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Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”

It is written that it was Again the anger of the Lord, because Exodus 32.7-10 was the first time Israel provoked God to anger by turning quickly back to worship the gods of Egypt, as He was trying to establish for them the new life in the freedom of the nation of Israel. Chapter 32 of Exodus records their deeds of how they turned back to idol worship with Aaron’s (the brother of Moses) help, for it was Aaron who made the idol: So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool.

Their action so angered God that He said this to Moses: “I have seen these people, and they are a stiff-necked people.Now leave Me alone so that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” However, Moses interceded and persuaded God to turn from His fierce anger so that… Then the Lord relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.

However, after forty years of wandering in the desert, Moses had this to say of Israel as well: “For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the Lord while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die!” And you can read through the history of Israel and see how they incited God to anger again and again, testing God’s slowness to anger to the point that God did finally unleash His anger and decimated them with Nebuchadnezzar, leaving no survivors except those He had chosen to exile.

The question you must now ask is: Have we, the church, incited God to anger like Israel did again and again, even though Jesus Christ is at the right hand making intercession for us? If you would only read and see, you would know the answer is yes, for when John saw Jesus again at the end of his apostleship, this is how Jesus appeared to him: His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword, His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. It is not a welcoming sight, for the Man with a white head of hair and blazing eyes is alien to any man or woman. It is not a sight of Jesus that would cause you to want to embrace Him or go near Him, for His feet are like bronze glowing in a furnace. Neither is He Someone you would want to hear speaking to you, for His voice is like rushing waters… like a flash flood through a canyon, it is not a comforting sound. And as He speaks, there is a sword coming out of His mouth. See and consider, it is a sight that would cause a man to stay back and then cover his ears and run from Him… with a face that shines like the sun in all its brilliance. You can’t even look at Him comfortably. He advertises His power by holding seven stars in His hand… not lights; not balls of fire, but stars. See and understand, you men and women of the 21st century… seven stars, you who understand the power of the stars, and Jesus holds them in His hand like a child holds marbles!

So, was Jesus happy to see John, or was Jesus letting John see the anger of the Lord so that we might just hear how He dictated the seven letters to the seven churches? We know what Jesus said… but now see how He said it. See and hear that the seven letters were dictated by Jesus with a sword coming out of His mouth and a voice that sounds like rushing waters and eyes of blazing fire… and read those seven letters again and tremble in fear because of the anger of the Lord we have aroused.

If God was patient with Israel for a millennium, then truly He has been doubly patient with the church… doubly patient because after all the church is His body. Now, how did we arouse the anger of the Lord in exactly the same way as Israel? When the early church listened to James in Acts 15 and substituted devotion to the words of Jesus only for partial observance of the Law of Moses. It was like Aaron and Israel making a gold calf to imitate all the gods of Egypt. Just as Egypt had many images and Aaron only made one to represent them all, saying, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt,” so James’ recommendations to we Gentiles to practise three of the 618 laws of Moses represented the entire law. For as God did twelve signs and wonders through Moses and Aaron to set Israel free from bondage to Egypt, so likewise He did twelve signs and miracles that set us free from bondage to sin through the law, to bring us out in the new life that He had promised.

Even though God did not destroy Israel there and then because of the intercession of Moses, not one of that first generation saw the promised land except Caleb and Joshua. Likewise, not one of the earlier church, not even Barnabas and Saul, saw the fulfilment of the promise that anyone “…who lives and believes will never die.” In fact, martyrdom was permitted for all who could have fulfilled John 11.26 but were not allowed to. Why? Because there was and still remains – has not been – repentance of turning back to partial observance of the law as a means of righteousness rather than a dedicated faith to Christ and devotion to the practice of His word in the history of the church since Acts 15.

In the New International Version it is written: Then the Lord relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened. But see what the King James Version and the Amplified have written: And the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people; Then the Lord turned from the evil which He had thought to do to His people. See what Israel did? God had to REPENT, not just turn away or relent, which are all part of repenting. So in fact, repent is what God had to do… not because He did do it, but because He thought of doing it. You see, Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” which really means if you were thinking about it when you looked, you have done it. God was thinking about destroying Israel as He watched them worship that golden calf, and so by His own standard, He had done it. So, do not be timid and see the greatness and majesty of your God and His righteousness that He repented of the evil He thought of doing!

If Israel provoked God to thinking, not doing, but thinking and saying to do of evil, then consider carefully for yourself if our turning back to the partial observance of the law and our persistence in it has not likewise provoked such thoughts in God.

Now, see and tremble in fear and understand what these words mean for the body of Christ if God ever decided to apply them to Himself… for straight after Jesus spoke of the adultery in Matthew 5.28 He said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” If that is what He expects us to do to our bodies, which cause us to sin… what will He do to His body that causes Him not to sin, for He does not sin, but what will He do to His body that causes Him to have to repent of evil because of the way it provokes Him to anger?

For Jesus is moving on from His present position at the right hand of the throne of God to take up His own throne on Earth. So, which parts of His body, that is, His church, will He take with Him and which parts will He cut off so that He is not hindered by them? If God almost destroyed Israel to the last man for being a continuous hindrance to His plans, but was gracious enough to raise Israel again after the exile, but not to its former glory… so likewise, understand and be in fear and trembling that He will not hesitate to trim back the body of Christ so that those parts that are in rebellion will no longer be a source of evil to Him as Israel was. So do not be surprised at all that parts of the body of Christ will make up the one third of mankind who will perish with these days of distress.

The Levites of Israel were able to save most of Israel by putting to the sword 3000 people that day in Exodus 32.28, but when they continued to provoke God’s anger at the time of David, it was the angel of the Lord who killed 70,000 until God said, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” And then we have the final decimation of Israel at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. Likewise, if you will understand, like the Levites we can run through the camp and use our swords, the word of the Lord, and save the nation by removing those who oppose listening to Jesus… but we will not be able to stop the angels or the beast who will make war against the saints and overpower them. In the end, only the people who know their God will be able to resist him and so… the church will be purified and made ready for the end.

Yes, we have angered the Lord, and just because He is slow to anger and the Holy Spirit has interceded for us time and again as Moses did for Israel, the time when the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the way as Moses was taken out of the way for Israel… the time when the church will no longer have the Holy Spirit with it as Israel no longer had Moses is fast approaching. Those who are not ready and not prepared will be cut off and taken to Heaven, there to await the second resurrection, whilst those who are worthy of the first resurrection will remain alive until He arrives once the number of the martyrs under the altar in Heaven is fulfilled.

Yes, the days to come are days of distress because we have provoked the Lord to anger and He has burned with it for 2000 years.

So, He comes, our King with all His splendour, with all His graciousness, gentleness, compassion, self-control and power… but He comes in the anger of the Lord. So be warned, repent for the King is returning for His kingdom.

Grace and peace to all who repent and listen, but woe to those who still refuse, for the Son of the King is returning to avenge Himself of His own murder… consider this, all you rebels, and surrender while there is still time. Amen

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