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- The Question We Should Ask Ourselves –
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In a day when people tippy toe around the truth as though it was social cyanide, “what would Jesus do” is radical and unacceptable. But that should surprise no one – Jesus was unacceptable and unaccepted. Still, He continues to be the standard for us and our age.
Jesus’ focus was on the Temple in this passage since that was His House and Father God planned the Temple for prayer not commerce.
John 2:12-17 After this incident, Jesus, accompanied by his mother, his brothers and his disciples, went down to Capernaum and stayed there a few days. The Jewish Passover was approaching and Jesus made the journey up to Jerusalem. In the Temple he discovered cattle and sheep dealers and pigeon-sellers, as well as money-changers sitting at their tables. So he made a rough whip out of rope and drove the whole lot of them, sheep and cattle as well, out of the Temple. He sent the coins of the money-changers flying and turned their tables upside down. Then he said to the pigeon-dealers, “Take those things out of here. Don’t you dare turn my Father’s house into a market!”
If He did this today he would be jailed at the very least for disturbing the peace if not assault and damage to property. Jesus never damaged people; He turned over the tables not the people managing them. Jesus saves humans but He does not necessarily save systems, or governments.
He only acted on principle; in this case the love of money as the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10) was the source of the problem. Modern rioters murder for their cause and feel justified. But the use of violence to promote a righteous claim never works; it only promotes more violence. Think of Black Lives Matter here.
Jesus takes on a host of leaders who contaminate the word of God with lies and deception. Matthew 23:16-30
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing. But if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.’
Swearing was and still is a form of verification of one’s word. In court we swear on the Bible; some Christian denominations refuse to swear on anything because the Bible specifically opposes that. Your word should be sufficient. Of course for those who want to lie, nothing makes any difference anyway.
But swearing on anything makes no sense. In no way does it confirm or deny the what was stated. Furthermore the Lords of Swearing have made yet another rule for living. You can always tell when a government is failing by how many worthless and futile rules it has.
You blind fools! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing. But if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is obligated.’ 19 You blind fools! Which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 But he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.
Now Jesus goes after picky, picky rules. Just picture someone weighing out carefully the basil in your back yard garden to be sure that the church gets 10% of it. You can appreciate the love of detail but what Jesus wants is a heart towards God that would give 50% if we had it – or even 90%. It is not the percentage that indicates our obedience and devotion to Christ but out attitude. Anything else is called majoring in minors.
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You tithe mint and dill and cumin, but have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done without leaving the others undone. 24 You blind guides who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and greed. 26 You blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may also be clean.
The third group that Jesus curses (and ‘Woe To’ does indicate a curse) are the hypocrites. Hypocrite in Greek means literally “play actor.”
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
This bunch is probably the one we can understand the best – the persons who promote their public image as a substitute for a beautiful inside.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets, and adorn the memorials of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have partaken with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.
And Jesus identifies them as those who stood toe-to-toe against God as their forebears did.
33 “You serpents! You generation of vipers! How can you escape the judgment of hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets, and wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute them from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come on this generation.
Generation comes from the word “genes.” There is a genetic strain in man that opposes God and those who refuse to change will see that judgment on themselves and their families. The Bible states that those who follow the faith will get better day by day. And that is true.
But there is another truth, that evil men get worse and worse. 2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. All our political promises to the contrary can’t change the fact that the world is plunging towards judgment. It may be 100 years away but it is still prophesied and God has confirmed it in many ways. Climate change will not destroy the planet -God Himself will do it. After all, it’s His planet.
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you, how often I would have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not! 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you shall not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
The final curse is against a city. But this could be your city as well, any city or nation that stands in opposition to God deliberately and with full knowledge of what it was doing. There is almost no preaching on this topic today but political jurisdictions do receive punishment or honor depending on the accomplishments of the government.
The study of history confirms this. For example socialism has been tried many times, currently 20 such nations, and in all cases it has failed or is failing. That also includes communism which is socialism on steroids. Their citizens are trying to get out – that’s how you know the government is not working. Wealthy Chinese are sending their wives to California to have “anchor babies” so their children can become Americans. There are entire apartment buildings full of them. Anchor babies are a symptom of political and social failure.
India is pulling ahead; Russia needs to be included as a failed communist state, i.e. Soviet Union. There are many other states living in constant turmoil such as Sudan and some of Kenya mostly because of Islamic terrorism. In fact, the world today has far more war than peace.
Many political people profess to believe in world peace. But this is not possible. Isaiah 57:21 There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked. Peace will only occur when the Prince of Peace returns.
You will notice below that where there is a strong Christian presence or tradition that nation is not on the list. Jesus said you’ll know them by their fruit, and that applies to nations as well as people.
|North Korea||1948||Workers’ Party of Korea|
|China||1949||Communist Party of China|
|Vietnam||1976||Communist Party of Vietnam|
|Cuba||1961||Communist Party of Cuba|
|Laos||1975||Lao People’s Revolutionary Party|
|Bangladesh||1971||Unitary parliamentary democracy||Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League||Abdul Hamid|
|Bolivia||2006||presidential republic||Movement for Socialism||Evo Morales|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||2001||Dictatorship||People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy||Joseph Kabila|
|Ecuador||2007||Presidential republic||PAIS Alliance||Rafael Correa|
|Guyana||1980||Unitary Semi-presidential republic||People’s Progressive Party||Donald Ramotar|
|India||1947||Federal parliamentary constitutional republic||Indian National Congress||Pranab Mukherjee|
|Nicaragua||2007||presidential republic||Sandinista National Liberation Front||Daniel Ortega|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||2001||Parliamentary monarchy||Unity Labour Party||Ralph Gonsalves|
|Syria||1963||Ba’athist dictatorship||Ba’ath Party||Bashar al-Assad|
|Tanzania||1964||Federal presidential constitutional republic||Chama Cha Mapinduzi||Jakaya Kikwete|
|Venezuela||1998||presidential republic||United Socialist Party of Venezuela||Nicolás Maduro|
|Zambia||2011||presidential dictatorship||Patriotic Front||Guy Scott|
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No doubt you assumed God had no opinion about things like this, but once again, if we look into the Bible carefully, we find a slew of dicta regarding national behavior and identity, and not just in the Old Testament.
First of these is the clear national individuality of nations. Globalization and world government were a major goal in the early years of the planet which resulted in mass confusion. This happened at the Tower of Babel where everyone at that time spoke the same language and joined to contest God for sovereignty of the world.
Genesis 11 The Message (MSG) “God Turned Their Language into ‘Babble’”
11 1-2 At one time, the whole Earth spoke the same language. It so happened that as they moved out of the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled down. 3 They said to one another, “Come, let’s make bricks and fire them well.” They used brick for stone and tar for mortar.
4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower that reaches Heaven. Let’s make ourselves famous so we won’t be scattered here and there across the Earth.” 5 God came down to look over the city and the tower those people had built.
6-9 God took one look and said, “One people, one language; why, this is only a first step. No telling what they’ll come up with next—they’ll stop at nothing! Come, we’ll go down and garble their speech so they won’t understand each other.” Then God scattered them from there all over the world. And they had to quit building the city. That’s how it came to be called Babel, because there God turned their language into “babble.” From there God scattered them all over the world.
Well, that was just the first of the disasters. God scrambled the languages and the people scattered all speaking something “foreign” and confusion lasted until today. That should remind us that President Obama’s and the Democratic Party’s emphasis on world government will no doubt fall into ruin. But it is pretty hard to tell anyone at the high levels of politics that they are headed the wrong way.
Acts 17:26 TLV From one He made every nation of men to live on the face of the earth, having set appointed times and the boundaries of their territory. (This is not a Godly endorsement of predatory imperialism.)
Britain has chosen to renew its independence from the European Union, a much better functioning Babylon, but still rife with ills, and hopefully Britain will regain some of the moral high ground it has lost.
So, God has a mission for every nation, and a territorial boundary for them too. Nations have a Godly identity. So far I’ve seen almost nothing written on this topic. Tiny Estonia is an interesting case. Under the boot of the Communist Soviet Union (union maybe but not unity, lacking personal or political freedom) the people started singing. Yes, singing. Slowly but surely groups became larger and larger singing the old, popular songs of the nation. When European communism collapsed in the 1980’s Estonia was unified and regained its ground without a shot.
Remember when Paul and Silas were in jail and they started singing? An earthquake caused the bars of the jail to collapse and they were freed. So this singing oneself to freedom is not some new thing for Estonia. (Acts 16)
Clearly, the USA has a specific call which she has met. Preachers often fume over why God has not blasted this nation off the map, but then we look at the stats. There are many internet sites showing American charitable giving, which should not be confused with national foreign aid some of which does not go to anything other than political figures or causes. But overall Americans are the most generous people on earth, and continue to be a military aid to some nations in trouble, depending on the President in charge. Nor do Americans take land or slaves after they have buried their dead soldiers in foreign soil. One of the most astonishing and unique events in world history is the Marshall Plan to put Germany back on its feet after World War 2.
God blasted many nations not only off the earth but off history entirely for abortion, which continues to be an international scourge. In Canada and the USA, abortion rates are 18 per 1,000 births; 26 per 1,000 for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan; 28 per 1,000 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen; Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Saint Helena, Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Korea, Japan, Mongolia; 29 per 1,000 Belize, Costa Rico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama; 32 per 1,000 Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela; 36 per 1,000 Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe,Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam,Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius, Saba, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saint-Barth, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique; 43 per 1,000 Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic , Hungary, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Ukraine.
Biblical nations which served the god of child sacrifice Molech that are no more are the Hittites, Canaanites, Jebusites, and the list goes on. It is a warning to modern nations; you have no guarantee of permanence.
When I started, I’d not intended to focus on abortion but some interesting things have emerged. First, babies go to heaven. (Yes, it is a big place.) From these statistics, the ethnic background of the residents of heaven will largely be non-anglos. That will match the international statistics as well.
Second, we notice that formerly communist and communist block countries have larger abortion rates. This tells us that bad government has a definite impact on abortion rates, no doubt mirroring the poor income levels. Millennials so intent on bringing socialism to the USA should pay attention here. Socialism is communism without a gun to your head; the dictatorship comes later after they take your cash.
Third, abortion rates are a general barometer of poverty rates. People really do want to have children. We know that America is in a 8 year slump despite political protestations to the contrary because birth rates have gone down! Marriage rates and employment rates are way down too. God likes peace because with it we gain prosperity and a future. But there is no peace for the wicked. (Isaiah 48:2)
Finally there such a thing as goat nations. Matthew 25:31.
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
Matthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not [e]take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Christians who avoid voting need to take this seriously. Our nation, all other nations, will be judged by the mercy shown to others. We need to see some sermons on this!
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