Tag Archives: Isreal
I’ll never forget what my former pastor G. Gillum said one Sunday morning while he was preaching.
“I’ve been bad, since I been good”
Profound? Yes, but only if you knew what he was talking about. I knew.
He was saying that since he had been saved (good) he had not always done right (bad). That probably includes 99.9% of us believers. We know what God says, we know what we are supposed to do and we even are aware to some degree of the consequences. Yet, there are times when we disobey and do wrong. Sometimes its error and if we are real honest, sometimes its because we want the sin in front of us.
But out of his will, God is able to love us even when we are bad.
Before I go further, we need to swat some misunderstanding flies.
There exists this false perception that the lives of believers are 100% perfect at all times. I call it perfectionism. Its faulty theology which leads to faulty beliefs about sin and the believer. I’m confident in saying that we’re not supposed to be perfect, but rather we are to strive for perfection (spiritual maturity). I understand that perfection has several definitional nuances.
But the bible doesn’t teach that sin is eradicated in the life of the believer (reference 1 John 1:8). It does teach that the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, gives the believer power over sin and its decaying consequences (Luke 10:19, Romans 6:12,13). Still, there are many mitigating factors involved. Too many, perhaps to go into in this post, but suffice to know that power over does not mean eradication. God’s standard is holiness and it will never change, but the flesh remains a major active source of struggle in the quest to live holy.
Paradox of Pain
With the exception of the Holy Spirit and the law of God now “written on fleshly tablets”, we are not much different than the Isrealites (reference 1 Corinthians 10:11). The cycles of bad and good were played out over and over in the lives of God’s chosen ones. Great lessons can be gleaned if we observe the admonitions of the past.
First look at a “pull out” scripture we all tend to get misty-eyed about when someone recites it.
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Jeremiah 31:3 NIV
There is something deeply moving about God’s everlasting love. But in order to truly understand and appreciate the weight of Jeremiah 31:3 you cant start with that. You would have to look into the previous chapters first. There’s nothing like context when studying the bible.
The context is this: Isreal was at the height of its brazen idolatry when God spoke these words to them through Jeremiah. The problems and sins were deep and widespread.
The dialogue begins in chapter 2 with God releasing a series of probing questions/charges against Isreal for their mounting sins. Some of them are incredulous:
Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, all you clans of the house of Israel. This is what the LORD says: “What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.
They did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and rifts, a land of drought and darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?’
I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD ?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.
“Therefore I bring charges against you again,” declares the LORD. “And I will bring charges against your children’s children.
Cross over to the coasts of Kittim and look, send to Kedar and observe closely; see if there has ever been anything like this: Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols (vss 4-11).
The great majority of the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah was warning the people of God’s inevitable, unavertible wrath to come. Because of his call, he endured persecutions, was branded as a traitor and outlaw, was emotionally distraught much of the time and even bemoaned his own birth. Yet he faithfully continued to preach against their sins. People only got worse. At one point God orders him not to pray for the people any longer. His was a life anointed with paradoxical pain.
Against that backdrop Jeremiah 31:3 is breathtakingly stunning. You can feel the longing in the voice of God. The softness and tenderness of it against the bleak doom of sin’s consequences is amazing. There in the midst of their sins, God reminds them of his unquenchable love for them, even though they reject him. That’s love.
The word Jeremiah uses ahav is a hebrew word which denotes in essence a “privileged love”. It is significant and rare in the Old Testament and associated with deep sacrifice and overflowing emotion. Compare with the New Testament usage of agape. God is saying what I have for you is love that proves you are in a privileged relationship with me. A relationship of covenant so that when you do not uphold your covenantal promise (to obey me), it will not cancel my covenantal promise to love you.
He does love you, me, everyone. When we are at our worst, he reminds us that though discipline will come it will not change one iota of his love. That should never be a question in anyone’s mind.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-38)
This post isn’t to point out how bad you are, or the possibility of you being bad again. Its to point out that He loves us even when we are bad. If you will agree with him, no matter what you’ve done or how bad it was, that same love will cause you to recover and become whole and fruitful again.
The real question may be how long before America is no more.
What about the “land of the free and home of the brave” in a prophetical context? After reading several articles about the future of this country as foretold in scripture, the impending spread of homosexual marriage, impending financial ruin, terrorist cells embedded on our soil, national rejection of God, uncontrollable violence and many other things it may mean one thing. The ground we stand on is on borrowed time.
There’s no doubt the political, economic, and military influence of the United States of America dominates world fluxes.
With the election of Barack Obama, we may have just witnessed an apex in our nation. The world looked with unprecedented expectation to a political neophyte to solve the world’s problem. Just recently at Obama’s visit to the former Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany, a famed but aging Elie Wiesel turned to President and said:
“Mr. President, we have such high hopes for you because you, with your moral vision of history, will be able and compelled to change this world into a better place, where people will stop waging war — every war is absurd and meaningless; where people will stop hating one another; where people will hate the otherness of the other rather than respect it.”
Wiesel isnt alone in attributing god-status, savior-level qualities to Obama. But even with that, Obama is simply a sign. A sign that we’ve crested into national idolatry: a pride devoid of God. This is truly a looking glass moment not only for America, but more importantly, for the church in America.
The church is (1) a thermostat which should regulate the spiritual temperature of the earth while simultaneously acting as a (2) thermometer which gauges the temperature. Both have a significant bearing on where America is headed prophetically and what may lead to its utter destruction which some believe will rival the fall of the Greek and Roman empires.
Too much, too little, too late?
Interestingly enough, Jesus characterized the church as salt, a significant dietary supplement.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Matthew 5:13
The scripture applies both to you personally and to the church corporately. If you dont have Jesus in you, you are good for nothing spiritually. But let’s focus is on the corporate aspect of his teaching.
Thus, as the church goes, so goes the world. Salt not only serves to preserve and flavor foods, it is a necessary dietary ingredient. Too much salt or too little salt can cause health problems in humans. It can give good flavor/bless and it can make barren and worthless.
Jesus spoke of the church losing its positive attribute, which is to add good flavor. In other words, what happens to the world when the church loses or forfeits its preservative quality? And what is the earth being preserved from and to?
(1) The church is to perserve the earth from the decaying effects of sin. Just like unsalted meat, it would soon spoil. By living clean and holy lives and encouraging others to do likewise, the effects of sin (violence, sexual disease, etc) is minimized. We are to also fight against decay by refusing to support activities and lifestyles which devalue humanity.
(2) The church is to preserve the earth until Christ’s return.
Good for nothing? That’s what came out of Christ’s mouth. If it is lost, the same salt that was a blessing now becomes a curse of barrenness. The question is will the church actually lose it preservation abilities? You may say no, but consider this:
We do know the church in America is at teetering at the brink of an apostate free fall. Doctrines of devils, mammon lust, idolatry of all forms and sexual immorality along with multiple other blasphemies are common, widespread and go unchallenged in many quarters of the contemporary church. Apostasy itself is a major sign that decay is spreading. There’s an abundance of evidence that the great falling away isnt coming, its at our doorstep! Some prophesy “endtime revival” but are they misguided? The church doesn’t appear want revival. Corporately, it lusts for political power, prestige and influence. What it once was in this country, is but a shadow of itself. We have grown numerically and perhaps socially, but spiritually we are a blinded Samson.
That is not to say there are none holding fast to true faith and practice, but as indicated in scripture these are certain to become a remnant.
I believe a season of great persecution (being trampled under the foot of men) is about to fall upon the church in America because eventually it will lose its ability to add good flavor. But I also believe from this persecution a stronger, leaner more committed church will arise.
Thus, I have no reservations that we are quickly approaching a salt-free church. Do you realize what that means first for the church and secondly for the culture it is housed in?
Does this contradict Matthew 16:18? And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
I dont belive it does. Contextually, Matthew 16:18 is not about the church’s longevity but rather the church’s power. The church —the ecclesia— will cease to exist at some point in future. That’s been prophesied in Thessalonians 2. Thus when the “power to preserve” is removed, the man of perdition will be released with full power in the flesh upon the earth. But guess what? A “church” will be here and those who remain will believe it to be a legitimate church.
The late, great America
Prophecy scholar Hal Lindsay contends America is not even a “bit player” the eschatological timeline.
“In Bible prophecy everything orients from Israel. John’s vision of the apocalypse is from the perspective of Israel, during the time of Jacob’s trouble, not America’s. But the most conclusive reason is given in Revelation 17:18. John says Mystery Babylon is really a woman — that great harlot who will reign over the cities from earth. But John wrote that the great city was clearly Rome, and that is the city that will reign over the earth in the last days.”
There are several theories as to the fate of America —now the world’s only superpower— in the future. Some have said that America is blessed now only because under freedom of religion, it has given unprecedented sanctuary to the Jews and and aided Isreal since its prophetic birth in 1948. This is said to be a “living out” of Revelation 12:14. True, but what of freedom of religion when its practice is dictated by government interpretation? The rise of hate crimes laws foreshadow such a possibility.
I don’t know if America as a nation will cease to exist, but its clear that the church in America has pivotal significance on how the country will fare in the coming years.