As a young Christian I attended a small church that was trying to grow larger. I was, am, and probably always will be a lousy singer. However, when we sang hymns I didn’t hold back. I wanted the Lord to look down and see a group of His wives all singing out their love and praise to Him. I was convinced the Lord, who is the one who gave me my talents (and decided to omit singing skills) wasn’t listening to our voices, He was listening to our hearts. And heartwise, brother, I’m an excellent singer – you should hear me sometime.
Well, the preacher wanted a bigger choir. I was appalled when his appeal to the congregation for more singers was, apparently, made to a bunch of tar-babies. So, willing to serve God and the church any way I could, I raised my hand...and was gladly made a member of the choir.
All was well, and the church membership swelled. More people offered to join the choir. So the preacher asked me to quit; I was no longer needed to make the choir look bigger. I dutifully resigned from the choir, but I knew something was wrong: Churches aren’t about appearances, good singing, big attendance, well-dressed congregations, air conditioning, padded pews, padded kneelers, carpeting, a brightly-lit steeple...or anything else that has to do with physical life on this planet. Churches are about a family of people who all love each other because that relationship is a by-product of their love for the Lord.
If I walk into your church and you all sing a hymn, a cappella, and it’s squeaky, off-key, wrong speed...I mean, just plain awful from a worldly standpoint, I’m going to look at your faces in an effort to see if your hearts are in it. And I’m going to hear your hearts, and I’m going to love your singing.
Congregations are made up of family members of different ages, cultures, backgrounds, wealth, tastes, education, abilities, looks, personalities, and current level of Bible knowledge. (I say current level because I don’t care who you are, if you’re a Christian you need to be one of two things: 1) An expert on the Bible (which simply means able to comfortably have a Bible discussion about any and all doctrines), or 2) actively and earnestly engaged in a program of Bible study that will bring you to doctrinal maturity. If you aren’t one of those two things you need to be in some other church.)
Our choir director and soloist was a man of limited education, a healthy gut, a necktie whose skinny end was longer than the fat end, a wife and 6 kids, clothes that didn’t always match (whoa! I’m gettin’ a bit close to home with that one, brother!), and an apparently not great singing voice. He also loved the Lord (later going out-of-state to become a youth minister), was in church every time the doors opened, volunteered for everything, was a nice guy, humble, and when he sang I heard nothing but sincerity. He was fired as choir director and as soloist. The new soloist was young, very attractive, had a very nice voice, didn’t love the Lord, wasn’t respected by the more mature church members...but made a good impression on visitors. Why are we so worldly that we lose sight of the Lord by focusing on trivial appearances?
One Wednesday night when pewsters got to pick which hymn was sung, I raised my hand and said I wanted to hear the fired male soloist sing Amazing Grace. When I said that, he turned and gave me a look that still touches my heart.
When we go to church we should feel like we’re going home. We should sing out, volunteer, and be humbly honest about our level of maturity, our fears, our Bible learning, and never fear to ask about and/or discuss any and all doctrines. And we should know we’re loved enough by the others that we can be different: It’s OK to be doctrinally young in the Lord, it’s OK to be a lousy singer, it’s OK to have your tie screwed up. If we would develop a proper Biblical relationship with the Lord and get over ourselves our churches would become families of Christians...rather than groups of people who might as well be at Rotary Club meetings.
We’ve already established that I’m not much in the music department. That isn’t to say I don’t use music: The Bible says we are to pray without ceasing. That means we are to be with the Lord always, no matter what we’re doing. If we are, we’ll find it’s very rewarding.
The way music and songs affect me has changed as I’ve matured. Of the three groups of music I like (hymns, marching music, and oldies), hymns have changed the least: Even though I now have a deeper appreciation for some hymns, I still use them to praise the Lord just as I always have.
Marching music has always appealed, in a general way, to the selfless, duty-oriented, devoted-to-the-cause warrior part of me. But over time as I’ve served the Lord, John Philip Sousa (famous writer of marching music) has become a great writer of hymns to me: When those martial strains start up, I stand a little straighter and taller, put my shoulders back, and hold my head up high. In my mind’s eye I’m often back on Worden Field at the Naval Academy, but now I’m marching before the Lord. Brigade! Pass...in...review! Right shoulder...HARMS! Company, fo-hward HAR! Company, eyes RIGHT! And there I am glorifying and honoring my King in a ceremony that actually has deep meaning for me. I am one of many, but we’re all His devoted soldiers. We’re in uniform, highly-trained, and completely in sync. Lovers of peace, but armed and ready for war.
And that brings up a point about why I love marching music. It certainly isn’t because I love war; it’s because I love being part of something larger and grander than I. And I love being among like-minded comrades (that’s a redundancy, but I’m going for emphasis) who are not only combat experts, but are ready and willing to serve anywhere, anytime, and any eternity. Marching music tends to bring out the best in me because in a very big and very real way, it symbolizes the kind of character and the kind of man I want to be.
Secular pop music (oldies but goldies) has lost some of its luster: Since I’ve become a Bible believer many of the words are extremely offensive to me. But because the Lord is always on my mind, some of the words have become hymns to me:
Top of the World: I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I’ve found ever since You’ve been around...
Moon River: ...wherever You’re going I’m going Your way.
Days And Mondays: What I’ve got they used to call the blues:
Nothin’ is really wrong,
Feelin’ like I don’t belong,
but it seems I always wind up here with You.
Nice to know Somebody loves me.
Funny but it seems that it’s the only thing to do,
Run and find The One who loves me.
I Will Always Love You – title says it all.
I won’t Last a Day without You: Day after day, I must face a world of strangers
Where I don’t belong, I’m not that strong.
It’s nice to know that there’s Someone I can turn to
Who will always care, You’re always there.
I could learn to live without the rest; I’ve found the Best.
When there’s no getting over that rainbow,
When my smallest of dreams won’t come true,
I can take all the madness the world has to give,
But I won’t last a day without You.
I’m just using music as an example; if we’re constantly walking with the Lord we can find ways to praise Him everywhere: music, the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees...
And of course, just like there are plenty of offensive words in songs, we can use other offensive things around us by talking to the Lord about them and thanking Him for teaching us how crummy the world really is.
I have tried to use “Today” (this day of preparation) in such a way that I’ll be fairly prepared for the next day, the day of the Lord. I’ll be thrilled if the Lord allows me to assemble with His church on that day. Among the traits, qualities, or characteristics I’ve tried to make part of who I am include charity, discipline, unselfishness, humility, perspective, and cheerfulness. I’ll invent a scenario during the Millennial Reign to illustrate why I mentioned those specific traits.
Three of you Bible-believing comrades (Curly, Larry, and Moe) are standing with me at the beginning of the Millennial Reign. We introduce ourselves and all three of you say, “Wow, comrade, we downloaded The AOR and are so thankful that our Lord has servants like you with ears that hear and a burden to share what you learned with the church.”
The four of us find out the Lord is about to assign jobs to be done during the thousand years. One of us is going to be the king of District 106 (responsible for everything about how society will function); one of us is going to be put in command of District 106’s army (responsible for all matters military and for policing any problems that arise among Gentile servants); another will be in charge of teaching (maintain doctrinal correctness and help all hands mature in the Lord); and one of us will work in the stable (boarding, grooming, shoeing, and feeding horses for the saints, mucking out the stalls, polishing saddles and bridals, and keeping the stable in proper repair).
When the Lord is about to assign the kingship I kind of expect to get the job because didn’t I write AOR? I’m a little surprised when Curly gets the job. But he does strike me as mature and truly dedicated to the Lord.
The generalship goes to Larry. I’m somewhat disappointed because I love all of that selfless devotion to duty stuff. But I also enjoy teaching...and think my Swordbearer ministry might mean I’ll continue that role during the thousand years.
But the Lord makes Moe the teacher. And now I’m shocked and embarrassed because that means I’m going to be the stable boy: A thousand years of horse shit on the soles of my shoes, leather polish staining my hands, and bits of hay, straw, and grain chaff down my shirt!
Not what I expected or hoped for.
When the Lord makes me the stable boy I am perfectly aware of the fact that He knows all about what is going on inside me. But my shock and disappointment dull my brain. I’ve got the sense not to argue or complain, but later when I have time to think about things I’m sorry and embarrassed I didn’t react better inside myself, and I’m sorry I didn’t say something to the Lord that reflected more maturity.
In thinking about it, I realize you guys were better Christians than I. Yeah, I may have been your teacher for a while, but obviously your relationship with the Lord via His word caused you to surpass your teacher (Ps 119:99). I may have been a better talker, but you guys were better walkers. Good for you, and good for the Lord; He deserves the best, and you guys were obviously better wives than I was.
Then I think about my job...and realize being assigned this particular “lowly” job has already been good for me! It has already taught me about some shortcomings in my Christian development and in my relationship with my Husband. And my love for the Lord makes me realize my appreciation for Him has also grown as a result of His knowing exactly what job I needed in order to maximize my growth. This job was the wake-up call I needed, it was a gentle rebuke that has already profited me, and it will continue to help me grow if I’ll continue to be exercised thereby.
Realizing this job is an opportunity, I not only make sure I learn everything about my job and do it superbly, but I also apply my job to the Lord and His church. And in focusing on how to make the Lord and you guys pleased with the kind of stable boy I am, I learn some things I should have already incorporated into my character and outlook.
First, I’m not anybody special; I’m just a cog in the wheel, a servant in a family of servants – many of them already famous in the Bible for being good and faithful servants. If I can manage to keep that perspective in mind it’ll help me be humble enough to actually love the Lord and Curly, Larry, and Moe. When my three brothers got the above three jobs, I should have been pleased for the Lord and for them for two reasons:
1. The Lord knows what He’s doing, so He obviously picked the best men for the jobs. Good for Him. I’m happy for my three brothers; they got good jobs.
2. The Lord knew I needed this job, and I’m determined to please Him with my performance and my attitude. I shall not disappoint Him again. As for me, I’m no longer selfishly disappointed: I’m glad I got this job because I wouldn’t wish it on any of my beloved brothers. It’s much better that I got the job because I not only won’t pout, I’ll be thankful – for a number of reasons – that I got the job.
I wish I’d been mature enough that all of this had already been part of my character. But I was obviously somewhat selfish and immature. So, being exercised by the Lord’s gentle rebuke, I take it to Him in prayer:
“Lord, I’m sorry I was so wrapped up in self when You handed out jobs. I now realize You knew about my selfishness and therefore I subtracted from your joy during that occasion. Please forgive me, Sir. And please help me be sincere when I say I am now thankful for my job, thankful to You for giving it to me, and thankful that for the next thousand years You’re going to know You’ve got a stable boy who is happily mucking out stalls – because no task is onerous to me if it’s done for You and Your church. In fact, I should eagerly welcome onerous and fearful challenges because they are opportunities for me to subdue self and to glory in serving You.
“If I had been a better servant when You gave me my job, I’d not only have accepted it with a cheerful attitude, I’d have thanked You for allowing me to serve You and my brothers.
“Please continue to help me grow during the thousand years so I can be a better wife to You and a better brother to Your church.”
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Over the thousand years I learn more and more about being an unselfish cog in the wheel, and therefore really do begin to prefer you brothers above self, which helps me wholeheartedly serve you – in whatever way I can – to the best of my ability. And through the years, no matter how onerous or fearful the task, I find that my forced cheerfulness morphs first into genuine cheerfulness...and then into an eagerness to serve. And over time I realize my maturing relationship with the Lord, which is based on genuine outward-directed love, is filling me with joy and satisfaction because being an help who is meet for the Lord is what I was created to be. And my selfishness was hindering my relationship with the Lord, causing me to be less of a proper brother to you, and preventing me from having inner happiness and contentment with any job/jobs. I grow increasingly aware that unselfish active love, which is the essence of charity, is fundamental to being a servant and is the key to true happiness and satisfaction.
Therefore whenever you walk into the stable rested and ready to ride out on some new mission in the name of the Lord, and whenever you return to the stable weary to the bone because you gave it your all, as I take your reins and help you dismount it’ll bless my heart to realize, comrades, that we all have the same positive, cheerful, unselfish can-do spirit/Spirit that sustains us during good times and bad, and makes us better understand that we are the corporate body of Christ. And Christ, our Head, will win the war if we members realize that we must ...grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love (Eph 4:15,16). See also 1 Cor 12:14-27.
There is no nobler deed than the unselfish, charitable performance of one’s duty...no matter what that duty is – because it is the unselfishness of charity that makes duty so noble.
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
Let all your things be done with charity.
1 Cor 16:13,14
I’m proud to serve our Head with you comrades, no matter which individual parts of His body we are. And therefore in the Millennial chow hall I’ll be happy to be your ‘straight man’ by saying, “Pass the manna way down here to the foot of the table, please, brother.” And as you pick up the dish and hand it down the line, realizing I’ve given you an opportunity for a ‘shot’ you quip, “Praise the Lord for His manna, comrades! By the way, Len, how’s the weather way down there?”, I’ll rejoice in the fact that we have the kind of comradely bond of love, respect, confidence, and humility that allows all of us to enjoy a hearty, good-natured laugh. One body fitly joined together and edifying itself in love.
I’ll close with a Navy fight song that expresses comradely unselfish devotion to duty – even when the going gets tough:
Shipmates stand together,
don’t give up the ship!
Through fair or stormy weather,
we won’t give up, we won’t give up the ship!
Friends and pals forever,
it’s a long, long trip.
If you have to take a lickin’,
carry on and quit your kickin’:
Don’t give up the ship!
One time when someone angrily asked my wife why I had made such a big deal about something that he’d said, she replied, “Because he zeroes in on inconsistencies.” During a conversation the man had said something that didn’t fit with things he’d said earlier. Incorrectly thinking he knew what he was saying, my mind had derailed: suddenly I was no longer sure what his point was. I naively asked him a simple question, innocently assuming he’d easily set me straight and we could continue. His answer, however, seemed to be another contradiction. As this pattern continued my frustration built up: something was obviously wrong somewhere and until I figured it out I’d never make sense of what he was saying. Fairly quickly I began to suspect he’d made a simple, no-big-deal slip of the tongue, so my questions probed in that direction. His replies made my mounting frustration begin to edge into anger as I increasingly suspected he had been wasting my time from the minute he opened his mouth because he had no idea what he was talking about.
Because he never said something like, “Whoa! Sorry about that; I must have had my head up and locked!”, there was never a point when his honest humility could salve my frustration-fed anger. As my increasingly-pointed questions began to pin him down, his embarrassment caused him to get angry in an effort to bully me into shutting up so he would never have to admit that he’d been wrong.
I always assume the people with whom I speak are normal, honorable people who know whereof they speak...or they wouldn’t do so. I also assume their integrity will cause them to quickly and easily apologize when they misspeak because we all do it all the time – it’s not a big deal to me or to anybody else. My real problem is that when they try to cover up their mistakes I have no idea! I’m still taking them at their word! And therefore I get drawn in deeper and deeper as I try to figure out what they’re saying. Afterwards I often tell myself I’ve learned over and over that people go through life opening their mouths and spewing inconsistent nonsense, and in my disgust I’ve tried to tell myself to remember they don’t care if what they say is true or not, so, no matter how idiotic they are, I should just glaze my eyes and reply, “Hmm, interesting.”
But because truth, being responsible for what we say, consistency, and order are important to me, I stupidly and repeatedly get blindsided because I keep assuming other people are like me.
The fact is, way too many people are airheads for whom order, authority, consistency, and truth mean nothing. A few examples that show how recent society has flip-flopped:
Not long ago many preachers thought it was a sin for a man to enjoy sex with his wife. So they preached that the missionary position should be used in order to minimize the pleasure of both partners. Today we not only hear nothing about the missionary position, we hear nothing about why it was removed from the preaching agenda. Was a memorandum from God, or the state governors, or the denominational chiefs sent out to all churches and Bible schools telling them – with either authority or with Biblical discernment – to stop preaching that sexual pleasure is a sin against God? No. There has never been anything official. But there has been something.
Not long ago most parents spanked their misbehaving children. Today you could go to jail if you do so. And again, this drastic change has not happened because someone in authority researched the issue and made some kind of public decree. But something did happen.
Not long ago society was outraged if a married couple on TV appeared in bed together – even with the top buttons of their heavy flannel pajamas tightly buttoned. So they were always shown in twin beds. Today, it is impossible to watch TV without unmarried men and women appearing naked in beds, cars, on desks, in swimming pools, and up against walls. In fact, married parents on TV are almost extinct – they’re all divorced or never married. How many authoritative memos about sex out of wedlock on TV, and about removing the stigma against divorced people can you find in your attic or in your parents’ old filing cabinets? Surely there was something that brought about these changes?! Oh yes.
Not long ago children were expected to be respectful of adults and to not speak unless they were spoken to. Today...well, my disgust and frustration are mounting, so I’ll just say – again – that something has caused the change...but nothing open or official.
No authority – from God on down to local officials – made any proclamations or decrees that society should begin living the opposite of the way it had been living. The changes are dramatic; why have they not caused an uproar in society as more and more people realize the inconsistencies should make us find out if we are wrong or if our parents were wrong? The same applies to doctrine: why did churches dramatically change doctrine by no longer basing it on what God says literally, and begin basing it on what someone else says?
God literally said: Genesis 2:16,17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying...in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
The world’s first theologian changed it: Genesis 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
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Inconsistencies must bother you; do not stick your head up your ass. The evidence that things are not right/Scriptural is everywhere and undeniable. I’ll get into why these stupid changes happen in the next trumpet, but for now I just want you to analyze yourself to see not only if you’ve been paying attention to societal and doctrinal inconsistencies, but if they’ve bothered you enough to produce frustrated anger.
Inconsistencies are bad, especially in doctrine:
Malachi 3:6 I am the LORD, I change not;
We must learn to zero in on inconsistencies.
The moral and doctrinal inconsistencies in society have, quite simply, been because society cut off its own head. The members of society used to be subjects who were guided by their head/king. But now those subjects are citizens whose collective will rules over their public servants who were elected by the majority of the people.
Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Some quotes before we proceed:
· “The so-called new morality is too often the old immorality condoned.” Lord Shawcross, 1950
· “The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.” Gen. Omar Bradley, 1950 [When I said some nice things to Mrs. Bradley about her elderly husband (who was accompanied by his staff officers) years ago, she looked at me and said, “You have very fine judgment.” I’ve always gotten a kick out of that.]
· “I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” Thomas Carlyle 1850
· “Democracy, I do not concede that ever God did ordain as a fit government either for church or commonwealth. If the people be governors, who shall be governed? As for monarchy and aristocracy, they are both of them clearly approved and directed in Scripture [Proverbs 8:15,16].” Preacher John Cotton 1635
· “We have no warrant in Scripture for democracy. A democracy is the meanest [poorest, lowest] and worst of all forms of government.” Massachusetts Bay Colony lawyer, John Winthrop 1635
As noted in the previous trumpet, it is common for people to lack the type of character that gives them a sense of responsibility for what they say and do. Principles (or Scripture) are not part of who they are, which means they have no moral (doctrinal) absolutes/unchanging standards to keep them from oozing along with the mindless, stinking sludge of society. That kind of sludge-dweller represents the majority of society...and always has:
· Plato taught that most people are stupid. (375 B.C.)
· Francois Voltaire spoke of the “idiocy of the masses.” (1750)
· President George Washington referred to the majority as “the grazing multitude.” (1780)
· President John Adams called U.S. citizens “the common Herd of Mankind.” (1785)
· Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton called the American majority “the unthinking populace.” (1785)
· President Thomas Jefferson said most Americans were “hackneyed rascals.” (1790)
· Other terms they used included “cattle,” “Idiots,” “a mist of ignorance,” and “the unthinking mob.”
The U.S. Founding Fathers therefore put their faith in the public school system, which was supposed to – through education – turn “the idiotic masses” into “the intellectual masses.” But it didn’t work. And the idiotic masses make up the huge bottom portion of the social pyramid, which makes them effectively the ruling portion of our democratic system. In other words, Thomas Carlyle was not just being an arrogant elitist when he correctly disputed democracy’s foundational philosophy that you get collective wisdom from the unthinking majority – educated or not.
Most people – in practice – no longer think they have to know what they’re talking about: You’ve had plenty of conversations with people (some professing to be Christians) during which they tried to overrule your quoting the Bible with some utter nonsense that made you agree with the above Founding Fathers. In fact, to illustrate that even educated people have little regard/respect for truth, and are blinded by the democratic arrogant elitist notion that ignorant opinions should actually be respected, I’ll tell you about two conversations I had with a medical doctor in the space of an hour.
In the first conversation, whenever the doctor overruled some Biblical point I’d made, I’d pin her down by demanding, “From what authoritative source did you learn that?” To which she invariably replied either, “That’s what I believe” or “That’s my opinion.” And then she’d fault me for loudly and adamantly demanding to know her source. I got so exasperated that I allowed the subject to change to other things in order to hoist her on her own petard.
After a while, I casually began the second conversation by asking a question about something that had been in the news: “Did you hear that most babies delivered by Caesarean section are born on Tuesdays because the doctors don’t want to take a chance that they’ll be called in from their Wednesday golf games to deliver babies?” “Yes, that’s terrible”, she agreed. And then I set my trap with this nonsense: “Did you know that most birthing fatalities of the mothers are the result of Caesarean sections: Those dopey doctors don’t know the intestines are in the way of Caesareans, and when they cut their way through the intestines in order to get to the baby, they’re spreading filth throughout the abdominal cavity, which gets infected and the mothers die of peritonitis.” “What!”, she demanded with incredulity. “Yeah, incredible, isn’t it?”, I said. “What?! That’s impossible!”, she loudly protested. I told her it was happening all over the country – mostly on Tuesdays. When she loudly demanded to know what authoritative source I got it from, I decided to give her some more rope by ignoring her demands and continuing with my mindless drivel as if I knew what I was talking about. And then she stood, leaned over the coffee table, pointed her finger at me, and screamed, “Where’d you get that?!”
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I looked up at her with an insipid smile and said sweetly and innocently, “It’s just my opinion.” Her eyes and mouth slowly widened as she realized I’d used her as the bait to trap her into making a fool of herself. She was furious, and gave me the silent treatment.
A review of what happened will illustrate why I used the word blinded above when describing most people:
· She knew I knew the Bible and she knew she didn’t. In spite of that fact, she – incredibly – insisted that her ignorant opinion that contradicted the Bible should be treated with respect. That shows blindness and arrogance.
· She knew I was largely ignorant about medical practices (and, apparently, basic anatomy!) and she knew she knew what she was talking about. But she was unwilling to tolerate my ignorant opinion. That reveals her to be not only inconsistent, but hypocritical.
· She is intelligent; but her intelligence was dumbed down by Self (what she thought was right) to the point that she not only couldn’t see her idiocy, her inconsistency, her unfounded arrogance, and her hypocrisy, but when all of that became undeniably obvious she got furiously silent and never apologized.
When modern apostate Christians try to discuss matters with Bible believers, they are unaware of how ignorant, unbelieving, inconsistent, arrogant, and hypocritical they appear. Even if the Bible believer isn’t as intelligent or as educated as the apostates around him, his foundation of proper doctrine gives him the clarity, consistency, and understanding that put him far above the well-intentioned-but-childish rhetoric of those who do that which is right in their own eyes.
In sum, society is – blindly and without foundation – abandoning the old ways and saying – with thoughtless disrespect – the ways of their own parents and grandparents are now bad and wrong. And Christians are doing the same thing by saying God’s word is no longer inspired and inerrant. And if you ask them if they know what they’re talking about, they’ll sweetly gaze at you through two OFF flags and say, “It’s just my [ignorant] opinion.”
“A society is doomed when opinions are respected more than truth.”
Len Smith 1990 (From the Wallpaper’s Motivational page Quotations)
How do we make sense of the methods of punishment the Lord has used? Well, we start by understanding the Bible is perfect, and is a perfect instructional tool when combined with study, doing the word, and the opening of our understanding by the Holy Spirit. Let’s see what we might discern about punishment when we apply the above to the Old Testament era and the New Testament era – including the Millennial Reign.
OLD TESTAMENT PUNISHMENT
When individuals sinned God frequently punished more than just that person. Two examples:
In this first example notice that David sinned (even when Joab advised him not to), but God punished the church. Interestingly, David reasoned with God and, because David was the transgressor and God’s sheep were innocent, asked Him to spare the church by only punishing David’s family! Today we would think it made no sense for a convicted felon’s innocent family to be imprisoned or executed along with him.
1 Chron 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
3 And Joab answered...but...why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? [To Israel? What did Joab know that the modern church doesn’t?]
7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. [Obviously Joab understood something that we’ve missed.]
8 And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing...
14 So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. [!]
17 And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father’s house [!]; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.
In this next example we see something very similar:
Joshua 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan...took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.
7 And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought...us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us?
10-12 And the LORD said unto Joshua...Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant...for they have even taken of the accursed thing...and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you [plural; the church] any more, except ye [plural, the church] destroy the accursed from among you [plural; the church].
20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:
24 And Joshua, and all Israel [plural; the church] with him, took Achan...and his sons, and his daughters [!]...and all that he had: and they [plural; the church] brought them [plural; Achan’s family] unto the valley of Achor.
25 ...And all Israel stoned him [the collective him refers to Achan’s family] with stones, and burned them [the family] with fire, after they had stoned them [plural] with stones.
In the OT God tended to punish nations and families (which represent the church) for the sins of kings and fathers. He did that to teach His people the importance of the corporate body of Christ acting as one. For example, when Achan screwed up at Ai, he introduced leaven to the body; when King David sinned, the whole body of believers suffered. That method of punishing the whole body was used because under the patriarchs Adam, Noah, and Abraham the body of Christ was united as a family and as the nation of Israel. That unity made it easy for everybody to know what was going on (such as with David’s public sin and with Achan’s secret sin) and to realize they were suffering (from plagues and from casualties in combat) because a member of the church introduced leaven to the corporate body of God’s people, which caused God to punish them (plural) so they’d learn that their “secret sins” weren’t harmless because the whole body was affected/infected.
NEW TESTAMENT PUNISHMENT
Because the Bible is consistent, the same thing happens in the NT – kind of. Let me begin my explanation by contradicting myself: The same thing doesn’t happen – in practice – in the NT because the church is no longer physically united via physical patriarchs and physical kings and nations. Today we saints are widely scattered around the world, which means if God punished you for my sins none of us would know about it and learn from it. So today, in general, we are punished as individuals. But the Lord wants us to be able to figure out the big picture, and the big picture is identical to that during the OT: Our “individual” sins hurt the body of Christ because if my hand steals your wallet my whole body gets thrown into jail:
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1 Cor 6:15-20: Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Therefore, our Bible studies teach us to learn about how our sins affect the body of Christ; but we don’t have any way (in most cases) to actually see God punish the whole body. A local exception (sometimes) can be local churches when the preacher – in his capacity as a type of the Good Shepherd – administers church discipline when some pewster stubbornly sins and doesn’t repent. Those aren’t good examples, though, because only the one sinner is punished – not the whole congregation.
We need to ask ourselves: What was God’s purpose during the OT when He inflicted such seemingly-harsh punishments to vast numbers of innocent Christians? Before we get to the answer we need to apply what we learn in the Bible. For example, we just read 1 Cor 6 above. Therefore if we believe what we read we understand that they were not innocent – because David’s sin and Achan’s sin made them all harlots who deserved their punishment! That is scary, and very sobering. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God because He is, indeed, an iron-fisted General trying to get a bunch of slovenly, lazy soldiers to wake up, shape up, and lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus who authored the NT’s rearguard tactics because the good saints in the Bible who went before us cannot be made perfect without us. I say again, let’s not be a bunch of harlots!
And now we answer the previous paragraph’s question: God was “harsh” for a very good reason – leaven was causing the church to go apostate very rapidly, and He wanted to keep as many saints as far from apostasy as possible. That’s not a surprising answer, but I only brought it up because I want to ask a follow-up question: Does the fact that God isn’t using those public-and-dramatic punishments today mean He doesn’t care about us? No, it doesn’t mean that; nothing has changed:
· God’s OT punishments were to shew His people (and as we saw, Joab paid attention) that individual sins are not “individual” – they affect the entire church!
o We don’t have those spectacular punishments to teach us that “individual” sins affect the entire church – so God plainly spelled it out for us in 1 Cor 6...we just have to believe what we read in His holy word!
· God’s OT punishments were to shew His people the necessity to avoid the “accursed thing” – lest they get infected and incur His wrath.
o We no longer have God’s spectacular punishments to scare us away from leaven – so God has plainly ordered us to use NT tactics to keep us from foolishly thinking we should “go in among them and touch the unclean thing”.
The OT saints tended to fail to remember and apply God’s spectacular lessons such as plagues, parting waters, and fire from heaven. We NT saints are blessed because we have the Lord’s lessons and reminders and explicit orders plainly written down. I say again, we don’t have to figure out what the fire from heaven is supposed to teach us; all we have to do is believe what we read. The fact that most Christians today do not pay attention to what is written (which is better than miracles) is no surprise to us, because, once again, the Bible plainly tells us:
Luke 16:31 ...If they hear not Moses and the prophets [the written word of God], neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Another question: Since God’s dramatic church-wide OT punishments obviously indicate how seriously contagious and harmful leaven was to the OT church, what lesson should we learn when we apply that fact? Answer: We should be as fearful as the OT saints should have been. We should not only “walk away” from apostates after one or two admonitions because the Lord obviously thinks their leaven is so dangerous, but we should consider if our not shunning apostates means we’re already leavened. And if we are leavened members in danger of making the corporate body of Christ an harlot, is it possible that we, like Matt Seven, have already been unknowingly amputated from the church because – as our refusal to walk away demonstrates – we are not proper doers of the word of God because our subverted brains think doing what God says isn’t necessary?
I say this quietly, with deadly earnest, and without macho bravado, brother: This war we’re in is not going well. Therefore, deep within our inner sanctums we need to gird our loins against what so many of our subverted brethren are doing out there, and we need to walk very circumspectly in accordance with Thus saith the Lord. And we need to help each other by clearly sounding the trumpet, the alarm of war; and by
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...exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:25-31)
Now I’ll get to why I said earlier, the same thing (group punishment) happens in the NT.
During the Millennial Reign the entire church will be together for the first time in history. I think it’s highly possible that the Lord will administer similar punishments to the whole body or to certain sections of the body when certain individuals commit certain sins. The Lord will resume that OT type of punishment because we’ll once again be united and will know each other. The OT punishments were intended to shew the corporate body of believers that we really are united – and what we do really does affect the church.
If we are going to be accounted worthy to be in the assembly of saints on the Day of the Lord, we can presume/hope we’ll be discerning enough and unselfish and disciplined enough to properly repent and to charitably help each other learn and grow so we can function properly and efficiently as one body – many members all faithfully, reliably, and lovingly walking together under the Headship of Christ. Therefore, the Lord may be able to use comparatively mild (compared with some of the times in the OT) group punishments to get all of our attention so we can straighten up and fly right.
The Lord has given us the Bible as a schoolteacher, and the NT is the key that unlocks the OT. God gave us local church discipline and 1 Cor 6 so we could compare them with OT examples (such as David and Achan) in order to perhaps be better prepared for being held accountable during the Millennial Reign for our actions: When we as individuals treat God and His saints properly, the church benefits; when we as individuals don’t, the church suffers. I think we’ll need some practice, and that means when the Lord applies the rod of correction we’ll need to have the kind of proper repentant attitude David had.
How do we profit from these Bible lessons? By understanding that our dedicated service as individuals is important for the whole church. We must learn and grow by applying the words in the Bible to everything in life. And if we properly get Self under control, we just may be able to better help other members of the church. (Don’t forget the fact that our being proper doers gets the Comforter involved...but if we’re Achans the whole church suffers.) If we as Bible believers who are now widely-scattered around the globe will realize we’re not really alone, that we really are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, and if we’ll realize that by striving to be faithful individual wives to the Lord while it is Today, we’ll be better prepared for when we meet each other Tomorrow during the seventh day and work together to deal with the challenges and stumblingstones we’ll face as we learn how to glorify God by being His one body made up of wives who were meet for Him and who did not take His name upon themselves in vain.
There are times when I get flashes of insight that show me how deep and involved certain aspects of Christianity are, such as: Faith and belief (what they are, where they originate, how they grow, etc.); love (this one is extremely complex because it involves emotions but should not be confused with and by emotions, but it is so important and foundational to Christianity); and the body of Christ (it truly is a living organism, and as such has many, many layers, members, and interrelated parts).
Sometimes the flashes of insight produce wonder and awe when some of the big picture of God’s kingdom and its beauty, its consistency, and its truth come into sharper focus. And there are times when I get humbling glimpses at how much I can’t yet see and don’t fully understand: I am but one member, one clay pot, one lowly servant in a vast and glorious kingdom.
When I see myself and my knowledge and understanding in relation to the vast intricacy of a kingdom that I can only faintly see as through a glass darkly, and I realize the “in part” of “now I know in part” (1 Corinthians 13:12), I am struck with so much humility that I can actually feel the fear in it. And that element of fear in humility makes me think of the dad in Mark 9.
As all interrogators know, fear is an effective way to get to truth. If we fear God our apologies, confessions, and conversations with Him will have more humble truth in them than they would otherwise. When the dad in Mark 9 wanted the Lord to help his boy, and the Lord tied His help to belief, the dad, with tears of desperation cried out, “Lord, I believe.” But then his fear made him humbly add this admission/confession: “help thou mine unbelief.”
Mark 9:23,24 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
That Scripture has affected my prayers: For decades I have often, when telling the Lord, I believe, added, help Thou mine unbelief. And when saying, I love You, I often add, help me love You.
Because you and I love the Lord we want to serve Him properly. But we are mere clay vessels who only see through a glass darkly, therefore we need to have the Mark 9 dad’s fear-induced truthful humility so we can realize that this war, the Romans 7 conflict between our old man and our new, the deceitfulness of our own hearts, and our limited understanding of so much can and will confuse, blind, and lead us astray if we aren’t careful to always walk circumspectly by not straying from the strait gate:
Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
This may be a good time to remind you to beware of theology. Theology is not based on faith in God, the inerrancy of His word, the things He has said about His word, fear, humility, truth, Biblical love, etc. It is based on mankind’s instinctive, traditional, well-intentioned reliance on the Greek philosophers’ Reason; an un- and anti-scriptural belief in the necessity of the Enlightenment; a pride-based hope that we see as through a clear pane of glass; and the foolish notion that our knowledge of the above wondrous mysteries of so much is complete enough and definite enough that we now have the ability to – without authority – mess with things that are way above our pay grade. I say again, brother: beware of theology:
Matthew 7:13 ...for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
The strait gate is actually pretty simple to identify if we have eyes that see and ears that hear. (But that’s a big if because there is so much that can get Self to go confidently striding through the wide gate.) The strait gate requires a love-based desire to glorify God, the dad’s fear-based humble honesty so we can admit that we’re merely servants who are ignorant of so much, and the belief to actually be the Lord’s humble servants.
And now I get to the “simplicity” in the title. This is the part where I repeat something I’ve said so many times, will say so many more times, and will never stop saying: Never let anything distract you from the fact that we have been given the second birth because God wants servants. Our job is to do what He says. We’re not here to be smart; we’re here to be lowly, humble, fearful doers of His written word. If we will keep our noses in His Book, and if we keep our feet walking exactly where it says, our Good Shepherd will take care of the rest. We must by faith actually and really believe that...because if we don’t we are going to be sidetracked.
The good news is the Lord rewards our being humble doers of His word by giving us growth, which includes knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. That growth reaffirms the fact that being an obedient servant of His written word is in fact the strait gate, and it allows us to have occasional glimpses inside ourselves when we see the carnal darkness, ignorance, pride, fear, and weakness that tempt us to go astray. When we glimpse the filthy, empty, unworthiness of Self, we must use it to remind ourselves to be His sheep, and to be careful not to stray from His little flock. And we must learn as rapidly as possible from our sins that, while being a doer of His word is a simple concept, in practice this war is deadly and deceptive...and there are many casualties.
In AOR we’ve already learned why brides basically lose their own identities by taking their husband’s name. The bride, having none of her own authority, is trusted to exercise her husband’s authority with great judgment, responsibility, and care by doing everything in his name.
In olden days women better understood the importance of their husbands’ names. When a wife ordered a couple of hired hands to accompany her to town to help her load supplies, they replied, “Yes, Mrs. Jones.” They were acknowledging and submitting to her position as John Jones’ head servant. (I can’t help but think of Abraham’s head servant being sent on the important errand of finding a wife suitable for Isaac. A head servant was respected and trusted and was a close confidant.)
In town when the bill was presented to Mrs. Jones, she was careful to sign it as Mrs. John Jones in order to officially signify that she was acting under his authority and on his behalf. She’d never brazenly sign as Jane Jones because women were helpers, servants, with none of their own authority – no matter how many capabilities and qualities they may have had.
The Bible says we are to do everything for the glory of God in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s one of the reasons we pray in Jesus’ name. But because we live in a modern unscriptural society in which women have been liberated from their Biblical roles, more and more Christians have no knowledge of the above Bible-based history of why women took their husbands’ names upon themselves (including the fact that Eve came from Adam) and why they signed official paperwork as Mrs. John Jones.
But I’m going to look at another forgotten aspect (including the fact that we came from Him) of our doing things in Jesus’ name – humility.
We have the honor and responsibility of being His espoused brides. But I fear tradition and habit have made us automatically and lightly end our prayers with those familiar words without understanding their gravity. As we mature in our Christian walks we may have a tendency to think of ourselves as “good Christians” whose prayers and actions are viewed favorably by God. In other words, without being aware of it, pride sneaks in and, like the praying Pharisee, makes our prayers abominations – no matter how proper the words are.
Whenever we say in Jesus’ name we must remember why it is necessary that we do so: We are sinful, mortal abominations with none of our own authority in God’s eyes...unless we humbly let Him know that we understand we are nothing without the righteousness and authority of Christ. We are His brides, and we’re proud to humbly act as His obedient servants who live to carry out His will.
So let’s try to remember that the words in Jesus’ name should connote some respectful fear on our part, which will serve to remind us to be careful that our words and deeds should never be taken lightly. We should never get full of ourselves and forget our roles as His servants who – having none of our own prerogatives, authority, and worth/righteousness – do everything fearfully and circumspectly in order to ensure that we are, indeed, glorifying God in accordance with his written word...and in His glorious name.
Luke 18:9-14 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
The title quote is attributed to Stephen Decatur. Even though I don’t especially like the word or concept of “principles” because it seems too secular, I do use the word for ease of communication. And I’ve always liked the quote because it says there are things more important than self. Or perhaps a better way to word it is to say the quote means we should never sacrifice our integrity in order to take an easier path.
TV shows often depict lawyers advising their innocent clients to use their plea as a bargaining tool: if they plead guilty to a lesser charge they’ll spend less time in jail if they are wrongly convicted in a trial. That has always bothered me because it suggests a weakness of character; a lack of dedication to purity, to principles. The sinless client is being asked to become a sinner – a liar – in order to make his life easier.
We are the sum of our deeds: a good tree does not produce evil fruit. Therefore, a good Christian would rather be imprisoned as an innocent man (like Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon), than become a liar in order to take the easy road. That’s because a good Christian knows he, as Christ’s bride, is doing things in Jesus’ name, and if he becomes a liar he is threatening to make the body of Christ a harlot:
1 Corinthians 6:15,16 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
Our “principles” are the teachings of the Bible, and they must become who we are. If we don’t know the Bible we are neither following nor glorifying its Author; we’re following somebody else – usually self.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times the heartache the Lord suffers because of His wives and children – us. I want to see if I can articulate some of that pain. Thoughtfully read the following verses.
Zechariah 13:6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Psalm 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
Psalm 55:12-15 For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.
Matthew 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
One clue as to the depths of our Lord’s hurt is the underlined part above: The Lord hid/isolated/protected Himself from His enemies...but not from His beloved. And if He had been hurt by His enemies He could have borne it. That means the hurt He suffers as a result of the rebellion in His own household is unbearable.
Because you and I are not pure we cannot fully appreciate the depths of the Lord’s love for His children. God’s pure love is idealistically optimistic and naively trusting (if I may be allowed to use words that apply to humans in an attempt to understand His hurt)...and therefore He is extremely vulnerable, unprotected, and unprepared for the kind of emotions that blindsided Him when Lucifer turned against Him. Even if we look at the pain caused by Lucifer’s independence/rejection of authority/rebellion from the standpoint of authority alone, we get a glimpse of the Lord’s hurt: Every time Satan does another thing on his own it deeply hurts the Lord because 1) it’s not right; 2) it offends the authority and righteousness that are who God is; 3) because of what love is, and because we are members of God’s corporate body, part of God Himself feels like it has been ripped away...leaving an emptiness, an ache.
Because of the modern democratic appeal of independence and its accompanying resentment of authority, we tend to ignore how a breakdown of authority affects God. God is the Head. He created the members of His body because He loves them and therefore He will take good care of them because He wants to father them, to husband them. Members of a body need the head, whether they understand that important fact or not. You and I need the Lord to take care of us. (And according to John 14 He will come to us and Comfort us if we demonstrate our love for Him by submitting to His Headship by being doers of His word.) But when we are carnal, when we are independent, we are acting like we don’t need Him, don’t appreciate Him, and don’t love Him. When He sees us go through our daily routines without Him it hurts Him very deeply because He wants to be needed (as in wives who want His love) and He wants to be needed (as in servants who value His help and guidance). During our days when we selfishly and blithely “forget” Him and proceed independently we are demonstrating that those two needs are not full-time parts of our relationship with Him. In practice, therefore, we are expecting Him to be our servant. I say again, we expect Him to stand by and wait for whenever we snap our fingers to signify that it’s now convenient for Him to join us and listen to our prayers, help us, and in other ways carry out our wills. All of that stuff may seem trivial to us, but they hurt and offend Him very deeply because of His absolute authority and because of His pure and absolute love. I think Stonewall Jackson’s love for the Lord and his servant’s humility made him understand the importance of always being with God...as demonstrated by the fact that whenever he entered a building he inwardly prayed, “Lord, won’t You come in with me?”
God lived with Lucifer. Then He regularly visited with Adam in the garden. Then He rarely spoke with Abraham and Moses. Then He spoke through the prophets. And now He only speaks with us through His Scriptures. The hurt He suffers when He is blithely ignored and selfishly hated by His own loved ones may have caused that progression of withdrawing from us more and more. He can’t bear the hurt. I say again: He doesn’t hurt because of the drunks, the liberals, and the queers; He hurts because of the beloved members of His own household. And when it hits home, brother, it hits hard: our Lord God hurts!
These verses are a bit cryptic to me, but they convey some of the aloneness and hurt that we, the members of God’s own household, caused the Lord to – dare I say – expect from us:
John 2:23-25 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
Lucifer’s rebellion and our carnality hurt the Lord because He did nothing wrong, He did everything right, He has always done everything for Lucifer’s/our good, and He has done it all with a pure and giving love (charity). There is simply no excuse or justification for God’s people to be so hateful to Him. There is a reason for hate – self. As we discussed in Trumpet Alpha 2, true love is unselfish. Therefore hate is based on self. Therefore all rebellion and hate are results of covetousness and are idolatry.
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When Job received word that his family, livestock, and property had been killed, stolen, and destroyed, and when he was covered with sore boils, he bemoaned the day he was born, longed for a death that wouldn’t come, and said the following:
Job 3:25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
As horrible as Job’s suffering was, I believe the Lord suffers more, and I’ll again use His love for His beloved Lucifer as an example.
When a loved one dies, the survivor’s grief gradually fades and is replaced by fond memories triggered by mementos, certain events, smells, sounds, etc...memories of good times when life was as it should be. But in the Lord’s case, Lucifer didn’t die, he hated Him. When Lucifer, filled with the evil notion of equality, rose up and began thinking and doing independently of God, he was being carnal – which is violent enmity against God. If Lucifer had died the Lord would have been able to look back with fond memories at times when life was as it should be (looking at it from our human perspective).
But Lucifer didn’t die, he rebelled against his Lord, he became a traitor, he hated the Lord. And by doing so he robbed God of His fond memories. Those memories were no longer idyllic, they were bitter reminders that the old “togetherness” was shallow or false because the relationship was not based on true love (again, as in A2) because Lucifer’s love was not selfless, which blocked his lane of the “two-way street” (Trumpet Bravo 10) and held onto the “last room of Self” (Alpha 7), which underscores how pernicious Self is to all good, proper, and true relationships...and is why we are told to die to self.
The Lord’s experience with Lucifer shows that being hated by someone you love is worse than if that loved one had died. The Lord’s love makes Him more vulnerable and more susceptible to hurt whenever His love is rejected, not shared. Our selfish sins put our Lord in more agony than Job suffered.
The fact that Lucifer was and is supposed to be the Lord’s submissively obedient servant only adds to the Lord’s hurt. Every day that goes by, and every single thing Lucifer does is carnal, it is enmity against authority, against the way life ought to be. The very act of being independent of God’s authority is a reminder that Lucifer is actively and constantly and uncaringly living in a state of hatred for the Lord, and it is rebellion and defiance against His authority. In other words, for a servant to not be walking together with his lord via cheerful submissive obedience is a lot worse than we modern clueless apostates think: because of what authority is, carnality/selfishness, independence/indifference, and rebellion/hatred are parasites as long as the rebel lives because they suck the order, the peace, and the happiness from the life of the authority. That’s why the Bible is absolutely right and good and correct when it says:
Romans 13:1,2 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
That is one of the reasons God created the lake of fire: He knows the death of those He loves is preferable to allowing them to live despising, ignoring, or being indifferent to Him.
Another verse worth thinking about in the context of this subject is Proverbs 15:17, which is helpful not merely because it states the simple truth that being in the presence of someone who hates you ruins everything, but because of the sorrow, the betrayal, and the hurt behind that truth:
Proverbs 15:17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
Because God exists, and because there is no God else besides Him, the order established by His authority/existence makes wholehearted submissive obedience on our parts not only right and good, but actually necessary if we are to survive...because God Almighty cannot allow parasitic hate to ruin His life.
I think the word wound is a good one to describe the type of pain Lucifer inflicted when he turned away from God. God has very deep wounds. They aren’t fatal; but they are incurable. Because of who He is the pain will always be with Him. That’s why the lake of fire exists. Can He use the lake of fire to wall-off His hurt? I hope so: I hope His unrequited love and His undeserved hurt won’t forever be shading His joy, happiness, and satisfied content. But I fear they might last forever because His love (and therefore His pain) is based on pure, unchanging, eternal principles – not on the self-based ever-changing emotions that are passed off as love today.
Well, perhaps because this topic is so broad, and perhaps because it is directly related to concepts or principles such as authority and righteousness, and perhaps because mere words cannot describe the emotional, gut-wrenching agony of being hated and not needed by someone you love, I’ve lost my sense of direction with this trumpet. I began writing it because I was in one of those moments when I could empathize with some of the Lord’s pain, and I wanted you to think about how much He hurts so you could minister to Him. My inability to adequately articulate this subject probably shows that I can only see through a glass darkly, that I know only in part.
Rather than wander, I’ll bug out. But in closing, let’s remember how much our carnality hurts our Lord. If we love Him, avoiding carnality by walking with discernment and obedient submission is the considerate thing to do. Carnality is self-based independence and rebellion. It is hatred. It is wrong, unjustified, extremely painful for Him, and – in every way – inexcusable. And yet...He forgives us. Oh, the greatness, the purity – and the pain – of His love! His love for us makes Him hurt more when we don’t love Him back. So for His sake let’s love Him in the proper and fullest meaning of the word.
|WOUNDED BY HIS OWN HOUSEHOLD
|MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE
|MUSIC TO MY EARS
|CHEERFULLY SITTING AT THE FOOT OF THE TABLE
|EVERY MAN DID THAT WHICH WAS RIGHT IN HIS OWN EYES
|Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me:
PUNISHMENT ON THE SEVENTH DAY
|THE WONDER AND THE SIMPLICITY
|IN JESUS’ NAME
|“WHEN PRINCIPLE IS INVOLVED, WE MUST BE DEAF TO EXPEDIENCY”
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