Word From God: Who is Your Lord?
God gave His people a summary of the Law (Exodus 20:1-17), which He summarized even more succinctly (e.g., Leviticus 19:18, Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:37-40). We are supposed to teach and talk about God’s Law continually (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).
If you are following one of those who claims that God’s Law and the Tanakh (Old Testament) has been done away with, I think that it is safe to say that he is wrong and you are doing wrong by obeying him instead of God (e.g., Romans 11:11-24, Matthew 5:17-20, Matthew 7:19-23, and Acts 5:29).
A question is: Why do people, even those of us who declare God to be our Lord, continually decide to disobey the clear Word of God? An examination of the first example of such disobedience is probably sufficient to answer this question. When Eve, the first woman, saw that the fruit that God had forbidden was desirable, she ate it and gave some of it to her husband, and he also ate it (Genesis 3:6).
It is most certainly very clear from one’s own experience that when one’s desire is against the Word of God, one is tempted to disobey God. Many (probably most) people, including most Christians, seem not to fear God nor to put His Law and His will above their own desires. However, if we believe that God is our Lord (that is Master) and His ways are perfect, then how can we ever choose to go against His perfect will for our lives, and what does it mean when we pick and choose which poritions of God’s Word not to heed?
I would assert that if one picks and chooses amoungst God’s Law and Commandments in favor of his or her own desires that he or she has really replaced God with himself or herself. That is, such a person has made his or her own desires an idol.
The False Prophet: Providing Opportunities to Show Our Love for God
God’s Word is clear that an evil nation with an evil leader and a false prophet will arise and perform many signs which will deceive the leaders and inhabitants of the earth (Revelation 16:13-14 and Revelation 19:20). In the Tanakh, God warned about prophets who might arise and perform signs and wonders in order to lead His people to go after other Gods (Deuteronomy 13:1-4). He said that such situations are tests via which we can prove that we love Him (Deuteronomy 13:3).
Sadness in Life is Because of Man’s Disobedience
If we obeyed God, our lives would be good. For example:
- Deuteronomy 11:13-15, NKJV, “And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.”
- Deuteronomy 11:22-23, NKJV, “For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him—then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves”
A Simple Approach to Evangelism
Contemporary Teacher: Jonathan Cahn
Jonathan Cahn states that the Holy Spirit has revealed to him a paramount understanding of what has been going on in America:
- The Harbingers (Jonathan Cahn)
- Is There an Ancient Mystery Behind 9/11?
- Harbinger: The Shaking (Jonathan Cahn)
Jonathan Cahn asserts that America has come under God’s judgement but that there is still time for it to turn back to God. He illustrates some shocking similarities between America’s reaction to God’s warnings and those of Israel prior to one of its desolations (Isaiah 9).
Contemporary Teacher: Joel Richardson
Contemporary Teacher: N. Thomas Wright
N. Thomas Wright appears to be a well studied, God fearing author who believes that the Book of Revelation has been ongoing since the time of its writing. Listening to his exposition is interesting and has revealed many things, even though we suspect that there may be some flaws in his interpretation:
Some takeaways include:
- “Heaven is important, but it is not the end of the world,” N. T. Wright.
- The final scene of the Bible is not humans going up to Heaven, but the Heavenly City coming down to earth, so that Heaven and earth are one.
- The coming of God’s Kingdom on earth is not something that we have to wait for. It has already been inaugurated through the victory of the sacrificed Lamb who is also the Lion of Judah.
- Yeshua (Jesus) Christ is already The Lord of lords and The King of kings. He is not going to take up that title at some future date. It is already His, today.
- Those who hail Yeshua as Lord and King need to learn what it means to bear witness to Him in the face of the claims and the threats of other lords and other kings who may be opposed to Him.
- Studies the unholy trio that emerges in the middle of the Book of Revelation, how to recognize them and their deceitfulness and how to escape from their clutches.
- Reality is more complex and multidimensional than it appears. The human (“earthly”) realm is not separated from the spiritual (“heavenly”) realm, but the two overlap and interlock. This understanding is built into the very structure of ancient Israelite life, thought and, particularly, worship. (For example, the temple is central to the land and is the place where Heaven and earth meet, and it is also central to the Book of Revelation until the point where it disappears, when Heaven and earth finally coexist in peace and harmony and obedience to God.)
- Heaven and earth are distinct, but that does not imply an ontological incompatibility.
- Earth’s inhabitants and its rulers have gone badly astray from their intended, respective purposes, but Heaven’s answer is not to separate from earth but to reassert the claims of God upon His entire creation. (This always involves conflict with the powers that continue to attempt to usurp His authority.)
- Unlike popular portrayals might suggest, the great and dreadful Day of the Lord is not the end of the world.
- Because of Yeshua, the future has arrived in the present but not yet fully.
- God’s intent is to govern the world through obedient human beings. While all others have failed, the slaughtered Lamb (Yeshua) has succeeded.
- Through Yeshua’s redemptive death, humans from every nation will reign in God’s Kingdom.
- We are to praise God in present in spite of our immediate circumstances.
- Our witness, even unto death, is the means by which the world will be brought under the rule of the Lamb.
- The Book of Revelation reveals the workings of evil in the world and the task of God’s people to discern it and refuse its seductions.
- The New Jerusalem offers the ultimate hope towards which Edens inhabitants, if they had realized it, were supposed to work. (From the fall of man onward, we see man grasping at but failing to reach that final goal.)
- Babylon represents the ultimate outcome of ungodliness, while New Jerusalem representations the ultimate outcome of obedience to God.
- We have, perhaps, smiled our approval a bit too easily at the unmasking of the demonic and bestial regimes of Revelation 13 and 17.
- The Creator, God wants humans to run the world and to make the world flourish, to build wise and well run cities, etc., but it is recognized that the humans upon who governance is given will use it for its own ends — e.g., power and money. People of God are, therefore, constantly called to articulate this abuse, when and where it occurs. This critique occurs not because power is bad but because it is abused.
- Tyranny is horrible, and it is defeated by the cross, but the beasts that tyrannize the earth in Daniel and in Revelation emerge from the sea (that is, people).
- Power is not to be done away with, but its abuses are. Thus, God’s people must continue testify and, if need be, become martyrs against the abuses of power. If the world were to listen to God through the testimony of His people, the result should be a fresh, order.
- As we are the witnesses, today, the overthrow of a tyranny will not result in the spontaneous growth of a healthy, liberal democracy.
- It will not do to assume that western democracy is the ultimate solution to the problem of Godly order.
- Pushing God out of governance allows leaders to emerge who use their power to rule like the beast.
- Many of the godless behaviors that we observe as acceptable, today, have the mark of the beast upon them.
- The task of God’s people is to hold up the mirror to power and to say to them, “You are doing this, but you should be doing that,” and then for the living body of God’s people to model what it might look like to be a genuine, Godly human society.
- Our aim, as God’s people, is not to damn but to redeem.
- We, as God’s people, must maintain our isolation from the world, not collude with it.
- Yeshua, Israel’s Messiah, conquered the power of evil through His death and became the Lord of the world. He acted as the embodiment of Israel’s cause to overthrow the forces of evil and to establish God’s Kingdom on earth as in Heaven.
- There is a better way to be human, tough though it is.
- Being a husband, mother, father, business owner, political leader, etc. entail many difficult responsibilities, and one should shudder before undertaking any one of them, but as a Christian, we should be willing to take on difficult roles in order to carry out God’s will in those spheres. However, we should do so wisely (e.g., by surrounding ourselves with a group of Christians who will pray for us and look us in the face and reprimand us when we do wrong). We should recognize that we will get many things wrong, but we should have the Godly critque of ourselves built in, in order to identify those failings and to get us back on track, quickly.
- We never get to a point where we have everything right. We must constantly look toward God and His ways and seek His mercy and grace and forgiveness for our sins.
Contemporary Teacher: John McTernan
John McTernan states that various national behaviors are associated with punishment from God; he discusses the war described in Obediah:
Contemporary Teacher: Kirt Schneider
Have a great weekend.
God bless, and Shabbat shalom,
Darwin and Ani