants of Isaac in its initial years.
The ancient nation of Israel was essentially born again.
Perhaps America can be born again also.
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.
To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 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.”
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.
When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. [Acts 1:1-14] 
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
What is the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit?
What is the proof?
Some people believe that being Spirit-filled is an apparent non-event in that they have no clear recollection of when it happened in their lives though they claim the experience.
Some are taught that they are filled with the Spirit “by faith,” again, that there is no actual evidence, or that they are automatically filled somehow when “they become a Christian.”
This is what I refer to as being Spirit-filled by osmosis, in that one is somehow filled through effortless, unconscious assimilation in which no actual choice was ever made, there is no recall of when the event happened, and the process cannot be classified as experiential.
That’s kind of cool when you think about it, but it’s not New Covenant. It is not New Covenant whatsoever.
The following is New Covenant:
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:1-4]
I remember hearing a statement by a very famous evangelist’s wife who made the claim that she had always been saved from the time of her earliest memories. Apparently, she never had the born again experience the Lord said is an absolute requirement for entering the kingdom:
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:3-7]
Let’s do the math:
(1a) Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
(1b) Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
In this passage, the Lord Jesus is making a very clear and what should be an obvious reference to two distinct births. This is why Nicodemus, somewhat confused, answered in the weird way he did. He clearly heard the Lord say that there must be a second birth, one that follows the natural birth from one’s mother. But the Lord said it in the context of entering the kingdom.
Now, this begs the question:
Is it possible to “be saved” without entering the kingdom of God?
If the answer is no, then anyone who is not born again is not saved.
If the answer is yes, then one can be saved without entering the kingdom.
There is a problem with the latter possibility, however. Have you noticed all of the references in the Lord’s teachings and parables concerning the spiritual concept of either being inside or outside the kingdom? Or being sheep and not goats, or wheat and not tares?
Here are some examples:
“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:20]
From this, it is clear that the scribes and Pharisees were outside of the kingdom: NOT BORN AGAIN.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” [Matthew 6:33]
In this passage, the Lord equates being righteous with being in the kingdom, which signifies righteousness outside the kingdom as not being possible. If one must seek the kingdom then one must be outside the kingdom while seeking it. If one must seek righteousness it must be that one is unrighteous before one gains it. If one is outside the kingdom and is unrighteous, then one is NOT BORN AGAIN.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” [Matthew 7:21]
Here we have the requirement of doing the will of the Father in order to enter the kingdom, meaning that those who fail to accomplish the will of God must be outside the kingdom (regardless of the apparent appearance of their miraculous works), and are thus NOT BORN AGAIN.
“I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matthew 8:11-12]
Here is a very clear indication of either being in or out with no in between. In this case, the natural “sons of the kingdom,” that is, such natural descendants of Abraham, are not only not in the kingdom and will never be in the kingdom, but they will be cast into outer darkness and are obviously NOT BORN AGAIN.
From the record in the Book of Acts, being Spirit-filled was an experience, an event. It was never some sort of mystical wishy-washy don’t-know-when-or-how-it-happened occasion. Such a thing was not possible.
Remember, we are talking about the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD entering and filling a person for the very first time. And the Lord said it was like a birth. And everyone pretty much knows when a baby is being born, especially, I would think, the mother and the baby. There is no way such an experience can happen without the recipient’s knowledge or even those in the vicinity of said recipient.
The event of the original Day of Pentecost kept happening again in Acts at subsequent times with different people. By studying each and every recorded historical event when people were filled with the Holy Spirit, it should not be that hard to come to a conclusion regarding consistent evidence.
Here is the key to that evidence:
Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.
So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.
For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.
But no one can tame the tongue… [James 3:3-8] 
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
According to the Word of God, the default destination of every human being is hell. Though this is not a pleasant subject or a fun fact, it is true nonetheless.
And unless something is done by the individual to change the default as it relates to his personal future, the default will not change.
The Lord Jesus left no wiggle room in this equation. He stated it flatly and cleanly. Whoever wishes to repudiate His words, transform them into something more comfortable, or liquefy them with the universal solvent is obviously not concerned about truth but has both a different agenda and an ulterior motive.
The truth is clear:
“You must be born again.” [John 3:7]
If one must be born again, it proves the first birth, that from the womb, is merely a step in the process that leads to eternal life. If one chooses to stop his progress and never be born again, that is, never change the default, then one will end up living for this world as if it were the destination that matters. And once one does this, one will eventually make choices that concern only one’s life in this world, and therefore will choose to absolve himself of any pesky moral restraints that might hinder his progress, whether or not some level of human virtue is involved.
Hence, the Torah will not apply. The Law of God will be perceived as restrictive toward one’s goals. The teachings of the Lord Jesus will be seen as unworkable, untrustworthy, non-applicable to our “modern” world, and an albatross around the neck of one’s earthly goals and ambition. Compromise will be the order of the day. Justifying pet sins will become routine.
If life in the here and now is most important and if our social standing and reputation, whether secular or religious, is paramount, then whatever must be done to achieve such and maintain such will be the priority. This is why there is such a wide gulf that can never be bridged between making this world one’s priority as opposed to the next, though some attempt to do both. And sadly, since they are familiar with the Word of God, the worst offenders regarding this are “Christians.”
Again, no new birth, no change in eternal destination:
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” [John 3:18]
What exactly does it mean to believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God?
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying,
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”
But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. [John 7:37-39]
In this passage John makes a further connection to what believing in the Lord and in His Name entails. He quotes the Lord Jesus as saying that all who believe in Him according to Scripture (not in accordance with man-made doctrines) will receive the infilling of the Spirit of God and become the repository of a living stream flowing forth.
Moreover, the Lord proclaimed these profound words on the last day of the Feast of Sukkot (or Booths). That He stated such on that particular day is both quite revealing and very significant.
Are we not traveling through this earth and through time as within a mere temporary dwelling? In other words, if you were a child of the fifties and possessed one of those old mini pedal cars in the form of a real car, or if you rode around on a “big wheel” as a child thirty years later, you certainly did not think, even as a child, that such toys were the end product. You knew they were mere representations of real vehicles. You hoped to grow up one day and get a real car. Why then would one live for this world, and try to gain as much money, as many possessions, and as much authority over other people as possible instead of living for whatever may be the will of God?
This world is merely a proving ground. It is a test. It is designed to separate the real from the unreal, and to bring forth those who love the Lord and distinguish them from those who do not. It is a celestial halfway house created to cull out the lovers of darkness from the children of light and to reveal and bring forth the sons of God.
Thus, those who live for this world as if it is the only world do not believe in the Lord or the next world. Or they believe the lie that heaven is the default destination for everyone.
Returning to the Lord’s quote, with additional teaching, we see:
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” [John 3:18-21]
Selfishness is not wrought in God. Greed is not wrought in God. Looking out for number one is not wrought in God. Living for this world is not wrought in God. Refusing to love the Lord with all of one’s heart, mind, and strength is not wrought in God. Refusing to love one’s neighbor as oneself is not wrought in God. Adultery, murder, lying, stealing, coveting—none of these is wrought in God but the majority of human beings practice such things on a daily basis—and never repent—because they have no intention of stopping—because they like it—and because they love the darkness.
And because of their lack of belief in and obedience to the Lord—the only One who has the cure for the disease of sin—there will be judgment for their sin.
But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. [Jude 1:17-21] 
Jude is speaking here of certain “Christians.” Unreal Christians. Faux Bros. Tares. Wild wheat. These people are:
(2) Followers of their own ungodly lusts
(3) Those who cause divisions
(5) And last but not least, devoid of the Spirit
Items 1-4 are due to item 5: Being devoid of the Spirit of God causes one to be all of the above (and more).
But believing in the Lord according to the Word of God means one will receive the Holy Spirit and thus be transformed in heart and mind. Instead of being worldly-minded and living for this world, one will be spiritually-minded and live for the next. One will no longer strive to fulfill the lusts of one’s flesh, but crucify one’s flesh. One will chuck a dead human mind right out the door and incorporate a spiritual mind, and even possess the mind of Christ. Now that’s a big deal!
But it takes a big deal to get there.
It takes real repentance—effectively hurling oneself upon a funeral pyre.
It takes going under water in the Name above all names, in the powerful sin-destroying and devil-delivering Name of Yehoshua HaMashiach.
And it takes being filled with His Holy Spirit.
Many believers worldwide are coming into a greater understanding of these facts.
Nevertheless, this has always been far too much for the average “Christian,” and it is why the average “Christian” more closely resembles a guy in a costume or a woman at a masquerade. For these people, covering up and deceiving one another is far superior to being transparent.
Looking and acting like a “Christian” from without, frosting one’s cake with mere human virtue, and thinking salvation consists of being a nice guy and never fighting evil is attributable to pure Phariseeism (and there were many “nice” Pharisees to go along with the jerks).
In the final analysis, Unreal Christianity has constructed a false front, a Fake World, and as a point of law has rejected the Lord’s definition and method of spiritual birth and has replaced it with any number of counterfeits. Hiding one’s darkness has thus become the norm and is preferable to potentially shining one’s light (or having the Light shine upon one). At the heart of this is simple human pride—that which is much more concerned about outward perception and keeping up appearances.
But the Lord made a way to destroy such pride. He made it possible to throw off the yoke of pretense and fraud.
He traveled through this temporary life as one of us and established the means of re-creation. The Spirit of God became resident within human flesh and resulted in a perfect, sinless Human Being—the only begotten Son of God. The Son of God was then glorified, a process that had to take place to allow His Spirit to be given.
As a result, the Lord’s Holy Spirit can now dwell within “whosoever will,” just as it happened for those at Pentecost and for many millions since, and anyone can be fully born again…
© 2013 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
Many of us are aware of a world beyond the senses.
In the moments we allow ourselves the time to reflect on life instead of merely living it out day by day, we often perceive something beyond mere nature—an unanswered depth—a fleeting reality that is both difficult to grasp and easy as a dream. There is something there, beyond us, and certainly beyond a cheap existence characterized by routine and the mindless pursuit of material needs.
Yes, we must possess the material if we are to live—we must have a living—but for what purpose? I learned very early in life that working to earn a living meant survival for most people. It meant something to do to pay the bills. It rarely was something enjoyed or chosen for its own benefit. For the few who enjoy their work at earning money, as if it is not about earning money, there is a happiness and lack of anxiety that does not exist in the lives of seemingly everyone else.
For those who make peace with their profession—not because they enjoy it as a first choice or would choose it if earning money was not the primary option—they have accepted the sacrifice of themselves for the greater good and being comfortable as a solid member of society. They have eliminated any possible criticism of failing to carry their own weight, have their financial bases more or less covered, and the resultant peace is worth the price.
But there is another peace that cannot be found in living for this world. This is the peace many search for but often never find or have a very difficult time finding. It is a peace that arrives from without, again, in those rare moments of reflection we allow ourselves. It is the same peace a child knows in his time of innocence when he doesn’t know any better. He never considers that he will not be taken care of or protected or fed. The child simply considers it a given.
Most people want that kind of peace. It is never really about whether or not we will work and achieve and stay busy and accomplish things and be productive. It is instead about doing something and achieving something that goes beyond this mere mortal world in which people live for a short time and then go away forever.
When we allow ourselves such a time of thinking about bigger concepts and deeper perceptions, we are actually attempting to look into eternity.
We are attempting to secure our place there.
We are trying to find our way home.
Jesus came to us and met us on our level. There is no possible way for God to meet us otherwise. We can certainly never get where He is through our own means, even though we may try through various pursuits. Real Christianity is thus characterized by God reaching out for us, whereas religion breaks down into a fruitless search for God.
The irony of searching for truth is that one will never find it.
But the hungry in heart are those who God sees and appreciates, and at some point He begins guiding the searcher to Himself. The one who refuses to cease from the search is the one who can be led and eventually lands at his or her destination.
Contrary to this, most people, including most “Christians,” accept substitutes for truth or watered-down versions of the Lord’s message. It is sad when people allow their strong wills and discipline to chain them to a religious life they see as a better life than the mere mundane—a spiritual life of sorts—but one falling far short of the spiritual reality the Lord wants for us. It is sad because these people cut themselves off from the very thing they are ostensibly searching for.
It is as if one desires a college education and a Masters Degree, but becomes so enthralled with graduating from third grade he desires to travel no further. As a seasoned nine-year-old, he compares his new life of enlightenment to his old life when he was an ignorant child of five and could not read, could not understand arithmetic, and had next to no knowledge beyond his tiny existence. He ponders the facts: A third-grader can read. A third-grader can add and subtract and multiply and divide. A third-grader is a quantum leap above the child he was a mere three or four years before.
This is how most Christians are. They become satisfied with eating manna because it’s better than starving. They have no desire for moving on and fighting for an elusive future. They have next to no faith to allow God to take them into a Promised Land of milk and honey. They exist in a quotidian circular pattern of routine and redundancy that takes them nowhere but where they were yesterday and last year and last decade.
They are not following God. Maybe they did. But they stopped at some point and became comfortable with a Sinai wilderness light years from the birthright and the place God tries to take them.
You see, God is a romantic at heart. He is a traveler. He is an explorer. He loves doing new things. But when you know everything it’s no fun unless you can take others on the journey with you. It is the same as when you read a book that has a giant impact on your life. You want others to read it and enjoy it as well. You may not want to see your favorite movie again at a particular time, but would love to watch it with someone else who shows an interest. It becomes a new experience due to the possibility of someone else enjoying it as you do.
God is like that. He loves to turn us on to stuff and take us to places we’ve never been. He loves it when we have eyes filled with wonder, when we trust Him as an innocent child, and when we expect something really cool to come our way because He loves us.
But there is a problem. There is a guy named Snidely Whiplash whose entire goal in life is to tie us and our dreams of eternal things to railroad tracks. He strives to destroy us by first destroying our dreams and innocence. He attempts to tempt us into the bondage of sin and bad habits and hate and fear. He tries to develop within us a cynical and bitter attitude. More than anything else, he tries with all his might to distance us from God and keep us from God and stymie every effort we make toward God.
In the end, he will make many, many more converts than the Lord Jesus ever will. He will be more successful than God in this sense. Of course, he is not so much making converts as he is enforcing the default destination of the unrepentant soul without God.
But God doesn’t keep score by numbers. He never has. And He has made a Way toward Life for all to discover. That the majority of humanity will miss the boat is not His problem. Eternity is not for timid souls with third-grade educations. It is for those with an explorer’s heart who love adventure and risk. It is for those who are forever getting up after being cast down. It is for those who never say die.
It God’s book, this is the definition of winning. With Him, despite pain and suffering and setbacks and reviling persecution, the one deserving of eternity is the one who never quits. Spiritual success is the mere process of rising again, and again and again and again. It is the defeat of the devil by outlasting him. It is the defeat of this world by getting the hell out of it and into the kingdom of God. It is about disciplining oneself not to stay a third-grader forever but continuing on to greater spiritual heights and adventures. It is about seeing the mountain top and vowing to get there regardless of any obstacles no matter how hellish. It is not about giving up and constructing a proxy golden calf, which is what most churches and Christian expressions have become, but continuing on, even though we may leave, like Abraham, almost everything we know on the other side of the needle.
The search for truth is the search for eternity. Nothing can replace it. Nothing else will be accepted by the real Christian.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” [Matthew 6:33]
The secret is following the Lord. The next time you pause to reflect, don’t just gaze at eternity for a few seconds the way you often do, but get up and walk toward it. Take the Lord by the hand and let Him take you ever closer to the Promised Land. The kingdom of God is here, now. It is the city Abraham searched for his entire life. It is the place where faith activates all things possible according to the will of God. It is the place where dreams come true.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE.
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. [Hebrews 11:6-16]
Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” [Luke 17:20-21] 
© 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.