John J. Blanchard
November 14, 2015
Good morning, brethren. Today’s subject is The Connection Between Violence and False Doctrine. Do you want to know how to bore an audience and make them literally glaze over and maybe even make them go to sleep? The answer that I have found over the years is to launch into a detailed discussion of biblical truth and biblical understanding. As a matter of fact, it is usually sufficient to mention the word “Bible” to get people to start to tune out. If that doesn’t work, get one and open it up! That’s what I have seen over the years. I have done that many times and have seen the effect. Unless someone has a tremendous interest in the Bible, they usually don’t want to hear it.
If you want to know how to keep an audience enrapt attention, simply discuss violence, mayhem, chaos, and destruction! There is a reason bad news sells. People are fascinated by it. They are interested in it. It’s why visual images are getting more and more graphic on television, because it takes more to satisfy people’s curiosity about violence.
When I was young, they were very careful what to show on the news or, of course, programming as far as violence was concerned. Now it is run of the mill, and the gorier the better. If you want ratings and you want to sell newspapers or magazines or, for that matter, games or to get people to come to your movies and pay to go there, you need to make it very graphic and very violent. People want to see what is happening to other people. Most of them are horrified by it. They are scared. Some feel justified when they see other people suffer like “they deserve it” type of a thing. Others literally find it entertaining, and that’s in a perverse sort of way because it never should be entertaining to watch people suffer.
However, the interesting thing is no one wants it to happen to them. It’s one thing to watch it on television and to see the news or read the items in some far-off place or distant city. But nobody themselves wants to get shot or stabbed or tortured or beheaded. Nor do they want it to happen to any of their loved ones. Actually most people have a very strong inner desire for peace and security, but primarily for themselves and their families. At the same time there is an acceptance among people, generally, that the world is a violent and dangerous place. They feel like it is what it is. We have to live with it, because it is unstoppable and it is inevitable. Just let it happen to someone else.
VIOLENCE DOES NOT STOP VIOLENCE FOR LONG
The world controls violence with greater violence. That’s how people win wars and nations win wars. Allies win wars by wreaking more havoc and more destruction upon the enemy than they can wreak on you. Violence is used to control and stop violence. The problem with that solution is it never lasts very long. There is always another tyrant. There is always another dictator or another nation with designs upon what another nation has. It never stops!
Yesterday we saw a tremendous amount of violence in the nation of France, in particular the city of Paris. In the recent past we have seen that it was New York City or Boston or Madrid in Spain or London, England or Sydney, Australia or in Chicago every day. On a larger scale, it takes place in Syria, in the Ukraine, in the Sudan, and recently in Bosnia. It is a never-ending list. And you don’t have to go far back in history to see huge devastation, of course, with the world wars. People around the world are getting increasingly fearful that violence is approaching their own doorstep. The solutions seem to be not very good. There seems to be no viable solution.
Weapons are more fearsome. They are more available to more people. They are mass produced. People are learning how to make bombs in their basement. People can even get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, which is what our government says law enforcement people fear the most. People seem to be more and more brutal all the time, without a conscience, as it were.
Some hide their head in the sand and ignore it. Others would like to pretend that it will not affect them, or that it does not affect them. It is someone else’s problem. It is them over there. It is their issue. The reality is it affects all of us.
We know deep down inside that each of us has our own fear because we have all witnessed these images. It has had impact upon us. We know that it’s out there. In other words, when we board an airplane or when we get on a subway, a little pit in our stomach tightens up. We get nervous when we travel anywhere. Now when we are in a movie theater, we wonder “what if?” After yesterday, we will say “what if” while I am in a stadium watching a sporting event or “what if” I am in a shopping mall. Or is it safe to send my children to school? It affects all of us.
The fear and anxiety seems to be increasing, and it is palpable. We feel it in our own gut under all these circumstances. It is why we lock our doors at night. We double check them. Security systems are selling like hot cakes, because people are afraid to go to sleep, especially in our cities.
There is a connection between the subject that I mentioned today of biblical doctrine and the subject of violence. Violence will not cease until the world gets its doctrines straightened out. The law, according to God, is the Ten Commandments. The world seems to be verging on lawlessness. The slightest incident and we have riots. We have people burning down their own neighborhoods. We have people attacking law enforcement. It takes very little to upset people anymore and to take law into their own hands.
CHRIST TAUGHT THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Let’s turn to Matthew chapter 5 for our first Scripture. Christ tells us what the law is and how important it is right here. We have done a lot of sermons and a lot of Bible studies on the law, so we are not going to dwell on the Ten Commandments per se, but we are going to talk about them and around them and the impact that they will have on us if we obey them.
Christ says this in Matthew chapter 5, verse 17: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
We are definitely supposed to obey the Ten Commandments and teach others to do so.
Turn a few pages over to Matthew chapter 22, verse 34: “But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’”
All the law and all the prophets—that means the Ten Commandments and indeed the first five books of the Bible, but in particular the Ten Commandments that Jesus Christ talked about in Matthew 5—depend on us loving God correctly. This is done by following the first four commandments and how to love our neighbor, which is embodied in the last six of the Ten Commandments. The question is, knowing that these are the law and that Christ said we must follow them, why aren’t Christians and Muslims both keeping the law of God? Why aren’t they?
If we were to look at the Bible in its entirety, we would find that one-third of the Bible is history. It is the historical record mostly of how God’s people have gone through life, but also how to live. One-third of the Bible is how to live—education. Then one-third is prophetic. All of these are based on the law of God and how to implement and live by it. Prophecy is how God is going to bring the law to this earth, so that all people will willingly obey the law.
I digress for just a moment by saying this. This was not my chosen subject today. Today I wanted to talk about something else. I wanted to talk about why would Christians observe Christmas, because that’s coming up pretty soon. Instead I am talking about the law and violence because of what happened in Paris yesterday. But as I was writing this this morning, I found that there really is a strong connection. There is a strong connection between something like saying, why are people not observing God’s law and observing something like Christmas, with the violence that we see overseas?
It is easy to prove that Christmas is a pagan celebration. It is easy to prove that it is not a holy day, even though many Christians say it is. The Bible—the law of God, the first five books—teaches us that it’s not. You can look up in any good encyclopedia that history tells us that Christmas is pagan. It therefore goes against the law of God. Why are Christians observing it?
I also could have chosen the subject, why would a Muslim celebrate Ramadan? It is easy to prove that is not based on the law of God. Yet, the Muslims believe the Old Testament is inspired by God. It is easy to prove that most Quranic doctrines are false when measured against the law of God. God says thou shalt not kill and thou shalt not murder, so why is there so much murder and suffering caused by people who follow Islam? They tell you in their own words that the Old Testament is inspired by God. Yet, they are children of Abraham just like the Jews are, so why aren’t they keeping the law of God? If they were what happened in Paris would not have occurred yesterday, nor any of those other things that we listed.
It is easy to prove that Christianity and Islam both profess to acknowledge the Old Testament as inspired by God. It is just as easy to prove that neither one is doing a very good job observing it.
THE SON OF PERDITION
Satan truly is the lawless one, and he inspires all lawlessness. He is at the root of what we see going on in the world. Let’s take a look at a few Scriptures to substantiate that. I want to start in the New Testament in II Thessalonians chapter 2. We are going to read basically that entire chapter, but we will start with the first twelve verses.
II Thessalonians 2, verse 1: “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.”
Christians are looking for the return of Jesus Christ, but so is the Islamic world. They are looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ, and they teach that. These words are valuable for them to listen to as well.
Continuing in verse 3 of II Thessalonians 2: “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.”
There is a time that Paul was telling us about here in which the son of perdition will be revealed for who he is. It is not some tall, dark Italian. It is not a conniving false prophet of whatever faith. It is not a human being because a human being cannot be a god. A human being cannot try to ascend himself into heaven to take the throne of God, which we will see in a minute.
Verse 7: “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed [the King James Version says the “wicked”], whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one…”
I am reading the New King James Version. The King James Version says “wicked.”
Verse 9: “…is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…”
There is a lie involved with following the son of perdition, which only could be Satan working in human beings. He is the true son of perdition. Just as when he entered into Judas Iscariot and Judas was called the son of perdition, because Satan was in him. Satan is the true power behind the throne as far as deceiving mankind into the hatred and the lawlessness that we see.
We read in verse 12 of II Thessalonians 2: “…that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Unrighteousness is lawlessness. That is what we just read. He is the lawless one. When God talks about the law, He is not talking about the IRS Code, the traffic laws of any nations, or the civic laws of any nation. He is talking about the Ten Commandments. The lawless one is against the Ten Commandments.
Continue in verse 13: “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”
The word of God is the good word, and the truth of that law is what we should be holding fast to.
I want to look at a few Scriptures that will show us how much Satan hates the law and the effect that had on him and, of course, since then mankind.
Isaiah chapter 14, verse 12: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!”
We can certainly see the evidence of that all over the earth.
Continuing in verse 13: “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God [meaning the angels of God]; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation [meaning God’s people] on the farthest sides of the north…’”
He will come between God’s people and Jesus Christ and God the Father.
Verse 14: “…I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”
No human being can achieve that. There are human beings who try to say they are God or fool their people. They usually live a normal lifespan or even shorter and die. But Satan has been around for a long time. This is speaking about Lucifer who wanted to ascend to the throne next to God the Father and Jesus Christ.
Verse 15 tells us: “Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms…’”
Many people are fooled into thinking the son of perdition is a human being because it says a “son” like a man. Here we see God calls Satan a man, because he is like a man. He can even appear as a human being, yet we are talking about Lucifer. That’s what it said right at the start of this in verse 12. He definitely makes the earth and the nations tremble, as we see here.
Verse 16: “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?”
He has this earth held captive, so that we do his will. We look at the news, and we see destroyed cities around the world. We see destruction now in Paris. We saw it in Boston. We saw it when the World Trade Center came down. Now we see ancient artworks and antiquities getting blown up in the Middle East. They were thousands of years old. They were getting indiscriminately blown up. We see Lebanon as a wasteland which used to be the garden spot of the Middle East. Now Syria is getting laid waste. That’s all Satan’s doing by getting people to act the way he does.
The son of perdition means the “son of destruction.” He gets people to emulate him and to be like him. He gets people to turn on God and turn away from the Ten Commandments—the law of God. He gets people to become lawless like he is lawless.
SATAN IS VIOLENT
In Ezekiel chapter 28, verse 14 it is speaking of Satan here: “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.”
He was at the throne of God, one of the covering cherubs.
Verse 15: “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you [meaning I destroyed your position], O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.”
He says I had to cast you out as a profane and filthy thing because of iniquity which filled you with violence. That word “iniquity” is #5766 in the Strong’s Concordance (1995 edition) which is evel in the Hebrew (e-v-e-l), which means just that—iniquity and perverseness, unrighteousness and wickedness. It comes from the word just before it aval (#5765, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) (a-v-a-l) which means to distort morally.
What Satan does is he distorts the law of God. He makes us replace it with what we want, the holy days we want, the Sabbath we want, the rights we want, the rewards we want, and the way we want to live. We replace the true doctrines with false doctrines that we build up ourselves. We could look at lots of Scriptures to verify that. That’s what both Christianity and Islam do when they don’t follow the law of God. They have set up their own laws. We see the effects of that.
These extremists around the world who become terrorists determine who is going to live and who is going to die, who is going to suffer and who is not going to suffer, and who is going to be a sex slave and who is not going to be a sex slave. They decide who they will behead and who they will spare. Nowhere does God give them the right to do that, but they have built their religion around that.
Before we point to them as worse than us, it wouldn’t take long to look at the history of Christianity to see where we have done the same thing! But that is only when we have deviated from the Ten Commandments—the law of God. The law of God is for our own protection, and when we all follow the law of God, that’s what will bring peace to this earth. We must not distort the law of God or twist it.
God tells us what the Sabbath is. God tells us to be satisfied with what we have and not to covet what our neighbors have. A lot of the riots we are seeing in the United States here today are people who are less off coveting what other people have. The unfortunate thing is they burn down their own neighborhood to prove their point! They are not following the Ten Commandments.
We see here in verse 16 of Ezekiel 28 that when lawlessness was found in Satan (iniquity) it led him to be filled with violence. That’s why he inspires violence in us. When we follow his dictates, we become violent, intolerant, and hateful. We set ourselves up as judges. That’s where this all leads to chaos, mayhem, and destruction.
BENEFITS TO KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS
There are a lot of benefits to keeping the commandments. Why people want to throw them away or say they are done away or minimize them or distort them is beyond me. Let’s look at a few Scriptures.
Go back to Psalms chapter 111, verse 10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.”
There you have wisdom. If you keep the commandments, you become wise.
Psalm 103, verse 15: “As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.”
Blessings and mercy for us and our children if we keep His commandments.
Keep your finger in Psalms and go to Daniel chapter 9. We are just getting a smattering here. You could spend days and days of studies on this subject. Daniel chapter 9, verse 1: “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans—in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, ‘O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgements. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land.’”
We know God heard this prayer because Daniel was willing to admit they had sinned. They had turned to iniquity and wickedness and disobedience of God’s commandments. God answered that prayer and blessed the entire nation because of that prayer.
The effective prayer of fervent people can accomplish much. That is why it is very encouraging to see so many thousands of people praying for the people of Paris in France right now, just as many people in the world prayed for us in the United States when the Twin Towers came down or when the Boston marathon bombers ruined our marathon a couple of years ago. Prayer is important, but it is also important to follow that up with action.
God wants to see how serious we are by how well we attempt to keep His commandments. When we fail, and we all do, and we all fall short, He wants to see us seeking the blood of Jesus Christ who washes us clean of our sin. He wants to see us make an attempt.
Go back to Psalms chapter 112. We just saw how God is merciful if we admit our sins. We have wisdom and mercy now. We can also have physical blessings. Psalm 112, verse 1: “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man deals graciously and lends; he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he will never be shaken; the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.”
God will not forget our attempts to keep His commandments. He will bless us physically. People are wanting wealth. You don’t achieve wealth by taking it from someone else. You follow the commandments, and you work hard. It is a simple recipe. Just following those simple ten rules would stop the violence and the mayhem we see around the world.
Let’s go to Proverbs chapter 4 now. We will see that keeping God’s commandments gives us abundant life and peace. Proverbs 4, verse 1: “Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; for I give you good doctrine: do not forsake my law. When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, he also taught me, and said to me: ‘Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you.’ Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in the right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble. Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.”
It started with the doctrine and the commandments of God. Life and health and abundance are ours. This destruction will cease, and Satan will lose his power over this earth as people reject him. Reject his ways, and stop being lawless as he is.
Turn to I John chapter 5, verse 2: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
PEACE FROM KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS
God’s commandments are not a burden. They set us free from what we see on the news every day! God’s commandments set us free from Satan’s influence and from his tyranny. They unify the world in doctrine. That’s how the world is ultimately going to get rid of violence, by keeping the law of God. Ultimately, the world will have peace, and violence will cease. It is going to happen when we keep the laws of God. We are on the verge of God forcing that on us. But the sooner we learn it, the sooner we can start reversing the damage that we see every day.
Go back to Psalms, chapter 119. Much of Psalm 119, which is the longest chapter in the Bible, is about God’s law, keeping the law, and the benefits of it. I just want to read a few Scriptures from Psalm 119. Psalm 119, verse 165: “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.”
If we want peace on the earth, individually we are going to want to keep the law of God. We will individually obtain peace in our own lives. The more of us who set about on that path, the sooner peace will be extant around the world.
Now you know the connection between violence and false doctrine and the importance of learning the truth of God and keeping His laws—His commandments. Then we can help spread peace around this earth and give people the freedom to eliminate the fear and the anxiety that the world is living under right now. God is in control, and in the end, He will win. Satan will be diminished to the point where he is nothing but a little blot. We will look upon him, as Scripture said in Isaiah 14, and say, is this the being who caused all this trouble? We can take away his power by keeping the law of God, the commandments that God wrote in the Old Testament.