In previous blogs I have written about the Terms and Conditions, the EULA and some mighty Big But’s that exist within the Scriptures. Here are a few IF’s and Then’s to go with …
First is where we pick up our study in verse 14 where the “then” comes first …
Hebrews 3:14 “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;” There is much to be said about enduring until the end…. like there isn’t a magical rapture. We will save that for another post…
- Exodus 19:5 “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”
- Leviticus 18:5 “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, [then] he shall live in them: I am the Lord”
- Psalm 132:12 “If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, [then] their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.”
- Ezekiel 18:21 “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, [then] he shall surely live, he shall not die.”
- John 14:15 “If ye love me, [then] keep my commandments.”.
In those examples you can clearly see the consistency of the Bible… Old Testament, New Testament, Torah, the Psalms, the Apostles and the Prophets all saying the same thing. If….Then….
Hebrews 3:15 “While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.”
Again in this chapter Paul warns the church ‘Hey look this is important!’ The explanation is going to be lengthy… Paul is fighting against the pagan influences of the Greco-Roman society. This was the same problem in the days of Moses as Aaron builds a golden calf in his absence. This is the same problem today as we have seen by the fragmentation of the faith… 45,000 protestant religions, 21,000 Jewish religions and that doesnt even consider the ‘cereal’ religions… the fruits flakes and nuts….
What did God say? That is what tripped up Eve and to be honest …. it still works on us today. Did God really say that?
So let us deal with the then… Korah’s rebellion.
- Numbers 16:1-2 “Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:”
Korah goes recruiting some very influential people to “take their fair share” of the congregation. Korah had seen the financial, societal and religious influence of Moses and Aaron individually, yet had no idea how that played out corporately. Moses and Aaron we compelled by the mission while the money and influence didn’t matter. Aaron’s calf debacle may have had his head in conflict with his heart but he was still on mission. That is where grace and mercy play a key role. Repentance, true repentance, is never doing it again.
So what does Korah do with these men as he stands opposed to Moses… verse 11 … “For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?”
This is the Adversary in action. He always forms a gathering by means of a murmuring. A story that causes dissention and displeasure for the listener. It is the hissing of the serpent.
- Isaiah 14:12-14 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
Satan thought he could replace God and God’s instructions to mankind thereby setting himself up as the new ruler. That is how the Angels fell from grace. They were deluded by the Serpent’s hiss.
What happened to Korah? Numbers 16:32-33 “And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.”
What happens to Lucifer? Isaiah 14:15 “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Revelation 20:10
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone,“
SO … We can see here the IF we do what is not from God … the Then is…. then the out come is disastrous.
As with the previous blog we do not need a rocket scientist, author, president or philanthropist to tell us what we, in this generation, should do. Go to the source. Go to His instructions.
Where are we today? Do we listen to His instructions? Or do we listen to the traditions and teachings of men?
Marcion is a first century “evangelist” working his way through the religious ranks of the day. Marcion introduced the idea that God’s goodness, or mercy, out trumped God’s severity or wrath and that Salvation brought a release from the obligation of the “law”. The problem comes when measuring the action of a human as sinful.
This same message was espoused by by John Calvin and the Reformation movement. Today Calvinism controls the vast majority of the Protestant denominations. Andy Stanley is the modern day Calvin and he is quoted as saying.. “Why do Christians want to post the Ten Commandments in the public, shouldn’t they focus on something that actually applies to them?” Calvinism like Marcionism rejects the possibility of God having wrath against sin.
Without the “law” there is no standard by which a follower of God can be measured. By this, humanity is left to define what is and what isn’t sinful. I have heard (on more than one occasion) “We don’t smoke, we don’t chew, and we don’t hang around with those that do.” This is a very specific measurement and a very narrow minded one at that!
- Romans 7:7 “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”
So Paul wraps up this chapter with the “Then portion” of his urgency… that there is most assuredly a wrath to God…
Hebrews 3:16-19 “For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
There are going to be well-meaning, outwardly lovely people that will not make it to heaven because of their unbelief. They do not believe that God really did say to do this or to do that. They think they have been magically relieved of their duty as a child of the Most High. They think that this preacher or that televangelist has it all down pat because they have a huge following. They listen to affirm their own uneducated understanding.
- Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
- Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
- Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
I believe this is why Jesus said things like “they honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” Likewise, this is why He was in a constant battle with the Pharisees as they sought the glory and control of the people.
Mark 7:9 “And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.“
This is also defined for us in the Revelation.
Revelation 2:15 “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes*, which thing I hate.”
G3531 Νικολαΐτης Nikolaites (niy-ko-laiy’-tees) n/g.
- (meaning) vanquishers of a people, conquerors over the laity
- (group) Nicolaitans, a sect that adheres to subjugating (i.e. dominating and ruling over) a people while outwardly professing Christianity. possibly related or linked to the followers or practices of Balaam.
Fundamentally misunderstanding what loving God means. It means at least obedience to His precepts. Endorsing an abomination and the created order of men probably doesn’t align with loving God. Loving people also doesn’t mean going along with whatever they want to avoid hurt feelings.
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