Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
February 18, 2010
Last Updated :
December 9, 2013
By The Will Of God, God's Blessings And Divine Chastisements, God's Word To Abraham, God's Rods Of Chastisement: Israelites In Bondage And Under Affliction, America Is Headed Down The Wrong Track, Divine Judgments In America, Don't Fight Against American Government, Submit Yourselves To God's Corrections, Our Kingdom Is Not Of This World, Ekklesia: Called Out Ones, Keep The Heavenly Vision, Worldliness And Backsliding, Gross Economic Inequality Between Rich And Poor, Right To Earn A Decent Living Wage, Minimum Wage And Struggles Of The Working Class, Political Favoritism And Outrageous Tax Breaks For Big Business Owners, Government Overspending Plus Huge Tax Breaks Equals Debt Crisis, Has The Money Well Gone Dry?, No Room For Advancement And Zero Hope For The Future, Forced Onto Public Assistance Programs, Warning: Ivory Towers And Bigger Barns, Economic Oppression Of The Poor And Needy By Government And Big Business Leaders, God's Concern For The Poor And Needy, God's Socio-Economic Commandments To The Ancient Israelites
Continuing our discussion from part one, as I mention in the series entitled "The Fruits of Disobedience", as well as in the series "Beholding the Evil and the Good", as Christians, it is very important that we recognize God's Will and Hand working in every sphere of our lives. In reading the pages of the New Testament, it becomes evident that this was indeed the attitude that was embraced by the First Century Apostles and Disciples. Consider the following pertinent verses:
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13, KJV
"For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:"
Acts 13:36, KJV
"Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you."
Romans 1:10, KJV
"And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:27-28, KJV
"That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed."
Romans 15:32, KJV
"Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,"
1 Corinthians 1:1, KJV
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:"
2 Corinthians 1:1, KJV
"And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."
2 Corinthians 8:5, KJV
"Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Galatians 1:3-5, KJV
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:"
Ephesians 1:1, KJV
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,"
Colossians 1:1, KJV
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,"
2 Timothy 1:1, KJV
"For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:"
1 Peter 2:15, KJV
"For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing."
1 Peter 3:17, KJV
"Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."
1 Peter 4:19, KJV
Not only do we need to learn to recognize God's blessings and opportunities -- or open doors -- but we likewise need to recognize His chastisements as well. Furthermore, we should not resist Him or His Will when He chooses to afflict us; either as individuals or as a nation. In the Epistle to the Hebrews we discover the following relevant verses where we are told to not despise God's chastisements, because they are really a token of His Divine Love, and they are for our own good:
"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;"
Hebrews 12:5-12, KJV
As the Scriptures also clearly reveal to us, in the case of national chastisement, sometimes the affliction can even be delivered by the hand of an extremely wicked ruler, or by an oppressive foreign government. Such was the case with the ancient Israelites -- the descendants of Jacob -- who were forced into slavery by Pharaoh and the Egyptian government, following the death of Joseph. As God had informed Abraham many years earlier, they in fact bowed down in servitude for a period of four hundred years, until God chose the time of their deliverance through the hand of Moses. Consider the following verses:
"And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance."
Genesis 15:12-14, KJV
In similar fashion, the Israelites also recognized when God used the Philistines and other heathen nations as His rods of chastisement against them, whenever they rebelled against Him. Furthermore, Prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah told the backslidden Israelites that the armies of the Assyrians and the Babylonians were God's Hand moving against them as a result of their sins. The same thing holds true of the Roman occupation that occurred many centuries later during the time of Christ. In each case, these foreign powers were the Lord's rods of chastisement against the Jews, and He fully expected them to bow to the foreign oppressors which He sent to them.
In light of this preponderance of Scriptural evidence, it is important that Christians in America today recognize that if God places a wicked ruler and an oppressive government over them, it must be for a very similar reason. I -- as well as many other servants of the Lord -- have been warning that rebellious nation for many years now, that it is headed down the wrong track. Not only is the United States headed in the wrong direction, but by its blatant disregard for God's Laws, it is poking the Lord in the eye, and just begging for His harsh judgments. Whether or not the ungodly person it now has as president, the warmongering government which continues to attack other countries, the deepening financial crisis, the tornados, the droughts, the crop failures, the bee colonies collapse, the radiation arriving on the western shores from the Fukushima plant, the loss of hope, the rise in racial tensions, etc., are a part of those judgments, I will leave for you to decide.
The main point I wish to emphasize here is that if the Obama administration is a part of God's judgments against America -- and I don't know if it is -- contrary to what certain Tea Party members, militias and other patriots are saying, it is not your duty to fight against it. It is in fact your duty to bow to God's Divine Chastisements and to submit yourselves to His Divine Corrections. You folks elected the man -- not just once, but twice -- just as the ancient Israelites insisted on having Saul as the first king of Israel -- and by so doing rejected the Lord -- so deal with it, and stop your whining! More importantly, get your hearts right with the Lord before the situation deteriorates any further. You really don't want to find yourselves in the hands of an angry God! Here's why:
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
Hebrews 10:31, KJV
"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."
Psalms 9:17, KJV
There is one final reason I would like to mention regarding why you should not rise up against the American government, as some foolish people insist they will eventually do. Quite simply, as we discovered in part one, in the Gospel of John, Jesus told the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight." Now, if we really believe that we are the adopted sons and daughters of God through our faith in Jesus Christ, then our Kingdom isn't of this world either. Therefore, neither is it our obligation to fight against the world's corrupt governments, or to even engage in its secular affairs any more than is absolutely necessary. We should just let the children of the world deal with their own problems. After all, they are the ones who created them in the first place through their own corruption, greed and wickedness. Our duty is to faithfully serve the Lord, because that is how we can most help people.
As I amply explain in a number of other articles, God's Word informs us that we Christians are the "ekklesia"; that is to say, the "called out ones", and "the assembly" of God. That being the case, it is our primary responsibility to remain called out, separated and unpolluted by the world and its evil ways as much as possible. Consider the following verses where this message is made so very clear:
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
John 15:19, KJV
"I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
John 17:14-15, KJV
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18, KJV
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,"
2 Corinthians 6:17, 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
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
Colossians 3:1-2, KJV
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:4, KJV
"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."
Hebrews 11:13-16, KJV
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
James 4:4, KJV
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
1 John 2:15-16, KJV
So as I explain in articles such as "One From Beyond: Hebrew of Hebrews" and "The Heavenly Vision: Have You Got It?", as the adopted children of God's Kingdom, we need to make sure that we are not mesmerized by this current world, and that we maintain the Heavenly Vision at all times. After all, we are just passing through this present life, and it will soon be over. Sadly, when I share the previous group of verses with certain Christians, they become offended by them. At the very least, they attempt to justify their own heavy involvement in the world, by finding some other way to interpret the verses, even though there is really no way to misunderstand what the verses are saying. It seems to me that such Christians have deceived themselves, and perhaps are backslidden from the Lord to some degree. Concerning people who abandon the Lord and fall back into the world, I am reminded of verses such as the following:
"Remember Lot’s wife."
Luke 17:32, KJV
"Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?"
John 6:60-67, KJV
"For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia."
2 Timothy 4:10, KJV
"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."
Hebrews 10:38, KJV
"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
2 Peter 2:20-22, KJV
Returning to our previous discussion regarding the Republican Party, in addition to the fact that I am firmly opposed to their warmongering nature -- not that the Democrats' record is really that much better -- neither do I agree with their overly zealous support for the leaders of Big Business and industry, who often live extravagant lifestyles, while they misuse and seriously underpay the little people who are at the bottom of the economic scale, who are responsible for their success and wealth in the first place. I believe that everyone has a right to earn a decent living wage, so that they are able to support themselves and their families at a comfortable level. That most certainly does not mean paying workers minimum wage, so that millions of American families find themselves living a stressful hand-to-mouth existence every month.
As many of you already know -- and perhaps even experience yourselves -- as a direct result of this selfish business model where people are forced to work for what amounts to peanuts, many Americans have to work at two or three jobs, just to be able to make ends meet. But the greedy business leaders really aren't concerned, because it allows them to increase their profit margin as much as they possibly can. What makes this situation even more outrageous is the fact that one US president after another has rewarded these Big Business leaders with huge tax breaks, while the middle and lower classes are taxed to death.
One excuse which is often used to supposedly justify this favoritism towards the rich, is that they are the ones who create the jobs. Therefore, they deserve to be rewarded the most through the tax breaks. Whatever the case may be, the end result is that the American economy is in fact deprived of billions of dollars in annual tax revenue, which could be used to boost the economy in so many ways. Meanwhile, there is no relief in sight for the poor who struggle daily.
This ties in directly to the issue regarding the American debt crisis, and the question concerning why the USA has, in the words of some individuals, "an inefficient tax system". As I stated earlier, I am no financial guru, but the answer seems rather obvious in my mind. It seems to me that perhaps the biggest reason why the American government has reached this point, is because in addition to rewarding Big Business leaders with excessive tax breaks which have deprived the US economy of billions of dollars in very much needed annual tax revenue, the government itself has spent way beyond its means for decades now, such as with its ridiculously expensive wars and so-called "nation-building". As a result, the money well has either gone dry, or else it will go dry soon. Alice has hit the bottom of the rabbit hole; and contrary to Lewis Carroll's version of the story, she was not met by fictional characters, but by a hard thud. Hopefully, it will knock some sense into Alice; although I doubt it. This American Alice is one hard-headed woman!
As I mentioned a moment ago, while America's privileged class lives in luxury, everyday working class Americans, along with the elderly, the sick and the poor have really been squeezed to death by taxes, by increasingly expensive health care, by a high cost of living, and by a substandard public education system which has failed to properly train children for the future. As we have seen, literally millions of these people are forced to work at minimum wage jobs with little room for advancement and zero hope for the future. With such a dismal outlook, is it any wonder that so many of them eventually throw in the towel, and end up on public assistance programs such as Food Stamps and Welfare? The way such people figure, at least their basic needs are being met that way.
Let me inform you that contrary to the distorted image that certain members of the privileged class like to convey to the public in order to try to convince people that drastic cuts to such programs as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are necessary, not everyone who is on government assistance programs such as Food Stamps and Welfare are lazy people or so-called "Welfare Queens". Yes, there is a certain level of fraud and abuse occurring, just as occurs in other areas of American life as well. However, at the same time, we need to be honest about this and recognize that it is the excessive greed of so many of these large companies and corporations, and the inequality of the American tax system, which forces people into this dire situation in the first place, so that these public assistance programs are the only way in which many of them can possibly survive.
All the while, the rich privileged class and other elites go scot-free, and continue to live their opulent lifestyles in their ivory towers, apparently oblivious to the problems and suffering of the very people off of whom they sustain their extravagant lifestyles. Rather than share their wealth with the needy, they selfishly keep it to themselves, and simply build bigger barns in which to store it. As I thought on this issue, I was reminded of the following Parable which Jesus shared with His listeners in the Gospel of Luke:
"And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
Luke 12:15-21, KJV
By the way, one way to be rich towards God is by sharing the wealth, and by helping the poor and the needy, exactly as we see in Jesus' Parable of the Good Samaritan. This point will become even more evident as we continue our discussion, and examine the Scriptures more closely.
What some callous conservatives enjoy referring to as fiscal responsibility -- that is, making drastic cuts to much needed programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare and Food Stamps which serve as social safety nets -- actually amounts to economic oppression of the poor and the needy, and political favoritism towards the rich. This ongoing struggle between the excessively rich and the poor is something which has been on my heart for many years now, even though I do not talk about it all that often in my articles. However, just a few days ago I undertook a personal Bible study regarding the topic of the oppression of the poor. In a word, I was really amazed by the number of verses that I discovered which talk about this very issue. It became clear to me that God is very much against oppressing the poor. Furthermore, He is opposed to people who pay substandard wages to their employees. Not only that, but in many of the verses that I read where God is rebuking the ancient Israelites, dishonest gain, as well as the oppression of the poor and the needy, are listed as some of their primary sins.
Having stated the above, we are now going to delve deeply into the Scriptures so that we can better understand God's point of view regarding these issues. In the pages of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, God commanded that the following socio-economic statutes be implemented by the ancient Israelites with regards to the poor and needy:
"For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."
Deuteronomy 10:17-19, KJV
"At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest."
Deuteronomy 14:28-29, KJV
"If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day."
Deuteronomy 15:7-15, KJV
"When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow."
Deuteronomy 24:19-21, KJV
"And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God: And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you. When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:"
Deuteronomy 26:10-13, KJV
Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.
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