God’s Holy War and His Great Command
Gen. James Green
Into All the World
W E HAVE HEARD these Words:
“I Am at WAR with the nations of the world!” (given Dec. 25, 2015). But the Spirit also spoke telling us that Repentance Revolution was still to be proclaimed for the ones who would bow down and receive salvation. “Salvation” or “Damnation”? The idea (rather fact!) of WAR against the nations and against God’s “professing” people (who have become His enemies because of their transgressions) can be found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Since I have written many articles and taught many lessons on this very subject over the years, I’ll be brief in this reminder (write for our published works and DVDs on “The Wrath of God”).
Time of War!
THE WORLD has NOW entered into a time of WAR—God’s Holy War, World War III if you will. He has DECLARED it so!—but our task is to keep going and declaring REPENTANCE.
Did you know that Christ spoke of a WAR that was to come upon His very own people because of their sins? Read the parable of the pounds in Luke 19:11-27. Note two things:
1. “But the citizens (Jews) hated Him, and sent a message after Him, saying, ‘We will not have this man (Jesus) to reign over us’” (v. 14);
2. “But those mine enemies (Jews), which would not that I should reign over them (Jews) bring hither, and SLAY THEM before Me” (v. 27).
Of course Jesus was alluding to the 66-70 AD Roman war against Jerusalem and the cities round about. I do not have to say much about that SLAUGHTER. Now, for you folks that think God/Jesus is just love, love, love, consider what Jesus was referring to in Luke 19:27. You might ask: “What does this have to do with the Great Commission (Command)?” To start with, both John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ both preached REPENTANCE to the “people of God,” who by that time were certainly backslid! (John=Mt. 3:1=Gk. metanoeo, Strong’s G3340= “to turn around”—turn from evil ways and turn to Christ, and through Him, to God, Jn. 14:1, 6; Acts 8:22; 26:18; 1 Pet. 2:25, Jesus=Mt. 4:17= “repent.”) These two were both prophets who were calling Israel to REPENT before God’s judgment would fall upon them; that was their command/commission. You see, God always WARNS His people before He takes action against them. In turn, we His people are to WARN the world of His WRATH. But the church has grown lazy and unconcerned about world missions. Part of the Gospel is warning about the consequences of refusal. John 3:16 is considered the “love” verse, but very few follow up with verse 18: “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” The Greek words “perish” (v. 16) and “condemn” or “condemned” (vv. 17, 18), are related. The word “perish” is too often forgotten in today’s modern “politically correct” days. Why? Well, it points to the dreadful reality of eternal punishment/condemnation (see our many publications and DVDs on the reality of Hell!).
The word, “perish” (apollumi, Strong’s G622) means “to destroy fully, utterly, lose, to mar, to die spiritually,” i.e., be separated from God and His redeemed people forever!
The Second Warning
JESUS WARNED the backslid Jews that they would be slaughtered for their rejection of their Messiah, and for their unconfessed sins. Now Jesus speaks of the same event in Matthew 24: read the entire chapter. The “great tribulation” Jesus referred to was the 66-70 AD event. He plainly foretold of the great Temple being “thrown down” (v. 2). Too much emphasis has been placed on the “future,” but Jesus referred to the “near future” of His day, not the “far future” referring to our day (see our many publications on this subject also).
YOU SEE, Jesus knew what was in store for the Jewish world of His day, as He does for our day. Matthew 23:37 and 38 records that Jesus wanted to “gather thy children together…and ye (Jewish nation) would not!” (v. 37). Then He proceeds to say: “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (v. 38).
Jesus was sent as a missionary to Israel by His Father. The message for that mess-age was REPENT before you are DESTROYED! This is the same message we’re to preach today. It is evident that Christ seriously and earnestly wished the salvation (not the damnation) of Israel. Luke 19:41 records Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, for He knew what cruel means would come their way (read vv. 42-44, describing Rome’s WAR against them!).
God is now telling us that He is at WAR with both pagan nations, and His backslidden nation—those professing to be His [but not living in Him].
Jesus, knowing that the Jewish people (for the most part), and their leaders expected a political/military Messiah, and would ultimately reject Him as the “Lamb of God” weeps in pity, for they will soon suffer terrible judgment (Lk. 19:41). The word “wept” in Greek means more than just shedding tears: it suggests rather a lamentation, a wailing, a heaving of the chest, and the cry of the soul in agony. He wept over the LOSTNESS of the Jewish race because of their refusal to REPENT and accept SALVATION.
The Command of Christ
THE FAREWELL words of the Lord were still ringing in their ears as the disciples gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem to await the coming of the Power from on high (Acts 1:8, 12). Until the Crucifixion, they had sincerely expected the establishment of the Messianic kingdom on earth in their day. The Lord’s death and burial had temporarily put an end to that hope; but when they saw Him arisen from the dead, the kingdom hope revived in them. The Lord Jesus did not rebuke them for this hope, or give them any reason to believe that the idea of such a kingdom was erroneous or that God had abandoned His plan of establishing it; He merely told them it was not for them to know “times or seasons” (Acts 1:7). Then He gave them a promise and a command. The promise was that the Holy Spirit would come upon them in power; the command, that they should be His witnesses “unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
THE TIME OF ITS BEING GIVEN. The words spoken on Mount Olivet were the last, but by no means the first, command given to the disciples. During His earthly ministry, the Lord had directed the apostles to preach to the nation of Israel (Matthew 10), and not to anyone else. When some Greeks came desiring to see Jesus, He did not communicate with them but spoke instead of the necessity of His death (John 12:20-25). As Messiah in the flesh, He was not open to the approach of the Gentiles; to make that possible He would have to die. On the evening of the resurrection day, when Jesus came to the disciples behind closed doors, He said to them, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). Perhaps none of them knew what He meant at the time. Later, on the appointed mountain, He gave them what we have come to call the Great Commission, requiring them to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20; see also Mark 16:15 and Luke 24:47-48). And now, on Mount Olivet, He had given the final command and an outline of the program: “Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). There is no doubt about the mandatory character of these words; all the apostles could do was obey.
The Christian Church in general has regarded the Great Commission as binding. In apostolic days, when persecution scattered the Jerusalem believers, except the apostles, those who were scattered “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:1, 4). They did not suppose that this responsibility rested with the apostles alone. The same view was held by the Thessalonian Christians, from whom the Word of God sounded forth “not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place” (1st Thessalonians 1:8). The period following that of the apostles has been called the “Age of the Nameless Ones.” There were no outstanding missionary leaders, but merchants, tradesmen, craftsmen, and soldiers; all considered it their duty and privilege to “gossip the gospel” wherever they went. And ever since the Reformation brought about a return to a more Biblical Christianity, believers almost without exception have sensed their responsibility in the task of world evangelization.
The Aggressive Task!
THIS TASK—Take Jesus To ALL The World!—has taken centuries. Are we in this generation going to STOP!? “Uttermost part” is His ORDER! Dare any say NO?
IN OBEDIENCE to the Lord’s command, the apostles began their preaching in Jerusalem. When persecution scattered the believers from this central place, they went into other parts of Judea, proclaiming the gospel wherever they went. Some ventured as far as Samaria and preached Christ there (Acts 8:5). Still others went beyond Samaria to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch (of Syria), although their preaching was still limited to the Jews. But in Antioch, finally, some preached the Lord Jesus to the Greeks (Acts 11:19-20, ARV).
Thus it was that Antioch rather than Jerusalem became the center of the missionary work of the early Church, and that Paul rather than one of the Twelve became the apostle to the Gentiles. It has been estimated that by the close of the first century, the total number of Christians had risen to around half a million and that the gospel had spread from Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria, Syria, the provinces of Asia Minor (Phrygia, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, Pontus, etc.), and also to Cyprus, Macedonia, Achaia, Rome, Spain, Alexandria, North Africa, Parthia, and possibly to India.
And so, here we are in 2016.
The LORD said to Joshua (Old Testament=Jesus) near the end of his career as warrior: “There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed” (Jos. 13:1). I believe these words are pertinent for us today…but we’re going to do this amidst God’s Holy War!
Doors that once might have been open are now closed because of the hatred for the Gospel. But this must not detour us—press in!!!
The Lord Jesus Christ
UNDOUBTEDLY, the Lord Jesus was the first Christian missionary. Of course He was, first of all, the Saviour of mankind, and in that respect performed a ministry that no man can equal, for He bore our sins in His body to the Tree (1 Peter 2:24). But He was also One whom God had sent into the world with the message of redemption, for Christ said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). He extended a universal invitation to all men to come unto Him and find rest for their souls (Matthew 11:28-29). And He promised that whosoever believed in Him should have eternal life (John 3:14-16). After His resurrection He said, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).
A missionary is essentially one sent. God sent His Son into the world that through Him the world might be saved (John 3:17). A missionary is one sent by the Lord Jesus Christ to proclaim the message of salvation. The literal meaning of the word missionary is “one who has been sent.” Thus Jesus, who was sent by the Father, was the first missionary of the Christian Era.
THE WORDS “apostle” and “missionary” mean the same thing: “one who is sent.” Apostle is from the Greek; missionary, from the Latin. The Lord Jesus made provision for the extension of the work He had begun, by appointing and commissioning the apostles. His own ministry had been limited to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24), to which He also limited the apostles before His death and resurrection (Matthew 10:5-6). But after the Resurrection, He greatly enlarged their field by fixing its goals in “the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The book of the Acts of the Apostles is a condensed history of apostolic missions. Peter figured prominently among the Jews, and Barnabas and Paul went out as the first missionaries to the Gentiles. Since we have already briefly traced the work of the apostles in Chapter 1, we shall merely sum up by saying that when the Apostolic Age ended with the death of John about 100 A.D., the gospel had been brought to every part of the Roman Empire. It had been preached from Babylon to Spain, and from Alexandria to Rome, and the number of Christian believers was nearly half a million.
“BUT GENERAL, WE CAN’T GO. WE’LL BE PERSECUTED OR KILLED!”
Well, yes, that is a possibility (just ask us!). As this Holy War gains momentum so will persecutions and death. Let me point out to you that persecution drove the Christians underground and brought about the development of the catacombs. In these caverns under the city of Rome the Christians buried their dead and also held their secret meetings, since burying places were inviolable under Roman law.
Ten distinct periods of persecution are traceable [in the early chruch], corresponding to the Lord’s prophecy to the church at Smyrna that it would have “tribulation ten days” [also consider how much persecution has occured after 303 AD as well] (Revelation 2:10):
1. Under Nero (about 64 A.D.) This was the first attempt by the Roman Empire to stamp out Christianity. It began with Nero’s charge that the Christians had started the great fire of Rome, though historians “state categorically that Nero himself was the author of the conflagration.”
2. Under Domitian (81-96 A.D.) This was as cruel as that of Nero. It ended when Domitian discovered that relatives of Jesus in Palestine were poor rustics with no ambition for earthly power.
3. Under Trajan and Hadrian (108 A.D.) Trajan seems to have considered Christianity an immoral secret society and forbidden it on that account. Hadrian, his successor, continued the persecution with great severity,
4. Under Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A.D.) This persecution was not of long duration; it was not general throughout the Empire, although very severe in Lyons and Vienna; and it was not so thorough as to be a serious hindrance to the spreading of the gospel.
5. Under Septimus Severus (193-211 A.D.) The purpose of this persecution does not seem to have been the extermination of Christianity, but rather an attempt to check “proselytizing.”
6. Under Maximinus (235-238 A.D.) His bitter hatred of his predecessor, Alexander Severus, who had been favorable to Christianity, led Maximinus to persecute the Christians, many of whom held important positions in the imperial household.
7. Under Decius (249-251 A.D.) The case was similar to the previous one. Decius suspected Christians of disloyalty to him because they had been favored by his predecessor.
8. Under Valerian (253-260 A.D.) This emperor was at first friendly, but turned against the Christians because of a series of public calamities in the early part of his reign, which were blamed upon them.
9. Under Aurelian (270-275 A.D.) Aurelian is passed over by some historians, while others claim that his attempt to revive full-scale persecution was thwarted by his being assassinated. Fox lists quite a number who suffered martyrdom at this time.
10. Under Diocletian (284-303 A.D.) This ruler seems to have been friendly in the beginning, but became hostile later. He published a decree in about 287 in which he declared it wrong to “oppose or resist the gods or to change from an old religion to a new.” Eventually “the name of Christian was so obnoxious to the pagans that all indiscriminately fell sacrifices to their opinions.” The persecution became general in all the Roman provinces, but more particularly in the east, and lasted about ten years.
None of the persecutions succeeded in halting the progress of the Church. But the prosperous era which followed was a great hindrance spiritually.
And so, here we are: in “prosperity” la-la land! Hello, anybody listening??? The churches (or Ekklesias) which had absorbed MUCH WORLDLINESS and LACKED SPIRITUALITY fell when the demon of Islam came along. And wherever Muhammad (Islam’s FALSE prophet—write for our many publications/DVDs on this subject) was strong, no Christian or Jew was allowed missionary work: convert, pay tax, or DIE! Now that Islam has a new Caliph, the world now knows about Islam and the sword. As I write, thousands of Middle Eastern Christians (and others) are being SLAUGHTERED—while the american church plays church. So, dear ones, if God’s professing people will not GO, the militant Muslims will! Since the church has stopped Spiritual Warfare, the Muslims freely use the sword of steel—all to our SHAME!
“At first the false prophet contented himself with merely preaching his doctrines, but soon he engaged in making forcible conquests with the sword. His assurances that anyone who died on the field of battle was sure to be transported immediately to heaven, gave great courage to his followers. Another of his doctrines also helped to make them fearless, for he proclaimed that the time of every human being’s death is foreordained and that death will surely overtake one whether he be at home with friends or in the thick of battle.”
So, while Militant Muslims slaughter tens-of-thousands, most “Christians” are very content being passive and sinful. Are we even surprised that God has declared World War III? I’m not. Check out all our websites for updated information on God’s Holy War!).