“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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Offended in Jesus

“Then said He unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, He departed thence.
And when He was come into His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not His mother called Mary? and His brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
And His sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
And they were offended in Him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (Matt. 13:52-58).

They were offended in Him. Why? They heard amazing beauty and truth pouring from His lips. Why not rejoice in the truth? Why not immediately fall behind Him and follow with the crowds that were already with Him?

He didn’t fit their preconceptions of the Messiah. He was a commoner whom they had known to be poverty-stricken all during His childhood and young adulthood. He came from the lowliest of regular families. They couldn’t see anything special about Him. He didn’t show any signs of royalty. Their prejudices wouldn’t allow them to listen to and judge solely by His words. They couldn’t fall in line with Him because they were not like Him, whom the prophecy said, “He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge.” (Is. 11:3,4). They wanted their Messiah to look like someone out of the ordinary, Mr. Great. They thought He should ride into Jerusalem on His white stallion, like some Roman General, decked in colorful regalia and shining armor, like proud Esau before his stately army of four hundred.

The people of Israel had come to subsist on fable. Religious fiction was their escape from a life of drudgery. They fed their national pride with false hopes of worldly greatness. No one could convince them that when the Messiah would come that He wouldn’t exalt them to power over the rest of the world and give them the life of luxury. This just was unacceptable to their unconverted minds. A humble Messiah, offering them only spirituality and peace with God, was preposterous.

This very mindset destroyed Judas Iscariot. He tried to force Christ to use Satan’s methods of governing sinners by imitating Rome’s dictatorship and brutality. But Rome fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel, “In the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” (Dan. 8:23).

But when Judas found Jesus to never move an inch in the direction of his selfish conceptions, he used one last effort to leverage Christ to take up arms. He sold Him to the religious leaders. When the Son of God did not resist, but allowed Himself to be taken away to certain crucifixion, Judas finally saw the true conception of his Messiah and he saw that he would forever be branded with seeking to destroy the King of Israel. So he went out and hung himself.

Misconceptions have caused much confusion whenever the real thing appeared. When the mind is set on one idea and pride of opinion has cemented that misconception so that it will not be corrected, then the reality comes as a surprise and fills the hardened heart with consternation. A rapid learning curve must take place; an admission to failure must be made, at first privately in the person with the misconception, and later publicly. The longer and louder the sinner had dogmatized his opinions of truth, the further he must retreat and the wider audience he must confess his error to.

This necessarily takes effort, time, and humiliation, affects that the false teacher usually does not want to experience. The truth costs too much to own. It costs self-sacrifice; it costs the demolition of pride. It’s easier to get angry and sweep the truth off the table as nonsense. This is what those Nazarites did. They got offended and closed their hearts to the new perception of truth. They deceived themselves.

This is why Jesus said, “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” (Matt. 13:12). They lost what little truth they espoused. Thus their Messiah came to them as a thief in the night.

“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).

The Nazarite Nazarenes had heard the preaching of John the Baptist. But they did not receive it. “Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
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. 3:9-12).

The beautiful simplicity of Christ was not what they had been taught or craved or lived for. They desired a complicated, regimented kingdom after Satan’s constructs. They also thrived on a complicated, regimented religion after Satan’s construction. Their hard-heartedness fed both their religion and their concepts of a future kingdom. The characters they permitted themselves to develop decided their fate when the Messiah should appear. So it was, “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” (Jn. 1:10).

Satan is behind all the misconceptions that this world’s masses feed upon. He devises their appetites and cooperates with them in the formation of their characters, knowing that their characters will view reality in a distorted way. “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matt. 13:15). And today the devil is ramping up his efforts. As hearts are inviting his temptations and deceptions, God permits the devil to use modern technology to spread the evils that he has developed in Christian America.

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thess. 2:8-12).

“That Wicked [one]” himself comes to manipulate the conceptions of man cloaked in misrepresentation, using his human agents to prepare his way of full enslavement of the world. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (2Cor. 11:13,14).

The vast evangelical Americans are looking for the “Anti-Christ” as a sinister politician and a Mr. Charisma. They have accepted Satan’s description of some evil person coming down from Russia and ruling his worldwide dictatorship from Jerusalem. Yet this conception is largely fictional and unbiblical. The real Antichrist began his work in the days of the apostles. “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1Jn. 2:18).
“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1Jn. 4:3).

So the way is already prepared for the great deception that precedes the time of trouble and the return Christ. Paul said, “Then shall that Wicked be revealed.” (vs. 8). This intimates a sudden revelation that surprises the world. But his entrance is not sudden. It happens over a long period of time. Satan has trained his earthly agency in the art of slow, quiet movements. Thus, it is called, “the mystery of iniquity.” “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” (2Thess. 2:7). It was at work in Paul’s day as it slowly transformed the apostolic church into the Catholic religion. Today, it has come back to life, through the orchestrated cooperation with America. Protestantism has apostatized and the adversary of God has infused himself into the allied, united effort of the Vatican and the leaders of the Protestant evangelical denominations.

Using his deceptive arts, prince of the hosts of darkness has given them a false conception of the antichrist, so that they can never see the Vatican as that Antichrist power prophesied clearly by God’s word. And as he deluded the Jews through pride, he is doing the same to the evangelical Protestants. By their divergence from the self-denying simplicity of Christ, they opened themselves to satanic influences. They can no longer warn the world of God’s greatest enemy and his work today. They look for a fictional character coming down from the Ural Mountains and, like the Jews in Christ’s day, refuse to listen to truth.

Soon, Satan will devise such a man that fits their conceptions and pleases their dreams. The Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit will make many charismatic people. The same joy that attended the first apostles, and that the devil inspired the Jews to call drunkenness, will again attend the Lord’s disciples in the very last days when Christ through His Holy Spirit draws near to their hearts with His peace and love and righteousness.

“Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them?” (Matt. 9:15). “As long as they have the Bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.” (Mk. 2:19,20).

The people of Nazareth put truth for error and error for truth, darkness for light, and light for darkness. Likewise, the Protestants are choosing their deceptions. Soon they will be completely unable to detect truth from error when the Latter Rain pours down. This is also happening in the Advent movement, as many disregard the Testimony of Jesus for the formation of their character.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Who can understand themselves? Who can trust his own notions apart from the guidance of God through His word? We are not our own. We are simply pawns used by God or by Satan as God permits. We are not the pilot of our body, only the copilot. God must be our pilot or Satan will usurp that office. Unless we wrestle with God and His truth, and remain vigilant, the devil will set up his abode in the citadel of our minds and feed us fables and flattery.

Those who endeavor to obey all the commandments of God will be opposed and derided. They can stand only in God. In order to endure the trial before them, they must understand the will of God as revealed in His word; they can honor Him only as they have a right conception of His character, government, and purposes, and act in accordance with them. None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. Great Controversy, p. 593.


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