Thursday, October 17, 2019

Guest Post: Victory in Defeat?

Part 1
Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. If you’re new to our program, in this, our feature segment, we’re going through Dave Hunt’s book When Will Jesus Come? subtitled Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ.
Dave, in chapters 5 and 6 of your book you discuss what you call an “unlikely prophetic scenario” and “victory in defeat.” You open with what’s been referred to as The Last Supper, which came only a few days after Jesus being joyously acclaimed as the son of David, the Messiah. But in the next few hours, the emotions of the Lord’s disciples were going to go from elation to utter disbelief and grief. Take us through the scenario as the scriptures present it.
Dave: Well, Tom, the chapter is titled “An Unlikely Prophetic Scenario,” and that’s so amazing. You know, if this were fiction and the Messiah has come, and He’s just been hailed by the crowd—I don’t know how many hundreds, or maybe thousands, of disciples there were, followers, because He had been healing people and feeding multitudes and raising the dead. Even…He had just raised Lazarus from the dead, and you would think, Wow, they are about to name Him king!
Tom: Terrific beginning and heading for even a better ending, right?
Dave: Right! But that’s not what the prophets said. The prophets said that He would be rejected and despised by His own people. That they would hail him—it foretold that; Zechariah foretold that. Of course it was…
Tom: Let me read that verse, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee…”
Dave: Stop it there, Tom.
Tom: Okay.
Dave: “Behold thy king cometh unto thee.” Well, you’d think they would really be rejoicing, and they are claiming him as the Messiah.
Tom: Right. “O Son of David,” they cried out.
Dave: But then go ahead and read how He comes, Tom. That set them back a bit. They still didn’t seem to be wondering. They’re still acclaiming Him.
Tom: Yeah.
Dave: Because the prophets said they would.
Tom: But, Dave, it also points out how when we read the scriptures, having the benefit of looking back in history and all that the scripture has presented, we just kind of float by this. “Oh yeah, He’s just kind of meek and humble and so on,” but it says “…he [is] just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon a colt, the foal of an ass,” again, Zechariah:9:9.
Dave: Not exactly the way you would envision a triumphant entry of a new king.
Tom: Yeah, not something that a Caesar or a Pharaoh might put together.
Dave: You can imagine Caesar coming into Jerusalem, having just conquered it, and presenting himself on a wobbly-legged colt that could hardly hold up his weight, never been ridden before. And he’s meek and lowly, “bringing salvation,” it says. Not the salvation they were looking for. The salvation they were looking for was, well, they wanted to have their Messiah come riding in on a white horse with a flashing sword and leading an army. He’s going to conquer the Romans and set them free.
But He came to set them free from sin and from themselves, and they were not up to that. But, at the moment, they fulfilled the prophecy, as the Bible said. And then, the scriptures also foretold that He would be betrayed by one of His own.
Tom: Well, before you get to that, Dave, what about the Last Supper? I mean, Dave, I’m really impressed with the way you lay this out, because it brings some understanding to this—or even some thoughts about it—that most people wouldn’t have.
Here you have the Last Supper. The disciples have got to be over the top with excitement. You know, they’re kind of getting together; they’re in the inner group, Jesus now having been acclaimed as the son of David. I mean, how much better can it get? But what did He have to say to them at the Last Supper?
Dave: Tom, they had such low self-esteem that they’re all arguing among themselves as to who will be the greatest! They’ve already argued about who would be on His right hand and who would be on His left, and Jesus said, “Hey, guys that’s not for Me to give. That’s for my Father.” He shocks them. They are disputing among themselves who will be the greatest and who will have the top jobs in the kingdom, which, now, they’ve just hailed him as the King, as the Messiah.
And He drops a shocker on them. He says, “I’m going to go away.”
“Wait a minute, Lord! Where are you going?”
John 14 of course—“Well, I’m going to my Father’s house. I’m going to prepare a place for you. We’ve got a lot of mansions up there, and then I’m going to come back and take you up there.”
Well, they’ve never heard of anything like that. “Wait a minute! Isn’t there a kingdom down here on this earth? Aren’t you supposed to rule on David’s throne?”
It’s one of the problems today, Tom. We have Kingdom Now people, Dominion people, and they think that Christ has commissioned us to take over this world.
Tom: Right, Global Peace Plan, Dave.
Dave: Right. And when we have taken over the media and the government; we’ve voted in our good Christian guys everywhere….
Tom: Yes, solved all the problems of the world.
Dave: Right. We’ve taken over the schools, we’ve been voted into the school boards, and we’ve turned this country into a Christian nation, and the rest of the world will follow suit—then Jesus will come to rule over the kingdom we’ve established for Him.
Now, it’s pretty clear that when He comes, He does not come to this earth. Not at that time. He comes to take His own out of here, and we meet Him in the air. It is very clear.
Tom: But, Dave, the confusion—it’s amazing, almost ironic. We can look back and see how the disciples blew it because of their ambition and so on—what they wanted to do. But with regard to a second coming, particularly the Rapture, we have another confusion: “Oh no, no! We’re going to set up the kingdom.” I mean, it’s a “kingdom” mentality then—and now—which is sad.
Dave: Yes! I remember Paul Crouch—I heard it live. And I don’t really tune in there, but it seems every time I just happen to be going by to find some news, he’s at it with something. I’ll never forget the time he said he would shoot the heresy hunters—and I knew he was talking about me. But anyway…
Tom: Yes, this is TBN, Trinity Broadcasting Network.
Dave: Right, Paul Crouch in charge. Anyway, I’ll never forget him saying, “We are going to take over the networks. We’re going to take over TV and radio. And we will do it by force, if we have to!” They had just had—or were just about to have—a conference with that title in Phoenix, Arizona. The title of the conference was “Take It by Force!” They used a scripture from Joshua: “Go in and possess the land.” Christians are supposedly (at least, this was the teaching), to take over and do it by force if necessary. No wonder there are the ACLU or the skeptics, or whoever—“Look, these Christians really intend to take over the world!”
Tom: Yeah. But, Dave, not trying to defend that, because it’s totally wrong, but it’s not exactly the same as Islam, is it?
Dave: No, it’s not the same as Islam, and we don’t do it by the sword. They haven’t tried to do that yet. And yet they use that word “force”: “Take It by Force” was the title of the conference. These guys have been hyping this for a long time, but they haven’t been able to do it.
I remember when—and I’m sure, Tom, you would remember, we used to live not too far from there when Jack Hayford had Church on the Way. They had a number of conferences one after the other: “How to Take Your City for God.” And YWAM (Youth With A Mission) was talking about this. “We’re going to take over!”
I remember they had maybe 12-1300 pastors met—how often? About once a month, I think, at the Hollywood Presbyterian Church, about binding the territorial spirits that were holding sway over Los Angeles, and so forth. And “We’re going to set this free, and millions will be saved,” and so forth and so on. It’s not biblical Tom.
Tom: No, but it’s interesting also, Dave, that this was called “strategic spiritual warfare,” so the warfare, as opposed to what we see in Islam, is another kind of warfare. But on the other hand, these people are, in a sense, no less militant about it.
Dave: Well, they were very optimistic, and it kind of fizzled.
Tom: Well, it didn’t work.
Dave: They—who was it? Larry Lea went with his people up to San Francisco. They were going to bind the spirits of homosexuality and so forth. It only got worse. They had a huge gathering in Miami in a stadium where they “bound the spirit of violence, drug addiction,” and so forth. It has only gotten worse. It’s not biblical.
But anyway, Jesus said He was going to go away, and He would come again and receive them to his Father’s house of many mansions. That wasn’t good news to them! It’s good news to us! It wasn’t good news to them because, as you say, they had this “kingdom mentality.”
And then, He dropped another shocker on them. He said, “One of you will betray me.” And Tom, they couldn’t fathom this. Kingdom dominion mentality then and now is you take it over. You’re going to take over this world. You’re going to rule over everything. How do you do that? I think I may have quoted it before on this program, but I love that hymn—some of the old hymns Tom, we’ve got to get back to them. And I don’t want to hammer on this too much, but I don’t know why they have thrown out the old hymns for some of the modern stuff. Some of it may be good, but most of it is rather shallow and repetitive.
But anyway, it went like this: “In weakness like defeat, He won the victor’s crown. Tread all our foes beneath His feet by being trodden down. He Satan’s power laid low; made sin, He sin o’erthrew. Bowed to the grave, destroyed it so, and death, by dying, slew.” Now, that’s the way it happens, but that’s not what they imagined it would be like.
Anyway, it was a shock that one of them would betray Him, and yet, Tom, as you read it, they didn’t get it! They’re so concerned about who was going to sit on His right hand and on His left—they should have locked the door. They should not have let anyone out of there, out of that room, until they found out Who is it that’s going to betray our LordWho could that possibly be? They should have grilled one another and demanded the truth. Instead they said, “Is it I Lord?” and another one said, “Is it I Lord?” and then they went back to their quarreling about who would be the greatest. Tom, is it possible that we could be so blind today too? I mean, I am sure that I miss so much that’s in the Word of God. I don’t understand it, but I’m trying.
Tom: But it is amazing, Dave, when you look at the heart of man. I’ve been going through 1 Kings, and we have Solomon. Dave, not only (outside of our Lord) is he the wisest man who ever walked the face of the earth, but the Lord appears to him twice. You’d think that—wait a minute, the Lord himself has appeared to me, bringing insight and correction about certain things, yet it doesn’t seem to connect. In other words, even with that kind of experience—and how many people say today, “Well, look if I just got an insight from the Lord...If I just, you know, if the Lord would do something, I would know—speak to my heart; speak to me.
Dave: Well, “If He would speak to me with an audible voice…”
Tom: Right, whatever. And here the Lord appears to Solomon twice and gives him wisdom and gives him all that anyone could ask for. Here’s the wealthiest man on the face of the earth, all of these things, and he disobeys the Lord! He turns from the Lord. Unbelievable! But that’s our heart, isn’t it?
Dave: I’m afraid so, Tom, and we have it demonstrated over and over. We’ve talked about it before—at the base of Mount Sinai, after God has thundered with an audible voice, given them audibly the Ten Commandments, and they promised that they would keep them—Moses hasn’t even come down from the mountain till they’ve broken the first commandment not to have other gods. You know, “Worship the Lord alone”—and now they’ve made a golden calf.
Nobody saw miracles like the Jews. They walked through the Red Sea on dry land, got water out of a rock and the rock is…everywhere they go, there’s this rock, and water comes out of the rock in a wilderness. Their clothes down wear out, their sandals don’t wear out, they are led by a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night that shows them where to camp, they are fed. Tom, nobody could ask for more miracles than that, and the Bible says (this is not me, this is not anti-Semitism), the Hebrew prophets themselves say these are the most rebellious people—gainsaying, disobedient people that the world has ever seen!
And is it not the same today? Of Jesus, it says, “Though He had done so many miracles, yet they believed not on Him.” What more could you do than raise the dead? The guy’s been dead four days, and that was one of the reasons why—a major reason why this crowd lined the street as He went in from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem. Talk about hard heartedness! The rabbis, who have already determined to kill Jesus, now they say, “We’ll kill Lazarus also, the man he raised from the dead.” They know He raised him from the dead—in the grave four days. Tom, wow! “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked…” and this is why in Psalm:139:23 David cries out, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Tom, I cry out to the Lord like that all the time.
Tom: Right—there were in David’s life—there was wickedness, evidence of wickedness, and so on. But the scripture says, “but he was a man after God’s own heart,” because he repented when he was confronted by this. This is the best we’ve got, Dave. We will sin, we do sin, but do we have a heart to repent of that, or are we going to continue to go our own way?
Dave: Right—try to excuse it, whatever. So, where are we, Tom?
Tom: Well, again, the disciples, they’re listening to Jesus. He’s talking about going away. He’s talking about what He’s going to have to suffer, but this wasn’t new for them. I mean, earlier He quoted, “Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” He’s quoting from Zechariah, but he gives it to them directly, but they don’t understand these things.
Dave: Tom, I’ve gone through the Bible and counted how many times, I don’t remember at the moment, but a number of times He has told them, “They are going to kill me. They are going to crucify me. I am going to be rejected.” They don’t get it. How many times has He told them He would rise from the dead? And they don’t get it!
It must have been such a shock to them when, in the Garden, here come these Roman soldiers, and the rabbis, and Judas, and Jesus is led away meekly like a lamb to the slaughter exactly as the prophets foretold. But they don’t make any connection with that. This is the one who stood up in the boat and, pshew! stills the storm with a word? This is the one who raised the dead? This is the one who could cast demons out of the demon-possessed man that nobody could control, and he sits there at Jesus’s feet?
And suddenly, they bind Him, and He seems helpless, and they lead Him off to be crucified. And all of the disciples, it says, “…forsook him and fled.” And they could not believe how they must have been mistaken, how they must have been deceived. What kind of tricks did he pull? He couldn’t have been the Messiah, because now He got nailed to a cross. And then when they go to the tomb—it’s empty! Oh, somebody stole His body!
He has told them so many times: He would rise from the dead on the third day. Even the rabbis remembered that, and they sent Roman guards to keep Him inside so the disciples won’t steal His body. The disciples aren’t up to that. They’ve even forgotten—well, Tom, oh my gracious, what God must think of us! It’s pretty hopeless isn’t it?
Tom: Dave, I just love the scriptures—the people that God chose to use. We mentioned David earlier. Peter is absolutely fascinating to me. Jesus said to the disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” And Peter gives him a terrific answer. And then just a little bit later…
Dave: Well, but Jesus says, “Flesh and blood didn’t reveal it to you; my Father did.”
Tom: Right. So, we have Peter, even at the Last Supper, where Peter says, “No, no! I’m going to hang in there with You. I’m going to do what You desire.”
Dave: “If they all forsake You, yet will not I. I’ll go to death for You.”
Tom: Yeah, that’s what He says: “I will lay down my life for thy sake.” But they don’t. But on the other hand, Dave, we have 1 and 2 Peter; we have the things in Acts that Peter said. When he’s led of the Spirit, wow!
Dave: I tell you, Tom, it speaks to my heart right now. “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” Paul said, “When I am weak, then am I strong. Though I have this thorn in the flesh…” whatever it was, we don’t know. Some people say he had eye problems so that he could hardly see. I don’t know what it was, but he says, “God sent it so that I would not be exalted above measure, but that I would recognize that I am so weak,” and he called himself the least of all the saints. Paul said, “Brethren, pray for me.” So, we need prayer, you who are listening out there, please pray for us. Pray for The Berean Call, pray for this program, pray for the ministry the Lord has given us that He will keep us faithful to Him and to this ministry, and please back us with your prayers. We appreciate it very much, and we need this very much.