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But This is Your Hour–When Darkness Reigns

Luke 22:53b

When I completed the last articles I considered being finished with the idea of non-resistance as prescribed by Jesus. I left writing on the subject and thought I would pursue some new avenue thinking that I had exhausted the subject and that no one really wanted to hear any more on the matter, and that may be true; but the subject is not exhausted. I gave myself a sabbath to think about new themes, but found nothing of interest that felt particular or important, or I should say, more important, than what I have been led to investigate and expound on than that most important of subjects, and that thing of which Jesus is Prince, and that is “peace,” and its formation and pursuit.

I have written many articles directed at the very much misunderstood words of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount, and how the “Church” has distorted those very words of peace, love, and forgiveness, convoluting them to justify war, hate, and condemnation; and doing it all while begging His blessing on the same.

In the Church’s rejection of God’s prescription for peace we have written our own prescription that includes judging, condemnation, overcoming evil with evil, and the wholesale sanction of murder by both the world and the Church.

Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things. No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil… Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands. Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways. The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks in them will know peace. So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead. We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; we look for deliverance, but it is far away. Isaiah 59:2-11

Why the darkness?

War is held to be sacred and our armies to be Christ loving armies. They say “war is instituted by God, a divine law of the world,” that it is, “surrounded by courage, honor, self-sacrifice, and virtue.” But I say they are benumbed by the rout recital that “America is great,” and all the Church sings in chorus the same worn out pious platitude, to incite egos and hearts of young men and women, ready to throw their life on the altar of flag and national allegiance.

We might be able to conceive how the ignorance of millions of Catholics and Orthodox Christians–who worship idols, the Madonna, and bow to these idols and kiss them, and who bow to a mere man as to God Himself; and how the likewise ignorant Protestant sheep ignore the plain teachings of Jesus, deliberately misconstruing the truth, for no other reason than one man said something, over a thousand years ago, and others sycophantically repeat it and defend it with life and limb; but those who claim to be the enlightened, what about them? These supposedly enlightened people: professors, reformers, students, journalist, elitist, business owners, and above all, pastors and priests, who all claim to know whereof they speak, speak with a single voice, their contempt and ill feelings toward anyone not thoroughly sympathetic with our plight and enflame the masses by their approval, who were only yesterday indifferent and neutral. The result of all of this is that millions of young men with patriotic fervor enlist and line up to lay down their lives to protect the wealth and position of these enlightened human beings, who all speak of the horribleness and senselessness of war, not only change their position but declare that the death of these young men is their patriotic duty to those who are not so disposed to do the same. The aggregate of these people stupefy themselves on the endless prayers, sermons, newspaper articles, television documentaries, personality profiling, marches, and exhortations, learning to hate and condemn people they don’t even know and who have done them no harm, and prepare their hearts for murder and mayhem. These enlisted men then are trained to kill on command innocent men on the other side who have been likewise deluded and persuaded to kill for some cause they have been trained to repeat like some hypnotic chant. Deluded men all trained to point lethal weapons at a crowd of innocent people intent to kill as many of them as possible; who have been taught to believe that there is some reward of glory that awaits them. These young men in the most healthy and fit part of their lives, all dressed alike, marching in rank and file, proceed on a course to massacre more of their supposed enemies than they of them while all agreeing that they are right and the other wrong.

Can we be so blind? Yes! It is possible. Satan is called, for good reason, the Deceiver, of both “nations” and “the whole world;” that includes you and me. If we can admit this Biblical declaration there may be hope; but in this admission we must see the reality that what we call the Church is likewise deceived.

The great deception comes in our not accepting the clear words of Jesus, of which, we are told to believe, and in which, we are told to walk. The obeying of those commands result in the “cross” we are to bear. Christ says what He says. We may admit that at times they are hard to obey. We may agree that those who live by His rules may not always be happy. It will likely be said that those rules are stupid and that Jesus was a dreamer who envisioned unattainable ideals. But, it is impossible not to see that Jesus said what He said; He spoke those words, “Resist not an evil man,” and that He meant just what He said, that His followers should not resist evil and that whoever accepts His teaching must not “Resist evil.” “Why do you call me Lord and do not the things I command?” Because of this gross deception neither believers nor unbelievers understand these clear, simple, words of Jesus.

It is not so amazing that Jesus’ words have been misunderstood, but that they have been understood in such a strange way and for so long, a way in which totally negates everything He said and make it mean the exact opposite; a very ingenious deception.

How is it that the very essence of Christianity i.e. love and forgiveness, is now universally nullified by the teaching of the doctrine of Christian Patriotism from the pulpit and the podium of all Churches and universities? To “Turn the other cheek,” and “Love your enemies,” is to express the foundation of Christ’s teaching; yet we seek some neutralized metaphorical meaning. If Jesus’ simple words, “Resist not him who is evil” means never to “Resist him who is evil,” then to acquiesce to a variety of extended allegorical interpretations is to part company with the author of those words, who is the Son of God. If these words that the Father spoke to Jesus were spoken allegorically then Jesus Himself misunderstood them because He took them literately and obeyed them and allowed Himself to be led away, “not resisting;” then He insisted that if we will see life, that we must follow Him. Furthermore, the evidence we receive from history is that His followers did follow Him, and for the better part of three hundred years Christians understood those words in their simple, literal, sense, not resisting evil men; and the blood of those martyred saints became the seeds of the Church.”

What would Jesus say to us today with our endless applaud of those who destroy our enemies? With great celebration and speeches we bow to the demons of destruction and turn our backs on the Lamb of God, and count his words as only pious ideals, to be read but not obeyed. Was it in regard to those words that Jesus said, “Whoso doeth this and teaches men so shall be called great”? Was it in regard to the understanding of those words that Jesus said that we should, “Become as little children”? Was it in regard to these words that He said that only those who do them shall receive life; the command of which He Himself obeyed?

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down to earth to give salvation to the world. He suffered and died and justified men through the redemption of their sins by His blood, and established the Church as the depository and administrator of the Word of life, and set the example of how that was to be accomplished. Some few grasped the truth of His words and lived and taught them, and passed them on in word, letter, and lifestyle. These few continually remembered, and reminded each other, that there existed the clear and present danger of corruption creeping in and contaminating the simplicity of the Christ life. For most of the first three hundred years the contamination was held at bay. But even early on we see corruption trying its hand at turning the living organism of the Church into a mere organization with Diotrephes, and later Ignatius. With these and many other powerful teachers the walls of protection were crumbled and penetrated, and the Gospel compromised.

Church history from that time forward is the story of the battle for the purity of the word, and how the battle was lost. Today that battle has come down to us as the battle to dominate the world with Christian thought and practice through the ballot box, Christian military, Christian courts with Christian jurors and executioners, Christian banks and money management, and of course Christian Churches to propagate this new belief system. All of this is 180 degrees out of sync with the Gospel of Jesus and the Church of the first three hundred years.

We have gotten so far off the narrow way that we now believe that the narrow way is itself only a metaphor for going to a religious building once a week and putting on Christian appearances.

When we seek to find answers to why the early Church was persecuted we are only told that they were persecuted for their faith. What does that mean? What specifically was that faith or belief that earned them condemnation? What was it they believed? Why aren’t Christians in America persecuted? In some countries Christians have to go underground, why? What element of following Christ would likewise bring persecution to believers in America? Was Jesus only playing with words when He said, “If they persecuted Me they will persecute you”? Do Christians in America think that persecution is for some future time, in a different age when the “Beast” will come after them? Could it be that Jesus’ words were for every age? If persecution is not testing Christians today could it be because the Church has compromised with the world? If the Church has compromised, which seems apparent enough, then where? If the end is near, as most Christians believe, then these and more question need to be answered. The Church sits on a precipice between Heaven and Hell and doesn’t seem to care. At least the Church of Laodicea was warm; todays Church is cold, like a corpse. People look to the big religious organizations for truth, but they are the deadest of all. Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, there is not a heartbeat in a hundred; every one of them has flat-lined. Just to get a single person to even acknowledge the question, seems like a milestone. Real salvation today is truly a resurrection of the dead. There are no Bereans today who will question the contradictions pouring from the pulpits.

This topic doesn’t seem to want to go away, so I won’t force it to. There will probably be more on this subject.

 

Steve Blackwell

6 replies on “But This is Your Hour–When Darkness Reigns”

Steve, thanks for the insight, I would seek your view of the “Church” becoming a corporation 501 3c and all these laws that pastors have to obey if they want to keep their tax exempt status. I have been asked to leave churches when I bring this to their attention or suggest that we should obey God rather than man. It seems that most pastors believe in un-limited submission to civil magistry and use Rom 13:1-8 to justify it. Any wisdom the Lord has imparted about this to you? – pls/adv

Bill,

Thanks for stopping by.

Specifically, you asked about the 501c3 tax exempt status of government sanctioned churches. It is not according to Christ; it is against Christ that they do this, and most of them know that it is. Very simply, Christ says “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.” Also, Jesus asks, “What does the Kingdom of God have to do with the kingdom of this world?” But, not a minute of conscious thought is given to these words of the One they pretend to follow when money is on the table. Consequently, their faith is not on the Lord, but on their own ability to build a business, using every available means to make it succeed, except true faith. Solomon declares that, “Unless the Lord builds the House it is built in vain by those who build it.”

I do not claim to know any more than they do about how to proceed in the world, I have only chosen to believe what the Bible says; they have chosen to filter the same words through the fine mesh of worldly wisdom and understanding; the words need no filter. Many, many times we are admonished to just “believe” the things that are written, but our fine doctors of religion tell us otherwise. Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and My burden light,” the religious doctors (no different than Catholic Priest in my opinion) declare that it is not so, that the riddle must be unraveled by trained specialist. Jesus plainly says in John 7:17 that, “When your will is to do the will of the Father then you will know whether I speak on the Father’s behalf or if I speak as a mere man.” Don’t seek validation through miracles, tongues, visions, prophetic utterance, or success in build a large religious building. If God wants us to have those things He will provide them, His way.

We are told to obey the laws of this world’s governments, as much as possible, and we should, including paying taxes, religious building should not be exempted. Tax exemption for Churches is a throwback to the days of Constantine who tricked the weakened persecuted leaders of the then Christian Church to come inside out of the cold and join forces with his government. We must not join forces with the government, but we must obey them, as long as they do not ask us to deny Christ’s commands to “Not resist evil,” in any way.

You will be asked to leave whenever you propose obeying the Lord in any of His commands outlined in His “Sermon on the Mount.” Speak your piece loud and clear, give documentation, and then leave. Wherever you go do the same; shake the dust off your shoes and go on to the next town or religious building. Don’t be afraid, the Lord is with you, really! Study the Bible and the primitive Church of the first one hundred years. Track down the real believers through the whole life of the existing Church. They were not perfect and will differ in many ways from traditional beliefs, but they all held to the teachings of Christ laid out in the Sermon on the Mount and other places reinforced by the Apostles. I guarantee you, you will be rejected; but then, so was our Lord, and we are not above our Teacher.

I do not promote my articles, but you will find in them all the things I am saying to you here. If you have any other questions you are welcome to ask and I will try and answer.

Steve Blackwell
IndyWatchman

Steve,
Happy to see you back from your sabbatical and to read that it was self-imposed (rather than health-related or some other such reason)! I am reminded of 2 Timothy 2:4, which ironically uses the example of a soldier to exhort us not to become entangled in the affairs of this world that we might please the One who enlisted us. Be encouraged to stay the course!
David

David,

Yes, I am back, thanks for the concern. I never went very far actually, just hung out the “Gone Fishing” sign for awhile. Change is good but I never really rested. I keep thinking I am dreaming and that there isn’t really the large number of blind Christians all holding hands leading each other toward the ditch; it scares me. I was part of the blind for so long, and am still blind in so many ways. Today’s Christians are a test of God’s mercy.

Thanks David

I agree with you whole-heartedly. I have often thought about the early Church and what it might have looked like. How do we get back to that? What did the Roman emperors fear about what the Christian “way” that made them persecute the Christians.
I believe that if we radically stand up for what Jesus really taught we will be persecuted. Anyone who speaks against abortion under any circumstances, who speaks up for taking care of the poor, taking care of those in prison comes under direct fire and not just from the “secular” world. As you said, the present day Church has lost the vision and compromises with evil as part of their doctrine. We need to get back to the real “Way” and not compromise under any condition. Great church buildings, man-made laws and money-making ministries turn their backs on what Jesus came to teach us. Jesus started with just 12 men. Maybe those of us who really want to follow the “Way” need to start where we’re at and pray for the Lord to give us grace and send the Holy Spirit to get us back to where we should be- the pure “Way” that is His Way- the narrow gate.

Mary,

Thanks for the response.

The reasons for the persecution of early believers and of those who came later were varied, but it always included being seen as a perceived threat to the status-quo. I will be digging into those “threats” in some following articles. Many today oppose abortion and it cannot be said that they have been persecuted; but what is that thing that will open the door of persecution from both the entrenched religious elitist and the world?

It is not that Christians should seek persecution for the sake of persecution, but only that by doing what Jesus ask, this persecution will come. Christians in America are not seen as a threat. What most Christians believe and practice causes barely a ripple on the radar.

Stay tuned and let’s see if we can’t discover what it is that Jesus was talking about.

Steve Blackwell

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