“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Babylon is coming

Babylon was used by Providence to humble Judah and Jerusalem, as Assyria had been used to humble Israel to the north. “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty.
The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,
And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,
And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,
And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.
And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
And the idols He shall utterly abolish.
And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;
To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Is. 2:10-22). Nebuchadnezzar was raised up to conquer the whole region of Palestine, and, in particular, to be a punishment to Israel.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised;
Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.” (Jer. 9:25,26).

A century previous, the ten northern tribes had been scattered because of their determined involvement with the pagan worship which had led all the nations into the darkest depravity. Yet, having seen all that, Judah still borrowed their polluted heathen practices. So Babylon, the mother of all satanic religion, came and swept them away. A similar thing happened throughout the period of the Judges by other nations.

In the subjugation of Israel by Babylon, Jehovah has given us a warning and lesson today. When His people creep closer and closer to the world and to false worship, at some point of His determining, He gives them up to Satan. Satan has been patiently wooing God’s half-hearted people, and when the Lord lifts the protection of His Holy Spirit, the devil speeds right in and controls them physically, mentally, and spiritually. This we see illustrated in the long infidelity of Israel and their captivity by Babylon.

The Jews thought to defend themselves militarily. Yet their only defense could be faith in the God of Israel, the Lord of hosts. But they had never learned the faith of their father, Abraham.

“For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,
Say ye not, ‘A confederacy,’ to all them to whom this people shall say, ‘A confederacy’; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.
Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.
And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.
Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples.
And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him.
Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” (Is. 8:11-18).

The Spirit of God through Isaiah foretells coming troubles, a series of conquering empires which would extend until the Messiah would come. “Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great Light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.” (Is. 9:1-7). During that long 600 year period when the sanctuary would be destroyed or vacant of the Lord’s presence, the people would be “driven to darkness.” (Is. 8:22).

So we see that Babylon, in a larger sense, represented the whole pagan domination from Babylon to Rome. After 800 years of continuous backsliding by Israel, the Lord gave them six centuries of feeding on the paganism they had so desired. God will not force our self-will. He will in mercy restrain us from our own evil course as long as He can, but will finally give us the life of sin, if that is what we want. But our new master will be very cruel. And when we suffer at his hand we will find that the escape from him is not as easy as we might have imagined. He does not abide by the law of freedom of choice like Christ does. He refuses to let his prisoners leave. We can, of our own volition, easily leave Christ; but not so from Satan.

When the time came for Christ to let Satan destroy the Jews through the Babylonians, the Jews wanted to fend off their attackers. They wanted the life of sin without the penalties of it. But Jeremiah told them to accept the punishment sent from heaven. He warned them to give up any attempt to fight, but to take their spanking. They had never learned what surrender was. To fight the unbeatable forces from the Euphrates was to try to prevent the Almighty from punishing them for their offering Him defiling pagan religious rites. Jeremiah told them there was no way to win a battle against Nebuchadnezzar. Jer. 13:10,15-27; 27:6-11;32:5;44:13.

If the leopard cannot change his spots, neither could the delusions of the Jews be corrected by anything short of hard labor or death. If they would submit willingly they would know long years of hardship. If they refused to repent and admit their sinfulness, and insist on fighting, then famine, pestilence, and the sword would teach them.

The “right” they felt they had to defend themselves was really their unrepentant, uncircumcised hearts evading due correction. It was simply a continuation of their lack of obedience which had led God to His final diagnosis of the nation—“incurable rebellion.” Jer. 30:12-15.

They had brought upon themselves their own curse, despite the long overtures from heaven. Is. 30:8-18. And true to the Lord’s prediction, Zedekiah listened to his false prophets and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. So he saw Jerusalem besieged and destroyed. He saw his sons killed in front of him and then his eyes were put out, the last images in his mind being his dead beloved children. The leaders that advised him were also killed and the stiff-necked people hauled off. Jer. 39, Jer. 52:24-28.

Babylon holds a large place in last day prophecies. But the Babylon of Revelation is not the literal empire resurrected from the dust, or even modern Iraq. It figuratively represents false religion that is united with, and controls, strong centralized world government—the woman who rides the beast.

The formation of the union of religion and the state begins when the true religion loses its hold on the true God of love; every false religion today began with a true knowledge of God. Rom. 1:19-32. Ham’s apostasy from Noah led to Babylonian and Egyptian paganism, and all eastern religions; the apostasy of Abraham’s religion to ancient Islam through Ishmael (?); Israel’s Hebrew religion into Babylonian Judaism; the apostolic church into pagan Catholicism; Protestantism into the dead New Age—the true religion has repeatedly apostatized, as we witness throughout history.

When a people of God lose their first love, they have given the grace of God second place to their focus on their own works. Christ’s righteousness loses the priority, and soon disappears into that religion’s graveyard. When the grace and goodness of God toward weak and decrepit sinners disappears from their consciences, then the votives must perform some perceived work in order to be accepted and receive benefits from their new deity.

All false religions have differed from Bible religion in one basic way—grace through law. “The end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling.” (1Tim. 1:5,6). Grace is not the basis of worship in Satan’s religions. Lucifer is the object of worship; and the last thing he ever wants is for sinners to comprehend grace. But, the only true God uses grace exclusively, through His mercy-filled discipline and correction, as His great incentive to draw His children back to Him. True Christianity says, “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Rom. 11:29). (Especially the gifts of His wise grace and loving discipline.)

Without grace, the law worketh wrath in us. Without His enduring mercy as the basis of worship, the high standard of God’s law cannot be attained, or ever comprehended. We aren’t naturally reconciled to God, and His Law drives us into madness when we look at it. But He gives His grace freely, as He sends the sun and rain on the just and the unjust. Goodness and love are the foundation of the family unit, upon which societies are built. Thus, those nations and governments united with Satan’s empty religions became more and more corrupt and violent, as they increasingly assumed Satan’s loveless character; while those built on grace behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and are changed into His same image, from glory to glory. The Constitution of the United States is an excellent example of the fruit of the Protestant Reformation’s declaration of God’s grace.

2,600 years ago Judah had the same constitution woven in the loom of heaven to which all the world could look and say, “‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? ” (Deut. 4:6-8).

But 2,600 years ago Judah compromised her religion that feared God, and she accepted idolatrous worship which disdained the fear of God. She disregarded God’s moral law and copied the promiscuity, superstition, and violence of the world; and imperiously acted as if she had done no wrong. So the Lord gave her what she wanted. He lifted His protection from her.

Heaven had waited long before punishing Judah as it had for Israel to the north. Finally, the hour of visitation arrived. Besiegement, disease, starvation, the sword, all swept in, swiftly and terribly. But the results of rebellion were ten-fold because they resisted; they would not surrender to Christ. “But ye said, ‘No; for we will flee upon horses’; therefore shall ye flee: and, ‘We will ride upon the swift;’ therefore shall they that pursue you be swift.
One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill.” (Is. 30:16,17).

Babylon is on the rise again. In the unprecedented work of John Paul II by galvanizing world governmental and religious leaders to the great Catholic world agenda, Babylon has “come up over all his channels” and will “go over all his banks: and he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.” (Is. 8:7,8). All this because Protestantism “refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly,” found in a Father’s Ten Commandments and Biblical gospel (vs. 6). “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (vs. 20).

No weapon formed against the restoration of the Papacy and its Inquisition shall prosper—except one weapon, the Sword of the Spirit. The Bible alone will effectively undermine Rome and the new Christian America. The Bible preachers might lose their possessions, their bodies, or their lives, but the truth will march on. We must allow God through His Spirit and His providences to transform us so that we can present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, clad in the armor of faith and salvation.

“These bonds” Paul lifted up to King Agrippa because he was a prisoner of hope (Acts 26:29;Zech. 9:12). Dear reader, you are also a prisoner of hope, part of the great cloud of witnesses. “Therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” “Lay hands suddenly on no man,” as did Barabbas who “for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired.” “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession.” (2Tim. 2:3;1Tim. 5:22;Lk. 23:25;1Tim. 6:12,13).