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This chapter covers an important topic, dominion, about which many of you have heard nothing. Dominion is having the right or authority to rule over something. As you learn about dominion you’ll realize why the Lord Jesus Christ in Jn 18:36 boldly declared, “My kingdom is not of this world”, and why He resolutely turned His people down when they tried to involve Him in government and politics (Jn 6:15). But, you may ask, did not the Lord establish His kingdom on earth in Ge 1:26,28 when He gave Adam dominion by saying, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion…over all the earth.”? And did not He give His people dominion over the land of Canaan when Joshua crossed the Jordan River? Yes, He did. But as your understanding of this topic becomes more complete you’ll see why He told Pilate His kingdom is not of this world, and why Christ the King doesn’t reestablish His kingdom and dominion on earth until Re 11:15, and what significance that has for Christians today. So, beginning with events on Eden this will be a roughly-chronological history and analysis of dominion.
When Lucifer was placed in charge of husbanding the garden of God (also called the planet Eden) he began to like (covet) it too much. He grew to love physical possessions, and he didn’t like the fact that God owned everything and doled property and dominion out to whomever He pleased. Lucifer despised this form of dictatorial communism, preferring a system in which individuals have ownership of property. Lucifer’s system of private property ownership was based on the heretical notion of equality and would, if instituted, make each of God’s servants king of his own castle. How would it do that? By giving servants their own realm or kingdom over which they exercised exclusive and absolute control due to possession/ownership. In order to be a king one must have a kingdom, and Lucifer’s plan would make everyone a king.
God rejected Lucifer’s plan because it would transfer some of His prerogatives to His servants. They would gain autonomy over “their” stuff, and, because of what ownership means, God would lose the authority to dictate what these new property owners could do with their possessions. In some respects His servants would become sovereigns; there would be areas of their lives over which God had lost the authority to control. Because that would be contrary to who and what GOD is, God would actually cease being who and what He had always been. “Acts of God” such as thunderstorms and hurricanes that destroyed “private” property, like the cattle upon a thousand hills, would no longer be within the scope of God’s prerogatives; they would become criminal acts of vandalism. In other words, Lucifer’s equality-based, covetous system of private property and the resultant individual autonomy were rebellion against the person of God. This helps us get a better glimpse of why in Ro 8:7 the word enmity is used and why God reacts to our earthly transgressions against authority so violently – He takes them personally because they are assaults on who He is!
Because of the instinctive appeal of the concept of equality, Lucifer’s rebellion spread like leaven to the other angels. If I may borrow from history, angels who now believed in “private” property and their sovereignty over it, rejected God’s authority to do whatever He wished with their stuff. No taxation without our authoritative consent! they cried. Lucifer’s individual rebellion spread to other angels and became a revolution. (Samuel Adams reminds me of Lucifer.) It was a war for independence and the “right” of self-determination.
I can’t prove it and don’t say it dogmatically, but I think Lucifer and his rebels won their independence by defeating Gabriel and Michael and the rest of the good guys in an early battle. I realize there was no war and accompanying property destruction when God’s people in Israel split off from Judah, but when the Christians in America won their independence from Great Britain, the war raged in the real estate coveted by the rebels. I think Satan’s rebellion began with a military victory that “liberated” the physical Kingdom of Heaven (KOH) from the spiritual Kingdom of God (KOG). During the course of battle the planet Eden was destroyed and became without form and void. Because that’s what Lucifer was fighting for, and because to the victor go the spoils, God recreated the planet that became King Satan’s headquarters from which he rules the KOH. Winning that opening battle showed Lucifer that God actually would abide by the agreed-upon rules of war, and the victory gave Lucifer the confidence to think he really could win the entire seven-thousand-year war.
Although Satan is now a king, we must remember God is the King of kings. Therefore, Satan still reports to God (Jb 1:6; 2:1), gets orders from God (Jb 1:8,12; 2:6; 1 Ch 21:1; 2 Sa 24:1; Mk 5:7-13), and rules at the discretion of God (Pv 8:15,16; Da 2:21; 4:25; 5:21b). When God recreated the earth He exercised His discretion by setting aside a few acres for the garden of Eden and gave Adam dominion over it (Ge 1:26,28). But, you say, Adam was given dominion over the whole earth, not just the garden of Eden. Not exactly: When God gave Adam dominion it was – as with His covenant with Abraham – really about our future rule over our everlasting inheritance, the Kingdom of Heaven/Zion (KOH/Z). Just as we shall rule the world from New Jerusalem, Adam and his offspring were to rule the earth from the garden of Eden. The Jews were similarly supposed to rule the world from the tiny nation of Israel. Remember, Satan took dominion over the KOH by military action. And the Jews established their dominion over the land of Canaan by militarily subduing its occupants. How is Christ going to establish dominion over this earth at His Second Coming? By making Israel His headquarters through military action at the battle of Armageddon – and then sending us out to subdue the rest of the world. That’s how we know Adam’s dominion was – in practice – only over the garden of Eden; he had to subdue the rest of the world (Ge 1:28)! Subdue means to conquer or overpower and bring into subjection by superior force. Therefore, with nobody on earth for him to conquer, Adam’s being told to subdue was prophecy. Even if there had been people to conquer, Adam’s dominion didn’t last long enough to begin taking over the planet because he was kicked out of the garden into real estate that was under the Devil’s dominion, as we’ll see when we get to Abraham.
While we’re on the subject of Adam’s losing dominion, let’s sharpen our skills with a little Swordplay. I’m not going to be dogmatic here because this is the kind of stuff you just wonder about and file in the back of your mind as you wait for further clarification from God (Lk 2:18,19,49-51). But this is the kind of stuff we need to learn to be adept at addressing for three reasons. First, it trains us in the handling of the word of life so, as we mature, we can tell the difference between rightly dividing and wresting the Scriptures. Second, if we hear something weird like, That carpenter from Nazareth claims to have been born of a virgin, we just might be able to overlook the fact that we don’t like His personality, His dress, His body odor, His mannerisms, His facial features, or the fact that He and His low-class friends (who eat with unwashen hands) often sleep in the park; and instead focus on the Scriptures, put them together correctly, allow them to make us stop looking at the outward appearance, and begin to carefully watch the Man to see if He walks, talks, breathes, fulfills, and reveals the Scriptures – something the learned Pharisees phailed to do. Third, if a Christian world leader we really like shows up with a charming personality, impeccable credentials, prayers that end with “in Jesus’ name”, and the backing of the Moral Masses and the Christian Right, but isn’t quite Scriptural in a couple of areas, we’ll be able to set aside our carnal, positive reaction and begin to analyze whether the guy (or gal) is an enemy or not.
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So, let’s engage in some Swordplay and see if we can find a satisfactory explanation behind Christ’s having His disciples drink His blood (wine) at His Last Supper even though He knew both Testaments forbid the drinking of blood.
Tradition says the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve ate was an apple. There is no evidence to support that. There is, however, evidence that grapes were the forbidden fruit. But don’t grapes grow on vines and therefore cannot qualify as the fruit of the tree of knowledge? Not if you read Nu 6:1-4 and Ezek 15:2,6.
Just as Adam partook of the vine tree, history repeated itself when the patriarch Noah also partook of the fruit of the vine (Ge 9:20-22). And sex was involved both times. Do Mt 13:37-39; Jn 8:41,44; 1 Jn 3:10,12; Ge 6:2,4 and 2 Sa 21:20,22 mean Adam, intoxicated with the leavening drug of knowledge spreading through his veins (a lust that still afflicts us according to Ep 2:3), allowed Satan to consummate the seductive, subtle betrothal wrought by the ingestion of the forbidden grapes? If so, does that make grape clusters hanging from a vine phallic images?
God created evil, which I believe is the idea of equality. Satan fell from grace when he partook of that forbidden evil. Could it be, because equality enables the carnal Reason that makes us usurp God’s prerogative as Head, that God put the poison of equality in the grapes and therefore called the vine “the tree of knowledge of good and evil”? It is the carnality from those grapes that binds us to Satan as his wives. Why? For an answer we just have to apply what we learned about the purpose of wives – they are servants. The reason Adam didn’t marry giraffes or aardvarks is they were not suitable helpers. And why did God create humans for Himself? Because He wanted wives who were suitable servants. And we were suitable until Adam made us carnal. Once we became carnal, Ro 8:7,8 shows we were no longer meet to serve God. We became just as unsuitable as Satan to serve God, we became at enmity against God, and we became perfect wives/servants of the Devil because we were now carnal just like he is. And that is how original sin binds us to Satan. And that is why, in order to serve God, we must have a new (spirit) self via the new birth and then learn to die to the old (physical) self daily. And that is why the Bible commands us to stay away from the Devil’s philosophy (Co 2:8) that makes us think Reason is good.
Now, could it be that the forbidden grapes on the tree of knowledge were red? In the Bible grape juice – or wine – is called blood (Ge 49:11; Dt 32:14; Mt 26:27-29). And blood is equated with wine (Dt 32:42; Is 49:26; Je 46:10; Ezek 39:19). But Christ showed us there are two kinds of blood, mortal red blood and immortal clear blood (water) (covered on D17-1 and D19-2), so the Bible also equates blood with water (Dt 12:16,23,24; 1 Ch 11:17,19; Ezek 32:6). And since the life (carnality) of the flesh is represented by red blood, not by the clear blood/water Christ has in His veins, it looks like the grapes Adam ate were red, not white. Adam and Eve ingested the leavened red blood of the forbidden fruit, and it revealed them, and us, to be carnal enemies of God. That’s why both Testaments tell us to abstain from red blood (Ge 9:4; Le 17:10-14; 19:26; Dt 12:23-25; Ac 15:20,29; 21:25) but not from God’s blood (Mt 26:27,28). Notice something interesting about the flip side of Dt 12:25-28: If we apply it to Adam’s sin we find the verse contains all the elements related to his sin – the commandment to abstain from the blood of the grape, the resulting curse of original sin passed on to Adam’s children, and the carnality represented by eating the red blood of the forbidden fruit. Now, since original sin is linked with our marriage to the Devil, it may be that Ex 34:7 is a reference to our inherited iniquity from Adam. That’s why the Old Testament saints, bound to the Devil by Adam’s sin, couldn’t go to heaven when they died; they had to wait until Christ legally freed them by His death on the cross. In support of that, notice the context of Je 31:15,22,31 is Christ’s First Coming when He instituted the New Testament. That would make Je 31:29,30 say: In those days of the New Testament when Christ sets us free from our bondage to the Devil, we’ll no longer have to lament when we die that we’re restricted to Abraham’s bosom because of our father Adam’s eating the leavened grapes. In those days good Christians can go to heaven when they die, and only those who are carnal (because they don’t die to the leavened self we got from Adam) will go to hell. That would explain the mysterious third or fourth generation stuff in Ex 34:7: The generations cursed by Adam’s sin were those prior to the cross. That would include the generations of Adam, the first patriarch; Noah, the second patriarch; Abraham, the third patriarch; and Moses, who was almost the fourth patriarch as is made plain in Nu 14:11-20 which, interestingly enough, includes verse 18 as a clue. But if you don’t like that interpretation because Moses did not actually become the fourth patriarch (Jesus did), we can look at it this way: The most specific wording of this third and fourth generation stuff is Ex 34:7. Since Christ’s fourth generation was set free, 34:7 can be read: “...unto [including] the third and [up] to [but not including] the fourth generation.”
If equality, which is the foundation of the devils’ philosophy, was the leaven in the blood of the red grapes on the vine tree of knowledge of good and evil, that would help explain why Dt 32:31-33 identifies their rock (Satan) with the vine tree that bears grapes that produce the “heady” wine that is called the venom of dragons and asps. Which is why 1 Ti 4:1 refers to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Now go to 1 Co 10. In v.4 there’s not much doubt they drank water (Christ’s pure blood). Therefore v.16 would be better symbolized by white wine. And verses 20 and 21 would refer to both wines, white and red.
The fact that wine makes us “heady” or “light-headed” is also fitting because that is essentially what being carnal is. Therefore, ever since we inherited Adam’s original sin and became carnal we have been told to reestablish dominion over ourselves by maintaining strict control over our carnal minds by exercising discernment. That’s why we are allowed to drink heady liquor but are prohibited from letting it take our control away.
And that’s how Adam lost dominion. He didn’t just lose dominion over the earthly real estate God had given him; he also lost dominion over his own body by yielding to carnality. He became unfit to serve God. He became intoxicated with equality and Reason, which made him a heady usurper of God’s prerogative as Head. Adam went from being an obedient body to being an independent head – which is enmity against God. And that is why the Bible says we must first rule well our own bodies or we’re not qualified to help the church. It is imperative that we bring ourselves under subjection, that we subdue or conquer ourselves, that we establish dominion over our carnal minds and bodies by dying daily. The only physical real estate we have today to rule over is our old man – and we can’t even handle that! Because philosophy liberated and legitimized the carnal man, Reason now dominates Christianity – not revelation.
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When Noah, the second patriarch, stepped off the ark God told him many of the same things He’d told Adam, including giving him the Old Commission to be fruitful and multiply. However, God very deliberately refrained from giving Noah dominion. Why? What was the difference between Adam and Noah? For the answer look at the covenant God made with Abraham (Ge 12:1,7; 13:15), and notice the covenant is tied to land. God’s people lost earthly dominion via Adam and wouldn’t get it back until many centuries later via Joshua. Adam lost his real estate/dominion because he showed he couldn’t even rule well his own house – himself and his wife. Noah was given neither real estate nor the dominion to go with it. That was the difference between Adam and Noah. Let me be clear about the difference: Adam was given real estate; Noah wasn’t. Adam was given the dominion to rule his real estate; Noah was given no dominion because God gave him no real estate. God told Adam to establish his dominion by subduing all in his realm; Noah was never told to subdue anything.
The moral of the story is, when a Christian doesn’t do a good job ruling himself, God will not give him dominion.
When God decided to divide the human race into saints and dogs He needed a third patriarch. He selected Abraham. He told Abraham many of the same things He’d told Adam and Noah, including giving him the Old Commission. And, like He’d done with Noah, God gave Abraham zero real estate over which to have dominion (no real estate, no dominion, no subduing). But He did promise real estate to Abe’s descendants.
Before we go any further, let’s define people when they not only have no dominion over real estate, but also are not “at home.” The Bible calls them strangers, aliens, and sojourners. In the Bible these terms apply to: Abe while he was in the very land of Canaan he’d been promised; to people who are in a land that isn’t theirs; to Isaac and Jacob and their descendants until they received the inheritance of real estate; and to unsaved people who were living in the nation of Israel. To verify that see Ge 12:10; 15:13; 17:8; 21:34; 23:2-4; 26:3; 28:4; 32:4; 47:4; Ex 2:22; 6:4; 18:3; Ru 1:1; Ezek 14:7; He 11:9,13. God’s people would continue being called strangers and sojourners until they received dominion over the land of Canaan from Jesus Christ in the days of Joshua.
We’ve already seen above (as well as in the list of Scripture about the Promise on page H2-2) that God’s Promise to Abraham is tied to real estate. There are a number of groups today who teach that Caucasian Christians are – or might be – physical descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel (they call themselves by such names as “Christian Israelites”). They teach that, as descendants of Abraham, they have a mandate from God to carry out the provisions of His covenant to Abraham. For example, in order for them to be a blessing to the world in accordance with Ge 12:3, they think they are supposed to get rid of, by any means necessary, any government on earth that doesn’t rule according to the Bible. One of the places in Scripture they use to “prove” God’s covenant with Abraham is still in effect is Ps 105:6-10. If it’s still in effect, they reason, it must apply to someone. And it obviously doesn’t apply to the Christ rejecters in Israel, so there must be people on earth to whom the covenant does apply – them! But let’s look at Ps 105. Verse 6 shows that the children of Jacob, “his chosen”, are being addressed. Then notice verses 7 through 10 are all building up to the climax that comes after the colon at the end of verse 10. In other words, while verses 7 through 10 refer to the covenant, only verse 11 explains what the covenant is! What is the covenant specifically tied to? Real estate. Which is exactly the same thing we learned in the verses that show what the Promise is. So, if we are supposed to be fulfilling God’s covenant today, where’s our real estate? If our real estate is the land of Canaan why are we messing around with politics in North America? The answer is: We have no dominion anywhere on earth. Not the garden of Eden, not Israel, not England, and not the United States. Our kingdom is not of this world! Why pretend that it is – will God be fooled? Will He be impressed? And, since we have no God-given real estate, we have neither dominion nor the authority to subdue anything.
Abraham pleased God by patiently wandering around the land of Canaan. He was a stranger who sojourned in the land of promise, as were his sons who were also heirs of the covenanted real estate (He 11:9-16). They looked for a city whose builder and maker is God (v.10). In fact, Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Sara all saw themselves as strangers and pilgrims on earth because they had dominion over nothing (v.13). They sought a country (v.14) all right, but it wasn’t on this planet (v.16).
Why was Joseph sold by his fellow Christians into slavery? Because they didn’t want him to have dominion over them (Ge 37:8). When in Egypt, Joseph, as any Christian worth his salt, volunteered for nothing in that pagan country because it wasn’t his dominion. But, both as a slave to Potiphar and when Pharaoh drafted him, he did what any good Christian would do in obedience to the word of God: He did everything he could to serve and please his ungodly, Bible-rejecting masters.
After His people spent four centuries serving pagan Egypt, God decided to give them that which they hadn’t had since before Adam was booted from the garden of Eden – dominion. No longer would they be without God-given real estate on earth they could call their own and rule. No longer would they be strangers in the Devil’s domain; they’d be home.
Moses led them out of Egypt through the Red Sea, thus becoming a type of Christ leading us out of this world, through the Deep, and into the Promised Land/the KOH/Z/our everlasting inheritance. We need to pause here in order to examine the significance of something Moses was given – the ark of the covenant. The ark of the what? The covenant!
God’s people started out under Adam with dominion. When it was lost they became strangers sojourning, waiting for a land they could call their own. When Abraham came along God made a promise, a covenant with him about real estate, about dominion. Christians would pass on this covenant from generation to generation as an inheritance so they would know one day they’d see the covenant honored when God gave them dominion again. When Moses came along God gave His people the ark of the covenant. It can be called the ark of the promise. It can be called the ark of the inheritance. It can be called the ark of real estate. And it can be called the ark of dominion. They all mean the same thing. That is an important point we’ve missed for too long in our Bible study. Had we realized it we would have noticed something else: Whenever God’s people had the ark of the covenant (after they moved into the Promised Land), they also had dominion. And whenever they lost the ark of the covenant, they lost dominion.
But God had to first show His people that obedience, not the ark, is the answer. In other words, the ark was symbolic.
When God’s people sinned, God delayed their dominion. So they were forced to haul the ark of the covenant around with them in the wilderness for forty years in order to learn obedience. When the dominionless Moses (a type of the dominionless Christ at His First Coming) died without dominion, the mantle passed to Joshua to reestablish Adam’s dominion. (Because Joshua had dominion he is a type of Christ at His Second Coming.)
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If God’s people had been obedient, Moses would have led them into the Promised Land, restored dominion, and been a type of Christ at His Second Coming. But when God’s people sinned and were penalized forty years, Moses became a great Almost because he wasn’t given dominion. That makes Moses a type of another great Almost, John the Baptist. That becomes clear when we read Mt 11:12-14; 17:3,10-13. If God’s people had been faithful at the First Coming, John the Baptist would have been Elijah, and Christ would have restored dominion. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
When Moses died God spoke to Joshua about the real estate He’d promised His people as an inheritance (Josh 1:2-4,6). God wanted there to be no question about this momentous occasion, and He wanted to establish the significance of the ark of the covenant. So He had a grand ceremony.
Joshua rose early in the morning (Josh 3:1). These events happened after three days (Josh 3:2). The priests carried the ark of dominion in the sight of all the people into the Jordan River and stood still. At that point the flooding river (type of the Deep that flooded the earth in Noah’s day) piled up as if behind an invisible dam upstream, which left dry land downstream. Then all the Israelites paraded past the ark of the covenant and crossed the dry riverbed.
I italicized the two phrases above because their repeated use in the Bible, as well as what they – and other similar Bible phrases – teach us, make me think they are used here as prophecy: Rising early and after three days make us think of Christ’s resurrection, which happened after the third day as it was turning into the fourth day (as covered in chapter D33). Here in relation to the ark of the covenant they seem to refer to exactly when God will fulfill His Promise by giving us our inheritance of everlasting real estate. It will not happen after two days (the two thousand years of the New Testament era of the Gentiles) because that is when Christ’s Second Coming establishes His Millennial Reign on the third day of the New Testament era. And it will not happen on the third day because that is when the Millennial Reign takes place on this planet, which is not our everlasting Promised Land because it is destroyed with fire at the end of day three during the Final Solution. God will fulfill His Promise after three days and very early on the fourth day when several things happen in rapid succession: This planet is destroyed with fire; the Lord and His faithful saints move to the new earth (Zion); the Marriage Supper of the Lamb consummates our union with Christ and puts us under the Second Testament Law of grace (the real “eternal security”); we are given our new, circumcised hearts/glorified bodies – thereby complying with the everlasting commandment to be circumcised on the eighth day (which, if you start counting days at the beginning of the New Testament, is day four (right at the beginning – “early” – of day four, which happens to also be the very end of – or “after” – day three); and, of course, we’ll be given our Promised everlasting real estate over which we’ll have dominion under Christ forever. Day eight (or day four if you start counting from the First Coming) is also our first day without the sidereal movement – time – of this universe; it is the beginning of our eternity.
God had the ark of real estate enter the Jordan first in order to miraculously demonstrate what He, the Lord of all the earth, was doing. This was a big deal. Up until this point King Satan had dominion over the whole earth, including the real estate of Canaan. But now God was demonstrating that, as King of kings, all sovereignty and authority ultimately belong to Him. He was demonstrating that He was taking dominion over Canaan away from Satan and giving it to His people. Even the pagan inhabitants of the land of Canaan knew God was taking their dominion away from them and giving it to His people (Josh 2:9-11; 5:1; 9:24). What a day that must have been!
This event – God’s people being given dominion again – was a type of the Second Coming on day seven if you count from the Creation, and day three if you count from the First Coming. This passing through the miraculously-parted Jordan River was also a type of our leaving this planet/Egypt, passing through the Deep, and being given dominion over the everlasting real estate of Zion. And God used the miraculous crossing to demonstrate to everyone that the Lord Jesus Christ was responsible for this tremendous and historic event. The Bible makes it very clear that Jesus was leading the Israelites into the Promised Real Estate (Dt 31:6,8,20,21; 32:12). Yes, Joshua was there physically and was a type of Christ at the Second Coming, but it was necessary for Christ to lead them in order that His Sovereign Authority legitimize the transfer of dominion. God plays by the rules. He requires Satan to play by the rules. And He requires us to play by the rules. If the modern ERROR versions were right about it being Joshua, not Jesus, who subdued the land of Canaan, the act would have been disobedient, willful, unlawful, and without validity – and Joshua would have been a rebel just like Satan. In order to more clearly make that point, God deliberately put Jesus in Ac 7:45 in His Authorized 1611 King James Bible. Enlightened Christians, filled with Reason, unbelief, and darkness, missed the significance, had no idea as to the importance of the issue of dominion, took Jesus out of Ac 7:45 and put in Joshua in every modern version of the Bible. I say again: If God hadn’t given Joshua real estate and the dominion to rule over it, Joshua would not have had the authority to subdue it.
The ark of the Lord (Josh 3:13) signified that the transfer of dominion over the land was authorized by the King of kings and was therefore legitimate. The ark of the covenant was now a symbol of God’s people having dominion. As long as they had the ark they had dominion.
In order to successfully fight this war we must learn to apply the Sword of the Lord to our lives. God is a man of war (Ex 15:3), and He wants us to be like Him (Ps 144:1). When His people were given dominion over the land of Canaan they were supposed to subdue the pagans by military force. One reason God left pagans living in Canaan was so His people could learn the art of physical warfare (Ju 3:1,2). Another reason was to see if the Israelites would learn to deal with temptation and false doctrine (Ju 2:21-23; 3:4-8). We must become experts with the Sword. And we must die daily by using it on ourselves.
When the Israelites angered God, He brought pagans against them until His people cried to Him for help, at which point He would raise up a deliverer, such as Othniel (Ju 3:9), to deliver His people. This continued the method God had always used to give His people leaders – God selected them. (This would change when God authorized kings: He’d pick a king, and he and his sons would reign unless God chose somebody else.)
After Othniel, God selected Ehud as judge (Ju 3:15). But after Ehud we notice nowhere does the Bible say God selected either Shamgar or Deborah (Ju 3:31; 4:4). That is not to say God didn’t use them, but we shall see it irritated God when His people took upon themselves the prerogative of selecting their deliverers. God did select Gideon as a judge (Ju 6:11), but Abimelech was democratically chosen by the people (Ju 9:6,8). And apparently God selected neither Judge Tola nor Judge Jair (Ju 10:1,3).
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Now, Ju 10:6-10 speaks of cause and effect, but does not say all the judges mentioned in this book were appointed by God. And I think Ju 10:13,14 has another meaning more appropriate to, and more consistent with, the context than the traditional interpretation. Tradition says they were angering God by serving other gods (such as Ashtaroth and Baalim). That fits verses 6-10, but I think it also means God’s people, wanting deliverance, were appointing their own judges instead of waiting for God to do it in His perfect time. They were choosing fellow saints (gods) to deliver them. When God rebuked them, they repented and cleaned up their act (Ju 10:15,16). But as soon as trouble showed up (Ju 10:17), God’s people again democratically did what they thought was right (Ju 11:11)! That’s why the democratically-selected Jephthah, who was serving the people, couldn’t say, “Thus saith the Lord” in Ju 11:14,15! Compare Jephthah’s message with that of Ehud (Ju 3:16,17,20), a judge who was appointed by God. God’s people, when they did not follow His lead and speak in His name, were in violation of the basic, fundamental duty of every Christian servant – which is spelled out in 1 Co 10:31 and Co 3:17. Later God did get involved and help them (Ju 11:29), but not without punishing/testing Jephthah by having it be his daughter who came out to meet him (Ju 11:30,31,34,35). Although Jephthah made some mistakes he was a good Christian. Just like Abraham was willing to demonstrate his submission to God by willingly sacrificing his only son (which was counted unto him for righteousness), Jephthah’s love for and submission to God made him willing to sacrifice his only daughter – which got him into the hall of fame (He 11:32).
At any rate, God’s saints learned nothing (Ju 12:8,11,13), and God’s punishment was Ju 13:1 in exact accordance with what He said about dominion in Ne 9:28; Le 26; Dt 28. God then raised up Samson to deliver Israel from the Philistines (Ju 13:3,5,24; 14:4). What did the saints learn? Nothing: Ju 17:6. They failed to apply God’s lessons, which would have allowed them to mature in their Christian walk. They merely followed their flesh no matter what happened: When God beat them with His rod of “bad circumstances” they cried out to Him with selfish, worldly sorrow instead of an ashamed repentance generated by love for Him. When God heard their cry and made their lives pleasant again they selfishly went their own way.
I put quotation marks around bad circumstances above because we need to stop viewing things in our lives as “circumstance” and acknowledge the correcting hand of God. Ps 106 and 107 are good lessons on this topic. Notice in them that God’s people failed to learn from His counsel, words, and works – all of which are supposed to be studied and applied to our lives. (But that requires faith.) Notice also that instead of living in accordance with His revealed will, they lived in accordance with their own counsel, lusts, inventions, and works. And then zero in on the cycles of carnality, God’s punishment, carnality, God’s punishment, etc. Notice these “acts of God” would today be considered “chance.” Then notice these horrible events are supposed to engender praise and thankfulness in us for what God regards as “His goodness,” “His wonderful works,” and the “loving kindness of the Lord”! I’m afraid today we don’t respond that way to death, hard labor, destruction, distress, oppression, affliction, and sorrow. Whoso is wise will observe these things and shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord. See also Ps 119:75; Ro 2:4; He 12:5.
The Lord continued to be involved with His people (Ju 20:23,35), but, in general, Christians did not repent (Ju 21:25). After a time the Lord decided to again punish Israel by taking away their dominion, and He would involve the ark of the covenant so we could learn some stuff.
At one time Israel was under the high priest, Eli. He was one of those Christians who talks the talk (1 Sa 2:22-24) but failed to do God’s will (1 Sa 2:29,30; 3:13). When Israel was defeated in battle by the Philistines (1 Sa 4:2), they decided the defeat had nothing to do with their lousy Christian lives, but was because they’d neglected to take their lucky charm into battle with them (1 Sa 4:3). The Philistines saw the ark and were filled with fear (1 Sa 4:6-8) because they didn’t know God wanted them to conquer His people and take away Christian dominion. (I admire the characteristics of Christian manliness the Philistines demonstrated in 1 Sa 4:9 in the face of what they feared was going to be a defeat.) Israel lost the ark and dominion to the Philistines (1 Sa 4:11,22). But because the ark represents God’s everlasting covenant, it wouldn’t be meet for it to reside in the land of the Philistines. So God moved it to Kirjathjearim (1 Sa 7:2).
When Eli died he was replaced by Samuel, who was called by God (1 Sa 3:4) and was a type of Christ (1 Sa 2:35). And democracy reared its ugly head again among Christians: They went to Samuel and demanded that he submit to the will of the people and give them a king (1 Sa 8:4,5). Samuel wasn’t happy (1 Sa 8:6), but, surprisingly, in spite of the fact that the Christians were filled with a spirit of antichrist, God told Samuel to hearken to the voice of the majority (1 Sa 8:7) because He had more lessons to teach us.
God told Samuel to warn all the Christians about exactly what they’d have to accept if they were given a monarch. They were told life would be pretty much the way it had been in the garden of God before Lucifer’s rebellion (1 Sa 8:10-19): Their property would belong to the king at his discretion; their sons and daughters would be drafted against their wills to do the king’s bidding; he would take their property and give it to others; and he would tax them without representation. (Obviously the American founding fathers ignored verses on taxation without representation such as 1 Sa 8:15,17 and Lk 2:1-5, and decided to rebel against their Christian king, George III, in spite of 1 Sa 8:18. If we confess our iniquity, and the iniquity of our founding fathers, with the trespass which we’ve all trespassed against God, admit that we have walked contrary unto Him; and that He has therefore walked contrary unto us; and if we, which are called by His name, will humble ourselves, and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways; then will God hear from heaven, and forgive our sin, and heal our land.)
Saul, a type of the Antichrist, was chosen by God to have dominion over His people! But Saul, like all people who have inherited Adam’s leaven, had a Natural affinity for democracy (1 Sa 15:9,15,21,24) so this popular king was rejected by God (1 Sa 15:26). God then chose David, who properly treated the “Antichrist” (Saul) with deference and respect. David fled from bodily harm (as did Joseph and Mary) but never lifted a finger against King Saul politically or militarily.
When David, a type of Christ restoring dominion at His Second Coming, became king he established Zion (2 Sa 5:7), defeated the Philistines (2 Sa 5:25), and returned the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem (2 Sa 6:12). Absalom, a type of the Antichrist, made himself extremely popular with his fellow Christians (2 Sa 15:2-6) and displaced David in a bloodless, democratic process supported by the majority of Christians (2 Sa 15:10-14; 17:2,4,11). Absalom’s counselor, Ahithophel, a type of the False Prophet, came up with an interesting plan to make Christians openly loyal to Absalom and to openly reject King David: He advised Absalom to do something David would react strongly against. This would force the people to make a choice between the extremely popular Absalom and the autocratic king they now realized they never really cared for (2 Sa 16:21). The Christians from every tribe agreed to join and support a massive military campaign (type of Armageddon) whose objective was the death of King David in order to eliminate the possibility of his ever ruling again.
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If you’ve read the Psalms you know David, after he came to power, was very lonely. He was unpopular with his fellow Christians because of his zeal for the cause of Christ and his commanding knowledge of the word of God. One of the objectives of this book, The Age of Reason, is to help today’s Christians realize that unless they seriously study the Bible without the leaven of philosophy and tradition, they’ll not even like the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns – because a man’s relationship with the word of God is an exact picture of his relationship with the Word of God Himself. False doctrines often appeal to carnal ears, but false doctrines will make us enemies of Christ. Therefore, when we have a choice between the smooth-talking Antichrist who will be elected by the “religious right”, and the curt speech and autocratic mannerisms of the oft-impatient Christ of the Bible, and when we see the two differ about Christianity, democracy, slavery, incest, women’s suffrage, men’s suffrage, private property, taxation, morality, ethics, dogs, the sanctity of human life, majority opinion, Bible versions, arbitrary rule, human rights, freedom, liberty, and equality, we’ll look at the wonderful miracles performed by the Antichrist and his False Elijah (Re 13:14; 16:14; 19:20), decide to go with traditional Christianity and Reason by deciding the Lord Jesus Christ is one of the bad guys in Mt 24:5, and support the forces of the Antichrist at Armageddon.
After the rule of the Antichrist (Saul), David and Solomon reestablished the dominion of Israel. We can get some glimpses of our future rule by examining events during their reigns. We’ve seen that Adam never did subdue the earth. Neither did Abraham nor any of his descendants – until Joshua crossed the Jordan. At that point Christ authorized His people to militarily take Canaan (the world) from the pagans. I say the world because I believe the reigns of David and Solomon are types of the Thousand-Year Reign of Christ. And because no Christians have ever fulfilled God’s order to subdue the earth, I believe it will happen under Christ the King. Let’s look at some Scripture and use it to get a broad picture of our future.
The return of our dominion, spoken of in Je 23:5,6; Da 7:27; Re 11:15, will begin at the battle of Armageddon. We will subdue the unsaved of the world through bloody military action: Joe 3:1,2,9-12; 1 Ki 11:15,16; 2 Ch 8:7-9; Zech 9:16; 10:3-9; Ps 137:9; 144:1; 149:5-9; 58:10; 68:22,23.
The dogs who don’t resist will become our servants in accordance with the plan God has had in mind all along: 1 Ki 9:20-22; Ps 2:8-10; 18:32,34,37,39,40,43,44,49; 47:2-4,7,8; 111:6; Is 14:1,2; Ge 1:26,28; 2:18,19. Pay attention to the exact wording and you’ll notice more details. For example, Ps 2 says our “inheritance” from God is to be the unsaved “heathen” (just like we learned in chapter D16) as well as “the uttermost parts of the earth.” “Therefore” God wants us to become “wise” so we can be “kings” who “judge the earth.”
In fact, the heathen will realize it’s good for them to be our servants: 1 Ki 10:1-15,22-25; Is 11:10-12; 62:2,7,12.
Pagans will be our workers and merchants. The purpose of world commerce will be to provide for the ruling class: 1 Ki 9:11,14,27,28; 1 Ch 22:2-4; Is 23:17,18; 60:1-22; 61:5-9.
Since the whole world will be under our dominion, the heathen will be required to abide by our rules, including certain religious rules: Zech 14:16-21.
That’s the good news. The bad news is this all takes place during the Millennial Reign – which is only the seventh day. We don’t get our circumcised hearts (glorified bodies) until the eighth day. Therefore, just as David and Solomon had to learn, grow, and subdue their carnality, so will we be tested. I consider the Thousand-Year Reign as on-the-job training and as our final exam. All the saints counted worthy will be there. (That’s what “keep the sabbath” has always meant.) And we’ll have a thousand years to learn to work together as one body, one church. Many of us will find it doesn’t really matter that Satan is chained up the whole time – our Reason will still get us into trouble. In fact, by the time Satan is released many Christians will have grown tired of the iron rule of Christ. They will realize how close the end is, and will understand that the Devil was right – he really can win this war. So, with their carnal happiness at stake, many will join the Devil’s democratic army of liberation and the republic for which it stands because deep down inside they really identify with his ideology. They’d rather die fighting for freedom than live under tyranny forever. Once again our enemies will be they of our own household.
In order to resist the temptations of the flesh we absolutely must make doing God’s will who we are and what we’re about.
Because of transgressions, God had Israel split from Judah. But the people of Israel continued to anger Him by setting up their own kings (Ho 8:3,4). For example, within 2 Ki 15:10-30 four kings were murdered and replaced.
Over the years God’s people proved they were not worthy to rule anybody – dog or saint. In order to punish Christians for their sins (2 Ch 12:1,2,5) and to teach them how to serve Him, God decided to end their dominion on earth and turn them over to pagan rule so that by pleasing and serving pagan kings and pagan nations they could learn how to please and serve Him (2 Ch 12:8; Ne 9:34-37). That was Jeremiah’s message, but nobody paid any attention to it because it wasn’t flattering and they didn’t like it.
God’s people became enemies of His by living according to Reason rather than revelation (Je 7:24; 9:14,26; 11:8; 13:10; 16:12; 17:9,10; 18:12). Jeremiah told his fellow saints God was so mad at them He’d even told Jeremiah not to pray for their good (Je 11:14; 14:11). So he didn’t (Je 18:19-23)! Jeremiah warned the Christians as they went in and out of church (Je 19:14,15), telling them God had given their land to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and they were to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar without resisting him (Je 20:4-6; 21:1-10; 32:27-30; 34:1,2; 38:2,3). Very few Christians believed that Nebuchadnezzar, a type of the Antichrist, was chosen by God to have dominion over His people! After all, they Reasoned, God would never want His people to submit peacefully to ungodly authority! To see that Nebuchadnezzar is a type of Satan – to whom God was giving dominion over every acre on earth – see Je 27:1-22; 34:1,2; Da 2:37,38; 4:1,22. Note: Another proof that Nebuchadnezzar is a type of King Satan is something Bible rejecters use as a proof that the Bible is not the word of God. They point out that God couldn’t have given Nebuchadnezzar dominion over all nations on earth because he never ruled Spain, North America, or Sweden. True, but Satan does. Therefore we know God used King Nebuchadnezzar as a type in order to teach us a lesson about who has dominion on earth today. Consistent with the fact that God was giving Satan “dominion to the end of the earth”, was the O earth, earth, earth prophecy. He had Jeremiah give that prophecy not just to Israel, but to the whole world (Je 22:29). God announced that the descendants of King Jeconiah were disqualified from being kings. Now Christians would have to wait for God to pick another deliverer, another ruler (Ezek 21:25-27). By fiat God made inheriting the throne no longer valid. Dominion and real estate had been taken from Christians. This loss of dominion will only be temporary, however, because in Je 23:5,6 God says the Messiah will show up and restore dominion. History repeats itself according to Ec 1:9,10: The time from when Adam lost dominion until the time Moses was given the ark of the covenant was roughly 2600 years. And the time from when the ark of the covenant disappeared in Jeremiah’s day until now, shortly before the Lord returns and reestablishes Christian dominion on earth, is roughly 2600 years.
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Anyway, Christians refused to believe Jeremiah’s message that God wanted them to surrender dominion to Nebuchadnezzar and submit to his pagan Babylonian government, so they mocked Jeremiah, accused him of treason, threw him into prison, and murdered him in their hearts (Je 18:18; 20:1,2; 37:13-15; 38:4,5).
The Bible preachers of the day came up with sermons that seemed godly to their carnal Reason. They told Christians God wanted His people to have peace, that God was on the side of the Christian military against the pagan Babylonian army, and that God would save the nation of Israel. If you lived back then it would be very, very easy to believe the Bible preachers. In fact, when you compare that preaching with the preaching here in the British colonies during the buildup to the American Revolution, it doesn’t look good for us. God expected His people in Israel to know whether they should believe Jeremiah or believe the preachers. In other words, God expected His people to know they should allow themselves to be governed by pagans! That seems like it would have been tough to discern. And yet we know God wouldn’t expect them to do it unless they could discern it. By way of contrast, what Scriptural decision did our American founding fathers have? They had to discern whether or not they should start a rebellion against their own Christian government and start a new government in which every man did that which was right in his own eyes. If you had a choice, would you rather stand before God at Judgment and be guilty of wrongly resisting Nebuchadnezzar, a foreign pagan king who attacked you, or be guilty of wrongly resisting George III, your own Christian king who taxed you? This helps us get a glimpse of the fact that we are worse today than the carnal Christians who went into the Babylonian captivity.
Let’s review why the Lord was so angry with His Christians. In Je 23:16,17 we learn about both the preachers and the pewsters. The preachers got their messages from their carnal minds. And the pewsters despised God by walking according to their carnal minds. Now look at Je 28:15,16 and 29:31,32 to see an important revelation carnal preachers and pewsters cannot see and indignantly reject: When a well-intentioned preacher delivers a sermon that comes not from the truth and authority of Scripture but from his well-intentioned Reason, he is actually teaching rebellion against God. What were the preachers saying? They were saying, “Nebuchadnezzar (the Antichrist) and tribulation will not come upon you. God protects His people and does not want them to suffer harm. Jeremiah is wrong when he says God wants to punish His carnal church by having it endure the Antichrist’s tribulation! God is merciful and loving and is no longer a wife-beater! He’ll never again make His bride endure the suffering and hardship He put her through under Pharaoh (a type of the Antichrist)!”
Obviously their sermons weren’t as transparent as I’ve made them seem, but you can see how easily Christians could believe those sermons; they seemed so right to the Natural mind. But there is another aspect of their preaching we must examine. When those preachers said Jeremiah was wrong, that God actually would bless His people, was that any different from modern preachers who say, “Jeremiah xx:x says such and such, but it is wrong – scholars now believe it should have said blah blah” every Sunday from their pulpits? I trow not. Without understanding how it happened to them, modern preachers are teaching carnality and rebellion to their pewsters (Je 28:15,16; 29:31,32). When they undermine the authority of the word of God they are using profanity (Je 23:11), blasphemy (Ti 2:1,5), and are teaching rebellion against the Lord. However, because Enlightened Christians cannot grasp the meaning and significance of authority they therefore cannot understand how they are teaching rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ with their faithless position on the Bible version issue. There is no difference between the Christians of the Babylonian captivity who carnally rejected Jeremiah’s words as the inspired, infallible, and inerrant word of God, and those of the modern Babylonian captivity who carnally reject the present day existence of the inspired, infallible, and inerrant word of God.
The word of God did turn out to be inspired, infallible, and inerrant: God’s people went into captivity, lost their real estate, their dominion, and the ark of dominion.
God’s people missed the “good old days” when they were apostates with dominion (Ps 137:1). God has decided we cannot yet handle dominion and are to demonstrate our ability to rule well our own households before we are allowed to govern others. As I look around at the condition of the church and its members today, it is apparent we’re still not disciplined experts on the Bible whose lives revolve around doing the word. We can’t even handle the Lord’s basic, beginners-level commandment to learn the Bible, much less rule our own households. But in spite of that shameful fact, we apostates desperately want dominion so we can really screw things up.
God had told His people through Jeremiah they’d be in captivity for seventy years. Then He’d let them return to Jerusalem, rebuild its walls, and rebuild the temple. But God, in accordance with His O earth, earth, earth decree, had no intention of returning dominion to Christians. Carefully note how their dominionless return to Jerusalem was performed under the controlling authority of God. We’ve already seen that God gave Nebuchadnezzar dominion over all the earth and had him slaughter His saints and carry them into captivity. If there is any doubt in your mind that God was taking dominion away from His people, and you think, for example, He was merely giving some dominion to Nebuchadnezzar while leaving some portion of dominion to His saints, read Je 34:1 and 27:6 again. Notice the dominion God gave Nebuchadnezzar is the exact dominion He gave to Adam in the garden of Eden (Ge 1:26,28). I say again for emphasis: We have no dominion; we lost it.
Now, continuing with this business of God presiding over the dominionless return of His people to Jerusalem, notice pagan Nebuchadnezzar was God’s servant (Je 25:9; 27:6; 43:10). Also note that God was so pleased with Nebuchadnezzar’s faithful service He gave him a reward (Ezek 29:17-20). Did you catch the significance of the reward? It was Egypt – the world! We Christians have no dominion. The unsaved have it. Now notice that King Cyrus of Media-Persia, who defeated Babylon and was also served by Daniel the eunuch (who understood the significance of Ro 13:1-7 and 1 Pe 2:13-20 even if our founding fathers didn’t), was also God’s anointed servant (Is 44:28; 45:1) who had dominion over the same territory (Ezr 1:1,2) Satan has dominion over (Mt 4:8,9; Lk 4:5,6). God had His pagan servants, the kings of the earth, keep dominion over both the land of Israel and the saints when they were allowed to return to the Promised Land. We are strangers and pilgrims sojourning on earth with no dominion.
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The Bible teaches Christians it doesn’t matter who our rulers are – pagan, Christian, good, or bad – they are God’s anointed ministers and are to be submitted to and obeyed as if they were God. But shouldn’t bad rulers be resisted in order to make a better world? No; the issue isn’t good or bad, the issue is authority. Yeah, but since the Jews were specifically ordered by God to submit to pagan Nebuchadnezzar, wasn’t Daniel the eunuch going too far by submitting also to pagan King Cyrus? Daniel isn’t considered wise for nothing. He knew God had taken dominion away from His people and given it to the Devil. And he knew God’s people were once again strangers and pilgrims sojourning on the earth. That’s why the real estate and dominion Daniel wanted had nothing to do with anything on this planet (He 11:9,10,13-16). Daniel showed by his example it doesn’t matter who our masters are on earth, we are to serve them faithfully. The fact that God says Cyrus was His servant with God-given dominion shows Daniel was right to submit to any government that came along. (This concept was the basis for the doctrine later known as “the divine right of kings.”) And Christians properly submitted as the years rolled by and conquerors came and went. But not all Christians were as wise or as humble as Daniel, and the carnal mind wouldn’t go away.
Alexander the Great showed up and conquered Media-Persia. When he died, four of his generals divided his empire among them. One of these was the Enlightened Greek general, Ptolemy, who began the Ptolemaic empire, which was centered in Egypt. Another of these Enlightened generals was Seleucus. He started the Seleucid Empire, which was centered in Babylon and included Syria. Judah was caught right in the middle where God could give His people a good lesson on submission to whatever ruler had dominion that week. The Seleucids were more aggressive than were the Ptolemaics in pushing philosophy, and that made the Jews prefer to be under Ptolemaic dominion. Alas, Antiochus IV of the Seleucid Empire gained hegemony over Judah. He hated the Jew’s religion and burned Bibles, prohibited its reading, outlawed the sabbath and circumcision, ended the celebration of feasts, and started Greek centers for the development of the mind and body – called gymnasiums. Greek athletics were popular among the Jews. Unfortunately, when Antiochus outlawed circumcision, Jews who were secretly loyal to the Bible had to drop out of athletics because, as was the custom then, sports were participated in while naked.
There were three types of Christians living in Judah at the time. The first type agreed with Daniel the eunuch: If pagan rules were going to cause you to offend God, you were to respectfully decline to obey the authorities over you and peacefully allow them to burn you alive or throw you to the lions. These Daniel-like Christians were few in number.
The second type was the Jason crowd. Jason was a high priest who believed in “going along and getting along” by embracing the Enlightened ways of the Greeks. There were lots of people in this group, but many were in it only because they didn’t want to suffer affliction with the people of God (He 11:24-28).
The third group consisted of the Maccabee rebels. This group was at first small because most Christians still accepted the Bible doctrine that rebellion against authority is as the sin of witchcraft. But this third group would grow in popularity in direct proportion to the amount of carnal Reason in the church. It is interesting to note the irony in how the Maccabees became champions of a Bible-based society and enemies of an Enlightened society – they became Enlightened. They accepted just enough anti-Bible Reason to “justify” some witchcraft (rebellion) – as long as it was to get rid of pagan government. They began to rebel against their government with acts of theft, sabotage, and murder. All of that appealed to Christians, but it was Xmas that finally convinced most Christians to actually support the Maccabees.
It was the winter of 167 B.C. Antiochus IV entered the Jewish Temple on the sacred pagan holy day of December 25 and dedicated it to the Greek god of the Olympic games, Zeus. (Interestingly enough, that Temple would later be rebuilt and enlarged by King Herod – who was president of the Olympic games.) Anyway, there was no way God’s people were going to allow any Bible-rejecting pagan to associate Xmas with the true God of the Bible. They were galvanized into action.
The leader of the rebellion was a thug named Mattathias Hasmoneas. One day he slugged another Christian who was about to offer a pagan sacrifice, and then he murdered the government official who was presiding over the celebration. Mattathias and his five sons fled to the hills and lived as outlaws. They organized and led a series of hugely popular – and to some degree successful – military uprisings against the ungodly government. These military campaigns became known in history as the Jewish Wars for Independence. The big hero of these wars was Mattathias’ son, Judas. After three years Judas recaptured Jerusalem and rededicated the Temple. God’s joyous people, with no authority from God, invented Hanukkah to celebrate the occasion, and gave this young freedom fighter the nickname, Maccabee, which means the Hammer. Mattathias’ family continued acts of terrorism, theft, murder, sedition, and guerrilla warfare for generations. Eventually the entire family was approvingly called the Maccabees as more and more of God’s people incorporated rebellion into their thinking. They now considered rebellion to be a legitimate alternative whenever it seemed right in their own eyes. However, many Christians only supported the Maccabees and accepted rebellion because they didn’t want to die: The Maccabees and their armies were also fighting a holy war against any of their fellow Jews who were not actively supporting the rebels. Those Jews who were neutral and those who were pro government were murdered. The Daniel-like Christians and the Jason group became distinct minorities.
The Roman Empire was a rising power at this time, and Judas the Maccabee, who read (and ignored) the same 2 Ch 16:1-10 you and I have, sent a delegation to Rome to work out an alliance with the Romans to defeat the Seleucids. This got Rome interested in the region, which it eventually made a part of its empire.
When Judas died in battle, his brother took over and established a (short-lived) treaty with the Seleucids, who rewarded him by appointing him High Priest of Jerusalem. The real priests were mad that they’d been out-maneuvered in a political power play. They said the sons of Mattathias Hasmoneas were not legitimate priests because only the Levite sons of Aaron could be priests. But the Hasmonean boys owned the hearts and minds of the pewsters because the Maccabees were the populist judges who were delivering Israel from pagan oppression. (In fact, Judas the Hammer said God wanted him to be another Gideon.) So these Maccabees became the Hasmonean line of priests and were detested by the Aaronic line of priests. This was the beginning of denominations within Christianity.
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The Maccabees brought Samaria (north of Judah) and Idumea (south of Judah) under their control. And they forced the pagan Idumeans (formerly called Edomites) to convert to Judaism. (That’s why King Herod of Christ’s time was one of God’s people.)
Years later when Judah was under the dominion of the Roman Empire, the political fortunes of the Maccabees took a turn for the worse. The Maccabees fell from political favor and Herod was appointed king. Now that Herod was the one smoking cigars with those in Rome instead of the Maccabees, the Maccabees found their old spirit of rebellion against foreign domination rekindling! Herod was no longer a fellow believer doing the best he could under difficult circumstances, he was a stinking Edomite who was collaborating with pagan Rome! He was a traitor! Rise up! Rise up! And therefore another wave of “godly piety” swept the synagogues, and rebellion was again a popular subject in sermons. Government property was once again stolen, vandalized, and destroyed. Christians who worked for the government, such as tax collectors, were despised, beaten, and sometimes murdered along with Roman officials. Patriotic fervor was fanned by religious zeal as Enlightened Jews sprang up everywhere in support of the Maccabees. The Hammer was back! At least in the hearts and minds of carnal Christians.
King Herod wasn’t about to shirk his duty. And all of this insurrection made Herod look bad – like a man who couldn’t rule well his own kingdom. But Herod was in fact as capable a ruler as he was decisive and ruthless. The insurgents, though popular with the people, no longer had the military genius and organizational skills of Judas the Hammer, so they were unable to effectively contend with government forces. Herod captured the last of the Maccabees and executed them.
God’s people, however, no longer needed the Maccabees to fan their hatred of their pagan government, they just needed someone who was willing to step up and be their deliverer, their judge. For that reason any thief or murderer who had decent organizational skills and the cunning to direct his efforts mainly at governmental targets had at least some measure of popular support. After all, Judas the Hammer was popular even though he murdered many of his fellow Christians – those who lacked the degree of patriotism he thought necessary. So King Herod constantly had to deal with insurrectionists who were part thug and part populist hero. But one day the patriotic fervor turned to religious zeal/Messianic fever. (In fact, as we shall see, most of the Messianic fervor was due to the fact that most Christians thought the Messiah would be another Hammer who would rebel against pagan rule and restore dominion to Israel.)
It happened unexpectedly, and it happened with a flair that got everybody’s attention.
A large convoy of wealthy Christian foreigners arrived in Jerusalem from the east. These were obviously men of means; they had money, power, and influence. The way they spoke, the way they dressed, the way they handled themselves, all indicated they were to be taken seriously and treated with deferential respect. They weren’t commoners who typically go unnoticed when they drift into town (as was the case a short time later when Joseph took his wife and his small child to Egypt). They said they had spoken with a gentleman (they may actually have said angel) who approached them in their homeland in the east. This angel told them the Christ, the King of the Jews, had been born, and they were to go to Jerusalem, find Him, and pay their respects. “So”, they asked the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “where is our king?” (If we accept that God chose the wise men because they were good Christians, we might surmise they were very disappointed with the kind of Christians they found in Israel. Also, while we’re speculating, could it be that the wise men were descendents of some of Jonah’s disciples; that one of the reasons God sent Jonah to Ninevah (Jona 3:2), which was east of the Tigris and Euphrates and northeast of Jerusalem, was to prepare for the birth of His Son?) All of Jerusalem was buzzing with their arrival and their mission (Mt 2:3), and the men were directed to King Herod, who, intrigued and suspicious, granted them an audience immediately.
Herod was no fool, and he, too, was impressed with the depth and substance of these men. He shrewdly noticed they mentioned nothing about politics and spoke only of their common Bible faith. They said they believed the angel they saw was in fact a real and genuine messenger from their Messiah. They exercised all the proper courtesies required when in the presence of a sovereign – but were not cowed or fawning. Powerful men indeed.
Herod said nothing that would betray his increasing fear that these men might be part of a well-financed international conspiracy of patriotic Christian Maccabites bent on establishing Israel’s independence – and getting rid of him. He said all the right “Christian” things and asked all the right questions. The chief priests had told Herod the Bible said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. When he told that to his visitors they replied that the Messiah’s messenger had specifically ordered them to go to Jerusalem. Herod advised them to inquire in Bethlehem and let him know what they found, so the men left.
Meanwhile, patriotic Christians were dusting off their Bibles and again going over all the verses that say the Christ would become Judge of Israel, deliver them from foreign oppression, and reestablish the kingdom. All this activity had Herod and his advisors worried about a large-scale, organized, well-financed uprising. But Herod couldn’t quite bring himself to believe the gentlemen were anything but sincere, innocent Christians – until they failed to return.
When Herod got the news that these men and their convoy left Bethlehem and went straight back to the east, he was furious. How could he have been so blind! They’d played him for a fool! He had them in his grasp and had let them go! Now he knew it was a conspiracy, so he ordered his soldiers to Bethlehem to nip this latest rebellion in the bud.
Almost three decades later word spread among religious Christians that the Messiah may have quietly appeared on the scene. John the Baptist, believed by many to be a prophet, had introduced a carpenter as the Christ during a ceremony in the Jordan River. After that baptism, this Jesus of Nazareth stepped out of the river, walked out into the wilderness, and disappeared. It is important for us to examine what happened in the wilderness.
Mt 4:1-10 describes Satan’s temptation of Christ, an event that was deliberately orchestrated by God (v.1).
In the first temptation Satan tried to get Christ to eat bread. Christ responded by quoting Scripture that applied to Him in that situation, Scripture that precluded Him from going along with Satan.
In the second temptation Satan, knowing God wouldn’t want His Son to get hurt, asked Christ to prove Who He was by taking a flying leap. Christ’s response of, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” is not directed at Satan: In other words Christ is not using the Scripture to say, “Satan, the Bible orders you not to tempt me.” To understand how the Bible defines “tempting God” read Dt 6:16 and Ex 17:1-7. The key is Ex 17:7, “They tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not?” Because God’s people wanted water they tempted Him by asking for it (v.2). Verse 7 shows that rather than trust God and wait for His provision, they wanted Him to prove He was their God by taking care of them in the way they thought best. It’s OK for God to test us (Ex 16:4), but it’s not OK for us to test God (Ps 78:18). In similar fashion Delilah tempted Samson: “If you love me, Samson, you’ll prove it by telling me your secret.” Snake handlers think Christians should play with vipers and drink poison (Mk 16:18) in order to prove God will protect us. If they are correct, Christ would have taken that flying leap in order to prove He really was the Son of God. Instead, exactly as He’d done with the first temptation, Christ replied with Scripture that governed His own actions: “Satan, the Bible says I’m not allowed to tempt God.” (Christ certainly didn’t think Satan, or anyone else who is not a member of God’s household, was required to live by the Bible.)
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The third temptation is like the first two: Satan tries to get Christ to do something, and Christ responds with Scripture that prohibits Him from doing it. We need to break it down into specifics.
Satan, king of the Kingdom of Heaven, and having had dominion for 600 years over all the kingdoms of the world since the time of Jeremiah, offers Christ dominion over all of his earthly kingdoms if Christ will just worship him. There are two parts to Satan’s offer, worship and dominion over the kingdoms of the earth. Christ first tells Satan the Scriptures don’t allow Him to worship Satan because they tell Him to worship God. Then Christ seems to forget about the dominion part by telling Satan the Scriptures don’t allow Him to serve Satan because they command Him to serve God. How did serving become the topic? Did Christ forget to address the dominion issue?
Christ knew His kingdom was not of this world and that God’s people were supposed to be strangers and pilgrims sojourning in Satan’s realm. He therefore knew it was improper of Satan to offer Him dominion, and improper for Him to accept dominion from Satan. Why wouldn’t Christ want to accept dominion so He could make the world a better place? Because of authority. It is OK for Christ, as King of kings, to take dominion of the world, but He wouldn’t put Satan in a position of lordship by accepting it from him. Had Christ accepted the offer and governed the world – His answer shows – He’d have been serving Satan!
Satan has dominion over all the earth; he has the authority to do with it whatever he wants. Christ refused to accept Satan’s offer because we are not supposed to have dominion yet. Had He done so, He’d have been exalting Satan as King of kings, and become one of those lesser kings serving Satan. Christ could have taken dominion, but that would have put Him in the role of Conquering and Reigning Messiah (Zech 14) instead of Suffering Savior (Is 53).
Here’s the point: No matter how much we want dominion, we are not to have it before it is time. Don’t try to get ahead of God. In a democracy the people have dominion. But participation in democracy is voluntary. Therefore, if we voluntarily accept dominion by participating in democracy, we are serving Satan!
But didn’t Joseph in Egypt and Daniel the eunuch participate in government? Yes, but there were three important differences:
First, they were not participating in democracies.
Second, they didn’t have dominion – they were serving under monarchs. Monarchy represents Godly order and glorifies God. Participation in a democratic form of government, on the other hand, makes the people heads, that is, it gives the people dominion. Therefore participation in democracy is doing the very thing Christ was careful to avoid – serving the Devil. Why? Because the worldly dominion we get by participating in democracy doesn’t come from God, it comes from Satan.
And third, Joseph and Daniel’s governmental service wasn’t voluntary; they were ordered to serve, they had no choice. Christ, on the other hand, had a choice when offered dominion by Satan – as do we with democracy. Satan needs us to serve him voluntarily. Therefore he needs to trick us into thinking that serving him isn’t serving him.
Even if we ignore for a moment the fact that democracy is Satanic because it turns Godly order and hierarchy upside down, we can’t escape the fact that our participation in democratic governments is wrong because Christians are not supposed to have dominion, and because – until Christ returns – worldly dominion comes from the Devil. Thank God democracy only grants power and dominion to those who participate in it. We should avoid dominion until Jesus Christ Himself gives it to us. The issue is authority. All proper ruling authority comes from God. Do not glorify King Satan by getting your authority from him.
Does this mean we can’t hold jobs in a democracy that are affiliated with the government? It means you shouldn’t participate in the ruling of this nation. Do not vote and do not participate in local, state, or national government. If you want to be a Supreme Court justice, a cop, a soldier, or an income tax agent (Lk 3:12-14), go ahead – you’ll be carrying out the laws, not governing. You may, like Daniel, serve governments that are under Satan’s dominion, because God has ordered you to submit to Nebuchadnezzar – but you may not rule. Avoid dominion; it’s of the Devil. You Christians in the military should do the best job you can because God has ordered you to serve your pagan masters as if they were the Lord. Don’t fight out of devotion to democracy, fight out of devotion to duty. There is no nobler deed than the performance of duty.
Now you know why the Old Testament contains guidance for rulers but the New Testament contains none. All the New Testament does is tell us – indeed, it warns us in the strictest terms – to obey those that have the rule over us. Our New Testament focus is not the world; it’s the church. And now you know better than to think God was pleased with our f-ing fathers, their Declaration of Independence, their revolution, their Constitution, their Fourth of July celebrations, the way they solemnly stood at attention and pledged their allegiance to a striped flag, or the way they fought and died in world wars to defend democracy and promote freedom. (For teaching purposes I’m treating our f-ing fathers as if they were Christians. If they were pagans in a country of pagans God couldn’t care less what they did.)
Therefore, when Christ returned from the wilderness and began His ministry, He was not impressed with “Christian patriots”, “Zionists”, Maccabites, Christian Republicans, “religious right” political organizations, or any other Christian group that wanted to politically and/or militarily produce a Godly government, because He knew His Father wanted pagan Rome ruling His people.
When Christ attracted attention by performing miracles, God’s people began to get excited again. Their excitement had started back when those mysterious men from the east showed up and said the Messiah was born, about twenty-eight years before. That meant the Messiah would soon be of age. Christians still appreciated the outlaw freedom fighters among them like Barabbas, but more and more their hearts filled with the hope that the Christ really was among them somewhere. That’s why, when John the Baptist began his short but dramatic ministry, they wondered if he were the Christ (Jn 1:19-21).
Christ’s popularity with many Christians was only because they thought He was their Hammer. That’s why, as they had done with John the Baptist, the Pharisees wanted to know if Christ would restore dominion (Lk 17:20). All the people thought the restoration of the kingdom was imminent (Lk 19:11; 24:21).
But Christ began to say and do things that disappointed Christians: He actively sought out publicans (tax collectors) like Zacchaeus (Lk 19:2,5-7), attended huge gatherings of Christians who faithfully served their pagan government (Lk 5:27-30), chose a publican, Matthew, as His disciple (Mt 9:9; 10:3), paid taxes (Mt 17:24-27), and used publicans as examples of better Christians (Lk 18:10-14). The Pharisees teamed with the Herodians and tried to publicly destroy His already-sagging popularity (Mk 12:13-17) – which was sagging because Christians didn’t understand the issue of dominion, and because they didn’t know their Bibles very well: They took offence when Christ said unflattering things about Christianity, about Bible preachers, and about pewsters. He avoided any and all participation in politics. And He constantly demonstrated open contempt for religious tradition. None of that fit anybody’s image of the Messiah.
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His refusal to participate in or to interfere with political and governmental affairs disappointed and offended many Christians. The classic example is John the Baptist. He was wrongly jailed and would soon be beheaded. He expected the Messiah to free him and to overthrow their pagan government. But the reports he was getting from his supporters made it look like the politically inactive Jesus was not the Messiah. John, unhappy that Jesus wasn’t lifting a finger to get him out of jail, began to wonder if he’d baptized the wrong guy or if Jesus just needed some prodding to get Him started. So he sent his supporters to Jesus to ask point blank, “Are you the Messiah, or should we look for someone else to get John out of jail?” What Christ answered is very important for us in these end times. He said, “You go tell John that I don’t care what he or anybody else thinks are the qualifications or qualities of the true Messiah. I’m not interested in what anybody thinks the Messiah will or will not do. And I don’t want your carnal minds to be involved in what you think and believe; I want the Bible and only the Bible to reveal to you the identity of the real Christ. So go tell John about the things I’ve said and done, and tell him to compare them with what the Bible says to see if I’m the Messiah or not. And one more thing: Tell John it’s not a good idea to let Reason cause him to not like me because, as he’ll find out in the Scriptures, I am the Messiah and it’s not good to be offended in me, even when I let you die” (Mt 11:2-6).
The point is, if even John the Baptist had a false mental image of what the Lord would be like when He showed up, how are today’s Christians, who have soaked their heads in philosophy and tradition for so long, going to identify with and rally around an incestuous, slave-owning, sexist polygamist Who wants to establish a world-wide dictatorship, tax without representation, burn the U.S. flag and Constitution, and abolish democracy, ethics, morality, human rights, and all the other anti-Bible nonsense that came from philosophy?! Oh yeah, brother, the Lord’s response to John the Baptist is a stern warning and excellent advice for all of us. John accepted Christ’s admonition to let the Scriptures shape his beliefs, but how are today’s Enlightened Christians going to allow something they don’t even think exists correct them?
Even though Christ had a bad habit of hanging around with all the wrong people, His miracles convinced people He was the Messiah (Mt 21:5,9; Lk 19:37,38; Jn 6:14). And because they so badly wanted to have dominion restored, they decided to force Christ to be their king (Jn 6:15). As He had done with Satan, Christ refused. And in so doing He walked away from a fundamental doctrine of democracy – that rulers get their power and authority, their dominion, from the people. We are to accept dominion only from God. Had Christ accepted authority from the people, much of this book would be trash.
Christ will accept dominion from no one; He will take it from Satan by fulfilling the prophecy/order given to Adam – He’ll subdue the world by force. Until then we’ll have to patiently submit to various inferior, divided, and weak worldly kingdoms (Da 2:39-43). To read about Christ reestablishing the kingdom and dominion at His Second Coming see Da 2:44; 7:27; Mi 4:1,8; Re 11:15.
The Bible preachers conspired to have Christ arrested. He was a threat to their doctrine. But because the government didn’t care about religious squabbles, the Pharisees turned Him over to the government and claimed He was an insurrectionist who, by making Himself King of the Jews, was in rebellion against Caesar’s authority. In other words, they passed Him off as another dominion-seeking Maccabee who should be executed.
When Pilate asked, “Art thou the King of the Jews?” (Jn 18:33), Christ responded! That’s right, in a situation in which He is famous for being silent, Christ responded! Why? Because the issue He was asked about was authority! He never ignored that topic. When Pilate asked if Christ was the King of the Jews, Christ lovingly opened His mouth and gave Pilate a chance to make a profession of faith: “Are you saying this because you believe it, or are you just repeating what others have told you?” (Yes, there are legal ramifications, too, but that’s not the issue and is not why Christ responded.) When Pilate, flustered, responded by saying he wasn’t a Jew, he was not speaking as a judge – he was down on a personal level. Christ then made another statement about authority. He said not a single acre on this planet was under His dominion (Jn 18:36). Pilate, understanding the significance of that statement as it related to the charges of His being an insurrectionist Who wanted to overthrow the government and make Himself a temporal king, pronounced Christ innocent (Jn 18:38), something he would repeatedly do. (The way Christ and Pilate interacted is intriguing, and it may indicate that even though Pilate was a Roman, he may have been – like King Herod Agrippa II in Ac 26:27,28 – a reluctant saint struggling with belief. That would be consistent with this spiritual war in which God’s enemies are His own children – such as Lucifer, Judas, the Pharisees, King Herod, and possibly Pilate and the Antichrist. See Ps 41:9; 55:12-15; Zech 13:6; Mt 10:36.) When Christ said His kingdom was not of this world, Pilate, catching the meaning, asked, “So you are a king somewhere?” Christ responded with, “You have to be the one who says I’m a king. Every one who is of the truth has ears to hear me.” When Pilate offered to release the King of the Jews, the Christians cast their votes for a man who was at least doing something about the pagan government of Rome – Barabbas (Jn 18:39,40). Pilate, when told that Christ claimed to be the Son of God, suddenly realized what Christ meant when He said His kingdom was not on this earth. Afraid he might be messing with things way above his level, he went to Christ and asked, “Whence art thou?” When Jesus gave him no answer, Pilate mentioned his authority to crucify Him. Christ again responded to the issue of authority: “You’ve been given the authority to sin against me from above.” (Pilate knew his authority came from Rome, but he wondered if Christ was saying some heavenly power was really the source of his authority.) “But he that delivered me to you without proper authority is the greater sinner.” From then on Pilate sought to release Him and always referred to Him as King.
In a democratic action the Christians gave a thumbs up to those who wanted to have dominion on this earth, gave a thumbs down to the One Who did not want dominion, and declared their only real allegiance was to temporal authority (Jn 19:15). Christ, a Daniel-like Christian, was taken and killed without ever sinning by resisting the evil and pagan authorities.
After his conversations with Christ what did Pilate do? He, having a choice, decided to write a superscription for the cross. On it he pronounced Jesus King of the Jews. The chief priests, who’d rejected Christ as King, asked Pilate not to make it a statement of fact but merely a claim of Christ’s. Possibly thinking of what he learned in Jn 18:33,34, Pilate held his head up, looked directly at the Christ-rejecters, and said Jn 19:22.
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When faced with other Christ-rejecters on Calvary, the good thief, like Pilate had done, acknowledged Christ as King (Lk 23:42). Christ lovingly opened His mouth in response to this profession of faith and reassured the Christian (Lk 23:43).
After His resurrection, Christ’s disciples, still thinking about dominion lost, asked, “Lord, now that you’re resurrected will you return Christian dominion to earth?” (Ac 1:6). The answer was no.
The Maccabees, Barabbas, and Christ lived during the Age of Alexander the Great, the First Pillar of Western Civilization. During that time many Christians made the mistake of allowing philosophy to leaven their doctrine and affect the way they viewed their Messiah. When the Messiah didn’t meet their doctrinal expectations they crucified Him.
God, in order to protect us from that leaven, wrote the New Testament and warned us about philosophy and about any and every kind of rebellion – on any level. He put all the stuff about dominion in His Book for our edification. He even specifically let us New Testament saints know that, just as the dominionless Old Testament saints sojourned on earth as strangers and pilgrims while waiting for Him to restore His kingdom, we also are strangers and pilgrims (1 Pe 1:1; 2:11) passing the “time” (2600 years) of our sojourning (1 Pe 1:17). And for four hundred years after Christ returned to whence He came, Christianity did well. But under the protection of the Roman Empire the church became organized, and then, alas, political. It felt it had to become political to look out for its best interests – just like the Maccabees thought. (And that’s why God did not make the Apocrypha, including 1 and 2 Maccabees, part of His Bible.) Philosophy and the carnal mind were back. They weren’t in vogue yet, but they were back.
About 400 A.D., when barbarians were destroying the Roman Empire, Augustine was writing his book, City of God. In it he defended Christianity’s possession and use of temporal power. He said Christianity needed to protect itself not just spiritually from false doctrine, but physically against the barbaric rule of pagans like Nebuchadnezzar. The Roman Catholic Church adopted Augustine’s doctrines and infected the rest of Christianity. When the Protestants later warred against Rome, even though they did not include the Apocrypha – and the books of Maccabees – in their Bibles, they did accept the philosophy of the Maccabees as gospel. The spirit of the Hammer was back! (Now read that last sentence three more times – each time replacing the Hammer with rebellion, with witchcraft, and with antichrist.)
That’s how Reason convinced the Protestant denominations to reject the ways Joseph in Egypt, Daniel the eunuch, Joseph and Mary, Christ, and dominionless Christian groups such as the Cathari had lived. Instead, they patterned their lives after practitioners of witchcraft like the Maccabees, Martin Luther, Oliver Cromwell, and George Washington. The Protestants lacked the Scriptural awareness and faith necessary to content themselves with quiet submission to pagan rule and persecution.
Years later Christians were so blinded by philosophy they not only rebelled against good Christian kings who were not persecuting anybody, they even claimed the Biblical concepts of monarchy and taxation without representation were evil, and then used them as excuses to commit rebellion, murder, and to establish dominion. No, let’s be specific – they established secular dominion. Not only did they reject God as the source of their dominion (which, as we’ve seen, was accurate because their dominion came from Satan), they also specifically stated their authority came from a majority of the people instead of from God! The issue is authority.
Now, let us reason together: We have seen that the word covenant has to do with our receiving dominion and real estate from God. We have seen that Christ refused a covenant with the Devil that would have given Him dominion over real estate and made Him a servant of Satan. We have seen that democracy, because it is the opposite of Godly order, is anti-Christ. We’ve seen that participation in democracy is accepting dominion from the one who now has that dominion. And we’ve seen that any dominion we get before the Second Coming, we get from King Satan. Based on all of that, I believe the incorporation of philosophy into Christianity has blinded us to the fact that our love for and participation in democracy are modern applications of Is 28:15,18. We have a wonderful covenant with God, so let’s follow Christ’s example by refusing to make another covenant with death and hell.
These issues are of the utmost importance. Because of that, if this book is incorrect I’m making a serious mistake.
With that in mind let me warn you again: Do not be like most people. Most people go through life in a fog. And when the first group that comes along (Mormons, charismatics, Muslims, Baptists, Christian Israelites, Methodists, etc.) gives them “mental clarity” by teaching them a simplified, easily-understood view of life and religion, the group is gratefully embraced for finally creating some kind of order in their minds. Do not read this book, rejoice that you now “see the light”, and accept it as truth. If you do not search the Scriptures to see whether these things are so, and you accept them merely because they “make sense”, even if they are correct, you are a follower of men. It is not possible to leave a growing, intimate knowledge of the Bible out of Christianity. Your motivation must be what the Bible says, not what someone tells you it says.