1968 7 PRINCES TO THE RESCUE
I want to try and comment on Micah chapter 5- an Old Testament prophet.
But first a few other things.
Last night I was watching Fox news- and Greta mentioned the top stories of the year.
Lots of the news shows do this every year.
I thought- in general- that it’s harmful to re-tell the school shootings- over and over again- right at this time.
In our media world there is a sort of voyeurism that takes place- we want to see- hear- the actual events- over and over again.
Sometimes after a tragic event- maybe it’s already a few days old.
And some network will get hold of the actual 911 call- and run that as the news ad during the day.
‘Hey look- tonight we have the actual call’.
Oftentimes it’s the call a parent made when she found her kid was killed- or some other tragedy.
We do not need to air that type of stuff.
Anyway Greta said she thinks that ‘Africa will be the top story of this new year- not the Arab Spring’.
Okay- I know my liberal friends are mad at me- some ‘un-friend’ me and stuff.
Because I have been hard on the Dems.
But this time I’ll be hard on Fox.
Who remembers the Arab Spring posts I did last year?
The 3 nations that ‘sprung’ were Tunisia- Egypt- and Libya.
All these nations border each other on the Mediterranean sea- on the North part of the African continent.
In short- all the Arab Spring nations are Africa- so far.
The only possible one that’s not African is Syria- and it hasn’t ‘sprung’ yet.
So yeah- we should not always believe what we see on the tube.
Okay- Micah 5 is the chapter for this week.
It has the famous prophecy that out of Bethlehem Jesus will come.
It speaks about Bethlehem as a small- po dunk type town.
‘You are the least in Judah- yet from thee shall he spring forth who is to be the ruler’.
Jesus hailed from the wrong side of the tracks in many ways.
Galilee was also a sort of underclass area- Jesus and his men spoke Aramaic- which was kind of a lower class language.
A sort of Ebonics of the day [ouch!]
Yet- from that spot where it seemed no good could come- yet good did come.
A couple of verses caught my attention.
‘Daughter of troops- gather yourself into troops’.
And ‘When the enemy comes into the land you will raise up against him 7 shepherds and 8 principal men’.
When I read these verses this week- I applied them to the halfway house ministry we started a couple of months ago.
Often times in scripture we read symbols- things that might use warfare imagery- yet they are not talking about ‘killing’ the way we think.
One of the tragedies of our time is we have too many religious people who have never made this distinction.
And even in the church we hold to many ideas- that come from images about war- that are only symbols- but some teach them as actual war.
In the book of Revelation the apostle John talks about the Christians overcoming the enemy.
It talks about a battle- Jesus on a White horse- a sword coming out of his mouth.
When Evangelicals turn these into actual war prophecies- they do damage to the truth.
I mean the image of a sword from Jesus mouth is understood as the Word of God.
So Jesus ‘slays his enemies’ with the word of God.
Does Jesus actually kill them?
No- when people accept the message of Christ- they get baptized.
Baptism is a type of death to the old man- and life to the new.
So- the images of those being killed by ’the sword from Jesus mouth’ should be seen in this way.
[Or as a type of end time judgment that Gods word carries out- Jesus said ‘the words that I speak to you’ will judge you in the final day.]
Revelation says those who ‘died the first death and had part of the first resurrection’ the second death has no power over them.
All who are in Christ have died a sort of ‘first death’ on these- the 2nd death [when you die] has no power.
The writer of Hebrews says Jesus delivered us- who thru fear of death were all our lives in bondage.
Those who have died the first death- who have joined themselves unto Christ and are 'crucified’ with him.
Yeah- on these the 2nd death has no power.
Okay- I could go on and on like this- but the point is we as believers need to be careful when we teach the verses that speak about killing- death and swords.
Often times they are not to be taken literally.
So- when I read that God raises up ‘7 princes’ against the enemy.
I realized- at the halfway house- there are a total of 7 of us working together in the ministry.
I liked that- God uses people- princes- to come against the enemy.
Okay- back to Revelation.
There is this image of Jesus with 7 stars in his hand- and it says these are the 7 angels of the churches.
Some see these ‘angels’ as church leaders.
The Greek word means messenger- and it can mean angels or people.
The point is- Jesus has these people- these chosen ones- and he uses them as ‘weapons’.
That is- those who are sent into the world with the message of the gospel- these are in a way soldiers for the Lord.
But they don’t go out and kill people in the literal sense- but when they carry the message of the Cross- and when others believe in that message- then yes- those who believe and are baptized have died in a way.
The apostle Paul says ‘I have been crucified with Christ- never the less I live- yet not I but Christ lives in me’.
So yeah- when the enemy comes in- God sends messengers against him.
These messengers too have ‘swords’ in their mouths- they speak the Word of God.
And yes- every so often they ‘kill’ people- that is- those who hear the message- they die a sort of ‘first death’.
They die to the old man- the old nature.
They are raised with Jesus also- to walk in a new way.
Yeah- on these- the next death will have no power.
NOTES- I also wanted to mention yesterday’s ruling by Supreme Court justice Sotomayor.
She ruled that the Catholic owners of Hobby Lobby must either provide birth control thru their company- or start paying a 1.3 million dollar a day fine.
I remember when the debate was going on about Obama Care.
Many good people—Bishop Tim Dolan from N.Y. and others.
They were assured by the president himself that the religious views of Catholics would not be trampled over by the new law.
Yet- since the law passed- many Catholics have already been affected by the law in a negative way.
As most of you know- the church teaches that birth control is not an acceptable practice for Catholics.
Now- being raised as a Catholic- and now a Protestant- I do realize that many Catholics do not obey this rule.
But- others do.
It is sad that the Obama Care law does indeed trample over the rights of Catholics.
When a law forces a Catholic to provide something that goes against their conscience- that’s wrong.
The president and his supporters swore that this would not happen- tell that to the owners of Hobby Lobby as they start writing checks for 1.3 million- every day!
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