|On-Line Bible Lessons|
Pastor Ovid Need
We are living in a day when men and women are traveling the country and making a good living at revealing conspiracies. The word of God has some principles concerning this, also. In this lesson we want to point out some of these principles concerning Deut. 18:13. These are brought out in "The Institutes of Biblical Law", pg. 556-565. This is badly needed in our day. Please take the time to read it even though there are no questions in this lesson.
This passage, 18:13, requires that we walk with Him in sincerity and wait for God. We have no business trying to pry into the future. Of course, Matt. 6 clearly presents this also. God's law is our means of predicting the future. As we walk according to His revealed word He will bless us, and, really, this is all the assurance we need.
False prophets will arise which will try to speak in terms other than God's law. As God's people remove themselves from God's authority over their every action they open themselves up to these false teachers and charlatans. I think this is one reason "Christians" are so easily swept up to follow the "Consumer Oriented Religions" of our day.
Notice what was to be done to the false prophets, 18:20. Really, we have a choice, either put away the false prophet or the church, christian or society which tolerates him will die. II Jn. covers this well. Even we as individuals are not to tolerate false doctrines. In time, they will win our hearts.
The false prophet here used magic, sacrifice, divination and other rites to predict. To do this is to believe that real and ultimate power belongs some place other than in God. It involves belief that Satan is the ultimate power.
We read of the temptation of Christ in Matt. 4:8-20. In this temptation, satan sought two things. First, he asked Jesus to admit the rightness of his rebellion. He wanted Christ to affirm that the creature had a legitimate right to independence from his Creator. Christ absolutely refused to give any moral justification at all to satan's attempt.
"Second, satan claimed a world power that was not his to claim or to give. A fundamental premise of the law-word is that "the earth is the LORD'S" (Ex. 9:24; Deut. 10:14; Ps. 24:1; I Cor. 10:26). Satan neither rules it nor holds title to it, nor can he give it to anyone." If Christ had done what satan offered it would be God, Himself, recognizing this unjust claim. Too bad we do.
Gen. 3 shows us that Adam and Eve were guilty before God of rebellion. They made matters worse by placing the blame on someone else: the serpent and the woman. The guilt of satan made no difference to the fact that Adam and Eve were guilty of their own sin.
The Marxist answer to Gen. 3 is given by Lincoln Steffens (pg. 561). "You want to fix the fault at the very start of things. Maybe we can, Bishop (He is addressing a group which contained William Mulholland, The Episcopal Bishop). Most people, you know, say it was Adam. But Adam, you remember, he said that it was Eve, the woman: she did it. Eve said no, no, it wasn't she; it was the serpent. That's where you clergy have stuck ever since, you blame the serpent, satan. Now I come and I am trying to show you that it was, it is, the apple."
"It was, it is the apple." This is a denial of the personal responsibility clearly given in scriptures. Sad to say, Steffens had their number. Today we say, "It is a disease". Far too many church men have laid the foundation for a doctrine of satanic determinism, control of history. We can call this the conspiracy theory.
The scriptures clearly teach the fact of conspiracies. Ps. 2 is the best statement of their reality, but this Psalm also underscores their uselessness. God laughs at the conspiracies and invites His people to share in His laughter.
Conspiracies only prosper when moral order declines. Criminals of all kinds have always been with us. Only when Christians fail in their obligations to their God do they prosper, II Chron. 7:14. Only as Christendom went into moral decline after the 13th century did these criminal secret societies begin to abound.
"But those who bear false witness, who ascribe to satan
powers which belong only to God, are not content to recognize
that conspiracies exist. They go much further. First, they ascribe
to conspiracies a moral order and a discipline which is an impossibility.
Satan cannot construct or create; he is merely a destroyer, a
murderer, and he has power only to the extent that we forsake
the power of God. The Soviet Union, to cite an international conspiratorial
government, is a cor&SHY;rupt, bubbling, and radically incompetent
agency. It has required the repeated aid of other countries plus
imperialistic looting in order to survive. The Hoover relief of
the 20's, the Roosevelt recognition of the 30's and continuing
proppings have kept it alive. The communist problem is not their
evil power and ability but rather the steady moral collapse of
Christian churches and nations, and their radical apostasy.
Second, the power of evil is weak and limited; it is under God's control and is His scourge of the nations. The weakness of evil conspiracies means that they can normally only occupy a vacuum. The roots of Soviet power are in the moral decay of Russia and its Kenotic Christianity; the Soviet victories in the Baltic countries are due to the morally compromised position of the Western Allies, who sold these countries out.
Third, the key to overcoming evil conspiracies is not a concentration on evil but godly reconstruction. One of the sins Jesus Christ condemned in some members of the church at Thyatira was their concern with studying "the depths of Satan," which can be translated as "exploring the deep or hidden things of Satan" (Rev. 2:24). The non-Christian conservative movements are radi&SHY;cally given to studying or exploring the deep things of Satan, as though this were the key to the future.
Fourth, implicit in all this is the belief, as noted, in satanic determination, which makes of these conservatives staunch Satanists. To deny the sovereign power of conspiracies is one of the surest ways of antagonizing many of the people, who will then argue with religious passion for the sovereign, predestining power of Satan. They will insist that every national and interna&SHY;tional act is a carefully planned and manipulated conspiracy, all governed by a master plan or plot, and a secret master council. That the plotters and plants exist, and are many, can be granted, but the Christian must hold to their futility. They rage in vain; they "imagine a vain thing" when they plot together against the Lord and His anointed (Ps. 2:1, 2).
To blame the world's evils, and to ascribe the world's government, to hidden
satanic conspiracies is to be guilty of false witness against God. It is comparable to resorting to magic, witchcraft, or human sacrifice. It denies that God only is the source of prediction and ascribes power and predictions to Satan instead.
Power is based on a faith, a philosophy. When the faith or philosophy behind a culture begins to die, there is a shift of power. Today, because Christian faith has wanted and has become an&SHY;tinomian, it cannot maintain or create a law- order. As a result, ancient criminal impulses and movements grasp at power. The key to displacing these grasping evil powers is not a study of the deep things of Satan, nor a belief in their power, but godly reconstruction in terms of Biblical faith, morality, and law. For many non-Christian conservatives, the test of a true conservative is simply this: Does he believe in the existence, plan, and power of the conspirators, call them what you will? This test is a satanic one: it holds almost as much danger to society, if not more, as does the belief that the apple is to blame, i.e., as economic determinism. It is a form of Moloch worship. God confronted Adam and Eve in Eden with their responsibility; Nathan declares to David, "Thou art the man" (II Sam. 12:7).
The Biblical position involves not only an affirmation of man's essential responsibility, but it also declares that God alone is the almighty one, and He alone predestines and governs all things. To ascribe to conspiracies a power, discipline, and government of the past, present, and future which is not theirs is another form of affirming witchcraft and like "abominations." It is to be&SHY;come a false prophet, and to make a false witness.
It means also incurring God's judgment. To affirm another power is to deny God and His law. Not surprisingly, an antinomian age has readily subscribed to such beliefs. But God will no more respect the antinomianism of the church members than
He will the lawlessness of the ungodly. At this point, men face the only effective "conspiracy": God's "conspiracy" against all who deny or forsake Him.
The commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness," means that we must bear true witness concerning all things. We must not bear false witness concerning God or man, and we are not to bear false witness concerning Satan by ascribing to him power that belongs only to God. The true witness of the apostles was not a testimony about the powers of Satan but of the triumphant Christ. The world they faced, as a very small handful, was far more entrenched in its evil than our own, but the apostles did not spend their time documenting the depravity, perversity, and power of Nero. Instead, St. Paul, who was aware of the approach of persecution, still wrote confi&SHY;dently to the Christians in Rome: "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly" (Rom. 16:20). The confidence of St. John is similar: "this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (I John 5:4).
Today, however, many so-called Christian conservatives not only spend their time studying the work of Satan but become angry if you question the omnipotence of Satan. They insist that every step of our world history is now in the hands of satanic manipulators who use men as puppets. To deny this is to be classed as some kind of heretic; the practical meaning of this position is Satan worship. But St. John tells us that, at the supreme moment of Satan's conspiracy, when Christ's death was decreed, the secret purpose of God was being most fulfilled (John 11:47-53). It is always God who reigns, never Satan. Any other faith is a false witness and an especially evil one."
May I point out. Our goal with all we do, write or say is to see every area of life realigned with God's Word. Here alone lies all of our power for victory.