Oppression — the exercise of governmental power in a cruel or unjust manner, as oppressive or burdensome, unjustly harsh, tyrannical, distressing, or grievous. to put people under unreasonable restraint; to exercise harsh and abusive so-called authority
Oppress — to lie heavily upon the mind; weigh down; subdue; suppress; squeeze; suffocate; put under feeling of being oppressed so as to silence and stifle the cry of the human heart
We live in an age of oppression — physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. We are oppressed from without and within. Screaming out for justice in an age of supreme injustice on all sides spawns the revolutionaries who strain every fiber to make a blow to the system. Everything is dark and twisted: poverty, genocide, generations under medicated tyranny, political corruption, endless war, pollution, and ecological nightmares.
Although one could choose from a million different causes, the loyal heart that is yearning for truth and justice will stop at nothing short of the true solution to this age of sadness and chaos, heartache and brokenness. The ultimate act of revolution is to respond to the call that strikes right to the core, to the very essence of the world system itself. This call was presented and articulated in detail and clarity by Yahshua,1Yahshua is the original Hebrew name of the man known as Jesus, i.e., the name his mother called Him… the Son of God.
What would such an authentic revolution look like in reality? What would be its tangible manifestation? Simply what is described in the Book of Acts 2:44 — “All who believed were together and shared all things in common.” That is history’s most profound movement, yet it has remained hidden to most. It is the way the disciples of Yahshua lived in the first century. They were actually called “The Way”,2Acts 24:14 — But this I confess to you, that according to “the Way”, which they call a cult, I worship the God of our fathers… for they were devoted to learning, producing, and preserving an emerging culture, which is the only way “The Way” can be; just as an apple seed, by its nature, must grow an apple tree. It is in the genetics of the seed. The “DNA” of the true gospel3GOS’PEL, noun [good news or hopeful message.] will always produce a set-apart people. The life described in Acts 2:44 was the first fruit that was meant to grow to maturity.
The call of the gospel is the ultimate solution to all the injustice that this sick and dying world has ever seen. It is the only antidote to the oppression and aggression of this age. There is nothing that exposes this self-centered consumer society more than a people who wholeheartedly band together, enduring through thick and thin. They are in it together for better or worse, in sickness and in health, through trials and testing, sharing all that they have, and refusing to forsake one another.
Acts 2:44 tests covenant love to the core, proving its quality and glory. Love comes from internal motivation, not external compulsion. Only a love that is greater than man’s faulty natural love will endure the testing that is coming upon the earth in these last days.4Luke 21:34-35 — But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. It must be divine love, poured into the hearts of redeemed men and women.5Romans 5:5 — And hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
The commandments of Yahshua, the Son of God, set forth the supreme challenge to the human soul, and connect you to the source of that divine love. You must begin by walking away from every self-centered agenda to embark upon the most noble endeavor: establishing the Kingdom of God here on earth just as it is in the very heart of our Creator. This is the very same call that Abraham obeyed so long ago.
Yahshua’s commandments and teachings are the detailed blueprints to equip a people to endure the tidal wave of the “I-me-my-mine” culture that is destroying the very fabric of all human society. Supreme selfishness is paving the way for a one-world government and a society that will ultimately welcome the Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast. This corporate monstrosity will be the result of a systematic leveling process that will succeed in wiping out all human worth and dignity. It will do it through aggressive and persuasive propaganda pumped right into the spiritual bloodstream of the masses in these next few generations.
Mankind has been polluted, scarred, marred in heart and soul, yet the persistent humble heart gropes to find a way to not get swept away. “Live for yourself” has become the anthem of the age. The young are seduced by the “siren song” of higher education, promising a life of comfort, ease, and pleasure.6Luke 12:19 — And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” All the ancient boundaries are being transgressed. Dazed and deluded, people despise the struggle and suffering that has preserved righteous character through the centuries. So we see humanity reduced to the level of brute beasts — arguing, lusting, striving, deceiving, hating, coveting, craving and neglecting. Man lives solely consumed with self gratification, feeding his insatiable ego. Thus the world is fast becoming as it was in the days of Noah,7Genesis 6:5 — The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. and like Sodom and Gomorrah,8Ezekiel 16:49-50 — Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it when the thoughts and intentions of the the human heart were only evil continually.
In stark contrast is the life that results from the gospel of Yahshua, the most radical calling that has ever been made to man. It shatters the flashy façade that has deceived the whole world.91 John 3:8 — Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 5:19 — We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. It sets forth the standard of true love, like a lighthouse to a storm-tossed ship at sea in the darkest night. This light exposes the darkness of selfishness and calls mankind to account.
The starting place to obtain the covenant love that is in Messiah is to sever yourself from the entanglements of your life in this world. This is a prerequisite for anyone who wants to become Yahshua’s disciple.10Matthew 10:34-39 — Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Luke 14:26-33 — If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple… Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.
Mark 8:34-38 — And He called to Him the crowd with His disciples and said to them, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. ”
Matthew 19:20-22 — The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
John 12:24-26 — Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. These are the so-called “hard words” of the gospel that usually get left out of the Christian preachers’ sermons.
First, you must leave your old life and occupation. Second, you must enter into a covenant with all those who also believe (just as a husband and wife enter into a marriage covenant “till death do us part”). Third, you become a new person, progressively being transformed into the likeness of the Messiah Yahshua.111 John 3:2-3 — Beloved, we are children of God now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.
1 Corinthians 15:49 — Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
The result of obeying this gospel is Acts 2:44 — All who believe live together and share all things in common. This is the exemplary life that is the light of the world in the midst of a dark and decaying society.12Isaiah 49:6 — It is too light a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth. The gospel calls us on a pilgrimage back to establish a set-apart holy nation,131 Peter 2:9 — But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Hebrews 11:13-16,39-40 — These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city… And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. a society that is held together by the Creator Himself. The holy nation is made up of those who were once not a people but were made into a people through their obedience to the gospel.141 Peter 2:10 — Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Mark 3:33-35 — And He answered them, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! Whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
So it must be leave, enter, and then become all that He needs us to be. Only a society with this integrity can endure until the end and be the Creator’s voice pleading with modern man to turn from the flood of deception that the evil ruler of this age is unleashing upon an unsuspecting global generation. Divided we fall. Only fiercely united will a people be able to stand up in the face of these final days of corruption. Now is a time of spiritual warfare. The only force that can stand up to this supreme spiritual oppression is true community. Not intentional community, or alternative energy, or sustainable agriculture, or cooperative housing, but a true community of those who love with all their heart, soul, and strength. This can only come from an equal response to the call of our Creator, which calls us into true communion.
The “church” is not a building, as everyone thinks. It is a family, a people, a confederation composed of volunteers who willingly live a life of self-sacrifice after the same pattern as the One they follow. It is a tribal life: families, clans, and tribes, in stark contrast to the suburban loneliness of the world. There God can truly relink Himself to man and man to Himself.15James 1:27 — Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
In this place God is pleased to dwell.16Psalm 68:5-6 — Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; He leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. All other revolutions will continue to spin round and round and accomplish nothing till man’s heart is made one. First, we must be one with the ancient call, mission, and purpose of the One who fashioned us, and also we must be one with one another.
The most radical movement that history has ever recorded was the church of the first century, after it was established by the apostles, those who had intimately learned from the Savior himself. They were a people of one heart and one soul, a Body of believers not in doctrine alone, but in the practical, experiential, daily reality of love and care. Sadly, it didn’t endure long, but it left a plumb line, a standard, and an ember of hope for a people who would pick up where they left off, and catch fire to fulfill all that is in the ancient writings of the Law and the Prophets.
Love is the solution. Love is the light of the world. Anything less than one heart and one soul will be undermined and swept away in the coming days of testing. But the meek will inherit the earth — the humble, the servants, the ones who serve night and day to bring about the fulfillment of the promises of God.
The trial that is coming upon the earth will be the fiercest battle that has ever been fought, but the battlefield is in the unseen realm of spiritual warfare.172 Corinthians 10:4 — For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
Ephesians 6:12 — For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. It is a war against division, laxity, complacency, selfishness, hypocrisy, and compromise. It is a war against every influence that comes in to make our love grow cold.18Matthew 24:12-13 — And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. It is a war to forgive and be forgiven.
When a people walk this narrow prophetic course spoken of by the prophets of old, the veneer of this current world order will be torn back to reveal the devastation and evil that has been and is corrupting this whole earth. We live in the last days.192 Timothy 3:1-5 — But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. As in the days of Noah, so many of our thoughts are corrupted with petty selfish motives and the selfish ambition that has been inculcated deep into us.20James 3:16 — For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
We all need salvation desperately. Salvation is not merely a legal matter settled in heaven by a “sinner’s prayer” to escape the sentence of judgment, but it is a complete and radical transformation of the heart, redirecting the motives of our life. We need a savior, a shepherd, a guide to lead us though the valley of death.21Psalm 23:4 — Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Like sheep, we need our flock — our tribe, our people, and our Shepherd. We need elders and prophets; we need wisdom and role models. Alone we will fall, but together we will stand. This truth is written deep in our soul.
If you hear this call,22Matthew 22:14 — For many are called, but few are chosen. you must no longer live for yourself.232 Corinthians 5:14-15 — For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised. The end of all injustice will begin from those who respond to the call to deny themselves and live for others. That is the end of Satan’s reign.
We all have greed. Greed is wasting precious time and energy on yourself while the world is collapsing and God’s purpose is left in abeyance. There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends. Yahshua, our example, laid down His life for us, and the only appropriate response is to do the same for Him and for His cause — to see the Kingdom of God established here on earth as it is in heaven.24Matthew 6:33 — But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Anything less is to take His name in vain.
The authority of the gospel has been resurrected and is calling and cutting men out of their self-centered existence25Matthew 10:34 — Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. and into a life of daily service to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.26Acts 26:7 — …to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by the Jews, O king! Loving your own life perpetuates the fallen systems of the world and puts you at enmity with God.271 John 2:15-17 — Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions — is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
James 4:4 — You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. To live for yourself is to be apathetic and indifferent to the plight of your fellow man, as well as the burden of God. How can we pursue our own hobbies and careers and be unconcerned about the Kingdom of God?
The most amazing thing has begun28Jeremiah 30:24 – 31:1 – In the latter days you will understand this. At that time, says YHWH, I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel, and they shall be my people. Habakkuk 1:5 — Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. — the rebirth of the ancient tribal culture of Israel.29Jeremiah 30:20 — Their children shall be as they were of old, and their community shall be established before Me, and I will punish all who oppress them. Jeremiah 31:4,33 — Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers… But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Just as the prophets of old have spoken, the God of heaven and earth will again regather His people into one fold30John 10:16 — And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. in these last days and separate them from the nations around them to make them a set-apart people once again. He has already started to gather this people back into the deep covenant love of the New Covenant. He is restoring a people who will bring about His will, true activists who will not love their own lives even unto death.31Luke 9:23 — And he said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
Revelation 12:11 — And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Love is the highest state of awareness, which compels one to action.
It has been prophesied that in the last days God will gather His people into one flock, with one shepherd, for all the world to see a witness and foretaste of the coming kingdom,32Matthew 5:14 — You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matthew 24:14 — And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. the fruit that God himself has always wanted — a people in unity, in one accord, obeying His commandments.33John 14:15 — If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
John 17:21-23 — that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me. Their love will be a dividing line that will reveal to the world who His disciples are34John 13:34-35 — A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. and who they are not.35Revelation 18:2 — Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
Malachi 3:18 – Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
Where brothers are dwelling together in unity is where the blessing of eternal life will be given.36Psalm 133 — Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard of Aaron, running down to the edge of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life everlasting. It is only among a people who are being cleansed, forgiven, and learning to daily forgive one another. It is the place of purification, just as gold is refined by fire. It is a place for the humble and the poor in spirit, the sick who need a physician. It is a home for the lonely, a dwelling place for widows and orphans.
But love has to be tested.37John 15:13,17 — Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends… These things I command you, so that you will love one another. A building must be founded on the the solid rock, the chief cornerstone, in order to grow into a spiritual house for God to dwell in by His Spirit.38Ephesians 2:22 — In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. That is the restoration of all things, which can come about only when there is a people who will put all of the enemies of God underfoot.39Hebrews 10:13 — …waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. Israel has to be restored, not as a political nation, but as a covenant people who reflect God’s own heart.
Acts 2:44 is the only context in which the Law and the Prophets can be fulfilled. Apart from this foundation, all that is left is warped doctrinal gnosticism, and no fruit. Our Creator has always longed to see the fruit of His love, the crop of His planting,40Matthew 21:43 — Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. the outcome of His Word. He has always wanted a people who are together. All who believe can’t help but be together. God does not need and cannot use scattered, independent people, but only those who are together. Only they can cause love, justice, and mercy to triumph over evil. That is what began in Acts 2:44, and that is what is being restored on the earth in these last days. It is the only spark of hope for liberation from the oppressor. Please come see what has begun.
The gospel is good news to the humble, willing heart.41John 7:17 — If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on My own authority.
They came from all over the world to Ellis Island. Sixteen million immigrants passed through her doors. They came to find a life filled with hope instead of fear. . .
“You press forward to the bow of the ship. After three weeks at sea. . . After years of hunger and dreaming… For the first time you see it . . .”1https://www.history.com/topics/immigration/ellis-island
There she stood, the Statue of Liberty – the symbol of America.
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”2
Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus. She wrote that America was “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land.”
They rolled up their sleeves and went to work. They gratefully took the humblest positions in work, the least desirable housing, and the lowest place in society – because it was better in America. At least here they could look up. Things would get better. And they did. They fought their way up by the only weapon they had – hard work. They learned the language, the history, and the ways of America. Then they could come to the proudest day of their lives, becoming an American citizen! They went on to fight in America’s wars and enter every realm of their beloved adopted country.
Unwanted and oppressed in their native lands, they found dignity and acceptance in America. They didn’t come demanding their rights. They only wanted a chance and America gave them that. They loved the nation that gave them a new life. And they made the best citizens of all.
This was not “multiculturalism.” It was the only way in good conscience a man could cross the boundary from one culture to another – by embracing the new one you entered. If it weren’t superior, you wouldn’t have come. Since it was, you treated it that way. Then there was peace in the land.
In large cities where there is a large Asian population, you will find invariably a “Chinatown” or the equivalent. In some part of the city will be the Black section of town. Next will be the Irish Catholic section, and one can continue on, according to all the different cultures that make up that city. People naturally gravitate to their own culture. They feel more comfortable there. Forcing them out of it causes discomfort and alienation. The New York Times, in a major series on race relations recently, quoted one black woman about the desire of another black woman to integrate into the white society around her:
“It’s a wanna-be thing,” says Mrs. Ray, who attends a black church. Her sister-inlaw, she thinks, is too eager to make white friends and entertain them in her home.
“Some people don’t know who they are and have to go somewhere to validate themselves. She doesn’t feel comfortable being black.”3June 4, 2000, “Testing the Faithful” by Kevin Sack.
Those who are comfortable with the way God made them are being made to feel uncomfortable in today’s twisting society. Yet what
do people do when they have some refuge from the laws compelling them to integrate? They segregate!
Long ago, Yahshua, the Messiah, spoke with the voice of a prophet of things to come. He spoke of the darkest times yet to face humanity, and also of signs to come that overflow with the promise of hope — the hope of an age of peace. Perhaps we are embarking upon the very days in which His prophecies will begin to be fulfilled.
He spoke of wars.
Once again cannons fire and missiles fly as heavy steel death machines roll in with horrifying thunder. The gravity of it all makes the blood flow down… always followed by the soft, falling streams of tears. The great and terrible wars of mankind are built out of the same uncivilized substance that rears its ugly head in the many deep trials of our civilian relationships. All the while we say that we long for peace.
He spoke of rumors of wars.
Mankind amasses weapons higher and higher in sinister, antagonistic preparation, while soldiers are equipped with the brutality needed to engage in some not-too-distant and inevitable day… when the tears will flow once again. If only we could see where the wounds we nurse, the grudges we hold, and the bitterness we cling to will surely lead! Deep inside, we all want to get along.
He spoke of nation rising against nation.
The cruelty of history takes yet another horrific lap round an inescapable track, handing down to the next generation an inheritance of convincing proofs of our slavery to fallen human nature. When will we ever learn, oh, when will we ever learn? Often we don’t realize how trapped we are until we really try to be free.
He spoke of kingdom set against kingdom.
The insatiable, heartless climb to be the one on top is always accompanied by indifference and numbness to the cost of those who are crushed at the bottom. Generation upon generation deeply inculcates these fallen “ virtues ” into the next — to want to be noticed, to stand out, to be acknowledged as someone great. To esteem others as greater than oneself remains one of mankind’s most uncultivated traits. Yet righteousness cries out, “Are we all not members of one human race?”
He spoke of famine.
It remains a taunting injustice that on such a rich and abundant planet so many face hunger, need, and want. It is upon the same abundant planet, with all its highly civilized, densely populated societies full of comfort and ease, that so many know all too well the desperate, gnawing hunger of loneliness. Will this savage curse of injustice ever be broken?
He spoke of pestilence.
The Death Angel swoops in yet again with the sickle set to the harvest — a plague that sends its feverish shock waves reverberating throughout the human race. As humanity is infected with fear of this ominous and invisible enemy, we all know that this is not the first time that angel has come near… nor will it be the last. Still, even more insidious are the social viruses that are causing the whole human race to crumble and melt down before our very eyes. Is there any true refuge for life?
He spoke of earthquakes.
All that seems immovable, everything that promises stability, the firmest strategy, the strongest security, and the highest impenetrable walls begin to crumble when the ground shakes and rumbles underfoot. Life’s violent tremors far beyond your control make you long for what is solid — the true, unshakable Rock.
Knowing that this is just the beginning of the sorrowful birth pains that mark the culmination of this dark age will surely cause any mortal man to shudder.
But also upon the end-times battlefield, between light and darkness, good and evil, another player steps forward. Eagerly awaiting, those who have eyes that still look up to see beyond take special note, with hearts that ponder as they view the majestic sparkling of the stars above. They observe the fresh grass emerging from the earth beneath with hearts that cling tightly to hope amid what seems utterly hopeless.
The Voice of Spring whispers its bold, unwavering message, as if to affirm His truth…
These precious ones are brought into the secret counsel of the Conquerer. To their eyes, an ancient, unfailing, and undaunted declaration of the great promise is unveiled: one day darkness and death will be done away with! One day life will prevail. Good will triumph over evil.
So now the Voice of Spring is awakening, opening its mouth as if to echo the ancient teachings given by Yahshua — a teaching only meant for those have ears to hear, a lesson spoken only for the tenderhearted. He taught His lessons to those who would be called disciples.
Hidden throughout the earth, myriads of living creatures give birth to new life, so tender and fragile — mothers gently brooding over and caring for their defenseless young, innocent and unaware of the plagues that roam the earth. The Voice of Spring whispers its bold, unwavering message, as if to affirm His truth…
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Although the winter can be so long, and death is painful, tragic, and seemingly so final, the Voice of Spring tirelessly brings forth its enduring message of courage that hope will surely come, and to never lose heart. Resonating with the Voice of the Healer, it declares the truth…
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!”
Shining forth triumph in a spray of fragrant blooms, with precious petals so delicately crafted, arrayed in brilliant bursts of color, each so masterfully placed, the flowers wave their banners that seem to confidently boast, “ VICTORY, VICTORY, VICTORY!” As the tender leaves emerge and unfurl, the unstoppable, tender buds burst forth from every high and low place, every crack and crevice under the warming sun. They are the Voice of the Spring that speaks the language that only the
humble can hear, as if in perfect tune with this truth…
“Blessed are the meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth.”
To the ones who breath in deeply the fresh, crisp air, cherishing the warming sunshine after the rain, ever-embracing the hope for true Utopia to one day come upon a sickened world, tenaciously refusing to yield to despair despite the intense struggle, the Voice of the Spring cheers them on to say this truth:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.”
And to those who have been awakened by the heartache surrounding them, conscious that life is but a vapor, far too short to waste moments with petty bitterness and hurt feelings, they are compelled to give more, and forgive more, in order to make every moment count. These are the ones who burn with compassion to find solutions to help in this painful struggle for meaning amid such a futile and cancerous age. They long to pour out their zeal only for the noblest of causes, and spend every last breath to have a consequential effect. To them, the Voice of Spring echoes this truth…
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
Filling the skies overhead, the joyful orchestra of the winged birds somehow continually take note of what is praiseworthy, refusing to let their songs be silenced despite the darkness engulfing the earth. They take a leading role, resounding the anthem for the Voice of Spring — singing, imploring, and beseeching any listening ear to never forget this simple truth spoken from the heart of the Healer of long ago…
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
So, despite the sickness, tragedy, chaos, fear, confusion, sadness, brokenness, and dark seasons of mankind… yes, despite all these things, take note that the Voice of Spring reverberates powerfully, yet gently, timidly, yet majestically, swelling up from a Source too deep for words, a profound and unquenchable message full of hope:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
So comes the call. Despite your fears and failures, despite your brokenness and your guilt, despite your pain and scars, despite your loneliness and alienation, despite the horror, atrocities, and the sick, dark struggle that is so very real during a very troubled time on this planet, we join with the Voice of Spring and the Voice of the Savior of mankind by saying to you…
Come to us, all you who are weary and heavy laden! Come and find rest! Come to the side of the One who is victorious over death! Come and gather with those who are already gathered! Come and learn the Way of the Healer of our maladies! Come and learn from the One who holds the Power of Spring!
Responding to this call will cause His kingdom to come in reality, on earth as it is in heaven. The curse will be broken. Death will be done away with. Life will prevail. Love will prevail. Come!
As men ignore the ever-present witness of Creation, the cataclysmic events of Isaiah 24 will unfold. . .
Long ago the prophets of Israel foretold that in these terrible days men would call evil good, and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). Men and women act as though God does not exist. They push beyond the age-old boundaries of the human conscience, heedless of the consequences. God is not indifferent to what is happening on the earth. The sin of mankind is pushing the earth to the brink of destruction — the judgment which God has already announced by His prophets, as recorded in the Bible.
It will be like the days long ago when God warned Noah that a flood was coming on the earth. Noah was told one hundred years before it happened. Noah obeyed the voice he heard in his conscience because he knew it to be true. The earth was full of evil, murder, and violence, and it deserved to be destroyed. Men’s thoughts were wicked continually (Genesis 6:5). Noah and his family’s great efforts in building the ark saved the lives of eight people from the greatest catastrophe in the history of the human race. Just a remnant survived, a seed of the vast population that had perished, but it was enough to begin again.
The story strikes a resonant chord in the hearts of men, women, and children still, thousands of years and millions of retellings later. For one shining moment the earth was clean and pure and fresh again, like we all know it was always meant to be. It will be that way again . . .
Splitting the atom, designing new computer chips, decoding our DNA – boundary after boundary has been crossed at great cost to our humanity. What will scientists do next? If gene researchers can discover how to fix the minute flaws that riddle our DNA, will they find the Fountain of Youth? And if they do, what will it cost for a drink?
We are all created in the image of God. You can see the resemblance most clearly in man’s moral nature — our inner sense of right and wrong. Most of us refer to this sense as our conscience. Our conscience judges what would damage the likeness of God in ourselves and others. It preserves our humanity. When we obey our conscience we maintain the image of God that was put in us; each time we disobey our conscience, we begin to lose it.
Man has an enemy who is constantly at work, tempting him to disobey his conscience and leading him astray from his created purpose. At one point in eternity past, this enemy, Satan, thought he could ascend to the place of God. Although he didn’t succeed he hasn’t stopped trying. Today he is attempting to usurp God and to supplant Him as the Sovereign of the universe by manipulating or modifying the likeness of God in man. If he is able to change man so much that he no longer represents God’s image and glory, then he has accomplished his purpose. Instead of resembling God, man will resemble Satan throughout eternity and spread Satan’s destructiveness everywhere he goes.
Mapping the entire human genetic code will have a more powerful effect on controlling every aspect of human life than splitting the atom or developing the computer microchip.
Throughout history Satan has used many aspects of an all-encompassing scheme to achieve his end. He wants his image (pride, selfishness, rebellion, and inhumanity) to fill the universe. He believes he can do it through man’s technology and globalization since the whole world lies in his power. In the 20th century he used nuclear technology and the computer – two powerful tools to accomplish his goal. In the 21st century he is using another powerful tool — genetic engineering. Currently the Human Genome Project is mapping the entire human genetic code. This knowledge may have a more powerful effect on controlling every aspect of human life than splitting the atom or developing the computer microchip. Man is on the verge of taking destiny in his own hands.
Through manipulating the human genetic code, man may repair many of the broken genes caused by the curse of sin. If he is able to do this, nothing will prevent him from living forever. What Satan said to Eve when he tempted her in the Garden will then prove true: when she ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he said that she (and later, man) would ultimately find the know-ledge through which they could live forever. Although their disobedience brought sin and death into the world, God gave them a way, the conscience, to not have to suffer a second death, like Satan. By obeying his conscience man can preserve God’s image. All who have done this will be given eternal life after their sins have been paid for by their suffering in death.
The effects of sin have gone deep into man’s genetic make-up. If man is able to correct these damaged genetic pieces he may achieve a kind of immortality through his own efforts. He would no longer need to obey his conscience in order to live eternally and Satan will have effectively supplanted the image of God in man.
It is a race against time. Whose image will prevail in man? Will it be God’s or Satan’s? Will God’s plan to restore man and ultimately all of creation win out or will Satan be able to genetically alter man to the point that God’s likeness is unrecognizable in him forever?
Our Master Yahshua the Messiah was born from a preserved seed that was pure. This second man didn’t have the taint of sin in His genetic make-up. Through a life of submission and obedience to God’s spirit within him, He accomplished redemption and salvation for all mankind. He has the power to correct all of the mutations that mar the perfect code that God created in us. First of all, He will correct the mutations in our soul where the way we treat one another is determined. He has the power to save us from our sin and to transform us into His exact likeness.
God must have a people whose lives together demonstrate this transformation, bringing healing to our minds, emotions, and wills. This is what will prove that God sent His Son and that He has the power to save man from the effects of sin.
A restored nation of Twelve Tribes living a life of love expressed in the same unity that Yahshua had with His Father will be the demonstration that proves it. The whole world will be held accountable, righteous judgment can come from God, and the earth can be saved from the hands of those who destroy it, especially those who destroy God’s image in others.
“If the Foundations Are Destroyed, What Can the Righteous Do?”
The institution of marriage and the family… has been the bedrock of civilization for five thousand years and everything of value sits on that, everything rests on it – our institutions, our government, our way of life – everything rests on that foundation. If you weaken it, or if you undermine it and you put cracks in that foundation, you necessarily threaten the entire superstructure of western civilization… ~ Dr. James Dobson1* Speech by Dr. James Dobson at the May 1, 2004, Mayday for Marriage rally in Seattle’s Safeco Stadium.
It’s terrifying to be in a tall building during an earthquake knowing that its very foundation is shifting and crumbling under you. What can you do? Escape from the building before it collapses, and flee to the hills? Or wait in fear and hope that the tremor will pass? And, if the tremor passes and the building is still standing, then what? Can you shore up the foundation to be safe from the next earthquake?
It is true that the institution of marriage and the family is the foundation upon which human civilization stands. It was established by God in Genesis 2:24 and 3:16-20. He alone holds the royal patent on marriage and the family, and we as human beings do not have the authority to redefine it or discard it in the event that it fails to suit us.
So what can the righteous do? Shore up the fractured foundations with legislation? Human civilization is like a great building straddling the San Andreas Fault, or perched on the edge of an eroding shoreline. Can you restrain the force of an earthquake? Can you hold back the tide? Can you push the floodwaters back up the river? The fall of man is running its course, reaching its fullness in these last days.
Marriage is not the invention of a sociologist or psychologist, nor is it the product of a male-dominated culture seeking to oppress or oppose women, nor is it a force counteracting women’s or gay liberation. It is the invention of the Sovereign God for the purpose of filling the earth, and ultimately the universe, with His highest creation č man (male and female) made in His image.
But now that foundation is in jeopardy. Forces are at work to undermine it, causing it to crack and crumble under the load of a civilization weighed down with guilt. It is as the Apostle Paul prophesied,
“In the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Yet these characteristics of modern humanity are merely the outward manifestations of a deep, seething rebellion breaking forth against their Creator. Paul also described this in vivid terms,
“╔their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened╔ They exchanged the truth of God for a lie╔ Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind╔ They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice╔” (Romans 1:21-29)
Although the latest expression of this rebellion is a frontal assault on the institution of marriage, it is only possible because of the more subtle erosion of its underpinnings č the knowledge of good and evil that God put in man’s conscience. The erosion has taken place not only in the consciences of those with outlandish behavior, but generally in the Christian populace, resulting in the toleration and even approval of evil to a degree unthinkable not so many years ago. The divorce rate among Christians is the same as that among non-Christians, and 30% of “born-again” Christians say living together, gay sex, sexual fantasies, and viewing pornography are morally acceptable behaviors.1 Clearly, the church is far from being a light to the fallen civilization as it is virtually indistinguishable from it, sharing all of its vices and compromise. Truly we are living in the day when good is called evil, and evil is called good.
Five years ago Paul Weyrich, one of the foremost conservative minds behind the “Religious Right” in America for the past several decades, wrote:
“I believe that we probably have lost the culture war… I am very concerned, as I go around the country and speak and talk to [Christian] young people, when I find how much of the decadent culture they have absorbed without even understanding that they are a part of it. And while I’m not suggesting that we all become Amish or move to Idaho, I do think that we have to look at what we can do to separate ourselves from this hostile culture. What steps can we take to make sure that we and our children are not infected? We need some sort of quarantine.”2
His admission of defeat in the war to stem the tide of moral degradation in America should have been alarming to his fellow Christians. He was actually calling for Christians to separate themselves from this “hostile culture” lest they become infected. Who has heeded his call?
Stephen Bates, in his shocking exposÄ, The Jesus Market, documents the almost total accommodation of the world within American Christianity, under the banner of being “all things to all men.” For example, the 4-billion-dollar-per-year Christian merchandise market includes “Christian” punk rock, hip-hop, and heavy metal music, by skinhead musicians in spandex and Goth makeup, complete with body piercing, cross tongue studs, and tattoos. As a result, Christians today can fully enjoy almost anything the world has to offer without setting foot outside the camp of Christianity, in contempt of the Apostle John’s words:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world č the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life č is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
It is just as the Apostle Paul described the plight of Israel in his day:
“Unless the LORD of hosts had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah.” (Romans 9:29)
He was echoing the words of the prophets whose description of old Israel can aptly be applied to Christendom today:
“Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they also strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns back from his wickedness. All of them are like Sodom to Me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah.” (Jeremiah 23:14)
“Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50)
Christendom has become just like Sodom and Gomorrah. It is not just that one of the oldest denominations in the world has ordained an openly homosexual bishop, or even that the Mother Church has proven to be riddled with sexual predators. What is most appalling is that most are not appalled. They “bear it beautifully,” as Paul said to the Corinthians.3 And so, it seems, there is no remedy. Our hearts go out to the sincere ones in that camp who, like righteous Lot of old, are oppressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked. The souls of the righteous ones are tormented by all that they see and hear all around them, by those who indulge their flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.4
So what can the righteous do? Shore up the fractured foundations with legislation? Human civilization is like a great building straddling the San Andreas Fault, or perched on the edge of an eroding shoreline.
Unless a seed of the same pure life of God that sprang up in the first century is planted and re-established on the earth today, then there is no hope for mankind.
Can you restrain the force of an earthquake? Can you hold back the tide? Can you push the floodwaters back up the river? The fall of man is running its course, reaching its fullness in these last days. Those who are wise enough to see the disaster that awaits them will flee for their lives. But to where?
Unless a seed of the same pure life of God that sprang up in the first century is planted and re-established on the earth today, then there is no hope for mankind.
What would that life look like in the midst of today’s decadent culture? It would look exactly as it did in the first century, for the same pure seed would sprout into the same kind of tree, bearing the same kind of fruit.5 That seed would produce communities of disciples just as described in the book of Acts,6 where the love of God that had been poured into their hearts7 would compel them to lay down their lives for one another,8 where everyone would be cared for, where there would be no rich or poor, and where they would all be devoted to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. This wholehearted devotion would preserve their set-apart distinctness, guarding them from the love of the world and its defilement.9 They would live together, work together, worship together, teach their children together, and maintain a separate, holy, and clean life,10 which would be a light to all who live around them.11 They would be truly in the world, but not of it.12
This is the life that we who write this paper are actually striving to live today, in communities all over the world, just as we have lived for the past thirty years. The pure seed of God’s love was planted in us and continues to grow and bear the fruit of love. We uphold the marriage covenant and there is no divorce here. Our children are in an environment where they can grow up pure and secure. But we don’t expect you to just take our word for it. We invite you to come and see for yourself. That is something concrete that you can do as you see the foundations of civilization being destroyed. E
1 Barna Research, “Year’s Most Intriguing Findings”, 2001 2 Paul M. Weyrich, Letter on the Moral Minority in America, February 16, 1999
3 2 Corinthians 11:4 4 2 Peter 2:7-10 5 Hebrews 13:8 6 Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35 7 Romans 5:5 8 John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:14,16,17 9 1 John 2:15-16
10 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 11 1 Peter 2:12 12 John 17:14-15
There was a time not long ago when this deli was buzzing with the sound of happy customers sharing a meal together, and I’m sure one day soon it will be again, but in the meantime I sit alone in an empty deli sipping some yerba maté, listening to Old Time Gathering, and writing this short article for you. It’s currently a pleasant way to spend some time, riding out the wave of social upheaval brought on by the recent spread of corona virus worldwide.
It’s not actually full social lock-down, at least not yet, but it sure feels like it, as few people are to be seen anywhere in public at this point, let alone anywhere near our little Yellow Deli. It’s possible that this whole event would pass and we would all look back and hardly remember how strange the whole world felt at this time. But as the days pass, it seems increasingly more likely that actually, the world will never be the same again after this ongoing pandemic is finally over.
Of the few customers who have dared step foot outside of their home to come pick up a carry-out order at our deli, most have lost jobs, as so many companies have shut down at this time. How long will those businesses be closed? Will they ever recover? How long will all these people be without a job? Will they receive any compensation for lost wages? How will they pay their bills? Can the economy handle such a fierce blow? What will the government do in response, and as a result what will society look like in just a few years? Are we on the brink of catastrophe, or a great rebound?
There are many puzzling questions that one could be mulling over endlessly at a time like this, but we’re not so much focusing on any of these things right now. That’s because we know something of far greater concern than COVID-19.
It’s quite possible that what we are seeing is actually part of a great maneuver to introduce a whole new global paradigm on the face of the earth at this time. Whether it’s part of an intentional agenda or not is debatable, but it certainly seems like the inevitable direction that the world has been heading toward for a long time now.
What will that new global society look like? There are so many opinions and guesses, but we’re not really into speculating very much. Certainly a new global society could be introduced, and it could be very oppressive. But not necessarily. It could just as well come in the form of a solution to all the world’s problems and save the day, so to speak. Either way, that’s not our concern. The world will do what the world will do, and in the end we know the world is perishing and will fade away.
In the midst of it all, however, we are encouraged because we know there is a Creator, and that He is actually at work doing something on the earth in these days. He’s not sitting idly by, watching events unfold without concern. In fact, He’s foreknown this time and has been looking forward to it also.
It is for these days that He has been waiting, to raise up a whole new society of His own on the earth, to stand in the stark contrast to the new global society that is also coming into form at this time. We know we are in these days because that time, the time of the end, is described in Daniel 12:4, where the prophet Daniel is told to “conceal the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
So that’s what society will look like in the time of the end; and that is certainly what we see on the face of the earth today. People travel to and fro like never before. With air travel, you can fly anywhere in the world and arrive within 24 hours. At the time the Bible was written, and even all the way up to just 150 years ago, such world travel was unimaginable, and with continually increasing technology, who knows what kind of advancements still lie ahead even in the near future.
The other factor that marks the time of the end is an increase in knowledge. Never before has such an exchange of information and global communication been possible, all from a device that you simply hold in your hand. This technology too is developing rapidly and will certainly surpass anything we could have previously imagined in just a short time longer.
Truly, the world is connected in a way it’s never been before, and perfectly fits the description of the end times according to Daniel. So that means also that we are approaching the times in which the words of Daniel’s prophecies will be revealed and unsealed. The end could not have come any earlier, for we’ve never been in times of such great communication and transportation until now.
Daniel 21“Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided… and as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile… they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” – Daniel 2:41-44 speaks of a time when ten kings will come to power to form a whole new society that the world has never seen before. The ten kings are described as ten toes, and are referenced also in Revelation 172“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” – Revelation 17:12-14 as ten horns, as they wage war against the people of God in the time of the end.
Simultaneous to the ten kings taking power as the heads of a new global society, the God of heaven will establish a kingdom of His own on the earth to stand in stark contrast to the kingdoms of this world. Two kingdoms raised up alongside each other, in direct opposition; the kingdom of God, and the kingdoms of this world.
One of those kingdoms, the kingdom of God, is one that the world actually has seen once before, however for but a brief and shining moment. It is the kingdom that Yahshua, the Son of God, taught His disciples to pray for3“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” – Matthew 6:10 and for which He offered His own life in order to purchase from death4“And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.’” – Rev 5:9-10 as the ultimate ransom5“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:28.
This kingdom is the first work that He engaged in on the day the Holy Spirit was first given on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 26“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Yahshua the Messiah) for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit… and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them… Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” – Acts 2:38-45.
Yahshua had commanded His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that they themselves had been commanded7“And Jesus (Yahshua) came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” – Matthew 28:18-20.
As a result, on the day of Pentecost, His disciples (the apostles) communicated the terms of the Gospel just as they too had received it. They taught the 3,000 people that responded on that day that they must leave everything behind8“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” – Luke 14:33 in order to follow Yahshua 9“Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” – Matthew 4:19-20, just as they themselves had done also10“Then Peter answered and said to Him, ‘See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?’” – Matthew 19:27.
Just as this command from Yahshua brought the disciples together to follow Him before He was crucified, the same command from the apostles brought about the same response from thousands who all left everything behind as a response to the Gospel11“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” – Acts 2:44,45.
This formed a whole new society in which they all lived together communally in many different places throughout the region12“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all… Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” – Acts 4:32-35. The apostle Paul traveled to many of the communities in that time to exhort them to stay on the pattern they had received at first, as there was a natural drifting coming in to compromise their special new society.
He commends the Thessalonians for keeping the pattern as it was first established in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost13“For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus (Yahshua the Messiah)…” – 1 Thessalonians 2:14. But in many of his letters, he writes to warn various churches14“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus (whose name was Yahshua) whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” – 2 Cor 11:3-4that they are drifting from the original pattern and don’t even realize it15“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel… As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:6,9. He even makes it clear that he anticipates a great falling away to occur once his life is over16“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” – Acts 20:29.
The whole new Testament is an account of the rise and collapse of this new society which was supposed to bring an end to the kingdoms of this world. Surely they must have thought they were the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven; the Stone Kingdom of Daniel 2:4417And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. – Daniel 2:44, on course to bring an end to this wicked age. They were a beacon of light18“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5:14 for the world to see what the Love of God, poured out into the hearts of a people, actually looks like, but they could not endure until the end19“But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”– Matthew 24:13.
Perhaps it wasn’t meant to happen at that time. After all, only now are we beginning to see conditions on the earth that appear to match up with Daniel’s description of the end times. So now, 2,000 years later, we anticipate the formation of a new society of ten world powers in an alliance to rule the world. Meanwhile, right along with it, we look on as we see the God of heaven establishing His kingdom on the earth once again at this time.
So when we look out and see global crisis brought right to our front door, we are of course concerned about those we love. The recent pandemic has effected us, and especially the older ones in our midst, much like it has the rest of the world. How confusing and scary these times would be if not for the great hope that comes with it; understanding that there actually is a God who is at work doing something of tremendous importance on the earth.
As I write this I consider our Community20www.TwelveTribes.org, which has been developing in places all over the earth for the last fifty years. We truly aspire to be part of the Stone that rolls down the mountain in these last days to bring an end to all the confusion that now fills the earth. We invite you to contact us or continue reading. We would love to hear from you!
As men scream for freedom of speech to support their causes, great or small, there is one voice that is being silenced and no one seems to care. It is the clear, yet ever so gentle voice of creation:
The heavens tell of the glory of God. The creation displays His marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world.
Since the beginning of human existence, every individual on earth has had the ability to look at nature and observe its wonders — migrating birds flying south for the winter, the spectacular sight of leaves changing color on a cool autumn day, or the vibrant display cast into the sky as the sun sets over the mountains. These wonders serve as witnesses of a good and
loving Creator.1Romans 1:20 They proclaim loudly (in their own silent way) the very existence of their Creator and what He is like. Nature is so beautiful, because the One who made it is that way.
The determined fight of a salmon making its way back to the place of its birth is one witness. It awakens awe in everyone who hears of its struggle. The salmon is a small creature, yet it knows instinctively how to return home to spawn though hundreds of miles away in the sea. The brooding hen is another. Man can barely fathom what is in that bird that causes it to care so tenderly for its young.
When we are sensitive to the beauty around us — like the way dandelions spread their seed — and begin to take note of these small wonders (or grand ones), we too can testify that we have heard the speech of nature.
The horrible injustice of these days we live in is that many of these unique qualities in nature are being altered by man, and in some cases are vanishing all together. The effects of selfishness and greed are evident in our environment — rivers and streams are polluted, animals are extinct, forests are cut down and even the air we breathe is no longer clean. In our desire to amass wealth and avoid suffering, we have destroyed the earth and many of its inhabitants. The condition of the earth is a striking reflection of the condition of the human heart.
The ecological crisis we find ourselves in today should come as no surprise. Some people saw it coming long ago — even thousands of years. The great prophet Isaiah spoke about what would happen in the last days of this age. He said that when men and women stop acknowledging God and obeying their consciences, then the earth itself would be consumed with devastation and pollution. The witness of creation, which speaks of the goodness of God, would be silenced and those who dwell on the earth would be held accountable.2Isaiah 24:4-6 Certainly, this ancient prophecy is being fulfilled. What judgment, do you imagine, awaits those who take part in the destruction of the earth?3Revelation 11:18 What will happen when the earth loses its freedom of speech, and grows silent?
The magnificent civilization that is under construction is coming at a great cost to the earth. Although people say that the earth is their mother, their actions prove they don’t care what happens to her. They do not heed her voice, nor the voice of their conscience. How will Mother Earth respond to the way they have treated her. Will she remain silent forever?
The prophets of old spoke of a time when the earth would break forth under the pain of her death throes and scream for justice. The guilt of humanity will be broadcast to the universe. These prophets said terrible times would come before the last day. Creation will cry out, not as before, but this time in horrible cries of desperation.
Like a woman in pain, ready to give birth, the earth will moan as she brings forth her final statements before the end. The entire universe will watch as planet Earth writhes in agony, pleading with her inhabitants to turn back and honor their Creator. The once soft voice of the mother will turn into a violent rage. What will she say?
The elements that have for so long been a blessing will suddenly turn to curses. The oceans, rivers, and springs will turn to blood and all the creatures in them will die. Once-pleasant fragrances will be replaced by the stench of death. The sun’s heat will intensify and the earth’s surface will be scorched with fire. The inhabitants will be burned and few will be left. Will anyone hear what she is trying to say?4Revelation 14:7
Then her foundations will split open with great force, destroying entire nations. Gigantic hailstones will fall from the sky, destroying buildings and crushing men. The sun will turn black and the moon red like the blood of a man. The earth will reel and stagger like a drunk. She will sway like a hut in the wind because the rebellion on her surface is too much to bear.5Isaiah 24:20 Why didn’t men listen to her proclamations through the salmon, the hen, the dandelions, and the evening sunset? Why didn’t they heed the warnings when the lightning bolt in a summer storm gave them a glimpse of the awesome power that she could unleash?
All this will take place before the last day can come. Only a few will even hear this final voice of warning and listen. Most will curse God and continue to suppress the truth in their conscience, not realizing that they are reaping what they have sown.6Obadiah 15
The time for final judgment is just over the horizon, but there is still time to change and hear the gentle voice that tugs on your heart. Have you silenced that voice in your conscience? Do you go past the boundaries that you know you shouldn’t — hurting others and yourself? Have you taken advantage of others, disregarding how they feel, only to gain momentary pleasure for yourself? What you do with your life and how you treat other people directly affects the world around you. This is why the earth is in the state it is in today. Do you see the connection?
What do you think lies in store for us in this young millennium? Greater prosperity? Continued degeneration? There is great anticipation in the air. Everyone has something to say because we have the freedom to speak. But shhhh… listen carefully, for there is another voice. Consider her warnings before it’s too late!
A man hangs out a sign on his house advertising an apartment for rent. Along comes an inquiring person, wanting to check the place out. The man, judging the looks of that person, does not want him as a tenant. He may have a good reason why he refuses. Maybe the person who looked and acted like him held wild parties all night and kept him from sleeping. Now he must come up with some excuse why he cannot rent his apartment out, lest he be hauled into court for discrimination. “Er, Ummm … Well, let’s see, my wife put that sign out before I fixed the apartment up! Why, it won’t be ready for… gosh, I can’t really say…”
It wasn’t so long ago that a man could rent his property to whomever he felt comfortable having as a tenant, and he wouldn’t be hauled into court for it, no matter how much he hurt someone’s feelings. “Look, bud, I don’t rent to people with big ears. The last time I rented to someone who looked like you, he wrecked the place and stole the furniture. I’ve just come to the place that I don’t even like people with big ears any more. Beat it.”
You may think that such a person is a Neanderthal bigot, and you might be right. Perhaps you think that he should not be allowed to discriminate in such a way. You may judge him to be an intolerant brute, and maybe so, but this raises two questions: if you, unlike him, have learned to tolerate others, is there any room in you to tolerate him? And the other question is: if you think that such a person should not discriminate against others, meaning he should not judge others, how did you come to that conclusion without judging him? In other words, have you not discriminated against him?
You’d very likely be uncomfortable eating next to him at the local diner, wouldn’t you? So what makes you fundamentally any different than our big-ear-hating landlord? Is it that you are more civilized and noble than him, or just that you do not judge others and are more tolerant? How can this be? Haven’t you become a hater of big-ear-hating landlords? So who is the bigot?
The reality is that our bigoted landlord could very well face a fine or some other punishment for hurting someone’s feelings and thereby breaking the law. And maybe that’s fine with you. But if the house belongs to him, why doesn’t he have the freedom to rent it to whomever he wants to?
It’s because the real landlord around here is Colossus, and the owner has become a mere property manager.
It is the intent of the “Frog Stew” website to create dialogue, outspokeness, and from-the-heart social interaction.
Have you ever felt like it doesn’t really matter what you think? Come to a place where you can talk about how you feel. Join our RAP SESSION discussions and let us know what you think about: compulsory education, violence in schools, globalization, marriage, cloning, gun control, communism, free enterprise, Creationism, Evolution, Multi-Culturalism, sustainable community living, and what awaits future generations. If we don’t say something soon, then the earth will!