David Grabbe points out that carnal nature will exist during the Millennium, even though Satan, imprisoned, will be unable then to deceive people. Satan, the inveterate rebel, refuses to repent, even after suffering 1,000 years of confinement and after witnessing the beauty of a civilization led by God. Upon his release, Satan expertly manipulates the pulls of carnal nature. Just as Satan is a creature of pride, so human nature drives us to elevate ourselves over God and others. Human nature remains the counterpoise to God, even during the Millennium—even in the converted children of God. The old man, emboldened by Satan's deceptions, will raise his ugly head again at the end of the Millennium, driving those who do not love the truth to rebel. When the Rebel and his followers are destroyed, rebellion and sin will perish forever. Nothing will ever mar the perfection of God's creation again.
Richard Ritenbaugh, examining the disgusting scandals involving Harvey Weinstein and other philanderers and child molesters exposed in the latest Hollywood debacles, observes that the liberal leftists seem to have tons of dirty laundry to expose to a somewhat more scrupulous public. The so-called victims of their advances coveted movie careers more than their own virtue. Hollywood has been waist deep in prurient slime since the 1930's and has waxed increasingly evil since that time, wallowing in sorts of perversion not even named among Gentile nations. America has descended into the cesspool of immorality in its entertainment as well as in its highest political circles, surpassing the vile immorality of the surrounding nations, just as ancient Israel became more corrupt than the nations around her. Because of her immorality, the Prophets of old, speaking on behalf of God, issued harsh condemnations. So too, America's disastrous downfall is just a matter of time.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting that while the term "liberal" in the biblical contexts stood for something noble and generous, the far-left Democrat party has hi-jacked the term, applying it to murder (abortion and euthanasia) and sexual immorality, among other things. The far left 'progressive' liberal constituents of the party (angry atheists, environmentalists, feminists, and gays) cry out for the 'noble' choice of murder, destroying the family structure, and foolishly attempting to meddle with the weather and climate patterns, endangering and ultimately destroying our entire culture.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on Isaiah 53:2-3, reminds us that as Jesus had no form or comeliness that people would desire, likewise His spiritual called-out church would also be not attractive in the sight of men, but rich in faith. But outcome-based religion looks to their vast numbers for their outward sign of success, believing that the ends justify the means, and throws out or waters down any doctrine that interferes with their growth and unity. In making rapid growth the standard of success, they have elevated fellowship above the value of truth; they have forsaken the superiority of correct doctrine in favor of community. Outcome based churches measure their success by their spectacular growth and intense media coverage. Doctrinally and philosophically they are way off base, drifting toward secularization, discarding any tenet or doctrine that would cause offense to anyone, expressing tolerance to all manner of aberrations. Because they throw out the doctrine of Christ and refuse to sanctify Him as Lord, the outcome-based churches are drifting hopelessly into error, advocating a new form of polytheism, in which individual members try to fashion their own image of God. Outcome based religions, even though they use Christian terminology and quote scripture, are not basing their lives on the sayings or doctrines of Christ, but from Gnosticism, pop-psychology, pop-philosophy business gurus, and the occult, actually placing their members precariously close to demon influences.
John Ritenbaugh warns about the dangers of the emerging, new paradigm, purpose driven, outcome-based churches. The fourth descriptor was borrowed from a movement in modern education, emphasizing that the ends justify the means, glorifying political correctness, tolerance for all manner of perversion, and relativistic human philosophy. People who have embraced these concepts are oblivious to their obligations to Almighty God, but instead have been enticed to return to the rudiments of this world, based upon Satanic demon worship, leading us away from a wholesome relationship with Christ and into a pragmatic compromising with sin. We have an obligation to strive for the faith once delivered, continually yielding to the sound scriptural doctrine and to the leadership of Christ. The purpose driven church derives its momentum from human psychology and modern marketing efforts rather than upon God's calling and His truth. The emerging church, not wanting to alienate anybody, has turned its back on sound biblical doctrine, becoming a social, religious, do-good institution, embracing flawed human reason as its only moral barometer.
Richard Ritenbaugh reiterates that several parallels exist in the account of Balaam and one's approach to God. As God's children, we have to be on guard against people who are intimidated by righteousness and will seek to destroy its practice. Balaam, motivated by self-interest, believing that the ends justify the means, willing to do anything to get his way, shows himself spiritually inferior to a donkey when it comes to yielding to God's correction. The Laodicean, motivated by blind self-interest and the wages of unrighteousness, totally oblivious to the consequences, imitates Balaam's approach to God. In evaluating the Balaam episode in Numbers 22, we would do better to imitate the donkey than her master.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that confusion or lack of peace is the clear fruit of Satan's involvement. It is nearly impossible for righteousness to be produced in an environment of instability and disharmony brought about by selfish ambition, competition, and bitter envy. In confronting our wily adversary, we must maintain constant vigilance, resisting unlawful desires, not allowing Satan to have a bridgehead in our emotions. Satan consistently works on our fear of being denied some form of pleasure. If we stay loyal to God, resisting Satan as Job did, Satan's power over us will be broken. Resistance must begin in the mind and thought processes where demonic influences try to persuade us to entertain ideas exalting ourselves over the truth or knowledge of God.
John Ritenbaugh warns us that the book of Amos is specifically addressed to us- the end time church (the Israel of God) - the ones who have actually made the new covenant with God. Having made the covenant, we must remember that (1) privilege brings peril- the closer one draws to God, the closer will be the scrutiny, (2) we can't rest on past history or laurels, and (3) we (the ones who have consciously made the covenant with God) must take this message personally. Absolutely fair in His judgment, God judges Gentile and Israelite according to the level of moral understanding He has given them. No human being can escape the obligation to be human, as God has intended — treating other fellow human beings humanely (not as things or objects of profit). Edom's perpetual nursing of anger (harboring bitterness and hatred continually) against Israel is especially abhorrent to Almighty God- a candidate for the unpardonable sin.
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