The Madness Of The Prophet… Balaam pt 4

And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they. And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me: For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people. And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more. And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do. And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.( Numbers 22:15-22)

Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.( 2 Peter 2:15-16)

Balaam , thought that the God of Israel was no different from the other “gods of the nations” which he had previously dealt with, as a Kasem, that is a pad seer.

But in this case the LORD clearly spoke to the pagan prophet, instructing him not to go along with the delegation from the King of Moab, Balak. Furthermore he was not to curse Israel. Why not? Because the LORD pronounced them to be blessed.

But Balaam didn’t tell the delegation everything the LORD had said. He failed to tell them clearly that God had forbidden Him to curse them, and that God had blessed these people,Israel.

All he related was his own reluctant obedience to the LORD’s prohibition upon going with them. He wanted to make the trip back with them, but couldn’t. The LORD wouldn’t allow him to.

This left the door open for further negotiations, higher bids, and perhaps bought some time in case he could change the will of the LORD.

Sure enough another delegation came from Canaan, 400 miles to the Euphrates river, with greater wealth in order to convince Balaam to curse Israel.

It looked like Balaam was resolute when he assured them,

If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more.

However in the next breath Balaam told them ,

Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more.

Praying further about what you already know to be the will of God is the recipe for self-deception. What would there be to pray about? Had God not already spoken clearly? Was the instruction of the LORD open to negotiation?

Yet God allowed Him to do what he wanted to do. This permission is not necessarily a blessing, in some cases it is a judgment. Remember that Jesus told Judas, “What you do, do quickly!”. Was that a Divine sanction? Or was it more akin to the strong delusion God will send to those in the last days who insist on something like an Anti-Christ, until God sends them one!

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.( 2 Thess 2:9-12)

So the Lord allows the willful prophet to do what the LORD had previously and explicitly forbade him to do, “Go with them… but speak only what I tell you to speak…”.

But Balaam is so eager for the money, the honor and the fame, He rushed eagerly to join the delegation on the long trip back to Canaan. It is this willful eagerness that explains the fact that the Lord’s wrath was kindled against the prophet, and that the Lord himself was to be an adversary to Him on the way.

So it is with many these days, who have told themselves that what they have insisted on doing all along, was in fact the will of God, in spite of the fact that it contradicts the Word. As they rush headlong after their own lusts, they tell themselves they have Divine approval for all of it. Like Balaam these are totally oblivious to the wrath that is on them.

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What You Should Know About Jordan Peterson …

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:  Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.(I Timothy 6:20-21)

As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.( I Timothy 1:3-4)

 

I love the internet because of the open exchange of viewpoints, and the democratization of knowledge that it affords. For the time being at least, the gatekeepers can no longer control and dominate the public square, enforcing their sneering, leftist orthodoxy as the proscribed ‘prevailing wisdom’ of the day.

In place of the Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, and Katy Couric types foisted upon us for decades by the Northeastern Liberal Media establishment, refreshing voices from a wide perspective of view are available.

The internet has it’s own ‘stars’; some of them were already well known, and some come seemingly out of nowhere; Matt Drudge, Stefan Molyneux, Ben Shapiro, Dennis Prager,  Sultan Knish (Daniel Greenfield), Jim Robinson, David Horowitz, Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, the late Andrew Beitbart, James O’Keefe, Laura Southern, are among them. They come from the right, the left, Libertarianism, and even Anarchist perspectives .

One of the latest popular internet personalities is Jordan Peterson,  a  Professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and popular author, his latests book is named,  “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” (Jan 2018, Penguin Books).

Peterson is well known for his now classic book,  “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief”, which offers ,”a revolutionary take on the psychology of religion”. All of Peterson’s lectures on the subject are available on Peterson’s Youtube channel, which features 300 videos of his lectures, and has 550,000 subscribers, and 30 million views.

Peterson is an excellent communicator. Part of his popularity is that he takes on Political Correctness, to the point of running afoul of leftist groups on Campuses such as Antifa, who have rioted at campuses where Peterson was asked to speak.

According to the Guardian, in an article called “Jordan Peterson: The Pursuit of Happiness is a Pointless Goal”

Peterson, 55, is a psychology professor at the University of Toronto who shot into the headlines in 2016 after refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns at the university which new legislation, Bill C-16, compelled him legally to. Following this he was either hailed as a free-speech martyr or castigated as a transphobe. Demonstrations broke out on campus, and he has been the subject of a campaign of protest by trans activists. More controversy followed when he publicly defended James Damore, the sacked Google employee who suggested there were innate gender differences, as being no more than the scientific consensus.

Of interest to me, (and my readers) is that Peterson teaches about the Bible. Quite a bit about the Bible actually.  He is very popular for his series on the Bible, Maps of Meaning , which features lectures on some of the more famous Bible Stories.  This subject has turned out to be compelling in this postmodern environment, and at the Universities.

(Who knew that secularism doesn’t satisfy, and leaves a Nihilistic void? Hmmmmm!)

The problem is that Jordan is teaching the Bible from a Jungian perspective.

The Atheistic father of ‘psychology’ Sigmund Freud, once had a protege, named Carl Gustav Jung.  They were the pioneers of the modern ‘science’ of psychology.Freud would develop Jung and they would develop this new knowledge.

The two eventually had a parting of the ways, because Freud was a materialist, and Jung was very spiritual in his outlook. This son of a Swiss Reformed Pastor, was raised in a home in which his mother believed ‘spirits’ visited her in the night, eventually having a nervous breakdown.

Jung believed that we (Humanity) all partake of a “collective consciousness”,  a continuity of deep but repressed memories stretching back into the ‘millions of years” of human evolution.

Out of that consciousness come our various myths and religious stories, whose characters are called “archetypes”. These archetypes recur in our legends, stories, myths, literature,  because they are spiritual realities, and they are universal because humanity all draws from the same well of repressed, distant memory.

The Archetypes consist of “the Hero”, “The Caregiver”,”The Ruler”,”Everyman”,”The Jester”, “Creator”, “Lover”, “the Explorer”,”The Magician”, “The Outlaw”, “Innocent”, and tree are yet others no doubt, which Jungians will ‘discover’. To Jung, (and his disciples such as Peterson) all of these figures are spiritual realities which reside in all of our subconsciousness.

In the Jungian model of the human psyche, any and all of these figures reside on our unconsciousness. This is bothersome to me as a Christian, because I believe in the biblical concept of Demonization and in some cases Demon Possession. Jungianism would give a ‘scientific ‘explanation, for the phenomenon, lending it respectability.

Is this persona a demon or an archetype?

According to Jungians, archetypes are  why literature and ‘religion’ feature pretty much the same ‘stories’, which recur over centuries with different  names and faces but the same basic features.

In Jungian thought, there are in literature, a thousand forms of the poem Odyssey, or the Iliad, Because man is always on a joinery into the unknown, and man can never return home. There will always be a self sacrificing hero, because ‘the Hero’ is merely an archetype, a figure who exists in our “collective unconsciousness”  and constantly re-emerges in human experience.

Jordan Peterson is positive about Christianity. He believes that Judeo/ Christianity gave us western civilization, and he is an ardent opponent of Postmodernism. He even confesses to be a Christian, and his interest in the Bible, and opposition to the godless left, has made him quite popular with Christian young people.

But to Peterson the Bible is Myth, and the characters of the Bible are valuable archetypes, not historical figures. He considers it perhaps the greatest of all myths, but a myth nonetheless.

 

Christianity and Judaism (in the true sense) are historical religions. We believe that God entered into time/space history and intervened. The Resurrection is a historical event, and of historical consequence. There really was a tomb, as Christian apologist Josh MacDowell once said, “…if the stone that covered the mouth of the tomb had rolled over your foot, you would be in a cast!”

Our current mainstream churches are testament to what happens when one mythologizes Christianity. One hundred fifty years ago, had you showed up at nearly any Protestant Church, you were likely to hear some form of the gospel.

Now you are as likely to be greeted by a female Bishop, and could hear a sermon denying the resurrection, the teaching of Christ about marriage and gender, and calling for ‘social justice’,( whatever that is).

What happened? Liberal Theologians began saying, that it wouldn’t matter whether or not there was really a Paul or a Jesus, or a resurrection, (After all, how can we really believe in all of that in the day of the electric light bulb?) all that matters is the ideas and goodwill that they promoted.

I worry about the popularity of Jordan Peterson by many an unsuspecting millennial, as well as a good many other people. I see why he is popular, I celebrate his calls for free speech, and his standing up to the gay nazis and other forms of political correctness.

Jordan Peterson is not a teacher sent by God to expound on the Gospel, once and for all delivered, He doesn’t believe in it’s historicity, therefore in a tue biblical sense, he doesn’t believe at all!

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.( I Corinthians 15:12-19)

 

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The Way of Balaam …Balaam pt 3

…Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;(2 Peter 2:14-15)

And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak. And he said unto them, Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as theLord shall speak unto me: and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam. And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee? And Balaam said unto God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying, Behold, there is a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out. And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.( Numbers 22:7-12)

We have been saying that the story from the book of Numbers has an amazing relevance for our situation today, as do all of the Bible stories. This account is far more than a moralistic anecdote, rather it is a true history of God’s dealings with His chosen people Israel, and the nations around her.

We also maintain that this story is prophecy. It has to do with what will happen again,(and is happening) in the time of the end, in the days when the LORD will fulfill all of His promises to resurrect and restore Israel to her prophesied glory.

Once again, Israel is being restored back to the land God gave Abraham,Isaac and Jacob.

And once again the nations of the world, especially the Arab neighbors of Israel are agitated, perplexed and frightened. The return of Israel to her land after nearly two thousand years of exile, is considered a miracle by Christians and Jews, but to the Arab/Muslim world, May 14, 1948 is called “al Naqba”, the catastrophe. Balak also considered the Exodus of Israel into the land, a catastrophe.

Furthermore we have another startling parallel to our own day, for once again powerful Arabs are seeking to use wealth to entice people to curse Israel.

The Saudi’s alone have spent millions of dollars to endow departments at major universities, such as Harvard and Georgetown, they have bought into news and publishing concerns as well. they have purchased the services of lobbyists and politicians, and perhaps most scandalously, they have influenced mainstream churches, all towards the same end, they would disenfranchise, disqualify, and delegitimize Israel in world opinion.

We now come to another aspect of the modern relevance of Balaam, that of the danger of false prophets.

Balaam wasn’t a Hebrew prophet, He was a Kasem, a pagan seer, one who dealt in the negotiation of national gods. He knew the lore , the demands of the deities, the sacrifices, the controlling phrases, the secret names and pronouncements, and was renowned as one who could flip the allegiances of national gods. Perhaps he could negotiate on Balak’s behalf, with the LORD of Israel. For a hefty fee, of course.

But When Balaam prayed to the God of Israel, the LORD spoke to him!

He told Balaam three things very clearly, two commands, and one clear fact,

*You shall not go with this people.

*You shall not curse Israel.

* I have blessed them.

But in the morning, Balaam told only one of these three Words from the LORD to the waiting delegation of Arabs. He heard God indeed but held back two very important aspects of God’s Word from them, and the one word he did tell them, was put in such a way as to indicate that Balaam himself wished it wasn’t so.

He only told them that “the LORD refuses to allow me to go with you”.

Why didn’t he tell them the truth that He knew came from the LORD? He held back because he wanted to leave the door open for more negotiation, perhaps he could keep the Arabs ‘on the string’, to ‘up the price’ while he worked on negotiations with the LORD himself.

We have such a plague today in the church and in Judaism as well. People who have heard from God at one time or other but for their own reasons they hold back the full truth of what they know.they believe that as ‘middle men’ they can profit in some way or other by holding back or altering revealed Truth.

Many mainline denominational leaders know that the Word of God specifically says that Israel is chosen, but to please the World Spirit, which is currently sympathetic with the “Palestinian cause’ they acquiesce to divestment movements, denominational condemnations, and take sides against the only real democracy and civilized country in the middle east. False Prophets!

There are other areas where this plague is rife, such as preachers who won’t condemn homosexuality, ecumenism, or warn of Hell, and the wrath of God. They know it is there in the Word, but it would hurt them personally to get real about it, so like Balaam, they hold back.

I have heard of Rabbi’s who curse those who study the book of Daniel 9, because they know that Daniel prophesied the timing of the Messiah, and that he would have had to have come between 30AD and the time of the destruction of the temple in 70AD. Why would servants of the word of God do this? Because they are really servants of themselves and see God’s word as a means to their own end.

Balaam is alive and well.

He knew but held back the two most important parts of the message. He should have told these Arabs, that the LORD said, ” YOU shall not curse Israel” and also that “God has blessed them”. In effect He, like so many modern “clergy”, christian and Jewish alike, was trying to downplay or deny by omission, Genesis 12:3, the real meaning of this story.

“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3)

 

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The Man Hired To Curse Israel…Balaam 2

And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field. And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed. And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak.(Numbers 22:3-7)

The Midianite King of Moab was frightened. He had heard the story of the Exodus out of Egypt of the children of Israel. The fame of their mighty God had been melting pagan hearts throughout the Canaanite region for forty years. They knew about the Plagues, the Red Sea, the miracles of manna, and the defeat of the Amorites, the Amalekites, and of Og, King of Bashan.

King Balak felt very threatened by this pilgrim people.

He need not have, though, for God had already instructed Israel through Moses, to refrain from any attempt to harass or dispossess the Moabites. Had they inquired they would have seen, they were in no danger.

And the Lord said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.(Deuteronomy 2:9)

Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink.(Deuteronomy 2:6)

Had the Moabites, Ammonites and Edomites been accommodating, they would have been well compensated by Israel for water, food and any other expenses incurred whilst Israel passed through. But hatred, fear and ignorance of the God of Israel prevented that from happening. So it is today. Israel seeks to pay her way, but her Arab neighbors hate and fear her.

So a delegation was sent to the river Euphrates to retrieve a celebrated Kasem, a pagan prophet. Balaam’s fame preceded him, for it was a four hundred mile journey to fetch him. Such prophets were hired because it was believed that they knew how to negotiate the various national gods, in some cases even turning them against their own people by various sacrifices, conjurations, and by specializing in the knowledge of such gods.

Balaam made it his business to learn the gods, He had heard about the LORD, though up to this time he had no dealings with Him.

The message Balak sent to entice Balaam contained a line of flattery that betrayed specific knowledge of the LORD, for he attributed to Balaam a perverse form of the Abrahamic blessing of Genesis 12:3 in which God says to Abraham,

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.(Genesis 12:2-3)

Whereas Balak’s flattering message to Balaam, likened him unto God when it said,

Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.(Numbers 22:6)

Thus the real meaning of the story of Balaam is the attempt to refute the blessing God gave to Abraham and His seed. “I will bless them who bless you and curse them who curse you…”.

Can the Lord ever be persuaded to reverse this curse? We will all see shortly…

 

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Balaam and The End…Balaam pt 1

And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho. And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field. And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.(Numbers 22:1-6)

It is unfortunate that all too often Bible Stories are relegated to Sunday school morality lessons, flannel-graph pictures, Veggie Tales or children’s coloring books. This is a shame, because Bible Stories are revealed as salvation history, from God and to adults. They are not mere morality tales, they are history. And they are prophecy. They serve to reveal the first and second comings of the Messiah.

The story of Balaam in the book of Numbers is an example of how relevant and prophetic Bible stories really are.

The setting is in the Exodus wanderings of Israel, the newly redeemed slave nation, entering into the land God promised them, through Abraham,Isaac and Jacob. They had been in exile from the land for 400 years and were in the process of possessing it.

Is that not the position Israel is in today? Having been exiled since 70 AD, Israel has come back to life again, and in the process of returning to the land God promised Abraham ,Isaac and Jacob.

But there was much consternation among those who dwelt in the land in Israel’s absence, particularly Israel’s Arab neighbors, the Midianites, Moabites and Ammonites.

Even so today, Israel’s Arab neighbors are very concerned about the Jewish State, and continually raise a tumult whether it be the five major wars, the ongoing terror campaign of the last 40 years, or the aggressive use of oil as leverage, to force the nations to disinherit Israel.

Balak, one of their Kings, was particularly frightened of Israel, having seen the destruction wrought upon the stronger Amorite Kingdom, also upon the Kingdom of OG, and the total devastation of Egypt. This man did not think that He could defeat Israel by military means, He would have to resort to something else to resist them.

The modern return to the land has had a startlingly similar impact upon the Arabs of Jordan, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon. Having failed to defeat them in five major wars, in spite of overwhelming superiority of numbers, weapons and wealth, as well as the element of surprise, the humiliated Arabs have had to adapt.

They united to use oil as a leverage, they would make Europe and America pay for their support of Israel. Petro wealth would be wielded strategically to affect the foreign policy of the nations against Israel. This has been successfully achieved over the last forty years.

In the story in Numbers, Balak seeks a Diviner to “curse Israel”, offering wealth in exchange for pronunciations of doom, failure and defeat. The word “curse” here is a term which means to hollow out, to drain, to empty.

He would hire someone to hollow out Israel’s confidence, her legitimacy to drain her of resolve, to empty her of inward conviction.

Is this not startlingly modern? Politicians, news anchors, Leaders in Education, even whole departments in Universities have been bought by Arabs. Pop stars, foreign ministers, opinion shapers and molders, and even religious leaders now publicly delegitimize her, to demoralize her sense of being in the right, to hollow out Israel’s conviction to stay the course. Even Fox news is now owned in part by a Saudi prince.

Those millions of petro-dollars have steadily had their effect, eroding the support for Israel since the Six-Day War, glamorizing the “Palestinian cause”, and repeating calumny after calumny. World opinion is slowly turning against Israel, there have been boycotts, street demonstrations and even open persecution of Jews in Europe, and the pro-Israel climate in America has cooled rapidly.

The last bastion of support for the state of Israel, has been the world of Evangelicalism, but now even there, voices are calling for a more pro Palestinian outlook, in the name of “social justice” combined with replacement theology.

But how will it end? Can Israel really ever successfully be cursed?

 

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How We Often Win By Losing …war on the saints pt 16

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (Daniel 10:26)

And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.  And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.  Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.  And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. (Daniel 11:32-35)

Why does God put his people in a situation where Satan makes war on the Saints, and overcomes them? How does martyrdom and persecution serve God’s holy purposes?

Perhaps it is a case , like the cross of Jesus, where we win by losing.

Had the Princes of this age, known, they would not have crucified the LORD of Glory.

Time and again, the people of the present age, languish under the damning lie of Satan.

In our own age unbelief and cynicism rage, mocking everything holy, desecrating the sacred, ridiculing that remnant which does believe. Even the practitioners of the true faith are tempted to falter and fail, as their “leaders” in the churches, christian publishing houses and so called Christian education accommodate the lie on varying levels.

How can the thick veil of unbelief and sin jaded hardness of heart ever going to be penetrated?

When truth and faith is nearly dead and the sacred is mocked, ridiculed and twisted, and when the remnant itself is nearly as jaded as the people they claim to want to reach, God uses extreme measures.

What would cause people to see that the Christian gospel has gravitas and is true?

Causing people to be put in a situation where to identify with it, cost them something, and letting the whole world see it.

Remember John Lennon’s anthem to atheism, the hideous song, “Imagine” which intones,

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

We now live in such a sad, pathetic world, crafted by the left wing, progressive movement, and inspired by Satan himself.  What a sick, nihilistic world, of people living for the present day and only to fulfill their own pleasures!

I can’t think of a more depressing, and empty world. No wonder so many are living for entertainment, or on various legal and illegal drugs, or seeking to sate themselves in sex, or novel foods.

We live in the day Paul warned about, where people have become lovers of themselves and lovers of pleasure, with no God. They don’t believe in anything but the self, and the now. They have scoffed at and dismissed the old religion, but tried to fill the emptiness with other “values”.

Suddenly they hear about two bakers who lose their business and are subject to great ridicule and loss, because they wouldn’t cater a gay wedding. Or they see th plight of a clerk in Kentucky who endures ridicule and abuse because she wouldn’t distribute marriage licences to Sodomites.

People are forced to ask themselves, “Why would they go through that abuse when they could just let it go?”, Why suffer such loss and abuse?

Stories filter out to the wider world about Muslims killing Christians, after giving them a chance t pray the Muslim prayer and save their lives.

Persecution and martyrdom is a vivid testimony to those of a jaded and self seeking generation, that there is something worth suffering loss and even dying for. In some circumstances, it is the only way that jaded people would ever believe in the gospel of God and Christ.

I was forcefully struck by this two years ago while walking through the historic university part of the town of Oxford, in the United Kingdom.

As I passed through the ancient, cobblestoned streets I thought of the contrast of what was once being taught in this University, compared to what is currently being taught in it’s famed halls.

The University is a Christian innovation, and the central and chief subject was theology. Every other subject revolved around the “queen of sciences”, an the entire curriculum reflected a distinctly Christian worldview.

But now that same University is a virtual citadel of vain philosophies such as relativism, existentialism, the Humanities, and is primarily coming from an atheistic and humanistic outlook. To the same extent in which Universities once offered to enrich and build up the world, they now tear down and destroy through these toxic and empty philosophies.

But standing in the Campus plaza is a massive monument to three Christians, who rather than acknowledge the Pope as the head of the church, and the mass as an offering of Christ, allowed themselves to be arrested and burnt at the stake! What a slap in the face of relativism and all of the other modern denials that Truth exists!

When Ridley was asked if he believed the pope was heir to the authority of Peter as the foundation of the Church, he replied that the church was not built on any man but on the truth Peter confessed — that Christ was the Son of God. Ridley said he could not honor the pope in Rome since the papacy was seeking its own glory, not the glory of God. Neither Ridley nor Latimer could accept the Roman Catholic mass as a sacrifice of Christ. Latimer told the commissioners, “Christ made one oblation and sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and that a perfect sacrifice; neither needeth there to be, nor can there be, any other propitiatory sacrifice.” These opinions were deeply offensive to Roman Catholic theologians.
Both Ridley and Latimer were burned at the stake in Oxford on this day, October 16, 1555. As he was being tied to the stake, Ridley prayed, “Oh, heavenly Father, I give unto thee most hearty thanks that thou hast called me to be a professor of thee, even unto death. I beseech thee, Lord God, have mercy on this realm of England, and deliver it from all her enemies.”

The monument at Oxford reads,

“To the Glory of God, and in grateful commemoration of His servants, Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, Prelates of the Church of England, who near this spot yielded their bodies to be burned, bearing witness to the sacred truths which they had affirmed and maintained against the errors of the Church of Rome, and rejoicing that to them it was given not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for His sake; this monument was erected by public subscription in the year of our Lord God, MDCCCXLI.”

Through this kind of testimony, godless people are forced to see that there is Truth, and it is worth dying for, rather than denying, and this often compels people to believe, in the cynical age of unbelief. This is how often we are called to “Win” the spiritual war, by losing.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.(Revelation 12:11)

 

 

 

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How People Deny Christ (and don’t realize it)…war on the saints pt 15

Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:  But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.  And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. (Luke 12:8-12)

We have been making the point that true spiritual warfare has a confessional component. We live in the day and age of Satan’s lie. It is the conventional wisdom, accepted and approved by virtually the entire world.

But God would have a people who would live as witnesses to the Truth. What Truth? Isn’t truth a vast and broad concept? Other than obvious call of the church to witness to the gospel, which Truths of God are we to be witnessing to at any given time?

Whichever of God’s truth the world spirit is currently denying.

In a day of the lie of “gay marriage”, God would have a people who will bear witness to the Christian revelation of marriage, gender, family, and chastity.

To make the good confession presupposes that to do so would expose the soul and perhaps even the body to various levels of difficulty. Usually we are called upon to do so in hostile environments.

But the other side of this war, Satan, and the Spirit of Antichrist which is in the world, would not only shut  our mouths from confessing the truth of Jesus, He would go further. In this warfare, the Devil wants to pressure us to have to confess to what we know very well is an out and out lie!

This is the way they deny Christ. They do not  necessarily deny that they are Christian, but when they are called upon to stand up and confess to the truth of the teaching of Christ on that element which the world is currently denying, they cave under pressure and in some cases they make the bad confession.

I wrote an article about a remarkable case of this I saw one evening, a small (but large) skirmish in the very real spiritual war for the souls of men. The following is from the article which was called “How They Deny Jesus”;

I happened upon an airing of a Larry King show, in which two evangelical preachers and a noted evangelical pop musician were the guests. The musician, a young woman, had become noted for coming out as a Lesbian, yet wanting to continue in her ‘music ministry’, to which she testified that there was much popular support.

One of the evangelical pastors, compassionately urged her to repent, assuring her of the prospect of God’s forgiveness for all sins, citing scripture against the sin, as well as promises of God’s love. This was indeed a faithful witness of the truth.

He did this over the objections of Larry King, who obviously took the worldly position on the subject, treating lesbianism as a valid lifestyle, and those who objected to it as bigots and haters. He accused the faithful pastor of being a’ homophobe’ and inferred he was a hypocrite and was similar to those in the fifties who would have objected to inter racial marriage.

Larry stood as we would expect, an avid proponent of the spirit of this age. He forced the good pastor to pay for the truth that he had espoused.So also did the young musician, who laughed and mocked the pastor’s attempt to call her on her sin, and to bring her to repentance.

But the other Pastor, a well-known evangelical, in fact a former head of the national association of evangelicals, sat by, until Larry King asked him what he thought of the issue.

He turned to the faithful shepherd and said, “Remember Pastor, the only thing Jesus ever condemned anyone for, was for judging others and telling them they are wrong!”. At that moment, the young musician smiled, Larry King beamed , and I have no doubt that many in the listening audience appreciated the words of the second pastor.

It is as if they were all saying, “Here is someone who ‘gets it’, not like those obnoxious evangelical haters,(such as the first pastor), this pastor is compassionate, understanding, humane, and non judgmental, our kind of pastor. If only all christians were as loving as this one…”.

But at that moment, I believe the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Do you see what He just did? That man just gained the world…”. No, He didn’t become rich and famous, or better looking or more popular. That is not what ‘gaining the world’ means, in the teaching of Jesus.

For just a sliver of the approval of a misguided pop singer in rebellion to God, and the applause of a depraved, godless television personality, Larry King and his audience, the second pastor in effect denied the biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality, and sided with unbelievers against a faithful witness of Jesus. That was what he was willing to exchange for the chance to look ‘compassionate’ before a television and radio audience, that was the price he was willing to pay.

The second preacher was willing to look good at the expense of his more faithful brother, who was being accused of being a ‘hater’ by King, the young Lesbian, and by inference, himself, when he chided the preacher for judging. This is the very way that ‘many shall betray one another’ as our Lord warned us would be a characteristic of the last days.

That was what he was willing to ‘exchange for his own soul’. The man may have gained the world, but he lost part of his soul. Do you see what I mean by referring to constant transactions? In little or big ways, all of us are being put in that position almost every day, even if we don’t realize it.

Every day in thousands of ways, such skirmishes are being fought, as Satan seeks to pressure people to confess what (they know) is not true. “Political Correctness” is not a mere childish fad, it is a Spiritual warfare. The corruption of our very language and the pressure to go along with the godless consensus, is by Satanic design, a way to brainwash and change people and to further the lie.

There are many like the Pastor in the above story, who betrayed his brother, his faith and  who has lost something of his soul, becoming a Spiritual “prisoner of war”, by denying the well known teaching of Jesus on the subject of gender, marriage and human sexuality, not recognizing the true nature of the battlefield.

But if you would have asked him, He would gladly have told you he was a Christian.

At the same time there is a remnant of believers like the faithful pastor in the story, unashamed of the teaching of Jesus, idling to bear the reproach, and humbly confessing to it even in the face of ridicule and hostility. HE overcame the Devil, by the very word of his testimony, he made the good confession and overcame!

There is not a person reading this who hasn’t already been in similar, but lesser known scenarios time and again. There is such a pressure in these days to succumb to the various lies, ecumenism, sexual anarchy, feminism, relativism in general and multiculturalism, all are part of the same big lie. And we will be called up once again also, in the days ahead.

 

 

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