Thursday, May 24, 2012

Do you fear Jesus Christ?

TO ALL PROFESSING CHRISTIANS, I ask: Does Jesus Christ evoke ANY fear in you whatsoever, or do you focus ONLY on His attribute of love?

Below are a few things Jesus Christ said to the 7 churches toward the middle to end of the AD60s. These are His WARNINGS OF JUDGMENT to those churches. These are what they would reap if they did not stop following false doctrine. These warnings to the 7 churches are the equivalent to the warnings given to Israel throughout the Old Testament. Israel ignored them and suffered their final judgment in AD70, which was the darkest hour in ALL of Israel's history!

All one has to do is read the ancient accounts of the events of that time by Josephus and others to get a vivid picture of how horrible it really was. The Roman army killed about 2,000,000 Jews in the siege of Jerusalem; at its height, over 500 Jews PER DAY were being crucified on crosses set up all around the city (in plain view of all of those inside the city); when the Roman army discovered that some of the Jews leaving the city were smuggling their gold out by swallowing it, the soldiers began to kill the Jews and cut open their bowels to take out the gold therein; the Jewish Zealots were a horrible group, plundering and murdering their own people; the Roman army reported that they witnessed women who were boiling and eating THEIR OWN CHILDREN -- yes, you read that correctly. Josephus said there were so many dead people within the city that you couldn't see the ground. The water in the sea of Galilee was red, due to all of the blood spilled in it.

All of this was predicted by Christ Himself in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 (the Olivet Discourse) and by Him again, through John, in Revelation. Christ came and judged Israel for their rank idolatry and apostasy as they had completely turned away from their Covenant God, YHWH, and His Messiah, Jesus Christ. Instead, they followed the interpretations of the Old Testament that were first transmitted orally by Jewish Rabbis, and eventually written down in the Talmud -- Rabbinical Judaism. This is a false religion, and it is what Jesus Christ refers to as a "synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 3:9). In John 8:43-44, Christ says the following to the scribes and Pharisees:

"[43] Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. [44] You are of your father the devil."

Indeed, they were a synagogue of Satan. They taught and followed the doctrines of men, not those of God, as Christ says:

[6] And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; [7] in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. [8] You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.

These were religious men -- VERY religious men. But they followed false doctrine; a false religion.

So...why fear Jesus Christ? Isn't He just the God of Love? Yes, Jesus is loving, but this is not his most central characteristic or attribute -- that would be Holiness. In this Holiness that characterizes Him, He is perfectly Loving. However, this in NO way diminishes His perfect Justice. We see this perfect Justice displayed in His judgment against Israel in AD70. We also see it in His WARNINGS TO THE CHURCHES in Revelation 2 and 3. Here are some relevant texts from those chapters:

1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, [18] and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. [If He holds the keys of Death and Hades...might we think that he'll never open those up to the wicked? ...or is this an empty threat...He just loves everybody? NOTE: the "Fear not" here has NOTHING to do with us not needing to fear God. This has to do with John fearing that He would be killed by God (Christ) -- this is the exact same response to being in God's presence as we see from the prophets in the Old Testament.]
2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. [Repent, church...or you will be judged...just like Israel is about to be judged (as described in following chapters).]
2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’ [by implication, the one who does NOT conquer, but is not faithful unto death (see verse 10), WILL be hurt by the second death]
2:16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. [More repentance called for...more judgment promised to those who don't.]
2:21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. [Here's the fluffy little harmless loving Jesus...wait...he said he'll "strike her CHILDREN dead" as judgment for their idolatry and false doctrine. Notice that if He does have to strike down this church, it will be a lesson to the other churches that the same could happen to them!]
3:3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. [This Jesus Who loves everybody will "come against" those who don't repent? Yes.]
3:15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. [More loving, fluffy Jesus Who is apparently powerless to actually DO anything...oh wait...I don't think being spit out of His mouth is a good thing here.]

Do NOT misunderstand me -- Jesus Christ loves those who follow Him and keep His Commandments (and no...this comment isn't pointing to legalism. Read James. Our works don't save us; they are EVIDENCE of our faith. Therefore, if you see no fruit in your life, you had better be very, very concerned). However, to think Christ is ONLY love is an ENORMOUS LIE propagated by the father of all lies. It's a lie. Period. It is also a lie that His Love trumps His Judgment. His Judgment is blatantly clear in the passages above. It is also clear in His response to the idolatry and apostasy of Israel and His judgment of them in AD70.

This country has, by and large, lost its fear of God. Somehow we've fallen prey to the liberal foolishness that the God of the Old Testament was a vengeful, wrathful God, but now that Jesus has come, He is ONLY love. Malachi 3:6 states:

"For I the Lord do not change"

This Triune God, YHWH, of Whom Jesus Christ is one of His three Persons, does not change! Just as He showed loving kindness to His people of old who were faithful to Him, He also shows loving kindness to the Church today (really, those people of old are part of this same Church -- there is no distinction; it is all part of the same Promise). However, we must (apparently) be reminded that He is also a Jealous God:

"[5] You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me." (Exodus 20:5)
"for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." (Exodus 34:14)
"for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God— lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth." (Deuteronomy 6:15)

...and this Jealous God does not tolerate evil and wickedness. He does not tolerate idolatry, apostasy, or false doctrine (i.e., lies regarding the Truth of His Word).

May Jesus Christ open the eyes of so many who have been blinded to this great truth that is so incredibly clearly taught in His Word (just read Proverbs!). May He bring this nation into repentance quickly! May He have mercy on the children of God who He predestined "for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will." Have mercy on us Father! In Christ's Holy Name. Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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