|The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand
God Appoints Wicked Rulers
Book Review - CRI Guilty of Psychoheresy
The American Revolution Begins
Conservative Politics: Will it fail?
Our thoughts are being turned again toward elections and political actions. Great swelling words are being used to convince voters that one candidate is better than another, and that he or she has the answers to America's ills. There is a continual argument over whether conservative candidates or liberal candidates are better for the future. While we must realize that neither view, conservative nor liberal, will keep any society from destruction, conservatives will prolong the coming destruction. Only the people whose God is the Lord will prosper and survive in the long run. (Ps. 33:12, 144:15.)
Some years ago, I had to confront Matthew 24. I had dogmatically been taught the Scofield Dispensational version of that passage. Any teaching contrary to Scofield's version was mocked and ridiculed by all the teachers with whom I was familiar. However, the more I searched Scripture, the bigger the holes became in the CIS version. So I was left with no choice but to seriously examine the passage from the word of God. Divine Providence provided enough good books (basically written before Scofield's Dispensationalism overwhelmed Christianity, the early 1900s), so I could see that the impressions received from Scripture were not new. I found that those who were dogmatic followers of Scofield's reasoning were the "late comers;" what I was certain this passage contained had been the general Christian faith up until Scofield's book was published.
I soon realized that it is impossible to make Matthew 24 stand on its own, for it simply concludes the events and messages that started several days before in the life of Christ--no later than Matthew 21. So to properly understand the Lord's message in Matthew 24, I had to start in Matthew 21. The study soon resulted in a lengthy 100 page document, for I cannot do a serious study in moderation.
Because of the current interest I perceive in folks wanting to know the truth concerning Matthew 24, I am going back for corrections and editing, with the intention of offering it in book form on the web site and in print. The following short section is from that study.
Anyone who has in the least followed the life and ministry of Christ knows of the tremendous conflict between Christ and the religious leaders. Though Christ is no longer bodily here on this earth, the conflict has not abated. Both the religious leaders of Christ's day and the religious leaders of our day are leading to destruction many who profess to love God. These leaders, under the name of the Christian God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and of Paul, are presenting dogmatisms that are clearly contrary to what is presented in the law, prophets and the psalms concerning the Tri-Une God. (Lk. 24.) Yet the average professed Christian of our day not only joyfully follows the false teachers, but zealously seek them out so they can follow them.
A points that stands out in the following is the definition of godly freedom: First, it is freedom from the power and penalty of sin, which no Christian in his or her right mind can deny. Second, a close examination of what took place between Christ and the religious leaders (e.g., Lk. 19:47) shows that freedom is also freedom from the destructive, persuasive and appealing heresies of the false teachers:
And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him (Lk. 19:47, 48).
We must reach the conclusion from the following that the rise of the modern oppressive state, with its evil in high places, cannot be changed through any "conservative" political movement. We will see that it is doomed to fail because it does not even consider the false, unbiblical teachings about the Sovereign, Tri-Une Christian God of the Bible emanating from the average "Christian" pulpit world-wide.
The argument by antinomians may be, "But civil bondage is in the civil realm; that is outside of a Christian's responsibility." Throughout Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, God unmistakably teaches that a result of bondage to false teachers and their teachings will be bondage to wicked civil authorities. If those who claim to be followers of Christ will follow the life and teachings of Christ as recorded in the Four Gospels, they also must reach the conclusion that bondage to false teachings from religious leaders must result in bondage to wicked civil authorities.
Truth & Freedom
Great multitudes came to hear Christ teach in the temple daily. His popularity created great hostility among the religious leaders, causing them to seek ways to destroy him. (Lk. 19:47.) Fearful of the multitudes, they could do nothing at the time--according to Mark, the religious leaders feared Christ, for all the multitude was astonished at his teaching (11:18). No doubt, the people were astonished because he openly and clearly taught the truth from the heavenly Father, and that truth exposed the religious leaders for what they were--devouring wolves in sheep's clothing. (See the prophecies against the religious leaders of Mk. 11:18--Isa. 56:11, Jer. 25:29ff., Jer. chap. 50, & etc.)
Throw the Bums Out
There is an important point here that should not be missed, viz. Christ cleansed the temple, not the local Roman "court house." Christ confronted the power of the religious leaders, not the power of the civil leaders. Christ threw the bums out of the temple; he did not throw the bums out of the "court house," though there were plenty there. In doing so, he shows us that reformation must be a religious reformation, not a political reformation. Throwing the bums out of office might appeal to the natural man, but it will not solve the problems we face with an overgrown and oppressive civil government, intent on controlling every facet of life and thought (by coercion, if necessary). On the other hand, throwing the bums who fail to teach the whole counsel of God out of the pulpits will solve that problem. But such action requires confrontation over sin and repentance thereof--a genuine reformation of thought and action. (See Heb. 9:10.) Sinners will go to about any length to avoid having to confront sin.
The freedom offered by and provided by Christ was/is freedom from sin and freedom from the bondage to false doctrines about the Tri-Une God. The false teachers had corrupted the truth in every area. Christ came to present the truth about man, sin and about the Tri-Une God. Accordingly, only when men accept the truth about themselves (naturally sinners, separated from God and needing a sinless substitute, Rom. 3:10ff., etc.), about sin (defined by the total of God's word, not according to men's opinions, 1 Jn. 3:4) and about the Tri-Une God (as defined by the total of God's word, e.g., sovereign, righteous, holy, just, etc.) are they set free. (Isa. 58:6, 61:1ff., Lk. 4:18ff., Jn. 8:33ff.) When the false religious leaders' power was broken by the proclamation of the truth, Rome's ungodly civil power was latter broken. The problem of civil bondage was solved by the application of the truth against the errors presented in the name of the Lord by the religious leaders.
Consequently, though it must be done, confronting errors in the political realm will not bring about change for the better in society--only confrontations in the area of false doctrines in the religious leaders with change civil situations. There are no painless shortcuts. The Spirit clearly presented the problem first in the Old Testament and then in the New: 1) Jeremiah (chap. 7) was commanded to stand in the gate of the Lord's house and call to repentance those professing to worship the Lord God--they had turned the Lord's house into a den of robbers controlled by all kinds of abominations. 2) Ezekiel (Ez. 8:16) was brought into the inner court of the Lord's house at Jerusalem where he was shown the problem--though professing to serve the Lord God of heaven, the religious leaders were serving gods made up in their own vain imaginations, as did the religious leaders of Mark 11:18. (Christ told the religious leaders that the one whom they worshiped as God was not the true God, for the true God can only be worshiped in the manner prescribed in his word and through himself, Jn. 8:54, 55.) The religious leaders would not give up their false gods and their false teachings, and the people would not get away from them; the promised results came to pass--bondage to wicked, ungodly civil authorities. (See Dt. chaps 13, 27, 28.)
Note, therefore, that Christ's cleansing of the temple in Matthew 21:13 (Mk. 11:17, Lk. 19:46) is clearly based upon Jeremiah 7:11. Christ cleansed the temple, and, according to Luke 19:47 (Mk. 11:18), he then taught the truth, greatly upsetting the religious leaders. He shows us that simply "cleansing the temple" is not enough; along with "cleansing the temple," all the counsel of God must be plainly taught. (Ac. 20:27.) Christ came to set his people free--free from the bondage to the prevailing religious errors contrary to the truth as found in the total of God's word. Bondage to false teachings concerning the sovereign, Tri-Une God of Scripture must result in: 1) individual bondage to lusts and sin, 2) economic bondage to lenders, 3) civil bondage to wicked authorities, etc.
Christ came to set his people free from not only the power and penalty of sin, but also from the false teachers and their words contrary to God's word as found in the Old Testament. The overwhelming warning from God's Spirit is against false prophets and false teachers, not against evil men in civil authority:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of ( 2 Pet. 2:1, 2. A simple cross reference search for v. 1 produces 135 warnings from both Testaments by God's Spirit against teachers who present messages contrary to the law, prophets and the psalms. Online Bible, CD).
Christ said, Ye shall know the truth and the truth will make you free (Jn. 8:32). Note the context of the verse:
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: [but] the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you (Jn. 8:31-37).
The confrontation was over the truth of the gospel, including the fact that faith in Christ makes one a true seed of Abraham. The truth, therefore, was the truth of the gospel against the errors in doctrine of the day.
Luke 19:47, 48, Christ's daily teaching in the temple destroyed the usurped authority of the religious leaders; therefore, they sought to destroy him. The presentation of the truth of the whole of God's law-word from places of religious authority will result in the destruction of the usurped authority by civil leaders.
Accordingly, we must conclude that our civil problems today are the indisputable results of men in pulpits who have usurped that position of authority; that usurpation by religious leaders of authority contrary to God's revealed word today is just as sure as the men of Mark 11:18 usurped and misused their authority. There can be no freedom from usurped civil authority by unqualified men until there is freedom from usurped religious authority by unqualified men (and women in our day of "equal rights" in the pulpit). However, the pulpits proclaim false gods under the name of the God of the Bible because the people want it that way:
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof (Jer 5:31.)?
Many people profess to be "followers of Christ," yet they are clearly antinomian--they are unwilling to throw out of the pulpits men (and women) who believe, teach and act in obvious disregard to the total law-word of God, Genesis through Revelation. From the letters this pastor receives from around the country, we know that very few people are willing to stand against the tide on the word of God. Even the unsaved can see that many who profess to be "followers of Christ" are not. Christ threw out the false teachers of his day. The same must be done today if there will be any "roll back" of civil oppression.
Though the picture above looks bleak, there is a prevailing promise throughout Scripture, e.g.,
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee (Ps. 45:5).
C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, comments thusly:
Ver. 5. Thine arrows. Our King is master of all weapons: he can strike those who are near and those afar off with equal force. Are sharp. Nothing that Jesus does is ill done, he uses no blunted shafts, no pointless darts. In the heart of the King's enemies. Our Captain aims at men's hearts rather than their heads, and he hits them too; point blank are his shots, and they enter deep into the vital part of man's nature. Whether for love or vengeance, Christ never misses aim, and when his arrows stick, they cause a smart not soon forgotten, a wound which only he can heal. Jesus' arrows of conviction are sharp in the quiver of his word, and sharp when on the bow of his ministers, but they are most known to be so when they find a way into careless hearts. They are his arrows, he made them, he shoots them. He makes them sharp, and he makes them enter the heart. May none of us ever fall under the darts of his judgment, for none kill so surely as they. Whereby the people fall under thee. On either side the slain of the Lord are many when Jesus leads on the war. Nations tremble and turn to him when he shoots abroad his truth. Under his power and presence, men are stricken down as though pricked in the heart. There is no standing against the Son of God when his bow of might is in his hands. Terrible will be that hour when his bow shall be made quite naked, and bolts of devouring fire shall be hurled upon his adversaries: then shall princes fall and nations perish.
He also presents several quotes:
Ver. 5. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies. In a still bolder metaphor the arrows which are discharged from the bow of Christ are the preachers of the gospel, especially the apostles and evangelists. "His sagittis," says S. Jerome, "totus orbis vulneratus et captus est." Paul, the apostle, was an arrow of the Lord, discharged from his bow from Jerusalem to Illyricum, and from Illyricum to Spain, flying from east to west, and subduing Christ's enemies beneath his feet. Christopher Wordsworth.
Ver. 5. While beseeching the Redeemer to ride forth prosperously, and predicting his success, he seems suddenly to have seen his prayers answered and his predictions fulfilled. He saw his all conquering Prince gird on his resistless sword, array himself in glory and majesty, ascend the chariot of his gospel, display the banner of his cross, and ride forth, as on the wings of the wind, while the tremendous voice of a herald proclaimed before him: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord," exalt the valleys, and level the hills; make the crooked ways straight, and the rough places plain; for, behold, the Lord God comes; he comes with a strong hand, his reward is with him, and his work before him. From the bright and fiery cloud which enveloped his chariot, and concealed it from mortal eyes, he saw sharp arrows of conviction shot forth on every side, deeply wounding the obdurate hearts of sinners, and prostrating them in crowds around his path, while his right hand extended raised them again, and healed the wounds which his arrows had made; and his omnipotent voice spoke peace to their despairing souls, and bade them follow in his train, and witness and share in his triumph. From the same bright cloud he saw the vengeful lightnings flashing thick and dreadful, to blast and consume everything that opposed his progress; he saw sin, and death, and hell, with all its legions, baffled, defeated, and flying in trembling consternation before him; he saw them overtaken, bound, and chained to his triumphant chariot wheels; while enraptured voices were heard from heaven exclaiming, "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of his Christ." Such was the scene which seems to have burst upon the ravished sight of the entranced prophet. Transported with the view, he exclaims, Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. Edward Payson.
Ver. 5. The king's enemies, is not simply an expression for "Thy enemies," as some think, but rather implies that Christ's kingship is the ground of their enmity; just as in the second Psalm their cry was, "Let us break their bands asunder." George Harpur.
Over the years, this pastor has been involved in local political issues, and will continue to be involved. Local politics is a small part of all the life and thought that must be subjected to Christ. However, the primary "burden" laid upon this pastor is to deal with false assumptions and teachings in areas that are brought to my attention. I fully realize that the only hope for mankind is a genuine reformation of thought, which only the Lord can bring about; the Lord promised throughout Scripture, e.g., Psalms 45, that he will bring "reformation" in his good time. From personal experience, I know what he can do and does do to the most hardened enemies of the kingdom of God, particular in the hearts of "religious leaders":
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight (Col. 1:20-22)...
According to his timing and his good pleasure, we are told that he will ride forth and conquer the souls of men for himself through the preaching of the gospel. Sinners then will be free from the power and penalty of sin, and free from the destructive hold of false teachings from false teachers. (Cf. 1 Cor. 1:17-2:5.)
Then and only then will there be civil
freedom. Any hope in any kind of conservative political movement
is a false hope, and is doomed to failure.
There are major movements among professed Christians dismissing from Christianity God's judgments and commandments given to His people in the Old Testament. However, anyone who will honestly look at society will readily see that God's Word is just as much in effect today as it was in the Garden and in the day it was given to Moses.
This passage, like so many other Scriptures, tells us again that God's people many times bring the calamities of life upon themselves. Claiming to love God, they show their despite for Him by ignoring His inspired Word as the rule for their every thought and action.
Both Keil and Bonar divide the remainder of Chapter 26 into four degrees of curses for holding God's law in contempt. Gill said concerning vv. 14, 15:
Ver. 14. But if ye will not hearken
unto me, &c.] To his commandments, as the rule of their
duty, and to his promises, as an encouragement to it, or to his
prophets and ministers, explaining and enforcing his law, and
exhorting to a cheerful obedience to it; so the Targum of Jonathan,
"if ye will not hearken to the doctrine of them that teach my laws;"
which was the sin of the Jews in later times, for which captivity and other calamities befell them, #Jer 7:25 25:3,4 44:5;
and will not do all these commandments; which he had delivered to them by Moses, whether moral, ceremonial, or judicial, recorded in this book and in the preceding; even all of them were to be respected, attended to, and performed, for the law curses everyone that does not do all things it requires, #Ga 3:10.
Ver. 15. And if ye shall despise my statutes, &c.] Which is an aggravated sin; to be negligent hearers of the commands of God is bad, not to be doers of them worse, but to treat them with contempt is worse still:
or if your soul abhor my judgments: which is worst of all, to despise them as if not wisely or righteously made is a dreadful reflection upon the Maker of them; but to abhor them as bad things, not fit to be regarded, but to be had in the utmost detestation, is shocking impiety:
so that ye will not do all my commandments; nor any of them, but are set against them, and determined and resolved on the contrary:
[but] that ye break my covenant; the covenant made with them at Sinai, when they promised, on their part, that they would hearken and be obedient, #Ex 24:7. (Gill, Online Bible, ver. 7.0.)
V. 14, harken, and do... We are plainly told here that those who listen to the Word of God, do the Word of God -- hearing and doing God's Law-Word cannot be separated from love for the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, James makes it clear that though Christianity is not a result of Christian works (for we are by grace through faith in Christ -- nothing added nor removed), it is impossible to separate the Christian faith from both Christian works and words, James chapters two and three.
V. 15, despise...,
Examination of some seventy-three uses
of this verb reveals that men despise the Lord who is among them
(Num 11:20) and thus merit God's rejecting them (Hos 4:6). When
Israel requested Samuel to appoint a king over them, they rejected
the Lord (I Sam 8:7; 10:19).
Wicked men do not despise evil (Ps 36:4 [H 5]); they just reject the knowledge of God (Hos 4:6), the law of the Lord (Amos 2:4; Isa 5:24; Jer 6: 19) the word of the Lord (I Sam 15:23, 26; Isa 30:12; Jer 8:9), the righteous decisions of God (Ezk 5:6; 20:13, 16), the covenant made with Abraham (II Kgs 17:15), the statutes of God (Lev 26:15; Ezk 20:24), and the disciplinary chastening of the Lord (Prov 3:11). In fact, they have totally rejected the "Stone" which has now become the "capstone of the building" (Ps 118:22).
Especially reprehensible in God's eyes is Israel's externalized religious practice. God hates and despises their feast days and offerings since they come to him without any genuine affection (Amos 5:21).
God rejects men who do not listen to him (Hos 9: 17). However, he will never reject them totally, for that would break his covenant (Lev 26:44). God has chosen the seed of Abraham, his servant, and he will never cast them away (Isa 41 :9). In fact, as long as God keeps his covenant with day and night (Jer 33:25) so long will he refrain from rejecting his covenant made with David and Levi (Jer 33:24). He will not despise the seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David (Jer 31:37; 33:26). True, Ps 89:38 [H 39] does seem to contradict this strong affirmation by saying God has indeed rejected his anointed (cf. 11 Kgs 17:20; Jer 6:30; Ps 78:59, 67). This statement, however, refers only to individual participation and not to the abiding promise which remains open to all who will believe. (TWOT, 1: 488.)
First, wicked men reject the knowledge of God; they reject God's Law-Word and statutes; they reject His righteous decisions, and they reject the covenant God made with Abraham (see below). Hosea 4:6 (My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge) is, therefore, given in the context of men rejecting God's Law-Word as revealed through Moses:
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
It is not given in the context of not knowing about the secret plans of evil men nor not knowing the Constitution, as some would lead us to believe as they raise vast amounts of money. The price paid for rejecting King Jesus' rule is high, their children. Hosea says the same thing as did Moses: I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings..., v. 9.
Second, Israel despised the Lord's rule from over themselves, and asked for a king. The king they got was Saul, who made life miserable for them. As we know, Israel was only united under three kings, and David was the only one under whom the people did not suffer. (1 Ki. 12:3, 4.) After the kingdom split in two, the vast majority of the kings made life even more miserable for the people.
Third, Paul tells us that the chosen seed of Abraham is Christ; the covenant was between the Father and the Son, and all who are in Christ by faith are joint heirs with Him.
Fourth, TWOT uses the same words in both Leviticus 26:15 and Ezekiel 20 (21-26):
Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness. Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth. I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols. Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD.
The Lord tells us that when men refuse to execute His judgments (i.e., "to exercise the processes of government." TWOT, 1: 947--that is, judgement according to righteous judgment, [Jn. 7:24] including: "1. To act as a ruler... 2. ... to decide cases of controversy as judge in civil, domestic, and religious cases...," [the judge's duty is to justify the righteous and condemn the wicked, Deut 25:1 (Rom. 13, ed.)]) and when men reject, despise, His statutes (i.e., duties [precepts and rules to be obeyed] imposed by God upon man, TWOT, 1: 317), then He will give statutes (i.e., duties [precepts and rules to be obeyed] imposed by man, TWOT, 1: 317.) that lead to death.
In other words, when God's people refuses to judge righteous judgment according to the total of God's Word in all affairs, civil, domestic and religious, the Lord God Himself will appoint wicked rulers over the people whose job will be to judge unrighteously; their God-ordained job will be to make life miserable for those who have rejected God's Law-Word as their standard of judgment. The end purpose of the unrighteous rulers over the people is that they might know that I am the LORD.
I do not find it shocking that sodomy is generally accepted, even in many churches, in Lafayette, just 20 miles north of us, for Purdue University is located there. However, I do find it shocking that sodomy is becoming accepted in Crawfordsville, just 10 miles south of us. The Lord recently sent a family our way who was beginning to think there was something wrong with them. In the church where they had been faithful, sodomites were being accepted by the church leadership, and even allowed work in places of leadership. When the family tried to stand against what they saw being accepted, they were accused of being "trouble makers." They left that church, and went to probably the largest Baptist Church in the area. However, they soon faced the same situation there -- the leadership refused to take a stand against sodomy, obviously fearing that some people who were being advanced in leadership would be offended.
When those who profess to be God's people refuses to judge righteous judgment according to the total of God's Word in all affairs, civil, domestic and religious, God Himself appoints wicked rulers. Those rulers' God-ordained job will be to judge unrighteously, that is, to make life miserable for those who have rejected God's Law-Word as their standard of judgment. The end purpose of the unrighteous rulers over the people is that they might know that I am the LORD.
V. 15, abhor:
This root indicates an intense aversion
which is expressed often in punitive or adverse action.
If Israel kept the Lord's law, the Lord would not abhor them but continue to dwell among them (Lev 26:11), but if they abhorred the divine statutes, then God would bring judgments on the people (26:15). The attitude which the Lord would hold toward those on whom he would visit judgment is expressed by this root (26:30), indicating a rejection of those persons. The divine abhorrence is paralleled on the part of the people by their abhorrence and their contempt for the Lord's statutes and ordinances (26:43). But the Lord's abhorrence of them would not extend to their destruction in the land of their exile or to forgetting them (26:44). The judgment predicted in Lev 26 finds its fulfillment in the time of Jeremiah who used this word to describe the Lord's attitude toward Israel when he afflicted them in accordance with the cursing formulae of the covenant. The abhorrence of the sanctity of marriage obligations is the root from which arises progressively deeper transgressions illustrated by the worsening spiritual state of the "daughters" Sodom and Jerusalem in comparison with their "father," the Hittite and their "mother," the Amorite (Ezk 16:45). David implies that the vile death of Saul and Jonathan is inconsistent with their status (II Sam 1:21), except that rejection of God may result in that kind of death. (TWOT, 1: 169, 170.)
First, though the people abhor the Lord by abhorring His divine statutes, resulting in judgments, the Lord did not forget His people, even in their judgments.
Second, "The abhorrence of the sanctity of marriage obligations is the root from which arises progressively deeper transgressions. The "deeper transgressions" are clearly seen in the rise of Sodomy in a society. In other words, those who are protesting Sodomy are hypocrite if they are not protesting adultery and "shacking up" more loudly than they protest Sodomy.
I cannot recount the number of professed Christians I have personally met who apparently see nothing wrong with sex outside of marriage. The number of professed Christians who "live together" before marriage is astounding. Though professing to be Christians, they abhor marriage, or they would marry.
Certainly, enough condemnation cannot be said against sodomy, but sodomy and public acceptance of that wicked life-style are simply results of ignoring "the sanctity of marriage obligations." Sodomy and the social acceptance of sodomy will continue to increase in society until there is a social turnaround (genuine conversion) concerning the "sanctity of marriage."
We should develop the word commandments, v. 15:
miswâ. Commandment. In a deed of purchase for a plot of land, miswâ
refers to the terms of the contract (Jer 32:11). It is also the
word used by the wisdom school for the instruction of a teacher
to his pupil (Prov 2:1; 3:1). More frequently the commandments
are the particular conditions of the covenant. It is used for
the Ten Commandments in Ex 24: 12.
God clearly reveals his commandments in order that they be available to all the people. No one has to spend a lifetime in search of them (Deut 30:11). They are right at hand. The Lord reaches out to man long before man seeks him. God's commandments are considered pure (Ps 19:8 [H 9]), true (Ps 119: 151), reliable (Ps 119:86), righteous (Ps 119:172). The man of faith has his delight in God's commandments; and he is called blessed (Ps 119:47; 112:1). The commandments of Yahweh provide insight into the meaning of life in order that it may be lived to its fullest significance (Ps 19:8f. [H 9f.]; cf. Deut 5:29; 6:2; 8:11). Following God's commandments gives one wisdom and the respect of his neighbors (cf. Deut 4:5f.). Consequently the one who follows them often rises to a place of leadership. So too, Israel would become a leading nation if she remained true to the Lord's commandments (Deut 28:13). The splendor which it experienced under David and Solomon bears witness to the validity of this affirmation. The reason Israel was to obey the commandments rests in God himself (Lev 22:31). By his very nature he knows what is best for his people and by his very position they are bound to serve him. The one who loves God keeps his commandments (Deut 11:1 [Jn. 14:15, 23 ed.]). Thereby he shows his reverence for (or fear of) God and develops a walk with God (Deut 8:6; 13:4 [H 5]). God extends his love (hesed) to those who obey him (Deut 5:10 [Jn. 14:21; 16:27, ed.]).
To do the commandments, man must remember them. The Hebrews were to make fringes (or tassels) on the corners of their garments to remind them of the law (Num 15:39). Also they were to bind God's words on their foreheads and on their hands and write them on the doorposts of their houses. The fathers were to teach them to their sons and to speak of them frequently (Deut 6:6-9). And they were preserved by being written in the book of the law (Deut 30:10). However, the commandments possess no real value if they are considered only a human document learned by rote (Isa 29:13f.).
Furthermore, man in his depravity is tempted on the one hand to reject God's commandments and on the other hand to add to them by interpreting them very minutely. The latter leads to the sense of secure arrogance that one is even doing God a favor. Therefore God declares that one is not to add to or to diminish from the commandments given (Deut 12:32 [H 13:11]; cf.5:32).
The violation of any commandment results in guilt and the need for atonement (cf. Lev 4). But whoever goes so far as to spurn God's commandments is cut off from God's people (Num 15:31). Solomon's failure to follow the commandments in his later life resulted in the division of the kingdom (11 Kgs 11:31-39; 14:8). Then the continued disobedience of various kings, especially Manasseh, led to the end of David's dynasty. But God extended his mercy to Israel even in captivity (cf. Neh 1:8f.). And he will fulfill his promise to David through the Messiah.
In the postexilic period the scribal class developed. They were skilled in the commandments, i.e. they interpreted the law for the people (Ezr 7:1 1).
The writer of Eccl searched every possibility for meaning to life and came to this conclusion: ''The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man" (12:13). (TWOT, 1: 757, 758.)
First, "More frequently the commandments are the particular conditions of the covenant. It is used for the Ten Commandments in Ex 24: 12."
Second, the whole duty of man is summed up: "Fear God, and keep his commandments."
Though man may work (through science falsely so-called, education, theology, &c.) to break the cords and bands of God's Word from himself, to do so is impossible. The terms of the covenant of blessings are clearly given, and when men willfully reject those terms, he rejects God's blessings.
Keil titles this section, THE CURSE FOR CONTEMPT OF THE LAW. His opening comments on vv. 14, 15, are excellent:
The following judgments are threatened, not for single breaches of the law, but for contempt of all the laws, amounting to inward contempt of the divine commandments and a breach of the Covenant (vers. 14, 15),--for presumptuous and obstinate rebellion, therefore, against God and His commandments. For this, severe judgments are announced, which were to be carried to their uttermost in a fourfold series, if the hardening was obstinately continued. (Keil, 1: 471, 472.)
Grace has been offered; "millennial-like" blessings beyond all one could ask or think had been offered if they would walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them, v. 3. Vv. 4-13, had not been offered to the pagans; rather, they had been offered to God's chosen people. However, with the abundant blessings promised for obedience, comes abundant curses for despising the offered blessings. The following "curses" are not promised against the pagans; they are promised against God's people. If our God is a consuming fire against His unfaithful people, think of what He is to those who reject Him! (Heb. 12:29.) The Lord God promises blessings beyond all other peoples for His peoples' obedience, so the other side of the coin must be "curses" above all other peoples for His peoples' disobedience -- His word is a two-edged sword. (This section reads very much like Deut. 28-33.)
Thus the following "judgments" are against "presumptuous and obstinate rebellion," not against "single breaches of the law." This statement sounds very much like what is given in Hebrews 10:26ff.
Vv. 14, 15, "obstinate rebellion" vs. "single breaches"... Thus one's attitude toward God's law. This leads us to some very interesting situations in the New Testament, which we develop elsewhere.
The judgments, or curses, are for breaking the covenant: The people refused to do all my commandments. If the judgments, or punishments, did not bring the people to repentance, the judgments increase in intensity, vv. 18, 21, 23, 27, the worse of all possible judgments -- eating their own children..
Vv. 16, 17, I will appoint: illness upon them and the wicked exalted.
Vv. 18, 19, I will punish you: the fruit of their labours will be greatly hindered.
Vv. 21, 22, I will bring, I will send: the wild beasts exalted among them.
Vv. 25, 26, I will bring, I will send: they will die at the hands of the enemies of God's kingdom on earth, and famine will prevail.
Vv. 29-33, I will chastise you in my fury: the very worst thing that could happen to them -- they will be forced to eat their own children, their cities destroyed and the people carried away captive into other lands.
The purpose of each "judgment" was to get the people to return to Him, and keep His commandments. In the end, however, they were totally destroyed as a nation. We should also note that the Lord Himself appointed the judgments.
But if these punishments did not answer their purpose, and bring Israel back to fidelity to its God, the Lord would punish the disobedient nation still more severely, and chasten the rebellious for their sin, not simply only, but sevenfold. This he would do, so long as Israel persevered in obstinate resistance, and to this end He would multiply His judgments by degrees. This graduated advance of the judgments of God is so depicted in the following passage, for four times in succession new and multiplied punishments are announced: (1) utter barrenness in their land,--that is to say, one heaver punishment (vers. 18-20); (2) the extermination of their cattle by beasts of prey, and childlessness,--two punishments (vers. 21, 22); (3) war, plague, and famine,--three punishments (vers. 23-26); (4) the destruction of all idolatrous abominations, the overthrow of their towns and holy places, the devastation of the land, and the dispersion of the people among the heathens,--four punishments which would bring the Israelites to the verge of destruction (vers. 27-33). In this way would the Lord punish the stiffneckedness of His people.--These divine threats embrace the whole of Israel's future. But the series of judgments mentioned is not to be understood historically, as a prediction of the temporal succession of the different punishments, but as an ideal account of the judgments of God, unfolding themselves with inward necessity in a manner answering to the progressive development of the sin. (Keil, 1: 472, 473.)
Vv. 16, 17.
V. 16, I will appoint:
set (over), make overseer, 2 K 25.23; + [Hebrew word] Gn 39.4 Je 1.50+8 t., fig., acc. of punishment, Lv 26.16; + [Hebrew word] Je 40.5+3t.; + [Hebrew word] and [Hebrew word] 1 K 11.28; + [Hebrew word]...1 S 29.4 where thou hast stationed him, ins. also v 10... (BDB, 623, 624.)
Godless Rulers Appointed by God
The Lord God promises to appoint godless foreign governors over them:
The majesty of His love is wronged by the indifference of the sinner, as well as by the obstinate rebellion of the sinner. Israel was made to feel this. "Terror," instead of calm, serene peace; "consumption and ague," instead of health and strength, once characteristic of the people of the God of Jeshurun; blasted hopes and labours, defeated armies, foreign governors in their cities, and their own heart sinking in haplessness. The Lord did this in the days of the Judges;... The Lord appointed these judgments. The word is [Hebrew word], the same as in Ps. cix. 6, "Set thou a wicked man over him," and the same as in Isaiah lxii. 6, "I have set watchmen over thy wall, O Jerusalem." The word means, that a charge is given to these instruments to execute a certain purpose; they are appointed to the office of seeing to this being done... (Bonar, Leviticus, 480, 481.)
In Exodus 15:26 and 23:25, the Lord promised to deliver His people from the diseases mentioned here. However, the Lord promises here that if they fail to do all His commandments and if they break His covenant, then He will deliver His people to the diseases mentioned here -- He will bring upon them terror, consumption, burning ague, sorrow of heart, &c. (Prozak!) He promises to personally appoint evil rulers over them whose job it will be to make life miserable for those who rejected His rule, v. 15.
[S]ow your seed in vain... sure sounds like the tax man taking the increase.
Ver. 17. Yea, the Lord would turn His face against them, so that they would be beaten by their enemies, and be so thoroughly humbled in consequence, that they would flee when no man pursued (cf. ver. 36). (Keil, 1: 472.)
Though the average church leader today vehemently denies any kind of application of this passage to the New Testament Gospel Church, the parallel applications to the Church are so real that they can not be coincidental, e.g., Matthew 5:13ff. (Though Scofield attempted to break the bands and cords of God's Word as reveled in Matthew 5 by placing it into another dispensation, the Lord laughs from heaven at his, and his follower's, feeble efforts -- Matthew 5 is still binding upon man regardless of fallen man's personal opinions. See Scofield article.)
Clearly, the enemies of God's kingdom on earth have been exalted by the most High to rule over the whole earth.
That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. (Dan. 4:25, 26.)
The reason wicked rulers are exalted is plainly spelled out, so anyone can understand it.
And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. (Lev. 26:15, 16.)
Men, particularly in the average church, abhor the Lord's judgments, refusing to do all His commandments: They seem to delight in breaking the law of the covenant. Having departed from the firm foundation of God's Law-Word and fearing what man can do, the average Christian, including church leaders, is cowering in the corner, fearful that he or she might do something to offend the wicked who now rule.
Churches are fearful to do anything that
is not "politically correct." Even more evident is that
pastors are fearful of offending the "big givers" who
might be in their churches, so their love of money forbids taking
a stand. Holy Christian boldness is obviously missing from the
modern pulpits, and, accordingly, from society.
by Martin and Deidre Bobgan
The Christian Research Institute (CRI), originally founded by Walter Martin, is currently headed by Hank Hanegraaff. In 1995, CRI ran a four-part series on "Psychology & the Church" in their journal. Bob and Gretchen Passantino were the authors of this series, which clearly established the CRI position on "Psychology & the Church." From the time of their publication until now, CRI has maintained the position presented in the articles. When people contact CRI to ask about the CRI position on psychology, they are referred to the Passantino series on "Psychology & the Church."
Leaving the door open to psychotherapy and its underlying psychologies is an overwhelmingly popular position in the church. Many are satisfied and others are ecstatic about the CRI/Passantino position on the integration of psychology and the Bible. It is always difficult to combat the popular sociocultural mores of a society; but it is more difficult to fight against the absorption of these mores into the church.
Being anti-professional psychology is a minority view, and, unfortunately, one is left with proving the case against something for which the case has never been made. Based on hundreds of research studies, Dr. Robyn Dawes, professor at Carnegie-Mellon University and a widely recognized researcher on psychological evaluations, declares in his book House of Cards:
... there is no positive evidence supporting the efficacy of professional psychology. There are anecdotes, there is plausibility, there are common beliefs, yes--but there is no good evidence.
This current book on the CRI position exposes the logical fallacies and illogical reasoning used to establish the Passantinos' predilections for psychology.
The CRI/Passantino trust in psychological wisdom and their commitment to psychotherapy and its underlying psychologies, even under certain conditions, are indeed psychoheresy. The support of psychotherapy and its underlying psychologies under whatever conditions is an disgrace in the church, but few of God's people realize it.
P.A.M. Price: $9.00 (retail $10.00) Softbound,
152 pages, ISBN 0-941717-13-5 PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries
4137 Primavera Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93110
SCORES KILLED, HUNDREDS INJURED AS PARA-MILITARY EXTREMISTS RIOT
(The American Revolution begins, as reported by Associated Press)
BOSTON (AP) August 4--Police & National Guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed Sunday by elements of a pare-military right wing extremist faction.
Military & law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed & more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw. Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist militia faction has citizens who have links to the radical right wing tax protest movement. Gage blamed the militia for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices.
The Governor, who described the groups organisers as "terrorists," issued an executive order authorising the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the governments efforts to secure law & order. The law enforcement team augmented by elements of the National Guard were sent to raid a militia arsenal after widespread refusal of right wing extremists to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons. This decision followed a meeting in early July between government & law enforcement which authorised the confiscation of the illegal arms, known as the weapons of choice among criminals & militias. One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out "that none of these people would have been killed had right wing extremists obeyed the law & turned over the weapons voluntarily."
Police & government forces initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of outlawed weapons & ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize arms & ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from heavily armed militia extremists who had been tipped off regarding the governments plans.
During a tense stand-off in Lexington's town park, National Guard Colonel Francis Smith. commander of the government operation, ordered the armed group to surrender & return to their homes. The impasse was broken by a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of the right wing extremists. Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing exchange.
Ironically, the local citizens blamed the government forces rather than the extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored, heavily armed militia groups from surrounding areas had descended upon the police & guard units. Colonel Smith finding his forces overmatched by militia mobs ordered a retreat.
Governor Gage has called upon citizens
to support the state/national joint task force in its effort to
restore law & order. The governor has also demanded the surrender
of those responsible for planning & leading the attack against
the government. Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, & John Hancock,
who have their principles intact in an age of moral and monetary
chaso." $95 a year, but $69 to readers of this report if
you mention this report when you order.
Also from The Moneychanger, JUST A LITTLE NOTE
HOLIDAY: Banking officials grappling with the year 2000 computer glitch are considering declaring a holiday on Dec. 31, 1999, to pave a smoother road into the new millennium. While federal employees already have the day off, setting it aside as a bank holiday would effectively close the marketplace. Since it falls on Friday, the down time would allow firms to complete the majority of their year-end work before such transactions become susceptible to Year 2000 computer failures. (The Boston Herald, 1/17/98, Business Section, p. 17.)
Note: The Y2K problem is not to be taken lightly. One should prepare for a minimum of 3 mo without electricity. If nothing else, Is God's word true? If so, then what is the wicked word in for?