Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Believer in Christ has Nothing to Fear. God is in Control.

                                         By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D., D.Th.
     “Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we are escaped.” (Psalm 125: 7)
     King David was distressed. He cried unto the Lord: “I have gone astray like a lost sheep... In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and He heard me.” (Ps.119: 176; 120: 1). He had sinned and asked God’s forgiveness!
     He was worried as he looked up at the hills surrounding Jerusalem. He knew the ENEMY lurked up there in the hills! He asked: “From whence cometh my help?” (Ps.121: 1) In other words: “We are vulnerable. Who will help us?” Then faith rushed in and he cried out: “My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth.”
     He made this wise deduction: If God made the heaven and the earth, He also made the hills surrounding Jerusalem and He will protect us! And since the Lord neither slumbers nor sleeps He will stand guard over us while we are asleep!
     Growing strong in faith, he declared: “The Lord shall PRESERVE thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (v. 8) David had changed his focus from searching the hills for his enemies, to looking far above his immediate trouble (in the hills) to the ONE who dwells in Heaven: “Unto Thee will I lift up mine eyes, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens.” (Ps.123: 1)


     Some time ago I preached a series of messages titled, The Winning Side’, and the more I immerse myself in God’s Word and fellowship with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ our Lord, I realize how precious the Gospel really is!
     King David understood this great truth. He stated: “If it had not been the Lord Who was on our side, now may Israel say; If it had not been the Lord was on our side, when men rose up against us.” (Ps.124: 1, 2)
     Then, he made this staggering statement: “THE SNARE IS BROKEN AND WE ARE ESCAPED!” The fear of the enemy attacking the city from the hills that encircled them had departed. He would be victorious because he was not only conscientious and discerning, but he had put his trust in God his ultimate Protector and Deliverer!
     There are MANY DOCUMENTED miraculous, supernatural accounts of how God delivered the Israelis from the vicious attacks by the Muslim hordes emanating from hate-filled Arab countries in 1947, 1967 and 1973.
     The 1967 Six Day War is replete with testimonies of God’s protection: One report tells of a swarm of hornets attacking a Jordanian Tank Force, causing them to stop their tanks and flee in terror.
     In another account, six Israeli soldiers captured 300 Egyptians soldiers. When asked why they surrendered, the Egyptian Fighters told of seeing large angels in white shining apparel with flaming swords, standing behind the Israelis.
     God promised Moses that He would send His Angel to lead them and He would also employ hornets to drive out their enemies so they could possess the land of Canaan. (Ex.23: 28; 33: 2; Deut.7: 20)


     During the ‘Six Day War’ Emile Boutros Boktor, a Pentecostal Pastor in Egypt was called up to fight against the Israelis. On June 6, 1967 war broke out and Emile was marching with thousands of Egyptian soldiers across the Sinai Desert toward Jerusalem
     Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser had promised them ‘a cake walk’. They would push Israel into the sea! But suddenly, everything turned against them. In a pre-emptive strike, the Israeli Air Force had destroyed all the Egyptian airplanes, knocked out the Syrian Tank Force and were attacking the Egyptian armoured vehicles and soldiers on the Sinai Desert.
     At 2:00 A.M. Emile was separated from his Company. In the total darkness the young man was frightened but remembered a gospel song his mother had taught him, titled ‘Lonely Days and Lonely Nights’. As he began to sing the song a light appeared in the distance and thinking it emanated his camp, he began walking toward it.
    Immediately, a great light sped toward him and he was standing face to face with Jesus Christ. The Lord told Emile that He was taking him back to Egypt and that he must not be afraid. Jesus charged him to tell everyone in Egypt that He loved them and to tell everyone in the whole world that He loved them.
    Jesus disappeared when the sun came up at 6:00 A.M. and the attacks from Israeli Jets brought total disarray and destruction to his company. He saw soldiers lying dead and dying all around him. High ranking officers were running about screaming for a doctor and others crying for water as the Israelis pounded their fighting force.
      Emile hid behind burnt-out tanks and other armour in the day-time and walked at night. It took him four days and nights to get back to Egypt walking on the burning desert. He had nothing to drink or eat during those four days and nights and amazingly was not thirsty or hungry! WHAT A MIRACLE!
     In 2007, I spoke at the 5,000 member Assembly of God Church in Cairo Egypt where Dr. Emile Boutros Boktor was the Senior Pastor, and had the privilege of interviewing him for Television. Sadly, we have just heard the news that he passed away last year! Egypt has lost a great man of God – the man who met Jesus Christ on the battlefield on the Sinai Desert.
    Dr. Boktor told me that “once you take a drink from the waters of the Nile you will return again and again” and extended a gracious invitation for me to return for a large Gospel Crusade. Unfortunately, I have not had the time to return to Egypt but am thankful that I have the video of our TV conversation of his dramatic meeting with our Lord Jesus Christ on the Sinai Desert in June 1967.


    The Bible says: “Beloved, believe not every spirit but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:
    “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST, whereof ye have heard that it is already in the world.
     “Ye are of God, little children and have overcome them, because greater is He that is in you than for he that is in the world.” (1 John 4: 1- 4)
     This declaration means that Jesus Christ’s followers are always victorious over the evil spirits and Satan’s antichrist forces that are in the world. This is because of the LIFE of Christ dwelling within us by the Holy Spirit!

     What does this statement mean, Jesus Christ is come in the flesh?” The world population by the end of 2011 is expected to reach 7 billion people and every one of us “have come in the flesh”. That is normal for human beings, but when God the Son was incarnated and born of a virgin woman, that is the greatest of all MIRACLES.
     The Eternal Son of God wrapped Himself in human flesh and came down to this earth to pay the enormous cost of our salvation. By shedding His pure and perfect blood and rising from the dead, He conquered death, Hell and the grave, redeeming us from Satan’s SNARE! The incarnation means “God in human flesh”.
     The difference between Christ and the human race is that while WE were born of human parentage, JESUS was NOT born of blood because he had no human father! The blood that flowed through His veins was the blood of God, uncontaminated by sin!
     Those who do not believe this basic truth about the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ CANNOT be saved. To reject this great TRUTH would be tantamount to blasphemy and total rejection of the DIETY of our Lord Jesus Christ! If He were not the spotless Lamb of God “slain from the foundation of the world”, He could not fulfill the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament!
     If that were the case, He would be a liar and an imposter and His blood would be powerless to cleanse from sin or to deliver us from the devil or provide us with life eternal.
     If He were only a good man or a prophet, He would be unable to hear our prayers, forgive our sins, heal us from our sicknesses or bless us and there would be no HOLY SPIRIT to lead us or guide into all truth which He promised. This is the acid test of true Christianity: “Every spirit that confesseth NOT that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is NOT of God.”  


       Medical science can prove the paternity of a child through the DNA of its father. It also states that the baby “is thereafter protected by the placenta from any flow from the mother’s blood into the fetus. Only the blood of the father enters the blood stream of the baby! 
      Dr. William Standish Read, renowned physician of Christian Medical Foundation, Tampa Florida stated: “The female ovum itself has no blood, neither has the male spermatozoon, but it is when they come together in the fallopian tube that the conception takes place, and a new life begins. The blood cells in this new creation are from both the father and mother and the blood type is determined at the moment of conception and is thereafter protected by the placenta from any flow from the mother’s blood into the fetus.”
      There is a serious misunderstanding among many Bible scholars and preachers due to an incorrect translation of John 3: 13, which says, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God.” Most Bibles have us believing that this Scripture text is referring to those who receive Christ, because of the plural “Which” when in fact the original Greek uses the singular “He” which refers to Christ!
     This passage must be taken in context with the rest of the Scripture text about Jesus the Word of God; not about believers. The Bible states: “He (Christ) was in the world and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own and His own received Him not.
      “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even unto them that believe on His name. HE was born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 3: 14)

     Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (160-220 A.D.) of Carthage Africa known as Tertullian, was an early Christian author who was martyred for his faith. He stated: “The blood of the martyrs has become the seed of the church.”
     In his book, ‘The Incomparable Christ’ (1902) - which I have enjoyed for decades - J. Oswald Sanders brings out a truth that has eluded far too many theologians and preachers for hundreds of years!
     He states:Samuel Zwemer commenting on John 3:14, writes: ‘Here those who believe the Word are those ‘who were begotten, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God’.
    ‘But according to the express testimony of TERTULLIAN there was an early second-century reading of this text which had the singular instead of plural. It would then read, ‘He (Christ) was begotten not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’
   In his de Carne Christi Tertullian wrote; ‘I shall make more use of this passage after I have confronted those who have tampered with it. They maintain it was written in the plural, as if designating those who before mentioned as believing on His name.
     ‘But how can this be when all who believe… are by virtue of the will of the flesh and of the will of man?- as indeed as Valentinus himself. The expression is in the singular, as referring to the Lord. He was born of God … As flesh, however, He is not of bloods, nor of the will of man, because it was by the will of God that the Word was made flesh.’
     “In his Confessions, ST.AUGUSTINE quotes John 3: 14 in the singular in reference to Christ’s Virgin Birth, as follows: ‘Also I found there that God the Word was born not of blood, nor of the will of a husband, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God.”
     St. Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Blessed Holy Spirit thusly: “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” (Gal.4:4)
     Commenting on this verse, J. Oswald Sanders writes: “In this chapter he uses the word “born” three times, but in speaking of Christ’s birth he uses a different word (made) from the implied when speaking of Ishmael and Isaac.” (Gal.4: 23, 29)


     Wendell Phillips (1811-1884) a great American orator and advocate against slavery, stated: “One on God’s side is a majority!” He was right! His work against the injustice and gross sin of slavery helped to change American’s attitudes about it!
     President ABRAHAM LINCOLN stood almost alone to bring about the Abolition of Slavery in the U.S.A. and in the end it cost him his life at the hands of a vengeful, hateful man!
     William Wilberforce (1759 - 1833) was another man whom God used in the abolishment of the slave trade in Great Britain. He worked tirelessly for 24 years against that hellish trade but on the night of his death, his supporters in the House of Commons passed the clause in the Emancipation Act that declared all slaves free in one year…!
WILBERFORCE was sickly and nearly blind. His father died when he was nine; his mother, unable to care for him, consigned him to the care of relatives. In an Evangelical Anglican Church, he heard Reverend JOHN NEWTON, who wrote the famous song ‘Amazing Grace’, preach the Gospel.
     Before his conversion, John Newton had lived a wild life of alcohol and perversion and had been Captain of a slave ship. Willberforce wrote: "I revered him as a parent when I was a child."
     On the 24th of February 1793, a week before his death, JOHN WESLEY wrote Wilberforce this letter: "Unless God has raised you up…I see not how you can go through with your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy….You will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils; but if God is with you, who can be against you?
    “Oh, be not weary in well-doing. Go on, in the name of God and in the power of His might, till even American slavery, the vilest that ever saw the sun, shall banish away before it."
     It was the last letter the ‘great man of God’ and founder of the Methodist Church would ever write! Historians now believe that the great revivals of John Wesley and his Methodist preachers saved Great Britain from the similar fate that almost destroyed France during their revolution!
    One man JOHN WESLEY stood in the gap for England. Victor Hugo stated: England made Shakespeare and the Bible made England.”

                                    FOR CHRIST: AGAINST THE WORLD!

     We often sing the song, ‘I have decided to follow Jesus; No turning back, No turning back. Though none go with me still I will follow; No turning back, No turning back.’
     Bishop ATHANASIUS stood alone ‘against the world’ (contra mundum) in defense of the biblical doctrine of the Christ’s Diety. He opposed Arius, when it seemed as though all the world would follow Arius' heresy.
     One of his friends warned: “Have a care Athanasius, the whole world is against you.” The Bishop promptly replied: “Then, I am against the whole world.” Athanasius's work remains even today one of the definitive statements of orthodox Christian belief in the Godhead; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
     There were other men like Girolamo Savonarola, Jan Huss, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Knox, Nicholas Zinzendorf and William Booth who stood alone against the crowd and accomplished great things for God and their fellowman.
     God spoke to NOAH and laid out His plan to save the seed of the Messiah.
The Holy Scripture says: “The earth also was corrupt before God, ad the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
     “And God said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood…And behold I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every living thing that is the earth shall die.” (Gen.6: 11-13)
     The entire world had become corrupt and listened to the TEMPTER instead of their Creator. Some angels rebelled and took on human flesh, married daughters of men, and fathered children who became giants and enemies of God. (Gen.6: 1-8) They are presently imprisoned in Tartaras until God’s Great Judgment Day!
     St. Peter wrote: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned and, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment…” (2 Peter 2: 4)
     St. Jude prophesied about their awful sin and impending judgment: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness (gr.Tartaras) unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 6)
     Out of the entire human race, only NOAH and his wife, their three sons and there wives were not tainted with the powers of darkness and the spirit of the devil and of the perverted offspring of fallen angels.
     Satan had come terribly close to polluting the entire human in a desperate bid to delay and stop the birth of the Promised Redeemer, Who would crush his head. God had to keep the bloodline of the coming Messiah pure! That is why He had to send the flood upon the earth!


    “And the Lord said unto Noah: Come thou and all thy house into the ark, for thee have I see righteous before Me in this generation.” (Gen.7: 1)
     After Adam’s tragic fall in the Garden of Eden, God promised a Messiah born of a VIRGIN who would destroy Satan. He said: “I will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; It (Messiah) shall bruise thy head and thou shall bruise His heel.” (Gen.3: 15)
      In theology this is called the ‘Law of the First Mention’. God referred to the “seed of the woman” bypassing the normal sexual intercourse with a man. All through the Old Testament all recorded genealogies refer to men begetting children, but in this special instance the Lord performed a miracle and made it known by the mouth of His prophet seven hundred years before it happened!
    J. Oswald Sanders writes: “The word for virgin used here is almah. Some say it means simply a young woman of marriageable age, not necessarily a virgin for which bethulah is used for a bride weeping for her husband, while almah is used in this and in six other places, but never in other sense than a married maiden.
     “MARTIN LUTHER threw out a challenge on this point: “If a Jew or a Christian can prove to me that in any other passage of Scripture almah means a married woman, I will give him a hundred florins, although only God knows where I may find them.”
     The historical record shows that no-one attempted to take the Great Reformer up on his challenge! Luther was right and the detractors were woefully ignorant of the Scriptures and were in error!
    The Bible says: “And the angel said unto her; Fear not Mary: for thou hast favour with God. And thou shall conceive in thy womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. Then said Mary unto the angel; How shall this be, seeing that I know not a man?
     “And the angel answered and said unto her; The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: Therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the SON OF GOD.” (Luke 1: 30-35)
     Incidentally, when the DEAD SEA SCROLLS were discovered in a cave by a Bedouin shepherd in the early 1950s, 25 copies of the Book of Isaiah was discovered among the them. Isaiah 7: 14 is exactly as it appears in our Bibles today.    
       The Scrolls appear to be the library of a Jewish sect. The library was hidden away in caves around the outbreak of the First Jewish Revolt (A.D. 66-70) as the Roman army advanced against the rebel Jews. Near the caves are the ancient ruins of Qumran.

 The Isaiah Scroll, found relatively intact, is 1000 years older than any previously known copy of Isaiah. In fact, the scrolls are the oldest group of Old Testament manuscripts ever found. Praise God for the accuracy of His Holy Word!

Please Note: This is the first installment on this subject. There is more to come! – Max Solbrekken