By James Jacob Prasch
Civil War2 Samuel 18:1:
"David numbered the men who were with him, and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.Â And David sent the people out, one-third under the command of Joab, one-third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab"s brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite.Â And the king said to the people, "I myself will also go out with you."Â But the people said to him, "No, you should not go out, for if we indeed flee, they will not care about us â€“ even if half of us die, they will not care about us.Â But you are worth ten thousand of us, therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city.""
This was a terrible situation: Hebrew was not fighting Philistine, Hebrew was not fighting Canaanite, Hebrew was not fighting Amalekite â€“ Hebrew was fighting Hebrew.Â There was the war between Israel and Judah, and the war in the last chapter of the book of Judges, which was a civil war, that broke out when a man"s concubine was gang-raped and her body hacked up and sent throughout the nation.Â (Judges 19) That was the worst of all the wars in Judges.Â Here we see it happening again.
In the same manner, the worst battles that we as Christians will have to fight will not be against unbelievers; rather, they will be part of civil war. The worst battles are against your own kind where believer, as it were, raises his sword against believer.Â Now, I am of course not referring to a physical sword like the Puritans used, but rather to the spiritual sword, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.Â Fighting Canaanites, Philistines, no problem; fighting Moslems, Freemasons, Roman Catholics, no problem.Â But what happens when brother fights brother â€“ or, in this case, when father fights son.
Rebellion in the CampJesus said plainly that he came to bring division, to turn parents against their children. (Luke 12:41-53) This certainly happens when someone from an unbelieving family becomes a believer. It happens to an extreme point among Jewish families, Moslem families, and sometimes Catholic and Gypsy families.Â However, it also happens in this case with people who theoretically already did believe, but went into rebellion.Â We live in an age and in a time when there is a major rebellion in the camp of the Lord and families are divided.Â For example, look at the division brought by theÂ TorontoÂ phenomenon.
The rightful leadership which God appointed was usurped by Absalom and an awful lot of people â€“ in fact, in some places most of the people â€“ followed Absalom.Â I will not go into it at great depth now, but Absalom is one of the people in Scripture who typify the Antichrist.Â In the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem is the alleged place of Absalom"s Pillar (though the archaeologists are by no means convinced that it is the actual Pillar of Absalom), and to this day you can see Orthodox Jews throwing stones at it. (2 Samuel 18:18)
A Counterfeit ChristA division has occurred in the camp.Â Verse 9:
"Now Absalom happened to meet the servants of David, for Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak."
If you can follow the typology, the fact that he is riding on a mule indicates that he is counterfeiting Christ.
"And his head caught fast in the oak, so that he was left hanging between heaven and earth,"
He was hanging on a tree; do you see here how he counterfeits Jesus?
"While the mule that was under him kept going.Â And when a certain man saw him, he told Joab, and said, "Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak."Â Then Joab said to the man who told him this, "Behold, you saw him; why then did you not strike him there to the ground?Â I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt!"Â And the man said to Joab, "Even if I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not put out my hand against the king"s son, for in our hearing the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, "Protect for me the man Absalom."Â Otherwise, if I had dealt treacherously against his life â€“ and there is nothing hidden from the king""
David here is a type of the true Christ â€“ "nothing hidden from the King".
""Then you yourself would have stood aloof."Â Then Joab said, "I will not waste time here with you."Â So he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak."
"Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" (Gal 3:13) â€“ Absalom"s death was one thing; but the manner in which he died would have carried a particular connotation for the Jews because of that quote from the Torah.Â Haman was hanged from a tree, and in the same way the Messiah was cursed for our sin and hung on a tree. So, Absalom is pierced through while he is hanging on a tree.Â Again, whom does this look like?Â He is a counterfeit of Jesus.
The Worst CrisisLet me tell you about the most difficult thing that you will ever face as a Christian if you have not faced it already.Â It is the most difficult thing that I have ever faced as a Christian.Â There is no trial, no crisis, nothing in your Christian life that will be more difficult than this: the death of an unsaved loved one.Â Nothing is more difficult to face up to than the death of an unsaved loved one.
I get anguished letters from women with unsaved husbands.Â I have never known a Christian woman with an unsaved husband who was happily married â€“ even if he"s a good guy, I have never met a single Christian woman who is not miserable over it and whom it does not torment every day.Â Any Christian who gets married to an unsaved person is simply out of his or her mind; it is begging for trouble.
My father died, as far as I know, unsaved.Â To the extent of my knowledge, my father is in Hell; no hope, no way out.Â Ultimately, only God knows what transpires in that fleeting moment between life and death; yet in the entire Bible â€“ the entire New Testament â€“ there is only one deathbed conversion, so to speak: the good thief that was crucified with Jesus.Â What could be worse than having unsaved or backslidden children?Â Nothing.
The worst situation that you or I or any Christian will ever face will be when we have unbelieving loved ones who die. They die in rebellion.
Loved Ones: Saved and UnsavedMy mother is unsaved.Â She has had two heart attacks and one stroke.Â She has cataracts and is battling cancer in both extremities and she was recently diagnosed with arthritis though she is only 62 years old.Â I am quite concerned Â because I love my mother and I desperately want her to be saved; but the fact is she is not saved.Â She has been witnessed to many times and it only ends in arguments.Â Anything that my sister or I could say to her has been said to her.Â She sees the change in my life â€“ she knows that when I got saved I stopped sleeping around and taking cocaine, but she is still not saved.Â I think about this every day and all that I can do is pray for her.Â Do you have an unsaved mother, father, husband, wife, or child?Â What is it that you think about every day and what is your worst fear?Â We must be honest.
You may go to churches where they sing the hymns and bring in the guest speakers who hype people up, claiming victory and all that â€“ that"s rubbish.Â This is reality.Â All the hype and froth is not going to see you through this kind of a crisis when you are confronted with it.
It is a wonderful thing when you have a physical relative who is also a believer in Jesus â€“ thank God for my wife, for my son, for my daughter, for my sister.Â I thank God for these people who are physically related to me, who will also be with me forever in eternity.Â It"s wonderful, but then there are the others: the ones whom I love no less, and whom Jesus loves no less.Â My wife"s parents are Holocaust survivors and ex-Refuseniks.Â My children witness to their grandparents; they went through so much with so-called Christians telling the Gestapo where they were hiding and having a grandfather machine-gunned in the street â€“ terrible,Â terribleÂ things.Â What could be worse?Â Only one thing: if they did not get saved at the end of it all.Â There is nothing worse than that.
Let"s face the facts for what they are: we all have unsaved loved ones.Â People we love and care about deeply â€“ may God in His mercy save every one of them, but the fact is that the likelihood is that some of them will not be saved.Â Â GodÂ is willing; I only wish thatÂ theyÂ were.Â Moreover, it is nothing but God's grace that makes me any different.
The Two MessengersLet us continue in verse 15:
"And ten young men who carried Joab"s armor gathered around and struck Absalom, and killed him."
It is interesting that the basic contingent of Roman legionnaires was ten men.Â I think it probable that it was one of these basic contingents of ten who escorted Jesus to the Cross and there crucified Him.
"Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the people."
The entire north of Israel went out against David with Absalom.
"And they took Absalom and cast him into a deep pit in the forest; and erected over him a very great heap of stones, and all Israel fled, each to his tent."
Their hero came to nothing; a horrible story.
"Now Absalom had in his lifetime taken and set up for himself a pillar, which is in the Kings" Valley, for he said, "I have no son to preserve my name."Â So he named the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom"s Monument to this day.Â Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, "Please let me run and bring the king news, that the Lord has freed him from the hand of his enemies!"Â But Joab said, "You are not the man to carry news this day, but you shall carry news another day.Â However, you shall carry no news today, because the king"s son is dead."Â Then Joab said to the Cushite,"
â€“ a "Cushite" in Hebrew is a person of black skin, basically an Ethiopian â€“
""Go, tell the king what you have seen." So the Cushite bowed to Joab and ran."
The first non-Jew, it is worth noting, was a Cushite â€“ an Ethiopian.Â The first person to embrace the Christian faith was a black man.
"Now Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said once more to Joab, "But whatever happens, please, let me also run after the Cushite!"Â And Joab said, "Why would you run, my son, since you will have no reward for going?"Â "But whatever happens," he said, "I will run!"Â So he said to him, "Run."Â Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and passed up the Cushite."
Boy, he must have had one good pair of trainers to outrun a soul brother!Â They win all the medals at the Olympics.
"Now David was sitting between the two gates, and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate of the wall, and raised his eyes and looked, and behold, a man running by himself.Â And the watchman called and told the king, and the king said, "If he is by himself, there is good news in his mouth!"Â And he came nearer and nearer."
The term in Hebrew for "good news" is "bissorah"; its Greek equivalent is "evangelion". What does it mean?Â It means "gospel".Â "How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who bringsÂ bissorahÂ â€“ the gospel of peace." (Is 52:7)
"Then the watchman saw another man running, and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, "Behold, another man running by himself!" And the king said, "This man also is bringing bissorah â€“ good news." And the watchman said, "I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok."Â And the king said, "This is a good man, and he comes with good news."Â And Ahimaaz called and said to the king, "All is well!" and he prostrated himself before the king, with his face to the ground, and he said, "Blessed is theÂ LordÂ your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted up their hands against my lord the King!"Â And the king said, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" And Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent the king"s servant and your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was."Â Then the king said, "Turn aside and stand here," so he turned aside and stood still."
Ahimaaz knew very well what had happened, but he only wanted to give the good news.Â He did not want to bring the bad news, only the good.Â However: if you do not know the bad news, you won"t know how good the good news is.Â We have a tape on the Law; on it we explain that unless you know you are condemned, you cannot understand what good news the Gospel really is.Â What makes the good news so good?Â The bad news.
Grace: Cheap or Priceless?"You know, there"s a cure for your ailment!"
"Oh, I didn't know I was sick."
"Well, here"s the x-ray of your chest; there"s the bad news that makes the good news so good."
We live in an age when what is being preached most of the time is cheap grace.Â The Bible says, "Buy without price," because it is free to us.Â However, that does not mean it is free altogether: it cost God everything when He gave His only Son.Â There is no price, but it will cost us our lives in this world, and it cost God His Son"s life.
"Just put your hand up and accept Jesus . . ."Â "God loves you . . ."Â "The Lord is here tonight to bless you . . ."Â "The four spiritual laws . . ."Â "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life . . ."Â Did Peter ever preach this way?Â It"s no wonderÂ Bill BrightÂ has signed up with the Roman Church, takingÂ Campus CrusadeÂ down the tubes.Â "God loves you and wants to bless you; put your hand up and accept Jesus into your heart". Is that not what we have normally heard over the past twenty, thirty years?Â Look at the book of Acts â€“ did Peter preach that way?Â No â€“ it was "Save yourself from this accursed generation!"Â ReadÂ Charles Spurgeon,Â John Wesley,Â D.L. Moody,Â George WhitefieldÂ â€“ the people whom God used to bring revival to Britain.Â Did they preach that way?Â No!Â Today, however, it"s all about positive thinking and pop psychology.Â We want a positive image, so we have everything from smoke machines to strobe lights to rock bands in order to look just like the world.Â This is cheap grace.
Love and JusticeLook at the Charismatic "renewal" â€“ what was it?Â "Oh, the love of Jesus, the love of God, the love of Christ". Unless you understand the justice of Jesus you cannot understand just how much love it actually took for Him to go to that Cross for us.Â God became a man to take the rap for what I did - ?!!?Â Wow.Â But today we have churches that want a positive thrust that reject justice and God's wrath as being too negative.
Any number of people will run with the good news â€“ "God loves you!"Â "There"s victory, there"s blessing, there"s salvation!" â€“ no problem.Â But my son, my mother, my father are dead without Christ?Â I don"t want to tell people that.Â This is what you get very often in Jewish evangelism.Â Often a Jewish person will say something like this: "My grandfather was a holy Jewish man, a rabbi â€“ and when you Christians arrested him and put him into an oven in the name of Jesus Christ, do you know what he was saying in Auschwitz as he died in the name of Christianity?Â "Sh"ma Yisra"el Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad" â€“ those were his last words and you want to tell me that because he would not accept this Christ in whose name he was murdered he is now in Hell?"Â It sounds difficult, does it not?
Yes, we must tell them that about their Jewish grandfather, but we must also say it about our Polish, Italian, or Irish grandfathers, or anyone who died rejecting Jesus Christ.Â A good response to this protest from a Jew is this: "There is only one God â€“ the God of the Jews; there is only one salvation â€“ the Messiah of the Jews.Â Gentiles must accept your God and your Messiah; if you reject your own God and your own Messiah, you must face the consequences just as they must."
The First Messenger: No RewardBut we only want to give people the good news; no one wants to bear ill news.Â But what happens to those who only want to give the good news?Â What does it say? Verse 22:
""You will have no reward"".
In other words, why bother?Â The wise man delivers souls. (Prov 11:30) Those who turn many to righteousness, Scripture tells us, will flicker in eternity with glory. (Dan 12:3) This does not include cheap grace, however.Â If you are preaching cheap grace, you are preachingÂ noÂ grace.Â They will have no reward no matter how many altar calls or celebration praise meetings they have.Â Those who preach such a message will have no reward.Â Thank God by His grace He saved me.Â Why, I have no idea, and I do not expect I will ever know, at least on this side of eternity.Â I had friends who were less crazy than I was who are dead without Christ.Â Why me instead of them?Â I don"t know.Â I do know that it has nothing to do with me; whatever the answer is, it will not be found in me.Â But the good news is that I am saved.Â The bad news is that so many people whom I love and care about are not.
The Second MessengerAlong comes the black man â€“ he"s a lot more honest, straightforward, and down-to-earth.Â He does not play games or mince words or try to finagle his way out of giving the bad news along with the good.Â Verse 31:
"Behold, the Cushite arrived, and the Cushite said, "Let my lord the king receive good news, for the Lord has freed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you."Â And the king said to the Cushite, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?"Â And the Cushite answered, "Let the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be as that young man."Â And the king was deeply moved, and he went up to the chamber over the gate and he wept.Â And thus he said as he walked: "Oh, my son Absalom!Â My son, my son Absalom!""
In the Hebrew text David"s words are much more emotive: "Oi, Avshalom, beni beni Avshalom, beni!"Â ""Would that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!""
King David/King Jesus"I wish it was me hanging on that tree, who was pierced through, instead of you, my son."Â We must understand once more the typology here: King David could onlyÂ wishÂ that he could have hung on the cross and been pierced through in place of someone he loved; but praise God, Jesus the Son of David could actuallyÂ doÂ that.Â What King David could not do, King Jesus did.Â When King Jesus hung on that tree and was pierced through, He was pierced through for me and He was pierced through for you, if you are saved.Â If you are not saved, you need to get saved.
This illustrates the difference between the two covenants of Law and Grace.Â The Law could point us to our need for salvation, but it could not step in and save us; only the Messiah could save us.Â What the Law could not do, the Messiah did.Â What the first Davidic king could not do â€“ die in the place of those he loved â€“ the second Davidic king, Jesus, actually did.
In Deep Mourning"Then it was told to Joab, "Behold, the king is weeping, and he mourns for Absalom.""
David mourned as so many of us have mourned: My son died in sin, he is dead in rebellion, unsaved.Â "Yeah, but he broke your heart,: the reply comes.Â "He went astray; you brought him up in the truth, and he knew God's ways from the earliest days of his youth and he rebelled against God as well as against you, and he became a reprobate!" Yes, but he is still my son.Â "But he tried to kill you!"Â He is still my little boy; that"s my little boy in that tree.Â David did not love him any less.
This is no day of victory; it is one of mourning.Â Oh, I will give you the good news, but I will also give you the bad news.
"So the people went by stealth into the city that day, as people who are humiliated steal away when they flee in battle."
In other words, they had won, but they behaved as if they had lost.Â Oh, thank God I have been saved and thank God for the victory in Jesus that He gives us!Â That"s the good news.Â I praise God and thank Him for my salvation every day, but I also mourn the death of those whom I love who did not gain the victory, who did not gain salvation.
"And the king covered his face, and he cried out with a loud voice, "O Absalom, my son!Â My son, my son Absalom!
Oi, Avshalom, beni!Â Beni, beni, Avshalom, beni!
Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, "Today you have covered with disgrace the faces of all your servants, who today have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your concubines, by loving those who hate you and by hating those who love you.Â For you have shown today that princes and servants are nothing to you, for I know this day that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today you would be well pleased.""
There is a truth in that: at least when saved people die they do not go to Hell.Â I would always rather see saved people die than unsaved people die.Â That is the sentiment: it is right, yet wrong, wrong, yet right.Â It"s ambiguous, is it not?Â There is a tension.
But Joab continues:
""Now, therefore, arise; go out and speak kindly to your servants, for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go out, surely not a man will pass the night with you, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now."Â So the king arose and sat down in the gate, and when they told all the people, saying, "Behold, the king is sitting in the gate," all the people came before the king."
Once again, it is a wonderful thing when your loved ones and mine are saved.Â However, the fact is that there are people I have never known who will read this, some of you whose faces I have never seen who, if you are born again and you love Jesus, I am closer to in the eternal sense than I am to my own mother.Â Although I am closer to her in the physical and emotional sense, I am closer to you in the ultimate sense.Â The good news, and the bad news.
Biblical HatredThe Gospel uses the Greek word "miso", and I suppose that Jesus might have used the Hebrew-Aramaic word "sina":Â If you don"t hate your parents, and even your own life in this world, you are not worthy of the Lord. (Luke 14:26) The word in Greek here is what our word "misogyny" is derived from; it is a strong word meaning "hate".Â This does not simply mean that you are using the term "hate" as relative to your love for God because your love for God is so great as to make your love for all else seem like hate.Â That is some of the explanation, yet not all of it.Â The word is indeed "hate".Â The key here is "life in this world".Â I love my mother; but because I love her, I hate her life in this world.Â My wife"s parents are nice Jewish people whom I love; but I hate their lives in this world.Â I even hate my own natural life in this world.Â You cannot love people who have cancer if you do not hate cancer.Â In the same way, you cannot love people who are on their way to Hell because of sin if you do not hate the sin.
There is nothing but the grace of God that gives us a position any different or any better.Â There is only one verse in the Bible that I disagree with, and that is where Paul claims to be the chief of sinners; he"s muscling in on my racket there.
Good News and Bad NewsLet us continue: the good news and the bad news.Â Romans 1:16:Â
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of salvation to everyone who believes â€“ to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Is that not good news?Â The gospel is the power of salvation to everyone â€“ Jews and non-Jews alike.Â Since my family is a mixture, I get it both ways.Â That is the good news; now let"s look at the bad news: Romans 2:9Â
"There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Since the Gospel is available to the Jew first because of covenant, the consequences of rejecting it are upon them first also.Â Deuteronomy 18 states that God would raise up a prophet like Moses and put His words in His mouth, and whoever did not listen, God would require it of him.Â In John 5 Jesus said that if the Jews had believed Moses, they would believe Him also.Â As I have said many times: the issue is not that Jews reject Jesus; that is not their problem.Â It is the result and the consequence of their problem.Â Their problem is that they reject Moses and the Torah.
Yet the fact remains that there is bad news as well as good.Â God loves Israel, Jesus loves Israel â€“ that is true.Â But they are under the curse of the Law â€“ Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28.Â Why the Holocaust?Â Why the Inquisition?Â Why the Pogroms?Â Because of the Curse of the Law â€“ either Yeshua takes the curse and becomes the curse on the tree or they are still under it.
My wife will tell you that it was a tragedy when the pogromists pulled the trigger and killed her grandfather in Romania, but she will tell you that it was an even bigger tragedy that he did not know Yeshua as his Messiah when they did it.Â The good news?Â Yes, salvation is for the Jew first, and God loves Israel.Â The bad news?Â The consequences for rejecting Him are also on the Jew first, says Rabbi Shaul of Tarsus under inspiration of God in His Word.
Christian Anti-Semitism in Its Worst FormIt is something like this:Â There is salvation in no other name under heaven save Jesus. (Acts 4:12)Â I have stood and stood and stood against anti-Semitism perpetrated in the name of Christianity.Â I did a video in Northern Ireland against British Israelism.Â I knew what that was and how ludicrous it was, but I had no idea how anti-Semitic in character it is.Â When Elim began teaching that Jesus Christ had no Jewish blood I hit the roof and have been banned from Elim ever since.Â I am someone who has stood time and time again at the expense of my own ministry and livelihood against anti-Semitism in the church.Â But the worst form of anti-Semitism is to tell a Jew the good news without the bad.
Jewish rejection of Jesus precedes Christian anti-Semitism.Â In the book of Acts, the Jewish establishment was persecuting Messianic Jews before any Christian ever persecuted a Jew.Â Jews were persecuting Jewish believers before there was any Christian anti-Semitism.Â In the 2nd Century, during the time of Justin Martyr, the rabbis were even going so far as to incite the Roman authorities against Gentile believers in Jesus.
I received a tape from Israel along with a number of phone calls and letters which were unbelievable.Â I and all those who heard it with me were shocked â€“ this tape says that Jews who died in the Holocaust do not go to Hell even though they rejected Jesus.Â Rather, because God loves them and they were persecuted, they went to Heaven without Jesus.Â The Bible says, however, that there is salvation in no other name. 9Acts 4:12) I don"t like to think of Jews being in Hell â€“ I don"t like to think ofÂ anybodyÂ being in Hell.Â But the fact remains.
This tape goes on to say that the Bible does not mean now what it meant when it was originally written.Â So although Paul says that their blood will be required of your hands if you do not preach the Gospel to the Jews, because of anti-Semitism that is no longer true.Â It was true only for the 1st Century.Â Because of the anti-Semitism that has occurred since then, this tape claims, we no longer have the right to preach the Gospel to the Jews.
Witness vs. VisionThis tape then goes on to say that although many Jews are being saved, they are not being saved through the witness of Christians â€“ we should not be preaching or witnessing to them.Â I am expected to believe thatÂ Jews for JesusÂ andÂ Helen ShapiroÂ andÂ CWIÂ andÂ OMÂ are all wrong.Â This tape claims that the vast numbers of Jews that have been saved were saved because Jesus appeared to them personally or because they had a vision.Â I have been an evangelist to the Jews for over twenty years.Â By the grace of God, I have led dozens of Jews to Christ in many countries.Â I have heard or read the testimonies of hundreds of Jewish believers.Â I know exactly one â€“ a guy in New York whose name is Jay Edelstein â€“ who was saved because of a personal appearance of Jesus.
So the odd one did have a vision, but this vision was in collaboration or in connection with people bearing witness of the truth to him.Â Most Jews were saved in the way that Helen Shapiro orÂ Stan TelchinÂ were saved.Â Moriel sells four books of testimonies of Jewish believers in Jesus. According to what is on this tape, most of those people had to have been saved because they had a vision of Jesus.Â But not one of those testimonies actually claimed a personal apparition of Jesus to the people involved.
Feminist theologians and women pastors are among those who want to say that the Bible does not mean now what it meant then, along with homosexuals who are trying to justify the gay clergy. Liberals and heretics are the ones claiming that the Bible no longer means what it did when it was written.Â The idea that we should not witness to Jews, but rather just pray to the Lord to save them by granting them a vision, is a lie.
The good news and the bad news. The bad news is that anybody who does not accept Jesus is damned to eternal judgment; the good news is, many people â€“ including many Jews â€“ are hearing the good news with the bad news, repenting, and accepting Jesus as their Messiah.Â I will tell youÂ allÂ the news â€“ the good and the bad.
The king"s son is dead; my wife"s grandfather was shot dead by the Nazis; her family perished in the Holocaust.Â Yet I can show you Holocaust survivors who accept Jesus and who have been saved â€“ why?Â Not because true Christians were afraid or ashamed to witness to them because of what false Christians did in the name of Christ, but because true Christians loved them enough to tell them that those persecutors were not Christians.
The Danger of Seeking SolitudeLet us continue: ""Something worse will befall you,"" the king is told.Â "If you stay up here and mourn continually by yourself, something worse will befall you."Â There is one thing that is worse than the death of an unsaved loved one â€“ only one thing.Â What is it?Â It is getting into a closet to suffer by yourself.Â What does the Lord say in this situation?Â Let"s look at Matthew 12: 46-48Â
"While He was still speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and His brothers were standing outside seeking to speak to Him.Â And someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You."Â But He answered the one who was telling Him this, and said, "Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?"Â And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Behold My mother, behold My brothers.Â Whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven, he is My brother, and sister, and mother.""
I hope that my mother comes to the Lord. I hope my brother gets saved and I hope that my wife"s parents accept Jesus.Â I hope your parents and unsaved husband and loved ones get saved.Â But if they don"t, you and I will find ourselves in the situation in which David was.Â Jesus spoke directly of many falling away and betraying one another, did He not? (Math 24:10) He said that in the Last Days that would happen within families.Â I can promise you this: It will hurt now, and that pain is something that you and I must live with.Â But there will be a time when it will not hurt anymore; as impossible as it is for us to fathom" the Lord can take that pain and loss away.Â God can do anything.
"He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes.Â There will no longer be any death, there will no longer be any mourning or crying or pain.Â The first things have passed away."
If you have recently lost a loved one who was unsaved, you have my condolences; a time will come when it will no longer hurt.
ConclusionIn the meantime, there is good news and there is bad news.Â We know the bad news, but this is the good news. There is something I must face as I think of my sick mother.Â There is something you have to face as you think of your unsaved aging parents, or your unsaved husband, or your unsaved wife: what is the way to cope with this?Â What did Jesus say?Â All I can say is what He said: You are my mother, you are my sister, my brother; he or she who does the will of my Father. (Math 12:48-50) You are not alone in what you are going through.
Let us take a few minutes to pray for the salvation of our unsaved loved ones â€“ there is nothing more important.Â
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