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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Sixty-Fifth (Division)

This week, we're looking at something that has been around since the beginning of time: division. From Creation to now, there has been division in various forms. Starting with the division of darkness and light (Genesis 1:4) and into the different animals Yehovah created (Genesis 1:25), during Creation He divided things according to their purpose. When it came to man however, He made one kind (Genesis 1:27). Adam and Eve were the ones who ended up starting the division we see among us today.

While Eve was the one targeted by the serpent (Genesis 3:1), Adam also ate of the fruit (Genesis 3:6), which might make you think there was some unity there. Perhaps there was. Those that argue Adam didn't know what his wife was giving him and that's why he ate, I think, are just trying to excuse sinful behavior for whatever reason. I think, after getting told by Yehovah about the one tree out of the whole garden he couldn't eat of, Adam knew exactly how that one particular fruit looked. But once confronted by God, self-preservation and the effects of guilt manifested in Adam and he started the blame game (Genesis 3:12). Eve continued the game (Genesis 3:13), and in the end all involved in the disobedience were punished (Genesis 3:14-19).

So, you can see from the beginning of the fall of man, the desire to look out for one's self drove us to division. There were only two, but even the fact that they were the only two of their kind in existence was not strong enough to overcome the shame and guilt they felt which gave them a desire to avoid looking bad in front of God. If you have a child, you have likely seen this behavior in them as well! At a minimum, you probably remember the feeling you had when you were caught doing something you knew was wrong.

As we multiplied on the earth, the division continued. Sons and daughters separated and moved to different lands, but there was at least one unifying trait among the majority of mankind: wickedness. The separation, or division, from God created when Adam and Eve sinned grew so great that man thought about nothing but evil (Genesis 6:5). After the flood, with one family starting humanity over, you'd think there would be some unity, and you'd be right. While the sons of Noah moved to different lands to live, some united but for the rebellious and evil task of attempting to build a tower to heaven in order to kill God and place themselves in that position (Genesis 11:4, Jasher 9:25).

To prevent this sort of behavior again, and in a sort of judgment against this wickedness, Yehovah divided men by separating their languages (Genesis 11:9). Not knowing what each other was saying, they could not work together to build the tower, and as a result they dispersed. But the source of this division was still sin. Their desire to exalt themselves was a failure to love the Lord thy God with all their heart (Luke 10:27). As time went on, we stayed divided. Those alike lived together and depending on what evil was predominant in their group the focus shifted away from God and toward each other. Some focused on conquering, others focused on sexual immorality, and others on simply gaining more valuables than their neighbor.

Those that kept their minds on Yehovah were not immune to division, however. We can see that in Jesus' time where the Samaritans and Jews both worshipped God, however their disagreement, as well as the Jews' focus on ancestry, led to a culture of division amongst them. Even the Jews had their sects. Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Herodians, Zealots, all based on their beliefs and traditions.

Today, you can see division among Christians as well. Not only do you have Catholicism, but all the different denominations of Protestantism. Apparently, there are tens of thousands of denominations around the world! Unbelievable! It started with Jesus, and from the twelve disciples on, the sinful human nature of division took over. I think some take the disagreement of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-39) as too much of a model to emulate rather than loving their neighbor. They simply disagreed about who to take with them to visit other cities, and as a result went their separate ways.

Is this how we're to act, though? Are we to look at Pentecostals, or Baptists, or Catholics, or whoever with disdain and forget that at our core as the body of Christ we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior? Or at a minimum, act with judgment of their beliefs based on our own interpretation of scripture? Obviously, the answer is no. Judge not that you be not judged (Matthew 7:1). In fact, we're told to be united (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Is Paul talking about one church building when writing to the Corinthians? Or one denomination? No! There were no denominations. There were some that said they follow one apostle or the other (1 Corinthians 1:12), but Paul is clearly denouncing this behavior. He even points out issues with worldly behavior of jealousy and dissension (1 Corinthians 3:3) as well as trying to outdo each other to show how much God approves of them more than the other "congregation" members (1 Corinthians 11:19). Never hear of that in churches today, do you?...

There's more to being unified than just following the commandment to love your neighbor. Ever heard of "divide and conquer?" I'm sure you have. It's a well-known strategy used to dominate an opponent in order to gain control over them, and Satan's been using it throughout history to implement his plans. You can see it plainly evident today in almost everything, particularly in the church (as in the body of Christ, not a particular denomination). If the body cannot unite, they can be pitted against each other and their focus becomes on battling each other rather than evil. Imagine, if man was able to unite and build a giant tower (for 43 years with a circumference that took three days to walk if you read Jasher and Jubilees!) for evil purposes, imagine what could be done if we were to unite in Christ for good!

Make no mistake though, there is a place for division. Namely, our division from the world and the children of disobedience. Jesus divided (John 7:43, 10:19), and we're even told to stay away from those that divide and put obstacles in our way (Romans 16:17-20). When you look closer though, there's a particular instance that shows why Jesus divided. His acts were undeniable, and He even divided the Pharisees (John 9:16). They couldn't reconcile His miraculous abilities with their belief in what a sin was. They couldn't agree between them with the fact that He broke the Sabbath according to their traditions yet He was able to heal infirmities. An ability that should only be able to be held by the righteous. I mean, they themselves couldn't heal on command and in their eyes they were the most righteous of all the Jews.

In a way, what the Pharisees and other Jews saw in Jesus is what we're seeing today. I'm seeing more and more Christians digging deep into scripture and finding the truth. Getting rid of worldly pagan traditions and getting back to God's Word and His Holy Days. I believe more and more are going to do the same as we get closer and closer to Jesus' return. At a minimum though, as the world moves closer and closer to a one world combined government which will eventually be run by the anti-christ, we as Christians need to unite and lean on each other to uplift and support, and to help each other as we begin to be singled out and targeted by the rest of the world.

So, fellowship with those of other denominations. Talk to them about their beliefs and why they believe them, or just be kind and love them as your neighbor.

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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