“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.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Living in the 6th trumpet

Christ gave to His disciples truths whose breadth and depth and value they little appreciated, or even comprehended, and the same condition exists among the people of God today. We too have failed to take in the greatness, to perceive the beauty of the truth which God has entrusted to us today. Should we advance in spiritual knowledge, we would see the truth developing and expanding in lines of which we have little dreamed, but it will never develop in any line that will lead us to imagine that we may know the times and the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power. Again and again have I been warned in regard to time setting. There will never again be a message for the people of God that will be based on time. We are not to know the definite time either for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or for the coming of Christ.

I was searching through my writings, before coming to this meeting, to see what I should take with me to Australia, and I found an envelope on which was written, “Testimony given in regard to time setting, June 21, 1851. Preserve carefully.” I opened it, and this is what I found. It reads:

“A copy of a vision the Lord gave Sister White, June 21, 1851, at Camden, N.Y. The Lord showed me that the message must go, and that it must not be hung on time; for time will never be a test again. I saw that some were getting a false excitement, arising from preaching time, that the third angel’s message can stand on its own foundation, and that it needs not time to strengthen it, and that it will go with mighty power, and do its work, and will be cut short in righteousness.
—Selected Messages, Vol. 1, p. 188.

Solemn events before us are yet to transpire. Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded; vial after vial poured out one after another upon the inhabitants of the earth.—Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 426

The world is soon to be left by the angel of mercy and the seven last plagues are to be poured out. . . . The bolts of God’s wrath are soon to fall, and when He shall begin to punish the transgressors there will be no period of respite until the end .—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 182

The Nations in Conflict

Four mighty angels hold back the powers of this earth till the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. The nations of the world are eager for conflict, but they are held in check by the angels. When this restraining power is removed there will come a time of trouble and anguish. Deadly instruments of warfare will be invented. Vessels with their living cargo will be entombed in the great deep. All who have not the spirit of truth will unite under the leadership of satanic agencies, but they are to be kept under control till the time shall come for the great battle of Armageddon.
—SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 967.

The Whole World Will Be Involved in Ruin

Angels are now restraining the winds of strife that they may not blow until the world shall be warned of its coming doom, but a storm is gathering, ready to burst upon the earth, and when God shall bid His angels loose the winds there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture
.—Education, p. 179, 180.

The Saviour’s prophecy concerning the visitation of judgments upon Jerusalem is to have another fulfillment, of which that terrible desolation was but a faint shadow. In the fate of the chosen city we may behold the doom of a world that has rejected God’s mercy and trampled upon His law.—Great Controversy, p. 36.

Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old.—Great Controversy, p. 614.

The Lord’s servant placed Revelation’s seven trumpets in her future. “Trumpet after trumpet” “are yet to transpire.” She made no other reference to the seven trumpets. Was she being general or generic in her use of them? If that is so, then she wrote nothing to explain the seven trumpets in their entirety with any historical context in which the church could know where the Advent band was in the time continuum that traveled to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Or did the Lord not reveal any light to her concerning the seven trumpets? This appears probable and hence Ellen White’s principle that silence is eloquent. When she wrote on the subject of eloquent silence the subject of the seven trumpets was not within the matter of that writing. Should it have been? I would say she did not mean to consign the seven trumpets to silent since in other places she wrote,

Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed. The diligent, prayerful seeker for truth will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth from the word of God. Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God.—Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 34. (1892.) Counsels to Writers, p. 35.

We have doctrines that she espoused not always because Jesus “gave unto [her], to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant,” (Rev. 1:1) but, rather, as Paul wrote it, “I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.” (1Cor. 7:6). “To the rest speak I, not the Lord….” (vs. 12). “But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.” (vs. 40). Much of what Ellen White wrote concerning prophecy she wrote because our Adventist forebears had hammered them out in the 1840’s, the Lord training His remnant to be people of “the Book.” We have inherited the Bible, pure and untarnished, our only safeguard in these last, dangerously delusive days.

Those Bible-based pillars, Salvation by faith, Sola Scriptura, the Sabbath, the Second Advent, the Sanctuary, the Spirit of Prophecy, the State of the dead, etc. have stood the test of time, but the ancillary doctrines have remained secondary, awaiting more light. As the handwritten scrolls were placed around the ark, being of lesser importance than the tables of stone, so have our ancillary doctrines. Prophecy is one of our lesser doctrines. Though very important to Mrs. White, it was not to take center stage, plus as time would lapse, our interpretations would be tweaked and perfected.

Uriah Smith worked diligently on Bible prophecy but, as has always been the case with prophecy students, the full picture of prophetic interpretation did not materialize until after each prophecy was completed. Until then, for those prophecies, it was as it was for the disciples, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.” (Acts 1:7). Thus Elder Smith’s intricate interpretations of Revelation 8, 9, and Daniel 11 must await the further development of Satan’s earthly agencies.

Since 1999 we can look back on the first five trumpets and clearly see their fulfillment. Quickly did the first four trumpets describe the entrance of Satan into the Sunday denominations. The 1st trumpet shows the truth that was given to Adventism baptizing the Sunday churches with a fire that was too hot for them to survive before the Lord. Thus, the mainline Protestants failed out of the great, last pronouncements of warning and mercy for the world they professed to bless, their true disposition being spiritual pride.

The 2nd trumpet illustrates the denominations accepting the lie that the Law of God was no longer in effect, contrary to what the Reformation fathers had firmly held to. Though they were ignorantly opposed to the biblical seventh-day Sabbath and could have quickly repented to the Lord, in order to save face before their congregations, this new doctrine of abrogating the Law of God by the Protestant religious leaders was simply their effort to buttress the long held pagan tradition of Sunday sacredness passed down from their dangerous and perverse enemy, Rome. But insisting to abrogate God’s Law abrogated God’s covenant with them. Satan could enter in and control Protestantism’s people, and now there was no stopping the extinguishing of their loyalty to God and His authority over their lives.

The 3rd trumpet describes Satan’s entrance into Protestantism’s hearts and minds and doctrines. The very fabric of their thinking was was spiritually transformed by Satan, freedom from God’s authoritative voice as a narcotic poison being their new “freedom” from God’s Law. The stage was laid for spiritualism’s easy movement into Protestants’character mold and the stage was set for them to be host to the New Age and the Mark of the Beast.

The 4th trumpet relates that God could on longer share His beloved Protestant platform with His adversary, Lucifer. In rejecting the new light through the despised literal second advent movement, they could no more be His messengers of glory to the world. The inspiration of His Holy Spirit left them and the light of the Bible went out. They must now traverse the satanic last generation of the world in darkness. But like king Saul who lost God’s presence yet would not strive to regain Him; similarly have the churches stubbornly persisted in their deluded path.

Now the stage was set for the 5th trumpet during which God freed Satan in response to the choice of a sin-loving heathen world and a truth-disdaining Protestant America. For 150 years, beginning in 1849, Satan has transformed the once peaceful America into a ravenous beast. The adversary has restored Protestantism’s greatest danger—Rome. She has come back to life and has infused her own life into her daughters (the denominations) and her sons (the nations’ federal, state, and local governments, especially in America). Satan’s temptations have spread all over the world through the Lord’s once beautiful and humble children of the Reformation. By 1999 the world was fully connected via the internet and satellite, through international banking and exploitive international treaties. By then, we were one world; and we began building the Bridge into the 21st Century.

The 6th trumpet blew and the joy ride on the global stock market suddenly ended with every Protestant and the middle class around the world caught in its trap. The demon-trained financial elitists siphoned the wealth of the nations into the coffers of Rome in preparation for the last great conflict. The final movement to control a global church-state has gathered mass with the USA Patriot Act, the U.S. Commissions Act, and the non-specific language of the War On Terror. A month ago, over Thanksgiving weekend, the U.S. Senate ratified broad powers already built into the USA Patriot Act, for the U.S. President and the U.S. military to confine and punish anyone the President deemed to be a terrorist. The final movement is picking up speed and momentum.

We are in the 6th trumpet described in Revelation 9 as the full fruition of satanic forces in its last drive to conquer the final remnants of Protestantism, the Constitution it birthed, and all who have come under the sanctifying influence of the power of God and the secular atheists who are indulging in the freedoms of a Protestant Constitution they ignorantly deny came from Protestantism. The acceleration of the 6th trumpet was barely noticeable at 9/11 but the mechanics of acceleration work such that the commencement is negligible and undiscernible. But, at its mid-point, movement becomes observable to the naked eye, and in its later stage on a graph it quickly vaults upward as it increases in velocity second by second. Finally nothing can stop it from going through the roof.

The Latter Rain, according to Revelation 11:11-14, happens in the last part of the 6th trumpet and then begins the time of trouble such as never was. Have we been keeping our lamps trimmed and our souls pure? This is our last opportunity to prepare for the Latter Rain.

Let us wake up and trim our lamps. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1Pet. 1:13).

God's Law and Jesus' gospel are our salvation

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.” (Jn. 19:30).

Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. “With His stripes we are healed.” Desire of Ages, p. 25.

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.” Great Controversy, p. 212.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that has fought to save a world like ours. Is it just an old tradition, threadbare and hoary with age? Is it just like the title of the hymn, an Old, Old, Story? Is the gospel just another Aesop fable?

Millions, yes, billions of animal sacrifices have littered this world’s history. The mountain of their ashes sits as a bulwark pointing to an ancient truth—the promise of a Messiah who would propitiate our Creator for the sin of the world. All the baby lambs and kids, the heifers and bullocks spoke of a coming Redeemer who was humble, innocent, pure, and faithful to the end.

Even the raucous swine and human sacrifices from corrupted religions all point back to the original promise, though altered by the distance of time and the shielding sin causes the light of truth.

Every victim in the animal kingdom killed by a hungry predator, that stabs our heart, testifies to the plan of salvation. The Creator has preached the gospel to every soul under heaven; in our generation, there is no language where its voice is not heard. Death has reigned from Adam to the present, either by murder or mortality, to remind mankind of the death sin has caused God. (Rom. 5:19).

The tradition from the Old Testament law and prophets, and from Christ and His apostles, still lives. (2Thess. 2:15). When it had lost its living power to Israel and they had “transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” then it became nothing more than a tattered script, a relic of bygone generations. (Is. 24:5). They had disregarded the truth in His law, and He said, “they despised My judgments, and...their soul abhorred My statutes,” which would lead them to “break My covenant.” (Lev. 26:43,15).

“Neither doth God respect any person: yet doth He devise means, that His banished be not expelled from Him.” (2Sam. 14:14). The war raging over their heads and the knowledge of plan of salvation which God gave them became nothing more than ignored enscripted wallpaper pasted to the dome of their sky. Once the Old Testament gospel had dried up for Israel, it remained that way. For 450 years Israel received no life from it and the veil over their eyes was not broken until the Son of God broke through the wallpaper over their heads on His way here.

Today, “the everlasting gospel” of the New Testament, is the “everlasting covenant” of the Old Testament. (Rev. 14:6;Is. 24:5). It’s the same thing amplified with more power to save from sin. But it has atrophied in the church just as it did in ancient Israel. And for the same causes as Israel had. Let’s read ourselves into the picture so that we can gain from it and it becomes more than just a fiction-suspense.

“We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from Thy precepts and from Thy judgments....
O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of [Protestantism], and to the inhabitants of [Adventism], and unto all [Christianity], that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither Thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against Thee.…
Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets.
Yea, all [Christianity] have transgressed Thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey Thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the [letters of the apostles] the [servants] of God, because we have sinned against Him.” (Dan. 9:5,7,10,11).

“The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 8:7). “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24). “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Rom. 3:19).

The law stood to bring us guilt and shame and the promise of forgiveness to all who would allow it to condemn them and bring them to Christ for His justification. But just as with ancient Israel the church has “walked not in My statutes, and they despised My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and My Sabbaths they greatly polluted.” (Ez. 20:13). God’s professed people have even thought “to change times and laws.” (Dan. 7:25).

By dispensing with the sharp rebukes and strong language of the Law the evangelical churches have deceived themselves. They have removed the sole means heaven has provided to force us to wrestle with God so that He can forge faith in us. The Law is real with real consequences in this life. The gospel is ethereal and spiritual and must have a container in which to reside or it dissipates quickly. That container is God’s Law. Without His Law we can have no concept of God or His grace for us.

To abrogate the Law of God in doctrine or to ignore it in the testimonies of this Earth’s last prophet is to lose salvation. It means the truth of the Bible atrophies into wallpaper again. When that happens, this world receives all of the attention of the deluded church and heaven is a farce.

And the deluding wallpaper that hides heaven will remain in place until Jesus again bursts through it like a thief in the night. Then the world will know that the law and gospel were real living documents, valid and current demands.

His quickening spirit

“The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit.” (1Cor. 15:45).

Why is it that I can save no one? Because even if my track record were impeccable and my character perfect like Adam’s before the fall, even if “I give my body to be burned”, “have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge”, “have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,” “speak with the tongues of men and of angels”, and even if I was full of “faith which worketh by love”, the best I can ever be is a living soul. (1Cor. 13:3,2,1;Gal. 5:6). I could never be a quickening Spirit. That requires divinity.

I cannot give salvation to another and reconcile them to the Law of God. I cannot change their heart and provide the repentance and inspire a new heart in them to overcome sin because my example, my limited ability to convict the very root of sin, does not compare with Christ’s infinite knowledge and loyalty to His Father’s Law. My love is nothing compared to His infinite love.

My possession of the Holy Spirit is only from my response to Him, the originator of His Spirit. As the Son of God, His Father “giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.” (Jn. 3:34). He is endowed with the Spirit of power without measure. He could breathe on His disciple and say, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” just as He did to Adam and Eve. (Jn. 20:22;Gen. 2:7). But Adam and Eve could not do that to anyone after them; neither could the apostles, and neither can I.

Christ was the greatest Christian that ever lived. No apostle Paul, no Baptist prophet could do as Jesus could to inspire life in a soul. He was infinite light-years ahead of even Gabriel in discerning motive and disabling pretense. This is what angered the priest and rabbis. Jesus had such access to the truth that all of their study of Moses and the prophets was pre-school in comparison to the Messiah’s grasp of truth. “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep.” (Ps. 36:6).

His simplest stories, perfectly crafted, turned the traps which the religious leaders laid for Him so that His question at the end captured them in their answers and snide remarks to Him. “The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
The Lord is known by the judgment which He executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.” (Ps. 9:15,16).

Yet, though He often corrected even His disciples and pricked their consciences with some guilt and shame, He could have really blasted them to shivers. But He corrected them in a love that they detected and appreciated, and they stayed with Him and continued to follow and trust Him and learn to be like Him. “With the merciful Thou wilt shew Thyself merciful; with an upright man Thou wilt shew Thyself upright;
With the pure Thou wilt shew Thyself pure; and with the froward Thou wilt shew Thyself froward.” (Ps. 18:25,26).

We are not equal to the Son of God. He had an advantage over us because being divine His gift of the Holy Spirit was without measure. That is why He could be the propitiation. That’s why He could satisfy the Father, and an angel could not. He had a better name than they, and better pedigree, an infinitely higher state of being. “And again, when He bringeth in the Firstbegotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him.” (Heb. 1:6).

Let us not murmur because Christ had an advantage over us. We must never put Him on the same par as ourselves. He was “equal with God.” (Phil. 2:6). Let us “rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps.118:24).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Don’t fixate on the coming tribulation

Warning: This is a long post, but a very important issue, and a good read. I hope you can follow it to its end.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:14,15).

“I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Is. 14:23). “Whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3:12). Let the fear of God sweep you into Jesus’ arms or you will attempt to sweep Jesus into your arms, and the alternative will be your destruction.

Listen to the word of the Lord to us today who are standing before a tidal wave of evil, this juggernaut of persecution and world regime rapidly moving toward us like the front of a horrendous storm. Jeremiah’s counsel is a message to the people of the remnant church today as well as to the whole world. “A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.” (Prov. 25:26). While this proverb tells us that we need not bow before the falsehoods of the swiftly coming Roman totalitarian church-state, yet neither must we physically fight it in self-defense. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25).

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2Tim. 3:16,17). “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1Cor. 10:11-13).

Since all of God’s word is eternal, then the following message from the Lord, which though, bore repeating in Jeremiah’s biblical book many times for emphasis; and the Lord’s counsel having stood true in his day is good for all time, and especially our day.

“In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
Thus saith the Lord to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck,
And send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah;
And command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say unto your masters;
I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto Me.
And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.
And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.
And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the Lord, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.
Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon:
For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish.
But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the Lord; and they shall till it, and dwell therein.
I spake also to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live.
Why will ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the Lord hath spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?
Therefore hearken not unto the words of the prophets that speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you.
For I have not sent them, saith the Lord, yet they prophesy a lie in My name; that I might drive you out, and that ye might perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you.
Also I spake to the priests and to all this people, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Hearken not to the words of your prophets that prophesy unto you, saying, Behold, the vessels of the Lord’s house shall now shortly be brought again from Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you.
Hearken not unto them; serve the king of Babylon, and live: wherefore should this city be laid waste?
But if they be prophets, and if the word of the Lord be with them, let them now make intercession to the Lord of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the Lord, and in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon.
For thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, and concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning the residue of the vessels that remain in this city,
Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem;
Yea, thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the Lord, and in the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem;
They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the Lord; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place.” (Jer. 27).

“The word which came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying,
Enquire, I pray thee, of the Lord for us; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon maketh war against us; if so be that the Lord will deal with us according to all His wondrous works, that he may go up from us.
Then said Jeremiah unto them, Thus shall ye say to Zedekiah:
Thus saith the Lord God of Israel; Behold,I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city.
And I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath.
And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence.
And afterward, saith the Lord, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek their life: and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy.
And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death.
He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey.
For I have set My face against this city for evil, and not for good, saith the Lord: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.
And touching the house of the king of Judah, say, Hear ye the word of the Lord;
O house of David, thus saith the Lord; Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest My fury go out like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the Lord; which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?
But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, saith the Lord: and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it.” (Jer. 21).

“The Lord shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.
Then said the Lord unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.
Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
For I will set Mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.
And I will give them an heart to know Me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart.

And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the Lord, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt:
And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.
And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.” (Jer. 24).

Trusting in guns instead of in the Lord will not profit. And if we try to use them we are only proving ourselves to be rotten figs. If we trust in human measures to survive the time of trouble, we are only fighting against God, who brings it to us for our glorification.

“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of Me; and that cover with a covering, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin:
That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at My mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.
For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes.
They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be an help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach.
The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them.
For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still.
Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:
That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord:
Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.
Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon:
Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.” (Is. 30:1-13).

“For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.” (Jer. 37:10). “And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape.” (Jer. 25:35).

Humbly accept the present and future trouble as punishment and badly needed discipline.

“Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken unto all the people, saying,
Thus saith the Lord, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.
Thus saith the Lord, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.
Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.
Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand: for the king is not he that can do any thing against you.
Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.” (Jer. 38:1-6).

Accepting the chastening of the Lord is not a popular message. Yet, this is what we today need the most. “There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (2Pet. 2:1,2). Many will stand up against the truth, feigning the power and great light from God, and multitudes will follow the wrong voices.

“And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying,
Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.
Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the Lord’s house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon:
And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the Lord: for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.
Then the prophet Jeremiah said unto the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests, and in the presence of all the people that stood in the house of the Lord,
Even the prophet Jeremiah said, Amen: the Lord do so: the Lord perform thy words which thou hast prophesied, to bring again the vessels of the Lord’s house, and all that is carried away captive, from Babylon into this place.
Nevertheless hear thou now this word that I speak in thine ears, and in the ears of all the people;
The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence.
The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him.
Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, and brake it.
And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.
Then the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying,
Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron.
For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.
Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.
Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord.
So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.” (Jer. 28).

“And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.…
And if ye shall despise My statutes, or if your soul abhor My judgments, so that ye will not do all My commandments, but that ye break My covenant:
I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
And I will set My face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.…
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.
And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.
And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.
And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.” (Lev. 26:6-8,15-17,36-39).

It is because Protestants have left God and His Law that our enemy has returned to destroy us. If the Protestants will accept God’s punishment via Rome and learn to rest in His discipline, to repent and return to Him in childlike obedience, then He will quickly come to our aid and prepare us for His second coming, and the end of Satan and sin.

“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.
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.
For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee.” (Is. 30: 15-19). If we do not rest in Christ, we are bound to flee from the enemy (and be caught).

After King Zedekiah heard the messages of Jeremiah to not fight against Babylon, even in a private meeting with the prophet, Zedekiah fought anyway and found himself fleeing and being brutally punished. When the king should have sought to learn faith and then be able to trust himself into the Lord’s hands, he listened to his unbelieving and unsanctified advisors and princes. His early years prior to Babylon’s invasion had not been filled with learning to surrender to the Lord.

“And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.
And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.
And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.
So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.
And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.” (2Ki. 25:2-7).

“And He said, I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward 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: 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.…
Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people.” (Deut. 32:20-23,43).

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto Him.
Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye.
Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” (Ps. 32).

King Zedekiah never wrestled with God for peace and obedience, as did his fathers Jacob and David and Josiah. He joked and laughed in hilarity, hoping that the earnest warnings of Jeremiah were not true. Like many, many today under the Protestant umbrella, and including Adventism, he did not take seriously the stern message of heaven just for that time, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:7). In uneasy chuckles the prince of Israel continued hoping upon presumption until his probation was used up. He squandered the peacetime, and now in the crisis he must do as he had trained his mind and heart—flee at the last minute and be tortured, after watching the mighty king of Babylon execute his beloved sons.

Jeremiah faithfully gave his message amidst great physical torment by his brethren. He practiced what he preached, heeding his message to them, “Thus saith the Lord, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.” So Jeremiah left Jerusalem for the unprotected wilderness; but, through difficulty and capture and imprisonment by his own countrymen, the Lord protected him and he survived the confusion of the final Babylonian conquest of Israel.

Many are the historical annals that speak of men butchering others in God’s name. Jehu was one whom God sent, as well as Jeroboam, but who did not do as the Lord desired. “And [Jehu] said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord.” (2Ki. 10:16). We don’t need to be like Jehu. Neither do we need any more wicked Nimrods, who “was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.” (Gen. 10:9).

We must learn to stop fighting in selfish anger and revenge if we will ever enter the heavenly country of the King of peace, which flows with milk and honey. Because he lashed out in anger in the name of the Lord Moses couldn’t enter the earthly land flowing with milk and honey, this being a lesson for all succeeding generations who have not let the Spirit of God cleanse them “from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2Cor. 7:1). The Protestants who think they must fight against Rome’s New World Order need to learn the lesson the Lord is teaching them through Moses. Jesus’ command was, “Flee unto the mountains.” (Matt. 24:16).

“Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.
And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.
And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord!
And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?
And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.
And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the Rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth His water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as He commanded him.
And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the Rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the Rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed Me not, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the Lord, and He was sanctified in them.” (Num. 20:1-13).

Grumbling and complaining about the New World Order instead of rejoicing–unbelief instead of faith. Let it not be said once of us. Rather, “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Lk. 21:28).

“The law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.” (Rom. 4:15). We’ve been living in condemnation because Jesus has not been our main focus, which has made us grumblers and implacable. What we need are His acceptance and grace. Without Jesus, Christianity is no better than Judaism or secular hedonism. “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”, “without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful…” (Eph. 2:3;Rom. 1:31).

Even if we are waiting for the Lord to come, if we don’t come to Jesus and learn of His meekness and lowliness so that He can put His Law into our heart and give us a new spirit, we do no different than the manservant in Christ’s warning parable who began “to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken.” (Matt. 24:49). With Jesus and His love we discover that the Law is good and just and essential for peace with God. We also see that all “the prophets’ messages were of warning and hope.” SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 129, vs. 8.

Josiah had done many good works and instituted a great reformation in Israel in cooperation with Jeremiah. Yet, he failed to learn to stay behind the Lord and to heed the Lord’s messages to him of self-abnegation, which can come from any source—in his case, from Pharaoh. We all have the same difficult lesson to grasp, that the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and that we must leave God’s battles to Him and His holiness.

“After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.
But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that He destroy thee not.
Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.
And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded.
His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.” (2Chron. 35:20-25). “In his days Pharaoh-nechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him. And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father’s stead.” (2Ki. 23:29,30).

Once Josiah died, all of his reformations ended, and Jeremiah was left to battle the people alone without royal authority. Josiah’s death marked a rapid downward spiral for Israel. If he had let the Lord fight His battles, Babylon’s destruction would have been delayed. Let’s not fail out of the last great reformation, the Latter Rain, by getting caught up in earthly weaponry defending against the Babylon that is extending its power over the whole world today.

When Jesus quoted the great gospel mission to His home church, He skipped over the phrase: “The day of vengeance of our God.” He made no mention of it because it would have fueled the congregation’s thirst for self-glory and self-gratifying revenge on Rome. The Nazarenes didn’t like that message He gave that day or His biblical evidences He cited that they needed much repentance before God would ever fight for them. Today, discretion would be wisdom with regard to vengeance or even self-defense against a new regime coming today. Our first work needs to be beholding Jesus, repentance, and reformation. Once we are humbled and harmless as doves, then we are safe to do the Lord’s work and He is safe to cooperate with our efforts, “that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life.” (Phil. 2:15,16).

Without this divine orientation toward Christ and this rebirth, our focus is dangerously self-oriented—self-exaltation, self-pity, self-indulgence, self-preservation.

“And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that He take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” (Num. 21:4-9).

Peter and the other disciples and Jacob were fighters just like the children of Israel Moses had to deal with, as is each member of the human race by nature. But the Lord will put an end to our self-preservation. “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a Man with him until the breaking of the day.” (Gen. 32:24). “Peter said unto Him, Though I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.” (Matt. 26:35). Yet, the next thing they said was, “Lord, behold, here are two swords.” (Lk. 22:38).

The end won’t come until the Lord’s people have put down their fists and guns, and He has taught them total and complete reliance on Him and His spirit. “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).

Our catastrophes are the Lord’s punishment and discipline. We need to let them have their perfect work.

“And He said, I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward 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: 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....
Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people.” (Deut. 32:20-23,43).

“At the same time, saith the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.
Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.
The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.…
Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.
They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.…
I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the Lord my God.…
Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities.…
For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul....
And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 31:1-4,8,9,18,21,25,26,28).

Notice Jeremiah’s response to this most wonderful promise to his people. “Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.” (vs. 26).

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him:
For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.” (Heb. 12:1-12).

We don’t need to fight to save ourselves. We are given many beautiful eschatological promises of God’s protection.

“In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.
Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.
Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:
For He bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, He layeth it low; He layeth it low, even to the ground; He bringeth it even to the dust.
The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.
The way of the just is uprightness: Thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.
Yea, in the way of Thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for Thee; the desire of our soul is to Thy name, and to the remembrance of Thee.
With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek Thee early: for when Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.…
Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us: for Thou also hast wrought all our works in us.…
Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast
.” (Is. 26:1-9,12-20).

“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him.” (Jer. 30:7,8).

“Or let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” (Is. 27:5). This is the “how” conversion and salvation get started—disregarding the past and boldly approaching God, taking hold of His life and death, even before we have peace with Him. Will we learn faith and come to Christ now while we still have time? “Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto Him.” (Ps. 32:6).

Our God will fight for us.

“There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil.
I will send My fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.” (Ex. 23:26-28). “The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.” (Prov. 21:12).

“And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction: and He smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.
Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.
So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.
And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.” (1Sam. 5:9-12).

The Lord’s arsenal: hornets, fear, hemorrhoids. Strange indeed, but very tangible and effective weapons! If we would trust the Lord to fight for us, we would not worry or stew in fear. Our current day-to-day battles are preparing us for the big ones ahead, if we return to the Savior every time we fail Him by lashing out at our perceived enemies.

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Ex. 14:13,14).

Do not forget the words of Christ, “The Father Himself loveth you.” John 16:27. He desires to restore you to Himself, to see His own purity and holiness reflected in you. And if you will but yield yourself to Him, He that hath begun a good work in you will carry it forward to the day of Jesus Christ. Pray more fervently; believe more fully. As we come to distrust our own power, let us trust the power of our Redeemer, and we shall praise Him who is the health of our countenance. Steps to Christ, p. 64.

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.
And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
The Lord shall laugh at him: for He seeth that his day is coming.
The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.” (Ps. 37:1-15).

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Eph. 6:12,13).

The Holy Ghost and a mustard seed grain of faith of massively good quality are needed for God to fight for us, but we must be there with God and be praying to keep our hands off the Lord’s battles and to rest in Him. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13).

“Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of the congregation;
And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.” (2Chron. 20:14-17). “Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.” (Ps. 91:8).

Elisha’s world view of faith and his servant’s. “When the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord 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.” (2Ki. 6:15-17).

Again, the Lord must fight, not us. If we fight, we have not learned sanctification.

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Ex. 14:13,14).

“Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with His anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue as a devouring fire:
And His breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.
Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel.
And the Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.
For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.
And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will He fight with it.
For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; He hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.” (Is. 30:27-33).

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.
Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.…
Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My salvation.” (Ps. 91:1-7,9-16).

“After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” (Gen. 15:1). A wonderful promise which Israel and the church of Christ would rarely learn.

What will it be for us? “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25).

We heard the first peals of thunder in the USA Patriot Act and U.S. Military Commissions Act, and most recently in the Senate NDAA 1031 National Defense appropriation bill that passed over Thanksgiving weekend. We see how the Protestant denominations’ history of unfaithfulness to God’s Law and gospel compares so closely with Israel’s disobedience to the everlasting covenant. We know what prophecy says about the end of Protestant America.

“And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” (Rev. 13:12).

The first beast had the eyes of a man speaking blasphemies for Satan, and the second beast looks nice but speaks like the Serpent.

“I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” (Dan. 7:8). “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” (Rev. 13:6). “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” (Rev. 13:11).

Who shall be able to stand and not cave in to fear for life? “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” (Is. 33:14).

“He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;” (Is. 33:15). By beholding Jesus we become changed into His same image. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Cor. 3:18).

“That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Eph. 3:16-19).

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 4:8).

Sometimes we will have to hear evil reports. Sad, bad news is all part of the formula for our leaning the heaviest on Jesus and His good news. But, as Israel fixated on the serpents coming to bite them with burning venom, if we don’t maximize on the good news of Christ’s life and death, but fixate on the bad news, we won’t have the strength to bear up under the bad, scary news that we read or hear of when it comes. This is not to say we should ignore the bad news of coming tribulation. Like the snakes in the wilderness, we need to let them correct our distracted focus on Jesus. Nevertheless, we must finally be focusing on Christ..

Otherwise, we will become subjects of the grasshopper complex. (“But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”) Remember that Jehovah got very angry over this. (Num. 13:31-33;14:11).

When it comes to power and mental clarity to cope with bad times, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10). Jesus saw the cross coming but did not lose His grasp on God, the source of His strength. He endured the shadow of the coming crucifixion through reciting scripture and determined communion with His Father—“in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Ps. 16:11). His Father’s excellence was ever before Christ, who “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.” (Heb. 12:2).

John the Baptist periodically and wisely kept his ear open for news of Rome’s advances in subjugating and controlling Israel, and evidence of the Messiah’s appearing. This was not wrong to do, and neither is it for us.

The life of John was not spent in idleness, in ascetic gloom, or in selfish isolation. From time to time he went forth to mingle with men; and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world. From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events. With vision illuminated by the divine Spirit he studied the characters of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven. The burden of his mission was upon him. In solitude, by meditation and prayer, he sought to gird up his soul for the lifework before him. Desire of Ages, p. 102.

While we watch and wait, let us “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” (Mk. 13:37;Rom. 12:15).

Righteousness a tree of life

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov. 11:30). “In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.” (Prov. 12:28). “She [righteous wisdom] is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” (Prov. 3:18). “The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” (Prov. 10:11).

Genuine righteousness, natural not pharisaical righteousness, brings hope and encouragement to all who are not fully under Satan’s bondage. To the extent that the image of God remains in the sinner’s mind, he can appreciate righteousness when it is sincere, natural, spontaneous, and pure. Even the most destitute and despotic have been struck by conviction, even in the act of murder, by the surrender and gentle forgiveness of their victim. Isn’t that what saved Saul of Tarsus?

Isn’t that what redeemed Abel each time he sacrificed a little lamb? Isn’t that what saves us by what we see in Jesus while hanging on the cross? “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” (Is. 53:7). “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Lk. 23:34). Christ gave for the human race the clearest ever depiction of morality and goodness.

As righteousness exalts our spirit, so unrighteousness lays an ax to our heart. Beholding disrespect toward parents or hearing about murder, theft, prostitution, envy, and lying, all leave us sad and sorrowing and distraught. “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” (Prov. 10:1). “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” (Prov. 16:24). “A good report maketh the bones fat.” (Prov. 15:30).

The effects of righteousness and sin, commandment-keeping and lawlessness, are also felt on a large scale. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Prov. 14:34). “When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.” (Prov. 11:10). It affects whole societies if they have completely given themselves over to sin. Then law and order disappear and there is no conscience or disturbed hearts at the sights of every form of evil, and no one is safe. But until that point is reached, a sense of sorrow remains toward acts of sin and rejoicing continues toward unselfish acts in obedience of natural law.

So long as love abides in hearts righteousness will be appreciated and loved. The two, love and right-doing, exist together. “[Charity] rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” (1Cor. 13:6). Likewise do selfishness and wrong-doing. Christ spoke an eternal principle when He said, “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matt. 24:12).

Sin is distressing; to witness it brings no peace to the soul. Calm trust turns into disturbed unrest simply to be in its presence. Lot, residing in Sodom and having to live so close to wickedness, found it all to give him constant consternation. “That righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.” (2Pet. 2:8).

The world, when it is given over to universal apostasy and full possession by Satan, receives the mark of the beast while God’s people who have no guile in their mouths receive the seal of God. (Rev. 13:11-18;14:1-5). The Old Testament type of this modern world’s recipe for destruction was typified in Ezekiel 9. There we see an angel giving a mark to save some from the avenging wrath of God. But it only spares those “that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst” of the land. (Ez. 9:4). Their disposition was distress and mourning toward sin; “for the end of those things is death.” (Rom. 6:21). “He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.” (Job 28:3).

Those who feed their minds on sin eventually die in their hearts. A young man in New York City lived in an apartment building and his elderly neighbor with whom he was acquainted hadn’t seen him coming or going for weeks. So she knocked on his door but got no reply. A day or two later she knocked again and still got no reply. But she heard the TV playing just like she remembered hearing it had the other time. So she turned the doorknob and the door opened. Going in, she found her young acquaintance lying on the floor unconscious. He would have died there had his neighbor not found him. The cause of his malady and near death? The withering effects of the media, especially television, that are broadcasting filth, heartlessness, and men’s cleverness (which is pure foolishness). “The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.” (Prov. 13:9). “Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember Thee in Thy ways: behold, Thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.” (Is. 64:5).

“The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.
For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.
The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.
He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.
Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast.
How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings.
They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.
For with Thee is the fountain of life: in Thy light shall we see light.
O continue Thy lovingkindness unto them that know Thee; and Thy righteousness to the upright in heart.
Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me.
There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.” (Ps. 36).

“The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever
things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Phil. 4:7-9).

The visions of the seeming endless reign of mysterious deceit and iniquity appeared so horrific that they broke Daniel’s health. “Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.” (Dan. 7:28). “I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” (Dan. 8:27). But, contrariwise, the end of the controversy which Daniel witnessed in vision and the final display of salvation were so sweet as honey, and it came as such a relief to John that he “fell at [the angel Gabriel’s] feet to worship him.” (Rev. 19:10). Though John was wrong in his action, what we can say is that the character of Christ in the soul “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” (1Cor. 13:6).

“And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Rev. 19:4-8). “For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” (Is. 62:5).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Living off of love

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” (1Cor.7:3-5). “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb. 13:4).

“You can’t live off of love. A marriage can’t survive simply on love.” This seems to be the axiom of modern life. It is today’s torch of truth. Truly Jesus foresaw our day, “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matt. 24:12). All the law of this perverse generation and its false prophets hang on this product of humanism.

But I beg to differ from the idea that we can’t live off of love. Look at our first parents. Adam and Eve didn’t slave at a job, and they had the perfect marriage. Life was a paradise for them. They literally lived in love. “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1Jn. 4:16).

Adam and Eve were born in glory and served their Creator and each other in holiness and righteousness all the days of their lives in the Garden. Their natures were pure, and thus were their characters equally pure. Reverential praise for God was continually in their mouths. Deferential service they continually provided one another. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1Jn. 3:16). They saw the constant outpouring of divine love in the gift of an amazing world, abundant in provisions of every kind for their every need and that of the beloved plant and animal kingdoms.

Never once having known rebellion or the pain of guilt and shame, their trust and love exuded from their body, soul, and mind. They walked in the light of God’s truth and grace and had fellowship one with another. They were forever bringing gifts to each other. In their mutual charity out of a pure heart they met one another’s needs.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1Jn. 4:7-10).

“Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.
Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.
Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.…
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.
Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.
How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!
Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,
Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.” (Song 4:1-4,6-5:2).

“My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.
His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.
His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.
His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.
His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.
His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.” (Song 5:10-6:3).

If we live off of love, everything else in life will follow. This is the kingdom of God; it is paradise. “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:2).

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” (Matt. 6:33,34).

The Law of God a good leash

Pingo and I went for a walk. A woods behind our church had been clear cut. The last time we had walked there all the trees were still there. It has been so nice to walk and meditate in the seclusion provided for by the evergreen foliage and pines. Now it was a whole new world—other-worldly—just a desolate wilderness of sand, branches littering the whole area, shrubs newly returning, and a few saplings still standing, unwanted by the paper company.

I didn’t put a leash on Pingo since we were away from the road and traffic. But as we went along the dirt access road we ran up on to a big, muddy waterhole. I assessed the situation and decided I could pass it by using a narrow path next to the puddle. And so I went.

But Pingo decided that the muddy water was a better way. So he strode right through it all the way to the other side, unfazed by having done anything socially unacceptable. Now I was a little peeved at the thought of him getting back in my car, all filthy as he was.

So I decided we would have to walk around long enough for him to dry off, and then use my belt for a leash to keep him out of the waterhole on the way back to the car. But when we walked along the path beside the mud hole Pingo almost strangled himself trying to get back into the water. Nevertheless, we passed it and soon we were far enough away from it that I could remove the leash and he could run carefree, happy again.

God’s Law is not meant to choke us to death. If it feels that way it is due to our resistance and rebellion against it. But we have been called by Christ’s name, and if we will ride in His royal chariot the day He returns, we need to let Him restrict us by His Law. It may not feel good; it may seem to have a stranglehold on us; but if we will remain under its persistent control and constant condemnation and instruction and correction—all for our eventual justification, it will finally bring us to Christ in sorrow and repentance. When Christ’s power through faith in Him has won us the victory over Satan and our rebellion against Him, then our reconciliation and union with Christ will remove our continual sense of condemnation. Peace replaces His wrath; His acceptance replaces all effects of rejection; and then “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace.” (Jas. 3:18). Jesus becomes our schoolmaster through His Spirit and the Law of God ceased to have dominion over us, as well as does our sin, through the grace of Christ and His Law.

“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:19-26).

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1Tim. 1:5).