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Msindisi newsletter # 68

May 13, 2010

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

NUMBER:      68.       MAY 2010

PO BOX 1481
VRYHEID 3100
KWAZULU NATAL
SOUTH AFRICA
+27 (0) 728311008
Email:  msindisi@gmail.com ,
salv.di@gmail.com

Moriel KwaZulu Mission Website: https://morielkzn.wordpress.com

Personal Website: http://msindisi.googlepages.com

Dear Friends and family,

This newsletter is proving so hard to write! As much as we write in it we end up deleting. It is hard to express all that has happened in an interesting and meaningful way. So please forgive us if the newsletter sounds bitty and uninteresting. Our time in the UK gave us a sense of gratitude for where the Lord has called us to in ministering in South Africa, for however long the Lord wants us to be here for. By his grace, as written in the last newsletter, the Lord gave us the opportunity to serve Him in UK churches. For the majority it was a word in season. After the last newsletter we visited Starbeck mission (Yorkshire) and caught up with old friends, Becca and Susie who faithfully served at Ebyown for 6 months with us. The week before we had been at Ainsdale church (near Southport), which gave us opportunity to spend a few days with Aaron and Erin Royle who also were diligent co-workers and friends at Ebyown. During both these weekends our friend, Clayton Wells (son of Allen and Sue Wells who run Bezaleel), came up to visit us. While in Yorkshire we stayed with Susie’s family, who were so hospitable and took us round York.  From Yorkshire we went to visit our friend Pam, from the Moriel office in Australia, who was visiting the UK at the same time. It was a blessing to catch up with her down south, though it was such a short time. Pam is one of the many Aussie knitters who send us little baby jumpers, hats and booties to give out to the community.

The following weekend saw us visiting Salvi’s old Baptist church in North Wales. We stayed with Salvi’s old flatmate, Anthony Royle, and his wife and children. Salvi preached twice at the fellowship and it was encouraging to see new members there who have a love for truth. We left North Wales to visit our friend VJ from Walsall and while there for one night only the Lord brought another friend, Rocky, to visit. Salvi was up with them fellowshipping till 2 o’clock in the morning.  The day after we visited Jo Rumley and his family. Jo did short term mission with Salvi in KwaZulu Natal in 2004 and they have been good friends since. Jo had just gotten back from South Africa where he got married to Gemma. We want to wish them every happiness and God’s blessing in their marriage.

During the last week end of our stay we visited a couple of churches and it was a blessing to hear the preaching of the word. One church was a messianic fellowship in Manchester that have a very Jewish flavor to their worship but without the Judaising tendencies of the hyper-messianic movement. The pastor preached from Ephesians. The message centred on what the Lord has done for us causing us to raise our eyes to focus on His doing and His grace. After the meeting we joined Salvi’s parents in Manchester who were out witnessing with Miguel. We both handed out tracts and Salvi was given the opportunity to share with a Sabre  (Jew from Israel) called Shai. Shai asked many questions and was confronted with the Gospel witness, bible prophecy and even the claims of Jewish scholars themselves. When confronted with Moses’ requirement that blood is needed for atonement he said that God has given wine for the blood. Salvi upheld that Moses specified that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sins and that this commandment was not given as metaphorical but literal. Shai stayed a long time but was unwilling to read the New Testament himself. We pray that God will lead other people to him. Finally we visited a church that Salvi used to attend in Stockport. The Pastor preached on how God has made us a holy people, a royal priesthood and the celebratory nature of being such. It was wonderful to catch up with many people all over the UK and we hope that we were as much an encouragement to them as they were to us. We want to extend a great thank you to all our family, friends and churches that showed hospitality to us while we were in the UK. You were an encouragement and a blessing to us.

After a good flight home we had a few days to catch up with friends Allen and Sue, Lorraine and others however our time was short. Salvi finished his Hebrew assignment which completed the certificate stage to the degree. On arriving in Kwazulu we were welcomed back with hugs and smiles from Phumalani’s family. While we were away the bible study that we meet with had got together and taken on a project of there own. Before we write what they did we have to explain that while we were in the UK three churches asked us to share about our work and a couple asked us to show photographs. We had not gone to these churches to publicize our ministry or to raise support, Salvi’s heart was to preach the word where it was wanted. However we were happy to meet their request and the photos of our hut showed a primitive looking bathroom. Much to our surprise we returned to a toilet installed in our hut with a tiled bath and basin. This was incredibly overwhelming as the bathroom now looks completely different. So, for those churches that saw the old bathroom please scrap those pictures. The group has also started to install a toilet for the Kraal, this will be wonderful for Gogo and the family, along with future visitors.

We have slotted back into life like we never really left, the Tuesday Lowsburg study has started again and Salvi has started his preaching again in the community. We have had our first clinic run for a guy who has TB that lives near to us. We have received 11 parcels of baby clothes from the Australian knitters which have arrived in perfect timing as winter is now here and we are looking forward to giving these out soon.

Please note that the ministry website has changed to the following address, https://morielkzn.wordpress.com and is no longer under googlepages.

We would also like to promote a petition for British citizens or British residents to read and sign if they wish.

“Romans 13 Declaration”
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/test12/

I really think this is an important cause for evangelical believers to support which will go to petition parliament, and I’d like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It’s free and takes just a few seconds of your time. Please click on the above link to find out more information.
May the Lord richly bless you.

Salvi and Di

GOD’S MERCY IN JUDGMENT

The ‘end times’ is a subject that has gripped the imagination of movie makers and Christian authors alike. The ‘Left Behind’ series has been swallowed up by numerous Christians while their movie counterparts are to be seen on the shelves of many Christian book stores. However, I think the musician Larry Norman put it well saying that, when Christians are asked, ‘Have you read the Bible?’ The answer they give is ‘No but I’ve seen the film’. The Bible is the Word of God and though these products take much from the Bible they are no substitute. Books like ‘The Late Great Planet Earth’ brought millions into watching out for the signs of Jesus return but the trouble is that this sensationalism that was sparked off did not see the return that many expected. And the experience of life going on as usual and certain prophesies in these kinds of books not coming to pass generated a cynicism within people so that some people almost do not want to touch the book of revelation. They hear stories of world disasters and state that these things have always happened and thus are no indicator that Jesus is coming back. And so end times prophecy is put on the shelf, as if Jesus may or may not come back in the way Revelation indicates. To these people, to wait for the signs of Jesus’ return is to be so heavenly minded so as to be of no earthly good. Why wait for Jesus to bring His kingdom when we can set it up for him?

However this indifference concerning the return of Christ goes against the teaching of scripture. In 2 Timothy 4: 8 there is a reward for those who have loved Christ’s appearing. This is said by Paul who had to deal with the deception that the second coming of Christ had already happened in his day. We read about this in 2 Thessalonians 2: 1 – 4. People were saying that the Day of the Lord had already happened. These Christians could have been deceived by these people’s end times teaching. Did that sway Paul from teaching end times doctrine himself? Not at all. He corrects the lie with the Truth, not with the absence of the Truth. Revelation is a book to be studied. Why? 2 Timothy 3: 16 says that ‘ALL scripture is inspired of God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and training in righteousness.’ One thing we note about Revelation is that it connects to much in the Old Testament, from Genesis with the Cherubim and to man’s fellowship with God, to Exodus with the song of Moses, to Daniel with the beasts and Ezekiel with the vision of God’s chariot and to many of the Prophets when they speak of the day of the Lord. Some people say that Revelation is not a future prophecy but was rather portraying the events of 70AD and encouraging the suffering believers in John’s day. But this does not account for everything in the book of revelation. When has Satan been bound for a thousand years? Who were the two witnesses in Jerusalem? Why has a third of the sea not been turned to blood? Although there are parallels with AD 70, and indeed in every age, we must see these from a Jewish perspective.

Alfred Edersheim so aptly stated “the place occupied by symbolism, not only in the Old Testament, but in Hebrew, and in measure in all Eastern thinking. Symbolism is, so to speak, its mode of expression – the language of its highest thinking. Hence its moral teaching is in parables and proverbs; its dogmatics in ritual and typical institutions; while in its prophecy the present serves as a mirror in which the future is reflected. To overlook this constant presence of the symbolical and typical in the worship, history, teaching, and prophecy of the Old Testament is to misunderstand not only its meaning, but even the genius of the Hebrew people.”

That is why the book of revelation bears relationship to people of every time. There will be one big antichrist manifested at the end. However when people said that Hitler was the antichrist, or Stalin was they were not totally wrong to think they were antichrists. There are always antichrists. These antichrists foreshadow the ultimate one that will come. Antichrist is not only a person but is also a spirit. That is why in 1 John 2: 18 it says that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared, from this we know it is the last hour. The main bulk of Revelation deals with God’s judgment on a world that hates the concept of God’s Law and God ruling. They want to have all the blessings of the Messianic kingdom without the true Messiah. They want a Messiah chosen by themselves rather than chosen by God. God is angry with sin, God hates sin and so God must punish sin. And yet God is still love. God is merciful and so what we have, I believe, in the scripture is a patient God who has come to the end of warnings, who has waited over 2000 years for people to repent and therefore has said enough is enough.

We think that things are not that bad. We think that things are going to get better, but when we turn on the news or pick up the paper we see that things are not getting better. In South Africa, since Apartheid ended, which was a racist regime and should have come to an end, there has been more robberies, more violent crime, a greater spread of AIDS, more corruption. In Genesis 15: 13 – 16 we read that God would wait 400 years for the sin of the Amorite to be filled up before judging them. That is called long suffering. When we are wronged after a few times within a year we will start to take action against that person but God is patient. In Revelation you have a treading down of Christians and Jews and unless God does something there would be an annihilation of the testimony of His truth, to which He promised… ‘man is like the grass of the field, the grass whithers and falls off but the Word of the Lord endures forever.’ God is judging humanity which is under the Antichrist and the rule of Satan himself. Has God therefore stopped being love? I do not believe so. I believe that even in God’s judgments there is still mercy expressed in the way those judgments are brought about. God will never ever lose control of His anger.

I want to look at the preludes to the three types of judgment in revelation and see what they teach us concerning this issue. We will start with the prelude to the seal judgments, then onto the trumpet judgments and then finally onto the bowl judgments. Each set of judgments is more drastic than the former. In the seals we see things that are similar to events that we hear about today. The first two seals indicate that this is a future event because the white horse goes out and then peace is taken from the earth after. (Rev 6: 1 – 4) In order for peace to be taken from the earth, there has to be a temporary peace brought about for peace to be taken away. But after that we deal with phenomenon like famine, a ¼ of mankind killed by sword, pestilence and wild animals and famine. At the end of the seals is something drastic, the great earthquake. Then in the trumpet judgments it gets worse. A 1/3 of all the earth, trees and green grass is burned up, a 1/3 of the sea becomes blood and so on. But the bowl judgments are the worst. The whole sea becomes blood, all the waters become intoxicated. There is severe sun burn on those who take the mark of the beast and huge darkness over the antichrist kingdom.

Where is the mercy in that? Let us start by going to Revelation 4. Before we get onto judgment we start with the throne room of God. The throne room of God is a heavenly tabernacle and its whole characteristic is holiness. The first statement about God made in this room is found in verse 8 where the 4 creatures call God, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’. The scene takes you back to Mount Sinai where there are terrible peals of thunder and flashes of lightning. It was before the throne that Isaiah balked at being a man of unclean lips. To the Israelites at Mount Sinai (in Exodus 19) touching the holy mountain while God was on it meant death. Only those consecrated could go up the mountain. There were loud trumpet sounds and in Exodus 24: 10 the elders would see up the mountain to the LORD and under his feet was a pavement of clear sapphire like the glassy sea in Revelation 4. In heaven the Lord, seated on His throne, is surrounded by Cherubim. This is just like the mercy seat on the ark where God’s glory manifested between the Cherubim and this mercy seat, (lid to the Ark) was in the Holy of holies where the priest could go only once a year to make atonement for the sins. All eyes would watch the priest go in. We are now told to come boldly to the throne of Grace. How can this awesome throne be called a throne of grace when it is so terrible? How can we call this throne a throne of Grace when this is the starting point for all the terrible judgments that are to follow? Because look at what is round the throne. A rainbow which goes all the way around the throne. As the preacher, Bill Randles, said it does not matter where God looks he sees the rainbow which reminds Him of the promise He made, not to flood the earth with water again. God is merciful. The next judgment is with fire but the rainbow reminds God of the covenant he made with man. Thus God is patient. God does not delight in the death of the wicked. When Jesus died, the veil that cut man off from the Holy of holies was rent and thus opened the way for all to go in. The throne is the throne of grace because Jesus has made a way for us to approach it boldly without being struck down dead because Jesus consecrates us by His blood.

In fact, there is also a sea of crystal there in the throne room. This is called a sea of glass. If you have looked at the tabernacle, there is also a sea there too. It is called the bronze laver, and in Solomon’s temple it was called a ‘sea of cast metal’. (1 Kings 7: 23). This was the place where the priests would wash their hands and feet. It was made of bronze. In the New Testament we also have to have our feet washed. Jesus told the disciples to wash one another’s feet and we know that the washing for cleansing is with the Word of God. The bronze of the laver speaks of judgment in that if we judged ourselves we would not have to be judged. (1 Corinthians 11: 31). We must not be judged and judge each other by personal sensibilities because that is hypocritical and it is putting ourselves in God’s place but we are to judge only by the Word. The aim of this must only be for the cleansing of self and others. In other words we help each other on the road of sanctification. When we become Christians we are saying to God, ‘Change anything about me that You want to. Take anything away or add anything You want to. I am not my own anymore, Lord I am Yours.’ Above this sea we see a throne of grace. Judgment starts with the house of God. That is what Revelation 2 – 3 was about. A two edged sword, the Word of God, came out of Jesus’ mouth to separate all that is profane from the holy.

If we endure and persevere with the Lord’s discipline, if we stand on the sea of glass, then the throne is a throne of grace. But if we are under the glassy sea, we become like the Israelites, fearful of their lives because there is judgment. If you read Ezekiel 1 you will see the something like the throne room but from under the glassy sea. It is seen as an expanse of something like crystal. Above the expanse is the throne and below are 4 living creatures very similar but not identical to the ones in revelation. In chapter 10:15 we read that these living beings are Cherubim. But in the midst of the Cherubim there are burning coals darting to and fro. In chapter 10 a man clothed in linen is told to go in between the beings and to fill his hands with coals and to scatter them over the city of Jerusalem. This signifies God’s judgment over a people whose spirituality was relegated to meaningless ritual, a people who adopted the worship practices of other religions and mixed them with the Temple worship of the Lord; these people, to whom the true God seemed less real than Tammuz, or the sun. Their religion was a joke and God was angry at having His glory perverted and stained. Above the sea it was a throne of grace but below the sea it was a throne of judgment. If we would judge ourselves by the Word of God, then we would not have to be judged. If we enter into a life of sanctification then God’s throne is a throne of Grace. You were not redeemed with perishable things like Gold or silver but with the precious blood of the Lamb; blood that can wash away every sin and clean you. You are not saved only to stop yourself from going to hell, or to be a part of the church group. You and I are saved to be like Jesus. This is the predestination that God foreordained before the world began, that those who are in Christ, would not only be in Christ, but would be made a brother to Christ and share the inheritance with Christ. This is God’s work in you. But you must want it. Do you want to be made like Christ? You must seek after him, no religious games! Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, not in your own steam but because it is God who is at work in you to will and to work for to His good pleasure. It is a partnership between us and God because God is a relational God. There is mercy in judgment.

But then in Revelation chapter 5 we see that God on the throne has a book in his right hand which is sealed up. The book is a book which contains judgment. The seven seals on the book unleash judgments. Now, what right does God have to bring these judgments on the earth? Verse 11 of chapter 4 tell us that the 24 elders sing that God is worthy of all glory and honour and power. Why does God deserve all that? Because He created everything and everything was created for His pleasure but for some reason most of our human race could not care to give the creator the time of day. We owe our very breathe to Him and that is why He should be number one in our lives. Did you never ask those questions when you were a kid? Who am I? Where did I come from? Where did the stars come from? Why do we have the impulse to ask those questions? Because a sense of identity is integral to what it means to be human. And our identity is bound up in our creator.

The greatest sin, worse than murder or theft of embezzling money is to turn our backs on the one to whom we owe our existence. What is antichrist about? Making himself to be like God. We decide to be gods in the driving seat of our own lives and no god, no christ no nothing is going to tell us what we should and should not do with our lives. This deserves judgment. If you break national law you must face the court and if you are found guilty you must pay the price for your crimes. If you are guilty it does not matter how many old ladies you have helped cross the road or how much charity you have given, the price still has to be paid. All you can face is judgment. Where is the mercy in that?

But the cry goes out in heaven, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?’ And there is no one in heaven, on earth and under the earth who is worthy. Now we are talking of trillions and trillions ad infinitum of beings who have ever existed in the physical and spiritual realm and there cannot be found even one, who can open the seals! What is John’s response to this? He starts to weep. John is not weeping out of curiosity to know what is in the book. That is not why he is crying! John has been suffering in Patmos for the word of God. John would have known many, many believers martyred for the faith, unjustly killed. John knows how this world is not what it should be and we are in a mess. He knows that God has promised to restore the fortunes of His people Israel. But now there is a problem, no one can open the book. Were the believers suffering for nothing? Where is the justice in that? You think if someone were to take a sword and mutilate a baby. What if the judge showed that person mercy and let him off. The nation would be incensed. So on the one hand when judgment is rendered we cry ‘Where is the mercy?’ But when wicked get off we cry ‘Where is the justice in that?’ That is why John is crying; where is the justice, who is going to set all the wrongs right?’ And then John is comforted. One of the elders says in verse 5. “Stop weeping, the lion from the tribe of Judah has overcome.” The lion is a majestic, powerful creature and yet what does John see? He does not see a lion, but he sees a lamb. This lamb looks weak, having been slain, and looks defenseless. In this world might is right, but God’s wisdom supersedes the world. The message of the cross is foolishness to the world but to us it is the power of God to salvation. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Why meek? Because God will set right all the wrongs, we do not have to start a violent, anarchistic revolution. Here the Lamb comes to set right all the wrongs, to bring judgment. But why a Lamb? Why did Jesus have to appear as a Lamb in order to break the seals? Because the Lamb is the animal of sacrifice to take away the sin of the world. In other words no one can point their finger to God when the judgments come and say, ‘It is not fair God, you do not love us, you do not care, this is not just’; because it is the Lamb who brings the judgments. The reply for those who accuse God is, ‘Look, I did everything to spare you from this judgment, because I love you.’ “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Where is the mercy in these judgments? In the Lamb, there is mercy in the Lamb.

The second set of judgments start in Revelation 8: 1 – 6. These judgments start with half an hour of silence. There is mercy in this judgment, concerning God’s patience. The anger of man is uncontrolled and is something that flies off the handle. God is not like that. That is why God can say in Psalm 4: 4 ‘Tremble with anger, and do not sin.’ This is called righteous anger. God is in full control of and reveals His anger in a controlled fashion. In heaven, before the trumpets are sounded there is silence. Everything is orderly and there is a sequence of events. No angel is allowed to run riot. The shofar, the trumpet, is an instrument of warning. Trumpets in scripture, especially in Numbers 10: 1 – 10, were there to call people to an assembly or to sound an alarm for battle. We see the use of 7 trumpets in the downfall of Jericho in Joshua 6 where they marched round the walls once a day for six days and then on the seventh they were to march round the city 7 times and then they were to blow the trumpets and shout. Thus the walls fell down. God is declaring war on the Kingdoms of the world in Revelation. He will take over and put an end to the corruption and the evil. He will install His kingdom. So where is the mercy in that? These judgments only touch a third of the earth. This is not even the full manifestation of God’s wrath. It is still only a taste of what is to come. When these things come God is saying, ‘Wake up, I am taking over, the end has come’. We live in a world where politicians carry a connotation of being corrupt, power hungry people. Dictators are treated with disdain. Jesus is coming back to take it over. His mercy lies in the fact that he has given clear signs before it is too late to turn back; God’s mercy in judgment.

And lastly there are the judgments of the bowls of wrath. We see in Revelation 15 that in these bowls the wrath of God is finished. In other words it will be completed. Whatever went on before, was just a taster of these judgments. How long or quickly these judgments go on for is not stated but they are terrible. Where is the mercy in God’s judgment here? Firstly we see that those who had been victorious over the beast and his image are on a sea of glass mixed with fire. In chapter 15 they sing something called the song of Moses. You can find the song of Moses in Exodus 15 but the words are very different in the two songs. So what is the link between them? In Exodus Pharaoh was the king who oppressed the people of God. God sent plagues on his kingdom so that Pharaoh would let God’s people go. Pharaoh’s armies chase God’s people and after Israel walk through the red sea, Pharaoh’s army is destroyed and Israel are taken away. So here too, there is another type of Pharaoh in Revelation 13: 7 who makes war with the saints and overpowers them. God sends plagues, which we have seen, and then God is about to bring his full wrath and here we find these believers have come out of the tribulation. In their weakness they overcame. How did they overcome? Not in overthrowing the antichrist but as 12: 11 says, they overcame Satan because of the blood of the lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even till death. These judgments of the bowls, being the worst judgments, seem to show less mercy, but not to the redeemed because the redeemed are delivered. Here we see the saints who have been victorious spared from the bowls of wrath. This is after the two harvests in Revelation 14. There is a reaping harvest in verses 15 – 16 which then leads to the discussion of a harvest of grape clusters which is a harvest of blood shed in verses 17 – 20. It is only after the first harvest and the victorious saints are on the sea of glass that the bowls of wrath are handed out to the angels.

But there is one more manifestation of God’s mercy in judgment. Read Rev 15: 8. In this verse we see that during the 7 bowls of wrath, the temple is filled with smoke and no one is able to enter the temple. Why do you think that is? Because man, angel or any other created being would not be able to take it! Therefore God puts a restriction on His wrath and a hedge of protection around His people. God is totally unlike us. He is so high and Holy and we cannot perceive the burden that God carries. God is holy and must judge but God is a God of mercy too. God has always been mercy and forever will be mercy. God does not change. But God must judge sin or else He is not a good God. Yet He has done everything that we might be recipients of his mercy. God will always have some measure of mercy in His judgments. Who do you choose to serve; yourself or the Lord? God’s mercy is always there but it is there for those who belong to Him, who have received His free gift of salvation and forgiveness on the basis of Jesus’ completed work on the cross. In the end this will determine whether you will be recipient of God’s mercy or His full judgment.

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