While learning these mostly lost truths about the Lord and why we are here, we must remember that this call to be a spiritual warrior is actually an act of God’s Agape Love. It is a gift from Him to His Bride to prepare us to one day rule with Him in a position of intimate vice-regency. In (Gen. 3:21), we see God showing the bond of love so strong it is written in blood. ”…Also for Adam and his wife, the Lord God made tunics of skin and clothed them.” God had to kill something to make that happen. The point again is of course that the Lord is not squeamish about bloodletting, and when we see His sword and His robes in the book of Revelation, they are stained with the blood of His enemies.
This bond of love I just mentioned is very hard to describe. Combat veterans are far better equipped to understand it’s depth and intensity. In fact, another one of the things I often point out is that one of the frustrations that soldiers returning from war have is actually caused by the in-ability to fully describe the intensity of this bond to family and friends. Among those tried in war’s fires, no depiction is needed.
The Lord uses the traumatic extremes, the exhilarating and heartbreaking highs and lows of war like a welder’s torch. A welder’s torch is one of the hottest things humans ever handle. It is so hot it can obviously cut and fashion metal. One of the Hebrew’s names for God is “Fashioner of Hearts.” In the lives of many, God can and still often does fashion even the hardest of hearts in times of both spiritual and physical war.
As I go back and forth from showing a more complete picture of who and how Jesus really is, to show why he is doing and allowing all this warfare, I know from experience that some and per- haps even many reading this book are either having a hard time tracking with me here or having a real hard time thinking of Jesus this way. For some reason, (mostly years of pulpit conditioning), many of us have a hard time understanding just how “One” the Oneness of our Triune God really is. For some reason we must often be reminded that when Isaiah prophetically described Jesus by name he not only called Him “Prince of Peace”, but just prior to that he called Him Everlasting Father!, using another string of commas, he also called Him; Wonderful Counselor, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, “Almighty God”. (Is. 9:6).
Understand that I am not negating the doctrine of the Trinity. I am simply showing just how “one” our Triune God really is. Obviously, Jesus was not fully manifesting as the Father when He wrestled with Jacob near the brook, otherwise, there would have been no physical “Being” involved for him to grapple with! However, Jacob still called that place, the place where he saw God face to face yet his life was spared. Again, I believe that this revelation is a must for all Christians in light of the extreme and unique intensity of the coming Restoration I often speak of. For example, as stated, it is important to notice that the Hebrew word for Peace that Isaiah uses, in the name “Prince of Peace” implies “a violent clearing of the land” in it’s translation. Having again pointed that fact out, just how much of this combative war-like persona is really a part of our Savior and King?…”
“…To answer that question, let me address some age-old questions concerning whether or not God directly allows evil to attack us. The first question is one I often need to repeat in this context. Why was there a snake in the garden? As basic and obvious as this question may be to some, it is enormous in it’s relevance and it’s implications. Even to the carnally logical or cynical mind, this question can be like Pandora’s Box causing a flood of other questions similar in nature. Surprisingly, nearly all of them are legitimate.
Dealing with this first question, remember that this was “the garden of the Lord.” The universal impression that this name gives is that this was the ultimate utopia filled with love, security and peace. Yet, it is obvious that the Lord let the “snake” get in. What? Did He take a day off or fall asleep on the job? So what was/is the Lord up to in all this? Is it what it looks like it is? Did the Lord in His infinite wisdom and omniscience set us up? And if so, to what end?
To answer that question appropriately, lets’ go back to the beginning, but a little farther this time to the first “Great Commission.” In Genesis (1:28), we read, “Then God said to them, be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.” The importance of the Hebrew word used here for “subdue” cannot be overstated (especially for the Church today.) It’s like a lost portal that gives an enormous panoramic view of God’s plan for His children from the very beginning. This is because this word implies and even necessitates a mortal enemy being there with them in the garden!
This is an adversarial word that cannot be used unless there is someone there to fight! However, the importance of this Hebrew word is lost if we forget that this command from the Lord took place before the fall! What were they supposed to subdue? Was there more than one enemy present? In case for some reason the importance of this principle is being missed here, let me simply say that this means that we were to face an enemy from the beginning! It means that even if the “snake” never showed up we were meant to, and going to have to learn how to fight and subdue enemies in mortal combat anyway! Training for war was on God’s agenda for us whether mankind fell or not! Once more, the thought of God wanting or allowing evil to attack us in any form regardless of how constructive His motive, is over the top for most Christians. Yet, there was that snake in the Lord’s garden….”
One of the ministers in the Knoxville area- (who out of respect shall remain nameless) wrote in a newsletter about this wonderful Divine intimacy I’ve been sharing about here. As I remember it, I agreed with most of this well-written newsletter but as an example, let me take issue with a lengthy excerpt on something also relevant to what I have been sharing here. In this newsletter, at one point the author shares his opinion on the subject of God allowing evil to attack us. He plainly states that; “God is not responsible for any evil in the world. Theological thought that goes all the way back to Augustine and Aquinas has taught for centuries that the problem of evil is part of God’s providence and purposes. The assumptions of this view are, (1) God is loving and good, and, (2) Gods’ sovereignty holds meticulous micromanagement over the earth and all men. This view holds that although God is not the direct agent of evil and bad things, He is indirectly involved because he has some hidden purpose behind allowing this evil to happen…” This author is obviously referring to God using things like sickness, loss, heartbreak and trauma to grow us in ways He has sovereignty chosen for us. He goes on to say, “This philosophy sounds good to the human mind at first, but it cannot answer the question, ‘If God is completely good, why does He not intervene and stop the evil before it happens?’ The logical conclusion is that indirectly, God is the author of this evil, and this is contrary to the clear, scriptural teaching about the goodness of God.” The commentator goes on to share “his opinion” saying, “God is not in control of either man or the earth, and evil forces are exercising themselves in direct opposition to his will. He then shares that God will not use His authority on the earth because He gave authority to mankind over the earth. Therefore, if God was to intervene He would break his own rule of law by overriding the authority He had already given to Adam in the beginning. ” The author of this newsletter also teaches that apart from cooperating with humans, He is limited as to how He will intervene. Then he shares; “God will not intervene apart from His people…” Notice that in this “opinion”, this author also calls the already understood and completely established beliefs of all the Apostles and early Church fathers a “philosophy.”
As far as the reference to our authority over the earth still being intact is concerned, he is right. However, actually, it was restored at the cross. Yet, this hypothesis, or opinion, is not as scripturally based as this author claims.
As I mention often, one look at the way God not only intervened in the life of Job but used evil to do so, renders this whole discussion moot. In Job’s life, not only did God allow evil in many forms to throng into his life, wiping out nearly everyone and everything he knew and loved, but He also set the whole test up with the devil himself! The fact is that God knew perfectly well that Job would be much more blessed in every way when this season of the trial was over. The account of Job’s life alone (read it) is suffice to make my point, but, knowing human nature and how stubborn people can be, lets’ also look again at how God intervenes in the same way in the life of King Ahab.
In 1st Kings 22: 8-28 the prophet Micaiah was taken up to the very throne room of the Lord and was allowed to witness another one of these astonishing dialogs between Almighty God and an evil spirit, as the Lord prepares to allow an evil spirit to accomplish His – (The Lord’s) will (which is judgment) in the life of Ahab the backslidden King of Israel. Ahab had abandoned the covenant long before in extreme and overt rebellion and was now reprobate even to the point of openly saying he hated God’s prophet (not a healthy thing to do especially under that Covenant!) and he married a witch! The Lord had been very patient and enough was enough. As I detail elsewhere, there before God’s throne, basically, the Lord asked for volunteers from among a group of spirits that were evidently hanging out around the throne! A long story short, one spirit said it would be a; “lying spirit” in the mouths of Ahab’s false prophets. The Lord said ok “…you will both go and prosper.” Though this may seem like overkill in showing that the aforementioned author’s theory is wrong, this is a major issue that has been a thorn in the side of many, especially in the last few centuries. Many people can’t seem to reconcile their presuppositions about God’s love with many such scriptural accounts, (not to mention the harsh realities of life itself). To those who can look at these Biblical accounts and still say they don’t believe God allows and even uses the deeds of the evil ones to accomplish His will, let me inform you that you are at that point in denial and pride and that God does not need you to protect His image with your opinion or critique! This is in the (your/our) Bible!
Returning now to the wonderful fruit that is born in the harshness of war, there are many accounts of soldiers returning speaking of something like an addiction to the clarity and even purity of purpose when fighting alongside one’s close comrades at arms. Due to emotional trauma, exposure, hunger, etc., the perception of the purpose of each individual soldier often boils down and distills into the purpose of simply seeing to it that everyone close to you survives on a daily basis. Even in these cases, many soldiers find themselves with a burning desire to return to fight beside their “Band of Brothers.”
The bond that forms between soldiers is unique. Reiterating, many a man has felt frustration at trying to describe its depth, even to their spouse especially when trying to explain why he or she has to go back. It is this uniquely intimate bond that is “after God’s own heart” and that God is after in our hearts, that we might “know Him” as Paul wrote. Needless to say, there is great suffering in war. Suffering together is one of the main elements in the building of this bond of intimacy. This is why in that same scripture; (Phil. 3:10), Paul says that he/we are to come to “…know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering.” This suffering is not limited to the spiritual or social persecution of being a Christian. God so values this unique form of intimacy, this “tried by fire” bond, that He has allowed His people to experience war from the beginning. Referring once again to (Jg. 3:2), which says that God wanted the upcoming generations of Israel to; “learn and know war that had not formerly known it”, it is wise to take a closer look. The Hebrew word for “learn” is Lamad. Another good translation is “to be goaded”, as a shepherd would goad and push his sheep to a certain area or into a holding pen. This again shows that the Lord was going to force the future generations of Israel into war. Why? Again, to cultivate that unique intimacy and bond between He and them that can only be forged and found in the extremes of battle. I have intentionally used the term “unique” for more than one reason. This is to again refer to the fact that the Lord is also simultaneously revealing and teaching them/us “His ways” meaning, His Character and His Person as He cultivates (Himself and His attributes) in us.