Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
July 23, 1998
Last Updated :
February 22, 2012
Lonely Ember Story, Ostracism, Psychological Manipulation And Political Correctness, The True Church, Exhort Daily, A "Dead Ember" With Good Fruits?, Endtime Spiritual Famine?, The Lord's Prophetic Embers, Jewish Idolatry, Spiritual Deafness, Prophets Slain, New Testament Embers, Holy Ghost Fire, Wind Of The Spirit, Fiery Trials, God's Fiery Judgement
Back in July of 1998, one of the members of our EDGE Mailing List sent me a short story which she had been given by one of her Christian friends. This story -- which was written by an unknown author -- is entitled "Lonely Ember Story", and has since been propagated all across the Internet. Allow me to share with you the version of the story which she sent to me at that time:
----- Begin Quote -----
"A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. The pastor made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs."
"After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet fascination. As the one lone ember's flame diminished, there was a momentary glow, and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and "dead as a doornail". Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. Just before the pastor was ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it."
"As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said, 'Thank you so much for your visit; and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday.'"
----- End Of Quote -----
For those of you who personally feel the need to regularly attend weekend church services in order to sustain your spiritual life and growth, as well as to receive regular inspiration, this story will be readily welcomed, and will no doubt receive your hearty "Amen!"; after all, this is the "normal" and socially-acceptable form of worshipping God in Christianized nations. No one can deny that fellowship with other Christians of like minds and beliefs is indeed a good thing; however, at the same time, I can also see how this short story could be used as a vehicle in order to apply invisible pressure to those people who have chosen, for whatever their personal reasons, not to participate in the socially-acceptable form of Christian worship. In other words, stories such as the above can be used as crafty tools in order to make people feel condemned if they don't attend a regular church service at a church building in their local community. If one chooses to worship and serve the Lord in some other way, he is labelled as being either a loner, odd, abnormal, a cult member, dangerous, a societal misfit, a recluse, or some other ostracizing word or term.
In my view, this is absolutely wrong. This is nothing more than a subtle form of psychological manipulation in order to intentionally mold societal behavior through applying group peer pressure, and enforcing political correctness. National governments are notorious for using these techniques in order to maintain control over the masses. From the time a child is born, he or she is subjected to these things by his parents, who have already been properly trained in correct thinking by the government. As I point out in other articles such as "The Public School System And School Prayer", this process of molding our lives, our thoughts, and our daily habits, is greatly amplified in the public school system where one is given his first lessons in becoming a docile, obedient, flag-waving patriotic robot who does whatever he is told by his masters, without thinking for himself. While the public school system concentrates on the secular aspect of one's life, organized religion continues the process by working on the spiritual aspect of the same.
Additionally, I feel that the previous story conveys some things which are subtle half-truths, and in fact, even lies. The main distortion is that unless one attends a church building, he cannot possibly survive as a Christian. The implication is that he will lose his spiritual fire, and that he will eventually die after a time; just like the lonely ember in the story. This, of course, is not true for all people. Some of us, like myself, have not attended a church building in many years. Personally, as I write this, the last time that I participated as a regular member of a church congregation was some twenty-eight years ago. Some of us simply do not feel the need to attend a church building. Others follow this practice, not because they personally feel the need to do so, but simply because some legalistic religionists will throw certain verses at them, and try to make them feel like dirty sinners because they are breaking the "Pauline Law". I am of course referring to the following verse taken from Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews:
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
Hebrews 10:25, KJV
The fact of the matter is, that those people who use this verse in this manner in order to coax others into attending their particular church building, so that they can boost their membership, and perhaps increase their revenue, fail to even understand what is truly meant by the Church as per the pattern found in the Book of Acts and the Epistles of Paul and others. In the previous verse, Paul tells us that we are to exhort one another. Most modern Christians have interpreted this to mean that this is what people do once a week when they attend their church service; however, if we go back only seven chapters in the very same Epistle, we find out that this is not what Paul means whatsoever. He is not talking about once-a-week church service. Notice what he says:
"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."
Hebrews 3:13, KJV
Just adding that one verse certainly changes the meaning of Paul's words, doesn't it? How often does Paul say we are we supposed to exhort one another? Is it just once a week for one hour at a church service in some church building while we spend the rest of the week slaving away for the world and ungodly mammon? As you can see, this is obviously not the case! This is supposed to occur on a daily basis! Imagine then, what might happen if we earnestly study our Bibles in order to find other verses which will help us to further understand the true meaning of the word "church". If you are one who is confused by this issue, then I encourage you to read my series "Where Are The First Century Churches?". After reading it, I believe you may be left with a whole new perspective concerning not only what it means to be a part of the Lord's true Church, but also where that true Church is actually supposed to be located according to the Holy Scriptures; and not according to the false doctrines and traditions of modern theologians who twist the Scriptures.
According to the moral of the above story, based upon my long absence from organized religion, and thus from church buildings, I should be spiritually cold and dead by now. Let me ask you; do those of you who have read my articles on a regular basis feel that I am lifeless and spiritless? Do you honestly believe that I do not write with the inspiration of God's Spirit, maybe not in every single word that I write, but in a lot of it? Are you not personally inspired, moved and motivated by the things that I write? Are you not challenged by the truths that I speak? In the words of the Apostle Paul, do I not exhort you daily through my mail ministry and through my many articles to believe in the Lord, to follow His Word, and to do more for Him as we see the day of His Arrival fast approaching? Do you honestly believe that I am not bearing good fruit for the Lord and His Kingdom outside of organized religion? As Jesus Himself said, and as I have written in many other articles:
"Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Matthew 7:17-20, KJV
If I am a "dead ember" as the previous story indicates that I should be, then I wish to God that there were more "dead embers" like me; and I say this with all humility. As the Apostle Paul wrote, everything we have, even our faith to believe in Him is a gift of the Lord. I don't have anything which I have not received of the Lord. To Him belongs all of the credit, and all of the glory:
"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
Romans 12:3, KJV
"But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."
Acts 20:24, KJV
While I personally do not know the full effects of my ministry, I have received many heart-warming confirmations which prove that it is reaching far and wide; and that it is bearing good fruit in the lives of many people. I have been told by some of my readers, that the reason that they have chosen to participate in this ministry, is because I exalt the Lord, and His Word, much more so than some of them have ever experienced in the churches they have attended all of their lives. What a wonderful thing to know! To realize that others feel I am being a faithful steward and guardian of God's Word truly touches my heart! I am reminded of a prophecy given to ancient Israel. In that prophecy, Amos said that the time would come when there would be a spiritual famine for hearing the Word of the Lord:
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst."
Amos 8:11-13, KJV
This prophecy truly came to pass during the several hundred years prior to the arrival of Jesus Christ during the First Century. As I explain in several other articles, and as I will discuss shortly, the time arrived in Israel when all of the Lord's true Prophets had been silenced through death by the self-righteous, legalistic, false, religious system of the Jews. All that was left was an empty spiritless Temple, the dry doctrines and traditions of the spiritual hierarchy, and the lies being espoused by their politically-correct false prophets. Is it be possible that a similar situation exists in the world today? Is it possible that the voices of God's true Messengers bearing His Word have been overwhelmed by the Babylonian confusion of the lies and lying wonders of the false prophets of the Endtime? Is it possible that we too will someday soon be completely silenced? If so, perhaps you should take advantage of this ministry while it lasts.
Contrary to the implications of the "Lonely Ember Story", the Scriptures are full of verses which indicate that the exact opposite can also occur; and that it happens quite frequently. Many verses point to the fact that it is when organized worldly religion has become cold, spiritually dead and unfruitful, that the Lord will blow His Spirit upon one of His embers, which in His Wisdom, He has called out and separated from the main body of believers, in order to be one of His fiery messengers of Truth. Need I mention the Prophet Moses, who was called by the Lord through a burning bush in order to liberate the Hebrew children from the false religion of Egypt? Consider also how the Lord sanctified, or separated, from the Hebrew word "qadash", the young Prophet Jeremiah for a special ministry of warning to Israel:
"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."
Jeremiah 1:5, KJV
Following the Babylonian captivity in which the organized religion of Israel was either killed or taken into bonds, the Lord also raised up the Prophet Ezekiel to be another hot burning ember to convict the hearts of the children of Israel to repent of their sins, and to return to the Lord their God:
"Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."
Ezekiel 3:17-19, KJV
The Lord repeatedly used these hot fiery Prophets, called out from the corrupt system of their day, in order to expose the sins of the religious hierarchy of ancient Israel, which had become settled in its ways and gone a whoring after other gods and idols. I discuss this idol worship in great detail in the series "The Fruits Of Disobedience". Consider the following example verses:
"For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing."
2 Kings 17:12, KJV
"And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood."
Psalms 106:38, KJV
"And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols. And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars. In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished. And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the LORD. Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries. And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations."
Ezekiel 6:3-9, KJV
"Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt."
Ezekiel 20:7-8, KJV
"The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?"
Jeremiah 5:31, KJV
It is when organized religion stagnates and becomes cold, dead and unfruitful, just like the ember in our story, that the Lord must raise up His fiery Prophets and Messengers in order to convict and inspire the people, and their leaders, to repent; but sadly, as with ancient Israel, many people today are failing to heed the call of the Lord's beacons of Truth. They are turning a deaf ear to the warnings of the Lord through His Prophets and Messengers. Tragically, it appears that it may be too late, as the Lord's chastisements have already begun to fall on different nations around the world. We hear and read of these things on our daily news. Sadly, most of these harsh judgments are attributed by an unbelieving world to natural causes, and not to an angry God. Consider the following examples of spiritual deafness found in the Old Testament:
"And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass. Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear."
2 Chronicles 24:18-19, KJV
"And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not . . . Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:"
Jeremiah 7:13, 25, KJV
"To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened;"
Jeremiah 26:5, KJV
"Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD."
Jeremiah 29:19, KJV
"And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction."
Jeremiah 32:33, KJV
"I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me."
Jeremiah 35:15, KJV
Worse yet, as I point out in other articles, not only do the hard-hearted and self-satisfied religionists totally reject the warning message and call to repentance of the Lord's true Prophets, but as in the case of ancient backslidden Israel, together with their political structure, they also ridicule, persecute and kill the Lord's fiery Messengers, as is demonstrated by these verses:
"And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
1 Kings 19:14, KJV
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Matthew 23:29-39, KJV
I discuss the murder of the Lord's true Prophets in much more detail in the two-part article "Revelation's Babylon The Great Whore". By the time of the New Testament era, the spiritual situation in Israel had deteriorated even further; thus again the Lord had to send the fiery Prophet, John the Baptist, in order to expose the sins of the Jewish spiritual hierarchy; and to stir up the dead coals, by convicting the people to repent of their sins. This occurred in preparation for the arrival of their very own Saviour, Jesus Christ. Of John the Baptist, the Lord Himself said:
"Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me."
John 5:33-36, KJV
This idea of being a burning light, or fire, was also employed by John the Baptist when he described the coming Ministry of Jesus Christ. Following the cue from the Old Testament Prophets, in the Gospel of Matthew, the Preacher of the Jordan River Valley proclaimed the following to the unbelieving Jews:
"And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Matthew 3:10-12, KJV
As can be seen, the element of fire is used to describe the Power of God's Spirit which rests upon those whom the Lord wills; that is, upon His burning embers of Truth. All that the Lord has to do is to gently blow upon them with His Spirit, and they come alive and begin to glow brilliantly; emanating both His Light and Truth. Consider the following interesting verse found towards the end of the Gospel of John:
"And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:"
John 20:22, KJV
After the Lord had returned to Heaven, when He passed on the Spiritual Anointing to the Disciples in Jerusalem, it was also represented by cloven tongues as of fire. Notice again that the embers of the Lord came alive when the Wind of the Lord's Spirit blew upon them:
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them."
Acts 2:1-3, KJV
Aren't these parallels with blowing upon embers absolutely amazing? Fire is also used in the Scriptures to describe our Earthly trials and tribulations which are purposely designed by the Lord to purge and purify us, and to make us better vessels fit for the Master's use. I discuss this topic more in depth in some of my chastisement and spiritual warfare article; however, for now, consider the following verses:
"Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
1 Corinthians 3:13-15, KJV
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
1 Peter 4:12-13, KJV
"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
Revelation 3:18, KJV
"And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand."
Daniel 12:9-10, KJV
We also know that from one end of the Bible to the other, the symbols of light and fire are used to describe the exposure of sin, and the coming destruction of the wicked and the ungodly world. Throughout His Ministry, the Lord used both of these in many of His parables and admonitions, too many to mention here; but consider what will be the end result when the Lord finally does return to set His house in order, climaxing in the Great White Throne Judgment which will occur sometime after the Millennium:
"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"
2 Thessalonians 1:7-8, KJV
"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:"
2 Thessalonians 2:8, KJV
"But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men . . . Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?"
2 Peter 3:7, 12, KJV
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."
Revelation 19:20, KJV
"And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
Revelation 20:9-10, KJV
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Revelation 20:14-15, KJV
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
Revelation 21:8, KJV
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
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