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“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming ‘I am the Christ,’ and deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4 NIV)

In Part One, we witnessed Simon’s quick transformation. In Matthew 16, he was elevated from the ordinary to Disciple-extraordinaire, Peter. Picture him in Matthew 16:18-19 with a proud and pious look, holding the keys to the kingdom.

In three short verses, it all changes. He has horns and resembles the devil. In moments, Simon went from exalted status to Jesus’ enemy. He transitioned from celebrity saint to Satan. What line did he cross with God? The same one prominent Christians transgress on a regular basis. Peter knew who Jesus was, (i.e. the Son of the Living God), yet, in Matthew 16:22, he undermined prophecy. (“Never Lord. This shall never happen to you.”)

Peter knew some things, but the future was not one of them. He should have shut-up and listened to Jesus. Disciples are notorious for not taking prophecy to heart. They may know in part, presuming they know the whole, but it is what they don’t know that makes them dangerous. The wise are aware of how much they do not know, but the fool thinks he knows everything.

Jesus gave us the essentials in his Olivet Discourse. He instructed disciples on the basics for overcoming at the end of this age (Matthew 24:3, Mark 13:4, Luke 21:7). He, who is sovereign over all things, told his followers in advance (Matthew 24:25). Have we taken these words to heart? Have we listened to Jesus’ words, or do we let the well-intentioned Peters feed us a diet of fake prophecy?

The end times will be marked with a great falling away. Authorities will attempt to undermine God’s prophetic word. They will describe a different future than the one Jesus presented in Matthew 24:9-10. Religious leaders will become a major stumbling block to saints who take prophecy to heart.

Three times in Matthew 24 (vs. 4, 11 and 24), Jesus warns about deception. But does it matter to those who know only part? “Many will fall away because of me,” is not just a prediction, but, because of who said it, it is an absolute. The Lord said many disciples will fall away, not just a few on the fringes.

Has apostasy or a falling away ever happened? Of course it has. History presents a pattern. For example, many disciples could not accept Jesus’ hard teaching in John 6. Then what? We learn, “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” (John 6:66)

When the going got tough, many, who had followed in the good times, bailed. We can understand desertion by pretenders, but what about the Lord’s inner circle, the twelve? In John 6:67-69, they had refused to leave Jesus.

As the cross of Calvary drew nearer, Jesus’ twelve disciples declared that even if they faced death, they would never leave him. Before that, in Matthew 26:31, Jesus said they would all fall away, and quoted Old Testament prophecy confirming it. So, were they there to the end or, that very night, as Jesus said, did they fall away?

Jesus never entrusted himself to men (John 2:23-24). Men will often reject the literal words of Jesus, and listen instead to sources like Peter.  If we read the whole, and not just part, we would know fake prophets will come and that those who stand firm to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13).

Teachers will give the many what they want to hear. They purpose not to know the whole, only the part that suits them. So, the many are set up for a major deception. (My people perish for lack of knowledge.)

“A little learning is a dangerous thing,” so wrote Alexander Pope. Anyone who owns, or has access to a Bible, has no excuse. Ahead of time, Jesus told us all we need to know. For shame if we do not take his foreknowledge to heart.

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Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11 NIV)

Prophecy students owe a great deal to Thessalonian believers. Without their habit of becoming confused, distressed and led astray, we would not have clear, supportive Scriptures on subjects such as the rapture and Christ’s return. Paul loved the Thessalonians, as his letters testify, despite the fact they were easily swayed by men.

In the church in Thessalonica, they nightly turned out to listen to Paul. Afterward, they probably shook his hand and told him how nice his message was. Unfortunately, they may have forgot what they heard by the time they reached home.

The dear folks were no doubt polite and thoughtful, making sure Paul, Luke and their companions always had enough to eat and comfortable lodging, yet something was amiss. Luke, the writer of Acts,  did not compare them favorably with the Bereans. As we read above, only the Bereans listened eagerly then examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 

Friendly people, but the Thessalonians failed to employ critical thinking. They did not test the spirits to determine if what they heard was of God. One can imagine the Bereans had questions, sought clarity, and were hungry to learn the Scriptural basis for what Paul taught. (The Reformation-era Pietists were much like the Bereans. Their famous reply to a never before vetted statement on doctrine was, “Brother, where stands that written?”)

The Bereans compared Paul’s Bible passages with other Scriptures. They reviewed the full context. Among their band, some took detailed notes. On the other hand, the Thessalonians contributed a part of the New Testament simply because they failed to retain Paul’s teaching on prophecy, or failed to familiarized themselves with his Scriptures. As a result, they easily fell into error.

We still have Thessalonian Christians around, wouldn’t you say? Dear folks, who would give the shirt off their back and sit through every service. They seem attentive to the teaching, but they leave everything behind at the double doors. (“That was a good word from Pastor today. What was it again he talked about?”)

Thanks to the Thessalonians we have a record of what Paul taught. In one he chastised them for being easily led astray by a false prophecy, false letter or false report supposedly coming from him. “Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?” (2 Thessalonians 2:5)

The Thessalonians were not equipped to catch an error in interpretation or in sound biblical teaching, but the Bereans were right on top of it. The lie never had a chance, because they interacted with what they heard and the inspired word of the Old Testament. False prophets may have avoided the Bereans altogether, which might explain why no letter was necessary to correct them. As a false teacher, why deal with being exposed when down the road, in Thessalonica, he could be treated like a star?

Revisiting what Paul taught about the events preceding Christ’s return and the rapture are to our benefit, but should it have been necessary? The Thessalonians probably treated every teacher with hospitality and an open door to their mind. If they did remember something, they lacked the discipline to put it to the accuracy test. Scriptural authority was not that big of a deal to the Thessalonians. The entertainment value of the experience had more importance.  Do you know of any Thessalonian churches with Thessalonian Christians near you? I hope you are acquainted with other Bereans.

 

While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.   (1 Thessalonians 5:3 NIV)

Last January, a report surfaced from the U.S. West Coast that billionaire businessmen were building a secure underground community. Though they don’t fear God, these Silicon Valley titans of technology want to be saved from that which they do fear.

Mentally, American Christians are being encouraged to take a similar approach. They live under an illusion of peace and safety. “If there is a disaster, Jesus will keep me safe” –or so they believe. The Lord will shelter them “from” rather than his actual promise to take them “through” (ex. Isaiah 43:2-3a).

God’s desire for his servants is to obey and believe, not doubt or fear. Escaping trials is the exception for the saints, while enduring them is the rule.

In the last days, teachers of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture (PTR) position will be responsible for a great multitude of those who fall away. They paint a picture of safety that does not square with Bible prophecy. Amillennial teachers will be accountable also. Denying the literal warnings of the Bible’s prophets, with intellectual-sounding arguments, is the devil’s work. The signs of a looming day of disaster are unmistakable or why would rich people be digging big holes for condos in Kansas?

Doing nothing is not an option. Noah’s ark of refuge had to be under construction long before the deluge began. What the saints need to build are self-supporting communities around prophets in the mold of Elijah, watchmen who are sounding the alarm of impending disaster. (God has raised up contributors to this blog for this purpose.)

One of Satan’s schemes for destroying God’s people is to cause them to sin, so the Lord himself slays them as punishment for disobedience (Exodus 32, Numbers 25, Joshua 7, 1 Kings 13, et. al.). The peace and safety crowd are rebelling against God’s Word by ignoring the commands to be ready, to watch and to pray (Luke 21:34-36). They add more guilt to their sin by ignoring judgment and proclaiming disaster will not befall them. They are being deceived. They live under an illusion of safety.

 All the sinners among my people will die by the sword, all those who say, ‘Disaster will not overtake or meet us.’ ” (Amos 9:10 NIV)

In those days there was no king in Israel, everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25 NKJV)

Having worked a few years as a real estate agent taught me a lot. For sellers of property, setting a price based on the fair market value, rather than what we hope our home is worth, is key to finding a buyer in timely fashion. For home buyers, it is vital to match what we can afford with what we want. The real in real estate is matching a seller’s reasonable expectation with a buyer’s financial ability.

So it is with the struggle often faced with prophecy. The current list of popular doctrines makes it a seller’s market, which means there are plenty of buyers considering a move from one position to another. Are the buyer’s unsatisfied with the status quo? Or has something forced a change? What is it they want? It is all subjective.

Objectivity is required as well. Being objective means I want facts. Subjectivity alone makes things murky. Facts clarify our options. Regarding prophecy, how do we arrive at facts? We must consult Scripture the way a real estate appraiser examines recently sold properties. If what we desire–that is our dreams or goals–conflicts with objective truth, then we have a choice. If we choose what we subjectively want to occur in the last days as opposed to what God objectively says, we won’t like what happens.

The Bereans were accustomed to teachers who were dreamers. How would they know if the Apostle Paul was like the rest? They listened intently to what Paul said; perhaps making notes. When he finished, the Bereans went back to their (Old Testament) Scripture to see if what Paul taught lined up with truth.

The Thessalonians, however, were more subjective. Salesmen could persuade them about what was right. Consider the context of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2. Confusion caused panic in the Thessalonian church. It came about because their subjectivity made them vulnerable to false prophecies, reports or letters about the Day of the Lord. They had listened to Paul but forgot the Biblical evidence. Many thought he was right; that is until the next gifted public speaker came along.

God has put eternity on our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Eternity is our dream. The way we achieve the unimaginable is contained in the word of God. Applying the five major rules for Bible interpretation is how we arrive at the facts. Demand accuracy in prophecy, rather than argue about who is right. Information is true or it isn’t. God is objective, not subjective. God is Mathematics and true science. God does not tolerate “adding to” what he has spoken (Proverbs 30:5-6).

In the time of the judges, subjectivity led to confusion in Israel. Everyone did what seemed right because Israel had no sovereign to set the standard. Had God been their king, they would have all agreed.

That’s where many are at today; subjectively shopping for what’s “right”. In other words, most are searching for their wants and trying to fulfill their dream. Instead, wouldn’t it be better to study our Bible with other Bereans? What if we developed a consensus for an accurate (a.k.a. Biblical) interpretation of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1-4)?  Isn’t it better to prize accuracy rather than the human standard of what seems right?

A whip for a horse, a halter for a donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools!  Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:3-4 NIV)

If you’re asking “Where’s Part 1?” my answer is I do not know. It vanished, at least for now. But, as promised, we will proceed with Part 2 of “Contrived Arguments” in hopes that Part 1 can be found. First, what are “Contrived Arguments”?  My definition is this: A contrived argument is a charge or accusation created from whole cloth or made up out of someone’s imagination. The purpose is to promote a larger, hidden agenda. For contrived arguments to work, they need a promoter and willing dupes who are inclined to believe their narrative.

We could offer scores of examples, but let’s pick one. One of the leading early members of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Dr. Bernard Nathanson, was a powerful advocate for a woman’s right to a safe, legal abortion.  His conversion to Pro-Life is detailed in his book “The Silent Scream”. Dr. Nathanson reported how, from the inside, he participated in the contrived argument that “68,000 women die annually from complications of ‘backyard’ abortions. Therefore, to save lives, women need safe, therapeutic abortion.” Willing accomplices at the World Health Organization (WHO) and The Guttmacher Institute published graphs and statements to back up the NARAL story. Sympathetic media ran with it and the rest is history.

To explain how contrived arguments work, I want to repeat something written in a recent post. “The one who forms the argument, in all probability, will win the argument.” It is easy to figure out why. For one thing, it is impossible to disprove a negative, such as an accusation (ex. “How many times have you hit your wife?”) Challenging the fabricator will fail to convince anyone who is sympathetic to their cause. Also, the one who contrives the argument has the advantage of considering potential counter-attacks and preparing for them beforehand.

Let’s say I claim: “The Russians stole the 2016 presidential election.” Here’s another: “Fossil fuels are destroying the planet.” What about this one: “Modern Bible translations have corrupted God’s Word. The only reliable version is the inspired and infallible Authorized King James.” Try to rationally dispute these statements with an ideologue and it will probably result in frustration.

Here’s a popular contrived argument. “The Church will be taken up in the rapture before the Tribulation. Anyone who disagrees does not believe the Bible.” (The roots of this contrived story are in Lifesaver: Saving God’s People from the PTR Ship.) When the preacher pounds on the pulpit, becomes red in the face, holds his Bible in the air and yells the above, it tends to discourage honest debate. That’s the purpose. Unanswered propositions embolden the accuser so they feel wise in their own eyes.

Be aware of false narratives that have made their way into our culture—even the culture of the Church. Challenge them with Scripture, facts and rationality. You may not save everyone from believing contrived arguments, but you can at least save yourself from yielding to the lie. It is more important to stand for truth than it is to win the argument.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:22-23 NIV)

In America, some speech is unwelcome. Things turned violent in early February at the University of California at Berkley.  Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to address some students interested in hearing his political views. In a show of displeasure, students opposed to Mr. Yiannopoulos’ position on the issues,  set fires and smashed windows while U.C.-Berkley police passively watched. Dare we say the talk was cancelled. Days later, the demonstrators pronounced the Anti-Milo protest “stunningly successful”.

On other campuses, such as Vermont’s Middlebury College, disruptions have become more violent. A professor was treated for a neck injury after helping a libertarian political commentator escape the student mob.  Preventing the airing of opposing political views has become the newest student cause celebre. Censorship is not just coming from students. A professor at Marquette University last year was placed under review and relieved of all faculty and teaching duties for publicly supporting a student’s right to defend traditional marriage. Marquette, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a Jesuit Catholic institution.

Protests to throttle free speech, unleash diatribe and overturn elections have taken to the streets. The anti-hate crowd is acting very hateful. Disagree with one of their orthodoxies, and you are automatically branded a bigot, racist, sexist, homophobe, etc., etc.  Does anyone think this bodes well for our future as a democracy? What are they angry about? Why do some feel obligated to prevent free speech? Why the fear of words?

My concerns for this country, and its liberties, are not mine alone. The concerns don’t end there. Of all places, differing views on Scripture are not usually welcomed in the church. Instead, most pastors practice the “binary solution”:  My way or the High-way.

Since not all concepts are equally valid, a balance is required. Being heard is one thing, and being persuasive is another. The Areopagus in Athens was a gathering place for diverse opinions and philosophies. Paul spoke there (Acts 17:22-34). He did a masterful job of connecting popular beliefs (ex. “the unknown god”) to Christian faith. When he finished, some wanted to hear more.

Paul found common ground then, from it, he built a case for the gospel. Today rabble-rousers purposely cause a media spectacle and take over a meeting. They shout down the headline speakers and black-ball from their assemblies anyone with whom they do not fully agree.

The last days’ doctrine of The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church (PWR) is an example of a Christian controversy. PWR wins over Biblical-minded Christians when given the opportunity to be fairly presented to objective minds. I am a witness. So what are we afraid of? Why not freely debate the Scriptures so we can come to unity in the faith?

As with left-wing radicals, the popular Pre-tribulation Rapture (PTR) (the imminent or any moment Jesus can return) crowd, has little interest in sharing the floor, the megaphone or the mic. They seek a monopoly on the discussion of prophetic doctrine (eschatology) rather than revealing truth. PTR loyalists often portray PWR in a false light unfairly characterizing the position. (Sounds like today’s politics, doesn’t it?)

What are the PTR faithful afraid of? We know why some feel PWR arguments must be silenced: If they are allowed to be spoken in truth and in love, they demolish strongholds of ignorance and fear.

“These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14 NIV)

I love prophecy. It reveals the multitude that no one can count standing around the throne. Dressed in white and waving palms, they cried out, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:10)

A few verses later we hear who they are and from where they came (above).

The saints who received salvation “came out of the midst of” the great tribulation. Their robes had been dirty with mud, blood, sweat, tears and who knows what else. Nevertheless, they appear before the throne white and clean. It is obvious from Revelation 7, the multitude earned something no one can ever take away.

What don’t we see? We don’t see anyone with a clean robe that had never been dirtied? Everyone, regardless of nation, tribe, language or people, came out of the great tribulation. No one before the Lamb escaped the test of patient endurance.

We live in a culture that rewards participation. We receive prizes for showing up, trophies for stepping on the field and ribbons for walking in the door. Some are paid for breathing.

The attitude that in order to be fair everyone should receive the same reward has made its way into Christianity through the error of universalism: Everybody receives a crown and everybody sits at the wedding supper of the Lamb. The only requirement is believe in Jesus—and even that may not be necessary. As far as outcomes, everyone should be equal.

Prizes for participating is not how life works. The real prize for participation is simply the opportunity to achieve, to succeed or to fail—and nothing else. God rewards, but his reward is for those who exhibit faith and who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).

Heaven is not an entitlement. Paradise is not a default position. If it were, it would not be worth dying for or worthy of carrying our cross. Sacrifice would be unnecessary.

We should all aspire to give our Savior our maximum. (Isn’t that what He gave us?) Yet, many leaders advocate “minimalism”. Going to church, reading our Bible, praying, maybe not all the time, but… you know. They say, “Believing in God and being a good person is all it takes.” But is that true? Intellectual assent to some facts, if that were enough, would make heaven as meaningful as a certificate of participation.

Paul encouraged believers not to merely enter the race, but run to win (1 Corinthians 9:24).

We ought to be ambitious for eternal rewards. Find out what pleases God, then do it! (Ephesians 5:10)

In 1 Samuel 16 we see David taken from watching the sheep then anointed king of Israel. Afterward, he went back to shepherding. David allowed God to orchestrate events and provide his tests (like facing a giant, fighting the Philistines, etc.). David did not just walk in the next day and demand his crown. He embraced every chance to earn his destiny, and to listen for God to teach him what he needed to know. His self-respect and confidence needed time to develop. He knew the One who called him would place him in a position to act on a kingly level. To  not endeavor to live up to his calling, would–like his predecessor–condemn him to utter failure.

Superficial, untested belief is as good as a certificate of participation. That and some folding money will buy a cup of coffee.

“Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19 NIV)

Jesus told his followers their position in God’s kingdom was relative to their faithfulness to God’s commands. The people must have been stunned. Position was always something determined at birth.  Status with God was different. Rule in the kingdom was attainable through obedience to, and the accurate teaching of, God’s commandments.

I want to link the kingdom teaching of Jesus to an issue dividing some Americans. When the presidential pendulum swung to the right last fall, opposing forces began to prepare for war; the anticipated battle over the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. The sides are fixed. At stake is the role of the judiciary. Will the nominee (who turns out to be Neil Gorsuch) interpret the constitution in a literal way, or will they take a “judicial activist” approach? Activists are subjective. Their interest is in achieving the “correct” outcome. Allegiance to their ideology is primary, which makes liberal judges political. To them, the constitution is outdated and must change with the times.

Our political ideas and arguments have spiritual roots. Outcome-oriented spiritual leaders are filling our seminaries and pulpits. Churches are abandoning the Scriptures as their constitution and taking an activist’s role. Rather than bringing culture into conformity with God’s Word, their ideology argues for accommodating the Word to culture.

The Book of Judges details Israel’s history during an era of steep spiritual decline.  The people were all about outcomes. Everyone did what they saw fit. God raised up judges (leaders) who would return Israel to the rule of law, but no sooner had their enemy been defeated then the people again set God’s Word aside and did what they wanted.

It is ironic that proponents who praise and honor America’s Constitution, favoring a literal interpretation, do not show Scripture the same reverence. While raising the alarm about a nation without laws or regard for tradition, some political conservatives flaunt their independence from God’s commands. Those on the right are many times spiritual liberals. They read into Scripture the outcome that suits them, if they read it at all.

In a real twist, we have self-proclaimed Christian conservatives who maintain they believe the Bible, yet obey a maximum of nine of the Ten Commandments. If the Bible is indeed their constitution, why do they only give lip service to Jesus’ Great Commission? If they deplore judges who serve as political hacks making law out of thin air, why do they honor teachers of doctrine that does not exist in Scripture?

Why is it taught that Jesus’ coming is not really accompanied by signs and is, therefore, at any moment? Pre-tribulation Rapture (PTR) teachers offer opinions rather than substance. There is no (zero) Scriptural backing for their teaching, but that does not stop them.

I see a parallel in U.S. judicial history. In a case that gave precedent for Roe v. Wade and legalized abortion, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote that he saw a “penumbra” (a term for “shadow”) of “a right” in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. I challenge any objective reader of that amendment to find in the wording a woman’s right to abort her baby. Others who wanted to find the penumbra somehow saw it too. As a result, the activist Warren Court legislated from the bench, and in 1973 added abortion to U.S. law after earlier banning prayer in public school. The teaching of Pre-tribulation Rapturism also had as its origin, a penumbra. (See “Shadows” in Lifesaver: Rescuing God’s People from the PTR Ship.)

The Bible is God’s Constitution. Those who hear Jesus’ teaching (above) on the kingdom should heed his warning that was confirmed in Matthew 7.

But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. (Matthew 7:26)

Then they brought a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:22-25 NIV)

The Son of God’s arrival on the scene came at the cost of peace. Simeon prophesied to the baby Jesus’ mother, Mary, ”This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34b-35)

In Matthew 10,  Jesus confirmed Simeon’s warning, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (10:34)

Picture the strife Jesus caused by walking among the people, performing miracles and teaching about the Kingdom of God. The strife was not among the people because they loved the Lord. The strident opposition to the Savior was from the ruling class, the religious aristocrats. Especially hateful was the slanderous accusation that Jesus cast out demons by the power of the prince of demons. The religious establishment tried personal attacks by declaring he was illegitimate before they renewed the charge he was from Satan (cf. John 8:41b, 48, 52). Their irrational hate was barely satisfied when they crucified the Lord.

With all the evidence, why didn’t everyone welcome Christ as the Prince of Peace? It was because of judgment. Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world (John 9:39).

Judgment reveals innocence or guilt. If we’re old enough we may remember the fictional TV defense attorney Perry Mason. Perry took the hard cases. His clients looked guilty from the start. What Perry had a knack of doing was flushing out the real killer. It happened at the trial as the prosecutor’s case against Perry’s client began unraveling. Perry would then describe the murder scene in such detail that the person who did it would confess.

This is what Jesus means by for judgment. The righteous will stand in stark contrast to the wicked, like light contrasts with darkness. In judgment the wheat is separated from the weeds or the kernel from the chaff. Since judgment begins with the household of God (1 Peter 4:19), Jesus was the sword of judgment that divided God’s flock and flushed out the wolves in sheep’s clothing. The loud howling came from the wolves. Jesus said, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” (Luke 12:51)

This is a tough concept to grasp. We all want to believe Jesus brought peace and love, but that is not what happened–not among the Jews. He came unto his own but his own received him not (John 1:11). The Lord’s presence exposed the wide gulf between powerful King Herod, along with the religious leaders, and God who came to save them.

We lament the great divide in the U.S. and throughout the world, but to blame it on the new U.S. president is a stretch and politically inspired. Because the division is along truth and spiritual lines is why we hear the howling. God will judge who is on his side. It won’t be hard because of the difference between love and hate.

I am in no way morally-equating U.S. President Donald Trump with Our Savior. Not at all. But the charge that Trump is a divisive figure is undeserved. Their are two sides to every separation. If he had his way, he would like to win his enemies over and make them friends. There were two sides to consider. It is self-defeating to try and defend oneself.

Division was already present in 2015 when Trump announced his plan to run for office, only it was a bit more under the surface. It is true that America is deeply divided, but it has been for some time. By now we have forces at work attempting to overthrow the government. Without a spiritual revival, there is no way of healing the divide.

As rioters shout their protest slogans, smash windows, set fires and curse law enforcement, remember the world has seen this before: The Bolshevik Revolution before Lenin or Hitler’s brown shirts in the 1929 Munich “beer hall putsch”.  Unrelenting blame and accusation will, in fact, divide the house and then chaos. None but the most evil are going to like what emerges when God’s judgment comes.

In the middle of  America’s bloody Civil War, Abraham Lincoln quoted from Jesus. In his 1864 inaugural address, he said these profound words, “A house divided will not stand.”

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