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Monday, August 1 2011
Who Has A Spirit Of Confrontation?
The English word "confront" originated from a compound Latin word, con, meaning together and frontis, meaning front. "Confront" means front to front, or face to face.
Is "confrontation" a good thing, or is it bad? Is a so-called "spirit of confrontation" good or bad?
As with practically everything else, almost anything can be good or bad. Even those (or perhaps, especially those; see also Concupiscence) who are genuinely striving as hard as they can to live a righteous Christian life can make a fool of themselves (as this author has learned, the hard way) by falling into the ever-present trap of responding to someone in a very wrong way, thereby causing offense (often times, offense even in the one that was being offensive to begin with - that's almost always the very-tempting bait of the trap itself), by behaving or speaking in an obnoxious, un-Christian manner. If it happens, Christ commanded us to repent, truly repent, just as Christ also commanded us to forgive, truly forgive, the repentant. We must forgive others, if God is going to forgive us.
"6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15 KJV)
But is a "spirit of confrontation" always something bad? Or is it only wrong when it's misdirected? Can it also be, under the proper circumstances, not only good, but very desirable? Can a spirit of confrontation even be righteous?
Some examples to consider:
If your country was being invaded, would you prefer that the members of your military have a "spirit of confrontation" toward the enemy, or would you prefer that they just surrender, or run away, thereby allowing your nation to be conquered and destroyed?
What about true servants of the LORD (i.e. people who were truly appointed and sent by and in service of the LORD, not self-appointed and self-righteous vigilantes pointing their fingers at others in order to distract from their own shortcomings)? Did any of them ever avoid confronting evil or error? Or, according to what we read about them, have they always faced it, confronted it, even when it was not politically or socially popular to do so? When it came to confronting anyone, from heavily-armed enemy troops, to mobs, to kings of superpower empires right in their own palaces, were God's prophets, figuratively-speaking, sweet, neutered little poodles hiding under a couch every time that the doorbell rang, or were they all-natural, scarred-up pit bulls, far outside of where it was "safe," guarding their Master's property so that those inside were safe? Did God's true servants just believe in "go along, to get along" (i.e. a smile and a lie are the round-trip tickets to get you anywhere in Satan's world), or were they courageous people who did their duty, as the Holy Spirit of God inspired them? According to the Bible, why were those who stood up for the Word of God always hated by the "world"? Let's look to the Word of God for the answers.
"Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let My people go"
The first "spirit of confrontation" recorded in the Word of God was the Holy Spirit of God, when the LORD confronted the humans who had just chosen to follow Satan, rather than Him (the prime reason, as we will read in all of the Biblical examples, to be very, very careful about judging a "spirit of confrontation" - blaspheming the Holy Spirit is a most serious matter: "12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come" Matthew 12:31-32 KJV; see also The Unpardonable Sin). The LORD confronted the first sinners right in the garden of Eden.
"3:11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" (Genesis 3:11 KJV; see also Do You Want A Servant Or A Serpent?)
Moses and Aaron confronted the Pharaoh (and his bodyguards), as the Spirit of God commanded them.
"8:20 And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me." (Exodus 8:20 KJV)
After the Exodus, when the Israelites decided to do as they pleased, in the Name of the LORD, Moses didn't "go along to get along; Moses confronted them, head on.
"32:19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing [see The Mount Sinai Riot]: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. 32:20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strowed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
When King David committed adultery, and then murder, the prophet Nathan, by the means and the authority of the Holy Spirit, confronted the king and rebuked him.
"12:7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 12:8 And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. 12:9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon." (2 Samuel 12:7-9 KJV)
When those who were not truly repentant to the Truth of the Word of God came to infiltrate John the Baptist's work, John confronted them and publicly called them exactly what they were ("O generation of vipers"), until they truly repented.
"3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 3:9 And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
John the Baptist was later murdered by an adulterer and an adulteress (see Lethal Lust) for the same reason - the prophet confronted a king who was doing "violence" to God's Law ("violence" means any violation of the Law of God; see Violence).
"11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." (Matthew 11:12 KJV)
As recorded in the verses above, John was killed so that he could be silenced and others could defile the Truth that he was sent to teach. Their evil strategy didn't work because, exactly as prophesied, when John's "prepare the way" ministry ended, the Messiah's Ministry began. Jesus Christ confronted evil and error in exactly the same way. John the Baptist called them "vipers"; the Messiah called them "hypocrites."
"15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV)
When the Messiah found people defiling the Temple, He didn't just "go along to get along." He didn't just stand there and say "Oh how lovely, God bless us one and all." The prophet Jesus (see The Prophet Of Galilee) confronted them and threw them out.
"21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." (Matthew 21:12-13 KJV)
Just prior to the return of Jesus Christ (see the Fact Finder question below), His "two witnesses" (see The Prophets: The Two Witnesses) will be sent to confront the entire world (with the exception of the relatively few who truly seek to learn and obey God's Word). The entire world will hate those two prophets for the Truth that they preach - and celebrate their deaths, after the LORD permits the martyrdom of those two righteous "pit bulls," during which they almost certainly, by means of the miraculous power that the LORD commanded that they have, by means of the power of the Holy Spirit ("if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed") go down amidst a very hot firefight against the forces of evil i.e. "the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them." Notice the similarities of the ministry of the two witnesses and that of Moses and Aaron at the time of that Exodus e.g. "power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues."
"11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
Fact Finder: When He returns, how is Jesus Christ going to bring genuine peace and true freedom to all people?
This Day In History, August 1
69: The Batavian Rebellion. Batavians in what is known today as the Netherlands rebelled against Roman occupation of their homeland.
527: Justinian I became the sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire.
1096: The Crusaders (see The Crusades) under Peter the Hermit reached Constantinople.
1137: King Louis VI of France died and was succeeded by his son Louis VII, who launched the disastrous Second Crusade.
1291: The three cantons of Uri, Unterwalden and Schwyz formed the Everlasting League, a confederation from which Switzerland was formed.
1498: Christopher Columbus landed on mainland North America, but thinking it was an island, called it Isla Santa.
1534: French explorer Jacques Cartier sighted the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Sent by King Francois I to look for gold in the New World and a passage to China, Cartier left France on April 20 1534 with 2 ships and 61 men, arriving off Newfoundland 20 days later. Before heading home on August 15, he claimed what is today Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the adjacent lands for France.
1664: The Ottoman / Turkish army battled French and German forces at St. Gotthard, Hungary (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1714: Anne, Queen of Britain 1702-1714, died at age 49. She was the last Stuart monarch. Although her father King James II was a Roman Catholic, she was raised as a Protestant at the insistence of her uncle Charles II. She was pregnant 18 times between 1683-1700, but none survived infancy.
1714: George Louis, Elector of Hanover, was named King George I of Great Britain upon the death of Queen Anne.
1740: Thomas Arne's Rule Britannia was performed in public for the first time.
1759: British and Hanoverian armies versus the French at the Battle of Minden, Germany.
1774: Joseph Priestley, the British Presbyterian minister and chemist, identified a gas which he called "dephlogisticated air" - later known as oxygen.
1778: The world's first "savings bank" was opened, in Hamburg, Germany.
1793: France became the first country to use the metric system of weights and measures, a byproduct of the French Revolution. Today, nearly the entire world (with the sole exception of the U.S. which uses it only to a limited degree, in science and medicine) uses the metric system.
1798: The British fleet under Admiral Horatio Nelson defeated the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile, thwarting Napoleon's conquest of the Middle East.
1800: The Act of Union 1800 was passed. It merged the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
1834: The Slavery Abolition Act abolished slavery throughout the British Empire. An estimated 770,280 men and women became free, leaving only those in the U.S. as slaves (until the end of the U.S. Civil War about 30 years later).
1914: Germany declared war on Russia in at the start of the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1950: King Leopold III of Belgium abdicated in favor of Prince Baudouin, effective July 1951.
1954: The Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into 2 countries at the 17th parallel.
1957: The U.S. and Canada formed the North American Air Defense Command, NORAD. For Canadians, the Russian threat during the Cold War wasn't somewhere "over there" in Europe - Canada has the U.S. on its southern border and Russia on its northern border. Canadians don't have to leave home to confront the Russian army.
1990: Iraq's president Saddam Hussein sent an invasion force of 100,000 troops into Kuwait, setting off the "Desert Storm" Kuwait War.
2001: Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore installed a Ten Commandments monument in the Judiciary Building. It resulted in a lawsuit to have the Ten Commandments removed and Justice Moore's removal from office.