And Jehovah answered me, and said, Write the vision,

and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it.
(Habakkuk 2:2 - ASV)


Last Updated

  20 May 2022

MARKSWATSON.COM

Watson's Web
Biblical and Prophetic Perspective For Our Times


For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he cometh in his own glory,
and the glory of the Father,
and of the holy angels.
(Luke 9:26 - ASV)


I have set Jehovah always before me:
Because he is at my right hand, I
 shall not be moved.
(Psalms 16:8 - ASV)





Mark can be reached here.  


Contents On This Page

- Job Part 80
- Job Part 79
- Job Part 78
- Job Part 77
- Job Part 76
- Schisms
- Seal Number Three
- Job Part 75
- Wicked Counsel
- Hewn Down
- In Praise Of Humility
- A Matter Of Trust
- Malak Elohim (Angel Of the Lord)
- The Fearlessness Of Faith
- Lawfare And Spiritual Warfare
- A Curse


20 May

Job Part LXXX



Knowest thou the time
when the wild goats of the rock bring forth?
Or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve?
Canst thou number the months that they fulfil?
Or knowest thou the time when they bring forth?
They bow themselves, they bring forth their young,
They cast out their pains. Their young ones become strong, t
hey grow up in the open field;
They go forth, and return not again.
(Job 39:1-4 - ASV)


Here the Lord speaks more about the mysteries of the animal kingdom. This passage is about the wild goats. Here the Lord asks Job about how these animals reproduce. What does Job know about this and how her young grow up?
Who hath sent out the wild ass free?
Or who hath loosed the bonds of the swift ass,
Whose home I have made the wilderness,
And the salt land his dwelling-place?
He scorneth the tumult of the city,
Neither heareth he the shoutings of the driver.
The range of the mountains is his pasture,
And he searcheth after every green thing.
(Job 39:5-8 - ASV)



Here the Lord speaks of the wild ass. This is an animal that is not conducive to domestication. It is a free animal and this is its natural habitat. The sense here seems to be is that God is asking Job who made this animal so jealous of its freedom? Yet even though he has no house or permanent dwelling, it is provided for.

This creature has no love for the city or crowds (multitudes) but prefers the wild, and the freedom that comes therefrom. The phrase the shoutings of the driver is not clear. The word translated driver is H5065 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary. Perhaps the meaning is like horses or mules that are tied to a wagon. The last passage describes the animals place of grazing.

Will the wild-ox be content to serve thee?
Or will he abide by thy crib?
Canst thou bind the wild-ox with his band in the furrow?
Or will he harrow the valleys after thee?
Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great?
Or wilt thou leave to him thy labor?
Wilt thou confide in him,
that he will bring home thy seed,
And gather the grain of thy threshing-floor?
(Job 39:9-12 - ASV)

Commentators are not totally agreed on what kind of animal is meant here. Keil & Delitzsch  commentary takes the word Oryx as what is meant here. Others seem to think a rhinoceros is meant. I think the key here is that like the wild ass mentioned above, it too was a fiercely independent creature and could not be tamed.

The wings of the ostrich wave proudly;
But are they the pinions and plumage of love?
For she leaveth her eggs on the earth,
And warmeth them in the dust,
And forgetteth that the foot may crush them,
Or that the wild beast may trample them.
She dealeth hardly with her young ones,
 as if they were not hers: Though her labor be in vain,
she is without fear;
Because God hath deprived her of wisdom,
Neither hath he imparted to her understanding.
What time she lifteth up herself on high,
She scorneth the horse and his rider.
(Job 39:13-18 - ASV)

The description of the bird is poetical and interesting, noting that God has not given this bird a lot of wisdom (sense). She just lays her eggs and moves along and anyone or anything can step on them. One commentary (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges - Job Volume, 1889) notes that there is an old Arab saying 'more stupid than an Ostrich'. We have one in our times - Birdbrain.


We will continue the Lord's interrogation of Job next week, God willing!


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16 May

Job Part LXXIX



The waters hide themselves and become like stone,
And the face of the deep is frozen.
 Canst thou bind the cluster of the Pleiades,
 Or loose the bands of Orion?
Canst thou lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season?
Or canst thou guide the Bear with her train?
(Job 38:30-32 - ASV)

The Lord continues his interrogation of Job with a continuation of the origin of ice. The phenomenon of how water became as stone was probably a big mystery with the ancients. Could Job explain the physics of the making of ice? Not in an age when people thought the earth was one big flat piece of earth, some thinking it was on the back of a giant turtle! No. Job had no explanation.

Then the Lord asks Job about astronomical phenomenon. He starts off with Pleiades or the Seven Stars. These constellations marked the change of seasons. God asks if he had the power to bind or hinder their influences. The sense here may be that that God is asking Job if he has the power to change the seasons, which are marked by the changing constellations in the sky.

Then he asks Job about Mazzaroth, probably meaning the constellations or the Zodiac. This is the only place the word appears in the OT. 

Then he asks about the constellation Arcturus. This is the the Great Bear constellation in the Northern Hemisphere. The sons may refer to the other stars as its 'cubs'. Albert Barnes (Albert Barnes Notes On The Bible) makes in his commentary an interesting note and says that the constellation 'wanders' round and round the pole in a mysterious fashion, like a mother with her children. Is Job capable of explaining these things, let alone making them come to pass?

Knowest thou the ordinances of the heavens?
Canst thou establish the dominion thereof in the earth?
(Job 38:33  - ASV)


The Lord, even the creator of all things interrogates Job about what he knows about astronomy and astrophysics. What does vain man know about such things? Job would probably have to answer.... 'not much'.

Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds,
That abundance of waters may cover thee?
Canst thou send forth lightnings,
that they may go, And say unto thee,
Here we are?
(Job 38:34-35 - ASV)

Here the Lord again asks Job some questions regarding natural phenomenon that reside between the heavens and the earth, namely the sky.
Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts?
Or who hath given understanding to the mind?
(Job 38:36 - ASV)

This is a passage that has sparked a great deal of debate and alternative translations. Some think the question is not so much directed at man, but is a reference to the previous verse on lightnings. Being no Hebrew scholar, I have to defer to the original translation and meaning here, that it refers to man, but its placement between two passages that deal with natural and areal phenomenon gives considerable credence to other interpretations.

Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven,
When the dust runneth into a mass,
And the clods cleave fast together?
(Job 38:37-38 - ASV)



This is a discussion of drought.
Canst thou hunt the prey for the lioness,
Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
 When they couch in their dens,
And abide in the covert to lie in wait?
Who provideth for the raven his prey,
When his young ones cry unto God,
And wander for lack of food?
(Job 38:39-41 - ASV)


This passage appears to refer to the needs and natural instincts that are in animals. So we go from the heavens, to the sky and then down here to earth in God's interrogation of Job.

Of note, Adam Clarke's commentary (Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes On The Bible) notes that some Hebrew Bibles actually begins Chapter 39 with verse 39 above, as God begins to speak of animals.

I am personally often struck by the way God has used animals in the past. His love and care for them. Many of you may remember when I did my commentary on Jonah, how I remarked how animals and even plants played a key role in different places.

Yes, animals are important to God! He cares about them. I know I do. Did you know elephants can understand music... that Thailand has an Elephant orchestra and they played music with perfect time? A cursory internet search will find a video of them playing! So as we move through chapter 39, lets keep in mind God's care and love for them.

We will Continue our look at Job (God willing!) and try and move a little faster through Chapter 39 so we can spend some more time on the last couple of chapters.

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6 May

Job Part LXXVIII

Hast thou comprehended the earth in its breadth?
Declare, if thou knowest it all.
Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
And as for darkness, where is the place thereof,
That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof,
And that thou shouldest discern
the paths to the house thereof?
 Doubtless, thou knowest,
for thou wast then born,
And the number of thy days is great!
(Job 38:18-21 - ASV)


The Lord continues his interrogation of Job, who like his friends sometimes took the place of know-it-alls. God is asking them some specific questions about the nature of the world and universe they dwell in. Since they know so much, perhaps they can provide some answers to the God who made these things! The questions take on a mocking tone and for a reason. We humans are nothing but a passing shadow, a puff of smoke - here today and gone tomorrow, and like that puff of smoke, go largely unremarked and unremembered a few decades after our passing.

So God is asking some pointed questions. They appear to be put to Job to humble him and to make sure he understands that in the overall scheme of things, he knows next to nothing. Does he know the size of the earth? How could he? He almost certainly did not even know the earth was round! Did he know the origin of light? He has no clue as to what light and darkness were in a physical sense.

The second part of verse twenty is rather interesting. He asks if he knows the boundaries of light and dark. Some have taken the verse a little differently and rather asks if Job can take them all to the boundaries of light and darkness. Again, there is irony and a hint of mockery here. Since Job and his friends are so wise, perhaps they can teach God about these things! Then he goes on to upbraid Job in this ironic fashion about his age. Since he was around since the dawn of creation (when light was created) he can explain these things to the very creator of them. Naturally, he can't.

Hast thou entered the treasuries of the snow,
Or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,
Which I have reserved against the time of trouble,
 Against the day of battle and war?
By what way is the light parted,
Or the east wind scattered upon the earth?
Who hath cleft a channel for the waterflood,
Or the way for the lightning of the thunder;
To cause it to rain on a land where no man is;
On the wilderness, wherein there is no man;
(Job 38:22-26 - ASV)


God goes on to interrogate Job about everything from hail to the light again, the sea and rivers, the lightning and thunder. One passage in the above I find of interest is how God often used hail as a method to correct people. It was used against the Egyptians in the Exodus (Exo 9:22ff) and probably Joshua 10:11.

God goes on to question Job about the rain that falls on places where there are no people. How and who does that?, he asks. It could not be Job, since he is a man and naturally, was not there.
To satisfy the waste and desolate ground,
And to cause the tender grass to spring forth?
Hath the rain a father?
Or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
 Out of whose womb came the ice?
And the hoary frost of heaven,
who hath gendered it?
(Job 38:27-29 - ASV)

Here God continues on the subject of water, that life giving substance without which no life on earth could exist. He asks the origin of rain and using the poetry that is typical of the book of Job, asks of its pedigree? The same with ice and frost? Where are its parents?

God's interrogation of Job is not designed to get answers, its meant to demonstrate the ignorance of man and frankly put Job and all of us in our place. We were not around at the beginning. God was.

The next time any of us have the temerity to question God's wisdom, let us consider how the Lord answered Job. Our criticism of the Lord about the universe would be like a man's pet poodle, advising him on his tax return. They don't even know what taxes are, let alone how to file a 1040!

Well, at least our pets have enough sense to keep their mouths shut at tax time!


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29 April

Job Part LXXVII

Or who shut up the sea with doors,
When it brake forth,
as if it had issued out of the womb;
When I made clouds the garment thereof,
And thick darkness a swaddling-band for it,
(Job 38:8-9 - ASV)


The Lord continues his interrogation of Job who had the audacity to question God and his ways. Since he felt he had so much wisdom, perhaps he could provide some answers to God on these things! Here The Lord is talking about the sea and the sea shores that determine how far the sea can go. 
And marked out for it my bound,
And set bars and doors,
And said, Hitherto shalt thou come,
but no further; And here
shall thy proud waves be stayed?
(Job 38:10-11 - ASV)

Here the divine metaphor continues regarding the creation of the seas and its boundaries. It was God by his divine decree that set the boundaries of the ocean and by extension, drew the shape of the continents.

Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days began,
And caused the dayspring to know its place;
That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,
And the wicked be shaken out of it?
(Job 38:12-13 - ASV)


Here God asks Job if he was the one who commanded the creation of the dawn and its light to shine upon the earth in the morning? 'Was that you Job'? Did you do that?, No couldn't have been, you weren't even around yet'!  As Barnes notes in his commentary (Albert Barnes Notes On The Bible) the laws of the rising of the sun were fixed long before Job was born.

Verse thirteen is rather interesting. It first shows this light as coming to the earth and shining upon it. Then it alludes to the wicked being 'shaken' out of the earth. What is meant here is not clear unless one goes back to the times that Job and his comforters lived. The idea seems to be that when the light hits the earth, thieves, robbers and marauding bands who do their mischief at night cease their works.
It is changed as clay under the seal;
And all things stand forth as a garment:
And from the wicked their light is withholden,
And the high arm is broken.
(Job 38:14-15 - ASV)

Verse 14 is a bit difficult to understand, but the the passage may be an allusion to how the sunlight hits the hills and mountains that can with the light be seen in all its beauty. You can find some commentaries that give various views on this passage. Verse 15 is also not quite so easy to understand. Some believe that the light is used more figuratively here meaning favor or perhaps prosperity. But the passage could just mean that the wicked marauders who did their work at night went and hid in their den's and caves in the daytime. The high arm probably refers to the strength of the wicked man in this verse.
Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea?
Or hast thou walked in the recesses of the deep?
(Job 38:16 - ASV)

Here the Lord asks Job about his knowledge of the sea. This passage is interesting in that the word for springs appears no where else in scripture.

I think the general idea is God is asking Job when was the last time he walked on the sea floor and observed its contours and depths. To which Job would have to reply, '...not lately'(!).


Have the gates of death been revealed unto thee?
Or hast thou seen the gates of the shadow of death?
(Job 38:17 - ASV)


God here interrogates Job about his knowledge of the place where the dead go. The place often referred to as Sheol. The word here however is neither, it is H4194 in Strong's Hebrew Dictionary.

The ways of the those who pass on, their state, dwelling place is not known. Not to Job, nor to any man living, though Christ did shed a little light on it (See Luke 16:22ff) . The world of departed spirits was a mystery to Job and his comforters. What is interesting is the transition from God's question about the sea floor (vs 16) and this to the mystery of death. Both are considered deep and unfathomable both in their mysteries and location. The passage closes with another word closely related to the one above (H4194 - in Strong's Hebrew Dictionary). It is this one that is translated Shadow of Death. It is the word H6757 in Strong's Hebrew Dictionary.
In case you were wondering yes, this is the same Hebrew word David used in his famous Psalm 23. The idea seems to be a more intense and foreboding darkness (shadow). Humans cannot see this place in the land of the living, but God does. He see's all.
We shall continue our look at Job as we continue God's interrogation of Job, perhaps next week, God willing.



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22 Apr

Job Part LXXVI

Then Jehovah answered Job
 out of the whirlwind, and said,
(Job 38:1 - ASV)

Well, we all know the old saying, be careful what you wish for. Job had specifically asked that God would answer him (Job 31:35). Well, it took a while, but God is about to answer Job's request. Here the Lord speaks to Job out of a whirlwind. God usually manifests in such phenomenon that are awe inspiring. With Moses it was a burning bush. But he can also speak with a still small voice as he did with Elijah (1King 19:12).

Let us keep in mind that these are indeed the words of the Lord, but set to Hebrew poetry and set down probably many years after the events. As stated before we are not sure of the authorship. But if it is Elihu, he had a first hand view of things and could have set them down right away by whatever means was at the disposal of people back in those days. Oral traditions were very common back then.

Some of you may have not liked the way I likened this book to a kind of Shakespeare, but I cannot retract that. This is a poetic drama based on a real person and real events, divinely inspired. It is a literary device and understanding that should help us better make sense of some of the passages. The Bible makes use of many different literary styles, depending on the material, authorship and setting. David when 'down in the dumps' emotionally wrote songs to encourage him, Solomon in his wisdom wrote a book of wisdom/philosophy. The prophets were commanded to write down the words of the Lord, and the scribes wrote down the histories of the Kings. Moses wrote a legal text (the Law).

Job had uttered many complaints against God and the situation that he found himself in. An answer from the Lord he wanted and an answer from the Lord he was going to get. But as we shall see, his answer is not exactly what Job expected. Rather than justifying Job and explaining his actions, God does something different, as instead of the sought for explanation, God puts the question to Job on a range of issues and thus humbles him before the majesty and wisdom of God.
Who is this that darkeneth counsel
By words without knowledge?
Gird up now thy loins like a man;
For I will demand of thee,
and declare thou unto me.
(Job 38:2-3 - ASV)

The Lord asks the rhetorical question (for he already knows the answer) who is this person who 'questions my wisdom and how I run things?', could be a way to bring this passage up to date with today's meaning. Then he says that Job's words were without knowledge.

Well, God's answer as I said, comes in the form of not just a question, but an interrogation. The Lord is going to ask Job a thing or two, since he had the temerity to question God's justice and his righteousness. The Lord wants Job to respond to his questions. Stand up like a man and answer me! In this, he subtly acknowledges that he has he heard Job, but also that he is not well pleased with the coupling of ignorance and criticism that marked Job's words. Instead of shedding light with his counsel, Job clouded things up with darkness.

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
 Declare, if thou hast understanding.
(Job 38:4 - ASV)



Now comes the first question. It is one that is filled with a kind of irony because both know the answer. Where was Job when God made the earth? 'I'm sorry, Job, but I didn't hear you. Where did you say that was? Oh, I see you were not even in existence then!' If I had to reduce this to the kind of argument to Job the Lord is making to him. It would be like this who do you think you are, questioning me when you're grandfather's grandfather wasn't even born when these things transpired? Answer me if you think you are so wise!

Who determined the measures thereof, if thou knowest?
Or who stretched the line upon it?
Whereupon were the foundations
 thereof fastened? Or who laid the
corner-stone thereof,
(Job 38:5-6 - ASV)


Let us keep in mind that God is speaking to men who at their time probably did not know the world was round. So these words have to be taken figuratively and almost in a mocking fashion at the wisdom of their times. Do you know how the foundations of the earth are fashioned? The question is one that he could not answer as we know that the earth is fastened to the sun in its gravitational pull and not a flat piece of dirt as the ancients often believed. But the very question mocks the so called 'wisdom' of their times. Has Job measured the earth. Does he know its exact dimensions? Of course not.

The very questions themselves demonstrate how far above is God's knowledge and wisdom.

When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
(Job 38:7 - ASV)


At the creation, all the sons of God and Morning Stars sang together. The word for Sons of God is Benay Elohim, the same phrase used in the first part of the book when they came to present themselves before God (Job 1:6). This passage can only reasonably be referring to Angelic beings, who existed before the creation of the earth (they sang when it was made so had to be here before it was made). And given that all of them sang together, this passage seems to very strongly indicate that the great rebellion had not yet transpired. Most commentators agree, this refers to Angels. Albert Barnes' comments on this passage are quite enlightening and worthy of a read. You can find those comments on various Bible sites on the web.

Let us keep in mind that these are the words of the Lord and he is telling us something about the creation that up until then, had probably not been known. That these special beings (Angels) were present at the creation, but the unasked question to Job is 'They were there, what about you?'. But as you can see there was great joy at the creation, there was singing and yes, Angels sing! I wonder what kind of songs they sing? I wonder what kind of notes, not discernible by the human ear they use; what harmony's they have? We who know our God will one day find out! I hope to get a front row seat when they start singing to the Lord on Salvation day!!

God here is asking Job questions that both knew he had no clue about. Job and his friends were way off the mark and the Lord's speech here is designed both to humble them and to get them thinking along other lines and far away from any criticism of God and how he runs things, so how can they give God counsel? They hadn't been around long enough to have any real level of understanding.

We will continue our look at Job next week God willing.

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14 Apr

Schisms

One would have hoped that during this time of conflict and war, that the Church could be a real instrument for healing, peace and some kind of reconciliation. But sad fact is, that the seeds of this current war could be seen germinating in the Church a few years back. There was a schism, many of you may remember back in 2018, involving Ukrainian Church and the Russian Orthodox Church. For those wanting a quick take on this, Wikipedia's entry is pretty good (2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism).

One could see a serious problem back then. I won't get into the politics of all of this. Rather, what I do want to say today is that what I see is a very serious problem with what calls itself Christianity today. It's a problem that has been with the Church for a very long time. In my perusals into history, I do like to look into the history of Byzantium. This is where Orthodoxy really comes from, the Eastern half of the Roman Empire. As you all know, there as a much earlier schism between east and west long ago. The Eastern Church refused to be ruled by the Pope in Rome (the West), the two excommunicated each other and the schism continues to this very day, though the mutual anathema's were reversed back in the 1960's. Nevertheless, the split remains. This is known as The Great Schism.

Even within the Church in Russia, there a serious crisis brewing within it.

One of the big problems today in my humble view is that the Church, or what calls itself the Church is too tied in with the temporal political order. This is very true in Russia, where the Orthodox Church has long been closely tied in with the Government. This was true during both the Czarist era as well as the days of the old Soviet Union. Many of the priests were really spies for the government. Just before the Bolshevik revolution, a Father G. A. Gapon (1870-1906) was a very popular working class hero, but it turned out that his movement was heavily influenced by the Russian secret police. The Church in Eastern Europe during the communist era has a long history of this kind of thing. But truth be told, such things are not completely unheard of here in the west. The Church is a power in any society and consequently those who run state security will often have their eyes on the Church and any religious group, person or entity that they cannot control, intimidate or otherwise co-opt.

Look at how China is dealing with Christians. Look at some of the things going on in Russia to Christians who worship outside of the State approved Orthodox Church. Great change can be fomented with religion. But we must not mistake temporal political change wrought by the administrative Church for God's will. The Church may claim to speak for God, but I think we all can see in our times, that this is not often the case, much of the Church having lost its spiritual way. 

I have long seen much of the modern Church and its administrative, political, and financial structures as being probably the greatest impediment to many believers being able to act in concert with God and the Holy Spirit, rather than the passing political whims of the temporal state and the temporal desires of religious leaders. I think this has been a key problem with the Church since the days of ancient Rome and Christianity's general acceptance in Roman society. As time passed, a high office in the Church could be a path to weave ones way into political power. A low born person could move up the hierarchy, get some influence and as you all know, the Church became very rich in the Dark and Middle ages as well as during the Renaissance. Religion was big business. Need I remind you of the splendid wealth some Churchmen possessed back in those days?

But you see, I think a key missing ingredient the Church has today is independence from temporal state affairs. Mind you, it cannot ignore key issues going on around it, but it should do so with an eye towards the Kingdom of Heaven and the will of God, not the desires or dictates of the State. Christ was very clear that he called us out of this world. Yet much of the Church too often appears to be not just too close to the world, but married to it. It is supposed to be the future bride of Christ and instead, spiritually speaking - parts of it are 'available' for state use.

I think this is why there are some of these schisms. The Churches in a great many places are just too close to the state, so they follow state policy - consciously and unconsciously - rather than building up the brotherhood in Christ for his kingdom, they too often build up the state, often for godless activities.

But not all schisms are bad. When a body of believers decide to leave a denomination because of key doctrinal issues based solidly on scripture, and wish to hold onto scripture, this is not a bad thing. For we Christians are duty and honor bound to serve God first, not the Church first. Churches are run by men and men are often mistaken, corrupted, compromised or just plain evil.

Now back in the Middle ages, ordinary people could be excused for following the Church when it went in the wrong direction. Why? Because there were no Bibles in the hands of people. Only the Church and its priesthood had the Bible. The people had to rely on Church interpretation of scripture. This put tremendous power in the hands of the Church to interpret or deliberately misinterpret things in order to serve the state, the king or the emperor. In return for the favor of the Church, the state rewarded the Church with wealth and power.

But today, the Bible is translated into most, but not every language. People can read the scriptures for themselves. Men and women who have been born again and have the Holy Spirit within them (probably not such a great number today) can read the Bible, get guidance and use their discernment as to what is right and what is not and if their Church is really doing God's work or not.

More importantly with this great gift of being able to read the scriptures, comes greater responsibility. We cannot claim ignorance when the Church goes off the rails and we continue to condone those actions by silence or by continuing membership in a Church that no longer follows the commands of Christ; or is more concerned about its status within the state, than its status with God.

So these days, I don't see many Church leaders as being true representatives of Christ or God, but many rather being state sponsored interlopers who have interjected themselves for the advantage of state or self-centered policy.

So where are the true apostles, the true workmen, those who are truly dedicated, not to their respective nations, racial groups, or social-cultural subsets, but rather are dedicated to God, Christ Jesus and his work? How did Jude put this most important theme? Contending, not for the state, but for the faith.

Beloved, while I was giving
all diligence to write unto you
of our common salvation,
I was constrained to write unto you
exhorting you to contend earnestly
for the faith which was once for
all delivered unto the saints.
(Jude 1:3 - ASV)


These are times when there are various ways some men within the Church are departing from the faith, the basic and fundamental faith delivered to us by the Apostles. Not just on points of doctrine, but I think also in fundamental priorities. Serving God, Christ and spreading the true gospel as delivered by the Apostles, living righteous and humble lives - these things should be priority number one. But since the days of Ancient Rome, those priorities have been slowly eclipsed by the things of this world. In short, I just think too many Churchmen are in love with this world, rather than the Kingdom of Heaven.

Love not the world,
neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world,
the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh
and the lust of the eyes
and the vainglory of life,
is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away,
and the lust thereof:
 but he that doeth the will of God
abideth for ever.
(1 John 2:15-17 - ASV)

So where do I think the real root of many of these schisms come from? Men who have other priorities than Christ. Often, they just want more power for themselves or more of this world's pomp, wealth and glory.

So brothers, I write this piece today so that we are not shocked at many of the schisms that are taking place within the Church. In the end, there will be two groups - those that serve Christ and do his will and commandments and those that do not. The name 'Church' won't mean a thing. There will be Saint's and Ain'ts. Let you and I make sure we are Saint's because only the Saints are going into the Kingdom.

The others, ain't.

Blessed are they that wash their robes,
that they may have the right to come to the tree of life,
and may enter in by the gates into the city.
Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers,
and the fornicators, and the murderers,
and the idolaters, and every one that loveth
and maketh a lie.
(Revelation 22:14-15 - ASV)


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8 Apr


Seal Number Three


And when he opened the third seal,
I heard the third living creature saying,
Come. And I saw, and behold, a black horse;
and he that sat thereon had a balance
in his hand. And I heard as it were
a voice in the midst of the four
living creatures saying,
A measure of wheat for a shilling,
and three measures of barley for a shilling;
and the oil and the wine hurt thou not.
(Revelation 6:5-6 - ASV)

God's grace and peace be upon you all who are reading this and who truly serve the Lord.

I am sure you have all been following the news and consequently. I will not burden you with repeating what you already or should already know. Things have not yet gone, but seem on a very serious trajectory to spinning out of control.

But let us look at the above passage. We see what is in store for the world when the seven seals are opened. What is listed above is the opening of the 3rd seal. Now before I begin I am not at all saying that this seal has been opened. What I am saying is that sky high food prices will be a key factor in the last days.

Let us look at a couple of things here. First the color of the horse is Black. This color is often used to signify calamity (see Lamentations 5:10; Jeremiah 14:2; Ezekiel 32:7, etc). Clearly what is going on is a major famine and it probably is the direct result of the previous seals/horses - conquest and war. Again, it is not my intention to impute this passage to events now transpiring, but I suspect we are close enough to those seals being opened up that we need to take note of what saith the scriptures for the last days.

The prophetic imagery above shows that food is being measured. This may very well indicate some kind of food rationing (a balance). People only get one quart of wheat for a days wage. What about the other necessities of life? Exactly... what about them how can people get by when all they earn just goes for food? This is a time of bare sustenance existence. Something has happened to make this come to pass and the order of the seals indicates (but does not necessarily prove) it is war.

I have been scanning articles on the web and come away with a real concern being echoed in the world's power centers for not just a serious rise in the price of key agricultural commodities (wheat, fertilizer, etc) but also that this kind of price rise could lead to unrest and perhaps even a new spate of turmoil in poorer nations by a genuinely angry populace seeking enough to eat at prices they can reasonably afford.

I have been reading about how some US farmers are scrambling for fertilizer. The fertilizer issue existed before the current crisis and now will only worsen. Do your own news searches on the topic and see what you find.

Things are not good right now on the food front... this before the current crisis. Head on over to the Food Security Cluster and read their reports on Haiti, Yemen, etc. Go over to the Famine Early Warning System and read about the situation in Ethiopia and parts of Nigeria, to name a couple.

This is nothing many of you don't already know. Food prices are going to rise unless some solution is found and I don't see one on the horizon; not even close. This will deeply effect the poorest and most vulnerable. Famine in Afghanistan? Well, perhaps not yet, but there are warnings about it. The UN Secretary General told the world recently that millions are still at risk in Afghanistan, according to news reports. Thanks to donors, a catastrophe was averted, but the deeper problems remain and will surely rear their head once again soon.

Also on the food and famine front is a warning no one should ignore. The chairman of one European chemical company warned the west what could very well happen to the German economy. Already, according to the articles I read, that company has already reduced the production of fertilizer. This is not a good thing. He warned of an economic catastrophe and compared it to the end of WW2.

Brothers and sisters, these are some difficult times and this crisis is going to cause a lot of problems all over the world. Many of those problems may be things that hit people out of the blue. They just won't realize how much their jobs and livelihoods are going to be vulnerable to the economic backlash heading their way. It could get very ugly, particularly in Europe. Think about things like Diesel. Most trucks use it. How does food get from A to B? I will tell you. Trucks. I read a story recently that talks about the possibility of rationing diesel fuel. This could be devastating on jobs, production and yes food distribution.

Well, all I can say is this. We need to keep our eyes open on this whole affair. Things have been bad in some parts of the world, but look to worsen considerably. For we who live in the US, it is not time to hit the 'panic button', but for those who live in places around the world already food insecure... well, let us pray accordingly.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I think God has been most patient over many long years as the western world continued its spiritual and moral descent and mostly for the sake of his many saints who live within those borders. I don't think he will sit still much longer without some kind of real chastisement; Covid-19 being I think a preliminary kind of attention getter for the world. This is why I think we saints who live in these times and within the US and west need to make sure that we are doing what God would have us do, so that our names are written down in that book of remembrance (see Malachi 3:16) I mentioned the other day (for insiders) - so that the Angel of the Lord, who bears the Lord's sword and shield can protect us from those who would do us harm. We do not know what the Lord has planned for the US, Russia, Ukraine; Eastern and Western Europe or the rest of the world. But the 'sin meter' and 'wickedness scales' in many places are reading into the red zone, so let us be wise and take heed.

Brothers, what this nation needs is a spiritual awakening, followed by sincere repentance. But I don't see that happening until the discomfort level rises most significantly in the US. Yes, we as a nation need to repent. I read a little piece over at the Christian Post about John Perkins, the Christian minister and Civil Rights activist - he has a message for America. You may want to check it out.

God bless and keep you all in Christ!

Brother Mark
FYI - We will probably continue our look at the Book of Job, later this month, God willing!.


Note: These are opinions and comments often based on fast moving events. Things change and so can the information as well as the basic narrative. Please make allowances for inadvertent errors, omissions and/or a basic change in the facts as presented in the major and alternative media on which these comments are based.

Additionally, this is not any kind of professional medical, investment, financial or any other kind of advice and should not be construed as or acted upon as such.
 
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1 Apr

Job Part LXXV

Whether it be for correction, or for his land,
Or for lovingkindness, that he cause it to come.
Hearken unto this, O Job: Stand still,
and consider the wondrous works of God.
(Job 37:13-14 - ASV)

Here Elihu, as he did in Chapter 36, exhorts Job to consider the works of God and how the phenomenon of nature is often used for judgment and correction (See also Job 36:24; 36:31). Both of these chapters remark on God's greatness in his creation.

Dost thou know how God
layeth his charge upon them,
And causeth the lightning of his cloud to shine?
Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds,
The wondrous works of him
who is perfect in knowledge?
(Job 37:15-16 - ASV)


Elihu asks Job some rhetorical questions on nature. Does he know the ways of the clouds? The lightning? Of course not. So Elihu here is exhorting Job once again to humble himself before a God whose ways are far beyond his understanding. Neither Job nor Elihu could explain the ways of God and how he does these natural miracles. They were beyond their understanding.

How thy garments are warm,
When the earth is still by reason of the south wind?
 Canst thou with him spread out the sky,
Which is strong as a molten mirror?
(Job 37:17-18 - ASV)



Here Elihu asks Job one of the simplest questions in nature, and one that probably baffled the best minds in those ancient days. How is it your clothes are warm? What is the cause of warmth? Why is the south wind hot and the North wind cold? They did not know back then. They had no clue. No clue as to wind patterns, the North Pole, El Nino etc. We now have a better understanding as to the mechanics and laws of nature that God has put into place, but these things were an utter mystery to the men of Job's day.

Teach us what we shall say unto him;
For we cannot set our speech in order
by reason of darkness.
Shall it be told him that I would speak?
Or should a man wish that
he were swallowed up?
(Job 37:19-20 - ASV)



Here, Elihu gets sarcastic. He asks Job, since he acts like the fount of all wisdom, what they should say to God and how they can answer him. They are totally ignorant and begs Job to enlighten them!

Well, the sarcasm is to me pretty clear and Adam Clarke (1762-1832) in his commentary remarks on it. Other commentators seem to miss the biting irony of the passage. However some seem to think this is actually a prayer made to God that he enlighten them from the darkness they all possess. It all depends on who the request is addressed to, which is not totally clear. But given the scope of the drama and whom Elihu has been addressing the whole time, I think it is Job. Given the nature of the speech and its challenge to Job, I think he is addressing Job rather than God and in the fashion of the rest of his speeches, is trying to get Job to come down off of his perceived high horse where he feels he can challenge God in a court.


And now men see not the light
which is bright in the skies;
But the wind passeth, and cleareth them.
Out of the north cometh golden splendor:
God hath upon him terrible majesty.
Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out:
He is excellent in power;
And in justice and plenteous righteousness
he will not afflict. Men do therefore fear him:
He regardeth not any that are wise of heart.
(Job 37:21-24 - ASV)


Elihu again remarks on atmospheric phenomenon, which seemed to amaze him in particular. In these things he says that we cannot find God. He is far beyond our comprehension and senses. His power is absolute and his Judgment unquestionable. Yet even with such power, he will not afflict a person. 

The word for afflict is an interesting one (H6031 - in Strong's Hebrew Dictionary) and makes translating it a bit difficult. But some think the passage is better rendered not with the word 'afflict', but 'he will not answer' perhaps showing an enigmatic side of God's character, not needing to answer to anyone.

The last stanza's are self explanatory. It is by reason of his greatness that men respect God (or should) and those who are wise or think they are, he has little regard for. Perhaps a man can answer some of the questions that Elihu put forward in his questions on nature. God does not have any regard for it. What is that to him? So what someone may have figured out one one-trillionth of one percent of all the knowledge there is on nature here on earth? So what? How is that of any importance to him? Why should he regard such a person? This seems to be the meaning here.

This ends the words of Elihu.

Elihu has some interesting views, but unlike some commentators who see some kind of divergence with the previous speakers views, I see little. Elihu talks a bit more about nature, but is more cutting towards Job and directly accuses him of sin. Sin I might add, he has not borne witness to. Only the punishment for it that he thinks only comes to those who are steeped in it.

It should also be noted that Elihu's speech is seen by some as a later addition to the book and this is why he is not mentioned in the opening and there is no direct response to anything he says and finally he is not mentioned in the closing of the book. In short, these chapters just appear out of nowhere and disappear when done.

According to some, adding a section to older works (perhaps an oral tradition) was not an uncommon practice in the ancient world. Again, some believe that Elihu is the actual author of the book of Job. But we cannot know for sure.

Elihu's words don't add much to the debate, in my view but show a bold young man willing to stand up to his elders and state his case fearlessly, though not always wisely.

We will move on to the last sections of Job next week, God willing!!!

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4 Mar

Wicked Counsel


Moreover the Spirit lifted me up,
and brought me unto the east gate
of Jehovah's house, which looketh eastward:
and behold, at the door of the gate
five and twenty men; and I saw in the midst
 of them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur,
and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah,
princes of the people.

And he said unto me, Son of man,
these are the men that devise iniquity,
and that give wicked counsel in this city; that say,
The time is not near to build houses: this city is the caldron,
and we are the flesh.
(Ezekiel 11:1-3 - ASV)

The prophets were having a hard time getting the people to believe and prepare for what God had in store for them. Some of the reasons for this were false prophets and evil counselors among the people. The prophets were saying one thing and the evil advisors; those who carried what we will call 'the Devil's narrative', said another. People by and large, when they are in a reprobate spiritual state, listen to the devil. This passage is very interesting as it is part of a larger vision of Ezekiel's vision of the Glory of the Lord and the cherubim (chapter 10).

This word appears to be broadly addressed to the militarists in Israel, the super-patriots - the kind of folks who are always calling for war, if I can use a modern analogy. The idea seems to be that they believed that city was militarily impregnable and that God was with them... he would not let the city fall.

This was the opposite of what God's true prophets were warning the people. The reference to the caldron appears to be an oblique reference to what Jeremiah said in his prophecies (Jeremiah 1:13). The idea was that like food that is boiled in a pot they would not leave the city until they died. These men may have seen themselves as we kind of now look back at the Alamo. But unlike the Alamo, these were people whom God had pronounced a weighty and most unpleasant judgment upon. They were going to build houses and live securely despite what the 'doom and gloom' prophets told them... or so they thought. Only unlike the movies, there would be no calvary charging in that will bring overall victory to the cause. God had other plans and he was going to carry them out.

Therefore prophesy against them,
prophesy, O son of man. And the Spirit
of Jehovah fell upon me,
and he said unto me, Speak,
Thus saith Jehovah: Thus have ye said,
O house of Israel; for I know the things
that come into your mind. Ye have multiplied
your slain in this city, and ye have
filled the streets thereof with the slain.
Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah:
Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it,
they are the flesh, and this city is the caldron;
but ye shall be brought forth out of the midst of it.
Ye have feared the sword;
and I will bring the sword upon you,
saith the Lord Jehovah.
(Ezekiel 11:4-8 - ASV)

God had other plans for this wayward and wicked people. When God has had enough, he has had enough. They had their plans, but God knew them all. God calls them out over all the innocent people they killed; God's prophets they killed... God remembered. He was not going to forget... this was an outstanding 'account' that God was getting ready to collect upon... and as is noted in Chapter 10, this particular action was particularly noteworthy for the glory of the Lord had arrived on the scene. I just don't think the Israelite's knew just how angry God was with them, though he had warned them time and time again.

Have you ever been around someone who never listens and never learns? Who is so contrary they almost seem learning disabled? People whom it seems that the only way they ever seem to learn is when serious misfortune or near unendurable pain hits them? For example - you tell them over and over again to drive more carefully. They don't listen and then one day they are laid up in the hospital all cut up and may not ever walk again after an accident in which they were fully at fault. Ever known anyone like that? I have. Watching their behavior would make a good comedy movie were not the results of their hardheadedness often so tragic. They not only won't learn, they simply and stubbornly refuse to.

This was the state Israel was in. Warning was not going to help. God had sent enough of this prophets to warn them. So, God had a different school to send his people to - we will call it the school of the unholy sepulcher... the place where the spiritually unfit and the morally recalcitrant get taught their final lesson... that does not do them a bit of good after having 'learned' it - their 'diploma' is engraved on their headstone.

Would not listen
would not learn,
so my new instructor
is named the worm
.
___

where their worm dieth not,
and the fire is not quenched.
(Mark 9:48 - ASV)



They were afraid of war. Well, now God has pronounced the judgment of war upon them. Brothers, war can be a horrible judgment. I was listening a bit last night about the last days of the Civil War and General's Sherman's march to the sea. In it the author recalls Sherman's words 'war is hell'. He is right and the longer quotations (easily found on the net) are most worthy of the read.  Wikiquotes has a page that can be found by searching on Letter To the City of Atlanta Sherman 1864 wikiquotes  and find that letter to Atlanta on that page.

Many people don't understand that, except via the images we see on TV, which often are very heavily censored. Solders, particularly those in the Army, Marines and Special Forces - who served in battle - they know what war is. Those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other unnamed places in combat... they know that war is nothing to be played with. They can tell you stories... if you can drag them out of them of friends who were standing next to them one minute cracking jokes and the next minute parts of them were scatted all over the battlefield. They can tell you of rape, people shrieking and groaning in pain with wounds that would make most people's stomach turn just looking at them; of murder, children running screaming for pain and loss... I could go on and on.

Today in the western world... this new generation... I don't think really understand this... not really. Far too many think war is a new show they can watch on cable news or a new video game and often don't factor in the enormous suffering war brings on others. In short, to them war... it is something that happens to other people. But when war comes close to home, it's a different story and this is what was getting ready to happen in Israel. Those who remained there could talk proud, make patriotic noises, beat their chests in defiance and arrogance, but war was coming and their defeat was guaranteed. So to anyone anywhere who is calling for war let me say this.... be careful what you wish for, you just may get it... right on your front doorstep and not live long enough to realize what a horrible mistake you made when calling for war in the first place. War is hell.


And I will bring you forth
out of the midst thereof,
and deliver you into the hands of strangers,
and will execute judgments among you.
(Ezekiel 11:9 - ASV)


They said they were in a 'cauldron'. Well God was going to pluck them right out of it and then execute judgment upon them for their sins. God knew their plans and their thoughts.

Ye shall fall by the sword;
I will judge you in the border of Israel;
and ye shall know that I am Jehovah.
This city shall not be your caldron,
neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof;
I will judge you in the border of Israel;
and ye shall know that I am Jehovah:
for ye have not walked in my statutes,
neither have ye executed mine ordinances,
but have done after the ordinances
of the nations that are round about you.
(Ezekiel 11:10-12 - ASV)

These words are self explanatory. They had their plans, and God had his. They refused to walk in the way God commanded when he gave Israel the land, so now it was time for them to be ejected from it. They refused to listen to God and his prophets and instead followed after the ways of the heathen.

And it came to pass,
when I prophesied, that Pelatiah
the son of Benaiah died. Then fell I down
upon my face, and cried with a loud voice,
and said, Ah Lord Jehovah!
wilt thou make a full end
of the remnant of Israel?
(Ezekiel 11:13 - ASV)

Pelatiah, was mentioned in verse one above. He was one of the ones this was directed at. As his personal name was mentioned, he was probably one of the more prominent leaders. While Ezekiel was prophesying, Pelatiah drops dead. Even Ezekiel is moved by this sudden death. When God want's to drive a message home this is one way he does it (see Acts 5:1ff). We can see that Ezekiel is not one of those people itching for judgment to fall on his people; just the opposite, he seems to be a rather reluctant witness of God's words. We see this in Ezekiel 3:14.


So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away;
and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit;
and the hand of Jehovah
was strong upon me.
(Ezekiel 3:14 - ASV)


Some commentators think that Ezekiel was angry as he shared the Lord's displeasure with Israel. I don't think that is the way this passage is meant to be understood at all. I think Dr. John Gill in his commentary (Dr. John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible) gets it right when he says Ezekiel was angry to have been given this job and have to go and give all of these horrible prophesies to Israel. Ezekiel had to know what often happens to God's prophets. Nevertheless, God was dealing with Ezekiel powerfully and he went... he was hot with anger about having to do this job... but he went.

We will leave this passage off for now.

What is God telling us in this passage? That pride, arrogance, good military defenses and patriotism are no replacement for getting and staying right with God. Israel may have had a good military, good fortifications and high morale, but that wasn't going to help them with the battles that were coming. They were going to be fighting both the enemy and God, who was siding against Israel. Israel was spiritually defenseless and she was going down. She was like a man in the ocean who was encumbered with the weights of wickedness and cement of sin trying to wade ashore. They aren't going anywhere but to the bottom.

Anyone who wants to forget about God should beware, he may one day forget about you. just when you need him most!

You cannot fool or trick God. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Let no nation, church or person think that they can get away with long term recalcitrant sin, particularly after they have been warned and warned again about it. Such an entity is living on borrowed time...

... and those 'interest payments' on sin and evil can indeed add up substantially.

Let we who know our God remember to whom we belong and to mind the business of our God and his Kingdom. Doing this will keep us from becoming entangled with deceptions and troubles that beset the kingdoms of this world. Let us also be careful about who we take advice from be we President or a prisoner; a banker or a truck driver. Let us all be wise in whom we seek advice or counsel.


FYI: This piece was written on January 25th of this year and posted for insiders on that day.



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11 Feb

Hewn Down



And even now the axe also lieth
at the root of the trees: every tree therefore
that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,
 and cast into the fire.
(Luke 3:9 - ASV)


This theme of cutting down those tree's that did not bear good fruit to God is echoed by both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:19).

This is a hard word. It's something that we Christians in our age need to chew on because such words are not the typical 'baby milk' that is fed in many Churches today. God demands fruit from his trees. He cares for them, tends them and makes sure they have what they need to grow.

But he expects something in return. Fruit. This was the theme that Christ made clear in the Gospel of Luke in a parable.

And he said unto the vinedresser,
Behold, these three years I come
seeking fruit on this fig tree,
 and find none: cut it down;
why doth it also cumber the ground?
And he answering saith unto him,
Lord, let it alone this year also,
till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
and if it bear fruit thenceforth,
well; but if not,
thou shalt cut it down.
(Luke 13:7-9 - ASV)


The vinedresser here is acting as a kind of priest or intermediary for this unfruitful tree. He is trying to save it from becoming firewood in the masters hearth. So he asks the owner to wait just a little longer, he is going to try one more thing...

Now brothers, when I look at what is happening in many of the modern Churches in the west and some of the craziness, sinfulness; the divisions, the unscriptural doctrines being taught, the controversies and the worldliness, I cannot help but wonder how much longer God is going to put up with a tree that is not bearing much or any godly fruit. Something must be done. I read recently where a poll was taken and that said many Christians did not believe in the Holy Spirit. Now how can you be saved and not know who the Holy Spirit is? It's work is essential in the act and process of Salvation. Yet we have large numbers of Christians who are clueless about it at best or don't believe in it at worst! These people really think they are saved. Well, that is like saying one can drive a car and not know what a steering wheel is! Today, there is less and less sound, Biblically based doctrines in our Churches... and these views on the Holy Spirit are very dangerous. Why? To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is the one unpardonable sin (Mark 3:29). You cannot blaspheme against anyone but God. These so-called Christians really need to understand some of the very basics of Christianity and clearly, many simply don't.

Many of you are not going to like what I say here, but I think one of the greatest obstacles to getting people saved, truly saved is many of the Churches - or rather much of the corporate (administrative and legal structures of the) Church. I say that because so many of them say the right words (though today that is not so true), when it comes to salvation, but they just don't live it. One of the things that kind of sent me off the rails of my walk with Christ when I was younger was the way Christians acted and behaved and the consistent mistreatment I got from other so-called Christians. I was really on fire for God and when I pulled back the 'curtain' and saw what was really going on, I became very disillusioned and were it not for God recalling me many years later, I would have certainly lost my soul.

My point is that one can be wayward for only so long and then comes the time of decision - repent or the ax will fall - individually and collectively (the Church).

I think this is a major spiritual issue right now - the state of the Church and I would not be surprised if God and his holy angels and counselors have not been discussing this issue with increasing regularity and concern. I suspect he has as it regards western Christendom.

I am reminded of an exchange the Lord had with the religious leaders of his day, the Pharisees and scribes. They had become a hindrance to people getting saved. They were in the way.

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! because ye shut
the kingdom of heaven against men:
for ye enter not in yourselves,
neither suffer ye them
that are entering in to enter.
(Matthew 23:13 - ASV)

These were the religious leaders of Christ's time. They claimed to be speaking for God. But they weren't. Christ had a long list of sins, crimes and spiritual omissions for these religious hypocrites and told them in plain simple language, that they were children of hell (Matthew 23:15). Christ was not talking to the pagans of ancient Rome or the worshipers of Baal, but to the religious leaders of his own time and nation. They were a big, big problem; thinking they had a map to heaven when in actuality, had a chart to hell. They were on that road and took those who listened to them there as well.

My deep concern is that this is pretty much where much (though certainly not all) of American, yes even western Christendom is at right now. That God is not pleased with the trends in the churches, not pleased with the lack of fruit that is coming off the tree.

My point in writing this brief piece today is to say this. I think the time of separation in the Church is already underway. Those who hold to solid biblical teachings I think are or are in the process of moving out of Churches that refuse to teach sound doctrine and continue to walk stubbornly into great spiritual error. The problem is so many of the newer believers, the ones who have no real grounding in the word of God, these are like young saplings who could be in the gravest of danger from this phenomenon.

But God is most gracious. He is not wanting to destroy the Church. But that may mean that while he won't destroy it, he may very well chastise it and such chastisement may turn out to be quite severe, depending on where the Church is at, spiritually speaking. How God deals with different Churches is laid out for us in the book of Revelation, chapters two and three. Here is how those seven letters were prefaced.


I John, your brother
and partaker with you in the tribulation
and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus,
was in the isle that is called Patmos,
for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day,
and I heard behind me a great voice,
as of a trumpet saying, What thou seest,
write in a book and send it to the seven churches:
unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna,
and unto Pergamum, and unto Thyatira,
and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia,
and unto Laodicea.
(Revelation 1:9-11 - ASV)

Each Church had its issues, some good and some not good. The Lord lays out what they are to do and what is ahead for them. So it is not wise for us to think that God is going to deal with all Churches, denominations and congregations in the same way. He won't. Each will have to deal with their own challenges, the consequences for their own sins and the reward for their own abundance of good fruit. God see's all, no one is going to pull the wool over the Lord's eyes.

But the real questions is at what point does a person, church, or denomination get itself hewn down? When does God cut down the unfruitful tree and pluck it up by the roots? That tree that did nothing but take up precious resources?

This is what he did with Israel. He got tired of their sins and of warning them about them. Finally he had had enough.

At what instant I shall speak
concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom,
to pluck up and to break down and to destroy it;
 if that nation, concerning which I have spoken,
turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil
that I thought to do unto them.
And at what instant I shall speak
concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom,
to build and to plant it; if they do that
which is evil in my sight, that they obey not my voice,
then I will repent of the good, wherewith
I said I would benefit them. Now therefore,
 speak to the men of Judah,
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
saying, Thus saith Jehovah: Behold,
I frame evil against you, and devise
a device against you: return ye now
every one from his evil way,
and amend your ways and your doings.
(Jeremiah 18:7-11 - ASV)



God showed great patience with ancient Israel. As we also see, he showed the same kind of patience with the Church. Six times in the letters to the seven Churches Christ used the word repent to get them to change course (Revelation 2:5; 2:16; 2:21; 2:22; 3:3; and 3:19). I cannot help but wonder what the Lord would have an apostle write to the Churches of the west today - to the Lutheran, the Baptist, the Catholic, the Presbyterian, the Methodist, the Adventists and the Orthodox. What kinds of words of praise and rebuke would he have for them today?

I do not know, but I cannot help but wonder - have God's holy angels begun getting in line to get their tree axes sharpened?

Let us pray that if they are, we are not part of the field that that is targeted and that those who are targeted, fully understand the danger they are in so that they may repent before the ax hews down the tree. 

Let us also pray for the pastors across the western world that are doing right and have kept faith with God in spite of all the evil pressures from inside and outside of the Church that would lead them off course. That they may continue on preaching and teaching the word in ways that please our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That the sheep learn to turn their backs on false teachers and preachers and turn their faces towards God and sound doctrine as found in the scriptures.

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13 Jan

In Praise of Humility

The reward of humility
and the fear of Jehovah
Is riches, and honor, and life.
(Proverbs 22:4 - ASV)

Today, let's talk very briefly about being humble.

Let us always be humble. Mankind? Brothers and sisters, not one of us has any right to be proud and lifted up about who we are or what we do. Not the rich and famous, not the powerful, not the beautiful and not the mighty. Humility, true humility comes from knowing who we are in the overall scheme of things - in God's eyes, but also in light of the great expanse of the universe and eternity. When one looks at the sons of men from this perspective, we are little more than a puff of smoke, which exists for a very short time and then disappears.

As Christians, humility - true humility must always be a key part of our walk. When we come to God in prayer, we have to do it humbly, not with any kind of pride and certainly not spiritual pride. We must come to God even as King Josiah did, when he inquired of the Lord. God had determined to bring evil upon his people for forsaking him. But the king found favor in God's eyes. Why?

But unto the king of Judah,
who sent you to inquire of Jehovah,
thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith Jehovah,
the God of Israel: As touching the words
which thou hast heard, because thy heart
was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God,
when thou heardest his words against this place,
and against the inhabitants thereof,
and hast humbled thyself before me,
 and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me;
I also have heard thee, saith Jehovah.
Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers,
and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace,
neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that
I will bring upon this place, and upon the
 inhabitants thereof. And they brought
back word to the king.
(2 Chronicles 34:26-28 - ASV)


The King pleased God and this is how we have to behave when we come to the Lord. We have to be humble and totally honest with God, knowing that we are made from the very dirt that our feet walk upon.

I tend to think that some of the greatest obstacles to personal happiness and contentment are pride, arrogance and worldly ambition. It's also a key obstacle to any kind of relationship with God. Humility - deep and sincere humility on our part is a key part of that relationship.

But he giveth more grace.
Wherefore the scripture saith,
God resisteth the proud,
but giveth grace to the humble.
(James 4:6 - ASV)

And whosoever shall exalt himself
shall be humbled;

and whosoever shall humble himself
shall be exalted.

(Matthew 23:12 - ASV)

We have all heard these versus before, but let us always keep them in our minds as we walk our daily walks with Christ. To be humble, kind, unassuming and helpful when appropriate. We should spend less time trying to be attention getters to a lost world and rather becoming an attention getter in God's eyes.

The way to get God's attention is 180 degree's different than the world's way. With the world you have to have money, fame, good looks, be 'popular' with the 'in crowd', say and do popular and trendy things. People do it to be acceptable to onlookers. But with God, he is looking for that quiet, faithful soul who is noted for his humility towards God and his righteous life. The person who has a quiet, holy and humble life in faithful service to God... this is the person that gets God's attention. God will set his hand over that person and watch over him and guide him in the paths that lead to life.

But we must be humble enough to receive the Lord's instruction and learn from him. God will set those whom he loves often on a very different life path than that of others. Often this is a quieter and humbler path, the one that does not have so many people on it. It may be a path that leads one from the Corporate Board room to a quiet place in the country and drives that person into the prayer closet instead of a steady stream of corporate merger negotiations. Or perhaps to the mission field, instead of performing in front of the theatrical footlights.

Too many men and women expect that God is going to put them on some pedestal and make them some new Christian celebrity or some 'great man of God' in the eyes of the the world or Christendom. Somehow deep down inside, I suspect many think that God should be honored to have them serving him and expect to be rewarded appropriately with importance, fame and fortune.

Before God can use, really use such a person such thinking has to be done away with and they must learn to take the back seat and an unrecognized part in things. This humbler mindset must become second nature to them. In short, they have to be broken of that kind of me first or I'm important kind of thinking.

In our times particularly, we should not be seeking great things for ourselves. I think of Jeremiah's faithful scribe and how the Lord set him straight about seeking great things for himself.

And seekest thou great things for thyself?
seek them not; for, behold,
I will bring evil upon all flesh,
saith Jehovah; but thy life will I give unto thee
for a prey in all places whither thou goest.
(Jeremiah 45:5 - ASV)

Now Baruch had connections to the Royal Court as his brother was the King's chamberlain. So he may have had some secret aspirations. What they were we are not privy to, but clearly God saw something in them and wanted to gently correct Jeremiah's faithful scribe. If he was looking for a place at court, God here dismisses that clearly in Jeremiah 45:4 where he tells him he was going to break down and pluck up his people. Getting a high position in a court that was going to go into exile wasn't a very practical aspiration, considering the plans God had in store.

This is why we should always find out what God wants us to do and be where he wants us to be. It's better to live a humble life in a quiet cottage with God's love and protection than in a million dollar penthouse suite in a huge metropolis that God has marked down for destruction.

So it should be with us. In a world heading for God's holy judgment, how valuable do you really think being 'important' is in this increasingly wicked world? Who wants to fight and claw their way to the top of a dung heap that is about to be cast into the fires? That is how I view those people who are ambitious in the things of this world. The real issue I think is that deep down inside, they are still very much in love with this world and the pomp, glory and wealth that the system has to offer. More in love with those things, than with God.

Brothers, it behooves us to always be humble in all we say and do. God really does not like pride; but rather a humble, thankful and obedient heart.

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty;
And before honor goeth humility.
(Proverbs 18:12 - ASV)


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9 Dec

A Matter of Trust


This brothers and sisters is going to be one of the most important things for each of us in the last days - who do you trust? In these days of false prophets, controversial pastors and questionable politicians, it is often going to be a serious choice for many of us. This matter of trust may be one that causes us to leave our jobs, move, change churches or even the country we live in. Who do you trust? Officials in government? Bureaucrats with long titles? Pastors with many university degree's? Public Health officials? Hollywood Stars? Who should you trust? In times of crisis who should you believe?

You see when one gets to belief systems, you are hitting at the root and target of any propaganda campaign because almost all propaganda is targeting those core belief systems. The MSM wants you to believe and trust them, alternative media wants you to believe and trust them, the government wants you to believe and trust them, etc. They are all trying to gain your trust when many of them simply don't deserve that trust. How many times have officials lied to us?

Liars are real. Hitler lied his way to power and then used his lies to kill millions. But many Germans trusted him. They really believed him and in his party. I think the real problem is not so much that people believed him, but that it was convenient to believe him, or at least pretend you did - and with others, they wanted to believe him even though deep down inside, they had their doubts. But with many in both groups, I think fear and cowardice were at the root of their 'belief'.

In these days of massive propaganda, fake news, lying narratives put forward by corrupted governments, we just have to be careful about whom we believe. A government with a long and often negative track record... I think it wise to be most reticent before we put much faith in such a system. Why not? Simple. Believing a lie, any lie, no matter how small is the first step on a long road to the city of deception. It may be paved with the most beautiful lies, layered in gold and platinum, with beautiful people smiling at you giving you gifts as you head down that road, but in the end you will only find you have been fooled, surrounded by people who took the same wrong turn you did when they listened to the lie and continued down the path of deception.

I can remember one time I had a conversation with someone who was struggling with their faith. They asked me why did God demand faith. I suspect they seemed to think it was a 'cop out' for God not coming down and performing some magic tricks to get people to believe in him. I said, you have to go back to the Garden of Eden.

They looked at me kind of funny and with a high degree of incredulity, but I just said, Yes, because that is where it all began. They wanted me to continue, so I did.

I told them, that when God put man and his woman in the garden, he gave them a specific commandment.

And Jehovah God commanded
the man, saying, Of every tree
of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day
that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
(Genesis 2:16-17 - ASV)


This is basic Christianity 101, but I think it key. God gave Adam a commandment and the man (and later his woman) had to obey the commandment, but at the root of that obedience is the idea of belief. They had to believe God was sincere in what he said would happen. It is the same today, if God gives us a commandment we have to believe God about that commandment and the consequences for disobedience. It comes down to a matter of faith... do you believe God, will you trust him or will you disobey and show unbelief in what he just told you to do? This was a test for Adam that God was giving him - Do you believe and will you obey the Lord, your God?

This I think is a key aspect of a rather enigmatic statement Christ made in the Gospel of John about spiritual blindness to the Pharisee's. One has to know what God commands and once one does, there comes spiritual responsibility.

Jesus said unto them,
If ye were blind, ye would have no sin:
but now ye say, We see:
your sin remaineth.
(John 9:41 - ASV)


One has to hear what God has to say, believe in what he says, and then do as he commanded. This is the essence of that key ingredient in the Gospel, faith.

Faith was broken in the Garden as you all know. How? By the devil planting the seeds of both doubt and deception in what God had commanded.

Now the serpent was more subtle
than any beast of the field
which Jehovah God had made.
And he said unto the woman,
Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat
of any tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent,
Of the fruit of the trees of the garden
we may eat: but of the fruit of the tree
which is in the midst of the garden,
God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it,
neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman,
Ye shall not surely die: for God doth
know that in the day ye eat thereof,
then your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that
the tree was good for food,
and that it was a delight to the eyes,
and that the tree was to be desired
to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof,
and did eat; and she gave also
unto her husband with her, and he did eat.
(Genesis 3:1-6 - ASV)

The devil had a plan and he executed it with his usual demonic skill. He found the weak point, exploited it, caused doubt to arise, and then sprung his trap with the lie - Ye shall not surely die.

The key? The woman ceased to believe God and chose instead to listen to and believe the devil. Again it was a question of whom to believe. Eve and later Adam made the wrong choice and ceased to believe God. But God was indeed true to his word and every human who lives has died since then. God does not forget his word and always carries it out.

I really wanted to get to belief systems today and the whole idea of faith because of the vicious and pervasive information war that is being waged all over the planet on a whole range of key issues today. Who and what we believe will invariably dictate how we behave and the choices we make. If you believe you can cross a bridge without incident and need to, chances are you are going to go across, but if you believe that if you cross it, it's not going to hold up, you probably won't. This is a basic and yes, an oversimplification of a most important aspect of human behavior - belief.

Taking hold of Christ and his work on the cross requires faith. We have to hear the word of God, believe it and then obey it. Christ's work restores the faith-trust relationship with God that was destroyed in the garden and why God demands it from all of us.

This is how I explained the need for faith to this person some 25 years ago. In our times, we must always examine and reexamine our belief systems and make sure they are on and remain on the firm foundation of God's word and keep faith with God. I can tell you this brothers and sisters from my personal experience - God honors faith. Put your trust, your whole being in God's hands - and this can often entails some degree of risk or even danger - and God will honor it. That has been my experience.

So in our times, let us always be skeptical of anything and anyone before we believe what they tell us. Trust is a good thing, but it can be a most dangerous one, even suicidal if it is placed in the wrong person, group or system. To me, trust is one of the most precious gifts one can give to another and it should not be given away to just anyone... not if you want to live a long and happy life (!).

God bless and keep you all in Christ!


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16 Nov

Malak Elohim (Angel Of The Lord)

These words in Hebrew mean Angel or Messenger (H4397 in Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary) of the Lord. Other times in scripture the phrase Angel of Jehovah is used. These are beings created by God who serve him in the spiritual and temporal realm. Their job for the most part is to execute the will of God. They are 'deputized' by the Lord to carry out specific tasks for which they are both commanded and empowered.

These beings can bring comfort to the despised (as Hagar was when Sarai pushed her out of the house), they can bring in powerful messages to God's servants (as with Joseph in the NT - Matthew 1:20) or they can bring interpretive messages to prophecies as with Daniel, Zechariah and John the Revelator. They can also prepare a lowly person to become a great warrior or servant of the Lord, as with Gideon. If there is an important task for one of God's people to do, you can be pretty sure there is an angel around to help that person carry out that task.

Brothers, I honestly don't think I would be alive today were it not for the angel's that God sent to protect me. If we serve the Lord and fear him, he will indeed send his angels to look out for us.

The angel of Jehovah encampeth
round about them that fear him,

And delivereth them.
(Psalms 34:7 - ASV)

If you serve God, you have powerful protection. Protection that has probably protected you many times in the past in ways you were never aware of. These angels can be powerful spirits. God has in the past shown me (in the spirit) both the demons that were arrayed against me and the angel that was sent to protect me.

God I think wanted me to understand what was happening from another perspective; the real battle lines that were not seen by the naked eye or natural mind. Sometimes we have to see things in this other way in order to get a resolution to our own particular woes and know how to pray and approach a problem.

These angels can warn us of impending danger. (Matthew 2:13) They can also bring words of encouragement (Zechariah 1:13).

These angels that protect us and those who obey the commandments of the Lord, some of them are very, very powerful. Remember when Hezekiah was afraid when he heard the King of Assyria was coming against him? The Lord had other plans.

For I will defend this city to save it,
for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
And the angel of Jehovah went forth, and smote
in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred
and fourscore and five thousand; and when men
arose early in the morning, behold,
these were all dead bodies.
So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed,
and went and returned,
and dwelt at Nineveh.
(Isaiah 37:35-37 - ASV)

While Hezekiah may have been afraid, in reality there was nothing to worry about. God had his angel at the ready to deal with Sennacherib, whose army was no match for one single, solitary angel of the Lord.

I write this brief piece for each of you today so that no matter what you are facing, God knows about it. If you belong to him, God can set his angel about you and if it is necessary, God can send that angel reinforcements.

Brothers, I know many of you are worried about what is happening in our world. Some of you are worried about your jobs, your livelihoods, your kids, the price of necessities and your future.

Just know that what you are facing is something that God knew about long ago. Do you serve the Lord? Chances are excellent that your angel knows of your situation and is either busy at work on your behalf or standing by awaiting orders from the Most High God.

You are not alone.

And when the servant of the man of God
was risen early, and gone forth, behold,
a host with horses and chariots was
round about the city. And his servant said unto him,
Alas, my master! how shall we do?
 And he answered, Fear not; for they that are
with us are more than they that are with them.
And Elisha prayed, and said, Jehovah,
I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.
And Jehovah opened the eyes of the young man;
and he saw: and, behold, the mountain
was full of horses and chariots of fire
round about Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:15-17 - ASV)

Whatever your situation, I just wanted to remind each of you the powerful angelic protection that you have as a 'fringe benefit' of serving God and placing your faith in his Messiah, Jesus Christ.

You are not alone in what you are facing, today or in the future.

Keep faith with God. I have found that he can always be depended on, not necessarily to do what we want, but to bring a situation to a resolution that is best. We may think we know what is best, but in reality it is God that knows what is best for us, those around us and his Church.

So if it seems as though God is about to throw you into the fiery furnace like the three young men in the book of Daniel, just remember there was another person in that flame that protected them who had the appearance of one of the son of the gods (Daniel 3:25). Despite any fears those three had, there was never any real reason to be afraid. God had their backs!

...for he that toucheth you
toucheth the apple of his eye.
Zechariah 2:8b - ASV)


In closing know this - God has not gone to sleep. He knows about you and your situations. I believe it best to fret not yourself, but trust in God in all things, obey his voice, even when it sometimes does not seem to make sense to your natural mind. What? Do you think it made sense for Naaman to go and wash in Jordan to be cured (see 2Kings 5:10ff)? It didn't. He could have missed his blessing if he had chosen to listen to his natural reasoning rather than the words of the Lord and his prophet.

So brothers, be encouraged, have faith and stand strong!!


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12 July

Fearlessness of Faith

Grace and peace to each of you and may God bless and keep you all in these troubling, confusing and disconcerting ties.

Today's update is not about current events. Its about how we all must deal with the troubles that come our way and the strangeness of our times.

As you all know, I read a lot of things from a wide variety of sources. Left, Right, Christian, secular, US and foreign. I often get information overload reading so much. But one thing I have noted in the past year and a half since the 2020 election and Covid's spread across the globe. It is the incredible amount of fear-mongering and half-truths being spread not just by the 'unofficial', the dissenters and others, but by officialdom and semi-officialdom as well. The fear, misdirections, half-truths and disinformation are real. They are not a figment of yours or my imagination. A lot of money is being spent to influence opinion and the government has hardly been innocent in this battleground, duly spreading fear and contributing significantly to the deep and troubling divisions in the country.

Fear is a powerful emotion. Fear and hate are two powerful tools an adept propagandist and liar uses when he wants to spread his poison into your mind. The tentacles of this kind of propaganda, when it is run by governments and their secretive agencies can be very significant. These forces have 'influence' in many of top line establishment news and even in many alternative news sites. With some of these sites and sources, I see them as kind of a 'fake opposition', designed specifically to control forces; racial, social or political groups who they know will have problems with some policies at some time in the future. These state run or state connected forces operate on all sides of the political spectrum. They deal in social, racial and gender based news sources and blogs. In the US they use these tools often ostensibly to counter foreign propaganda. I want to stress the word ostensibly because today, it appears that there is little real control over these forces and their efforts to ride roughshod over the basic rights of ordinary, hard working, law abiding Americans who have more than a few inconvenient questions about some of the things going down in the country today. 

My point here today is to school you in the university of faith. When the demons of fear and hate start to preach their horror and brimstone driven sermons, we must not take the bait. Many Christians and their sites are just dripping with fear based stories. Horror, dread and scary stuff just oozes from the computer screen once the proper URL is entered in. Let us be careful of such sites, forces and people. They may or may not be operating from the best of intentions but the key to remember is that fear is not faith. We must not allow ourselves to be inundated with all of the stuff on the net, the scary, the wacky, the hateful or the deceitful.

Some of you are worried about Covid. Some of you were worried about Biden becoming President, the left is worried that Trump might return to the White House. My question is - where is the faith of God's people and of those who constantly spread fear and dread into cyberspace?

You see, I think many of these so called Christians have lost sight of some important truths. That the devil is running this planet for he is the prince of this world. Why should we be shocked when he shows his true colors? Authoritarianism? Yes, this is what the devil is working towards and his servants in this world are helping - some knowingly, most not. One of the first things the devil wants to do is to destroy truth tellers so that the big lie can be told unchallenged. This is why we have seen so much censorship in this world. The official lie must never be challenged. This is the first rule in any authoritarian, non-free, political system. I think we can all smell the stench of such a system in the west, however faintly.

This is why we must always be on our guard for the devil will certainly throw his darts at us in the form of various falsehoods and in these times, we can all see just how dangerous such lies can be. Ask the Jews of Nazi Germany how the lies spread about them by the party about their very membership in the human race put millions in the gas chambers. The devil knows how to lie and he knows how to get people to believe them. If you don't think you can be fooled, you have been already.

But we who know the truth need not fear such lies. We must remember our place. Then we must remember the place of those who have rejected God's truth. Brothers, this is just going to be hard for a lot of you. You are just going to have to toughen up and realize that many of them are just going to go walking blithely into a multitude of traps that you and I can see, but they cannot and in most cases, simply refuse to.

We cannot save the world. We must not try. We can only preach the gospel, live our lives in love and hope and let the world do what the world does best - rebel against God; sometimes in lesser ways, other times in greater. When God wants to warn the world of what it is doing, he will raise up a or many prophets.

With many Christians particularly a lot of blogs and news sites, I think they get frustrated because they are trying to do the impossible. They are trying to 'teach the dead to sing'. No matter how hard you try, with the best of intentions you will only get silence out of a corpse. So it is with the world. This world is lost. It will always be lost. Those who are part of this world are and will be lost. You cannot teach it to be a Christian because it knows not Christ. The corpse must cease to be a one if it is ever to learn to sing. When we are born again, we come out of this world and are alive to Christ, we have the potential to 'sing', though with many this never develops into anything but a failed potentiality. We are no longer of this world, but have been given the power to become sons of God.

I realize that many are deeply concerned about the trends in the nation and world. Don't be. These things must needs be. Cease to do the 'freak out' thing and worrying yourself and others half to death. We as Christians must walk in this world; we must traverse the land of Sodom, the valley of Gomorrah, the high places of idolatry and false religion and the minefields of lies. We cannot get distracted by the sins of others nor be enticed by the temptations the devil will put in our path to divert us from our steady course. Nor can we live in fear and dread for what may or may not happen. If you serve God, I mean truly serve him, you are in his hands. If not, you are going to be cannon fodder for the devil, who hates mankind only a little less than he hates God.

Are you walking with God? Is your pathway directed by him? Have you dedicated the rest of your life here on this earth to his service? Then these words should encourage you.

After these things
the word of Jehovah came unto Abram in a vision,
saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield,
and thy exceeding great reward.
(Genesis 15:1 - ASV)


What were the first two words the Lord spoke to Abram here? Fear not! This vision took place right after a major battle where the King of Sodom was involved and Abram would not take so much as a shoe lace from him. He did not want it said that the King of Sodom made him rich. Abram knew that some gifts have too high a price. There are some things that are better not taken. In today's world there are some jobs we just should not do. They may be perfectly legal and even somewhat respected by the world, but that does not mean we should take them.

For Christians - ever thought about taking a job as a check out clerk at the local grocery store at $20k a year rather than a job at some big corporation that censors Christians, finds ways to harass believers, pushes things on society that they know God hates for a salary of $100k a year? It is not an easy decision, but one that may in the long run, spiritually speaking, turn out to be by far the best. All that glitters isn't gold and even if it is, what lies underneath all that flash may be dangerous or even lethal, spiritually speaking. This is one of those things you must truly seek the Lord about in prayer before making such decisions.

Remember Lot? When there was strife between Lot's herdsmen and Abram's the two separated. Lot chose what looked good on the surface (Gen 13:10) to move to. But this was where Sodom was before it was destroyed. While it may have looked good on the surface, let us never forget that Lot only eventually escaped that place with his life, and even then only after Abraham interceded for him. His wife didn't make it. Lot saw something that glittered but later, it turned into brimstone when the Lord got finished with it.

Then God tells Abram that he is his shield, that being his protection. God will protect you if you are his and serve him honestly and honorably. God had a mission for Abraham. In order for him to get that protection, he like we do, have to stay the course on what God wanted him to do. He was on his way to the promised land - a land that God would show him. We too are on our way to the promised land. If we stay the course, God will help keep us on course and protect us. God protected Abraham and he will protect you and me as well.

So to those of you who serve God, I write this brief piece today so that you cease to worry and wonder about the lost world. There are some things you can fix and there are things you cannot. A wise man knows the difference and concentrates on what he can change rather than getting worry lines in his forehead about things he cannot.

Our jobs are simple - to live the gospel. Most people are not going to believe or accept it and in time, we will be badly persecuted here in the west for our faith. But some will come to the cross, but only some of those will do what the scriptures command - endure to the end.

Brothers hear me out on this - most souls will not make it. They are just going to be lost. Many of your families, friends and loved ones... they are going to be lost. They chose it and remember this - no one deserves heaven. God has granted us this great salvation by his grace and love. As a race, mankind is lost, reprobate and vile. We don't see ourselves that way... while we commit unspeakable crimes one upon another. We wallow in our moral filth and claim to be righteous; our hands stained with the blood of our brother, lips dripping hate and lies and pockets holding dishonest gain.

No brothers, every soul that is lost will be lost because of his own choosing. Every soul that is saved is there because of God's grace.

I have always looked at this salvation thing like this. There is the divine harvester. He is looking only for the choicest parts of the harvest. Only the very best gets into his barn. He gets rid of the rest. It simply is not good enough to meet his standards. He sells off the refuse and the devil is more than willing to take it.

So it is with salvation. We are special to God, very special and he has taken a lot of time and effort to build us up into what he wants us to be.

Let us remember that and that we have no part in this world, its ways or its fate. He who remembers this on a daily basis will find he is less likely to make key mistakes in these troubling times.

and I will bless them that bless thee,
and him that curseth thee will I curse:
and in thee shall all the families
of the earth be blessed.
(Genesis 12:3 - ASV)

May the blessing of Abram (Abraham) be upon each of you who truly and faithfully serve the Lord and have kept the faith in good times and in bad and not denied the name of the Lord Jesus Christ nor are ashamed of the Gospel.

Amen.

Note: This piece is not any kind of professional financial or career advice and should not be construed as or acted upon as such. This is merely personal commentary and a 'food for thought' piece for Christians as we navigate these troubling and difficult times. This site's full disclaimer policy can be found at the bottom of this page.

2 June

Lawfare And Spiritual Warfare


Navigating the future in the west I don't think is going to be easy. When Churches are not allowed by law to congregate while others are is a problem. One that needs to be explored.

During this pandemic, Churches have done right I think so far by obeying authorities during the pandemic but also by using the courts to deal with authorities edicts restricting worship. But what about when perhaps some future edict goes directly against our great commission or the commands of scripture? What then? This is no little matter, because such days may not be so very far away, given the political landscape and some of the other things being slowly moved legally and administratively against Christians in the west. 

Are there any examples in scripture about this? Are there examples of 'lawfare' in our Bibles? Men who used the law subtly to entrap God's servants? Yes. I will just use one today, because I think it most apt.

Daniel was a man greatly beloved of God and who served the Emperor Darius. He was very good at his job and no one could find any occasion against him. He was wise, most efficient and the emperor had a lot of respect for him. So much so that he was to be the number two man in the Kingdom, above all the other administrators.

Then this Daniel was distinguished
above the presidents and the satraps,
because an excellent spirit was in him;
and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
Then the presidents and the satraps
sought to find occasion against Daniel
as touching the kingdom;
but they could find no occasion nor fault,
forasmuch as he was faithful,
neither was there any
 error or fault found in him.
(Daniel 6:3-4 - ASV)



Daniels' enemies were looking for something... anything they could use against him. But could not find anything. Man, do I personally know what that is like! Well, if they can't find anything - create something against them. Here is what went down with God's servant, Daniel

Then said these men,
We shall not find any
occasion against this Daniel,

except we find it against him
concerning the law of his God.
(Daniel 6:5 - ASV)


This is lawfare in the age of the Medes and the Persians. Lawfare based on religion. And not unlike today, the deeper ramifications are spiritual in nature. Perhaps it would help to look at this like the spiritual stronghold of Babylon was coming against a man of God. What was the 'hook' this stronghold used to entice these men to come against God's man? Jealousy. In order for the devil to get people to act he has to have some kind of 'hook' to pull them in the direction he wants them to go. So these princes of Babylon were hatching a plot against Daniel. They realized it had to be against his religion and his God after having looked everywhere else.

Then these presidents and satraps
assembled together to the king,
and said thus unto him, King Darius,
live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom,
the deputies and the satraps,
the counsellors and the governors,
have consulted together to establish
a royal statute, and to make a strong interdict,
that whosoever shall ask a petition
of any god or man for thirty days, save of thee,
O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
Now, O king, establish the interdict,
and sign the writing, that it be not changed,
according to the law of the Medes and Persians,
which altereth not.
(Daniel 6:6-8 - ASV)

Like most good administrators, they were clever. They created this law, which only had temporary effect (30 days) and during this time, no one could could come to any God and pray... except of course to the emperor himself. Here they show that they understood a few things. First that such a law if for an extended period could cause social unrest; second, it was OK to come to the King. Here they appealed to the Kings vanity, who now would be the exclusive 'god' to whom the people could come to in order to make any petition. This was a firm law and one that could not be revoked. The penalty for breaking it was death by lions den.

Now this is one crazy law, but one cannot think for a second that men in power in any age are not capable of putting such laws into action. Here the motive was for one reason alone, to kill Daniel. They shifted the whole religious and legal landscape of the empire to kill one godly man. Make no mistake, a truly Godly man who yields himself to God is someone that the devil will take the greatest pains to try and destroy.

Wherefore king Darius
signed the writing and the interdict.
(Daniel 6:9 - ASV)

This is rather sad. Why in the world did Darius sign this?  He had to realize this would effect Daniel, his most trusted servant? We don't know. But it is not impossible that Daniel was 'out of the office' that day, perhaps out tallying the grain supply or inspecting the royal armory. These administrators probably waited until an ideal time to spring this on the king. Perhaps after the emperor had a few glasses of the special Persian vintage of wine and some Persian dancing beauty did her little performance for the court (this is not unheard of in scripture - see Mark 6:22ff). However they did it, they were able to get the king to sign this stupid law.

And when Daniel knew
that the writing was signed,
he went into his house (now his windows
were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem);
and he kneeled upon his knees
three times a day, and prayed,
and gave thanks before his God,
as he did aforetime.
(Daniel 6:10 - ASV)

Here is the thing, once he knew it was signed Daniel did not change a thing. Knowing the danger and certainly knowing his enemies had arranged this trap, he continued to serve the Lord and prayed like he did before - even though it had become a crime, punishable by death.

Daniel had to navigate this legal and administrative jungle with all of these administrative and legal snakes, crocodiles and piranha out to devour him. How did he do it? In this instance, it was a head-on approach. he was not going to be frightened out of serving God. He was not going to be scared out of praying to the Lord. He went in his room turned towards Jerusalem, got on his knee's and prayed. In short, Daniel, with his actions was saying 'pass all the laws you want, I am going to serve the Lord'. This was faith for Daniel knew that he moment he got on his knees he was according to the law, a dead man.

These days, many Christians are relying on political parties, non-profit legal organizations and others to protect their rights from bad laws that attack Christians. Certainly these organization are for the most part, doing excellent work and have done much to protect us. But we must never forget that this is ultimately, not a political or legal battle, but a spiritual one. This was the secret that Daniel knew and his enemies did not.

Then these men assembled
together unto the king,
and said unto the king, Know, O king,
that it is a law of the Medes and Persians,
that no interdict nor statute
which the king establisheth
may be changed.
(Daniel 6:15 - ASV)



On the surface, it looked like Daniel's enemies had won a major victory. They run to the king like a group of tattle-tale school children, probably unable to contain their joy in their news that Daniel was now committing a capital offense.

But the king realized that he made a major error in signing that decree and did what he could to fix things. But his administrators were adamant, they wanted Daniel, or what was left of him after the lions were finished, under six feet of dirt... no if's, no and's and no but's. They had the King as well as Daniel in a trap.

The King did not appreciate this as we see and administrators and lawyers often do make big mistakes. This was a major political mistake they made - tricking and entrapping the king. They probably thought they were indispensable.

We know the rest of the story. God sent an angel to protect Daniel from this unwise and unrighteous edict and the wicked men behind it. Daniel came out of the den unharmed.

This is not what happened to Daniel's enemies.

And the king commanded,
a
nd they brought those men that
had accused Daniel, and they cast them
into the den of lions, them, their children,
and their wives; and the lions had
the mastery of them, and brake
all their bones in pieces,
before they came to the
bottom of the den.
(Daniel 6:24 - ASV)


Despite all that his enemies had planned against God's man, Daniel prospered (Dan 6:28).

I have gone over this passage for a reason. As we watch the generational shift in the country as well as attacks on religious liberty, we must understand that we are indeed in a kind of jungle. We have enemies who are lying in wait for us as we traverse the dangerous landscape. They want to do us harm, even kill us. But we who know our God can depend on him to look out for us. To protect us from the wickedness of those who would do us harm. Sometimes God has to let our enemies get so far, so he can beat them back. Let them do their wickedness so they have no excuse when they are thrown into the lions den, as they would do to God's people.

This is the boomerang effect and at times, I have seen it at work. What people try and throw at God's people can sometimes comes right back around at them. The key is to never take vengeance yourself, keep faith with God and keep your eyes and ears open to what is going on and more importantly to what God wants you to do.

Also remember that Daniel was willing to pour out his life for his God and such a call may be made upon us one day.


And they overcame him
because of the blood of the Lamb,
and because of the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their life
even unto death.
(Revelation 12:11 - ASV)


For one day, all hell will break loose and that great dragon, Satan will be given enormous authority here on earth. He will make war on we who follow Christ Jesus.

And the dragon waxed wroth with the woman,
and went away to make war
with the rest of her seed
,

that keep the commandments of God,
and hold the testimony of Jesus:
(Revelation 12:17 - ASV)


I beheld, and the same horn
made war with the saints,
and prevailed against them;
(Daniel 7:21 - ASV)

And it was given unto him
to make war with the saints,
and to overcome them:
and there was given to him authority
over every tribe and people
and tongue and nation.
(Revelation 13:7 - ASV)

The war will certainly start off with legal aspects to it. You can't worship, you can't congregate, you can't witness, you must bow down before the emperor, etc. The devil will make sure that in such a war, laws are passed to do just that - attack Christians for that is his primary purpose, to make war against the saints. This is clearly what happens with the Mark of the Beast. A law is passed making taking the mark compulsory along with the worship of an image. The penalty will be death. It will be lawfare but with a specific spiritual or rather, demonic purpose in mind. But God as well will be working his own purpose in this - he is going to allow it. It will test the whole world as well as his saints. Those saints who are here will have to go through it but God will spare others of this great trial which will come upon the whole world (Revelation 3:10).

There will be different ways for different people on how to navigate the coming jungle. Paul when being questioned used his wisdom to confound his interrogators by asserting a resurrection when the council was divided about that issue (Acts 23:6ff). God will show us what to do if we put our trust in him fully. He has done that with me and at times he is very specific about what I am to do. He will do this with you if you are truly walking with him and have chosen to be in his service. But for many, if not most of us who are alive when the mark is instituted, we must steel ourselves for death. The spirit distinctly says that this spirit of anti-Christ will have power to overcome us (in the body). But we ultimately do overcome by the blood of Christ and the word of our testimony.

In conclusion, I see lawfare as intensifying as anti-God forces move more and more into the corridors of power all over the world. False religion, anti-religion and others will work on behalf of the devil and in nine cases out of ten, won't know who their ultimate employer is. We must prepare our hearts for it. The devil is deadly serious about his attacks on we who are of Christ. It is only when he is given authority that he can come after us in full.

Today as we can see, persecution is more a regional phenomenon. We in the west are harassed, but rarely feel the brunt of the kinds of persecution that is felt in many parts of the world. That one day is going to change. When and how I cannot say, but you can be certain that if God warned us about persecution, we must be prepared for it and not try and kid ourselves that persecution only means for someone else.

So as we move through the jungle of our times let us recognize that there are many predators out there who will seek our harm and even our lives and when possible and practicable, let us avoid the traps the devil and his imps will lay for us in the days ahead.


God bless and keep you all in Christ!

Amen!!

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20 Apr

A Curse

Now Jehovah said unto Abram,
Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred,
and from thy father's house, unto the land
that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation,
and I will bless thee, and make thy name great;
and be thou a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee,
and him that curseth thee will I curse:
and in thee shall all the families
of the earth be blessed.
(Genesis 12:1-3 - ASV)

This is one of those subjects that are often best avoided in polite 'Christian' society. But the idea of a curse is a very serious affair and frankly, I am not so sure many 'generic' Christians really believe in and or understand just how serious it is.

In the above passage, God had called out Abraham for a very specific purpose. He was going to use Abraham's obedience and faith as a key instrument to bring salvation to mankind. Obedience because Abraham (at that time Abram) had to do something, he had to get out of his native land and away from his family and go to a place that God did not specify exactly but would reveal at the proper time.

Then he gives him a powerful promise. Anyone who blesses Abraham will be blessed and anyone who curses him will be cursed. As we noted in the last part of Samuel, we see how God does indeed protect his people when they are on a divinely appointed mission. God was going to protect his servant and that he did many times in his long journey.

A curse brothers is a horrible thing. It can entail all manner of evils, illnesses, pain, or poverty. It's something that is a sign of great divine displeasure. The reality of a curse is clearly maintained all through the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses) and there are many blessings and cursing within those pages. A curse is almost always based on a person's behavior.

And it shall come to pass,
when all these things are come upon thee,
the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee,
and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations,
whither Jehovah thy God hath driven thee,
and shalt return unto Jehovah thy God,
and shalt obey his voice according
to all that I command thee this day,
thou and thy children, with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul; that then Jehovah
thy God will turn thy captivity,
and have compassion upon thee,
and will return and gather
thee from all the peoples,

whither Jehovah thy God
hath scattered thee.
(Deuteronomy 30:1-3 - ASV)


I think of the long history of the people of Israel. I think of their first exile to Babylon, but also what I consider the far more important exile which took place after the Romans came in 70 AD. Israel was scattered all through the world. For centuries they wandered and lived as foreigners and 'outsiders' in just about every place they went. Some European nations had periods of time where they expelled the Jews, hated them and treated them with deep contempt. This went on for nearly two millennia. How did Moses prophecy what would happen to the Jews if they did not do as God had commanded them, the God who did all manner of miracles for them and freed them from their slave chains in Egypt?

And thou shalt become an astonishment,
a proverb, and a byword,
among all the peoples
whither Jehovah
shall lead thee away.

(Deuteronomy 28:37 - ASV)


The whole chapter of Deuteronomy chapter 28 describes the blessings and curses that will befall Israel, wholly dependent in on their obedience to or rebellion against God's commandments. When Israel entered into the covenant with the Lord, I just am not so certain they took the Lord at his word and that God has a long memory... the longest in the universe. It is not a mistake that we Christians should repeat. Let Israel's travails be a clear example to us. God will keep his word and deal quite harshly with those who reject him, his word and his ways. Particularly those who entered into covenant with him. Once we have been born into the Kingdom of God by the work of the Holy Spirit, we have entered into a new covenant; a new 'contract' signed, if you will, in the blood of Christ.

We must also remember that God will do his part in the work of salvation, or in any divinely appointed task he has assigned us, but that we must do ours as well. One thing we must do is to keep our faith - mental belief coupled with actual obedience.

It's not talked about much but the NT does have a curse mentioned for those who turn away from God.

For as touching those
who were once enlightened
and tasted of the heavenly gift,
and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
and tasted the good word of God,
and the powers of the age to come,
and then fell away, it is impossible
to renew them again unto repentance;
 seeing they crucify to themselves
the Son of God afresh, and put him
to an open shame. For the land which
hath drunk the rain that cometh oft upon it,
and bringeth forth herbs meet for them
for whose sake it is also tilled,
receiveth blessing from God:
 but if it beareth thorns and thistles,
it is rejected and nigh unto a curse;
whose end is to be burned.
(Hebrews 6:4-8 - ASV)

The principle is not at all dissimilar to what we saw in Deuteronomy 28; there is the blessings that comes from God and then there is the clear prospect of a curse. All depending on the 'fruit' that the 'ground' bears.

By their fruits ye shall know them.
Do men gather grapes of thorns,
or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree
bringeth forth good fruit;
but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,
neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit
is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Therefore by their fruits
ye shall know them.
(Matthew 7:16-20 - ASV)


We must lay these things to heart and not ignore them or think them of little account - the divine 'accountant' is coming and he is a most exacting fellow, he expects a spiritual profit; a basket of good fruit for all the investment he has made and brothers, he had better get it! See the parable of the fig tree in a vineyard (Luke 13:6ff).

How is it that the prophet Malachi talked about the Priests in his time? God was sore upset with his religious representatives. The men who were supposed be guiding Israel. You will see below what God thought about them.

And now, O ye priests,
this commandment is for you.
If ye will not hear,
and if ye will not lay it to heart,

to give glory unto my name,
saith Jehovah of hosts,

then will I send the curse upon you,
and I will curse your blessings; yea,
I have cursed them already,
because ye do not lay it to heart. Behold,
I will rebuke your seed,
and will spread dung upon your faces,
even the dung of your feasts;
and ye shall be taken away with it.
And ye shall know that I have sent
this commandment unto you,
that my covenant may be with Levi,
saith Jehovah of hosts.
(Malachi 2:1-4 - ASV)


Some of you may say that is only meant for the priests under the old law. You would be mostly correct. This is not a generalized threat to all of Israel, only to the priests, the House of Levi.

However...

But ye are an elect race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for God's own possession,
that ye may show forth the
excellencies of him who called you
out of darkness into his marvellous light:
who in time past were no people,
but now are the people of God:
who had not obtained mercy,
but now have obtained mercy.
(1Peter 2:9-10 - ASV)

Yes, we true Christians are a priesthood as well. Again, representatives of God. So let us take such words as we find in Malachi with seriousness. The old Levitical priesthood was one that was not eternal, it was passed on from generation to generation. We are part of something much more permanent and yes, important. Therefore, our responsibility is also that much greater. We must not spurn God's word or hold his words and commandments in light regard. That is the way to very great error. We must not pollute the gospel message any more than the priests were not to pollute the offerings to the Lord (see Galatians 1:8-9).

We who serve God, let us keep faith with him in all things so that we may obtain the blessing and not anger the Lord and incur his displeasure. Or worse, his curse.

***

These times? Brothers I see a nation and world heading into a curse. Right now I think God is trying to get our attention but that phase is not going to last forever. I look at our nation and the things going on and I am shocked at the trends in it.

America is changing and its spiritual moorings with God are being slowly unhinged as the nation continues its spiritual drift. Sex-sin is in, God is out; drugs are in, Church is out; false narratives and fake news are in and God's truth is out. I suspect we are a nation that if it does not change its ways, will receive from the hand of the Lord one thing in particular... a curse. I hope and pray that does not occur. Americans have certainly received a great many blessings from God's hand and have been in a great many ways, the envy of the world. But how has the country repaid him?

I hate to write on such a negative subject, but this morning I kind of got a most troubling word from the Lord that I am not going to share, but it did have to do with the whole idea of the curse.

[Note: This piece should not under ANY circumstances be construed (or deliberately misconstrued) to be against Israel or the Jewish people. Too many men in Church history have abused the scriptures and twisted them to incite hatred of the Jewish people. This site is absolutely against any form of hate, including and especially anti-Semitism. Jesus Christ was a Jew and I am and will continue to be one of his followers and maintain a love for the Jewish people as I am commanded to love all men.

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