“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, April 25, 2011

Scattering the power of the holy people

I once watched an episode of a certain TV sitcom of the 60’s where the main character, Tim, met a famous actor on a news program. Tim was impressed and awed by the famous man of this storyline only to discover that the charm, self-confidence, and handsomeness of the news man was all a put-on. His hair wasn’t even real—he was actually bald with a toupee and he looked tall only because he wore elevator shoes!

His image was of a bold, gregarious man with everything going his way. But, in actuality, he was lonely, very unhappy, and depressed. The episode reveals the reality of being a modern celebrity. Their public relations campaign gives them a persona that looks bigger than life—because it is. Truth be told, their public image is a ruse.

Recently I watched some musical videos on the internet. They were of religious songs sung by well-known and practiced recording groups. Their voices harmonized beautifully. But then I watched their expressions and couldn’t refrain from thinking that they were forcing themselves to smile. The words they sang were for the glory of God, and it just wouldn’t do to sing them without looking heavenly and victorious over sin. But the eyes really show the joy. A smile with a scowl does not indicate happiness.

They looked like angels singing in heaven. And their smiles never slipped; it was like the Joker’s smile that was pasted on! I’ve seen other religious shows on cable TV sometimes if I’m visiting someone who is watching it when I arrive. The forced smiles are so profound that it’s almost sickening. I can’t be the only one to notice this. Of course, they might call it their camera face, or their game face, that the broadcasting industry requires. But what does God think of the charade? Really, what does God think? Here’s what God thinks of it.

“Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.” (Ps. 39:5). The best choirs the church can produce are a far cry from the 144,000 who will stand on the sea of glass singing the song of Moses and the Lamb, truly joyous and oblivious of self.

“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee.” (Rev.15:2-4).

Referring to the religious elite who were just acting their part in the service to God, Jesus coined a new usage of an old Gentile word—“Hypocrite”. “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” (Matt. 6:2).

Hypocrite was Greek for an actor in a Roman play. The Roman hypocrites each used several masks so that one hypocrite could act the part of several characters in the play. Today “hypocrite” is normal vocabulary for us, but 2000 years ago Christ gave a new connotation to the word. If Jesus were to live among us today, the modern religious elite that look God-entranced but are not, Jesus would call “actors”—they are acting a part, just playing church.

The masks assisted the Romans or Jews with their imaginations, to take the spectators off into a fantasy world. And the on-looking audience would applaud and shout their praises to the hypocrites. Idols were also used to assist worshippers into a fantasy world. We may conclude, then, that hypocrisy and idolatry are the same in principle.

Hypocrites. Masks. Applause. Public image. Idolatry. Imitation of heaven. Everything that Jesus saw 2,000 years ago was all there on my YouTube videos.

Babylon means, “Gate of the gods.” It was their way of say, The gate of heaven. Babylon represents a nation of hypocrites, some pretending to be in heaven and others applauding them for being there.

But, you might say, those Christian songs on YouTube were performances for Jesus. Those concert artists were acting godly for Christ. Its service to the King.

Still, it was simply a performance and theatrics.

Is Christianity today full of actors performing? When are we going to wake up to the finger of Revelation pointing to us as Babylon? All of us! Babylon the Great! Christianity, the Great! Gate of the hypocritical gods!

Paul saw this in his day while the church had not yet lost all of its purity, as he said it eventually would after the passing of the apostles.

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:28-31).

So Paul rejoiced that the gospel was being preached; but he did so not without also his confession of one group of preachers, “The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds…in pretence.” (Phil. 1:16,18). “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” (2Thess. 2:7). He wasn’t going to let the pretense get him down or discourage the Philippian believers; yet, the reality was that the preachers were not preaching from hearts 100% consecrated in love to Jesus or from 100% faith. And this condition would spread and finally became almost all-consuming in the church.

The 7th and final condition of Christianity’s lifespan is also represented in Revelation by the city of Laodicea—lukewarm toward Jesus. They are hot on the outside, but cold on the inside. They/we have lots of good behavior, but it’s all a show. Babylon is all for show, its worship is only for effect. The personal religion of the Christians is all show.

We put all our effort into looking good and none of it in seeking a valid faith in Christ. We have all the ear markings of victory over sin, and we even expend token effort in the warfare against self. But the battle to know Jesus gets sidelined. It’s rare for anyone to be truly surrendered; no one is what they claim to be. “We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.” “Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.” (Is. 59:10,9). It’s all a put-on. As long as they have the willpower to behave themselves, Christians will never know surrender or true conversion and reconciliation with God. As long as they remain at the levers of their power of choice, they will continue to use it to make a token effort toward Jesus and a token effort to overcoming sin.

What the Christian needs is to lose his or her choice. They need to experience a backward, hair-raising free-fall into the deep, dark oblivion of total loss of control. And this will be provided for them through a study of the Bible as they give up their will to its influence, or the disorienting oblivion will be thrust upon them in the last great world chaos if they will not now voluntarily surrender to God.

And as time marches down to the very end, the stress of trying to act godly without the friendship with God and total loss of self will become unbearable. The pressure to refrain from the temptations that are closing in on, and overwhelming, mankind will drive many to break away and dive headlong into depravity. Even the most christian of the Christians will surprise their followers who held them in much high esteem.

The smoke of their torment will ascend continually in their grinding under the work of looking good without full heart to heart communion with the Savior. Those Christians will have no rest, day nor night. Rev. 14:11.

And Christ will finally have fulfilled His promise—to scatter the power of the holy people. Dan. 12:7.

At that point some—a very small remnant—will admit that their strength is but weakness and a liability when it comes to overcoming sin; all of their self-proclaimed righteous works are but filthy rags and worth nothing. They will fall at God’s feet by faith and plead for His grace and help. Their power is gone. Satan has chained them to his car, and they desperately plead for mercy from heaven; their faith is real and strong. They are heard and transformed, justified by their faith.

God scattered the power of His holy people in order to save them all—them all—but, this remnant were the only ones to respond to the work of God. To them He will say, “They shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” (Rev. 3:4).


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