Friday, October 22, 2010

A Sign of the Times: The Terrain of the Leviathan Planet

Jesus spoke to His disciples once upon a time about the end of days. In His discourse, he spoke of wars and rumors of wars being present and signs in the heaven as well as being key harbingers of the return of Christ. Another sign that is often overlooked is that people’s love will wax cold – Especially church people. While we will always have wars and signs in the heavens, perhaps a better indication is the state of the church itself.

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

Iniquity has many faces and some of them aren’t so easy to discern. We think of outright sins as iniquity but often confuse religious practices with virtue. Make no mistake, iniquity’s visage that goes anonymous most of the time is the religious nature in man. How is religious nature so often manifested? We need look no further than Jesus’ comment in the gospel of Matthew.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

In this scripture, the religious spirit is revealed. In the context of what Jesus is saying, cumin, anise and dill are the smallest of seeds and to count out or tithe them according to the Law would be an arduous task indeed. Yet they are ‘credited’ by Jesus for doing this but in neglecting the ‘weightier matters of the law’: judgment, mercy and faith. This is the true essence of the religious iniquity in man. At its core, the religious spirit is the inability to love the un-loveable while focusing on what they believe to be necessary. This state of being includes ironically all of us. If anyone looks close to any particular person, the ugliness of the flesh in which we are all housed is apparent. Yet the Bible gives us no option but to love – especially our enemies.

The Leviathan Arises

If we were to picture the churchscape today, perhaps it could be likened to the sea mentioned in the book of Revelation from which the Leviathan will rise. There is no doubt it speaks of the political world and the nations but it must be remembered that Satan will appear as an angel of light in the end times – so we must all be aware the church-terrestrial as we would call it in its totality has many parts that are not under the Lordship of Christ. In the passage of scripture preceding the quote above, Jesus talks about the rise of many false prophets. Now if the Old Testament gives us a good definition of what a false prophet is, there are two kinds: First, there are the prophets of Baal or another god. However, there is a second type that perhaps is the worst of all because they masquerade under the auspices of calling on the same God that we do. The Almighty comments that these are the ones who prophesy their own vision. In the end times, we can expect the rise of dysfunctional groups in the Body of Christ that are of this type: A Charismatic leader who preaches from their own vision. It is a well documented fact that there are more splinter groups within Christendom than there has ever been. The end times Jesus characterizes in Matthew finds some credence for the times we live in given the integrity and limits of biblical interpretation and application are being stretched by those who should know better. If there is ever a time for conservative biblical interpretation, it is at this time.

Personally, I believe that from this whole entity the Beast will arise…not just as a political leader but a spiritual one for the nature of the end time battle is not political but for the possession of the souls of men.

The What will the darkling preach? A gospel of self. Let me explain. In the last century or so, we have seen many doctrines come and go and for the most part could we not say that they , before falling under the crushing wheels of time and spiritual entropy, had something in common. - a focus on self. This took on many manifestations. The prosperity gospel (Name it and Claim it) where material self enrichment was the destiny of every Child of God, The seeker-friendly Church Movement – where practice of out-right sin was winked at so much so the difference between the church and the world was blurred. The discipleship movement where positions of church governmental authority was exercised to bring about a spiritual utopia only to suffer financial, spiritual and moral failure – a man became the duex ex machina (the machine of God) – cranking out spiritually bankrupt clones who could not distinguish between the idol that they really served and the Savior.

Of all the above mentioned (and there are many more), I believe the last is the most ‘Leviathan’ because it is not self aggrandizement but actually replaces the role of Jesus with another. What is this born out of? the lack of love for others or for self in the name of spiritual virtue. This is where dysfunctional religious groups maintain and hold their power. It gets down to a matter of focus with the individual. In most cases, those involved with dysfunctional groups have an emphasis on spiritual growth that becomes a major pre-occupation and so the vicious cycle of self focus continues to charge itself with its own inertia. In the end, the person in such a group operates from one of two polemics, each of them are poles of the same toxic spiritual ‘planet’. What is the result? Either the person is so busy focusing on arriving at the ideal point of spirituality that they have no time for any one but themselves or they have already arrived and are among the ‘special chosen’ to which they can see nothing but just how far others have fallen short and they do not want to be polluted. In either case, the lost and un-lovable are not seen or ignored depending on which pole the individual gravitates. In either case, it is a cold place to dwell; the cold and high place of the North or the icy self-torture felt by those who fall short in the area of spiritual perfection In either case, the ability to love is frozen solid. Let’s take a look at the dwellers of the Poles.

The North Pole of the Leviathan Planet

If I were to liken the person dwelling on this Pole, I would say that they are much like the Sanhedrin in Jesus’ day. In the true vein of the religious spirit, everything is sacrificed for the enrichment of the way that they follow. Nothing is more clear than this fact. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus has a discussion about Corban – that is material that is dedicated to God. Ones that give to the Corban in their case receive the adulation by the leaders of such groups but in the end all that is gained is the judgment of God. How does this usually play out? We need look no further than history. In it there is the lesson repeated over and over again. What history shows is the devolution of sects who live at this Pole. They get so elitist, there is no one left in the end to propagate it. They have either died off or worn out the ones that followed them totally destroying any self-worth they might have had. In essence, they devour and do not re-produce and in the end there is nothing left but empty buildings, stacks of teaching that plaster the walls in oblivion - a fitting and right judgment to those who promote such things.

In fact, if you have ever read the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis you will find a good corollary to the ‘North Pole’: it is not the utopia they tout but a devouring Hell with them selves producing as Jesus said ‘more of a son of hell than themselves.’ Leviathan does not carry a codex it has constructed on its own, it carries the Law by which it does what it always has done: condemn. The high tower of the religious elite is nothing more than a tower of Babel whose base is set on the floor of Hell itself. How does ‘cold love’ manifest itself? Unforgiveness. To those who do not believe as they do or for those former members, there is unforgiveness for what they define as betrayal of the cause they serve. It is all in the name of the Lord but the fruits of such a name are absent. It is not that they do not love because they do but the manifestation of it is cold and the root unforgiving.

Unforgiveness by these groups spawns very poisonous fruit that bears the seeds of its own destruction. Reaching out to those who would replenish their ranks becomes only token so that they can say they do ‘reach out’ but little of any fruit is garnered from such attempts. Basically it is not for the lost they reach out in compassion but out of the duty of doing so and in essence those to whom they have reached out to see this falseness. After all, it isn’t about the lost at all it is about their fulfilling their duty so they can chalk up another work. In the end, the lattice work between members grows more strong as children marry those within the group so the power and hold over the members grows ever stronger and the grip tighter. What is the result of this? There are two:

1> Power is wielded abusively – As the leaders now gain ultimate power and can literally ‘cast out of the synogogue’ those who they deem unworthy or non-complaint. The group manifests more and more the psychological syndrome of one bonding with their captors. One does not operate out of devotion anymore but terror. If the group has more than one-site from which it operates, families can be separated so that the ones who are deemed questionable in the leadership’s opinion are made more impotent by the separation of their children from themselves. Fear begins to grip everyone thinking that they might be next.

2> Heresy is spawned – Edicts come from the leadership on the basis of their ‘revelation’ from God. The major indicator of this is a continual refinement of the doctrines or teachings of the group. They become a system to which all within are held to comply. Moreover the doctrines and teachings favor the destiny of the group and especially whom within the group the leadership approves. One can be in a high seat and be cast down and lose everything – including their family – overnight at the whim or perception of the leader. There is usually no discourse other than total capitulation and surrender of all the person has or has responsibility. In the end all members become bankrupt and while the elite and favored are enriched. This is the true manifestation or the hireling.

A very good study of the sociology of such a group was done by the documentary channel recently called ‘Damned to Heaven’ It is a study of the Fundamental Latter Day Saints church. While some of the doctrines might be non-applicable, as you watch the film you will no doubt hear and see the end fruit of it – destroyed lives. If you have been involved in a dysfunctional religious group, no doubt the similarities you will observe will chill you to the bone. I leave it to you to get a copy and study. If this film does not convince you that the group you may be in or were in was not Christ-like at all, then I do not know what will.

The South Pole of the Planet Leviathan

While the North Pole is populated by the ‘success stories’ within the group, the South Pole is populated by its failures. In this place, the hell of falling short every day and with every thought is crushing. Yet these people carry on with the struggle day to day. Their focus is totally on themselves in a very self-destructive way. They hate themselves for what they are and desire to be free from themselves borders on obsession. Because of this self-hate and loathing, they have no time for others outside their group. They are too busy jockeying for positions of acceptability with those who lead them. Success is measured by approval of the leaders alone. Life outside the group is not a focus at all and it never really is truly considered by these bottom dwellers that they are even at a place where they can share Christ with others even if they wanted to do so: they have not yet reached a place of spiritual worth in order to do so. Sub-consciously, however, it is almost Freudian that they do not share Christ. After all, why would they do so to another person to become what they slog through every day of their lives. They say they are ruling in heaven but the reality is that they serve in hell.

They are devoured by those who lead them with not so much more than a disapproving glance. They are restless souls seeking the Living Water and all they get is personal torment. So, the question must be asked, “Why would such a person share such ‘good news’ with others?” There is no good news.

A Final Viewpoint

As you have read so far, there is little mention of love at all. In fact ‘cold love’ is no love at all, it is dead. What is the answer? It is the finest manifestation of love: forgiveness. At the North Pole of the Planet Leviathan, there is the absence of forgiveness – there is only a meting out of judgment and taking offense at those who trespass. By allowing forgiveness to those that offend them because they believe differently, the icy grip of the Leviathan will begin to thaw. For the bottom dwellers, these need to forgive themselves. Too long have they lived in the condemnation of the system they have adopted. They must see the Savior in His ultimate work: the forgiveness of Mankind to all who would believe in Him, even those on the Planet Leviathan. He is everything they need not some way to Him: He is the Way.

We must be committed to love. As such, we are left with the possibility of being rejected, ridiculed and even abused. Our Love for the Savior may need to be re-focused. For those who dwell on the Leviathan Planet, this is crucial. The Love for the Savior, that is His person must be evident – not a methodology to serve Him.

It is written and recorded that He descended into Hell and led forth those held captive by the Leviathan. May He do so in this day. I will leave you with this scripture and final thought Ps 126:8:

When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.

This is the good news, a song of deliverance. May He deliver you. When we are free, the song of salvation is ever upon our lips because it comes from the thawed heart where forgiveness has sprung forth again.

If we are living in the last days, let us not dwell in the icy halls of unforgiveness, God does not dwell there, He has never dwelt there. The one who does is Leviathan it is his domain, it is his planet.

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