Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Battle

Appalachian Log Cabin

Valley of Megiddo

From the peaceful vista of the front porch of our Appalachian log cabin in Bass Hollow, or looking over the Valley of Megiddo in Israel, the same battle looms. The battle between good and evil, the battle between right and wrong, the battle between love and hate, the battle between life and destruction. What a person believes determines which side they are on in this battle.

World events are presently focusing attention on the three major world religions; Judiasm, Christianity, and Islam. All three are monotheistic and claim the God of Abraham as their Master. However, the three are divided over the identity of Yeshua, descendant of David who was born in Bethlehem of Judea about 2017 yrs ago, 3757 by the Hebrew calendar.  Christians believe that Jesus is Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah. Many Jews still believe that He was an impostor. Muslims believe that He is a great teacher, but not the Son of God. 

Many unbelievers will admit that Jesus was a great teacher, and even incorporate many of His teachings into their own ethical standards. But they think that people who believe in God are deluded, and suggest that we should believe in nature, the natural order of time and chance.  They reject any of God's moral laws that do not fit their personal standards, and make their own rules.  

King David talks about this characteristic of mankind, that we want to make our own rules, in Psalm 2.  The Reign of the Lord's Anointed

1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break[b] them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

There are two paths available in this life. One is to trust in human understanding, and the other is to trust in God who created us in His image. Those who trust in themselves will always make fun of those who trust in God, because we remind them of their hopeless condition. As Paul said, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?” (2 Cor 2:14-16, NIV)

Yes, the unbeliever wants to do as he pleases.  Nature is all there is, for the one who rejects faith in God. Religious faith is a burden that modern humanist want to cast aside, so that one can do whatever he wants, within limits set by society, with rules determined by the majority. 
Many have decided that all religion is bad, because differences in religion cause people to fight wars and to kill each other. I am no fan of religions, especially state mandated religions such as atheistic humanism (Communism), Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Paganism, Islam, State Mandated Christianity, and so forth. But I am offended when secular humanist refuse to admit that atheism expressed in Communism is a religion, and has killed more people in the last two centuries than all other religious feuds combined. The idea that destroying religion is the way to peace and blessings is a big lie.

However, the communist claim that religion has been used to enslave the masses is true. Making a sham of Christian religion, and using it for selfish purposes, to exercise power and collect money, is very offensive to our Creator. As apostle Paul explained, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame-- who set their mind on earthly things.” (Phil 3:18-19, NKJ)

Yes, the world's religions have been used as a base for power 
over the common people by the self appointed religious elite, and as a way to collect money from the poor.  Political power and forced taxes were the life blood of the Holy Roman Empire, and such a religion in no way represented the teachings of Jesus. Jesus taught that we should be motivated by love, and to do good because we want to help others.  

I will confess that following Jesus is for weak people. Only people who know they are sinners need a savior. Those who are self righteous and puffed up will never submit to Christ. Jesus said this: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Matt 9:12-13, NKJ)

Truly no one is well, spiritually, without Jesus. Some think they are well, and trust in their own understanding. But they come far short of the wisdom and righteousness of God working in the lives of those who believe in Jesus.  Recently much research has been done to measure the influence on nations of evangelistic teaching that encouraged people to be followers of Jesus, and taught the priesthood of the believer.  The Baptist missionaries of the British Colonies had a great impact for good upon the people who decided to follow Jesus as a personal decision, by faith instead of by coercion.

The state mandated Christian religions of Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholic, and High Church Protestant had no comparable blessed effect. People who follow Jesus by personal faith are blessed. People who are compelled by the state to practice any religion are cursed. 

Yes, there is a battle going on, the battle between good and evil. The battle will be won with the power of truth, the Sword of the Spirit that will slay the nations.  Yes, there is such a thing as truth, and truth will win the battle.  Yes, He is the way, the truth, and the life. I am glad to be on His side. 

The Rider on a White Horse, Rev 19:

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 

14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

 King of Kings, and Lord of Lords

1 comment:

  1. Perfect cabin Brother Randolph. Hilda and I have a cabin on Spring River in North East Arkansas. Lawrence county. We spent a week with Hilda's relatives their last Summer.
    Nope, no great grandchildren as yet. Nine grand children.
    I appreciate your comments and pictures as you move through God's story in the Old Testament. It takes a little time for the pictures to load on my computer. I'll need to find some extra time for them to load.