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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Sixty-Sixth (Sides)

You probably don't recall, off-hand, that some weeks ago we looked at a term called "religious fundamentalism," and its definition. I even admitted that, based on the definition, I would be considered a religious fundamentalist. Well, it turns out they are using this term to label Christians sooner than even I thought they would.

Now, there are a lot of doomsday preachers and self-proclaimed prophets, and there are even non-Christians that are just concerned with our rights being taken away for various reasons. There are also those on the opposite end of the spectrum who still believe those individuals are over the top and that in reality everyone that is in a leadership, or control role, in our country only wants the best for everyone. For full disclosure, I am somewhere in the middle, based on the things I've researched and truths I've found (and as we looked at last week, finding truth is harder and harder these days).

It's events like what happened last Sunday that keep me firmly out of the "everything's fine" camp. In case you missed it, after the election of Mike Johnson as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jen Psaki didn't hesitate to label him a "religious fundamentalist." Her basis? A statement he made during his first speech as Speaker in which he said his worldview is the Bible.

Again, as we know, the truth is hard to find in the world today, especially in a person's words, and even more especially in a politician's words. Time will reveal Mike Johnson's true nature, because at some point everything hidden is revealed (Mark 4:22, Luke 8:17, Luke 12:2). I hope that he is speaking truth, but more importantly that his actions follow his statements.

What this situation shows us is not necessarily that they're "out to get" Christians. At least not right now. It does give us insight as to the way the world perceives us as well as what may be coming in the future. Just thinking about it logically, if one of the goals of the evil one is to persecute Christians, there has to be some initial disposition people have toward us in order for that persecution to occur without an uprising. Perhaps statements like the one Jen Psaki made are the initial steps that lead to developing that disposition against Christians.

While we can't say that for sure at this point, and ultimately even if it were true we couldn't change it anyway, what we can do is keep our eyes and ears open and assess if we think events and people's statements should be taken at face value or if there are indications that the message, or purpose behind the message, is not what it seems. To be clear, by no means should we think that literally everyone has a questionable message, or that every questionable event involves people with an agenda against Christians, or even generally a hidden agenda. The majority of the world has no idea what's going on spiritually to pull the strings in the physical world. They simply operate based on what's moving them, how they're feeling, not knowing that it's Satan and his principalities and powers doing it.

If you can have self-proclaimed followers of Yeshua get all the way to the end, to the judgment, unknowingly living a life which Yeshua Himself judges as not following Him (Matthew 7:21-23), there is way more likelihood that non-Christians are unknowingly living a life that fulfills Satan's agenda. The self-proclaimed Christians at least have the answer key. Non-Christians aren't even in settings that involve talking about or reading scripture, in general.

This satanic agenda is nothing new though, and we've looked at it before, a while ago. It comes down to dividing and conquering, or really, controlling. Just like all the protestant churches that splintered off from each other and from the Catholic church, the majority of messages from the evil one are meant to divide people and set them against each other in order to maintain that division. Can you imagine what the world would be like if all the disciples of Yeshua gathered to worship Him together rather than in our own little groups that are based on what we think His word is telling us? We would see how many of us there are, gaining strength through each other.

You have to look at all messages and events you're getting fed as truth by various sources, not just those associated with religion, Christianity or Christians. What happened with the Russia-Ukraine conflict that's now happening 100x worse with the Israel-Hamas conflict? People are picking sides and vilifying their opposition. In reality, it's impossible to determine what is truth regarding either one of these conflicts, so picking sides is pointless. People just end up picking the side they were already pre-dispositioned to pick, regardless of what's in the media, anyway. I've read articles saying there were thousands of Israelis killed and others where it's actually hundreds (and no, it wasn't based on who wrote the article). But the thing that got me is that they're saying the death count of the conflict that's been going for weeks has surpassed that of the one that's been going almost two years now. It's almost as if the messaging is intended to be over the top to drive division in people, and when you have certain individuals like Hillary Clinton saying Israel has no choice but to continue what they're doing you have to question what's actually going on and what your stance really should be.

Make no mistake, there are only two sides: YHWH and Satan. No in-between. Even if someone doesn't blatantly pick a side, they picked one (Matthew 12:30, Luke 11:23). That doesn't, however, mean that each situation with perceived sides means you have to pick one. The world will tell you you have to be either for Israel or for Hamas, for example, but those are just the choices they want you to choose from. There's a third that no one will tell you about, not even the majority of your fellow Christians: they're both wrong and you shouldn't pick either side.

Yeshua's teachings are applicable in any situation, and these types of events are no different. In the case of conflict, for example, He said turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-48). That's a hard thing to do, I get it. Yeshua lived that to His death, though. Yes, He had a purpose in that, but part of that purpose was to show us how to live (1 Peter 2:21). It was most certainly wrong for Hamas to attack as they did, however what Israel is doing now is also wrong according to how we should walk as Yeshua walked.

Now, you may say there are plenty of situations in the Old Testament about Israel destroying entire people groups, and that is true. However, do you think any of the leaders of the current country of Israel consulted or heard from YHWH before absolutely destroying Palestinians, terrorists and civilians included, in their counter-attack? The actions of ancient Israel came at the word of YHWH Himself.

What we need to make sure of is that we pick the right side in life, and not get pulled into the various side-picking situations the world presents us in order to divide us. Following Yeshua's teachings, which were derived from the Law of the Old Testament, help us do that. The fundamental aspect of His teaching, and the whole idea of the Israelites being called a chosen people, is being apart from the world (John 17:6, Romans 12:2). In other words, being holy, because the word holy just means set apart.

The only way you achieve a condition where the idea of being holy gets implemented in your life as the action of being holy is by understanding, truly believing, and living in the truth that Paul emphasized many times in his writings: this life is temporary (2 Corinthians 4:18, 2 Corinthians 5:1). When you really believe this and realize what it means, it becomes clear that in the grand scheme of things, in YHWH's plan, the life we are currently living is significant only to the point of how we embody the principles Yeshua taught. All of what you see in the world today will eventually be destroyed and made new (1 Peter 3:10-13, Revelation 21:1), and at that point we will be eternal, as long as we truly believe Yeshua is our Savior and live this life like we believe that. So, when you compare the limited time we live this life to eternity, the percentage this life takes of our overall existence approaches zero if we truly follow Yeshua and His teachings. Otherwise, this life becomes 100% of our existence because when the end comes we will be thrown into the lake of fire for the second death (Revelation 20:14-15).

As we can see, being holy, or set apart from the world, involves not only not thinking like the world, but also figuring out how the world is trying to influence you. Rather than being influenced by it, being holy is sticking to the principles of Yeshua's teachings. Don't let the world tell you what sides there are and then make you pick one. The only side that matters is the one with YHWH and Yeshua. Make sure you're on that side in all that you do, and I promise you everything will work out at some point. Don't take my word for it though, that promise is YHWH's, and it's in His word (Revelation 21).

Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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