"But God is one..." (Galatians 3:20) "The scripture hath concluded (shut up) all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe." But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was a schoolmaster, to bring us to Christ." (Galatians 3:22-24)
The bible tells us that "there is none righteous, no not one." But Yeshua haMashiach, (the Lamb of God) has borne the sins of the whole world, on our behalf, that we might be freely justified, through faith in Him. In Him, is the righteousness of God revealed from faith, to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by (out of) his faith. (Rom. 1:17) In Him, we are the righteousness of God in Christ." The epistle of 1 John:3:7-8, takes this beyond imputed righteousnss, and states: Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous." He that commits sin is of the devil." It's through our abiding in Christ that we produce much fruit. i.e. The peaceable fruit of righteousness. (John 15)
Based on the Apostle Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost, (Acts 2:17) we come before God's throne of grace, asking forgiveness for our sins, basing this on the redemption price which Messiah paid for our sins on the cross. He paid the penalty for our sins. On the Day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter made salvation plain, saying to the assembled Jews at the Feast of Pentecost: "Repent, be baptized every one of you in the name of Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus the Messiah, for the remission of sin, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
When Yeshua haMashaiah/Jesus Christ our Messiah was crucified, rose again, ascended into heaven, and poured forth the gift of the Holy Spirit, we as believers received the ability to move toward God by faith. Before this, we were shut up under the law, it says in Galatians 3:22. This faith will always be firmly rooted in the written word of God, which scripture tells us is "a more sure word of prophecy, whereby ye do well if ye take heed, as unto a lamp in a dark place."
You may say: I don't hear God's voice, but as a believer, we hear God's voice, as He quickens portions of His word to our inner most being. He speaks to us in life's every day parables, and a miriad of ways.
On the Day of Pentecost, there were supernatural signs and a prophetic message stating that the Lord God wants to talk to each of us, even more than we want to hear His voice. The Apostle Peter, quoting from the Prophet Joel's writings, specifically mentions that in the end times, or last days, men and women, young and old, will have dreams, and visions from God, and they will prophecy! God's written word is like the chart of a seafaring man. It will steer you on a safe course, so that you don't become deceived. Judge spiritual or prophetic manifestations by God's word. But do not discount them. For the bible also exhorts us to
QUENCH NOT THE SPIRIT!!!
In His love for us, He works to draw us to himself, providing revelation of what is blocking the communication lines. How does God's voice come to us in dreams, visions and revelations? What does God's voice sound like? In what way does He speak? And how do you test the voice to know that it's from God, so that you don't become deceived?
2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
2:12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all [ye] that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
2:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day.
2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
2:19 And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; , and fire, and vapour of smoke:
2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into , before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
2:21 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
We live in a world, where those who don't know the God, through His Son Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ's atoning work, have many misconceptions. Their concepts are often atheist, or to them God is afar off, and not vitally in touch with His creation. The most highly educated of them are frequently ignorant on the subject of "hearing God's voice or the voices encountered in scripture."
Man in his pride and ignorance, tries to subordinate the "knowledge of God," to the frailty of his own sinful and deceitful intellect. Satan as an "angel of light," is at the very root of all that opposes the righteous knowledge of God. The Apostle Paul contrasts the sanctification of the mind of the believer, with such arrogance, in saying:
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work. Only he who now restrains will restrain until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked One be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause, God shall send strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not in the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:7-13)
I know your works and where you dwellest, even where Satan's seat is. And you hold fast my name, and have not denied my faith, even in those days when my Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you where Satan dwelleth. (Rev. 2;13) But that which you have already, hold fast till I come. (Rev. 2:25) Be watchful, strengthen the things which remain, but are ready to die: for I have not found your way perfect. Remember therefore, how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. (Rev. 3:3) Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not, but do lie, behold I will make them to come and worship at your feet, and to know that I d you. Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from out of the hour of temptation, (trial) which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell therein. Behold I come quickly. Hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown. (Rev. 3:11)
GOD CREATES MAN & INVITES HIM TO DRAW NEAR
For thousands of years, God's people have heard His voice," beginning with the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. (Genesis 2-3) The first recorded message from the Lord God is found when God created man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to dress and to keep it, in Genesis 2:16.
"And the Lord God commanded saying: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest of it, thou shalt surely die." (Gen. 2:16)
God said: It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper (wife) for him. God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and as he slept, took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh. And of the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, He made a woman, and brought her to the man.
Adam said: This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall be "one flesh." And they were clothed in nothing but God's glory, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.
Up to this point, there was communication or fellowship between God and Adam. The communication was specific. There was direction and instruction coming from God, who expected the commands He gave to be obeyed.
THE DECEIVER ALIENATE MANS FROM GOD OR KEEPS HIM SPIRITUALLY BLINDED
In Genesis 3, the serpent enters the picture, and begins to replace the voice of God, in the lives of Adam and Eve. The serpent was clever. He appeared to Eve, and drew attention to God's commandments regarding the trees of the garden, saying: Hath God said: Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden? The woman, who said: 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 has said: Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
The serpent at this point, contradicts the express command of God, who had created this couple with immortality, and made the first attempt ever recorded to become the false Lord of the human race. The serpent said to 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 woman saw the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes,and a tree to be desired to make one wise and she took of the fruit thereof, and gave some to her husband, and he did eat. (Genesis 3:1-8)
DEMONS TARGETS YOUR DESIRE TO KNOW GOD WITH ACCUSATIONS AGAINST GOD
Suddenly, there is a new and evil lordship exercized over this first godly couple, by the wiley Serpent. The serpent targeted the relationship between God and man with a lie, that stated that God is not good, and does not have man's best interests at heart, in what the Lord requires of man. Satan's assault was directed at the knowledge of God. Of man's basic understanding of His character and person.
God missed this communication between Himself and mankind, and wastes no time as He goes in search of them, to reveal to them that there has been a clever deception implanted in their minds.
In spite of the fact that God was invisible, when God spoke to Adam, He appears to have fully expected Adam to comprehend His verbal command, and to know that this was God's voice he was hearing, and not the voice of a stranger. It seems the relationship between God and Adam had been a regular, on-going thing, in which Adam looked forward to the fellowship, as much as God did. Now suddenly, God observes that there's been a drastic change. His creation still seems quite unaware that they have been duped or deceived and divested of the image of God, by the Serpent. God took immediate action in approaching this couple, in whom this breach has occurred. The man is still capable of hearing God's voice, as evidenced by the fact that God walks in the garden in the cool of the day, and calls to the man, saying:
FROM CHRISTIAN CHRIST CENTERED UNITY TO SHAME-BASED RELATIONSHIPS
Because Satan's work, was a decisive blow to sever man's fellowship with God, I'll cover in part what Adam knew of God, and experienced in this vital relationship. Here we see the third scripturally recorded account of God transmitting a message to the man Adam, is when God observes that Adam ceases to communicate with God in the garden anymore. He is strangely missing. God is lonely for him. In Genesis 3:7, Adam and his wife Eve had been hiding from God, among the trees of the garden. As God calls out to Adam, He says: Where are you," and the man responds by answering not only that he has hidden from God's presence, but why:
"I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was ; and I hid myself."
God's second scripturally recorded communication with Adam, is non verbal so far as the reconrd. But he looks over the creation, observes that in all of it, there is no help-meet for man, and so God created Eve. She was created from Adam's own body, and something of Adam's own self is used in the creation of her. God brings her to her man, we are told in Genesis 2:25, that "they were and unashamed." The fact is, they were also "married."
When the sin of disobedience enters the picture, at that time, shame passed over them both, and communication or fellowship with God was broken, for the first time. This shame was previously unknown. They now felt afraid at the thought of God's awesome power and holiness. Up to this point, we see that there were definite priviledges, they'd enjoyed as part and parcel of their relationship with God. These priviledges were forfeited with the fall of mankind.
ADAM & EVE'S PREVIOUS RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD HAD BEEN BASED ON GOD'S WORD & CHARACTER
Adam was created a living soul, with immortality. His strength and vitality would not have diminished with the process of time. In this initial state, he would never grow old, and die, but he would have lived joyfully with his wife forever. Adam had the capability of enjoying God's creation as there had never been sin to mar his enjoyment of it. He liked to spend time in the beautiful garden of birds, animals, fruit trees and flowers. He could look into the heavens and observe and enjoy the warmth of the sun, and as evening fell, gaze at the moon and stars, with his wife Eve in his arms, thankful for their relationship with God.
When Adam was created, he was created as an immortal man. God gave him the immediate job, of "dressing and keeping the garden." Adam was given creative oversight of the property in which God placed him. God expressed confidence that this was a good thing, that Adam should enjoy his property, and work on it. There was no guilt. This did not detract from his relationship with God. The Lord used this as a meeting ground. A place to have fellowship with Adam. It provided an artistic artistic expression and opportunity for the man to demonstrate his ability.
Life in the garden was not boring. In addition to dressing and keeping it, God provided for Adam's natural curiousity, by giving him a vast property that he could explore, in that garden east of Eden. There was a river in Eden, which parted into 4 heads, that overflowed into the territories of Havilah, Ethiopia, and Assyria. Man was ordained for this place, as scripture says: "The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden."
There was gold, bdellium, and onyx stone there. At creation, God created these lovely minerals, in this area, for Adam's enjoyment. (Genesis 2:10-14) A value is placed on these stones, in the naming of them. God calls the gold of the land of Havilah, "good." Sin had not yet marred man's enjoyment of his wealth. God gave Adam, property and wealth to enjoy, but in the enjoyment of these material things, his relationship with God was paramount!
The ground was blessed to produce for Adam, and not cursed. He partook of it's fruitfulness with joy, and it did not yield thorns and thistles. God brought every beast of the field and every fowl of the air to Adam, to see what he would call them. "And whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." (Gen. 2:19)
Although God brought to Adam the species of the animal and bird kingdom, among all these there was no suitable helper found for him. There was the recognition that a wife was a necessity. (Genesis 2:20) His relationship with his wife was a "one flesh" relationship. Adam recognized that his wife was part of him. He called her "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh." There existed between them harmony and there was no shame. How does a person "try the spirits, or voice, to see if it's from God? The scriptures themselves tell us that there are many voices, and none is without signification? But we must discern the source, to determine what is being signified. Here are some of the voices that the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers of the Old and New Testaments heard.
The voice of the God. The Voice of God's Word(Psalm 103:20) The voice of an angel, such as Apostle Paul heard warning him of an impending ship wreck, and encouraging him that no lives would be lost. (Acts 27:23) Or a multitude of the heavenly host. (Luke 2:13)
In the Old Testament, the Prophet Jeremiah is given a vision, and heard the voice of a woman long since , weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted. There is a meaning to all this, which is explained in the passage. (Jer. 31:15, Matt. 2:18) A voice like young lions. (Zech 11:3) The rush of angels wings. (Ezek. 3:12) God's voice, with the exhortation not to harden our hearts when we hear His voice. (Heb. 3:7) The Apostle John heard a voice like the sound of many waters. (Rev. 19:6) Truth transmitted by God through parables. (Matt. 13:18, Mark 13:13-28,Mark 4:11) Revelation imparted through dreams. Jesus step father Joseph was warned to take Mary and the young child and flee, when Herod determined to slaughter the infants.(Matthew 2:12)
The voice of the Living Christ/Messiah haMashiach is heard by the Pharisee Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road. (Acts 9:5) Jesus voce is heard by the disciple Ananias. (Acts 9) By the disciples who assayed to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus forbid them to go there. (Acts 13) A word from the Lord, which comes by an "open vision."Peter was given the revelation of salvation coming to the Gentiles by a vision of God. (Acts 11:1-18) Seven thunders uttered their voice. (Rev. 10:3) The voice (singular) of 4 angels. (Rev. 7:2) The voice of Thanksgiving. (Psalm 26:7) The voice of a psalm. (Psalm 98:5) The voice of non human things. "The earth shall hear the corn, and the wine and the oil. They shall hear Jezreel." (Hosea 2:22)
He knew your whole life story from beginning to end, before the fundation of the world was laid, and He purposed a divine destiny for you. This destiny was created for you individually and specifically. God does not want you to be cheated out of your inheritance. God promised in His word to give to you life, more abundantly. He will cause you to understand His word, and to hear His voice that you can obey it. In the obeying of it shall be the unfolding of your eternal destiny. God will "restore your fortunes." Jesus Christ died, paid the ransom price for your sins, rose again, and ascended into heaven, that with Him God might freely give you all things. (Romans 8:32) Your God has provided all things that pertain to life and godliness for you. (2 Peter 1:3) To receive this inheritance in it's fulness, you must hear and obey God's command in Malachi 4:3
For behold the day is coming when the proud shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that shall leave neither root nor branch.
But unto you that fear my name, shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of Hosts."
Satan is a liar. His demonic forces are not all-powerful. Satan was made a defeated foe at calvary, through the atoning of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Your battle is "not with flesh and , but against principalities and powers, aainst the dark forces or rulers of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. You must put on the full armor of God, and stand therefore." (2 Corinthians 10:5, Eph. 6)
MENTAL HEALTH INDUSTRY ABUSE!!!
Even as I write, I am aware of the sufferings of Christian believers for their faith.
THE NEW YORK TIMES Wednesday, March 28, 2001
The abuse of psychiatry to intimidate and those termed as dissidents by the Soviet Union state was well documented and loudly deplored by the West. Soviets declared dissidents "insane". No longer were there needed the formalities of a courtroom trial. The signature of a psychiatrist was enough to lock someone up in an insane asylum with no recourse to appeal.
The practice in China has received less comment, but Beijing, too, imprisons nonconformists as mentally ill - a policy that deserves worldwide attention and forceful condemnation from foreign governments, including the United States.
During the Cultural Revolution, the genuinely mentally ill were routinely "treated" with political re-education, and healthy people who did not hew to the prevailing political line were often imprisoned in psychiatric hospitals. Such abuses diminished as China became more open and psychiatry became more professional and scientific.
We are living in times when the ungodly but educated world is judging bible believing Christians, especially charismatics, who believe and practice Mark 16:16-18, and cast out devils, pray for the sick to be healed, and ascribe to the 9 gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12; by worldly standards.
It is amazing to read the reports mental health professionals write on people of the reformation who manifested "sign gifts." They are accused of being Schizophrenic for hearing God's voice, of having bipolar disorder, occipital cortical discharges, peduncular hallucinations, bovine tuberculosis, or temporal lobe epilepsy.
Today, however, the abuse of psychiatry once again appears to be increasing in China. The government has forcibly imprisoned members of Falun Gong in psychiatric hospitals. Falun Gong, a popular movement that advocates channeling energy through deep breathing and exercises, has been the target of a heavy-handed government down marked with abuses reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, among them the misuse of psychiatry.
Movement leaders claim that some 600 members have been forcibly detained in mental hospitals. This number is impossible to verify, but journalists and human rights researchers have documented numerous cases of Falun Gong members being taken to psychiatric institutions and ged, physically restrained, isolated or given electric shocks.
Robin Munro, a senior researcher at the University of London, explores some of these cases in an article published last month in The Columbia Journal of Asian Law. Mr. Munro, who has also worked for Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch investigating abuses in China, estimates that at least 3,000 people have been sent to mental hospitals for expressing political views in the past two decades, not including Falun Gong members.
Another alarming development is the network of new police psychiatric hospitals - called ankangs, which means "peace and happiness" - built since 1987. Chinese law includes "political harm to society" as legally dangerous mentally ill behavior. The police are instructed to take into psychiatric custody "political maniacs," defined as people who make anti-government speeches, write reactionary letters, or "express opinions on important domestic and international affairs." Erik Eckholm of The New York Times has reported that at least one labor leader was detained and given shock therapy in a psychiatric hospital. There are currently 20 ankangs, and the government plans to build many more.
An international gathering of psychiatrists, which investigated similar abuses in the Soviet Union, is trying to publicize China's practices and organize an investigation by members of the World Psychiatric Association.
Psychiatric imprisonment is not a widespread phenomenon compared with the Chinese government's use of prisons and labor camps for dissidents. But it is a particularly noxious practice that deserves more attention and criticism than it has so far received.
ABUSE WATCH IN THE USA TODAY
It is difficult to know how many bible believing Christians have been falsely accused of mental health issues for their faith. But I know of cases in which mental health allegations have been leveled at born again, Spirit-filled Christians for such things as sharing their Christian faith, with an unbelieving professional.
In such a case, the Christians shared the gospel based on the scripture stating that "There is none righteous no not one, and all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." The wages of sin is , but the gift of God is eternal life through Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 3:23, 6:23) Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ in the great commission said to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The apostles interpreted this consistently as the meaning baptism in Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ's name. (Acts 2:38, Acts 8:16, Acts 10:46-48, Acts 28:19)
The woman social worker responded in a letter that so-and so spoke to her about she and her husbands sins and that this left her with concerns about this clients mental health. She said that she would be writing a report of this Christians behaviour and submitting it to her collegues. In other words, she would hide her own sin and do all in her power to dismiss the salvation message shared with her, and she would accuse the believer falsely.
In another case, a Christian received services through an agency which behaved in a fraudulent manner, and two attorneys both stated that they had done something illegal. When the Christian "made the malpractice and fraud manifest," as the bible says "light will do," the professional made a mental health allegation against the believer, to cover their own sinful and dishonest behaviour.
The news reports that a man named Amos Lamb was jailed for 76 days, without a proper arraignment (being charged by the court), for a supposed minor traffic violation. During that time Mr. Lamb was sent to Western State Mental Hospital and injected with dangerous psychiatric medication against his will. Apparently the court did not agree with Mr. Lambís religious beliefs.
Believers have been and drugged in mental institutions in foreign nations. The early warning signs are everywhere, even here in America.
Be aware that the assault against the United States has caused our goverment to form the Homeland Security Department. This government agency is compiling a file on every American. Your religious affiliation and beliefs will go into this file of yours. If you believe God will send unrepentant sinners to hell then you very well could be labeled a member of a "hate group," or a "doomsday cult." Watch in prayer. Listen for God's wisdom and warnings. Watch over one another, and love as Christian brethren, for by all these signs, our Lord's coming is very soon!
"But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36)
It is of greater importance than ever before to watch and pray by seeking the Lord in prayer, and believing God to "show you things to come." In John 16:13, He promises to do exactly this, not only for the prophet, but for the Spirit filled Christian. Watching in prayer is part of the responsibility that we have as individuals, and it's a ministry that will be ours until the Lord returns to take His church to heaven.