The God of Judgment

Malachi 2:17 says: “Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him?  When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?”

The great, ultimate lie from the beginning of history that the devil has told mankind is that we can transgress God’s commandment and “not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4)  God had told Adam and Eve that if they ate of the tree which He forbade them to eat from, that they would indeed “surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)  Transgressing God’s commandments is rebellion against Him.  Doing so is essentially a declaration that one has chosen to be their own “god”, chosen to live their own way and deny the Lord His supreme authority and right to reign over His creation.  To rebel against God is to rebel against the essence of  righteousness, goodness, love, etc.  That is the great evil of sin and why God is obligated to punish sinners with the severest punishment of hell-fire.  If He did not do so, He would be complicit with evil, which He will never be.  The lie that mankind can transgress against God and somehow “not surely die” is still alive and well today.  Our society has swept God’s judgments aside, with any commandment of God and any rebuke of sin being dismissed with the mantra of “don’t judge”, not properly discerning the obvious difference between man’s personal assumptions versus God’s timeless truth.  Though the media, many educators, and many churches justify man’s rebellion against God in doing what’s right in his own eyes, God is not mocked!  Truth doesn’t change and our appointment before God on Judgment Day hasn’t been canceled.  And craziest of all, many even use the gospel of Jesus Christ, the very means of redemption from sin and salvation from sin, as a license to continue sinning!  Yet Christ died to reconcile man to God- not God to man.  There is a universe of difference there!

The Bible says in Psalm 34:15-16: “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.   The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.”  Though these verses can apply in several different senses, especially to the new heavens and the new earth which God will leave to the righteous to inherit for eternity, it still is stating the general truth that God’s wrath is in general against those that do evil.  And there is a very literal sense in which He sometimes expresses that wrath in this life and cuts off evildoers by going out of His way to kill them.  

If you search on the internet regarding God killing people in the Bible, I don’t know if the search results have been manipulated, but regardless, an internet search on this will mainly get you websites of people who are blatantly opposed to Christianity who like to point to this topic to try to claim that the God of the Bible is morally inferior to themselves, and so (they claim) the Bible is wicked or at least very misguided somehow.  We should not (they claim) believe in and follow a God who acts like this.  On the other hand, many professing Christians, and websites that are said to be promoting Christianity, avoid this topic like the plague.  Or maybe they even try to claim that God’s ways have changed from Biblical times.  And in the case of the Marcionites and the many influenced by Marcionism (Marcionism is the evil belief that the god of the Old Testament is a god of wrath and judgment but the god of the New Testament is a god of only love and mercy), they make an argument to supposedly validate God which is baseless, illogical, and easily refuted (and will be here) by the fact that God expresses mercy and compassion, as well as wrath and judgment, throughout the whole of Scripture.

Behind both the blatant enemies of the God of the Bible who like to bring to light His killings in Scripture, as well as behind the professing Christians who don’t want to face this head on and not be ashamed of it, there is a humanistic spirit which values man’s happiness over God’s glory.  Or we could also say, values man’s well-being over truth and righteousness.  There is also an unwillingness to recognize their Creator’s right to Govern the Universe to vindicate what is true and right; and to expose and cast down that which is wicked and opposed to what is true and right- in His own timing and by the means which He best sees fit.  So whether someone blatantly is opposed to the God of the Bible, or whether someone wants to see the God of the Bible primarily as a means to make man happy and blessed, either way they’re not likely to see God’s killing of people in Scripture as something righteous and holy which those who believe in Him should by no means be ashamed of.

Since all life belongs to God, and since God is totally just and righteous, God cannot unjustly take away life by killing someone or by commanding someone to be killed on terms He has laid out regarding execution (Genesis 9:6 is a reference there).  And it is the concepts that our lives rightfully belong to God, and that God holds man accountable to live in accordance with His precepts (His judgments are intended as a reminder of such accountability), that are especially uncomfortable and offensive to rebellious, sinful man.  If God kills someone for an action, then that proves His wrath is against that action.  It is surely an action which warrants damnation on Judgment Day and in eternity.  His judgments in this life, as well as righteous law and order being carried out overall, are previews of Judgment Day and its eternal implications.  

There are some basic groups of people which tend to especially be the objects of God’s wrath.

1)  Sinners among His people

2)  Those who oppose His people

3)  Nations and societies in general which are especially corrupt and evil before Him- whose judgment can serve as a reminder to the rest of the world of His wrath against sin and the horror which all sinners before Him will face on Judgment Day.  Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”

And I think it’s also worth noting here that considering the moral corruption of the earth, and considering how many people had lived by the first century AD (when the New Testament was written and the Biblical canon closed), it is an amazing demonstration of the long-suffering of God that the number of Biblical killings is not much higher than it is.

It should also be noted that in the Bible we are given inside insight on whom God went out of His way to kill.  People have been dying from natural disasters, accidents, heart attacks, etc from the beginning of human history.  Those whom the Bible says God killed were killed by God.  Otherwise, we should be really careful about saying such when someone dies.  If God makes it obvious to thinking, reasonable, logical people who acknowledge His sovereignty (i.e. His reign) over the Universe, with all the information they have considered, that someone who has died has been killed by Him, then that should be acknowledged.  We already have much reason though to take heed and fear before Him by what He has surely already said and done in Scripture.  Regarding anyone who dies a sudden and unexpected death, the perspective we should have about that is seen by what Jesus said in Luke ch 13:1-5.  His point I believe is that we should be ready to meet God at all times, because anyone could potentially die at any time and go to face God in their sins, if they are not ready to meet Him at that moment.  That is a conclusion which is always reasonable to draw.

Let’s analyze then a few of the many times when God went out of His way to kill people in the Bible.

– Nadab and Abihu killed by fire by God for offering strange fire in Leviticus 10:1-3:  The context is the inauguration of God’s worship in the Tabernacle.  At the end of Leviticus chapter 9 God makes it clear that He is pleased with the tabernacle, and will dwell there, as Moses and Aaron complete His instructions to inaugurate it.  This is recorded at the end of Leviticus chapter 9.  Leviticus 9:22-24: And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings.  And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people.  And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.”

And now Nadab and Abihu want in on the action. 

Leviticus 10:1-3: “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.  Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.  And Aaron held his peace.”

Nadab and Abihu had been doing their part ministering as the Temple was inaugurated, but they then chose to innovate.  While the Bible never says specifically why they did this, the obvious effect would have been to generate a show- or in this case to add to the event which was happening already, which was not a show, but which a man looking to make a show might emulate or try to add to.  There are many churches now of all varieties, but I especially think of many megachurches and so-called Pentecostal churches, which literally could not exist without making a show!  That is mainly how they draw people; and they would be out of business without this.  They innovate in worship to produce a show for man, to gratify man, and to produce emotional experiences calculated to man’s satisfaction rather than just doing what God has prescribed for corporate worship and leaving whatever effects that might produce to Him.  God has testified that His wrath is against such by the example of Nadab and Abihu.  

– Bear Attack (2 Kings 2:23-24)

2 Kings 2:23-24: “And he (Elisha the Prophet) went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.  And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord.  And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.”

The one who was mocked and did the cursing here was the Prophet Elisha, who was mentored by the Prophet Elijah.  The ones cursed, attacked, and (likely, at least some) killed here were not little children in the way we tend to think of little children.  This was a gang of relatively young adults in their teens or twenties who lived in or around the idolatrous city of Bethel.  They were mocking Elisha and mocking the great event which had recently happened (recorded earlier in this very chapter) of God taking Elijah to heaven in a chariot of fire.  These were idolatrous thugs who were very hardened against God and bent on mischief (they were like the ANTIFA of ancient Israel, you could say).  The word used to describe these “little children” in Hebrew is the same word Solomon used in 1 Kings 3:7 to describe himself when he was likely in his early or mid twenties.  It often or always refers to a young adult between the ages of twelve and thirty, which was basically the Hebrew definition of a young man.  God has creative ways to deal with malevolent young punks bent on mischief, especially should they oppose and seek to drive away someone who has shown evidence of being a true servant of His.  This judgment was a mercy to the rest of Israel to warn them to come to repentance and return to God’s Law.  Israel at this time had descended into open idolatry and much other godless behavior.  Books such as the book of Amos describe such behavior and testify against it.  Sadly, Israel as a whole did not heed this judgment and was taken into captivity by the Assyrians not too long after this event happened.

– Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-14): Ananias and Sapphira’s sudden deaths here are evidence that God did not vacate His throne or cease to be a God of judgment in the era of the New Covenant.  They deliberately misrepresented themselves to be doing a good work which they were not actually doing.  They lied to enhance their reputation in the church- and God chose to kill them for this.  A principal reason for this was to make all people from then on to know that being part of a true Christian church is a fearful thing which brings great accountability; and to know that lying to advance one’s reputation, especially within the church, is a great sin which His wrath is especially against.  Ananias did not have to give all the money from the land sale.  He could have just given a part of it.  He lied though because he forsook the fear of God and neglected to walk faithfully before Him.  He loved the praises of men more than the honor that comes from God only.  He wanted to have a better reputation, and to not have to make as much monetary sacrifice as someone who would have genuinely been of the character which he was trying to put himself forth as having.  His wife complied with this and she received the same judgment as her husband.  This is also an instance in Scripture which proves that the wife should not submit to her husband when doing so would mean lying or being unrighteous in any way.  One mark of a genuine Christian church following the Lord faithfully is that people fear to be a part of it and don’t join themselves to it lightly.  Many liars within churches now are very lucky that they are not part of a church which God actually regards as His own that He would go out of His way to keep pure. We also see here how a genuine fear of God being known through a church will keep people out of it for the right reasons and will also bring people into it for the right reasons as well (many modern churches would say that it would turn everyone away- and maybe that is actually true of everyone in their churches!).

– Herod killed (Acts chapter 12): God proves here that He judges those without the Christian church as well as those within.  We see in Acts chapter 12 how Herod persecuted Christians and killed at least one Apostle (James the brother of John).  He also did not give God glory when he was called a god while making a speech (no wonder he persecuted the faithful Christians).  His judgment is a reminder that God’s judgments in the Old Testament against those complicit with suppressing His prescribed worship didn’t end “back then” and they still stand as a warning to all people in every generation.

– The Judgments in the Book of Revelation: God’s character has always been the same.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  The same God who destroyed the ungodly by a flood of water has yet warned that He will destroy the ungodly at the end of time by fire.  He will ultimately punish all the ungodly who refuse to repent and follow all His righteous ways in the fire of hell forever (Isaiah 66:24, etc).  He has always been a God of Judgment who will by no means clear the guilty, which yet, due to His benevolent character which caused Him to send Christ, delights to show mercy to those who will take warning, forsake their sins, and turn to Him with their whole hearts (illustrated so well by the Old Testament Book of Jonah about a people whose destruction was imminent, but were spared because they repented at the warning of God’s Word through Jonah and they brought forth works worthy of repentance- Jonah 3:10).  

God’s description of His own character to Moses has never changed and never will change. Exodus 34:5-7: “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.  And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation (implying they continue in the iniquities of their fathers and don’t break off from them- much sin is a continuation of the evil ways and habits of previous generations).”  God’s goodness and severity were always intended to be looked at together, as inseparable (Romans 11:22).  

2 Peter 2:4-9: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” – See also 2 Peter chapter 3 in its entirety.

Another key Scripture then about the topic of the God of judgment is found in Psalm 2: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 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 break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

 Psalm 2 is one of the clearest prophecies of Christ’s death and resurrection in the OT (see Luke 24:44-46).  In Psalm 1 we read about the blessedness of the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stands in the way of sinners nor sits in the seat of the scornful but rather meditates on God’s law day and night.  Here we read about the counsel of the ungodly in rebelling against Christ, as Christ is the Word of God incarnate.  Forsaking God’s Word is in itself rebellion against Christ, but the world’s leaders often go even further and actively oppose Christ and His people.  This Psalm is a warning and rebuke to all who would seek to exalt their own rule and reign against Christ, whether to kings, judges, and not to mention shadow oligarchs who rule unlawfully in secret, contrary to man’s law as well as God’s.  And this Psalm is a warning as well as for all people, since we all face the issue of whether we will submit ourselves, and any authority we have, to the Word of the Ultimate King and Judge who has a rightful claim on everyone and everything- the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! 

A few more  key lessons from the Psalm:

– It’s both unjust and insane to rebel against God.  There is no good reason for doing so, nor any chance it will go well with those who do so.  

– Not all unity is a good thing.  This reminds of the Tower of Babel in Genesis ch 11.  Wicked people who may not agree on anything else are often made one in their enmity against God and His ways.  It is written about the day when Christ was crucified “And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.” (Luke 23:12)  The Apostles thus quoted this Psalm later in Acts, as it certainly also deals with the persecution of God’s people at any time (see Acts 4:21-31- verses 26-27 are direct quotes from Psalm 2).

– Some who are blatantly unbelievers understand the gospel message better than many in churches!  They discern Christ as a King, an authority figure whom they are obligated to submit to.  They know the call of Christ’s gospel is a call to be gathered under His government (Luke 13:34).  Yet many powerful unbelievers fight His government, not only in their hearts, but also by their governing policies.  

– Yet the enemies of Christ in their pride don’t consider the protection, salvation, favor, and blessing in Christ’s yoke (Matthew 11:28-30).  Nor do they in their pride and short sightedness consider that all the authority, power, reign, etc of rebellious mankind will be brought down when Christ comes back (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).  Is it not better to submit now to the King of Kings, the Author of Salvation, the Captain of the Lord’s host (Joshua 5:14), the Minister of the Truth of God (John 18:37), who is the embodiment of Truth, whatever should happen to your power here?  What is a man profited if he gains the whole world but loses his soul? (Matthew 16:26)  Those who refuse Christ and His reign thus oppose themselves (Acts 18:6).  

– Those who wisely receive His reign, as verse 12 of Psalm 2 says, are blessed, no matter what loss they should temporarily suffer as a result. 

– Since the powerful in the world are given such a strong exhortation to submit to God’s Christ, and since they face an absolutely certain fearful destruction if they refuse, how much more the rest of us?!  And since such blatant enemies of Christ are given the promise of mercy if they will in truth kiss the Son in welcoming His reign and ending their enmity with Him, how much more can we be assured that we will be accepted if we do so?  “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God” (Rev. 20:12a)

Moving on then to God’s zeal for a pure testimony for His name in the earth, we read in Malachi 3:1-6: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.  And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.  For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

The same is still done in principle in the New Covenant era as it was when God dealt with Israel as a nation; and when His worship was centered in a physical Temple in Israel.  1 Peter 4:17-18 says: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”  

I am not here to draw a precise line between what God regards as His house now; and where exactly His people are now.  But it is right to rebuke churches which contain environments, and which promote ungodly concepts, that are stumbling-blocks to His people and threaten to spiritually destroy them, preventing them from offering to the Lord an offering in righteousness.  So whether we’re talking about denominations labeled as Christian, or churches labeled as non-denominational Christian churches, there are several common problems among modern churches which misrepresent Christianity.  It is hard to find a church today without at least one of the following errors.  The vast majority have several.

Antinomianism: Abiding in Christ and walking by His Spirit causes one to fulfill the law of God, as Romans 8:4 proves.  1 John 3:4 says that sin is the transgression of the law- and we sure do not have a right to continue in sin that grace may abound.  God forbid! (see Romans chapter 6)  To deny that sin is the transgression of God’s law, and/or to deny the need for Christians to be subject to the moral Law of God, is antinomianism.  A true Christian is not under the law in the sense that they are not under the ceremonies of the Law of Moses (and only because these were shadows of Christ who has now come as the ultimate substance of these things).  And a faithful believer who is abiding in Jesus and being saved from their sins (i.e. transgressions of the law) is also not under the law in the sense that the law no longer condemns them because they are rightly related to Christ.  In being under His Lordship (i.e. righteous government) they are submitted to His Law; and since He is their redeemer and High priest, God no longer counts their previous transgressions against them through Christ’s blood atonement.  Hence they are reconciled to God and His Law.  Every passage in the New Testament about not being under the law (in the sense of that being a good thing) is dealing with these things.  Jesus upheld and vindicated the morality in the law of Moses and the Old Testament as a whole. The Law of Christ is the moral law of God plus whatever ceremonial ordinances God has ordained for New Covenant Christians (like baptism and the Lord’s Supper).  To seek the real Jesus means seeking His grace to do right in God’s eyes.  That means coming into agreement with, and striving to be faithful to, God’s Law.  Jesus said that workers of lawlessness (i.e. iniquity which is anomia- literally “without law”) will be shut out of His kingdom (Matthew 7:21-27, Luke 13:23-27, etc).  

Unconditional Security Doctrine: This goes hand in hand with antinomianism and it with the OSAS (once saved always saved) concept which tells people that if they’ve ever been a partaker of Christ they can never ultimately fall from His grace.  True Biblical salvation on the other hand remedies man’s rebellion against God and never promises salvation to anyone who is heeding the ancient lie of the serpent that we can transgress against God and “not surely die” (see Genesis 3:4 & Romans 8:13).  It is no wonder that so many churches are plagued by immorality, lusts of the world, lukewarmness, and hypocrisy when the church’s own doctrine offers God’s grace without emphasizing our need to be diligent to prove ourselves as His faithful worshipers whom it would be fitting to have in His kingdom for eternity (see Rev 21:8, Rev. 21:27, Rev 22:14, etc).  Judas was hand-picked by Jesus Himself to be one of His Apostles- and yet he turned and fell away from Jesus to his own damnation.

Lack of Preaching on God’s Wrath and the Fire of Hell: The God of the Bible sent a flood which killed everyone on earth besides eight people who were righteous before Him, He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone, and He has done many other terrifying acts as examples to preview and warn us of the severe eternal judgment which He will bring to those who are transgressors in His sightGod is holy, God is wrathful, God is a consuming fire- but few churches want to spend much time dealing with this.  They know preaching God as He is, a Great King who ought to be feared, will not be good for business.

Church as a Business: Though the Bible teaches that there is a rightful place for church leaders to be recompensed financially for their labor, church is not supposed to be a business which one plans to make a career out of and use as a means of financial security and material comfort.  The fact that most church leaders see church as a business is proven by how they do not faithfully teach and enforce even the Bible truth that they know.  That is not even considering their lack of openness to correction and more light concerning what faithful Christianity entails in God’s eyes.  They know such would cause them to lose membership- and thus lose income, which is of course essential for a business.  Jesus Christ gave a great display of His anger in His public ministry when He cast the money-changers and merchants out of the Temple of God.  These are the spiritual ancestors of Christendom’s clergy class today.

Prosperity Gospel and Birthright Privileges: It is no wonder then that man’s happiness and prosperity is often inordinately spoken of and Scripture is twisted to justify this.  And it is no wonder that many of the most popular preachers now are Prosperity Gospel preachers.  People are taught that God owes them because they are (supposedly) Christians and they (supposedly) have the privilege to claim from God whatever their heart desires.  It is no wonder also that the nation of modern Israel is blessed in the majority of churches, with the assumption that its present prosperity must be a sign of God’s favor.  Likewise, since the emphasis is on what God owes man and not on what God requires of man, unconditional security is usually taught in the same churches as a form of birthright privilege.  As they claim that the Jew who rejects Christ hasn’t lost God’s favor, the so-called born-again Christian (they claim) is in God’s favor due to the status he may have had at some point in the past.  The truth though is that Jews who reject Jesus Christ, and the modern nation of Israel mainly composed of the same, are under God’s wrath; and likewise the professing Christian who doesn’t abide in Jesus Christ and bring forth the fruit of righteousness through Him is also under God’s wrath (Romans 11:21-22).

Entertainment and Emotionalism: Rather than faithfully doing God’s work and seeking to be pleasing to Christ, the trend in churches is to entertain man and to satisfy him emotionally.  Music that emulates the world’s music, elaborate sound systems, concert environments, carnal hype, and fun rule the day.  No honest person acquainted with the Bible could imagine its faithful men so catering to the demands of the Pagan society around them.  But actually, it was this very thing happening which caused the corruption in the early Christian churches and led to the decline of the holy testimony that was established by the churches which Christ’s Apostles founded.  It is also a lie that Jesus had only or mostly nice, positive things to say.  Jesus proclaimed the whole truth about God’s righteous standards (Matthew 5-7), man’s rebellion against God and evil deeds which prevent one’s salvation when continued in (Matthew 15:18-20, John 3:18-20, etc), the reality of the eternal fire of hell for those who refuse to forsake their sin and rebellion against God (Mark 9:43-48, etc), our need to turn against the course of this world and follow Him in obedience in order to be saved (Matthew 16:24-27, etc), and other hard truths are.  The multitudes who heard Him were amazed by the great authority He spoke with (Matthew 7:28-29).  It is also a lie that Jesus only contended with the corrupt religious leaders of Israel because they tried to impose their standards on everyone else.  Jesus did contend with the religious leaders of Israel more than anyone else, but not for the reasons many think.  He contended with them because they loved money and compromised in letting the world into God’s worship.  They weren’t hard enough against sin, they didn’t keep sin out of the temple like they should have, and they often made allowances for sin.  They also did not do the right things they told others to do.  However, Jesus Himself told the people to do what they said which lined up with God’s law (Matthew 23:1-3).  And He also told everyone that even our secret works will be brought into judgment, so therefore we should rather fear God who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell (Luke 12:2-5).  He also rebuked the multitude for not discerning their need to get right with God, and not discerning that He was the Messiah, despite their capability and wisdom in discerning earthly matters rightly (Luke 12:54-59).

Yoking with the Roman Catholic Church: The harlot church which was, and still is, the chief product of the compromise between Christian churches and Pagan society is not called out as being such.  It is rather often emulated in its compromise to a significant degree; and quite often it is justified and involved in interdenominational fellowship of some kind.  The current Pope is a manifestation of the blasphemy, deceit, and fornication with the darkness of this world which his office has always represented; and which his church as a whole has represented since at least the 4th century AD.

Jezebel Spirit: Often the Bible’s prohibitions against women spiritually leading and teaching men in the church are blatantly disobeyed.  Even more often, the Bible truth that the wife ought to be subject to her husband is mocked while men who try to instill reasonable rules and order in their homes are labeled as harsh and unloving.  Women lecture men in and out of church, flaunt their bodies in immodest clothing, wear make-up, and are feared by male church leaders if they should think about preaching on how wrong any of this is in God’s eyes from the straightforward instructions of Scripture.  Men who do their duty and appropriately exercise their God-given strength in any form are labeled as harsh, unloving, unchristlike, and are lumped in the same category with men who are truly abusive.  No preacher can be faithful to God’s Word without addressing the sins of women.  The Bible has a lot to say about sins which are commonly practiced by women.  Yet Scriptures which deal with such are often not touched, or at least not handled thoroughly and honestly, by modern churches.  This is often due to the influence and intimidation of Jezebels.  And yet such Scriptures are necessary to hold the lines of Biblical righteousness, to rebuke the Jezebels, to warn all of Jezebel’s influence, to keep men from Jezebel’s seduction, and to kill the deadly seeds of Jezebel characteristics in females which the influences of sin in their flesh and of society are powerfully watering.  An example of such a Scripture would be Proverbs chapter 7.  This describes the workings of a harlot; and not only a harlot, but a predatory Jezebel in action.  There is a connection given in Scripture between haughty women and superficial women who exercise power over men through fashionable clothing and overall vainglorious superficial, counterfeit beauty (see Isaiah 3:8-24).  This so well applies to high-minded Jezebels in our day who specialize in seduction and exalt themselves in their vainglorious fashion displays- ultimately to reaping God’s judgment and their own destruction.  A girl becoming obsessed with her appearance, a girl unwilling to abide in her house (as is seen regarding the Jezebel harlot in Proverbs chapter 7)- such are key precursors to many sins and ways that a girl can easily be conditioned to turn out as a Jezebel.  These are bad roots that need to be starved and killed- or they will yield very bad fruit eventually.  Where have society and churches most practically strayed from Biblical teachings?  Quite possibly in areas which pertain to women.  This is the result of feminist/Jezebel influence. Through the same influence men are generally vilified in churches while women in general are exalted.   It is common knowledge that the normal thing in our day is for a church to preach a message on Mother’s Day about how wonderful mothers are and how we should value them so highly.  But then on Father’s Day the normal message is a rebuke to fathers about what a terrible job they’re doing and how so much that is wrong is their fault.  Pastors also don’t normally teach, much less do they enforce Biblical commands on modest dress and forbidding displays of vanity in fashion.  They don’t want an outcry from the Jezebels.  So instead of dealing with their unpleasant anger, and the likely next step of having to cast the ones that won’t change out of the church, they back down and stay silent while the Jezebels get their way.  Note also the luxury, the costliness, and the vainglorious jewelry of the harlot church- the ultimate representation of Jezebel as an institution and corporate entity in  Revelation 17:1-6.  And by the way, look at her judgment in the next chapter, along with the insight into her wicked heart.  Revelation 18:7-8: “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.  Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”

Fake Long Hair Hippie jesus: Even though many acknowledge that the image whereby Jesus is commonly portrayed in modern times must be false for obvious reasons, the modern churches seem to be the slowest to get this.  That must have something to do with how the soft, effeminate man with long hair is much more compatible with the above points than a holy, masculine 1st century Jewish man with short hair.  The modern jesus is an idol and a counterfeit of the real Jesus.  We are warned in Scripture to be aware of fake jesuses and not to bear with them (2 Cor 11:3-4).  Having a salvation that is real, and no counterfeit, comes only by believing in and obediently following the true Jesus of the Bible who is “the true God, and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20b)  We are commanded in the Bible not to make a likeness (image) of God according to man’s corrupt understanding.  That is idolatry.  Since Jesus Christ is God who came in the flesh (John 1:1-5, 14) any “guesses” at how He would have looked which go beyond what’s in the Bible, are idolatry. The media’s typical depiction of Jesus is influenced by how Pagan gods were typically portrayed in art, along with attempts throughout history to make “jesus” popular to the masses (obviously counterfeits of the real Jesus made by greedy people hoping to profit somehow from them). The media’s typical depiction is certainly not influenced by the Word of God or permitted by the Word of God.  The glory of Jesus Christ’s character and His awesome authority as the King of mankind CANNOT be adequately represented by any actor or any artist.  Scrap the “media jesus” from your mind completely.  It is a shallow, cheap, pathetic counterfeit of the real Jesus. 

See also my previous study on America’s Enmity with God which shows how the common evangelical isms of Pentecostalism, seeker-sensitive-ism, Dispensationalism, Calvinism, Marcionism, and Judaizing more specifically mislead multitudes, misrepresent the true grace of God, stumble God’s people, often lead people into counterfeit Christianity, and mislead people in general regarding the nature of true Christianity.  

A related warning on spiritual drunkenness: In the natural realm being drunk is the opposite of being sober.  Both in the natural and spiritual realm drunkenness is a great sin because to purpose, or to risk, being in a state of drunkenness despises God, as well as other people, by displaying no care or fear of displeasing God as well as no care or fear of doing or saying something that would harm others (displaying a disregard of one’s own safety and dignity too).  As drunkards in the natural realm willingly deprive themselves of the full use of their God-given reason and ability to make appropriate judgments and carry them out, so the spiritual drunkard is careless of how they “ought to walk and to please God.” (see 1 Thessalonians 4:1). 

There is such a thing as being drunk with the pleasures and cares of life; and to thus live in disregard of God’s truth, as well as to live insensible to the true condition of one’s soul.  Jesus gave warnings about how drunkenness leads people to damnation.  By reading those warnings, and by reading the Bible as a whole, those are certainly references to something more than (but including) physical drunkenness (examples in Matthew 24:48-51, Luke 21:34, etc ).  Another scary fact is that one who is drunk usually thinks that they are okay and feels confident in their own abilities, when they are in reality incompetent.  They will then attempt things they’d never attempt if they were sober.  Going against God’s truth and breaking His commandments is an obvious sign of being spiritually drunk, as well as a careless confidence in one’s own ability to independently know and do what’s right (in contrast to the broken, dependent attitude that leans on Christ and constantly references His Word that only exists in a sober person). The sober one will look to know what’s acceptable to God constantly in every situation, while meditating upon God’s Word day and night, while the drunkard isn’t adequately concerned since it doesn’t matter enough to him and/or he just presumes he knows. “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” (John 9:39)  

As in the natural realm, so in the spiritual realm those who evidence any sign of drunkenness usually have a sense of false security. While the sober, watchful person can have true safety and security, the drunkard feels very safe and secure even though he shouldn’t, since he isn’t safe at all. A spiritually sober person who lives in preparation for judgment day and eternity will either have a true security in an obedient relationship with Jesus Christ the Lord; or will at least know that they aren’t safe and that they’d better settle all controversies with God in order to obtain such a relationship.  The spiritual drunkard is confident he won’t end up in hell even though he doesn’t take sin against God seriously and doesn’t listen to what the Bible says about hell and how to escape it (which in itself are characteristics of one who is headed for hell). “Happy is the man that fears always: but he that hardens his heart shall fall into mischief.” (Proverbs 28:14)  “Correction is grievous unto him that forsakes the way: and he that hates reproof shall die.” (Proverbs 15:10) 

The following verse shows the terrible awakening of those who refused to sober up over Judgment Day and eternity and turn to the Lord while they had the chance. “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jeremiah 8:20)  Thus sobriety is necessary to prepare ourselves to meet the Lord, which is what our best interest is and the best interest of others in our lives is (in terms of our influence, example, witness, etc to help them prepare to meet the Lord).  This is why it is essential to be taught constantly in the Word of God, to come to God’s Word to understand His will, to be reproved and corrected as need be, and to be instructed how to live in the truth of Christ.  Those who won’t come to the Word of God regularly, and even those that do but aren’t interested in actually hearing from God and changing (to the point of being surrendered to the Word of God as their ultimate, supreme authority), show pride and a lack of sobriety in preparing to meet the Lord.  And the common mindset today, especially in the 1st world, leaves people too wrapped up in their lives, including often in extremely vain and trivial things, to seek God like they need to in order to come into line with Him and do the good before Him which He requires.

The one who is humble and sober trembles at the Word of God, taking to heart how He is awesome beyond words and the terror which comes in accountability to Him. The God who created the vast Universe and knows each one of the stars is the God “with whom we have to do.” (see Hebrews 4:13) “Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” (Psalm 33:8-9) 

There is a lesson along these lines in the Proverbs 24:27: “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”  A farmer who relies on crops for his income and/or source of food, when he is wise, he builds his house around a field that is fit and ready to bring forth an abundance of crops.  He doesn’t do the opposite by building a house first and then examining the quality of the soil in the field around the house afterward.  He secures that which is absolutely necessary before he attends to other things that are secondary in relation to that absolutely necessary thing.  So we should take care that all we do in this life (work, friendships, activities, etc) are built around what is wise from an eternal perspective and (thus) a faith that values hearing and doing Christ’s Word above all else.  No resolve or commitment to be a true Christian who keeps Christ’s Word faithfully will stand unless the issue of Christ’s value above all else is positively decided in this way (see Luke 14:16-33).  Many try to be Christians without this- and of course they fail at being faithful. 

In relation to this we are told in Proverbs 23:23 to “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”  To “buy the truth” refers to more than just reading the Bible, though that is certainly included in this statement.  It means to go to any length to really understand the truth and walk in Christ’s commandments (2 John 4-6) when we are certain how we must apply them in our lives (and if we are set on walking in the truth, we’ll genuinely seek this application in sincerity without self imposed conditions- see Proverbs 3:5-8).  To “sell it not” likewise means not to forsake walking in God’s truth for anything/anyone at all after we have bought it.  In consideration of Judgment day and eternity, all the different circumstances of this life are so short and insignificant that, no matter how wonderful or horrible they may be, they are still not significant enough to let them distract us from preparing for Judgment Day and eternity; and from seeking the kingdom of God above all else.  All will surely realize on Judgment Day what indeed ought to have been their undisputed top priority in this life. 

We do well to often think about what it would be like to actually stand before God on the Day of Judgment.  There will be no second chance, no “do-over” when we die or when Christ comes back.  Hebrews 9:27: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”  Now we actually do have the chance to prepare to meet God and to walk in the truth with our whole hearts.  Multitudes will wish on Judgment Day that they had a chance to go back and live life over in order to do so, but won’t be able to.  

The brightness of God’s patience and offer of mercy through Jesus Christ now lighten the world as a rainbow- yet will also fade away as all rainbows do, never to return for those who did not, in the window of this earthly life, adequately discern, enter into, and continue in the narrow way to life prepared by Jesus Christ.  Those who will choose this and value eternal life above all else, those who want to be saved from the way of the world and its corruption and who will actually surrender to Jesus Christ, can enter this way through the door that is Himself- and follow Him to eternal glory.  Those who are with Him in this way; and that which He has done in them, and through them on it, will stand when the heavens and the earth are shaken; and all that is of man will crumble and be brought down forever. 

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