Well, the celebration of the nativity of the Messiah, being sent to the earth by the Father, is about to take place. At this time of year, the second chapter of Luke is often read at Christmas services across the globe; sweetly reporting the birth of the Savior. We so love the part about the angels appearing to the shepherds, who were tending the flocks in the fields on that extraordinary night. Every child that has ever attended Sunday school can likely quote what these angels declared to those Shepherds “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men!” Ahhh … the peace of heaven has come to earth to make goodwill prosper between human beings; bringing global peace. At least that is how so many people tend to interpret that angelic decree. I suspect that few believers really understand what those angels were actually declaring. YHVH’s messengers were saying that the baby Messiah was the glory of YHVH, which had now come down to the earth to reestablish the relationship of human fellowship and wholeness with YHVH; fellowship, which was severed by human sin at the fall. This meant that the door to peace with the Creator … the pathway to again attain eternal fellowship with the Lord … would be opened for the people of the world, when the Messiah would fulfill the legal, spiritual, demand for a flawless human sacrifice to atone for their sin. YHVH extended His love, mercy, and peace to the world through the gift of the Messiah, so that human beings might be able to come into intimate, eternal, relationship with Him again. Yeshua did not come to provide humankind with a free pass so that they could continue to sin, nor with an unconditional “get out of jail for free” card without anything being required of them. He didn’t come to bring a quick fix for all human rebellion, depravation, corruption and wickedness. He didn’t come to automatically insert new programming into His human creation, nor to replace the “sin chip” lodged in the human soul with a flawless “divine chip” that they deserved. He came to offer a reborn life for all human beings … a new start … a choice … freedom from the intrinsic, legal bondage of sin and death that satan introduced into all human beings on the planet, for all generations, since the fall into sin. At the same time, Yeshua’s arrival set the stagefor an open war against satan’s kingdom on the planet. That is a war which the Messiah spoke about often, and one that rages to this very minute. However, few of us consider that aspect of His birth at this time of year.
Interestingly, part of this past Shabbat’s Brit Hadesha portion is also found in the book of Luke … Chapter 12:49-53. In this text, the Messiah, through His own words, brings a very different perspective on the fluffy, peace, peace, peace and unity message that many ascribe to their fluffy version of Jesus. Take a look:
49“I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!
50“But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!
51“Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division;
52for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53“They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
WOW! That doesn’t sound much like “Merry Christmas”! It wasn’t intended to be. It was about Passover coming … about the sacrifice of the Lamb (which would rob satan’s prisons). Yeshua was telling His disciples about the reality of the ensuing battle that would rage increasingly between His Kingdom and Satan’s, following His completed sacrifice. ALL who would align themselves with His Kingdom, following His completed act of atonement, would be involved in that global spiritual and physical conflict. Wherever members of households stood in opposing camps, there would be division and hostility. It was division that Yeshua was desirous to see until everyone would turn their backs on satan, and come into alignment with His Kingdom. Only as each household member embraced Him, His truth and His reality, could they come into a peaceful alignment with each other. Wherever/whenever the believers in Yeshua kept silent about His truth, there would be an unholy peace established. That false peace would often be based upon compromises for the sake of keeping relationships intact at the expense of truth and righteousness. Yeshua would not approve of that, because those compromises for false peace meant that the testimony of His truth was being set aside for convenience, for idolatry, or for cowardice. There would be no acceptable reason for putting one’s light under the bushel according to His assessment! Yeshua came to declare a waragainst satan’s kingdom, and to manifest that battle on the earth between satan’s operatives and YHVH’s servants. It would be a battle for truth against lies, and holiness against perversions. EVERYTHING and EVERYONE that would take a stand with the world’s rebellion … everything and everyone, who opposed truth, righteousness, and the atonement accomplished by Yeshua … everything and everyone, who denied YHVH’s Lordship and authority in favor of their own power and their own way, wisdom and word, would be at odds with the Kingdom of Heaven. Yeshua said that He was eager for that fire of war to be kindled upon the earth, because that war would humiliate satan with defeat and glorify YHVH with victory. When the Messiah was born, the greatest threat to satan’s claim on sinful human souls appeared on the planet. When Yeshua was crucified, died, was buried, and rose again, the looming spiritual battle totally became GAME ON! The fire of spiritual war between the opposing Kingdoms would fall upon the earth when the tomb couldn’t hold its occupant. Once the fire of spiritual war began, there would be no sideliners allowed to sit it out. There would be no compromises made, and no peace established with the darkness or with falsehood. Everyone, would be aligned with one side or the other. That stance, chosen by each person, would have eternal consequences.
By His words in Luke 12: 49-53, the Messiah was saying that, following His completed act of atonement, His followers would be hated as He was hated. This war on the earth that His birth, sacrifice, and resurrection initiated will continue until YHVH casts satan and his followers into the eternal fire, and until He destroys the present earth; replacing it with a new, holy, restored, sinless reality that existed in His creation was at the very beginning. Secular Humanism wants to create a godless, peaceful, world based upon enabling rebellion and by negating the reality, the authority, and the necessity of the Messiah. Humanism declares that we are self-sufficient and need no God, and certainly no atonement. They are dead WRONG! Humanism is the religion of satan’s rebellion. When family members are divided with some standing for YHVH, and some championing the causes of Humanism, there will be war in the household. It is a war that Yeshua approves. It is fought through prayer, and through the wise, Spirit-led, applications of YHVH’s truth. When He is allowed to lead the battle for the righteous, there will be victories, even though they may seem very long in coming.
Oswald Chambers wrote about this conflictual reality very clearly in his devotional message that was assigned to Dec. 19th. It reads:
“Thousands of people are happy without God in this world. If I was happy and moral till Jesus came, why did He come? Because that kind of happiness and peace is on a wrong level; Jesus Christ came to send a sword through every peace that is not based on a personal relationship to Himself.”
On Dec. 20ththe Chamber’s devotion went on to say this:
“Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross of Christ is an absurdity and there is absolutely no need for it. What the world needs is not “a little bit of love,” but major surgery.
When you find yourself face to face with a person, who is spiritually lost, remind yourself of Jesus Christ on the cross. If that person can get to God in any other way, then the Cross of Christ is unnecessary. If you think you are helping lost people with your sympathy and understanding, you are a traitor to Jesus Christ. You must have a right-standing relationship with Him yourself, and pour your life out in helping others in His way— not in a human way that ignores God. The theme of the world’s religion today is to serve in a pleasant, non-confrontational manner.”
“The calling of a New Testament worker is to expose sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior. Consequently, he cannot always be (poetical) charming and friendly, but must be willing to be stern to accomplish major surgery. We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful speeches. We must be willing to probe down deeply in others as deeply as God has probed us. We must also be sharply intent on sensing those Scripture passages that will drive the truth home, and then to apply them fearlessly.”
Kapow! Chambers took the wiggle room away from unengaged believers, and slammed the door on the excuses of the politically correct pulpits. The words of Yeshua regarding those, who are not worthy of Him, came leaping to mind, as I read this writing of Chambers.
36 A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; 38 and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.
If we think that we can sit back and be silent when faced with apostasy, with institutionalized/legislated rebellion, with lies, and perversions, we are wrong. Our soulish excuses commonly suggest that:
1: We won’t be able to impact the situation or the thinking of others anyway, so don’t bother to challenge them.
2: It is not my concern … I have no authority in the matter, so it’s a waste of my time.
3: I don’t want to make waves that will reach beyond this issue. My relationships and my life might be impacted negatively, if I challenge what is being done or being spoken by others.
4: I don’t have a right to speak into the choices being made by others. I don’t want to overstep my boundaries.
5: Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion, and to make his/her own assessments/determinations about truth. It’s disrespectful to challenge others with my version, or with my takeon truth/reality
Whatever excuses we formulate, they are always overridden by the mandate of Yeshua for us to engage for His Kingdom, for His honor, and for His truth against the darkness that seeks to engulf all of the human creation. We will continually find ourselves challenged, then, to consider our priorities, to see if our highest priority truly is the Kingdom of YHVH, or our own popularity, safety, position, or personal life.
I suspect that there are times when satan has convinced us that we will mess it up if we try to make a counter attack, or to speak the truth. We know well our own past failings and our current shortcomings. We especially know about the issues involving our weakness of soul. We don’t want to make a mess of things, so we back off; not trusting the Lord to use us, or to work through us, to bring light into a dark situation. Our emotions might respond too strongly! We might not have all the facts! All that may be true. Yes, we must subdue our flesh, or we WILL mess things up. But, the question is this: how do we most effectively subdue our flesh? Surely, it is by submitting ourselves totally to the Lord, and by making ourselves completely available to be a vessel through which He can speak and act, according to His purposes. Averting our eyes from problems, or walking away from the battle, are not honorable ways to keep the peace, if the Lord has called us to engage. There will be serious repercussions for standing down whenever the Lord tells us to stand forth.
Double-minded, compromised, cowardly claimants of the Kingdom will remain silent when the Kingdom of Darkness mocks YHVH, when it perverts His truth, or when the powers of the dark world dishonor His name … whenever human powers misrepresent Him and His holy righteousness. Those disciples of Yeshua, who love Him and His truth … those, who are dedicated to the expansion of His Kingdom (to making His truth reality known) on the earth … WILL feel His Spirit compelling them to engage in the battle. They will feel the fire in their bellies … fire which Yeshua spoke of bringing to the earth. It will not be a fire of hatred for people, but rather a fire of hatred against evil, and a fire of passion for reclaiming the lost for the Lord. For the impassioned disciples, it will be OK to be opposed, hated, and rejected so that the world will know who we are, and WHO HE IS.
To stand with Yeshua and His Kingdom means, then, that we are to be oppositional to the dark spiritual forces, but that we will also be oppositional to the deceived human beings, who choose to take their stand with the rebellion and falsehoods of darkness. We are to identify the falsehoods and rebellion held by others. We are to call them to account with YHVH’s truth in love, as they try to silence our message and to quench the true light. Satan will always seek to replace Yeshua’s light with his false light. He will get away with it whenever we enable his lies go thrive through our tolerant silence. Tolerating falsehood and rebellion against YHVH … giving it a pass or ignoring it by looking away … is never OK. In this coming new year of 2019, I believe we must be far more willing to engage the enemy fearlessly. We must be willing to stand forth and to take the hits that WILL come from aligning ourselves with YHVH and with His way, will, and word.
True peace on earth WILL come, when Yeshua rules and reigns from Jerusalem at his second coming. But remember, when He returns, it will be as a lion making war on His enemies … upon those, who opposed His Kingdom and upon those, who have aligned themselves against Him and against His people. So here we are; looking at a world consumed in rebellion as we celebrate the Messiah’s birth upon the earth. NOTE: Many Messianic believers will say that we should not celebrate the nativity on Dec. 25thwith Christmas, because it is so pagan in origin and in custom … something meant to displace the Jews and the Torah. Some of the traditions certainly do stem from paganism, and even some replacementism. Most certainly, the Messiah was not born at this time of the year, because there are no shepherds and flocks in the fields of Israel due to December’s winter conditions. History shows that the Roman census did not take place at this time. For me, however, I believe that the wonder of His coming is glorious no matter when it is acknowledged and celebrated. Let’s not let division, of the type which has not been approved by the Lord, to become a stumbling block to our unity found in Him alone. At the same time, let’s not become so absorbed in the Lamb of God being born in a stable that we block out the truth that this divine little baby, in His adulthood, started a war that is still ours to battle … a war that will end with the Lion of Judah shredding the enemies of His authority and of His Kingdom. Let’s meditate on the wonder of Bethlehem … rejoicing in His arrival, while keeping a sword in our hand; ready to fight for the truth and honor of our King of Kings. He must lead us in this battle. He must give us the strategies and the proper heart to be effective, righteous, humble, warriors. Let’s allow Him to divide what He wants to divide, and to burn away with His holy fire what needs to be consumed. And when the battle is over (when His righteousness reigns over all creation … when all human beings acknowledge, love, and worship Him) may He evaluate each of us as worthy, faithful, followers and inheritors of His Kingdom’s glory. For now, let’s celebrate His reality and His nativity with great joy. Allow that joy to permeate every part of your being. That joy is what will give all of us the strength to fight for Yeshua’s righteous, holy, eternal, Kingdom in the battles ahead. Surely, they will intensify until His return. Delight in the Messiah, and take your stand in His Kingdom with Him. May your Divine Nativity celebrations be richly blessed in these next few days! Then, stand ready for 2019! The battle that is unfolding will set the stage for His return to the earth. We have been chosen for such a time as this. Rejoice! HE IS LORD ETERNAL! We are HIS and HE IS OURS!
In Him alone,