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Betrayal before the end

First posted: March 6, 2005

 

This article is the seventh in a series of articles dealing with the spiritual events --- as prophesied by the Lord in Matthew 24 --- that are already taking place prior to the coming of the Son of Man. This article will deal with the betrayal that the Lord speaks of in Matthew 24:10.

 

Index

Firewall fellowship

The post-cut void

Eye-hand coordination

Inside access

"You can't walk"

Religious drowning

Religious trippers

Inevitable falls

Unrighteous delivery

The abomination of desolation

Hated judges

 

 

 

Firewall fellowship

In Matthew 24:10, the Lord declares the following:

 

"And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another." (Matthew 24:10)

 

The word "offended" was translated from the Greek word skandalizo, which literally means "to place a stumbling block in someone's way to make the person trip and fall". Therefore, the Lord is declaring in Matthew 24:10 that, before His parousia (i.e.- His coming), many believers would be tripped up by others. The question, therefore, becomes 

"Who can trip us up and why?"

 

The answer to this question is found in what the Lord says in the following passage:

 

"29And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." (Matthew 5:29-30)

[The word "offend" in verses 29 and 30 was also translated from the Greek word skandalizo mentioned above. The word "hell" is a mistranslation of the Greek word "Gehenna" described before.]

 

As we have said before, the "eye" in Scripture is related to the concept of "making judgments" --- with our "eyes", we "see" if something is "good" or "bad". On the other hand, we have repeatedly shared that the "right" side in Scripture is associated with concepts such as justice, judgments, law, and truth. However, the Scriptures also show another "dimension" to the "right" side:

 

The word "right" that appears in Matthew 5:29-30 was translated from the Greek word dexios, which is derived from the word dechomai meaning "to take with the hand, to receive". This means that the "right hand" is associated with the concept of "receiving" things. This makes sense because most people are right-handed, meaning that, if someone throws a ball in their direction, they are most likely to catch it with their right hand. Also, most people, being righties, are likely to pick things up with their right hand. This association between the "right hand" and "receiving" is shown in the following passage:

 

"And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision." (Galatians 2:9)

 

Notice how this passage portrays the "right hand" as a symbol by James, Cephas, and John that they were "accepting" or "receiving" Paul and Barnabas. Notice also that the "right hand" is associated with "fellowship". Therefore, giving the right hand to someone is equivalent to saying: "I accept you as a good and righteous person, and I am unafraid and willing to have fellowship with you". For example, if you found a person on the street whom you know but who has a severe case of the cold, you would be very hesitant about shaking his hand for fear of "catching" (or "receiving") his cold. You would also be very hesitant about having a long and up-close conversation with him. Notice, therefore, how the other person's physical disease makes it unwise to have physical fellowship with that person. In the same way, Scripture shows that, even if we love another person, soul fellowship with another person is spiritually unwise if that person's soul is diseased with unrighteousness:

 

"22And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. 24Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." (Jude 1:22-25)

 

When we have "fellowship" with another person, we are, in a sense, exposing ourselves to the other person. When we talk with a good friend, for example, we share our secrets, our weaknesses, our dreams and nightmares. By doing so, we make ourselves vulnerable to the possibility of that friend using those things against us. It is impossible to have communion with another person without exposing our weaknesses and making ourselves vulnerable.

 

When Jesus would place His hand on a leper to heal him, He was not doing it to have "fellowship" with the leper. He was not exposing His weakness and His secrets with the leper; He was killing the leprosy. When a surgeon is performing a surgery on a patient, he may be having physical contact with the patient, but he is not having "fellowship" with him. In other words, the patient is not in the operating room to strike up a conversation with the surgeon; he is there to have a painful procedure done to him that will remove a root of physical disease from his body. Neither the surgeon nor the patient need to know each other well for the surgery to be successful. The surgeon's contact with the patient is limited to the removal of the physical problem, nothing more, nothing less. 

 

Every leper Jesus healed hated his leprosy and wanted it dead. Jesus never healed a leper who was comfortable with his leprosy. In the same way, God does not spiritually restore a person with sin if that person is comfortable with that sin. When Jesus would speak to a person with sin, He was not having fellowship with that sin, He was confronting it. In the case of those who were comfortable with their sin, Jesus would aggressively confront them, pronouncing judgments on them. In the case of those who hated their sin, He would be moved to compassion and would deal with the root of their sin through logos before having any type of fellowship with that person.

 

Before we can have fellowship with God, we must draw near to Him, and, as we do so, we have to pass through the fire-barrier of His purifying judgments:

 

"For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her." (Zechariah 2:5)

 

Here, the Lord is speaking about Jerusalem, which means that, in the latter days, He will place a firewall of purifying judgments around His Church which will ensure that only that which is pure and holy may enter it to have fellowship with God, who will manifest His Glory in the midst of her. This illustrates a principle that is prevalent throughout Scripture: a believer who is not willing to go through the firewall of God's judgments cannot have fellowship with God.

 

Since we are called to be "God's sons and daughters", we are to manifest the same nature as our Father. Just as anyone who approaches the Father will immediately feel the consuming heat of His firewall (Hebrews 12:28-29), anyone who approaches us should immediately feel the firewall of purifying judgments around us. This will make it impossible for anyone to have fellowship with us if he or she is unwilling to let his or her sin be consumed in that firewall first. If our physical eyes could see the spirit realm, we would see how every believer who walks in close relationship with God has a spiritual wall of fire surrounding him or her, and any person (even strangers on the street) who approach that person will in some way or another feel the heat of that fire. Those who want to be rid of their sin will approach the firewall and expose themselves to the fire; those who want to continue in their unrighteousness will walk away from the fire, and some may even tell us to "turn off" the firewall so that they may approach us; If we love fellowship with that person more than we love God, we will do so, and we will allow that person's unrighteousness to contaminate and corrode us; instead of serving as agents of "sin removal" to others, we will then become agents of "sin contagion". Instead of being part of the solution, we will become part of the problem.

 

The word "right" refers to us accepting or receiving others, and the word "eye" refers to our way of judging things. Our "right eye", therefore, becomes a stumbling block to our walk in the Lord when we begin to receive or accept other people's wrong way of judging things in order to be with them. For example, if a person uses foul language and judges such language to be "acceptable", fellowship with him or her will inevitably lead to us slowly changing the way we judge foul language to such a point that we will eventually begin to say, "Hey, foul language is not so bad". In such a case, we have allowed our judgments to become contaminated by the wrong judgments of others. Therefore, when fellowship with another person begins to endanger the presence of God's judgments in our minds, we must be willing to forsake that fellowship, which is equivalent to "plucking out our right eye".

 

The post-cut void

The Scriptures declare that we, as believers, are part of the same Body:

 

"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." (1 Corinthians 12:12)

 

"Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular" (1 Corinthians 12:27)

 

This means that there is a relationship of "predestined spiritual dependency" amongst ourselves. In other words, for each one of us, God has predestined an army of believers around us, each of whom has a God-assigned responsibility to give us a spiritual impartation that will strengthen and edify us at various stages of our lives; we will receive these spiritual impartations as we have contact or fellowship with each of the members of that army. However, when any member of that army allows him or herself to be contaminated with unrepentant unrighteousness, fellowship with that person not only exposes us to the spiritual impartation he or she was assigned to give us, but also exposes us to his or her spiritual contamination. It is like a cook who is assigned to give us food but who has salmonella in her hands. She will be giving us food we need, but that food will come with salmonella, which will turn the food from a life-bringing blessing into a deadly curse. The wise thing, therefore, would be to not eat that food, no matter how much we may need it. I don't know of anyone who would be willing to eat salmonella-poisoned food just to avoid hurting the cook's feelings, yet, I have seen (time and time again) how believers are willing to eat "food" with spiritual salmonella in order to preserve their soul communion with other believers who are giving them that food.

 

When we cut off fellowship with another believer because of their unrepentant contamination, a void is left in our lives, just as a physical void would be left in our eye socket if we plucked out our right eye. Once your right eye is out of you, you will not happily go around as if nothing has happened. You will know that your eye is missing, and you will miss that eye. Your left eye will then be forced to do extra work to compensate for the work your right eye was once performing. As we have said before, the "left" side in Scripture is associated with "invisibility" and "secrecy", while the "right" side is associated with "visibility" and "public openness". Therefore, when your "left eye" begins to compensate for your "right eye", it means that the invisible God (1 Timothy 6:16) will in secrecy compensate for the impartation your visible brother or sister was supposed to give you in public. In your intimacy with Him, God will compensate for the impartations your brother or sister failed to give you in a righteous way. It would have been better (and easier for you) if your brother or sister would have provided you with that impartation, but it is better to receive a pure impartation the hard way than to receive a contaminated impartation the easy way.

 

In the same way, it is sometimes better to be alone and separated from your brethren if those brethren are unwilling to repent of attitudes in their hearts. It makes your spiritual walk more painful and difficult than it should have been, but it is better to enter into life "eye-less" than to have your whole body thrown into the fire of Gehenna (Matthew 5:29, 18:8), which, as we have said before, means losing one's prophetic calling in life forever.

 

Notice that the Lord speaks of plucking out our right eye and of cutting off our right hand in Matthew 5:29-30. This means that ending fellowship with unrighteousness requires a deliberate effort to forcibly remove something that has been a part of us for some time. Neither the eye nor the hand will fall off by themselves. We must make a conscious decision in our hearts to forcibly remove them if necessary -- even if their removal is painful.

 

Eye-hand coordination

As we said above, a "right eye" that causes us to stumble and fall refers to when we allow our judgments to be contaminated by others. As we have said before, the ministry most directly related to judgments is the apostolic ministry. Therefore, the distortion of our "right eye" due to contaminated fellowship refers to the distortion of our apostolic, judging nature. In Matthew 5:29-30, however, the Lord also speaks of our "right hand". What does our right hand represent?

 

The "hand" is spiritually associated with the concept of "service" or "help". In many languages, for example, the phrase "give me a hand" is equivalent to saying, "help me" or "supply me with your services". As we have said before, the ministry most related with "service" or "helping" others is the pastoral ministry. Therefore, the distortion of our "right hand" due to contaminated fellowship refers to the distortion of our pastoral, serving nature. In other words, we become so preoccupied with serving and pleasing others that we are willing to tolerate their sin and iniquity in order not to "displease" them.

 

As we have seen before, the apostolic ministry is called to execute "bronze" judgments of formation, while the pastoral ministry is called to execute "iron" judgments of correction. This explains why the Lord refers to both ministries when speaking of "right eyes" and "right hands". Fellowship with unrighteousness removes our ability to make right judgments (whether they be bronze or iron), and leads to the loss of our prophetic calling in the fires of Gehenna.

 

Inside access

We can now answer the question we asked at the beginning: "Who can trip us up and why?" While unbelievers can at times trip us up, the people with the greatest spiritual access to us are our fellow believers. The influence of unbelievers over us is limited because they are outside the Body. Believers, on the other hand, are inside the Body, which enables them to be vessels of great spiritual blessing for us, but it also enables them to be vessels of great spiritual destruction.

 

When Jesus came under the power of the enemy, He had to be handed over by one of His own -- Judas Iscariot. He could not be overpowered by anyone from the outside, so it was necessary for someone from the inside to give the enemy authority over Jesus. This shows how influential over us fellow believers can be. While unbelievers can trip us up, the people with the greatest ability to do so are fellow believers because of their direct spiritual access to us as members of the same Body. Therefore, when the Lord is speaking of stumbling blocks in Matthew 5:29-30, He is referring primarily to fellow believers, and when He is speaking of plucking out or cutting off those stumbling blocks, He is referring primarily to cutting off communion with fellow believers. In short, who can most easily trip us up? Fellow believers. Why? Because of their "inside access" to us as members of the same Body.

 

"You can't walk"

One of the mechanisms satan uses to trip us up is shown in the following passage:

 

"1Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! 2It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." (Luke 17:1-2)

[The word "offend" in verse 2 above was translated from the Greek word skandalizo that also appears in Matthew 24:10; the word "offences" in verse 1 was translated from skandalon, which is the noun form of skandalizo.]

 

The word "millstone" in verse 2 was translated from the Greek words mylos, meaning "mill stone" and onikos, meaning "of an ass". In other words, the Lord is referring to a mill made up of two stones where the lower stone was fixed while the upper stone was turned by an ass. God's judgments always fit the crime. Therefore, if the judgment for tripping others up spiritually (v1) is to have a millstone tied to one's neck, then the crime of tripping others up is equivalent to binding them like servile asses to a millstone and making them go around in circles day after day. This was literally done to Samson after Delilah turned him over to the Philistines:

 

"19And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. 20And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him. 21But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house." (Judges 16:19-21)

 

As we said above, the "eye" in Scripture is associated with the making of judgments. Therefore, by putting out his eyes, the Philistines were saying: "You can't make judgments anymore". Samson was from the tribe of Dan (Judges 13:1-25), and the name "Dan" literally means "a judge". Samson's life was filled with manifestations of judgments against the Philistines when the Spirit of God would come upon him, and the Philistines did not want Samson to make any more judgments. In the same way, many believers cause others to stumble spiritually by telling them that they do not have the authority to make judgments. By asking other believers, "Who made you judge?", many insinuate that only "ordained ministers" have the authority to make spiritual judgments. When one reads Judges chapter 13, it becomes evident that the one who ordained Samson as judge in Israel was God, not any man. He was ordained even from his mother's womb, and there is no passage in Scripture indicating that Samson became a judge in Israel only after some ceremony where men anointed him "judge". All believers who are "sons of God" are "ordained judges". If a believer is walking in his or her carnal nature, he or she has no right to judge, because souls cannot judge. However, if a believer walks in his or her God-given spirit nature (Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:24), that believer is operating in the mind of Christ, and is therefore capable of making spiritual judgments (1 Corinthians 2:12-16). From the moment we are born again, we are endowed with the ability to make judgments, and, as we grow in the Lord, the impact, scope, and authority of those judgments grow. That growth, however, cannot be determined by chronological years, diplomas from seminary school, or human ceremonies of ordainment. I know believers who have been well-recognized pastors for decades and decades but who are as spiritually bright as a mule, and I know believers who have known the Lord for only a few years but who possess a spiritual understanding far superior to most pastors. Our spiritual understanding is not determined by years of academic study or by the recognition of other men; it is determined by the willingness of our hearts to allow the mind of Christ to operate through us.

 

When others prevent a believer from making judgments, they are stunting that believer's growth. This is equivalent to a mother who does not allow her child to make any judgments on his own. If the child is not allowed to think for himself and to make judgments, the child will never grow to be a mature, independent adult.

 

Judges 16:21 declares that the Philistines bound Samson with fetters of "brass". The word "brass" was translated from a Hebrew word meaning "bronze", which, as we have seen before, is associated with "apostolic judgments". Therefore, Judges 16:21 is saying that the Philistines placed Samson in shackles of judgment for having made judgments. This is equivalent to the pastors who preach "Thou shalt not judge" but who then turn around and condemn those who dare to judge. If Matthew 7:1 ("Judge not, that ye be not judged") were a ban on any type of judgment, it would be an unenforceable ban, since the enforcement of the ban would require that people be judged "guilty" when they break it. When you condemn a person on the mere grounds that he or she made a judgment, you are making a judgment yourself, and, you are thereby breaking your own law.

 

As we have said before, interpreting Matthew 7:1 as a ban on any type of judgment would contradict many other passages of Scripture. What the Lord is saying in Matthew 7:1 is that we are not to make up our own laws and that we must never judge at the soul level, but at the spirit level (John 7:24, 5:30). When Jesus spoke about making judgments, it was generally in the context of His authority being questioned (John 7:14-52, John 5:26-47, Luke 19:45-20:8, Matthew 25:31-46). This means that those who deny His little ones the right to make judgments are denying His little ones' authority and are thereby tying a mill stone around their necks, turning them into servile asses who walk around in circles, going nowhere fast.

 

Denying a person the right to judge is equivalent to denying that person the right to walk. Babies can't walk; grown-ups can. Babies cannot conquer kingdoms; grown-ups can.

 

Religious drowning

In Luke 17:2, the Lord speaks of casting the "stumbling blocks" into the sea. Why? Because the sea is a large abyss that is filled with water. As we have said before, an "abyss" speaks of Sheol and of Hittite emptiness and prophetic purposelessness. "Drowning" in the sea, on the other hand, speaks of people who drown because of the Girgashite burden of temporal concerns that is tied around their necks by their religious superiors. Therefore, the judgment of casting the "stumbling blocks" into the sea means that stumbling-block believers cause others to wander aimlessly through life, without a prophetic purpose, by burdening them with earthly commandments and requisites. I have known church elders who are more concerned about believers having their church membership papers in order than about having them manifest the presence and the Anointing of the Holy Spirit.

 

Religious trippers

So far, we have seen that those who spiritually trip up a believer have the following characteristics:

  1. They deny the believer's apostolic authority to judge.

  2. They steal the believer's prophetic calling.

  3. They drown the believer in temporal, religious activities of no eternal value.

 

Samson was tripped up by the Philistines because he was unwilling to end his fellowship with Delilah. She had clearly betrayed him 3 previous times (Judges 16:5-15), yet he could never bring himself to end his fellowship with the unrighteous woman. This exposed him to being tripped up by the Philistine princes, who were working through Delilah to destroy him (Judges 16:5). This is a figure of how the main "tripper" of believers is the Church's religious leadership.

 

In both overt and subliminal ways, the religious leadership operates through the people who surround the believer in order to suppress the manifestation of the believer's spiritual authority. In the case of Jesus, the religious leaders of His day worked to "trip Him up" by operating through Judas Iscariot, who was a disciple in a position of closeness to Jesus.

 

Inevitable falls

Just as the Lord said in Luke 17:1, some trip-ups are inevitable. Just as Yeshua was inevitably betrayed by judas iscariot, it is inevitable that each one of us will suffer betrayal at the hands of other believers who are more loyal to human leaders than to God (as was the case with Delilah and judas iscariot). When we fight in the spirit realm, we inevitably become exposed to attacks from the enemy, and he knows that we are most vulnerable when attacked by other believers because of their "spiritual proximity" to us inside the Body. Yet, when we are walking in His will, we will always cut off the fellowships that will lead to evitable trip-ups, and we will always, in some way or another, be spiritually aware of the "trip-ups" that are inevitable:

 

"61When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him." (John 6:61-64)

 

These "inevitable trip-ups" involve a freewill sacrifice on our part. In a sense, it is as if God asks us, "Are you willing to suffer the pain of this fall? Are you willing to pay the price?". If we answer "yes", we are on the road to the trip-up, but, at some point, we will become aware of the fact that God had forewarned us of the trip-up way before it happened, and we will also understand that there was a redemptive purpose in us falling. This, however, is not an excuse for prolonging fellowships with unrighteousness; according to Matthew 5:29-30, we should always cut such fellowships. Even though the betrayal by judas iscariot was inevitable, it was not a case of fellowship with unrighteousness. The Lord's supper before His crucifixion was a moment of fellowship, and judas iscariot chose to walk out of that moment of fellowship in order to betray Him, while the rest continued in fellowship with Jesus:

 

"26Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to judas iscariot, the son of Simon. 27And after the sop satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. 28Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. 29For some of them thought, because judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night." (John 13:26-30)

 

Notice that satan entered judas iscariot after Jesus gave him the morsel (v27), meaning that judas iscariot was not in fellowship with Jesus at the moment that satan entered him (eating together is a figure of fellowship). Jesus then officially declared the end of their fellowship by saying, "What you will do, do quickly" (v27). Unlike Jesus, Samson continued in fellowship with Delilah throughout her whole betrayal. Samson's fall was evitable, and the pain and suffering of an evitable fall has no redemptive value.

 

Unrighteous delivery

The word "betrayed" in Matthew 24:10 (quoted at the beginning) was translated from the Greek word paradidomi meaning "to give over, deliver up"; this is the same word that appears in verse 17 of the following passage, where the Lord is speaking to His faithful disciples:

 

"17But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 21And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 23But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." (Matthew 10:17-23)

 

This passage emphasizes the fact that those who are truly faithful to God will be delivered up to the authorities (v17, 18) by the people who are close to them (v21). In other words, when push comes to shove, these people will side with the religious authorities and leave you hanging out to dry. Notice that, in both this passage and Matthew chapter 24, Jesus does not portray the authorities as the victims but rather as the victimizers. In other words, those who oppose the earthly Church authorities will be the ones betrayed.

 

Notice also that, in verse 19, the Lord says, "when they deliver you up", not "if they deliver you up", which points to the "inevitable trip-ups" mentioned above. As we have said before, the Church's eschatologists have wrongly declared for centuries that the faithful believers will be "raptured" out of this world, leaving the unfaithful behind to suffer the latter-day tribulation. If this is so, why does Jesus talk to His faithful disciples about how they will be delivered up? The Church has failed to understand that Matthew chapter 24 speaks about the faithful believers' tribulation and about how that tribulation will lead to the release of judgments and to the spiritual restoration of the Earth.

 

The abomination of desolation

In Matthew 10:23 above, the Lord says that we must flee to another city when we are persecuted in "this city", which is a spiritual reference to "Jerusalem" (Luke 21:20). When used in a negative sense, "Jerusalem" is a figure of "institutionalized religiosity". Therefore, the Lord is saying that we must flee to another place whenever the place we are at becomes so hardened by religiosity that it is beyond remedy. Notice that Jesus did not say, "Tough it out; stay in that city until I come, no matter what". When we see a city go past the point of no return, we must move on and go to another city that will receive what the current city has chosen to reject. As Matthew 10:23 declares, there are too many cities to fight for to be wasting all of our time on a city that has hardened its heart against God because it has chosen to place its faith on its abominable religious structures:

 

"14But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: 15And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: 16And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment." (Mark 13:14-16)

 

Contrary to what eschatologists say, the "abomination of desolation" is not some world-famous political figure literally entering the Holy of Holies in the rebuilt temple of Jerusalem to proclaim himself as God on television. The abomination of desolation occurs when religious leaders within the Church proclaim themselves as "God" through the attitudes of their hearts. When a religious leader says, "You can never question me, for I am your minister", they are demanding an unconditional loyalty deserved only by the One True God. When people in a congregation, city, or country become so blinded by their religious leaders that they willingly give them such loyalty, the "abomination of desolation" has occurred, and there is no option but to flee that place as quickly as possible, because destruction is about to descend upon that place.

 

The crowd in Jerusalem blindly followed the religious leaders' advice and chose Barabbas over Jesus, thereby delivering Him up to death by crucifixion. They said to themselves, "Why question our leaders? They are our covering, they know what they are doing. They have studied the Scriptures and should be able to recognize who is Anointed and who isn't. If they are telling us to pick Barabbas, that must be the right thing to do".

 

"20But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. 24When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children." (Matthew 27:20-25)

 

Later, as the Lord was carrying the cross towards Golgotha, this happened:

 

"27And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. 28But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. 29For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. 30Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. 31For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" (Luke 23:27-31)

 

Since Jerusalem (v28) had decided to blindly follow her religious leaders, she guaranteed a future destruction for herself. Notice also how Jesus prophesies in verse 30 that the blind followers of men would ask the hills to "cover" them, which means that, in their stubborn determination to trust in human coverings, they will think that the "hills" (i.e.- the "renowned men and women they follow") will be able to "cover" them from God's judgments. According to Amos 3:12, no amount of "religious covering" that believers may have over their heads will be enough to shield them from the wrath of God's judgment.

 

Hated judges

In Matthew 24:10, the Lord declares that there would be a rise in "hatred" before His parousia. As we have said before, "hatred" is a sentiment expressed by Canaanites against people who make judgments against their iniquity. Hatred is also a sentiment expressed by people with a zeal for righteousness:

 

"1I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing. 2I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. 3I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. 4A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. 5Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer." (Psalm 101:1-5)

 

Whether pandering pastors may like it or not, this psalm clearly promotes spiritual intolerance. In verse 5 the psalmist (under the Anointing of the same Spirit that inspired another psalm --- psalm 23 --- and the New Testament) said that he would not "suffer" (i.e.- "tolerate") those who are haughty and proud. In verses 3 and 4, the psalmist speaks of cutting off all fellowship with those who abide in unrighteousness in order not to stumble in his "walk" (v2). Verse 3 even speaks of "hatred" against the work of those who stray from righteousness, which refers to those who have known the truth and who later departed from it.

 

Canaanites, who preach a message of "tolerance and understanding", hate the spiritual intolerance of Psalm 101, and that hatred becomes even more vitriolic when the righteous exhibit their own hatred of unrighteousness. It is interesting to see how the pro-tolerance people become intolerant against those who have a zeal for righteousness. Just as the anti-judgment stance is self-contradictory, so is the anti-intolerance stance. If you declare that it is wrong to be intolerant, aren't you automatically being intolerant against those who are in any way intolerant? It is evident, therefore, that the "no-judgment and no-intolerance" doctrine is philosophically untenable. It is as self-contradictory as saying, "Never say never".

 

As the time approaches for the Lord's manifestation, He will begin to unleash more and more judgments on Earth through His judgment-abiding remnant. As this happens, the manifestation of righteous hatred against unrighteousness will intensify, while the Canaanites' hatred of the righteous judges will also intensify. Just as the U.S. Civil War was necessary in order for the U.S. to finally be one nation, so is it necessary for hatred to intensify before the Church (and the Earth as a whole) may be restored. Evil does not go away on its own; it has to be deliberately plucked out through spiritual judgments.

 

{The next article is titled "The snare before the end"}