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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Beware of the Enemies of the Cross of Christ

"Beware of the Dogs"

In Isaiah 56:10-12, we find the Lord God speaking of these same "dogs", who would feed on the worthless waste that is called "dung" - who fed on the worthless vomit of their own self-righteousness and self-importance, and self-indulgence. In Isaiah 56, the Lord God called the leaders of Israel, the shepherds and the watchmen [the prophets] that were leading His people astray, "greedy dogs."

"His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber." Ezekiel tells us that a true prophet of God is like a watchman stationed upon his watchtower, whose duty it is when he sees the sword come upon the land, to blow the trumpet, and warn the people of God (Ezekiel 33:3). But the prophets, the shepherds, the watchmen are blind, they are not faithful to their calling. They ought to resemble a watchful sheep dog which barks when the flock is threatened, but instead of watching, praying, and wrestling in travail for those entrusted to them, they are idle and comfort loving, and at ease as danger approaches. "They are all dumb dogs." "Yea, they are greedy dogs - strong of soul - which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand - they know not discernment: they all look to their own way, everyone for his gain, from his quarter." - These "greedy dogs" are shepherds - hirelings - and they cannot understand, they know not discernment. In other words, they are without the spiritual capacity to help, warn, or feed the people of God. Instead they have all turned to their own way, which is to say, they have all turned to their own selfish interests, everyone pursuing their own advantage. "They are greedy dogs" - they return and eat their own vomit.

"Come ye," they say, "I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant." - Instead of fulfilling their duty unto God and unto the people to which the Lord God of Israel had entrusted to them, these watchmen, shepherds, prophets and rulers of the people of God are indulging in their own selfish desires as they pursue their own interest: "They are greedy dogs - Beware of the dogs."

In the Letter of 2 Peter, we are told more about these "greedy dogs."

"But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master Who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the Way of Truth will be evil spoken of, will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved ... While they are promising them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption. For by whom a person has been overcome with the result that he is in a state of subjugation, to this one has he been enslaved with the result that he is in a state of slavery" (2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2:1-3; 17-19).

In 2 Peter 2:19, the false prophets and the false teachers are described as examples of spiritual bondage; for "while they are promising them (those they teach) liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption." They are slaves of their own depraved adamic nature and its sinful appetites, and as a result , they have become the messengers of satan, and their message is the message of the false cross. Furthermore in 2 Peter, chapter 2, Peter also calls the false prophets and false teacher, that have crept into the church unawares, "DOGS". "For it had been better for them to have not known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire" (verses 21, 22). This means that what comes from the false from the false prophets and false teachers is from the worthless waste, the dung, of their own deceitful hearts. They are "greedy dogs."  This is that woman Jezebel's table of idolatry; this is where they eat that which is sacrificed upon the false altar, the false cross. Beloved, everything that builds up the self-life, the adamic nature, is the worthless waste, the dung, upon which the greedy dogs feed - They return to their own vomit.

Now Peter understood fully what this proverb meant, for he had heard the Lord Jesus speak to the Pharisees and scribes about their inward life. The Lord told them that they were blind, they were hypocrites and fools, and after He called the multitude to Him, He said to them, "Hear and understand. Not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man." Then Peter and the disciples asked the Lord this question: "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when  they heard this statement?" But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit." And Peter answered and said to Him, "Explain the parable to us." And He said, "Are you still lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that every thing that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man ..." (Matthew 15:18-20).

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

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