Joseph Herrin (10-09-08)
Christians in a Roman Forum
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”
The posts to this blog alternate between presenting a Christian worldview of current events and presentations of the doctrines of the kingdom of God. I have understood the wisdom of God in directing me this way, for our Christian beliefs should find application in the world in which we live. The acts of the church are still being written, and we live in an hour when much that has been prophesied is being fulfilled.
Many of these blogs focus upon the plans of Satan which are being carried out as the world is rushing forward toward that hour when Christ will return as a conquering King. Satan knows the hour is late and there is a corresponding acceleration of events taking place. Men who are given over to the spirit of Satan are carrying forth evil schemes, and these schemes have a definite impact upon the lives of the people of God who dwell upon the earth in this hour.
In this post I want to remind the people of God that Satan’s schemes are not to be resisted by carnal means, through policy (politics) or through physical methods such as guns and ballots. Although we are in this world, we are not of this world. The Kingdom of God is an heavenly kingdom and a realm of spiritual beings, which is what you are if you have been born again of the Spirit of Christ. Therefore, our warfare is spiritual, not carnal.
II Corinthians 10:3-4
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
Although there are flesh and blood men and women who are carrying forth evil schemes in this hour, they are not the ones with whom the saints in Christ struggle. Our struggle is against a spiritual foe.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
The apostle Paul describes the armor and weapons of the people of God in chapter 6 of Ephesians. This is a familiar passage, though not well understood or practiced. If it had been understood there would not have been any “Christian” crusades throughout the history of the church, nor at this present day.
The Christian does not war against flesh and blood. Do you understand that it has been the will of God for His people to suffer defeat in the natural while experiencing victory in spiritual realms? Christ demonstrated the truth of this when He was put to death at the hands of evil men. He did not resist the evil men, but surrendered His body to be beaten, scourged and crucified. In doing so He triumphed over all the spiritual forces of wickedness. Victory for the Christian is not measured by world conquest. In many cases the greatest spiritual victories appear outwardly as great defeats. Spiritual victories often have the appearance of evil men having triumphed over the people of God. The sufferings of Christians result in spiritual triumphs as long as the Christian maintains their faith in the love of Christ.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Amazing, isn’t it? When we experience tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword and are slaughtered like sheep, we can come forth as MORE THAN CONQUERORS. How is this possible? If our warfare in this world was concerned with establishing Christian government, or attaining victory over evil men, then we could not make this claim. If Christ’s kingdom were defined by the physical realms of this world, then we would have to triumph over flesh and blood to be victorious.
Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, however, it is a spiritual kingdom. It exists as much in heaven as it does in the hearts of the overcoming children of God.
“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
I have been sharing with the people of God about current events, seeking to lead them to discern the activity of Satan behind the deceit of the media bias. When we see what Satan is doing, and recognize his hand in events, then we are better able to identify his goals and resist them in our own lives.
It should be apparent, both from Scriptures and from this present day, that one of Satan’s chief weapons is fear. He seeks to terrify mankind, and therefore corral them into accepting his dominion over their lives. The cry of all of Satan’s disciples in these last days has been “terror,” “terror,” and more “terror.” An enemy has been created called “terrorism, and the political leaders and media have put this enemy front and center in the minds of the population. In doing so they have induced many to give up cherished freedoms in exchange for a promise of peace and safety.
Knowing that Satan’s plan is to sow fear in the hearts of mankind, how can we resist his work? Not by campaigning against the lies and deceit, not by attacking the fear mongers, but rather by maintaining a spirit of peace in our own hearts. The kingdom of God is within you. Can you be in the midst of the storm, observing all those around you crying out in fear of impending death and destruction, and place your head on a pillow and rest? This was Christ’s example when He crossed the sea with His disciples and a great storm arose. He slept while they panicked.
People of God, we will not bring glory and honor to God if we also panic in the days which are upon us. Our Father is honored by the faith of His children. Without faith it is impossible to please Him.
To really enter into a deep and abiding peace, we must reckon on the fact that God is in charge of whether we live or die, whether we are clothed or naked, whether we are hungry or well fed. We must resolve to be content with whatever He chooses for us.
Now, please do not rush over what I just stated without understanding it. If you want to be at peace when faced with death, then you must be content to die when it is God’s will for you. It is when we strenuously oppose a thing, whether it be God’s will or not, that we enter into fear.
There have been three times in my life that I can think of when I was faced with death and I made the choice to accept whatever God chose for me. On two occasions this occurred when I was faced with dire health problems. I cast myself into the Father’s hands and although I asked for His mercy and healing, I told Him I was content with whatever He chose for me and I would not fear death. A third occasion occurred when He led me to an extended time of camping. During two forty day periods in the wilderness I had very little food. I lost nearly forty pounds, and the end of this experience concluded with 17 days of no food of any kind and a limited supply of water.
I knew God had led me to this experience, and I was able to declare to Him that my life was in His hands, and I would accept whatever He chose for me. By acknowledging His absolute power over my life, and being content with whatever He should choose, I was brought to a place of great peace. I was not in a state of fear or panic. I was at rest.
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
When we understand the power of God, and His watchfulness over His children, then the only thing left to be established is whether we will be content to accept whatever He chooses for us.
Many Christians today do not know this contentment. They are not willing to accept hunger. They are not willing to accept poverty. They are not willing to accept hardship and distresses, or to suffer loss. And as long as they are not content, they will find their souls filled with fear as the waves and wind of various distresses are cast up against them and begin filling their boat. The man or woman who can wait upon the Lord, however, will be kept in peace.
I have shared in the autobiographical book Evidence of Things Unseen, many trials that the Lord led me through with my family. There were times when we were faced with dire financial situations. There were times when we were soon to be homeless or hungry unless the Father manifested some provision.
It is relatively easy to have courage when the calamity is yet a distance from you. I am sure the disciples did not immediately panic when the storm began to arise on the sea. But when they had been toiling against it and were making no headway, when they had been bailing the boat out and it continued to fill with water and was on the verge of being swamped, then courage was hard to find.
So it has been on many occasions in my own experience. The Lord told me years ago that He could give me the peace that Christ manifested in the boat when He slept, but that He would have to take me through some storms to bring me to this place of victory. I can tell you that I was no different than the disciples when the storms first broke upon my little ship. But over time I learned to trust the Lord, and even to be at rest when things were approaching the brink of disaster.
I do not say that I am perfect in this today. There is still a temptation to take my eyes off of Christ and to focus upon the wind and the waves. Yet I know that if I will keep my eyes on my Savior, that there is a place of peace where the raging seas can be put under my feet.
The Spirit is testifying that in the coming days there will be great judgments coming to the nations. Many of the calamities and distresses will be precipitated by the acts of evil men who are led by Satan. There will be manufactured famines, plagues, wars, and terrifying events of many kinds. Satan can only do that which God grants him permission to do, especially where his actions touch the lives of God’s people.
For various reasons, which I have spoken of in previous posts, God has determined by His predetermined plan and foreknowledge, that the earth should experience these things in this season. One of the chief reasons is that a church bearing the fulness of the stature of Christ might come forth at the end of this age. The birthing of such a people will be accompanied by birth pangs.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God… For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
I believe that in the coming days when economic collapse strikes this nation that great civil unrest will result. The government will declare martial law, and the food supply will be seized by the government. The constitution will be suspended, and many of the plans of the enemy will be greatly accelerated, including a nationalization of the remaining segments of the economy and the destruction of the dollar, and consequently of people’s savings.
The end in mind, of course, is the union of the entire world under one government, one monetary system, and one religion. This will be achieved incrementally, but swiftly in the coming days. Christians will find themselves labeled as religious extremists if they hold to the belief that there is only one way to God, one path to salvation, and that all other religions are false and lying deceptions of Satan.
It will become necessary for the Christian to separate themselves from the world system, even though the government will promise to feed and house all those who come into its embrace. Those who do not submit themselves will find themselves unable to buy and sell, and access to food and shelter will be removed.
In such an hour it will be necessary for the believer to manifest a degree of faith that the church has not known in recent times. They must trust the Spirit of Christ to direct their steps and to reveal His provision for their needs. God does have a provision for His people, but it must be entered into by faith.
Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
I fully expect faith to be greatly tried in coming days. Even those who follow the leading of the Spirit faithfully will find their faith tested. The Spirit of Christ has been indicating that Moses’ journey with the children of Israel through the wilderness serves as a type of coming days. The children of Israel were tested with hunger and thirst while in the wilderness, but God always had a provision for them.
You shall remember all the way which Yahweh your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh.
God tested me with hunger and humble circumstances during the two forty day periods He led me to the wilderness. He has shown me that these experiences were symbolic of the church’s experience in coming days. I survived, and He brought me back up out of the wilderness at the appropriate time. He did the same with the Israelites, and He will do so with His people in this hour.
Will you have the faith to trust Him? Will you be willing to endure hardship, distress, and hunger without grumbling and murmuring as did the Israelites in the wilderness? Will you manifest faith, or cry out in fear and want to return to Egypt? There will be opportunity to flee to Egypt, to the arms of the world, in coming days. Many will be tempted to do so. I do not doubt that many will turn away from following Christ. It is my prayer that there will be a remnant of God’s people who will endure, manifest courage and faith, and do exploits in His name.
Some weeks ago I attended a Bible study group and spoke to a young man after the meeting. He shared about God’s current dealings with him. He had lost his job and was having to trust God for the provision of himself and his son. He was struggling in this situation and he testified that God spoke to him. God told him he needed to manifest a greater faith, for his faith was too small to stand the test of the coming days.
Have you done a check-up on your own faith? Are you willing to follow the Lord wherever He might lead you? Are you content to experience hardship, and hunger, while trusting that after God has tried you He will have a provision for you? Christ endured forty days in the wilderness without eating and He was able to maintain peace. He knew that His Father was carefully watching over Him, and He trusted His Father. This kept the Son of God from acting out of fear or panic.
When Satan tempted Christ to turn the stones to bread to satisfy His hunger, He refused. He was content to wait upon the Father’s provision, and the Father revealed that provision after Satan left Him.
I anticipate that the children of God will be met with similar tests. They will be faced with some pressing need and will have their faith tested. The temptation will be presented to them to do something that is not the will of the Father. Only those who have confidence in God will manifest the patience to wait upon Him.
God’s has determined the future experience of each one of His children. It is His will for some to manifest obedience that will result in the forfeiture of their physical lives. This has been true from the very beginning of the church age, and it will certainly be true in these last days. Are you content with whatever the Father has chosen for you? Do you believe His will is always with good intent, and that even the loss of life will not result in loss of ultimate good, but will result in great gain?
But the people who know their God will display strength and take action. Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder for many days. Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time.
God will have a purified people. God’s people are purified as gold through the fire.
I do not share these things with you to frighten you. I share them so that you might not be frightened. In the days of severe testing that the Father led me through with my family in earlier years, I learned an important lesson. Satan would often come against me with tormenting fears about what dire things might happen to my family and I. My mind was greatly troubled in these seasons as great storms broke over my soul.
I found that there was only one way to take away the enemy’s ability to torment me. I would consider what the worst thing was that the enemy was suggesting to me, and I would count the cost and resign myself to bearing it if it should be the Father’s will. Then when the enemy sought to torment me I could respond, “I have counted the cost of what you are trying to frighten me with, and I am willing to pay the cost.” This robbed Satan of his ability to drive me to fear and panic.
May God find in each of His children a heart that trusts in Him. Even should we face hunger or loss of life, may we say, “Into Your hands I commit myself.”
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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