Death Is Not Our Friend
The problem in the Church is not lack of faith altogether, but a misunderstanding of what death is; it is an enemy. According to the Scripture, death is an enemy and we have dominion over it. That does not mean that you and I have dominion alone; mankind on a whole has dominion. At times we definitely affect each other in a very bad sense. Creation moves as one and we gradually make the world better. Our world is 50% better than it was when I was a child 70 years ago. Things are happening all the time that look bad to us now because we can’t understand, but we will see the reason for it later on.
Think of Africa’s situation in the past—I mean the awful days of slavery. Those days were dreadful, but there was one thing that could have been worse, and that was, being trapped for the ages to come in the jungle prison they were taken out of. These people were killing each other and making slaves of one another, it was not a tolerable existence. They were so ignorant that they murdered their twins. But they did not have any way to get out of their ignorance. So the Lord stirred up the white man’s greed and away he went to reveal it to the world and himself.
The white man kidnapped the blacks and made slaves of them. In his desire to gain more from his slaves, he taught them skills and trades, and conditioned them to meet their own needs.
When the time came, the white man fought for the black man’s freedom and won it. How else were they to get to the new world? They had no modern skills; all they knew was jungle life. They had proved for hundreds of years that they did not have the ability to better themselves in that environment. As the white man’s slaves, they were forced out of their mindset. It looked cruel at the time, and it was, but notice what is happening now to the offspring of the ones who were not blessed enough to become slaves to the white man—their children are bloated with starvation, and their ignorance still has them imprisoned.
Look at the offspring of the slaves— they are free, free to go to college, learn trades, educate their children, and meet their own needs. They, also, are skilled actors, sportsmen, teachers, politicians, etc.; they stand shoulder to shoulder with the other races. What are they doing about their peers in Africa? They are going back in and teaching them. Within a hundred years, Africa will have shook loose from the white man’s control altogether to become one of the leading nations of the world. But we all know the awful bloody trail they have traveled.
Now Yahweh is saying to the Church, “Come up higher in your concept. Stop just saying you love and start loving your fellowman. Stop killing and judging other people, outgrow war, and find a way to express love to your enemy.”
I know the situation looks bad now, but it doesn’t look as bad as it did during the Civil War. We are in transition today as surely as they were in a transition then. They came through, and so will we.
It takes wisdom to trust goodness, and it takes wisdom to know goodness when we see it. The Lord never told us to praise him “for” all things—that would be really foolish. He said, Praise Him “in” (in spite of) all things.
The Holy Spirit reveals more and more truth in every phase of man’s existence, so when evil comes, someone will respond in a positive manner and use it as a stepping stone.
Think of the past generations and remember some of the odd convictions they held, and think of your own convictions now. Is there a visible improvement? Sure there is! How much? There is a tremendous difference—right? Did they affect you in your decision to do better? Did you use their lack as a stepping stone to reach a higher plateau of thought?
The Church is now in bondage to the traditions of the carnal mind, which is ignorance to the truth. We eat too much, we drink unhealthy drinks, we breathe unhealthy air, and we live in a polluted environment, which kills us off one at a time. Besides that, as a whole, we do not accept that we have been given power over our body, yes, even over death. Christ said we would die in our unbelief and ignorance if we did not rise above carnality.
I do not believe our Lord wants us to dwell on this present level of understanding. We are gradually moving upward, not unlike the Africans, some of us still must die in our prison of lack. It seems we must wait until our whole body permits us to rise above death. But someone must take hold of the truth, which our Savior taught, and turn it into a living word.
Oh, my friend, it is not written that we must wait on our brethren to go behind the veil with us, but who among us is strong enough to survive alone? Who can pay the price of believing all the truth? Just as they turned on Stephen and gnawed on him with their teeth before they stoned him to death, so they turn on us. Why were they so upset? Stephen was coming against the status quo. Try to be different and your ignorant peers will crucify you—but their action brings with it an awakening.
We, the wisest of creation, once made a decision to accept slavery and behold there were slaves. We looked at the brutality of our deeds and knew it was a manifestation of what we stood for and what we were on the inside, as a whole, and we said in our hearts, “This is not our full potential, we can do better than this,” and we did. We died by the thousands to buck against the level of intelligence that produced slavery.
Was slavery ever right? Of course it was not, just as it was evil when Joseph spent time in prison. But his stay brought conviction upon his brethren. Selling Joseph was not the beginning of their brutality, cruelty, and ignorance—they were enslaving other men and women continuously. Abraham had over three-hundred slaves. But with their action of selling Joseph, sin became magnified in their own eyes. Selling their innocent brethren became a mirror that reflected back to them the depths of their true nature and they said, “We’re horrid, shameful, we are vile men, and we can do better.” Their “better” does not look so good by our standard today, but it was a commendable improvement over what they were before.
We can look back at mankind’s experiences to find the wisdom of the Lord by looking at what came out of the horrid years of reformation. Looking closely at the pages of history, we ask, Where did the slave-holders come from? Why were they willing to forsake all and come to an untamed wilderness to face the Indians, death, and starvation? They come out of the religious slavery of their environment, but they were far from free men. They carried the sperm of slavery with them in their hearts—few were willing to truly allow other men to enjoy the privilege they sought, that is, to experience freedom. Too many sought to enslave others after they came to the new land. But can you see how the white man, the Indian, and the African were all brought into that conflict to help each of them to rise above the ignorance of enslaving other men? The Bible truths reveal that we do not live above our actions.
I used to think that the dark ages were created by a few bad men ruling over good people, but the dark ages were produced by the status quo of that realm of understanding. I look at our status quo and struggle for faith to believe civilization can survive it. It can and it will. I say this because I have tested Yahweh’s word and found it is true—it says we will; therefore, we will.
I have been learning more about the potential of the human brain, and in doing so; I came face to face with the knowledge that this scene is greater than we are. There is a Master Mind at work here who has a master plan that is so far above the creature at this stage of learning that it is staggering.
I read some of the surmising of the carnal man, and I am overwhelmed that mankind, as a whole, is so out of touch with reality. But we have come a long ways—that makes me know He is with us, and it gives me strength to go on.
I am daily travailing to reach a realm of understanding that is beyond me, but, then I am reminded that the proportion which the minority has reached (though it is far below the fullness when spoken), falls on deaf ears ninety-five percent of the time and puts the speaker on his own little Isle of Patmos—but this is how we climb. It is a slow process, but like Edison, one man thinks and a few hundred years later, the light comes on for the rest of the world? I hate to think of what I would be accomplishing today if Edison and his colleagues had not committed themselves to their vision. I am thankful for the thinkers of the past, without their faithfulness I would be struggling with my feather and candle.
We are growing. Yahweh is expanding our minds; he is at work here. Those who experience premature death belong to Yahweh. We miss them and in our ignorance to Yahweh’s plan, we cry out, Why? Why? Why? But the truth is, we latch on to people that are given to us to enjoy for a season as if they were always ours and ours alone. That is not true.
I do not know where my deceased loved ones are, but I know the One who is in charge of their destiny, and I know it is okay with them no matter where they are. I do not want to leave this temple of flesh, but I do not want to linger on in the bondage of the status quo. If I cannot muster the faith in this body to move on into a higher realm of glory or be effective in reaching others with what I see, I do not choose to become a burden in the flesh.
But the Spirit revealed that Yahweh’s strength undergirds us when our faith is lacking. He will become our strength if we are willing to exercise faith and commitment—but we must exercise both. It is difficult to believe anything unless we have some evidence that it exists. But if we will trust our higher intelligence, we can create that which we can grasp.
Surely there is substantial evidence that we were created by a higher intelligence, and as we look at man and his magnificent brain we know that death is not powerful enough to hold him captive forever. But if we each wait until immortality becomes the status quo before we decide that it is available to the believer, we may be waiting for some time.