Monday, December 14, 2015

Taming the Devil

Monday, December 14, 2015

Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.  And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  He will delight in obeying the Lord.  He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay.  He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited.   The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked.  He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment.  In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.  The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all.  The cow will graze near the bear.  The cub and the calf will lie down together.  The lion will eat hay like a cow.  The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.  Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.  Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.  Isaiah 11:1-9 (NLT)
The prophet speaks of a time when all of the inhabitants of the earth will know the Lord and it will change culture so much that lions and lambs neither hurt nor fear each other. 

In the Biblical sense, “to know” is an expression which means much more than cognitive awareness; rather it conveys the meaning of total intimate experience.  Knowing the Lord is what happened to Peter, James, John and the others when they lived with him for three years and the effect was they loved him so completely that they were willing to give their lives in his service.

Knowing Christ like that will certainly change your behavior!

There are multiple schools of thought on how this will come about, so that the whole universe does an “about face” from the violence and evil and injustice we now see dominating our culture and time, and becomes a Kingdom of grace, peace and love. 

According to Isaiah, one word from this shoot of Jesse’s stump will destroy all his wicked adversaries and bind Satan for a thousand years. 

The so-called “Darbyists”[2] among us who see this event in a premillennial scenario of the church’s rapture, and then 7 years of the Great Tribulation, differ from the mid, post and a-millennial rapturists.  And all of these differ greatly from the non-rapture folk, who believe in something of a gradual kind of Pilgrim’s Progress evolving into the great society of a new heaven on earth.

My friends of the no rapture persuasion imagine the Darbyists sitting around waiting for the rapture and not working for justice in the here and now.  My Darby friends imagine the Kingdom-evolving brood as ignoring the eternal needs of the masses of lost people in favor of a short-sighted social gospel.

I have one thing to say to all of us, pre, mid, post, non, and who-knows tribulationists…it’s ok…..really! 

Take a deep breath; it’s really ok.  We can be united around the most important reality despite our differences about all the theories of God’s Kingdom on earth – Jesus.  He knows what’s going to happen, and He has been in charge for a long time. 

And His plan does not include dividing the faithful into theological camps – we do that well all by ourselves.  In the first century Paul wrote to the Corinthian church about our human tendency to divide ourselves:

Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.”  Has Christ been divided into factions?  Was I, Paul, crucified for you?  Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul?  Of course not!  1 Corinthians 1:12f(NLT)

Paul was saying to the church:  it’s ok….stop your arguing and start living as if you belong to Christ. 

Taming the devil within isn’t easy, but it’s what each of us has to do to avoid dividing Christ’s body. 

For You Today

Work to bring others to Christ; work to bring justice now; give glory to God.

Chew on that out on the Rocky Road today…and have a great day!

[1] Title image:  By w:Pieter Mortier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
[2] In the 19th century John Darby brought “rapture” theory into view for popular theolgy

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