Friday, March 10, 2017
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty”” (Rev. 1:7–8).
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called…There is one body [of God’s people] and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:1, 4–6).
An Old Testament prophet said, “I was watching; and the same horn [Antichrist] was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them” (Dan. 7:21). But have you considered why Antichrist will prevail in light of the fact that, “the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God…and are careful to observe them” (Deut. 28:13). The answer lies in that qualifier “if”.
And then John the revelator said, “It was granted to him [Antichrist] to make war with the saints and to overcome them” (Rev. 13:7). But why is that true since God said that, “you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Peter 2:9)? Again, note the qualifier, that, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love” (John 15:10).
Both prophets foresaw the divided and carnal end-time condition of God’s people. And that condition exposes them to Antichrist’s wrath in the great tribulation because, largely, they had not learned to, “dwell in the secret place of the Most High…[and thus] abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psa. 91:1), but were instead biblically ignorant, worldly and lukewarm.
These dual revelations of truth that Antichrist makes physical war with, overcomes and prevails against believers, should stir saints to consider why. Let’s not allow presumption or tradition to stop our investigation, but let’s understand the backstory to, “a house divided” (Luke 11:17).
But first, I warn you that Satan is now waging spiritual war against the church via the 2007 book “The Shack”, sweeping the nation in movie theaters. Millions of non-discerning Christians are flocking to it. I’ve read the book, and its apostasy is truly an anti-Christ deception from hell.
Yet, “1000 ‘Faith Leaders’ Endorse Blasphemous ‘Shack’ Film Based on Universalist Novel Depicting God as Woman – a film that is based on William P. Young’s bestselling novel of the same name, which some say contains universalistic doctrine and teaches that God is all love and no holiness, wrath or justice.” (Source: Christian News Network 03/07/2017).
Christians falling prey to “The Shack” is just one of myriad signs that the church of this final generation is in grave spiritual trouble. One with any level of biblical knowledge and spiritual discernment would recognize this book and movie as evil and a mocking slap in God’s face. Yet, this is largely the state of the end-time church: spiritually ignorant, non-discerning and deceived.
Now, for, “a house divided”. Learning from ancient Israel, we must discern between godly and ungodly division, and why denominational churches yet persist in the latter, but often nowadays change their names in hopes of shedding the stigma associated with their self-created divisions.
This year evangelical churches across the UK are especially remembering the 500th anniversary of the 16th century Protestant Reformation. That some men hungry for truth led an exit from the bondage and spiritual harlotry of the Roman Catholic Church is a praise to the living God. But having made their exit, they did not then discern the awaiting ravages of Satan’s divisions.
Today, there are thousands of different Christian churches. In fact, “there exist roughly 43,000 Christian denominations” (churchrelevance.com); most whom hold different beliefs about God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. But to hold membership in any, one must agree to affirm the tenets of that church. That’s not unity, dear saints, but serious spiritual disunity.
Departure from God’s Word divided ancient Israel and got her carried into bondage to foreign nations. Likewise, departure from God’s Word has divided the church, having become largely subject to the bondage and dictates of this evil world, but yet expects the protection of God.
When reformers like Arminius, Calvin, Luther, Tyndale, Simons and many others exited the evils of Roman Catholic papal indulgences and many other crimes by the popes – that was a Holy Spirit-led exit. But then those men failed to guard against Satan’s devices to splinter, segregate and divide that “one body” (Eph. 4:4), that had come out of spiritual darkness.
Christ taught, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls” (Luke 11:17). And, “There is one body [meaning one body of God’s people] and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all” (Eph. 4:4–6). But for 500 years, the church has not been “one body”, but created many thousands of bodies of Christ, and conceivably think it’s good.
And God said, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing – life forevermore” (Psa. 133:1–3).
Of course, many pastors will quote Psalm 133:1–3 to their flock as regards their denomination, for their beliefs, for their traditions and their doctrines, while whole truth remains hidden from the congregation that their traditions and doctrines may be exalted. What a spiritual shame.
So, does Ephesians 4:1–6 and Psalm 133:1–3 describe the post-Reformation church? Certainly not. There’s much division and disunity of doctrines and traditions; disagreement of faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ, of the Holy Spirit and baptisms. In the midst of such division, you and I are left to personally discover God’s whole truth, unfettered from the controlling reins of man.
Satan’s divisive schemes even murdered men as did theologian John Calvin (1509–1564) who ordered the death of Michael Servetus when Calvin rendered Servetus a heretic. Calvin, wielding influence with the government of Geneva, Switzerland, on October 27, 1553, approved Servetus’ death by burning him alive at the stake. Yet, much of the spirit of Calvin permeates the church today as many Christians join the ungodly bloodshed and war mongering ways of the world.
But today, the church is too politically and socially astute than to enact Calvin’s barbarity upon one for heresy. Yet, those same divisions lie at the heart, but wear a cloak in the public eye. The church divided is NOT from God. And Jesus Christ did not deliver a gospel of multiple choice, nor a smorgasbord of spiritual preferences to suit any one denomination’s desired theology.
This is what we’re up against: we will not receive whole truth from a denominational church governed by man’s traditions and doctrines. As a remnant people of God we’re on our own with our Bible, the Holy Spirit, sincere prayer, and the fellowship of the faithful remnant who actually believe the unadulterated Word of God whereby we can know truth that safely sees us to the end.
This is now critical, for ours is the final generation of this present age and we must be prepared in the whole truth of Christ. But if Christians continue in tradition, unbelief and division of what Jesus taught for the end-times, they will expose themselves to the wrath of Antichrist. And that’s a promise from Christ and His Holy Spirit at both Matt. 24:10 and 2 Thess. 2:3, respectively.
There’s a secret place of safety and provision for the wise remnant during the last 1,260 days (3 1/2 years) of great tribulation, when, “the woman [the freewoman of Gal. 4:21–31] fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days” (Rev. 12:6); also see 12:14. But only the wise “one body” finds it.
When the church took to itself the 1827 dispensational pre-trib rapture heresy of John Darby, it sabotaged and struck down God’s Word. But there are consequences for that, saying, “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together” (Matt. 24:28).
We live in a church age where many will not put up with whole truth, and, “will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3–4). Thus, in unbelief many have sown, and in unbelief they shall reap.
“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Prov. 30:5–6); “and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8); and “all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen” (2 Cor. 1:20). Do you love truth?
Marlin J. Yoder