“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.

Friday, April 15, 2011

God scattering our power

“And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when He held up His right hand and His left hand unto heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when He shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” (Dan. 12:7).

According to Daniel 12:7, the scattering of the power of Laodicea has been God’s plan since 538 B.C., well before the church was born. It was His prescience that declared that He would need to do the scattering, or allow it to happen after 1798; and that the church age couldn’t come to an end until its scattering was completed to the very dregs. Then Jesus would come.

When we hark back to Job we see that the Lord authorized the scattering of Job’s power, just as we read of Him promising to do to the church, but that Satan actually did the scattering. Yet, since the Lord authorized it, and the elements and the laws of nature used by Satan all belong to Christ, He took full responsibility for what happened to His servant. (Job 2:3). Therefore, the Lord scattered Job’s power, as we see throughout the book of Job. And we can transfer this same behind-the-scenes transaction to the Lord’s threat against Israel as a nation.

“They have moved Me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked Me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
For a fire is kindled in Mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend Mine arrows upon them.
They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.
The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.
I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men.” (Deut. 32:21-26).

The Lord spoke all this before Israel even entered Canaan. Could He already see cause for their desolation? Was He just trying to scare them, or did He do as He threatened? As we saw on the previous post, yes, He was being serious.

And does this also apply to His church? Isn’t all scripture profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction for righteousness?

The Lord was taking responsibility for the destruction against His beloved people, a destruction that Satan would bring; Jehovah would have to give them up because they would give Him up. His reason for this: “I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very forward generation, children in whom is no faith.
They have moved Me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked Me to anger with their vanities.” (Vs. 20,21). Spiritualism: Vanities? Pride?

Why did He scatter them? Because at Sinai they had accepted the covenant that every newly wedded husband and wife make—that He would protect, provide for, and love them, and that they were to obey His guidance and to love Him in return. But they ended their relationship with Him and placed their love and intimacy and vain emotions into the worship of the devil. “They provoked Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they Him to anger.
They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.” (Vs. 16,17).

“Nevertheless they did flatter Him with their mouth, and they lied unto Him with their tongues.
For their heart was not right with Him, neither were they stedfast in His covenant.” (Ps. 78:36,37). They feigned love to Him, but He read their hearts. “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Heb. 4:13).

Job’s scattering by Satan was due to the patriarch’s self-sufficiency and secret self-exaltation. (Job 31). “So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.” (Job 32:1).

From ancient times to the present, self-justification leads us from any need for a Savior and opens the door wide to Satan’s control. In every age, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18). Israel’s leaving their Husband translated directly to self-sufficiency and spiritualism related directly to righteousness by works. Abraham’s warm, confiding friendship was considered righteousness by the Lord because He saw its results were love and righteousness; so, conversely, cold forgetfulness of God He detests, because it results in self-love, self-indulgence, and mistreatment of others.

Satan had control of their lives by the control he had of their emotions and loyalties to him through his false religion. It may have at first looked innocuous. “They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.” But, in the end, “they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.” (Deut. 32:17;Ps. 106:37,38).

As long as they had their natural strength which they had inherited from the clean diet Jehovah gave their culture, they spent that strength on Satan. And as long as they had some willpower, before spiritualism had robbed them of it all, Satan kept dangling before them pride of their accomplishments and self-congratulation for all their morality and God-bequeathed power. Great was their religiosity and ethics, while their “hands [were] full of blood.” (Isa. 1:10-15).

All their right-doing was devoid of Christ, His person and His self-sacrificing love; thus it was full of self. Therefore it was wrong-doing in essence at the start, and later on, was full of gross depravity and cruelty. Loveless, Christless morality resulted in the most grievous atrocities. Therefore, from its infancy, God sees its whole dark future. He rejects dead, empty righteousness by our own works as the blackest sin. Because He knows that this was all that false religion can ever offer.

Close acquaintance with the person of Christ is righteousness; as God calls it, “the righteousness of faith.” (Rom. 4:13). A cool regard toward to Christ, a lack of a warm, confiding friendship with Jesus translates to faith in self; and faith in self is sin. “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil. 3:3). “For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.” (Isa. 30:15). Our strength to do good and to stand in the face of temptation comes from spending quiet time with our Creator, the Holy One, the Lawgiver and Master Teacher.

“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.
And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:16-18).

Is the church of Christ today reliving Israel’s whoredom? Is she as pure as she looks? If so, then why the Second Angel’s message? (Rev. 14:8).

God waits and sends trouble on His church which wants to manage without Him. They have no time to spend a thoughtful hour with Jesus each day. They spend all their time and energy on just being moral, and living life. Now Satan has full control of the people called by God’s name and their nations are in a shambles. Christ waits to see their end and then to boldly ask them how their idolatrous religion which excludes Him will save them from their miserable cup of Satan’s wrath, with restless days and sleepless nights, the “smoke of their torment” ascending up continually because they have no peace. Rev. 14:9-11.

“For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
Is not this laid up in store with Me, and sealed up among My treasures?
To Me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
For the Lord shall judge His people, and repent Himself for His servants, when He seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.
And He shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,
Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.
See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand.
For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.” (Deut. 32:32-40).

Eventually, His people will do as the prodigal son did, who, “came to himself.” (Lk. 15:17). A remnant will surrender and renounce their self-sufficiency. They will come to the end of trying to live their life and their religion without knowing Him personally. “Your strength shall be spent in vain,” promises Jehovah. (Lev. 26:20). They will turn to God again only after He scattered their power by letting them spend it all on Satan’s bitter “wine” of gall until their nerves were in a constant jangle, stress and anxiety overwhelmed them, and their strength was spent.

“And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.” (Lev. 26:36). In weakness and humiliation, laying in bed like a lump of clay, they will look to God for help. He can work with them now; He is there for them immediately and surrounds them with His arms of love.

Righteousness by faith vs. righteousness by works is not just a theoretical doctrine; it is a matter of life and death. To know God is life eternal; with communion and trust in Him alone come that gift of God, the pure river of life, a “well of water springing up” forever. (Jn. 4:14). This continuous hope and joy through fellowship with Christ, which He spoke of, have been this world’s illusive pot of gold and holy grail since the exodus from the Garden of Eden. Today, the ache in the human heart for that ongoing happiness has driven the world far from Christ, to satisfy it through every vice imaginable.

But only in accepting our Creator’s invitation to unite with Him in communion will that ache be healed. “The law worketh wrath…. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” (Rom. 4:15,16). “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Rom. 4:13). Not by righteousness, but by faith can we be reconciled to God. And once reconciled, love will flow out, and true righteousness with it. This is what Abraham discovered. “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:2,3).

God took 25 years to give Abraham a son. During that 25 years of walking in prayer with his best Friend, trust grew inside of Abraham; “who against hope believed in hope,” (Rom. 4:18) “and being not weak in faith,” (Rom. 4:19) “he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God,” (Rom. 4:20) “being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.” (Rom. 4:21). All self-sufficiency was finally boiled away with his troubles and, at long last, only simple trust in God remained. Then God could act and give him Isaac; “And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:22). Imputed righteousness didn’t come to Abraham overnight. And this is good news for us today.

As it was with Israel, God has a big work to do in His church to bring us to fully renounce our self-sufficiency. Before Paul could say of the apostolic church, “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure,” (Phil. 2:13) the Lord had to bring the world through a long arduous period of incarceration by four idolatrous empires. After six centuries of subjugation and restricted freedoms, and the increasing influence, wretchedness, and misery of spiritualism, the world was finally prepared to receive its Messiah. “Before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” (Gal. 3:23). And a very small remnant received Him.

The final church awaiting the second coming of Christ has been through its own period of subjugation by idolatry and spiritualism in the 1840’s. And the corruption will worsen through the up-coming great time of trouble. All of our self-sufficiency needs to be boiled away so that we can stand before the Son of man, free of sin. The world-wide trouble is part of God’s work to scatter our confidence in self, so that we will rely wholly upon the Savior. It is a terrible ordeal to let go of self; nevertheless, it must take place if our faith will survive the time of Jacob’s troubles when we lose the sense of Jesus’ presence until He appears personally, audibly, in glory and power, and we “see Him as He is.” (1Jn. 3:2).

He will finally, after 6000 years of sin, have fully scattered His church’s chilling self-sufficiency toward Him. His scattering will result in what He has promised, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” (Isa. 13:12).

Says the prophet: “Who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2, 3. Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. Great Controversy, p. 425.

We must begin today striving to receive victory over every known defect of character. But the victory will only come proportionate to the quantity and quality of time and effort spent getting to know Jesus, warming up to Him and trusting in Him, and thus gradually being reconciled to more and more of His Father’s Law which we see exemplified in the Son.

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13). “And be found in Him, not having Mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” (Phil. 3:9-15).


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