Obadiah’s Warning to Edom and to all Nations… Jacob/Esau and Gaza

For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. ( Obadiah 10)

Time and again, the Prophets of the Bible warn Edom, of terrible judgment coming upon them for the violence perpetrated against His brother , Jacob. It is ironic that ‘Hamas’ is a Hebrew word for violence. 

The book of Obadiah is at first a specific warning to Edom, but in verse 15 it extends to the Nations as a whole of the impending judgment upon them for their treatment of Jacob, (ie Israel).

Like it or not, God has a foreign policy for all of the nations , stated clearly in the book of Genesis, chapter 12, and verse three, when He said to Abraham, “I will bless Him that blesses thee, and curse Him that curses thee…”.

Judgment is coming upon Edom and the nations of the world which have delighted in shedding innocent blood , and particularly the blood of Jews. the Prophet Joel echoes Obadiah, when He proclaims, 

But Egypt will be desolate,  Edom a desert waste,  because of violence done to the people of Judah,

    in whose land they shed innocent blood.  Judah will be inhabited foreverand Jerusalem through all generations.Shall I leave their innocent blood unavenged?

   No, I will not.” (Joel 3:19-21)

Ezekiel also is pointed in his prophecy against MT Seir, (Edom) , whom he indicted for loving to shed the blood of Israel, 

Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it,

And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate.

I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.

Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:

Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord God, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee.Ezekiel 35:2-6

Of course it is Islam, the religion which took up the original grievances of Ishmael and Esau against the LORD and the Jews, which has promoted so very much of this violence. Islam has a tenet which insists upon violence against Israel which is called “the Prophecy of the Tree”, 

It is narrated in the hadith that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The Hour will not begin until you fight the Jews, until a Jew will hide behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will say: ‘O Muslim, O slave of Allah, here is a Jew behind me; come and kill him – except the gharqad (a kind of thorny trees)  

The demonic “Prophecy of the Tree” anticipated by so many of Esau’s spiritual offspring, is eerily reminiscent of other terrifying experiences in which Eau took advantage of Jacob in the darkest days of previous calamities, such as in the time when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the nation was taken off into captivity. Edom rejoiced in that day and took no pity on His brother Jacob.

In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.

But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress.

Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;

1Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.(Obadiah 11-14)

The God of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob saw this.  Notice the Divine reproof, “You shouldn’t have…” stood by idly, (and gleefully), in the day of their calamity,  nor should you have taken their possessions, nor spoken proudly (gloating?). What else shouldn’t they have done? They shouldn’t have entered into the ruined Jerusalem,  and plundered it in the darkest hour, nor should they have helped the Babylonians by blocking the escape of any fleeing Jews, and they certainly shouldn’t have turned in those whom they did capture,  

But Edom did do all of those low and hateful things, they couldn’t do otherwise because of the deep hatred that they nurtured in their hearts for centuries against Jacob, and Jacob’s God. Edom would do this again and again also, such as when Romans besieged Jerusalem. They would do the same hateful things against God’s people. The same happened in the days of the Muslims and even recently in the time of the Nazi’s. The largest group of Waffen SS  was recruited by the grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who was a personal friend of Hitler. Even today, in our time we hear Edomites such as Mahmoud Abbas, the planner and financier of the slaughter of the 1972 Israeli Olympic team, call for a “Knife Jihad” saying, “We welcome every drop of blood shed in Jerusalem”.  Edom is consumed by something called “The everlasting hatred” and only submission to the God of Jacob can deliver him from it. 

The vision of Joel spreads out to all of the Nations, for in the wrestling of Jacob and Esau the entire world is required to choose a side and identify with one or the other of the twins;

For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.

For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it.( Obadiah 15-18)

“As ye have done, it shall be done unto thee…” The nations of the world have a choice to make, either blessing or curse, according to their treatment of Israel, God’s prodigal children. It is frightening that as we approach the time of Judgment, the “Day of the LORD” , an irrational Anti-Semitism is sweeping the world and consuming millions of otherwise reasonable people with hatred for the Jews.

“You have drunk upon my Holy Mountain…” the most sensitive piece of real estate on the planet is the 35 acre platform known as the “Temple Mount”. Currently Esau inhabits it, and for the most part the United Nations supports them in their desecration of it. “Drinking on the Holy Mountain “ seems to suggest some kind of religious use of it. Every Friday Hatred spews forth from the Mosque there, in the place that in the time of Solomon God says HE placed his very name forever. God will turn this profane drinking of Edom and the Nations into a “cup of trembling” which they will all, drink deeply to their own destruction.

Zechariah agrees that Jerusalem will be one of the contentious issues of the final Judgment, and Day of the LORD,

The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.

And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. (Zechariah 12:1-3)

God will use the Jewish people to execute Judgment upon Edom, and ultimately , Jacob will possess all that the Edomites currently call their own. Currently Edomites are squatters on Zion, the Holy mountain, profaning it every day. They also claim the western coastland of Israel, GAZA, and the fields of Ephraim and Samaria as well as Gilead, the eastern coast of the Jordan River. All of this is Land God bequeathed to the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by an everlasting covenant. It is amazing the Obadiah anticipated those usurpations and specifically assured Jacob that God would cause him to possess them once again.

And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it.

And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south.And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. (Obadiah 18-21)

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Identifying End Time Edom… Jacob/Esau and Gaza pt 3

We have been looking at the prophecies about Jacob and Esau, as the starting point for understanding the current struggle in the Middle East between Israel and her enemies. 

The Bible lays it all out perfectly and everything it says about the very last conflict and deliverance of Israel is being put into motion. 

In the difficult pregnancy of Isaac’s wife, Rebecca, we are told that Esau would become one of two distinct nations, sometimes stronger than his brother Jacob, but would be subservient to Him. 

And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.(Genesis 25:23)

The second prophecy came on the day Esau begged his Father for a Blessing, after learning that Jacob had supplanted him, 

And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.( Genesis 27:39-40)

Edom did indeed become a powerful Kingdom, south of the Dead Sea, and was to become an inveterate rival of Israel and Judah. David and Solomon subdued Edom, but after the break up of the Kingdom, Edom broke away(threw off the yoke of Judah), and actively participated in the destruction of the temple by the Babylonians, and plundered Judah in the aftermath, an event prophesied in Obadiah, as being one of the reasons for the Judgment which will fall upon Edom in the Last days. Eventually Edom came again under the yoke of the Jews, and the nation was forcibly converted to Judaism by John Hyrcannus (intertestimental times), and ceased being an independent Kingdom around that time. So how is it that Edom is prophesied against in the end times, in very specific terms? How does a people who have long been subdued and intermingled, intermarried and which no longer has an identifiable polity show up at the time of the final, Day of the LORD? 

Furthermore who is Edom now? How would we identify Him, and why will the LORD himself visit him in the final hour of judgement? I have already mentioned that there is a world religion which has taken up and codified the grievance of Esau, Hagar and Ismael, nurturing and keeping aflame something God calls the “Everlasting hatred” against the Jews. I speak of ISLAM. In his Prophecy against MT Seir (Esau’s allotted kingdom center), God proclaims doom upon Edom, for the sin of loving bloodshed against his brother (Jacob), 

Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end: 

* Edom can be known today by His perpetual hatred 

* Edom can also be known by his attempted abrogation of the LandGod gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

”Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the Lord was there: (Ezekiel 35:10) 

When Judah went into the Babylonian captivity, his brother Edom gloated, rejoiced and immediately set out to plunder as much of Judah as possible, even coming under Babylonian subjection in doing so.Edom has not been content with his own birthright, but jealousy seeks to take away Jacob’s as well. The modern so called “two State solution” has never been about establishing two states as far as modern Edom is concerned, it has been about ousting Israel, from the “River (Euphrates), to the Sea (Meditteranean) as we hear the modern Edomites chant in current demonstrations around the world. 

* Modern Edom can be known by her insistence that the Holy Places of the Jews belong to Him and not to the Jews. 

Thus saith the Lord God; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession:( Ezekiel 36:2) 

Who is it that has custody of the holiest site in all of Judaism, the Temple Mount? The Jews? No, Edom does. He abrogated it to himself and to his religion, during the long exile of the children of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob. Edom built a shrine to his version of the sacrifice of Isaac (Edom calls it the binding of Ishmael) , ie the “Dome of the Rock”. Edom also built a Mosque there on the temple Mt. called “Al Aqsa” which means “the farthest place”. Islamic scholars believe that it was there that Mohammed ascended to heaven on a horse named ‘barak’ (I know, you can’t make this stuff up), from the farthest place,(Al Aqsa) . Thus Judaism’s holiest site is under the custody of the Waqf, which is a Jordanian religious guardian of Islamic sacred sites. 

Ezekiel’s prophecy has been fulfilled in other startling details as well, through UNESCO, (United Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization).. This body assigns “world Heritage sites to Historical and cultural treasures throughout the world. UNESCO went through Judea recently ( the so called West Bank) and proclaimed that the tomb Abraham bought for Sarai, Himself, Isaac, Rebecca , Jacob and Leah, have a Muslim significance, not a Jewish one. They did likewise for Rachel’s tomb, Rachel died in childbirth (Benjamin) outside of Bethlehem and is buried there. According to UNESCO, that too is Muslim and not Jewish! They take the high places into possession and claim them as their own! 

Who is Edom? Who is this entity that the LORD himself is coming to make war upon and to splatter his own garments with their blood? Edom is the Arab Muslim world and all of those who are spiritually in affinity with the grievance of Esau, against Jacob. 

Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.  Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.( Isaiah 63:1-3)

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Jacob Have I Loved… Jacob, Esau and Gaza pt 2

Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated… Malachi 1:3

In my previous article I pointed out that the Arab/ Israeli conflict is really a continuation of the wrestlings of Jacob and Esau, and will one day soon, engulf all of the world in their struggle. It is biblical and prophetic and is in Genesis because it is a fundamental and universal conflict which will culminate in Armeggedon.

In this article I would like to clarify a few things, for their is much confusion about the particulars of this subject.

The original conflict in Genesis, when discussing the problems Abraham,Isaac and Jacob had within their own families, centered around issues about Divine Election.

God chose Abraham, not Lot. Abraham was a pagan idolater, and yet God chose Him and called him to leave all to follow God.

God chose Isaac, not Ishmael, Ishmael was born first to Abraham, thus by man’s standards he should have been given preference, but God chose Isaac, and not Ishmael.

God chose Jacob, not Esau. It is not that Jacob was a better person, or that he was more spiritual, Election is solely of grace. God chose Jacob. Isaac chose Esau over Jacob, but God chose Jacob over Esau.

In the Malachi passage above, God is said to have “Loved Jacob:” and “Hated Esau”. This is the language of election, it has nothing to do with whether or not God loved them in the sense we understand love. “Love” and “Hate” have to do with acceptance or rejection for a certain God ordained task. God loved Israel in “setting his love on them”, and not for any other reason.

He chose them because He decided to, He set his love on them in a way he hasn’t done to the Irish, the Norwegians or the Zulus.

The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:  But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.( Deuteronomy 7:7-8)

It would be good to consider exactly what God wa electing this remarkable and miraculous family to do … . Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were chosen to be the human conduit through which he would send the :”seed of the woman” promised in Genesis 3, into this world. They were chosen to be the Messianic line.

It is not that Abraham,Isaac and Jacob were chosen to salvation whilst Ishmael, Esau and Hagar were not. This Divine election is about who would be the ones through whom the Messiah would come into the world. God was not going to bring Messiah through Ishmael or Esau.

Ishmael and Esau and Hagar would have to submit themselves to the revelation given to Isaac and Jacob and eventually through the Jews. That would be humbling and they would have to accept the fact , that, as Jesus told a woman at the well, “Salvation is of the Jews”.

A good many of the descendants of Ishmael and Esau did indeed do so, for at the time of the explosion of Islam, most of the Middle East was either Jewish or Christian or variations of Christian. Even to this day, there are quite a few Arabs, Syrians and Assyrians who hold to some form of Christianity.

But as it turns out, Esau would become restive, and tire of submitting to the Jews, or coming behind in contrast to them. One way that this “restlessness” worked out in History, is the development of a Religion which would codify the grievances of Ishmael, Hagar, and Esau, namely Islam.

Islam is the :”restlessness” of Esau, it is the vindication of the spurned Ishmael. In fact Islam has a feast and a special Mosque to commemorate the sacrifice Abraham made of Ishmael unto God. It nourishes and commemorates every grievance Ishmael and Esau had at being cheated, supplanted and disenfranchised (supposedly) by Israel.

Our God is the God of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob. He is not the God of Ishmael or Esau, they are not Patriarchs, and there is no such thing as Abrahamic religion. The modern moral and spiritual descendants of Esau resent this greatly.They do not want to submit to the Spiritual yoke of the revelation which developed from the seed of Jacob, so they have crafted their own counterfeit to nurse their bitterness.

This has developed into something called,”The Everlasting hatred” . God calls it out in the book of Ezekiel, and it will be the cause of severe judgments…

there is more to come…

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War in Gaza; Jacob and Esau… pt 1

The world is once again witness to yet another installment in the war between Arabs and Jews. It is very important to realize that this conflict goes far beyond land disputes or charges and countercharges of racism and oppression. Neither is the current conflict merely the fruit of May 1948, with the establishment of the modern State of Israel, and the Arab resentment to it.

What we are seeing is the fulfillment of prophecy which extends as far back as the book of Genesis. The Bible offers us an explanation to this seemingly intractable problem, and it does so in the foundational book of beginnings, Genesis.

This conflict centers around Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their extended families. Abraham and his family are important becauseGod chose them to be the line through which His Messiah would come. Though he and his wife were barren and aged, God promised them that through his seed, the whole earth would be blessed!

Abraham and Sara waited for the promise , but eventually sired his first child in His old age, whom He named Ishmael. The child was born because Abraham slept with his Egyptian maid, Hagar, rather than through his wife, because neither He or Sara could figure out how they would have children any other way. Abraham loved Ishmael, and wanted him to be the heir, but God had not chosen Ishmael to be in the Messianic line. Eventually Abraham and Sara bore Isaac, a miracle baby, through whom Christ would come.

Isaac came of age, and married. He and his wife waited for children but found that they were barren also, until they cried out to God, to fulfill His promise.

And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord.(Genesis 25:21-22)

But when she had trouble with her pregnancy, she inquired of the LORD and received this prophecy, concerning the twins she was bearing;

And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.( Genesis 25:23)

This would be the first prophecy concerning Jacob and Esau, (there would another prophecy later).

  • The struggling twins would become two nations
  • They would be two separate kinds of people from birth,
  • One of the people would be stronger than the other,
  • The Elder one would serve the younger one.

The Bible then recounts the birth story of the two boys. The first baby that emerged was covered in red, perhaps he had red hair and a ruddy complexion. Thus He was named “Esau”, that is “Red”. He was the firstborn, and would be known either as Esau or Edom(which also means “red” and is akin to “Adam”).

When Esau had come out of the womb first, a little hand came out after him and grabbed his heel, (as if to vie with him for the privilege of being born first!). This second born twin was named “Jacob”, which means “heel grabber”, or to “follow at the heel”.

Isaac loved Esau. He would have passed on to Him the birthright , the blessing of the firstborn, granting him spiritual leadership of the family. This would have been unthinkable though because Esau turned out to be a very profane man, who didn’t value Spiritual things, and thought nothing about marrying two Canaanite women, in defiance of the wishes of his parents.

Esau was a pagan at heart, He didn’t love or fear the LORD. But Isaac, the Patriarch couldn’t see it, because he was blinded by his affection for his firstborn Son.

The Divine account gives us an example of this when Genesis relates the story of Esau selling his birthright for a bowl of Lentil soup.

And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.( Genesis 25:25-30)

The text literally says, ” …And Red said to Jacob, ‘give me some of that red stuff’… . .

When the time came, that Isaac literally was preparing to pass on the Abrahamic blessing to his firstborn son, Rebecca sprang into action, having received the prophecy as to the future of the two twins. She was not going to allow Jacob to be denied the blessing that He was prophesied to receive.

Jacob did receive the full Abrahamic blessing, from his Father Isaac , (who thought he was blessing Esau), and slipped out of the tent just in time to avoid Esau who thought he was going to receive the blessing of Abraham, being the eldest.

Isaac now realized that he had been tricked into blessing Jacob, with the Abrahamic blessing, and Esau realized to his horror that he had lost out on the blessing . Ironically, the book of Hebrews tells us that Isaac “blessed his sons by faith”. How could that be?

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.( Hebrews 11:20)

Isaac’s faith would come into play after realizing the deception, but acknowledging that it was totally of God, that he had blessed Jacob over Esau. God’s choice had prevailed over his own parental indulgence.

And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.( Genesis 27:33)

Isaac couldn’t “take it all back” on the basis of having been tricked. He knew he had spoken in the Spirit of the LORD and that the proper son had received the Blessing ordained by God. He didn’t like Jacob’s method, but wouldn’t argue that God had truly spoken.

And he ( Esau) said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me? And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son? ( Genesis 27:36-37)

Could He now give a blessing to Esau? This leads to the second prophecy over Esau,

And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.( Genesis 27:38-40)

The KJV is one of the only translations that obscures the true nature of this “Blessing”, for Esau’s dwelling would be “Away from the fatness of the earth…”, according to these versions of scripture…

NIV His father Isaac answered him, “Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above.

ESV Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high.

Berean Study Bible His father Isaac answered him: “Behold, your dwelling place shall be away from the richness of the land, away from the dew of heaven above.

NASB Then his father Isaac answered and said to him, “Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above

The territory allotted to Edom can be seen from Space, as being brown, Arid and south of the Dead Sea, is literally “away from the fatness of the earth”.

Esau would live by the Sword, (that is no blessing). He would serve his younger brother, until eventually he would become restless, and break the yoke off of his neck.

NIV You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.”

ESV By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck.”

Berean Study Bible You shall live by the sword and serve your brother. But when you rebel, you will tear his yoke from your neck.”

This is the Biblical, spiritual explanation for the everlasting strivings between Jacob and Esau, but as I will show you, Esau’s ‘restlessness” and his attempt to no longer be bested by his brother, will eventually engulf the entire world. Already, people are no longer just watching, they are becoming participants in this prophetic fight.

more on this to come…

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Marriage: Questions and Answers for Generation Y

Dear Friends, I received a letter from a young person asking about marriage. I asked this person if I could answer her inquiry publically . I thought that she was not only speaking for herself, but as a millennial, she may be voicing the questions of many within her generation.

Marriage in particular has been undermined and assaulted, to the point that many of the young don’t even believe it to be a necessity. Yet marriage is the basic building block of a successful society. The Psalmist asked, “If the Foundations be destroyed…what will the righteous do?”.

The following is the letter I received, and am happy to answer, in the name of the LORD.

Dear Pastor Bill 

…. I get nervous asking questions and therefore I hope that I can use this function here to ask something that I have been confused about for a lot of my life… 
I’m 20 now, but grew up with parents who had a very rocky marriage. I understand marriage isn’t always easy, but I have always had a lot of questions about the topic. I’ve searched through as many scriptures as I can find in the Bible about marriage, but there are parts which I find still unclear. Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman who will cleave to each other for the rest of their lives… what happens if a husband and wife stop loving each other at a point, they stay married but if they vowed to always love each other, aren’t they breaking the covenant? 
I have a friend whose parents aren’t married yet they seem to have made a commitment to stay together like they would be married, but what does this mean in terms of what God sets as being right? Because what does it mean to be married? Where does a wedding come from, like the ceremony or the legalisation? Does a covenant before God mean something legal? Or does it have to be done in a church? What about witnesses or wearing an expensive dress? I really hope my question doesn’t come across as disrespectful, pastor Bill. I do respect the institution and holy covenant of marriage and I do want to be married one day, its just that I have a lot of friends whose parents are not married, and when it comes to talking about the subject of marriage, what is required and what isn’t? I hope that once more I have used the correct function here on this website to send in this question. 
If you are able to give me some advice on this subject, then I thank you in advance and I really appreciate it. 
Yours sincerely….(@@@@)

Dear sister you are asking very important questions. My generation (I am 62) has had to really think about the Biblical answer to these , because we were born in a world in which the sanctity and importance of marriage was assumed .

But in my adult life we have had to witness the all out cultural assault on nearly everything we once took for granted, and the tearing down of all that we once considered sacred, including marriage and the family.

As a Pastor, I have had to work out from scripture those things I once assumed about marriage in order to both defend it and to promote it. Also as a Parent, (My wife and I have six children and 15 grandchildren) we could not just take for granted the rightness or wrongness of things which our societal context once assumed. Like you, we have had to go to the Bible, and to seek the LORD for answers.

First of all let’s start at the beginning and at the end. By that I mean, did you realize that the Bible begins and ends with a wedding? What we see in Genesis 2 is a wedding. The first man was alone, and needed a ‘help meet’ (suitable companion) . It was the first “Not good” in the Bible and that , before the fall.

How does God turn a “not good” into a “good”? What He did looked a lot like a death and resurrection. The man was put into a deep sleep, and underwent an operation of sorts. Literally God took his side (not his rib, his side) and created woman, and presented her to the man.

Adam, whose eyes had not been dimmed by sin, could see in this first marriage an intimation of the final and ultimate marriage, for he saw another groom, who also had a scar in his side, presented with a Bride, ( Revelation 19 the marriage supper of the Lamb). Paul tells us in Ephesians chapter 5, that in marriage we become one person, in a sense, yet retain our individuality.

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.( Ephesians 5:30-31)

First of all, let us be clear dear sister, Marriage is ordained of God. It is not something that evolved or that man invented, God himself created it and instituted it , even before the fall. All real discussion about marriage and it’s validity must begin there.

Secondly, humanly speaking, God instituted marriage to solve the problem of loneliness. “It is not good that man be alone…”. Marriage is for companionship and is the school of true friendship. What God wants of people cannot be carried out autonomously, we need each other on various levels, especially for the task of having and raising children.

Spiritually marriage is a kind of ongoing prophecy, a picture of the relationship of Christ to His people.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.( Ephesians 5:27-31)

You grew up with parents who had a very rocky marriage. Unfortunately that has become the rule and not the exception. Marriage is difficult because it is a call to unselfishness. Man is naturally selfish. This generation (Mine and those following) is particularly selfish and perhaps is the generation Paul warned about when he said “In the last days perilous times will come, for men will be lovers of themselves…”. Psychology has taught modern man to seek “self fulfillment” and to be true to Self above all else.

We shouldn’t have listened to these philosophies, for they are the opposite of the teaching of Jesus who said that happiness and fulfillment cannot come by selfishness, only by saying “no”to self in serving God and others. Marriage cannot work for selfish people.

You raise a very significant question when you ask,

…what happens if a husband and wife stop loving each other at a point, they stay married but if they vowed to always love each other, aren’t they breaking the covenant? 

The short answer is this, ‘What is love’? What is it that people promise before God to do “I promise to love you all the days of your life, till death do us part”?

Surely Love must be more than a feeling . How could one promise to ‘feel’ anything for all of your life? For that matter how could God command fickle creatures such as you and I to “Love one another”, if love is but a strong feeling?

True Love involves feeling but is not a mere feeling. Love is a commitment to seek the other’s good, to even be willing to lay aside one’s own desires and sometimes needs, for the good of the other.

What happens if a husband and wife “stop loving each other”? Do you mean what happens if they “lost that loving feeling”? Or do you mean what happens if a man and woman consciously decide they are incompatible and will no longer seek each other’s good?

The one is understandable. Not everyday can be a romantic rapture, right? It can be remedied anyway, feelings come and go, they are fickle, and they can be consciously re-ignited.

It is the vows that count, not the feeling. The Covenant is binding and has sanctions in heaven, even if earthly courts have passed godless “no fault” divorce laws.

If a Husband or wife decide they no longer “love each other” and break their vows by divorce, they will one day have to give an account to the author of marriage, whom they have seriously sinned against, as to why they promised to Love each other, then backed down on that promise.We are not talking about a feeling or lack of a feeling, we are now talking about a refusal to keep a promise.

What about your friends who have found a way to live in harmony without marriage? Is it possible? Of course it is. I have met people who “Lived together” who seemed to get along much better than many married people.

Marriage is really friendship at it’s core. My wife is my best friend and I hers. So there are some people, (influenced by the cultural revolution) who have dispensed with Marriage, and yet know how to be friends. There are laid back people, long suffering people, easy going people, and so forth, that know how to get along even if they aren’t saved, so it doesn’t surprise me that your friends seem to have good thing going, in living together without marriage.

What does it say about people like your friend’s parents, that they know how to live with each other in seeming harmony, and to live as man and wife even if they aren’t married?

I believe that dispensing with marriage altogether says that these people do not fear God. They may know how to get along as people, and would probably make nice neighbors, but they do not know the LORD and certainly do not fear Him. God is the one who ordained marriage and whose law condemns all sex outside of marriage. Marriage is a big deal.

Furthermore these people who dispense with marriage, yet live together as man and wife, reveal that they aren’t concerned with other people. I often ask people in that position, “Would you want your daughter to just go and live with someone?”. Usually the obvious answer is “No”.

Wouldn’t you want your daughter to be with someone who respected and honored her parents enough to come and give them some kind of assurance that they love her and want to take care of her, and to go on record publicly that those were his intentions? Why wouldn’t someone want to do that?

Weddings are important because they are a way of including the families and friends of both parties and of honoring the parents of each, and celebrating publicly the formation of another household. Not to mention acknowledging God.

What evidence is there of honor and self control, and respect in a young man or woman, if there is not a requirement to wait and make things right, and to assure those who love the bride or groom, that the future will not be one of passionate impulse, but of disciplined delay of self gratification?

Living together, denies these values. If someone is unwilling to wait for my daughter, and to respect her enough to be engaged and allow the families to get to know him/her , I wouldn’t wish such a person on anyone I love. God is not in “living together” situations. Such people are godless.

What does it mean to be married? Is it a celebration? Is it a State license?

A marriage is a public affirmation of the intent to” love, honor and cherish”forever. Nothing else will do. Why wouldn’t someone publicly commits to such a thing? As for the ceremony, Marriage is of God and God should be acknowledged in it.

There is nothing emptier than to hear of someone getting “hitched” at the Justice of the Peace, or perhaps worse, Eloping. Next to getting saved, marriage is the biggest thing you will do in life. To elope is to cut everybody that loves and cares, out of the equation.

The marriage actually occurs at the taking of the vows, and those vows will be brought up on the day of Judgment.

Witnesses are there at the wedding for spiritual reasons. “If any two or more of you agree, it shall be done of my father in heaven”. Witnesses, by their presence are saying, “We believe this to be the will of God ad will always support this union”.

There is nothing wrong with spending money to make for a nice wedding, it is a way of saying, ‘this is important…”. However money shouldn’t deter anyone from having a wedding. An expensive wedding dress doesn’t guarantee a beautiful wedding or marriage. What makes both beautiful and elegant, is true love, the fear of God, and the joy and beauty of anticipating together what God has in store.

I hope this helps, if you think of other questions on this, I would be happy to further our dialogue. In the Love of Jesus, Pas Bill

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Jerusalem Is a Cup Of Trembling…

The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.( Zechariah 12:1-3)

Once again events in the city of Jerusalem have erupted into world consciousness like a fire alarm in the midst of a deep sleep. Terrifying scenes of crowds of confused and frightened people running for their very lives as flash grenades explode around them. Muslims barricaded in the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple mountain, rushing to and fro as Israeli defense forces besiege them, and eventually enter the sanctuary in full riot gear.

There are also the instantaneous, angry, defiant international protests at Israeli treatment of Palestinians across the globe.

In what seemed to be a perfect storm of events; such as a National celebration of the Annexation of Jerusalem by the Jews in 1967 called “Jerusalem day”, the final Friday service of Ramadan, an Israeli court case, in which Jewish plaintiffs sued for the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem, and the onset of a New American political administration hostile to Israel, the tensions exploded into a firestorm of violence.

The prophet Zechariah predicted that God would make Jerusalem to be a “cup of Trembling” to those who are round about her, making them to go crazy and unleashing among them self destructive impulses as a Divine judgment upon them.

Jerusalem is the most important city on earth. God chose to “put his name there”, according to the promise God gave to King David.

And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.   1Kings 11:36

Furthermore it was in Jerusalem that God had his people erect a Holy House and there God descended to inhabit that house in a cloud of Glory.

In Jerusalem also, God dealt a fatal blow to the enemy of God and of mankind, when He sent his Son to die outside of the city walls. The earth’s most serious wound is also in Jerusalem, because there is an empty Tomb, which had been used by the Messiah, and from that tomb emerged the risen Saviour.

Jerusalem is also a very important city to the World’s 1.7 billion Muslims. Though Jerusalem is never mentioned by name in the Quran, Islam claims that Jerusalem is the third holiest site for Muslims.

There is one passage in the Quran which mentions a place called Al Aqsa, “the farthest place” which Muslim scholars cite to claim Jerusalem and the Temple mount as their own site. The passage is called “the Izra” and it tells us that Mohammed rode a winged horse called “Barak” (I know, you just can’t make this stuff up), all the way to “Al Aqsa” where he ascended to heaven and had prayer with Jesus and Moses. This is why the Mosque on the Temple must be called the “Al Aqsa Mosque”.

Every confrontation on the Temple mount, is a portent of the final conflict for Israel and for all of mankind. It is ironic that this latest outburst involved a siege and assault on the Mosque. We are heading into very serious times, I hope you have made your peace with God and are ready.

The city of Jerusalem is also very important to the United Nations. It happens to be the only major World city which has been partitioned into two cities by the UN. The UN claims that there are ‘two Jerusalems’, one is designated for Muslims and the other for Jews. God didn’t do this, the UN did.

A Jewish young man, who was born in Jerusalem, but was a US citizen, applied for an American passport. On the application, he was asked for the city of his birth, so he replied, Jerusalem, Israel. His passport was rejected on the grounds that officially, Jerusalem isn’t in Israel! It is a “universal city”. He sued all the way up to the Supreme Court of the United States and was rejected every step along the way, for insisting the Jerusalem is in Israel.

A terrible conflict is coming, and it will break out over the issue of Jerusalem. God has a controversy with the nations of this world. Could these volatile events in Jerusalem be leading up to this? We will soon see…. Seek the LORD while He can be found… more to come…

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…But Deliver us From Evil…Prayer pt 11

“Lead us not into Temptation, but deliver us from evil…” Luke 11

We have everything, in Christ. He provides our daily bread, He forgives us our trespasses, He gives us even the power and desire to forgive those who sin against us! As our sympathetic high Priest, He runs to our aid when tempted, knowing and understanding the weakness of our frame.

Yet we remain in a world given over to the Evil One.

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the evil one.( I John 5:19)

We also know that evil is yet within us, or at least still something in part of us that still resonates with evil. “The Prince of this world comes, but He has nothing in Me…” said Jesus. There was nothing in Jesus to resonate with any suggestion or outlook presented by the Devil, but I cannot say the same yet about myself.

So we pray earnestly “Deliver us from Evil…”.. I want freedom, glorious liberty of the Sons of God, and long for the full manifestation of it.

If only we would connect our sufferings, pain, regret and anxieties with sin. Sin brings evil. It always brings pain, distress, disease, sorrow, fear, and everything else that is hateful and hurtful. We pray for the day we will finally be through with all of it.

If you think about it, Heaven is such a glorious and strangely foreign place that for the most part it can only be described negatively. What is Heaven like?

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.(Revelation 21:4)

We cannot truly conceive of a world without evil in it, but one is being prepared for those who believe. In the meantime, we pray for deliverance from all evil; evil within, and evil around us.

Adolph Saphir makes the point that rather than merely ‘enduring’ evil as we wait for the new day to dawn, we ought to confront it, as our Savior did in his time on this earth, and have the mindset of those who will ultimately conquer all evil.

“…in the spirit of this petition, we ought to meet evil, not merely with pity and sighs, and comforting assurances of Divine Providence overruling all, but with the mind and purpose and energy of a conqueror’ dissipating ignorance, healing the sick, helping the poor, driving out devils. The Church of Christ has in all ages more or less converted the prayer,’Deliver us from evil’ into works of benevolence and charity, into warfare with the miseries of the earth. (The LORD’s Prayer, Adolph Saphir)

Obviously this is no Christian World. The Whole world lies in the power of Darkness, and the Apostles refer to “this present evil age”. Our age is an age of wickedness, evil is exalted, promoted, and the things and people most highly prized in it are the darkest and most defiant of God. We are strangers in this world perpetual foreigners. All around us is the repudiation of God , Christ and his Holy wil.

Sin has wreaked a terrible havoc on all of the world. Death comes to all of us in a thousand different forms as the ‘wages’ of sin; depression, brokenness, sorrow and bitter regret, broken lives, broken health, broken families and even broken nations. Obviously no one wants the wages and much is done by this world to try and counter them, but few connect this miseries to sin itself.

Sin, and the right to sin without consequences or regrets is championed, defended, and adored in our age, in spite of the damage it has done. Few put the dots together and connect sin to the miseries it causes. The only people who ever dared point that out in this evil world, were the true preachers and teachers of the Gospel.

This blindness to sin and evil, which amounts to an outright love of evil is one of the greatest deceptions of our day.Unfortunately very few preachers ever fulfill their sacred obligation to decry sin and to connect it to the ‘dots’ of the destruction which it causes to fall upon us.

It takes nothing less than an understanding of the Law of God himself, to even began to perceive the horror and abject evil of Sin (in ourselves) and ultimately around us.

The Cross of Jesus is the ultimate revelation of this for it is testament to the depth of our depravity , that nothing less than the death of Jesus, the blessed Son of the Living God, in a cruel and humiliating way, was what it took to deal with the spiritual and moral pollution in our souls.

“The Believer is astonished at his sins, their number, their ubiquity,their insidiousness, their tenacity.And he feels the burden of sins known only to himself, “I hate vain thoughts”…” (Ibid)

God has to reveal to us somethings about ourselves, in order to ‘deliver us from evil’. These are things which are quite uncomfortable.

We are told by the Apostle Paul, that sin has so established itself in our souls, that it is actually a Law at work in our lives. It (Sin) asserts itself into our life, disrupting any attempts at living for and with God, undermining all efforts to reform, and literally dominating us in the deepest part of our being.

 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?(Romans 7:21-24)

So when we pray “Deliver us from evil” we are not merely praying for deliverance from external evil, but from the fountain of corruption and sin which is within us. We know that not only have we been guilty of sins, but there is a deeper principle within us, called sin. Only the power of the grace of God revealed in the gospel is able to deliver us from this power.

We must be brought to the point where we finally see, that we cannot deliver ourselves. Only our Father which art in heaven, who sent his Son to save and redeem us, he alone delivers us from the power of Sin and evil, within and without. The prayer “Deliver us from Evil” is a serious prayer, not a mere citation, it is the desperate cry for help of one who has been shown his own depraved soul in the light of God.

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Lead us Not Into Temptation… Prayer 10

Lead us not into temptation… (Luke 11)

God forgives sins. He is good and generous and has paid the price that we might be able to ask him for forgiveness and receive it by faith.

Part of The Father’s agenda regarding sin is not only that we might be cleansed and forgiven, but that we might be a forgiving people. It is basic discipleship to learn that all sins can be forgiven and that we must love and forgive others as we have been forgiven.

But the LORD wants to take us farther than those two steps, for it is his will that we hate and dread all sin, thus we are taught to pray “Lead us not into temptation…”.

These prayer requests, given to us by Jesus, all amount to humble acknowledgements; we need God to provide for our daily physical needs, we are dependent, frail creatures. We need forgiveness and to forgive, as well, for there is still an ongoing struggle within us with indwelling sin. We don’t want to be estranged from our Father, so we confess those sins, asking for forgiveness.

As we grow in grace we begin to see that our sins come as a result of patterns of temptation which we fall prey to. The idea is to learn how to disrupt those patterns and to be delivered out of the temptations which we have been prone to fall to. We now hate sin, and dread it. We don’t want to fall anymore.

Have you ever prayed about your temptations? All of us have our own unique iniquities which Satan, the tempter appeals to. The enemy of your soul has studied you and knows what predilections you struggle with.

 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.( I Peter 5:8-9)

We are to be aware of the danger of seduction into sin. Satan desires to have us , that He might sift us like wheat. We are cautioned by Jesus himself, “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation”.No matter how willing we are spiritually, we are told to be aware of our weakness, ie the flesh, our unregenerate nature.

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.(Matthew 26:41)

One of the best things that can happen to any Christian is when they come to the conviction that they can no longer trust themselves. When we realize that at any moment, given the right circumstances, any of us can defect from Christ in a shocking manner.

No one is exempt from the possibility. The Apostle Peter certainly wasn’t. He was confident that He loved Jesus so much that He would not defect even if everybody else among the disciples did defect.But within hours He had denied Jesus three times.

Jesus tried to urge Peter to pray about the trial and temptation which He was about to undergo, but Peter’s overconfidence in the flesh made him weary so He slept instead. What was there to pray about? It turned out there was much Peter could have been praying about. “Lord lead me out of the coming temptation, give me the grace not to deny you, the awareness of what is really going on…Please LORD don’t let me have to be put to the test!”.

There is a beautiful prayer about temptation found in the Proverbs of the Bible. It is often unrecognized as being so. but it exemplifies a profound prayer on this very subject,

Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.( Proverbs 30:6-9)

What is Agur saying here? Is he not pleading “Lord I do not trust myself, Please don’t let me be tested either with riches or poverty, as I am afraid of what I might do in either case?”

All we need to know about the terrible battle with sin and temptation is found in the account of the Fall. The Devil came to our first parents as the tempter. He came not directly, but subtly he challenged the authority, the goodness and the veracity of God. Always his goal is to estrange us from God himself, to pull us away.

Has God really said….? Underneath every temptation a serious religious question is raised; in this case the question is about the Word of God and their understanding of it. Did the first couple really hear God right?

Eventually in that one incident the Devil had them questioning God’s Word, God’s goodness, the God ordained Sanctions,( You shall not surely die) and by temptation he had turned them into rival”gods” choosing their own definition of ‘good and evil”.

Adam and Eve now knew ‘good and evil’ by firsthand experience, and every tear of sorrow ever shed since is because they yielded to temptation.

Temptation is dreadful, and sin is awful and destructive. It is the evil of evils, something to fear and hate. Above all it is something to pray about and to seek to overcome with all of our being. God is the one we must resort to and to seek for deliverance.

This request “Lead us not into temptation…” has an implicit promise within it. God will lead us. By Jesus teaching us to pray this way, He is telling you that God is willing to lead us in those paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. God knows which misguided ways we travel, often repetitively, by which we have too often fallen. He can show us new ways; new habits of thought and deed which will cause us to triumph over the sins which had once so easily beset us. We do not have to yield to temptation.

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You Must Forgive Your Trespassers… Prayer 9

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”

In order to be able to sincerely ask forgiveness of our sins, we must be willing to undergo prayerful self examination. The LORD’s prayer teaches us to ask God to show us our secret faults, our trespasses, and any obstacles between our soul and God which we might be unaware of.

We serve and worship a God who is able to search our hearts. He can see what we cannot see about ourselves. We can learn to pray sincerely with David, for the light of God in our self examination, knowing that what God exposes, God purges out of our souls.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.(Psalm 139:23-24)

In the process of doing so and asking our Father for forgiveness, invariably, names and faces of others who have sinned against us will arise in our consciousness. We must forgive from the heart all of those who have sinned against us, in order to receive forgiveness.

The knowledge of our own sin and of the reality of God’s merciful forgiveness is supposed to make us tender hearted and forgiving towards those who sin against us. We rejoice in a God who will not”Mark Iniquities” , who freely forgives all sin, transgression and iniquity, and who “casts our sins into the sea of forgetfulness”.

It would be a serious sin to receive such blessings, but then to not let them soften your own heart towards those who are indebted to you, or who have wronged you.

Thus the request for forgiveness of our own sins is conditional, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…”.

Do we hate all sins or only those sins committed against our own persons? This is the difference between genuine sanctification and self Righteousness. Can we forgive others? Can we go further and actually love others, who have hurt, abused or spoken evil of us?

The Parable of the debtor makes this point clearly,

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:23-35)

We must pray constantly not to be affected and infected by the bitterness, hatred, and pettiness of our age. There will be many offenses presented to us. Constantly forgive others as you have been, and would want to be forgiven by God yourself.

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Forgive us Our Debts… Prayer 8

“…and Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”

We are dependent creatures, we need our daily bread and are taught to look to God for it in the Lord’s prayer. We certainly cannot live by bread, but neither can we live without it.

In the same way, we cannot live without the mercy of God’s forgiveness. We need it, daily. I cannot live without God, without communion and the sense of God in my life. But I am a sinner. I have to have forgiveness.

God gives us so much more than we even realize. His giving is constant, often silent, it even goes unrecognized by the recipients all too often. The Psalmist blessed the LORD who “Daily loads us with Benefits”.

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.( Psalm 68:19)

Another of the Psalms extols a list of blessings and benefits that the LORD bestows upon us, and puts “Forgiveness of iniquities at the top of the list;

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.( Psalm 103:1-5)

The LORD is an abundant giver, but even more importantly He is an abundant forgiver. There will be no Spiritual life at all without the acknowledgment and forgiveness of Sins. The denial of Sin, and/or the mistaken belief that it is somehow an act of unbelief to continually confess our sins to God in prayer, both amount to “remaining in darkness”.

Yes there is a full and free pardon to all who believe in the gospel, which never need be repeated. God forgave our sin for Jesus’ sake. Salvation is “once and for all”, we who believe are forgiven and have the remission of sins.

When Jesus tried to clean Peter’s feet at the last Supper, Peter refused. He had bathed before hand, He only needed his feet cleansed, the part of Him that came in contact with the World,

Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.( John 13: )

Were we washed from our sins once and for all when we became Christians? Yes we were. But do we still sin, often daily? Sadly, yes we do. Should we not ask for forgiveness of specific sins constantly, although in one sense we have been forgiven of them? Yes we should.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” ( I John 1:9)

Remember that Prayer is about more than simple cause and effect. it is about deeply aligning ourselves with God. We come into agreement on a set of facts, we learn to deplore and hate our sins, (as God does) , we do not want to take for granted the fact of our forgiveness, so we constantly expose our sins to the light of God in prayer, taking God’s side against them until sin itself is destroyed in our members.

Forgiveness of sin is not a mere abstract concept or religious principle which God offers us. It cannot be separated from Christ himself, who gave himself as an offering to make it possible. When we pray for the forgiveness of our sins we are applying in prayer the entire gift of Christ. We are applying Christ himself to our debtedness and residual depravity. Daily, until we arrive at glorification we should be praying for forgiveness of specific sins which we have committed.

Saphir notes;

Sin is debt.What do we owe God? We Owe ourselves to Him. All that we are, body, soul and spirit is His;and we ought to give all to Him,and we ought to be his, and to give all to Him and that always.And this debt is daily growing for God is daily giving and we are always misappropriating his gifts.We cannot get rid of our debt other than by becoming more his debtors, He forgives us and now we owe Him more than ever, for as the Apostles say,”Owe no many anything but to love one another..” So Christ expects from the sinner to whom much is forgiven, that He will love much.” (The LORD”S PRAYER, Adolph Saphir)

Other versions say “Forgive us our trespasses…”. Saphir notes in his book, that all men can grasp this, the simplest principle of the mystery of Sin, that it is a debt, or a trespass. We all know what it means to be in debt, or to have someone owe us… so also we can all relate to the notion of Trespass, wherein we step over a boundary or a line. Sin is a very real debt and a trespass against God.

If sin is a debt and trespass, is it not good for us, at least once a day (as the LORD evidently intended and expects us to do) to ask our heavenly Father to remit our debt, to disperse the cloud which intercepts from us the light of his countenance?”( ibid)

Yes the debt has been “paid in full” and the account has been settled in the sacrifice of Jesus, but only good comes by the constant and humble acknowledgement of it, in asking for forgiveness of sins in prayer.

Sin itself is a profound mystery. What is it? Where did it come from? Only God fully knows the total depth of the mystery of Sin, and He is at war with it. God hates all sin. Jesus had to die to give us a hope of being forgiven of it and of conquering it in ourselves.

Saphir again, is poignant on this point,

Sin prevails everywhere but few know it.They who are most familiar with it(sin) and most obedient to it’s sway, are least acquainted with its character, and feel least its tyranny.Sin is myriad shaped. It wears a thousand masks, speaks with a thousand voices, and pursues a thousand methods. It can be childish and ambitious; now it is heroic and laborious, now frivolous and effeminate; now it is gross and revolting, now polished and beautiful; yet it is ever the same; Life without God, enmity against the Most High”(Ibid)

Even in the soul of a Christian, sin has a toxic effect. It deadens the soul towards God and numbs holy affections and impulses. It kills love for the brethren as well for there is no love in Sin.

We cannot truly look even at our own sin objectively for it frightens us to admit it, and the effect of Sin is spiritual blindness. Only from the vantage point of Calvary, and of the forgiveness it affords, can sin ever be seen even remotely for what it truly is. Only when the gospel assures us that we are forgiven and accepted can we be willing to allow ourselves to see the depths of our guilt.

God’s method of sanctification, is not the denial of Sin or it’s seriousness, rather it is a combination of a deep sense of conviction against sin ,

with an assurance of pardon and the status of Righteousness as a gift from Jesus,

and finally the cultivation of a holy hatred of sin and iniquity.

Thus we are taught to pray about our sin, and to ask for forgiveness of them, in utter dependance upon God.

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