Professing Christians are caught between the vice grip of God’s judgment upon the “old time religion” along with compromised, corrupt and so-called “emerging” forms of doing church in His house and the escalating hostility of the world toward Christianity. In order to persevere, those that are faithful will need to walk in the ancient, biblical path marked out for us by the Lord, His apostles and the faithful saints that have gone before. As I witnessed in churches I have been part of over the years though, many stubbornly refuse to hear God’s appeal and warning; preferring instead to continue in their way to their detriment as did ancient Israel (Jeremiah 6:16-21).
Nevertheless, as the Lord leads out of His overflowing goodness, mercy and grace, in this edited 2012 blog repost I stress yet again the need for professing Christians to get properly equipped for the increasingly anti-Christian world we now find ourselves leading to a final nighttime of great tribulation. It will be a night that tests every soul and a last cup of suffering Christians are warned repeatedly by the Lord and His apostles we must drink in following Him (Matthew 10:32-33, 16:21-27, 20:20-23; Philippians 1:27-30).1 This is not now or then a time for belligerence, but sober embrace of the ancient way of Jesus Christ, the Strong Man of God (1 Peter 2:18-25)!
For this reason and without apology, for such a time as this before the fullness of the night should come, the Lord had me to write “The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics” from His Word and embedded in prophetic urgency. It is a book for every professing Christian man and woman not only to be affirmatively instructed in God’s purposes for man that gave rise to the reality of redemption through faith in the Gospel of the Son of Man, but to enable those who cling to Him for salvation to persevere faithfully through all of the troubles prophetically warned about to obtain it! Only God can and did inspire a book with instruction that remains germane through the foretold unfolding future of this present age to its end and into eternity. I stand amazed to be His vessel; to my God be the glory!
Originally Posted July 15, 2012
In light of the predominant decline of churches and given the fact that even many of the Western religious educated elite have labeled the times we are now in as “post-Christian,” it is imperative that individual Christians be more intentional about getting properly equipped spiritually to live in this new reality. This is a reality among Western nations including our own in which Christianity no longer holds a place of favor but increasing disdain and open hostility.
While many professing Christians in blissful disbelief want to remain optimistic that this new reality is only a temporary phenomenon, for many years the Holy Spirit has had me crying out and warning that the days of rebellion against God the Father and His Son as well as expanding hate filled persecution against His disciples are upon us (Psalm 2:1-3; Matthew 10:16-26; 24:9). As our Lord had His “night,” ours also is truly at hand (Luke 22:52-53; John 9:4, 15:18-20).
If the biblically foretold night of global hatred and persecution against followers of Christ were to suddenly fully descend on us in America at this very moment, very few (relatively speaking) would faithfully persevere to the end. Indeed, this is because implicit in the decline of churches is the lack or weakened state of a vibrant practice of biblical Christianity by the professing members.2 There is no Holy Ghost power to live in zeal for the Lord or to share their faith on mission for the Kingdom as a priority in these folk. In the night that by God’s mercy is slowly (yet steadily) descending on us, professing Christians have been given enough time to repent from spiritual apathy and compromise to freshly seek Him for personal renewal. Truly, only the strong in Christ will survive spiritually.
There is a prophetic urgency to my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics along with its sound, biblical instruction because of what I have written in the foregoing. The book does not offer helpful suggestions about how to be a man and is not filled with emotional stories and illustrations to make men think. It soberly presents the divine imperative for Christian men to aspire to become the man God designed us to be in the image of Jesus Christ and the strength He supplies through the Holy Spirit! In doing so in the short-term, we will work restoration in our families, churches and communities; long-term, we will be making the necessary preparation spiritually to faithfully persevere in the night that is falling.
I urge every man reading this--if you have not already, get a copy of The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Pastors, get the book for yourself and then use the Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study to equip your men so they might equip their families. These resources are all available on our Web Site in the Strong Man Store. Finally, the so-called “persecuted church” is no longer confined to a few isolated nations. In this month of praying for persecuted believers around the globe, we that are yet able should also do what we can to feed, clothe and shelter our brothers and sisters suffering the most. Support your favorite Christian charity dedicated to this mission.
1 For more information about “the night,” get a thorough word of instruction the Lord gave me in 1987 from a broadcast entitled, The Night Is Almost Here! now
available on CD or for download in the Strong Man Store.
2 Excellent statistical data to bear this out can be gleaned from Barna Research Group at www.Barna.org and Pew research at http://www.pewforum.org.
As the Lord leads, I write briefly to elaborate further on His instructive illustration using the concept of a strong man to rebuke Israel’s religious leaders in their blasphemous accusation He cast out demons by Satan recorded in Matthew 12:22-30. This is the text I use in my Releasing The Strong Man message during our second Online Rally rolled out November 27th, Hallelujah, Free!1 The same incident is also presented in Mark 3:22-27 and Luke 11:14-23. The Lord arrives at His strong man illustration after making it perfectly clear the man He had just healed through casting out a demon that made him blind and mute was “by the Spirit of God” (Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 12:28, NKJV).
Very historically significant and spiritually pregnant, Luke wrote the Lord said He performed the healing “with the finger of God,” (Exodus 8:16-19; Luke 11:20, NKJV). Both expressions convey the infinitely superior power of the Kingdom of God over Satan’s kingdom on display for all to see! For as the Holy Spirit is the actualizing Agent of God’s Word that caused the universe to leap into existence out of nothing and lice from dust men practicing the occult recognized (Genesis 1:1-3; Exodus 8:19), so, Israel’s religious leaders supposedly in the know about God should have immediately been rejoicing with everyone else that He had mightily shown up in the miracle!
Religion deadened the hearts of these men as it does many today. Not being willing to acknowledge the spiritually obvious, the Lord uses the logic of the natural world in His rebuke of Israel’s religious leaders to hopefully help them see the truth. In the natural world no one can typically enter into a strong man’s house and take his goods. Strong here expresses the idea of being well equipped whether physically in body, with weapons or both to repel anyone that would tread upon the premises a man guards to take from him. The only way such a thing could happen is if the one who enters the strong man’s house is actually stronger than he is!2
Thus, if the Lord Jesus cast a demon out of the man, then, He is plainly stronger! Satan would not foolishly do this since the demon belongs to his kingdom and has bound up and occupied the man serving his kingdom purposes. Christ freed the man on this and every other occasion He cast out demons because His Kingdom is stronger! As the Lord led me to point out in the Online Rally message, Satan has bound every sinful man in some form because he though fallen, is an angel and naturally stronger than we mortals.3 But Christ being stronger than Satan is not only able to release us from his binding ties, but enable us to become the eternally strong men of God in His image God intended from the beginning who in His strength, can repel Satan’s efforts to bind us going forward!4
1 View the rally and subscribe to the channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o13NjNpNexg.
2 Please note the Lord is not advocating for men to be ready to pulverize or keep weapons to fend off home intruders, but only relating the natural posture of men who under-
stand their role as protectors of their families and homes. That said, the Lord’s use of the strong man in His illustration affirms this divine assigned role of men from crea-
tion as protectors of their families and homes. Men in this role imitate God who protects Heaven--no one will ever roll up into Heaven to successfully bind God, unseat Him
and plunder His House (Genesis 1:26; Isaiah 14:12-15; Revelation 12:7-9, 12, 19:11-16, 20:1-3, 7-10)!
3 Satan binds men as sinners through the ties of sin, fallen thinking, emotions, attitudes and deeds as well as the fear of death and evil desires (Proverbs 20:9; Romans 3:
9-20, 23; Galatians 5:19-21; Hebrews 2:14-15; James 1:12-15).
4 Read and take to heart Ephesians 6:10-18! Learn about becoming a strong man of God in Christ’s image in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics along with
companion works The Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study at your favorite internet book seller and in the
Strong Man Store.
I am pleased to inform our readers that the newest Strong Man Of God Online Rally debuted to subscribers yesterday, November 27, 2021, on this Ministry’s YouTube Channel dedicated to that purpose.1 This second 30 minute Online Rally is themed Hallelujah, Free! It blends worship celebrating God’s power to free captive souls, a testimony, powerful pre-message song and video montage depicting ways men are bound by Satan impacting them, their families and the community, message presenting the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ and invitation to receive it. Appropriately, the message the Lord leads me to preach for the rally is entitled, Releasing The Strong Man.
Releasing The Strong Man as a title has been used by me in the cause of restoring men since 1998 through The From Slavery To Victory Education Project (FSTVEP). The project, conducted by Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc., organizational parent to this ethnically diverse Strong Man Ministries launched by it in 2005, purposely seeks to reach black American males with the Releasing The Strong Man Seminar as a means to help us overcome the adverse legacies of slavery and racism that Satan still uses to bind many up.2 As the Lord led, I continued my efforts in this Strong Man Ministries era with a 2005 five-part Commentary that also uses the title.3
The Commentary was followed by my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics4 first published in 2011 and several recent blogs addressing the ties Satan uses to bind up black and other men from all backgrounds including clergy.5 Too, I have preached messages using the Releasing The Strong Man title and Scripture it is taken from on several occasions. Now, in the purpose of this second Online Rally as the Lord Jesus leads, I do so again to introduce Him as the Strong Man of God who saves those that look to Him; setting captive men free from the ties Satan has used to bind them up (Isaiah 61:1; John 8:34-36)!
Invite someone who needs the salvation and tie breaking deliverance of Christ to watch this second Strong Man Of God Online Rally with or after you! Indeed, are you being set free in Christ yet as a professed Christian? Hallelujah, Free! renews hope in the Gospel and power of Christ to set folk free we will celebrate forever!
1 View the rally and subscribe to the channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwOtdk7KRwcQG0tOpZGI7-w.
2 See the Help For Men Page on the FSTVEP Web Site.
3 Part one of the Releasing The Strong Man Commentary can be read as the December 2005 Journal entry on the FSTVEP Web Site.
4 The book is available along with companion works The Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study at your favorite internet
book seller and in the Strong Man Store.
5 Read the February-March 2016 posts that begin February 14th with Ties That Bind Lead To Prison, followed by Ties That Bind Black Male Souls and the three-part, When
The Messengers Are Bound all under the category, The Cause.
The march to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the end of this world as we have known it under the dominion of evil is moving just as it has been foretold in the ‘“Scripture of Truth,’” (Daniel 10:18-21, NKJV). As part of this march, I stand in awe of the sovereign God who in wisdom has given men the knowledge to develop technologically at a faster pace in the last 200 years than at any time in all of the millennia before. The telegraph to computers and cell phones, the first automobile to space flight, modern appliances and robotics; all attest to this truth in serving the divine end time purposes and proving that still--regardless of technological progress, man’s chief problem is sin since its works through him have not abated, but only intensified (Joel 2:1-11; Revelation 9:13-21).
With the merciful heart of God, we do not rejoice at the foretold troubles coming upon this world because of sin. However, Christians are not supposed to be falling apart either. Indeed, many professing Christians and their leaders are even in denial and behave as if everything is going (and should continue) as it always has. They fear the future and do not by faith “look up” (Luke 21:28, NKJV) as God intends--having given us His prophetic Word as advance knowledge--because they in disobedience love this present world and their carefully laid plans and dreams rooted in it (Luke 9:23). As I present in this edited 2013 blog repost, God has raised up this Ministry among others to call the weak to His strength as those alone that will endure to receive the promised salvation.
Originally Posted October 6, 2013
It is so very heart breaking to see people all over our nation and world coming unhinged at the slightest provocation; unglued and falling apart at the seams leading to acts of rage and violence in these times of stress. It appears that the natural self-control and fear of consequences resident in most human beings that serve as a restraint to injury to self and others is dissipating and the Bible gives us an important reason why. I do sympathize with the provocations and stresses of life in this world that can lead to the mental and emotional states of mind persons get to that cause them to become unhinged and unglued.
However, the Word of God plainly teaches that these things are so in these latter days because He is allowing mankind in the main--that has spent much of nearly the last two millennia rejecting the Gospel--to now have it their way in the face of His coming wrath (Romans 1:18-32). God (who alone has been evil’s Restrainer) is permitting lawlessness through the venting of humanity’s natural sinful impulses and the instigating, pressuring work of demons to steadily increase and eventually commonly “abound” out of control because this is the kind of kingdom men as sinners choose when they reject the righteous Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; 1 John 3:4, NKJV).
To add to the misery of the God haters and rebels in these latter days, the God of creation that created it for man, is causing it to convulse violently against its fallen rulers in anticipatory birth pains of its restoration in peace under the immortal sons of God (Mark 13:8; Luke 21:10-11; Romans 8:19-22)! As a result, anxious fear about what is coming upon the earth will also be added to the life stresses that are causing people to now fall apart and soon, to die from mass heart failures (Luke 21:25-26). Sadly, among such persons are many professing to be Christians.
It is in this context of the present stresses and those foretold still to come that God has called forth our strong man of God cause. We are not just about a book and brand. Jesus Christ is the Strong Man of God demonstrated by His life, death and resurrection to immortality! Men from Adam’s son, Seth, have known the strength and blessing that comes from calling “on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:25-26, NKJV) and the Lord Himself has commanded men to “be strong” from ancient times (Deuteronomy 31:23, NKJV).
Now, though, it is at “the ends of the ages” that calling on the name of the Lord and being strong in the strength He supplies to His faithful and obedient ones is of the utmost prophetic urgency and absolutely imperative (1 Corinthians 10:11, NKJV). For as I have written previously (in blogs and my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics) and will continue to proclaim with Scripture in the face of the world’s escalating stresses as well as hatred and persecution of Christians, only the strong in Christ will persevere to the end and eternal glory (Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13)!1
The strength supplied to His aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ is nothing short of divine power through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:14-16)! Thus, God’s strength is not a human emotion or moment of euphoria. God’s power is of the real, continuing spiritual substance of His eternal being that created and upholds the universe! And so, the great apostle writes again, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might,” the source Scripture for the slogan of Strong Man Ministries: Making Men Eternally Strong (Ephesians 6:10, NKJV)!
In His strength combined with the whole armor of God which includes the “shield of faith,” aspiring strong men and great women of God are expected to stand against all manner of adversity as well as “the wiles” and attacks of the devil and his “spiritual hosts” working through willing human agencies in these evil days just as our Lord Jesus did (John 16:32-33; Ephesians 6:11-18; 1 John 5:4-5, NKJV). Christians from a biblical perspective, then, are not supposed to become unhinged, unglued or panicked to the death during the course of what we see happening in nor defect from Christ seeking escape from suffering to the world.
We stand firm in our trust in Christ and the very real supernatural strength our God supplies to us as aspiring strong men and great women of God. We also continue to act as a moral people walking in the righteousness of Christ and to the bitter end proclaim and witness the Gospel about Him and His coming Kingdom. Unless, therefore, there is a Holy Ghost fired movement such as ours to help men and women professing to be Christians become aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ, many will perish in the swift rolling tide of increasing lawlessness, troubles, demonic activity and the violent convulsions of creation coming upon this world with divine permission. In spite of this, a “falling away” is foretold (2 Thessalonians, 2:3, NKJV).2
Nevertheless, in the meantime, if we restore many men, their families and communities for even a short season before the darkest days arrive, it has all been worth it. So, we preach the Gospel compelling men to come to Christ and in coming to Him, become strong men of God in His image (Romans 8:29)! Pastors and churches that are guilty this is your cue: get out of the way; stop resisting us in this mission clinging to your comfy lives supported by the mindset of manmade Christianity the religion in the old paradigm of God’s permitted temporary existence. Repent if you will and in this new paradigm where Christianity the religion of men in their own strength is plainly revealed to be marked out for divine destruction (Isaiah 47:8-15; Revelation 18:1-8), stand with and welcome our cause, Ministry and biblically rooted message (Acts 4:23-31; Romans 8:31-39; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17; 3 John 5-8). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, “Who is on the Lord's side?”
1 Purchase my book at any major internet bookseller or the Strong Man Store on our Web Site, www.thestrongmanofgod.org.
2 See the February 2, 2014 blog, The Falling Away, under the category, Bible Prophecy to learn more about this coming event.
Happy Father’s Day to all of our readers that are fathers! I originally wrote this edited Commentary before the similarly titled, “Weak Women Made Great” (posted this past Mother’s Day) in 2010 to challenge men about registering for and attending our first community offering of “The Strong Man Of God Course” (now “The Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study”1). The cause to restore men through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and instruction in biblical manhood remains as urgent as ever on this Father’s Day. Purposeful instruction is essential because how else will men come to learn what a man is and does by God’s design without it?
Therefore, this post joins the many I have already made as the Lord has led stressing again the need and urgency of our Ministry cause to restore men. It is also another thunderous and clear call to pastors and churches to repent from whatever hindrances to fulfill your God ordained responsibility to reach and teach men as His chosen leaders beginning in the family (Matthew 4:19, 28:19-20)!
Originally Published April 2010
After conducting The Strong Man Of God Course over the last two years in some of Oregon's prisons, I have come to greatly admire many of the men that have taken it. Those that I admire come to the course with the brokenness and humility of knowing they are weak in their sins. They require no prolonged instruction to convince them that they are sinners and need everything God has to offer to help them become the men He originally designed them to be. The lack of an overwhelming sign up for the course from among so-called "free" men in the community is by contrast, a telling indicator that the many who have heard about it, still do not see their need.
Speaking in terms of weak or strong would not even be an issue if it were not for the fact that we are all sinners as direct descendants of Adam, the first man. This is the verdict of God our Creator and Judge in His Word (Romans 3:10-20, 23, 5:12-14) and the undeniable truth of our daily lives. God originally designed and created us to live before Him as men that are strong; creatures passionately devoted to pleasing Him and doing His will! But when sin came we were made weak in our ability to function as He designed. So, now, all men without God and many that profess to know Him are weak.
Yet, with a significant amount of help from the first fallen creature, the formerly "anointed cherub," Satan (Ezekiel 28:11-19; Revelation 12:9), men in sinful pride either outright deny their inner weakness or engage in mental games to evade owning up to it. In denying the truth about our weakness we become excessively hostile toward God and/or seek to excel at something that makes us great enough we think to escape condemnation. With mental games, we claim victimization or attempt to rationalize, justify, cover up by deceit, avoid or dismiss the truth about our sin driven weakness in the flesh. However, neither denial nor games provide any lasting deliverance from the truth.
Since there is no way around, over or under it, why not just confess the truth? I am weak. I am not only weak as a man before God, but as a husband, father, son of my parents and citizen of the community. Still not ready to admit it? Then be reminded you are weak if you cannot deliver yourself from your sin nature and the evil deeds that result even after adopting a religion. You are weak if you are a slave to your sinful lusts and practice sexual immorality in and outside of marriage. You are weak if you are driven by your impulses of every kind including anger and violence. You are weak if you are addicted to anything and after going into recovery, still struggle to remain free.
In The Strong Man Of God Course we introduce weak men to the Strong Man of God, Jesus Christ, who came to this earth as a second Adam for the express purpose of restoring willing men to God's original design (Matthew 18:11). We urge men to embrace not religion, but Christ in order to transition from weakness to strength as a lifelong journey. His is the strength of the Almighty God who created the heavens and the earth and gives strength to the weak that seek Him (Psalm 28:6-9)! For this very reason the apostle Paul rejoiced in his weaknesses as a man for then in the Lord, he was made strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Otherwise, know this: it is the men that humble themselves before God like many of those I have met in our prisons who find His grace, forgiveness and help, not the proud (Luke 18:9-14; 1 Peter 5:5-7). The end of weakness in pride is destruction here and now and forever (Proverbs 16:18)! Our Ministry cause to restore men is not some passing fad emphasis, but an intense, ongoing work of evangelism and biblical instruction with prophetic importance and urgency given the times and the Lord’s mandate (Malachi 4:5-6). Only restored men who properly understand their divine design, roles and responsibilities will be able to lead their families to faithfully navigate through these latter days to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!2
1 The Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study is available in the Strong Man Store.
2 Men that are not Christians or that are, but there is no instruction in the church attended can be helped and taught by obtaining my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back
To Basics available at all major internet books sellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
Relative to the time of mankind on earth (interestingly, whoever’s clock is used), this era of rebellion in all of its manifestations including feminism that launched full throttle in the middle of the last century will be very short-lived in accord with God’s prophetic Word in the Bible. The apostle John called his epoch “the last hour,” (1 John 2:18, NKJV). If this great eyewitness apostle of Christ was moved of the Holy Spirit to speak in this way of his time nearly two millennia ago, we must now be in the last two minutes! Fans of sports such as football played by the clock, know the last two minutes in a game are critical especially if the defending team is ahead, but the other team is driving.
John hung the appraisal of his time on the fact many antichrists as apostates were leaving the church and deceitful deniers of Jesus as the Christ active. We too have many antichrists from within and without the local churches that have apostatized from the faith and deny Christ in foretold heretical teachings (1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Peter 2:1-3, 12-22; 1 John 2:19-23). Wars combined with unusual weather and foretold calamities of human and natural origin in ever intensifying severity characterize our time. Anxiety and fear are also leading to foretold rising civil unrest, anarchy, violent conflicts, lawlessness and the increase of cold hearts (Matthew 24:6-8, 12; Revelation 6:1-8).
Foretold, pre-great tribulation persecution of faithful Christians by unbelievers, professed Christian religionists, heretics and apostates is reaching global proportions (Matthew 24:9-11; Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-17; John 16:1-4). All of these signs pointing to the nearness of Christ’s return have created the greatest two minutes to go in the game scenario ever in the history of the world and most of our best players--men as aspiring strong men of God in the image of Jesus Christ--are sitting on the bench!1 They have been benched by political correctness, tolerance and a feminist worldview of egalitarianism that devalues men by marginalizing and re-defining them as I wrote in a blog series.2
No team on earth in its right mind would have its best and most capable players sitting on the bench with the game on the line in the last two minutes! Yet, the world is doing this because it is completely deceived by its ruler, Satan (1 John 5:19; Revelation 12:9). Working as boldly deceitful as in Eden with Eve, only Satan could deceive and stir up women and gladly obliging men to rebel against God’s design, order and purposes of mankind to marginalize and re-define men in purposely taking them out of the game at this critical time. As was his evil strategy in the Garden, so now, he neutralizes men as leaders that the remaining body of mankind may be destroyed (Romans 5:12)!
Knowing these truths contained in God’s Word, it would be baffling beyond measure that many professed Christians are also deceived and take the side of the world if it were not for the fact we are told about them in advance. Hence, passive men are figuratively sitting on the bench by marginalization and re-definition as well as literally by way of the pew in many churches. But this is not what Christ came to restore men to do. We are saved and enlisted in His Kingdom cause in the Gospel to liberate other men and their families from captivity to Satan through the Holy Spirit’s power for their restoration too; even snatching some out of Hell's fire (Mark 8:34-38, 16:15; Jude 20-23)!
Or have we Christians forgotten the world’s rebellion ends in the wrath of God that accompanies the events of Christ’s Second Coming (Revelation 6:12-17)? Though we cannot know the exact day or hour of His coming, He has commanded us to “watch” for such signs that are now clear and multiplying in these last two minutes (Matthew 24:32-51, NKJV). The foretold two minute drill of the faithful requires aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ to get off of the bench and into the game; zealously cooperating with God to continue restoring men until the world driving against us, scores what appears to be the winning point with the Antichrist. But he will be crushed by the touchdown of Christ on the final play of the game (Daniel 7:19-25, 8:23-25; Revelation 19:11-21)!
When you think soberly about it, spiritual warfare is the only right way for warriors at heart to go out (Philippians 1:27-30). God has presented this opportunity to those of us aspiring to be strong men of God in Christ’s image and as He did Samson, benched prospects who now resemble him in condition (Judges 16:15-31). Our families and fellow saints are today and will soon even more be looking to us for courageous and decisive leadership in witnessing Christ and standing against the deep darkness taking hold on our nation and world. Repent from listening to the world rather than God about who and what you are as a man and be revived by the Holy Spirit (Romans 13:11-14)!3 The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, “Who is on the Lord's side?”
1 To learn more about what the strong man of God is, get the Print or E-Book Editions of The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics available at all major internet book selling
outlets and our Strong Man Store.
2 See all of the June 2017 posts in the series, The Value Of Men, under the Category, The Cause.
3 As a great help in understanding yourself as the man--though fallen--God designed, purchase my newly released audio series, “I AM A MAN” available exclusively in the
Strong Man Store. Proceeds from all purchases go to help fund the work of Strong Man Ministries and our passionate cause to restore men! We also welcome your
tax-deductible gift you can supply securely via our Web Site or by regular mail: Strong Man Ministries, P.O. BOX 56704, Portland, OR 97238.
If the cities or names of the seven churches of Asia addressed by the Lord Jesus Christ have any importance at all as to why He chose them, surely, the church at Philadelphia does as a name. Most commentators translate Philadelphia from the Greek as “brotherly love;” a name given to the city by an ancient king to honor his brother. Consistent with this, the Lord’s message to the church there was to His faithful Christian brothers that included those of His Jewish heritage. This is clear to see in the message that would have excited a Jewish Christian more than any Gentile given its quote of Scripture with Jewish specific application, experiences and prophetic references.
The Lord opens His message: “These things says He who is holy, He who is true....” Though all Christians would (or at least should) perk up with a message from the Lord opening like that, the Jewish Christian with joy immediately understands Him to be authenticating Himself as the promised Holy One of God, His Anointed, Son and Himself true God (Psalm 16:8-11, 20:6-9, 89:19-37; Isaiah 7:10-14, 9:6-7, 10:20, 12:4-6; Luke 1:30-35, 2:8-11; John 1:1-9, 14-18, 17:1-3)! Further, to ensure His identifying credentials were not missed, He quotes from Scripture: “He who has ‘the key of David,’ He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens,” (Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:7, NKJV).
In quoting from Isaiah’s passage originally spoken about the man that controlled access to king Hezekiah, the Lord instantly affirms its prophetic application to and fulfillment in Himself as the One who exclusively controls access to God His Father (John 14:6). All Christians are supposed to understand why He is the only way to God, but only Jewish saints painfully appreciate how important this is when their own heritage is attempting to block access to God through their common historical and traditional means such as worship at the Temple (destroyed by this time) and the synagogue.5 As in all of the churches, the Lord knew the individual works of those at Philadelphia.
The Lord greatly encourages the individual saints and especially His Jewish kindred of this church by setting “an open door” before them He says, “no one can shut” in applying His quote from Isaiah 22:22. He is doing this He says because they “have a little strength, have kept My Word, and have not denied My name,” (Revelation 3:8, NKJV). As I wrote earlier, historically, the wide river of the Jewish “remnant according to the election of grace” the apostle Paul wrote of (Romans 11:1-5, NKJV) narrowed to a tiny brook with very little influence in Christianity after the 1st century as the Lord here acknowledges and appears to prophetically forecast as their foreseeable future.
The historically oldest of Christians, though tiny, faithful Jewish saints were and would be dogged in displaying spiritual strength, keeping the Lord’s Word and not denying Him through the unimaginable pressure of persecution from family, community and the Gentile nations into which they were scattered with their unbelieving fellow Jews. In what should stagger no one, the Lord lets the Jews that believe in Him know, He sees and is watching them! As a result, His encouragement turns to rewards for faithfulness: future vindication and reversal in the form of former persecutors being forced in the manor of Haman of old to worship His faithful saints (Esther 3, 5:9-6:14; Revelation 3:9).
But His rewards do not end there. The Lord says “Because you have kept (past tense) My command to persevere, I also will keep (future tense) you from the hour of trial (testing) which shall come upon the whole world, to test those (all others) who dwell on the earth,” (Revelation 3:10, NKJV).6 I concur with all that interpret the “hour of trial” the Lord speaks of here as one and the same as “the great tribulation,” (Matthew 24:15-21, NKJV). This being so, His promise of protection cannot be “the rapture” as is taught since Christians are foretold to go through and many suffer martyrdom during it (Revelation 7:9-14).7 In context and consistency with who He is addressing, the Lord’s promise of protection is intended for Jewish Christians primarily living back in Judea at that time!8
Though the Lord’s promise of protection during the hour of trial speaks to the proven Jewish faithful believers in Israel at the time it occurs, this does not preclude Him in sovereignty extending it to select other faithful followers likewise proven throughout the earth. Together they will form the small number who are “alive and remain” at Christ’s Second Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, NKJV). For this reason, the Lord warns He is “coming quickly” and exhorts the faithful to tightly grasp what they have in strength, obedience to His Word and loyalty to Him, so, “no one may take your crown;” unmistakably asserting that even with protection, there will still be persecution pressures (Revelation 3:11, 16:15, NKJV).9 The Lord’s rewards are still not done for those that overcome.
With yet more Jewish significant implications is the Lord’s promise to make him that overcomes “a pillar in the temple” of His God adding, “and he shall go out no more.” Also, He declares, “I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem...And I will write on him My new name,” (Psalm 48:1-3, 137:4-6; Isaiah 66:5-11; Revelation 3:12, 21:1-22, NKJV). Contrary to the lying deceit of these latter days, keeping His Word as it is written remains a critical part of the faithfulness Christ rewards! Those who are not doing so, put themselves in grave peril since disobedience is nowhere rewarded in the Bible (Revelation 3:13). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
5 Jewish persecution had led to those that were Christians being barred from entering or cast out of the Temple in the 1st century and it will be so again briefly when it is
rebuilt (Acts 21:15-30; Revelation 11:1-2).
6 The Lord led me to proclaim a timely six message series, The Hour Of Testing, now available in the Strong Man Store that instructs Christians on God’s biblically
taught purposes behind why He tests His people and fully explores the prophetic implications tied to the coming hour of trial our Lord speaks of in this post. Listen
to the series sample.
7 Faithful to the death as those at Smyrna, having overcome they will not be touched again by death; raised as they will be to eternal life and glory by Christ at the first
resurrection (John 5:28-29; Revelation 2:11, 14:12-13, 20:4-6, 11-15)!
8 What an amazing affirming prophetic disclosure by the Lord to Jewish Christians and all the church at Philadelphia, His faithful! Dispersed to the nations, as the Old
Testament prophets and He foretold, the Jews would one day return to their land and among them would be those that are followers of Him as Messiah (Matthew 24:
15-16; Mark 13:16). This prophecy of a return to the land became reality in 1948 when Israel once again became a nation with Jews from all over the world streaming
home since. Here again is the immutability of God on display to the world before our eyes (Malachi 3:6)! During this period of the return, growth in the number of
Jewish followers of Christ--many calling themselves Messianic--in Israel (still with hostility and persecution) and around the world has exploded though, their numbers
are still relatively small compared to the larger number of all Jews and their professed Gentile Christian brethren (Psalm 118:23-24)! Thank you, my brethren, for
your millennia long perseverance under trial in obedience to your Messiah--longer than any other ethnic group and an example to all in His Body! We who love you
rejoice in His righteousness of rewarding you in every way He will! Stay faithful through all that is yet to shortly come. To learn more about them, type “Messianic
Jews” into your favorite search engine.
9 Those who doubt the Lord can protect and preserve His people during times of persecution as well as His own acts of judgment should again acquaint themselves
with His Word as it is written (Exodus 8:20-24, 10:21-23, 12:21-23; Psalm 5:11-12; Joel 3:16; Matthew 2:7-15; Acts 12:1-11 as samples)!
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