Jews are an interesting study, because they are favored, and they are cursed. The term anti-Semitism is a term that singles out the Jew, like no other race on earth. We have the term racism that embodies a general hatred for some cultures, but the Jews get a term that is all their own. Why? Anti-Semitism says you specifically hate Jews, and here are a few Biblical reasons for it.
18I will pursue them with sword, famine, and pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, 19because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the LORD, that I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the LORD.’ 20Hear the word of the LORD, all you exiles whom I sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon:
This verse is specifically telling us that because the Jews ignored God, He punished them by disbursing them into all nations and by doing so, this people group became a curse to those nations. Jews are hated just for being Jews, and they were hatred for their success. The Jews are blessed with persistance, and ingenuity, therefore they are resented for their success.
In Revelation 12, we learn that our enemy Satan, was so angry with the Jews, because they gave us the Messiah.
The verses in this chaper of Revelation tell us that the Jews were persecuted by Satan because of they were the covenant people who God used to bring salvation to the whole world, and defeated his efforts to rob, steal, and destroy. So its no wonder the Jews have so many enemies, and were targeted for annihilation during the Holocaust. There may be political reasons given by nations who want the Jews wiped from the face of the earth, but these two verses give us a spiritual glimpse into why the Jews are such a hated people group.
At the same time, God called the Jews His treasured possession.
The freedom to speak out against a government, a religious group, or any issue in our society is a freedom our constitution gives to us, and I am glad we have this right. But as one news commentator said recently, what ever happened to manners when it comes to this freedom?
The atheists have been actively attacking Christianity for a long time, but their efforts have increased in recent years. My only question to these anti-God people is why aren't they as adamant against Islam as they are against Christianity? Isn't Islam a threat to the world in light of atheism?
1. Atheists are cowards because they won't attack Islam, because they are afraid of retaliation, and it is my belief that atheists and Islam serve the same source of hate, Satan.
2. Atheists aren't wasting their time in attacking false religions, they are convinced that Christianity is the greatest threat to the human race, not Islam.
Evil is evil, and even if you dress it up in nice language, and give it a new name, and present it as a freedom of speech, it is still evil. Our culture will define evil in terms of heinous crimes against people, school shootings, crimes against children, race murders, and genocide are all considered evil by our society. But these are only the results of evil, but the root of evil goes deeper than these obvious outward results.
Evil is anything that drives the truth of God away from a person or a society. The reason I define evil in this manner is simple, evil has one target, God's people, the Jews and the Christians. The Jews because they brought us the Messiah, and the Christians, because they represent the cross. The Call of the Church is to identify and expose evil, and we do that through His Word, but often we are silent on the topic. Jesus called religious practitioners of His day evil, because they drove people away from God, not toward Him. Today the greatest threat to truth is within the community of truth tellers. We are living in compromise and we are corrupted.
In Matthew 23 Jesus was brutal to the religious leaders of His day. Why? For the same reason He would be today, because evil has a religious side, and it keeps people from knowing the truth of God. Satan knows that evil is more effective from the inside of a system, than it is from the outside. Now that is a fact you can find in any civilization that was defeated in history, most lost their empires to moral corruption from within.
The root of evil is easily defined, and Jesus defined it in this statement.
23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
The root of all evil begins when God is challenged, and a choice is made to defy Him. In the garden story, it was Eve who gave in to the temptation of wanting more than what God intended her to have, and started this cascade into sinful behavior motivated by evil temptations.
Jesus said that even the closest of human relationships are not worthy to be compared to the love we should show God. Evil wants to replace God with anything that would keep us from prioritizing Him in our lives, and in our worship.
The Coming of the Son of Man
25“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,
I love the story how the post it note was invented. It was a mistake and the rest is history.
In 1968, a scientist at 3M in the United States, Dr. Spencer Silver, was attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive. Instead he accidentally created a "low-tack", reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive.
The post it note is such a simple invention, and yet it is so useful. That is why when I apply the same thinking to theology, that it works for me. A colleague wrote me recently and asked me a question about a New Testament scholar, in which I knew very little about. However, as in most scholars, they are men and women who have strong educated guesses about God, and the study of God, called theology. I am not saying we don't need people like that, but most of them are so intermarried to their work, that they seem to be less practical in a world that really needs some post it note theology. I do not want to leave you with the idea that I am saying scholarly work isn't necessary or important, but what I have found is that much of it argues for unprovable ideas that seem to go nowhere when trying to understand the God we serve. Here is an example of some of their work:
- Some scholars tell us that God chooses not to know the future, so that He doesn't influence our free will.
- Other scholars tell us that God chose people for salvation before he even created them, therefore creating an eternal security for those who are chosen.
- We have some scholars who argue that the church is evolving, and must be more relevant to society, and therefore reinventing the terms Evangelical, and Christian into an emerging new paradigm of practicing faith.
- There are scholars who will ignore Israel in favor of a more complete vision of the church.
There are so many revisions of how we study and understand God, that space, and my own limited mental capability can not handle such a vast and broad theme. That is why, the post it note theology works for me. It keeps my spiritual life on tract, and gives me enough freedom to worship Him without feeling guilty that I am doing something wrong.
My post it note theology:
1. God's story in the Bible is one story, not an old and a new. It's one story from Genesis to Revelation
2. God chose a people group to bring salvation to the world, and it was His promises to the Jews that brought us a Messiah/Savior.
3. God gave us His Word, prayer, and His Spirit as foundational guides to worship and understand Him.
4. God chose a cross for His Son to die upon in order to redeem a fallen human race.
5. God chose the church to tell the world about His Savior and to engage in helping people understand the love of God through acts of kindness.
6. God said He is coming again to establish His kingdom, and it will rule forever and forever.
7. God said there is no other salvation other than what Jesus Christ provided for us, and the enemy of God, Satan, is determined to rob, steal, and destroy all that God has promised or given to us, but in Christ he is defeated.
Simple isn't it? Now this doesn't mean I don't want to know more about God, it's just that I don't want to spend my time debating concepts that will distract me from what I know, and perhaps tempt me away from God. I want a theology of study and practice that draws me closer to Him, not just learning precepts about Him. Has anyone ever thought that some of these theological debates do nothing more than waste time, because they can't be proven until we arrive in heaven? Some theologians will fall on their sword of interruption, rather than their research as seen as insignificant. So they dedicate their lives writing about theological points that will not change anything, other than convince a few people of its worthiness.
Sorry I sound so cynical about academics, but I am not sure we need all the hype. People who are changing the world are not the academics of deep theological debates, but they are people who have a passion for the gospel because they love God. They have dedicated their lives to tell the simple story of a Savior that loves them, died for them, and is coming again for them. In their defense, most theologians don't start out trying to waste time and follow rabbit trails, but it is often where they end up.
I keep it simple, my post it note theology is easy to use, practical, and it can stick to anything. Grin!
Keeping it honest and truthful...K
Substance is king in media today, and with the internet access it is almost like the era right after the invention of the printing press, people had access to people. The ability to print and publish books was a great step forward for learning, and the sharing of ideas. Today, the internet has become our new printing press. We can share ideas, our rants, and our viewpoint, without censorship. However, so much of what is published today really doesn't say anything. This is why we have to filter what we read, and find trustworthy sources that feed us with substance and truth. In many cases the majority of information is not worth the time to process, and all we do is fill up our brains with meaninglessness. In the Church, this is even more important, because the information we share should have a significant impact and not filled with compromise. Let me illustrate three areas that my personal life has been impacted with lately. These three areas come out from my experiences with Christians over the past five years, and serve as good examples of what substance is in evaluating how to live out our Christianity.
- Serve God and not your ministry:
Many Christian leaders think too much of themselves, and way too much of what they have created through their personal ministries. Too much emphasis is placed on what they are doing for the Lord, than the Lord Himself. This is another form of works related religion, and God allows it in the same way He allows people to pursue ungodly lifestyles, He gives them over to their pursuits. (Read Romans 1, ministries can become idols, and be the object of worship)
- Being a member of His kingdom, or being a member of a church:
It is easy to become theologically stuck in a mindset of propaganda that is not healthy. We are Baptist, or Pentecostal, or Lutheran, or whatever denominational flavor and get inundated into a culture of Christian preferences that are narrow, and often restrict people from experiencing the truth of the gospel. We argue for our flavor as the best flavor, and ignore the beauty of His Kingdom. Heaven is made up of people from all nations, and so living with a narrow preference doesn't give you the full experience of His kingdom.
- Living in grace and telling the truth:
I think we need to always be filled with grace, and always tell the truth. Christians have a tendency to avoid the tough questions, and avoid being honest. They don't want to sound judgmental, and they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so they avoid talking about meaningful things. This is the greatest crime within the church. We must be about substance as believers, and not be afraid to address the moral climate in our society, or defend the issue of faith against those who oppose us.
These three have been the substance of where my spiritual life has landed over the last few months. I do not want to complain just to complain, but for me, these three issues are being ignoring today. We have Christian leaders compromising on all three areas, only to live out a sanitized message of Christ that is of low impact. We do not change the world by compromise, we change the world by living out our convictions, and living out Christ in all circumstances. We need to get back to telling the truth in an honest and loving way, so be firm on what you believe and on what the Bible teaches.
Keeping it honest and truthful...K