Fear Not!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

by Mike Vinson

We have been called to preach the good news of the kingdom of God, even as we live at a time when there are stories on the news every day about how precarious the entire world economic system is. The national debt of almost 17 trillion dollars overshadows like a very dark cloud everything that is taking place throughout the entire world. An impending economic collapse seems unavoidable, accompanied by the present economic tensions between east and west. We seem to be on the brink of a nuclear war with North Korea, and at the same time we are threatening to go to war with Iran.
It seems at this time that China is the manufacturing base for every country in the world, and there are many people who resent the fact that so many manufacturing jobs have been shipped to China.
The completely incompatible doctrines of the Islamic religion and the Christian religion and the Jewish religion have added acts of terror to this already strained mix. Add to all of this the fact that things are now more polarized than ever within all the western so- called Christian nations over social issues like race, the homosexual lifestyle, guns, abortion, and even global warming.
In the news almost daily there are stories of school shootings, drunken drivers killing groups of school children, bombings in various cities and, as I write these notes, another horrific accident at a plant in Texas killing and injuring scores of people.
In the midst of all of this God has called out a few who He has told to preach the good news of the kingdom of God, “fear not”, and just stay above the fray, and simply love God and keep His commandments.
Here is what we are told of our calling:

2Ti 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

We are even told that we are just “strangers and pilgrims” on this earth and that our citizenship is in the heavens.

Php 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (ASV)
1Pe 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

So all we have to do to be saved is to love God and keep His commandments, and not allow ourselves to become entangled with the affairs of this life, and we are told that His commandments are not grievous. Yet we are also told that if indeed we have Christ living His life within us, and we are granted to obey God, then we are promised “Ye shall be hated of all men, [ and if we] endure to the end, [ then we] shall be saved”. If Christ is truly within us, we are told He did not come to send peace but a sword, and we are told that Christ came to turn father against son, daughter against mother, etc.

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.
Mat 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Mat 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Mat 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
Mat 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Mat 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Being “put to death” and “losing our life” are both daily spiritual experiences as well as literal experiences for some, as it accords with our Lord’s plan. Nevertheless our natural man just naturally asks, “Who, in his right mind, wants any part of any of that?” What is ‘not grievous’ about any of that?
If indeed “his commandments are not grievous”, what, pray tell, is ‘not grievous’ about what we are told keeping His commandments produces?
For example:

Mat 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Mat 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Here is Luke’s account of this same statement:

Luk 6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
Luk 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
Luk 6:23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

Rejoice and be exceeding glad, rejoice and leap for joy, when we are being persecuted, reviled and people are speaking all manner of evil against us just for obeying God and keeping His commandments? Is it even possible to rejoice and be exceeding glad and leap for joy in that day? Is it possible to “fear not” while being hated of our own household and of all men?

Purpose For This Study

In today’s study I want to convince you that we, if we are Christ’s elect, really do not have anything to fear even as we are watching society melt down into polarized groups who want to kill each other, and us. I want to assure you that even as the whole world hates us because we refuse to take sides in any of “the affairs of this world”, and even as our friends and families hate us and turn against us, we really do not have anything to fear. I hope to convince you that all these things really are, as Christ affirms, signs that you and I are on the right track and that we must be doing something right, and that we really should, under these circumstances, rejoice and leap for joy because our redemption really is near.
To begin to do this I want to give you just a few very familiar verses of scripture which establish beyond any doubt that God is actually the one who is working everything that takes place, according to His own plan and purpose. I want us all to consider the significance of this great truth, which, by the way, if you really do believe that, and teach it, and refuse to deny your Lord in doing so, will itself, cause you to be “hated of all men”. Then, after we consider the significance of that great truth, I want you to ask yourself why God would reveal this to you and to me and then tell us “Fear not… rejoice and be exceeding glad…”?
In answering that question I want to share with you the incredible lessons which are to be found in two stories in the scriptures. They are the story of Christ healing a man who was born blind, and the hatred of the world that man encountered simply because he was healed of his blindness, and began to see that the established religion was woefully ignorant of who was the true God. After that we will consider one of the Old Testament types of God’s very elect as it is revealed to us in the harrowing story of the so- called “three Hebrew children” and how their faith in the words of their God served them very well even in very trying circumstances.
What I hope to impress upon us all is that God is revealing to us just how rare is the person who is granted to hear all of this and who says, “Yes, that sounds like a real good deal to me. I will gladly endure being turned upon by my own household and hated of all men, and have the whole world hating me, and telling lies about me. I can do that! After all the suffering of this present age is not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us in the next life. So please, just show me where I can get signed up for all of this!”
This is the person who will be ruling and reigning with Christ in His kingdom. There will not be one single lukewarm person in that “blessed and holy first resurrection”. There will not be one person who is willing to compromise on the doctrines of Christ to get along with the rulers of the synagogues of this world, in that particular resurrection. Instead it will be this person who will “dwell [ comfortably] in the devouring fire and the everlasting burnings”. Many are called to do so, but few are chosen to do so, and to “endure to the end”.

Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? [ The answer is obvious… it is the person who is already doing so]
Isa 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; [ Now that is a “fiery trial” 1Pe 4:12].
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

So let’s look at these verses of scripture which inform us that the Lord Himself really and truly is working all things that take place in this world, and which fact therefore proves beyond any doubt that we really truly do have nothing in this world to fear:

Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Isa 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
Isa 45:6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Isa 63:17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.
Dan 4:16 Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.
Dan 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
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?
Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Rom 11:8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

So we are told in a very straightforward way that God gives us eyes that cannot see, that nothing that occurs happens because of our will, but it is all the work of God, that the Lord has done all the evil in the city, and that the Lord creates evil, yes, even the wicked for the day of evil. Yet, in the face of all of this, we are at the same time told:

Luk 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Later in this same gospel we are told why all of this is needed and why we are told “fear not”. Notice carefully what we are told:

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.

We can so easily overlook the connection being made here between the heavenly signs and the distress of nations, also men’s hearts failing for fear of those things which are coming on the earth. The word translated ‘for’ in verse 26 is the Greek word ‘gar’, and it is most commonly translated as ‘because’.
Here are two verses where it is translated as ‘because’:

Joh 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because [ Greek – G1063 gar] their deeds were evil.
Joh 10:26 But ye believe not, because [ Greek – G1063 gar] ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

Christ’s sheep believe Him. Those who do not believe Him, do not believe Him because they are not of His sheep. Keep that in mind as we are shown who does and who does not believe Christ.
Here is how Strong’s defines this Greek word:

G1063 γαρ
gar
A primary particle; properly assigning a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification; often with other particles): – and, as, because (that), but, even, for indeed, no doubt, seeing, then, therefore, verily, what, why, yet.

This word means “properly assigning a reason”. So the reason assigned for “distress of nations… upon the earth… with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; The reason assigned for “the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear…” is that there are “signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars [ and] the powers of heaven [ are being] shaken“. The message our Lord is giving us here is only understood when we hear it in “the demonstration of the spirit and power” (1Co 2:4). It can be heard in that way only by those who are given ears that hear, and eyes that see; and those are very few indeed. It is not many, it is few:

Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
1Co 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

How in the world do we ‘demonstrate the spirit in our speech’? Christ made it abundantly clear that His words all had a spiritual meaning behind them, which were never intended to be understood by the multitudes:

Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Mat 13:13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

All of this being true it is obvious that it is only when we are given to know that “the temple of God” is located in “the [ spiritual] heavens” and that the throne of God is located in His spiritual temple, that we will understand what Christ is telling us in Mat 24 and in Luk 21. Only when we are granted to understand that “[ we] are the temple of God” can we understand that God’s throne is actually in the realm of the spirit, ruling over us within and through our hearts and minds. Only when we are given to understand that “the earth”, where all this “distress of nations” is taking place, is actually our earthen vessels of clay, our physical bodies, then and only then, will we understand that what we are being told by our Lord is that our own day of judgment commences only after our ‘earth’, our lives in these physical bodies, begins to experience a time of great conflict and great distress coupled with the heavens of our hearts and minds themselves being shaken to their very foundations. When we understand all of this, then it makes perfect sense for our Lord to conclude:

Mat 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my [ spiritual] words shall not pass away.

Here is the spiritual meaning of the ‘earth’ where all of this “distress of nations is taking place:

Jer 22:29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.

The “earth” here is God’s people.
When our heavens are shaken, we begin to discover that everything we have ever thought we knew to be true has actually been a lie. That is the very definition of “war in the heavens”. When that war begins to take place, then those lies, all the false doctrines of the dragon and his ‘stars’, by whom we have been taught all those lies, will begin to fall like dominoes from the heavens. Notice how the scriptures connect the lies of these false prophets with the foreboding heavenly signs:

Mar 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
Mar 13:23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

What are these “signs and wonders” which would seduce the very elect if it were possible? Let’s let those who are seduced by those signs and wonders answer that question:

Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

There it is. Those are the “signs and wonders which would deceive the very elect if possible.

Rev 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

It is powerful sermons, casting out devils in Christ’s name, and doing many wonderful works”, yet refusing to be faithful to Christ’s doctrine. Just look at the next few verses here in Mat 7. Here is what caused Christ to reject those who were not the very elect, and who were instead seduced by prophesying in Christ’s name, casting out devils and doing many wonderful works, thinking that is more important than being faithful to His doctrine. Here is how is possible for those who are not faithful to Christ’s doctrines to be seduced:

Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
Mat 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Mat 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
Mat 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Getting back to Mar 7, we continue to see this same point being made by our Lord:

Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Christ is connecting those who have falsely prophesied in His name with the days when the sun is darkened:

Mar 13:24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
Mar 13:25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
Mar 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

“Those days” of verse 24 are the days when false Christs and false prophets arise to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. That is when the stars fall from the heavens and the powers in the heavens are shaken as this spiritual war is taking place within our hearts and minds.

2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds😉
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Let’s look at what God tells us is the Truth about this warfare, and where it takes place.
We are told God “dwells in the heavens”:

Psa 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

So God sits on His throne in His temple which is in the heavens:

Isa 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

Now for the part of God’s word which the natural mind cannot even comprehend. Here is where that “temple of God… in the heavens” really is:

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.
2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Now we can better understand this statement made by our Lord:

Joh 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

So what Christ is telling us in Mat 24 and in Luk 21 is that only after we have experienced a time of great trial and only after all the spirits in our heavens, which are all the doctrines which we have never before taken the time to try against the Word of God, have been tried and found wanting, then, and not until that time will we begin to experience the great distress of nations in our earth, which is the judgment of our old man.

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Only after we experience the shaking of our heavens, do we begin to “see [ the Truth], which is “the Son of Man coming in a cloud with great glory”. Seeing Christ “in a cloud”, as we have seen so clearly in our studies in Job 37 and 38, is seeing him within and through His elect.
This is what we experience when we do begin to try the spirits of the doctrines of Babylon which we have all our lives, taken for granted.

Joh 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
Joh 9:40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
Joh 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

As long as we think we know the truth, when in reality we haven’t even bothered to “try the spirits or to check out what we have been taught by all “the stars of heaven”, against the Word of God, we will remain as blind as a bat, not even able to understand what is meant by “the powers of heaven shall be shaken”.
Let’s read it again:

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.
Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Here is this same pivotal experience as it is described to us in Matthew’s gospel:

Mat 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Peter said that all of this happened to him, and those with him, during the events surrounding the day of pentecost:

Act 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Act 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
Act 2:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
Act 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

“The sun… shall.. be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light” is telling us that we must come to understand how blind and deceived we have been all our lives up until this time. Then and only then does the “great and terrible day of the Lord arrive in our life, and our judgment begins.

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1Pe 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

The Healing of The Man Who Was Born Blind

Here is a story which demonstrates just how blind we all are by birth, and how the sun is turned into darkness, the stars fall, and the powers of heaven are shaken within all who will come to know and worship the Son of God:

Joh 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
Joh 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Joh 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Our Lord Himself is telling us that the story of this blind man’s experience makes manifest to us “the works of God”. When we put His words here together with His words to the Adversary, then we know that the story of this blind man’s experience makes manifest the works of God in our own lives:

Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man [ Greek – anthropos, mankind] shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

So in the story of this event we have a condensed version of how ‘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; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth’. Here is a condensed version of how ‘the powers of heaven are shaken, and how this man saw the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.’

Joh 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
Joh 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Joh 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
Joh 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
Joh 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
Joh 9:6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
Joh 9:7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
Joh 9:8 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?
Joh 9:9 Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.
Joh 9:10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?
Joh 9:11 He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.
Joh 9:12 Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.
Joh 9:13 They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.
Joh 9:14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.
Joh 9:15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.
Joh 9:16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.
Joh 9:17 They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.
Joh 9:18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.
Joh 9:19 And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?
Joh 9:20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:
Joh 9:21 But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.
Joh 9:22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews [ the established religious leaders of that day]: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
Joh 9:23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.
Joh 9:24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.
Joh 9:25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
Joh 9:26 Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?
Joh 9:27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?
Joh 9:28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples.
Joh 9:29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.
Joh 9:30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.
Joh 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
Joh 9:32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
Joh 9:33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
Joh 9:34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins [Psa 51:5] and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
Joh 9:35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
Joh 9:36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
Joh 9:37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
Joh 9:38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
Joh 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
Joh 9:40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
Joh 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

This man, who was born blind, typifies the spiritual blindness into which we are all born. The Pharisees in this story typify the self- righteous leaders of today’s Christian synagogues, who prefer the doctrines of men, and refuse to accept Christ’s words as the final word from God. The clay formed from “the ground” and the spit from the mouth of our Lord typifies the words coming from His mouth, but placed into the clay vessels of those who will later take His word to others who are all born spiritually blind.

Joh 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
Eph 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places [ Greek – in the heavens] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

The great honor and respect which, to this very day, is given by today’s religious leaders to the teachings of men like Augustine, Martin Luther and Calvin, above the doctrines of Christ, witnesses against all these daughters of the great harlot, who sits on the peoples of this world; and just like this blind man’s parents, we all first fear the leaders of today’s synagogues more than we fear God.

Joh 9:22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews [ the established religious leaders]: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
Joh 9:23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

Augustine was very instrumental in making the blasphemous doctrine of eternal hell fire the doctrine of Catholicism, and that blasphemous doctrine has been retained by Luther and Calvin, both of whom also spat upon Christ’s doctrine of loving our enemies and refusing to resist the evil in this life.

Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
Mat 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Those are literally fighting words to most so- called Christian ministers, who encourage those in their charge to go to war for God and country. One such minister is well known for saying on international television, “It may be legal to burn the American flag, but if you do it next to me, I will whip you if I can.” How much respect does this man have for our Lord who tells you and me to ‘resist not evil… turn to him the other cheek’? This minister’s doctrine tells anyone who knows the voice of the true shepherd who the spiritual father of this minister is and of all those ministers who agree with this man and refuse to teach the doctrines of our Lord. They do indeed “many wonderful works” in Christ’s name, but they will still hear these words, “I never knew you, depart from me ye workers of iniquity”.
Augustine’s words concerning eternal torment mean more to the leaders of Christendom than do these words of God:

1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

What orthodox Christian minister today believes that the fire of scripture is an agency of salvation?
Luther and Calvin despised these words of Christ:

Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Luther is quoted as saying:

“To kill a peasant is not murder; it is helping to extinguish the conflagration. Let there be no half measures! Crush them! Cut their throats! Transfix them. Leave no stone unturned! To kill a peasant is to destroy a mad dog!”–“If they say that I am very hard and merciless, mercy be damned. Let whoever can stab, strangle, and kill them like mad dogs” (Erlangen Vol 24, Pg. 29).

It was Calvin who was party to having Michael Servetus burned alive at the stake for denying the false doctrine of the trinity. Here is a quote which to this very day attempts to justify Calvin’s part in this murderous act:
In his essay John Calvin and Reformed Europe, J. I. Packer wrote:

The anti- Trinitarian campaigner Servetus was burned at Geneva in 1553, and this is often seen as a blot on Calvin’s reputation. But weigh these facts:
1. The belief that denial of the Trinity and/ or Incarnation should be viewed as a capital crime in a Christian state was part of Calvin’s and Geneva’s medieval inheritance; Calvin did not invent it.
2. Anti- Trinitarian heretics were burned in other places beside Geneva in Calvin’s time, and indeed later — two in England, for instance, as late as 1612.
3. The Roman Inquisition had already set a price on Servetus’ head.
4. The decision to burn Servetus as a heretic was taken not only by Calvin personally but by Geneva’s Little Council of twenty- five, acting on unanimous advice from the pastors of several neighboring Reformed churches whom they had consulted.
5. Calvin, whose role in Servetus’ trial had been that of expert witness managing the prosecution, wanted Servetus not to die but to recant, and spent hours with him during and after the trial seeking to change his views.
6. When Servetus was sentenced to be burned alive, Calvin asked for beheading as a less painful alternative, but his request was denied.

Yes, indeed, let us “Weigh these facts” and let us “try the[ se] spirits to see whether they are of God”.
So since “the denial of the trinity was a capital crime in a Christian state” that is accepted by Dr. J. I. Packer, who, according to Wikipedia “is considered one of the most influential evangelicals in North America”, as reason enough to deny our Lord and accept Calvin’s doctrines over the doctrines of Christ. That is reason enough to consider Calving to be a great spiritual leader of historical Christianity, as he is to this very day regarded by millions of the Protestant world. The fact that the Roman Catholics had already “set a price on Servetus’ head” is used by this ‘Christian’ writer to justify Calvin’s part in the murder of Michael Servetus. It is this very same spirit which was in the ministers of the Pentecostal churches which I attended as a young man. When I was being drafted, I was counseled by three different ministers that the church leadership of the Pentecostal church, the Pentecostal Church of God, and the Assemblies of God, would “support me either way”; meaning they would support me as a conscientious objector or as a “Christian soldier”. What a spineless denial of our Lord!
The truth is that there is not one single “historical Christian” leader of any orthodox Christian church who does not hold to these false doctrines of men like Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, over the words of our Lord to this very day. If indeed anyone does so, then he is neither an “historical Christian” nor an orthodox Christian. As A. E. Knoch, one of the founders of the Concordant Publishing Concern, and the main contributor to the publication of the Concordant Version of the Bible said, ‘Loving your enemies is at best extremely impractical, and at worst disastrous in today’s world’. That is how little regard he, and all of orthodox Christians have for our Lord’s commandment to “Love your enemies”. It is completely understandable from a natural point of view, but the mind of the spirit of Christ, is not the natural point of view.
Here, for what it is worth, is Christ’s point of view on this subject. It Isa 180 degrees the opposite of the doctrine of orthodox Christianity:

Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Indeed it is impossible for any man to obey the words of our Lord of himself. But if our Lord is living within us we can be “as His is in this world”:

1Jn 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1Jn 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Since we are as He is in this world if He is living within us, we can love our enemies. In fact, if Christ is within us, we can do and abide by all of his commandments to the extent that sin will no longer dominates our lives.

Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

When we are “made to err” from God’s ways, His grace will chasten us to return to a godly life (Tit 2:11-12; Heb 12:6).

Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

“The Three Hebrew Children”

Now let’s look at the story of Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego. This is an Old Testament type of the faith of Christ within you and me. These events are nothing more than Old Testament shadows of Christ facing the shame and death of the cross, and of you and me facing the pressures of every day life, dying daily with Him. I am assuming that we are all familiar with the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image which he erected to his own glory and how he commanded that everyone bow down before and worship his god or else be cast into a burning fiery furnace. God’s elect are daily facing this same situation. Will we bend and compromise to fit into this world and avoid persecution, by denying our Lord, or will we “lose our life” in order to find it? This is a story of the spiritually refined gold, tried in the fire to which our Lord refers here in Rev 3:

Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Here is what happened when these three men were brought before Nebuchadnezzar and given the chance to ‘save their lives’. This is the story of the lives of all of God’s elect who will not bow down to nor compromise with the pressures of this world and deny their Lord:

Dan 3:14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
Dan 3:15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

This is where we are today when we remain faithful to Christ and His doctrine in the midst of a polarized world which demands that we take part and take sides in the affairs of this age. Nebuchadnezzar is a religious leader who is demanding the worship of his citizens. What we do under such pressure shows us who truly dwells within us.

Dan 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
Dan 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
Dan 3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Dan 3:19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
Dan 3:20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
Dan 3:21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Dan 3:22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Dan 3:23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Dan 3:24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
Dan 3:25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Dan 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
Dan 3:27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
Dan 3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
Dan 3:29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
Dan 3:30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar is the king of Babylon. As such he typifies the priests and Pharisees who wanted Christ’s life for His iconic ways and His rejection of the weekly sabbath and for claiming to be the son of God.

Joh 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

These men are the type of God’s true people, and their faith is being tried by the very same spirit which challenged the faith of our Lord. The trip through that fiery furnace is the Old Testament type of Christ going to His cross and dying for our sins. It is also the Old Testament type of Christ’s death within us on a daily basis.

1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1Pe 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

This is not just an historic event. Yes, it did literally happen, but it is also a prophecy of what we must endure if we are indeed “partakers of His sufferings and of His glory. We are to consider ourselves as being dead to this world and its powers, and alive unto Christ:

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
1Co 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

This story is not written as a history lesson, as most people receive it. This story is written for you and me to know what it means to “lose our life [ in order to] find it”.

Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Conclusion

As the parents of the man who was born blind, we all first fear men above our fear of God. That man’s blind physical condition at birth was just the type of the spiritual condition of all men at birth. But when Christ comes to us and heals us of our naturally blind condition, He also strengthens us to fear God more than men, and we find that we will be cast out of their synagogues, and have our heavens shaken until we come to know the true Christ and His voice.
It is obvious that those who will be in the first resurrection and given rule of this world during the thousand years and then judge angels in the lake of fire, will be those whose greatest fear is “the fear of the Lord”. That is who we are to fear:

Luk 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
Luk 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

Israel was afraid of the Egyptians, and Moses realized that he was nothing of himself. But he too, feared God more than he feared the Pharaoh; Israel by the Red Sea is us while we are “carnal… babes in Christ” being led by those who are far more mature, yet even then we are learning not to fear men above the fear of God.

Exo 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
Exo 14:14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego were waiting to see what the Lord would do, and while they no doubt were afraid of the fiery furnace, they feared God even more, and God honored their faith in His ability to deliver them out of the fiery trials which God, through evil men, sends to try us for our own good. So we are instructed again:

Psa 17:13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Our Lord Himself feared the death of the cross, to the point of “strong crying and tears”.

Heb 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
Heb 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
Heb 5:9 And being made perfect [“through death”], he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

But He was granted to fear His Father more than the death of the cross, and while It may have appeared to be a couple of days late our Lord “was heard in that He feared [ His heavenly Father more than men who could] kill the body, and after that have no more they can do”.
Paul was on the sea in a storm for many days when we are told this:

Act 27:20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

This is the sun turned into darkness and the great distress on the earth which must precede our Lord’s coming, because He will not come to those who have any hope of saving themselves and condemning their own God. It is at this point, when all hope is lost, that we hear from our Lord, and we know His voice, and we know what He says is true:

Act 27:22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.
Act 27:23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
Act 27:24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
Act 27:25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

We are saved by grace through faith, and that is a gift of God. Either we are given that gift or we are not given that gift.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

1Jn 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

When we are given saving faith, we no longer fear men as much as we fear to disobey or fail to believe these words of our Lord:

Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Heb 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
1Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

In closing I want to share an e- mail which all of you who are on the body list have already read. It is from our brother Abe Ramos out on the west coast. I think Abe’s e- mail sums up in a very few words what this whole talk was all about.
Abe writes:

Dear family,
Just a simple, and I hope correct, observation – no wonder my flesh recoils at the thought.
1Co 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
The gospel is to announce the GOOD news, not carnal good news like; “Jesus will protect me forever and I will stop suffering the instant I say the 10 second sinner’s prayer.” Rather the GOOD news is the cross of Christ where I am decreasing, dying daily. Like I said no wonder my flesh recoils!!
Wow, I actually enjoyed this refreshing revelation. Glory be to God!
God Bless you ALL!

Abe

Other related posts