Every Man’s Hand Against His Neighbor


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Every Man’s Hand Against His Neighbor

Zec 8:10 For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour.

Jer 14:10 Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.
Jer 14:11 Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good.
Jer 14:12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.

Introduction

The last part of this study will be dealing with a question I am asked on a regular basis. It concerns the outward application of the spiritual words of Christ.

In Matthew 24, Christ is asked by His disciples, ‘What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ Christ gave what we all understand to be a very spiritual answer to a very carnal-minded question from His carnal-minded disciples who had just earlier been arguing among themselves which of them would be greatest in Christ’s impending kingdom on this earth. Christ’s disciples were so carnal they knew and understood nothing concerning the kingdom of God with us.

Mar 9:33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?
Mar 9:34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.

These very same carnal-minded disciples were really looking forward to this man they were following setting up that kingdom of which He kept speaking. Now they really wanted to know, just how much longer would they have to wait? Even after Christ’s resurrection they were still anticipating a carnal, outward kingdom. The very first thing Christ mentions in answer to the question “…What shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” is “Beware of false prophets”:

Mat 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
Mat 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Mat 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Mat 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Mat 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

All of these things have been taking place in God’s elect inwardly and in this world outwardly for the past 2000 years. So what does any of this have to do with the question posed by Christ’s disciples? They were as carnal as the day is long, and they had no understanding of the spiritual significance of what Christ was saying at this point in their service to our Lord.

The reason Christ answered as He did is that Christ was not speaking only to His carnal disciples of that generation. He knew His words had an is, was and will be character to them which His disciples could not yet grasp.

Joh 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

Mat 24:15, as we will read, reveals that Christ knew that His disciples’ words would be read by coming generations. He knew that because of this is, was and will be quality His words would not pass away, in any generation, and He comes right out and tells his disciples in verse 35:

Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

After telling us to expect false Christs, wars and rumors of wars, nation rising up against nation, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, Christ continues, telling us what we are to expect before His outward kingdom would be set up to outwardly rule this earth:

Mat 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
Mat 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Mat 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
Mat 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Mat 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Mat 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)

Again, all of this has an is, was and will be application, which doesn’t really give us a definite natural, outward answer to the question concerning when the end of the age would come, even though He says “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world “and then shall the end come”. It is not an explicit, outward answer simply because the scriptures define “the end” as the time of the “put[ting] away [of] sin” which we are told is “now once [being done] in the end of the age”:

Heb 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

So “the end of the world” of Heb 9:26 is the same as “the end of the world” of Matthew 24: 3 and 14 because the preaching of the gospel in all the world is as internal as the abomination of desolation.

Mat 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)

Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

“He that readeth let him understand” this:

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

“You are the temple of God”, and it is you and I who are also guilty of defiling that temple, which defiling is known as “the abomination that makes desolate”. It is this same apostle Paul who reveals to us that “Ye are the temple of God” who also reveals to us that it is we who are found to be sitting in the temple of God, proclaiming ourselves to be God:

2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
2Th 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? [1Co 3:16]

So there must first come “a great falling away” before we will be able to see ourselves as that “man of sin”, and it is here that “every man’s hand against his neighbor” comes into this study. If the words of Christ are spirit and are primarily to be understood internally, rather than placing them outside ourselves, and on that “wicked [man]… made for the day of evil” (Pro 16:4), then the words “every man’s hand against his neighbor” are also to first and foremost to be understood in that way. But take note how often this principle is repeated in the Old Testament natural ‘shadows’ of New Testament spiritual realities, I will refer to just a few of the many times we are told “every man’s hand [will be] against his neighbor”:

Isa 3:4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.
Isa 3:5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.
Isa 3:6 When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand:
Isa 3:7 In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people.
Isa 3:8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory.
Isa 3:9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

This self-destructive principle mentioned here in Isaiah is repeated in Ezekiel 38 and in Zechariah 11:

Isa 19:2 And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.

Eze 38:21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother.

Zec 8:10 For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour.

Zec 11:6 For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour’s hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.

Zec 14:13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.

Only those who have lived these words know that Christ, through the holy spirit, comes to take our peace with this world out of our lives, and to replace it with the peace that excels and surpasses all carnal understanding, even as we are being hated and persecuted by our own families, our own children and our own neighbors.

All these verses speaking of outward turmoil, are experienced spiritually and inwardly as internal turmoil. All who come to know God and His Son, will know the suffering and the rejection that Christ experienced. As Christ came face to face with just how much His own people had rejected Him, He made this statement:

Mat 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

Luk 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

But as that inward turmoil and that great earthquake is taking place within us, it always inevitably has an outward manifestation. Christ warned us to expect that outward manifestation in Matthew 10:

Mat 10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
Mat 10:18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
Mat 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
Mat 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
Mat 10:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Our judgment takes place during “the day of the Lord”, which comes at “the time of the end” within each of us “in [our] own order”.

This is how the holy spirit describes this time in our lives:

Isa 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. [“… with the brightness of His coming” 2Th 2]:
Isa 13:10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
Isa 13:11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. [This is not someone else]
Isa 13:12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. [the death of our old man]
Isa 13:13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he [the man of sin, vs 8, sitting on the throne of God within our hearts and minds] might be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [Greek: restrains] will let [restrain], until he be taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

But this judgment and destruction of our carnal-minded man of sin, who sits in the temple of God, is not accomplished by a ten-second prayer. This is a long drawn-out process that begins even before we are “hated of all men for [Christ’s] sake”. We all must first endure a great “trial of affliction” within (2Co 8:2) as all of the kingdoms of this world within us are being destroyed with ‘the brightness of the coming of the truth of the words of Christ’.

All of these verses should primarily be applied to our inward doctrinal world, which must be taken from us as we are being spiritually shaken within. In time we come to see all the lies and contradictions we have been believing for so long, and we begin to hate those lies and false doctrines, and we want to save those who taught us those lies. This part of our walk tends only to increase the persecution and hatred which the world has been given for Christ and His Christ. It is at this point in our experience that we cast our pearls before swine and give that which is holy unto the dogs, and they turn and rend us. It is all just part of our calling:

Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Php 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Php 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

The outward application at the end of this age

In the last part of this study, I want to answer a question that was posed to me in an e-mail which I answered yesterday, and then was again asked in a phone conversation I had just a couple of hours later. That question involves the outward application of all of these verses which speak of “every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbor”.

In scripture Egypt symbolizes this outward world and the doctrines of this world within us. What we have just demonstrated is that all of this is what must first happen to our ‘world’ within us before that man of sin can be dethroned and cast out of our hearts and minds. But never think that the same is not true for the outward rulers of this world who must also be judged outwardly and be outwardly dethroned and removed or else made to be outwardly subject to those who will be given to judge the kingdoms of this world for a symbolic thousand years:

Rev 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

While these verses certainly have a spiritual application, “the kingdoms of this world” will also be ruled outwardly, and just as the man of sin, who sits in the temple of God within our hearts, is loathe to give up that power over us, so also will be the rulers of the kingdoms of this world. So what must be done?

Mic 4:3 And he [we] shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

What form will that rebuke take?

Psa 2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

Jer 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.
Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers [Psa 9:2]: even as I received of my Father.

We have all read the story of how God “broke to shivers” the nation of Egypt in the process of delivering His people. He is quite capable of doing the same again.

Look what happened at the rebellion of Korah and company:

Num 16:32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
Num 16:33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
Num 16:34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.

God is not lacking in how He is capable of dealing with our rebellious spirit. This is how He dealt with the Assyrians when King Hezekiah cried out for help:

2Ki 19:35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

This is what He did with Moab, Ammon and Edom when they made the mistake of confronting His people in the days of King Jehoshaphat:

2Ch 20:22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.
2Ch 20:23 For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.

So the verses we have applied inwardly will and do also have an outward application:

Isa 19:2 And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.

This principle is being played out in the natural, outward realm before our very eyes, as we witness almost all western governments, which seem to have a suicidal desire to destroy themselves, inviting literally millions of migrants of another culture who openly declare that they are intent upon destroying the existing pseudo-Christian society and replacing it with their own culture, which isn’t even compatible with the constitutions of the host countries.

So let us not overlook the words of our Lord which provoked the prophecies of Matthew 24, which we have just read and which we have properly applied first and primarily within.

Here is what Christ said to His disciples which provoked them to ask about the signs of His coming, and of the end of this age:

Mat 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
Mat 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Mat 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

We have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that not one stone of the temple of Babylon has been left upon another inwardly as we have experienced and are experiencing our journey out of Babylon, but there was also and outward, physical fulfillment of this prophecy Christ made about the destruction of the temple, which occurred less than 40 years after Christ’s death and resurrection.

Here is a cut and paste from Barnes Notes On The Bible concerning the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, which seemed about as likely when Christ made His prophecy as the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

There shall not be left here one stone upon another – At the time this was spoken, no event was more improbable than this. The temple was vast, rich, splendid. It was the pride of the nation, and the nation was at peace. Yet in the short space of 40 years all this was accomplished exactly. Jerusalem was taken by the Roman armies, under the command of Titus, 70 a.d. The account of the siege and destruction of the city is left us by Josephus, a historian of undoubted veracity and singular fidelity. He was a Jewish priest. In the wars of which he gives an account, he fell into the hands of the Romans, and remained with them during the siege and destruction of the city. Being a Jew, he would of course say nothing designed to confirm the prophecies of Jesus Christ; yet his whole history appears almost like a running commentary on these predictions respecting the destruction of the temple. The following particulars are given on his authority:

After the city was taken, Josephus says that Titus “gave orders that they should now “demolish the whole city and temple,” except three towers, which he reserved standing. But for the rest of the wall, it was laid so completely even with the ground by those who “dug it up from the foundation,” that there was nothing left to make those believe who came hither that it had ever been inhabited.” Maimonides, a Jewish writer, has also recorded that “Terentius Rufus, an officer in the army of Titus, with a plowshare tore up the foundations of the temple, that the prophecy might be fulfilled, ‘Zion shall be plowed as a field,'” Micah 3:12. This was all done by the direction of divine Providence. Titus was desirous of preserving the temple, and frequently sent Josephus to the Jews to induce them to surrender and save the temple and city. But the prediction of the Saviour had gone forth, and, notwithstanding the wish of the Roman general, the temple was to be destroyed. The Jews themselves first set fire to the porticoes of the temple. One of the Roman soldiers, without any command, threw a burning firebrand into the golden window, and soon the temple was in flames. Titus gave orders to extinguish the fire; but, amid the tumult, none of the orders were obeyed. The soldiers pressed to the temple, and neither fear nor entreaties, nor stripes could restrain them. Their hatred of the Jews urged them on to the work of destruction, and thus, says Josephus, the temple was burned against the will of Caesar. – Jewish Wars, b. 6 chapter 4, section 5-7.

We are told with all the authority of the word of God:

Amo 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Now let’s read this verse with the three preceding verses and the following verse:

Amo 3:4 Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?
Amo 3:5 Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him? shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all?
Amo 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
Amo 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
Amo 3:8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?

He who prophesies speaks to men to edify, exhort, and to comfort.

1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

The lion has roared because he has taken his prey. The trumpets are being blown, and the people are afraid.

Luk 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
Luk 21:26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Luk 21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Those who are in Christ have nothing to fear because they are already crucified with Christ, and they have nothing to lose in this world, and they have everything to gain by following in the footsteps of Christ and dying daily to “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches”.

If we are given faith in the words of God, then we will be grateful for our calling. We will have peace of mind at a time when the whole world is in terror, simply because we know we can depend on these words:

Rom 11:30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
Rom 11:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
Rom 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
Rom 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
Rom 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Rom 11:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
Rom 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

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