sermon: Purpose-Driven Churches (Part 8)
Trumpets, The End Times, and Conviction
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 23-Sep-06; 78 minutes
I am going to begin this sermon by quoting a number of prominent American personalities, including a Canadian personality as well. They will be from governmental and religious worlds saying things that reveal not only what they think, but what is planned and already in operation at some level on a worldwide basis in our time. I have so many of these quotes I could give you a hundred of them. I cannot even say here that I have given you the best and most obvious, but nonetheless, here is a smattering.
This first quote is from a man who is very well known internationally, mostly in economic areas, and in some government areas as well. "We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis." That was uttered by David Rockefeller, September 14, 1994 while he was speaking before a UN Assembly.
The second one is from a personality now well known to you. He is from the religious world:
It is all about the global glory of God. We intend to leverage the attention that the Purpose-Driven Life has garnered to bring about a whole new way of thinking and acting in the church about our responsibilities in the world.
That was written by Rick Warren and appeared on his website. It also appeared in the article, "Creating Community: Forty Days of Change Through New Ways of Thinking."
The third quote is from a Canadian who was very important in laying the foundation to the United Nations Organizational and Operational Principle.
To achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism, loyalty to family tradition, national patriotism and religious dogmas. For many generations we have bowed our necks to the yoke of the conviction of sin. We have swallowed all manner of poisonous certainties fed to us by our parents. There is something to be said for gently putting aside the mistaken old ways of our elders, if that is possible. If it cannot be done gently, it may have to be done roughly, even violently.
That was written by G. Brock Chisholm. It appeared in an article for a psychiatry magazine. The article is titled "The Re-establishment of Peace Time Society." It appeared February, 1946. Mr. Chisholm became the first head of the World Health Organization of the United Nations as it formed.
This next quote is from a person we heard from before. It is from Rick Warren, from an article on his website titled "What to do when your church hits a plateau."
Some people are going to have to die, or leave. [He is talking about the church.] Moses had to wander around the desert for forty years while God killed off a million people before He let them go into the Promised Land. That may be brutally brunt, but it is true. There may be people in your church who love God sincerely, but who will never ever change. People ask, 'Is it easier to start new churches, or is it easier to take existing churches and turn them around?' My answer is this. It is always easier to have babies than to raise the dead. Pray for an extra amount of patience. People change very slowly. They are resistant to change because they recognize that life as they have known it will cease to exist. So, move with the movers. Find out who the legitimizers are—the ones who are willing to go for change. Build your vision in them.
This next person has been very prominent in American and in International government for two generations.
Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, thoughtful observers have wondered whether the Atlantic ties can be maintained in the absence of a commonly perceived danger. We now know that we face the imperative of building a new world order, or potential global catastrophe. It cannot be done alone by either side of the Atlantic. Is the realization sufficient to regenerate a common sense of purpose?
This was from an article titled "After Lebanon," so you know it is very recent, and was by Henry Kissinger, The Tribune Media Services, September 13, 2006.
This next person was prominent in American government for at least three decades.
Perhaps the most dangerous notion of all is the belief, that given the proper amount of power and the ability to manipulate and manage, well-intentioned men can create heaven on earth.
Barry Goldwater, from his 1979 book, "With No Apologies," page 280.
This next quote comes from a person who is, simply stated, the greatest person who ever lived.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and you shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. Many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold. But he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:9-13)
These things have I spoken unto you, that you should not be made to stumble. They shall put you out of the synagogues. Yes, the time comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor me. (John 16:1-3)
It gives me no thrill to read things as I just did, but it is clear that we are very near the time spoken of by these men. It is fitting that we connect our nearness to significant events in the outworking of God's plan with a time in Israel's history that occurred just before a very significant event occurred.
We are going to turn to that section of scripture that very much touches on this day, and it is in Numbers 10:1-10.
Numbers 10:1-10 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Make you two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shall you make them: that you may use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to you at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto you. When you blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. When you blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. But when the congregation is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but you shall not sound an alarm. And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance forever throughout your generations. And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you show blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
The first thing I want you to note is found in the very last verse we just read. This passage ends with a solemn declaration of where this series of instructions is coming from. The placing of that statement means that this instruction is coming right from the top, and it is important. The way God did this is a way of saying, "Pay attention!" "Pay special attention to this!"
The making of the trumpets was among the last things done before the children of Israel left on their journey through the wilderness. There is an indication in verse 2 that the actual order to make them had been given earlier, but in terms of the story flow of Numbers, the charge to make them was inserted at this point in order to make the story flow smoother.
It was at this point that everything was in place for the longest, and certainly one of the most significant, steps towards actually receiving the promise inherent. They took the first real steps toward doing something from which they could not turn back. That is, they actually began moving toward the Promised Land. Everything was in place. They had been given the law. They had made the covenant, and now God said, "Go!"
What lay ahead of them? Thirty-nine years of testing and trial. They did not know that then, and there is enough indication from Numbers 14 that it really did not have to last that long, but because of their disobedience to that point, He then cursed them with having to go on 38 years longer. A great deal of instruction lay ahead, and from it, it would reveal who had the strength, who would show weaknesses, who would make it, and who would fail. Everybody failed, brethren, but two, and perhaps their families, were included with them. But only two men are mentioned. Even Moses did not make it to the end. Aaron did not make it to the end, and many others whose names were significant in Israel at the time did not make it.
The making of the trumpets and the giving of instruction for their use takes place just before the journey begins; thus we learn from the context that the blowing of these trumpets indicated an event of more than normal significance.
Trumpets, as we see in this context, are not merely a warning. They are organizational tools to make sure that everybody is headed in the right direction—toward the kingdom.
In verse 10, at the end, is a statement that the blowing of the trumpets is "a memorial before your God." I will read that to you again. "...that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God."
The English word "memorial" is derived from the English word "memory." I want you to notice though in verse 9 it states that when the trumpets are blown, the Israelites shall be remembered before the LORD their God. I will read that again.
Numbers 10:9 And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies.
Memorials are usually established for the purpose of remembering something of significance, something important, and that they usually recall some event from the past. But the word used in the Hebrew is much more vivid, more stronger. It carries a great deal more meaning than our normal English conception of a memorial.
In the English usage the event memorialized is usually not a reality at the time that it is observed. Memorial Day is just a mark on a calendar. It is a day we take off. We do not do any work, but it memorializes something from the past. It is over and done with. The Hebrew word "memorial" does not let go the way the English word does. The Hebrew word strongly suggests a reality of the event is present, as if the memorial was a real-time occurrence that is happening at the time the event is celebrated, like it is happening right now! It comes very close to making the event occur again.
I Corinthians 11:24-25 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
Right off, the Passover service is a memorial service. It is because Jesus said, "This do in remembrance of me." I want you to remember that Jesus was a Hebrew, and Jesus carried with Him the understanding of what the Hebrew word "memorial" or "remember" carries with it. He said, "Do this as a remembrance of Me." He meant something much more meaningful and vivid than a mere recalling that He died. He meant, "You must understand that when you do this, I will be there!" He is making it as close to a real-time event that He can. In context, it means as though we are present when He did this with the apostles the very first time in that Upper Room the night before He was crucified, and He is saying this directly and personally to us, as though it was the first time, and we were in that room right along with the apostles.
The Interpreter's Bible Commentary actually said that Christ intended we understand that we take it expecting to receive a presence bestowed, meaning a mindset, a spirit, vividly and solemnly recalling with thankfulness and a deep sense of indebtedness, mixed with joy at the worth of His sacrifice. There is a great deal of difference knowing that this was said in the past, that as you are taking the Passover, He is standing right in front of you, saying it to you. That is the sense of "being a memorial before God"—a sense of presence. And so we are to be reminded that whenever we take the Passover we are invited guests into His house, at His table, and the sacrifice was His, and that He is there personally to bestow a gift.
Leviticus 23:23-24 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
The Feast of Trumpets, like Passover, is a memorial. Thus we can understand that with God memorials can be remembrances of events past, present, or future. The Feast of Trumpets is the only holy day designated as a memorial. Passover is not a holy day. It is a festival, but not a holy day. That symbol intensifies its solemnity and significance.
I thought it was interesting when Bill Onisick read Mr. Armstrong's letter ["Love Without Works Is Dead"], that Mr. Armstrong used the term "solemn" in reference to the Feast of Trumpets.
So in summary regarding the word "memorial," the Hebrew term carries with it a much stronger sense of presence than our English word "memorial" does. The English word, by comparison, is much weaker in conveying it.
Another reference may help the trumpet symbol become a bit clearer. We are going to go to Exodus 19:16. This will actually amplify the word "memorial." It will tie it together with the trumpets and hopefully make it even more sensible. The circumstance here is just prior to the giving of the law from Mount Sinai.
Exodus 19:16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
The time and location in which this occurred is known to all of us. There was a long, long blast of a trumpet. What did it announce? God is present! Is that not usually what announces the arrival and therefore presence of a king? How many movies have you been to where they sounded the trumpets, and the king walks in with all of his retinue? Trumpets are used to announce the presence of a king. That is actually biblical, because when God came to Mount Sinai, it was announced with all kinds of earthquakes, but there was a trumpet that just about drove the Israelites bonkers hearing it, combined with the earthquake. Boy! They knew God was present!
Now the Jews carried this a bit further, and I think that they carried it in the right direction. Because of this event here in Exodus 19, combined with the things we already saw in Numbers 10, the Hebrew theological use of the term "trumpet" became symbolized as "the voice of God." I am going to turn to Revelation 8:6, just to remind you of this occurrence.
Revelation 8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
In Revelation 8:6, trumpets are used to designate, to symbolize, the voice of God pronouncing punishing judgment upon the stiff-necked rebellious people of earth in preparation for the arrival of the King of kings, and Lord of lords. We see the pieces coming together that all involve the Feast of Trumpets.
Now back to Numbers 10:10 again. It is very clear in this passage that some of the day-to-day uses of trumpets by the Israelites are much the same fashion as in the way we use sirens. We use sirens to get people's attention so that an announcement informing the people about what they must do is given.
Numbers 10:10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
We generally associate the blowing of these two special trumpets primarily for the calling of assemblies, but notice, in verse 10, God stipulates other times when they were to be blown. We see here "in the day of your gladness." This means festal occasions. Not festival occasions, but festal occasions. They are simply happy times of celebration, such as national holidays. These are national celebrations apart from the God-appointed times.
The second is the beginning of the new-month day. Also the God-appointed times, meaning the festivals, and fourth, when the daily burnt and peace offerings were made at the Tabernacle and Temple.
Numbers 10:8 And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance forever throughout your generations.
The only ones permitted to blow the trumpets were priests, and the priests blew them in the performance of their duty. It was something some of the priests had to be trained to blow the trumpet. In David's day they got to the place where he had a whole orchestra or marching band, or whatever it was, of 120 trumpeters built out from the original two. But there were two that were especially assigned to the Temple and to the Tabernacle.
When you put all of this together, priests, every day of the year, blew them at least twice, because the burnt offering and the peace offering were part of the morning and evening sacrifices that were made every day. We saw that listed in verse 10. The trumpets had to be blown when the burnt offering was made and when the peace offering was made. This leads to two other understandings. Because they were blown only by the priests in the performance of their duties, and were thus only blown at the Tabernacle or Temple, these two trumpets were every bit as much of the Tabernacle's or Temple's instruments, and/or furniture as the Ark of the Covenant, the Incense Altar, the Candelabra, the Showbread, the Table, the Altar, and the Laver. They were part of the sanctified pieces of the Temple itself.
It is also clear that all trumpet blasts did not sound exactly alike, and that they announce either good or evil things. The people understood by the number of blasts, coupled with the distinctive sounds, who, or for what reason attention was being aroused. The trumpets were organizational tools.
One final reminder. On each and every occasion that they were blown, the people would know that they were being blown in relation to God, and He thus promised that they would not only be reminded, but He too would be reminded, (as if He could forget like a man!). But He added that for our assurance.
This really gets exciting in a way, and thus the blowing of the trumpets takes on a spiritual meaning that is very, very similar to the making of a prayer. When do you pray? It should be like the morning and evening sacrifices: as you begin the day of work, and in the evening when you end the day of work.
Do you not also cry out to God when you sense a need for help? Just compare those statements to when the trumpets are used. They are the symbol of praying to God in good times, in bad times, in the morning, and in the evening. That is why God says He will be reminded, and He will remind them that this is being done in relation to Him. So, in the same manner, as when Israel was being oppressed, an urgent prayer, a cry for help went out to God in the sound of a trumpet. God is promising His presence and focused attention in real time on the occasion for which the trumpet is being blown. This trumpet symbol is most assuredly not a little thing at all.
It is good that we have an appreciation of this symbolism that God gives to us. It may seem to some people as being nothing but ceremonial, but when you start looking, everything that God creates has more than one use. The closer you look at the things He has created, the things that He has commanded, the more detail you see within them, and the more perfect they become. We see even in trumpets there is a very deep-seated spiritual meaning to the blowing of them. They are not ceremonial in the least.
II Chronicles 15:1-6 And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear you me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you while you be with him; and if you seek him, he will be found of you; but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. Now for a long season Israel had been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity.
II Chronicles 15:14-15 And they swore unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets. And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.
Notice especially the description of the reaction of the people to the circumstances surrounding their living conditions. That takes place in verses 5 and 6. In the King James it is described as "vexation." My margin says "turmoil." The people were in turmoil during this particular time when Asa was king. A modern translation, the Revised English Bible, says that "the people were harassed on every side." That sounds if it could be similar to what we face today. It would have been very easy to translate that Hebrew word into "no peace." The people had no peace, or they were troubled, or they were pressured. That is what the Greek word "tribulation" means. It means "pressure."
Now what is described here is that a state of fear had been created by enemies. It does not necessarily mean that they had been attacked, but they were living in a state of fear. They were on the edge. There was a great deal of anxiety. We might say they were constantly looking over their shoulder. They felt insecure because they knew that their country was surrounded, and it was very likely that things were taking place within the nation, and their enemies were there as well even though they had not really been attacked.
Now what did they do in this state of fear? Asa was a reasonably good king. He repented, and they repented—he representing the leader of the country, and they representing the people of the country—and as we saw within the context, trumpets were blown following the prophet's admonition, and that put the Israelites into a state of preparedness.
I am going to go to the book of Judges where something like this occurred, leading up to the time God raised up Gideon to be their savior.
Judges 6:1-6 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till you come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
Does that not sound like illegal immigrants? That is exactly what was happening. Israel at this time was not yet facing an army, but they were facing an army of Amalekites, and Midianites, and others who were coming across the borders and taking Israel's prosperity from them.
Do you know how much it costs the State of North Carolina every year now just to take care of the illegal immigrants? It costs $250 million. This is what it costs one state to provide schooling, hospitalization, etc., etc., etc.
I mentioned that there was not yet an army, but the armies of the Midianites and the Amalekites did show up.
I will not go through the whole story, but God eliminated and reduced Gideon's army all the way down to 300 men. Did you ever notice what those men carried with them? Every man had a trumpet, and that trumpet, on the one hand, was used as a diversionary tactic that created confusion amongst the others. But when we look at the symbolic spiritual meaning, every man was armed with prayer to fight that battle, and that God was with them.
Gideon had his problems getting his face up, I guess you might say, but God kept reassuring him, and Gideon passed that on to the people—300 men to rout a huge army. I just wanted you to see that as in II Chronicles and in Judges, trumpets were part and parcel of the recovery of the people.
The Feast of Trumpets signifies, symbolizes the manner of the time period that we have entered into in our day. We are in that period of time very likely in the period represented by the seals of Revelation 6. I personally feel that we are somewhere in the fourth seal. The fifth seal is the Tribulation. I do not believe that the Tribulation has started, at least not in its fullness, but there is no doubt that the church, since it was blown apart in the 90s is going through its own tribulation where there is a great deal of uncertainty scattering about, showing us our weaknesses, and we need to be doing what they did in Asa's day. They blew the trumpet, praying to God of course, for the recovery that was needed.
I want you to notice something that is minor. It is good to know that this is not the Feast of the last trumpet. It is the Feast of Trumpets. Plural. At the very least there are seven trumpet plagues. If we want to confine the Feast of Trumpets just to that period, there are at least seven.
As I mentioned earlier, God's memorial looks backward, also to the present, and to the future. It encompasses all three: backwards, now, and into the future because there are many occasions for the blowing of trumpets. I think the church is in one now, and we need to be in a state of alertness, of readiness, and of preparation. Hopefully the ministry in the Church of God is blowing the trumpet for the people in their congregations that they are serving. It is coming. We are under pressure. The warfare has not arrived yet, but it is on its way. Christ's return is not all that far off. What will we do?
There is no one representing the Church of God publicly crying out as Azariah did when Asa was king. Most people today out there seem oblivious to what is going on, let alone what they need to do. In a state like that there is no hope for the Israelitish nation, but God has promised that He will warn before that day actually arrives. So the question for us is, "Are the trumpets being sounded by the events that we are witnessing in our time? Are they ringing in our ears?"
We will not hear literal trumpets being sounded. The events prophesied actually occurring is the trumpet, or the trumpets, so it is essential that we be alert to what is being reported to us in the news, and comparing what we are hearing in the news with what God prophesies of in His Word. Let me caution you here that there is a lot of speculation involved in these things. There are an awful lot of red herrings that are thrown out at us, and therefore a lot of our speculations may prove to be false. It is not that we intend them to be false, but as God gradually reveals things to us we need to make adjustments to see what part of it was wrong, and what part of it was right. But we are to be warned by the events that we see and hear of happening in the world around us.
During the previous sermon I gave an ever-so brief overview of the vast sweep of events history shows as having occurred to bring us to the condition that we live in today. Step by step vast migrations of people from one country into another have produced massive-sized cities and significantly changed the receiving country's culture. As I mentioned to you, it is not just the United States, but European countries are being invaded as well. Now this, combined with technological inventions, changes in government, in educational processes, religious thought, have brought us to the brink of a precariously dangerous to life-and-limb circumstance.
The future is even more troubling to consider. National sovereignty in the Western world is continuously dissolving. As pertains to this nation, our beautiful largely biblically-based Constitution has already been warped to such a degree by liberal judicial opinion, that in actual practice it has almost ceased to exist. The Constitution assigns only two administrative responsibilities to our president. Do you realize that? Only two. It is his job to (1) "provide for the common defense" and (2) "promote the general welfare of the nation."
But in our time the massive illegal immigration, invasion is greatly affecting this nation's economy. It has been underway now for about fifteen years, and thus it is affecting its general welfare. Two presidents have done absolutely zero to protect our nation's well-being from this invasion. This is largely because their hands were tied legally by previously made international agreements. To intervene they must break this nation's commitment to the international agreements, and be committed to the national responsibilities contained within the Constitution. It is one or the other. Both of these presidents have chosen to honor the international agreements rather than the Constitution, thus showing where their true loyalties lie.
Because of our unspeakably base national immorality, God has cursed us with the immature self-centered leadership we deserve as a nation. And like the proverbial frog in gradually heated water is unaware of the subtle changes being made that will lead to the destruction, the people of the entire Western world have been beautifully set up to accept the Beast and his one world government. It has not happened yet, but it is on its way.
It took Satan centuries to maneuver the Israelitish people into this position, but we have reached the point in the development of the circumstances that events are moving faster than ever. We have been manipulated into a gradually increasing state of fear—a state in which we will give up our freedom in exchange for security. It is happening. This becomes important in our relationship to God. Will we give up our "liberty in Christ" in the midst of a state of fear in order to protect our life rather than lose our life for the sake of loyalty? It is something that we need to consider.
In America, this has been done in order that we might continue living our immoral lifestyle. Please understand. The overwhelming number in real leadership in government in the Western world—the Israelitish world—do not want to stop these massive changes because they fit right into their globalization scheme. This elite group has been deceived by Satan into thinking that what they are doing is not only for their personal good, but ours. You see, they are going to save us from nuclear holocaust. That is what Kissinger said in that quote. It is either a New World Order, or it is nuclear holocaust. He says, "What are we going to do?" You know the direction they are headed, and I will give them the benefit of the doubt. They are sincere, but we believe the Bible, and we know that this is wrong.
Do you know what we are witnessing? I will put it this way. We are witnessing a sort of Genesis 11 situation in reverse.
Genesis 11:7-8 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
In that instance, God scattered the people by seriously affecting their ability to communicate, and thus cooperate with each other. But now, through Satan, as we approach the time of Christ's return, God is permitting him to bring the people into an anti-God political, educational, economic, and religious unity, and He has even provided the English language as a common communication tool, and now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do. What do they imagine to do? They are going to establish a one world government in defiance of God, organized and managed by them. You see, God's Word says Jesus Christ is going to do this. That is why it is anti-God.
Have men shown, in six thousand years of history, that they really know how to govern? But again, Satan is taking advantage of man's pride. He has convinced them that they can do it. In fact, God is being left out. They do not even need God.
Do you know that the European Union, in the constitution that they are attempting to put together, makes no mention whatever of their Catholic heritage, even though the Catholic Church has dominated Europe for a thousand years or more? That shows you where their mind is. It is not even in the religions of the world. That is how secular they have become. That is why it is anti-God, totally and completely. What these elites are attempting to do is to establish a human-devised governed counterfeit kingdom of God. Now where does that leave us in the face of the fact that what they seek to devise is not God's purpose?
Satan is moving from numerous different directions to destroy every vestige of the Israelitish people from earth. Now why would he want to do this? Because Israel is the people through whom God chose to work—the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and we know where the bulk of them is. They are in Northwestern Europe, in the United States and Canada, Australia, and South Africa. Satan is moving to destroy those people.
Because God has chosen to work through the Israelitish people, Israel is the home of the Christian religion, and if Satan wants to destroy all of humanity he has to destroy the people who hold the truth of God, and most of these people are in Israelitish nations. This is evidence, as we gradually see the Beast forming, and we should be warned and put on alert as if a trumpet is blowing, because it is beginning to sound. We might be just at the very beginning of it, but it is occurring.
Before the destruction can be fully accomplished, people have to be manipulated by governments through circumstances, education, religion, and psychology into the acceptance of concepts contrary to God and the Bible, and Satan has been busy doing this, increment by increment, for centuries. It is what he does best. He does this through artful lying, dis-information that creates confusion of purpose. The overall object is to produce uniformity of thinking in areas important to Satan's purpose, which ultimately is to destroy all of mankind. He is not called the Destroyer for nothing.
Brethren, it is true that birds of a feather flock together, and as time goes by, every one of us who truly makes a profession of loyalty to Jesus Christ in word and deed is going to have it impressed on us that we Christians do not think like the rest of the world.
God has removed much of our confusion of purpose. We do not see everything clearly. We have the basics down in terms of the doctrines of Jesus Christ, but there are refinements of those things that we do not fully understand, and there are prophecies that we can only see the edges of. There are things that we do not have good complete answers to yet, but God is, slowly but surely, cranking up the noise of the trumpet, and the revelation of those things will come.
Because God has removed much of our confusion, we are not one with the uniformity we can see that Satan is creating. This is one reason why I gave that one sermon about the Purpose-Driven Church. They are seeking uniformity of purpose in what they believe, and what they believe is not biblical. That is why Rick Warren said that if there are people who will not go along, get rid of them. I gave you that quote.
We do not stand alone in being able to perceive much of the direction in which events are moving. There are people who are members of various institutions and organizations, most of which are not religious organizations, and they see what is happening. They may or may not grasp Satan's involvement, but they do see what is happening in politics and in education in America, Canada, Australia, and South Africa, and New Zealand, and they are trying to raise the alarm. But many of these organizations sounding the alarms are interested only in the loss of our political, personal, and educational economic liberties.
The fundamental religion organization, along with the Church of God, perceives the dangers most strongly in the area of religion. They also see the political things as well, but they, like us, for the most part will not get involved because they understand that truth of the Bible too. So it is from the biblical-religious base of the Israelitish nations that the personal liberties are derived, and eventually fundamentalists, including us, are going to be the direct object of Satan's attack. Why? Because we, with our unique religious convictions, will not conform to the uniformity the New World Order leaders design.
Just like Rick Warren and the Purpose-Driven Churches, Brock Chisholm was very blunt [in saying] "We might have to get rid of them violently." That was 1946. And why will we not conform? Because we are convicted of truth they cannot grasp. More specifically, because we believe that God is, and more specifically still, we believe that the Bible is God's revelation to mankind, and we are deeply convicted by what the Bible says, and thus we judge all things through what the Bible says.
I Corinthians 2:14-16 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, [he cannot know them!] because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual [the converted mind] judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
This verse means that the spiritually-minded person has a discernment which opens his mind to truth which the carnal-minded person is blind to and ignorant of, just like this man I mentioned earlier. I know now why he left Ambassador College. He was unconverted. It was that simple, despite his very high I.Q.
But God, by means of His spirit, has mercifully and miraculously made the spiritually-minded person's perception possible. It is a gift that we have been given. It is not what we deserve. It is what God has chosen to do. One of the major results of this is that the carnal-minded person's perception of the spiritually-minded person is warped. We could go so far as to say they think we are crazy! Not only can he not grasp the spiritual things, he cannot understand the people holding them either to the extent, as Jesus prophesied, they will put the spiritually-minded person to death. Is that not what they did to virtually every prophet of God? "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem!" Jesus said. "You who kill the prophets." The prophets were good guys. They wanted the best for the Israelitish people, and so the message was not what the carnally-minded person wanted to hear, and so they put the messenger to death.
The carnal-minded person thinks the spiritually-minded person is strange and that he is a hindrance to peace and order, which is exactly the way Paul was before his conversion. When God changed him, all that came down on Paul's head. "Oh! What have I done?" He carried the stain of that in his conscience till he went to the grave. He thought he was the worst of sinners, the least of men, because he persecuted the church. He did it in ignorance in a form of innocence. He just did not get it.
Can you understand why Stephen said, "Father, forgive them. They do not know what they do." Can you understand why Jesus said, "Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing"? We are going to get caught up in that. Will we feel that we are being treated unjustly, unfairly because we know that we are innocent, that this should not be happening to us, and saying, "God, where are you? You are allowing me to be mistreated." That is why I read to you Psalm 139. God knows exactly what is going on. He has not left.
The carnal-minded person will reject biblical principles as truths that are impractical, and therefore lies, folly. He does not see their beauty or wisdom just like an intemperate person does not receive the arguments regarding his addiction, or a licentious person the arguments for chastity. You see, the Bible provides us with our world view. We look at everything through what we know the Bible says. Sometimes we do not know what the Bible says, but what we do know the Bible says, we look at everybody and everything through those perspectives. We are walking to the beat of a different drummer and it is going to bring the wrath of these people down on us. We do not deserve it, if I can put it that way, but it is going to happen. I do not know when. I only know that it is coming.
I want us to look at some verses in Revelation 12 because I want you to just see the setting here.
Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Revelation 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Revelation 13:4-5 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies: and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
Revelation 13:7-9 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man has an ear, let him hear.
Revelation 13:16-17 And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
I just want you to notice the several times in there that the word "whole" or "all" was used in reference to the people of the earth. The use of these words certainly does not imply ever last person, but does imply the overwhelming majority. This will have a revealing result that God's desires. Christians, because of this, are going to stand out like the proverbial sore thumb. Why? Because they are not going to be in conformity with the desires of the government and the religions of men that Satan is using.
There is a very clear example of this in the book of Daniel. Did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stand out when they refused to bow before Nebuchadnezzar's image like everybody else did? Forms of that are going to be happening during the time that Christians are really going to come under the gun. The Christians will not be uniform with the world because they march to the beat of a much different drummer, following truth, following Christ who is truth. Confessing Him with one's life will separate a Christian from the hordes of mankind, because religiously and socially the Christian will be out of step.
There is a solution to this. It is a rather complex solution, but I think that some forms of this sermon will be continued by me, God willing, during the Feast of Tabernacles. I do want to bring this to your attention. I used the term "conviction" just a few moments ago, and it is this that is going to make us stand out from everybody else.
The word "conviction" is a term that is used mostly in a negative sense, as one being convicted of a crime, but it also has a positive usage as well. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary supplies the usage. Here it is: "To be convicted is the state of being convinced." I will give you some synonyms: staunch, firm belief, settled judgment, unshaken confidence, absolutely convinced without reservation, fully persuaded, and assured, as Abraham was in Hebrews 11.
Abraham was so convicted by God's Word and experiences with God that he knew that when he was about to sacrifice Isaac, that if God allowed him to actually literally sacrifice Isaac, that God will then raise Isaac from the dead. It had to be that way because of the promise that was contingent upon Isaac living. But God instead stopped Abraham, and supplied a substitute, because that fit God's purpose better, and Jesus Christ is our substitute, just like He was Isaac's substitute—the Lamb of God.
It is conviction that we are convinced of the truth and sureness of the Word of God, and we are living it to the best of our ability in order to reinforce it within our life in practical situations.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3 And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.
God has to know whether we will be loyal, whether we get the picture of what the stakes are. The issue is government. To which government will we be loyal? God's? Or Satan's? It is that simple, in one sense. So God is putting us to the test from time to time, and He arranges those tests so that they are just what we need. He does not ever give us something that is too great for us. He is watching over us that closely. But the tests are coming, and they will continue to come, and I would imagine that they will intensify as we get closer to the end. So understand that the tests are not against us, that they are actually for us, because they are preparing us for His kingdom. They are giving evidence to God where our heart lies. Testing is something God must do. The stakes of our goal to be in the Kingdom of God are so great, He must know the degree to which we can be trusted.
Brethren, the trumpets are sounding all over the place. Be alert and aware, but do not let it stop there. Lift up your voice in prayer to God. Lift up your trumpet before Him, as a memorial before Him, and He promises to pay attention, and He will respond.