It may be more prevelant than you think.
3 The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.
~ Ex 15:3
Someone said something I disagree with. If you are a human being, then you too have heard someone say something that was just a bit off, I’m sure. You know what they say about opinions: Everybody has one. The real question is, “Now what?”
I want to continue on my thought from the previous piece, “Time of Prosperity Because of No Expenditures on War“, but was unable to until now partly because of some technical issues (unrelated to recent site changes, it would appear). Part of the message of the Feast of Tabernacles is that the spirit of war will subdued because God’s Spirit will finally be available to mankind. There finally will be real peace on earth because it will be ruled by the Prince of Peace.
Still, we have to square that fact as well as some other passages with verses like the one above. It has to be aligned with the irony that in order to put an end to war, there must be a true “war to end all wars”. On a human level, “Might makes right,” is a very cynical view of things, and yet isn’t that what it will take in the end? God will wield His might and His righteous anger and wage war … to what end?
The struggle to understand these things and put them into perspective is the struggle to understand God and even ourselves. I view the questions not only as inevitable but necessary in order to understand world events, prophecy and our own carnal nature.
Having said that, I have addressed most of these in various ways to the best of my understanding in many other articles, but particularly the Just War series. Maybe these questions will probe all of the wrong areas unless we deal with something much more fundamental. Maybe the answers to these questions will be nothing but speculation and nonsense unless we step back and answer the one question about war that needs to be answered before we can make sense of anything else.
Where Does War Come From?
On a human level, the origin of wars should be evident. However, the fact that most of our leaders, sociologists, psychologists and other -ists do not know this fundamental answer is somewhat astonishing to anyone who has truly read and understood the Bible. Therein lies the problem. They do not know because they do not believe! As HWA often said, they have rejected the source of divine revealed knowledge and substituted instead the knowledge that comes from the school of hard knocks.
What does the Bible say, then?
4 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Right there, James tells us that wars begin with desires, and usually desires for things that are not rightfully ours to begin with! Worse, wars begin because we take those things and ask neither God nor man for them! If we get those things, are they used for good or for selfishness?
Human greed and selfishness predominates much of the world’s thinking. Just look around, and you will see it! Greedy leaders of nations that steal even from charities in order to line their coffers, greedy leaders of huge corporations that can never make enough money but must always make more and more, greedy politicians that steal their constituents blind and pass laws that exempt themselves, greedy people who feign disabilities in order to take from “the system”, greedy “protesters” who riot and excuse their stealing on some perceived inequality, etc., are all in evidence around us.
The short of it all is that we want what we want when we want it. The human heart has to change! People develop a hardened heart because of this or that grievance, and that then justifies in their minds their own bad behavior. We all justify our own bad behavior.
People used to complain so much because HWA would constantly go back to the two trees. And yet, for all that complaining, they never gave a logical reason he was wrong. You know why? He wasn’t wrong about that! If you don’t know your beginnings, then you don’t know how you wound up where you are (even if you know where you are), and most likely you’ll never get to where you want to go.
There was something else in the garden, though. There was a serpent. This probably was not a snake like anything we are used to in North America, I should add. A serpent could mean anything from a little garter snake to a huge lizard like a crocodile or Komodo dragon or even some type of sea serpent.
There once were large lizards that inhabited the earth, but something happened to wipe them all out. I don’t see Noah putting any of them onto the ark, either, in spite of what the Creation Museum is wont to advance. I believe these dinosaurs were an attempt by a perverted being to imitate God in that he wanted to create creatures in his own image. BTW, this would have been an image that he himself created most likely, for angels are described in various forms and ways, but only one spirit, that I’m aware of, is described as looking like a lizard.
The Millennium will not have war because the spirit of war will be put away, both literally and symbolically.
So, back to the question on why God is involved in war:
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
~ Rev 12:7
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning (he tried to kill God!), and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
~ Jn 8:44
So, where does war come from? It comes from the evil within the hard hearts of men, which is provoked by the enemy of God. That is why the Millennium cannot truly begin until the author of sin is put away.
However, we have our part in all this, for we must resist the temptation to give in to Satan, the true spirit of war.
Pride, of course, plays a part as well. However, it really is an extension of Jame’s epistle, for pride is the desire to elevate one’s self, is it not?
25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.
~ Pr 28:25
10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
~ Pr 13:10
I find the last one the most interesting, for it says “only” by pride comes quarrels and strife. If you get rebuffed for something or if jealousy takes root, then doesn’t that prick at one’s ego? Desire turns into lust, lust causes pride (“it’s my right!”) to rear its ugly head, and the result is turmoil.
Are You Infected?
Ebola is a scary news item these days. Justified or hype, it sort of seems odd that a disease that requires such intimate contact (requires body fluids to stay alive) is on the rise so quickly.
Unlike Ebola, however, attitudes do not require physical contact to rub off. It can be from a game, a movie, a television show, a song or just being around a coworker with a bad attitude. This is why it is to my dismay that some will justify certain types of entertainment in spite of the truism “garbage in, garbage out”.
If contention always comes through arrogance, proudly thinking more highly of yourself than not, and it is rooted in some type of desire, whether for an object, a person, adoration, respect, etc., then it is obvious that whomever started the strife, if not both parties, are being infected with the spirit of war.
If you think it cannot infect those in the Church, then I suggest you pinch yourself and see if it hurts. As long as we are flesh and blood, we are capable of having bad attitudes.
Consider the following, and ask yourself if this is or is not or contains or not the spirit of war:
- Church splits
- Shunning family members who may or may not yet be called
- Refusing to work with others to do good works
- Sneering at other groups and calling them “Laodicean”, “pagan”, etc. Or, for that matter, just plain sneering.
- Constantly beating the “us vs them” drum
- Criticizing the Church and others over small points of the Law continuously
- Trying to “convert” others to our way of thinking even if they aren’t interested
- Making large matters out of small ones and causing division over them
I particularly get annoyed with the latter one, because at the end of the day a lot of contention really boils down to that one. Which leads to what one should do if someone says something wrong, wrongs you or offends you in some way, because the very first thing we should ask is, “How important is this really?”
Choose Your Battles
There is a lot to be said about offending others in the NT, but there also are passages that should give us pause about being overly sensitive and easily offended as well. As I state in “What Offends You? The Answer Depends on How You Understand the Eighth Day (Last Great Day)“, Ps 119:165 states that nothing will offend those who love God’s Law, and Mt 6:14-15 says forgiveness should be the order of the day, which implies that any offenses not only should be must be set aside if we are to follow Him. I seriously urge you to read that article if contention seems to run amok in your life, for the problem may just well be on your end!
Likewise, whenever someone says something I disagree with, then it is incumbent upon me to ask myself, “Is it worth it?” Maybe it is something small yet helpful if I ask a question. Maybe in the larger picture it doesn’t change anything at all. Can I approach it without controversy, and if not is the controversy worth it?
Something else that plays into it is honestly answering the question, “Could I be wrong?” There have been way too many disagreements over things that either are really speculative or even that involve making a judgment that one party or the other really has no right to make. Submission and humility are the opposites to rebelliousness and arrogance.
I believe every single one of us is wrong — about something. I believe that no flesh will glory in the presence of God. Even the Apostles were wrong on the timing of Christ’s return, so we’d better wake up and consider that others might actually be right about one or two things. As I’ve said before, even a broken clock is right twice a day, so even our enemies are right about something! We just have to be discerning as to what it may be.
Some view God as sitting upon His throne, watching and waiting so He can throw lightning bolts at people the moment they step out of line. Reality and the biblical record shows that to not be the case, though. God waits, often for this or that sin to be filled up before acting (cf. Ge 15:16).
This is another way of saying that God chooses His battles. Do we choose ours?
Sometimes, we approach the whole matter of offenses like it is a recipe, but every situation is going to be different. This is why, regardless of whether or not we believe it is a battle worth fighting, we must approach the Throne of Grace before acting or not acting.
And when in doubt, remember it is the Throne of Grace. The Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant had underneath it the Law, that is true. However, without Law, there is no mercy, and it is, after all, called the Mercy Seat! If we all got what we deserved, who would be born? All of our forefathers would have died, after all. Who among us is any better?
When in doubt, don’t engage the battle. When not in doubt, don’t hesitate. How can you know? Take it to prayer!
I am essentially a man of action. Yes, I like to think, ponder and even metaphorically navel gaze upon occasion, but all of that is useless if it doesn’t turn into action. I believe that this is godly, for what is godly love if you do not show it? Love without works is dead, to paraphrase James.
Yet, what is the “right” thing to do in any given situation? We cannot always know, for we are certainly not omnipotent. King Saul inquired of God what to do when the Philistines gathered against him in Samuel 28. God, however, did not answer him. Now, Saul got desperate and sought out a medium to bring up Samuel, supposedly, to answer him. What benefit he truly thought this would be, I do not know, but this was one time that action should have been stayed and more godly reflection (and probably some fasting) would have benefited a lot more.
If you want my opinion, Saul was offended, but he was offended at God for not answering him! Again, that is just my opinion, but is there any other explanation other than his madness?
So, it begs the question: Did Saul really take it to God, or did he half-heartedly expect God to answer him like a jinni answers when the right combination of words and actions are performed? If you don’t like that analogy, how about the one of standing on the steps of the Capitol building singing “God Bless America” when in reality there is no intent whatsoever to actually change, repent and obey God?
I would submit two things here:
- Our prayer to God should be to show us where we are wrong before telling us what to do about the matter.
- Even if we are right, we can be wrong in how we approach things. We can be so right and yet be so wrong. I’ve witnessed this several times, where people get on their high horse and say, “I told that teacher I was taking [their child] out of school on God’s holy day whether they liked it or not!” Really? Did you come across as a loving and obedient Christian or a fanatic?
Go to Your Brother
I’ve posted pointers to various now defunct links on “Go to your brother”, but maybe it is worthwhile to delete the obsolete articles and write one at this point.
Honestly, though, I have to wonder. The instructions are pretty clear in some regards, yet how often will people do everything but physically go to their brother or sister and discuss matters with them? If nothing else should be clear, it should be that bringing a matter to a minister or pastor means a pretty serious thing that cannot be resolved otherwise. To do otherwise is to be disobedient!
However, even if we kid ourselves that we are being obedient, are we really? Are we going to them to “tell them off”? Are we causing contention where none existed before?
Again, God is just as interested in why and how we do things as well as what. It’s not really true that He isn’t interested in the what, which is what many Protestants will proclaim, but we cannot go the other direction either and view it as a ritual to be performed without our heart being in the matter.
God showed King David just how important the how is. When he wanted to bring up the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, he put it on an ox cart. When the ox stumbled, Uzzah attempted to catch it to keep it from falling, and God struck Uzzah dead right there.
The problem? David did not follow the instructions for transporting the Ark. He assumed an ox cart would be OK, perhaps because that is how the Philistines sent it back after all of the problems they had with it. However, they were pagans who didn’t know any different. David had access to the Law, should have written out a copy of it and studied it, and he did not follow it.
Yes, God cares about the how, even today. In fact, the main difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant isn’t the lack of some sacrificial rituals so much as the intent, purpose and promises involved. John and then Jesus came preaching repentance, after all. Jesus was seeking a change of heart for mankind, and not just some lame rote acceptance of Him.
Likewise, we must ask ourselves whether or not we truly are confronting the person for their benefit. Are we trying to get even, exalt our own interests, salve our pride and/or ego, or are we truly trying to get the person to change for their own good? Because if it is not the last, it is the spirit of war!
I believe this in part points to why, should things fall apart, one is supposed to bring another with them subsequently. Two or more individuals who were not previously involved are much more likely to discern objectively whether or not the criticism is valid. They may as well be able to discern whether or not the offended party is being too easily offended, making mountains out of molehills or may have a very solid case.
Results of the Spirit of War
I’ve already pointed out some of this in general, but the fruits of the spirit of war should be obvious. A lot of the people who engage in it not only cause strife during a separation, but they also have a tendency to go off and attempt to create a group of their own. It really boils down to the fact that their pride is so great that not even separation brings the lesson home, but they believe that they, and not “them”, should be in charge.
Isn’t this the ultimate in the spirit of war? Is this not the very essence of the spirit of the enemy?
There are far fewer those who were forced out for small offenses, have more or less quietly left, quietly keep what their conscience allows and carefully consider that all people, including God’s people and including themselves, are at different levels of spiritual understanding, but humbly accept that we are all struggling to understand the mind of God. Obviously, you don’t hear much about these people, but the Father in Heaven sees their hearts.
Let’s be clear that this last attitude is not some form of ecumenism, but it is a sign of humility and recognition that we all have One Judge, Jesus Christ. It seems that we have forgotten that “the main things are the plain things, and the plain things are the main things.”
I am going to end this with a quote from someone who has personally been touched by the shunning and exclusiveness of some, even as others I know have been touched by cults that claim to be part of the Church of God yet exhibit a very different spirit:
The irony of it all, and this comes back to “they will know you are my disciples….” is that if we are not brothers and sisters, then fine we are enemies, and what are we told to do with our enemies?….. “love them.” So, no matter how you look at it we are failing miserably.