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Archive for America

The Deception of the Angel of Light

We left our pondering posts with the possibility that God is closing the window of freedom in America. I say possibility because we do not know the future. In fact, God may be opening an even larger window. I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet (Amos 7:14). It would be wise to consider what we know for sure from God’s Word. We absolutely know that the Lord Jesus Christ will ultimately be glorified. All the light in the entire universe will finally be shined upon Him (Rom. 11:36; Eph. 3:21; 2 Tim. 4:18). We know the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10). We must know the plans of our enemy! It is difficult for believers to tell the good guys from the bad guys. The reason? It is not as easy as contrasting good versus evil, but good versus good. Satan is a master at using human good to accomplish his plans. He transforms himself into an angel of light and his ministers transform themselves into ministers of righteousness whose end shall be according to their works (2 Cor. 11:13-14). This is when life gets complicated.

God has not given us night vision eyes to see in the darkness in order to tell the difference, but He has given us His Word to teach us and His Spirit to guide us (Jn. 16:13-14). It is this knowledge and leadership that gives us discernment, allowing us to navigate Satan’s darkness. Let’s look at what we know.

Turning to the words of a psalm writer, we read, “I said to the boastful, ‘Do not deal boastfully [arrogance],’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn [power)]. Do not lift up your horn on high; Do not speak with a stiff neck [over confidence].’ For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one and exalts another” (Psa. 75:4-7). God is the sovereign king over all that is. He raises up nations and puts down nations. It is His call! Sovereignty means that God created and controls every part of the angelic realm and every part of the human realm. Nations rise and fall at His will.

David said that God’s kingdom rules over all (Psalm 103:9). Every atom in this entire universe at every moment is under His command. There are times when history seems to be fractured, split into many moving pieces. We are living in such a time right now. Satan appears to be running freely, corrupting everything in his path. Conflict is raging right here, right now. Cities are filled with anarchy. No matter what the politicians promise, this insanity rages. Leaders cry for peace, but there is no peace. Conflict will continue in one form or another until the end of time. But there is never a time when God is not in control. Nebuchadnezzar “blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion [worldwide dominance] and His kingdom [rule] is from generation to generation” (Dan. 4:34).

No matter what human government rules, God is in charge. He laughs at man’s futile attempts to rule (Psa. 2:4). “All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven [the angelic realm] and among the inhabitants of the earth [the human realm]. No one can restrain His hand [ prevent Him from doing His will] or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Daniel 4: 35). No human can put God on trial and figure Him out. No matter how life may appear, God dominates.

There is another fact that we know for sure. “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one”(1 Jn. 5:19). John exposed a serious conundrum in this small verse. Those who are “of God” are in fact living under the constant influence of the wicked one. A part of our connection to fallen Adam is that we were dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1), born into this world as children of wrath (Eph. 2:3); once darkness (Eph .5:8); under the power of darkness (Col. 1:13; 1 Pet. 2:9); and all under the power of Satan (Acts 26:18). “Dead in trespasses and sin,” “children of wrath,” “darkness,” “under the power of darkness,” “under the power of Satan,” are all horrible words. “Made alive,” “taken from,” “delivered into,” “called out of this world” “called into His marvelous light,” “into the kingdom of the Son of His love” are wonderful words! We once were there but now we are here! Note the fact that God does it. God delivers us. God calls us out. God calls us from Satan’s dominion of darkness and births us into the light of His glorious kingdom. Believers are born physically into Satan’s domain and born again into God’s kingdom.

We need to chart the course of how we got to where we are today. Let’s first describe the origin of Satan’s dominion of darkness. I suffer from a mild case of arachnophobia. I say mild because I do not fear spiders that I can see. I can usually distinguish the bad guys from the good guys. Although difficult to do, I often let the good guys live (unless they are in my house, my bed, my chair, or on me), and because my youngest grandson’s loves “Charlotte’s Web” and has compelled me to watch it many times; and his favorite song was “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” It is the spiders that hide in the most unsuspecting places that are the problem. I am intrigued by an interesting arachnid called the wolf spider. The characteristics of the wolf spider perfectly mirror Satan’s Babylonian religious system. How? Wolves are instantly recognized predators worldwide. They are found in North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Young children of every language group quickly learn about wolves and are intrigued by them. Wolves are good hunters, and they like to hunt at night. Wolf spiders live up to that name because they are also robust and agile night hunters with excellent, reflective eyesight. Satan is also an agile hunter, and he loves the darkness (1 Pet. 5:8). He is the angel of darkness, and that is where he thrives (Acts 26:18). Blessings!

 

Japheth is Still Dwelling in the Tents of Shem

YHWH is the living God, and He is the Divine Architect of all human history. In fact, He declared the way history will end, from the very beginning (Isa. 46:8-10). Let’s connect some dots today. Noah’s prophetic glimpse of “Blessed be the LORD God of Shem” points to the founding of the Jewish nation – the coming of Messiah – Christ’s death and resurrection – and the delivery and spread of the gospel – and the promise of Christ’s coming kingdom (Gen. 9:26). The prophecy of Japheth’s dwelling in the tents of Shem – another small glimpse – points to the many ways that Japheth will help Shem accomplish his goals. Both prophecies (Shem and Japheth) are still alive and active (Gen. 9:27). In our last post we left Israel in God’s woodshed – smelling the smoke of their burning temple, battered, scattered and struggling under His fifth cycle of discipline (Lev. 26:33). Israel may have forgotten God, but God will never forget her – never.

Assisted by a pair of Japheth’s feet (Greece and Rome) stepping into the tent of Shem, the Jews had sufficient help to get Jesus Christ to the cross and to an empty tomb. These same countries assisted in giving the gospel the inertia necessary to move throughout the ancient world. For their part in rejecting and killing the Messiah, God allowed Satan to destroy the Jews along with their magnificent temple leaving them hated and homeless in Satan’s world. No people on the earth have been persecuted like the Jews. As the Jews began to disperse throughout the world, the truth of the gospel was turning the world upside down. Satan slowed this move by ramming paganism like a battering ram headlong into the growing church – confusing the gospel and silencing its voice.

During the medieval age of darkness, the public gospel was plunged into a sea of religious confusion for one-thousand years (476-1453). Japheth once again put his foot into Shem’s flailing tent – coming to the rescue. The public gospel amazingly reappeared in Germany – ground zero of Japheth’s homeland. Amazing! This should come as no surprise to the reader by now. The fires of the gospel of God’s grace quickly burned from Germany through England and the surrounding countries of Scotland, Wales, France, and Spain. The gospel, standing on the backs of many martyrs, found its way to the outer banks of America. God’s truth will never be chained.

I believe that there are two amazing reasons that God raised up America, and both are connected to Shem and Japheth, and Abraham’s cursing and blessing promise (Gen. 9; Gen. 12). The first reason is to be used of God to give the Jews a homeland. Over a century ago, on December 6, 1916, Great Britain’s prime minister David Lloyd Jones introduced the Balfour Declaration. Jones believed that the Jews deserved a homeland. The declaration was designed to restore Israel to their God-promised land of Palestine. Through a series of absolutely incredible historical events – all having to happen in mysterious yet miraculous ways – the document was written and signed off as a small part of British foreign policy (Japheth’s toe in Shem’s tent). Prime Minister Jones knew that is was not yet a done deal. It needed some special help. On October 6, 1917, president Woodrow Wilson signed the declaration, putting the powerful political clout of the USA behind the plan. It was not a popular political move for Wilson, but he did it for the Jews. Japheth strikes once more! Prime Minister Jones said that in his opinion the Balfour Declaration would have never passed without that single signature. It passed through the United Nations in 1922, and on May 14, 1948 Israel became a nation again.

Almost every president in American history from that time until now, has stood with Israel. This country has provided the financial support and military technology necessary to keep a democratic presence in the Middle East. This has been done at some peril, making the USA a target for terrorism. In my opinion based on God’s blessing and cursing promise to Abraham, God began to make America great in the eyes of the world – in this patriot’s opinion “the greatest.” Paul’s words also silently echo in the back of my mind: “I say then, have they [the Jews] stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall isriches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness” (Rom. 11:11-12). The full story of Israel is yet to be told.

The other reason that this country has prospered greatly is also connected to Japheth. God opened a huge window for the movement of God’s powerful gospel of grace around the modern world. Because of our freedom to publicly practice religion, the gospel breeze just keeps blowing through this window. God raised up seminaries and Christian colleges, training thousands upon thousands of missionaries who are being equipped and sent to every language group on this planet. Wow! The gospel has burned hot here for years and years. But alas, the window is slowly being shut. We now live in a generation that has forgotten Joseph. Blessings!

 

The Fountain Head of Grace

God has given us the great privilege to have been born and raised in arguably the greatest nation on this earth – the United States of America. It is my view that my homeland is greater than Greece, the mighty Roman Empire, and even Babylon, in their prime. As incredible as this may sound, one of the strangest incidents in Scripture holds the key for the founding of this country.  I speak of Ham’s involvement with Noah, his drunken father recorded in Genesis 9.  Noah gave a prophecy which I believe holds the key to all of human history – but in particular to the history of the United States of America. This history is fleshed out in the identity and dispersion of the seventy nations which are the product of Noah’s three sons, Ham, Shem, and Japheth (Gen. 10-11). Understanding who these nations were and where many of them ended up is crucial in the formation of world history.

 

Bible students have spent much time focused on the meaning and purpose of the words “cursed be Canaan” – and rightly so. But this attention has lessened the impact of two other parts of the prophecy. “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem.May God enlarge Japheth and may he dwell in the tents of Shem” (Gen. 9:26-27).  Here is the basis for the genealogical line of the Lord Jesus Christ and the people who will be used of God to bring Him into the world and to help Him achieve His purpose. Zero in on the words, “Blessed be YHWH, the Elohim (the living creator God) of Shem.” In order to understand this more clearly, we must go back to the fountainhead spring – the original source for God’s water of life.

 

Remember that this water of life stream began with Abel, who brought to God the right sacrifice of blood. Both brothers, Cain and Abel realized that God had covered their parents with animal skins (Gen. 3:21). This had to stick in their memories. These skins covered the couple’s fig leaf clothing and clearly marked God’s way back to the garden. The boys obviously knew that these coverings had been taken from animals who had been killed. When it was time for the boys to sacrifice to God, Abel seized on that event and brought a blood offering. Cain brought an offering of the work of his own hands. The Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain, and his. Cain became very angry (Gen. 4:3-5)! But why? They both had the same info. The answer is clear!  Cain rebelled. Cain knew what God required, yet he rebelled. He had probably reasoned in his heart, “I will bring my own sacrifice.” Do the words “I will be like God” ring a bell? God gave Cain a window of time to make things right. God told Cain that sin was at the door ready to consume him, but he must conquer it (Gen. 3:7). Conquering it meant bringing the right offering. But Cain would not! Cain’s rejection caused him to be furious with God, and his seething anger and crushed pride drove him to kill his bother Abel.

 

There was much more to the scene than meets the eye. John said that “Cain was of the wicked one” (1 Jn. 3:12). Satan was the force behind Cain’s rebellious offering. Jesus called Abel a prophet. Prophets speak for God though it is never recorded that Abel said anything.  Abel spoke through his offering. He made the right sacrifice (Matt. 23:35; Heb. 11:4).  Amazing! God was not shocked. He simply moved around Cain and plugged His stream of living water into Seth (God’s appointed one), Adam’s third son (Gen. 4:25).  The living water then flowed from Seth’s generation to Enosh (weak, no power in self). It was through Seth’s people and the people of Enosh that people began to call upon the Lord before the flood (Gen. 4:26; 1 Cor. 1:26-31).  The water kept flowing to the generation of Mahalalel (praise of God) and then through Cainan (deplorable) to the generation of Jared (decent). Jared’s name reminds us that God will always have a people throughout all of human history.

 

No matter how dark life gets, God always reserves for Himself a people (1 Kings 19:18). God’s line moved through Enoch (to put trust in God) who walked with God and was not, because God took him (Gen. 5:23-24).  Jude wrote that Enoch preached against the sin that was moving quickly to take over the world (Jude 14-15).  God may have removed Enoch from the earth in order to spare his life. This is a beautiful picture of the Rapture that will keep believers from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10; Rev. 3:10).  Methuselah means “when he’s dead, it [the flood] will come.” God passed the living water to Noah (Gen. 4:25-5:21). Noah’s ark landed on Mount Ararat and Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their families stepped off on dry land (Gen. 8:18).  The first thing that Noah did was to build an altar and offer a sacrifice to God. Noah knew without question Who had miraculously spared him and his family. And he paused to give glory to Him. This is always a good idea! More to come. Blessings!