Basic Battle Training
Chapter 1: Our Commander
We open our instruction with some rarely taught or emphasized Biblical descriptions of the God we serve. This perspective, though easily seen through the Scriptures cited, has been craftily hidden by the enemy in his effort to water down the Church and its people. Having a partial understanding of who God is has ramifications in all areas of our lives. It affects our doctrine and how we view our temporal and eternal lives. It affects our understanding of people and sin and it will affect our evangelism. A correct and full understanding of God and His Son is absolutely essential as a foundation to every other area of our life and thinking.
It has been satan’s gradual deterioration of this correct understanding of God and His Son that has influenced the dead, apostate, impotent Church we see today. This is a prime reason for its complacency and a lack of revival: a Christian population that, while numerous, is virtually lifeless in having an impact on the society around us.
Since Freud and the popularity of psychology, the pulpits of America have sold out to "positive thinking," "possibility thinking," psychological "gimmicks" and a driving desire to be popular and fill the pews. In so doing they have sacrificed the original Biblical preaching of righteousness, temperance, judgment, and God's Judgment to come (Acts 24:25). In doing this they have actually "re-defined" God
The popular message today goes something like this:
God is only love
God's love is unconditional
God loves everybody
God loves everybody the same
God has a "wonderful" plan for your life
God's love never includes "judging"
God's love omits the rebuke and reproof of sin and the wicked
This message is then coupled with the virtual omission of anything negative: no mention of Hell or Judgment to come and nothing about persecution. If Hell is talked about at all, it is craftily re-defined as being merely a separation from God or some such.
This "positive message" trend is relatively new. Search through history and the sermons of Jonathan Edwards ("Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"), or Whitefield, or Wesley. Look to Spurgeon, or Moody, or Sunday, or any other preacher of old who actually had an impact on history and on society and you will quickly see a sharp contrast between their proclamations and those of our current day.
So what is God really like?
The God we find presented in Scripture and the Jesus seen in the Gospels is truly laden with grace, forgiveness and love... but He is also fully described as a God to not be meddled with. In actual fact, the God (and Son) we find in Scripture are even heavily weighted (about 3 to 1) toward anger, wrath, judgment, vengeance and justice. This description is very uncomfortable and “politically incorrect” for the members of God's Church today, but it is nonetheless the truth of God's Word and MUST be assimilated into our thinking and ministry to properly represent Him.
God and His Son's Anger
The subject of anger, an angry God, and the demonstrations of anger by Christ are "intellectually" known by most Christians, but have little effect on how they actually live their lives. With the following examples and citations we will try to bring this facet of God’s character into a clearer focus.
Psalm 7:11 "…God is angry with the wicked every day."
If this is the attitude of our Father every day one might ask if this should be represented to the wicked themselves? Today's Church gushes with the great love God has for all, to the virtual systematic exclusion of His stated anger!
Psalm 34:16 "The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth."
Here we see the eventuality of all that defy God…and His attitude toward such. (Note this description is in the "present" tense!)
Exodus 34:7 "…that will in no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and fourth generation."
Shown here is the extreem of God's anger: that of following the transgressions of the fathers to those who had nothing to do with their errors. So great is the anger and indeed judgment of God that He visits His wrath on even the next generations!
Nahum Chapter 1: Some selected thoughts...
The Lord revengeth, He is furious, He is jealous, He reserveth wrath for His enemies, He is slow to anger, but He will not acquit the wicked, He is indignand and He has “fierceness of anger", and His fury is “poured out as fire."
Though much of this is shown when His great patience has worn thin, these verses certainly show an attitude in God rarely brought forward in today's "God loves you and has a wonderful-plan for your life" approach.
Mark 3:5 "…Jesus looked on them with anger."
In this passage Christ is once again in conflict with the prevailing religious leaders. Rarely is Christ's anger (and the Father's) more evident then when He is dealing with this crowd. As we will detail in the next Chapter, these are the true enemy!
John 3:36"…he that believeth not the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him."
This wrath, as an attitude, does not begin when one dies but rather it exists in proportion to the exposure and ability we have to know His grace. As God sees the opportunities we have to know and serve Him squandered, it is only His great patience that holds back His indignation, judgment and fury!
Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-47; John 2:13-17: Christ fashions a scourge and drives the money changers out of the Temple
This event, which took place at the beginning and end of Christ's ministry, demonstrates the righteous anger He felt seeing the perversion of His Father’s House. This zeal He had is rarely mirrored today, even in word and tongue. So, as the bold and righteous men of old represented God in all He is, so should we.
Life, Death and "The Blood"
With the exception of verses we will cover on the eternal wrath of the Father, nothing should get our attention more than the Old Testament temporal judgments He has meted out to mankind. Starting from the fact that our very lives are limited because of Adam's sin, and proceeding through even our time, we see that God indeed holds sway over our fragile existence.
Genesis 2-3: The story of the original sin and judgment for it: 2:17 "…in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die"
Here we see the abundant provision of God to Adam and Eve with one small stipulation: The tree of the knowledge of good and evil." In their transgression of God’s instruction they incurred the wrath and anger of God to the point that He removed them from not only the blessings of the garden, but also the eternal life they possessed. From their sin forward we have all labored under God’s curse for their transgression.
Genesis 6-9: The Flood.
This account, of all things historical, should be the one to arrest us most when it comes to understanding our righteous Master. To drown in water is indeed horrible...but to watch as your fate became apparent ---as the rain fell and the water rose! --- must have been torturous! As all this was happening, even to the little children and babies, God took hope in anticipating His judgment would drive ensuing generations to serve Him in fear and respect of His great power. It is truly amazing that even at this late date, more remembrance of this event is found in children’s stories of the ark and the cute little animals than what actually occurred!
Genesis 19: God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah…the cities of the plain.
In a preview of things to come, God rained down His fiery judgment for the sins of these people…most notably sodomy. Having already used water, God at this time consumes them with fire and brimstone. Once again the horror of this judgment is meant to give us a clear picture of Whom we are dealing with…to give us reason to serve Him and not pervert His ways! That this sin of Sodom is now rampant in our world is testimony again to the selective memory of foolish men.
Genesis 22: The trying of Abraham's faith by God commanding him to sacrifice his son.
This event, which would solidify Abraham as the father of the Hebrews, is testimony again of the seriousness of the God we are dealing with. In contrast to the way we might see things done, to command Abraham to actually kill his own son is about as extreme as it gets!
Exodus 1-14: The story of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt.
Once again His mighty hand is revealed as He again demonstrates that we are dealing with a very serious God. In this sequence of events He plagues Egypt with a variety of ills and crowns His efforts by slaying their firstborn. These events as with those previous are meant to draw the attention of the world…to amplify God’s greatness, power and judgment in hope that men would obey Him!
God's Government: In Exodus15-31 Moses is given the outline and specifics concerning the government and laws that were to be Israel.
In these instructions God transfers the responsibility of His immediate judgment to the hand of man. Here He elaborates on the gravity of sin by commanding the death penalty for 35 of the following offences:
Death for working on the Sabbath (Ex. 32:5), for murder (Lev. 24:17), for kidnapping (Ex. 21:16), for cursing of mother or father (Ex. 21:17), and for not caring for a vicious animal (Ex. 21:29. Death for witchcraft (Lev. 20:18), for sacrificing to other gods (Ex. 22:20), and for bestiality (Lev. 20:15).
Death for smiting mother or father (Ex. 21:15), for rape of a engaged woman (Deut. 22:25), for perjury in murder (Deut. 19:15-21) and for adultery (Lev. 20:10). Drath for incest (Lev. 20:11, 15), for homosexuality (Lev. 20:13), for "wizards" with "familiar spirits" (Lev. 20:27), and for priest’s daughter playing the whore (Deut. 21:9).
Death for blasphemy (Lev. 24:16), for giving your seed to Moloch (Lev. 20:2-5, for “lying” with your daughter-in-law (Lev. 20:12) and for the stranger who enters the Tabernacle (Num. 1:51). Death for false prophets (Deut. 18:22), for enticing you to serve other gods (Deut. 13:1-10), for failing to heed a judge or priest (Deut. 17:12), and for rebellious son who goes into sin (Deut. 21 18).
Death for faking virginity before marriage (Deut. 22:13), for killing a pregnant woman (Ex. 21:22-23) and for being uncircumcised (Gen. 17:14). Death for manufacturing anointing oil (Ex. 30:33), for consuming blood (Lev. 17:10), and for unclean eating of a Peace Offering (Lev. 7:20).
Death for delaying consumption of sacrifices (Lev.19:5-8), for sex during menstruation (Lev. 20:18), for entering the Temple unclean (Num. 19:13), and for teaching a false religion (Deut. 13:1-11).
The Blessings and the Cursings
Another place where the seriousness of God is clearly seen is in His promises to the Jews for their obedience or failure. As God set up the nation of Israel He was quite clear on what they could expect from Him in all circumstances. God's original intention for His people was that they become a shining light and as such, an evangelistic tool to enlighten and draw the world to Him. This purpose however was never realized as The Chosen People usually chose to rebel and in doing so incurred His wrath and promised judgment. God must have seen this coming because in His wisdom, and of the verses presented, 26 of them are on His blessings while 78 tell of His cursing! Some of these judgments are as follows:
Your crops will be stolen, You will have consumption, burning ague (blindness) and sorrow of heart, You will be slain before your enemies, You will be made slaves of those that hate you and you will flee when none pursue you
And if you do not repent I will increase your judgment seven times and all your crops will fail
And if you do not repent I will increase your plagues seven times and I will send wild beasts to take your children, I will destroy your cattle, and I will make you few in number.
And if you still do not repent, I will punish you seven times more for your sins and I will send the sword among you, I will send pestilence among you, I will deliver you to your enemies, and I will cause you famine
And if you still refuse to repent I will punish you seven times more for your sins. and I will cause you to eat your sons and daughters, I will scatter you amongst the heathen, I will send you “faintness of heart, I will cause you to flee when none pursue, you will have no power before your enemies, you will perish amongst the heathen, you will be eaten up of your enemies, and you will have terror
Deuteronomy 28 continues…
You will be cursed in the city, in the field, in the basket, in the store, with your children, in your crops and with your animals.
You will be cursed in your coming in and going out, and the Lord will send cursing, vexation and rebuke in all you try to do until you are destroyed and perish quickly
And to this God promises that…
You will be subject to pestilence, consumption, inflammation, extreme burning, blasting, mildew and the sword. You will be chased till you perish. He will cause you famine. You will be smitten by your enemies and will become meat for the fowls
You will be smitten with the "botch of Egypt", will suffer emerods, and will have the itch and scab without remedy. You will be smitten with madness, blindness, and will have astonishment of heart. You shall be only oppressed and spoiled evermore.
You will marry and another will take your wife, will build a house and not live in it, will plant and not eat the harvest and raise cattle for another to eat. Your sons and daughters will be taken from you and you will have no strength to retrieve them. He will smite in the knees, legs, and with sores that will not heal from your foot to your head. You will be scattered and made subject to a king who will cause you to worship false gods.
You will serve in hunger, thirst, nakedness and want of all things. You will have a yoke of iron upon you until you are destroyed. You will be sold as slaves, but have no value. And again, He will cause you to eat your children! You will be subject to all the plagues of Egypt and all sickness until you are destroyed and "...as the Lord rejoiced to create you so will He rejoice to destroy you!"
Conclusion of the Old Testament
This then is the God we see from Creation through the establishment of the Hebrew nation until the Messiah. This description of God, from Genesis to Malachi is known, but does not practically exist in Christianity today. With this disconnect, it is not an effective part of the teaching in seminaries, and so does not have a real chance to reach the sheep and be translated into attitude and action.
Satan has hidden this description and character of our Father because to know of it would cause him great distress. A flock so enlightened to these truths would be much more sober and focused toward service and the fulfillment of God's purposes.
Of course all this is a description of the God of the Old Testament…we now live with Jesus in the “softness of grace”?
The New Testament and HELL TO COME!
Though there is some mention of hell in the Old Testament, the New Covenant brings new focus and emphasis to this subject. In this, the level of wrath and punishment in Hell far outdistances the temporal judgments of the Old Covenant. This immediately, and without question, adds a new dimension to the sin of rejecting our Creator. The following verses give some testimony and description of this grave promise:
Matthew 8:12: "…cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth".
Mark 9:43-48: "… fire that shall never be quenched…where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched
Matthew 13:42, 50: "…and cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Luke 16:24: "…send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue for I am tormented in this flame"
2 Thessalonians 1:9: "…to be punished with everlasting destruction"
Mark 16:16: "Damnation"
Mark 12:40: "the greater damnation" (to the Scribes and Pharisees)
Matthew 25:4: "…everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels"
Matthew 10:28: "…destroy both body and soul in hell"
These things known, it is truly a paradox that the reality of this description has little influence on evangelistic efforts today. Because this consequence of rejecting God and living in sin are not amplified, there is no resulting fear of God in men's eyes. Indeed, the fear of God has all but disappeared as a doctrine in almost any frame. Satan's work in "softening" The Gospel to this extent is another of his premier accomplishments.
This softening of today's church has also produced a Jesus whose character has been severely compromised. The Jesus of today is far from the man who lived and ministered in the first Century. We find this more fully exemplified in the following verses:
Mat 15:26: Christ calls the Canaanite woman a dog
John 9:39: "…for judgment I am come into this world that they that see not might see and they that see might be made blind."
John 14:21: Jesus teaching on conditional love: the condition being whether or not you keep the commandments!
John 10:1-18: Jesus attacks other people's religion as being "thieves and robbers" and "those who come to kill and destroy." He calls them "Hirelings" who do not care for the sheep.
Mark 16:14: Here Jesus "upbraids" the disciples for unbelief
Luke 11: 37-45: To the Pharisees who had invited him to dinner Jesus replies: "You are clean on the outside, but inside are full of ravening and wickedness...fools! " Continuing: "...you omit judgment and the love of God. You love the high seats and recognition...hypocrites, graves!"
Luke 12:51: Here He states: "…I come for division, not peace!"
Luke 12:56: Here He condemns the people as hypocrites.
Luke 14:25-27: On discipleship He admonishes hate of father, mother, wife, children, brethren, sisters, and indeed one's own life.
Matthew 23: Here Jesus again interacts with His greatest earthly enemies: the religious leaders of the Jews. In this passage he attacks them 24 times with the language that follows: Hypocrites (8 times), fools (twice), children of Hell, blind (3 times), serpents, "a den of vipers," full of extortion, excess, full of dead men’s bones, all uncleanness and hypocrisy and murders. Does this sound like the Jesus of the 21st Century Church? …Not hardly!
Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke l and John 2: In each of these books the zeal of His Fathers house “ate up” the Lord as He fashioned a scourge and physically drove the profiteers from the Temple. He did this at the beginning and end of His ministry thereby further sealing His fate with the religious leaders.
These verses and description then represent a major part of the picture we Biblically have of the Son of God, and stand in stark contrast to the Jesus that has "evolved" since he was here. Most have read and are fully aware of these descriptions. Our pastors, teachers, seminar leaders, authors and editors likewise are not ignorant of these passages. How is it then that we end up worshiping a modern day Christ that, for all practical purposes, is devoid of these characteristics? How is it that when we say, "we want to be like Jesus" we do not take into account these factors? The answer is quite simple:
Most of Christianity is more than happy with the modern “Godlite,” "easyJesus" lifestyle that surrounds us and do not want the truth of these things: The real God, The real Jesus and the real life of the Bible!
In Scripture we are consistently warned against false gods and christs. Likewise the modern evangelical church has written volumes exposing the more obvious counterfeits of our time. These things are good and certainly needful but, as we have documented, satan has also fostered a much more dangerous attack: The dilution the fear of God, The plan of God, The character of God, and The reality of His Son.
We are not at liberty to choose a God of our liking. Rather we are mandated to serve the clearly defined God of His Word... and that Word made flesh: The true God and Jesus Christ of Scripture! Anything less is deception, evil and surly destined to failure!
Note: To send this chapter to a friend click "File" and select "Send link by e-mail".
Return to Table of Contents