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THE NUMBERS GAME

Abraham made a deal with God that if there were 10 righteous souls in Sodom, God would not destroy it.

As it were, God did destroy Sodom, so clearly there weren’t even 10 righteous souls there.

However, I’m wondering if someone had done a show-of-hands survey just prior to the destruction to see how many people in Sodom self-identified as righteous, I’m guessing a lot more than 10 people would have raised their hands.

By the same token, of the million or so souls who were of age (20 years and up) when they left Egypt in the exodus, only 2 (Caleb and Joshua) were considered by God to be sufficiently righteous to enter the Promised Land.

And of all those alive during the days of Noah, only Noah was considered sufficiently righteous to be spared the flood.

So let’s take a look at this – so far, the actual named righteous out of millions if not billions of souls who lived during those eras are 4 in total: Lot, Caleb, Joshua and Noah. (Their families were spared as chattel.)

We could also add Abraham, of course, but that only makes 5.

What about the 2 billion Christians today? How many of them do you think would raise their hands and self-identify as righteous? There were many children of Israel during the days of Jesus’ ministry who would have self-identified as righteous, too, and some of those Jesus told to their face they didn’t have a hope in Hades of getting to Heaven, not in the spiritual state they were in.

These low numbers should be very sobering to us.

Do you consider yourself to be as righteous as Lot? How about as righteous as Noah? Or maybe as righteous as Stephen, the first martyr of the church, who prayed for and forgave those who were stoning him to death while they were stoning him to death? We know that Moses made it to Heaven, too, and Elijah, because they came to visit Jesus during the so-called transfiguration on the mount. So now, along with the other named 5 souls, we’ve got a few more, but not many.

This speaks to me of how difficult it is to make it all the way Home. At the same time, it also speaks to me of how full of crap the mainstream Christian church must be to assure their adherents that Jesus did all the heavy lifting, so all they have to do is show up every Sunday and/or give money to the church, and off to Heaven they go. Or something like that.

I frankly do not consider myself righteous. I have a long way to go before I would make such a claim, if ever. And I think the point here is precisely that: We cannot judge our own righteousness or the righteousness of others. We cannot know definitively whether we’re righteous before God. Abraham thought it was a sure thing to negotiate God down to just 10 righteous souls in Sodom, thinking there must be at least 10, but he was wrong. There was only 1.

And then there was none.

*****

We read of visions of mass destruction throughout the book of Revelation and in Ezekiel 9. Mass destruction was also recorded as historical fact in the book of Jeremiah and in Genesis and elsewhere. In the visions and actual scenes of destruction, very few are spared. Jeremiah relays how mothers cooked and ate their own children during the famine when Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians, in fulfillment of Moses’ prophecies in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.

It’s a nasty world out there, filled with nasty people doing nasty things. God knows that. None of what anyone does is a surprise to him. But don’t you be nasty. Don’t you eat your own children, no matter how hungry you get. Don’t you congregate around the door of your neighbour, demanding he bring out his guests so you can rape them. Don’t you strip yourself naked and dance drunk around a golden calf made from the very gold God gave you for his temple ornaments. Don’t you sell everything you have and give only half to the poor, hiding away the other half for a rainy day.

In other words, don’t be unrighteous. Be like the people of Nineveh, who repented when they were told they needed to repent. That’s how you overcome any unrighteousness you may not even know is in you.

Jesus’ message at the start of his ministry was to repent and believe the Gospel. That message doesn’t change at any point during the rest of our time on Earth. We are all in constant need of repentance and all in constant need of the Gospel, just as we’re all in constant need of being reminded how precious and elusive the reward of Heaven actually is.

It’s a numbers game. Jesus said that many are called but few are chosen; Jesus also said that the Way Home is narrow and few find it.

We need to take these words to heart and hope that in mentioning the few, Jesus was talking about us.

LIVING WITH NO FEAR

Throughout scripture, fear is the great divider that separates those who love God from those who don’t. The amount of fear you have (fear of death, fear of disease, fear of poverty, fear of going hungry, fear of going homeless, fear of being outcast or ridiculed or slandered, etc.) is a direct measure of your relationship with God: the more you fear, the farther away you are from God.

Fear is also the opposite of faith.

Of all God’s prophets, Jesus not only had the greatest faith and the greatest measure of God’s Spirit, but also the least amount of fear. I would even suggest (and I believe scripture backs me up) that Jesus had no fear of anyone or anything at all, other than a righteous and holy fear of God.

We born-again believers need to be like that.

I’m talking to you, preppers, and to all those who’ve stockpiled whatever you stockpile (food, money, property, ammunition, supplies, etc.) – the more you stockpile, the more you reveal your fear and the weakness of your faith.

I’m talking to you, mandate compliers, and to all those who call themselves followers of Jesus but who still cover their faces and go along to get along, afraid they won’t be able to provide for their family or get what they need or go where they want. The more you comply, the more you reveal your fear and the weakness of your faith.

I’m talking to you, lovers of the world more than lovers of God. I see you in the pews in the mainstream churches, faces covered and bowing down to the satanic rainbow, too afraid to speak up lest you be kicked out of spiritual Sodom. The more sin you tolerate in houses designated as God’s, the more you reveal your fear and the weakness of your faith.

Jesus never prepped or complied with mandates that conflicted with his beliefs or bowed down to the world’s idols. Like Jesus, you don’t need to do any of those things if you live in the Kingdom. God will provide for all your needs as you need them, as long as you keep him and his Commandments front and center in your life. You stray off the path, things will get rough for you (speaking from experience here, lol).

But if you keep God front and center, defer to him in all matters, and rely on and follow his advice rather than that of the world, he will provide. That is his promise to his children (LEVITICUS 26 and DEUTERONOMY 28), and if you’re genuinely born-again, you are his child. You are the spiritual progeny of the perfect Father who is also the greatest force in the universe. Do you think such a perfect force would abandon his children? I don’t think so. God always keeps his promises, whether to reward or to punish. Scripture provides ample evidence of that.

Fear is the hallmark of unbelievers and of those who are weak in faith. Look around you and see who is afraid and what they’re afraid of. Whatever their fears, you don’t need to share them. Jesus didn’t. He embraced the sick and diseased, embraced poverty, embraced being shunned, embraced being outcast, and in the end he even embraced being crucified. In none of those circumstances did he show any fear.

But, you say, he was Jesus. I’m just me.

Jesus came to show us how to follow him in the Way, that is, how to live without fear. The closer you follow his example, the less fear you have, the greater your faith, and the closer you grow to God.

This is not spiritual rocket science here; it’s the foundation and cornerstone of what it means to be a Christian.

Share in the world’s fears and get the world’s spiritual rewards, or cast off the world’s fears and get the rewards of the Kingdom.

The choice is yours.

The right one is obvious.

WE GET WHAT WE DESERVE

Just as I opened a new document to type this, thunder boomed from the Heavens, right on cue:

“Righteous thou art, O Lord… because thou has judged thus

For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets; and thou has given them blood to drink

Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgements.”

This quote is from the book of Revelation, in the chapter where the angels are pouring out the vials and stating that people get what they deserve. Their statement is made dispassionately and somewhat coldly, the same way that the narrator prophet in Ezekiel 9 states dispassionately and somewhat coldly that people get what they deserve even as he watches the slaughtering of untold numbers, including children.

God’s judgments are perfect.

When I was a newborn-again, I remember pausing at that part of Revelation where the angels pour out the vials and wondering how they could be so emotionally detached from the pain and suffering they were causing. I wonder no more. After 23 years as a believer, I’m fully on board with whatever God doles out for people to suffer, as they have it coming. God doesn’t inflict anything that people haven’t earned, and even then he softens the blow through his renowned mercy.

There’s only been one person in all of history who suffered what he didn’t have coming, and that was Jesus. EVERYONE ELSE SUFFERS WHAT THEY’VE EARNED. You cannot be a follower of Jesus and not accept and believe this 100%.

*****

I went to a Bible study last week. It was more a sermon than a study, as no-one but the pastor had any input into the interpretation of the chapter being studied, which was Leviticus 26.

Leviticus 26 is basically the same as Deuteronomy 28, which is Moses’ detailed laundry list of the blessings that come with obeying the Commandments and doing the right thing in God’s eyes, and the curses that come with disobeying the Commandments and doing the wrong thing in God’s eyes. Every Christian not only needs to be intimately familiar with this laundry list, but to refer to it on a regular basis, as Jesus tells us the Commandments still apply to us. Unfortunately, the pastor only interpreted Leviticus 26 as applying to the children of Israel 2000 or 3000 years ago, not to current-day Christendom. In so doing, he missed the whole point of the chapter, which was to deliver a very real and very present warning to God’s people, so that they would make their everyday life choices accordingly.

I despise cowardly pastors. I despise them the way Jesus despised them. It took every ounce of my self-restraint not to ask the pastor how this chapter could be applied to Christians and Christendom today. But most pastors churned out by Bible colleges won’t touch that application of Leviticus 26 or Deuteronomy 28 with a 10-foot pole, as it would upend their doctrine about “just believing” and “having faith” as being the only way to Heaven. If you accept that all you need to do is “believe in Jesus” and you’re on your way to paradise, then choosing to do what is right in God’s eyes is no longer a necessity, which then negates the teachings of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. This is precisely what mainstream Christianity now does – negate the teachings of scripture.

How you can call yourself a Christian pastor and then stop short of applying scripture to life today? This is entirely the opposite of how Jesus taught. Jesus always applied scripture to the here and now, as scripture is intended to be applied to the here and now. That’s why God inspired his prophets to write it and his preachers to teach it.

Note that I said “his preachers”, meaning those who are genuinely sent from God. There aren’t many of those around today, any more than there were a lot at any time in history. The true prophets and preachers have always been few and far between, but God provides at least one for his people, and makes sure that they can be heard by those who want to hear.

*****

People get back what they put out, mitigated by God’s mercy. Once the Age of Mercy is over for a given people at a given time and their Age of Judgement begins, there will be no more mitigation (softening) of the earned blows – people will get the full measure of what they’ve earned. This is the scenario that plays out in Revelation 16 and Ezekiel 9: Judgement without mercy. It also plays out in the passages on the flood and in the passages on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. I used to balk at the dispassionate coldness of those scriptural passages, but no more. People get what they deserve. Only Jesus suffered what he didn’t deserve, and he did so willingly and fully informed in advance.

God’s justice is perfect. So the next time you hear someone say “He didn’t deserve that” or “They didn’t deserve that” or “You didn’t deserve that”, correct the speaker. God’s justice is perfect.

We only get back what we put out.

We only suffer what we deserve, with Jesus the sole exception.