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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Beware of the False Cross

"Beware o the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the concision ... They are the enemies of the Cross of Christ ... whose God is their belly [the carnal desires of their inner-most begin], and that which they esteem to be their glory is their shame, who mind earthly things" (Phil. 3:2, 18, 19).

Now the Word of God tells us that the 450 prophets of Baal, cried out with a loud voice, "and cut themselves." The Word also say that they cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances (1 Kings 18:28). The phrase, "according to their manner, or custom" means that Jezebel with her prophets had instigated an evil order, a false way, in which Baal was customarily worshiped by them; the cutting themselves in the flesh or the mutilation of one's body was a common practice in the in the worship of the idolatrous nations. In Leviticus 21:5 and 6, where the Lord is speaking to the priests, this idolatrous worship, or custom was strictly forbidden by God. "They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh. They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy." The meaning of these scriptures is that nothing that man can offer unto God in custom, or by flesh, can make him acceptable unto God. In the Old Testament, only the shed blood of the offerings of the Lord - which pointed to the shed Blood of Christ upon the Cross - were acceptable unto the Lord.

Therefore, when the prophets of Baal "cut themselves" until the blood gushed out upon them, the people of God knew that this was a direct violation of the Law of God, yet they still could not decide Who was Lord of all. They had been seduced by that woman Jezebel. When the prophets of Baal "cut themselves until the blood gushed out," they were prophesying and worshiping Baal as their lord, possessor, and master before the false altar they had made. They were even leaping over this altar frantically as they called upon their false god (1 Kings 18:26-29). Now these false prophets always did exactly what Jezebel told them to do, because she sustained and maintained them at here table of idolatry, and we know that Jezebel was a false prophetess, a messenger of satan, because Christ told us so (Revelation 2:20). Hence, in the days of Elijah, satan out of his evil depths was bringing forth a message, and a messenger, that he would use against the people of God, until his final destruction in the lake of fire. And this message was: THE MESSAGE OF THE FALSE CROSS.

Now we know that satan did not even begin to recognize the significance of the Cross of Christ in God's eternal plan, until after Christ was crucified. Furthermore, satan shall never know the fullness of the Cross of Christ, because satan can never be redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God tells us that not one of the princes of this world, of this age, knew this, whether in the visible or invisible realm. This includes satan and his host - NOT ONE KNEW THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST: "for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory" (1 Corinthians 2:6-16).

However, from the beginning of the first sacrificial offerings upon the altars of the Lord God, satan must have known that there was power in the shedding of the blood; and if it was an Altar of the lord God, he also knew that it was connected with the promised Messiah Who would seal his doom. Therefore, all through the Bible, we find satan bringing forth his counterfeit of the Altar of the Lord God. We find satan bringing forth a false altar, a false cross, in order to defeat the purpose of God in the Christ by usurping the place of the Lord in the hearts of His people.

So this was not the first time the people of Israel had witnessed the prophets of Baal cutting themselves. Their hearts were divided, they had been seduced and overcome by that woman Jezebel, the prophetess and her message, for she was a messenger of satan. They were divided in heart, spirit and soul, and until Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal, they could not decide Who was Lord of All. Now before we judge the people of Israel to harshly, let us find the counterpart of this seduction as it pertains to the churches in the New Testament, and the churches of each age and generation, which takes us right up to the present day. The Lord Jesus said this, and is still saying this to the churches: "But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My bondservants to commit fornication [spiritual adultery], and to eat things sacrificed unto idols" (Revelation 2:20).

Also, in the Book of Philippians, chapter 3:2 we find this warning: "BEWARE OF THE DOGS, BEWARE OF THE EVIL WORKERS, BEWARE OF THE CONCISION." These three evils are messengers of satan, and Paul sums up these messengers, and their message, in this same chapter in verses 18 and 19: "THEY ARE THE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST ... whose God is their belly [their inner-most being, which is the fleshly carnal desires of their own heart, spirit and soul], and that which they esteem to be their glory is their shame, who mind earthly things". Three warnings! And all three are intertwined in meaning, purpose and action. But first of all, we want to draw our attention to the third warning, "Beware of the concision," because the word "concision" means, "to cut themselves." Now when the Holy Spirit inspired the Letter to the Philippians, He deliberately used the Greek Word "Concision," which means 'the mutilation" or "a cutting off." The Spirit of God used the Word "concision," because it had the same meaning as the Hebrew phrase, "they cut themselves," which is found in 1 Kings 18:28. In other words, the Holy Spirit was comparing the outward circumcision of the Judaizers, the circumcision made with hands, to the idolatrous worship of the prophets of Baal, when "they cut themselves" in the days of Elijah.

Therefore, "the concision" means "the mutilation and the cutting off" of the Right Way of the Lord, the Way of the Cross, and its principle of self-denial BY A FALSE WAY: BY THE FALSE CROSS. First of all, the false cross is satan's counterfeit of the Altar of the Lord, it is the counterfeit of the Shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ upon His Cross. Then, secondly, it is satan's counterfeit of the true "circumcision of the heart, in and by the Spirit" (Romans 2:29). It is the counterfeit of THE TRUE CIRCUMCISION WHICH IS ONLY IN CHRIST.

"For in Him, in Christ, all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the Head over all rule and authority, over all principality and power: In Whom [in Christ] you were circumcised by a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh [the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts], IN THE CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST: Having been entombed with Him in the placing into Christ [by the Holy Spirit], in which act of placing into Christ you were also raised with Him through your faith in the effectual working energy of the God Who raised Him out from among the dead" (Colossians 2;9-12).

Beware of the concision, beware of the false cross. The false cross was, and still is, the message of that woman Jezebel, who called herself a prophetess, through whom satan brought forth the message of the false cross, in order to seduce the ones whom the Lord called, and still calls, "My bondservants." Now the message of the false cross has one target, and that target is the dedicated devoted bondservants of the Lord, so whether they are new converts, or mature bondservants of the Lord, they are the targets of satan. The message of the false cross exalts, flatters and builds up the adamic nature of Christians, and it is designed to seduce and deceive even the most mature Christians.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

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