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"Blessed Is He Who Is Not Offended Because Of Me"

Solomon wrote:

A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city (Prov 18:19).

Jesus offended many people when He walked earth. Not deliberately, of course, but it happened. He brought new truth, so it was unavoidable.

Today the work of Elijah advances, preparing the way for His Second Coming. Truth is being restored, and again people get offended!

The religious establishment found fault with Jesus. They were offended by his theology. They said:

“This Man blasphemes!” (Matt 9:3.)

They couldn’t understand why He did things differently, why He would eat with tax collectors (most despised and traitorous to Jews) and sinners (9:11).

Even the disciples of John were having a hard time accepting Him! (9:14.)

They could see the awesome power that flowed at His command (9:8), but it didn’t seem to make much difference. Signs are soon forgotten. What sticks in the throat are the things you don’t like.

...the things YOU don’t like. That’s the problem.

What you are used to, what you take for granted as truth, or the way things are always done, if those ‘sacred cows’ are challenged, that’s what’s upsetting. But there can be no blessing without challenging the strongholds of error. That’s why Jesus declared:

Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me (Matt 11:6).

What Is Wrong With Many Nice Christians

For some while I wondered about why it is that people get offended. I mean, nice people, really lovely Christians, who are devout, sincere, giving, dedicated to what they understand of God’s ways. They love Jesus, and they sincerely desire to do His will. But we come along, present new truth (new to them), and 90% of them get offended, and turn away from us.

Although I had written about this prophetically back in 1994 (Will You Step Back? in Awake! Awake! Vol 2 No 6, March 1994), I still found it difficult to grasp.

A dream to Helena on 14th March 2006 explains more about this anomaly:

I was on a journey in the future, meeting with several groups of people. I went to see a church. On the wall of this church there was a Thyme shrub. It was growing laterally, spreading sideways to another wall. It needed pruning, so I suggested that to them, but someone said that would require permission.

Comment: This illustrates how much people follow tradition and men, rather than God and His Word. Having to get permission showed their subservience to human hierarchy in their church, which is unbiblical (Matt 20:25-26; 23:8).

What the dream emphasises in symbol is their need for pruning – having the old dead wood cut away and the old teachings lopped off.

The lateral growth of the people, represented by the nicely scented Thyme plant, is growth that is not so much towards God as towards men. Christians usually become nicer people for accepting Jesus into their lives, but what needs to be foremost in their lives is not how they seem to behave to others, but how their heart changes towards God.

This Thyme plant was not planted in the soil. It was planted in the wall of the church. Their faith and grounding was not so much in God, in Jesus, and in His Word, as in the human structure that had been built by men in the name of Jesus.

For those who are shallow believers, they won’t see how devastating is this transfer of loyalties! When rough times come, their church or their leaders will not be able to help them. Only God can do that. They need to be firmly planted in His Word, in Him, otherwise they will get offended in the hard times coming.

When Church Leaders Get Offended

Church leaders are used to having pre-eminence. Most take it for granted because they have believed the lie that they are in Jesus’ place in the Church, there to feed the flock, and to lead the flock. What they don’t realise is that they are there to do the former but not the latter. Jesus is meant to lead, not them. They are vying with His Spirit for prime position.

So, when a prophet comes along and presents new truth, the invisible cords of their control are threatened. Many get offended.

The classic scenario for us is this. We come into their ‘domain’, and pronounce (through writing usually) that some aspects of their theology need a second look. For example, the Bible doesn’t support holding Sunday services as a replacement for what God instituted long ago at Creation in Sabbath worship (Gen 2:2,3), and which He reminded Israel about at Sinai (Ex 20:8-11). When you present this truth to leaders who have been used to keeping Sunday for as long as they can remember, you are either met with a wall of silence or a wall of hostility.

They get offended that we would dare to challenge their ‘credentials’ as Bible teachers. But we are not challenging that. We are challenging their error. All they have to do is prove the truth we present like the Bereans did, searching the scriptures to see whether these things be so (Acts 17:11), and then teach it to their congregations. We’re not asking for them to step aside and let us take over. We’re asking them to let the Holy Spirit take over.

But people get offended at that, just like they got offended at Jesus.

They resented His pre-eminence. Pride was at the root of their reaction. They didn’t see it until He came along and did what He did. The same is true today. He comes along, reveals something ‘new’, and the challenge exposes hidden strongholds within them.

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit (Jn 15:2).

So, don’t get offended. Just humble yourself before Him. Accept the new things He brings. Accept the vehicles He uses, as unpretentious as they are. Accept them as prophets who speak for Him. Then you will have the benefit of the prophet’s reward. You will enjoy a greater infilling of the Spirit as a result.

God revealed in these words why offence occurs so often at the appearing of a prophet:

The reason most people get upset at you and what you bring, is because they are not at the same level of spiritual development.

When The Spirit Comes

We were meeting together in our fellowship one Sabbath recently. As usual, two or three people prayed in tongues, and someone else gave an ‘interpretation’ (not a word-for-word ‘translation’, but the gist of what the tongues prayers were expressing in the spirit). God edifies His people through His gifts, and the gifts are for the communal good, not for selfish gain.

After the tongues there was a prophetic word, and God poured out more of His Spirit on those gathered. But I noticed that not all benefited to the same degree. Only the receptive had the benefit. And the prophetic statement above in italics reveals why that was.

For the Spirit to come, the heart has to be prepared. Israel had to prepare for three days before God appeared in fire on Mount Sinai (Ex 19:10-11). The preparation involved washing their clothes.

Believers today must be prepared to wash their clothes, too – their spiritual clothes! In fact, they have got to do even more! They must be prepared to throw out the old dirty coat of Sunday-keeping, and get back to the tenets of the faith once delivered, keeping the festivals which God gave Israel, including the Sabbath.

They must also be willing to give up subservience to ‘ecclesiastics’ (church leaders in positions of authority over them) and follow unequivocally the full lead of the Spirit.

They need to come out from churches that do not relinquish this illicit domination. They need to shun repression and welcome restoration.

Where the Spirit is not openly welcomed in meetings, they need to accept a further baptism and start to move in the gifts of the Spirit, hear God’s voice and reach out to others as the Spirit gives them that boldness.

Otherwise, the Spirit just will not come.

So, don’t have a paroxysm of rage against me. Blessed is he who is not offended by any of the above requirements. They are truths being restored in this last revival of this age. This is the last outpouring of the Spirit before the Great Tribulation descends upon the world. It is to prepare God’s people for the evils of the time before us. It will be upon us soon!

New Truth And Old Wineskins

Mila Thompson recently wrote:

In the past I often wondered what the true meaning of Matthew 9:16-17 was. Several times I had a feeling I was close to understanding, yet it was evading me. But last Friday, at the start of the Sabbath, as I pondered it again, the light came to me.

I’m sure you know all this, but it was such a revelation to me that I would like to share it with you.

It suddenly became clear to me that Jesus was comparing the Old Covenant He had made with His people with an old torn garment. That covenant was broken by Israel through their unfaithfulness to God. Hence the symbolism of being torn (something worn out and useless). [Doesn’t this also portray how people get offended at presentation of new truth, when they don’t have the Spirit as they should?! They are ‘torn’ emotionally.]

There is no sense in taking good new cloth and cutting it up to mend the old torn garment. It makes more sense to throw the old garment away and use the good new cloth to make a new garment (symbol of the New Covenant).

The patch here represents the customs, rituals and rules which were part of the old covenant, broken by the people. By themselves, such observances have no meaning or importance. Jesus said this to John’s disciples when they came to question Him about fasting (Matt 9:14).

The second comparison He used makes this meaning even clearer: the wine is a metaphor for the Spirit. A new spiritual covenant could not use the old physical form of worship, which became corrupted into empty ritualism (old wineskin). It required a new, spiritual form (new wineskin). “God is Spirit, and His worshippers must worship Him in Spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24).

It is interesting that even after John’s personal testimony about Jesus being the One who would baptise with the fire and the Holy Spirit, while Jesus was going around teaching ‘with authority’, performing great miracles, some men still continued to follow John – a mere man. They were ‘faithful to him’. Yet John’s very purpose was to point them to Jesus! They were also trying to be ‘righteous enough’ to earn their salvation through fasting and rituals. They were indignant and critical of Jesus’ disciples.

They did not come to learn from Jesus. They came with accusations, just like the Pharisees and teachers of the law!

I see here a parallel of the Church today. Many believers follow men, although Jesus has been revealed to them in a new light, with all His might and power and love!

Malcolm B Heap, April 2006

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