Humbly Participate in the Sufferings of Jesus Christ
and many false prophets will arise and mislead many. Because of the multiplication of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.…Matthew 24:12
How close are we to the Anti-Christ? There is a trend among 'awake' Christians to follow the scintillating and fiery news of the day while our hearts become dull in our following of Holy Scripture. Have you experienced the piercing hardness of heart within the Body of Christ? There are many lessons that we can glean as we study the Ten Plagues of the Exodus. We must remember that the purpose of those plagues was deliverance and salvation from slavery and bondage.
I was asked at the beginning of 2018 what I thought the most dangerous situation I foresaw. I answered unequivocally , "The loss of humanity [as in being a human created in the Divine Image of God]. I had witnessed stirrings of glaciations in those professing Jesus Christ intensifying over the last few years.
Lest you believe that the Ten Plagues are relegated to the dusty pages of the Old Testament, think again.
Pharaoh: Archetype of Evil
Pharaoh is not one single king in Exodus. In fact, this royal title refers to a sequence of Egyptian kings over many generations. So evil was this Pharaoh that He blots out his name from the biblical narrative. God wants us to see Pharaoh as an archetype of the pattern of human rebellion that began in the garden and culminated in Babylon.
In contrast to our Jesus- the King of Kings-this king embodies the strange and tragic turn the human heart can take when one person, society,church or Christian places their own values and well-being above another person or society. Pharaoh is what happens when a nation or disciple of Jesus redefines good and evil apart from God’s wisdom.
Surely you have seen prosperity churches (a metaphor of Pharaoh) building their wealth and security on the backs of their flocks. The congealing of the life blood, the blood being symbolic of the blood of Jesus, occurs when the country club Christians begin to speak the language of the serpent [a metaphor of Egypt and Babylon] which we see in Genesis 11:
Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words..."Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name.
Upside Down World
As we study the Ten Plagues of the Exodus each plague speaks to the condition of Pharaoh's hard heart. Sometimes we’re told Pharaoh hardens his heart against God while at other times we read that God hardens his heart. Who is really behind all this evil? These passages illuminate God’s relationship to evil at other times in history, and in our own lives.
God first says he knows Pharaoh will resist the demand to let the Hebrew's go and that God says that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart. God knows the hearts of humans a sobering thought echoed throughout the Bible.
Pharaoh’s refusal to allow the Hebrews to leave is complicated by God’s intervention: He hardened Pharaoh’s heart, Exodus 7:3 It would appear that Pharaoh did not have true free will. Hardening of the heart was a slippery slope. The Bible uses different words during the stiffening process:
Pharaoh’s heart was strengthened Exodus 7:13
Pharaoh's heart became heavy Exodus 7:14
Then, the first time that the Bible tells us that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart Exodus 9:12
We see in the biblical narrative evidence of Pharaoh impacting his own heart five times due to his stubborn obstinacy. After his heart hardened three times we are told that Pharaoh made his heart heavy.
Five times Pharaoh turned away from God and five times he made his own heart less and less supple and soft. As such, Since God sent [the opportunity for repentance and doing the right thing] five times to him and he sent no notice, God then said, ‘You have stiffened your neck and hardened your heart on your own…. So it was that the heart of Pharaoh did not receive the words of God.
The ability to choose freely defines us as human beings; our choices define us as individuals. Freedom to choose is an essential and inherent right, but it is not absolute; there are consequences to actions. Pharaoh refuses to change-even though he recognizes God’s existence. But then he becomes recalcitrant and arrogant his heart was strengthened.
Pharaoh sealed his own fate, for himself and his relationship with God.
The Bible provides for us this incredible process of redemption. Each word and page from Genesis to Revelation is filled with guidance on how we are to live our lives. It gives us all the nuances to be in the good and perfect will of Jesus Christ. No matter the severity of judgment God's Will and pattern is to always leave a remnant. It might be 10% or it could be as little as 3% of His children who will take to heart His commandments, yes, commandments. If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:14
Homeless in the World
Yesterday I heard this gut wrenching story of a woman homeless woman who was dying of cancer. She was living among the reeds along a shoreline bedecked with hotels and vacationer's making merry with the wealthy dining merely feet from this poor soul's resting place. It is here in the reeds and weeds this woman lived in misery and there she will die, alone, with none to morn her life or her passing. Will nobody notice? Did she know Jesus? May God bless this woman's soul and may the angels of Jesus attend to her. One charitable Christian, following the example of Jesus, reached out and offered her a bit of food.
Much of Christianity is turning a blind eye to the ministry of Jesus Christ which is so beautifully articulated in Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release from darkness to the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of our God’s vengeance, to comfort all who mourn... Isaiah 61
I speak to you my dear friends with a tender and broken heart. When we, who are called to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, have hardened our hearts to the ministry of Jesus, as defined above and many other passages, that shed light upon how we are to engage our hours, then we have dismally failed as the Body of Christ.
God took the Israelite's through an incredible spiritual season where they witnessed both plague and miracle. He then guided them into the wilderness where He bestowed upon them His written Word and His lovingkindness further refined and shaped their character to be His people. Like it or not we are revisiting that season.
A vast number of people who claim they are follower's of Jesus are being seduced by the siren call of wickedness that is luring those who consciously harden their hearts against His Word. What will be their lot?
Lot of the Frosty Hard Heart
One of my favorite verses to recall when I stray by towards my frosty hard heart is to remember:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. I Corinthians 13:4-8
I am gravely concerned about the State of the Body of Christ. Will those of us who call ourselves Christians be raptured out? I do not know. What I know to be exceedingly clear, is that those who have refuse a repentant heart and are benumbed to the commandments of God, appear to go through the wrath of God, His judgments, and by their choices [hard heart] appear to take the mark of the beast.
But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God... Romans 2:5
Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. Revelation 16:9
and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds. Revelation 16:11
Remnant Call to Action
This is a call to action. We are each blessed with many gifts from the God to use for the edification of the Body of Christ. Your gifts will be different than mine and we need to appreciate that fact and value to high degree each soul of the Kingdom of God. It is God's Will and in our best interest not to speak harshly with our brethren. Our words can be as fire with the power to sear the soul or frigid allowing layer upon layer of permafrost upon our heart until it covers the vestiges of Jesus. My dear friends, the Name of Jesus is on the line by our actions. There are many who would delight in our failure. But we serve a mighty God. Our God is One. He is not divided, lest we fall. We are admonished not to be lukewarm.
Jesus is beckoning to you and I not to reside comfortably in our cozy Christianity. He is asking us to step out in faith beyond our home. He wants us to go further than our bible study to spread His Word with His Spirit to distant lands, much as the early disciples. The Spirit of Jesus is wooing us to enlarge the tent stakes of our ministry- beyond what is comfortable for us. We need to choose this day to see beyond what we have grown accustomed to see to a spiritual vision of what the Father sees.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. II Timothy 3
Brokenness is engulfing people as children rebel against parent resulting in estrangement; man against woman; pathogens created by God and those engineered permeating every the body; physical and spiritual blindness abound; the poor in spirit are yearning God News in their miserable lives. There is imprisonment of the body and soul by every wretched device, vile vice, and wicked spirit.
We have become much to complacent in our everyday lives because refuse peer or be the vessel of Jesus' ministry to the many faces of suffering and pain upon mankind.
Encased in Ice
There is a common misconception about the Ice Age. Many of us think it was some hoarfrost on the ground or possibly a foot or two of snow. According to some in the scientific field the earth in many places was encased in 6000 feet of ice! Depending upon your calculations for the age of the earth, this is a foot of ice per year for each year of earth's history, but it was condensed into a small period of time, meaning it happened quite suddenly.
Rebuke the Frigid and Hard Heart
Each of us personally needs to rebuke the icy hardening of our hearts that is indifferent to the plight of others. If we persist in our ways we will most certainly loose our humanity. We are edging towards the cold and calculated world of transhumanism and outright post-human era of Satan. It is only in our acceptance and tenderness towards Jesus that keeps us human.
Jesus has begun shaking us up. This will increase, as foretold by the prophets. May each respond favorably to His wooing Spirit by following Jesus into the wilderness with the upraised hands of His victory and praise. We need to be going forth without fear into the desert accompanied by treasures that we have laid up in heaven. Sweetly surrendering to the wilderness where He will shape and mold us into that spotless bride that we all secretly longing to be, in our innermost chambers of our hearts.
Take time today to touch someone outside of your comfort zone and watch in awe as the power of Jesus manifests in a most magnificent way
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.