How Do We React To God’s Calamitous Judgment ?

The book of Habakkuk gave us the answer.   Habakkuk complained twice and the Lord answered him twice.  He complained initially on why God had allowed sin to be so rampant in Judah and did not act.  Later when God answered him that he would judge very soon and he complained again on why God would send the Chaldeans, a god-less people who was the epitome of all who opposed Him, to deliver the judgment of Judah.  God answered again that He would also judge the Chaldeans.

Despite all these judgments, God assured Habakkuk that the just would be justified and preserved by faith; and that He will be in complete control.

When Habakkuk caught a glimpse of God’s holiness,  his subsequent godly responses gave us a paradigm on how believers should respond when bad things happen to them.

An article by Irv Busenitz summarized the response well.

  1. Relate the matter to God.
  2. Recognize our own weakness.
  3. Review the greatness of God.
  4. Reaffirm our faith in God.
  5. Rest in the strength of God.

Habakkuk’s prayer in Hab 3 is the most appropriate response towards calamitous judgment such as the current pandemic.  One striking part of the prayer is that Habakkuk would still rejoice even if severe famine hit.

“I have heard all about you, Lord. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy… PESTILENCE marches before him; PLAGUE follows close behind. When he stops, the earth shakes. When he looks, the nations tremble. He shatters the everlasting mountains and levels the eternal hills. He is the Eternal One!.. You marched across the land in anger and trampled the nations in your fury. You went out to rescue your chosen people, to save your anointed ones. You crushed the heads of the wicked and stripped their bones from head to toe.  Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord!  I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.”

Truly Finding Life

Mark 8:34-38

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

John Stott paraphrased verse 35 this way :

“If you insist on holding on to yourself and living for yourself and refusing to let yourself go, you will lose yourself. But if you are prepared to lose yourself, to give yourself away in love for God and your fellow human beings, then in that moment of complete abandon, when you think have lost everything, the miracle takes place and you find yourself.

That miracle is the BORN AGAIN experience. A new heart and a new spirit have been born. And the Spirit given by the Lord God has begun the good work in conforming one to be like Christ to love God and fellow men perfectly. That is the turning point of repentance. That is the point reached in realizing one’s spiritual bankruptcy and turn to the Lord for salvation or freedom from the penalty, power and presence of sin in the crucified, living and coming Savior. That is the point of resolve to be a disciple of Christ in denying oneself, taking up the cross and following Him.

Vaccine Dilemma

Before I go on to share my concern about the mRNA vaccine in relation to our faith, let us know a little about the discovery and composition of the DNA in the cells of our bodies first.

The following article from gotquestions.org website aptly explained the discovery of DNA.

“In 1953, researchers Francis Crick and James Watson elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule. In doing so, they discovered that DNA was a carrier of specific genetic information that takes the form of a four-character digital code. This information is contained in an arrangement of four chemicals that scientists represent with the letters A, C, T, and G. The sequences of these chemicals provide the instructions necessary to assemble complex protein molecules that, in turn, help form structures diverse as eyes, wings, and legs. As Dr. Stephen C. Meyer has noted, “As it turns out, specific regions of the DNA molecule called coding regions have the same property of “sequence specificity” or “specified complexity” that characterizes written codes, linguistic texts, and protein molecules. Just as the letters in the alphabet of a written language may convey a particular message depending on their arrangement, so too do the sequences of nucleotide bases (the A’s, T’s, G’s, and C’s) inscribed along the spine of a DNA molecule convey a precise set of instructions for building proteins within the cell.”

In the book of Genesis, we read of the appearance of the Nephilim which Dr Peter Gentry explained very well in his video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKtHwc3mMY8) that they were likely to be the offspring of the fallen angels and human. It was an attempt to corrupt the human seed so that the Messiah could not incarnate.  And God destroyed the whole human race through a flood and restart the procreation of the human race through Noah and his family only.  I saw the ancient corruption as a primitive attempt to corrupt the human DNA then. In these latter days when science is now so advanced, I will not be surprised that there will be attempts by the enemy to corrupt the human DNA through gene editing of which the mRNA technology is just the precursor. From Scripture, we know that violation of God’s designed order or natural function of our bodies is an abomination to Him.

It is one thing to enhance our immune system through non invasive means affecting our DNA but quite another thing to tamper or alter our DNA.  In the current pandemic, I do not object to vaccination using killed whole virus protein vaccine because the technology presents a real virus, which has been attenuated or inactivated, to our bodies so that our bodies can learn to mount an antibody response to the real live virus when exposed later. The mRNA vaccine is a new technology in which genetic material is injected to teach the cells to produce the spiked proteins of the virus to solicit an antibody response from the cells.  The cells effectively become the munitions factory for both the good and bad guys.  Although it will not alter our DNA, it does tamper with the function of the DNA of our body cells.  I see it as a precursor of future attempts to alter our DNA eventually. 

(Other concerns I have for the mRNA vaccine are the lack of long term safety results which will only be available some years from now, admission of myocarditis risks, low efficacy from real life data, and very poor ethical track record of the manufacturers. Several scientists have also voiced certain concerns pertaining to the long term safety of the mRNA vaccine. As our bodies are the temple of the God, we ought to be prudent in taking very good care of it.)

In conclusion, I will treat vaccination with mRNA vaccine as a matter of truth and I firmly oppose it for it tampers with God’s design of the function of our cell DNA. But for vaccination with a killed virus vaccine, I will treat it as a matter of conscience.

Though some institutional churches also treat the mRNA vaccination as a matter of truth, but on the contrary, they compel everyone to vaccinate. Since vaccination is not mandatory, these churches should at least treat it as a matter of conscience. And they should know better the sin of stumbling a weaker brother with a weak conscience through coercion for a matter of conscience. 1 Cor 8:7-13. It will be going way too far to insinuate that if one does not get vaccinated, it is as good as not loving God and loving men. There are some brothers and sisters who cannot take the vaccination on medical ground. The church should know better not to exclude them from fellowship on practical economic reason. She should not prioritize expediency over love for the least of the brothers. Our Lord had warned against despising the little one in Matt 18:10-13. Matt 25:33-46.

—————————————————————————————————–

*** Latest Update : Recently US surgeons claimed they have successfully given a pig’s kidney to a person in a transplant breakthrough.   Steven Collins has this to say in his prophecy blog sharing similar view that there was an ancient attempt to corrupt the human DNA.

https://stevenmcollins.com/test-of-pig-organ-transplant-to-human-a-biblical-perspective/

Generous Giving

2 Cor 9:12-14 CEB

Your ministry of this service to God’s people isn’t only fully meeting their needs but it is also multiplying in many expressions of thanksgiving to God. They will give honor to God for your obedience to your confession of Christ’s gospel. They will do this because this service provides evidence of your obedience, and because of your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone. They will also pray for you, and they will care deeply for you because of the outstanding grace that God has given to you.

2 Cor 9:12-14 NLT

So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.

Two good things result from the ministry of giving :  the needs of the saints are met and they will express their thanksgiving to God our Lord.  It is also proof or evidence of our faith – that we believe in Christ and obey Him in helping the least of the brothers.  (Matt 25:33-46).  Doing good by giving to the saints is an acceptable worship sacrifice or a memorial offering to God. (Heb 13:16).  Of course, if we trumpet our giving or we do not give cheerfully,  then we are not obeying Christ because we love Him but do so with other motives.

One of the greatest joys in life is to have fellow brothers and sisters caring deeply for us by praying for us.

Covid 19 Pandemic

Exactly one year ago on 1st June 2020, I shared here that our Lord God decrees all calamities and our right response to our Lord’s calamitous judgment is to repent corporately and if not possible, we will repent individually and let God render to us each of our ways since He knows all our hearts.  1 Kings 8:35-40.

http://www.jcmanifesto.org/all-calamities-are-decreed-by-the-lord/

Fast forward to today, the pandemic continues to ravage. Our Lord wants obedience and not sacrifice.  We can continue to organize global prayer and praise, prayer chant of Psalms 91, and even fasting, but all will be futile if we do not repent.  The false NAR apostles and prophets also came on the scene to prophesize and declare victory over the pandemic last year causing many to be indifferent and unrepentant.  (Our Lord is sovereign and He may have mercy and relent at some point in time.)  To add further injury, we see Christendom in many nations trust more of the secular authorities to remedy the situation than to humble and seek our Lord’s face first and foremost. 2 Chron 7:13-14.

Deut 28:15,21-22 KJV said such :

“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee…The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.”

It is interesting to note that in KJV, the pestilence judgment is a consumption with a fever and with an inflammation.  Consumption is an old English word for wasting disease affecting the lungs such as tuberculosis.  Covid 19 fits the description of a consumption with fever and with an inflammation of the lungs.

So may God our Lord bless the faithful with wisdom to know the correct response to Him.

Zeph 2:3 KJV

Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.

The High Priestly Prayer

The office of the high priest was instituted when God gave the law to the Israelites.  The high priest was responsible for interceding for Israel before God.   In John 17, Jesus our Lord interceded for Himself, His disciples and all believers so the prayer became known as the High Priestly prayer.

Who can know exactly how to pray to God better than the Son of God Himself who had been with God since eternity past and for all eternity.  This prayer, together with the Lord’s Prayer, will be comprehensive enough as examples to pray for oneself and others for the main petition priorities are mentioned in them.  How important it will be for all believers to know the petition priorities made in these two prayers by our Lord.

The Lord’s Prayer is a personal prayer while the High Priestly Prayer is a corporate prayer.  One prays for oneself for provisions, forgiveness and deliverance; the other prays for the security, sanctification and unity of one’s disciples and the church at large.

The outline of this High Priestly prayer is as follows :

  • Jesus prayed for Himself. Vs 1-5
  • Jesus prayed for the security of His disciples. Vs 6-12
  • Jesus prayed for the sanctification of His disciples. V s3-19
  • Jesus prayed for His whole Body of believers. Vs 20-26

The main petition priorities gleaned from the High Priestly prayer are :

  1. Pray to submit to God’s given mission and obey for the sake of God’s glory.   Vs 1-5
  2. Pray for the security, sanctification and unity of one’s disciples, or local church or fellowship.
  • Pray (similarly) that we will teach the Word of God faithfully and that the disciples will receive them and come to know the truth, particularly to know the truth about Christ and that God sent Him. Vs 8
  • Pray for their security and unity. Vs 11
  • Pray for them to have joy. It is so necessary living in these end times when we will be persecuted.  Pray that they will endure with the joy set before them looking forward to the coming glory. Vs 13
  • Pray for them to be protected from the evil one. Vs 15
  • Pray to sanctify them with the truth. Vs 17
  1. Pray for the unity of the church at large. By praying for the other churches around the world, we are made to be aware of the similar struggles of the least of our brothers in these groups or nations.  Christian unity is not about denominational membership but about shared life in Christ.  It is about common love, common purpose and common mission just like in the first century.

 

Will All Saints Reign With Christ During The Millennium ?

Rev 20:4-5

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.

Some believers believe ONLY the martyred saints will reign with Christ our Lord in the Millennium based on the above verses.  The above verses do not necessarily exclude all the other saints, who have gone home to the Lord before the Rapture,  just because it is mentioned that the rest of the dead do not come to life.  The saints are not usually referred to as the dead.

Let’s look at the whole counsel of the Word of God on this subject question, whether other un-martyred saints will also reign during the Millennium,  before coming to a conclusion.

Rev 5:9-10

And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You have made them into a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.”

Luke 19:16-19

The first slave appeared, saying, “Master, your  mina has made ten minas more.’  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave; since you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to have authority over ten cities.’  The second one came, saying, ‘Your mina,  master, has made five minas.’  And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’

Rev 2:26-27

The one who overcomes, and the one who keeps My deeds until the end, I will give him authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are shattered, as I also have received authority from My Father.

Dan 7:21-27

I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the  saints and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom…Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the empires will serve and obey Him.

The above 4 Scriptural passages seem to substantiate that all saints, martyred or otherwise, will reign with Christ our Lord in the Millennium.

Firstly,  Rev 5:9-10 clearly stated that our Lord will make all, whom His blood purchased, into a kingdom of priests and will reign on the earth.

Secondly, the parable of the minas in Luke 19 mentioned that servants who have invested the minas and gained profit will be rewarded the rule of cities in the coming Kingdom.

Thirdly, Rev 2:26-27 mentioned that  the overcomer saint will be given authority to rule with a rod of iron implying that he will govern the nations resolutely to punish sin and rebellion. And that reign will be in the Millennium because there is no necessity to rule with a rod of iron after the Millennium.

Lastly, Daniel 7:21-27 mentioned that the saints will take possession of the Millennium kingdom after our Lord comes and defeats the Antichrist, and these saints may not all be martyred.

 

Rock And Foundation Of The Church

Matt 16:13-18

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter (Petros meaning “stone”) and on this rock (Petra) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Luke 16:20-31

 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Eph 2:19-20

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

From Luke 16:20-31, we can easily interpret that “Moses and the Prophets” in the parable refers to God’s revelation to Moses and the Prophets which is the Old Testament Scripture, and it is noteworthy to note that “Moses” is mentioned in such a way to signify Moses’s prominence among the prophets.

Our Lord had given Simon another name Peter (petros meaning a small stone), and in a play of words, He said He would build His church upon the Rock (petra).  Just like Moses was prominent among the prophets so was Peter among the apostles. Apparently he was the first to make the divinely received confession that Jesus was the Messiah, Son of the living God. Peter’s prominence can be seen in several other ways.  Four lists of the twelve apostles in the New Testament – Matt 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:13-16 and Acts 1:13 – put Peter first in the list.  He was the first to announce the gospel to the Jews (Acts 2:14–41). Together with John, he confirmed the inclusion of the Samaritans in the church (Acts 8:14–25). Finally, he was instrumental in the conversion of the first Gentiles (Acts 10–11).  Just as Moses was prominent among the prophets so was Peter among the apostles.

It is clearly mentioned at Eph 2:19-20 that the foundation of the church to be built upon is the “apostles and prophets”.  And looking at the whole counsel of the various passages, we can easily infer that “Moses and the prophets” and “Peter and the apostles” (though not mentioned this way but inferred from Peter’s prominence among the apostles just as Moses was prominent among the prophets) refer to their divinely received revelation which are the Old Testament and New Testament Scripture respectively with our Lord – being revealed as the Messiah, Son of the living God – as the Chief Cornerstone. In short, it is just “apostles and prophets” in Eph 2:19-20 which refers to God’s divine revelation through the apostles and prophets contained in the New Testament and Old Testament Scripture today.

Heb 1:1-3 affirmed the same :

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Matter Of Truth And Matter Of Conscience

Luke 11: 14-23

Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven.But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. WHOEVER IS NOT WITH ME IS AGAINST ME, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Luke 9 :49-50

John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, FOR THE ONE WHO IS NOT AGAINST YOU IS FOR YOU.”

In my other article on the same subject, I shared that for matter of truth,  Christians should have unity but for matter of conscience,  we can have liberty.

Here is another example from the above 2 Scriptural passages concerning matter of truth and matter of conscience. You will notice that for matter of truth concerning the Personhood of our Lord in Luke 11:23, there is no liberty to disagree but strict adherence.  “Whoever is not with Me is against Me.”

But for matter of conscience concerning Christian service, such as casting out of demons in Luke 9:50,  there can be some liberty to agree to disagree.  “(Though not with you), the one who is not against you is for you.”

Admonishment Using Ironic Words

1 Cor 4:8-14

You are already full!  You are already rich!  You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!  For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.  We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong!  You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!  To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.  And we labor, working with our own hands.  Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure,  being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.  I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.

Paul had used ironic or sarcastic words to admonish the Corinthian church. They prided themselves on the abundance of everything – spiritual gifts, luxury, comfort and ease.  They had no sense of need. They acted as though they were reigning already. Paul had stated clearly that his purpose was not to shame but to warn (1 Cor 4:14) and he did it in the spirit and zealousness of love for he called them his beloved children.

But sadly today, many have wandered from the truth and such admonishment will come across as judgmental.  Pastors who voice such admonishment,  like Paul, today will be construed as “ranting” against the respectable Christendom for leaving them out of their fellowship.

“It is positive disloyalty to seek our crown before the King gets His. Yet this is what some of the Christians at Corinth were doing. The apostles were bearing the reproach of Christ. But the Corinthian Christians were “rich” and “honorable”. They were seeking a good time where their Lord and Master had such a hard time.” – H P Barker. (Believer’s Bible Commentary)