What Saith the Scripture?
Christian Response to Terrorism
"Sanctify the LORD of Hosts Himself; and let Him be your Fear, and let Him be your Dread"
by Tom Stewart
Jesus Christ, Who is the "Head of the Church" and the "Saviour of the Body" (Ephesians 5:23), has revealed Himself to be the Protector of His Sheep, and His unity with the Father is such that those who truly "sanctify the LORD of Hosts" as their "Fear" and "Dread" (Isaiah 8:13), give that same homage and worship to the Son. "11 I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His Life for the sheep... 28 And I give unto them Eternal Life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. 29 My Father, which gave them Me, is Greater Than All; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand. 30 I and My Father are One" (John 10:11, 28-30). How does this relate to the Christian response to terrorism? The dictionary defines terrorism as the "unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons." Christ Jesus is the confidence of His Church, for He has secured Peace for His people, giving us the assurance that we need not be afraid of the terror, force, violence, intimidation, coercion , or death of this world. "Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid... These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have Peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 14:27; 16:33). The True Saints are unable to keep themselves in any condition of Unterrorized Peace, but rather commend the "keeping of their souls to Him [Christ] in well doing, as unto a Faithful Creator" (1Peter 4:19). Confidence in Christ, therefore, is the Christian's chief weapon in the conflict with the terrorism of the world. "For we are made partakers of Christ, IF we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" (Hebrews 3:14). "And now, Little Children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His Coming" (1John 2:28).
The Face of Terrorism (2001): Militant Islamic Fundamentalism
Since the September 11th 2001 attack on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City, with the loss of thousands of lives, it has been difficult to talk about terrorism as simply an IRA bomber in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a right wing militia bomber at Oklahoma City, or a Palestinian youth blowing himself up in a crowded Jerusalem shopping center, without addressing Militant Islamic Fundamentalism, as expressed by Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network. "The God of my Rock; in Him will I trust: He is my Shield, and the Horn of my Salvation, my High Tower, and my Refuge, my Saviour; Thou savest me from violence" (2Samuel 22:3). Americans are particularly dumbfounded at the depths of virulent hatred that bin Laden's Militant Islamic Fundamentalism has showered upon them, making them wonder why they have been given such special attention. [See our editorial, "Significance of the Attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Fellowship/Edit_Attack.WTC.Pentagon.html --, to see what purpose God is attempting to accomplish in Christians through this tragedy.] "O LORD, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against Thee" (Daniel 9:8).
Would ceasing to economically and militarily back Israel, pulling troops out of Saudi Arabia (the land of Islam's holy places of Mecca and Medina) and the Persian Gulf, ceasing to monitor the No-Fly Zones of Iraq, terminating military actions in Afghanistan against bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network and its Taliban hosts, be sufficient to appease bin Laden's demands of American noninterference with Islamic affairs? "Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go" (Proverbs 22:24). In answer, though Muslims differ in their interpretation of the Koran (also, Quran), the seeds of terrorism are planted deep in Islamic theology, and will germinate and grow when Islam is challenged. Read the following quotation from the Koran, where Mohammed taught the Muslim faithful to oppress and kill Christians and Jews, who refused to pay the Jizya (an extortion tax), i.e., the Christians or Jews were required to convert to Islam... or pay the Jizya with submission (when given that option)... or die.
"Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, [which is Islam that abolishes all other religions] of the people of the Book, [meaning the Jews and the Christians] until they pay the Jizya [the tax imposed upon them] with willing submission and feel themselves subdued [with humiliation and submission to the government of Islam]" (9:29) (text from the Koran, with a commentary in brackets from the Tafsir Al-Jalalein, i.e., Al-Jalalein Interpretation of the Koran.)
"Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will
think that he doeth God service" (John
On the other hand, True Christianity teaches the Saints to live peacefully with all men. "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18). "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of Faith" (Galatians 6:10). "See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men" (1Thessalonians 5:15). Conversion to Christ can never be anything but a voluntary belief and acceptance of Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, i.e., "Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be Saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31). [See our "Topical Links On Salvation" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Jehovah/Topical.Links.Salvation.html --.] The wars conducted by the so-called Christian Crusaders of the 11th to 13th Centuries against the Muslim people of the Middle East were fostered by the wicked and calculated attempts of the Church of Rome to enthrone itself in Jerusalem in the name of recovering Christian holy places from the infidel. "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (2Thessalonians 2:4). Is it any wonder that Osama bin Laden repeatedly refers to his American enemies as Crusaders?
The Koran teaches the Muslim faithful to kill idolatrous pagans, unless they repent and convert to Islam. "When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful" (Sura 9:5). "The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel" (Proverbs 12:10). Cruel is the word that best describes the Islamic application of such Koranic teachings, requiring the slaying of idolatrous pagans. "An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger [Hebrew, malak, i.e., angel] shall be sent against him" (Proverbs 17:11). The very idea of converting by the sword horrifies every true teaching of Christ that demands fidelity to God with "ALL thy heart... ALL thy soul, and ... ALL thy mind" (Matthew 22:37) as True Religion, "6 not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the Will of God from the heart; 7 with good will doing service, as to the LORD, and not to men" (Ephesians 6:6-7). The Christian Scriptures, as opposed to the Koran, emphasize the necessity of an uncoerced heart confession of Jesus Christ as Saviour and LORD, realizing that anything less is a false profession of Christ, i.e., "And why call ye Me, LORD, LORD, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). "9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be Saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto Righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto Salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).
Not only are Christians, Jews, and pagan idolaters targeted for death by the Koran-- if they do not convert-- but, those Muslims who leave their Islamic faith (apostatize), are to be killed by the Muslim faithful. "Surely THOU wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men" (Psalm 139:19). "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn" (Proverbs 29:2). "And [Jesus] said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15). Read the following quotes from Bukhari's Hadith, which is the second most important writing in Islam, following the Koran, to see how cruel the tender mercies of Islam are toward Apostate Muslims, i.e., those who depart from Islam.
"Narrated Ikrima, Some atheists were brought to Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn Abbas who said, 'If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah's messenger forbade it, saying, Do not punish anybody with Allah's punishment [fire]. I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah's Messenger, Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him'" (Bukhari Volume 9, #57).
"Narrated Ali, 'Whenever I tell you a narration from Allah's messenger, by Allah, I would rather fall down from the sky, then ascribe a false statement to him, but if I tell you something between me and you, [not a Hadith], then it was indeed a trick. No doubt I heard Allah's messenger saying, During the last days there will appear some young foolish people, who will say the best words, but their faith will not go beyond their throats and will go out from their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, wherever you find them, kill them, for whoever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection'" (Bukhari Volume 9, #64).
Concerning Islamic terrorism, Militant Islamic Fundamentalism
only takes the Koran's statements literally, putting Moderate Muslims in the position
of not being Islam enough. "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse
and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2Timothy
3:13). Thus, the first victims of Militant Islamic Fundamentalists
are generally Moderate Muslims. "But if ye bite and devour one another, take
heed that ye be not consumed one of another" (Galatians
5:15). Though Islamic Fundamentalists correctly identify
the decadence of the West, and particularly Professed Christianity's toleration of
the "lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes" (1John 2:16), as demonstrated by the
proliferation of sex and perversion in the West's movies and music; like the hypocrisy
of the Pharisees of Christ's day, Islamic Fundamentalists, e.g., Afghanistan's Taliban,
cloak their disregard for their women without a husband to care for them (not allowing
these women to work outside of their homes, thus forcing them and their children
into poverty, destitution, and starvation) by policing their populace for "vice
and virtue". "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have
need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of
God in him?" (1John 3:17). "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Matthew
7:15). "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but
are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" (Matthew 23:27).
Terror: How Almighty God Uses Man's Wrath to Praise His Name
When terrorists successfully attack and unexpectedly kill so large a number of people, the question arises, "Why did God allow it?" "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain" (Psalm 76:10). How could man's wrath praise God?
First, that God should allow men to make wicked moral choices, e.g., the mass murders by the terrorists, demonstrates that He will not coerce man into making a right moral choice-- for that, God should be praised. "19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (Isaiah 1:19-20).
Second, God must be restraining the amount of evil that does take place in this world, allowing only as much sin and evil that cannot be wisely restrained, i.e., God cannot always wisely prevent sin-- for this, God should be praised. "Then said [Jesus] unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!" (Luke 17:1).
Third, though God is not the author of evil, to be blamed for the evil consequences of sin, i.e., "God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man" (James 1:13), the Saints may rejoice that He so sovereignly regulates and controls ALL moral agents, both Righteous Saints and wicked terrorists, that He can say, "I form the light, and create darkness: I make Peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (Isaiah 45:7). "And all the inhabitants of the Earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His Will in the Army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the Earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?" (Daniel 4:35).
Fourth, the Almighty is completing His program of Redemption with man, saving and sanctifying all that are willing and appointed, while casting out all those who ultimately reject Him-- for this, God is worthy of our praise. "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in Everlasting Righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy" (Daniel 9:24).
And, finally, as we complete this Church Age, ready to begin the appointed Tribulation Week, the removal of the Watching and Waiting Saints at the Pre-Tribulational Rapture will suddenly, globally, and completely lift the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit that works through the Saints and indwells them, i.e., "Ye are the salt of the Earth" (Matthew 5:13) and "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Romans 8:9)-- for which those who are "accounted worthy" (Luke 6:36) will certainly praise Christ, their LORD and Master. "For the Mystery of Iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let [i.e., the Holy Spirit Who now restrains will continue to restrain], until He be taken out of the way [i.e., through the Pre-Tribulational Rapture]" (2Thessalonians 2:7). [See our article, "Must There Be a Pre-Tribulational Rapture?" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Prophecy/Must.Pre.Trib.Rapture.html --, for an exposition of this passage from 2Thessalonians.]
Faith in God: The Christian Response to Terrorism
The Christian response to terrorism should always be, "Have Faith in God" (Mark 11:22). Our purpose in life is to trust God. "But without Faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). All the commotions in the world should only serve to confirm our confidence in the LORD as our Refuge, Strength, and Present Help in trouble. "1 God is our Refuge and Strength, a very Present Help in trouble. 2 Therefore will NOT we fear, though the Earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah" (Psalm 46:1-3). The Christian life not only begins with trusting Christ for Salvation, but it must manifest the fruit of Salvation in a sanctified walk. "Follow Peace with all men, and Holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD" (Hebrews 12:14). And, all Sanctification amounts to, is trusting the LORD Jesus Christ for all possible circumstances of Life and Eternity-- continually discovering something new about Christ's Character to give a "Present Help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). It is necessary for the Living God to allow circumstances in our life, even such as the terrorist attacks on September 11th, to cause us to seek out new, Spirit-taught discoveries of His Character that we may be further sanctified and that He may be further glorified-- unless we are not walking with Him, then it would be for chastening. "He that dwelleth [which is our walk] in the Secret Place of the Most High shall abide under the Shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1). "And we have known and believed the Love that God hath to us. God is Love [the Spirit-taught discovery of His Character]; and he that dwelleth [again, our walk] in Love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (1John 4:16). "27 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; 28 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: 29 that no flesh should glory in His Presence. 30 But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption: 31 that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the LORD" (1Corinthians 1:27-31).
Remember, the foremost Christian response to terrorism is to further confide in the Character of Christ as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. "2 From the end of the Earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. 3 For Thou hast been a Shelter for me, and a Strong Tower from the enemy. 4 I will abide in Thy Tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the Covert of Thy Wings. Selah" (Psalm 61:2-4). Responding to terrorism with a macho bravado to persuade the terrorists and ourselves that we are unafraid, is not only unnecessary, but it is unlike Christ. "27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the Faith of the Gospel; 28 and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition [our not being terrified is a sign of our enemies' destruction or perdition], but to you of Salvation, and that of God" (Philippians 1:27-28). Since the purpose of terrorism is primarily to breed a climate of fear-- then to kill and destroy whatever is hated by the terrorists-- to be terrified by terrorism is unacceptable to those who walk rightly with God. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy Rod and Thy Staff they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4). Better yet, it is ALWAYS the manner of God to give His people understanding of what He is doing in the affairs of man, which breeds confidence in God (Faith), that we may cooperate in Faith with His Providence, i.e., "And thine ears shall hear a Word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isaiah 30:21), and Scriptural Prophecies, i.e., "Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My hands command ye Me... Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come" (Isaiah 45:11; John 16:13). "And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do" (1Chronicles 12:32).
It is vital to any kind of right Christian response to terrorism that we can say in Faith that we walk in all the "good, and acceptable, and perfect, Will of God" (Romans 12:2) of which we comprehend; otherwise, we deceive ourselves to say that we are trusting God to protect us or to accomplish His Will through the terrorist act. "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is NOT in him" (1John 2:4). If we walk worthy of the LORD, then we know it was the Spirit of God working in us "both to will and to do of His Good Pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). "But we have this Treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the Power may be of God, and not of us" (2Corinthians 4:7). Though it is difficult to focus upon anything but the tragedy of the terrorism when it takes place, we cannot but know whether or not God is dealing with us for sinful disobedience to Him. "As many as I Love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent" (Revelation 3:19). Or, He is simply attempting to draw us closer to Himself, while He deals with those around us. "The LORD is my Helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Hebrews 13:6). As the godly dwell in the midst of a "wicked and adulterous generation" (Matthew 16:4), we must understand that God will deal with the sin around us, chastening our nation in direct proportion to the Light and Truth the nation has rejected, allowing terror to be visited upon our cities as a beginning of God's chastisement, to gain the repentance of those who may still repent. "As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 33:11). But, He withholds still greater punishment upon the inhabitants of the land because of the presence of His Remnant Saints. "And seek the Peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the Peace thereof shall ye have Peace" (Jeremiah 29:7). Unknown to the nations wherein the Saints dwell, the presence and prayers of the Saints for their nations, is the Preservation and Peace of their neighbours-- and themselves. "1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (1Timothy 2:1-2).
Terror: The Beginning of God's Judgment
Outline of Comments on Leviticus 26:1-39
God's Commands (verses 1-2).
Blessings for Obedience (verses 3-13).
Punishments for Disobedience (verses 14-39).
Especially notice that the beginning of God's Judgments upon the nation of the disobedient Professed Saints-- is terror (verse 16)-- which means that the Professed Christians need to repent as much as their nation needs to repent. "For the time is come that Judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God?" (1Peter 4:17).
- "1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God."
The Almighty reminds us of the Second of the Ten Commandments. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them" (Exodus 20:4, 5). These may be the icons of secular business, or statues of the Virgin Mary. [See our article, "An Earnest Appeal to Roman Catholics" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Fellowship/An.Earnest.Appeal.html --.] Since an idol is any work of men's hands that receives the trust and affection that belongs only to God, idolatry may wear a business suit or prostrate itself before images in a Buddhist shrine-- they are the same. "15 The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands... 18 They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them" (Psalm 135:15, 18).
- "2 Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My Sanctuary: I am the LORD."
In perspective of this Old Testament passage, Sabbath keeping in Christ's day became more than the rest from their labours coupled with the teaching of the Holy Scriptures; instead, it became traditions and pageantry that served only to confuse the Truth and impress the ignorant. "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27). However, the present neglect of the Fourth Commandment is no badge of honour against legalism, but it robs God's people of rest, spiritual re-creation, and further transformation into the Image of Christ through the ministering of the Word of God. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8).
- "3 If ye walk in My Statutes, and keep My Commandments, and do them;"
Obedience to God is no more or less than an honest heart complying in Faith with all that is understood of God's Commandments, because of heartfelt Love to the Saviour. "15 If ye Love Me, keep My Commandments... 21 He that hath My Commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him" (John 14:15, 21).
- "4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit."
Prosperity comes from God and results from obedience to God. Cursed are the Professed Saints when they believe that the prosperity of their land is due simply to their labour, acumen, or skill. "11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping His Commandments, and His Judgments, and His Statutes, which I command thee this day: 12 lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage... 17 and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth" (Deuteronomy 8:11-14, 17).
- "5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely."
The Proverbs teach us that "safety is of the LORD" (Proverbs 21:31), and not our trust in a strong national defense-- as important as it is. In the security that God provides, we are promised that the threshing of our amber waves of grain will last until the vintage, which is the yield of wine at the gleaning of the grapes, and will complete the cycle of plenteousness until the next season of threshing. "And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the Name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed" (Joel 2:26).
- "6 And I will give Peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land."
Peace is given by God for obedience. "Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). Obedience to Jehovah Jesus' command-- "Let not your heart be troubled"-- not only gives us immediate Peace of heart, but will grant us and our unbelieving neighbours a ridding of "evil beasts" (26:6) and the absence of the sword going through the land. Remember, God promised Abraham that He would have spared even wicked Sodom and Gomorrah, if there were but ten righteous found therein-- meaning that those who are actively practicing righteousness, are the preservation of their cities and nations. "I will not destroy it for ten's sake" (Genesis 18:32).
- "7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword."
Your enemies will still be your enemies, but they will fear you and "fall before you" (26:8), if they should foolishly attack you. Obviously, a Righteous Nation must have the right and necessity of self-defense granted to it by God, for it to be able to put its enemies to flight. "These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time" (2Samuel 23:8). It is immaterial to God whether or not a Righteous Nation should possess more or fewer men or logistics than its enemies. He has promised, "Five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight" (26:8). "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26).
- "9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish My covenant with you."
When God orders prosperity upon the land in which obedient Professing Christians dwell, the population will grow, and will be benefited by His Covenant of Peace. "10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My Kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the Covenant of My Peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath Mercy on thee... 13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the Peace of thy children. 14 In Righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. 15 Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by Me [i.e., if anyone assaults you, it will not be from Me]: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake" (Isaiah 54:10, 13-15). The absence of Peace in a nation is the absence of Righteousness in the multitudes of the Professed Christians that constitute its citizenry. "But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king" (1Samuel 12:25).
- "10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new."
The cycle of the old producing the new, which becomes the old, continues as the material prosperity of a Righteous Nation is manifested from God's own hand. But, the unbelieving world will only covet the material prosperity, while rejecting the God that gave the prosperity. Even worse, what calamity, if Professed Christians forget the Source of their prosperity! "11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping His Commandments, and His Judgments, and His Statutes, which I command thee this day: 12 lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13 and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14 then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 17 and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. 19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish" (Deuteronomy 8:11-14, 17-19).
- "11 And I will set My Tabernacle among you: and My soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people. 13 I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright."
For the Saints of the New Covenant, God's Tabernacle and dwelling among His people, is within His people. "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Romans 8:9). His assurance to us that we are His own, is based upon our walk in present obedience-- not on our recollection of any past actions on our part. "And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep [present tense, are keeping] His Commandments" (1John 2:3). And, any right actions committed on our part, are "according to the Gift of the Grace of God given unto [us] by the Effectual Working of His Power" (Ephesians 3:7).
- "14 But if ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these Commandments;"
Our relationship to God is to be based upon our love and appreciation of Who He is and what He has done. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life" (John 3:16). "If ye love Me, keep My Commandments" (14:15). "He that loveth Me not keepeth not My Sayings" (14:24). "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is not in him" (1John 2:4).
- "15 And if ye shall despise My Statutes, or if your soul abhor My Judgments, so that ye will not do all My Commandments, but that ye break My covenant:"
It is impossible to separate between our heart attitude toward God and His Statutes, Judgments, Commandments, and Covenant, for He identifies Himself as One with His Word. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). To despise, abhor, not do, and break His Word, is to commit that against Himself. "His Name is called The Word of God" (Revelation 19:13).
- "16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague [fever], that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it."
The opening salvo of God's contention with His Wayward People-- is terror. Intense, overpowering fear is promised upon us, when we obstinately continue in disobedience. "Behold, the LORD, the LORD of Hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled" (Isaiah 10:33). Before He begins any further dealings with the nation of His Disobedient Professing Saints, He conducts a warfare upon their hearts and minds, in preparation for even greater and more difficult judgments. "For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword" (Jeremiah 20:4). All of this from the Almighty for the purpose of the repentance of those that still may repent. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent" (Revelation 3:19).
- "17 And I will set My face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you."
Just as it is true that "if God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31); conversely, if we stand against God, He will stand against us. "Therefore thus saith the LORD GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute Judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations" (Ezekiel 5:8). To the degree that the Almighty will bless our obedience, to that degree will He curse our disobedience. He can do it, and He will do it! "24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die... 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a New Heart and a New Spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 18:24, 31).
- "18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your Heaven as iron, and your Earth as brass: 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. 21 And if ye walk contrary unto Me, and will not hearken unto Me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins."
If we continue in impenitence, He will escalate our punishment "seven times more" (26:18). This is much like the series of Seven Judgments of the upcoming Tribulation Week, i.e., Seven Seal Judgments, Seven Trumpet Judgments, and Seven Vial Judgments, each increasing in severity. "And when He had opened the Seventh Seal, there was silence in Heaven about the space of half an hour" (Revelation 8:1). [See our "Commentary on the Book of Revelation" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/The.Holy.Bible/Commentary.Revelations.1.html -- for more background on these Judgments.] Sin always exhibits itself in pride against God, i.e., the "pride of your power" (16:19). And, Impenitent Professing Christians will not humble themselves to confess that God's Terror or Judgments are because of their disobedience, but they will loudly insist that the ungodly citizenry of their nation is responsible for all their calamities. "Knowing therefore the Terror of the LORD, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences" (2 Corinthians 5:11).
- "22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate. 23 And if ye will not be reformed by Me by these things, but will walk contrary unto Me; 24 then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins."
Wild beasts may be rabid, have Mad Cow disease, be demon possessed, hungry, thirsty, or simply dispossessed of their wilderness. They shall war against the Disobedient Professing Christians, destroying their children, their cattle, and themselves. "For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through" (Ezekiel 33:28). Instead of calling for a government program to control wild beasts, they should repent. "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).
- "25 And I will bring a sword upon you [war], that shall avenge the quarrel of My covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence [epidemic] among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. 26 And when I have broken the staff of your bread [famine], ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. 27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto Me, but walk contrary unto Me; 28 then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. 29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat [cannibalism, e.g., as Josephus recorded about the siege of Jerusalem]. 30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols [destruction of your places of worship], and My soul shall abhor you. 31 And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation [urban warfare and destruction], and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. 32 And I will bring the land into desolation [ruination of the countryside]: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. 33 And I will scatter you among the heathen [captivity], and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. 34 Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths [as it did during the 70 years of the Babylonian Captivity], as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her Sabbaths. 35 As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your Sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. 36 And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. 37 And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. 38 And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. 39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them."
Question and Answer: On Terror
Q: What is Real Terror?
A: Real Terror is the comprehension that the Supernatural God is at war with YOU. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God" (Hebrews 10:31). It is impossible to give Real Terror to those who truly commit that which is good. "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same" (Romans 13:3). And, it is truly impossible to commit that which is good without the Spirit of Christ working in you, to "make you perfect in every good work to do His Will, working in you that which is Wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to Whom be Glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Hebrews 13:21). The Spirit is only given to those who have obeyed the command to repent and believe the Gospel. "And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, Whom God hath given to them that obey Him" (Acts 5:32).
Q: Who is the Giver of Real Terror?
A: Real Terror comes from the Living God. "Knowing therefore the Terror of the LORD, we persuade men" (2Corinthians 5:11). Scripture teaches that we are not to fear man, but God. "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather Fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell" (Matthew 10:28). Of course, this presupposes that the Almighty is able to keep His Saint "in Perfect Peace, whose mind is stayed on [Him]: because he trusteth in [Him]" (Isaiah 26:3). Only by hoping in the LORD, can He not be a Terror to us. "Be not a Terror unto me: Thou art my Hope in the day of evil" (Jeremiah 17:17).
Q: Why is Real Terror given?
A: Real Terror is given by God as the beginning of His Punishments upon those who profess to know Him, because of their unrelenting disobedience to His known Commandments, e.g., the Ten Commandments. "15 And if ye shall despise My Statutes, or if your soul abhor My Judgments, so that ye will not do all My Commandments, but that ye break My Covenant: 16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague [fever], that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it" (Leviticus 26:15-16).
Q: How can we be delivered from Real Terror?
A: Simply by placing our trust in Jesus Christ-- Who is the "True God, and Eternal Life" (1John 5:20)-- for Time and Eternity, to give refuge and defence from sin and evil, we can be delivered from Real Terror. "1 He that dwelleth in the Secret Place of the Most High shall abide under the Shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my Refuge and my Fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. 3 Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His Truth shall be thy Shield and Buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my Refuge, even the Most High, thy Habitation; 10 there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11 For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. 14 Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on High, because he hath known My Name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My Salvation" (Psalm 91:1-16).
Q: Will the Civilized Nations be delivered from terrorism?
A: Scripturally, Real Terror has been given by God to the Disobedient Professed Saints throughout history; but, the Scriptures prophesy the coming of a time of "Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21). This time-- the Tribulation Week-- will be marked by the Judgments of God upon the world. "24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in Everlasting Righteousness, and to seal up the Vision and Prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he [the Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [the Seventieth Week]: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate" (Daniel 9:24-27).
Significantly, since terror marks the beginning of God's Judgments (Leviticus 26:15-16), then it becomes more significant that Scripture promises, "And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins" (26:18). These four references to "seven times" (26:18, 21, 24, 28) seem to signify the upcoming Seven Years of the Tribulation Week (Daniel 9:27), the Seven Seal Judgments (Revelation 6:1-17; 8:1), the Seven Trumpet Judgments (8:1-9:21; 11:15-19), and the Seven Vial Judgments (16:1-21). Only the Spirit of God can impress upon our hearts the closeness of the Tribulation Week; and, the inevitability of the Judgment that this recent wave of Global Terrorism, i.e., September 11th 2001, portends. "Ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matthew 16:3). Global Terrorism must ultimately result in the Judgment of the Nations. "31 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: 32 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" (Matthew 25:31-32). Global Terrorism unknowingly broadcasts to the world that the time of God's Judgment of the Earth has come. "Behold, the Day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it" (Isaiah 13:9).
Ishmael, Abraham's first son by his concubine Hagar, is described in the New Testament Scriptures as the son "by a bondmaid" (Galatians 4:22), which "was born after the flesh" (4:23) and "which gendereth to bondage" (4:24). This was allegorically in comparison to Isaac, Abraham's son by Sarah, the son "by a freewoman" (4:22), which "was by Promise" (4:23) and "is free" (4:26). For this reason Isaac represents to the Christian the "liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free" (5:1), to walk in loving obedience according to the Law of Love, i.e., "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (5:14), when we truly "walk in the Spirit" (5:16) in conformity to the New Covenant. On the other hand, Ishmael represents bondage to the flesh to continually be compelled to obey God's Law, but continually fail and sin against God-- as is so common in Professed Christianity of present day Laodicea. "15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I... 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:15, 23-24). What is the solution to Professed Christianity's dilemma of bondage to sinning? Trust the covenanted Holy Spirit to cause us to walk in Holiness, Faith, Love, and Obedience. "28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of Promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Galatians 4:28-31; 5:1).
How Providential that the Church Age is ending with this confrontation with the terrorism of Militant Islamic Fundamentalism-- considering that Islam's spiritual lineage proceeded first from Ishmael then through Mohammed. "And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren" (Genesis 16:12). How true that this prophecy concerning Ishmael is still coming to pass in the form of the terrorism of Militant Islamic Fundamentalism! The religion of Islam cannot be ignored. It must be answered with the Truth of the Scriptures, because God has already promised that the offspring of Ishmael will become an exceeding great multitude. "And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation" (Genesis 17:20). That Islamic Fundamentalism does not look to Jesus as the "Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6), "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God" (Philippians 2:6), indicates that they, like Pontius Pilate, have not comprehended the most essential form of True Religion-- trusting Jesus for Life and Eternity. "And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto Him whom ye call the King of the Jews?" (Mark 15:12).
But, is not Faith in Christ the very response that Christians ought to give to terrorism? "I [Jesus] am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the LORD, which Is, and which Was, and which Is To Come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8). If we are right with God, what we believe about the Son of God, must see the statements of Scripture come to pass. "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him [the Father] that begat loveth Him [the Son] also that is begotten of Him" (1John 5:1). In particular, the True Saints must have victory over the world according to their Faith-- that is the Christian response to terrorism. "4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our Faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1John 5:4-5). Both individuals and nations have the right of self-defense against terrorists. "And they said, LORD, behold, here are two swords. And He [Jesus] said unto them, It is enough" (Luke 22:38). And, the "[individual who represents the higher powers of human government] beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil" (Romans 13:4). But, focusing merely upon a temporary military response to terrorism, takes away from the more important response that Professed Christians ought to be making to God by repenting and turning again in Faith to the One Who could again make this a Blessed Nation. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance" (Psalm 33:12). Only when the Professed People of God turn from the wickedness that God always judges with terror, can they possibly be delivered from the onslaught of terrorism. "If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2Chronicles 7:14). But, if this is what many believe to be the end of God's dealings with the Church-- which is the position of this author-- then our turning again to Faith in the LORD Jesus as Deliverer, may deliver only individuals and not nations. "For the time is come that Judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God?" (1Peter 4:17).
Let us, then, hold fast our confidence that the Almighty will always give His Watching and Waiting Saints a way to escape from terrorism. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). [See our article, "Rapture And Judgment Are At Hand" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Prophecy/Rapture.Judgment.At.Hand.html --, for encouragement to be ready to answer the Rapture Call, "Come Up Hither" (Revelation 4:1).]
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