- Then YHVH saw that the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually . . . Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt – for humanity had corrupted its way upon the earth . . . Then God said to Noah, “The end of humanity has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of people; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth . . . So YHVH was sorry that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart . . . But Noah found favor in the eyes of YHVH . . . Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:5-13)
The grass is browner on the other side
Sometimes we read in Bible about the sins of days gone by, and say to ourselves, “This could never happen in our day! It’s only describing ancient times. We are not primitives like those people. Their grass was parched and brown, but our spiritual grass is green!”
Messiah’s Last Days description of the world’s spiritual condition immediately preceding His return to Jerusalem gives pause for thought:
- “But about that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away. So will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:36-39)
The Scriptures speak plainly of days ahead and the spiritual dynamics facing all who live at that time.
King David asks – How many of earth’s inhabitants do good?
- For the music director. A Psalm of David: The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed detestable acts. There is no one who does good. YHVH has looked down from heaven upon the sons of mankind to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, together they are corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 14).
This is the reason why David cries out, “Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults!” (Psalm 19:12). Isaiah mournfully echoes the same lament regarding the spiritual condition of many of his people: “For they are not a people of discernment” (Isaiah 27:11). Human history – and that includes Jewish history – shows that the flocks of humanity’s tribes are flecked with sin and self-deception. The testimony of the Jewish prophets does not shrink from speaking the truth, even when it hurts:
- “Hear this, House of Jacob, who are named Israel and who came from the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of YHVH and invoke the God of Israel, but not in truth nor in righteousness” (Isaiah 48:1)
- “They bend their tongues like their bows. Lies and not truth prevail in the land . . . Everyone deceives his neighbor and does not speak the truth. They have taught their tongue to speak lies. They weary themselves committing wrongdoing” (Jeremiah 9:3, 5)
Messiah Yeshua brings this point home as He interacts with some Jewish leaders who had come to listen to His teachings:
- Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and putting Yeshua to the test, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but are you unable to discern the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16:3)
Our beloved teacher Moses shares a heartbroken word of pastoral caution with us: “Beware that your hearts are not easily deceived” (Deuteronomy 11:16). And Obadiah 1:3 adds, “The arrogance of your heart has deceived you.”
Self-deception and spiritual corruption are a universal problem – they affect both Jews and Gentiles:
- But evil people and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13)
- For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18)
- For they exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen! (Romans 1:26)
This was the condition of mankind in the days of Noah and David, in the days of Isaiah and Messiah Yeshua. It is also the condition of humanity in our day. We stand under the shadow of a similar destiny as did Noah’s relatives and friends.
The spiritual dimension
Corruption, rebellion against God’s character and His ways – all have spiritual roots:
- But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his trickery, your minds will be led astray (2 Corinthians 11:3)
- And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him (Revelation 12:9)
- “And the light of a lamp will never shine in you [O Babylon] again. And the voice of the groom and bride will never be heard in you again. For your merchants were the powerful people of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery” (Revelation 18:23)
Mankind is struggling against the blowback of Adam and Eve’s sin. Death, lies, sickness, moral corruption and perversion – these have all been loosed on God’s originally perfect planet. These viruses have infected the hearts and souls of all flesh. They have touched kings and queens; prime ministers and politicians; coalitions and oppositions; capitalists and communists; billionaires and paupers; security forces and criminals; medical professionals and patients.
The Fourth dimension
Sin has also touched the media, known as ‘the press’ or ‘the Fourth Estate’ – specifically in its capacity to advocate, to frame and to influence political issues and understandings.
There was time in the Western world when TV news commentator Walter Cronkite was known as “the gold standard of journalism.” In those halcyon days, most American citizens trusted their government, their President, their police and their newspaper and television news. The past ten years has seen a precipitous drop in media credibility, much of it bi-partisan. Media ‘spins’ and portrayals of current events (e.g., BLM, the mollycoddling of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, earthshaking social tremors in matters of gender, etc.) have left many confused and concerned. Those who hold to a Bible-based or Scripture-influenced worldview often are in shock, trying to read between the lines as they watch TV news or read the paper. How are we to really know what is happening and what it all means?
The words of Messiah Yeshua have peculiar resonance for us now: “And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold” (Matthew 24:12). In Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming, he references “masters of the bluff and masters of the proposition – but the enemy I see wears a cloak of decency . . .” The world is becoming deeply disillusioned with their secular prophets, whose less-and-less believable pronouncements are covered with just the faintest veneer of righteousness. As Yeshua said in Matthew 23:27, these pundits “are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”
‘1984’ is approaching
The growing realization that many politicians, governmental leaders, security and intelligence forces, medical professionals and corporate autocrats are not to be automatically trusted (or even trusted at all), is shaping a reality which seems prophetically close to George Orwell’s dystopic vision in ‘1984.’ The following quotes are prescient in their sharpness:
- “Big brother is watching you” (1984; part 1:chapter 1)
- “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past” (1984; part 1: chapter 3)
- “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it” (1984; part 1:chapter 5)
- “‘Crimestop’ means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought” (1984; page 138)
- “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others ; we are interested solely in power . . . We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were- cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship” (1984; page 173/3:3)
- “Intellectual honesty is a crime in any totalitarian country”
- “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear” (unpublished Preface to ‘Animal Farm’)
The word, the Spirit and boot camp
As an increasing amount of people feel the pillars of society shaking, they are beginning to ask the same question that Paul Simon voiced in ‘You can call me Al:’ “Who’ll be my role model, now that my role model is gone?”
For those who accept the revelation of Messiah Yeshua in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, there are some tried and true guidelines for us here.
Guideline #1 – Knowing the word and how to use it:
- Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
- You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Messiah Yeshua. All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness – so that the man of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
- For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12)
Guideline #2 – Drawing closer to the Holy Spirit in intimacy:
- Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was granted to you through words of prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to the teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will save both yourself and those who hear you (1 Timothy 4:14-16)
- For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelled in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:5-7)
- Hold on to the example of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Messiah Yeshua. Protect, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you (2 Timothy 1:13-14)
Guideline #3 – Going through a ‘boot-camp’ of training in continuing personal discipleship with the Lord:
- But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to distinguish between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14)
- Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is impaired may not be dislocated, but rather be healed (Hebrews 12:12-13)
Watching the foolish become wise
We are all called to learn to trust God, His ways and His word in increasing measure. Though that may mean choosing a path which is mocked by the world, a path that is rejected by worldly authorities and powers, there is a blessed reward: “Take care that no one deceives himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the sight of God. For it is written: ‘He is the One who catches the wise by their craftiness’ and again, ‘YHVH knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are useless.’ So then, no one is to be boasting in people” (1 Corinthians 3:18-21).
When it seems nearly impossible to make sense of what secular ‘prophets’ are declaring in the media, then it has come time to press in to God, His word and His Spirit to receive burning answers directly from the Throne of Heaven!
- Do not trust in noblemen, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation! (Psalm 146:3)
- Trust in YHVH with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)
- Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid! For YHVH is my strength and my Song of YAH, and He has become my salvation! (Isaiah 12:2)
How should we then pray?
Would you pray for the nation of Israel at this moment in time?
- Pray for God to pour out upon us His heart, perspectives, prayers and strategies in these trying times
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army throughout the earth
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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