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)!
As the Lord led me to write in the two-part post, Revelation’s Seven Churches In Time under the category, Bible Prophecy, starting January 5, 2020, He fully commended only two of those churches whose faithful individual members had stood and would stand to the end. Besides having the Lord’s full commendation, these two churches also share in common persecution stemming from the same source He identifies as “those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not,” (Revelation 2:9, 3:9, NKJV). However, one church He urges to “Be faithful until death” to gain a crown while the other is to remain faithful so no one takes theirs (Revelation 2:10, 3:11, NKJV).
In the midst of another growing wave of irrational anti-Semitism around the world, because of love for my Lord Jesus Christ who as I stated in a recent post is Jewish forever (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38; Revelation 5:1-5, 22:16) and His people the Jews,1 I confess some discomfort at the prospect of being lumped in with those who hate them just for the cause of putting this post into its proper historical context and trumpeting the glorious prophetic end that results. Nevertheless, it is in the pure joy of celebrating that near at hand glorious prophetic end that I proceed; trusting that the Lord who has set me on this course will vindicate me in motive and His purpose.
Indeed, as the resurrected Lord Himself presents in messages to His two faithful churches, the Jews were vigorous persecutors of 1st century A.D. Christians. This is as He foretold and warned His Jewish disciples about when He was persecuted and about to be put to death by their religious leaders in Israel (John 15:18-16:4). Though the Gentile Roman Governor, Pilate, gave the order for His crucifixion, it was the Jewish religious leaders that had plotted, instigated and advocated for it (John 11:45-53, 18:1-14, 28-19:22)! Even so, He voiced His love for them all from the cross (Luke 23:34). After His death, Jewish leaders sought to cover up His resurrection (Matthew 27:62-28:15).
In fulfillment of prophecy, the risen Lord commanded His disciples turned apostles to proclaim the Gospel about Him “to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” which He reiterated just before His ascension back to Heaven and after being queried by them about the restoration of Israel’s kingdom (Isaiah 49:5-6; Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:4-8). Only a short time after persecuting Christ to the death, the Jewish religious establishment started in on His apostles to root out and destroy the growing number of Jews becoming Christians if at all possible (Acts 4:1-22). The whole rest of the Book of Acts documents the persistent opposition of Jews to the Gospel across the Roman Empire.
By the time of Christ’s end of the 1st century Revelation that gives us the one and only post-ascension description of Him in His glory (Revelation 1:9-18);2 after the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed and they scattered to the nations in A.D. 70 by the Romans as He foretold (Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:20-24), Jewish opposition and persecution of Christians is still strong as the Lord’s messages to the faithful churches at Smyrna and Philadelphia demonstrate. Part of the reason for their opposition to this day is divine judgment and part is the unbelief common to all mankind until the illumination of grace and salvation through faith (John 6:41-45, 12:37-41; Romans 9:6-11:10).
In declaring that those opposing the Gospel and Christianity “say they are Jews, and are not, but lie,” the Lord is not denying their natural descent from Abraham. He echoes what He spoke while on earth and later taught through the apostle Paul that a Jew God regards for now is one spiritually through new birth by the Holy Spirit of first importance (John 8:37-43; Romans 2:17-29, 4). Labeling them in their opposition to the point of blasphemy at Smyrna and Philadelphia as “a synagogue of Satan,” identifies its ultimate evil source and portrays their base of operations (John 8:44-47; Revelation 2:9, 3:9, NKJV). That opposition would stir up and be joined by Gentile authorities leading to the suffering, arrest, imprisonment and martyrdom of many Jewish and Gentile Christians.3
Dominant in the first generation of Christianity as it was spread by the apostles, Jewish Christians in the centuries that passed thereafter seemed to nearly disappear so small did their numbers become as a minority among Gentile churches.4 Many, of course, tried to maintain ties to their Jewish community to include the synagogue, but to this day continue to endure the hostility and rejection the Lord Jesus apparently addresses in His message to the church at Philadelphia. For while all of what He says is encouraging to any Christian seeking to be faithful under similar circumstances as I have personally experienced, the Lord’s message to the church at Philadelphia I am convinced of Him has special significance to those of His Jewish heritage.
1 See the February 2, 2020 post, Ethnically Diverse Mankind Is Of God, under the categories Black History and God’s Creatures.
2 Not only do we have an amazing description of the glorified Jesus Christ in His Revelation, but an objective reading of it puts more of His Lion Persona on display than
in the Gospels. This is because His first coming as the Lamb (gentle and lowly) was about being approachable and sacrificing Himself to take “away the sin of the
world,” (Matthew 11:28-30; John 1:29, NKJV). Mission accomplished, glorified and reigning seated on His Father’s throne at His right hand, Lord King Jesus is a Lion
(strong and a warrior) firmly in charge; ruling, judging and about to bring the Kingdom of God to earth in power, great glory and divine wrath at His Second Coming
(Revelation 2:5, 16, 21-23, 3:3, 14-19, 6:12-17, 19:11-16)! He is that Lion and Lamb composite (Revelation 5:5-6) the Father wills to make us over to be in Christ’s
image as aspiring strong men and great women of God (Romans 8:29)! Learn more about this in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Get a print copy
or digital download at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get a print copy in the
Strong Man Store.
3 Severe persecutions by Gentiles would continue until in a few centuries, Christianity became accepted in the Roman Empire and a growing number of Gentile nations
beyond though, they would not cease entirely; continuing somewhere on earth to this very hour to the end and shortly to go global as the Lord Jesus foretells (Matthew
4 To learn more about Jewish Christians after the 1st century read this Wikipedia article. Life in predominantly Gentile churches was difficult for the tiny remnant of Jewish
Christians over the centuries especially when in the arrogance of manmade religion, many of their ostensible Gentile brothers turned on, mistreated and persecuted
them as anti-Semites. Persecution became all the more intense when professed Gentile Christians joined with their wider community of unbelievers such as during
Spain’s inquisitions, Hitler’s ovens and Stalin’s gulags. To the world, a Jew was a Jew whether a Christian or not. Fear of certain reprisal is no doubt why in part Jewish
persecution of Gentile Christians became rare.
How different the messaging of the risen Christ to the churches at the end of the first century and now, nearly twenty centuries later. Seven messages to seven churches of Asia and only two were fully commended back then. Yet, in contrast, if you listen to many Christian media personalities to include mega and other church pastors today, Christ has hardly anything negative to say about what is going on in churches supposedly devoted to His Lordship. The ratio of five messengers and churches called to repentance to two fully commended has amazingly flip flopped in these latter days despite all of the same issues Christ raised being evident and far worse in countless churches!
As the Lord has had me write many times, it is as if He were in fact dead and not risen for all of the effect His written Word and living presence has among churches that profess to be Christian.1 Or else, how can you truly believe Christ is in your midst and sin in disobedience with impunity to His face as many do? Or are you actually believing the lie He has changed since what John recorded in His Revelation in spite of the fact it is written He is “the same yesterday, today and forever,” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV)? His judgment among the churches is intensifying in these latter days because He has not changed nor abandoned what He inspired His apostle Peter to soberly write (1 Peter 4:17-18).2
Thus, Jesus Christ remains as He spoke to the messenger of the Laodicean church, “the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God,” (Revelation 3:14, NKJV). He is consistently and forever the standard and measure of truth so that those that know Him cannot help but say, “Amen” to whatever He says! Too, Jesus Christ is the standard and measure of faithfulness to God to the death; the ultimate “Witness” to what God requires in those faithful to Him! Finally also, He is positioned at the preeminent Head of creation and His Church as Creator, Savior, and Redeemer to the glory of God as the apostle Paul also declares (Colossians 1:13-18)!
Jesus Christ perfectly knows what a local church is supposed to look like as His design of the Church He assembles that transcends cultures, times and trends; reaching as she does into eternity (Ephesians 5:25-27)! For this reason, knowing the works of the church at Laodicea, He announces because they “are lukewarm,” “I will vomit you out of My mouth,” (Revelation 3:15-16, NKJV). This church was neither “cold” from lack of love for Christ as the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:4) or “hot” with fervor and activity, but not through the Holy Spirit as the church at Sardis (Revelation 3:1-2) which were both painfully obvious in their need for correction and without repentance, judgment.
However, in being lukewarm the church at Laodicea like many large and suburban churches today are totally oblivious to their indifferent condition and are so sickening to the Lord in the manner of a stomach disturbance, He will violently vomit them out of His mouth! The cause of their lukewarm indifference toward the Lord and the faith is wealth. They were monetarily and materially well off and needed nothing they thought. And while being rich does not have to undercut the typical sense of dependence on Him most believers have who are not rich, the Laodiceans had allowed this to be the case for them. They could not see themselves as Christ did (Revelation 3:17).3
Speaking in the authority and infinite wisdom He presented Himself to this church, the Lord offers them “counsel” to obtain from Him “gold refined in the fire” so they might really be “rich” and other items to reverse their spiritual condition (Revelation 3:18, NKJV). Refined gold represents the faith-filled hard, but abundant life of one of His self-denying, cross bearing faithful disciples (Luke 9:21-26, 12:13-21, 18:18-30; John 10:10; 1 Timothy 6:6-16; 1 Peter 1:3-9)!4 As sick to the point of vomiting them out of His mouth as their self-satisfied indifference has made Him, the Lord acts to “rebuke and chasten” this church in “love” as He does all. He then charges them to be “zealous and repent;” to hear Him outside knocking and open “the door,” (Revelation 3:19-20, NKJV).
Once more too, the Lord speaks to him that would overcome and affirms one of His consistently made promises to reign with Him as a reward for faithfulness; the one who overcomes “granted” by Him to sit on His throne with Him as He “overcame” and sat down with His Father on His throne (Luke 22:28-30; Acts 5:27-32; 2 Timothy 2:11-13; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:4-6, 3:21, 5:5-10, NKJV). He then issues His standing directive to those in the church at Laodicea and where you attend with “an ear,” “to hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” (Revelation 3:22, NKJV). Clearly, a wealthy church flush in money, but spiritually indifferent does not impress the Lord. The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Read my February 9, 2014 post, Is There No King Among Us?, under the category, Call To Repent.
2 See the June 10, 2018 post, God’s Judgment Upon His House, under the category, Bible Prophecy and God’s Creatures.
3 While spiritual indifference may produce the busy works of religion, it never produces righteousness! This is why God can never be pleased with spiritual indifference
as He spoke through the prophet, Amos, to the eighth century B.C. ten northern tribes of Israel including specifically and harshly, wealthy women and judged them
(Amos 3:9-4:5, 5:10-15, 21-24, 6:1-8). It is also why Christ speaks in an attitude of revulsion toward it manifested in the first century A.D. church at Laodicea and all
that would follow them in guilt to the end. Such churches with thousands of dollars in the bank (in many cases for nothing but a rainy day to spend lavishly on them-
selves) have looked smugly at needy ministries like this one from our inception and refused to support us not realizing in their blindness that Christ ever looking and
booking, is going to judge them for this!
4 I write about the way of biblical disciples of Jesus Christ in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Get a print copy or digital download of the book at
major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get a print copy in the Strong Man Store.
As the 25th Year Anniversary of The From Slavery To Victory Education Project (FSTVEP) conducted by the organizational parent of Strong Man Ministries, Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. (both of which I have been blessed to lead) draws near on Juneteenth this year, I am filled with excitement and gratitude to God.1 I write this post as the Lord leads in obedience to the instruction of the ancient Psalm writer He commissioned to exhort “the redeemed” above all to give thanks to Him for His goodness (Psalm 107:1-3, NKJV)! As well, with that Psalmist’s heart, to express the spiritual “what for” of the FSTVEP to the children of men among fellow black Americans.
Talk about amazing confluences. I write this realizing that it will be fifty years ago this upcoming September that I was asked by my no longer standing Fremont Junior High School, Seaside, CA, English teacher, Mr. Earle Rosenberg, to write a column reporting on our flag football teams. I have not stopped writing since and am overjoyed to have done so in the Lord’s cause for nearly forty of those years! As it turns out, 1969 was also another of a long string of great years for Rhythm and Blues or if you will, Soul Music. On September 23rd that year, the Temptations released their Temptations Puzzle People on Motown’s Gordy label with a number of impressive songs.
One of those songs composed by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong was entitled, Message From A Black Man. Arriving as it did just over a year after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the bold and yet reasoned lyrics of the song directed to white America were delivered deftly by the singing of the Temps as well as the catchy, forceful rhythms of the band. Bold were such lines as, “Yes, my skin is black, but that’s no reason to hold me back…I have wants and desires just like you. So, move on the side ‘cause I’m comin’ through. No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop me now.” Call to action words for a thirteen year old who had been angrily watching the revolution on TV.
Even today, it is hard to honestly refute the logic in the lines, “Black is a color just like white. Tell me: how can a color determine whether you’re wrong or right?” Whitfield and Strong wrote and the Temptations delivered Message From A Black Man as decent “every black man” who were still coming out of the shell shocked silence of intimidation caused demoralization to firmly, yet, peacefully stand up to their oppressive and abusive intimidators. This is not unlike women today who are applauded for standing up to their abusers. While the message from a black man was certainly cathartic and necessary at that moment in 1969, it needed to also be given biblical feet and built on.
I carried the raw message throughout the rest of my secondary education and the first two years of college; leading out as a Black Student Union President giving speeches, helping to organize events, engaging white authorities, publishing materials and writing editorials. At Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) I also began to take the many newly rolled out Black Studies Courses offered and did well because of my intense interest. A desire to attend historic Howard University in 1976 was fueled by my interest in all things black. But as I have testified in other places,2 my passion for pursuing an education began to lose steam as I lost my way at Howard--itself a serious reality check.3
Coming to Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord who redeemed me from a life that had become empty, without purpose and meaning began to change me as a person to include my thinking and worldview after full surrender to Him. Now, for example, nobody could ultimately stop me from being who God created me to be and doing what God wanted me to do with Him working on my behalf (Romans 8:28-39; Philippians 4:13). Moreover, being black skinned in the human skin color spectrum was not a curse or something contemptible, but a blessing because God made me this way (Acts 17:26). Indeed, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” by God (Psalm 139:14, NKJV)!
After receiving the Lord’s call to serve Him in broadcasting in August 1979, I returned to school at MPC that spring, then San Jose State University in San Jose, CA in fall 1980. There, I celebrated God as the inspirational, sustaining hand among black Christians in a radio documentary on the history of Black Gospel Music I wrote and produced. Inevitably, though, even after seminary studies I was stuck attempting to understand why the black American experience beginning with slavery was so in the first place. I had all of the major facts of our historical experience, but of themselves, they brought no satisfying appreciation for why. Instead, as is the case for so many black Americans, the painful facts of our history alone brought nothing but hopeless futility, grief and anger.
1 Too, I am grateful to the 1993-94 Ministry Board of Directors, Rev. Ira Gay, Jr., Rev. Richard Young (with the Lord), Rev. Ron Oliver and Mrs. Linda Beard that gave
unanimous approval for the project and the 2018-19 Directors, Messrs. Alvin Johnson, Richard Anderson and Philip Lovings who also in one accord approved this
year’s anniversary celebration. Not to be left out is my wife, Mary, and our three daughters Sherie, Roberta and Patricia at home at the time as youth and having to
bear with my very involved work on the project. You can learn more about the FSTVEP along with its flagship national Radio Special and now Webcast, From Sla-
very To Victory: One Man’s Journey, to be rolled out Juneteenth 2019 on its newly revamped Web Site, https://fromslaverytovictory.org.
2 For my most recent sharing on this aspect of my testimony, read the February 17, 2019 post, Surrendering All To Jesus, under the category, Glory To God!
3 Howard brought me face to face for the first time with the full mix of socio-economic classes, their divergent political thought and corresponding worldviews in what I
soberly learned was truly not a monolithic black community. Among other sobering realities, I especially had my conscience awakened to the contradictions inherit in
my chosen field of Marketing and the black struggle after spending an afternoon giving away free, addictive and destructive cigarette samples in Southeast DC--its
most economically challenged section. I also had to face my own hypocrisy in personally contributing not to the uplift of my community as I loudly called for, but its
destruction through abusing drugs and alcohol, sexual promiscuity, mistreatment of our women in that lifestyle and practical abandonment of two children I had
I rejoice to notify our readers about the roll out yesterday, July 30, 2022, of this Ministry’s latest Strong Man Of God Online Rally on its dedicated YouTube Channel.1 The theme of this Online Rally is Reconciled To God! The audience this rally seeks to reach is primarily males born between 1993 and 2009 which takes in the latter end of Generation Y (Millennials) and most of Generation Z. I have children in Generation Y, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Generation Z. I am greatly concerned for Generation Z that has suffered most of the many mass school shootings and from which lately has also come the male shooters--recently at a school in Uvalde, Texas.
Besides the mental health issues such as depression many experience due to the unsettling worry and fear about their safety at school and out in a world filled with hate and lawlessness, Generation Z is caught up in the midst of cultural turmoil created by morality and values confusion and conflict. Additionally, as I wrote about in a previous post this year, Generation Z is deeply troubled about their future on a planet that is polluted and undergoing destructive climate upheaval.2 The generation is not keen on religion either which does not bother us in our cause to proclaim the Gospel to them since we through it are not preaching religion, but reconciliation with the living God!
While in its opening, this Online Rally acknowledges the raw negative feelings of the young persons it reaches out to, it boldly asserts there is a positive answer from the overflowing love of the God who wills to connect to and be reconciled with those that are willing and proved it by sending Christ to die for us as “sinners” and His “enemies,” (Romans 5:6-11, NKJV)! Being reconciled to God provides comfort and an anchoring hope for the soul through His promises in Christ beginning with salvation that go beyond the foreboding realities of this world present and future (Hebrews 6:13-20). A born again believer of any age can effectively cope in this world through faith and hope in Christ!
This is my firm conviction from God’s Word as it is written, my own experience as a born again believer since 1977 and apparently even some in the generation behind Generation Z represented as an example by nine year old Uvalde shooting victim, Eliahna (Ellie) Garcia. She had posted a brief video to her social media platform talking up the Lord Jesus shortly before she was martyred. Though the biblically foretold trajectory of the world toward God’s wrath cannot be averted, we can and this Ministry will continue to proclaim His call to be reconciled to Him and saved through the Gospel to all mankind young and old. For truly age has nothing to do with the ability to receive it.
Indeed, what matters for anyone that will have an open heart to the Gospel is hearing the pure message from the Bible even from an aging Baby Boomer like me (Romans 10:13-15) as the Holy Spirit does His work (John 16:7-11). Since 2006 I have seen Him bring many young males to Christ and salvation through our youth outreach, Strong Man Academy.3 Without compromise on biblical propriety, this Online Rally presents energetic worship, a testimony from a Generation Z male and features a pre-message rap song holding up Christ as “the perfect sacrifice.” After this the Lord uses me to preach His message of reconciliation and present an invitation to salvation and rededication!
I urge every fellow parent and grandparent of Generations Y and Z as well as those coming after who might engage for thirty minutes to encourage them to watch this Online Rally. Watch it with them if possible so, you might answer questions generated or discuss any issues that are raised. Know that if nothing else, something in the Online Rally presenting God’s call to be reconciled to Him will serve as seed planted in their hearts for the Holy Spirit to cultivate at a later time especially if now, they are put off by church or religion in general. Otherwise, I ask all of our readers to watch the rally and put the word out about it as far as your social media and other means of influence extends.
1 View the rally and subscribe to the channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwOtdk7KRwcQG0tOpZGI7-w.
2 See the March 27, 2022 post, No Baby Boomer Free Lunch, under the categories, Biblical Worldview and Call To Repent.
3 Learn more about Strong Man Academy on our Web Site.
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.
It is not easy living as a Christian in the world on a normal day. It is much harder doing so in days that have quickly become anything but normal! We Christians face all of the same heightened challenges, adversities and hardships as our unsaved neighbors here in America and abroad during the current global Coronavirus pandemic. In a biblical worldview, our understanding of how and why such things are happening and intimate relationship with the Almighty God ultimately behind them are supposed to help us cope better than most.1 However, as hoarding toilet paper says much about the nation’s character, so the constant exhortation not to fear from preachers about that of Christians.
This is especially amazing to me since so many Christians profess to fearlessly believe in a sudden “rapture” that if it were to happen as imagined, would be an event so jarring to their families and others left behind in the world there would be no repentance or recovery in this Protestant version of purgatory, only fatal despair. As bad as it is at this point, we Christians are still here en masse and will be until death by whatever means or Christ’s unexpected sensory overloading appearance to deliver His persecuted remnant yet alive in a calloused, wonder weary world fully given over to evil. This is as the Bible objectively read and applied foretells (2 Thessalonians 1:3-12)!
As authentic faith in God has always been required of His righteous ones on any day to successfully resist the devil’s “fiery darts” that include fear, strength will be equally required to stand fast through all of what is coming upon the world going forward (1 Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 6:16, NKJV).2 Human beings do not naturally possess the spiritual strength necessary to long endure and persevere through prolonged hardships, adversities, troubles and tribulations that are common to our life experience on earth much less the cataclysmic events foretold in His Word that God in His timing is bringing upon the world as the birth pains of His Kingdom.
Praise be to God He has built the availability of His strength into the human experience expressly for those in relationship with Him as redeemed sons, disciples and servants by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:14-16)! Drawing upon and living moment by moment out of the superior strength God by the Holy Spirit supplies to our spirit is our normative experience by design. We were made to be indwelt by God forever, but sin caused separation from Him (that is, spiritual death) to be mankind’s shared reality (Ephesians 2:1). Taking the initiative, God in Christ has restored His life and strength to us who believe in Him (John 10:10; Colossians 1:9-14).
The strength of God is without contest supernatural as is all of biblical Christianity and unique to Him. Out of His inexhaustible omnipotence God through Christ created and sustains the heavens and the earth for us, His eternal sons, assembled to Him and Christ as Lord--every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in His image (Isaiah 45:11-13; Colossians 1:15-23)!3 This same power as His strength is constantly renewed in us as we by faith purposely wait on the Lord for and actively seek it in times of need (Isaiah 40:27-31; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). We are to even gain a bold faith in Christ from being repeatedly strengthened by Him (Philippians 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:16-18).
Through the supernatural strength our God supplies us then, we are more than amply equipped to please Him and do His will; to cope with the everyday trials of life and those more severe that come suddenly which at first glance seem to be overwhelming. Nevertheless, through His strength we are enabled to stand if we keep our heads and call on Him in faith; not giving into unbelief and the fear that somehow what we face is bigger than God. As it is written, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” And again, “For with God nothing will be impossible,” (Genesis 18:14a; Luke 1:37, NKJV). And since by the Word of prophecy we have known and know what God is up to and what is coming upon the world, we are all the more ready for extraordinary events that occur (Mark 13:23).
Indeed, as our Lord warned, far worse events to include the global persecution of Christians on the earth and in the heavens that have never taken place before are coming (Luke 21:7-12, 25-28). Are we already fainting in fear with this Coronavirus? As He taught in the Gospels and shows in His Revelation He recently led me to write about,4 Christ expects us to proclaim the Gospel and witness Him until He returns; persevering to the end in strength, obedience to His Word and loyalty to Him (Luke 21:13-19; Revelation 3:8, 11). Therefore, in faith and with “this treasure” of the Spirit of life and strength in us, let us like the faithful apostles and saints before and around us overcome this world and its ruler as well as ace the tests to doubt God through fear (2 Corinthians 4:6-11; 1 John 4:4).5
1 Taking Bible prophecy seriously as we ought, no Christian should be shocked at the increasingly severe events in our world. See my September 29, 2019 post, God
Almighty In A 21st Century World, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
2 For more on standing fast in the times, read my November 25, 2018 post, Standing In The Evil Day, under the category, Encouragement.
3 I write about the aspiring strong man and great woman of God in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Get a print copy or digital download of the book
at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get a print copy in the Strong Man Store.
4 See the two-part post beginning February 16, 2020, Christ’s Message To His Faithful, under the categories, Bible Prophecy and Encouragement.
5 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 Revelation 3:10.
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