Following God Into the Wilderness



Chapter Four – A Most Rebellious People

The children of Israel had shown themselves to be a most obstinate and rebellious people toward the things of God (Ex 32:9. 33:3, 5, 34:9, Deut 9:6, 13, 10:16). The trials of the harsh wilderness had revealed that their true hearts were on themselves rather than God. The Lord brings us through ever increasing and difficult situations (obstacles) on the way to His rest. These are designed to destroy confidence in the flesh and produce faith and trust in God so that we might enter in. One can only enter into God’s rest through faith and obedience. God had told Israel: Deuteronomy 11:22-23, “For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.” An entire generation could not seem to part with the self seeking and idolatrous ways of Egypt, and thus sincerely surrender to God. This should be a great lesson for those who “profess” Christ, but largely live as the world (i.e. Egypt). The children of Israel journeyed on from mount Horeb unto the border of the Promised Land. They could not enter in because of unbelief which always manifests in the form of disobedience to God. There were obstacles in the path – great and powerful nations, walled cities and giants. They had no trust in the God who had delivered them from and destroyed Egypt. They had no faith in the Lord who provided for their every need. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him (Ps 2:12, 31:14) – cursed are those who do not. If God said enter in, they refused. If God said do not enter in, then they entered. The rebellious at heart always resists the purposes of God in favor of their own way. When the people faced great and seemingly insurmountable difficulties they did not put trust in God, but rather blamed the Lord and considered Him their opponent – they lashed out. The people said, “Oh that we had died in the wilderness.” Therefore, God gave them their desire – He granted them their way. Man’s way always produces death and God said, So be it! This entire people were sent back into the wilderness until an entire generation (twenty years old and upward) died off (wandering about their own way). God allowed a small faithful remnant of that generation (two men) and the children to later enter the Promised Land.  Jesus had said we must become as children to enter the kingdom of God (Mt 18:3). Children are trusting, obedient and faithful to their parents (i.e. God). Children must be trained in the way they should go such that they will not depart from it (i.e God’s lessons in the wilderness, Pv 22:6). We only enter into the kingdom of God through faith which always manifests as obedience.

Numbers 9:15, “And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.” The cloud represented God’s presence, and God was in the cloud (Ex 13:21 , 19:9, 40:34, Lk 9:34 -35). God dwelt among the people. Exodus 25:8, 29:45, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.” Numbers 9:16, “So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.” God dwelt among His people day and night. The cloud provided a covering for God’s glory which no man can look upon. Exodus 33:20, “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” Numbers 9:17-18, “And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the LORD the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the LORD they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.” This is an incredibly important concept that man must learn. God leads and man follows – so simple, yet so misunderstood. God is the authority who sets the path or course, determines the direction and makes provision along the way. The Lord leads and is in charge. Those who follow must be submitted and obedient to God. Those who follow need only to trust and rely on the Lord and obey His direction along the way. Those who follow must humble themselves and receive what God provides with all thankfulness (Ps 100:4). The follower surrenders his will to the Leader. The ones who do not want to follow are in rebellion to the Lord. These want to be their own authority and seek their own way. Their objective is not the same as God’s (even though they often say it is) and they are going in a different (opposite) direction. They do not know where they are going, but are sure they know the way (confusion). Those who wander away from God’s leading become lost and perish in the harsh wilderness. The condemnation is that they perish due to their own freely chosen stubborn and rebellious way. These seek after what they want and when they want it. They want immediate satisfaction of the desires of the flesh (lusts) – they serve the flesh. These cannot be pleased unless they are doing the leading, yet they do not have the capacity for either. The wise learn that self is a great impediment (obstacle, barrier, hindrance) in the wilderness and that strength is gained through weakness to the flesh and faith in God. The carcass of a fool will drop along the way. Numbers 9:21-23, “And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed. Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed. At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.” Day or night; month or year; rain or shine; we are to serve the Lord. Jesus is our life twenty-four hours a day every day. We do not serve the Lord at our convenience, but at His every command.


The Two Paths (or Ways)

From the beginning, God said if you transgress My will and authority (Gen 2:17), “thou will surely die” and the devil said (Gen 3:4), “ye shall not surely die.” These are two completely opposite positions (resultant ways or paths of life). God states, you will obey Him and the devil says, you do not have to – one position is in rebellion to the other (as is the devil to God). Man will live his life in conformance to one or the other of these statements and the consequences will be eternal. Since the fall of man (transgressing of God’s will), there has existed two paths. Throughout the Word of God these paths are known as either: the narrow and broad ways; light and darkness; faith and unbelief; God’s way and man’s way; Spirit and the flesh; sheep and the goats; wheat and the tares; the wise and the fool; and the contrite and froward (discussed in the Conclusion of this book). The two paths are the same, just characterized differently. The wise should ponder the two paths and consider which they are truly traveling. It is also very important to note that many will “religiously” sugar coat or throw a sheep skin over the devil’s way (lie) in order to “Christianize” it (Pv 17:15, 24:24, Mt 7:15). This means that they will have a form of religion that professes Jesus Christ and appears righteous, but allows one to “walk” in his “own way” supposedly with Christ’s approval or by God’s grace (Mt 7:22-24, Lk 13:27, Rm 8:8, 1 Cor 15:34, Gal 2:17, 6:8, 2 Tim 3:1-9, 1 Jn 2:4, Jude 1:4). These are false prophets and you must beware (2 Cor 11:13-15). This is the deception that the devil is working in you through your lusts. These men drive the flock away from God (Jer 23:2, 14). He that despiseth God’s ways (commands) shall die (Pv 19:16). How can a man understand his own way (Pv 20:24)? Jeremiah 10:23-24, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.” Psalm 17:5, “Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” The paragraphs that follow will briefly consider each of the expressions of the two “ways” or “paths.”

The narrow and broad paths - Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Since the strong nature of fallen man is to seek his own way, most are on the broad path which leads to destruction. The broad path “glitters” of all that appeals to one’s flesh (pleasures, entertainments, comforts, satisfactions). The broad path is the equivalent to the fruit of the forbidden tree – “it is pleasant to the eyes” (Gen 3:6) – to be desired. Most are drawn to this path and find it agreeable. Jesus is the strait gate to the narrow path (Jn 10:7-9). Psalms 118:19-20, “Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.” The narrow path is plain and very unappealing to the flesh. The narrow path would be equivalent to the fruit of the tree of life – unattractive (ordinary, plain) and not attractive to the flesh. Those seeking the things of the flesh will be blinded to the fact that the narrow path is even there. The narrow path leads to God and only those who come out of the rebellion (nature of the devil’s lie) and are “born again” through Christ (come under God’s authority and take on the Lord’s nature) will even see it (Jn 3:3). This path will cause great difficulty for the flesh. One must override (by faith) the desires of the flesh (in repentance) to even see it (Jn 3:3). Psalm 27:11, “Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” Those who choose this path must look beyond the beauty that the flesh seeks and see the great value which will be realized only through sacrifice, denial and loss in the flesh – it goes against the reasoning of the flesh. The strait gate to the narrow path is only entered by total surrender of one’s own will or “way” to Jesus and total obedience to Christ’s will (commandments, Mk 12:29-31) or “Way.” This does not mean some mental identification such as some superficial sinner’s prayer type of confession (Heb 4:2). Say this prayer and “ye shall surely not die” (Gen 3:4-5). This means a total and complete yielding of one’s entire life as demonstrated through one’s actions (actions suitable for the repentance you have confessed, Acts 26:20) – a life of faith. This is a total change of character that will be noticeably (evidently, distinctly, clearly) manifested in your life. In other words, not just a religious observance. Few will find this path because this will be a life long journey of “following” in the steps of another (Christ). Righteousness sets us in the way of His steps (Ps 85:13). Most are too busy forging their own paths. Jesus “goeth before” and those who love Him follow (Jn 10:4, Mk 10:32). This means that this path is set of another’s doing. Jesus forged the path through absolute submission and obedience to the Father’s will. The Father was well pleased (Mt 3:17, 12:18, 17:5). The path was made at great cost – woe to him that seeks another. This is the direction one is going (toward God) when one follows this path and it leads to life eternal; dwelling with God. This path is very arduous (by divine design) and will certainly deny the flesh. This path will put the flesh in its place – in the dust. The flesh is temporal and does not profit (Jn 6:63). One must die to self to even walk upon it. One walks as Jesus walked and through the ruggedness of the path is conformed to Christ’s image along the way. Seeking one’s own way will quickly lead off of this path and onto the broad path – the fleshly eye is drawn by the glitter. Not “following” Jesus is “walking away” (opposite) from Him. Each step is one farther away, culminating in total and eternal separation. This is by God’s pattern to determine the true intent of one’s heart. Woe to them who leave the path of uprightness to walk in paths of darkness (Pv 2:13). Here is wisdom: Proverb 3:6, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Jesus is worthy to follow because He was tried and found to be sure and true (Is 28:16).

Light and darkness – Jesus is “the way” and is characterized as being “The Light” and there is no darkness in Him (He did God’s will, didn’t seek His own way, 1 Jn 1:5). Darkness is the devil’s work, which are all things resultant from “The Lie” (Eph 2:2). Light is opposite from darkness as is God’s way from the devil’s. Therefore, men walking in their way (seeking their will or flesh) are in darkness. Due to man’s disobedience the whole world lieth in darkness (1 Jn 5:19). However, God’s light always overcomes the darkness (Jn 1:5) – when light is present, darkness flees. Ecclesiastes 2:13, “Then I saw that wisdom (the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom) excelleth folly (foolishness – seeking your own way), as far as light excelleth darkness.” Proverbs 4:18-20, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” However, Proverb 4:19, “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” After man had transgressed God’s will in Eden, he walked in the darkness of his “own way.” Isaiah 9:2, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” The darkness they walked in was their “own path” which is in the “shadow of death.” Your way is just a step from eternal and complete separation from the Lord God Almighty. The gates of death are opening for you (Job 38:17). This gate is the opposite from Jesus who is the strait gate leading to life. Everything about Christ is righteous (including His sceptre, Heb 1:8) and we enter in through gates of righteousness (Ps 119:19). Jesus brought hope that we could come out of “our way” and into “Christ’s path.” Jesus said: John 12:46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” So those who follow Christ will not abide in their “own way” which is man’s rebellion against God. John 8:12, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” We must follow Jesus on that narrow path that He forged, otherwise we walk in our “own” darkness (Jude 1:12-13). However, few will travel the narrow path, rather choosing their “own way,” but why? John 3:19-20, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” These actually prefer their own path (Pv 15:9). Those who love darkness are not necessarily doing vile things such as murder and adultery, but rather just seeking their own will daily. However, seeking your own way does lead to all manner of sin. 1 John 1:6-7, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another (Christ and you), and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” These are content to remain in the rebellion under the authority of the devil via the devil’s lie. Job 24:13, “They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.” AND Job 12:25, “They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.” They behold obscurity (shadows, muriness); for brightness, but walk in darkness (Is 59:9). These may be adamant that they know the way and are walking it, while professing Christ as they go, but they still walk in their own paths. Only the Lord is our light (path) and salvation from our own darkness (way, Ps 21:7). Psalm 36:9, “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” For those who choose their “own way,” great peril awaits at the end thereof (Rm 2:5-6, 8-9, Eph 4:18-19). Ephesians 5:14, “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Lastly, a special note to the religious man: Luke 11:35, “Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.” Slightly restated: Take heed that the path you are following be not “your own.” Take heed that there be not great darkness within you (Mt 6:23).

Faith verses unbelief - Faith is walking by God’s direction. God cannot be approached in any other way (Heb 11:6). Romans 1:17, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Living by faith means applying it to every area of your live (being a doer, Js 1:23-24). Faith does not walk by sight (2 Cor 5:7, Heb 11:1) – but by total trust and reliance on that which is beyond self (God alone, Gal 2:20, Ps 2:12). Faith bypasses the flesh because it cannot be understood through human reasoning and emotion (is as foolishness, 1 Cor 1:18, 2:14) or perceived by the five senses (touch, sight, smell, hearing, taste). Faith is not exercised by “what is pleasant to the eyes.” Faith often requires denial and sacrifice to the things of the flesh. The flesh will not like the notion of forsaking anything - faith denies the flesh its control. Therefore, to follow the flesh or “your way” is unbelief. Unbelief is rejection of Christ’s gospel by not actually living it – applying it. Mere profession of Christ or words are hollow and require no sacrifice (Js 2:19), but actions bring forth sacrifice and fruit and establish the heart’s intent (Jn 15:2). If the flesh or unbelief is strong, then faith is weak (and vice versa, Rm 4:20). The things that the flesh seeks (sees) are temporal and passing; but the things that are known (unfolded, revealed) through faith are eternal (2 Cor 4:18). Faith will save us and unbelief will surely cause us to perish. Hebrews 3:19, “So we see that they could not enter in (to God’s promises) because of unbelief.” You cannot enter the strait gate (Jesus) through unbelief (your way, religious or not). The narrow path is walked by faith. Faith is not religious observance, but rather trust in God everyday, which goes beyond your abilities. Faith is to cast away those things in your life that oppose (and shame) God so that you may bring glory to God. Faith is standing for truth (even if alone) when everyone else doesn’t. Faith is denying the flesh its desires (pleasures, entertainments) so that your heart and mind can be stayed upon the Lord. Through our faith, God divinely influences our hearts (i.e. grace, Eph 2:8) and this is manifested in our actions to the saving of our souls. Faith is saying, “Thy will be done” no matter what God directs or brings. Faith doesn’t question, it does. Faith pleases God. Those seeking their way or path say, “My will be done.” This is prideful, arrogant and rebellious to God. Those that walk in their way often ask God (through prayer) to bless “their way” – they want God to be their servant. Those that are contentious (headstrong) and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness (their way, doeth evil) can expect to receive indignation, wrath, tribulation and anguish from God (Rm 2:8-9).

God’s way and man’s way - God’s way is only followed by yielding totally to Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength (Luke 10:27). Deuteronomy 10:12-13, “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” - to cleave to Him in obedience (Deut 13:4)! This is how things were prior to man’s fall and this is how things will be eternally forever more. If you are not living such a life now, what makes you think you will be in eternity? If you are not obedient now, does not the Creator of all things know that you will have no such desire later? Man’s way (seeking self or your own way) could also be characterized as “seeking after the imaginations of your own heart” or “doing what is right in your own eyes.” The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord (Pv 15:26). Man has continued to follow his way since being put out of Eden. Consider the fruit of man’s doings: Genesis 6:5-6, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” God was so grieved that He decided to completely destroy man in a flood (Gen 6:7). Fortunately, Noah found grace in God’s sight and he and his offspring were preserved. Genesis 6:12-13, “And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” The same can certainly be said of the time in which we live – things couldn’t be much worse. Man has almost exclusively followed “his way” since the transgression in Eden. This has been unacceptable and abominable to God. Man’s way has revealed itself time and again such as through the tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9); evil nations like the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and the Jebusites (Deut 7:1-8, 9:4); or in wicked cities like Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 13:13, 18:20, 19:13, 2 Pt 2:6). God has appealed to man over and over to turn from “his way” and to submit and obey the Lord. Isaiah 65:2, “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good; after their own thoughts.” The Lord also said, “Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.” Man continually choses his own way because it is in his very nature (the lie he accepted to be as gods). Therefore, man never sees anything wrong in what he does. Proverb 16:25, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man (his way), but the end thereof are the ways of death.” AND Proverb 21:2, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts (intent, who is seeking God).” When man commits abomination through “his ways,” he is not ashamed, neither does he blush (Jer 8:12) because he does not delight in God’s Word (seeking and living in God’s way); for it is a reproach to him (Jer 6:10). Man has historically always sought to place his will or way above God’s. This has been shown (revealed) over and over again in God’s Word. This is easily proven by looking at the world around us. Psalm 128:1, “Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways (also Pv 3:6).”

Spirit and the flesh – Jesus has given the Holy Spirit to those who will follow Him. The Spirit leads us down the narrow path and teaches us along the way. Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” The flesh is the nature of man that seeks “self” or it’s “own way.” The Spirit and the flesh are contrary (opposed) to one another (Gal 5:17). Obviously you cannot seek your way and also seek God’s way simultaneously – they are always opposed. Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” To walk after the Spirit is to walk the narrow path, living completely to the will of God (Mk 3:35) having no confidence in the flesh (Php 3:3). The narrow path is contrary to the flesh as is the Spirit. To walk after the flesh is to walk as you see fit under your own authority – your thoughts, opinions, sentiments, desires, and imaginations. The Lord searches the hearts and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts (1 Chr 28:9). The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him (2 Chr 16:9). To profess Jesus, yet not walk as He walked (to be religious) is to be condemned (while being blind and deceived, Mt 7:21). If we claim to live in the Spirit, then we must walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:25). Romans 8:5, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” We will either travel one path or the other, but not both (simultaneously). God is not ridiculed concerning those who think they can alternate back and forth between the paths. Galatians 6:7-8, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” If you live to the flesh (the devil’s lie), then God’s original truth stands: “Thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17, Ez 33:14). The way we do things will reveal which path we are on (Mt 7:16, 20) – what we mind (give place to, seek/serve). The fleshly mind (way of doing things) is enmity (deep hatred, as between enemies, bitter attitude toward) with God: Romans 8:8, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” If we have Christ’s Spirit we will walk accordingly, if we do not then we are none of His (Rm 8:9, 1 Jn 4:10). Romans 8:13, “For if ye live after the flesh (your way), ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body (die to self or your way, Col 3:5-6), ye shall live.” So we must travel God’s path and have no confidence in our way (flesh, Php 3:3). Galatians 5:16, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit (God’s narrow path), and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh (man’s wrongful way). 1 John 2:17, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof (ways of man): but he that doeth the will of God (God’s way) abideth for ever.” Here is some wise advice: earnestly seek the Lord through His Word, Spirit and prayer; then carefully examine your life (ponder) and have eyes to see the reality of how these things must apply to your specific actions.

Sheep and the goats – Sheep are gentle, humble and loving by nature and follow where they are led. Sheep follow when called! Goats are gruff, assertive, ornery (irritable, crabby, grouchy) and like to go about their own way. Goats must be driven! Sheep represent those submitted to Christ. Goats represent those submitted to the devil. John 10:3-4, 7-8, 14, 26-27, “To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name (relationship, Jn 14:21, 23), and leadeth them out (Psalm chap. 23). And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them (Christ came and led by example, also Mk 10:32), and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice (relationship, obedience, Jn 12:26). Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep (Christ’s authority). All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers (anything we put ahead of Christ robs us of our life in Him): but the sheep did not hear them (our eyes must be on Jesus). I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine (precious close relationship). But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you (those who seek their own path and do not follow, but think they are His sheep). My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (this is all day, everyday). Jesus looks for every lost sheep: Luke 15:4, “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” The goats are not submitted to the shepherd, just themselves and their endless lusts – they eat anything – even a big fat lie! Matthew 25:34, 41, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand (sheep), Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand (goats), Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”  If serving God seems compulsory, restrictive or like a burden, then you are being driven like a goat. Those who are driven will be quick to compromise or find a less restrictive path. Those who are driven will only want to do the minimum that seems to be required. Those who are driven will always wonder, “what’s in it for me (Job 21:15, 35:3).” Those who are driven may do things in secret. Those who are driven find comfort in numbers. Those who are driven will at best grudgingly follow God. Those who are driven will seek a multitude of counsels until they hear what they are looking for (Ps 5:10). Hosea 14:9, “Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.”

Wheat and the tares – The wheat grain represents the good seed of the harvest that one expects to reap from one’s efforts. This is the fruit resulting from the life of the plant that is fit for use (life giving). Tares are the weeds that grow up amongst the wheat and their lives have no redeeming value, and they actually hinder the growth and productivity of the wheat. Jesus told a parable concerning wheat and tares (Mt 13:24-43). A parable is a simple story dealing with a very real circumstance (situation, fact, event) in which the principal subject is described by another subject resembling it in its properties and circumstances. In this story, a man (representing Jesus) sows wheat into a field (the world). His enemy (representing the devil) comes and sows tares among his wheat (the devil’s children). The wheat and the tares look alike until the fruit appears (Mt 13:26). This is how you know them: by their fruits (Mt 7:20). The fruits are what they produce in their life. Tares soak up the water and use the nutrients and spread all about seeking their way, but produce nothing useful, just more of their kind (they transgress). The man’s servants (angels) inform him of the situation and request to remove the weeds. He tells them to let them grow together until the end of the harvest, lest uprooting them, they should hurt the wheat. Until such time, God sends rain and sun on the good and the bad, the just and the unjust (Mt 5:45). At harvest time, the tares are gathered first and put into bundles and burned in the fire (eternal torment, Rev 20:11-15); then the wheat is gathered to the barn (dwelling with God, Mt 13:30). Matthew 13:41-43, “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

The wise and the fool – The wise man will fear the Lord (seeks to know God and live in His will). The fool will seek his folly (own way) - the foolishness of fools is folly (Pv 14:24, 26:11). Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The wise man receiveth correction and changes accordingly (all along the way – conforms to Christ’s image, Eph 4:15). Proverbs 1:5, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” AND Proverbs 8:33, “Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not (also Pv 10:17, 18:15, 19:20, 22:17).” AND Proverbs 15:31, “The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.” The fool lashes out at the one giving correction and justifies his actions (to his own blindness and folly). Proverbs 9:7-8, “He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” AND Proverbs 15:12, “A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.” AND Proverbs 17:10, “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.” The fool cannot receive instruction because he considers it an affront to the thing he loves most – self. A wise man has died to self and graciously receives instruction as to how to please the one he loves most – Jesus. Proverbs 9:9, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” The wise man will utilize such knowledge to change for the better to please his Lord. A wise man will consider his ways and embrace that which is of God. Psalms 119:59, “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” Knowledge (truth of God’s Word) will be wasted on a fool, he has no desire to change. Proverbs 23:9, “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.” Many reading this book will disregard wisdom in favor of their own way (Pv 27:22). The wise do not cast their pearls (truths) before a fool (swine) lest he trample them under feet and turn upon you and cause much distress (Mt 7:6). This is why God sends blindness upon those who do not seek His ways. Proverbs 10:8, “The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.” Those who are wise will receive the truth of God’s Word (particularly as it condemns their flesh) and will change themselves to conform to it. The fool will not receive the truth of God’s Word, but will rather conform the Word to suit himself (twist scripture, justify self, compromise). Proverbs 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes (always): but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” The wise will understand the merit of sacrifice and self denial, but the fool will take the path of least resistance (comfort of the flesh). The wise are prudent (foresee and avoid evil) and are careful in their way. The fool seeks his will wherever it will take him. Proverbs 18:2, “A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself (seek his own way).” Proverbs 28:26, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” The wise will examine their heart and know the truth (2 Cor 13:5). Proverbs 14:16, “A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.” Proverbs 13:20, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 15:24, “The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.” This means that the wise will seek God with all his heart and thus go to be with the Lord throughout eternity (avoids separation to hell). Proverbs 3:35, “The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.” Shame is eternal separation into torment of soul.


Jesus leads!

Jesus came to the earth and forged the way back to God through the wilderness. The path was laid down through Christ’s totally yielding to the will of the Father through perfect obedience (Heb 10:7). John 6:38, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” Jesus walked in humbleness as a servant and died to self and the things of the world (Rm 15:3). Christ spoke the Father’s Words and did the Father’s work (Mk 10:45, Lk 22:7, Jn 3:34, 4:34, 5:17, 19-20, 30, 36, 7:16-17, 8:28-29, 38, 54-55, 9:4, 12:49-50, 14:31, 17:4-5, Php 2:7-8, 2 Cor 8:9). Jesus withstood all the temptations of the devil by denying self (dying to the flesh) and surrendering to the will of the Father (Mt 4:1-10). Jesus was led of the Spirit in the way He should go (Mt 4:1, Lk 4:1). In other words, Jesus came to the earth as a man and was then led of God back to the Lord through His obedience to God. Christ did all things perfectly and His life was found acceptable by the Father (Mt 3:17, 12:18, 17:5, Mk 1:11, Lk 3:22). Jesus then laid down His perfect life as recompense for the sin of the world so that all men could follow Him. Colossians 1:20, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Jesus never transgressed the will of God and thus had no iniquity or rebellion in Him (Heb 4:15, 1 Pt 2:21-22). Death is the result of transgression of the will of God (Rm 5:12. 6:23). Therefore, death had no power of Christ (Rm 6:9). However, Jesus took on the sin of the world and suffered death for all men to bring reconciliation to the Father (Heb 2:9). Jesus restored that which He took not away (Ps 23:3, 69:4). Jesus was the atonement to make peace with God and allow others to follow Him back to God (Ps 85:10, Rm 5:1, 11). 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” This means that we cannot use human faculties (Fleshly senses, ability or reasoning).

Let us consider what it means to follow Jesus through Christ’s own analogy (similarity, likeness, comparison, correlation, equivalence, representation, resemblance, parallel). John 10:2-3, “But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” The shepherd is the authority. The shepherd and the sheep have a relationship, for Christ knows those who are His by name. The sheep respond to the will of the shepherd and follow. John 10:4, “And when he (Jesus) putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” Notice that Christ “goes before” the sheep and the sheep obediently (submissively, unquestionably) follow as they recognize the voice of their Master. John 10:5, “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” The stranger is clearly the devil who beckons the sheep to transgress the will of the shepherd and submit to his rebellion – to come off the path. The stranger is as a wolf who calls to the sheep to leave the security of the shepherd. When the sheep leave the path of the shepherd they are quickly taken by the wolf who comes to kill and devour (1 Pt 5:8). Christ provided further clarification for those who could not discern. John 10:7, “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” This statement clearly establishes the authority of Christ. No man enters the narrow path that leads to eternal life without first passing through the strait gate which is Jesus (Mt 7:13-14). No one enters that strait gate without sincere repentance and total surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord. John 10:8-9, “All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” The thieves and robbers are anything that you value in your life more than Christ. This especially includes “self” and seeking “your way.” This robs you of any life you may otherwise have in Christ. The true sheep will surrender to Jesus and not seek after those things (of the flesh) that oppose Him. This is why Jesus said: Luke 9:23, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” We must deny self (our will) and take up that cross which represents death to self (Rm 6:6); then we humbly and obediently follow (as a sheep). Conversely: Luke 14:27, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” This is stated as plain as it gets. Jesus stated the first great commandment as loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. This is complete surrender with no room for self. This is a forsaking of all that is you. Luke 14:33, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” To hold onto anything of self is to not completely surrender to the lord and thus not give all your heart, mind, soul and strength. There can be no areas of your life off limits at anytime. Most people retain areas of their lives that they are not willing to release. A little self-will is the leaven that will corrupt you. When man submits to the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost will work to tear down these areas of self to conform you to the will of God. The flesh will rise up and must be overcome.

Numbers 9:19, “And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD, and journeyed not.” When the Lord was not leading the children of Israel to some new place then they were to be faithful in their prior direction. God was to always be their life’s priority above all things. When we submit to God, we will be led as the Lord wills. We are always to remain faithful in those things the Lord has already revealed to us. We always obey the Lord in our daily lives whether moving forward or tarrying in one place. If the way seems unclear, we are to be steadfast in our devotion to God and patiently wait for the Lord to move forward. We just follow! The details and direction are not for us to be concerned with. Numbers 9:20-23, “And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the LORD they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the LORD they journeyed. And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed. Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed. At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.” Now the flesh does not like that which it cannot control. The flesh wants to know where it is going, when, what its benefit will be, and what it will encounter along the way. The flesh wants to navigate or control the course. God denies the flesh through the faith He requires in us. To obey God is to die to the flesh and be blind to it (2 Cor 5:7). The flesh would never follow God into the wilderness. The flesh would much rather prefer to stay in Egypt. The fastest way through the wilderness is complete surrender and obedience to God. The flesh hinders and slows the journey. The flesh will cause many to linger in the wilderness their whole life such that they drop before the finish.



Numbers 10:33-34, “And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days’ journey, to search out a resting place for them. And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp.” The Lord is orchestrating the movement of the people according to His will. Note that the Lord makes the preparations and the people just obediently follow. The Lord does not help those who help themselves (self-sufficiency), but rather those who patiently wait upon and trust in Him. God may require an action on your part (obedience), but far too often man exerts his self-will in presumption of God’s. Numbers 11:1-3, “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.” The Lord always provided for this people (in His timing and way), yet they were continually rebellious and ungrateful. The people were at best reluctantly (halfheartedly, grudgingly, unenthusiastically) following the Lord and this was most certainly not what God desired. God had delivered the people from great bondage and misery, destroyed their enemies and provided for all their needs. Further, God was leading them to a wonderful land that was promised their father Abraham (Heb 11:8-10). Abraham died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and was persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that he was a stranger and pilgrim on the earth (Heb 11:13). Now his descendants stood to receive all things. Yet all the people could think about were themselves with no real love, faith, trust and obedience toward God as Abraham had. This was a most rebellious, stiff-necked, hardhearted (callous, unfeeling, hard), impudent (presumptuous, impertinent, rude, disrespectful), impenitent (unrepentant, unremorseful, shameless), stubborn (self-willed), obstinate, and pertinacious people – they are sottish (stupid) children. Jeremiah 4:22, “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” They may have been the physical descendants of Abraham, but they certainly didn’t do the works of Abraham (Jn 8:39). They represented the nature of man since the fall in Eden. Nothing has changed in man, even today there is absolutely no difference (religious or not). Numbers 11:4-6, “And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.” God had brought about a great deliverance of the people out of Egypt, yet they continually looked back with regret of having left. Such unthankfulness and ingratitude (lack of appreciation, Rm 1:21)! They were now embracing the things of Egypt (rebellion, idolatry, self) and summarily (swiftly, abruptly, immediately) rejecting the things of God. Consider their attitude toward God’s life giving provision (manna). Such disdain (reject as unworthy) for God! Their whole focus was on themselves and not God. This is such a clear example of seeking self over God. This is raising self above the most High. This is the nature of the devil. Isaiah 14:12-15, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” The devil’s whole focus was on himself and what he desired. God casts such a one to hell (garbage pit). God was not well pleased with this people (1 Cor 10:5). Will God be well pleased with one who professes Christ, but lives opposed to Him? The children of Israel were poor in spirit toward the things of God, desiring rather the things of the flesh. They bemoaned (bewailed, lamented, mourned) the lusts of the flesh. Jesus said we must do just the opposite to inherit the kingdom of God. We must be poor in spirit regarding the flesh and mourn our transgressions and sin toward God. Matthew 5:3-8, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Similarly Jesus said: Luke 6:20-21, “And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” The people seeking the opposite of what God desired. They desired to be poor toward the things of God and rich toward the flesh. They cried and hungered to satisfy the flesh. These rebellious ones wanted to be full and joyful in their flesh aside from God’s provision and will. Christ said: Luke 6:24-25, “Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.” Jesus also later added: Luke 11:28, “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

The children of Israel were delighted to follow God as long as the Lord was serving them in their needs. They were not at all delighted to follow the Lord when He required them to deny self and be obedient to His direction and leading. Similarly today, man will follow a Jesus who only requires a quick repeated little prayer and offers unlimited mercy and forgiveness. However, not many are so willing to follow the true Jesus who requires self denial (Mt 10:39, 16:25, Mk 8:34-35, Lk 9:23-24), forsaking of sin (darkness, Jn 3:19), sacrifice, suffering (Mt 10:22, 24:9, Lk 21:17, Jn 17:14, 2 Tim 3:12) and reproach (Heb 13:13). These will simply redefine Jesus into a Lord who allows them to pursue the things of the flesh (lusts). Jesus says: John 12:26  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” Christ went the way of the Spirit and not the flesh. Those who worship Christ in the flesh are not following. Those who seek their way after the flesh are walking away from God on a broad path that leads to destruction (Mt 7:13). They may be as religious as they can be, but are still walking away from God seeking their own. These will often say, “If God will serve me, let Him follow me and Him will I honor.” If you are comfortable in the flesh, then you are most likely not following.

Numbers 11:10-15, “Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased. And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.” The cares of the people were a tremendous weight for one man to carry, but God had provided the strength and ability. Even Moses had his limits when sufficient pressure came to bear on his flesh. Moses capitulates in a time of weakness (the relentless complaints and dissatisfaction of the people). Had the burden been less or greater, Moses would still have required the strength from above. Jesus bore the cares and sins of the people perfectly. Consider: Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus takes away our heavy burdens and provides rest for our souls. Jesus took on a tremendous burden: Isaiah 53:11-12, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Travail is to labor with pain and severe toil (to exert strength with pain and fatigue of body or mind for a continuance or duration) – the burden of many troubles. Truly Christ hath interceded for many, bearing their burdens and reconciling with God. Many a man followed Adam away from God in transgression and rebellion (Rm 5:12). Christ offers to many a man to follow Him back to God in reconciliation, mercy and forgiveness. Romans 5:19, “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (also Rm 5:15, 17-18).”



Numbers 11:18-20, “And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?” The Lord God gives them their request, but turns their blessing into a curse. They seek the things of the flesh and God gives it to them until they are physically sick from it. The people loathed (despised) God, so the Lord will make the object of their desire equally loathsome. The people considered deliverance from Egypt to be an opportunity for their flesh. God’s intent was to draw the people to Himself in faith (love, trust, obedience, surrender, devotion) and then bless them in their obedience (Promised Land flowing with milk and honey). God places things in correct order before He renders the blessing. This order has man submitted and obedient to the will of God and thus God provides for man’s needs. Rebellious man would have God submitted and obedient to meet his needs with no real submission to God’s authority – man wants to be as a god (Gen 3:5). Numbers 11:21-23, “And Moses said, The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month. Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them? And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORD’S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.” Man must never doubt the ability of the Creator of all things to bring His Word to pass (Is 45:12, Col 1:16). God has never shown Himself to be unable to perform that which He has said. Moses tried to reason through his flesh (slaughter cattle, gather fish), and God will not be limited by the flesh. Ours is just to submit and obey, the Lord will do the providing – trust and obey for there is no other way. Numbers 11:31-34, “And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.” The people went out and greedily (insatiably, ravenously) hoarded (to lay up a large quantity) as many quails as they could catch for themselves to fulfill their lusts (longing desire, eagerness to possess and enjoy). Ten homers translates into ten heaps (accumulated mass or pile). The Lord was very displeased with their gluttony which led to surfeiting (to overfeed such as to produce sickness). The people had manna, so the quails were not so much consumed out of need, but rather wantonness (inability to restrain oneself). The people took the provision of the Lord and turned it to a great evil. The flesh left to its own devices will always SELF-destruct. God had said He would provide flesh for a month, but this unbelieving people considered it to be but for the present. Those who take such great joy in the lusts of the flesh will surely face the same judgment of death as was visited upon this people. Restraint, self control and patience are the characteristics of the Spirit, but none of these were manifested here. The wanton, greedy, and gluttonous were destroyed from among the people. Psalms 78:26-31, “He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea: And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations. So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire; They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.” The wilderness will separate those seeking the flesh from those seeking God. Some seek their lusts to the full. These rebels were destroyed from among the people. Similarly, Jesus is coming back to this earth for the harvest (Rev 14:15). The good fruit (faithful) will be gathered and the bad destroyed (Mt 13:30, 41-43, 24:31, Mk 13:27, Lk 3:17, Jn 15:8).


Family Troubles

When any sincere and true man of God comes speaking God’s Words (Jn 3:34), his authority and purpose will be questioned by those who are not willing to receive the message (usually the religious ones, Jn 13:20). Numbers 12:1-2, “And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.” Moses’ authority was being questioned with the justification being a presumed personal fault. After all, how could Moses truly represent God if he is guilty of whatever the “ascribed (sought after) fault” may be? If he is not representing God, then his message and direction must be wrong. The purpose of this dispute was to exalt one’s self to gain authority (hath not God spoken through us) and also relegate (demote, lessen in importance) the position of Moses; and downgrade his message to just another opinion. The intent was that casting doubt upon Moses’ leadership and authority (Acts 7:35) would gain the desired position while also redirecting the course or “Way” (direction) in which things were proceeding. The direction (or message) was from God and was not being received (embraced to be followed) and this was what was being brought into question. Throughout the history of the children of Israel God sent prophets with messages that were constantly questioned and rejected by those who were not willing to receive them. The messenger’s authority was always questioned and dealt with in an inappropriate manner. The content of God’s messages were always rejected by self-seeking man. Numbers 12:3, “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” Moses was humble and totally submitted to God. Moses was a true servant both to God and the people – never Lording over others. Moses had put his very salvation on the line (Ex 32:32) while interceding for the transgressions of the people. God’s authority is never gained (usurped, assumed) through exaltation (pride, arrogance, self-seeking), but is rather given through submission and obedience to God’s will. Moses was faithful in all his house (Heb 3:2). He did what God required of him and often suffered the rebuke of the people because of it. There are two types of people. Those who seek the flesh, who always reject the things of God. These whine and complain and are never satisfied (Num 11:1, 10, 33, 14:37). The second group are those who seek God through the Spirit (Jn 7:38-39). These are submitted, make necessary sacrifices and proclaim (and thus live): “Thy will be done.” Numbers 12:4-8, “And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” God Himself will set things right when others seek to destroy the message He has placed in His true servants. God upholds those who are faithful to Him (Is 41:10). Isaiah 54:17, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” Notice that Moses’ submission and faithfulness to God gained him relationship and special place with God. God knew Moses by name (Ex 33:12, 17), and this is intimacy. Moses was allowed to see God’s similitude (but not His face). The righteousness (truth of the message) is of God, and not the man speaking it. The speaker is just submitted to God to do His will – at whatever personal cost. Those who do not receive God’s messages, surely do not know Him (Jn 13:20). Religious men (those seeking God their way, not submitted, fleshly) may question the authority of a true man of God; they may reject and invalidate the message; they may seek to gain authority; and they may justify their “own way” as being more true and righteous. One thing that these men cannot do (in such a rebellious condition) is have that intimate relationship with God. Their authority is their own and not from God. Their message is their own and not from God. The “way” they are leading is false and opposite (or away from) God. Their messages are only validated (authorized, confirmed, endorsed) by the desire of the flesh and the rebellious nature of man. Their wrongfulness will result in confusion. One thing they cannot take (make their own) is the truth and authority behind the messenger (that being the power of God). Moses submitted, obeyed and was led by God. Moses was a servant to all. God honored such faithfulness through the mighty miracles and workings He wrought through Moses. God gave Moses his authority. The works that Moses (or any true man of God) did bore witness that he was sent of God (Jn 5:36, 10:25). Those who are self-seeking and fleshly will not be able to do such works. Their authority is not in God. Numbers 12:9-11, “And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed. And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.” Apparently Miriam was the instigator in transgressing God’s will to seek her own. Aaron must have followed in her counsel. This is very similar to Adam and Eve (Eve transgressed and Adam followed). Moses forgave and prayed that the Lord would heal her, which God did after a period of chastisement (Num 21:13-15). Let us beware what God said when He later warned once again: Deuteronomy 24:9, “Remember what the LORD thy God did unto Miriam by the way, after that ye were come forth out of Egypt.” Moses’ position was a foreshadowing of what Christ would later do perfectly. Hebrews 3:2, “Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.” Moses was a leader (Ex 3:10-12, 7:1, Acts 7:35); who bore the iniquities of the people (Deut 9:18-20, 24-25); and was an intercessor for the people before God (Ex 32:9-14, 31-32, 34:9, Num 11:1-2, 16:20-22, 42:46-47, 21:7, Deut 9:26, 10:10). He was servant, humbled and submitted to God’s direction (Heb 11:24-29). Deuteronomy 34:10-12, “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.” God’s leaders will have these same characteristics. They will be humble; obedient to God’s purposes; always leading others toward God and not away; and will often suffer reproach for the messages given them by God. Moses was a great prophet (mighty before God), but even his authority was questioned by rebellious man.

God’s messages do not appeal to those seeking the flesh, because they require faith (a denial and bypassing of the flesh) and sacrifice, through submission and obedience. They require one to rise above the flesh to perform God’s purposes. God’s messages will destroy the things of the flesh (self-sufficiency, self-trust, self-seeking, pride, independence) and will leave one broken before God, and trusting in Him alone. God leads us back under His authority. This is what Moses leading the children of Israel through the wilderness toward the Promised Land represented. Those messages that placate (pacify, appease and sooth) the rebellious and sinful nature of man; those that exalt one to partake of all the world offers (things the flesh desires); and those that justify the love of such darkness, are surely leading opposite of God and keeping those who receive them in the rebellion that Christ came deliver from. Those that seek the flesh (will of man) will wonder in the desert until their carcasses fall by the way (Heb 3:8-12). Jesus later came speaking God’s Words and working God’s works. Christ’s authority was also questioned by rebellious man and He suffered great reproach. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (you can sin and not die, Gen 3:3-4, follow self-will) and lead us back to God (1 Jn 3:8). Christ leads us through the wilderness (valley of the shadow of death) to break our rebellion (self-sufficiency, self-seeking, self-trust, independence, pride) such that we may enter the Promised Land (eternity, dwelling with God). The wilderness will reveal those who are seeking self (things of the flesh, their way) and those who are sincerely seeking God. Jesus leads, will you submit and follow?


The Spies

Deuteronomy 1:20-22, “And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us. Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged. And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.” The Lord had previously stated His purposes over and over which were to bring Israel to the land of promise (Gen 50:24, Ex 3:8, 17, 6:8, 13:5, 33:1, Deut 1:8). Exodus 23:27, “I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.” Just after Israel had made the golden calf and greatly provoked God, the Lord had thought to destroy them. Moses intervened and pleaded for the people such that God would not destroy them. However, the Lord said: Exodus 33:2-3, “And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.” Israel was stubborn, obstinate, froward, disobedient, pertinacious, hard-hearted, idolatrous, unthankful, and self seeking. Moses was extremely concerned that God was not going to be in their midst during this conquest of the Promised Land. After pleading for the Lord’s forgiveness of the people, Moses pressed this issue. Exodus 33:12-17, “And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.” Moses had pleaded with God to go with them into the Promised Land and the Lord agreed to go. One man standing faithful before God can make all the difference. There have been periods of time when no man could be found to make a difference; consider: Ezekiel 22:30, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” We live at the end of the age in an exceedingly wicked generation. You could be the one, the only one, that could make the difference for friends, family and even great multitudes of people. God takes note of the faithful (Job 34:21, Ps 34:15, Pv 5:21, 15:3). For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him (2 Chr 16:9). Exodus 34:10-11, “And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee. Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.” Therefore, as God had stated so many times, He would fight Israel’s battles. There was no reason to fear or doubt, God had demonstrated is power in bringing them out of Egypt, just as He said He would (through great signs and wonders – judgments, through parting the Red Sea). Psalms 18:30, “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried (it has been proven, demonstrated): he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.” Doubt comes from a heart of unbelief (Mt 14:31). Hebrews 3:12, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” To depart from the living God would be not trusting and obeying Him.

Numbers 13:1-2, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them (also Deut 1:22).” Moses sent one man from every tribe of Israel (Ex 13:3-15, Deut 1:23). Of the twelve men were Caleb and Joshua (Ex 13:6, 8, 16). Numbers 13:17-20, “And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.” The people wanted to send men before them and God allowed it (Deut 1:22). The Lord had a purpose in allowing this advanced scout. Their report would determine the hearts of the people. For the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins and establisheth the just (Ps 7:9, Jer 11:20, 17:10, 20:12). This people had murmured, complained, tempted, disobeyed and provoked the Lord exceedingly in the wilderness. The wilderness was meant to tear down the flesh (will of man, dependence upon self) and teach reliance upon the Lord God. Would they be prepared to go forth in faith (trust, obedience)? How would the people react to the observations of the spies? This is something we must all consider in our lives. Where is your trust in difficult (or all) situations, in self, man or God? Most will seek self-sufficiency, ingenuity, capability, resourcefulness, and man’s capabilities until all fails, before turning to God, whom they suppose is there to serve them in their needs, when required. The flesh must be torn down such that our life is a continual ongoing daily trust in the Lord for all things. Numbers 13:21-25, “So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath. And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence. And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.” We can tell from the initial description that the land is very fruitful just as the Lord had always described. All the more fruitful to those who have been in the wilderness for some time. The Lord is always true to His promises and is faithful to that which He covenants with man.


The Bad Report

Numbers 13:26-29, “And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan (also Deut 1:24-25).” Each one of us has the capacity to affect another (others) through our actions. We can draw people to the Lord through our faith and encouragement or we can push them away from God through our unbelief and doubt. We can seek God fully with our heart and be as a great light to those around us (Mt 5:16) or we can seek self (our welfare) and become as darkness such that all stumble (Pv 4:19). Your individual actions will effect another, perhaps a spouse, child, relative, friend, stranger, co-worker, neighbor, religious person, etc. God shows Himself strong through the faith of those who seek Him. Abraham’s faith was the reason that over a million people were poised to enter the Promised Land. The faith of one man created a nation – blessed of God (Heb 11:8-10, 17-19). The faith of Moses had brought the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt (Heb 11:24-29). You must be that one person of faith because it may mean the difference for the weaker ones around you. Your actions could steer a person into a whole different direction in life and life eternal. Generally, there will be many voices of support for a wrong course of action. Few if any will be that wise voice of reason that speaks the truth and stands against the crowd (popular opinion). Why? Because the truth will deny and convict the flesh what it wants to do and the one speaking the truth will become a reproach to the ones around him. Suppose, as an example, someone had just announced plans to get married (for the third time). The family members and friends (and later religious clergy) will most likely be offering support and encouragement. How do you think the one that tells the couple that they will be committing adultery will be received (Jesus said it: Mk 10:11-12, Lk 16:18)? They will be a great reproach yet will also have showed the most love and concern. Most will coddle and appease others in their darkness (justify the wicked) rather than speak the truth and bear the reproach. True love is sacrifice for another (even of self, reputation, popularity). Most likely you will get lots of religious advice on not being too extreme or fanatical in your love of God; or not to take things to literally (scriptures); or to just accept things the way they are (known wickedness or error); everybody’s doing it; or don’t isolate yourself. Few will support you (and walk along side) in laying your complete life down for the Lord. That would require one to come into the “light” of Christ and few are willing (in a true meaningful sense, as applied and lived). John 3:20-21, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” The report from the men that searched out the land acknowledged the truth (validated) of what God had said – the land flowed with milk and honey (Ex 3:8, 17, 13:5, 33:3, Lev 20:24, Deut 1:25, 11:19). However, there was a negative report; the people of the land were strong, there were walled cities and giants in the land. This perspective was from a heart of unbelief. This view sees things as they are rather than how God deems they shall be. Numbers 13:30, “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” Notice Caleb’s faith and confidence intended to draw the people from considering (pondering) the bad report whose fruit is unbelief and disobedience (leading to transgression of God’s will).  Jeremiah 17:7, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” Numbers 13:31-33, “But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” These men are pushing the people away from God through their hearts of unbelief. They looked at the circumstances with fleshly logic and human reasoning with no trust in God’s intervention. Faith prevails where the flesh capitulates (gives up, surrenders) because faith mixes with the power (purposes) of God. Faith must reach beyond self and situation in keeping with God’s will. As you walk through the wilderness on the narrow path that leads to God there will always be strong people, walled cities and giants in the way. Psalms 34:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” These must be overcome through the power of God as you trust in the Lord and walk by following Christ in faith. We surrender to God and reach beyond our own ability through trust and obedience to God’s Word. The Lord then honors His Word and receives glory through our belief.

Numbers 14:1-4, “And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt (also Neh 9:17).” This incident is just as grave or serious as when the people had made the golden calf. This reveals a complete confidence in what the flesh has determined, a total lack of faith toward God, and an unwillingness and refusal of the Lord’s promises. They had rather have died than to trust in God. They had rather return to their bondages than to trust in God. When the author wrote the first book, “Jesus said, Come Follow Me,” one of the feedbacks he received (more than once) was that it is impossible to live such a life as described in the book (taken from scripture). In other words, there are strong people, walled cities and giants in the path – it cannot be done. The path is too narrow and leads through a harsh (to the flesh) and terrible wilderness. This reasoning comes from a heart of unbelief as determined through eyes set on the flesh and an unwilling heart – more confidence in the flesh than in God. This denies the ability of God working in you through faith to do the impossible – to reach beyond what the flesh can comprehend. Is the LORD’S hand waxed short (Num 11:23)? This is a rejection of the essence of what faith is – trust in God beyond SELF. God only requires that we “follow” Him in faith. Faith is a surrendered heart of love, trust, obedience and humbleness toward God. The Lord also tells us to live one day at a time and not to try and grasp the future – for it is not guaranteed (Js 4:13-15). Matthew 6:34, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” We only have to submit to and trust in God for the day at hand. Just be obedient to God’s Word for the day at hand and the Lord will take care of the rest. Step out in sincere faith and see if these things be not so. You must realize that in your life, you are either going forward in faith through the wilderness and tearing down all the “high places” of the flesh along the way or you are going backward in “unbelief” to Egypt. You will find that very few people will truly encourage you to seek God wholly with a complete (perfect) heart and totally live for Him (talking about religious people). Most people will try to hinder you or pull you back. They will want you to join their complacent lukewarm lifestyle that has ceased to grieve over the evil and wickedness all around them – accepting and content in their own frowardness (disobedience, peevishness, reluctance to yield); and unmindful, ignorant and oblivious in their approach to error. What do the scriptures say? 1 Peter 1:14-16, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (the way you live every day); Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” God is sure to confound the flesh and receive glory in it. When you are following the Lord (i.e. cloudy pillar), cannot He part the sea, pull down the walls or drive out the enemies or place them in the depths of the sea? The key is that you are following in God’s path and not your own. God’s path is not understood by the flesh, but rather through His Word, the Spirit, and daily submission (application). It all starts with willingness of heart and belief such as Caleb counseled (Num 13:30). Now consider the confusion that unbelief brings: It would have been easier to have gone forward in God’s will than to go backward in their own will. Had the children of Israel turned back to Egypt (the more difficult path at hand), God would not have gone before them in a pillar of cloud to lead; God would not have provided water from rocks; God would not have provided manna or quail; God would not have cured their serpent bites; and God would not have again parted the Red Sea. They would have perished outside of God’s will rather than be victorious in God’s favor. The flesh would rather die in its own means (path, way, will) than relinquish its will to God and give Him glory. Many would rather die in harsh or addictive bondages (lasciviousness, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, sensuality, violent behavior, etc.) than confront those strong obstacles or high walls before them - in faith. The devil promised life in seeking self (ye shall not surely die, Gen 3:4), but continually delivers death. God promises life to those who will “follow” and Jesus came to give (deliver) it more abundantly (Jn 10:10). Let us consider the longsuffering of God toward us that we not perish. Jesus revealed God’s heart of love: Luke 15:4, “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” Perhaps that lost sheep is heading back to Egypt? God will reach out in love (and has through Christ), but will not force your will. Consider the attitude of the children of Israel: Deuteronomy 1:27, “And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.” - To fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey (Num 14:3) – Let us return to Egypt (Num 14:4). This is a prime characteristic of fallen and rebellious man – to judge the Lord God Almighty (unfairly, I might add). After all the righteous works that God had done for the benefit of the children of Israel, they judged the Lord’s intentions as wicked and evil. This is the nature of the devil. In Eden, the devil told Eve: Genesis 3:4-5, “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” The devil told Eve that the righteous loving God that she knew, really had ulterior and wicked motives behind His command. That God had lied to her and was restricting (withholding from) her from gaining her full potential to be as a god (determine her own way). This is the nature that fallen man now has. Man always judges God as being unfair or responsible when things do not go his way. Man’s judgment against God is “blasphemy.” Rather than submit, obey and trust in God, man always shakes his fist, demands and accuses the Lord. Often the situations man finds himself in are the result of his own wicked actions (reaping what was sown). Rather than go forward in faith, man wants to retreat to the wickedness he once forsook. This is a great indicator of the heart. When troubles come or difficulties arise, where do you run – to God or to the flesh? Where your confidence and faith is found is revealed in your actions. Many who face problems in their lives will lash out at God when things are not done in their way and timing. These will find comfort in the flesh such as alcohol, cigarettes, food, drugs or sensual things. This only compounds their troubles and hardens their heart all the more toward God. The Lord will deliver His people, but not those whose faith and trust is found in the flesh. To rely on the flesh is to follow it to its natural conclusion which is death. All flesh will die! To judge God comes from a froward heart of unbelief. Romans 9:20, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” The attitude of faith that we must have is: Deuteronomy 1:29-31, “Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them (Amorites, obstacle, enemy). The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes; And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.” The children of Israel never counted or considered their blessings only their unfulfilled fleshly desires and “fallen” instincts. Woe to the unbelieving!

Numbers 14:5-9, “Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” What a difference in attitude toward God! This is what all things ultimately come down to – those who have a heart of belief toward God and those who do not. Your heart is revealed (demonstrated) through your actions in such situations. Moses, Aaron, Caleb and Joshua believed God’s Word (and His ability to perform that Word) and were willing to go forward, putting their life on the line - faith. They understood God’s purposes and wanted to be a part of them. Psalms 47:2-3, “For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.” What we must take to heart is that: “The Lord is with us – fear not.” They cautioned the people not to rebel, which is to refuse God’s purposes and be disobedient to the Lord’s will. Deuteronomy 1:25-26, “And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us. Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God.” A froward heart refuses to do that which is required of God. The basis for this refusal is confidence in the flesh – what it is saying (higher regard for human reasoning than God’s will). Numbers 14:10, “But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.” Rather than submit to God’s will, the people sought their will in this matter – their path (which was fear, confusion, frowardness, sentiment, and disobedience). Numbers 14:11-16, “And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they. And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;) And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.” God is never pleased with those who have hearts of unbelief and are unwilling to follow. This people had demonstrated man’s fallen nature over and over since the onset. They cried for deliverance while in bondage in Egypt and the Lord hearkened unto the cry and delivered them. Once delivered they did nothing but complain and look back to their bondage. The flesh gravitates (descends) to the familiar (which opposes God’s purposes). Now they wanted to return to their bondage. Psalms 106:24-26, “Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD. Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness.” God had been only faithful toward this people and has performed incredible, miracles, signs and wonders in their presence. Through all of this the people are disobedient, unthankful and unwilling toward God’s will. God would be more than justified in destroying them. Again, Moses (a true leader) refuses selfish benefit (a test: I will make thee a great nation) and pleads for the people and stands up for God’s honor as an intercessor between God and Israel (man). The people had thought to stone Moses, but he shows forbearance under injuries in responding with love (sacrifice of self) and pleading for God’s forgiveness of all. Numbers 14:17-18, “And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” God is faithful to forgive the sincere and contrite heart (i.e. Ps 51:1-4, 17), but will by no means clear the guilty (unrepentant, froward). Moses’ faith, righteousness and intercession made all the difference. Such love! – and what a foreshadowing of Christ. Psalms 106:23, “Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach (man’s violation of the covenant, non-fulfillment of agreement), to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.” God pardons, but puts a separation between the guilty and the innocent (discussed below). It would be a grave mistake to think God overlooks willful, continued transgression. Moses was a foreshadowing of Christ in that he prayed for those who despitefully used him (Mt 5:44, Lk 6:28). The people had murmured against Moses and even thought to stone him, yet Moses always looked after their best interest. Christ not only prayed for His enemies, but laid His life down for them (Father forgive them, for they know not what they do, Lk 23:34). Consider: Psalms 69:4, “They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.” Jesus restored “peace” between God and man which was definitely in man’s best interest (Rm 5:1, Eph 2:14-15, Col 1:20, Heb 2:17). Moses and Jesus were both peacemakers (between God and man). Jesus had spoken of such in the Sermon on the Mount (Beatitudes.) Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” The Lord also noted in the above scripture, that the earth will be filled with His glory. God will receive His due glory: Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Israel was suppose to show forth God’s glory to all the earth. Thus far, they have only reflected man’s fallen nature. God was looking for the faithful remnant and so it is with the whole as a whole – these shall inherit all things (Pv 5:21). Proverbs 2:22, “But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.”



Numbers 14:22-25, “Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it. (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.” Consider the strong message here: the rebellious and unbelieving will not enter into God’s promises, but the obedient and faithful will. The faithful may suffer for a time due to the actions of the wicked, but will prevail in the end. Caleb “followed” God’s will (was faithful) and was blessed – he will enter into the joy of the Lord (Mt 25:21, 23). The others refused God’s promises and did not follow God’s will, were unbelieving (and thus ungodly) and they were cursed. Similarly, those who “follow” Christ will receive God’s promises. Revelation 21:7, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” We overcome the flesh and our unbelief in the wilderness on our journey to God’s promises (i.e. the Promised Land). Those who refuse God’s purposes (plan, way, path) will be damned – eternally (Ps 34:16). Psalms 1:4-6, “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” Israel had tempted God ten times – they had been self centered, murmured, complained, disobeyed, been unthankful, idolatrous, lusted, and had hearts full of unbelief (Ps 78:8, 17-19, 22, 29-33, 36-37, 42-43, 56-57, 81:11-12). These are not meek and God turns them away from His promises (a great land of blessing) and sends them back into the wilderness (Ps 147:6, 149:4). The meek will inherit the land, for they are those who are submitted to God’s will and are not proud, self-sufficient or refractory (obstinate in non-compliance), not peevish (fretful, apt to mutter and criticize/protest/whine, hard to please) and apt to complain of divine dispensations (the dealing of God with His creatures). The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear Him (have faith) and hope in His mercy (Ps 147:11, Heb 10:38). Numbers 14:26-32, “And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.” The wicked can always expect to receive the fruit of their doings, to reap what they sow, to receive their just deserts, be holden with the cords of his own sins, and to be condemned by their own words (Pv 1:31, 5:22, Pv 11:6, 12:13, Job 4:8, Jer 17:10, 21:14, 32:19, Gal 6:7-8). This stiff necked people reacted to the spies report by saying, “would God we had died in this wilderness.” God says, “So be it!” They had freely chosen death over life. Psalms 119:137, “Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.” This people despised (abhorred, contemned, loathed) the pleasant land and asked for death – So be it! The Lord is righteous in all His judgments (ways), and holy in all His works (Ps 119:137, 145:17). Their children will obtain that which they have rejected. Caleb and Joshua will enter into the Promised Land because they trusted in God and were of a different heart (Deut 1:34-36, 38). God calls them out by name – the Lord knoweth who are His (2 Tim 2:19). God preserveth the souls of His saints that love Him (Ps 97:10, 145:20). These two men were of a very small minority of the whole (a remnant)  - and so it always is. This is a very important point to consider. There were over six hundred thousand men alone (from twenty years old and upward, Num 2:32). They all died in the wilderness (Num 26:65). Only two men of this number were allowed to enter into the Promised Land by nature of their faith and heart toward God. Men always look at numbers and side with the majority point of view. God looks at hearts and devotion to Him and this has always (biblically) been a minority. Consider Noah and the world before the flood. How many men perished and how many were saved? Consider these things when you feel all alone in standing for righteousness in an evil world. When Joshua does lead the people into the Promised Land some forty years later, consider what this wicked people turned down that the Lord offers Joshua (and Caleb) who trusted in His purposes: “I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee (Josh 1:5).” – “I will be with thee withersoever thou goest (Josh 1:9).” God judged the wicked by their own words. Consider what Christ told the servant who was unfaithful in his duties to the Lord: Luke 19:20-22, “And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow.” Knowing what was required but not doing it is being of a froward heart. What was his fate? Matthew 25:30, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Most people will always follow the crowd (everybody’s doing it), for it is assumed there is “correctness” in numbers, yet the crowd is always going opposite of God. There is no reproach (in standing up for Christ), denial (of self) or sacrifices (of self) in their compromises. The crowd is on a very broad comfortable path that leadeth to destruction (Mt 7:13). They are doing what comes so naturally and easily to fallen man and that is seeking the will of the flesh – their own way. They just naturally presume that God endorses “their” way. Those sincerely seeking God must die to their flesh and then travel that path that has those obstacles that test and challenge their faith - strong people, walled cities, and giants. Few travel this narrow way due to the hazards to the flesh – self-will dies (Mt 7:14). Many may seek to enter in, but will not be able (Lk 13:23-24). Many are called, but few are chosen (Mt 22:14). One’s true nature manifests itself during the difficulties. God is selecting the faithful (meek, poor in spirit, pure in heart, obedient, surrendered, trusting, patient, peacemakers, contrite, loving) to go forward (on into eternity with Him). Consider the condemnation for the unbelief Israel displayed: Psalms 95:8-11, “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” Numbers 14:33-38, “And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD. But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.” In scripture, forty is the number for bearing iniquity. Recall that Moses spent forty days and nights on the mount without food and water bearing the iniquities of the people (Deut 9:18, 25, 10:10). Through the actions of some, a whole generation had to suffer. Our actions truly do impact the others around us. Your pride, unbelief, stubbornness and frowardness will absolutely affect your own children. You will wander in the wilderness of this life never coming to the understanding of faith as long as you seek your own way. You may also resign those around you to do the same through your example of error. The righteous will also suffer for a time due to the actions of the disobedient and wicked. However, the two righteous men (out of over a million) and the innocent (i.e. children) prevailed in the end. Moses later said: Deuteronomy 1:26-27, “Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God: And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.” This rebellion harkens back to man’s violation of God’s original commandment in Eden not to eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:17, 3:6, 12-13). The Lord says an interesting thing concerning this matter: Deuteronomy 1:39, “Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.” Their children had no knowledge of good and evil in this matter and were absolved (pardoned, forgiven, acquitted) from guilt. God makes a point of distinction and separation for the innocent and righteous. The wicked will wander in the wilderness (in their own way) until they are consumed in their own iniquity – God gave them over to their own lust: and they walked in their own counsels. (Ps 81:12). Psalms 107:40, “He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way.” Apart from God there is no way, just paths of confusion that end in death (Pv 8:36, 11:19). The Lord is not pleased with this “evil” congregation and the men who gave the bad report (incited the unbelief) died immediately. This is a lesson to us all and the wise will take heed. All of this people had an identification with the Lord and had been in the midst of great wonders. This was not sufficient in and of itself. You cannot just “profess God” or make “profession” of Christ. There must be substance (real and tangible evidence) to your claim. Your actions or deeds (faith, lifestyle) must back up your profession. You cannot be actively serving the Lord today and then inactive tomorrow. Faith is consistent, enduring and unchanging. The Lord referred to their “whoredoms.” Whoredom would be defined as stating love and trust in one (all that thou hast said, we will do, Ex 19:8, 24:3, 7, Deut 5:27 – a covenant) while having eyes for and loyalty to another (self, lust, world, etc.). They breached (failure to serve the terms of an agreement, violation, infraction) the solemn promise of the covenant.

God later fulfilled His Word concerning this generation men who had seen such incredible miracles and heard the Lord speak, yet were so full of unbelief. As the children of Israel were poised to again enter into the Promised Land, some forty years later, the Lord said: Numbers 26:64-65, “But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. For the LORD had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun (also Num 32:11-12).” These wicked men had been delivered from Egypt by the strong arm of the Lord with great signs and wonders. They were led through the parting of the Red Sea and witnessed Pharaoh and his host perish therein. They were fed with manna and given water from a rock. They witnessed God’s very presence and heard His voice at mount Horeb. Through all of this they were still rebellious toward God and would not walk in His ways. Numbers 32:13, “And the LORD’S anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed.” AND Deuteronomy 2:14-16, “And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the LORD sware unto them. For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed. So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people (also Josh 5:6).” There is no doubt if similar events happened today, the results would be much the same. The book of Revelation reveals that in the coming Great Tribulation, in the midst of God’s signs, wonders and judgments that men will not repent, but rather lash out at God in blasphemy - man’s judgment (Rev 9:20-21, 16:9, 11).


They Shall Not Enter Into My Rest

They provoked, tempted and proved God (Heb 3:8-9). Thus God said of them: Hebrews 3:10-12, “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” They departed (forsook) God and transgressed His will (Heb 3:12, Pv 8:36). Isaiah 63:10, “But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.” You must never quench or grieve the Spirit (by whom you are sealed, 2 Cor 1:22, Eph 1:13, 1 Jn 3:24) – there is no salvation apart from the Spirit (Thess 5:19, Eph 4:30). To vex is to irritate and make angry through many “little” provocations (the day to day things). A hardened evil heart develops through the deceitfulness of sin and is a lack of confidence in God - seeking your way over God (Heb 3:13). Hebrews 3:16-19, “For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” The Promised Land could only be entered through faith. The children of Israel had God’s Word, but they did not mix the Word with faith (Heb 4:2). The Lord equates entering into His rest with entering into the Promised Land (Heb 3:8-11). God further equates the Sabbath with entering into His rest. God rested from His works on the seventh day (Heb 4:4). Hebrews 4:10, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” Now pulling all this together we can determine that through our faith, we enter into God’s rest. We no longer seek our will (own works), but surrender to God’s will (His rest, submission to His provision). The unbelieving cannot enter into this rest, for they seek their own will (works, provision). They are turned back into the wilderness where their carcases drop in the toil and misery of seeking their own way (Pv 8:36). God states: “the works were finished from the foundation of the world (Heb 4:3).” Upon completion of creation, God placed man in a garden (Eden) where the Lord provided everything necessary. Man was submitted and obedient to God. God rested from creation and man rested in God’s labors. When Israel finally did enter into the Promised Land through faith, God again provided for everything. God gave them cities, houses, possessions, olive and fruit trees and vineyards that they did not labor for. Deuteronomy 6:10-13, “And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.” God went before them and drove out the wicked (destroyed) of the land and Israel inherited all things. This is a picture of the righteous inheriting the earth after the wicked have been destroyed (Is 60:21, 2 Pt 3:13). Psalms 37:9, “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.” AND Psalms 37:34, “Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.” AND Proverbs 10:30, “The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.” Therefore, we cease from our own will (way, path), then obediently surrender to God’s authority (the Lord’s will) and God provides for our welfare. Faith will gain you entrance into the Promised Land and thus God’s rest. This is a picture of restoration from man’s fall in Eden. Originally, man loved and obeyed God in faith and God provided for all of man’s needs. Man fell by transgressing God’s will to seek his own desires. So, when we die to our will and seek God’s will in faith, God again provides for those who are His. The righteous and meek shall inherit the earth and dwell in peace (Ps 37:11, 29). Revelation 21:7, “He that overcometh (by faith) shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”

Numbers 14:39-43, “And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly. And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned. And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.” The people didn’t have faith and trust in God and this had been revealed through their actions. Upon hearing the penalty of their unbelief, they are now very willing to do what is required. The central problem here is that the people didn’t want to obey because they had a heart of belief and trust in God; they only wanted to obey such as not to suffer the consequence of the disobedience (2 Cor 7:10). Their whole motivation was wrong! Their sorrow was self-centered and not God-centered. Similarly, many today are motivated into some form of godliness due to a fear of the known consequence of unbelief; that being eternity in the lake of fire – the second death (Rev 20:14-15). God is not looking for those who have a fear of hell. The Lord is looking for those who seek Him with a whole heart of faith (love, trust, obedience, submission). If you have a true sincere heart for God, it will compel you to willingly conform to God’s will in seeking righteousness and holiness in all areas of your life – this “new man” will change considerably (Eph 4:24). This godliness will become your new nature. If you seek God for any other reason (always self motivated), then this will not be the case. Looking around at all the wickedness that prevails in this very religious society (church buildings abound), one can only determine that many religious hearts are not necessarily devoted hearts to the Lord. The next consideration is that God is very longsuffering and merciful, but there does come a point when you have gone to far (with your hardened heart). Esau was rejected for unbelief and found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears (Heb 12:16-17). One day time will run out for any further hope of reconciliation: Revelation 10:6, “And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer.” Many will stand before God one day willing to do anything to make amends (having disregarded God’s way and then seeking theirs), but the time of grace and mercy will have passed for them. Today is the day of salvation, but every day the selfish heart grows harder. This double-minded people (unstable in all their ways, Js 1:8) feared to possess the land when God was on their side, now they presume to take it in the Lord’s absence, in their own strength. God told them to go and they would not. God tells them to forbear and now they go. This is the heart of rebellious man – always opposite of God (like their father the devil). They were unwilling to yield to God’s direction, but want God to yield to theirs. Rebellious man always thinks his way is best (in religion or anything else). Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Numbers 14:44-45, “But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp. Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.” They disobeyed God in not going, and then they disobeyed God in going – transgression against the will of God always brings death (in Eden and any other time), thou shalt surely die (Gen 2:17, Ez 33:14). The will of man also always ends in death. The spies that brought back the evil report and challenged God’s will died before God of the plague – except Joshua and Caleb (Num 14:37). The whole congregation disobeyed God and would not enter into the Promised Land (unbelief) and now their carcases will die in the desert (as per their own words, Num 14:25-35). God told the congregation to turn and go back into the wilderness, but those who disobeyed and presumed to enter into the Promised Land were killed by the Amalekites and Canaanites. Disobedience to God will always brings death! The devil said, “thou shall not surely die (Gen 3:4),” yet over and over this has been proven a lie. This was the beginning of the dropping of carcases from twenty years old and upward. One day God’s people will look upon the carcases of those transgressors (from all ages) where their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh (Is 66:24, Mk 9:44, 46, 48).



Numbers 15:38-41, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.  I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.” God was using the fringes as symbology, which is a representation of any moral thing by the image or property of a natural thing. The fringes would be constant reminders to obey God and walk worthily (righteously) before Him. To be brought out of Egypt means that you have forsaken the wickedness and bondages that once guided your actions – you have left (died to) these things. The fact that God is now your Lord means that you are now living under His authority and rule. God used various methods to instill His will (principles, commands, purposes) into the hearts of the children of Israel. We discussed the Passover celebration in Chapter Two. Various symbology was used here (for future witness, pointing to Christ, confirmation) to represent forsaking the world/Egypt (eat with loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste, Ex 12:11) and sin/bondage (bitter herbs, Ex 12:8) with sincerity of heart (unleavened bread, Ex 12:8); Christ’s perfect life and sacrifice (unblemished male lamb, also unleavened bread, Ex 12:5, 8, Deut 16:3); having been filled with the Spirit and tested and tried (roasted in fire, Ex 12:8-9); forgiveness through Christ and His covenant (blood, Ex 12:7, 13); Christ’s death and sealed testament (kill the lamb, put blood on lintel and two side posts of door, Ex 12:21-22); forgiveness of sins/eternal life (destroying angel sees blood and passes over, Ex 12:23). God also used symbology through feasts (celebrations, Ex 12:1-14, 17, 23:14-16, Lev 23:6, 34, 39-44), foods (manna, bitter herbs, lamb, water), songs (Ex Chap 15, Deut 31:19, 30, Chap 32), clothing (priest’s clothing, Ex Chap 28, fringes on garments), stories (the Lord’s deliverance from Egypt, Deut 6:20-25) the tabernacle (and all its instruments, colors, materials, layout); and setting up of stones (Josh 4:5-9). The songs they sang spoke of God’s greatness, glorious works and mighty deliverance; the peoples rebellion, idolatry and spiritual harlotry; the Lord’s righteous and just judgment; and salvation. The words of the songs were for a purpose: Deuteronomy 31:19-21, “Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel. For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant. And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware.” The purpose of all the memorials (that which preserves the memory of something, a hint to assist the memory) and symbology was to reveal the rebellious nature of man; God’s longsuffering, mercy and forgiveness; The Lord’s righteous judgment upon wickedness and evil; and God’s plan of reconciliation and eternal life through Christ. God also gave them the law to teach their sons and their son’s sons (Deut 4:9). This law was to be written in stone as they entered the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 27:2-4, “And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaister them with plaister: And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee. Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaister them with plaister.”


Christ (Mass)

Rebellious man has also used such memorials and symbology in a religious context, that is attributed to God, but for the benefit of the flesh. Those things done of man for God through the flesh will always detract (take away) from God’s glory no matter how noble the original or observed intent. This is why man must be submitted and led of the Holy Spirit. No good thing proceeds out of the heart of man – we must yield to God’s transforming power. Man always interjects his opinion and sentiment (things fleshly which tend to be foremost) in his religious endeavors and sees no wrong in it. Man has always been strongly attracted to fleshly things and has always been very rebellious to spiritual things that deny the flesh (proven over and over in scripture and observance). This is why God requires that we follow (obey) Him (God’s direction, leading, working). Man will always choose a wrong course that is based upon his desire. We are not to try and take the lead or make the decisions. What would have been the result if Moses had changed the pattern given by God for the tabernacle and its instruments? Exodus 25:9, “According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Exodus 25:40, “And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.” Perhaps an item or two could have been improved upon? No matter how one justifies his actions, refusal to obey God’s direction (as given) is transgression against God’s will. Deuteronomy 4:2, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” AND Deuteronomy 12:32, “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” So, what is the result when man takes the initiative and devises his own celebratory feast for God (adds to God’s observances)? The answer can be found in the observance of Christ-mass. What has come to be known as Christmas started as a Romish (Catholic) mass celebrating the birth of Christ. The date selected was the time of an established pagan feast that was adapted and “Christianized” and fallaciously (inaccurately, erroneously, doubtfully, untrustworthily) assigned as the date of Christ’s birth to appease and lure converts into the religious organization. Jeroboam devised such a date and feast out of his own heart to control the people (1 Kg 12:26-33). 1 Kings 12:33, “So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.” This event of Christmas was completely determined and authorized (instituted) by man and is nothing more than a tradition or requirement of man. Nowhere in the Bible are followers of Christ directed to celebrate His birthday nor how. Nowhere in the Bible is Christ’s birth date given. We must understand that Jesus’ existence is eternal and cannot be relegated by dates of man (Jn 1:1-3, Col 1:16-17). Jesus came (as a man – flesh and blood) denying His own will and only seeking that of the Father. Christ never exalted self, but rather died to self (the flesh). The observance of a godly birthday is flawed and is uncharacteristic of the nature of Christ (as He walked) and is dishonoring.  The concept of a birthday looks at Jesus as a fleshly man given-in to the desire of the flesh rather than an exalted Lord who overcame the flesh to reconcile all to God through faith (which is opposite of the flesh). No doubt, Christ is now greatly exalted and victorious above all and is due worship, honor and praise. However, as a man, the Lord set the example of perfect obedience and submission to God and denial and death to the things of the flesh. The greatest understanding of this matter we could have is that it was not authorized by Christ, who is the head of the church (Eph 1:22, 4:15, 5:23, Col 1:18, 2:10) – the One whom we must follow. Christmas is a commandment of man (stop celebrating and see) and we are told not to add to God’s Words/commands (Deut 4:2). Let us consider that the Christmas that is now celebrated goes far beyond the observance of Jesus’ birth. Through the centuries paganism from all over the world has been interjected by man into this unauthorized celebration. This is a very worldly celebration that almost anyone feels comfortable participating in (fleshly). In other words, there is no condemnation or conviction of the flesh, but rather an exaltation (we are told to look at such fruit). To feed the flesh is to deny the Spirit (Gal 5:17, Rm 8:8).


One of the things that has become most synonymous with Christmas is Santa Claus. This image is such a part of Christmas that it really cannot be separated from it. Santa is a false god that is sustained by “lies” and is a god of lusts – selfish want and desire. Take the name Santa and rearrange the letters and form Satan (mixing up things as witchcraft often does, intentional confusion). This is no coincidence because Satan is the father of all lies (Jn 8:44), including “The Lie” in Eden which persuaded (appealed to) man to seek the flesh (his lusts and desires) over God’s command. Isn’t it interesting that man’s relationship with Santa Claus is built upon and sustained by a lie? Man’s relationship with Satan was also founded upon a lie. God is truth! Anything opposed to the truth is a lie (1 Jn 2:21 ). Satan continually tempts man’s lusts in order to keep him opposed to God, blinded to the Lord’s truth, and in his rebellion against the Lord (2 Cor 4:4). The nature of Santa Claus is the exact same nature of Satan (Santa = Satan). Parents, relatives, friends, religious people, and total strangers will blatantly and unabashedly (shamefully) “lie” to children to sustain this god (Pv 12:22 , Jer 9:3, 5, Amos 2:4) – they are teachers of lies (Hab 2:18 , Eph 4:25 ). Do you suppose these parents and relatives will be happy (accepting) if someone were to tell their children the truth about Santa Claus? Most likely they would be extremely irate (very angry, incensed, furious, enraged) and would defend the “lie” while rejecting the truth (casting it away) – they would reinforce the lie (this is what Satan does). The flesh defends its god! Psalms 101:7, “He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.” – woe to you! The “lie” is to seek your lusts through him (trust in Santa = trust in Satan). Parents teach their children that Santa is a wonderful man that will fulfill all their fleshly desires with toys and candies – a free gift (without cost). They are taught that Santa is there to serve their needs, which also translates into love being the fulfillment (receiving) of fleshly desires – benefit of self. No wonder so many view God as their servant who is there to bless them or get them out of difficult situations. God said to teach your children to love Him with all their hearts, with all their souls and with all their might (Deut 6:4-9) – do not give place to Satan (Santa, Eph 4:27 ). This is a real conflict on a day that is presumed to be Christ’s birthday. To whom is a child’s heart to be given? Santa is given attributes that belong to God alone (specifically Christ) such as immortality (does not die), omnipresent (can be everywhere, hears your prayers to him, sees your actions), omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (can do fantastical things/feats), merciful, giving, forgiving, and loving. This is not surprising because Satan thinks of himself as a god (god of this world) and wants to be worshipped. Satan is receiving worship via Santa – by proxy (surrogate, stand-in, substitute, alternate). God says over and over in His Word that we are to have no other gods. Children are encouraged to make list of their desires (lusts, toys) and petition Santa through prayer, letters or even at his very throne (in a mall or department store). The children should be encouraged to fear the Lord and observe do to all His Words (Deut 31:12). Santa also has mythical elves to serve him (principalities, angelic beings). Men even dress up as the “god of the lie” to further instill (teach) this fraud into the minds of the youth. It is as if a child is sitting on Satan’s knee and he says, “tell me all your heart’s desire (the imaginations and lusts). The children develop a real love for this “god of lusts” because he gives them things (appeals to the flesh), even if by proxy through their parents – but make no mistake, he is the “god of the flesh.” Parents consider this all to be fun make-believe, but there is a very real and evil spirit behind all this and the parents have certainly been manipulated (deceived, beguiled, tricked) by it. This subtle and cunning “god of tricks” is the same one that is behind Halloween. We discussed confusion (the mixture of several things promiscuously; mingled and without order; indistinct combination; confusion of ideas; things that do not go together), confounding (confused, mixed or blended in disorder, perplexed, abashed; i.e. mixing God and the world, flesh – shameful blending of natures) and doublemindedness (simultaneous belief in two opposing or contradictory things) in Chapter One. Most will say that Santa is about love and giving. Satan comes as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). This means that the devil convinces man to do that which is opposed to God by that which seems to be of God (i.e. love, giving). In other words, Satan makes his cause seem noble. However, just a cursory review of God’s Word reveals that we are to have no other gods (and certainly not teach our children of them); we are not to lie nor walk in deception; and we are not to seek the lusts of the flesh or things of the world. Therefore, Santa is not about love and giving, but rather idolatry, lusts, greed (covetousness), deception, and lies. Parents who “profess Christ” and teach their children of Him (i.e. go to church) go about hanging a millstone about their necks by also teaching (and instilling) Santa Claus. Mark 9:42, “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” This is confusion and doublemindedness. Christ is sustained by faith, and Santa is sustained by a lie. The Bible says “all liars go to hell (Rev 21:8),” but who takes God’s Word seriously in a fantastical world of make-believe – or is it really make-believe? Perhaps these things are far more real and serious than you could possibly imagine. Eventually children outgrow the reality of Santa (or do they?), but the lessons have been learned. The lessons are to seek the things YOU want and please SELF. Any concept of God will always be tainted with the notion that God is there to serve YOU (bless me, help me, heal me, get me out of difficult situations, save me). Things become a bit skewed (twisted, distorted, off center, miss the mark, partial, biased) toward the “ME” side of things. A nice way to say it would be “spoiled,” but the truth is these are corrupted, full of iniquity, transgressing and rebellious toward the reality of God. The symbology that God authorized in His Word is designed to lead you to Him. The symbology of man (as highly influenced by Satan) leads you away from God and keeps you in transgression and rebellion. Now we are told that Santa Clause flies around in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. The lead reindeer has a glowing red nose. Throw in a few talking snowmen and the birth of Jesus Christ, and you have total and complete confusion. God is not the author of such confusion (1 Cor 14:33). Some will say this is why its all fun and imagination. Well, justify your wickedness and rebellion, but the message that is being taught is that of Satan and his nature (his way, path, bondage). Satan comes as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14); meaning fun and imaginative and always centered on lies and the flesh. Please consider the following point very strongly with all seriousness and sincerity: At Christmas time, side by side, Jesus and Santa Claus are reverenced (respected, given honor, worshipped), taught and celebrated. Jesus came in truth and totally surrendered to and obeyed the Father and died to self always directing others to God’s will. Santa Claus is sustained by lies and invites all to live for self (lusts, desires) and takes away from God by placing attention on the things of the flesh. They are both taught in the same celebration and this is total confusion and doublemindedness. Which God will a child eventually choose? The one of self or the one of self denial? The author once ignorantly celebrated Christmas; however, he sanitized it to some degree (as many will say they now do). The author never lied to his children about Santa Claus and always told them the truth. Herein is an interesting thing: although he did not believe or teach Santa Claus, his house was full of images of Santa Claus. The Lord God says you shall have no such images, but the devil would fill the world with them. Images are there to solicit worship and condition one’s heart. When the Lord convicted the author’s heart about Christmas and he yielded in obedience (to forsake and follow, Mk 10:21, Lk 18:22), there was a great clean-up in his home. There were Santa Claus images on ornaments, wrapping paper, cards, dish towels, jars, cereal boxes (food packages), ornaments, in photos, in paintings, on toys, tins, boxes, cloth covers, plates, cook books, reading books, music covers, candles, place mats, magnets, serving platters, children’s artwork, coloring books, stickers, craft items, soft drink bottles, etc. How could one who seemingly knew the truth be so blinded or complacent as to be inundated with such images? The reason is that evil is very seductive! It took a long time with searches through drawers and attics to finally clean it all out (perhaps there is still some undiscovered items). Evil seduces marvelously and these things will certainly develop a sentimental hold on one – which is the purpose (point) of all the symbolism and tradition. The author challenges you – try and eliminate all the articles with images of Santa or things Christmas related and see what a task it is. You must truly come completely out of the world to do it. You will find that most anything you bring into your home will have these on them such as magazines, books and catalogs (year round). To say that you do not believe in Santa (what it represents) yet have images in your home is to be a hypocrite and self-deceived. There was much repenting to do over all this evil. But, we are not through…


Every Tree is Known by its Fruit

Christmas time is also synonymous with a Christmas tree to most. One source claimed the tree to be the most cherished Christmas custom or ritual (tradition, ceremony, sacrament). These trees are idols placed in your home (Jer 10:3-5, Deut 7:26). They are decorated, reverenced and enjoyed all. These trees (and wreaths) have pagan origins associated with fertility (Baal, Jer 10:3-5). Fertility produces life, so this tree could easily symbolically represent the tree of life. Man was denied access to the tree of life due to his transgression against God – forbidden and denied to man (Gen 3:22-24). Man will only regain access to the tree of life through submission to and obedience of the commandments of Christ, but never through the flesh (Rev 22:14). These trees are faithfully erected with devotion every year. They are decorated with cherished images (emblems/symbols with personal meaning) to be adored by all. Perhaps incense candles will be lit around the room? No idol would be complete without offerings (as at an altar). Presents (gifts) are placed under the Christmas tree that contain all the things loved ones have coveted (lusted) after (things of the flesh). Many make wish list for the things they desire. These lists tend to be more “expectations” than hopes – so don’t disappoint. People gather around the Christmas tree in admiration and song. After partaking of the offerings (gifts) many will then celebrate in gathering (assembling) for a big meal. There is little difference here than how men have worshipped false gods through the centuries. Most would think it very petty of the author to call the tree an idol, yet most could not imag(e)-ine a year without one. God said in His word that we were not to make images, altars or groves and set them up in such a way (Deut 7:5, Ex 34:13, Num 33:52). Churches will set up trees in their sanctuaries and hang wreaths on their doors. Some may Christianize them by putting religious “images” on them. Imag(e)-ine that, an “image” set up in the midst of those who claim to worship Christ (Deut 16:22)! How could this happen if men are truly submitted to the Holy Spirit’s leading? We do not have to look far in biblical history to find that the children of Israel did these very same things. God sent Judges, Prophets and Kings, but it made little difference to the multitudes (majority). There is nothing new under the sun (Eccl 1:9). Consider the behavior of the children of Israel: Jeremiah 7:1-10, “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?” They worshipped other gods (images – Baal, nature and fertility god) and then came into the House of the Lord to worship. God was not pleased and told them to amend their ways. He who hath ears to hear! This message did not make Jeremiah a very popular likeable person among the people. The author’s message will not garner him any praise either. Most people (religious or not) believe they are delivered to do these abominations. Its all so fun and innocent to those who have exalted their word above God’s. When Jesus came, He called us out of such things to follow Him. However, man as a whole (majority), in all his religiosity, has not change from his fallen rebellious nature. This is a message for the remnant that will receive the truth – and start “following.” Change starts with submission and obedience to what Christ said - read the gospels and stop considering them in an abstract way (as not strictly applying to you) – they are applicable to you now.

The symbology of the Lord is always God-centered. The symbology of man is always flesh-centered. All the symbology used in Christmas has pagan meaning and fleshly appeal (Eph 2:3). Everything about Christmas is directed toward the satisfaction of the flesh, yet those who do such cannot please God (Rm 8:7-8). Romans 8:12-13, “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” To seek the will of the flesh is to oppose the will of God and “thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17, Ez 33:14). We must mortify (die to) the flesh to find life in God. Christmas is known as a time to eat, drink and be merry; and a time to enrich yourself in possessions and indulge in worldly entertainments. What is the forbidden fruit of the Christmas tree (i.e. celebration in general)? idolatry, gluttony, lusts, depression, envy, jealousy, greed, partying, debt, bitterness, disappointment, drunkenness, obligating others, arguing, gossip, pride, arrogance, materialism, worldliness, guilt, anger, sloth, witchcraft, and a high suicide rate – the “spirit(s)” of Christ-mass. The author does not suggest that there are no good things can be found, but these fruits of the flesh are clearly and dominately manifested. The devil always tempts (and manipulates) through the desires of the flesh (i.e. the good things), these are just the burdens and bondages that result (same as with Egypt , Gal 4:3 – come out! Gal 1:4). These are the works/fruits of the flesh (Gal 5:19 -21). Christmas is a huge (tremendous) cash cow (golden) for the retail, food, travel, delivery, flower/card, etc. industries. The bulk of all yearly sales will be realized at Christmas time. In other words, there is a significant “money” variable (love of, 1 Tim 6:10 ) to all of this. People will be buying and indulging to unprecedented levels at this time of the year (lust) – filling the flesh to the full (please consider 1 Jn 2:15 -17). This did not Jesus and this is dishonoring to Christ’s very nature – He calls us out of this world. Does any business just “opt out” at Christmas time (greed)? Is it even possible to stop participating given that manufacturers print Christmas motifs (designs, patterns, images, themes, decorations, ornamentations, subjects) on all their products and people expect to find all such paraphernalia on store shelves? Could a store that doesn’t observe Christmas (if there is such a thing) even survive? What rules (dominates) at Christmas time: the selfless nature of Christ (and His denial of the world) or the indulgences of the flesh (the retail numbers do not lie)? Should you ever see clearly to come out of such things, you will quickly realize what an incredible bondage and burden it is. You will never forsake the celebration of Christmas without significant resistance from everyone. This is the sole reason that most will flow with the world (Pharaoh/Satan does not release his subjects without a tremendous fight). Some will say there is great joy in seeing their children’s happiness over gifts (toys) received. This joy is found in the lusts of the flesh (will keep your eyes on the world); leads your loved ones opposite of God to the things of the flesh; and you have missed the point of this whole book. No doubt, there will be great tears one day if you continue along this “broad path.” Some will quote: Ephesians 4:8, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” The gifts Christ gave are: 1) Himself – perfect love (sacrifice for others, Jn 10:15 , 15:13 , Gal 1:4, 2:20 , Eph 5:25 , 1 Tim 2:6, Ti 2:14 , 1 Jn 3:16 ) for the intent of reconciling man to God. This reconciliation is accomplished through faith, which is a forsaking of self-will and surrender to God’s will and surrendering to the Lord’s working in your life (Jn 12:25, 1 Pt 1:5). 2) The Holy Ghost – given for the purpose of leading, guiding, teaching and empowering one to walk as Christ walked and to conform to His image (Lk 11:13). 3) Eternal life for those who obey Him (Mt 19:17, Jn 17:3, Rm 5:21, 6:23, 2 Thess 1:8, 1 Pt 1:22, 4:7, Jude 1:21). John 17:2, “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” The gifts Jesus gave are God-centered. The gifts man gives (or expects) are mostly flesh-centered. The author has talked to many religious people who “profess Christ,” about such things as Santa Claus and Christmas trees. These will not receive the truth no matter how convincing the use of scripture (neither would the Jews depart from the worship of Baal or Ashtaroth – what has been shall be again). Some will acknowledge parts of the truth, but their actions will not follow. The deep-seated tradition of Christmas is instilled (rooted) in most by symbology through the self-satisfaction (filling of the flesh), songs, stories, foods, candies, decorations, sentimental attachments, family, strong peer pressure, memories, obligations, festivities, emotions, time off, etc. This may be likened to the children of Israel leaving Egypt (and its wickedness and idolatry). We are being called out of the wickedness and “into the wilderness” by God. Sure there were bondages in Egypt, but some will also see a good side that they feel outweighs the bondages inflicted. Jesus once said during a deliverance: Mark 5:8, “For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.” The Lord also said in a conversation regarding being unequally yoked with unbelievers (fellowship of righteousness and unrighteousness; light and darkness, 2 Cor 6:14) and idolatry (2 Cor 6:15-16): 2 Corinthians 6:17-18, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” The “unclean thing” is that which transgresses the will of God and is in rebellion to Him (whether spirits, idols, or men). Uncleanness comes through following the lusts in your heart (Rm 1:24, 2 Pt 2:10) – those who live in error (2 Pt 2:18, Eph 5:5). The English word, “church” is ekklesia in the Greek which means, “called out ones.” Followers of Christ are called out of such things (i.e. Egypt – representative of). God is calling us out of the world, but many do not want to leave Egypt. Some have traveled to the wilderness and now want to return to Egypt. We will either seek Egypt (the world) or God. Those who seek both are still in Egypt bowing to an idol (golden calf) of their own creation. God is in the wilderness calling – who will respond? Leaving Egypt includes all that opposes God – those celebrations and attachments of the flesh. Egypt certainly had celebrations and festivities (complete with foods and traditions) which had to be completely forsaken. We must be prepared to leave the flesh nature and your own authority (control, being as a god). The wilderness is harsh on the flesh, but the spirit will survive if it yields to God’s authority. Folks, its easy to profess a Christ when the flesh is in control. This book has raised the issue of two enormous idols – the television and Christmas. Many reading this book have probably thought, “how incredibly dumb and stubborn the children of Israel had been toward God.” Perhaps you are no different if you cannot give up your own idols and unbelief - confused, idolatrous, double-minded, obstinate, opinionated, and froward. Its easy to cast judgment on the children of Israel, but are you clinging to your own rebellion and idolatry? The children of Israel’s flesh was denied in that wilderness and they rose up in great complaint and protest. Their unbelief produced disobedience which always brings death (their carcasses dropped in the wilderness). How will you be when your idols are taken away? God will try your heart in this life and the results will be eternal (1 Pt 1:7). Your stubbornness toward God’s attempts to reach you (call you out) will be your own undoing at Judgment. When the children of Israel entered into the Promised Land they were told to destroy the idols and altars; pictures; and high places of the wicked nations (peoples of the land, Num 33:52, Deut 12:2-4). Israel was not to learn their abominations (Deut 18:9); they were to learn God’s commandments (i.e. fringes on the garments, put Words on stones, Deut 27:2-4). In other words, it was unacceptable by God to incorporate other practices (devotions) into their lives in addition to Him. Nothing has changed for the follower of Christ. All the idols and altars in your life must be torn down, no other gods - period (Deut 5:7, 6:14 ). Modern man is completely blind to his own idolatry.


The Challenge to Authority

Numbers 16:1-3, “Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?” The congregation of Israel had been sent back to the harsh wilderness for a generation to live out their lives. Perhaps these men felt that a change of leadership would reverse their just condemnation. Moses and Aaron were appointed of God. The priesthood was given perpetually to Aaron and his sons (Ex 29:9, 40:12-15) and the Levites were given to do the service of the tabernacle (Numbers Chap 3) - by God’s direction. Now Korah presumes to take the priesthood, whereas Dathan and Abiram, who are Reubenites, challenge the right of the Levites. Korah is the leader of the two hundred and fifty princes. Psalms 106:16, “They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD.” Envy (jealousy, greed, desire) is the opposite of charity (1 Cor 13:4). Numbers 16:4-7, “And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face: And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him. This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company; And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.” Moses places himself in the hands of God. Moses had fully given himself for the children of Israel: he placed his physical life on the line as well as his eternal salvation for them; He challenged Pharaoh and all of Egypt with God’s miracles and wonders, for them - at God’s direction; he interceded for them through fasting and pleading with God (facing God’s wrath), he was God’s instrument in bringing forth sustenance (food, water); he judged their causes, he spoke God’s Word to them and administered God’s covenant; and was faithful to God and man. Now Moses’ authority is being questioned by the ones Moses was sent to serve. Similarly, Jesus received nothing but ridicule from the ones He came to save (Is 53:3-5, 6-7). John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Christ gave Himself for the people. He suffered for the just and the unjust (Mt 5:47, 1 Pt 3:18). Jesus healed, delivered, served, fed, gave, ministered, taught, loved, prayed for, defended, suffered, forgave, and laid down His life willingly. Jesus (and Moses) was totally giving and never selfish. The religious ones continually questioned Christ’s authority. Mark 11:28, “And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things (also Mt 21:23, Lk 20:2)?” Both Moses and Jesus were sent of God – one a prophet and one a Son. They spoke God’s Words, worked God’s Works and cared for the sheep. They were both peacemakers and endured the constant ridicule of rebellious man. Moses and Jesus both bore the griefs, sorrows and iniquities of the people (Moses - Deut 1:12, 9:18, 25, 10:10, Jesus - Is 53:3-5, 11). They were faithful witnesses of the truth. Moses gave the law (from God, Num 24:12, 31:21, Deut 1:5, 4:44, 31:24, 33:4). Jesus gave the Holy Spirit (from God, Mt 3:11, Lk 3:16, 24:49, Jn 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7, Acts 1:5, 8, 2:33, 38). The people sought to stone Moses (Num 14:10) and when Christ came they also sought to stone Him (Jn 8:59, 10:31-32). Both Moses and Jesus had their authority questioned, but the authority could not be denied based on the Words they spoke and the Works they did – the power of God was on them (Mt 9:8, Lk 4:32, 36, 9:43, Acts 10:38, 1 Cor 4:20, 1 Thess 1:5). Korah, Datham, Abiram and these princes have erred exceedingly. No one can take for self that which is appointed of God. Moses’ and Aaron’s abilities came from God. We must be humble and faithful in the place that God has called us to be.

Numbers 16:8-11, “And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?” Moses tried to reason with these rebels. He was telling them that their position of service was very noble and that rather than seeking/exalting self-will, they must submit to God’s will and the place He has for them. The Levites had been consecrated (set apart) for a specific purpose (Num 8:5-16): Numbers 8:11, 19-22, “Numbers 8:11  And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the LORD. And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary. And Moses, and Aaron, and all the congregation of the children of Israel, did to the Levites according unto all that the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did the children of Israel unto them. And the Levites were purified, and they washed their clothes; and Aaron offered them as an offering before the LORD; and Aaron made an atonement for them to cleanse them. And after that went the Levites in to do their service in the tabernacle of the congregation before Aaron, and before his sons: as the LORD had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did they unto them.” Now Korah and the Levites sought to exalt themselves. Matthew 23:12, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted (also Lk 14:11, 18:14).” Man did not submit himself in humble obedience to God in Eden, but rather exalted self in disobedience to the Lord. Pride comes from self exaltation and is manifested as seeking your own way. God hates this prideful nature (Pv 8:13). The only way one will ever be exalted in the Lord is to be faithful and humble where you have been placed. In order to become great, you must become least (Lk 9:48). Position is not gained on a foundation of pride, arrogance or haughtiness (as the world teaches), but rather on a foundation of submission, meekness, faithfulness and humbleness. The world teaches us that to get ahead, we must rise above others. God teaches us that to get ahead, we must serve others (Mk 9:35). The former position is focused on SELF and the latter is focused on love of your neighbor. The flesh must be put down rather than be allowed to exert itself (at the expense of others). The devil sought self and this is were he would lead man (Satan’s nature). Jesus died to self, sought (and performed) the will of the Father, and served others; this is where Christ will lead man (God’s nature). Moses was God’s appointed leader and was meek above all men (Num 12:3). Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” As previously mentioned: Exodus 29:9, “And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.” All of Israel had consecrated them (set them apart for this duty) before the Lord (Exodus Chapter Twenty Nine). Now Korah was leading an effort to oust them for selfish reasons. Numbers 16:12-15, “And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up: Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us? Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up. And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.” Moses tried to reason with Dathan, Abiram and company, but they refused to meet with him and even blamed Moses for not being allowed to enter into the Promised Land. The transgressors will always shift blame to others for their actions (unbelief, Adam blamed Eve who blamed the serpent, Gen 3:12-13). Moses deserved the highest honor, but garners nothing but reproach from this wicked congregation. Similarly when we stand in faith for righteousness for Christ’s name there is often reproach from a rebellious mankind (Lk 6:22). 1 Peter 4:14, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” The flesh will lash out at the Spirit as they are contrary. 1 Peter 3:14-17, “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” These evil men not only strove against Moses and Aaron, but withstood God (Num 26:9).

Numbers 16:16-22, “And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow: And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer. And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron. And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?” Korah and the congregation were standing against God’s anointed (Moses and Aaron) for the purposes of self. This was a disregard for God’s leadership in favor of self rule (i.e. Eden). Proverbs 21:27, “The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind (also Ps 15:8)?” Korah had gather the congregation against Moses and the Lord was prepared to destroy them. Moses and Aaron plead for the congregation (their ignorance). Korah was the instigator (leader) and often others will be swayed into a wrong course of action through their own discontent (self-centeredness). One point of caution: many men present themselves as God’s anointed and demand surrender to their authority. A true man of God will be meek and speak God’s Word (will agree with the biblical message – true gospel) and will work God’s works. His authority will be authenticated by God (power of the Words, the works). A true man of God will lead you to God with no desire for fleshly gain. Numbers 16:23-27, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.” We are required to separate ourselves from sinners – and not to partake of their evil deeds (Rev 18:4). Due to man’s fallen nature, one tends to be more easily influenced with evil than good. We must guard ourselves lest we be consumed in the sins of others. Those not submitted to and following the Lord will certainly try and conform us to their ways – a way opposite of God. To walk with the ungodly, there must be some agreement. Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Dathan and Abiram would not come to Moses (meet with him), so the Lord sends Moses to them. This is not a social visit, but one of judgment. Our actions will either be righteous or wicked and God is most certainly opposed to the wicked (Ps 7:11, 9:16, 11:5, 101:8, 106:18, 129:4, 145:20, Pv 2:22, 10:3, 15:9). Numbers 16:28-34, “And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.” Hereby, ye shall know the Lord hath sent me - All the prophets and Jesus came speaking the Father’s Words and doing the works of God. These men were belittled, ridiculed, mistreated, and rejected, but the Words and works they spake/did were from God. They just obediently performed them. The Words were backed by God. The Lord performs a tremendous “attention getter” in judging the wickedness of Dathan and Abiram. Their families also suffered as a result of their rebellious actions. Psalms 9:17, “The wicked shall be turned into hell.” Those who transgress God’s authority will find their place in hell – some sooner than others. The Lord had sanctified (set apart) the Levites for the duties of the tabernacle (Num Chap 3). Dathan and Abiram who were Reubenites had no claim on the duties of the priesthood or the tabernacle. These men had not just disputed with the established authority, but with God (Num 26:9). Psalms 106:17, “The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram (also Num 26:10, Deut 11:6).” Numbers 16:35, “And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.” Aaron (high priest) had been designated to offer incense before the Lord (Ex 30:7-8, 40:27). These men were contending (challenging for) for the priesthood and God responded with fire. These men’s works were tried and found lacking. 1 Corinthians 3:13, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” They were consumed in their wickedness. Psalms 106:18, “And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.” The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord (Pv 15:8, 21:27). Their hearts were to usurp (pride) and not to serve (humbleness) – our hearts will be tried with fire. We should never approach God with a heart of pride in seeking selfish benefit. We must always be yielded and humble, offering up those “high things” that oppose God’s will. God later states in conjunction with His judgment upon these men, that no stranger is to come near to offer incense to the Lord that is not of the family of Aaron (Num 16:40).


Obstinate People

Numbers 16:41-45, “But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD. And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared. And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.” Many people have now died as a result of this challenge to God’s established authority and course of direction. The people do not accept the wickedness of the perpetrators (and their just judgment), probably due to their own discontent of having been sent back to the wilderness. These rebellious men who had challenged God were referred to by the people as “the people of the Lord.” Obviously, God did not think so. Many in their blindness and ignorance will consider wicked men to be of the Lord and actually condemn the just. The wicked tend to appeal to the flesh nature of man, whereas the just come against it. No one wants to be told they must wander in the wilderness for the destruction of the flesh. The congregation held Moses and Aaron (the victims) as being responsible for the death of these evil men. We will all face God on our own merits one day and there will be no shifting of blame. Had these men been righteous, wouldn’t the situation have been the reverse? The congregation blamed Moses and Aaron, but they were really judging God in an evil light. The Lord has received nothing but reproach and dishonor (shame) from this people and is prepared to consume them in their iniquity. This confrontation shows that men will not necessarily seek God’s righteousness (ways, path) based upon fear/terror. Wicked men had been judged and destroyed right before their very eyes, yet they still rebelled against God’s holy ways and just authority. Men must have a change of heart (new birth, God’s nature) in order to serve Him in love, otherwise man will just SELF-destruct. Moses and Aaron fall on their faces in respect of God. Numbers 16:46-50, “And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun. And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed. Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah. And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.” Men were dying all around in their rebellion to God. Moses and Aaron showed love (forbearance under injury, sacrifice for others) in defending this rebellious people and this made the difference before God. Had it not been for Moses and Aaron, all the people would have perished. Incense in the hands of Korah and the princes of Israel resulted in their destruction. When Aaron (who is designated the High Priest by God) takes the incense it results in life. This is a picture of salvation. We will all die if we continue in our rebellion against God. Love toward God and our fellow man is what will save us. Aaron became a type of Christ in standing between the dead and the living. As the high priest, he stood between God and rebellious man pleading for mercy (atonement) – an intercessor. Now consider what Jesus did: Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rebellious (and religious) man continued to mock and ridicule Christ even as He hung on the cross. Jesus showed forbearance under injuries in giving His very life for such in perfect love (sacrifice for others). Lets consider this a little deeper. Moses had suffered evil at the hands of the congregation, yet Moses only returned love. Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing (1 Pt 3:9). Moses endured the persecution for the objective of leading the people to God. Similarly, Jesus endure much evil at the hands of man and only returned love for the purpose of reconciling man and God. 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” The just (righteous) suffer for the unjust (wicked) in hopes of bringing them to God. This is true love – the sacrifice of self for the benefit of another. The paradox is that one would assume the wicked should suffer and the righteous prevail. However, true love conquers all and does not seek self, but God’s will that none should perish. There will come an end of God’s mercy and longsuffering toward the rebellious (His offer of reconciliation), and at such time the righteous will prevail (triumph) over the wicked for all eternity. The wicked will then receive their just condemnation and be without excuse. This event should have shown the people the legitimacy of Aaron in the priesthood. His offering of incense was accepted of the Lord and did not result in further death.


Additional Considerations

The majority of the children of Israel seem to have been behind this attempt to usurp the authority given to Moses and Aaron. It’s a very good thing for Moses and Aaron that this was not settled by a congregational vote like so many religious institutions do today. The voting majority would have certainly been against (opposed to) the will of God. Fortunately, God always defends those who are truly submitted to Him for His purposes. Most religious organizations (i.e. churches) today conduct their religious affairs modeled after the American political system of democracy. They just presume that whatever the vote of the congregation is becomes the will of God – how could it not be? It has been shown over and over in God’s Word that majorities are always wrong. The majority is always in rebellion to God’s purposes. Therefore, religious institutions (i.e. churches) that are governed by a majority congregation (or denominational convention - delegation) vote are in continual error. The errant (wayward, willful, contrary, rebellious) majority always dominates the minority and continues down a path of misdirection. This is man leading and not following. This is a disregard for the Holy Spirit. Does anyone presume that the affairs of heaven will be conducted by popular vote of the creation? Will not God reign Supreme? Then why does religious man do things so defiantly on earth? Voting is the attempt of each man to ensure that his will (his way) is known and hopefully adhered to (being exalted over the opposition). Voting is an exaltation of the flesh rather than a surrender to seek God’s will. Its not about exalting your will or opinion! Its about fearing God, which means to seek and understand God’s will and surrender to it – this means no voting! Voting is about “Me,” but a true follower yields to “Thee” (Jesus Christ and the Spirit He has given/sent). Did you know that Jesus was essentially crucified after a religious vote. The Roman governor (Pontius Pilate) offered to release either Jesus or Barabbas (Mt 27:17-20, Mk 15:6-13, Lk 23:14-25, Jn 18:38-40, 19:12-16). The religious leaders whipped the crowd into a frenzy in front of the Roman governor in asking for the release of Barabbas (convicted murderer) and also demanding Christ’s death (Mt 27:20-26, Mk 15:13-15, Jn 19:6-7). The Lord says that things work differently in “love.” Man always wants to know, “what can you do for me” (hate – sacrifice of others for the benefit of SELF)? God would have us conduct ourselves as, “what can I do for you” (love – sacrifice of SELF for the benefit of another)? Granted, that it is difficult to live in love in a fallen world, because so many people will just take – and never give. However, we are to overcome the world in love. He that is least of all, the same shall be great (Lk 9:48). God desires such submission in all of us and this is not a dishonor (Eph 5:21). To be anything else is to be prideful (Mt 23:12). To be first you must be last and a servant to all (Mk 9:35). To be greatest/chiefest, you must be servant of all (Mt 23:11, Mk 10:44). This confounds the flesh! To be submissive is to be meek. Meekness is submission to the divine will of God (Ps 22:26, 25:9) and these will inherit the earth (Ps 37:11). The Lord reveals truth to those who are submitted (Mt 11:25). God has a pre-established order of things. This chain of authority extends to His dealings with man - His creation. 1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Jesus is submitted to God (the Father), man must be submitted to Christ (the Son), and woman must be submitted to man (Gen 3:16, Eph 5:22-24). The child must be submitted to his parents (Mt 15:4, Eph 6:1-3). Each layer of authority has responsibilities. This is God’s divine order (Is 45:9)! Consider: John 15:10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” One submits to the will of another. What is being submissive? To submit/yield to the authority of another without objection or resistance. To be ruled by the decision, will or judgment of another. This encompasses meekness, obedience, surrender, yielding, and humbleness. In heaven, the angels are in submission to God’s authority (Mt 6:10, Lk 11:2, Heb 1:5, 2:5, Jude 1:6). Satan (Lucifer) tried to rise above God’s authority to determine his own course and seat himself as God. Satan convinced man to do the same. Anyone who rebels against God’s order (chain of authority) at any level is a transgressor. To determine your own way is to place yourself above God. If this seems strange to you in this rebellious age, then you are probably not submitted. The Lord established Moses and Aaron and the Levites into their positions. Those who rise up against God’s authority become transgressors – rebels. The characteristic of God’s appointed leaders will be love and meekness. Moses and Jesus were meek above all men and demonstrated love. Those men who come in Lordship and control (self exaltation) and claim to be God’s authorities are neither.


Aaron’s Rod

Numbers 17:1-7, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man's name upon his rod. And thou shalt write Aaron’s name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers. And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I will meet with you. And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you. And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers’ houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness.” The Lord reveals His mercy in heading off future transgressions from this stiff-necked and hard-hearted people. The Lord had dispensed judgment upon this rebellious people and now the Lord offers a method to prevent the need for additional judgment in this matter. The Lord would remove any doubt regarding His chosen leadership. Numbers 17:8-13, “And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod. And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not. And Moses did so: as the LORD commanded him, so did he. And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish. Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of the LORD shall die: shall we be consumed with dying?” Aaron’s rod sprang forth with life and yielded fruit. Aaron’s life was found in God. Jesus said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (Jn 10:10).” True life is only found in Christ. John 14:6,”Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Aaron’s rod produced fruit. Jesus said that we must abide in Him to produce fruit. This is what God expects in those who follow Christ. John 15:4-5, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:8, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” The rods of these other men were unchanged – dead and without life. God referred to them as rebels. To be a rebel would be the equivalent of being a dry fruitless branch awaiting the fire. John 15:2, 6, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” God is longsuffering (that they die not), but does expect change. Ezekiel 18:23, “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”


Water From a Rock

Numbers 20:1-5, “Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.” This obstinate people could not see (perceive, envision) life beyond their fleshly senses – their wants; what the flesh can control. Man’s fallen self-centered nature will not change and cannot be reformed. Man must die to self (the nature that opposes God, and His just rule over you) and be born again with God’s nature (Jn 3:3). We must be filled with God’s Spirit and led (as sheep) to conform to His will. Our obedience to the Spirit produces change (God working in us, Php 2:13). Those who want to do the leading through their chiding, murmuring and complaining have not died to that fallen fleshly nature. The peevish would rather die than not get their way. Man sought his way in Eden and produced death and this fallen nature. Therefore, the children of Israel’s way only reveals their active fallen nature. Numbers 20:6-13, “And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.” Moses allowed his anger to get the best of him and did not explicitly follow the Lord’s direction. Disobedience to God is a very serious (grave) matter, never to be taken lightly. Psalms 106:32-33, “They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.” Moses placed himself in God’s role in judging the people and saying that he would provide the water. Deuteronomy 1:37, “Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.” Moses and Aaron would die in the wilderness with no hope of entering into the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 4:21-22, “Furthermore the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance: But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.” We must be careful to not allow the wicked and rebellious around us to lead us in a wrongful course of action. Our obedience to God must always overcome the strong urges of the flesh. Some actions cannot be reversed. Moses did plead with God on a later occasion to enter into the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 3:24-27, “O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon. But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter. Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.” The Lord’s Word was final in this matter. Obedience to the will of God is a very serious issue.


Fiery Serpents

Numbers 21:5-9, “And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt (representative of idolatry, transgression, iniquity, and rebellion and the resulting bondages) into the wilderness so that they could die to self and learn faith (obedience, trust, reliance, dependence) upon the Lord. The wilderness is harsh and destroys the flesh and one must learn to stop relying upon the flesh and seeking it’s comforts. The people had no heart for God to learn His ways because their hearts were on themselves and what they desired (lusts of the flesh). Job 21:14, “Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.” Man wanted God to serve him, rather than man serving God. Those who seek the flesh will always look upon God as a type of servant (bless me, heal me, get me out of a bad situation, give me things). Notice, they spake against God and loathed (hated, detested, despised, abhorred, repulsed by) God’s provision of manna (light bread). They were totally unthankful and full of unbelief (opposite of faith) in God. The light bread was to humble (deny the flesh) and teach them that man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Deut 8:3). There must be a change of authorities in the wilderness. We must come out from under the authority of the flesh (which is submitted to the devil’s lie) and be placed under the authority of God. Jesus clearly understood this in His temptation from the devil. Matthew 4:2-4, “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Notice the difference: the children of Israel complained and sought the flesh, thereby rejecting God’s provision and authority; Jesus sought the Spirit and denied the flesh and thereby embraced God’s will and surrendered to God’s authority. Christ obeyed God’s will and showed us how to please the Lord. The devil had tempted man (Eve then Adam) in Eden with food (that which the flesh desires) and led him away from God into disobedience and transgression. The second man (Jesus, 1 Cor 15:47) was not going to be led by the devil in a similar manner, and firmly states His choice to surrender totally to God’s will. Christ affirms that He will place God’s purposes (Word) above His own (food).

The serpent always represents the devil in scripture. The devil is venomous because he opposes God and is always trying to hinder God’s purposes. Venom (poison) causes death to those who are infected. The serpent’s venom is transgression against God which always results in death. Adam and Eve encountered the devil, in the form of a serpent, in the Garden of Eden. God had given man a commandment: Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” God’s will and the consequence of violating that will were clear. A tree is always known by the fruit it produces (Mt 12:33). Matthew 7:17, “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” The tree of life produced “life” which is the righteousness of God (love, joy, peace, goodness, truth, temperance, longsuffering, gentleness, and faith, Gal 5:22, Eph 5:9).  The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil produced “death” – its fruit was poisonous and was forbidden by God. This fruit was transgression of the will of God (disobedience), self seeking, disregard for God’s authority, iniquity and rebellion. Whereas the forbidden fruit was pleasant to the eyes and palatable to the taste (as things of the flesh often are, Gen 3:6), it was a bitter fruit to bear and its consumption has wrought much misery. The devil entered the garden and injected his venom. Genesis 3:2-5, “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” God said if you eat of the forbidden fruit thou shalt surely die. The devil said if you eat of the forbidden fruit ye shall not surely die. The devil’s lie is opposite of God’s truth. The devil was telling man that he could transgress the will of God and seek his own will and not die (be as a god). Man sought his own will and submitted to the devil (rather than God) and thus brought death into the world. Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Death verified the truth of God’s Word and the lie of the devil’s word (Heb 9:27). The interesting point of note here is that the eating of the forbidden fruit brought about “involuntary” physical (and eternal to most) death of man. The cure administered through Christ requires “voluntary” death to self (the flesh, Mt 10:38-39, 16:24-25, Mk 8:34-35, 10:21, Lk 9:23-24, 14:27, 17:33, Jn 12:25, Rm 8:13, 2 Cor 5:15, Gal 2:20, Eph 4:24, Col 3:2-3) and all its self seeking transgressing and rebellious ways. This is only possible through God and the Spirit He has given us. The serpent brought separation between man and God resulting in death and is therefore a highly venomous beast. Jesus was sent from God to destroy the works of the devil and lead man back to God (1 Jn 3:8). The devil’s works are the rebellion in man resultant from the devil’s lie. Jesus turns us from our iniquities which are resultant from our self seeking which is resultant from the venom of the devil’s lie (Acts 3:26), for the purpose of coming back under God’s authority. Salvation is only found in Christ (Acts 4:12). Jesus turns us from darkness and the power of the devil through repentance (forsaking of our iniquities through tangible evidence) and provides forgiveness of our sins through our faith (obedience, trust, surrender) in Him (Acts 26:18, 20). Therefore, being justified by faith through Christ, we have peace with God (Rm 5:1). The blood of Christ was the antidote (cure, remedy, solution) to the serpent’s venom. We must sincerely “follow” Jesus as He leads us back to God. Romans 5:9-11, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” The atonement Christ provided was recompense for our transgressions. Atonement is reconciliation after enmity whereby reparation is made by giving an equivalent for a wrong committed. This people were completely self centered and submitted (obedient, loyal) to their own flesh (lusts). Therefore, God allowed the devil to infect the children of Israel with his venom which causes death. Seeking self (and thereby rejecting God) separates one from God and opens one up to the bite of the serpent. The people cried out in repentance (most just wanted relief or salvation of their own flesh) and God provided a solution. Moses made a brazen serpent and placed it upon a pole. All those who were bitten by a venomous beast had a choice to make. If one looked upon the brazen serpent (obeyed God), he would live. If one did not look upon the brazen serpent he would die in his rebellion (disobedience to God). So to live, one must obey and look to God’s provision in faith. Why a brazen serpent on a pole? This was a foreshadowing of what Christ would later do perfectly. This was an object lesson. John 3:14-15, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life (also Jn 12:32-33).” Can you see the correlation? Men were bitten of the devil’s lie that suggested you can transgress God’s will and live for self and not die. The poison of this lie worked death. Men were dying in their rebellion to God. Jesus came to destroy the works (the transgression, self seeking, iniquity, separation, and rebellion) of the devil. Jesus leads us out of our iniquity and rebellion and back under God’s authority. Through Christ, the prince of this world (poison serpent) is judged and cast out (Jn 12:31). Christ provided the atonement that made peace with God possible for all who will look upon Him. This means that you must surrender your life to Jesus and all He stood for. John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” As Jesus hung on that cross, His blood was the only remedy for the poison that was killing man. Those who refuse to look upon Christ will die of this poison.

Acts 28:2-6, “And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.” Paul is attacked by a venomous serpent (the devil). The residents of the island were sure that Paul would die. Paul shook the beast off into the fire and suffered no harm or consequence. The fire is representative of the lake of fire. This is where the devil and all those he has poisoned with his lie (those who continue in his rebellion) shall be eternally (separated from God into torment). Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Revelation 20:14-15, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Paul was on a mission to Rome to perform the will of Christ. Acts 23:11, “And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” The devil tried to stop Paul by injecting his venom (literally). The serpent was put into his place (the fire) and God received the glory as Paul tread down the serpent for all to see in being faithful to perform the Lord’s will (Lk 10:19). Paul continued on to Rome and fulfilled God’s purposes. The Lord’s will always prevails and God sustains those who are submitted and obedient to Him as they walk in faith following their Lord Jesus. Romans 8:28, 31, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”



We discussed in Chapter Three the responsibilities of entering into a covenant. This is a solemn (binding) agreement between God and man.  God told the children of Israel that if they would obey Him and walk (live) in his commands that He would establish His covenant (Lev 26:1-9). Leviticus 26:11-13, “And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.” Similarly, we enter into Christ’s covenant (testament, gospel). We are still required to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (Deut 6:4-6 verses Mk 12:30). We are still required to love our neighbor as ourselves (Lev 19:18 verses Mk 12:31). However, we walk in faith and not under the law – in Spirit and not letter (2 Cor 3:6). In order to do this Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit. There is mercy, but not license (1 Jn 1:9, Jude 1:4). We submit and follow as we are led. If you love Jesus – keep His commandments (Jn 14:15, 15:10, 1 Jn 5:2-3). The Holy Spirit dwells in us now (1 Cor 6:19). One day, God will also set His tabernacle among us and dwell with us. Revelation 21:3, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” AND Revelation 7:15, “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”

The other side (opposing, rebellious, transgressing) is breaking the solemn covenant between God and man. We will consider the further meaning of the opposites – blessings verses curses in a moment (keeping verses breaking covenant with God). God told the children of Israel: Leviticus 26:14-18, “But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.” The Lord goes on to list (in Lev 26:19-44) many other curses for breaking His covenant. God continues to use the phrase, “I will punish you seven times more for your sins.” Seven is the number of completion. God will render complete judgment (just recompense) on those who hate Him (disregard His covenant). Similarly, we enter into a solemn covenant with Christ and must not transgress it. Hebrews 6:4-6, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Those not actively doing the will of God will face rejection by Christ. Jesus will burn such chaff (transgressors) with unquenchable fire (Mt 3:12). The chaff are the ones not abiding in Christ (Jn 15:1-10). Jesus tells them: “depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mt 25:41). Christ once said: Matthew 10:32-33, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” To “confess” or “deny” is meant in terms of how you live your life before men (this covenant of faith). Now consider: Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Saying unto Christ, Lord, Lord is the equivalent to the (often superficially) repeated sinner’s prayer type formula that is so incredibly widespread these days (Heb 4:2). Instant salvation and no faith required. Say this little prayer and “ye shall not surely die” (Gen 3:4-5). Religious man will teach one to say Lord, Lord, but they will not teach one to do the will of the Father which is in heaven. Jesus said it best when He said the blind lead the blind (Mt 15:14 , Lk 6:39 ). Jesus specifically says that this will not secure you a place in heaven (just saying Lord, Lord). Many will say Lord, Lord; these folks believed they had a relationship with Christ. Luke 6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” They will be clearly taken by surprise when Jesus does not know them (totally deceived, yet very hard to convince). Perhaps they had a one way relationship – “theirs.” How could they have been so misled (by pastors who wouldn’t offend the flesh with the truth). These people also used Christ’s name to give messages and performed deliverances and this suggest more than a casual association. These “many” people performed lots of religious works in “Jesus’ name.” Perhaps they attended church every time the door opened? Perhaps they taught Sunday school and were in the choir? Perhaps they were big givers (donations)? Maybe some were pastors? Look what Jesus says, “ye that work iniquity.” Perhaps they felt they needed no deliverance? Maybe they were good righteous Christians (on the outside) one or two days of the week, but lived a bit self seeking through the rest of the week? Perhaps they pushed (overly applied) their definition of God’s grace a bit too far about sin in their lives (Heb 10:29)? Perhaps they added many “man made” clauses (doctrines, traditions, worldliness) to Christ’s covenant? We must bring forth fruits worthy of repentance and live in faith; think not to say within yourselves we are Christians: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up those who “profess” Christ (Lk 3:8). Don’t say – do! You must beware lest you should come short of God’s promises (Heb 4:1, 2 Pt 3:17 ). Obviously once they were saved (by their methods) they were not always saved (read the verse again and think). They were very religious people, but Christ did not know them -  and cast them away. Depart, depart from Me, ye that love your darkness – I know not whence ye are ye workers of iniquity (Lk 13:25, 27). I came to deliver, but you desired no such deliverance – freedom from sin (Jn 8:34-36). Depart, ye that misuse My name for your devotion to self. Lord, Lord, open to us (Mt 25:11). Verily I say unto you, I know you not (Mt 25:12). Look at who Jesus says does enter the kingdom of heaven, “he that doeth the will of my Father.” This book has attempted to describe what this means. Ephesians 5:17, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” You are to totally and lovingly surrender your whole life (with a willing mind and perfect heart, 1 Chr 28:9, 29:9) to the Lord Jesus in obedience (every day). You must be filled with the Holy Ghost and be led to conform to Christ’s image. You walk as Jesus walked when you follow in His steps and you partake of His fellowship. Your not earning anything, your following (in righteousness). God is transforming you through your obedience to Him. 1 John 2:17, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof (ways of man): but he that doeth the will of God (God’s way) abideth for ever.” Pray that you may be accounted worthy to obtain (Lk 2035, 21:36). He that has an ear, listen to what the Spirit is saying. May God’s mercy guide you to follow in His will (Php 3:12).


Hell, Hades, Sheol The place of the rebellious

Hell is a word (which some religious ones will endlessly debate) that describes the attributes of eternal separation from God. The word doesn’t matter so much as what it represents. The Bible often refers to those that are physically alive yet separated from God as being in the shadow of death (Job 10:21-22, 16:16, 24:17, 28:3, 34:22, 38:17, Ps 23:4, 107:10, 14, Is 9:2, Jer 2:6, 13:6, Mt 4:6, Lk 1:79). So, perhaps death is the best word to describe what awaits those who remain in rebellion to God. Death would be the cessation of anything pertaining to life – not a neutral existence (sleep, coma, or nonexistence), but an extremely negative one (second death). God is the giver of life. To be separated from God is to be separated from life. God offers to every man life or death. Deuteronomy 30:15-16, “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it (i.e. eternity with God).” A foreshadowing of heaven and hell is best described by the “blessings and cursings” that God promised Israel depending on which path they chose (Deut 11:26 -28, Deut Chap 28, Lev Chap 26). The curses (to bring evil upon) represented God’s punishment or judgment given according to one’s ways (own doings). The “curses” were always the exact opposite of the “blessings.” From what we know from scripture, similar could be said hell; it will be the opposite of heaven (that which represents eternity with God). Consider these opposites: Isaiah 65:13-14, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.” Let us consider the ramifications. Jesus brought peace (Is 9:6, Lk 1:79, Jn 14:27); hell will be full of doom and gloom, restlessness, agony of mind, fighting, bickering and unfulfilled lusts. Christ was the fulfillment of love and joy; hell will be a place of hate, severe bitterness, constant hostility, enmity, desolation and unforgiveness. Jesus offered bread and living waters (Jn 4:14, 6:51, 58, 7:38, Rev 7:17); hell will be a place of gnawing hunger and intense thirst (Lk 16:24). After all, Jesus said: John 6:35, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” If one didn’t believe on Christ then he must certainly experience the opposite throughout eternity – shall always hunger and shall always thirst. Jesus healed and provided comfort; hell will be full of grievous sicknesses and incredible pain and agony (torture, suffering, distress, woe) – physical discomfort. Christ knows His sheep by name (Jn 10:3); in hell, everyone will be completely and utterly rejected by God (eternally) – there will be no individuality (for those who sought self). Jesus brought calm, contentment and deliverance (Mt 6:25-34, Mk 4:39-40); in hell there will be intense and unsatisfied cravings and addictions, and the body will be possessed by worms (Is 66:24, Mk 9:46, 44, 48). Christ and His followers are exalted and rewarded (Mt 16:27, Lk 6:23, 1 Cor 3:8, Rev 22:12); those in hell will be greatly humbled and punished. Heaven is described as incredibly beautiful; hell will be hideous, nauseating (disgusting, sickening, repulsive, revolting, upsetting) and ugly. Hell is the second death and as such will reek (stench) of the smell of death (decomposing and filthy flesh) and abominable things. The followers of Christ will be given glorified bodies (1 Cor 15:44, 1 Jn 3:2); those in hell will have bodies that reflect their rebellious nature (filthy, undesirable). Jesus spoke Words of eternal truth; in hell there will be constant vile cursing and only lies (truth will be absent). Jesus brought great hope to man (Rm 8:24); in hell there will be no hope – complete and sheer despair (misery, anguish, despondency). Jesus said His burden was light (Mt 11:30); in hell the burden will be unbearable and never ending. In heaven one will be known as he was – confessed before the Father and angels (Mt 10:32, Lk 12:8, Rev 3:5); in hell you will be stricken from all remembrance. In heaven God will wipe away the tears (Rev 7:17, 21:4); in hell there will be nothing but continual sorrow (mourning, sadness, distress, grief) and gnashing of teeth. Those in heaven will live in the light of God’s presence (Rev 21:23, 22:5); those in hell will be in their own complete darkness (Mt 8:12, 22:13, 25:30, Jude 1:13). Hell will be anything but a big party with your rebellious friends (as some describe it). Should you ever bump into an old acquaintance while bobbing up and down in the lake of fire, there will be sheer and utter hatred – one toward the other. Hell is for eternity because there is no chance of reformation there. One will only become more corrupted as the endless time (which loses all meaning) goes by in a place of hatred; bitterness; hostility; strong unfulfilled desires; incredibly foul language; putrid smells; agonizing screams; unbearable pain; unrelenting discomfort; haunting thoughts of what might have been; tremendous hunger and thirst; nausea; utter hopelessness; intense fright, terror; total darkness; isolation; increased hatred toward God; despair; and on and on. They will be held by the cords of their own sins (Pv 5:22). Scriptures say that the righteous shall shine forth as the sun (Mt 13:43, also the brightness of the firmament, Dan 12:3). The wicked will take on another appearance altogether; they shall be hideous, vile and wretched to match the nature of their hearts – abominable before the Lord. The Lord did say: Ezekiel 11:21, “But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD.” God sets before us life and death and blessings and cursings (Deut 30:19). Deuteronomy 11:26-28, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.” Life and blessings only results from loving and obeying God with all your heart (Deut 30:10, 16, 20). Death and cursings result from loving and obeying your will or self with all your heart. Your heart will tell on you one day and there will be no secrets.


Doctrine of Balaam

Almost forty years had gone by and the previous generation had all but died out. The children of Israel were beginning to learn to depend upon the Lord their God. Deuteronomy 29:5-6, “And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God.” Israel had just defeated the nations of Sihon and Og. The greatest challenge to this new generation lay just prior to entering into the Promised Land. Perhaps things have the greatest potential for darkness just prior to the victory. Numbers 22:2-6, “And Balak the son of Zippor (king of Moab) saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field. And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.” Balak hired Balaam to curse Israel such that he could defeat them militarily (Num 22:6, 11, Deut 23:4, Neh 13:2). The Lord God intervened and would not allow Balaam to curse Israel, but rather blessed them (Num 22:12, 23:8, Josh 24:10). Numbers 24:10, “And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times.” The Lord told Israel: Deuteronomy 23:5, “Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.” It became very apparent that Moab was not going to defeat Israel militarily. Balaam was not allowed to curse Israel to receive the reward he coveted (promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me, Num 22:17). Therefore, Balaam gave Balak counsel that has come to be known as the “doctrine of Balaam” (Num 31:16). Balaam’s counsel was much the same tactic as that of Satan. Balaam told Balak that he would never beat Israel militarily (overcome by strength of force) because God was on their side. Balak would be fighting against the God who had destroyed Egypt, the Amorites (Sihon, Num 21:4) and Og, king of Bashan (Num 23:33-35). So, Balaam counseled that Balak must first corrupt Israel such that even God would reject them and actually become their enemy. In other words, corrupt the object of God’s desire such that God Himself would reject them. For God had said through Balaam: Numbers 23:21, “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.” The Moabite’s objective would be to fill Israel with iniquity and perverseness – to teach them their ways. This is why the Lord had prior warned Israel: Deuteronomy 7:2-5, “And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods (in other words, they will corrupt you): so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly (God will become your enemy). But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.” Furthermore: Deuteronomy 7:16, “And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.” So, this is what Balak did: Numbers 25:1-3, “And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.” Israel had disregarded God’s command and numerous warnings not to worship other gods. They committed spiritual adultery against the Lord their God. Israel was to be a peculiar people unto the Lord, but now sought the gods of the nations (i.e. world) around them. Psalms 106:28-29, “They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.” Had it not been for the intervention and zealousness of Phinehas, Israel might have been consumed in God’s righteous anger (Num 25:5-11, Ps 106:30-31). Similarly, the devil is very active today in tempting God’s people with this very same thing. Satan is as a roaring lion seeking who he may devour (1 Pt 5:8). The devil tempts the flesh (your lusts and desires) so as to corrupt you and make you an enemy of God. This is how he separates man and God. Our protection is in cleaving (united, adhere with strong attachment, Josh 22:5) to the Lord in love (heart, mind, soul and strength) and faith (obedience, trust, devotion, loyalty). When we seek those things of the flesh that Satan offers, we become at odds with God and oppose Him. Therefore, when one who “professes Christ” seeks the things of the world (flesh, idolatry), they commit spiritual adultery against the Lord. Rather than loving Christ by keeping His commandments, you love self and honor that which opposes Jesus. This gives the accuser means to gloat before God and greatly dishonors Christ – the devil accuses night and day (Rev 12:10). Balaam was slain by the children of Israel in God’s wrath upon Moab (Josh 13:22). This will be the faith of all who transgress the will of God and seek after the idols of the world. Psalms 73:27, “For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.” God destroyed the guilty in Israel: Deuteronomy 4:3-4, “Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you. But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.” Those who have life will always be the ones who did cleave unto the Lord their God. Those who sought after Baalpeor (other gods) died in a plague of the Lord (twenty four thousand, Num 25:9). Isaiah 63:10, “But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them (also Jer 21:5).” Disobedience to God’s solemn covenant brings about death. Jesus warned the churches about such things in the book of Revelation: Revelation 2:14, “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” When we partake of the things of the world, we are eating things sacrificed to idols. Committing fornication is claiming to follow Christ, yet bowing down to the idols of the world. Revelation 2:20, “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” Let us be faithful unto Christ and not bring dishonor on our Lord. He who has an ear to hear!


Into the Promised Land

Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land. The Promised Land was only entered by obedience to God (Deut 4:40, 5:33, 11:8, 22-23, 30:9-10, 16, 20). The people only remained in the Promised Land by continued obedience to God (Deut 8:19-20, 29:25-29, 30:17-18, 31:16-18, Josh 23:13, 16, 24:19-20, Jer Chap 16, Jer 35:15, 17). This is definitely a foreshadowing of the new earth (New Jerusalem, symbolic of things to come). One only enters into eternal life through obedience (an essential element of faith). As we know from Lucifer (Satan, devil, dragon, serpent), that one only remains in God’s presence (dwelling) through continued obedience. Our obedience to God must be perpetual throughout eternity. God went before them and they drove out (utterly destroyed) the wicked peoples before them (Deut 4:38, 7:2, 4, 16-19, 11:25, 20:13-18, 31:5-6, Josh 24:8, 18, Jdg 6:9-10). Aside from a few glitches (serious things – not trying to trivialize or downplay), Israel obeyed God and were victorious in all they attempted to do – for God faithfully fought for them. The Lord warned the children of Israel in advance: Numbers 33:55-56, “But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.” Israel utterly destroyed thirty one kings and the nations of Sihon, Og and Balak (Josh 12:7-24). Eventually, they got comfortable and did not finish the task at hand. Joshua 18:3, “And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?” Judges 1:29-35, “Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them. Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries. Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob: But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out. Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, nor the inhabitants of Bethanath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Bethshemesh and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them. And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley: But the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they became tributaries.” The Lord God Almighty was not happy about Israel’s frowardness (refusal to do what is required). Judges 2:1-3, “And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.” Initially, Israel only left remnants of these peoples and they seemed manageable. Over time they grew strong from this small foothold. A foothold is a position that provides a base for advancement. These peoples caused much distress for Israel’s descendants (wars, idolatry, wickedness, enslavement, etc.). Over time, Israel began worshipping the idols of the peoples around them and forgot the Lord their God. They disregarded God’s commandments and sought after idols, and lived in the manner of the wicked peoples around them (Deut 18:9, 31:16, 32:16-19, Ps 78:56-58, Josh 2:8-13, 2 Kgs 17:9-12, Jer 32:33-35). Psalms 106:34-40, “They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.” For ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you (Ez 11:12). Israel even exceeded the wickedness of the peoples they dispossessed (Ez 16:47-48, 51, 2 Kg 21:9, 11)! This became a back and forth loyalty/devotion between God and the idols of the land. The Lord warned them over and over: Jeremiah 11:7-8, “For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice. Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not.” Israel made God their enemy (and procured His curses) until He abhorred them and sent them into captivity after most died from the four sore judgments (sword, famine, pestilence, noisome beasts, Ez 14:21, Jer 15:2-3, Ez 5:8-12, 6:10-14, 7:15). Similarly, Jesus commissioned His followers: Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” AND Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” AND Luke 24:47, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” The key here is that we are to teach what Christ commanded. Jesus said we are to love God with everything that is within us (heart, mind, soul, strength) and to live by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (as Jesus had done – by example, Ps 119:3, 128:1, Hos 14:9, Col 2:6, 1 Jn 2:6, 2 Jn 1:6). We are to love our neighbors (and enemies). Christ said we are to deny (make sacrifices) ourselves, take up our crosses (die to self) and follow Him (conform to His image, be led of His Spirit, abide in Him, Mt 10:38, 16:24, Mk 8:34, 10:21, Lk 9:23, 14:27, Lk 6:40, Rm 8:28-29, 2 Cor 3:18, 4:10-11, Gal 3:27, Eph 4:13, 15, Col 1:20, 3:10, Heb 13:21). Jesus said we are to overcome the world through our faith. Jesus said not to love the world and the lusts thereof. We are literally to forsake all for Him. The gospel of Christ is a complete death to self and re-birth (surrender) to God. Our complete devotion must be directed to God (in love) and not to self. Just like the children of Israel failed to completely obey God and totally conquer the Promised Land, those who “profess Christ” have failed to take the gospel to the world. They didn’t finish the job. Most got comfortable in the world. Many started to worship the idols of the world (money, television, career, sports, possessions, etc.). Suddenly the gospel started becoming distorted and blended with the things of the world. These things became snares and thorns and still are today. The world now vexes the true and sincere believer – for it is exceedingly wicked. A true believer is troubled in the land in which he dwells due to all the evil that abounds (permeates everything). Oh, a gospel is being preached all over the world, but it is not “The Gospel” of Jesus Christ. This is a man-centered religion under “another Jesus” and “another spirit” led by and and largely conceived of man (psychology, business principles and practices, marketing, entertainment, committees, ministries, votes, Col 2:8, 2:20 ). There are smooth talking glitzy television preachers beaming “their gospel” (teachings, doctrines, traditions) all over the world (2 Cor 11:4, Gal 1:7-9). There are huge religious organizations with cookie-cutter type franchises (buildings) all over. Their concerning is mammon (donations), and huge spiraling church buildings, membership/audience (popularity, celebrity status) and comfort with all the entertainments and technology of the world – things of the flesh. This is a gospel that bears no resemblance to the message of the Jesus in the Bible. This is a worldly gospel – a harlot gospel (profess God, but court/woo the world). This woman (mother of harlots; that which forsakes the true God and worships idols, the world) rides the beast (Rev 17:3-5). Most didn’t keep the faith (Rev 2:4, 14:12). How do we know the gospel has not gone out into the whole world? We turn to the book of Revelation and consider what happens as time draws very near to Christ’s return. Revelation 14:6-7, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” The Lord’s servants were suppose to have preached the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Jesus had to send an angel to do what they failed to do. Read what the people are told to do: fear God and give Him glory. We discussed earlier that the fear of God is to seek His will and absolutely live it every day. This is to regard God foremost in your life. This was/is not being done and God is not receiving His due glory!



Many entered into the wilderness, but few were chosen. Similarly, Jesus said, Matthew 22:14, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” The wilderness purges the rebels which are those living for self and in opposition of God’s will. Ezekiel 20:38, “And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” AND Jude 1:5, “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” God was very longsuffering toward them. Romans 10:21, “But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” AND Hebrews 3:10, “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.” Consider God’s disappointment: Ezekiel 20:5-24, “And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I am the LORD your God; In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands: Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. Ezekiel 20:17  Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness. But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God. Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness. Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth. I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers’ idols.” Psalms 78:33-37, “Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble. When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God. And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.” Psalms 81:10-16, “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.” Oh, that man could only learn from the past.

Caleb and Joshua were the only two of a whole generation that were allowed to enter into the promised land. The distinguishing factor was their heart of belief, faith and obedience toward God. They trusted in God and faith was their ticket into the Promised Land. After a period of forty years in bearing the iniquities of the wicked, they did enter into the land as God had spoken. Similarly, today the righteous will endure the wicked for a season, but their faith will ultimately prevail. There will always come a day when God will exalt the humble. Consider Caleb’s victory (triumph of faith): Joshua 14:6-14, “Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea. Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God. And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God. And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said. And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.” God raises up and God pulls down; The Lord destroys and the Lord keeps alive; blessed be the name of the Lord. Psalms 113:2, “Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.”

The Lord redeemed His people out of the land of Egypt by the hand of Moses. God desired a people who would surrender to Him in love, trust and obedience (faith) – commit to the Lord their well-being. Psalms 78:7-8, “That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.” The following scripture was prophesied of Christ: Psalms 31:5, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.” This is the way Jesus lived His entire life upon the earth. This is God’s expectation of man. Just before death, Christ said: Luke 23:46, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend (commit, entrust, give charge) my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” Jesus has redeemed us from the world (Lk 1:68, Rev 5:9). Christ has “called out” His body (ekklesia) unto Himself. We are to commit ourselves unto our Lord in full surrender with a whole heart - everyday. When we truly yield to the Lord, there is much joy. God redeems His people and brings them forth with great joy and gladness (Ps 105:43). Isaiah 51:11, “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” Jesus gives us “eternal” redemption (Heb 9:12). Psalms 89:15-18, “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted. For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.” Psalms 100:4-5, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”


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