Friday, July 30, 2021

Conspiracies

I have been criticised by acquaintances on social media, because I do not take what they believe to be conspiracies as seriously as they do. I recently read a book by Sean McFate called Goliath: Why the West is not Winning. I am not sure if that is his real name. He is a real warmonger, so I was not impressed with everything he wrote, but he has some good insights into the nature of war as the Westphalian order breaks down.

McFate has some important insights into the difference between conspiracies and a deep state.

Conspiracies seek to overturn the establishment, while the deep state is the establishment, and then some. Deep states are like states with cancer. Their institutions of power—the military, the judiciary, intelligence agencies—have gone rogue; rather than serving the state, they make the state serve them. Over time, they end up usurping power in an internal coup d’├ętat, becoming a “state within a state” that influences policy without regard for legitimate leadership or the concerns of citizens. In other words, these renegade institutions hijack the nation from deep within the states own structure.

Deep states are real, but they are not conspiracies.

The distinction between a conspiracy and a deep state is subtle yet profound. It's really about individual versus institutional actors. Conspiracies are powered by individuals, known as conspirators. Orchestrated by a cabal or a mastermind, conspirators pool their personal connections, influence, money, and other resources to subvert the establishment. This is why conspiracies must hide in the shadows for self-preservation. Should the establishment catch them, they would be branded traitors and hung.

Great conspiracies of the past include Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot to blow up England’s king and parliament in 1605, and John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of Abraham Lincoln after the American Civil War, meant to revive the Confederate cause. In both cases, the conspirators were hunted, caught, and killed, their deaths serving as a warning to other would-be threats to the establishment. It's worth noting that past conspiracies still inspire.

Unlike conspiracies, deep states are institutional actors. Yes, institutions are populated by people, but they are not the same as conspirators… People in institutions toil for the cause but rarely make the full and final sacrifice. Conspirators risk their personal resources, whereas institutional employees deploy an organization’s assets. A general doesn’t fight the enemy using his private wealth; he uses the army. If he is defeated, the general gets fired, but the army marches on. Fawkes and his co-conspirators lost.

In some ways, institutions are their own organism. They don’t let just anyone rise to the top. Only individuals who have been institutionalized after decades of service are promoted highest ranks, where they will then reliably promote the institution's agenda. Conspirators would deride these “company men” as empty suits who are promoted for their groupthink—that is, until they were caught and hung by those by those same company men.

Generally, they are the institutions of power the military, the secret police, the intelligence services, the law enforcement agencies, and the judiciary. Their authority is codified in law, making them completely legal- What makes them different from normal institutions is that they’ve gone rogue- Deep state institutions place their own interests above that of the state and its citizens. There may be a legitimate government in place, but it’s the deep state that really calls the shots.

The institutions that comprise the deep state do not plot their actions like participants in a conspiracy. Rather, they engage in passive synchronization. They cooperate because their institutional interests align… resulting in mutually reinforcing actions that protect their common goals. Gradually this tacit consensus congeals into a deep state that can control a nation. They can overrule, sabotage, and reverse legitimate government decisions with no accountability or even visibility.

Conspiracies and deep states are natural enemies. Conspiracies seek to undermine the system, while deep states seek to hijack it. Conspiracies hide in the shadows, while deep states operate in the Conspiracies are composed of radical individuals, while deep states are institutions. The time frame for conspiracies is short, or years. Deep states think in terms of decades and centuries. In social science parlance, conspiracies represent agency states embody structure, in a demonstration of the classic structure-versus-agency debate. Conspiracies and deep states are different as fire and earth.

Deep states exist, and their naked power will become more apparent as states fade. Their unmasking will prove dangerous, as the protestors of the Arab Spring discovered. When a deep state is threatened, it does not go gentle into that good night. It attacks. It is one of the forces accelerating durable disorder.

I note that the acquaintances on social media who believe in conspiracies tend to assume that if the deep state is at work, it must be led by a few conspirators who are in league with each. Having worked for the government, I understand the power of passive synchronisation. I understand how government agencies can work together towards a common cause without the need of a conspirator controlling them.

I understand the working of the spiritual powers of evil and their ability to work through government organisations to establish a stronghold in their nation.

When bad things happen in the world, many Christians see a conspiracy at work. I see passive synchronisation of various government agencies, pushed along by the spiritual powers of evil.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Olympics

The news media are getting all wound up into a frenzy about the Olympic Games, but the overlay of jingoistic nationalism makes it hard for me to get excited.

I do not understand why a sports event in which most athletes participate as individuals has been turned into a competition between nations, especially when ability in many athletic sports depends on accidents of birth. Athletic sports are a competition between people, not nations.

The concept of an individual athlete representing their nation is quite odd. Competitors at the Olympics may feel greater motivation, because they think they are representing their nation, but how can they be my representative. An elected politician cannot represent me, so how can an unelected athlete be my representative. If they knew how unathletic I am, they would not want to represent me. I do not know them, so they cannot represent me.

The competitors do all the hard work of training, but nations tend to steal some of their glory. I am very wary about cheering my national team. I do not feel comfortable about saying “We won” when all I did was sit on a couch and perhaps cheer.

The Olympics are supposed to be a competition for amateurs, but sports nationalism has turned many athletes into semi-professionals by enabling them to become sports beneficiaries of the state.

A sporting competition between nations does not make much sense, when nations had different sized populations. Only a few nations have sufficient population to be a contender for the most gold medals.

Why do nations need to prove that they are better than other nations. Germany dominated the 1936 games, but then went on to do great evil, so winning gold medals does not signify anything about the goodness of a nation.

National pride is the thin end of the wedge of nationalism. Nationalism dominated the twentieth century and terrible evils were done in the name of nationalism. I suspect that people who get wrapped up in their nation's sports team, will be more open to the militaristic adventures of their nationalist governments.

International Sport is the maidservant of Nationalism.
Nationalism is the handmaiden of Totalitarian Democracy.

I hate the way that sport has been captured by nationalism.
I dislike the success or sports men and women being used to buttress the pretensions of the nation state.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Eli's Problems (3) Solution

Philistine Solution
The Philistines seemed to understand spiritual reality better than the Israelites. The tabernacle was a place of spiritual warfare. Evil spirits hung around their demanding the blood of sacrifice in return for leaving the Israelites. When the covenant box was taken out of the tabernacle and sent into battle, they naturally went with it, because they assumed that warfare would produce plenty of blood and guts for them to enjoy. When the Philistines took the covenant box to their cities, the spiritual powers of evil went with it, looking for people to kill and destroy, and they found what they wanted.

As noted, the Philistines represent the people of the world. When the church is defeated by the world due to the failure of pastors, the spirit called Death a free hand to do evil in the nation. One of the things his team loves to do is to inflict cancers on young people in accordance with the curse of Eli.

The Philistines had amazing spiritual insight, because they knew how to put the situation right. They knew that they needed to get rid of the spiritual powers of evil that had attached themselves to the covenant box. Their pastors knew that they had to make a guilt offering to attract and appease these evil spiritual powers. They made five gold tumours and five gold rats representing the rulers and people of the five cities that had come under attack. Sickness had attacked the rulers and people alike, so a solution that covered both was essential (1 Sam 6:4-5).

The Philistines knew that Pharoah was destroyed because he hardened his heart against God when plagues came upon Egypt. They did not want to make the same mistake, so they wanted to get the covenant box out of their territory (1 Sam 6:6).

When the Israelites were defeated by the Philistines, they needed a miracle, but they tried manipulation and witchcraft instead. Instead of getting a miracle, they suffered an even greater defeat. In the face of terrible attacks of sickness, the modern church desperately needs miracles, but when it does not get them, it falls back on a method of manipulation and control (a form of witchcraft) that are anathema to God.

In contrast, the Philistines had faith for a miracle. To return the covenant box, they loaded it on a wagon and hitched up to cows with calves that had not been weaned. Separating a cow from the calf it is feeding is incredibly difficult, so if these two cows headed away from their calves and back to Israel, it would be a miracle.

If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the LORD has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us but that it happened to us by chance” (1 Sam 6:9).
This test would confirm the cause of their misery. If the cows stayed near their calves, the Philistines would know that their suffering was the result of chance. However, God caused the cows to pull the covenant box back to Israel, confirming that their troubles were spiritual.

The Philistines wanted the covenant box to return to its own territory (1 Sam 5:6; 6:9; 6:12). Understanding the spiritual control of territory is important for spiritual protection. The Philistines understood the significance of territory more clearly than many Christians.

The cows stopped by a large rock, which was in the field of Joshua (saviour). This rock represents Jesus. He is the rock the church must build on in obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Once the miracle had occurred, the Philistines knew that the Lord had allowed the disaster to come on them, because they had stolen the covenant box. They understood that the plague of cancer had not come about by chance.

Israelite Response

When the Israelites offered the gold tumours and gold rats as a sacrifice, along with the two cows pulling the wagon, the spiritual powers of evil had to be satisfied and could not demand any more blood and death. This brought to an end the pestilence and plague of tumours that Eli had inadvertently released by remaining silent.

Death ended this incident with one last flourish. Some of the Israelites looked into the covenant box, something they were forbidden to do. They ignored God’s instructions and did what they wanted to do for their own benefit. Seventy men died. They were struck down by the spirit called Death, who was hanging around the covenant box looking for someone to destroy. This made the Israelites afraid, so they sent the covenant box to Kiriath Jearim. Eleazer was sanctified to guard it, so Death was unable to do harm (1 Sam 7:1).

The people of Israel wept and sought after God (1 Sam 7:2). Losing the covenant box, and then having it returned by a miracle must have shocked them into repentance. Samuel the prophet spoke to the people and challenged them to get rid of their foreign gods and commit themselves to serving only Yahweh. He promised that if they did, God would deliver them from the Philistines. The nation assembled together and fasted and confessed their allegiance to him (1 Sam 7:5-6).

When the Philistines attacked Israel, the prophet called out to the Lord. God “thundered loud thunder” against the Philistines and threw them into a panic, so they were routed by the Israelites (1 Sam 7:10). The Philistines were subdued.

Unfortunately, this season of blessing did not last long, because when Samuel got old, the Israelites asked for a king so that they could be like the other nations (1 Sam 8:4-9). The modern equivalent is the common cry of God’s people. Give us a leader who will tell us what to do, so we can pay him and his team to do God’s work on our behalf.

Church Response
Two options are available for responding to the stronghold that Death has established in the church.

  1. The Philistines understood that they had made a mistake and needed to get rid of the called Death, so they did what they had to do to get rid of him. God’s miraculous power was released, and they were delivered.

  2. After a slow start, the Israelites listened to Samuel and agreed that they would only serve Yahweh. This brought blessing, and the Philistines were defeated. Yet, they did not put the covenant box back to the Tabernacle where it needed to be, so they did not re-establish their spiritual protection from Death. Worse still, they began to cry out for a King like the other nations.
I worry that the response to any setback for the church will be a half-hearted response that might bring some small victories, but like the Israelites, they will continue to cry out to God, “Give us an executive pastor like our competitor churches so that we can be successful too. That approach will not defeat Death.

Christians who are concerned about the increased incidence of cancer amongst young adults should be asking if their church or its leaders have given the spirit called Death a place in their city or nation. This is a tough question to face but we need the courage to ask it honestly. Instead of patiently accepting every evil that strikes us, we should be seeking the cause of his attacks and looking for solutions that will bring about his defeat. Eli's experience provides an important clue.

The full series is at Eli's Mistake.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Eli's Problem (2) Idols Fall

Once the Philistines had carried the covenant box to Ashdod, Death had the freedom to work there. God’s wisdom had been rejected, so his presence was gone from the covenant box. I presume that the spirit called Death went with it because he wanted to be the spirit that controlled the box once the people had made it into an idol.

The Philistines put the covenant box in a temple beside their god called Dagon. That night he fell off his stand. They put him back, and the next night the same thing happened. Dagon’s arms and head broke off (1 Sam 5:1-5). The Philistines symbolise the people of the world who oppose God’s work in the world. They have set up false gods and philosophies, and tried to make them equal with him, but they are ineffective (no arms), because they cut people off from God (the head).

Because they rejected God, the Philistines were vulnerable to the spiritual powers of evil. The writer of Samuel says that God’s hand was heavy on them, but this is a two-agent world view. It was actually the hand of the spiritual powers of evil that was hard on them, because they had no spiritual protection.

The spiritual powers of evil brought devastation upon them and struck them with tumours (1 Sam 5:6) (the Hebrew word is also used for a mound of earth or fortress). The covenant box was sent to Gath, but the same thing happened there. The spiritual powers of evil were heavy on that city too. The city was thrown into a great panic. The people of the city, both young and old, were afflicted with an outbreak of tumours (1 Sam 5:9). These cancers affected young people. This is why it was so shocking. However, this is consistent with the prophecy to Eli warning that lives would be cut off in their prime.

When the covenant box was sent to Ekron, the same thing happened there.

Death filled the city with panic/confusion; his hand was very heavy on it. Those who did not die were afflicted with tumours, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven (1 Sam 5:11-12).
“Death” is the name of a powerful spiritual being (Cosmos Dominator) who loves killing and destroying people. He gained a hold on the city and released a pestilence amongst the people. Those who were not killed by the plague were afflicted with terrible cancers. (Interestingly, the Philistines seemed to know that the plague was spread by rats (1 Sam 6:4)).

Ignored Instructions
When pastors-leaders fail to apply God’s instruction for building the church, the spirit of Death gains access to their people, and the people of the world in the place where they live. This is probably the reason that cancer is currently rampant amongst younger people in the western world. The covenant box was built according to the plan revealed by God on the mountain, whereas Dagon was a creation of humans. An idol made according to the wisdom of men was made equivalent to a box built according to a plan revealed by God.

God wants his church built according to the plan that he revealed in the New Testament. Pastors have rejected that plan and built according to human wisdom. The statement that “the hand of God is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” (1 Sam 5:7) implies that the spiritual powers of evil will be heavy on a church built according to human plans.

I presume that the plague of cancers that is currently attacking young people is the result of the failure of the pastors to follow Jesus’ instructions for building the church and the failure of the prophets to challenge them. This failure has allowed the spirit called “Death” to establish a stronghold in the church and the nation, and is doing his evil work.

Jesus gave his disciples clear instructions to his disciples about how he wanted his church to operate, and the Holy Spirit taught them how to do it. The early church applied Jesus’ instructions and had amazing success in reaching the world. However, once the church was successful, it gave up some of Jesus’ ways and replaced them with human ideas about how it should operate, but in the process, we have lost the spiritual protection that Jesus’ instructions provided.

We make excuses for our defeat, but we have not realised that our failure to follow Jesus’ and the Holy Spirit’s instructions has allowed Death to establish a stronghold because we have undermined the spiritual protection that is provided when we do things his way. Five human practices, which are contrary to Jesus’ instructions for the church, have undermined our spiritual protection.

  1. The church in the book of Acts was led by elders (always plural) (Acts 13:1; 14:23). They guarded the flock which the Holy Spirit had called them to oversee and shepherded (verb) the people that Jesus had bought with his blood (Acts 20:28). Yet, the modern church had decided that the church should be managed by professional executive-pastors. They are given different titles: apostle, senior pastor, senior leader, but this is irrelevant because the role simply does not exist in the New Testament. Having a paid professional running programs to support the members of the church leaves them, and the people under them, vulnerable to attack by the spiritual powers of evil.

  2. Jesus prayed that his people would be one, as he and the father are one (John 17:21). Paul said that there is one body, one spirit and one hope (Eph 4:4). He prayed that the elders would equip the people so that the body of Christ would be built up until we all reach unity in the faith (Eph 4:12-13). Yet modern churches are happy to perpetuate divisions by organising into different demonisations, and post-denominational churches brand themselves to distinguish themselves from other churches. Unfortunately, this division leaves the church vulnerable to the spiritual powers of evil. Real spiritual protection comes through unity.

  3. The modern church tells people to come to church at least once a week, ideally on Sunday, for their entire lifetime. In contrast, Jesus told his disciples to go into the world and share the gospel in the way that he had taught them. They expected the people of the world to see what the Holy Spirit was doing amongst them and be drawn to Jesus. The early church always took the gospel into the streets and market places and the Holy Spirit confirmed their words with signs and wonders. This public visibility is why the gospel spread so quickly and the church grew so fast.

    The modern church has rejected the “go strategy” and does all the important stuff at the front of the meeting on Sunday. The worship service has become the focal point of all its efforts. If people want to see God at work, they have to come to church to see the Holy Spirit moving through the pastor or guest preacher at the front of the meeting. Most of the people of the world never see the Holy Spirit working, because they will never go to a church meeting. (Strangely enough, Jesus never commanded his followers to hold worship services. Rather he expected their entire lives to be an act of worship).

    The church says come.
    Jesus says go.
    He also said wait;
    until you have received power from on high.
    We cannot go into the world without the fulness of the Holy Spirit in our midst. If we are not able to go out in his strength, we should wait together and cry out for him to fill us afresh. We should ask him to show us any obstacles that we need to remove. Gathering together to wait for the Holy Spirit is the only reason for not going into the world as Jesus commanded.

  4. Jesus never suggested that disciples could be trained by sitting and listing to a weekly sermon, as it rarely changes a person’s behaviour and seldom changes their attitudes or character. Jesus had a different way of training disciples.

    • He took people with him and did the things that he wanted them to do while they were with him observing. Sometimes they would get bold and join in.

    • Afterwards, he explained what he had done and why it was effective.

    • Once they understood his approach, he sent them out in pairs to do what he had shown them how to do.

    • Once these people were confident in doing his work, the pair could spilt and take two less experienced people out with them to learn how to do Jesus’ work.

    Jesus’ method of discipleship frequently multiplied the number of his followers who knew to share the gospel in the same way as he did. It also provided spiritual protection because everyone had someone watching their back.

  5. Individualism is so pervasive in western culture that we don’t realise how much we have been entrapped by it. Jesus worked the other way round. When he sent his disciples to do even the most trivial tasks, he sent them in pairs. He did this so they could provide spiritual protection for each other. Too many Christians are defeated by the spiritual powers of evil because they are trying to serve God on their own. We can only reach our true fulfilment in Jesus if we are part of his body. That can only happen if we are joined together with other members of his body as the fingers are joined to the hand. This joining together cannot be achieved by meeting for an hour on Sundays; it will require the interaction of living life together. The fullness of the Spirit can only be experienced in a group of people who love and trust each other. The best protection from spirits like Death comes from being part of a thriving body of believers.

We cannot expect to defeat a powerful spirit like Death if we are unwilling to follow Jesus’ instructions for spiritual protection.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Eli’s Problem (1)

I have just completed a series of posts called Death Reigns – Death Defeated. I briefly covered the experience of Eli, but his experience warrants further examination because it speaks to our modern situation. Too many young people are getting cancer and dying, and the church seems to be powerless to prevent it. The actions of Eli, the High Priest of Israel in Samuel’s time, seem to provide an explanation of this problem.

Eli represented God to the people and the people to God. He was the leader of the Levites, who were responsible for teaching the people what God required. You could say that Eli was the senior pastor of Israel. His role is similar to anyone who takes up the role of pastor in the church, using the examples of Peter or Paul to justify their ministries. Modern pastors take responsibility for teaching their people how to serve God.

Eli’s sons and their colleagues were wicked. They used threats to get the people to do what they wanted them to do. They said something like, “If you don’t go along with us, you could lose your salvation”. They treated the people with a lack of respect: as expendable, convenient, serviceable. They also treated the Lord’s gifts with contempt (1 Sam 2:12-17).

A prophet spoke to Eli, the senior pastor and said that the shepherds of Israel had scorned God’s instructions about how the tabernacle sacrifices should operate. They have honoured other pastors more than the people.

Those who honour Me I will honour, and those who despise Me will be insignificant (1 Sam 2:30).
The prophet warned, “Your strength will be cut off. You will see distress in your church”.
You will live long only to have eyes blinded with tears and a heart full of grief. Your descendants will die in the prime of life (1 Sam 2:33).
This is the curse on Eli. He will live long but will be filled with sadness and grief because the children he cares for will be cut off in the prime of life. Eli did nothing. He ignored the prophet and pretended not to see what his sons and their colleagues were doing. His eyes were weak and he could barely see (1 Sam 3:1,11).

Modern Parallel
In many ways, the behaviour of the executive-pastors of the modern church parallels that of Eli. They have ignored God’s instructions about how the church should be built and followed the plans of other men. Some have treated their sheep as expendable, taking their finances, but not giving them life in return.

The pastors have mostly ignored the prophets. Like Ahab, they hate prophets who say bad things about them. They only like those who promise good things (1 Kings 22:8). Prophets are the eyes of the church. It is a terrible thing when prophets are silenced.

We are given no signs from God; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be (Psalm 74:9).
A church without prophets is in a dangerous situation. Eli’s weak eyes represent the dearth of true prophets in the church.

The prophet announced that the Lord would do something that will make the ears of everyone tingle. The pastors will be totally shocked by what the Lord does. They will be so surprised that they are forced to listen to the prophets (1 Sam 3:11). The consequence of putting loyalty to their colleagues ahead of the call of the prophets will lead to their people being cut off during the “prime of life”.

Defeat by Death
When the Israelites went into battle against the Philistines, they suffered a terrible defeat, and four thousand soldiers were killed in battle. Instead of seeking the Lord to find out why he had not been with them, the people decided to take the covenant box in battle with them (1 Sam 4:3-7). They confused God with the box over which he met with them and spoke to them. They believed that if they took the covenant box, God would have to go with them.

  • They wanted to be like the other nations, who often took their idols into battle with them. Or the soldiers wore badges representing their idols as a sign of protection. Israel should not have been copying the nations around them.

  • They assumed that taking the covenant box into battle would assure them victory. This was presumption of the worst kind.

  • The Israelites were trying to manipulate God, forcing him to go with them because his covenant box had gone into battle. God hates manipulation and control (witchcraft) and he will not be moved by it.

  • Eli knew that God was not in the box, but they said nothing to his people. He let them wander down the wrong path. There is a strong parallel between Eli’s experience and that of pastors and the modern church.

  • They have put God into a box. If people want to meet with God, they are told to go to the church building (box) and they will encounter him there.

  • People believe that if they praise God staunchly enough in their church meetings, then they will receive a victory in the world. Unfortunately, that has not worked out in practice.

  • There is an element of manipulation in this approach. People have been told they can meet with God if they come to the box (church building), so God has to turn up, or people will be disappointed in him.

  • The pastors know that God is everywhere and can be encountered anywhere. Yet they tell people to come to the box where he dwells. They refer to their meeting as “this house”, meaning “the Lord’s house”. The truth is that the Lord dwells in his body and works through it where it is operating together in love and unity.

  • The world has developed alternative boxes that are more appealing. In medieval times, the church was the only meeting place (box) in a town or village. That is no longer true. The world has created other meeting places, like shopping malls, public halls, schools, universities, movie theatres, sports arenas. They are often more exciting than the church building.

Despite having the covenant box with them, the armies of Israel were defeated and it was taken captive by the Philistines. Thirty-thousand soldiers were killed.

The slaughter was very great (1 Sam 4:10).
This was the result of Death being given greater freedom. Taking the covenant box out of the tabernacle weakened the effectiveness of the tabernacle sacrifices because the place where God dwelt was broken. The human decision was made contrary to the instructions given to Moses on the mountain. The undermining of the process for offering animal sacrifices meant that Death was no longer constrained by the law. Death seems to have a free hand in the modern Church too.

Eli was old and heavy and he heard about the covenant box being captured, he fell off his stool and broke his neck (1 Sam 4:18). His body was cut off from his head. This represents the body of Christ cut off from Jesus, because the pastors have trained their people to listen to them, rather than the Holy Spirit, and coached them to watch God working through them at the front of the meeting, rather than sending them out into the world in the power of the Spirit to do great things for Jesus.

Eli’s daughter in law died young following childbirth, but she named her son Ichabod before she died because the glory of God has departed from Israel (1 Sam 4:19-22). The glory of God has departed from the modern church in a similar way.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Submission to Husbands

Some Christian men use Eph 5:22-24 as justification for requiring their wives to submit their will and obey their instructions. Few see the funny side of this claim.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands… Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
According to this passage, wives should submit to their husbands in the same way that the church submits to Jesus. This seems to be a very low standard. For most of history, the church seems to have done its own thing. It has rarely obeyed Jesus.

Jesus never forces the church to do his will. Rather he loves it, and forgives again and again for disobeying and failing to do what he asked it to. The church tends to pay lip service to obeying Jesus, but has mostly done what it chooses to do and asked God to bless it so that it appears to be his will.

So, when a husband says that his wife should obey his commands in the way that the church obeys Jesus, he is setting a very low bar. A wife who follows the example of the church would take the benefits that he provides but ignore his instructions. A woman who obeys her husband in the same way as the church obeys Jesus can choose what instructions she wants to acknowledge and just ignore the rest

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Farmers Protest

On Friday, farmers in New Zealand drove their tractors and utes into the centre of the big cities in a protest against the government. They were mostly objecting to regulations that have been introduced to protect the environment. Unfortunately, the government will not take much notice of the protest, because farmers are too small a political bloc to influence election outcomes, and the mood in the nation has switched from seeing farmer as heroes wrestling with nature to extract as much production from the land as possible towards preserving the environment, protecting endangered native species, and ensuring that river water remains pure (see Farming in New Zealand).

Farmers are finding the going tough, but it is no use ranting against a government that they will not vote for. If they want to understand the source of the pressure they are facing, they should read Deuteronomy 8.

In the southern island of New Zealand where I live, the European people who first settled the countryside were supported by church-based migration schemes. Many of the settlers who purchased land in Southland, Otago, Canterbury and Nelson were Christians. They considered the land to be blessed by God. Within a couple of decades of their arrival, they had built schools to educate their children and church buildings for gathering to give thanks to God for the blessings they had received.

Unfortunately, the last two generations of farmers in these blessed areas have forgotten God. Now many of the church buildings are empty, have been converted in houses, or a used only once a month by the small remnant who still want to gather to thank God for their blessing. The reason why farming has become so hard is that the people and the land have lost the blessing of God, which made life so good in the early days. Here is the relevant passage from Deuteronomy.

Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God (Deut 8:6-14).

Taking heed of this promise would be more beneficial for farming than blocking up roads and cities with big tractors. A return to blessing will only come with a return to faith and trust in God.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Death Reigns (6) New Testament Age

Ephesians 6:12 is an important verse for understanding the functioning of the universe.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the government-spirits, against the authorities, against the cosmos dominators of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms.
Most Christians don’t think that much about the details of this insight. They are aware of being attacked occasionally by an evil being, but they will mostly have been dealing with an ordinary evil spirit. Evil spirits are not omnipresent like the Holy Spirit, so most Christians will not have encountered Satan (the accuser), because he is busy elsewhere. They don’t think much about how the activities of government-spirits and cosmos dominators affect their lives.

In the last few posts, I have tried to explain how a cosmos dominator Death worked during the Old Testament age. He controlled thousands of spirits who submitted to his authority. Paul had explained that Death had a legal right to act between the time of Adam and Moses (Rom 5:14). The law was given to curtail his activity, but he was able to continue to be effective when kings and rulers fell into sin.

Christians should not need to worry about this cosmos dominator, but unfortunately, he is still at work in the world. When Jesus was arrested by the Jewish leaders, they placed him in the power of the spirit of Death.

He was delivered over to Death (Rom 4:25).
Jesus totally defeated all the spiritual powers of evil on the cross. His victory included the defeat of Death.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him, because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over him (Rom 6:8-9).
Followers of Jesus have died with Jesus, so they share in his life. Paul is emphatic that Death no longer rules over him, and therefore no longer rules over those who trust in Jesus. The spirit called Death should not have any legal rights in the church, but unfortunately, its leaders have frequently given him a place that he does not deserve.
  • When Peter dealt with Ananias and Saphira, something was wrong because Death was able to intervene, and two followers of Jesus needlessly died.

  • Paul must have opened himself up to the spirit called Death before he encountered Jesus, because he engaged in ferocious persecution of Christians (Acts 8:3; 9:1). When he came to faith, he seemed to get free of the spirit and never came under its control again.

  • Paul warned that if the church and its leaders fail to understand the way that Jesus wants his body to function, Death can gain a stronghold.

    Those who eat and drink without recognising the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have succumbed to Death (1 Cor 11:29-30).
    This not just thinking right about the biscuit and grape juice. The fact that people are dying suggests that something far more serious is going on. Jesus and the Holy Spirit have given us instructions about how his body should function. If church leaders ignore those instructions, the spirit called Death can gain an influence. This is one reason, so many Christians are dying of sickness before their time has come.

    For example, every church in the book of Acts is led by a team of elders. The one-man-band leadership model that has been adopted by the modern church cannot provide adequate spiritual protection for the people of the church.

  • During the season leading up to the time when the Fulness of the Jews comes to trust in Jesus, Death will be released upon the earth and do terrible harm. When the fourth seal was opened, a horse went out into the world.

    Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power to kill...(Rev 6:8).
    This terrible evil spirit will bring terrible suffering on earth and destroy the lives of many people.

  • The final spiritual power of evil to be destroyed is Death.

    The last enemy to be destroyed is Death (1 Cor 15:26).
    Death will be destroyed at the end of the age, when Jesus has become all-in-all and has handed his kingdom over to the Father (Rev 20:14).

All Christians and church leaders should be alert to the activities of the cosmos dominator called Death. They should ensure that their spiritual protection is adequate when he is at work (See Personal Protection).

Whereas Satan uses legal authority to gain control of people, Death relies on ruthless and brutal power to establish a stronghold. Whenever, the people of God lose their spiritual protection, Death is able to elbow his way in and establish control of the situation.

Death does not work on his own, but enforces his power through a host of evil spirits who have submitted to his authority. When the people of God lose their spiritual protection, Death pushes his way in. Sickness often comes first because Death has many spirits of Death under his control.

The complete series is at Death Restored - Death Defeated.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Death Reigns (5) Gains Stronghold

When Solomon's son Rehoboam succeeded to the throne, the people rebelled against him. Jeroboam gained control of the Northern Kingdom, consisting of ten tribes. God defused the enmity between the two kingdoms by sending a prophet to prevent a war (1 Kings 12:22-24).

Jeroboam rebelled against God and led the people of his kingdom into idolatry. He created two golden calves for the people to worship and set up an altar on which sacrifices could be offered (1 Kings 12:28-32). A prophet from God declared that the altar would be broken (1 Kings 13:1-3). The King spoke against the prophet and stretched out his hand to seize him, but his hand withered up so he could not pull it back. The altar split and its ashes poured out in fulfilment of the prophecy. Jeroboam then asked the prophet to intercede for him. The prophet prayed for the king and his arm was restored (1 Kings 13:4-6).

A pattern emerged as Death worked with the spirits of sickness under his control.

  • A king would rebel against God and lead the people into idolatry.

  • A prophet would warn the rebellious king of the power of Death.

  • Sometimes, Sickness would strike.

  • Death would destroy many.

This is the pattern of rebellion and Death.

Jeroboam son got sick. He sent his wife to Abijah the prophet. He declared that the son would die and that all Jeroboam’s family would be destroyed. Dogs would eat those who died in the city and those who died in the country would be eaten by the birds (1 Kings 14:1-13). The boy died. Jeroboam’s son Nadab only reigned two years. Baasha plotted against him and when he began to reign as king, he killed all Jeroboam’s family (1 Kings 15:25-29). He had given Death a place, but Death destroyed him and his family.

Baasha rebelled against God. A prophet came to him and warned that because he had insulted God, he and his family would be destroyed. His son Elah had only reigned two years when Zimri, one of his officials, plotted against him and struck him down when he was drunk. When he began to reign, Zimri killed all of Baasha’s family (1 Kings 16:8-13). The cycle of Death continued.

Zimri had only reigned seven days when Omri, the commander of the army, rebelled and laid siege to the city where Zimri was based. Zimri set the citadel on fire and burned down around him. Se he was taken by Death, too (1 Kings 16:15-20).

Omri reigned twelve years. He was succeeded by his son Ahab (1 Kings 16:23,29). Ahab took the rebellion a step further by marrying Jezebel, the daughter of a foreign king, and leading his people into worship of Baal. Elijah the prophet warned Ahab and drought made the land sick and nothing would grow. When the drought was ending, Elijah slaughtered 450 prophets of Baal, which probably left him vulnerable to Death, became he became suicidal (1 Kings 18:40). Ahab and Jezebel and all their family were killed by a warrior called Jehu.

Baasha, Zimri, and Omri all used ruthless and brutal power to gain control. Death has always used ruthless power to gain a place wherever spiritual protection is weakened. Jezebel used manipulation, intimidation to gain control. The marriage of Ahab (controlled by Death and Ruthless Power) and Jezebel (using Manipulation, Intimidation and Control), allowed a union of several being spiritual powers. Ahab placed the nation of Israel under the control of spirits called Death, Ruthless Power, Manipulation Intimidation and Control. These spirits still work together in many places.

Failing Kings

Many of the kings of Israel made themselves vulnerable to the spirit called Death, and much death and bloodshed followed. Some prophets fell into the same trap. The following are just a few examples.
  • Baasha killed all of Jeroboams family so he could become king (1 Kings 15:29).

  • Omri became king by leading a violent rebellion (1 Kings 16:22).

  • Elijah slaughtered 450 prophets of Baal, which probably left him vulnerable to Death, became he became suicidal (1 Kings 18:40).

  • Ahab killed Naboth to get control of his vineyard (1 Kings 21).

  • Elisha cursed 42 children who mocked him, and they were slaughtered by two bears 2 Kings 2:24).

  • Jehu slaughtered all of Ahab’s seventy sons (2 Kings 10:6-8).

  • Jehu butchered the prophets of Baal whom he had trapped in a temple (2 Kings 10:24-25).

  • Athaliah, a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, killed the royal family to gain control of the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 11:1).

  • Manasseh was an evil king who shed much innocent blood (2 Kings 21:16).

  • Zedekiah was the last king of Judah. The Babylonian invaders killed his sons in front of him and then blinded him so that their death was the last thing that he saw (2 Kings 25:7). This was the ultimate fulfilment of the prophecy to Eli that his descendants would die young and his eyes would see only grief.

God provided a way for Death to be constrained through the law of Moses and the Tabernacle Sacrifices. Unfortunately, the leaders of Israel and Judah frequently disobeyed God, which allowed Death to intervene in the nation quite frequently. This powerful evil spirit brought about considerable death and suffering.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Death Reigns (4) David Vulnerable

When Saul became king, neither he nor Samuel did anything to return the covenant box to the tabernacle. On one occasion, Saul tried to take it into battle, but he was prevented from taking this dangerous action (1 Sam 14:18). This continued separation meant that the tabernacle sacrifices lost some of their efficiency, so Death was not satisfied by them but was free to continue operating amongst the people.

Saul seemed to have an attraction to violence, which left him vulnerable to the spirit called Death. Saul drew Israel together by cutting up a pair of oxen and sending the pieces throughout the land, a very violent way of sounding the trumpet (1 Sam 11:7). He nearly had his son Jonathan killed after making a rash vow to his armies. Jonathan was saved by his fellow soldiers because he had won a great victory. Saul’s curse of death made trouble for the country (1 Sam 14:24, 29, 43-45).

David also seemed to be vulnerable to the spirit called Death. The early part of his life was focused on fighting, and the latter part of his life was disrupted by fighting and death amongst his supporters.

  • David was proud of having killed a lion and a bear. He was very brave but seemed to have a propensity for violent war (1 Sam 17:34-36).

  • David took Goliath’s sword and cut off his head after he was dead. When he returned to Saul, he was still holding Goliath’s head (1 Sam 17:50-57).

  • When David came back from battles, the people said that he had killed tens of thousands of people (1 Sam 18:7).

  • David killed 200 Philistines, so he could present their foreskins to Saul to obtain his daughter Michal as his wife (1 Sam 18:24-27).

  • Death seemed to stir up constant trouble amongst David’s military leaders producing many unnecessary deaths of men who served David.

    • Abner killed Asahel ((1 Sam 2:23).

    • Joab killed Abner (1 Sam 3:27).

    • Joab killed Amasa (2 Sam 20:10).

    • Benaiah killed Joab (1 Kings 2:34.

  • David killed two rebels and cut off their hands and feet and hung their bodies on a tree to warn others against rebelling (2 Sam 4:12).

  • David brought the covenant box to Jerusalem and put it in a tent that he had placed there (2 Sam 6:1-18) while the tabernacle and its equipment remained at Gibeon (1 Kings 3:4). There is no suggestion in the OT account that God told him to perpetuate this separation. God had instructed Moses how the Tabernacle should function to provide spiritual protection to the children of Israel, and especially to deal with the spirit called Death.

    David liked having the covenant box in Jerusalem because he loved to worship God, but by separating it from the Tabernacle, he undermined the spiritual protection God had provided. This allowed Death to keep on attacking Israel and its leaders when he should have been defeated by the giving of the law. When dealing with the spiritual powers of evil, worship cannot compensate for following God’s instructions that provide for spiritual protection.

  • David murdered Uriah the Hittite because he coveted his wife Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:14-17).

  • David did not deal with disputes between his children. Absalom killed his brother Amnon (2 Sam 13:28-29). Absalom died after rebelling against his father (2 Sam 18:9). Solomon killed his brother Adonijah (1 Kings 2:24-25).

  • David counted his fighting men without consulting God, bringing a plague that annihilated 70,000 people. This was the work of Death.

The law and the tabernacle should have protected David from attacks by the spirit called Death, but the mistake left him vulnerable, resulting in unnecessary death and bloodshed. David seemed to know that he was trapped by death. In his song of praise, he said,
The ropes of Hades entangled me; the snares of Death confronted me (2 Sam 22:6).
The cords of Death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me (Psalm 18:4-5).
And God frequently rescued him.
Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from Death (Psalm 68:20).
You have delivered me from Death and my feet from stumbling (Psalm 56:13).
The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to Death (Psalm 118:18).
You Lord have delivered my soul from death (Psalm 116:8).
God frequently rescued David from Death, but he never fully escaped the power of this evil spiritual power. And he passed it on to his son Solomon.

Effective
Christians mostly study the tabernacle as a type of Jesus, looking for details that represent his ministry. However, this misses an important point. God does not make mistakes. The tabernacle was not a failure the Jesus had to correct. God instructed Moses to build it to provide spiritual protection for the children of Israel. And it actually worked. When they were on the backfoot following the Exodus, the spiritual powers of evil had agreed with God that they would accept animal sacrifices in return for giving up the right to attack his people. They tabernacle was the vehicle for making this happen.

David seemed to put his desire to worship ahead of obedience to the commands of Moses, so he shifted the covenant box to a tent in Jerusalem, while leaving the tabernacle at Gibeon. This provided him with a place for worship, but unfortunately, it destroyed the capacity of the tabernacle to provide spiritual protection for the people, and they were attacked ruthlessly by the spirit called Death.

Many modern Christians have a fascination with the tabernacle of David as a symbol of fervent worship in their church building. Unfortunately, this has blinded them to the spiritual protection that comes through obedience to Jesus’ instructions about how we should be his disciples. This disobedience has allowed the spirit called Death to elbow his way into the church and establish a terrible stronghold there. Obedience, not praise, brings power and protection.

Solomon

David's son Solomon began his kingship by killing people who had opposed him, even though some had been very loyal to his father David: Adonijah, Joab, Shimei (1 Kings 2). This gave Death a place in his kingship.

Solomon built the temple and reunited the covenant box and the facilities for sacrifices, which should have ensured that Death was seriously constrained. However, he married so many foreign wives, who brought their own gods to Jerusalem, that he probably opened himself up to Death again.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Death Reigns (3) Tabernacle Broken

During the season of the Judges, the spirit called Death mostly worked through the political leaders of the nation. When Eli was the high priest of Israel, he released the spirit of Death more widely in Israel. His sons were wicked. They were sleeping with the women serving at the entrance to the tabernacle and stealing the offerings brought by the people. They were threatened people with force if they did not give in to them (1 Sam 2:12-16, 22).

A prophet came and challenged Eli about the consequence of his son’s behaviour. The prophet warned that his strength would be cut off and he would be distressed by what he saw.

You will live long only to have eyes blinded with tears and a heart full of grief. Your descendants will die in the prime of life (1 Sam 2:33).
Eli will live long but will be filled with sadness and grief because his descendants will be cut off in the prime of life. They will become vulnerable to the spirit called Death.

Eli ignored the prophet and pretended not to see what his sons and their colleagues were doing. His eyes were weak, so he could barely see (1 Sam 3:1,11). Eli’s spiritual blindness gave Death greater freedom to work in Israel, despite his defeat by the law of Moses. When the Israelites went to war against the Philistines, they were defeated, and four thousand men were killed.

Instead of seeking God to find out why they were defeated, the Israelites decided to take the covenant box with them into battle. They made it into an idol, like those of the surrounding nations. This did not work, as the Philistines were emboldened and won a powerful victory. Eli’s two sons were killed, and the covenant box was captured. Thirty-thousand soldiers were killed.

The slaughter was very great (1 Sam 4:10).
This was the result of Death being given greater freedom. Death affected Eli when he fell off his stool with shock, and broke his neck (1 Sam 4:18). Taking the covenant box out of the tabernacle weakened the effectiveness of the tabernacle sacrifices because the place where God dwelt was broken. The human decision was made contrary to the instructions given to Moses on the mountain. The undermining of the process for offering animal sacrifices meant that Death was no longer constrained by the law.

God’s wisdom had been rejected, so his presence was gone from the covenant box. The spirit called Death went with it. I presume that he wanted to be the spirit that controlled the box once the people had made it into an idol.

Cancer Tumours
Once the covenant box had been carried to Ashdod, Death had the freedom to work there. The writer of Samuel says that God’s hand was heavy on them, but this is a two-agent world view. It was actually the hand of the spiritual powers of evil that was hard on them because they had no spiritual protection.

The spirit called Death brought devastation upon them and struck them with tumours (1 Sam 5:6). The covenant box was sent to Gath, but the same thing happened there. Death and his supporting spirits were heavy on that city too.

The city was thrown into a great panic. The people of the city, both young and old, were afflicted with an outbreak of tumours (1 Sam 5:9). These cancers affected young people. This is consistent with the prophecy to Eli warning that lives would be cut off in their prime. When the covenant box was sent to Ekron, the same thing happened. The cause of the events are described more precisely.

Death filled the city with panic/confusion; his hand was very heavy on it. Those who did not die were afflicted with tumours, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven (1 Sam 5:11-12).
“Death” gained a hold on the city and released a pestilence amongst the people. Those who were not killed by the plague were afflicted with terrible cancers.

The Philistines had amazing spiritual insight because they knew how to put the situation right. They knew that they needed to get rid of Death and the spiritual powers that had attached themselves to the covenant box by making a guilt offering to attract and appease these evil spiritual powers. They made five gold tumours and five gold rats representing the rulers and people of the five cities that had come under attack. Sickness had attacked the rulers and people alike, so a solution that covered both was essential (1 Sam 6:4-5).

The Philistines knew that Pharoah was destroyed because he hardened his heart against God when plagues came upon Egypt. They did not want to make the same mistake, so they wanted to get the covenant box out of their territory (1 Sam 6:6).

When the Israelites offered the gold tumours and gold rats as a sacrifice, along with the two cows pulling the wagon carrying them, Death and his followers had to be satisfied and could not demand any more blood and death. This brought to an end the pestilence and plague of tumours that Eli had inadvertently released on the Philistines.

However, death had one last flourish. When the covenant box was at Beth Shemesh, some men looked into the box. Death took the opportunity and struck them down (1 Sam 6:19). When the frightened people moved the covenant box to Kiriath Jearim, Eleazer was sanctified to guard it, so Death was unable to do harm (1 Sam 7:1).

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Death Reigns (2) Clinging to Power

Once the children of Israel had crossed the Jordan, Joshua became vulnerable to the spirit called Death. Maybe he was already susceptible because he had led the Israelites into war on several occasions.

  • When the Israelites were close to Jericho, he encountered a man-like being in front of him with a drawn sword (Jos 5:13-15). Clearly, this was a spiritual being. Commentators argue about who this character was, but I believe he was the spirit called Death.

    • When Joshua asked if he was for or against Israel, he said “No”. An angel of the Lord would have said “Yes”, because they speak the truth. Death said “No” because he was not on either side. He would work with the side that inflicted the most blood and gore.

    • The sword is a symbol of war and Death (Rev 3:4).

    • This spiritual being told Joshua to take off his sandals because it was holy ground. This made it seem like a meeting equivalent to Moses encounter at the burning bush, but it was not the same. God spoke to Moses out of the bush, so the ground really was holy. Joshua encountered a spiritual being, not God, so this was the same. Angels do not make the ground holy, so we do not need to take off our shoes for them. The spirit deceived Joshua by appealing to his pride through an experience that was similar to Moses call.

    • The person claimed that he was the commander of Yahweh’s army. He was a commander of a spiritual army that had been created by Yahweh, but it had rebelled, so his claim was only a half-truth.

    Joshua was deceived by this spiritual being, so he bowed and submitted to him. If this was the spirit called Death, it gave him power over Joshua.

  • The Israelites turned Jericho into a massacre after the walls had collapsed, whereas God’s plan was that the residents would panic and flee (Deut 7:1). The blood bath occurred because the spirit of Death had got control over Joshua.

  • Joshua pronounced a curse against the defeated city of Jericho, although God had not asked him this to this (Josh 6:26). Joshua declared that the person who re-laid the foundation of the city would lose his eldest son, and the person rebuilding the city-gate would lose their youngest son to death. This curse was probably inspired by Death, but it also increased his power over Joshua.

  • The Israelites were defeated in the battle for Ai. Joshua did not seek God’s plan but took the advice of the people and sent only a small army to take it. They were defeated. Joshua did not take responsibility for this mistake. God revealed that Achan had taken some of the forbidden things at Jericho and hidden them in his tent. He said that they could not stand against their enemies because they had become “subject to doom” (Death). God told Joshua that the forbidden things must be destroyed (Jos 7:12). When Joshua spoke to the people, he said the person with them must be destroyed (Jos 7:15). The people went even further than what God had said and struck Achan and his entire family down with stones and burned them. This excess was the influence of Death, but it also strengthened Deaths influence in the new nation.

  • When Joshua finally conquered Ai, he blocked off the way of escape and did not allow the people to flee towards the desert. Yet this was what God wanted to happen (Deut 7). The people of Ai were slaughtered instead.

Although God said the people of Canaan would be frightened into fleeing, the taking of the land turned out to be extremely violent. This was probably due to the influence of Death on Joshua. (More at Violence).

Judges
The spirit called Death continued to have a strong influence on the leaders of Israel during the season of the Judges because many of them engaged in violence beyond what God allowed.

  • Ehud stabbed Eglon, the King of Moab, who had gained control of Israel after they rejected God (Jud 3:21).

  • Abimelech murdered his seventy brothers to become ruler of Israel (Jud 9:5).

  • Before going into battle for Israel, Jephthah made a vow that he would kill the first person he saw when he returned. This resulted in him killing his oldest daughter (Jud 11:30-39).

  • Samson killed numerous Philistines for very little gain.

  • The Israelites fought against the sons of Benjamin and killed 18,000 of them in an unnecessary war.

  • The leaders of Israel led with unnecessary violence. This allowed Death to continue reigning, even though the law had curtailed his right to be active in Israel.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Death Reigned

Paul wrote to the Romans that Death reigned from Adam until Moses (Rom 5:14). He does not treat death as an experience, but refers to both Sin and Death as personal spiritual powers. Death is the name of a powerful cosmos dominator (evil spirit) who loves killing and destroying people. He dominated events on earth up until the time of the giving of the law, when his activity was curtailed in Israel.

The accuser (satan) was craftiest, so he tricked Adam and Eve, but Death was stronger, so he quickly came out on top in the struggle for control between evil powers. Death became the dominant spiritual power on earth, because the Holy Spirit had been squeezed out by human rebellion. Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, and Death came in through sin (Rom 5:12).

If Paul was correct about Death controlling the first stage of human history, you would expect to see some evidence of it in the Old Testament, especially Genesis. It is slightly hidden, because the Old Testament authors had a two-agent world view in which every activity was caused by humans or God. However, when we read it, with a three-agent world view looking for what Paul taught, there are plenty of activities that were probably the result of Death's work on earth. The following activities are examples.

  • Death stirred up Cain to kill Abel, because he hoped to eliminate humans from the earth.

  • Death worked with another powerful spirit called the Destoyer to wreak havoc on earth. During the flood, Destroyer got locked up with a third of the evils spirits that worked with him, but Death escaped and remained in power.

  • Death worked with human genetics to significantly reduce their normal lifespan to 80 to 120 years.

  • The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was the work of Death.

  • Death tried to get Isaac killed, so he could cut off God’s covenant promise.

  • Death stirred up Esau, so that he would kill Jacob and prevent Israel from coming into existence.

  • He tried to get Joseph killed by his brothers. He would be able to destroy them if they had blood on their hands.

  • Death tried to kill Moses, but his wife took action to protect him.

  • During the Exodus, Death agreed to free the Israelite slaves in return for getting to kill the firstborn of all Egypt. The blood on the doorposts was a sign of that deal.

  • Once the Israelites had escaped, Death cheated and stirred up Pharoah to slaughter them when they were trapped against the Red Sea. When God rescued them, Death turned on the Egyptian army and slaughtered them.

  • Death stirred up the Amelikites to attack the Israelites in the desert, but God defeated them.

Covenant Victory

The covenant established by God through Moses broke Death’s power over the children of Israel. There are three reasons why Death’s activity was curtailed.

  • The Laws that God gave to Moses specified the penalties for crimes. The set of crimes that deserved death were limited, and alternative options for restitution and expiation were provided, so the ability of Death to punish people was limited. The ultimate penalty under the law was exclusion from the community. This left the person convicted and excluded vulnerable to attacks by Death. This was referred to as “dying to Death”.

  • People had to be convicted under the law before the spiritual powers of evil could act against them. This strengthened the position of the Accuser over Death, because other spirits could not act until he had achieved a conviction. Sin became powerful, because he was skilled at leading people into sin.

  • The tabernacle sacrifices fulfilled the demands of Death, so he had to be satisfied with the blood of animals. He hung around the tabernacle because he loved blood and gore, but he was unable to act against people who made the specified sacrifices.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Political Lies

According to 2 Thessalonians 2, an evil political leader often gains power when the people come to believe a lie. This reminds us that one of the most dangerous things that political leaders can do is to encourage the people of their nation to believe lies.

I have noticed a disturbing tendency for political leaders in the west to say things about other nations for political benefit that they know to be untrue. Saying nasty things about nations that their people hate without any evidence (such as Iran, Russia and China) can be a good way to gain political support. The news media often make the situation worse by perpetuating the lies.

The most obvious example is the claim that Russia stole the 2016 presidential election. Those who made this claim offered no serious evidence, but politicians and the news media continued to repeat the lie. The Mueller investigation found no credible evidence of collusion, and the investigation of the inspector general exposed plenty of dishonest behaviour (lies) by the US security services, but the big political lie still persists.

I can think of many more examples of deliberate political lies. Blaming another nation for a problem is a great way to avoid taking responsibility for mistakes. That is serious enough, but even worse, when people with political authority in a nation spread a lie, this gives a spirit of deception a stronghold in the nation.

When successive political leaders use lies about other nations as an election tool, the deceiving spirit gets established as a government-spirit over the nation. Once this spirit has a stronghold over a nation, anything can happen, and it will not be good (see 1 Kings 22).

Unfortunately, too many Christians are blindly accepting the lies of their political leaders, which increases the power of the spirit of deception. That is scary.