Monday, January 19, 2009

Crazy talk? We'll Soon See

Four minutes, listen then comment. Is this crazy talk?


Strong Tower said...

Many have been warning of the coming persecutions for decades.

One thing that I disagree with is the analysis that unless there is Great awakening these things will happen. The biblical pattern is that because of great awakening these things happen. You see, it was after Pentecost that the great persecutions broke forth. This is the prophetic pattern.

It may seem different in view of God's admonitions of repentance and revival, but look again. What was met with prayer of the Hebrews was revival and the wrath of Pharoah broke out against the children of Israel. After each phase of repentance and revival there was the tragedy of a great falling away and persecutions. The establishment of Isael in the promised land was only to be disestablished by falling away into sin and the persecutions of enemies brought against the adulterous nation. David's kingdom the same, Solomon's Temple likewise, and the King of Judah was born and great followings and repentance spread only to see the shepherd struck and the sheep scattered. And of course Pentecost and persecutions... Jesus said, "Any who have left homes... will receive a hundred fold homes... with persecutions." Interesting pattern. Revival sparks life into flame and warms the camp but attracts hungry beasts.

This is the Way, pray that God brings revival, but know that the enemy waits for the sounds of life before bringing death. It is truth that there was a great cry that went up and Rachel was heard weeping for her children, but it was after the enemy heard that the Life had come to Israel that Harod sent his troops to kill the children of the woman.

I went and listened to this:

If you have a chance, I think there is some disturbing detail at the end. Scripture warns us not to glory in the the Day of the Lord: "Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord?"

They are not exciting times, no times to be hoping for, they are dark times

Look... Nineveh repented at the words of the Prophet and she was destroyed. The children of Israel who were righteous went into captivity at the point of a sword, even so. When he asked what should be come of himself, Baruch, was rebuked by the Lord for seeing good things for himself and even Jeremiah went into captivity. His warnings went unheeded. Even though God's protections were offered in repentance, the nation would suffer as a whole, the wicked as well as the righeous. Check out the first three plagues of Eqypt. The children of Israel suffered along with Egypt and in the Revelations, the trumpets sound six times before the last when the church according to 1 Corinthians 15:52 is taken out of tribulations. Until the consummation all things remain the same. Things are given life, revived, and die.

I pray for revival. But, I do so knowing that it will bring persecutions, not peace, not prosperity. Revival means death until the reign of everlasting peace and righteousness is ushered in when the King appears bringing with him his Kingdom.

Gordan said...

I'd have to do a lot more reading to know whether or not there is a consistent pattern as to which comes first, revival or persecution. If I'm not mistaken, the First Great Awakening came on the heels of the Black Plague, right? Not persecution, but widespread death and tragedy...

The comment I found interesting in the video you linked was that there is no persecution in the Western European nations because, from the devil's standpoint...why bother? The church is weak and has long-since abandoned the gospel, so might as well let 'em alone.

Dustin said...

Any time a sub-group of society demonstrates a unified, independent strength within itself, then the rest of society tends to see that (correctly, to a large extent) as a threat. The stronger the sub-group becomes, the more everyone else -- especially the powers that be -- will zero in on it and push back against the threat it's perceived to pose (see: early Mormon history, European Jews of the '30s, David Koresh...). I think the persecution phenomenon is a fairly standard and predictable thing.

I'm not sure I'd characterize the modern marginalization and general dismissal of Bible-believing Christians as persecution (it's "passive persecution" at best). But I do agree that if major revival happens, especially in this day and age of ever more powerful and secular government, the increase in unified and independent strength within the sub-group (in this case, Christians) will more than likely bring about active persecution. And I have no doubt it could be as bad as Washer says it'll be.

But where I take some issue with his point is where Strong Tower does -- I think (based simply on dry, socio-historical observation) that a "great awakening" is what will bring about the increased persecution, not what will somehow stave it off.

Strong Tower said...

Last night in teaching through 2 Timothy 3, I discussed what Paul had to say:"Indeed, all who desire to live a godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted". This is in the context of false teachers within the frame of the fellowship of believers. Calvin says: "But it is asked, Must all men be martyrs? for it is evident that there have been many godly persons who have never suffered banishment, or imprisonment, or flight, or any kind of persecution. I reply, it is not always in one way that Satan persecutes the servants of Christ. But yet it is absolutely unavoidable that all of them shall have the world for their enemy in some form or other, that their faith may be tried and their steadfastness proved; for Satan, who is the continual enemy of Christ, will never suffer any one to be at peace during his whole life; and there will always be wicked men that are thorns in our sides. Moreover, as soon as zeal for God is manifested by a believer, it kindles the rage of all ungodly men; and, although they have not a drawn sword, yet they vomit out their venom, either by murmuring, or by slander, or by raising a disturbance, or by other methods. Accordingly, although they are not exposed to the same assaults, and do not engage in the same battles, yet they have a warfare in common, and shall never be wholly at peace and exempt from persecutions.

In this Calvin recognizes the many forms of persecutions and previously has stated that the "the last days perilous times" though being in an eschatological form, is an all encompassing statement because the fact is that even before Christ men were persecuted for their desire to live godly. But, in particular "the last days" Calvin admits is this present age which is the Day (see Corinthians and Ephesians) and so, as with Christ being the eschaton and suffering as its head in all ways, so also his body suffers in diverse manners as they follow after righteousness.

The conclusion is that it is because of the Gospel that persecutions come wherever and whenever men repent and turn to God.

Indeed, circumstances do turn men to God, i.e., the children in Israel who cried out and God heard. But as the record shows, even though they had experienced extreme spiritual decline, learning to love the gods of Egypt while at the same time experiencing tribulations at the hands of the Egyptians, it was after Moses comes with the "good news" of deliverance that things really take a turn for the worse. From then on the record of Israel is the facing of rises and declines and as David's and even Steven's review of their history attests, the enemies of God abound on all sides as Israel stretchs forth to lay hold of the promise.

As I shared last night, even though we may not know who is our friend or our enemy, and even though we don't necessarily know if the trouble we are experiencing in the result or the cause of God's wrath, we can be assured that if we are pursuing godliness, then we will be persecuted (whatever that means).

Paul furthers his plea to Timothy that in all circumstances he is to watch his doctrine and to form his life after the pattern he was given and let the chips fall were they may, for the word of God is breathed into men who God calls and like Moses and Aaron vs Jannes and Jambres, Truth will prevail whether in captivity or in freedom.

"That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

Echoing Philippians, God is faithful and provides and finishes the work that he has begun. With these words we are to teach and comfort. Rather than exhort people to escape the circumstances Paul teaches "us" to be transformed, each one, by the renewing of our minds, to attain to maturity in the doctirne of the faith so that we might stand in the Day of testing- whenever that comes. Instead of being "last days" oriented as something future, Paul's admonishment is that today is the day, so be prepared.

Knowing that we will be persecuted and that persecution is the norm for some will work hopelessness, but that is because as Paul says to Timothy, men are lovers of self, lovers of pleasure, and their narcissistic tendency is to want heaven on earth, now. The flow of Scriture is that it will not be so, but instead, wherever the Gospel goes it brings the wrath of nations upon the people of God no matter the first appearances of acceptance and prosperity, and inturn, God visits judgement upon the nations.

The purpose of the training in righteousness is to fit us to stand in the middle of the conflagration being prepared to give everyone an answer for the hope that is within. And note, like Paul elsewhere says, if in this world alone we have hope we are the most miserable. We are to be contrary, looking for the appearing of our great hope and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Then there shall be rest and restoration, but in this life, we will have tribulations.