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But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.[1] The problem we have is that we do not recognise perfection even when it stares at us, no more than the two disciples on the road to Emmaus could recognise Jesus, even as He walked with them and taught them. We are so used to thinking and accepting that which is good as being perfect that we cannot recognise perfection. The two disciples were so used to accepting that people die and don’t come back, that they accepted the idea that the Man walking with them could not be Jesus Christ.

Our detoxification from that which we accept as good must be as strong, if not stronger, than our detoxification from evil, for they both come from the same tree. We have been brought up on a diet of judging between what is good and evil, yet we forgot the Word said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”[2]

So as we judge that which is good, what is good in us is judged, and what is evil in us is also judged. Now, you have been used to thinking that this was ‘keep the good and remove the evil,’ for did not the apostle Paul advise that? Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.[3]

We have 2000 years of experience to look back on the validity of this advice. As the church held onto what it thought was good and avoided every kind of evil, everyone died. Not a single person is alive today, who has lived beyond the 120 years set in Genesis 6:3 by God, to prove that the words of Jesus in John 11:26 are physically and literally, not just spiritually and figuratively, true. For when you excuse John 11:26 as meaning to be spiritually and figuratively true only, then you have made an even greater error. You have forgotten that Jesus began John 11:25 by saying, “I am the Resurrection and the Life…” The resurrection of Jesus was physical and literal, not spiritual and figurative, so then why should He be telling us that John 11:26 was only to have a spiritual and figurative meaning?

If you need proof that holding on to the good, even as you cast out the evil, does not bring death, just visit any church graveyard. Everyone who has raised their voice for good has died. No one dares raise their voice for perfection because it seems too ludicrous.

The wars of this world have always been portrayed as a battle between good and evil, and in any single war, both sides suffer death. It is only when the war is fought between perfection and good or evil, that one side avoids death and the other side is annihilated or disappears.

When Joshua was standing outside of Jericho with the army of Israel, he looked up and saw a Man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua went up to Him and asked, “Are You for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” He replied, “but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”[4]

You see, classical scholars would tell you that Jericho was a city of evil whose cup of sins had overflowed, and that was why God used Israel to decimate her. But was Israel good? Perhaps; but certainly there must have been some good or righteous people in Jericho. You might even argue they were better than their forefathers who disobeyed God and died in the desert. Yes, but they were not perfect, for better is only a superior good. Even the best is not perfect, for the best is merely the highest degree of good. If there is a limit even to perfection, as the psalmist wrote,[5] then how much more limited the greatest degree of good, the best. Now look at the answer from the Man with the drawn sword, “Neither, but as Commander of the army of the Lord, I have now come.”[6] Neither,” He was not on the side of good or evil, but on His own side. It is recorded that Joshua took Jericho without casualties, and this happened because he did everything as the Lord had commanded.

Now, look at what the psalmist found: To all perfection I see a limit; but Your commands are boundless. The commands of God exceed perfection. They are not just perfect, but are beyond perfect. The Law of God may be perfect as are His ways and His words,[7] but His commands exceed them. When Joshua obeyed God’s commands about Jericho, perfection manifested total defeat, without casualty, of an enemy, whose strong impenetrable walls came down with a shout! Most of the army of Jericho would have been on the walls as also most of the citizens by the seventh day, so that when the walls came down, all of them would have been killed or wounded by the time the Israelites got there. God is on the side of those who obey Him. He does not side with the good or the evil, for both bring death to mankind.

Joshua then, like all men, made the mistake of listening to good advice in the battle after Jericho at Ai, when the spies told him that, “Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are there.”[8] Good, sound, logical advice, but deadly advice, for it was not the command of God, and so 36 Israelites died. What was God’s command for Joshua at Ai? The same as it was at Jericho of course. Why change what is already perfect? What was wrong with wearying the people so that after seven days the walls came down and not one of the Israelites got killed? You see, the perfect way can be tiring and may weary you like marching around Jericho for seven days in full battle armour, but it will never kill you. What sounded good to save a few weary muscles at Ai killed 36 men. It was not the sin of Achan that produced the defeat, but rather the good advice, for it was the advice of eating from the Tree of Good and Evil that produced the sin, and death followed. Sin is always there in every camp of God’s people. Indeed, it is written: There is not a righteous man on Earth who does what is right and never sins.[9]

So, there is no church, no fellowship, no nation of God, which does not harbour a sinner in their ranks. There were already sinners in the ranks of Israel, even at Jericho. However, because Joshua did not follow God’s battle plan, the perfect battle plan that wearied the people, but followed good advice, the sin of Achan could manifest to destroy 36 lives. If the entire army of 500,000 plus men assembled outside of Ai and marched around it like they did at Jericho, the city of Ai would have surrendered without a fight, despite Achan’s sin.

Perfection destroys both good and evil, for even good is imperfect, as sin is imperfect. That is why the writer of Hebrews wrote: Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made Perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.[10] Jesus was not to become the source of our eternal salvation until He Himself, who was Perfect, was perfected by suffering at the cross in obedience to the Father’s command. What God commanded Jesus to do was not good; death on a Roman cross is not good; keeping silent when you hear false testimony being given is not good;[11] and teaching men to eat Your flesh and drink Your blood is not good.[12] But Jesus obeying God is beyond perfection, so then the command given by God to Jesus removed the limitations on His perfection—and as such, perfection was perfected through the suffering He went through, a suffering that was not good.

The writer of the Hebrews wrote: For the Law made nothing perfect.[13] Obeying the Law is good and produces good but not perfection, and so the Law does not remove the poison of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for everyone who lives by the Law still dies by the Law.

Moses failed one command of God and died for it, even though water came from the rock when he struck it twice. The good happened at the expense of the perfect. Yet Elijah who was given three commands: “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu.”[14] And yet… Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat.[15] In fact, Hazael and Jehu were not anointed by Elijah, but by Elisha[16] after Elijah was caught up alive in a fiery chariot.

Elijah disobeyed God twice and lived, but Moses disobeyed once and died. How could Elijah live, and why did he live even though he did not anoint Hazael and Jehu? Because he ignored those who were imperfect and anointed the one who was perfect. Hazael was an imperfect executioner, which was why God said, “Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu.”

Elijah went for the perfect executioner first, Elisha – no one escaped him. Elijah covered for his disobedience by going for the perfect and so he lived, but Moses died. Elijah saw in the command of God, which was perfect, that which was the perfection of it all, Elisha the perfect executioner. Thus, in a way, Elijah took what was perfect and perfected it. Elijah did something we who want to remain alive until the end should learn. He showed us to discern that which is perfect from that which is good in God’s commands and to go straight for the perfect first.

The battle between the good and the perfect is brought into the best and sharpest focus in John 12 when Judas the betrayer judged Mary’s action on what was good and what was wasteful, and therefore evil, by saying, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”[17] He proposed a good work that hid the evil of his heart, for John revealed to us: he did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.[18] And Jesus replied, Perfection replied, against that suggestion of doing good from one who was evil, “Leave her alone. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of My burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have Me.”[19]

Selling the perfume to feed the poor is good. Anointing the Lord while He was still alive is perfect. Anointing the dead as many do is the true waste of perfume that could be sold to the poor. Building orphanages and raising money to feed the poor is good. But multiplying the food and raising up their dead parents so that they are no longer orphans is better. And having the Lord back on Earth reigning in Jerusalem while we do this is perfect!

So learn to be like Elijah and see the perfect in the goodness of His word and go for the perfect at all times. Even when you miss perfection, you will achieve the good. The one who aims for the centre of the target will always hit the target at least.

But we tend to be as addicted to the good as we are to evil. Many of us cannot fail but sin because, as Paul wrote: For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.[20] If the apostle had such a struggle, then we lesser mortals will have a worse problem. And it is this addiction to the good that led us back to the poison all over again, culminating in these famous words: It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.[21]

· It was good to run to the grave that morning to confirm the women’s story, but it would have been perfect to remember what they saw on the Mount of Transfiguration at Galilee and go there.[22]

· It was good to chose Matthias to replace Judas in Acts 1:26 by the lot, but it would have been perfect to wait for the Holy Spirit.

· It was good to donate money to feed the poor, but it would have been perfect to multiply the food and not receive donations.

· It was good to appoint the seven to distribute the food, but it would have been perfect to teach the Grecian Jews to multiply food for their own widows.

· It was good for godly men to mourn deeply for Stephen and bury him, but it would have been perfect to raise him from the dead.

· It was good that the apostles did not scatter at the persecution of Acts 8, but it would have been perfect had they all fled to another place, going through the cities of Israel as Jesus told them to, for surely the Lord would have been back.[23]

Six good things they did that led to the ultimate good, which they finally recommended as they agreed with James’ judgement, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.[24] The good they did was to shorten the Law of Moses from 618 commandments to 4 commands for us to observe, thus ensuring that not only we were back to observing something that made no one perfect, but put us all under a curse for not observing the whole Law but only part of the Law.

As a result of these 7 good things:

1. We never saw the joy of the reunion, and the church did not spend 40 days on top of the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus, but only had occasional visits from Him after His resurrection.

2. We had one who was never intended to be the twelfth apostle appointed, while the one who already had her gospel was ignored.

3. The dependency and addiction to money began in the church, an addiction so great that no ministry is free of it, not even ours.

4. We are more concerned about feeding the poor than we are about preaching the Gospel.

5. Churches are places of funerals and mourning, rather than places of celebration because the dead are being raised.

6. Jesus still has not returned, because no apostle had attempted to go to the cities of Israel before Israel disappeared for 1900 years as a nation.

7. The entire church is under the curse of observing the Law in part and doing good by avoiding what the elders of Jerusalem call, “these things”. We are more concerned about heresies, superstitions, doctrines, theologies, traditions and sex than we are concerned about bringing Jesus back to Earth.

The good that we have done has left us in this mess, with both the believers and the unbelievers dying every day, and Jesus and His Name made a mockery of. If that is the harm that the good we have done has brought, God have mercy on us if He were to remind us of the evil that we have also done.

Our joy is to recognise that we are to aim for perfection by doing that which makes us perfect as our Heavenly Father is Perfect,[25] and to maintain that perfection by the constant unceasing practice of the words of He who was made Perfect under the guidance of the Spirit of Perfection, until Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God and Father of all Perfection perfected, is seated on His throne in Jerusalem for His day on Earth.

If a thousand years is like a day[26] to the Lord and He has a day of vengeance,[27] then the Millennial Reign of Christ on Earth is His day of vengeance, when He will take vengeance on those who have eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil by causing all that is imperfect on this Earth, the good and the evil, to disappear in the presence of His Perfection.

All who love good and all who love evil will see why God, who is Perfect, has commanded we should love Him with all our heart, soul, might and mind, even laying down our lives for the sake of the testimony of Jesus and the word of God. We are to love Perfection so much that we destroy both good and evil completely to the praise and glory of the Name of the One, who being Perfect and Sinless, was made a sin offering and sin that we might be the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God is that He is Perfect, so perfect that He alone is Good and does good without bringing death.

It is only when we learn to be perfect as He is Perfect and maintain that perfection by obeying Him, that the good we do will carry no death. Then shall the Lord be proved true, “and whoever lives and believes in Him will never die,” but remain alive till the coming of the Lord, to be caught up together with them, the dead in Christ, in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words…[28] “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven. Be perfect therefore as your Heavenly Father is Perfect.”[29]

You have come to God, the Judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of a New Covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks…[30]

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”[31]


 

[1] 1 Corinthians 13:10

[2] Matthew 7:1-2

[3] 2 Thessalonians 1:19-22

[4] Joshua 5:13-14

[5] Psalm 119:96

[6] Joshua 5:14

[7] Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 19:7

[8] Joshua 7:3

[9] Ecclesiastes 7:20

[10] Hebrews 5:9

[11] Leviticus 5:1

[12] Leviticus 17:10

[13] Hebrews 7:19

[14] 1 Kings 19:15-17

[15] 1 Kings 19:19

[16] 2 Kings 8:13; 9:3,6

[17] John 12:5

[18] John 12:6

[19] John 12:7

[20] Romans 7:19

[21] Acts 15:28-29

[22] Matthew 26:32; 28:7; Mark 16:7

[23] Matthew 10:23

[24] Acts 15:19

[25] Matthew 5:48

[26] Psalm 90:4

[27] Isaiah 34:8

[28] 2 Thessalonians 4:16-18

[29] Matthew 5:44-45,48; Luke 6:27

[30] Hebrews 12:23-25

[31] Revelation 2:7,11;17;26; 3:6;13;22

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