OF GOD. . .OR OF MAN

Pr 21:30   There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against YHVH

Ps 51:4 (6 Heb)   Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight. . .that YOU may be found just when You speak, blameless when You judge.

Mk 11:25-33   –obligation to forgive
                     –by what authority do you do these things?
                        –by what authority does a government act? (Rom 13:1-7)
                        –by what authority do parents, church elders act?
–by what authority did Noah build the ark?
                     –by what authority was the baptism of John?  Of God, or of man?
                     –by what authority was/is the re-establishment of Israel as a nation in this land?
   —Of God, or of man?
                           –by the wisdom and understanding and sovereignty of YHVH God, both!
                              –God keeping covenant for His holy name’s sake
                              –Balfour Declaration in Nov 1917
                              –through a clear majority vote of the United Nations in Nov 1947

The sin of King David did not nullify YHVH’s covenant with him.

The sin of the Jewish people/Israel does not nullify God’s covenant with them. (Ezek 36; Rom 9 – 11)

The sin of human governments does not nullify their moral obligation to defend and protect its citizens.

Lk 7:28-30   the tax collectors justified God by being baptized by John, but the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by John.

Even though the religious leaders and theologians knew that the issue of Jesus was surrounded by the question, “of God, or of man”, so, too, today with the issue of Israel.  Are we fighting God, or justifying Him?

If we are not sure, then let the fear of God keep us from being too certain to take a position in our hearts which judges God and those who have acted with faith to support His plan for His Holy Name’s sake.

 If we think we are sure, let us humbly and patiently allow the Holy Spirit to bring repentance and freedom in those who are resisting the will of God for themselves.  Like David, God will also bring Israel to confess their sin against Him only, with all its consequences, and all Israel will be saved. (Lev 26:40-46; Ezek 20:39-44; 36:16-29; Zech 12:7-14; Rom 11:25-36)

Through Judgments and War, KNOW that YHVH, He is GOD!

Rev 19:11-16   Jesus in righteousness judges and makes war  

Gen 2:4   YHVH God is the Creator of the Earth and the Heavens  

Ex 3:14-15   YHVH, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; His memorial name to all generations
     6:7-9   the children of Israel will know that YHVH is God by His bringing them out of Egyptian bondage, and into the land of promise
     7:3-5   the Egyptians learned that YHVH, He is God by His great judgments
     8:22-23 (18-19 Heb)   Pharaoh found out YHVH is God Almighty as He makes a distinction between His people and the people of Egypt
     9:16-17   all the Earth will know the name of YHVH by His great power shown towards Pharaoh
    10:1-2   Moses and his sons and his sons’ sons (from generation to generation) will know YHVH is God by His special acts against Pharaoh
    12:12   YHVH defeated all the gods of Egypt
    14:1-4,18   the Egyptians confirmed in their knowing that YHVH is greater than the gods of Egypt, when He gained honor over them in leading Pharaoh and his army into the sea to overthrow them all
    14:30-31   the Israelis saw that YHVH is the Savior God
    15:1-3,11   the Song of Moses:  celebrating the victory; YHVH is my God; there is none like Him!  

Is 43:10-12; Jn 15:16; Acts 1:8; 1Pt 2:9   Israel is God’s chosen people and witnesses to know and serve YHVH as their God, and and that He is the only true God  

Jer 50:29; 51:19   Babylon will know that YHVH is God when He shows Himself strong on Israel‘s behalf  

Ezek 20:39-44   Israel will know that YHVH is God when He brings them back to the Land of Israel and deals with them not according to their own doings, but for His own name’s sake
         33:27-29   those Jews who thought that they were safe because of being chosen and more in number than Abraham alone will find out that YHVH is God in His judging them for pride
         36:1-12   the Land of Israel will know that YHVH is God when He re-possesses it and gives it peace
         38:14-17   Gog, in the latter days, will know that YHVH is God when He is hallowed in their eyes in protection and defense of His people Israel in His war against Gog  

Zech 14:16-17   the nations will know and be required to worship YHVH as God during the Millennial  

Col 2:15   the principalities and powers know that Jesus is YHVH, the Son of God through His military victory by His death on the cross  

Heb 8:10-12   all Israel (the full remnant) will know YHVH when they enter into the New Covenant, their sins forgiven  

Rev 5:13-14   EVERY creature will know YHVH, the Father and the Lamb, is God
       15:1-4   The Song of Moses and of the Lamb:  the victors and all nations will know and celebrate YHVH as God through His righteous ways and judgments.          

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

THE ANSWER TO JESUS’ PRAYER IN JOHN 17

9 Jan 2009

                                                                                             (Article for www.comeandsee.com at their request during Israel’s War in Gaza against Hamas)

Jesus knew that His Father loved Him because He always did that which pleased Him.  What will it take for God the Father to answer His Beloved Son’s prayer?:

“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your Word is truth.  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

“I do not pray for these [apostles] alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word (their teaching and preaching while they were still alive, and the New Testament writings we have that they wrote):  that they all (born-again believerss) may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. . . .

“O righteous Father!  The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.  And I have declared to them Your name (i.e., Father), and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

YHVH God, the Creator of the heavens and the Earth, is, by that very fact and truth, Sovereign over all things.  There is none like Him – never was nor ever will be – for nothing exists are was created and made except by and through Him.  Can the mortal human being, or any other created thing, comprehend such a thing!?  Certainly not!  But it is by faith we must believe that God IS, and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Without faith, it is impossible to please Him, and it is through genuine faith in this one true God and in His Word – what He says – that we can begin to understand that what He reveals to us in His Word is truth.  The fear of YHVH is the beginning of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

We are living in Bible times!  Does not the Word and Spirit of God speak to us that we are towards the end of the last days?  Are not the Scriptures written for us, upon whom the end of the ages is come?  Are not prophecies being fulfilled today – both ‘pleasant’ ones and ‘unpleasant’?  The days of the Bible did not end 1900 years ago, but we are even now living in days which the prophets and apostles were given to see long ago!

I remember when I was an unbeliever that I would ask Christians why there is not peace if the Messiah/Christ had already come, if, as they say, Jesus is really the true Messiah whom the Jews have so far rejected but are supposed to believe in for salvation.  It is both tragic and amazing to me how those Christians had no clear answer for me!  Once I became a believer and was saved, I began to read the whole Bible as being the Word of God, and not as just some special book put together by men, nearly all of whom were Israelis (the exceptions being Job and Luke).

Once I began to read the Bible with faith that it IS God’s word, I also began to repent from some of my own thinking and started to believe what the Holy Spirit communicated from my Father in Heaven.  It was painfully clear that He and I had not been thinking alike on quite a number of things!  That included the issue of war and peace.  The Lord plainly says that even though Messiah has come [the first time; another one of those things where we had not thought alike], there will be not only rumors of war, but actual wars until the end – until the same Lord Jesus Christ comes again.  I read this in Daniel, in Psalms, in the ‘Olivet Discourse’, in Revelation. . .all right there “under my nose”!  The Scriptures give the simple and straight-forward answer to the often asked question, “Why isn’t there peace if the Messiah has come?”  And this applies to other often asked questions as well.

The present war in Gaza by Israel against Hamas has again brought to the surface the deep divisions within the Body of Christ, especially close at home here in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority.  Try as we may to be reconciled to one another, there are some serious underlying issues that we carry with us so long as we only do our best to understand, to forgive, to be forgiven, to “give it to the Lord”.  Clearly, something more is required which only the triune God can provide by His grace above and beyond our best desires and efforts.  Otherwise, if it were so simple for us to just engage in serious and heart-felt reconciliation ministry, we would take credit for that which required a true prayer in the Spirit by the only-begotten Son of God, who, even now, as the Son of Man for us at the right hand of the Father, intercedes for us (not for the world).

Yeshua/Jesus/Yasu is the only one who can heal these deep, deep wounds of our histories, of God’s sovereign will and choices, of our own particular experiences and perceptions of those histories, of our feelings of acceptance or rejection by God the Father Himself.  On the cross, Yeshua bore our sins and makes healing possible for our spirit, soul, and body.  HE has done it!

The Creator of the Heavens and the Earth is sovereign Lord of all.  Jesus tells us that He has received all authority from the Father over all things in this creation.  And there is war in the heavenlies, and on the Earth.  Should we who believe, despite all, not rejoice that our Lord and Savior is God of Hosts (Armies)?  He knows how to lead in battle and victory, despite serious and heavy losses on the way.  He has been there Himself. . .and overcome!

When we complain and murmur and falsely accuse, we are really saying that we do not like the way God manages and oversees His affairs.  Rather than us maturing into sons of God who can faithfully cooperate with Him in His business and be faithful witnesses as we represent Him in the world, we tend to let our own ‘wisdom’ and personal interests rise back up (although they are supposed to be reckoned as dead, crucified with the Lord when He died for us) when things get too difficult for us to understand or to explain to others without fear or embarrassment.  We revert too easily and quickly to our unredeemed and unsanctified viewpoints, rather than abide in God’s overall and far better viewpoint.

There is a peace which the world gives.  The only wise God and Savior tells us that the peace He gives is not the same, and not only within individual hearts of those who believe.  (Remember, Jesus says that He did not come to bring peace to the world, but a sword.  In the prayer of Jesus, He declares that those who come to saving faith are no longer of the world.)  The peace which Jesus wants to give also applies to nations and people groups.  For this, He is coming again, and in righteousness He judges and makes war! (Rev 19:11)  To be called sons of God for being peacemakers, or pursuers of peace, can only be so if it is the peace of Jesus that we are speaking about and acting upon.

As believers together in the truth of Messiah being Jesus, the Son of God the Father, we have been given authority to become children of God.  Our identity and unity are both fully realized IN Messiah, and not in our particular emphases – cultural or otherwise – on other subjects of great interest and importance to us within the vast treasures of God’s world that He has created and made.  Each of us has been given a calling and gift, and even perhaps a ministry.  We can tend to make what is given to ‘me’ the “most important”, while denigrating and diminishing that which the Lord has sovereignly chosen to give to others.  We are one body, but many members.  Christ is not divided.

What this current war in Gaza has brought out WITHIN THE BODY are strong sentiments based sometimes on one’s own interpretation of God’s plan, which, when false, leads brethren to ‘excommunicate’ others from even Heaven’s gates for those who do not see it their way. We all can try to justify ourselves, but God clearly tells us that all our own righteousnesses are as filthy rags!  That is why our unity is only truly found IN MESSIAH, in whom is all of God’s righteousness.

How can a Jewish brother, for example, say to any other Christian that, unless he understands and accepts God’s continuing purpose for Israel as a nation, he is not in the Body of Messiah, not saved!?  How can any Arab brother, for another example, say to any Jewish or other believer that, unless he is willing to nullify Israel’s legitimacy as a nation (which YHVH God for His own holy name’s sake has pre-determined to restore) in order to satisfy their sense of justice, he is not a true Christian?!

The perfect Father in Heaven is, if I may reverently say so, looking down at His squabbling adopted children, saying, “This one is My son/daughter, and this one is My son/daughter.  How can you be saying to each other that you are not my sister or brother!?”  Believers are commanded to love one another – those within the household of faith – in a higher way than we would love our own unsaved loved ones or people, or than we would love our enemies.  God also loves all these different ‘categories’ in ways that are only begun to be discerned once we believe and know the truth.  We are to love one another as Jesus has loved us.  He got pretty annoyed (but not in a sinful way) with His own people because of their unbelief. (Mt 17:17), yet He willingly gave His life for them/us all in His primary love for His Father.

What will it take for us to trust the Lord – in His holiness and wisdom and love – so completely that the work of the blood of the cross and the Holy Spirit in us brings us to that place where Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane at the peak of His testing and temptations:  not my will, but Yours, Father, be done?

What will it take for the Father to answer Jesus’ intercessory prayer for us?  I do not know, but I do know I want to be in the answer, overcoming the world in the joy of my Father and my Lord.  As Yeshua prayed, it is for the glory of the Father, and the Son, and those who become one together with and in Him.

Still Living in The Days of The Bible – Part 2 – 5 Jan 2009

I write this unexpected Part Two of our living today in Bible times.  I do so at some risk of what reactions you have, spoken or otherwise, but I hope that for the most part it is for building up of our faith in our God and Redeemer, and to prepare us for even worse to come before the far better ‘end of the Lord, who is very compassionate and merciful.’ (James 5:9-11)

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war in the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your (our) obedience is fulfilled.” (2Cor 10:4-6)

Yeshua reigns!  What a relief in days of trouble, and in the day of evil, to hold fast to what we have:  the name of the LORD, Yeshua, and the blood of the Lamb!  These words that we read from the apostle Paul, and are reminded of from the written words of the apostle John, were written in Bible days a little less than 2000 years ago for us today.  Surely we are living in both exciting and troublous Bible times!

Throughout Bible days – and Jesus promises to be with us all the days through the end of the age – there have been those within Israel and within the Church who would make the truth of the written word irrelevant.  It is to the Jews and to Christians – whether Jew or Gentile – that the Word of God has come and to whom He has entrusted it/them.  Therefore, we who know the truth of Messiah are more accountable before the Lord than other people:  we are in covenant relationship with Him through the shed blood of the Son of God for us.

How can we make irrelevant the Bible?  Jesus says that when we make our traditions or the explanations of our interpreters and commentators of greater value than the written Scriptures, we make void God’s word.  By our politics, we can make God’s word void; by so-called knowledge, we can make God’s word irrelevant; by thinking that the future can be changed from what has been planned from before the creation, we dismiss what God says.  By being party to accepting additions or deletions, we say that the Scriptures are irrelevant — dead.  The philosophy of Nietzsche that ‘God is dead’ is that which simply makes God irrelevant.  If God and His Word are rendered irrelevant – by our own understanding versus the revelation of Jesus Christ – then we will be more open to deception by the spirit of antichrist, who plays with the truth just enough to make his lie and evil intent seem plausibly worth accepting, hoping if possible to deceive even the elect.  Yet his perverse pleasure is to have those who are called by the name of the Lord dishonor Him and ourselves through believing the false prophets rather than the plain truth of the Spirit of YHVH:  “and so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which [we] do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as moved by the Holy Spirit”. (2Pt 1:19-21)

I am sobered by the times we live in when the words of Jesus pierce through them with end-from-the-beginning clarity of what has never yet been fulfilled:  “For then, there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be like it.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved, but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Mt 24:21-22)  These words Yeshua received from His Father – and, praise God, now our Father, too — to speak to us.  God loves us, and so tells us what He knows is good and needful for us to know about His thoughts and ways.  We should be under no illusion, nor deluded, to think that this war will bring peace to Israelis or to Palestinians.  It will not –wars are determined till the end — but we are to act in the present as best we can to carry out our proper duties.  This is true as we pray for and give any counsel to unbelievers.  How much more so for us.

The Spirit of God tells His people to come out from Babylon – the ‘good country’, the material comfort, the alternative and counterfeit ‘promised land’ which the world offers.  Babylon represents a place of freedom and potential and worldly glory, whereas Egypt represents slavery and bondage.  In the Old Testament, YHVH spoke through the prophet Jeremiah to the physically exiled Israelis in Babylon to physically “flee from the midst of Babylon, and everyone save his life!  Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of YHVH’s vengeance. . .YHVH has taken out our righteousness.  Come and let us declare in Zion the work of YHVH our God.” (Jer 51:6-10)  In the New Testament, John heard a voice from heaven saying, “Come out of [Babylon], My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.  For her sins have reached to Heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. . . . Therefore her plagues will come in one day. . .for strong is YHVH God who judges her!” (Rev 18:4-8)

If the sons of Issachar knew what Israel should do because they understood the times; if Daniel, through reading the Bible, understood the times and knew what to do; should not we — in the fuller light of history and with the whole Bible in our possession, and with the Holy Spirit dwelling within us and leading us into all truth — be discerning the times and knowing what to do?  Are we making the Scriptures irrelevant so long as we prefer to stay with our hearts and maybe our bodies, too, in Babylon!?  Messiah the Lord teaches us like this to pray:  Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. . .lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (the evil one/the evil day); for Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

To return to the issue of putting things in proportion which I wrote about in Part 1:  when one considers how many thousands of Palestinians were killed by the Jordanian government military in 1970 (just to take one example, which a Bedouin today mentioned to me as he praised Israel), and the world let it be, the fact that till now, however terrible it is, that the heavy Israeli attacks on Hamas have resulted in ‘only’ about 500 deaths and many wounded, testifies to the general policy of Israel to minimize the deaths of both enemy forces and civilians caught up in the battle zone.  This is in direct contrast to Islamic jihadist (holy war) policy and efforts.  Yet the world, including many Jewish and Christian people, jump on Israel as barbaric and disproportionate in its response to determined threats to her existence.  War is not hell; Hell is hell.  But war is terrible.  Wars and fights come from lust and covetousness: wanting what someone else has, even if you have to murder to get it from them. (Ja 4:1-2)  This has been the spirit of Islam before there was a religion called Islam! (Ps 83; Obadiah)

WE have been GIVEN the KINGDOM OF GOD.  We need covet nothing of anyone:  in Messiah we have been given an eternal inheritance of all that God has!  Let us fight the good fight of faith, while being, insofar as is possible on our part, at peace with all men, doing good to all, especially to those of the household of faith.  If you want war to cease, let us first examine our own hearts, confess our sin and repent, and then let us look for, long for, love, hasten Yeshua’s appearing, fulfilling our obedience to Him and His Word with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Still Living in The Days of The Bible – Part 1 – 4 Jan 2009

My words may pass away, but the Word of the LORD will never pass away!  Many of us have a tendency to add to or take away from the Word of God, rather than considering the whole counsel of God in the tension and reality of life it speaks to us.  We don’t necessarily intend to do that, and only those without godly fear would willfully do so with eyes opened.

When you hear people say – or perhaps when you say yourself – “in the days of the Bible”, what is meant by that?  If we really believe that the Scriptures have been written for us living at the end of the age, and that the Word of God abides forever, and that God will fulfill all that is written in the whole of the Old and New Testaments, then isn’t it true that we are living in the days of the Bible?!

You have received a number of e-mails from me recently and over the years.  For those who look at only one and come to any conclusions – whether positively or negatively – I would say, as I began this ‘letter’, that my words may pass away.  On the other hand, if you consider my letters together over time, a clearer and fuller picture would be discernible that otherwise can not be covered in any one or two letters, and, I sincerely hope, there would be a general consistency in the spirit of truth, even if not in every detail.  So, too, and much more so, with the Bible, which is truth both in spirit and in details!

Why am I concerning myself with this?  Most of the news media you see and hear focus on the perceived disproportion of Gazans being killed or injured versus the number of Israelis being killed or injured. (By the way, as I was now speaking with a friend on the phone, we are only about 1/2 hour drive away from the awful war going on!)  Just as in the last war in Lebanon against another terrorist organization, Hezbollah, the attention is also focused on the disproportionate weaponry being used by the two sides.  Believe me when I say, it’s scary enough to have a tree fall on your house during a storm, not to mention larger rockets, or even tons of bombs falling from airplanes in the sky.  As Yeshua advised, before going to war, consider first your enemy and his weaponry, and whether you think you can defeat them or not.  Is not the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ the same God as YHVH, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob?

The size of armor and weaponry is not to be our only concern:  look at Joshua and the people marching around Jericho and the priests blowing trumpets; look at Goliath, versus David with his slingshot.  What are we going to do in ‘our Bible days’ when the Lord Jesus Himself directs the seventh angel to pour out his bowl of God’s wrath upon His enemies with great hail from heaven, each weighing about  one talent (62 lbs or 30 kg)!?  And at what force?!  The reaction of the people (revealed to us in advance by the Holy Spirit in the love of our Father) targeted by God is to blaspheme Him! (Rev 16:17-21)

In earlier days of the Bible, the Assyrian king Sennacherib taunted the Jews in Israel that no God of the nations had yet succeeded to defeat him.  With this taunt and blasphemy, the righteous King Hezekiah cried out to the one true sovereign God, YHVH, God of Israel, who sent the prophet Isaiah to encourage and comfort the King and the people, assuring them that Sennacherib and his forces would not succeed.  I am not writing this here simply to say that this situation in Gaza is similar, although I think it is the attitude of these Islamic jihadists to taunt and blaspheme the God and the people of Israel and of the Christians, but rather to go on to the outcome of the encounter in those days (2Kg 19:35):  the Angel of YHVH went out on a certain night into the camp of the Assyrians, and killed 185,000!  Was this proportionate?!  Because this figure staggers our imagination and even offends our sensitivities, some Bible translators and commentators try to ‘defend’ the inspiration of Scripture and the character of our God by saying that this number is obviously an error which mistakenly got in and stayed in our Bibles.

In even earlier days of the Bible, the same Angel of YHVH killed all the first-born in Egypt, from Pharaoh’s household to the slaves’, plus animals.  Was God disproportionate in expressing what was in His heart, given the objectives He had in mind?  Pharaoh and his army were then thrown into the sea and all drowned.

Sometime later in Bible times, when the Jews who had not returned from exile at the command of Cyrus to return and rebuild Jerusalem were in danger of being exterminated through the irrational hatred of Haman in Persia (Iran), we read about the second decree by King Ahasueras that allowed the Jews to defend themselves.  On the set day, the Jews killed 500 men in the capital.  Queen Esther then requested that the Jews be allowed to do again the next day more of what they had done on the first.  They hung all of Haman’s sons (all of whom were, by the way, descendants of Amalek, himself a descendant of Esau/Edom), and killed 300 more men.  All this was in the capital city.  Around the rest of the kingdom, a total of 75,000 of their enemies were killed, those who had determined in their own hearts and minds that the Jews should be wiped out. (Esther 9:1-16)  Was this disproportionate to the threat that they had faced?  Would the threat have been removed had they not ‘finished the job’ on the second?  Is not the Lord going to finish His strange work of  judgment in order to remove all things which offend from entering into His Kingdom?  Our own flesh struggles with the magnitude of evil and the necessary righteous judgments of God to put it away.  Maybe that is why Joshua and the Israelis in their ‘Bible days’ stopped all the killing which God had commanded them to do:  they just couldn’t understand it or take it any more.

How many babies were killed in Bethlehem by Herod’s hateful self-serving command surrounding the birth of Yeshua?  What was the reaction – beyond the grief of ‘Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more”?  How did they respond towards God, who allowed such a thing connected with the promised Messiah and Savior?!  Certainly we know that the love of God is not self-serving!

Were the six million Jews who were scientifically and calculatedly slaughtered during the Holocaust an overkill to effect a shameful and guilty conscious on the Christianized West especially, opening the way for the world’s representatives through the United Nations to vote in the establishment of the State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people?

Is God being too heavy-handed when he prophetically warns us that two-thirds of the people of all the land (earth?) will die in order that the remaining third will be refined and tested and purified to each call on the name of YHVH as their God?! (Zech 13:8-9; Mt 24:21-22; Rev)

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God!  God is a consuming fire!

Yet for all the suffering and tragedy connected with each of the above events, we celebrate our God and Savior, and what He has done to bring righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit through these events and judgments!

It is a God-given, thus moral, responsibility and authority for a government to protect the general welfare of her citizenry, even by force when required.  It is our responsibility as believers to pray that our leaders not only act wisely and prudently, but even more that they be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.  Then, the lives of the people may be more quiet and peaceable, appreciative of godliness and reverence, both towards the one true God, and towards our fellow-man.  (Rom 12:17-21 – 13:1-7: 1Tim 2:1-6).

Please, do not misunderstand this one ‘article’ to think that I am hard-hearted toward what is going on in Gaza, both against a real enemy, and against those innocently trapped in a deplorable situation, not to mention against our own soldiers and sons risking their lives to defeat their enemies and defend their country – and from a higher perspective, though they may not recognize it, to free people to receive true and real life from the living God of the living.  Without Jesus, no one will enjoy life!

How the world and those who are of it evaluate and judge this war is one thing; let us be careful how we do, and be extremely careful that we do not find ourselves judging God.  His Word judges us. (Heb 4:11-13). 

WAR – 3 Jan 2009

(Also printed as article in www.comeandsee.com 8 July 2011 under Opinions)

One of the names of the God of Heaven and Earth is YHVH of Hosts (Armies).  When the apostle John wrote (Jn 12:37-41) to us what Isaiah saw (Is 6), he reveals to us the Messiah – Yeshua/Yasu/Jesus – is YHVH of Hosts!  Our God has not changed, and continues to wage war, both in the heavenlies and on the Earth, at least until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to reign with righteousness and justice.

God has given responsibility and authority to human governments – even to unbelievers – to protect the innocent and punish the evil-doer.

Rom 12:17-21 – 13:7   Neither our own past personal or national sins cancels out or disqualifies the present duty and responsibility of governments – which the Spirit tells us God Himself has ordained – to protect the general welfare of a people against internal criminals and against external enemies.

It is wrong to execute personal vengeance.  God has established civil government to act against evil-doers in such a way as to deter future acts of evil.

It is not a sin, then, in this present evil world, for governments or its citizens to engage in war, but, in fact, may actually be an act of righteousness and love to protect the people.

1Tim 2:1-6   God recognizes that most leaders in authority are not born-again, and so commands believers to pray for all men, for kings and all who in authority. . .that they be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Even born-again leaders are in a dilemma:  how to govern a worldly nation according to the teachings of Messiah and the cross, when all the kingdoms of this world are opposed to the Kingdom of God?  The believer in prayer is also in somewhat of a dilemma:  not only may we suffer for righteousness’ sake, even though praying for our leaders and living godly lives, but the wisdom for our leaders, even if they are believers, may still fall far short of accomplishing a ‘good’ solution, no matter the outcome of war.

Believing and unbelieving leaders have been given by God a moral responsibility before God and for their nation to protect and defend its legitimate interests.  It is true that not all leaders ‘love’ their own people or their enemies.  Not all wars are justified by those who strike first.  God will judge, and He knows how and when to defeat a nation, and to raise one up victoriously.

All killing is not murder in God’s view, and godly people are sometimes in a situation requiring them to kill and to be killed in war – even innocent civilians are killed.  It is the intent and purpose of the killing that God will judge as merely killing or whether as murder.  Although very grievous, it is not sin in war when non-combatants or otherwise innocent people are killed if there was no deliberate intent or act to kill them without regard.  The Sixth Commandment, which Yeshua/Jesus confirms in His Sermon on the Mount, is “You shall not murder” (Lo tirtzach).

The use of force is sometimes necessary to achieve desired righteous results, and even to express love.  Parents are instructed by God to use the rod to chasten their children if they love them and if ‘talking’ was not enough. (Pr 13:24; 22:15)  Abraham, surely a man of peace, and called a friend of God, knew how to wage war to rescue his ‘brother’ Lot. (Gen 13)  God Himself, the perfect Father, must at times use strong measures when we who are His children do not properly respond to His grace.  He will also need to use strong and terrible judgments to teach the inhabitants of the world [His] righteousness. (Is 26:9)

When criminals and enemies transgress the accepted law beyond what is tolerable, civil governments have God’s delegated authority and approval – they are His ministers – to take up arms and to even kill.

If we who are born-again and have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us do not always use peaceable means to settle conflicts between believers, what should we expect from those who do not know the love of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?!

War is a terrible reality of the present ages.  Yeshua won the war on the cross; most people have either not yet heard or believed the report.  More people have died since the ‘peace treaty’ was signed by God through their continued unbelief and open rebellion.  May many amongst the Arabs and the Jews come to know the love of the truth as it is in Jesus.

May He return in our own days, and cause war to cease!  Amen.

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Afterword:   For the record, I myself refused to take up arms when I had to serve in the IDF, as I believed that was God’s will for me. Israel didn’t understand, of course, and neither did many of the believers.

But, despite my own responsibility before God on the matter, it doesn’t allow me to impose my own personal experience or application upon the Scriptures (including NT) for everyone else, when the Word of God seems to allow for other responses.