Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
November 10, 1997
Last Updated :
April 2, 2012
Test Of Faith For Ancient Israelites And A Test For American Christians, Tares = Darnel = False Wheat And False Religions, Wherefore By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them, Foolishness Of The Gospel, Fiery Destruction Of The Wicked, God's Love Mercy And Patience With False Religionists, Learning From The Past, God's Objective: Correction Repentance And Healing, What Can America Expect?, Rebuke And Chastistement Are A Part Of God's Love, Follow God's House Rules, Greatest Commandments = Love, Love Is The All-Encompassing Royal Law, Sin Is Transgressing God's Laws, Make The Choice To Do What Is Right And Obey God, A Stubborn Teenager Rebelling Against God's Divine Authority, The Endeavors To Pollute And Dilute Our Christian Heritage, Impending Purge And Tribulation, The Lord's Spotless Bride, Rise Of The Beast And The False Prophet, Roman Catholicism, An Islamic Empire, Ecumenical Movement, One World Religion
As I concluded in part three, based on verses that we find in the Book of Judges, it seems that the Lord purposely allowed a small remnant of the heathen nations to remain in Canaan, for the purpose of proving, or testing, the Israelites. God wanted to see if they would remain faithful to Him, in spite of the opposition in their midst. He wanted to see if they were spiritually strong enough to resist the pagan beliefs which those nations embraced. As we have already seen, sadly, they were not, and they fell into deep apostasy again and again.
Are you starting to understand where I am going with this? Is it possible that the Lord may have similar designs with the current situation in the United States? In other words, is it possible that the Lord is also proving American Christians at this time by allowing all of these false religions to thrive within America's borders? As I continued to ponder this issue, I was reminded of one of Jesus' Parables in the Gospels which seems to connect directly to what happened to the Israelites, as well as to what is now happening in the United States. In the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, we find the following verses:
"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."
Matthew 13:24-30, KJV
In the previous verses, the word "tares" is derived from the Greek word "zizanion", which Thayer's Greek English Lexicon defines as a kind of darnel, resembling wheat except that the grains are black. The Wikipedia website offers the following interesting and more in-depth explanation regarding darnel:
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"Darnel usually grows in the same production zones as wheat and is considered a weed. The similarity between these two plants is so extensive that in some regions, cockle is referred to as "false wheat". It bears a close resemblance to wheat until the ear appears. The ears on the real wheat are so heavy it makes the entire plant droop downward, but L. temulentum, whose ears are light, stands up straight. The wheat will also appear brown when ripe, whereas the darnel is black. When the Lolium matures, the spikelets turn edgeways to the rachis, where the wheat spikelets remain as they grew previously."
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Please notice how tares -- or darnel -- is referred to as "false wheat". Until it actually matures and ripens, darnel looks very similar to real wheat. It is very deceptive. It is only in its latter stages of development that the truth is revealed, because the grains are black, and not brown. Now consider Jesus' warning that is found in the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 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 7:15-20, KJV
As you can see, it is the final fruit that actually reveals the truth. It is the fruit which tells the whole story, no matter what prior appearances may have convinced a person to believe. In similar fashion, just as the householder -- or master of the house, from the Greek word "oikodespotes" -- knew that the tares had been sown by the enemy, these false religions -- or tares -- were sown in America by the Devil as well. Because they do not possess the gift of Spiritual Discernment, to many people these false religions seem to be the truth, while the true Gospel of Jesus Christ seems like utter foolishness to them. Consider the following verses:
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14, KJV
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. . . . For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men . . . But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence."
1 Corinthians 1:18, 21, 25, 27-29, KJV
The key point to remember is this: The final fruit of faith in Jesus Christ is Forgiveness, Redemption, Salvation and Life; while the final fruit of all of the false religions is deception, destruction and death. In fact, the deception is so great and so convincing with some of these tares -- or false religions -- that in some cases -- such as with Islam -- adherents are willing to kill and destroy for their false religion, or commit other despicable acts. I discuss this topic more at length in such articles as "Palestinian Suicide Bombers and Middle East Peace" and "Holy Qur'an and Islam: A Doctrine of Devils?". Even if a particular religion does not preach violence, but peace, such as Buddhism for example, it is still a false religion, if it does not point to Christ as God's only form of Redemption and Salvation.
Did the master of the house tell his servants to destroy the tares? No. By way of this Parable, Jesus cautions us to let them grow right along side of the real wheat until the time of the harvest arrives, at which time the tares will be cast into the fire. This theme regarding final destruction by fire is present in a number of Scriptures, beginning with the Parable of the Tares itself. Consider the following verses:
"He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
Matthew 13:37b-43, KJV
"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 3:11-12, KJV
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."
Revelation 14:9-11, 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. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh."
Revelation 19:20-21, KJV
"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 . . . And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Revelation 20:10, 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
While these false religions -- or tares -- may be used by the Lord to test American Christians, at the same time, it is a demonstration of God's Love, Mercy and Patience that He does not outright destroy the false religionists from the start. Again, the master of the house ordered his servants to leave the tares alone until the time of the harvest. So it may also be that the Lord is giving the people who embrace those false religions, time to forsake their false beliefs, as well as an opportunity to embrace the truth of Jesus Christ. It is our job as Christians to try to reach them with the Gospel if we possibly can, while at the same time, making sure that we do not become deceived by their false belief systems.
One thing which the Apostle Paul teaches us in his Epistles is that we must learn from the past, as otherwise, we may end up committing the very same mistakes. Consider these verses:
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:"
Romans 15:4 KJV
"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
1 Corinthians 10:11, KJV
As we have already seen, God does not punish His children for the sake of punishment alone. His ultimate goal is correction, repentance and healing. In fact, in His great Divine Mercy, He withholds Divine Chastisement for as long as possible. As we saw in part one, the Prophet Ezekiel wrote "he doth not afflict willingly". However, if the Lord's children continue in their stiff-necked rebellion, and refuse to come to their senses in a reasonable amount of time, even God's patience will run out, and He will be forced to deal with them in a harsh manner, as happened time and time again with the ancient Israelites.
Now, if, as the Apostle Paul writes, we are to learn from the past, what can we expect for modern America, who still claims to be a Christian nation? Perhaps the American president no longer believes that, but many of her citizens do. If the Lord is consistent in His dealings with humanity, should we really hope or expect to escape His Wrath and Rod of Chastisement? It is evident then that like any human father, He has to keep His children in line. While certain children don't understand this, just because our human father punishes us does not mean that he doesn't love us. Quite to the contrary. If he didn't love us, then he wouldn't punish us when we do something that might be harmful to ourselves or else to others. As we read in the Book of Proverbs:
"Open rebuke is better than secret love."
Proverbs 27:5, KJV
In other words, rebuke and Divine Chastisement are actually a token of God's great Love for us. We find some additional verses in the Epistle to the Hebrews which make an excellent comparison between the discipline which is administered to us by our human father, and the Divine Chastisement which is administered by our Heavenly Father. Consider the following:
"And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."
Hebrews 12:5-13, KJV
Much like our human father, God has been around a lot longer than we have. He is aware of the pitfalls and dangers in this life. Just as our human father lays down the rules for our own protection, well-being and benefit, so too, God has given us certain "House Rules" which He expects us to follow. It is not because He is power hungry, it is because He loves us and does not want to see us get hurt, or hurt others. Instead of looking at the Laws and Commandments that are found in God's Word as some form of control, perhaps we should look at them more as a form of Fatherly Guidance from the "Head of the House". Consider the following verse:
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;"
Ephesians 2:19, KJV
In His "House Rules", the Lord certainly covered just about everything imaginable. However, when Jesus arrived on Earth and began His public ministry, He summarized all of the Old Testament Laws in the following two Commandments:
". . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:37b-40, KJV
The Apostle James referred to love as being the Royal Law, as we see by the following verse:
"If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"
James 2:8, KJV
And what more could it be? After all, as the Apostle John informs us, God -- who is our Royal Father in Heaven -- is love, as we see by these two verses:
"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love . . . And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."
1 John 4:8, 16, KJV
Now, obviously, if we truly love someone, we are not going to steal from them, kill them, try to steal their wife, try to shortchange them in some financial deal, or do anything else that may be unfair or harmful to them. Likewise, if we truly love ourselves, we are going to be mindful of what we eat, make sure that we get enough rest, sufficient exercise, etc. In short, love is truly the all-encompassing Royal Law.
Of course, we all fall short in some of these areas, simply because we are fallible humans who have inherited a sinful nature. This is why we must depend solely upon God's Love and Mercy for our Salvation through our faith in Jesus Christ. So again, as James and John state above, and as I also point out in the article called "The Royal Law: Thou Shalt Love", God's Rules can be encapsulated in just one word: love. Isn't this basically what our parents, our government and other figures in position of authority are supposed to be trying to teach us? The ability to get along in this world rests upon loving each other, and respecting each other's right to live a free, happy, productive life, in accordance with God's Universal Laws.
Sadly, this is where the problem lies. Because of our human imperfections, we often forget, or else we rebelliously and proudly ignore, the "House Rules". This is exactly what is meant by "sin" in the Bible. The Apostle John informs us that sin is breaking -- or transgressing -- God's Laws, as we see by this verse:
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
1 John 3:4, KJV
For some odd reason, we seem to think that we know better than our Heavenly Father. As we saw earlier, similar to our human father, God is very patient with us. He gives us a lot of leeway, and a lot of time to repent and get back on track. He will try to nudge us and push us by way of the conviction of His Holy Spirit; but ultimately, as I point out in such articles as "Free Will and Personal Choice" and "Beholding The Evil and the Good", we have to make the personal free will decision to do what is right by obeying Him. Of course, sometimes, in His Divine Wisdom, just like our human father, God may allow us to go our own way; even if it means falling flat on our faces. Sometimes experience is the best teacher, but it can also be the hardest one as well.
At this point in time, this is basically where the world is at. Just like a stubborn, rebellious teenager, many people have decided that they want to go their own way. They want to do things their own way. They don't really want to have to submit themselves to any form of authority or control, whether it is Divine Authority, or even human authority. As we discussed earlier in this series, many of the people who control secular governments have likewise chosen this same path. They have deluded themselves into believing that they can do a better job without God looking over their shoulder. They have no respect for Him or His Word, and they want to get rid of both. As King David wrote some three thousand years ago, they wish to throw off God's yoke, as we see by these verses:
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us."
Psalms 2:1-3, KJV
So, in order to achieve this objective, in the case of the United States, as we have already seen, they have engaged in a scheme to kick God out of the government, out of the public school system, out of the public avenue, and even in many of the churches, the Gospel has been compromised and perverted. In some instances, true Christianity has been replaced with a counterfeit religion that is replete with pagan beliefs and practices, and secular humanistic ideas. It appears that the only safe place left in which one can truly worship God as he desires, is in the privacy of his own home; and that may very well be what the powers of darkness want.
As we saw earlier, the enemies of our faith want to box us in until our light is totally hidden under a bushel where it can help no one, and where it can offend no one. Short of doing that, they will attempt to pollute and dilute our Christian heritage with so many false religions, and so many false ideas and lies, that people will become totally confused regarding where the real truth lies. The tares will be -- and already are -- so mixed in with the real wheat, that many people have either been deceived by them, left wondering which is the true faith to follow, or else they have rejected all religions in disgust. Either way, they have been denied the Love and Light of God through Jesus Christ.
Returning to an earlier theme of this series, we have seen that whether for good or for evil, governments and leaders can only rule by God's Divine Permission. This includes His Vessels of Wrath and Rods of Chastisement, which He uses to purge and purify His children. Whether on a national level, or on an international level, it does appear that a time of great purging is coming for the world, and for the Lord's Church. Why the Church? Because she is clearly not ready to receive her Bridegroom at this current time. Her garments have been spotted as a result of her compromises with the world. Please note that in the following verses, the word "blameless" is derived from the Greek word "anegkletos", which means to be free from fault and defect or unsullied:
"So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 1:7-8, KJV
"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"
Philippians 2:15, KJV
"Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
Ephesians 5:21-33, KJV
"I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;"
1 Timothy 6:13-15, KJV
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Thessalonians 5:23, KJV
"Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless."
2 Peter 3:13-14, KJV
As we discussed earlier, this period of intense tribulation may manifest itself in the form of the oppressive regime of the Beast and the False Prophet. This will occur because so many people have rejected the Light of God's Word, and the Love which He has expressed through the Sacrifice of His own dear Son. We need to remember that, sometimes, God will give people what they ask for; not because it is necessarily good for them, but because that is the only way in which they will learn their lesson. As we read in the Book of Psalms:
"And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul."
Psalms 106:15, KJV
Thus, if a large part of the world rejects the one true God, and if they reject the Sacrifice of His dear Son by whom we receive Forgiveness, Redemption and Salvation, then it seems obvious that they have no choice but to accept the false god of this world, who as we saw in part one, is Satan himself.
While we have already discussed the economic aspects of the satanic system which may be on the horizon, let me take a moment to discuss its religious aspects as well. The fact that the Beast will have his very own public relations man in the form of the False Prophet, clearly indicates that there is going to be some religious aspect to his regime. As you may already know, there are a variety of opinions regarding exactly how this will manifest itself. There are quite a few Christians who embrace the view that the Roman Catholic Church will play a major role in the Beast's reign. In fact, they are convinced that a Roman Catholic pope will be the Beast or the False Prophet.
While I have written a few articles where I likewise express my concerns regarding the ecumenical movement which seems to be headed by the Roman Catholic Church -- such as "Modern False Prophets and Worldly Ecumenism" -- nevertheless, I am not convinced at this current time that the aforementioned view is the proper interpretation of the Scriptures. If we consider the fact that the Scriptures indicate that Endtime prophecy revolves around the State of Israel and the Middle East, it seems to me that an Islamic Empire would better fit the Endtime prophetic picture. This is a topic which I first discussed in my 1997 series entitled "The Seven Heads".
For those of you who may not be familiar with ecumenism, it is a worldwide movement whose goal is to achieve spiritual unity amongst the various religions of the world, regardless of whether or not they are Christian. In my opinion, it is a very dangerous movement, because it is doing exactly what I warned against in previous paragraphs. That is, ecumenism is polluting and diluting our Christian heritage with poisonous beliefs and practices which are derived from false religions which deny the Divinity and Messiahship of Jesus Christ.
Many Christians are convinced that the ecumenical movement -- which is approved and supported by major religious figures around the world, including many prominent American Christian leaders -- amounts to a major step towards the creation of a new One World Religion which will nicely fit into the scheme of the New World Order. As you will know, one of the primary accusations and major complaints that is made by atheists and agnostics and even by people who do embrace some religion -- I include myself in the latter group -- is that so many wars have been fought, and so many millions of people have died, over matters of religion. Ecumenism seeks to resolve this problem by creating a One World Religion which will appeal to, and which will be acceptable to, everyone. In other words, it will be a religion of mutual compromise.
But as you may already realize, there is a major problem with such a hybrid One World Religion; at least for us Christians. The only way that such a deadly mix of world religions could possibly ever work, is if there is no place in it for Jesus Christ; at least not as the only Lord and Savior of all men, as we are clearly taught in the Christian Bible. As I explain in other articles, for a One World Religion to work, as now occurs within the New Age movement, Jesus Christ would have to be demoted to the status of another "avatar" or "ascended master" on the same level as Moses, Confucius, Buddha, etc. He would have to relinquish His title and position as the Son of God and the only Savior of the world. Obviously, that just is not going to happen.
Please go to part five for the conclusion of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .