Agape or Armageddon?

Agape or Armageddon?
Robert Wurtz II

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:9-12)

Matthew 24 is typically viewed as a passage about end-time events, or what theologians call eschatology. Nevertheless, there is a message here that reigns true for all people, in all places, and at all times. The farther people get from God and His influence, the more wicked and evil they become. It is axiomatic. They can do no other. As men dismiss God and His rule from their minds; when they no longer have God’s word as the primary variable under which they make decisions; unbridled evil is always the result. (Jeremiah 6:28-30, Romans 1:26-30) 

In the 21st century, the World is sitting on top of a apocalyptic powder keg. The social ” seismic activity ” that we read in the news every day is indicative of an eruption that seems almost inevitable. Like a volcano with hot pools of lava swelling under the surface — society is readying itself to explode at any time. If God were to take His graceful hand off  of this world, we would be plunged into fire and blood in ways unknown in human history. The bloodbath of the early 20th century that witnessed the deaths of some 100,000,000 people worldwide was a mere pinprick compared to the bloodshed we would face without God’s restraining hand. 

God’s Restraining Influences

God said back in Genesis 6:3 that He would not always strive with man, but that His days (of striving) would be 120 years. God’s striving is like a tether — restraining the full expression of evil that fallen men are capable of (Galatians 5:19-21). The Hebrew word for strive in Genesis 6:3 carries the meaning of sailing straight. God works to thwart the expression of man’s evil thoughts and intentions. In fact, God is striving with the very nature of Satan himself who is working in man (Ephesians 2:2). 

Satan is many things, but one characteristic stands out among the rest; he is a murderer (John 8:44). He enjoys bloodshed. As people resist God and yield more to Satan, they become more like him. They are his children, and manifest his nature. Indeed, men become Satan’s slaves at a greater degree as they resist God. The image of God in them that was marred by the fall is all but eradicated as they progress in their resisting the Holy Spirit. We can see plainly that people are becoming more and more murderous and hateful as society drifts away from God. God is love. Satan is a murderer. Men determine (by who they yield themselves to) who they will ultimately reflect and become like. 

The Holy Spirit Strives With Man

God strives with man to limit his or her iniquity. The word iniquity simply means lawlessness. This does not mean lawless towards man’s law — but God’s Law. The masses are rebelling against God’s law increasingly by the day. They have no idea what the consequences are going to be. There is a great effort to rewrite right and wrong on all levels. In fact, there is a push going now to legitimize incest. No telling what diabolical wickedness we will be challenged with next. Nevertheless, changing man’s law does not change God’s eternally settled word. In fact, many things are lawful in society that are truly “lawless acts” (iniquity) as far as God is concerned. 

God’s law can be summed up by one word: love. Men are to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength and their neighbor as themselves (Luke 10:27). Take away God’s law and you strip away love. To evict God from our society is to risk being unable to love anything but sin. Paul describes this condition in the closing days of his life when he writes to young Timothy:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

The words “without natural affection” is the Greek word astorgos. This is the natural love that a mother ought to have for her young; it is familial love (family love). How could that happen? It begins in the churches of God and among professing Christians. I personally know of parents who claim they never wanted one or more of their children. Some don’t care if their kids know they don’t like them. How could this happen? 

Moreover, think of the fatherless children in the world. Men who refuse to take care of their own family. They are worse than infidels no matter what their profession. (1 Timothy 5:8). In fact, middle-aged adolescence is plaguing this generation. Many are stuck in their “tweens” (not teens), but their bodies are in their 30s, and 40s. Nevertheless, we have had more classes and seminars on “the family” than at any time in history, and the scourge continues. I suggest that the problem has been the politically correct — worldly approach to training people about the family. What did Paul say?

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children. (Titus 2:3–4 ESV)

I realize that there are women standing in line in many circles to be ordained to the ministry; however, has anyone stopped to consider how important this verse is? What happens when the older women refuse to train the young women to love their husbands and children? We end up with a world filled with parents, even among professing Christians, who do not love their families. Think about the import of that reality. Because they have not been trained by older women to love all of their family, they love their “pet” children (their favorites), but “tolerate” the rest. In doing so they provoke the despised children to wrath. Then they wonder why they have disaster in the home. It is an abomination to God and anyone who is in His image. 

If it is not important for this training to take place, why would God have commanded it? There is a wisdom to everything God says, and we are seeing the consequences of neglecting these types  of scriptures. With all the problems that the world presents to families as it is, this is one area we cannot go another day ignoring. These are just a few of the consequences of evicting God and His word from our reasoning. It can be no other. Destruction and misery are not a matter of “if” but “when.” 

God: Just Cut Us Loose? 

What happens as the collective mind seeks independence from God’s influence and comes completely under Satan’s? Notice our text again. The love of many shall wax cold. Greek scholar Marvin Vincent reminds us that it is not the love of many people only that shall be chilled, but of “the many,” “the majority,” “the great body.” This is the consequence of man wanting God to “cut the tether” that restrains them from sinning. 

Many want freedom from God and their conscience — freedom to sin without restraint. What happens? If Genesis 6 is any indicator; if the current trajectory of things continues; people will become bloodthirsty savages — slaves of hate, and lovers of violence. It can be no other. It is all that will be left once God, and His word are gone from the peoples’ minds. 

Fighting With God

Fighting With God
Robert Wurtz II

And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3 NKJV)

You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. (Acts 7:51 NKJV)

It is interesting to consider just how long man has been actively resisting God’s authority. Our passage in Genesis 6:3 is a subtle commentary on the days of Noah; this would have been roughly 2800 BC, or nearly 5000 years ago. When we arrive at Acts 7:51 we have the same diagnoses, You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. In the 21st Century we have the same pattern of behavior. God is trying to establish His authority in the hearts of men and women and they do always “strive” or “resist.” I suggest that “always resisting the Holy Spirit” is the single greatest problem in mankind, and summarizes the relationship between God and unbelievers.  

In Genesis 6:3 we have the word “strive.” The context is found with Noah a preacher of righteousness, bringing forth a message of salvation. This is God striving with people outwardly. In this way, God had used men as His means of striving with man since the prophet Abel in Genesis 4:8 (compare Luke 11:50-51). Just as Cain rose up to snuff-out his witness to the truth of obedience to God, the response of the masses has rarely altered course. 

Inwardly, the people would feel the sting of their conscience, and the many strong impressions made upon them by the Spirit of God. The scripture is replete with men who quenched, grieved, resisted, vexed, and even blasphemed God’s Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:10, 1 Thess. 5:19, Ephesians 4:30, Matthew 12:24-32). This is the message of Stephen to the religious leaders, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.” (Acts 7:51 NKJV) 

The very people who prided themselves as instructors of the foolish, and teachers of babes — men who had the form of knowledge and truth in the law (Romans 2:20 NKJV) — did always resist the Holy Spirit. In fact, Stephen added, as your fathers did, so do you. It had been a tradition in families for generations. Stephen went on to ask them which of the prophets did their fathers not persecute? He then went on to show that Jesus Christ, the anti type of all who had gone before Him, was given the most hideous treatment of all. The one who was the greatest representation of God was the one most persecuted by the rebellious. The treatment of a man was proportional to His capacity to represent God in striving with men. In other words, the more godly he or she was, the worse they were treated. This is the record. 

Fighting God?

When we read Stephen’s word ” resist ” it is natural to conclude that this is a simple non-compliance. However, this is not the case. Stephen employs a rare Greek word (antipiptō) used once in the New Testament. It means to “run against” or “to fall upon.” This is an allusion to Numbers 23 and Isaiah 63 in which God had done everything in His power to bring about His purposes for His people — nevertheless; they  provoked (vexed) His Holy Spirit — who is not easily provoked (1 Cor. 13:5). This phenomenon could also be seen in the fact that the prophets’ words could not be resisted, but the prophets themselves could be, so they “ran upon” them as they soon did with Stephen. 

Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. Acts 7:57–58 NKJV) 

We may call to mind the words of God to Samuel at this juncture, for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. (1 Samuel 8:7b) This is the final fact of the case. People do not want God to reign over them. This is the essence of the struggle. The sobering end to it all is found in the words of the Lord Jesus, For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” (Luke 19:26–27 KJV) This is the finality of those who go on resisting the Holy Spirit. In the end there is only going to be one kingdom and Jesus Christ is going to reign in it. The people who continually resist His will, and are bent on serving self and sin, will meet this horrible fate. 

Fortunately, there was one man who broke ranks with the fathers and the Pharisees and left-off resisting the Holy Spirit.  After a lifetime of religious service in the absence of God, Paul could not resist and receive the Holy Spirit at the same time. Many people want an experience in God, but they have no intention on submitting to His authority. This is how demonic activity can invade a person or a church. We simply must stop resisting if we are to receive. We must be willing to set aside the religious facade and get real with God. We have to respond rightly to even the most subtle dealings. Though multitudes without number have resisted and striven with the Holy Spirit, we can make a conscious choice to stop that pattern right now. We hear a lot about unconditional love, but not much about unconditional surrender. While there is still breath in our lungs we can lay down our weapons and surrender unconditionally to Him. 


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