THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND FAITH! (Nov. 2005)
Obviously the pun rings of the debate on the separation of Church and State, a debate which has and will rage on in this country, with both sides leveling some powerful and convincing arguments. The concepts addressed here however, are more directed to a personal level of Christian experience, and of the importance of the primary command of our savior for his followers to remain separate from the world in all of their doings.
As the separation of Church and State debate rages on in America, and as the Christian right begins to see a swing in their favor in governmental affairs, we contend that the importance of the Lord's admonitions to remain separate from the world are suffering a serious blow. I will keep my own arguments about the Separation of Church and State debate out of this discussion, because we address a more important separation. As the American Christian becomes a political activist, and an avid supporter of an administration that he perceives as centered on God, he makes manifest the success of decades of work on the part of the enemy to bring him to the current place. The church is surely being separated from its faith in the 21st century, and the discussion here will be directed at that separation, which as you will see here we believe is perilous.
Yes, the pun is intended. The changes that have been taking place in the Christian world today are certain, and they have brought about definitive ends for the enemy, who enjoys a significant level of victory in the Christian world today. As we have stated repeatedly, each and every article posted here is not an expression of judgment as some contend, but rather exactly the opposite. They are expressions of love to our fellow Christian, who we would try to remind of the spirit of the Savior that bought us, and the love and kindness that he spoke of.
When one considers the nature of the things that we have been speaking against, it seems puzzling that some would take that as having a wayward spirit attached to it. The things we have been speaking against are as follows...
Now, when one considers the list of things above that represent the entire thrust of the ministry here at 11th Hour, couldn't it be said that we are doing nothing more than sharing the same basic Gospel that was spoken by our Lord 2000 years ago? Look at the list... killing, love of money, love of darkness, hypocrisy, love of this world, and love for our enemies? I would ask every Christian reading this article at this point in time, what is the difference between what we have been saying here for 2 years, and what the Lord said for three years in ancient Israel? Nothing. Did he not order us to speak against these things and to present to the world a Gospel that is diametrically opposed to such living?
We utterly reject the idea that what we are saying is any of the following, new or revolutionary, judgmental, hate speech, anti American sentiment, liberal, left wing, or any other designation that folks would try to label it. In fact, this web site is founded to speak almost entirely to the "conservative" Christian, (as labeled by the world). It really has very little to do with politics, beyond the need to address Christian support for and dependence on the political realm, in a world that Jesus told us to be separate from. We point out the things that the political parties do, which provide a clear showing of the fact that Christians need to be separate from that kind of activity, but our message is not political.
We are standing up for the most basic and fundamental aspects of this faith, and as I have said, will continue to do so. How is it that we find ourselves in the place of having to re-present the Gospel to those who have supposedly already heard and accepted it? How is it that the most simple and fundamental aspects of our faith are now being called "judgmental", "out there", "lost", "hate speech", "bible bashing", and "anti American sentiment". If the Gospel of Jesus Christ is anti American, I would say that there are some real problems ahead for the church here, and for the country at large. A country that was supposedly founded on these principles we hasten to add!
THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND FAITH
What is meant by "The Separation Of Church And Faith"? We contend that the Church in America is being systematically separated from the vital principles that make up our faith, and that the process of transformation has seen some serious growth and success in recent years. So how could one be separated from his faith? In order to separate anyone from their faith, all one needs to do is to get them to seek satisfaction, fulfillment, protection, provision and justice from a source other than the subject of that faith, which in our case is Jesus Christ.
As previously discussed, we have known all along that if we believe that the Christian faith, and the Church of Jesus Christ holds the truth of Salvation, that the deceptions of Satan would definitely be directed toward his Church, since there is no need to deceive a world that is already in deception and rebellion, other than to keep the already accepted deceptions in place. So we conclude that the target of satanic activity in the area of deception in the end times, will have to be directed at the church of Jesus Christ, including the effort to steal from believers their faith in Christ. Christ is our life and satisfaction. He is our sustenance and fulfillment. He is our protection and justice. He is our joy and provision. He is our reason for living and for the last 2000 years, Christian after Christian has been persecuted for, and some have died for defending this faith.
Today, the traditional expressions of Christian faith are being mauled by the treacheries of love for the world, love of life, self preservation and greed, the pursuit of luxury, wealth and "happiness", and seeking worldly protection from the kingdoms of this world. Regardless of the devastation and murder resulting from the execution of these activities, these selfsame activities are branded with grandiose titles, such as: "doing the will of God", "living the abundant life", "seeking justice", "receiving the blessings of God", "civil responsibility", "living your best life now", and "fighting the good fight", while the presentation of the Gospel that Jesus spent three years of his life making prior to his sacrificial death on the cross is forgotten, and has taken a back seat to the "New enlightenment" of current day thought and "in vogue" mainstream teaching.
WHAT IS FAITH?
The Bible teaches that Faith is:
Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen."
I have always thought that our belief in Christ and the promises of the word of God, which comes from divine revelation given to our hearts by the Holy Spirit of God, is in fact the substance of things hoped for. I also believe that the Bible, which is the word of God, its incredible accuracy throughout history, and its absolutely perfect telling of the nature of man is the evidence of things not seen. The on going manifestation of his working in our lives serves to constantly feed these things, by way of a constant bearing of witness to the reality of the truth, not only of his existence, but of the truth of his word and all of that which makes up our faith!
We can maintain a daily, effective and faithful walk with God, if we remain in constant communion with his Word, his Spirit, and his Son through these precious gifts. So the most powerful tools available to us in this world for preserving our faith, and for progressing forward in our walk with God are:
So then it stands to reason that in order to pursue this conversation of "Separation Of Church And Faith", we would need to see what the enemy's strategy has been, and would be. I will approach this from the angle of the the three essentials to our faith just listed above.
SEPARATED FROM HIS WORD
SCIENCE - Leaning toward the world's version of understanding.
The first step the enemy would need to take in order to separate a believer from his faith is to attack the Word of God, even as he did in the garden at the birth of original sin. As discussed in the article "UNDER SIEGE" on this site, a myriad of attacks have been mounted in the world today against God's word. It is vital to the destruction of faith for the enemy to discredit the Bible in any way he can. Most of the sciences existing in the world today are primarily working toward this goal. We can see the successes of this in the fact that many believers today attempt to make their beliefs in some way accommodate the supposed facts of science. It is a most powerful attack, since it relies on a person's pride, in that they do not want to appear "ignorant" of "facts" that most of the scientific world pontificates as truth. The truth is, that we either believe what the word of God has said, or we do not.
Paul made note of the use of science to darken faith...
1 Timothy 6:20-21 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
THE OCCULT - Leaning towards the world's version of spiritual understanding.
You may find it amazing the kind of numbers of Christian believers in the world today who turn to the occult and it's practices for the things we are called to seek from the reading of God's word. Many people find the occult a "more exciting" source of guidance and understanding than what they perceive as the tedious and difficult practice of reading God's word.
Fortune Tellers are experiencing the greatest onslaught of people seeking to understand themselves and their lives in America today than they ever have in the history of this nation. Psychics, Card and Palm readers, spiritual mediums and the practices of séances, (communication with the dead), witchcraft, the daily reading of one's horoscope in the local paper and the like are at an all time high. It is believed that 1 out of every 3 believers in America seek guidance from one or more of the sources named here on a somewhat consistent level. Here, the human hunger for supernatural experience is fed by the enemy in order to distract believers from a consistent time of reading the word of God, fellowshipping with his Son, and receiving of his Spirit.
The predictive prophecies of Astrologers, "seers", fortune tellers, readers, and spiritualists world wide draw the attention of the spiritual hunger of the human heart, and again, call one away from the the only source of true predictive prophecy: the Word of God. Men like Nostrodamus for instance, who hundreds of years after his death is perceived by many as a prophet. I have even heard some say that he was a Christian, and that his predictions were revelations of God. Nostrodamus was an astrologer, not a prophet, and there is a stark difference. His confession to Christianity lends no validity to predictions based on the stars. Nostrodamus made his predictions while observing the stars, and the predictions he made were based on those observations. A little known fact concerning Nostrodamus, is that there were many predictions that he made which never came to pass, and even though a remarkable amount of his predictions did come to pass, the scripture makes a clear judgment concerning this...
Deuteronomy 18:22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
Belief in, and having reverence for the predictions of such men, are exactly the kind of tools Satan uses to inspire deceptions like the one in the statement that "there is truth in ALL religions and belief systems", which is clearly another in a long series of attempts to minimize the Bible as the solemn word of the most high God. Nostrodamus used the stars and Astrology, the Mayans used mathematical computation, the Aztecs used divination and human sacrifices. Let God be true, and every man a liar!
Many folks have asked me "Well then, why does God allow some of these predictions to come to pass if he does not want us to be deceived by them?" In the 18th chapter of Deuteronomy, God laid the ground work in a lot of ways for Israel and the world to judge Prophecy going forward, and has made clear the answer to this question...
Deuteronomy 13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives thee a sign or a wonder, 2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spoke unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Here, God stated plainly that there would be times when the predictions of those who were not of God would come to pass, and what the purpose of that event was: that the Lord God proves us, as to whether or not we will follow only the truth which comes from him, even in the face of their predictions coming to pass. In Nostrodamus' case, the "other Gods" that he would have us reverence would be the stars and Astrology, which was also spoken to by the scriptures such as in Romans 1:25, where Paul mentions worshiping the creature more than the creator.
This is a clear guide for Christians as to how we are to esteem men of Astrology, men of Science, and any of the Occult, even those who claim to be members of the kingdom of God, who would lead us after "other Gods". (I will address the "other God's" item more in the section on separation from the Son). Even in times when what they say comes to pass, we are to give no heed to them at all. Did that psychic blow you away with the accuracy of his/her predictions and knowledge? Heed them not still, for the Lord God proves the hearts of believers in whether or not they will choose to follow another!
CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE - Leaning on our own understanding.
I would have to admit one of the most powerful tools used to attempt to discredit the word of God today, has to be the satanic interpretation of circumstances in our lives, as a tool to deny God's word in our hearts. Again, much like the twist Satan put on the circumstances in the garden to deceive man, he uses every circumstance that can be construed to mean that God is not true that he can, to raise it up as a standard that denies God's promises, and his word. Satan would like us to believe that any and all prayer not answered in the way we had hoped or expected it to be, is a proof that God's word is not true. He constantly asks the question in our hearts: "If God was real, how could this be?". Satan acts like a coach of doubt whenever and where ever he can, and I find this to be one of the more consistent and tenacious parts of his work against the word of God.
Much like the false prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy, Satan predicts that what we ask for will not come to pass, every time we are to ask God for something. When his prediction seems to come to pass, in that we did not receive the expected result, we are proven whether or not we will believe God in the face of this event. When we pray for a man to be healed, and he is not healed, or even worse, if he dies, what is the resulting effect on our hearts? The result is that Satan stands ready to name the unexpected result as a proof that God is neither true, or what he says he is, and as a result, his word comes into question in the heart of a man. When we ask God to intervene in a situation, and something other than what we were hoping for comes to pass, do we find the same unfaithful accusation waiting for us each and every time when we are alone, and pondering the matter?
Brothers and Sisters, if we believe that God is everything he says he is, and that his word is true, we can not even allow circumstances to question that belief. If we know that...
Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Why isn't that good enough for the believer? NO, I mean REALLY good enough? And if we truly understand that we can not possibly comprehend the purposes of God, we MUST remain faithful in our hearts and in our lives in the face of the most powerful liar in existence. Satan is so experienced and powerful a liar, that with his constant whispering in our ears when God acts in a way we do not understand, he can even make his lies seem like reality by faithfully being there to rail these accusations against God each and every single time. Deny circumstances and the lies of Satan surrounding them, believe that God's purposes are true, and do not let Satan use them to help to excuse sin, leaving our guard down because we can not always understand God's purposes!
So we can see there are some serious and long term efforts being waged by the enemy to separate us from God's word. These efforts are not new and have been working for centuries to cause the Children of God to stray. In the section "Separated From His Son", we will discuss some of the results of the compromised position of the Bible in the hearts and more importantly and especially in the lives of Christians today, bringing about the circumstances that lead to the writing of this article. But first, the most important and vital work of the enemy concerning God's word...
THE LITERAL SEPARATION
There is still however, no tool more powerful in the enemy's working against the word of God than the actual, literal separation of Christians from the actual reading of God's word. Whatever it takes, and however he can bring it about, there is no work of the enemy more important or more attended to in the world today, than to keep the Christian from his time reading the word, and meditating on the promises of God.
I have personally seen that when believers find themselves in a place of having been studying the scriptures for many many years, we often feel that we have reached a place where we "know what the word says" and a consistent, on going reading of the word often tapers off to nil. I have known many Christians in my life, and I don't mean the distant, who just "believe" the Christian faith, I am talking about seasoned, long term, active Christians, who after many years of walking in the faith, find themselves with their Bible in their hands only when they leave the house on Sunday morning to attend Church, or Wednesday night when they head out for fellowship. The reasons for this are plain: too busy, too tired, too much going on, no time, I already know the word, etc, etc.
In order to feed and nourish the faith we have been given, a constant reading of the word of God is vital, and in the absence of that faithfulness, the strength and rooting of our faith becomes weakened, and the doors become open for satanic deception. The enemy knows this well, and here would be the most important tool and strategy Satan will need to employ to gradually work deceptions into the believer's heart. In the absence of constant contact with the truth of the word, slight compromises, and twists of the word we only "remember" but do not read anymore, can be slipped into a person's doctrine by Men whom the Christian esteems as being anointed by God, even if they are nothing more than the foretold arrival of wolves in sheep's clothing.
We would advise each and every believer who reads this article, that if you are too busy, or tired, or occupied to give your Bible an hour a day, then it would be evident that you are way too occupied with life. Will you sometimes miss this time? Sure, but better to miss it once in a while, than to allow ourselves to make practice of not setting aside time each day to feed on the word of God!
SEPARATED FROM HIS SON
I'll say that this section here is one of the primary purposes of this writing, and more clearly speaks to the results of Satan's work to separate the church from it's faith than much of the rest of the article. What was addressed up to this point in our opinion, is the groundwork needed for the enemy to bring about the results I will address in this section. What will be addressed in the last section: "Separated from His Spirit" will be the ultimate cost of the activity in the first two sections, and is clearly foretold by scripture as that result.
So if the separation from his word has been working toward the goal of separating the Church and faith, we can see the resulting separation from "The Word of God" which is Jesus Christ, who was the living word. A man is separated from or associated with the Son, by way of his actions, and there is no denying the scriptures on that point. Jesus made it clear that if we love him, we will keep his commands, and that we would walk in the footsteps that he foreordained with his life, that we walk in. We find no more powerful a separation form Christ in the world today than the one manifested since the Church in America began to take worldly matters into it's own hands in the form of political activity to bring about conditions favorable to what he believes he should be in the world... A ruler.
A strong arm, or "rod of iron" approach to changing the world around him, the Christian believes that through political activism, and a "responsible" use of the most powerful military the world has ever known, he can bring about the will and purposes of God on earth. This is an action that the scriptures make clear will never take place until the physical arrival of the King, who will rule in righteousness for a thousand years. I will detail one by one many items here, that prove beyond refutation that the things we propose in this article are taking place. Some of them will be restated facts from past Articles on this site, but in the context of this conversation, exemplify the Separation of the Church and Faith we propose in the title.
PARTING COMPANY WITH THE SAVIOR
There were three very important circumstances of men parting company with Jesus during his ministry. They so incredibly and aptly apply to the context of current events, and the topic of this article, I was amazingly thankful when the Lord reminded me of them. It seemed that He put them before me as a reminder to share with folks about how we should live, in support of this article. Especially in light of all the distractions Satan attempted to throw at me while writing this section. Those circumstances of parting company with Jesus are as follows...
THE ZEALOTS - The "patriots" of ancient Israel.
There were men in Jesus day, as discussed in the "Generation Judas" article on this site, (one of which was believed to have been Judas Iscariot before he became a disciple), and they were called "Zealots". The word is derived from the word "zeal", which is a burning passion for something, and in this case it was a burning passion for the nation of Israel. Remember the definition of patriotism from Bills article, "Patriotism in Light of The Scriptures"?
Patriot; One who loves his country and zealously guards its welfare.
These were men who hated the Roman Empire with a passion that could not be expressed in words, but only in militant action! Barabbas, the man who was released instead of Jesus at the court of Pilate was a Zealot. He was in prison for having killed a Roman auxiliary with a dagger, in his burning hatred of Rome. This action was a trademark action of the sect of the Zealots, and was an act of "patriotism" on behalf of Israel in Barabbas' mind. He was not the dirty, cockeyed madman that the movie "Passion of Christ" portrayed him to be. Yes, Barabbas was a barbaric man alright, but not by way of his looks, but rather by way of his beliefs.
The Zealots believed that Messiah would be one who would be a military leader, who would lead Israel in a battle that would drive Rome from Jerusalem. This is a classic example of men who were disappointed by the error of demanding that the savior be what they expected him to be, by way of their own desires, understandings and passions. The Zealots were men who parted company with Jesus, when he made clear in his teaching that his kingdom was not going to be established with bloodshed. Today the Zealots would be called terrorists, as their common practice was to kill Romans and anyone who made company with them, with daggers. This group was in it's infant stages when Jesus walked the earth, and was largely wiped out when the rebellion was crushed in 70AD.
Today, as experienced by everyone here at 11th Hour, many Christians part company with the idea that Jesus would not be in support of the War on Terror that the American Government is waging in the middle east. They see Islam as an evil that needs to be eradicated from the earth, and any suggestion that Jesus is not in line with this thinking is met with harsh words of condemnation and rebuke. The average mainstream Christian today is a Zealot, or a Patriot, who has a burning passion for America as those in ancient Israel who had a passion for Israel.
The error of the Zealots was that they could not understand that Jesus was there to establish an eternal kingdom, spiritual in nature, not bound by the confines of a worldly kingdom or land, and that all would be welcome there, including Romans, Greeks, and Jews alike. When they began to understand his message, only Simon the Zealot was able to see what Jesus intended.
Today the error is much deeper in that Jesus has presented his entire message to the Christian world in the word, and it is made up of the message that if the world hated him, that it would also hate us. That we would be hated by the world, but that love and forgiveness would be our reaction to that hatred, and a reflection of the response of Jesus to that hatred, which was expressed in NOT calling down a legion of Angels (a "great army"), to his rescue, but rather by the words: "Forgive them Father, they know not what they do."
Yet today in Christian circles, the spirit of the Zealots is reborn, as the American Christian returns the hatred of Islam in the form of support for the killing of these men. The American Christian supporting these activities parts company with the Savior on so many levels and it is sad and disturbing to see how difficult it is to get this basic message across to Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
The teaching of Jesus with regard to turning the other cheek when attacked has given way to a "preemptive strike philosophy" which intends to get up and hit the aggressor first, rather than "strive even unto blood, resisting sin", and obey even unto death the words of Jesus. Remember these words Christian Brothers and Sisters, Islam does not hate us because we are free. They hate us on a spiritual level; Israel because they are Jews, and the target of God's salvation, and Christians, because they are grafted in recipients of that same salvation. Remember, the vital element of their hate is not freedom, it is not America, it is Christ!
THE DISCIPLES WHO WALKED AWAY - Offended by the truth of Jesus?
The second circumstance that came to mind about those who parted company with Jesus were the ones to whom he said the parable of his flesh and blood. Jesus described in graphic and elicit detail that those who would live forever where those who would "drink his blood, and eat his flesh". According to the account in John 6: 48-66, Jesus knew that there were many following him at this point who were not truly faithful to him, and he also knew who would betray him at that point. The verses indicate that Jesus deliberately said this thing this way, in order to flush out those who were not going to be faithful to him. He was obviously foreshadowing the last supper and the creation of the Lord's Supper, but he said it in terms that were so literal that those around him who were not faithful, could not take his words on faith and wait for the understanding, but rather they chose to walk away, and no longer follow him.
Today in modern Christianity, I fear the same thing is taking place right before our eyes. When reminded of the literal words of Jesus, Christians can not understand how this all works out in the end, and they reject the idea that we are to "turn the other cheek", "love our enemies", "render good in return for evil". They have lost sight of the fact that this life is of such lower and secondary value to the living of this faith, and the eternal plan of God. They are offended by even the suggestion that Jesus was serious when he said what he said about these circumstances, and they respond as such: "What are we supposed to do, let these people come here and kill us??" I beg to differ with mainstream Christian thought, because the answer to that question is a resounding yes my Son, that is exactly what you are to do. In supporting the killing of America's enemies, which are branded as the haters of freedom, yet are actually the haters of Christ, they part company with the Savior in a very fundamental way.
THE YOUNG RICH MAN - The quickest to walk away.
There is no more well known an incident in the Gospels than the meeting of the young rich man with Jesus on the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan. The young rich man lived according to the law, and made ample defense of that fact when Jesus told him to live up to the commandments. What he was not ready for was when Jesus said...
Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
You see, the law did not demand that one was to abandon his material possessions just for the sake of abandoning them, and frankly, neither does the Gospel. But Jesus knew that this man was taken in his wealth and possessions, and that he would not give them up to follow him, or to do the work of the kingdom. Jesus made a demand that he knew that the rich young man would not be willing to obey, and that was the purpose of what he said to him. He intended to point out the treachery of wealth and excess, and made clear throughout the rest of his ministry that living in bondage to wealth was unacceptable for his servants.
As discussed in the "Blessings Of God" article at 11th Hour, it is not money or having money that separates one from the kingdom of God, but living a life in service to, and a life centered around money that makes serving the Lord Jesus Christ an impossibility. In that article, and here again in the context of this conversation, we do not state that any Christian that has material increase is in rebellion or is walking away from God. We only ask that folks examine what part money and possessions play in his life. If all of our days are spent serving our possessions, and increasing our goods, and tirelessly laying up in store hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for a time later in our life, while so many around us suffer the pangs of hunger, then again, in more ways than one we part company with the Savior and his work, to serve mammon.
We question the wisdom of the servant of God placing his excess money in a market that has resorted in recent years to some blood curdling methods of increasing profit. What if the person who has their money in the market is sharing in those profits which proceed from some truly evil and immoral means? Can it be said that if we profit from the activity of oppressing the hireling in his wages, that by profiting, we too oppress the hireling in his wages? I think it is self evident that we do. It is important that Believers be careful to know where their money is being used, and for what.
I recently heard a preacher on the radio, a man that I have always admired and respected, preach a sermon on "Being unequally yoked with unbelievers." He proceeded to go on about how this scripture was talking about only spiritual endeavors in our life and that we were not to be involved in spiritual things with unbelievers. He gave examples like marriage, ministry, and any type of service to God. He included in his discussion things like the fact that the church can not condone sin, and gave some instances where unbelievers would have to be asked to leave the Church if they did not stop certain activities since the church, as an institution, can not condone sin and be unequally yoked.
At one point in his sermon he made what I believe to be a very serious mistake. He said that this scripture did not include certain parts of your life, in that not all parts of your life are spiritual endeavors. He said it did not include your "regular friendships", your "money matters", he said "I'm not talking about mutual funds, you're ok there..." The problem with this teaching is that Jesus, his Disciples, and the Apostle Paul all made it resoundingly clear that once we enter into the Christian life, that our WHOLE LIFE is a spiritual endeavor. The use of and the way we accumulate money will not go unattended to at the judgment seat of Christ, and we think it unwise for folks to think that they can separate their lives in to spiritual, and unspiritual endeavors.
What this preacher said, was an invitation to make a belief out of the fact that there are times in our life that we are not under scriptural guidelines. This thinking is contrary to the word, and is exactly the kind of thinking that has brought about some of the great tragedies in Christianity today, like the parting of company with the savior in support for killing in the name of God. Look what Paul said about this in the life of a Christian...
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Were we called to "walk after the spirit" on a part time level? Certainly not.
Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Again, did the righteousness of the law that is fulfilled in us who serve Christ only apply on an holy day, or the weekend and Wednesday nights?
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
Anyone who thinks that our lives can be divided up this way should read the rest of that scripture in Ephesians chapters 4 and 5. Many in the mainstream church are under the mistaken impression that these verses are for pastors and leaders only, when in fact the early church and the apostles taught that ALL followers of Christ were to live their lives as a "ministry", a full time, day in and day out service to the words of Jesus. This is how we identify with him, and how we "abide in him" as encouraged by the scriptures. Anyone thinking our actions are out of this whole identifying with Christ thing, as is so often proposed by so called "teachers", is going to find in one way or another that this is just another deception being fed to a Christian world who does not "Abide in Me".
John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
So we are separated from the word by not reading it, and not abiding in it, and by not dwelling on its words and promises every day, and as a result, our awareness of waywardness and deception is decreased, and we open the door to deception. There can be no arguing these matters when one looks at the word of God.
We are separated from the Son by not following his words and commands, and by not walking as he did in as much as we are able from day to day, and when we take positions that are in opposition to his teaching.
SEPARATED FROM HIS SPIRIT
How then can we be separated from his spirit? It seems again, almost self evident that in the absence of daily refreshing in the word, and in the absence of identifying with Jesus in our lives on a minute by minute basis, that the presence of the Spirit of God would not exactly be an earmark on our lives. There is no way an argument can be made against the fact that these things flow in measure to themselves and in accordance with our faithfulness to them, not withstanding the massive allergic reaction to the teaching of walking in righteousness that is shared by modern day teaching.
But it seems there are larger concerns ahead for the world in light of the possibility that we are in the final hours of history, and at the very door of the end of the mysteries of God, and the coming of the Lord Jesus. I am talking specifically about the progression displayed in the scriptures with regard to the end time, and the actual LITERAL departure of the Spirit of God from those who end up serving the kingdom of the Son of perdition. In the pages of this article, a scenario is described that mirrors almost verbatim the progression expected at that time, and we need to now discuss the ultimate delusion that would take so many in the end time.
We are talking about an actual separation from his spirit, as actual and real as the separation from the word, and the separation form the Son described earlier in this document. There will come a time, according to the scriptures, when the Spirit of God will actually depart from the spirits of men who should choose to walk away from the principles of our faith...
2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Is there any way to escape the reality that Paul is speaking of what were formerly believers in this passage? "Having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof"? What for example is meant by this scripture in Genesis...
Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
Can it be confidently argued that the Lord is not in fact looking at the end times when he said this? When he made the judgment that our lives would be for a certain and shortened period of time? I think it is clear that here, he is saying that this is the length of a man's life, and this is how it will be, but my Spirit will someday stop "striving" with men...
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
So we can plainly see that the Spirit of God is still "striving" with men reminding them of the word of God, and the words of Jesus, so there is a later time, that the Spirit will depart, and will no longer strive with men. We believe that this is brought about in the end times in a way that many do not consider or comprehend.
THE APPROACHING ABOMINATION
Let's consider the scripture verses found in 2 Thes. CH 2. for a minute here... In speaking of the time just prior to the coming of the Lord, Paul lays out a series of events that MUST occur before that time...
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
Here, Paul describes a time when the Son of Perdition (a striking resemblance to Judas here? more on this in a minute), will sit in the Temple of God, declaring himself as God, and obviously demanding the same worship and obedience as one would expect God to deserve. He speaks of a time when formerly faithful will "fall away". This brings up a definite question in light of the New Testament's teaching that the temple of God is no longer a building made of stone and wood...
Mark 14:58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.
Acts 7:48-49 Howbeit the most High dwells not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands;
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and
more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this
building; (Paul was speaking of the NEW
So since Jesus abolished the Old Testament Temple as the house of God and clearly made it known that WE are in fact the temple of God since his arrival, and under the New Covenant, where his spirit dwells in us and "strives" with us, over sin.. so what is meant by this statement here...
Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,)
then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains:
In both instances where Jesus mentions the "Abomination of Desolation", there is a parenthesis which indicates a need for taking some time to think carefully about the words that have just been spoken. Now I would ask, if Jesus meant nothing more than what the literal words actually said, and if the writer of the Gospel took the time to make a statement like "Let the reader understand", is it not evident that there is in fact something more to consider? I believe that the parenthesis is there to jog our minds to realize what he is talking about... It is that the "Holy place", a reference to the Old Testament Temple, is in fact the Spirit or the hearts of people now, rather than an actual building.
I know what you are probably thinking at this point, "He is saying that the Abomination of Desolation is something that takes place in fact in the hearts of deceived folks, those who fall away, and those who took the mark". And you would be right, that is exactly what I am saying. But don't get me wrong, we have discussed this here at 11th Hour at great length, and it seems there is no doubt that there will in fact be an actual Temple constructed by men in the holy land prior to the return of Christ. There is also little doubt, that the person known as the "Son of Perdition" could actually (but not necessarily) sit himself down in that Temple, to rule over the World. However, the difference we are addressing is that this act will be a physical manifestation of a very definite spiritual event: When the spirit of God leaves the holy of holy places in a man's inner spirit and the spirit of perdition takes over.
We have again and again warned of serious consequences of, and that the working of the Devil in these times is, to bring about conditions where Christians are just too caught up in their lives, their money, and their world to be living circumspectly before God, and to diligently seek his face in prayer, the reading of God's word, and in mirroring the life of Jesus in their daily lives. These are in fact the exact conditions described in the scripture, and mirror perfectly the scripture's references to the conditions leading up to the final separation: separation form his Spirit. How can it be said that this is not the case, when burning nationalism, and "zeal" for a worldly country, and reverence and blind obedience to it's leadership is in full swing in the hearts of Christians, to the point that they cry for and support the killing of that nations enemies? A principle that is not only contrary to the words of Jesus, but is in fact the exact same principle that the Christian world condemns the Islamic world for.
Is the Spirit of God leaving the heart of a man who has shifted his allegiance to the world as opposed to his word? I see an eerie and ominous resemblance in the world today to that which was foretold by the scriptures and the men of God 2000 years ago. I feel sad for the things that are about to take place in the world now that these principles are in full swing on the landscape of public opinion, and am deeply concerned that "public opinion" so clearly matches and is in agreement with the in-vogue teachings of the Christian world.
PERDITION - GENERATION JUDAS?
So, a short time ago, I mentioned Judas, and said more on this in a few. In the article "Generation Judas", I described some symptoms that are cause for deep concern on the part of Christians in America today. They are deeply related to the conditions being described in this article as well. There is a very definite difference described surrounding the circumstances of Judas' betrayal of Christ, and a common "demon possession". This circumstance is NOT demon possession, but rather exactly the conditions I describe here. He was even called "the son of perdition" by Jesus...
John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
Here is a situation described in which when Jesus handed Judas the sop, that Satan entered him. No demons were involved here. Satan himself entered Judas. There can be no doubt that this event is not the same as the event of demon possession that Jesus encountered in his ministry so many times. Those circumstances were clearly incidents of Satan's forces (demons) who had gained control of certain men and women, to the point that they were enslaved to them. This situation is very different than that, and is more in line with the circumstances that are being presented here. Having lost his faith in the mission of Jesus, and having lost his way, Judas opened the door for the evil to take him in the most inescapable fashion. Satan entered his innermost spirit, and took control.
If this was a situation where Judas was possessed by a demon, the scriptures would have said so, because the two are clearly spoken of in different terms. We feel the same is the case in the end times when the son of perdition "sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" occurs. How else could Satan show himself that he is God other than by receiving service from men? Or by dwelling where God dwells. Since the temple of God in the New Covenant is man himself, what other temple could he sit in to fulfill this scripture, given that it is a New Testament prophecy? Yes, there may very well be an actual building built in the holy land at the time of the end, and the Son of Perdition may even sit in that building, but as described by the new Testament of scripture, this will be the physical manifestation of an already accomplished event.
We know that the word teaches that the manifestation of the reality of God's presence in our spirit is the deeds that we do, and the lives that we live, (a teaching that in and of itself has come under ferocious attack in these times), and so we can not escape the fact that in like manner, perdition existing in the hearts of men is also manifested by their deeds and the way they live their lives. Given the progression we have been discussing here, would it not be wise for each and every believer to examine carefully his beliefs, and his actions in times such as these? We certainly would not want to find ourselves in a position where we are setting ourselves up for a departure of the Spirit of God, knowing that at that point, there is no return. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit lurks in some of the teachings and suggestions that Satan has been working for centuries to make common in the church. How can we not spend our lives fighting against these things, when they will bring so many into perdition!
Perdition - apoleia - utter and eternal spiritual destruction or loss or damnation. (this is Strong's Greek concordance definition.)
In Christ, F. E. Reilly
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