Christianity, current events, God, morality, November 2016 election, politics, religion, Uncategorized

Now That The Election Is Over….

Mr. Trump has been elected to the great relief of many conservatives and Christians, but this is no time to think the battle is over and the work is done. More than ever this is the time the church needs to be in prayer for our President-elect and our nation. Here are some things to keep in prayer:

 

Presidential leadership/appointments

 

President-elect Trump will be at the helm of this nation as it goes through some of the most difficult times it has ever faced. This will require wisdom that is superior to what the world has to offer. Our President-elect will need wisdom from above to do the right thing no matter how much it conflicts with the world’s point of view. Our President-elect will also need strength and perseverance because the forces that will oppose him are strong, they are entrenched, and they aren’t about to just give up and go away. It may be a long and protracted fight, but it’s a fight we cannot afford to lose. We must pray that our President-elect surrounds himself with the right people and has a team that will faithfully stand by him when the battles rage. It’s going to get very hot in the kitchen, and our new President needs people who can handle the heat. I would also urge us to pray that our President-elect will steer a course that God wants us to take. I have heard a lot about “Make America Great Again,” but that will only happen if our priorities align with God’s priorities. I am sorry, but this really isn’t that time to focus on jobs and the economy; it’s time to focus on the repentance and repair the spiritual problems that got us in this mess in the first place. Our President-elect will need godly priorities!

 

Judgment is still coming

 

Judgment may be delayed, but it is still coming; it will begin in the house of God. The church will be shaken like a tree in a strong wind, and what is rotten will fall off. This is the time to get your house in order. Leave the nets behind like Peter did and follow the Lord Yeshua with all your heart. Go in with all your heart without looking back or go home; it’s better to be hot or cold than lukewarm.

 

We must also keep our nation in prayer. The spiritual condition of America is very serious, as evidenced by the election results. Over 60 million voters voted to go in a direction that would make things even worse, so we need to realize we aren’t out of the woods just because this election is over. The reason we have this is because of division. Division has always been a favorite strategy of the enemy, and America is deeply divided. We have deep divisions over God, race, priorities, politics, right and wrong, etc. This isn’t just division in the world, the church has a bad case of division itself. The Adversary loves it when the people of God are fighting each other because it makes it so much easier for him to do his work undisturbed. We get so distracted fighting each other we don’t understand that we have allowed the enemy to set up shop in our midst. Christ is not divided, and so let’s unite against the real enemy of our souls and country and stop fighting among ourselves.

 

We see that in politics Donald Trump’s transition team is already at work in Washington, but the kingdom of God also has a transition team. God has chosen certain vessels who will work to prepare the way for the King of kings! The reign of darkness is coming to an end, and they aren’t about to go away quietly. The darkness knows that its time is short. All of God’s people are supposed to be on this transition team, but for whatever reason, not everyone is making themselves available. Things are also going to heat up spiritually, and this is the time to prepare. That’s what wise people do; they know what’s coming down the road and take appropriate action. If you have choking weeds in your heart, repent and ask God for help so you can be fully focused on His will. Let all other considerations be rescinded so that His will has first place in your heart. The judgment is still coming; will you make yourself available for God’s transition team?

 

This is just a short post and a call to prayer. Judgment begins in the house of God, and America will become great again by humbling herself before God and repenting first. Please pray!

 

Shalom friends!

 

Heshvan 18, 5777

 

 

 

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Christianity, current events, God, religion, Uncategorized

From Rome to Corinth, and Back Again: Reclaiming What Was Taken from Us

“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd” (John 10: 16, NASB Update)

When Paul wrote to the Roman church, its congregation was composed of Jews and Gentiles. It was no doubt Roman Jews in Jerusalem during Pentecost that carried the Gospel back to Rome and was a factor in starting this church. It would be nice if the Gospel message of unity was in full effect in the Roman church, but there was rivalry between Jews and Gentiles. The birth pangs of division were starting to sprout to be felt, so Paul had to remind the Roman church that “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him” (Rom 10: 12, NASB Update).

 
If the Roman church was experiencing the birth pangs of division, the Corinthian church had delivered the baby. Paul writes:

For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Cor 1: 11-13, NASB Update)

This persuasion did not come from the Lord or the word of God, but from man-made doctrines that cause division and contention. We still see this division today. If you visit a Baptist church, you find a congregation of Baptists. The same holds true for Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, etc. Most of the time, the only people who are not of the same persuasion are visitors. But let me ask you this, when was the last time you saw a Jewish believer in your congregation? In all of my days in church, I can honestly say I have never seen it, and this ought not to be.

 
Where are the Jews?

 
After the Holy Spirit filled believers on Pentecost and Peter gave his sermon, the believers returned home taking the word with them, but they only spoke to Jews. Later God gave Peter a revelation about the Gentiles; they were to be fellow heirs of salvation! This was confirmed when the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles just like He did in Jerusalem with the Jews (Acts 10: 1-48). God’s will is to tear down the wall between Jew and Gentile and so create one flock, as His word said. Unity is something the Adversary doesn’t like, and soon he was fanning the flames of rivalry between believing Jews and Gentiles. The split became a chasm when church leadership argued that because the Jews rebelled against the Savior and had Him killed, therefore God transferred the covenants and promises from the Jews to the Church; they also changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday to make a clear distinction between Jews and Gentiles. This is part of replacement theology, and it is a sickness that still affects the Church today. It has a terrible legacy; Church leadership used this man-made doctrine to justify persecuting the Jews instead of loving them as the Lord commanded. Martin Luther did try to reconcile the Church with the Jews in his early writings, but later he became anti-Semitic and argued for synagogues to be destroyed and Jewish wealth to be confiscated. His latter writings were so poisonous that they were used by Hitler’s Third Reich to justify the “final solution,” which was the extermination of the Jews. Centuries of oppression and persecution by those who called themselves Christians has caused Jews to turn away the Gospel message. Even mentioning the name of Jesus can provoke a strong reaction with some people.

 
The word of God tells us that there will always be a believing remnant, and so there has always been a believing Jewish remnant: “The Messianic Jews.” I believe what God wants in these last days is to depart from the Corinthian church and its many divisions (Baptists, Pentecostals, Nazarenes, et al.) and again become one flock in which Jews and Gentiles worship the Savior together as they did in Rome (minus the rivalry, of course).

 
What you have been missing

 
Replacement theology has done a lot of damage, one of which was causing the Church to disregard the Feasts of the Lord. It’s been argued that since we are under grace, and not the Law, we don’t need to be concerned about such things. “That would be legalistic” is something I have heard. May I say to you friend, you’ve been misled and missed a great blessing. It’s premature to dismiss the feasts as something we don’t need to worry about anymore. Here’s what I mean.

 
It was written in the Torah that the men of Israel were to assemble in Jerusalem three times a year for the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Two thousand years ago the Jews saw the Passover fulfilled when Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. On Pentecost the Jews saw Joel’s prophecy fulfilled when the Holy Spirit was poured out on believers. The Feast of Tabernacles has yet to be fulfilled, and one day when the people gather in Jerusalem, the Lord will fulfill it before their eyes just like He did on Passover and Pentecost. Wouldn’t you like to be on hand when that happens? Until the Lord returns, each time the Feast of Tabernacles (or Sukkot) is celebrated, it’s like a dress rehearsal for the real event. With that in mind, here is my recommendation.

 
You are invited!

 
I know this will be short notice for many of you, but I feel it strongly to make you aware of the upcoming holy days. Most of us have never been to these celebrations and they have passed unnoticed, but I hope that will be different after this year because I am inviting you. Rosh Hashanah (New Year) will begin at sundown October 2 and end on the evening of October 4. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) will begin at sundown on October 11 and end

the sukkah

Celebrating Tabernacles

on the evening of October 12, and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) begins at sundown on October 16 and ends the evening of October 23. I would strongly encourage everyone to find a Messianic congregation and observe these events this year and see what you have been missing out on. These events are part of our heritage as believers, but replacement theology has caused the Church to disregard them. Let’s reclaim them and experience them first hand, and in so doing we help restore the unity of the one flock that the Lord established. If you are able to participate, please share your experience with others (and I would like to hear about it too!). Be blessed!

 

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Rewinding the Torah scroll

Elul 23, 5776

 
“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3: 27-28, NASB Update)

 

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The Superman Questions

Charlie Rose: “What are we talking about then? Must there be a Superman?”
Senator June Finch: “There is.”
Dialogue from the movie “Batman v. Superman” (2016)

In the Batman v Superman movie, there is a scene where various contributors discuss the Superman question and its implications. What does it mean to have a being in your midst whose power transcends and overshadows anything humanity has? The very possibility of such a reality is frightening. Vikram Gandhi raised the point that while most people believe in a higher power, when a savior character actually does come, we want him to abide by our rules. Andrew Sullivan was concerned about what, if any, moral constraints this person would follow. Glen Woodburn rightly points out that humanity has often followed after powerful people into great atrocities. Niel DeGrasse Tyson points out how having a Superman challenges our place in the universe, and shows that mankind doesn’t hold a special place in the universe after all. Charlie Rose and Senator June Finch are concerned about Superman’s interventions in human history because he acts as he sees fit (unilaterally) rather than by the consent and will of the people. These are all interesting contributions, but let’s examine the question Charlie Rose asks Senator Finch.

Must there be a Superman? Yes, because humanity has a depravity problem and we cannot solve this problem with our own power and wisdom. People don’t get along well with each other, and there should be no argument on this point because there is so much empirical evidence to support it. People malign one another and gossip about others. People divide themselves into groups based on ethnicity, economic status, etc., and are suspicious and even hostile to outsiders. When they don’t have what they want, they quarrel and fight one another to get it. We have seen rulers throughout history rise to power and then become depraved and murderous. This all points to the work of depravity, and something that is missing in the human condition, an empty place in every human heart that needs to be filled to make us complete so that we can overcome the effects of depravity: So that we will stop using our words to destroy other human beings and lift them up instead. So we come together in true unity and not divide into cliques and groups. So that leaders will rule wisely and well, and the people won’t live in fear of a government that has gone out of control. Humanity has been plagued by its problems for thousands of years, and to paraphrase the Humpty-Dumpty fairy tale, “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t make humanity whole again,” even though they have tried for throughout time. Since we cannot solve our own problems with our power and wisdom, it follows that we need someone who has power and wisdom that is greater than humans who can solve the problems of depravity. The good news is that there really is a Superman today, but this person isn’t a man in a cape flying around saving the day. The real Superman has powers that far exceed anything the creators of the caped Superman could ever conceive of.

The real Superman and the most powerful man the world has ever known is our Savior, Jesus, and as such it is not surprising that He is also a figure of controversy. Throughout the centuries since He walked among us, He has been loved by some, vilified by others, and misunderstood by many. When Jesus asked His disciples who the people said He was, some said He was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Then He asks the disciples “who do you say that I am?” and Peter replies “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16: 13-16). When Peter identifies Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, he shows us that Jesus is not an ordinary man. Jesus is the “theanthropos,” the God-man. He is fully human and fully divine. Jesus’ life and works also testify that He is no ordinary man. In John we read this about His divine identity:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4, NASB)

John goes on to say: “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him” (John 1: 10 NASB). Can you imagine that? The Creator of everything came down to Earth and lived among us! He created us in His image, and He took on the form of man when He came down to us. He was God in the flesh, the theanthropos! Listen to what the writer of Hebrews tells us about Him; it’s truly awesome:

But of the Son He says ‘THY THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM. THOU HAST LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, THY GOD, HATH ANOINTED THEE WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE THY COMPANIONS.’ And ‘THOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING DIDST LAY THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; THEY WILL PERISH, BUT THOU REMAINEST; AND THEY WILL BECOME OLD AS A GARMENT, AND AS A MANTLE THOU WILT ROLL THEM UP; AS A GARMENT THEY WILL BE CHANGED. BUT THOU ART THE SAME, AND THY YEARS WILL NOT COME TO AN END.’ (Hebrews 1: 8-12, NASB)

Since God walked among us in human form, this is the reason we can say there really is a Superman.

We have all heard the saying “truth can be stranger than fiction,” but in this case, truth is much more wonderful and amazing than fiction. The fictional Superman could bend steel and leap over tall buildings, but the real Superman did the impossible: When thousands can to hear Him speak and He wanted to feed them, He used a few loaves and fishes to miraculously fed them all from what would only have been enough for one person (Matthew 14: 13-21; 15: 32-38). When people needed any kind of healing, He spoke the word and they were healed (John 4: 46-54; Matthew 8: 5-13). When demons oppressed and tormented people, He drove them out by His word and authority (Matthew 8:16-17, 28-34; 15: 21-28). Even death doesn’t have the last word because He has the power to raise people from the dead (John 11: 1-44; Luke 7: 11-15). When a storm threatened to sink the boat He was travelling in, He caused a great calm when He rebuked the wind and waves (Matthew 8: 23-27). He knew what people were thinking and what was in their hearts (John 2: 24-25; Matthew 12: 22-25). His sacrifice made it possible for people to be forgiven and born again (Luke 23: 34; John 3: 16-17). There is nothing He cannot do, which is what makes a real Superman; this is the one who has the power to solve humanity’s depravity problem and fill our hearts with His presence.

Towards the end of the Batman v Superman movie, there is a scene where people are honoring and remembering Superman and his life. The words written about Superman say “If you seek his monument, look around you.” These words remind people that Superman’s legacy can be seen in the lives he affected and changed while he was alive. Superman's monumentUnlike the fictional Superman, the theanthropos Jesus cannot die. After He was crucified and buried, He rose from the dead; if you were to seek His monument, it would be an empty tomb. He lives on as our High Priest, always making intercession for us before the Father in heaven. His perfect sacrifice made it possible to have friendship with God again and overcome the power of depravity that has caused so much suffering in our history. His presence fills the empty void in our hearts and makes us content in whatever circumstance we are in. His power to change lives is found in the Gospel message:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith. (Romans 1: 16-17, NASB).

He lives in the hearts of millions of people and still interacts with us today. Just ask any of His people to tell you their story about how they met Jesus and what He did for them. Then ask them what He can do for you today!

Who do you say Jesus is? This is the Superman question Jesus asks of us, and everyone must answer. Will you believe the Gospel and come to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins? If you will take that step of faith today and come to Jesus, the real Superman, you will find forgiveness, mercy, and grace. All your sins and mistakes will be forgiven and you will start life anew. Come by faith believing that He is the Son of the living God and pray this prayer:

Lord Jesus, I confess that I have done many things against you. I confess that I have sinned and been rebellious, and for that I am truly sorry. I repent of all of this and I ask for your mercy and forgiveness (You can list specific things to ask forgiveness for if you want). I believe you are the Son of God, and I place everything in my life under your control. I ask you to come and live in my heart. Create a clean heart in me and give me a right spirit so that I may always do what is right in your eyes. Thank you for saving me Lord Jesus!

If you have prayed this prayer, you are a new creation, and your old life is over. Your new life has begun! Congratulations and welcome to the family of God! The important thing now is to find a good body of believers to fellowship with for discipleship and spiritual growth. Now the adventure begins!

Av 22, 5776

1 John 1 9

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Christianity, current events, diversity, gender identity, morality, politics, prophecy, religion, Uncategorized

Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female?

By wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
And by knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches
(Proverbs 24: 3-4 NASB).

 
America’s moral code is in the process of being rewritten and what was right yesterday is wrong today and vice versa. In this case we are talking about an ideology of gender identity, or fluidity. When the city of Charlotte passed an ordinance allowing men to access the women’s room, House Bill 2 was signed into law to stop this ordinance and anything like it from happening statewide. Target retail stores followed suit and instituted an in store policy that also allowed men to use the women’s room. Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently issued a statement about North Carolina’s House Bill 2 and made her intention known that she will counter sue North Carolina to stop its implementation throughout the state.

 
Attorney General Lynch has clothed her arguments about this gender ideology in the language of civil rights, and has said North Carolina’s response like all “discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation” such as Jim Crow laws after Emancipation, resistance to Brown v. Board of Education, and numerous statewide bans on same sex unions. Lynch goes in to say that these responses come from a fear of the unknown and discomfort with change and tells us “this is not a time to act out of fear. This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion and open-mindedness.” Having said this, did anyone catch what was missing from this last quote? We all recognize the politically correct buzzwords of “inclusivity, diversity, compassion and open-mindedness,” but it’s what’s missing that ought to concern all of us. AG Lynch didn’t say our national virtues include holiness, righteousness, and the fear of God, and when these virtues are not part of our national identity, the nation becomes adrift on a sea of relativism. Absolute truth is mocked and dismissed to make room for the cause celebre of the day, which in this case is the currently emerging ideology of gender identity. This is where the problem may be found.

 

The ideology of gender identity makes the case that gender is a social construct. If gender identity is regarded as something determined by society, then it is artificial and not firmly anchored. If people can be convinced that gender identity is an artificial product of society, it’s a short walk to the next belief in which there is fluidity between genders. A man can identify as female and dress and act accordingly, but as we will see, he can never wash himself clean from his male identity. Nevertheless, government has now injected itself into this moral realignment and is fighting for males who identify as female to have access to women’s restrooms and locker rooms. The Washington Post reports that Lynch’s remarks about the government’s decision to intervene have resonated with the transgender community “For Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, the appeal of Lynch’s speech was something simple: ‘All she said was that we’re people.’”

 

AG Lynch is speaking for the Obama Administration when she made her remarks, and she makes the case that opposing House Bill 2 is a step in the right direction with these words:

This country was founded on a promise of equal rights for all, and we have always managed to move closer to that promise, little by little, one day at a time. It may not be easy – but we’ll get there together.

She also says that we must learn from history and not repeat our mistakes, and I will agree that this is correct, but in order for this admonition to be accurate, it must include history as God gave it to us in His word. Let’s review what God’s history has told us about gender identity.

 

The book of Genesis begins with the words “in the beginning God created…,” and then the writer goes on to list the things God created. When it comes to humanity and our topic of gender identity, we find this “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them” (Genesis 1: 27, NASB). Notice that it says we are created by God, and when God creates something, there’s a reason and purpose for it. In the case of humanity, the word of God tells us:

And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. (Genesis 1: 28, NASB)

We can clearly see three things from verses 27 and 28: we are here on purpose, not accidentally, we see that God wants to interact with us, and that when God created humanity, He made them male and female. But if God establishes a boundary, or distinction between male and female, is it fixed forever? Does God allow fluidity between males and females? The answer is that the boundary is firmly fixed and fluidity is not allowed. On what basis do I say this? Here’s a look at what God says about His boundaries:

“Do you not fear Me?” declares the LORD. “Do you not tremble in My presence? For I have placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, an eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it.Though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it.” (Jeremiah 5: 22, NASB)

A boundary that has been set by God cannot be moved by any created being or power as God makes clear in this passage about His power:”For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14: 27). When we consider these things, we can say confidently that when God does something, it stays done and there’s nothing anyone can do to change it.

 

In the case of gender identity, God made us male and female, and His word makes it clear He intends for this distinction to stand. We see this boundary reinforced in the Torah: “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 22: 5). And notice how this prohibition against same sex sexual relations is worded:

If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act: They shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them. (Leviticus 20:13, NASB).

There are other places we could go, but these verses give ample proof that God wants the distinction between male and female respected and left intact. I wish that was the end of the matter, but just as the serpent beguiled Eve, he has also beguiled this generation.

 

God deals in certainties and truth, but we know the enemy of our souls is at work when we see confusion and every evil work. Fluidity is confusion because it erases the distinction God established between male and female. This can only happen when the real history of humanity is ignored. The ideology of gender identity that Lynch is defending is a wisdom of the world, and it is demonic. It is nothing less than an exchange of God’s truth for a lie; those who defend it suppress the truth in unrighteousness, and they are in danger of being handed over to their own lusts and depravity. They may think they are being wise, inclusive, and promoting diversity, compassion and open-mindedness, but they are really fools, and they have been blinded about their true condition by the god of this world.

 
I must disagree with the AG that acting on the basis of fear is wrong. She makes it sound as though acting on the basis of fear is never correct, but there is a time when acting from fear is beneficial and lifesaving. We see it time and again in Scripture when God’s people realized the terror of the LORD and they did everything they could to repent and reconcile with Him. That’s how acting from fear saves your life. If AG Lynch wants to avoid the mistakes of the past, let her remember this lesson from history: Nations that once knew God but turned away later suffer judgment. If you doubt me, just read the book of Judges; the same pattern happens again and again.

 

The reality is as follows. Even though a man may rage against his male identity, may dress and act as a female, and even if he were to undergo gender reassignment surgery, he is still male because God made him that way. He will never be completely female except in his mind and in his imagination. Man never has nor never will have the power to change what God has established, and since he can never make the change he wants, he will never find the fulfillment he looks for. But everyone can find true peace, happiness, and healing through our Savior Jesus. He’s already knocking at the door of your heart waiting to be invited in.

 

Iyar 4,  5776

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A Christian response to President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union (SOTU) address

Shevat 3, 5775

There will be a lot of political commentary and analysis now that President Obama has given his State of the Union speech, and most of this will focus on government policies and the proposals set forth by the President. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) has given the Republican response, but it would be a tremendous disservice to the Christian community if there was not a Christian response to the SOTU because the Apostle Paul tells us to examine all things, and hold fast to what is good. How can we know if government policies and philosophies are destructive or good without first examining them with the light of God’s word? The world’s standards are arbitrary and capricious; what’s right today will be wrong tomorrow, but the word of God is unchanging. In order to institute and maintain good government, its philosophies and policies must align with and honor the word of God.  There are many things that could be said about different points made in this address, but there is one important short passage that needs to be discussed.

“The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.”

This is the thesis statement of the SOTU and the most worrisome statement this address for three reasons: it wrongly identifies what the crisis is, it claims the crisis is over, and gives us a false assessment of the union. This is not surprising in part because the views expressed in the SOTU are horizontally oriented. What I mean by this is that these claims are based only on a worldly point of view; such a view only concerns itself with what can be seen and perceived by the senses. The SOTU lacks any vertical orientation at all, which takes into account not only what we can see, but what is invisible and spiritual (Hebrews 11: 1-3). The vertical orientation comes from the word of God, and when we shine the word of God on things, we truly understand their depravity or merit. Any leader who strives to fully inform an audience about the true condition of a country must include a vertical orientation in his presentation, otherwise his efforts are of limited value, and in the case of an unscrupulous person, can be outright deception.

SOTU wrongly identifies what the crisis is

We do have a crisis, but it is not the crisis President Obama makes it out to be. Everything the President listed in his SOTU identifies the crisis as a socioeconomic one. This view overlooks spiritual events that have recently occurred in this nation’s history. Traditionally, our position between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans has isolated and protected our country. For example, while Europe suffered terribly from the ravages of war in WWII, there was only one casualty attributed to enemy action on the continental US. All of that changed on 9/11, when Islamic terrorists hijacked commercial jetliners and used them on suicide missions which killed thousands of people. No enemy had ever caused such destruction before in our history, and when the stock market finally reopened after the attack, one of the worst stock market crashes in US history occurred. In 2008, an even bigger stack market crash occurred, and these crashes had an adverse effect on the economy of the nation. These seem to be random events from a worldly perspective, but when you include God’s word in your analysis, you get the whole picture. The events of 9/11 and 2008 occurred exactly during a seven year cycle known as the shemitah. This means we cannot attribute the resulting bad economy solely to socioeconomic factors; there is a definite spiritual connection to these events. They were set in motion by spiritual events and are directly linked to them. The origin of our crisis is spiritual and does not originate from socioeconomic factors as President Obama argues.

The crisis this nation faced was not a bad economy, rising unemployment, low high school graduation rates, oil dependency, a broken healthcare system, or the war in Afghanistan. The real crisis this nation faced is a spiritual crisis, not a crisis of a bad economy etc. This nation has been steering a course that has been taking it farther away from God for a long time.

SOTU claims the crisis is over

There may be some who object and say that the improving numbers reported in the SOTU must mean we are getting better. From a worldly perspective, these factors seem to indicate that better days are ahead, but they don’t tell the whole story and given Divine revelation, it would be shortsighted and naive to believe they did. The cause of our national problems is a spiritual one, not socioeconomic; therefore unless this nation repents and reconciles with God, the crisis is not over. A nation that continues to be at variance with God is always in danger of His judgment.

SOTU gives us a false assessment of the union

The President has told us that our nation’s economy is getting better, ergo “the State of the Union is strong.” That makes sense from a worldly perspective, but it is non sequitur from a spiritual perspective. Let’s not forget this example from history. Canaan was a land flowing with milk and honey. If we described Canaan using today’s language, we would say that Canaan was an economic miracle. They had bumper crops year after year. The economy was constantly growing and showed no sign of slowing. They weren’t dependent on other nations for anything. They had strong defenses against invasion that were state of the art for their day. If we looked at Canaan from a horizontal, worldly perspective, they had everything going for them in their favor. The problem is, their spiritual condition was so bad the Scriptures said the land itself couldn’t stand them and vomited them out. Canaan was economically prosperous, but they were in a spiritual crisis because of their depravity. The wealth of Canaan was increased so it could be transferred to another nation. When Joshua crossed the Jordan, none of their strong defenses could stop the invasion.

The historical example of Canaan shows us the futility of believing that there is a correlation between strength and a strong economy; a nation is truly strong only when it enjoys the blessing of God. When God watches over a nation, the people are safe from harm and prosperous. If they do go out to war, they win impossible victories over armies that are greater than they are. If we don’t have God’s favor and blessing, our union will never be strong. The question is, does America have God’s blessing?

The real state of our country

America is repeating the same pattern of disobedience that ancient Israel followed. When Israel did what was right in God’s eyes, the nation had rest from war and was prosperous. God exalted Israel and brought their enemies down. But when Israel rebelled, God brought Israel down and raised up enemies against them. When this happened, the land suffered from defeat in war, harsh occupation, destitution, oppression, and injustice. We see this pattern repeated again and again in the book of Judges. The same thing is happening now; America’s rebellion and its declining fortunes are linked.

The true measure of a nation is found in the spiritual health of a nation, not socioeconomic indicators. We can see very quickly that the state of America’s spiritual health is on life support. Absolute truth is regarded as a myth, and under the capricious tutelage of political correctness and its weaponized stepsisters of equality and tolerance, the values of the American people are reversing; what was once considered good and esteemed is now regarded as evil, and vice versa. People who rage against God utter the same arrogant words that Pharaoh spoke to Moses: “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice…I do not know the Lord” (Exodus 5: 2). The concept of “love your neighbor” and “love your enemies” was thoroughly trampled as demonstrated in the Ferguson riots. There is ample evidence of America’s declining spiritual health in the daily news, and it is a sad thing to witness. It is looking more and more like the republic our Founders fought to give us will be lost and replaced by a tyrannical successor.

The solution we need

There are three things we need to include in our solution to America’s situation. First, we must understand the times we live in. If you have done your math, you know that 2015 is seven years from 2008, and it is a shemitah year. This is also not just any shemitah year; four blood moons (also known as a tetrad) are part of this shemitah cycle. This is also the third shemitah year in our season of grace. If we combine this fact with the signs in the heavens, it is time to get serious and prepare for what is going to happen.

Second, we must not delude ourselves to believe that just because the President cites economic improvement that our problems are over. The fact is, America’s worst crisis is on the horizon, and it will come regardless of what the economic indicators say. When the President says “the shadow of crisis has passed,” he is really saying “peace and safety,” but we know that judgment will fall suddenly when peace and safety are proclaimed. This country will be shaken as never before in its history. Everything that people have put their faith in outside of God will be shaken. Pensions, savings, stocks, and retirement plans will be wiped out. Abundant food and water supplies will become scarce. The dollar will fall as the world’s premier currency. Government will throw off the restraints of the Constitution and become tyrannical. Government surveillance and control of the people will increase, and dissenting voices will be ruthlessly suppressed and confined in detention camps. God gave Israel a season of grace to repent and reconcile with Him, but when that season was over and Israel didn’t repent, God’s judgment came. America is also in a season of grace after 9/11, but that season is approaching its end. Time is running out to make amends, and the Daniels among us who can read the writing on the wall need to prepare for what’s coming.

Third, we must realize that a spiritual problem will never be solved by any government economic policies or legislation. A spiritual problem will only be solved by a spiritual solution. The solution is national repentance and reconciliation with God. When Senator Daschle quoted Isaiah 9: 10 as part of America’s official response to 9/11, he really put a curse on us. The time has come to cancel this curse and seek the Lord with our whole heart.

The season of grace is still open, and we have a promise from God that if we will repent and reconcile with God, He will heal our land:

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chron 7:14 (ESV)

This is the true state of the union, and I urge all our leaders to take advantage of this generous forgiveness that God offers while there is still time. Christians, please continue to pray fervently and effectively for this nation to be saved. Be wise virgins who have enough oil on hand for the time ahead; the darkness is coming when no one can work. Fulfill your ministries, and prepare the people like Joseph did. He faithfully prepared the people for famine before it happened, and as a result many people were saved alive. Be found busy with the Lord’s business, and Shabbat shalom everyone!

 Yeshua (Jesus) Kadosh (Holy)

Shabbat shalom image 2

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Christianity, current events, morality, religion

Evaluating the events of Ferguson et al through the lens of Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail:” A social commentary in the wake of the Ferguson et al riots

8 December 2014

16 Kislev 5775

When Martin Luther King wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he was engaged in a struggle against the injustice of segregation that existed in the south. When it came to the injustices perpetrated in the south, he could not stand by in good conscience and do mothing: he felt that action was needed: “Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God.” With this in

Diane Nash and Freedom Riders

Diane Nash and Freedom Riders

mind, Martin Luther King and other like-minded individuals (e.g. the Freedom Riders) participated in a series of nonviolent marches, sit ins, and protests against the injustice practiced in the south, and history records that the legacy of this movement changed the social structure of southern society and finally ended segregation’s hold in the south. This template of nonviolent resistance is powerful, but I would also like to add that there is more that we need to add to it to affect the changes we need in this hour. For now let’s concentrate on King’s letter, but before we contrast this letter with the Ferguson riots, it would be well to discuss Martin Luther King’s strategy to end injustice contained in his letter.

Martin Luther King used nonviolent protest and civil disobedience as a way to bring about social change. Violence would not be included as a strategy to end injustice, and there are good reasons for this. Violence just leads to more violence, which goes to the principle of sowing and reaping. If you sow wheat, you harvest wheat later. The same is true of violence. Violence is something that forces itself on others against their will, and involuntary change is not the strategy heaven uses as a change agent. God wants us to make voluntary change, as when He stands at the door and knocks. He does not force His way into our hearts, but allows us to make that decision. Some of the fruits of violence on those touched by it are resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, hatred, and revenge; this shows that violence is immoral. If these things are the results of violence, how can we ever expect to use violence to get a good result? The law of sowing and reaping does not allow this, and we delude ourselves if we think a good fruit results from immoral means. Martin Luther King himself wrote about this in his letter when he said:

Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends.

If we want to change the world for the better, then our methods must use God’s strategies which allow His power to manifest. When He does the work, the change is lasting (Psalm 127: 1) and we become “co workers with God.”

Martin Luther King also employed civil disobedience as a strategy to end injustice, but he was careful to define what he meant lest others think he advocated anarchy. King wrote that there are just laws and unjust laws on the books. We can distinguish which is which by their agreement with the word of God. King writes that “A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God.” In other words, just laws advance good government as well as the happiness and safety of society; therefore it is necessary to obey just laws. On the other hand, King defines an unjust law as “a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law…Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.” Segregation laws are unjust because the concept of segregation “distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.” King mentions the case of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as an example of civil disobedience. They refused to obey the command to bow down to the image King Nebuchnezzar set up because it violated the commandments of God.

King wrote that any campaign of nonviolent protest must include these four steps: “Collection of facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.” Let’s address these one at a time.

Collection of facts

The question of whether or not an actual injustice occurred must be definitively answered before action is taken. This seems like an obvious precaution, but history has many examples in which action proceeded on the basis of impulse and sketchy facts rather than irrefutable evidence. Strong and passionate feelings that an injustice has occurred are never sufficient cause for action to proceed. When this evidence has been obtained, then the next step is to negotiate.

Negotiation

The evidence of injustice is now the basis for negotiation between the parties for redress of grievances. If the negotiations resolve the injustices, then there is no need to proceed further.  But if negotiations fail, then the next step will be self purification.

Self purification

King realized that his opponents would be out in force to resist their efforts, but they cannot meet the opposition on his own low ground if they want to prevail. Pure means must be used to gain pure ends, so the participants must be properly trained to stay true to the principles of nonviolence. They cannot fight back if they are beaten, and they must be prepared for arrest and jail for their activities. They are now ready for the last step.

Direct action

Left by itself, negotiation will never happen unless circumstances prod it into action. According to King, the purpose of nonviolent direct action “is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.” Direct action creates the necessary tension that drives the parties back to the negotiating table so that the injustices may finally be resolved.

The church

There is one more point I would like to address from King’s letter, which was his disappointment with the church. The church is God’s visible representation on Earth. The members of the church are God’s ambassadors, and as believers the church is to continue doing the same works that Yeshua (the Hebrew name for Jesus) did. If this is true, then where are the works? Why is society tearing itself apart when the church has the words of life? Why isn’t our nation getting the balm it needs to heal its wounds? Martin Luther King had high hopes that the church would work with him against injustice in his day, but that hope was to end in disappointment.

What has happened to the church? In the book of Acts, we read that when people came together, there was a sense of awe about the power of God in their midst (Acts 2: 43), and when Ananias and Sapphira died in church, people rightly feared offending that power (Acts 5: 1-13). We don’t hear about that any more, do we? The church has become a mere shadow of its former self. There is no expectation that congregants and visitors will experience the supernatural power of God when they come to church meetings.  Many churches don’t even believe that the gifts of the Spirit are in operation today. Hurting people need a touch from God, but instead they hear a dry sermon void of any power to give them the help they need. When they cannot get what they need from the church, they become disillusioned with God and look for any other way to alleviate the suffering they feel. The church needs to recapture its power and purpose if there is going to be any hope for change. King makes this clear when he writes:

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

We have seen many of these disgusted young people in the Ferguson riots and in the satellite protests in other cities. We need our church leaders to stand up as never before and speak “thus says the Lord” in power and demonstration of the spirit, but many are silent instead; they prefer to take a path that doesn’t offend anyone and friendship with the world. The consequence of this is a self-destructing society and a church that has become an enemy of God. The cold and worldly church of Martin Luther King’s day has become even more so today. This spiritual decay will also be mentioned as a contributing factor when future historians write about the decline and fall of our republic.

Now that we have taken a look at Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” let’s evaluate the events of the Ferguson riots and subsequent Eric Garner protests (hereafter referred to as Ferguson et al) using King’s letter as our guide.

Nonviolence

Marching with Martin Luther King

Marching with Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King advocated a campaign of nonviolence because only pure methods can achieve pure results. If King had gone to Ferguson, he would certainly not be a part of the violence that is still ongoing. If he were to participate, it would be to lead peaceful, nonviolent protests that don’t result in offense and destruction. The destroyed businesses of Ferguson would still be standing if the protesters had chosen to follow King’s path of nonviolence, and the citizens would all benefit from this respect for life and property.

Civil disobedience

There can be no doubt that civil disobedience is happening in Ferguson et al, but it certainly isn’t the civil disobedience Martin Luther King advocated. The situation in these cities is really bordering on chaos and anarchy; respect for the rule of law is at an all-time low, and there is a complete disregard for obeying just laws.

Martin Luther King’s civil disobedience preserved the rule of just laws, which is something that ought to never be neglected. Nothing good will ever come when just laws are disobeyed. The situation in Ferguson et al and the attitude of some of the people show how little regard there is for the rule of law and due process. When Sean Hannity recently interviewed Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, she wasn’t concerned about the evidence. She unbelievably said that it doesn’t matter what did happen, but what should have happened. This is especially shocking since she is a lawmaker; what’s the point in having laws if we disregard them whenever we don’t like them? In that case we could disband our legislatures and do whatever we want.

Respect for the law enforcement is also under assault because Michael Brown’s death is touted as racially motivated. They have come to see the police and law enforcement as defenders of the corrupt status quo, and so they are reviled and disrespected. This appalling behavior was recorded in Denver when protesters openly mocked a police officer, who was protecting them, was hit by a car. We cannot say we have become better as a nation when the suffering of another human being is mocked like this.

Collecting facts

The evidence collected by the grand jury in its decision about Michael Brown’s death has been released for public scrutiny, but that made no difference to Ferguson et al. It was totally ignored in favor of the supposition that a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager, ergo it was a racially motivated homicide and the grand jury is just letting Officer Darren Wilson off the hook. It was a perfect reflection of Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s thinking in this matter.

Facts were important to Martin Luther King, and ought to be to everyone. Without the evidence of injustice, there could be no justification for protest or civil disobedience. When facts are thrown under the bus, we begin the shift from a nation of laws to a vigilante nation where emotional fervor supplants rational thinking, evidence, and the rule of law. We are well on our way to making Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s “The Ox-bow Incident” a reality.

Negotiation and self purification

Negotiation and self purification were non factors in Ferguson et al. There was no dialogue or negotiation in Ferguson et al, just flames of discontent fanned white hot by the racial stokers of our day, nor was there any serious consideration of using the strategy of nonviolent protest.

Direct action

The Ferguson et al riots went immediately to direct action, but it was not the nonviolent direct action Martin Luther

Kristallnacht in Berkeley CA Kale Williams 8 Dec 2014

Kristallnacht in Berkeley CA Kale Williams 8 Dec 2014

King advocated. The violence and lawlessness in Ferguson et al rolled downhill like a boulder destroying everything in front of it. Glass shards from broken windows littered the streets like an American remake of Kristallnacht. Crowds blocked highways and refused to even allow emergency vehicles to pass through. Zemir Begic, an innocent Bosnian man, was bludgeoned to death by black teenagers during the “protests.” Five days later a Bosnian woman was dragged from her car, threatened with murder, and beaten. Businesses (including the one Michael Brown robbed) that had no connection whatsoever to the grand jury verdict were targeted for vandalism, looting, and arson. As if to spite King’s strategy of nonviolence, rioters even vandalized the Martin Luther King building in Berkeley CA. All this violent direct action achieved was to create offense in hearts of many people and decimate the neighborhood. Sowing violence will reap a harvest of violence if the process is not stopped.

Berkeley MLK building damage Karl Mondon 8 Dec 2014

Berkeley MLK building damage Karl Mondon 8 Dec 2014

The church

All that Ferguson et al did was show us the true spiritual condition of our country. As is the condition of the church, so is the condition of the nation; and right now, our nation is on life support. Many will disagree and say that it’s not that bad. They may admit that there are times when the waters get choppy, but they calm down again. Our real condition is like the ocean waters that cover a sunken city. While the surface waters appear calm and serene, they cover the true state of affairs, which is a scene of ruin and destruction. A powerless church that has made peace with the world has helped give birth to legions of disappointed and disgusted young people who arrogantly say “who is the Lord, that I should obey Him?”

There are better ways to handle injustice than violence. Even if all the people of Ferguson et al did was to consider the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and glean its wisdom and advice to advance their cause, the riots of Ferguson et al would never have happened because the facts would not support direct action. And even if direct action were appropriate, it would have been nonviolent in nature.

Reconciliation

Our President has recently spoken about the need to rebuild trust between our communities and law enforcement. I agree with this, but not for the reasons our President might give. When he includes that fact that law enforcement needs to rebuild trust with the community, he presupposes that the law enforcement community is the one at fault and needs to make amends for their actions. We can see this in his statement (4 Dec 2014) after the Eric Garner verdict. President Obama said:

Some of you may have heard there was a decision that came out today by a grand jury not to indict police officers who had interacted with an individual with Eric Garner in New York City, all of which was caught on videotape and speaks to the larger issues that we’ve been talking about now for the last week, the last month, the last year, and, sadly, for decades, and that is the concern on the part of too many minority communities that law enforcement is not working with them and dealing with them in a fair way.

What? This has been going on for decades? He makes it sound like the problem is widespread and vast, but I take exception to his statement. Our law enforcement community has been unfairly portrayed by the President’s words. While it is true that there have been instances of bad apples in police departments across the nation, it does not follow that this is indicative of a widespread problem. With this in mind, I would like to offer up my contribution to the reconciliation of law enforcement and our community with an open letter to all of those serving in law enforcement.

To all our brave men and women serving in law enforcement,

President Obama (4 Dec 2014) has made remarks recently that paint a picture of law enforcement officers in a negative light. I want you to know I strongly disagree with the allegation made in his statement that you have not treated all the members of our community fairly. This blanket statement lumps all of law enforcement into one basket, and to use the President’s own words, this doesn’t treat everyone fairly.

It has to be admitted that sometime there are bad apples in the police department, and it is unfortunate when the press focuses attention on them, or when politicians blame our problems on law enforcement officers for the sake of politics. For every bad apple, there are scores of officers who are serving with honor and distinction. These are the officers I want to recognize and thank; they don’t always get the credit they deserve, but their work and sacrifice are what help make our community a better place. They are well trained professionals we depend on when things get out of hand.

I want to thank all of you for your service to our community. You do a thankless and dangerous job, and you do it with honor and professionalism. I gratefully acknowledge a debt of gratitude that I owe you for your service. I pray that the Lord will send His angels to watch over you when you report to work, and bring you home safely to your families at the end of your shift. I would encourage everyone to also extend their thanks to our law enforcement officers for the work they do. Thank you again for your service and a job well done.

Reconciliation means we also need to actively forgive each other. Unforgiveness only advances the Adversary’s kingdom, and we don’t want to be on his team, do we? We are also in a shemitah year, which is a year of release. At the end of the shemitah year all debts were to be cancelled. Let’s make the shemitah year real again and cancel all debts whether they are physical debts or spiritual ones. Forgive freely because you have been forgiven. Set your debtors free because the Lord has set you free. The only debt that is allowed to survive the shemitah year is the debt we have to love one another (Rom 13: 8). Love is the glue that will bring us together and heal our wounds. Therefore love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

Race stokers are still fanning the flames of racism in our communities, but we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into their camp. We must not embrace violence as a way to change society. Yeshua mentioned an incident in which Pilate killed a number of Galileans while they were sacrificing (Luke 13: 1). Yeshua knew about this, but He didn’t use this to advocate rioting and protesting the Roman occupation. It was more important to Him that we repent and get our affairs with God in order. While nonviolence is a powerful way to change society, given the late hour that we live in, it is absolutely necessary to redouble our efforts using the supernatural power of God. We must press on to better things by using a more excellent way to change our society for the better than the race stokers. The church must not forget that we have the weapons of God at our disposal; they are mighty and powerful beyond anything man can conceive of:

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ

2 Cor 10:3-5 (ESV)

And don’t forget this:

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

James 5:16-18 (ESV)

We need to continue to pray that our nation will see massive repentance, revival, and reconciliation with God. When this happens, we can lay hold of God’s promise to heal our land (2 Chron 7: 14). I would like to close with a final quote from Martin Luther King. Even though these words were written from a Birmingham jail in 1963, one could mistake them for the situation in Ferguson et al:

Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Fare ye well, my beloved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christianity, current events, morality, religion

The ruin heaps of 9/11 and Ferguson: We have met the enemy, and they are us

2 December 2014

10 Kislev 5775

As a prophetic sign, the shemitah year of 2001 witnessed the fall of the twin towers in New York. The ruin heaps of the towers were eventually taken away, but as with ancient Israel, it was a sign of things to come unless the nation changed its course. It was a clear warning that the nation needed to make things right with God. They had two possible choices. On the one hand they could repent as a nation and be reconciled with God, but on the other hand they could harden their hearts and continue doing what got them in trouble with God in the first place. In ancient Israel’s case, they chose to stubborn and continue business as usual which eventually caused the entire nation to be conquered and deported. Their words are preserved for us in Scripture:

“The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.”

Isaiah 9:10 (ESV)

Israel felt the answer to their Assyrian problem would be found in their own efforts and strength. Their solution was to rebuild the ruins with stronger materials and replace the sycamores with a better tree, but their solution never included repentance and reconciliation with God. The initial ruins cause by the limited Assyrian incursion became a foreshadowing of things to come in which the entire land would be filled with ruins. This brings us to 9/11.

The ruins of the twin towers are also a foreshadowing of things to come unless our nation repents. In the same way that God gave Israel a season of grace to make things right, America is also in a season of grace. Unless this nation changes course and repents, the ruin heaps of the twin towers will also be a sign of what the land will look like. This became especially clear in the Ferguson riots after the grand jury verdict. Ruin heaps of destroyed businesses now litter the city of

Destruction at Ferguson

Destruction at Ferguson

Ferguson. In this case it wasn’t the act of terrorists, but homegrown lawless rioters that caused this destruction. They were completely unrestrained by the normal restraints of a civilized people such as conscience, decency and common sense; they used the grand jury verdict as a justification (or cover) as they went about destroying and looting their own neighborhood. America is thus engaged on two fronts: it tries to defend itself from foreign aggression, but it is being torn apart by internal strife. Heaps of ruins such as this will become widespread unless change is made. The Ferguson riots are symptomatic of a much more serious problem facing America. We have met the enemy, and they are us.

What is the greatest threat to America? Is it ISIS, or some other foreign power such as China or Russia? The greatest threat to America’s survival is not found overseas, but in our own hearts. It is the apostate spiritual condition of the people. Just as Israel responded to the initial Assyrian invasion with pride and arrogance, America is following in those same steps. Like Israel, after 9/11 there was a surge in church attendance, but there was no resulting national revival or repentance. It was felt that this problem would be solved by our own efforts and wisdom. In order for the country to be safe again, the Department of Homeland Security was created and the Patriot Act was quickly signed into law. Our leaders put their faith in the intelligence infrastructure with its sophisticated technology, which was used to spy on our enemies and the general population in order to detect potential terrorist activity in the making. They neglected a very important truth when they took this course of action:

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

Psalms 127:1 (ESV)

God has to watch over our nation and keep us safe. If He doesn’t watch over us, there is absolutely nothing we can do to keep our nation safe. George Washington knew our nation would never endure by offending God when he spoke these words at his inaugural address in 1789:

Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained

How did we get from a president that feared God, to a national leadership that places more faith in technology than the favor of God?

America did not get to its present condition of spiritual decay overnight; America died the death of a thousand paper cuts. As can be seen in George Washington’s words, America held the favor of God in high regard at its founding. We openly acknowledged Him and depended on His benevolence for the blessings we had. In order to change a nation from God fearing to a nation that is hostile to God, the nation’s foundation must be destroyed, so when a future Edward Gibbon pens his seminal work about “The History of the Decline and Fall of the American Republic,” there can be no doubt the following points will be included as contributing factors: hijack education, rewrite history, and call what is good evil, and what is evil good. Because space is limited, only give a cursory discussion of each point will be made. An in depth discussion would have to be the subject of future posts.

Hijack education

The educational model used by America was not the same as it is today. If we could go back in time and visit a classroom during the early years of the republic, many would no doubt be shocked to see that the Bible was openly used and discussed in the classroom. The Founders felt that knowing God and the Bible was essential to the development of future generations, and the reason children were taught to read was so they could read the Scriptures for themselves. Their sentiments were expressed in the Northwest Ordinance: “Religion, morality and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” As we can see, the first educational model used in this country had three pillars: Religion, morality, and education. In order to set this nation at variance with God, this educational model must be changed.

The modern educational model focuses only on knowledge, which excludes morality and religion and is fatally flawed. First, knowledge by itself leads to arrogance. Second, without including the God’s faithful instructions of right and wrong, those who learn knowledge may end up using that knowledge to harm society. If we are going to teach anyone skills that could harm society if used incorrectly, then logic demands that education also includes the contributions of religion and morality to restrain the misuse of knowledge. If we deny students the contributions of morality and religion, we end up with students who learn computer skills, but only to use them to hack into other systems for harm. They are not taught why this is wrong and amend their behavior. This is what modern education denies its students. Even when morality and ethics are discussed, they are only based on human reasoning and wisdom (e.g. Peter Singer et al). Ethics and morality that are conceived this way are malleable, arbitrary, and change with the caprices of the times; the Ten Commandments would not be considered as a basis for morality and ethics in an “enlightened” discussion.

The changing nature of manmade morality and ethics make them totally unsuited to the needs of creating a healthy and happy generation. What future generations need to form a solid foundation that will serve them throughout their lives is the unchanging standards of right and wrong found in God’s word. When we depart from that, the result is generations of children who will act out a life that does not include God’s standards of right and wrong. It also denies the very thing they need to succeed in this life and the life to come.

Rewrite history

Another step that must be taken to alienate a nation from God is to rewrite history. The people must be made to forget their true origins and who their ancestors really were. For example, if we were a righteous people, but were persuaded that we were really godless and secular, then we would not fear God and behave as godless and secular people would. It is really a form of identity theft because it robs future generations of the true knowledge of their origins.

The effort to rewrite history began in earnest in the last century, and it was a slow process that did not arouse suspicions among the people. It used a two prong approach that went through academia and the courts. Academics taught their students that we always were a secular nation, and that’s what the Founders intended to give us. This deception also made its way into the law schools and influenced legal thinking, which would later produce the lawyers, judges, and Supreme Court justices who would interpret our laws. It was these Supreme Court justices who would one day write the Everson v. Board of Education (1947) decision that argued “The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.” As time went on and people accepted this doctrine as fact, and subsequent court decisions would be increasingly hostile to religious expression. One of the finest examples of this is Judge Samuel B. Kent’s invective against students who would dare mention Jesus Christ at a high school graduation:

And make no mistake, the court is going to have a United States marshal in attendance at the graduation. If any student offends this court, that student will be summarily arrested and will face up to six months incarceration in the Galveston County Jail for contempt of court. Anyone who thinks I’m kidding about this order better think again….Anyone who violates these orders, no kidding, is going to wish that he or she had died as a child when this court gets through with it.

The apple has fallen a long way from the tree when George Washington warned us we must not think we can endure without God’s favor.

Call what is good evil, and what is evil good

It will also be necessary to rewrite the moral code of a nation to ensure it is alienated from God. The old standards must be thrown out as out of date so the new and enlightened standards can be installed. The moral revisionists searched for and found ways to set aside the commandments of God in favor of the doctrines of men. The very things we call good now would have shocked the generation of my parents and grandparents.

An example of this is how society has evolved on the issue of premarital sex. When society respected God’s rules about sex, blessings followed. But society deviated from those standards and started calling abstinence bad and indulgence good. They stopped telling their children to wait until marriage and argued that “if we know our children are going to do it anyway, we should show them how to do it safely.” This is bad logic from the start because it assumes that our children will have sex before marriage without giving them the benefit of the doubt that they really might want to wait until marriage, but that option is not seriously discussed as a possibility because it is already assumed they will do it. By assuming that our children will have premarital sex, we indirectly give them the expectation that they will do so, and so it is not surprising when children start giving birth to children.

This argument also presupposes that premarital sex can be made safe, as in free of consequences. This is never the case. Even if a child does not get pregnant or contracts a sexually transmitted disease, they are still damaged spiritually. Sexual indulgence hardens the heart and encourages the child to continue sexual activity and disregard God’s warnings about this. The result can include broken hearts and lives, sexual disease, and unplanned pregnancy. Children conceived in these encounters and raised in a single parent household are much more likely to get in trouble with the law. What we need to realize is that it isn’t possible to ever make premarital sex safe because it violates God’s standards and subjects a child to God’s wrath. There is no manmade intervention that can shield them from that and make things “safe.”

We have met the enemy, and they are us

Unless we change, the ruin heaps of the twin towers will become more common in other places as time passes, and Ferguson is an example. The people who engaged in rioting, vandalism, murder, arson, and looting (this is the short list) have justified their works based on a morality that does not include such old fashioned notions as “love your neighbor as

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

yourself” and “love your enemies.” The children raised by teachers who told them we are a godless nation, who gave them no Godly sense of right and wrong, and called good evil and evil good could not express themselves better than what happened in Ferguson. They had no fear of God in their eyes, and their love had grown cold. They have seized hold of Dostoyevsky’s maxim “if God does not exist, then everything is permissible,” and acted accordingly. The enemies of America may not have to lift a finger to defeat us in battle. The whole structure of society has decayed to the point that it will go whirling to destruction all on its own. This may very well be the generation that witnesses the end of the American republic. In that case, our future Gibbon will rewrite the words of the Gettysburg address to reflect the arrogance and pride of this generation:

that we here highly resolve that these dead shall have died in vain, that this nation [that was once] under God shall not have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall perish from the earth.

We have come to the point where our situation resembles Humpty Dumpty’s: “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put America back together again.” The only hope we have to reverse this disaster is national repentance. God faithfully promised that if we turn from our wicked ways and repent, He will heal our land (2 Chron 7: 14). There is no manmade intervention that will heal our nation. We need God’s help. We can have heaps of ruins, or God’s power and intervention to heal our land. Which will it be?

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