The Source of Truth

Arno Froese

And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him” (Mark 12:17).

In a most simple way, Jesus teaches us to understand the difference between God and the world. In this case, paying taxes to Caesar on the one hand, and being the chosen people of God on the other. To whom should they listen and obey? Answer: both.

Israel was subject to Roman occupation. We often hear and read about the alleged hatred between the Romans and the Jews, yet there are exceptions. 

The Centurion
For example, when Jesus came to Capernaum, there was a Roman centurion who implored Jesus to come and heal his servant. Luke 7:4-5 states: “And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.” This clearly exemplifies the friendship between the occupiers and the occupied. This centurion “loved our nation.”

The Clean and the Unclean
It was the apostle Peter who opened the door of the Gospel to the Jews, the Samaritans, and the Gentiles. We have the report in Acts 10. Peter was taught not to distinguish between the Jews and the Gentiles. While praying, he was in a trance and saw a great sheet of cloth containing all kinds of unclean animals, and the order was: “kill and eat.” Peter was shocked: “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean” (v. 14b). “What God has cleansed, that call not thou common” (v. 15b).

He then receives visitors, who invite him to come to the house of Cornelius the centurion. 

This is the testimony: “And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee” (v. 22). Here we have another respected and apparently beloved occupier. He had a “good report among all the nations of the Jews.” 

“Shall Never Die”
These two examples teach us to distinguish between political and spiritual realities. When reading the Bible, we often notice that our physical life here on earth is almost ignored. In John 11 we read of Mary and Martha, whose brother Lazarus had died. After he was dead for four days, Jesus arrives. To Martha’s statement, “if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died,” Jesus answers: “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (vv. 21b, 26). Jesus totally dismisses the physical life here on earth by the unilateral statement, “whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” 

Our Days Are Numbered
That’s the urgent lesson we need to grasp with our spirit, especially those of us who are up in years. We, each one of us, will experience death—that is, if the Rapture does not occur first. The Bible insists, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Psalm 90:10 proclaims: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” The following admonition is added in verse 12: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

What do we need to learn? Simply, to get our information about spiritual matters from the proper source—the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. 

It is an error, even dangerous, to get information from any other source. Once I heard it said: “Don’t go to the butcher to buy bread.” In other words, don’t go anywhere for information regarding eternal life except the Word of God; it’s the ultimate authority.

Information Explosion
We live in an age marked by the explosion of information. We are being flooded with all kinds of news reports, not just from our town, state, or nation, but about the entire world on a daily basis. That often leads in the wrong direction: focusing on the things that are happening on planet earth, more than realizing our spiritual reality. 

The Grey Line
Let us go back to the beginning of this message, trying to understand the distinct difference between our life here on earth in the flesh, and our spiritual life. 

Paul says: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). 

Paul emphasizes that his spiritual life is what counts: “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” These are the words of a servant of the Lord, who did not look forward to a life on earth, but rather the real thing: life with Christ in eternity. Not surprisingly, he states in 2 Corinthians 5:8: “… willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

Permanent Destination
Abraham is called the father of all believers. He received the promise about his descendants and the Promised Land. But Hebrews 11:10 testifies: “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” That seems strange; after all, Abraham left his country of origin. After many difficulties and dangers of weeks, months, or more, he arrived in the Promised Land. He should have been happy and content, but not so. Because he was the father of God’s people through Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve tribes of Israel, he looked to his permanent destination.

How did these men of God choose the right thing and not follow the wrong path? Where did they receive their information? They believed in the God whom they had not seen. Their information was based on the Word of God; they refused to listen to information which would have led them from the path of following the Lord. Thus, the question: who are we to follow? Where do we get our information about our world, and most importantly, our future?

Right Source of Information
The source of the information we seek is of utmost importance. For spiritual things, you consult the Bible; for physical things, you consult medical science. For your vehicle, you go to a mechanic. Want to buy groceries? Go to a grocery store, not a junkyard. The lesson I am attempting to convey is, choose the source of your information carefully.

Church and State
It is the Apostle Paul who makes the profound statement in Romans 13:1: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” The statement, “the powers that be are ordained of God,” has resulted in diverse interpretations by various teachers, preachers, and theologians. 

In simple terms, any and all governments—now and in the past—were and are subject to the ordination of God. 

This is directed to Christians and is not a political statement. Every government on planet earth—whether it’s communist, socialist, capitalist, monarchy, dictatorship, etc.—is based on laws and regulations. Their duty is the benefit of their citizens. 

Jews, when they were dispersed into all the nations of the world, obeyed: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.” That is also true of the Church of Jesus Christ. Christians—born-again of the Spirit—are to be found in all 200+ nations on planet earth. We speak different languages, practice different cultures, and are subject to different laws and regulations, but we the Church constitute the most perfect unity on the planet. We are the result of Jesus’ words, “I will build my church.”

Two Distinct Identities
“Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour” (Romans 13:7). These fundamental truths need to be taught continually, whenever and wherever the Word of God is preached. 

We operate as distinct, individual identities: we are in the world, but we are not of the world. We walk among the people of this world, go to work, buy groceries, and pay taxes just like anyone else. But our destiny is totally different; it is heaven, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Service and Duty
We are duty-bound to do what the government tells us, but we serve our Lord Jesus Christ. Duty is what we must do; service is what we may do—it’s voluntary. Jesus said, “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13). 

The word “service” is very important. In our days, it is greatly misused. For example, one reads advertising on vehicles or in the local media here in South Carolina: “Serving Columbia for over 40 years.” That’s not service, but is strictly business. Profit is the motivating factor of business.

In Matthew 4:10, we read the word “serve” for the first time: “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Notice the connection to worship. These are voluntary actions. That, and only that, is true service.

Of course, we may call those who work for the government and wear a uniform “servants.” But upon taking a closer look, they do not qualify for that definition, because they have signed a contract for their work for a specific duration of time and are compensated for it. 

We, however, worship the Lord and serve Him; there is no immediate compensation. We do it out of love, for we know our ultimate destiny. Thus, we serve Him voluntarily.

The Y2K Example
Going back to the year 1999, we were overwhelmed with a flood of reports about the impending worldwide catastrophe resulting from the Y2K bug.

My son Joel, who is responsible for the computers at the ministry, used to receive many publications from the computer industry. We took a half dozen magazines and looked through every page, marking those that mentioned Y2K. After going through thousands of pages, we found about five references. 

We were stunned! Did Christians suddenly become computer scientists? 

An article in the Baltimore Sun by John Rivera, dated 17 February 1999, was headlined: “Apocalypse now? Y2K spurs fears; Alarm: Some evangelical Christians are predicting doom and gloom for year’s end.”

[Some] evangelical Christians believe that Jan. 1, 2000, will unleash an unprecedented crisis that will result in God’s judgment on a sinful world. Some of the most extreme believe it could usher in the Apocalypse, the biblical prophecy of the end of time and the second coming of Christ.

In the same article, the manager of a Baptist bookstore in Baltimore, Johnny Smith, stated:

The Y2K issue has sparked a publishing flurry, with books coming out every week with titles such as, “The Millennium Bug: How to Survive the Coming Crisis,” “The Millennium Meltdown,” and “Y2K=666?”

“It’s housewives, it’s businessmen, it’s pastors,” he said. “People who just have heard about it and want to read about it.”

In “Judgment Day 2000,” Richard D. Wiles, a founder of the Christian Businessman’s Association, says that the Y2K crisis will be God’s punishment for His rebellious children.

Hundreds, if not thousands of articles were written, and millions of books sold. These dear Christians—many of whom have done great jobs as ministers of the Gospel—suddenly fell for incorrect information. They took it upon themselves to play computer scientists.

In previous conversations with the late Dave Hunt, I learned of many sad stories where Christians had sold their property and taken cash out of their bank accounts, all in preparation for the big Y2K hoax. Families were ruined, marriages were broken, bankruptcies were declared—all because of sensationalism. These dear Christians followed false information published by Christian ministries. I wondered, how did these believers suddenly become computer experts?

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. Besides the WHO, innumerable other reliable sources reported about the dreaded virus, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state departments of health, the National Institute of Health (NIH), as well as renowned medical centers such as the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, and many, many more. Actually, there are hundreds if not thousands of hospitals, clinics, and medical organizations around the world, all united in one purpose—analyzing and fighting coronavirus. Interestingly, they all came to the same conclusion: social distance, masks, vaccine!

Source of Truth
Scanning various reports, not just locally but internationally, one observation becomes immediately clear: religious people suddenly became “medical scientists.” We will refrain from mentioning individual churches or denominations, but we must mention Israel. It is the nation that counts for us Christians. They gave us our Bible, and Jesus says, “Salvation is of Jews.” 

The first Covid-19 case in Israel was confirmed on 21 February 2020. On 11 March 2020, Israel began enforcing social distancing and lockdowns. On 15 March 2020, no more than 10 people were allowed for gatherings. Then, on 24 March 2020, Israel’s Ministry of Health noticed that over 35% of all known cases were contracted in synagogues. Although religious meetings with more than 10 people were forbidden, that was quite often ignored; subsequently, the coronavirus spread increasingly.

Mount Meron
On 30 April 2021, the largest gathering of people took place on Mount Meron, where religious Jews ignored the clear instruction of the health department and the government. The result? The Times of Israel reports, “45 crushed to death and over 150 hurt at the mass Lag Ba’omer event at Mount Meron in northern Israel.” While estimates vary, the number of people gathered illegally was between 50,000 to 100,000.

Here too the religious authorities suddenly became “medical scientists,” they so presumed. 

But they became messengers of death. 

Israel has one of the best healthcare systems, with educated, well-trained physicians and modern clinics throughout the country. Quite obviously, the followers of this religious group ignored medical science and listened to their religious authorities. It ended in catastrophe.

We Pray and Act
Christians always pray. But when our physical body malfunctions, we visit the appropriate medical facilities. When one’s car breaks down, a reputable mechanic is the answer. No one in their right mind would go to a barber, asking him to fix their car. However, that seems to be the case with religious people. Unfortunately, a great number of true believers, born of the Spirit of God, were led astray as well. Why? They believed wrong information.

Disregarding preventive measures, an unknown number of people died before their time due to the spreading of this dreaded virus. That’s a tragedy.

But there is another item to consider; namely, the person’s responsibility to render the things that are Caesar’s unto Caesar, and to God the things that are God’s.

Christians became “computer scientists” during Y2K, and “medical scientists” during Covid-19 by propagating false information. Individuals, ministries, television hosts, radio speakers, etc. have definitely contributed toward the pollution of the name of the Church. Obviously, that will have repercussions in the not-too-distant future. Churches and non-profit ministries, which are subsidized by tax credits, will in the long run pay the price for following fake information.

Absolute Authority
In conclusion, let us return to the absolute authority; namely, the Word of God. Let us seek knowledge from Holy Scripture. God forbid that we mingle in the office not entrusted to the Church: politics, or in this case, medical science. We have a task to do, and our time is short. Only when we let our light shine and proclaim nothing but the truth, will those who are still in darkness come to the light and be added to the Church—thereby fulfilling the words of Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Midnight Call - 04/2022

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