When the Curtain is Drawn Back

January 2019

When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:    But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore.  For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. . . . Ps. 92:7-9

We are taught stories at a young age that reveal the mysteries of life to guide us from youth, if we retain them.  Such a lesson is the story of the big bad wolf that came to blow down the houses of the three little pigs.  He blew down the house of straw and the one made of sticks because they were weak in structure.  When the wolf came to blow down the house of bricks, it was too strong and withstood his attack. This lesson teaches us to build strong houses or lives that can withstand the storms of life.  Important lessons can be learned from simple childhood stories.

Several more complicated lessons can be learned from the lengthy story of the Wizard of Oz.  Who could forget the end of the story?  The long, tedious journey of Dorothy and her friends brought them before a menacing wizard that made them shake in their boots.  When Dorothy’s dog pulled back the curtain, a shocking sight was revealed to them.  The menacing voice behind the curtain was really a small, weak old man using a magnified voice to create fear in those who heard him. He was revealed as a fraud and imitator. Things can seem menacing or impenetrable but that may just be the curtain.  The wolf is not always so smart and the evil curtain is not always as invincible as it appears.

The scripture written above reveals a truth about the end of a menacing enemy.  First appearances may seem foreboding and impenetrable but it does not mean it will withstand the force of time or pressure.  Scriptures in Psalms and Proverbs give us the wisdom of age-old problems.  They reveal our most earnest needs in life and our fear at the challenges of an enemy.  God reveals in Psalms and Proverbs that He both supplies what we need and conquers our fear.  The lessons of our youth, which brought us hope, often need to be repeated to our more mature self because of the many times we have failed the test and the challenges to our faith.

The innocence of the Garden of Eden gave way to the evil that was waiting behind the curtain when disobedience was accomplished.  We have had to deal with that evil throughout life as it has risen and fallen.  When it rises to an overwhelming force where it looks like it will destroy us, there is an invisible force behind another curtain that causes it to subside because the Overseer behind this curtain is neither timid nor powerless to help us.  Childhood stories gave us hope that evil could be overcome but the terrorizing fear in adulthood may not always withstand the fear with youthful hope.  Amazingly, God has told believers that they must come to Him as little children (Mt. 18:3); yet adults often choose to internalize their fear that unconquered will cause tumors, heart disease, cancer, strokes as well as many phobias and other diseases resulting from fear.

Ancient Israel had an experience with a curtain that had hidden behind it the means of their deliverance and instruction.  As long as they obeyed, God kept them safe.  In the midst of their camp in the wilderness, they built a place of worship called the tabernacle that was surrounded by curtains.  They stepped within the borders of the curtains to interact with their God.  They brought an offering behind the curtains from their bounty in penitence for sin  and found God’s mercy extended toward them.  Once a year, God extended an opportunity to meet with Him for a fresh start.  The high priest would go behind the curtain into the holy of holies to meet with God on behalf of the people.  If he was a clean representative of the people, he would meet with God and receive favor and the removal of the sin from Israel.  If he had not properly prepared himself to meet with God and was unclean, he would die behind the curtain and the rope attached to his leg would be used by the people to pull him out from behind the curtain where the glory and presence of God abode.  The nature of God was always that He was good but the people and the priests received the consequences of their actions.  This practice left a lot to be desired and God had in mind a better way that was to come down through the ages of time in Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice and perfect priest.

When Jesus came into the earth, Divinity was wrapped in a curtain of human flesh.  God was extending mercy to all mankind.  Jesus walked the earth for 33 years, repudiating sin and rebuking evil.  His mission was to overcome evil with good.  Evil seemed to have won when the evil one provoked man to pierce the flesh of the Holy One on a cruel cross until Jesus died.  What seemed to have been the end was only a new beginning though. When darkness pierced the curtain (the flesh of Jesus’ body), it rend the veil between man and God that released the Holy Spirit.  The darkness of sin met with the mercy of God revealed in the Holy Spirit that dwelt behind the curtain in the tabernacle. The barrier between God and man was removed so man could approach his God for himself without the intermediary of a high priest. Sin and the devil had lost and man and the Holy Spirit had won by the power of God.

Jesus paid the price for the removal of sin and evil. The Holy Spirit abides with us today in an intimacy that neither the tabernacle nor the flesh of Jesus could.  The tabernacle was limited to a particular place and time as was Jesus when He walked the earth.  But today the Holy Spirit can be everywhere at the same time and available to whomever needs Him.  The Holy Spirit is also a curtain now that hides the saints of God from the evil that is without. We know that the devil is an imitator of God, so he hides his workers behind a curtain too.  The source of evil is often veiled and it can be difficult to discern where it is coming from or what hand has dealt the fatal blow.  It can often hit us from various directions until it seems overwhelming.  No amount of darkness though is hidden from the All-Seeing Eyes of God who watches over the earth and His children.

When those that possesses the Holy Spirit of God commune behind the veil with the Father about the evil in the earth, God rolls back the curtain of darkness to expose the evil with His light.  We no longer have to wait on the high priest of the tabernacle or the once-a-year intervention.  God’s power is immediately available to all His children.  Satan, who manipulates people and operates in darkness, is revealed when the curtain of darkness is pulled back by the light of Christ Jesus.  Behind that curtain is a weak and defeated enemy who has already succumbed to the power of Christ’s resurrection.  The truth that Satan is already defeated is a truth he wanted kept a secret but it is one destroys the fear of his lies.

The three little pigs need not fear the big bad wolf anymore because they dwell in a house strong enough to withstand the wolf’s attack.  One version of the story has the wolf trying to sneak in the house by the chimney and ending up in a pot of scalding water on the fireplace that provides a wealth for the three little pigs when they sell his hide.  The menacing wizard behind the curtain was powerless as is the devil against the child of God. Jesus came veiled in a body of flesh and blood to destroy the devil that had the power of death and Jesus delivered believers from a lifetime in the fear of death.

The wolf has brought a breath of fear against the nation of America and the wisdom of God has allowed some houses of straw or sticks to fall.  There were houses built on false teachings; lust of money, sex and self-fulfillment that fell when exposed to the light.  America’s nature of infidelity was revealed when God pulled back the curtain of false religion and exposed false doctrine, fraud, idolatry and sexual immorality in the pulpit and priesthood.  He pulled back the curtain of government and exposed racism, discrimination, fraud, organized crime, hatred, sexual immorality, lies, national disloyalty, ignorance and pride.  He pulled back the curtain of business and exposed fraud, theft, sexual immorality, greed and treachery.  God has allowed America to see that it has poor leadership in homes, schools, government, businesses and its churches  Their weaknesses came because of failing to acknowledge and uphold the power of God in their leadership.  God did not expose these weaknesses for America’s defeat but rather for America’s repentance.  Even though these weaknesses could cause the nation to fall, it is God who determines whether it stands or falls.  His decision depends on the nation’s decision on repentance and turn from sin.  A drowning man must make the decision between fighting for life and giving up to die.  The fight for America depends on giving up the fight against God and dying to sin so there can be a rebirth.  The unethical nature of America is no better than the nations to whom it once stood as a shining light on a hill or beacon.

Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people. Prov. 11:34

God reveals man’s sin in the open when he fails to heed the various warnings sent to him to repent. At every church communion, God asks that believers examine themselves and determine if they are suitable to commune with God behind the veil.  God both allows and helps His children to discover their own sin so as to repent and be delivered from that which can cause death.  It is the love of God that reveals our sin to us.  Every Israelite that came to the tabernacle with an offering for sin was acknowledging to the priest that he was a sinner deserving death but was requesting mercy instead. The priest accepting the offering was supposed to be sanctified for the purpose of receiving the offering for sin and standing as an intermediary between God and man even though no human has ever been worthy for this task.  Judgment was temporarily prevented by this system of repentance and forgiveness of sin.  The resurrection of Christ from the dead for our sin has replaced the Israelite system with the new system of Christ’s own blood offered once for the sin of every believer.

Today Christ requires man to confess sin in intimacy with Him through prayer and in some cases to another believer to receive forgiveness.  Christ will reveal our sin to us in the privacy of our prayer in communion with Him when our heart is tender enough to hear.  Those that resist this option will have the opportunity to be told their sin by another person or circumstance.  Strong resistance against confession of sin brings more sternness from God to make one aware of sin and allow opportunity for repentance.  This is the mercy of God.  Prophets may be sent to a people refusing to heed God’s warnings.  They stand as an intermediary between man and the judgment in the Old and New Testaments.  God has always shown mercy toward mankind to get them to return to Him before destruction.  Noah preached for 120 years before the destruction by flood that wiped out the whole earth.  God loves the creation He has made and He said it all was good after making it.  Romans Chapter One tells us that even the wicked on which wrath will fall have had God revealed to them through nature itself testifying of God and that they are without excuse.  God is willing to reveal Himself to all that seek Him in sincerity and forgive all sin through Jesus Christ’s blood shed on the cross.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Pe 3:9 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. Jo. 3:16-17

God has allowed the curtain to be pulled back to reveal the sin of our nation, leaders and people so that we can receive the forgiveness made available to us through the ripping of the tabernacle veil to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior of the world, where we can find mercy in our time of need.  If the veil of our heart has been rend to reveal our personal need, then God has allowed us opportunity to humble ourselves in His presence to receive His mercy and grace.

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