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Questions & Answers

Overjoyed?

First posted: April 6, 2005

 

Question

A visitor wrote the following:

I read your article on Terri Schiavo, and, when I came to the part where it said "I was overjoyed to find out that he died (Johnnie Cochran) yesterday of a tumor in his brain", I was grieved in my spirit. Why would someone be overjoyed to find out a person died, especially if that person was not saved? Could you clarify "overjoyed" in this statement?


Proverbs 24:17- "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth"

 

Other verses I pondered were in Matthew 5:21-22 and Matthew 5:43-48.

 

Answer

This question was prompted by our article on Terri Schiavo where we share on the spiritual reason why the famous lawyer Johnnie Cochran died one day before Terri's departure. To many (if not most) believers, a comment such as the one quoted above would seem a little too "bloody", "harsh", and "heartless" to have been inspired in the Anointing of the Spirit, and we believe that the visitor's reference to Proverbs 24:17 raises a valid question that is worth addressing. To see whether the comment on Johnnie Cochran is contrary to Proverbs 24:17, we have to compare it to other apparently-contradictory passages of Scripture, and we need to study Proverbs 24:17 in the context of the verses that precede it and follow it.

 

A different angle

Consider the following passage:

 

"1And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia." (Revelation 19:1-4)

 

This passage appears after the description of God's judgments against the "great whore" in Revelation chapters 17 and 18. Consider what the Spirit says in the previous chapter:

 

"17For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, 18And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! 19And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. 20Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her." (Revelation 18:17-20)

 

Notice how the Spirit specifically tells Heaven to rejoice over the calamity that befell the great whore, and the Spirit even tells the "holy apostles and prophets" to rejoice over God taking revenge against her on their behalf (v20)! In Revelation 19:1-4 quoted above, the multitude of people in heaven were so overjoyed over the destruction they saw that they could not contain a second "Hallelujah!" (v3).

 

Knowing the thinking of a typical evangelical, I am sure that some might argue that the verses above are speaking about "spiritual destruction" and cannot be applied to "real-life cases". Yes, these passages are speaking about spiritual destruction, but it must be understood that the "great whore" that these passages refer to is not some ethereal entity floating in outer space independently of us. The "great whore" manifests itself through real-life human beings, and, when God annihilates an evil spirit, the people on Earth through whom that spirit is manifested suffer physical consequences. Notice that the "great whore" kills prophets and persecutes apostles (Revelation 18:20, 19:2, Luke 11:49), and she does so through human beings who allow themselves to be used for such purposes. The "killing" and "persecution" she carries out may at times be "spiritual" in nature, but, even so, it produces very real pain and tribulation in the lives of those of you who have chosen to move in the apostolic and the prophetic.

 

When God brought destruction upon the spirit of Sodom, His destruction caused the literal death of the thousands of people who lived in Sodom. When God brought destruction upon the spirit of Jericho, His destruction meant the literal death of all the men, women, children, and even animals inside Jericho except for Rahab and her family (Joshua 5:21-26). When God brought destruction upon the spirit of Amalek, the Spirit of God caused Samuel to ruthlessly take a literal sword and chop up Agag, king of Amalek, into pieces (1 Samuel 15:32-34). When God came against the Jebusite spirit in Jerusalem, the spiritual angel He sent literally killed 70,000 people in 3 days (2 Samuel 24:15-17). When God brought destruction upon the Girgashite spirit (i.e.- the "earth-dwelling" spirit -- Genesis 6:13-17) during Noah's days, that spiritual destruction caused the literal deaths of all human beings except for Noah and his family.

 

Since some believers might want to argue that all the examples given above are from the Old Testament, consider what happened when Jesus declared judgment against the spirit of religiosity in Jerusalem:

 

"34O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Luke 13:34-35)

 

"1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Matthew 24:1-2)

 

When God brought destruction over the spirit of religiosity in Jerusalem, He sent Titus and the Roman army to bring physical destruction upon the temple building and all of Jerusalem. To this day, all that is left of the temple is the Wall that people go visit in Jerusalem. God's judgment against the spirit of religiosity in Jerusalem also meant that the Jewish people lost literal control of Jerusalem and all the land of Canaan, and they were forced to literally wander from country to country for over 1800 years, suffering literal persecution and death until God physically restored them to their land in 1948.

 

A recent example of God's physical destruction is what happened in the December 2004 South Asia tsunami. As we share in previous articles, God's judgment over the "spirit of xmas" and the "spirit of human mercy" meant the physical destruction of 250,000 people in a few hours. God's recent judgment against the "great whore" spirit meant the humiliating, physical agony and death of a religious leader whose worthless cadaver is being cried over just as the Lord describes it in Revelation 18:19.

 

All of this means that the righteous are called to rejoice (Revelation 18:20) when God exacts His revenge over the unrighteous, even when that revenge brings literal death and suffering to those who stubbornly persist in upholding the unrighteousness.

 

Like Father, like son

Consider what the Spirit declares in the following passage:

 

"1Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." (Psalm 2:1-6)

[The phrase "sore displeasure" in verse 5 was mistranslated from the Hebrew word charown, which literally means "burning anger".]

 

Verse 4 clearly declares that God shall mockingly laugh and hold the enemies of His anointed in derision. Verse 5 says that, after laughing and deriding, God will unleash His wrath against them and "vex them in His burning anger". How can a God of love laugh right before unleashing deadly judgment upon someone? Wouldn't that seem sadistic to the natural understanding? Yet, it is how the Scriptures describe God. The reason why the natural soul finds such wording difficult to absorb is because it does not have a true notion of how zealous God is about justice and judgments. As we have said before, our God is a "man of war" (Exodus 15:3), the fearsome God of Israel whose zeal for justice exceeds our natural understanding. We are so used to living in an atmosphere where unrighteousness is commonplace and accepted that we fail to comprehend the extent of God's holiness and righteousness.

 

"17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;" (Romans 1:17-18)

[The word "hold" at the end of verse 18 was translated from the Greek word katecho, which literally means "to hold back, detain, retain"]

 

Notice that, according to verse 17, as we grow in our faith, the righteousness of God is increasingly revealed in our own lives and in our surrounding environment. Notice that, after speaking of righteousness-revealing "faith", the Holy Spirit proceeds to speak about the "wrath of God" being revealed from heaven. In other words, as your faith grows, you cause God's righteousness to be revealed more and more, which manifests itself in God's wrath being revealed against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of the men on Earth who have worked to "hold back" or "retain" the truth. The growth of your faith causes the Lord's wrath to be revealed against those whose hardness of heart systematically works to prolong falsehood and unrighteousness on Earth.

 

According to Hebrews 12:9, God is the "Father of Spirits", meaning that the Spirit-being that God placed in us when we were born again can call God "Father". Since a son carries the same genetic nature as his father, the son will manifest the same traits as his father. This means that, as we move in our spirit nature (not our soul nature), the way we talk and the way we behave will betray who our Father is. In other words, when a believer is moving in his or her spirit nature, he or she will walk like God the Father and behave like God the Father. Therefore, if God the Father laughingly mocks the kings of this Earth before unleashing His destructive wrath against them (Psalm 2:4-5), it can be expected that a spirit-led believer will do the same thing as he or she becomes a channel of God's wrath on Earth.

 

Thine enemy

Having said all of the above, how should we then interpret the passage quoted by the visitor?

 

"17Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him." (Proverbs 24:17-18)

[By the way, notice that this passage includes verses 17 and 18, just like the passage of Romans 1:17-18 quoted above. This is no coincidence.]

 

While passages such as Revelation 18:20 and Revelation 19:1-4 exhort believers to rejoice over the tragedy of the enemy, this verse seems to say that we should not rejoice. Therefore, a literal interpretation of Proverbs 24:17-18 cannot be accepted because such an interpretation would contradict the passages in Revelation, and the Revelation passages cannot be simply ignored since no Scripture can ever be denied. This means that Proverbs 24:17 is speaking about a different "rejoicing" than the one in Revelation, and the key to understanding the difference can be found in the word "thine".

 

Notice that, in Proverbs 24:17, the Lord is speaking of not rejoicing over the fall of your enemy. In other words, it refers to people with whom enmity has developed due to personal issues. Consider, for example, a case where a co-worker simply "hates your guts" because she envies your talent, and imagine that this co-worker has been spreading nasty rumors about you which have cost you important promotions. In such a case, the co-worker has become your personal enemy, and her actions have given you grounds to dislike her. However, that dislike can rest on two possible foundations:

  1. The foundation of personal inconvenience

    Under this foundation, you will dislike the co-worker because of the inconveniences her actions caused you. You will be mad because of the pay raise you lost. You will be mad because of the pension benefits you lost. You will be mad because of the large, spacious office you missed out on.

     

  2. The foundation of righteous indignation

    Under this foundation, you will be upset at the other person for having sinned against God by spreading false rumors and by being willing to figuratively "kill" a fellow human being based on motivations of carnal envy. You will be mad at the other person for having dared to touch a son or daughter of God without any fear or reverence for God the Father (Zechariah 2:8).

 

How can we discern which foundation we are on? One way of knowing is by asking ourselves, "Would I be as upset at that person if the same injustice had been done to a complete stranger and not to me?" If the answer is "no", your foundation is not based on an impartial zeal for righteousness. Another question we could ask ourselves is, "Would I be less upset if the same actions by the other person would have caused me fewer inconveniences?" If the answer is "yes", you are mad at the consequences of the actions and not at their inherent unrighteousness.

 

Another question we can ask ourselves is, "If the other person truly repented and was forgiven by God, would I still be upset at the other person?" If the answer is "yes", you are mad at what that person did to you and not at what that person did against God. Remember, "true repentance" means that the other person recognizes that what he or she did was unrighteous, and it means a desire to be forgiven by God and by all those whom he or she harmed. If that happens, the unrighteous person has been "killed" by God's judgments, and a new, righteousness-seeking person has been born. If you are standing on a foundation of "righteous indignation", you will no longer be mad at the other person. Why? Because there is no more unrighteousness to be mad at. The unrighteous person died when he or she willingly accepted God's judgment and hatred against his or her actions.

 

When you stand on the foundation of "righteous indignation", you will be spiritually thrusting God's sword of logos judgment at the unrighteous person until he or she is "dead". However, you must also remember not to lose your "first love", which, as we have explained before, means that we must not forget the purpose behind God's judgments. God unleashes His judgments so that people may grow in the Spirit and possess the inheritance of eternal life in Him. As we have said before, "eternal life" is more than just escaping literal hell. It means becoming One with God, and not all people who escape literal hell will become One with God.

 

A person standing on the foundation of "righteous indignation" knows that there are certain cases where the unrighteousness in the other person reaches a point of no return. This is what Scripture calls "sin unto death", and, in such cases, the other person must be "cursed unto destruction". Why? Because unrighteousness is like a disease that grows (1 Corinthians 5:6). If the other person refuses to die voluntarily under God's judgments, he or she becomes a focal point of unrighteousness that will infect and impede others from repenting unto God's righteousness. That person becomes a symbol on Earth of perennial defiance against God's justice and must therefore be cut off. This "cutting off" occurs as you continue to pronounce spiritual judgments in that person's life. If the person yields under the pressure of the judgments, he or she will repent and be forgiven. If the person hardens his or her heart, the pressure of those judgments will lead to the person's destruction. Soft clay is molded under pressure, while hardened clay simply breaks.

 

Therefore, we can now say the rejoicing of Proverbs 24:17 refers to people whose joy is motivated by a sense of vindication over the personal inconveniences their enemy caused them, not by a sense of vindication of God's sovereign righteousness. As we have said before, behind every "joy" there is a "victory". In other words, every moment of joy is caused by a sense of victory. If you perceive the fall of an "enemy" as God's victory over unrighteousness, the joy you will feel will be based on righteous indignation. However, if you perceive the fall of an "enemy" as your personal victory and not God's victory, the joy you will feel will be based on the resentment over the personal inconveniences the other person caused you. In such a case, you are rejoicing at the fall of your enemy, not at the fall of God's enemy, and that is what Proverbs 24:17 is speaking against.

 

Notice that Proverbs 24:18 speaks of God seeing that joy:

 

"17Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him." (Proverbs 24:17-18)

 

As we have said before, God's eyes are eyes of judgment. Therefore, God's "seeing" in verse 18 refers to our joy coming under God's judgment. This means that the joy of verse 17 refers to a joy that was not already within the context of God's judgments; it was the joy of a "personal vendetta". This is why verse 18 ends by saying that God will turn away His wrath from the enemy. As we saw in Romans 1:17-18 above, the growth of our faith leads to the manifestation of His wrath, not to it being turned away. Notice also that Romans 1:17-18 speaks of the just living by faith, meaning that our faith can only grow if our hearts are seeking after righteousness. Therefore, the joy of Proverbs 24:17 is the joy of an unrighteous heart that is more interested in "personal payback" than in God triumphing over unrighteousness. A righteous heart leads to the manifestation of God's wrath against the unrighteousness of the enemy; an unrighteous heart leads to that wrath being turned away.

 

The context

Now that we have distinguished between the joy of Proverbs 24:17 and the joy of Revelation 18:20, let us look at the verses surrounding Proverbs 24:17-18 in order to understand their spiritual context.

 

Towards the end of the preceding chapter (chapter 23), the Spirit of Wisdom says the following:

 

"24The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. 25Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice." (Proverbs 23:24-25)

 

Notice that this passage speaks of "rejoicing" as well, but, this time, the joy is produced by a "righteous child", which speaks of literal sons and daughters, but, in a deeper sense, it refers to the "fruits of righteousness" that come out from within us. Since joy is brought on by a victory, to rejoice over our "fruits of righteousness" means rejoicing over our victory over unrighteousness so that God's righteousness may prevail in us and in others. Victory over unrighteousness means that unrighteousness was destroyed, and the destruction of unrighteousness will always lead to pain, and even death, in the lives of those who have harbored that unrighteousness.

 

A few verses later, the Spirit of Wisdom says the following:

 

"If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?" (Proverbs 24:12)

 

Notice that this verse speaks of accountability before God. It speaks of being aware of God's judgments over our lives, and it speaks of God's righteousness prevailing in the end, no matter how much we may want to pretend like our unrighteousness will go undestroyed.

 

A few verses later, the Spirit of Wisdom says the following:

 

"15Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: 16For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief." (Proverbs 24:15-16)

 

Verse 16 is one of the most misunderstood verses in Scripture. Pastors interpret it as speaking of righteous men falling into sin, but verse 15 clearly shows that it is referring to righteous men falling because of attacks from the unrighteous (it would be self-contradictory to interpret the "falling" of verse 16 as "falling into sin" because a "just man" would stop being "just" the moment he fell into sin). Therefore, the verses above are declaring that, no matter how hard the unrighteous try to suppress the voice of righteousness, righteousness will always get up and eventually prevail, while the unrighteous will eventually fall into mischief and never get up from their fall. The passage above is speaking about righteousness triumphing over unrighteousness, and when that happens, shouts of joy shall be heard from the righteous. This is the joy of Revelation 18:20, not the joy of Proverbs 24:17. While Proverbs 24:15-16 promotes a righteous joy, Proverbs 24:17 warns against an unrighteous type of joy.

 

A few verses later, the Spirit of Wisdom says the following:

 

"23These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment. 24He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: 25But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them. 26Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer." (Proverbs 24:23-26)

 

The question was sent to us because of our comment on the death of Johnnie Cochran. Notice how the passage above speaks against those who pervert justice by calling the wicked "righteous". Isn't this exactly what Johnnie Cochran did for O.J. Simpson? Johnnie Cochran took advantage of the sloppy work by the Los Angeles Police Department and manipulated the established laws in order to confuse a jury and gain freedom for a wife murderer. He rejoiced with O.J. when the jury said the words "Not guilty". He rejoiced in the victory of having prevented O.J. from facing judgment for his Amorite arrogance and possessive control of his ex-wife. He got an unrighteous man to be declared "righteous".

 

Verse 24 above declares that "him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him". Notice that people like Johnnie Cochran who manipulated the justice system in order to get the wicked to be called "righteous" draw upon themselves the curse of the people and the abhorrence of the nations. This is the reason why God prompted us to declare judgments against Johnnie Cochran some days before his death. His name appeared on the news because he had just won a lawsuit that someone else had filed against him, and the Spirit immediately prompted me to declare judgments against him once again. When I learned of his death, I rejoiced because I saw that righteousness had prevailed.

 

God's judgments never destroy the redeemable. Had there been an opportunity for Johnnie Cochran to be judged without his life being taken away, God would have done so, and Johnnie would have been left alive to undo the harm that he had done. However, as I prayed for judgments that day, I perceived a hardness in the man's heart. Fellow believer, as you send prayers of judgment, your inner being will begin to perceive how malleable or hardened the other person's heart is, even without having to speak to the other person up close. I perceived that Johnnie Cochran was not willing to admit any wrongdoing. He would always claim that he was doing "his job" and that he was "playing by the rules" when he got O.J. Simpson acquitted. However, the fact that something is "legal" does not necessarily make it "moral". Johnnie Cochran threw a smoke screen at the members of the jury, using the "race card" to manipulate their Canaanite passions, and the jury took the bait.

 

The word "rebuke" in Proverbs 24:25 above was translated from the Hebrew word yakach, which can also be translated as "to prove, judge, correct". Therefore, the Lord declares that to those who judge people like Johnnie Cochran shall receive "delight", and a "good blessing" shall come upon them. Instead of condemning those who judge the defenders of unrighteousness, Proverbs 24:25 blesses and encourages them.

 

Proverbs 24:26 then speaks of those whose lips give a "right" answer. The word "right" was translated from the Hebrew word nakoach, which literally means "straight, in front of". In other words, Proverbs 24:26 is not talking about people who have the "right" answer to a game show trivia question but rather about people who give a forthright answer in integrity: 

 

"7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

 

Executioners and executors

The reason why God killed Johnnie Cochran one day before Terri Schiavo rested was to illustrate how the Church harbors and condones people who defend wife-murderers while at the same time condemning those whose true desire is to carry out their wife's wishes. From comments on Johnnie Cochran that I have heard in these last few days, Johnnie was a regular and well-respected churchgoer, which means that he probably gave his life to Christ at one point in time. In the question we received, we were asked if it was right to rejoice over someone who was probably not saved. When we prayed for judgments against him, we were doing it at the prompting of the Spirit. I personally did not know whether he was saved, but the Spirit of God never brought up that issue as He prompted me to pray for judgments. Why? Because He already knew that Johnnie was a regular churchgoer for many years. No one, therefore, can say that the man did not get a fair chance to be saved from hell. He probably did not go to hell, but he sure did not enter into eternal life.

 

When an executioner carries out a death sentence dictated by the courts, he is not doing it out of personal resentment; instead, he is doing it so that justice may be fulfilled. In the same way, we have never known Johnnie Cochran in person, so it cannot be said that we had any type of personal grudge against the man. Our indignation against him was over his rationalization of unrighteousness. Cursed be those who justify the unrighteous (Proverbs 24:24)!!!

 

People like Johnnie Cochran reveal a basic problem in the legal system in America and the world. Professions related to the execution of justice are public-service professions, and, as such, they should be divorced from money interests. Wife murderers like O.J. Simpson should not be able to escape justice simply because they can afford the best lawyers in town. Lawyers should be public servants who receive a decent but limited salary from a public "justice fund", and lawyers should be assigned to cases by independent parties based on the lawyers' legal experience and qualifications for a specific case rather than on the size of the client's wallet. Lawyers should not be allowed to profit from the verdicts in which they participate, and they should work under a system where the client's interests are secondary to the execution of justice. In other words, the legal system should be such that lawyers are required to be more loyal to justice than to their clients. Lawyers should be judged not on the number of cases they have won but on the fairness and wisdom with which they have presented all the facts in their cases. Slick lawyers who manipulate the system should be penalized and even removed from the "public lawyer pool".

 

Raca

The visitor who sent us the question also mentioned the following passage:

 

"21Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." (Matthew 5:21-22)

 

Notice that this passage does not prohibit judgment. On the contrary, it declares that certain actions will expose us to judgment. The word "Raca" in verse 22 is an Aramaic word that literally means "empty, vain". As we have seen before, "fullness" is associated with the prophetic calling, while "emptiness" is associated with "a lack of prophetic purpose". Therefore, to say to your brother "Raca" means to say that your brother is a person with no prophetic purpose. In other words, it is equivalent to saying, "You had no reason for being born; God never had a plan for your life". According to verse 22, people who do such a thing are in "danger of the council". The word "council" was translated from the Greek word synedrion, which refers to any assembly of magistrates or judges that convenes to pass judgment. In other words, those who belittle the prophetic calling of others expose themselves to the judgments of believers in the Spirit. Notice that verse 22 does not say that those who call their brother "Raca" shall be in "danger of God" but rather in "danger of the council". Spirit-filled believers are God's judges on Earth. If you seek to hear God's judgments in your heart, you are a part of the "council" mentioned in verse 22.

 

When we wrote on rejoicing over Johnnie Cochran's death, we also pointed out his mental brilliance, which means that we recognized the talents that God gave him, which in turn means that we recognized God's prophetic purpose for his life. Why? Because it would be pointless for God to give gifts to a person with no purpose in life. This means that we by no means called Johnnie "Raca". To declare that Johnnie was not supposed to live anymore is not the same as saying that he was not supposed to live at all.

 

According to verse 22, those who are angry with their brother "without a cause" also expose themselves to spiritual judgments. Notice that it is speaking about unjustified anger, meaning that God condemns anger that does not have a justice or righteousness foundation. Anger birthed out of a zeal for God's righteousness, therefore, is not being condemned by this passage.

 

When O.J. Simpson butchered Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, he not only was manifesting the "unjustifiable anger" of verse 22, he was also doing the literal "killing" of verse 21, all of which exposes him to the spiritual judgments of God's people, according to those two verses. People like Johnnie Cochran who craftily worked on behalf of O.J. Simpson become co-participants of his crime. Johnnie Cochran was not obligated under the law to defend O.J. Simpson, and he was not obligated to take his money. Yet, he chose to do so because he knew that he would be immortalized professionally if he could pull off O.J.'s acquittal. He also wanted to use the trial as a way to take revenge against a Los Angeles Police Department which he perceived to be racially biased. He allowed Canaanite, personal resentments to cloud his better judgment.

 

From all the lawyers in O.J. Simpson's defense team, the one who apparently was the most involved with "church" and "Christianity" was Johnnie Cochran. According to 1 Peter 4:17, judgments begin in the house of God, which explains why God killed Johnnie Cochran first. To whom much is given, much is required of him (Luke 12:48).

 

A few minutes ago, the Lord made me hear a comment made by O.J. Simpson at Johnnie Cochran's funeral service today (April 6, 2005). According to O.J., most of the other lawyers who defended him have taken a "half step" back, and he praised Johnnie Cochran for not backing down. It's no wonder that God killed him! The other lawyers felt the fear of God over what they had done, while Johnnie stayed defiant!!! He even went to church regularly without feeling the least bit of remorse or fear over what he had done!!!

 

Love your enemies

The visitor who sent us the question also mentioned the following passage:

 

"43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:43-48)

 

In a previous article, we explained that "loving your enemies" (v43) means exposing oneself emotionally in prophetic sacrifice for the sake of earthly, anti-prophetic Girgashites, even when that leads to war and conflict with them. We also explained that "doing good to those who hate you" means practicing righteous apostolic judgments on judgment-hating Canaanites, even when that leads to hatred between the Canaanites and us.

 

Girgashites are people who focus on what is visible and logical to their natural mind, and they are emotionally dry people who find it difficult to shed themselves for the sake of others. Therefore, they perceive "love" in terms of tangible benefits. This is why they only love those who love them (v46), or at least, those who they think love them. Prophets, on the other hand, are capable of loving and sacrificing themselves for those who dislike their emotional, "non-rational" ways. All of this means that we must behave prophetically in order to live out verse 46 above. 

 

Canaanites are people who seek soul communion, which makes them very "family-oriented". Therefore, they tend to identify with (i.e.- "salute", v47) those whom they emotionally perceive to be part of their family (i.e.- their "brethren", v47). When someone comes along with righteous judgments that threaten their "brotherly" soul communion and unity, Canaanites become very hateful and resentful. Since apostles are judgment-oriented, they challenge Canaanites to go beyond the boundaries of soul communion in order to seek an identification at the spirit level, not the soul level. All of this means that we must behave apostolically in order to live out verse 47 above.

 

From all of the above, we can see that the Lord is telling us in Matthew 5:43-48 that we must buck Girgashite and Canaanite trends. If we had preferred to keep our mouths shut and say nothing against Johnnie Cochran for fear of offending someone, we would be behaving like Canaanite seekers of soul communion. If we decided to say nothing against Johnnie Cochran simply because he did nothing to us at a personal level, we would be behaving like self-centered Girgashites.

 

By openly declaring that we rejoice in Johnnie Cochran's death, we are acting prophetically because we are standing up for invisible values. By saying "weird" things that run against traditional, evangelical rhetoric, we are exposing ourselves to the death found in emotionally-painful public criticism. We are going beyond "loving those who love us" because we are showing love for victims who never did anything tangible for us, and we are helping unknown fellow believers to come out of their Girgashite ways by exposing them to a prophetically bold way of speaking, even if it may at times make us vulnerable to criticism.

 

By openly declaring that we rejoice in Johnnie Cochran's death, we are acting apostolically because we are speaking in a zeal that values righteousness over Canaanite soul communion with other believers. We are identifying ourselves with victims we did not know personally, and that identification is based on justice and the inherent value of all human beings. Therefore, our identification with them is based on spirit issues and not on soul issues. Johnnie Cochran identified with O.J. Simpson because he was a fellow black man, while his accusers and the victims were white; this means that Johnnie Cochran was "saluting his brethren only". On the other hand, we identify with Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman because they were fellow human beings, and what was done against them was a crime in the eyes of God, regardless of the color of the victim or the victimizer. We also identify with the Lord our God, before whom O.J. Simpson defiantly walks, silently claiming through his actions that his unrighteousness has triumphed over God's justice.