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Protecting Holy Ground

Protecting Holy Ground

Do you ever pause to take a personal spiritual inventory from time to time—you know, just to see if or how you’ve grown spiritually? Every so often, I do; and it was during one such moment of personal introspection and soul searching that I discovered something about myself that I found both interesting and disturbing.

At the time, I was reading in Leviticus. The portion of Scripture I was reading was Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47. In chapter 9, Moses’ brother Aaron and Aaron’s sons were inaugurated as priests to serve in the tabernacle during Israel’s wandering in the wilderness. In chapter 11, the Lord began to lay out what is clean and what is unclean to eat. But it’s out of chapter 10, and in particular verses 1 – 3, that I want to share with you. The passage reads as follows:

“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.” (KJV)

The Lord spent the first several chapters of Leviticus teaching Aaron and his sons about the various sacrifices they would be offering, how they were to offer them, and when. It seems that it was not too long after that though when Aaron’s two older sons, Nadab and Abihu, disregarded the Lord’s commands and took it upon themselves to offer “strange fire”. This, of course, ended disastrously.

Now there are various opinions as to what Nadab and Abihu actually did wrong. Some believe that God struck them down because they used different incense than what the Lord had prescribed. Others believe that their deaths were a result of where they got their fire from. Still others think that maybe it had something to do with what time of day it was or that perhaps they had been drinking. Whether we believe that it was one, all, or any combination of those reasons, however, the bottom line is that the Lord was not pleased—prompting Him to proclaim, “By those who come near me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.”

THE DREAM

A short while before reading the above portion of Scripture, I had a dream. In the dream, I found myself in a high school football field. I was standing by a set of bleachers. There were a handful of strangers sitting in the bleachers, but there was nothing going on out in the field. It was night time. All the field lights were off and it was dark. For some reason, I thought it a good idea to set my wallet down on the bench while I went out into the field to do dream things—you know, those crazy things that we do in dreams that rarely make sense and often seem a blur. Then suddenly, it struck me that I had left my wallet unattended. As I ran back to retrieve it in fear and panic, I was relieved to discover that it was still there—although, upon closer inspection, I realized that someone had stolen some (but not all) of its contents. While I found all this very upsetting, I was further relieved as I awoke to realize that it was all just a dream. Now you are probably wondering what on earth this dream has to do with Nadab and Abihu, so let me explain. In Genesis 2:15, we read:

“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (KJV)

The word “dress,” according to the Strong’s Concordance, comes from the Hebrew word abad, which means “to work” or “to till.” The word “keep” comes from the Hebrew word shamar, meaning “to guard, to protect” or “to hedge about (as with thorns).” In other words, the man was placed in the garden to cultivate it and to guard it. So what was he to guard it from? After all, Adam and Eve were the only ones there, weren’t they? They were to protect it from the Serpent, the adversary who (as we all know) eventually slithered his way in.

THE SERPENT

Consider for a moment that Scripture tells us that God would come down into the garden and commune with man in the cool of the day. This means that the garden was holy ground, as anywhere God steps becomes holy ground. As I thought about this, I remembered a verse in Ecclesiastes:

“He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.” (Ecclesiastes 10:8 KJV)

Whenever I read this verse in the past, I always pictured myself standing on the outside of a hedge trying to break in. Then, it occurred to me: what if I was actually standing on the inside trying to get out? All of sudden, I saw that verse in a different light and it made sense to me in way that I had not previously considered. After all, isn’t that when the Serpent (God’s adversary) tends to strike—when we have removed ourselves from God’s protection? Granted, Adam’s problem was not that he broke down a hedge, per se’. His problem is that he probably never put one up in the first place! As a result, the Serpent not only defiled the garden with his presence but bit the man in the process. The interesting thing about all this is the connection between holy ground and the human heart. You see, the tabernacle in the wilderness that Aaron and his sons served in, Eden, and man are all configured the same.

THE TABERNACLE, EDEN, AND MAN

The tabernacle consisted of three compartments—an outer court, the holy place, and the most holy place or holy of holies. In the beginning, there was Eden, there was the Garden of Eden, and there was the midst of the garden. We are comprised of body, soul, and spirit. The outer court of the tabernacle contained the altar of sacrifice and the laver of washing (the water and the blood). Outside of the garden, in Eden, originated the river that fed the garden. The river was the garden’s life blood, so to speak. Our bodies contain water and blood, essential to life. The holy place in the tabernacle contained the table of show-bread (on which twelve loaves of bread were placed), the golden lamp stand (the menorah), and the altar of incense. It is in our souls that we feast on the bread of life (Jesus/Yeshua). It is the soul that is illuminated by the light of God’s word, and it is the soul that offers up the incense of prayer to our heavenly Father. It was in the garden that God walked and communed with man. Finally, in the holy of holies, the heart of the tabernacle, was the Ark of the Covenant, which contained God’s word. It was there that God’s presence was found. In the midst of the garden was the Tree of Life (a Hebrew idiom for the word of God), and it is in our spirit (our heart) that God chooses to dwell. The desert floor of the tabernacle, the Garden of Eden, and the heart of man were all considered by God to be holy ground.

THE ANALOGY

From the very beginning, God has chosen to draw an analogy between the laws and principles of agriculture, His word, and the hearts of men. In the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, our Lord made a direct connection between ground or soil and the human heart—pointing out that the good ground (that is, the heart that receives God’s word) brings forth good fruit (Matthew 13:24). In the parable of the wheat and the tares in the same chapter, our Lord made reference to the fact that “while men slept” God’s adversary came and sowed tares (a degenerate and poisonous form of wheat) in among the good wheat (Matthew 13:24-25). In Mark 4:14, referring to Himself as the sower, Yeshua said, The sower soweth the word.” So if our Lord’s word is His seed, we can conclude that the Serpent’s word is the seed of the adversary.

Why was the adversary able to plant tares in among the wheat? He was able to do so because the ones who were suppose to be watching and guarding fell asleep. Consider now Leviticus 19:19: “…thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed…,” and Deuteronomy 22:9: “Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with diverse seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.” According to Leviticus 19 and Deuteronomy 22, we are not to mix seeds because it defiles not only the field but also the fruit. So if, biblically speaking, we understand soil to be synonymous with the human heart, what then can we say happened to Nadab and Abihu? As was the case with Adam, they were busy working, they were occupied with the Lord’s business, but when it came to guarding, they fell short. They did not guard their hearts. They did not set a hedge around their sanctuary. Basically, they fell asleep. As a result, they were not even aware that they were offering profane sacrifice until it was too late and they had already defiled holy ground.

THE LESSON

Okay, now back to my dream. I believe that the Lord still uses dreams to speak to us on occasion, if we will but listen. The day before I had my dream, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit through a conversation that I had with my wife. For months, she had been dealing with some issues that were weighing heavily on her heart. I had watched helplessly as she struggled through that time of personal heartache, having been betrayed by someone for whom she cared very deeply. As most husbands tend to do, after she shared her pain with me that day, I offered some advice—feeling, of course, that I should be able to fix things. In my zeal, I offered counsel that upon leaving my lips, immediately struck my conscience as wrong because I knew it was not what our Lord would have recommended. In fact, it was exact opposite of what He would have recommended. I beat myself up as I thought about this for the next several days feeling very disappointed with myself. Then one day soon after, I realized what the Lord was showing me when I saw the connection between Leviticus 10:1-3, my dream and the advice that I had offered my wife, the attitude with which I had done so, and the intention of my heart when I did.

You see, our hearts are the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, but over time I began to tolerate and to harbor all sorts of unclean things in my sanctuary—anger, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness, especially where it concerned the individual causing my wife’s distress. I had broken down a hedge unaware; and when I discovered that the word “strange” (as in “they offered strange fire before the Lord”) meant “to turn aside,” it all became clear. In my dream, that is exactly what I had done. I had left my wallet (symbolic of my heart) unattended as I turned aside to something else. But my dream was only a reflection of what had already occurred in reality. Our Lord said in Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure [wallet] is, there will your heart be also.” Little by little as the night crept in, under cover of darkness, the enemy of my soul had stolen my treasure. He had stolen the affection of my heart, he had stolen my focus. Yet, he didn’t steal all of it! And that is what makes his work so insidious. He stole only just enough to defile my offering.

Any offering we make to the Lord, whether it is praise, thanksgiving, worship, or service of any kind is either holy or profane based on what we harbor in our hearts. If we are careful to guard our hearts and minds as our Lord commands, our offerings will be accepted. If, however, we are not diligent in protecting against the adversary, we can be certain that he will plant his seed where it doesn’t belong, holy ground will be defiled, and our offerings will be in vain no matter how well intentioned. Proverbs 4:23 says:

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (KJV)

The Lord is gracious, but He is also holy, and He demands that we be holy. He desires that we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to Him, according to Romans 12:1. May we always strive to do so, lest anyone of us should one day awake to find ourselves alone in the dark, sidelined on the bleachers, nursing an empty heart or worse.

So here now is a question for you. How important do you think it is to guard and protect your heart from the adversary, and what biblical strategy or strategies have you implemented to achieve this?

If you feel persuaded to do some personal soul searching and to take a personal spiritual inventory of your own, if the Lord is speaking to you and you feel pricked in your heart that there is something you should repent of, please don’t ignore the Spirit’s prompting. Please, take this time to get right with the Lord. You will be drawing closer to Him in the process and He will in turn draw nearer to you. Do your best to protect your holy ground.

To Those Willing To Hear

To Those Willing To Hear

Hallelujah! He has risen! Our Lord, the First Fruits from the dead, is alive and reigns supreme forever and ever! Praise our God all you, His people, for He has given us His Son (Jesus Christ/Yeshua Ha’Mashiach), our Savior, our hope, and our glory! Praise Him for His salvation, for in Him we have eternal life!

As a lone warrior, He stood in the gap when no one else could and single-handedly overcame Satan’s armies. He alone stood against the hordes of hell and won the victory over the adversary of our souls, death, and the grave. No one else was, or could have ever been, capable of such a victory. Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha’Mashiach), the Lord of Hosts, the Lamb of God, the Righteous and Holy One of Israel, Son of the living God—He has redeemed us and we shall praise Him forever!

Sing praise! Blow the shofars! Shout it from the mountain tops! Our God reigns and He is still on the throne! Come what may, this one thing will never change. No pestilence, no crisis, no disaster, no evil, and no amount of unbelief (no matter how great) will ever remove our God from His throne. Come what may, this one thing is true—our King will return, and in that day, there will be no acquittal for the guilty and no place for the wicked to hide. He alone will be exalted.

To the wicked, I say: The time to repent is now. This is the day of salvation! Don’t let that day come upon you like a thief in the night. As surely as He has risen, He will return.

To those of you already in the faith—rejoice! All those who faithfully await our Lord’s return will one day soon stand before Him among the righteous. We will shine like the stars before Him. We will sing of His goodness forever, and so shall we ever be with the Lord!

Praise Him, for He alone is worthy!

The Left

The Left

The left—it’s a phrase we hear all over the place these days. It’s used to describe a particular group of people that seek to differentiate and disassociate themselves from anything that remotely resembles what is commonly known as the conservative or religious right or that espouses genuine Judeo-Christian beliefs. The phrase has been adopted by all things liberal, progressive, and socialist—that is, the current US Democratic Party. But why, of all the titles they could have picked, would they elect to call themselves “the left”? I’ll share why I believe that title is significant in a moment, but let me first lay some ground-work in preparation.

THE CLAIMS

The left make many claims in defense of their position. Here are just a few. The left claim that they are for the little guy and that they simply seek to even the playing field to the benefit of the average hard-working American. They allege to be for equal rights and call themselves champions of civil liberties as they fight for social justice. They claim to be for diversity and acceptance. They maintain that they care for the less fortunate in society and claim that their agenda is the best and only right agenda for all minorities and for this country as a whole. They argue that open borders are a basic human right and actually good for this country. They proclaim to be for religious freedom and declare themselves society’s moral voice of reason. But are they really? They assert that women have the right over their own bodies and can, therefore, do what they will with their unborn. They claim that big government is the only way to fix all of society’s problems (whether real or contrived). They also assert that all who disagree with their agenda are fundamentally evil, are not worthy of being heard or of having an equal say in public arenas, and only deserve to be marginalized, penalized, and silenced.

THE PROMISES

The left promise many things. They promise to save us all from climate change. They pledge to raise taxes on the rich. They promise free government healthcare for all, free college tuition, and free money to those who will not work. They promise to fight for minorities and to lead the way in making life better for the black and Hispanic communities. They guarantee free reproductive rights for all and the abolition of all societal sexual restrictions. They pledge open borders. They pledge to expand voting rights for all who make it into this country (whether legally or not) and to keep sanctuary cities. They promise to uphold religious freedom and to ensure that all forms of worship are protected under the law. They promise to rid our streets of violence by taking away the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms and to protect themselves. In short, they promise to save the world, and to hear them one would think that society will become a utopia under their rule.

THE ACCUSATIONS

The left are masters at disguising themselves and at distracting the public from the true intentions of their agenda. They are experts at accusing their opposition of the very things they themselves are guilty of. They throw out phrases like sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, islamophobic, and so forth against all who disagree with them. They make absurd declarations like, “they [Republicans] want to put ya’ll back in chains” and “they want to take away your rights” while they themselves seek absolute control. And if those kinds of allegations don’t work, they will resort to labeling their opponents whatever it takes until something sticks. Their tactics are the same as those used by the one whom the Bible calls “the accuser of the brethren.”

THE REALITY

The truth is that despite all their claims, promises, and accusations, left could not care less about the plight of the average citizen. The average citizen is only useful so long as he or she can be manipulated to help advance the left’s agenda and their control over the people. The left does not care about civil rights. All they want is power. The reality is that they use the issues of race and class warfare and economic inequality to portray certain groups as victims of society in order to shore up their own support and establish or maintain power. They call the opposition racists and attempt to compare them to the Ku Klux Klan, but the historical fact is that the Ku Klux Klan was actually created by the Democratic Party after the Confederacy’s defeat in the Civil War. Following are some interesting historical facts written by the former Louisiana Democratic Senator turned Republican, Elbert Guillory (a black man), found in his booklet “Little Book of Liberal Lies”:

“An estimated 3,446 black Republicans and 1,297 white Republicans were lynched by the KKK between 1882 and 1968.”

“Jim Crow segregation laws in the South were created by Democrats looking to overturn Republican civil rights laws.”

“Democrats supported the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision that said ‘a negro whose ancestors were imported into [the US], and sold as slaves,’ whether enslaved or free, could not be an American citizen. The decision was 7-2 with ALL 7 Democrat judges voting in favor….”

“Immediately after taking office in 1913, President Woodrow Wilson (D) fired most blacks who worked in the Federal government and resegregated the Treasury Department, Mail Service and the Navy.”

“Governor George Wallace (D-AL) stood in front of the Alabama schoolhouse in 1963, fighting to keep segregation permanent.”

Senator Guillory gives other examples, but here are a few actual quotes sighted by the former Senator describing the true racist nature of some of the more prominent and powerful personalities on the left (both past and present):

“The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation—until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.” – President Woodrow Wilson (D)

“They [black youths] are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators,’…No conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.” – Hillary Clinton 1996

“Colored people are like human weeds and need to be exterminated.” – Margaret Sanger (creator of what eventually became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America)

“I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision…” – Hillary Clinton

The left love to accuse Republicans of being oppressive, but the reality is that the Republican Party, established in 1854 as an abolitionist movement, was the party that actually brought about freedom and progress. Abraham Lincoln, the party’s first president, was the author of the Emancipation Proclamation which freed the slaves. It was the Republican Party that introduced the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments which respectively banned slavery, guaranteed due process, and gave blacks the right to vote. The Democratic Party, both in whole or by majority, opposed and voted against all three Amendments. Finally, while the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was backed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) and whole-heartedly supported by Republicans, the left opposed it.

In their pursuit of diversity and acceptance, the left have embraced and promoted the LGBTQ agenda in every way possible, it seems. Now, however, it is no longer about equal rights—it is about destroying the minds of our innocent children at an early an age as possible by indoctrinating them into the LGBTQ agenda with storybook times in local libraries and classrooms and coaching them into such lifestyles without parental consent.

The left are doing everything they can to allow illegal aliens into this country and to keep them here. They seem to be in favor of overwhelming the border with those trying to get in through non ports of entry. Some on the left have even personally escorted illegal aliens into this country while others demand that we bring back the one that have already been deported. They promise them free healthcare while taxing this country’s legal citizens for not having any. They have established “sanctuary cities” and have refused to cooperate with federal authorities when it comes to apprehending illegal criminal elements (regardless of the crime). The left prefer to champion the rights of non-citizens over the rights of their own people. The left are now even issuing drivers licenses to those who are here illegally in states like New York, California, and other. But why are they so committed to bringing and keeping these non-citizens in our country? The answer is simple. They would not do so if they knew that these illegal aliens would vote Republican once given the right.

The left want to take away gun rights and the second Amendment from American citizens. If they can do this, they will be free to take away all other rights and to implement their socialist agenda without fear of opposition.

The left are expert at taking advantage of any crisis or opportunity that presents itself if it means increasing their political power. Whether it involves a mass shooting, an act of terrorism, a natural disaster, or any number of other issues, they will strive to use it to their advantage. Take for example, the current coronavirus pandemic. The left have managed to politicise the issue and are attempting to use it in order to fast-track certain draconian measures designed to further their agenda and tighten their control. And just like their disengenuous claims of wanting to tax the rich for the benefit of all, their plans ultimately only hurt millions of average, law abiding, middle and lower-class Americans.

With regard to reproductive rights, the left stand with Planned Parenthood. The abortion industry is a huge money-maker for them, and I will refer you again to Margaret Sanger’s quote.

The left give lip service to the idea of religious freedom, but they have proven on multiple occasions to be intolerant of Judeo-Christian beliefs by judging against Christians and Christian establishments in favor of gay rights, for example. They have also often been quick to pass judgment or condemn those of the Judeo-Christian faith in certain instances while, at the same time, avoiding at all costs giving the impression that Islam is at fault for anything or that Islam is anything more than a peaceful religion. They are, for the most part, pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel in their views.

The left hate all things white, rich, conservative, Republican, patriotic, Christian and Jewish, or so it seems. They embrace abortion after birth, open borders, and gun confiscation. They seek to remove the Bill of Rights, our Constitution, and our capitatistic way of life in order to instill socialism, communism, and yes—even Sharia law.

Now, to be fair, maybe not all Democrats agree with all these extreme views, which begs the question: why then would they support such lunacy? The answer, as I see it, comes down to two things. Either they are extremely naive or ignorant of the facts, or they have no clue or don’t care what God’s word has to say on these matters. Having said that, Republicans don’t have it all right and are not worthy of a free pass either.

THE PROBLEM

The problem for the left—as we get back to what I see is the significance of the title they’ve chosen—is that they have become a party of lawlessness. On just about every front and issue facing us today, it appears that they have embraced views that, at times, defy logic. But here’s what I know. In Matthew 25:31-33, 41, when the Day of the Lord finally arrives and He sits to judge the nations, on His left will stand all those who bought into the lies of the adversary.

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. . . .Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:31-33, 41 KJV)

All those who hated Israel, who took delight in the shedding of innocent blood, and promoted all manner of lawlessness will be cast into everlasting punishment. So here is my question. Why would anyone, especially if they call themselves Christian, ever want to throw their hat in with such a group? God’s word says it won’t end well. I hope some will reconsider.

A Contagion Worth Spreading

A Contagion Worth Spreading

Word about the coronavirus disease and the panic it is causing has spread all over the news. Even though more people are dying from pneumonia and the common flu, people are still frightened over COVID-19. Could this be a sign of the last days?

Before I answer that question, let me say this. In my years studying and teaching God’s word, I have learned that when studying the Bible, we need to remember two things—the Bible is the word of God and God’s word is truth and lasts forever.

In my book, America in Prophecy: A Nation at a Crossroads, I argue that God’s word is being fulfilled. Things are not falling apart so much as they are falling into place. The Bible reveals that the last days will be marked by great turmoil, with “men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” (Luke 21:26 KJV) The Bible tells us that certain events will serve as warning signs that the end is near.

So back to the question: Could this be a sign of the last days? In Revelation 6:7-8, it says: “And when He broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, ‘Come.’ And I looked and behold, an ashen horse and he who sat on it had the name Death, and Hades was following with him. And authority was given to them over a fourth of the Earth to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the Earth.” (NASB)

The coronavirus disease has been declared a pandemic. Before this declaration, however, it was already a worldwide scare. Keep in mind, though, that the common flu infects about a billion people globally each year and is responsible for anywhere from 12,000 to 61,000 deaths annually in the US alone, according to John Hopkins Medicine. Various forms of the contagion currently known as COVID-19 have been identified over the years since the 1960s. Common types of the coronavirus are 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1. Other less common types are MERS-COV, SARS-COV, and SARS-COV2. Add this to the tens of millions of adults infected with AIDS; the rise of tuberculosis, measles, and polio; Ebola, flesh-eating viruses, drug-resistant bacteria, mad cow disease, Legionnaires’, the Zika virus, and many others, and you can see that these might indicate that the fourth seal has already been broken.

The word “contagion” as defined in the New World Dictionary, Second College Edition means: “the spreading of disease from one individual to another by direct or indirect contact.” Interestingly, included in the definition of the word “contagion” is the following: “the spreading of an emotion, idea, custom, etc. from person to person until many are affected.”

My point is this: The world lives in fear. And the more the signs of the times multiply, the greater the contagion of fear becomes. In the last days, the hearts of men will fail them for fear. But God does not want His people to be gripped by fear. He has not called us to live in a state of anxiety and panic. The truth is that if we know our Savior, we have no cause for fear. Remember what Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV)

We need not worry if we know Jesus, our Savior. Yes, things will get bad: God’s word promises that. Yes, we must prepare for the last days. Yet in so doing, we should be agents of hope to those around us who have no hope. We should be a contagion for love, joy, and peace in a world that has no peace. As we await our Lord’s return, this is a contagion well worth spreading.