6For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment, and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away (Isaiah 64:6).
“Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” From the beginning of time, human beings have lusted for power, which is usually, if not always, attained by conflict, especially by war. The truth is that human beings seldom, if ever, learn from the past. The world becomes more modern, but the lust for and path to power remains the same. Our history is always our future. Without intervention from time to time, humanity’s destiny is war and more wars at best or extinction at worst. From where does this intervention come? It can only come from Someone outside of the human condition whose basic character is not, in the least bit, tainted by evil. It must be a Person who is above all the turmoil and is, at His core, untainted by sin; He must be good.
Eight Obvious Interventions of God that Reflect the Goodness of God
The world does not have to be as evil or godless as it is. Disobedience to the clear will of God affects us all. The more a society submits to God personally or to His commandments, the fewer repercussions from evil. The less a society (God’s Church as well) submits to God, the more pain, suffering and unnecessary death. Don’t let sinful questions and thoughts deflect your focus from our God and perfect Savior and Lord. Though there are many divine interventions in the lives of individuals and nations throughout history, seven stand out because of their critical nature and timing—each of these seven divine interventions save humanity from complete ignorance of God and utter destruction
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LordGod had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from [aany tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
After Adam and Eve rebelled against their Creator, they gained an awareness of good and evil. This new found evil brought the depths of sin and death not just upon their own lives, but upon the lives of their progeny forever. Had not God intervened to explain Adam and Eve’s sinful state, correct (judge) them, and challenge them with regard to faithfulness, salvation would never have been possible. The Lord could have left humanity without hope which would make genuine deists[ of us all.
God’s Intervention with Noah (Genesis 6-9).
5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them. 11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence (emphasis added).
How evil can human beings become? The events of Noah and the Flood are divinely provided to instruct future generations about the depths of depravity to which each and every human being can fall. Without God’s systematic intervention and involvement in human affairs, the world suffers only destruction and death, which are the sole consequences of God’s absence. The point of the Great Flood is instructive: if God does not choose to save a few people from the catastrophic confines of the human heart (Matthew 7:13-14), humanity cannot survive. It will self-destruct; interventions are a necessity!
God’s Intervention with Abraham and the Institution of Israel as a People of God (Genesis 12)
12 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
2 And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
3 And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
After the Great Flood, God instructed Noah, his children, and their descendants “to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). However, the people decided to “put down roots” in the area of Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), in direct disobedience to God. They decided to build a great structure that would speak to their greatness (The Tower of Babel, Genesis 11:1-9), which is exactly what human beings do when they become full of themselves; they forget about the glory of their Creator to forge their own glory. They developed their own nations, traditions, power and “grandeur,” which is the lesson of history without God: Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Grecians, Romans, Ottomans, and on and on to the socialism and communism of this very day. None of these “great” human monarchs, kingdoms, dynasties, empires, philosophies, religions, or civilizations achieved anything truly lasting except decaying structures, destruction, and death. One human folly after another.
At this point, we can conclude that none of these great human constructs brought blessing “to all the families of the earth;” however, one nation was chosen by God to represent Him in the world—the Jewish nation of Israel, whose father was Abraham. Abraham was required to leave the comforts and protection of one nation to begin another; one that would, in law and behavior, reflect the will and character of God to all the other nations of the earth.
Individually, during the post-flood era, human beings decided to go their own way so, once again, God intervened. He chose one man whose descendants would forge a nation, under God and indivisible. This nation, these people would receive revelation from God (Pentateuch, Historical Writing, Poetic Writing
God’s Intervention into the World as the Son of God (John 1:5-14)
5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it, 6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him (“His own” are the Jewish people). 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Without divine intervention, the world is indeed a very dark and dangerous place. It is so dark that it is unable to see or comprehend the light; in the presence of evil, (darkness), the light of truth is a blinding brilliance that must be rejected and removed, hence these early verses in the Gospel of John are a forecast of the rejection and suffering of Christ. The light of the Messiah reveals or enlightens every person’s state of mind. Basically, the unbelieving mind cannot recognize God, whether through written revelation, divine miracles, or when they look upon Him face to face. Good is unsettling to and, therefore, unreceptive of evil. Since all human beings are sinful, not good (Romans 3:10-20), salvation, for any person, bodes poorly.
The blindness of unbelief is a terrifying condition; apart from an interventionist God, there most definitely is no hope for humankind. In our natural state (birth state), the very thought of God and His truth makes us livid, even wrathful. The gods we create are acceptable because they meet our perceived needs, not our real needs. There is not an inkling of good in us. When all is said and done, there is only death. Only a divine mode of intervention, known as salvation, can break through the impenetrable wall that separates God and humanity. And this intervention starts with the will of God (John 1:13)—perfection must come to the earth as a human being and live righteously (without sin), and then freely give his life for the unrighteousness of others. Therefore, this person must be God, Himself.
God’s Intervention through the Church of Christ (Matthew 16:15-18)
15 Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.
Firstly, take the corrupt interpretation of this verse by Roman Catholic advocates as nothing more than another attempt by human beings to assume the power that is God’s alone. God plays second fiddle to no man, not even the apostles. Remember that Peter,
“along with John, can be sent by other apostles (Acts 8:14); and Peter is held accountable for his actions by the Jerusalem church (Acts 11:1-18) and rebuked by Paul (Galatians 2:11-14). He is in short primus inter pares (first among equals); and on the foundation of such men (Ephesians 2:20), Jesus built his church. That is precisely why Jesus, …, spent so much time with them. The honor was not earned but stemmed from divine revelation (v. 17) (no one can know the true identity of Christ unless the Lord unveils Himself—[parenthesis added]) and Jesus’ building work (v.18).”[iii]
There is no place in Scripture that remotely suggests that a human being can replace Christ, be infallible, or assume His authority.
With the failure of the nation of Israel to give witness of the glory of God to the Gentiles, much less to themselves, the Lord intervenes dramatically. He Himself determines to be the next intervention. God the Son came to the world in and from the womb of His beloved child, Mary (Matthew 1:18-2:12). He put on flesh and became as one of us, but without sin (John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21). He lived the life that God desires of us, a life that is obedient, faithful, loving, just, righteous, steadfast, and always abounding in the work of the Lord (Galatians 5; Ephesians 4; Philippians 4; Colossians 1; 1 Corinthians 15:52). He was the world’s light and hope (John 1:1-11). Nonetheless, light reveals the darkness, which, then as always, works tenaciously to extinguish the light.
His claims of divinity, His aura of authority, His sinless perfection, and His example of godliness gradually made Him an offense to those in power, so much so that they wanted Him killed, as He knew they would. Little did they know that their wild hatred would trigger the greatest act of sacrificial love the world would ever witness.
The only resolution for human sinfulness is a sinless blood sacrifice (Hebrews 9:7, 18, 21; 10:29; 1 Peter 1:2). Though sinful human beings believed that His death would be the end of Him and His followers, His death served as a substitutionary punishment for all who would trust in Him in the future as well as those who were faithful to the Old Covenant that God made with Moses. Forgiveness and salvation, past and present, were available to all who accepted His divine claims and His death, burial, and resurrection as their own.
When the evil and expanding Roman Empire was yet in its infancy (less than 100 years old at the birth of Christ) and a witness in the world for God was next to extinct, God Himself came to earth in the womb of a woman to offer the greatest intervention humankind would ever experience. Though His life, burial, and resurrection, a flawless human Savior provided a pathway, though narrow (Matthew 7:13-14), on which God would build His Church, made up of adopted sons and daughters from every nation. Humankind will always try to find its own solutions, but history has proved that it is incapable of doing so. Therefore, the Lord must intervene. The intervention of His Son is the climax. Each preceding intervention brought us to the Son and each intervention that follows will remind the world of Him.
Brief Informative Pause
There are some interesting commonalities between the interventions of God through His nation and His church.
1) Both involve the entrance of a central person; Moses, who would lead the Jewish nation and Jesus, who would take the truth of God to every nation.
2) Both interventions introduce divine revelation through writings. Before this period, God spoke directly to the people He chose to represent Him. The Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers) provides the Jewish people with 613 laws around which the Jewish nation is to conduct itself. The 10 Commandments are the foundation to the other 603 laws.[iv] The New Testament (Matthew-Revelation) combines all 613 laws into two, love God and love your neighbor, and gives to the church (God’s children) the necessary guidance as to what loving God and your neighbor is or should look like. At the outset of this intervention, angels spoke directly to a few people. Jesus later spoke directly to Saul (Paul) to entice his conversion.
Note that God, throughout history, seldom talks directly to people and only when major events are going to take place, like the birth of a nation and the development of the Church of Christ. His written revelation is His primary mode of conversation; therefore, it should be viewed as God directly speaking to each of us. There is nothing more He needs to say to us that is not written in the Old and New Testaments.
3) Both interventions take around 100 years to fully establish. The foundation for the nation of Israel begins with the birth of Moses and ends with his death 120 years later on Mount Nebo. The institution of the church begins with the birth of Christ (3 AD) and ends with the completion of the book of Revelation in the reign of Domitian, sometime between 81-96 AD.
God’s Intervention through the Reformation (2 Timothy 3:10-13)
10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
Rome, as a powerful or influential power began to fall in the 5th century AD (CE) when the Visigoths destroyed the city in 410 AD. The Goths removed the last Roman emperor in 476 AD, which, according to many scholars, ended Roman rule.[v] During the 5th century, Leo the 1st (Leo the Great) became the first Roman Catholic Pope and ruled from 420-461 AD.[vi] As nations developed across Europe and to the British Isles, the papacy ruled over their kings and the people over which they reigned. By the end of the 15th century, the Scriptures were second in authority to the Pope and was studied mostly by bishops and priests to some extent. Translations into the languages of the people were seriously frowned upon, although there were some groups, like the Albigenses (Innocent III was especially brutal in carrying out persecution on these people; he considered these heretics worse than infidels who didn’t know anything about Christ), Waldenses (Pope Innocent VIII called for their extermination in1487) and Huguenots (horribly murdered throughout France),[vii] which were able to gain access to the Scriptures or have the text read to them. This resulted in a desire to remove themselves from the shackles of the Roman Catholic Church, a decision that often cost them their lives.
The so-called Church of Christ was anything but a reflection of God. It was politically corrupt and morally decadent. Rather than a message of life, the threats of excommunication (which meant that salvation was taken away from the individual) and death were held over the heads of anyone who would not submit to the authority and dictates of the Pope and his cardinals. The Roman Catholic Church had become nothing more than another dangerous human philosophy being led by deceitful and evil men and imposters who proceeded from bad to worse. Catholicism forsook the teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and perseverance of Christ (2 Timothy 3:10). Contrarily, it distorted the truth through “Christian” symbolism and it enforced its many perversions by the sword of the State. Like Israel, the Church lost touch with the Word of God and went its own way.
Into this corrupt and oppressive 16th century environment, God brought in the reformers: Erasmus, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Calvin, John Melancthon, and so many more. Their task was simple: get the Word of God and its teachings into the hands of every person by translating the Scriptures into their various languages. Their hope was the reformation of the Roman Catholic Church and a resurgence of genuine Christian doctrine which would provide people with the knowledge to once again seek salvation in Christ through faith alone rather than through subjective and unbiblical works and sacraments. The Church of Fear and Chains proclaimed nothing that resembles freedom in Christ.
This impetus for this divine intervention was to bring people out of the Dark Ages, which I believe is a correct description of the period between 500 AD and 1500 AD. It was a period of religious darkness in the world. The term does not refer to other human advancements, such as architecture. Through the reformers, God restored the light of truth and widened the gate to eternal life. Having every right to close that gate forever, in His mercy and grace, He intervened and chose to bring many more people into the Kingdom of God in Christ.
God’s Intervention through the C
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
From where does freedom come? Is freedom the default setting for societies? Can human wisdom make people free? If you answer the last two questions negatively, you are on your way to answering the first question correctly. Human beings are born sinful and, therefore, broken; they are naturally prone to pride, anger, in-fighting, loveless hatred[viii], suspicion and distrust, disputes, disagreement, divisiveness, drunkenness, greed, abuse, and lust for power, self-determination and, therefore, self-destruction. Looking out for our neighbors is unnatural and mostly, if not always, a ploy for self-satisfaction, self-importance, and fame. Basically stated, human beings do not, in and of themselves, possess the ability to create a free society. Freedom must be taught, learned, established, and then defended tenaciously; God Himself is the provider and teacher of this exceptional gift. However, it is a slippery gift in the hands of human beings, because human lust is ever working to obliterate it (Galatians 5:13). Monarchies, Oligarchies, Parliaments, Communists, Fascists, Socialists, Dictators, Legislators, Liberals, Progressives, Multiculturalists, Tenured Teachers, Republicans, Democrats, Religion, and the Independents (the catchall) cannot provide freedom to the masses, not even to a few, not even to one solitary soul. Freedom is in the sole providence of the Lord God.
So, how does this information relate to the United States? Though the Reformation spread throughout the world, biblical Christianity remained under assault. The Scriptures were printed in the languages of most people during the 16th through the 20th centuries, even though the Jesuits[ix] have, since their conception in the Reformation period, done everything in their power to prevent the spread of Scripture. As freedom and the desire for it spread around the world, persecution persisted. To the West and across the Atlantic,
The United States freed itself from the British monarchy in 1783. In 1787, the Founders came together to create a government that would be based on the God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (not happiness in and of itself). The US Constitution was developed to protect these God-given rights. It is critical to understand that these rights are God-given and to note that the Ten Commandments are their original source. Why is this so critical? While salvation in Christ give the soul life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution guaranteed a lesser degree of freedom (physical, not spiritual), though a better freedom than anywhere else in the world, to the everyday citizen of the country. God graciously provided a nation with the means to live life at its fullest, as long as the citizenry remained a good and Christian-like people.
In this context, God provided the world with a nation that would save it from Monarchy, Socialism, Communism, and Fascism (all human constructs) in the 20th century. Divine freedom gave the United States the commercial and political power to protect the world while God used it as a base to reach people of the world for Christ. The United States was and is presently a divine intervention in human history. Without the United States, World Wars I and II would have
As the United States recreates its founding to seek human solutions (which include false religious solutions) to the countless dilemmas that humanity faces, God will allow the nation to falter and fail, as
Humanity spread itself from Mesopotamia in the Middle to the East and to the West and finally came together in America. From creation, God has intervened throughout human history and around the globe. And His
God’s Intervention through the Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 21:1-5)
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” 5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
Even so, come Lord Jesus! We await the ultimate experience of freedom! Until then, people need to get involved, vote, speak out in any and every forum to which you can gain access. Talk with your neighbors. Pressure your local politicians. Live faithfully for the Lord, always growing in the knowledge of Scripture, which, in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, is the only perpetual intervention of God into the world. Stay away from moral-less Hillsong and the prosperity gospel voices of the world. They and their ilk are the false prophets of our time.
[i] A deist is someone who believes that God exists but has moved along and left us to our fates.
[ii] Interesting fact to consider. The pre-Noah generations turned against God personally or directly; after the Lord created the nation of Israel, it became the most hated nation in the world. Next to Israel is the United States, which is globally despised and gradually having its constitutional founding and Judeo-Christian mores dismantled from within.
[iii] Matthew, Mark, Luke. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, D.A. Carter. (Grand Rapids, MI, Regency Reference Library, 1984), pp. 368-9.
[iv] The rest of the Old Testament is gradually and divinely provided to help Israel get back on track. They are interventions within the larger intervention, which is the construction of a new nation.
[vii] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 5 The Middle Ages (Grand Rapids, MI, WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company). Pp. 493-514. See also Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 6, p. 442.
[viii] “Loveless hatred” is a term I use to define the hatred that God abhors, because it is selfish and destructive. I plan to write a Let’s Talk on hatred in the near future. But for now, I want to assert that hatred, biblically understood, is not selfish and loveless. The failure to understand this distinction is destroying Christianity.
[ix] The Jesuits are a Catholic organization specifically designed to thwart the Reformation.
[x] One must note that the early American Christian settlers had just received the text of Scripture in their own language in 1611, with the printing of the King James Bible. Before this period, knowledge of Scripture was limited to small groups of persecuted believers or among scholars who could read Latin and Greek.
[xi] The founders of the United States referenced the Bible in their writings more than any other text. To learn the truth about the American founding, go to www.wallbuilders.com. Read David Barton’s books, especially, “Original Intent.” The United States is a Judeo-Protestant creation—read Samuel P. Huntington’s “Who are we? The Challenges to America’s National Identity by Simon and Schuster, NY.
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