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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Word For The Week

Recently, a certain politician who calls himself a Christian and a religious leader declared that Israeli Prime Minister Arik Sharon's stroke was an act of divine judgment for conceding land to the Palestinians. Now when it comes to Israel I'm solidly in the Likud way of thinking, but this assertion is positively insane on many levels. Have you ever wanted to gag someone just to shut their mouth? Has anyone's words so infuriated you that you though it might come to physical violence? Have you ever had to deal with a False Prophet?

The first, and most obvious flaw in Robertson's assertion is the fact that Sharon is still alive. I would challenge you to find an instance in the Bible where God struck someone down for their disobedience and they lived for a couple weeks/months/years afterward. Robertson's pronouncement does not conform to Biblical revelation, and that is the first and easiest way to discern a False Prophet from a Prophet of the Lord. Our Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever and what He reveals today will conform to what He has revealed in the past and be confirmed by the Word He has spoken in the past.

The second flaw in Robertson's assertion is that God never promised anything to a secular Israel, and that is indeed what the current nation of Israel is - a nation after Omri's own heart. Israel, as a nation, no more honors the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob than does America honor His son, Jesus Christ. Both are secular nations that (barely) tolerate religious sentiments - i.e. "keep that crap to yourself and we'll get along fine" - but the secular nation of Israel itself is not God's own possession among all the peoples, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. People forget or ignore that God's promise to Israel was conditional: "IF you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, THEN you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Has the secular nation of Israel kept God's commandments? Not any more than has the secular nation of America kept His commandments, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, yet false prophets continually speak of God blessing the disobedient. It's almost as if Robertson's never read Deuteronomy 27-28.

The third flaw in Robertson's assertion - and this gets us back to our text - is that the spirit in which it was uttered had nothing to do with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control. Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruits." Fruit trees don't bear nuts, and Robertson's assertion bears no resemblance to the fruit of the true vine - Jesus Christ. Is it loving to publicly castigate someone - someone who supposedly was a friend - as being smitten by God for disobedience? People usually talk to their friends and about their enemies. When Bill Clinton was going through his public scourging over his affair with Monica Lewinsky Al Mohler went on Larry King Live to publicly call Clinton everything but a child of God on national TV. However, when Bob Livingston - Republican Speaker-elect of the House - was caught with his member in someone other than his wife, Mohler privately sent him a letter encouraging him to resign. People talk to their friends and about their enemies, and Robertson treated Arik like an enemy, not a friend. Was this just a case of Robertson's mouth moving before his brain engaged? Maybe, but that would be the "self-control" fruit that is missing. Jesus said that we will know them by their fruit, and Robertson's "fruit" is not in keeping with the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

This is true of many Republicans who call themselves Christians. They cut funding to programs that clothe the needy, programs that feed the hungry, programs that help the imprisoned and the immigrants. They oppose universal health care for the healthy, the sick and the dying. James asks, "What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,' and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself." These Republicans who call themselves Christians comfort the already-comfortable and afflict the already-afflicted, when James said that those very people are the ones who oppress you and personally drag us into court, who blaspheme the fair name of Jesus Christ by which we have been called. Politics makes for strange bedfellows, but Jesus Christ expects His bride - and marriage bed - to be undefiled, while certain False Prophets seem to be riding the beast like a harlot clothed in scarlet.

This brings up the fourth flaw in Robertson's assertion, or more accurately, the flaw in Robertson's apparent thinking. Robertson seems to think that by forcing an all-out war in the Middle East he can force God's hand in sending Jesus back for the Church. Robertson seems to think that expediting the possession of all of Biblical "Israel" by modern-day Israelis will force God to expedite Jesus' return. If that is true then it is utter foolishness, for Jesus said that no man knows the day nor the hour when the Son of Man returns - not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. There was once someone else who thought that he could force God's hand, that he could orchestrate events to force God to do that which He seemed to be taking too long to accomplish. There was a man who once tried to do what was right in his own eyes, what he thought would advance God's work on earth, only on his timetable.

His name was Judas Iscariot.

Much like Judas, Pat Robertson has betrayed the cause of Jesus Christ. Much like Judas, Pat Robertson's perception of God's intentions are dead wrong. And much like Judas, Pat Robertson will be remembered for the harm that he caused the Church, not the good. Remember, Judas walked with Jesus for his entire ministry. When Jesus fed the 5000, Judas was there. When Jesus healed the sick, Judas was there. When Jesus cast out demons, Judas was there. When Jesus sent the 12 out to minister to Israel, Judas was one of them. Pat Robertson has done some good things for the kingdom of God, but like Judas - who was their treasurer - the bad that he has done will outlive the good, such that no one will be able to name anything good that he has ever done.

That's already true in the eyes of most Americans today.

There is a war going on right now and it seems that some people don't realize that they are opposing the very cause which they claim to be fighting for. I believe that there will be many people who call themselves Christians who find themselves the Judgment Seat of Christ saying, "Lord, Lord, did we not vote Republican in Your name, and in Your name cast out homosexuals, and in Your name oppose many abortions?" just to hear Jesus say, "I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness." The battle is for control of your soul, between humanistic self-determination and a mission of submission to the Divine Mind. So choose this day whom you will serve, be it the "gods" of this political realm or the idols of your own heart, but as for me and my house we will serve the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Father of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Pat Robertson seems to think that he doesn't have to submit to anyone - what about you?

The choice is yours.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to exercise your freedom to choose,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM

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I would challenge you to find an instance in the Bible where God struck someone down for their disobedience and they lived for a couple weeks/months/years afterward.


Posted by Blogger Tata @ Sunday, January 15, 2006 4:15:00 PM #

Miriam wasn't struck for disobedience (q.v. Numbers 12 for those unfamiliar with the matter), she was struck for questioning Moses' exclusivity in hearing from God. That would be close though, I'll admit, and maybe even enough to render that line of argument moot, but the rest of it holds.

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Sunday, January 15, 2006 11:23:00 PM #
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