Faith Presses On
Since Aug 4, 2007

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The Church and the World, from my blog. Contact me at es519@juno.com.

Our nation has turned away from Christ considerably in just my nearly 50 years, and even a lot in just the 17 years since 9/11. As the Christian faith is being increasingly rejected, personally and corporately, in wealthy nations like the United States, and society grows ever more cold toward and distant from God before our eyes, there are fewer people coming to Christ with every generation, while every day the culture becomes more and more openly demonic and Satanic.

Yet, fewer people see things that way, and there are quite a few that consider these developments "human progress." Satan is lord of this time where so often evil is called good, and good evil (Isaiah 5:20)

Things are so bad now that a Christian can't help but think we could be very close to the Lord's return, and also to believe that judgment for America might come soon, too, whether the Lord returns first or not. And the many extraordinary connections between Isaiah 9:10 and the 9/11 attacks, which God has revealed to us through Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Kahn, have convinced many, including myself, that He was working through 9/11 events to warn America that unless the country turns back to Him, His judgment is coming.

But barring some calamity worse than what destroyed ancient Israel and worse than 9/11, would it even be possible for America to turn back to God now? Of course, all things are possible with God. But not everything happens. And ancient Israel didn't listen to God's warnings and was destroyed, so why might a wealthy, "advanced," worldly nation of today -- again, barring some catastrophe similar in severity to the Great Flood -- listen to God’s voice? Might the nation as a whole now be beyond God's mercy, having fatefully chosen now, once and for all, to trust in man's reason and natural abilities and to reject Him?

God will reveal the answer in time, but for now, there are no signs of national repentance and revival. Instead, today's spiritual condition looks like something out of what the Bible describes as the Last Days, like Babylon as described in Revelation. Lawlessness abounds, both outside and inside the Church, a lawlessness and rebellion against God’s ways that may have no equal in human history.

But one of the snares of a national lawlessness is that it nurtures pride, self-righteousness, bitterness and faithlessness even in those with faith. The wicked often seem to enjoy themselves and get away with, if not profit by, doing wickedly. Peace and joy in the Lord can be relentlessly undermined. Believers get into judging unbelievers. It becomes easier to enjoy the fruits of the harvest than to work the fields for the Kingdom, since in terms of living for today's pleasures, "everybody is doing it." Christians can lose the childlike spirit of faith. Jesus warned, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold," (Matthew 24:12)

There is now something of unprecedented strength that may prevent advanced nations like the U.S., Canada and European nations from turning back to God -- their very "advancement." To me, nothing so far in existence has seemed better qualified to be "strong delusion" than the so-called advancement in modern wealthy nations.

"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness," (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

Strong delusion is a terrifying prospect because it makes people incapable of hearing God's voice and of recognizing both true danger and true safety. The truth is still there, but it's ignored as if it isn't.

In our time and place, there's increasing temptation on the one hand, and pressure on the other, to turn away from God and live for today, for the most pleasant life in this world that it has to offer. The Christian life can seem now like a form of suicide.

Prosperity and comfort draw human beings into Satanic rebellion against God, as they did with Adam and Eve in the Garden. Riches give a false sense of security and false picture of reality. The Bible warns us again and again about that, but today those warnings are downplayed, if not ignored outright.

God warned the Israelites not to let prosperity in the Promised Land make them forget Him:

"Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage," (Deuteronomy 8:11-14).

There are a great many well-known New Testament passages that warn us that God must come first, and He can be our only God, and we are not to love this world, but to live for eternal life. This is just one of them, the words of Jesus:

“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal,” (John 12:5)

Jesus also said we cannot serve God and mammon

Ultimately, while there’s so much talk about what and who is at work against Christ within and without the Church, and these days we often hear liberalism, homosexual activism, Islam, Hollywood, political correctness, etc., are the ultimate source of evil in our time, it comes back to having no other gods besides God despite all that the world today seems to offer. When man chooses idols, he follows Satan instead of God and worships the demonic false god, Baal, Satan in another guise. Baal offers man the pleasures of this world at the expense of his soul in the next.

And that's why the modern advanced nations might be under God's judgment of strong delusion today -- in every time and place, what the world has to offer -- or seems to, to our sin-corrupted souls -- is tempting, but in advanced countries, the world's temptations are constantly being multiplied. "Love not the world and the things that are of the world," God's Word commands us in 1 John 2:15. The Church in places like America has an ever-developing apologetics for loving the world and excusing that love, while God has given people what they want instead of Him. The prosperity gospel reigns, and not just where it's preached, but so often even where it is publicly criticized and rejected.

Our age seems to be ever more prisoner to the Satanic and demonic -- enslaved due to its "freedom" from God, and that is where it appears He has given the nation, and the Church here, over to the corrupting power of mammon.

It's a different type of Great Flood, a flood of worldly temptations. Americans of the 1960s and 70s were already considered to be, on the whole, spoiled back then, and there are far more riches today. Even the upper middle class of a generation ago lived relatively modest lives in modest homes by today's standards.

Through worldliness, Satan has erected a vast multitude of strongholds in the Church here, which has adopted many of the world’s assumptions as unquestioned "truth" and "fact" and "reality." One person loves one thing outside of God’s will, someone else another, someone else a third, and so on, and each person will say nothing when something ungodly is exposed by the light of Scripture, except when the ungodly thing they love is brought into the light. Then they frequently defend the ungodly thing with a viciousness that seems demonic, along with accusing the person speaking against the ungodly thing of Phariseeism and sometimes mocking that person as well.

That treatment goes even for the very words of Jesus. They're frequently too much for even Christians of this age and place, which has so much of this life seemingly to offer, and possesses the spirit of "more is more." The answer to finding true peace and happiness at last is just to get something more of the world, Satan constantly suggests. He is ever working to remake this world so that escape to safety through Jesus is more difficult and costly to anyone who attempts it, and also less likely. For one thing, modern life makes people more dependent on employers, and those employers are, on the whole, becoming more worldly and Antichristian as time goes by. As it grows in power and is less subject to counterattacks and resistance from the Christian faith, the Satanic rebellion which governs the world becomes increasingly free to do as it pleases, and in the case of bestowing worldly authority on people, it will always choose to adopt and promotes its own if it can. Christians, then, are increasingly pushed aside unless they renounce their beliefs, in practice if not, increasingly, in actual spoken words. The power held by those taken captive by Satan to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26) again brings to mind the book of Revelation. Many of the loudest voices in the Church today are those that oppose God's Word while claiming to be Christian and to have some belief in the Bible.

The temptations of the world now are so great that the Church frequently hasn’t managed to be in the world and not of it, meaning to not love the world. While one Christian generation would like to think that it is contending for the faith as it should (Jude 1:3) and putting up the proper resistance to the Devil (James 4:7), the next generation sees many of the instances of its elders making peace with Satan alongside their claim to have made peace with God, and otherwise loving the world. When to younger generations the world seems to be the true beloved, preaching and teaching then have little power.

And many in the Church are often content to drift along, preaching about the sins of others and the sins of their own which are convenient to admit, while the rest of the time living for self.

Not loving the world must mean surrendering all to Him, questioning if we've done so, and being open to the possibilities of strongholds in our lives. Also, where we haven’t been fully conformed to Jesus, recognizing weakness as correction, as humbling. And not loving the world and its things.

Also, we should recognize how Satan presents his many of his temptations to us -- as toys. There are far more toys for adults (meaning any human invention that tempts our sin natures with supposed fun, entertainment and pleasure, so that we come to love it more than God and so make a god out of it) than you'll find in any toystore online.

If the things of the world aren't tools for God's work, but are worldly toys instead, then they're being used in Satan's work against God, and are idols, and produce the fruit of idol worship. That fruit today is all around us. It seems desirable and even good to us, just as the forbidden fruit in the Garden seemed to Adam and Eve, though its pleasures don't live up to Satan's promises, and are fleeting, and then bring far more in pain. And while he tries to instill fear by saying that to live to please God is to miss out on what life has to offer, that's a lie. In truth, living in rebellion to God, which is Satan's will for us, means missing out on and never knowing what God has to offer us.

Years ago, I lived as a lesbian. I also went to what the world calls a “good" state university, graduating with a degree in English. I grew up loving books, and at one point, had thousands. But after reading the Bible, I no longer had any interest in them as inspiration and truth food for my soul, except, in a way, in order to see how the writers treated God. Considering things now in the light of the actual truth of Jesus Christ, I have to believe that Satan himself invented godless fiction when he spoke to Eve in the Garden. It may not be appealing to our flesh to consider such thoughts, but his lies are why we have the world we do today.

* * *

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Revelation 7:9-17