What is Racism? That question is echoing louder than ever today in light of the mass obsession over the trial of George Zimmerman and its verdict.
To find some answers to this question, we have to travel back to ancient Babylon.
“Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’ And the Lord said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 11:1, 4, 6-9)
God quashed mankind’s rebellion against Him by scattering them throughout all the earth. What would be an efficient way to immediately clear unruly mobs off the streets? Scramble their communication and you eliminate their ability to organize resistance against authority.
God’s method for separating humankind was first according to their language, then according to their family, and finally into their nationality.
“From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations.” (Genesis 10:5)
Before Christ came to earth racial separation was God’s institution. After Christ came to earth He was sacrificed to free mankind from the slavery of sin. Now all who trust in Him for their salvation are one in Him. Your national identity is completely blotted out by your identity in Christ.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
Pentecost was the descrambler of Babel (Acts chapter 2). The Good News of God was pronounced to everyone in their own language so that they could understand what was being said. God did not want them to be confused by what was being spoken; He wanted them to understand the message of the Gospel. He wanted them to know they could be set free from sin through the blood of Christ.
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” (Romans 6:18)
None of us were righteous before Christ died for us. Now we have a righteous standing in the eyes of the Father when we trust in Jesus for our salvation. Unfortunately the majority of the world has not put on Christ. They are not free, they are still under sin.
“For we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; With their
tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.’” (Romans 9b – 11, 13b-18)
They live according to the order of things before Christ shed His blood for them, the order that includes the separation from the Tower of Babel. They fill the streets with confusion. There is no peace without understanding.
Don’t expect the racial divide to close anytime soon apart from the unity of Christ. Only those who are slaves of righteousness are one in Christ, motivated by His love and not the will of man. Just like when the walls came tumbling down in Jericho, only Christ can tear down the walls of racial separation.
A Battle Cry for Israel
Unreasonable reasoning, illogical logic, logic that defies reason, reason that defies logic, take your pick. They all describe the situation currently and continuously faced by Israel as it relates to “peace” talks and they all could be the definition for the term “insane”.
For Israel to surrender the West Bank and other sovereign territory “back” to their enemies is insane. It has always been Israel’s possession in the first place since it was ordained by God, but what does that matter? It would be insane for Israel to hand over any more territory than it already has.
The “international community”, otherwise known as the world, just can’t stop stomping its feet in the middle of Israel’s business. The fact that Jerusalem is split by the 1949 Armistice line called “The Green Line”, in and of itself proves that the world has chosen to make Jerusalem a burdensome stone, just as the prophet Zechariah foretold.
“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:3)
The world cannot understand Israel because it does not believe in the Most High God.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
The world does not understand that the dispersion was part of God’s past judgment upon Israel. They cannot understand that Israel never voluntarily gave up its right to the land, and they don’t want to understand. In fact, they couldn’t care less.
The world court has ruled that Israel has violated international law by establishing new settlements in the land it recovered in the 1967 war. They brand it as “genocide”, “crimes against humanity”, “ethnic cleansing”, “a humanitarian crisis”, “war crimes”, etc., etc. We’ve heard it all before ad nauseum. The world community deliberately ignores certain obvious facts that render its judgment illogical.
Facts like… centuries ago the land was sovereignly controlled by Israel for centuries. Also, the non-Jewish people who currently “occupy” the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza have NEVER held legitimate sovereignty over it in the first place. The only work Israel’s enemy has ever done toward attaining any sovereign control of their own is by intimidating through the cowardly actions of terrorism.
On Thursday, November the 29th, 2012, the UN voted to “upgrade” the Palestinian Authority’s member status from “entity” to “non-member state”. The UN de facto recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state is the closest Israel’s enemy has ever come to having any semblance of sovereign control. And that just happened in 2012, thousands of years after Saul was anointed by the Lord and crowned Israel’s first king by Samuel in 1050 B.C. It’s appalling.
“Now Samuel said to all Israel: ‘Indeed I have heeded your voice in all that you said to me, and have made a king over you. Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the Lord has set a king over you.’” (1 Samuel 12:1, 13)
Did Israel not have a “right” to live on the same land before they were dispersed in generations past? Did they not have a right to exist before they were expelled by the Babylonians, the Romans, and finally defeated by Hadrian’s army in 135?
There are earthly wars and there are spiritual wars. It is because of the spiritual war that I stand with Israel in its earthly war.
As an old soldier (Persian Gulf War, Iraq) I have to admit a sense of adventure exists for me in Israel’s military might and continuous state of alert. It’s easy for me to want to join forces with the side that I know will have the ultimate victory. The fact that God’s sovereign hand of miraculous protection will wipe out Israel’s enemies gives me great confidence. However, His Word also reminds me that His future judgment of Israel is still to come during the Day of the Lord.
Although the Lord disciplines His people, He destroys their enemies!
Unfortunately, future battles lie in Israel’s path for peace so will you join me in this battle cry for Israel?
“I stand with Israel because I stand with God! I love Israel because I love God and I believe in His prophecies! Israel will have the ultimate victory!”
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10)
I have arrived. That is the definition of the Greek word translated as “will come” in 2 Peter 3:10. Greek: Ἥξει. Transliteration: ēxei. Root word: hékó. Defenition: I have come, am present, have arrived.
The day of the Lord arrives as a thief in the night. It does not end as a thief in the night. The “day” is more than just a 24 hour period of time. It is not the same amount of time as “the evening and the morning” during the creation chronicle in the book of Genesis. A lot takes place during the day of the Lord.
It is the day of the “Lord” because the “Lord” Jesus was sacrificed for our sins, and it is His “day” because the “day” represents the period of time of His judgment upon all mankind: His judgment on all those who choose to deny Him and deny His sacrifice for their sins and His rule over the earth during the millennial kingdom.
“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)
When Jesus taught His disciples on the Mount of Olives about events that would take place during the day of the Lord, He was focusing on Israel.
The salvation of all mankind came as a result of God’s blessing on Israel through Christ the Messiah and the judgment of all mankind will come as a result of God’s wrath on Israel for rejecting Christ the Messiah.
God redeemed all mankind from the curse of the Law through the sacrifice of the Lamb, and God will judge all mankind through the wrath of the Lamb: The Lion of the tribe of Judah – The Root of David – The Lamb of God.
God’s love for Israel is a very intense principle woven throughout the Bible. It is like the love a husband has for his wife. God’s love for Israel is described very beautifully in the book of Hosea.
When Israel rejected the Messiah, God was provoked to jealousy and anger. His anger will be unleashed through His judgment during the day of the Lord in which the great tribulation will take place.
Because Jesus Christ, the Messiah, has made such a great sacrifice for all of mankind, God has delayed His judgment on all the earth so that all nations can have a chance to respond to the gospel message of Christ’s salvation.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:15)
As Peter said, the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. For those who are not ready and watching, it will come suddenly, and without warning:
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:36-39)
“The lord(Jesus) of that servant(Israel) shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of.” (Matthew 24:50)
The following verses show us that the day of the Lord was in view even in the Torah.
‘Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.’ “For the LORD will judge His people and have compassion on His servants.” (Deuteronomy 32:35-36a)
“And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, Children in whom is no faith.’” (Deuteronomy 32:20)
The day of the Lord is a time of the Lamb’s judgment of Israel and unbelieving gentiles, not the church.
“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” (Romans 2:5)
Revelation chapters 5 and 6 are key to understanding the day of the Lord.
“Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:16b-17)
In this verse, the day of the Lord has begun because His wrath takes place during His day.
Revelation chapter 6 says the day of the Lord is already underway at the beginning of the tribulation, not at the end. It is not until Revelation chapter 19 that we see Christ’s triumphant return that marks the end of the tribulation. The return of Jesus that takes place in Revelation chapter 19 is referenced by Jesus in Matthew 24:27, 30-31.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire.” (Revelation 19:11) “All of the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30)
When heaven is opened in Revelation 19:11, everyone on earth will see Jesus.
Christ’s return at the end of the tribulation will not come as a thief in the night. The “day of the Lord” will begin as a thief in the night but it will not end as a thief in the night.
The entire process of Christ’s coming at the end of the tribulation will be very obvious to the world, unlike the process of a thief who does not want to announce his presence to those he wants to steal from.
When Christ comes as thief, He will only trumpet His presence to the bride He is “stealing” from the world. While Christ’s bride is caught up, the rest of the world is caught off guard.
Why is the bride of Christ such a theft from the world? Because taken with the bride is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in each believer. The Holy Spirit has been holding back through the bride the great evil that will be unrestrained during the tribulation. Oh what great a theft the world shall suffer on the day of our escape!
“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (Luke 21:36, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
The true church has accepted the Lamb as their Messiah. The church age will come to a close when the Bridegroom returns to fetch His bride at the rapture.
The wrath of the Lamb is His judgment upon the nation that rejected Him as their Messiah along with the rest of mankind who have rejected Him. His wrath is not meant for those who trust in Him. The Lamb is worthy to judge those who have rejected Him as their Messiah because He took their place of punishment. He is worthy because He lived a perfect, sinless, holy life and was slain in their place.
All those who accept the Lamb as their Redeemer will not suffer His wrath, period. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
Again, why the delay in the arrival of the day of the Lord? Because: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
And again: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:15) He is waiting on His servants to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”. (Mark 16:15)
“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (2 Thessalonians 5:2, 4, Matthew 24:44)
If you are like me, you have likely wrestled with the meaning of the following verse: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” (Hebrews 10:26)
To understand Hebrews chapter 10 verse 26, we have to understand the intent of the letter as a whole. It was written to Jews who were converts from the Levitical system of worship and who likely had extensive knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures. Hebrews was written to stimulate these Jewish believers to recognize the specifics of Judaism that pointed to Christ.
After His resurrection Christ Himself also expounded these very same truths to two of His followers on the road to Emmaus. They did not understand why He did not lead Israel to national redemption. They had hoped “that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:21a, 25-27)
The author of Hebrews rebuked his audience for their lack of understanding of the same Scriptures that Jesus explained on the road to Emmaus about Himself. He warned his audience that their lack of progression should not lead to regression back to the dead works of the law.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6)
If the Hebrews returned to the dead works of the law, if they went back to animal sacrifices, then they would deny the fact that Christ had to die only once for their sins. Explained further: “He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.” (Hebrews 9:26, 28a)
Belief is the key
Many of the Israelites who wandered in the wilderness did not believe in God’s promises. Some in the group of Jews who received the letter to the Hebrews did not believe either. They are not the same Jews “who believe to the saving of the soul” but they are “of those who draw back to perdition.” (Hebrews 10:39)
Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter 13 that the field of this world is filled with wheat and tares. God speaks His Word to both.
“For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.” (Hebrews 6:7-8) Rain falls on fertile soil and on infertile soil. God speaks His Word to those who will believe and to those who will not believe.
Back to the beginning
“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.” (Hebrews 10:1)
When the verse above speaks of the priests as “those who approach”, what exactly are they approaching? “As the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.” (Hebrews 9:25b) The priests would approach the very presence of God Himself to present the blood of the sacrifice as atonement for the sins of the people.
Hebrews chapter ten explains that if “the blood of goats and calves” could set us apart from sin as perfect in the eyes of the Father, then they would not have to be offered continuously year after year. Only the blood of Jesus can make us perfect through our confession and His forgiveness.
“For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)
Further in chapter ten, the author reminds his readers of God’s new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah: “’This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’” (Hebrews 10:16-17)
Verse 18 refers to our current standing in this new covenant, “Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:18) There is no longer an offering for sin because Jesus died once for all and now all of our sins are forgiven through confession. “By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
Jesus cannot be crucified again. There will be no more sacrifice for sins. If someone were to “turn away” from approaching the “Holy of Holies” through the blood of Jesus, they would crucify Jesus again, but only to themselves. They would not crucify Him again to me or you or anyone else who believes. He cannot be crucified again but God will charge them with crucifying Him again in their own hearts.
The interpretation of Hebrews 10:26-27
In view of verse 18, “Now where there is forgiveness for these, there is no longer an offering for sin”, let’s look at verses 26 and 27:
“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.” The writer is just stating the fact that when we willfully sin we cannot just run out and sacrifice a bull or a goat to atone for that sin since Christ has already been sacrificed for all sin. The only thing that remains to deal with that sin is the Lord’s punishment and He will judge His people.
Let’s consider Paul’s teachings about the Lord’s Supper in reference to the Lord’s judgment. “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-32)
What does Paul mean when he says whoever eats or drinks in an unworthy manner? He explains that when we eat and drink the Lord’s Supper we are to remember His body and blood that was sacrificed for our sins. If we are not acknowledging and confessing our sins during this time we are treating with contempt the very thing which we are symbolically ingesting: the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We are not worthy to partake in the Lord’s Supper. We are not judging ourselves. We are not standing with God against our own sin and condemning it and therefore we are not confessing it and asking God to forgive it.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:9-10)
Notice the similarities between 1 John 1:9 and Hebrews 10:22-23: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:22-23)
What is “the confession of our hope”? It is the confession of 1 John 1:9. It is our hope and our full assurance of faith, that when we draw near to Jesus in self-judgment and confession, He will forgive our sins and cleanse our evil conscience because He is faithful to do just that!
Now we can approach the Most Holy Place through the sacrifice of Jesus where He is sitting down at the right hand of the Father. “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10:12)
Through your faith you have confidence to “draw near” to God, to “come to God”. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
The writer of Hebrews was convinced of better things concerning his audience though he sometimes spoke in a manner that indicated otherwise. (Hebrews 6:9)
“But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:39)