By Gary Amirault
In the last edition of Dew, I pointed out that some of the articles we publish do not always give "life." Some who read these articles say they "accuse the brethren," they don't exhort or lift up. These people, some very well-meaning, quote Scriptures telling me to "think on what is lovely." These articles are certainly not "lovely." They ask me to refrain from writings this kind of material. "Stay with the topics dealing with love," "focus on Jesus," "edify us," some people tell me.
These kinds of articles certainly do not make me popular among a very large part of Christianity. I like to be liked just like everyone else. I don't believe I have a martyr spirit in me. I don't like to be stoned. I could make things a lot easier for myself if I refrained from writing material like The World, A Reflection of the Church series. I have prayed a great deal about it and have come to the conclusion, I have to keep writing them.
I'm not the only one who writes material which some of those who espouse the name Jesus have a difficult time swallowing. I believe some of God's people had a difficult time swallowing some of Jesus' words. As a matter of fact, even the apostles choked at times. I have also occasionally been asked not to direct those "Woe, woe, woe" type Scriptures at my brothers and sisters in the Lord. Direct them at the enemies of God's people, the world and all its systems, some tell me. Well, the Bible has a lot of "woe" Scriptures, and most of them are directed toward the people of God.
Many others have written rebukes to God's people. Some of them actually made it into the Good Book. A good portion of the Bible contains hard words of warning, rebukes, uncovering the sins and idolatry of God's people. When we read most of the prophets, they are usually railing Israel, both its leaders and its people about something or another. Moses, the most humble man on earth, ended His career as the leader of Israel, God's chosen, with words such as these:
"Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD, your God, that it may be there as a witness against you; for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD, then how much more after my death? Gather to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to witness against them. For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands." (Deut. 31:26-29)
After 40 years of leading Israel, Moses finally came to the conclusion that God already knew, that Israel would continuously break the covenant they had made with Yahweh. Well, if Israel's continuous rebellion was a foregone conclusion and something which Yahweh knew in advance was going to happen, why didn't He just circumvent the whole thing and just start all over right from the beginning? Why record fifteen hundred years of Israel's rebellions? Why send prophets who constantly warned Israel, when their warnings usually went unheeded? And God knew in advance they would do it! What's the purpose? Why waste the paper in the Bible recording this stuff?
What if God wanted to leave a record showing how far His power, love, and mercy reaches? What if He took Israel as an only son among the nations to reveal His abilities to move the nations around Israel to benefit them or punish them. Can God move unbelievers against God's own people? Well, according to much of the theology thrown at me lately by Christians, God doesn't do anything against your own "free will. " You must "chose" to follow Jesus. When God puts hooks into King's mouth's and causes them to go where they do not chose to go, is this really an exercise of "free will?" (Ezekiel 38:4) What if God wanted to show us Westerners that our "individualism mentality" is a bunch of crock, that God can and does move entire nations and can save them that way. Look at Nineveh. One sour grapes prophet of God, who didn't want to deliver God's message to Ninevah, and yet the whole city got saved. (Read Jonah) So what if God wanted to show us how patient and also severe He was with a nation which He called His son. Ultimately this nation would enter into complete lawlessness and rebellion. Rather than consigning the whole rotten corpse to a "hell," God, through His everlasting mercy provided a way to save them all! Oh yes, every single Israelite!
"And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: 'The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.' Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers."
Now many preachers tell us that this speaks of spiritual Israel, not natural Israel. I used to believe that myself, until someone pointed out that whoever this "Israel" was, they are now enemies of the gospel. If that's the case, then this passage refers to physical Israel who became disobedient so that through their disobedience we may receive mercy that we might dispense that mercy to them who are now disobedient. Paul states it much better than I can and yet most of the church still doesn't understand this passage of Scripture:
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Romans 11:29-33)
Now I realize that these Scriptures when left intact without adding theology to them, state some basic truths which most of the church has abandoned, your church probably is not excluded. The bottom of the line in all of God's dealings with man is that He, not man's free will moves nations, whether corporately or individuals. And He will have mercy on Whom He wills, not on whether man makes the right decision or not. God ultimately commits all to disobedience, no one excluded. God takes credit for committing people to disobedience. He doesn't blame "free-will," Satan, or Hitler. His purpose to committing us all to disobedience is that when He finally grants us mercy, that we will be humble enough to grant mercy to others realizing that it was given us not because of our "decisions" or our righteousness. It was a gift. And now God is given us the opportunity to exercise that gift by granting mercy to others who have not been given mercy.
God has created a perfect system in the world which is composed of "haves" and "have nots." He has done this to teach the "haves" how to give to the "have nots." One cannot give something to someone if they don't need it. This world has needs because God "committed some to disobedience." How can we become like God whose mercy endures forever, if He doesn't create circumstances which allow us to use those gifts. Healthy people don't need a physician. People full of love don't need your love. Billionaires don't need your money. But the world is full of needs, all kinds of them and God has arranged it so that we who have been granted the mercy of God, (which is full of love, joy, peace, kindness, gifts of the Holy Spirit, sound teachings, wisdom, miraculous power, etc.), can exercise and use these things and in so doing be conformed to the image of our Creator Who is constantly giving of Himself.
Now when the people of God begin to lose sight of this great principle, He sends warning signs, all kinds of them. But when those warning signs are not heeded, then those who have been granted mercy, will be cut off from mercy and will continue to manifest more fully the darkness which is in their hearts. These branches will then be cut off and burned. Oh, yes, "saved so as through fire." (1 Cor. 3:11-15)
The Bible makes it plain that we, Christians are the salt of the earth, its light, its city-a city of refuge. But when we lose our saltiness, hide the light from the nations, and make our cities (churches) so full of self-righteousness, arrogance, and pride that the average sinner can't stand the stench, then God will deliver warnings. And when those warnings aren't heeded, then He will find a new people to show mercy to and those of us who have fallen from grace through faith will, as I said, manifest the corruption in our hearts.
The articles in the series The World, A Reflection of the Church certainly are not edifying or up building or "life" messages. They are warning labels to those who think they have life, but are dead or dying. They are road signs for those caught in "drug den" churches and don't understand that their problem in life is the stuff being injected into their minds on Sunday morning and mid-week in their church. God's mercy can come in the form of warnings!
While many of the articles in this series do not make sense to many average church-goers, they make a lot of sense to those who desire to be shown mercy, but aren't receiving it from God's people. Some of what I write is for those lepers sitting outside the church walls waiting for someone to come by and heal them. They instinctively know that the solution to their problems is in Christ, but the church walks by them as if they don't even exist. Some of my writings are designed to let the lepers know that the problem is not Jesus, it's His people.
Let me ask you, do you appreciate warning labels on pills that you may have in your medicine cabinet? Do you listen to weather forecasts so that you can be prepared for tomorrow. If your appendix is about to burst, will you allow the surgeon to put his knife to your abdomen? Do you appreciate road signs which caution you of dangers ahead? Do you appreciate the education you received which prepared you for a real and sometimes not so friendly world? If God has put some into watchtowers to warn the people of disasters ahead, will you despise those who give you the warning because there is no life in the words? Perhaps there may be life in those words if those who hear respond to them. A word of warning may not give life, but it may get someone out of a place, denomination, or state of mind in which is only death. Once out of that state, their minds may get well enough to tell their right hand from their left and find how to get healed and receive "life."
Today, there are many technologies which allow us to see in ways which were not possible in previous generations: x-rays, sonar, radar, infrared, and many other kinds of technologies allow us to see not only through lead, but into the galaxies, bottoms of the oceans, into our bodies and many other areas once closed to man. Some of these technologies allow us to look into the future and some allow us to see back into the civilizations which lived thousands of years ago. The techniques archaeologists have discovered in recent years have allowed them to gain great insight into past civilizations using many new techniques discovered only in the last one hundred years.
There are many gifts and positions in the body of Christ, some more honorable than others. We must not be so foolish to cut off from us some of the less honorable parts. The seer, the prophet, the one in the watchtower, and others may be considered honorable positions to some religious zealots, but they have usually not been too well received by the generation into which they were placed. The plum lines and standard bearers are usually not the most popular among God's people. The trumpet blowers have a mixed review. When its party time, blow that thing till you drop, but when it's time to blow the trumpet of war, well, most of us would wish he missed the wake up call.
What cigarette smoker wants to hear from their doctor that if they don't stop smoking, they will shorten their lives? What T.V. addict wants to be told they are polluting their mind? What speeder likes to be told he is going to get a ticket if he keeps it up? What junk food addict wants to be told they are abusing their bodies?
Most of the readership is aware of institutions in our society which are bringing great harm to us. Some of these include the abortion clinics, Hollywood, Masonic lodges and other secret societies, pornographic industry, the gambling industry, (which our government is probably the biggest dealer), tobacco and alcohol industries, the drug cartels, secular humanist movement, or evolutionism. The list is endless. We like to be informed to some degree about how to stop the influence these institutions have on our society, at least some of them. Many of us are hooked by some of this stuff and our eye-sight suffers when viewing those dark industries we indulge in.
But when I see all these dark industries and institutions in the world, I see them just as reflections of the real problem which is in the last place on earth you would expect to find them, in the church! But the church does not put warning labels on its doctrines and traditions: Warning the food served here may produce sleepiness, drowsiness, and if eaten on a regular basis, death! Now to the average Christian, what I just said is absolutely crazy. O.K., then, let me amuse you for a moment. You watch all kinds of other crazy stuff on TV Let me, as Paul puts it, play the fool for a while. But at least, hear me out. Whether you are just entertained or whether you begin to heed my warning labels, emergency weather announcements, and calls to prepare yourselves or not, what I write will not be the normal stuff dished out by the TV preachers and Sunday morning sleepy pill dispensaries and ear ticklers. After a good hearing, take it to the Spirit of Truth, Who Jesus promises will lead you into all truth. If He says I'm just a crazy guy, O.K., then move on. But if daylight begins to dawn on you, then heed the warnings! Stop eating the growth stunting junk food served at your local fast food church! Find a nice relaxing place where the food is catered in from New Jerusalem, the mother of us all.
Now I am going to give you, my Christian brother or sister a stern and hard warning. God, the Father, gave Israel many warnings of the impending judgments which were to come upon the nation of Israel during the generation which brought forth the crucifixion of the Messiah. Josephus, the Jewish historian has recorded for us the many incredible signs both natural and supernatural which were given to warn Israel and give them an opportunity to enter the New Covenant of Grace. The Old was about to be destroyed with the catastrophic destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Levitical Priesthood. Please, my brothers and sisters, read the record Josephus left us regarding all the signs, warnings, rebukes, pleadings, God gave to this nation to give them opportunity to forsake the Old and to enter into the New Covenant of Grace. Because the hearts of Israel were dark and gross, they mistranslated the signs. They interpreted the warnings of destruction as signs of deliverance!!! They saw the warnings of destruction as what was to come upon the heads of their enemies, the Romans. Yet it was the Romans God used to destroy Israel. I believe the church-at-large has become as blind, if not more, than Israel in its latter days. The church-at-large, whether it be Protestant, Orthodox, or Catholic, is preaching a gospel which is a mixture of Law and Grace. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. The Law mixture has caused the church-at-large to become severed from the throne of Grace. The church-at-large will become as corrupt, if not more, than Israel became during the 7 year destruction of Israel which began in 66AD and ended at Masada in 73AD. Jesus spent three and a half years cleaning out the "house of Israel." But the unclean spirit came back with seven other spirits more wicked than the first one, making the condition of the man worse after the house cleaning than before. Jesus, speaking to His own generation said "So shall it also be with this wicked generation." (Matt. 12:43-45) Please, my precious brothers and sisters, do not see yourself more highly than the Jews of Jesus' generation. Humble yourselves, and He will heal your eyes to cause you to see clearly and the signs which are all about us. God provided a way of escape to those who could read the signs with the right heart in 70AD, and He will provide a way of escape for every generation, including ours. The period prior of the destruction of Israel was full of false prophets of every kind. They lead many self-deceived followers to a very dishonorable death.
Now in this dispensation, the death may not result in a place 6 feet under. It may result being seated on a soft pew listening to carnal reasoning by carnal preachers, the end of which, according to Paul, is death!!! Many natural grave markers bear a cross engraved on them. The world is covered with mass graves, also with crosses on them. We call them churches!
In the natural, many products are now required to put their nutritional information on the package. I firmly believe the Holy Spirit will give you the nutritional value of the church you attend if you approach Him with a sincere contrite heart. You may be shocked to discover the Holy Spirit may put a skull and cross bones on your comfy pew! Repent is still a good word when it's directed in the right direction...toward us, those who claim to be a part of the body of Christ!
(Editor's note: I realize for some of the readers, it is very difficult reading articles which express the sovereignty of God and then read articles like this one which seems to imply much "free-will."
While this issue of Dew did not present any articles on this much debated topic, a brief illustration might help the reader to see how God weaves choices into His predetermined plan which cannot fail.
Suppose you played chess with a computer which was programmed to play the game perfectly. It could never lose. Now you have the first move. You are free to make many first moves. All through the game, you are free to a certain extent as to which pieces you can move. Of course, your choices will be determined to some degree by your opponent, where the computer's pieces are located and perhaps the strategy you positioned yourself for before the game began. But throughout the game, you have hundreds of "choices."
Now there are some moves you cannot make due to the rules of the game. Since the computer is programmed to always win, regardless of how many good or bad "choices" you make, you will always lose.
I have some very good news for you. Your Father is far wiser than any computer man can create. When He set creation in motion, He spoke it forth perfectly. He could have programmed it for you to lose. Calvinism claims this for some. He could have programmed it where it was up to you, a dumb sheep who had to figure it out within his allotted time or else suffer the consequences of defeat. But He created the game of life for you to enjoy playing with Him. But much more important than that, He created it in such a way that He was absolutely certain that you would come out a winner!
Have you ever handicapped yourself when playing with someone you are trying to teach a game? Well, God brought forth a handicap which insured that you would win the game of life and that you might enjoy playing it by making it "abundant life."
Let me paraphrase the words of the handicap: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they are doing. Let Me play it for them and reckon the victory to them and give them My Life, that they may have a joyful victory.)