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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Division Bell

'Let Freedom Ring!' We know 'for whom the bell tolled'; it was those first-century apostate Jews! They're the ones who were separated like so many goats from the sheep! The question of the hour is, 'does or should this Division Bell yet ring?' To most Christians, the answer almost goes without saying; 'of course, there are obviously still the Children of God & children of the devil; these two families are dynamically opposed'. To others, because that division was healed in the first century, the two being made one, the answer is not so easy, or simple. First, we must answer the problem of evil; if all are now the Children/children of their Heavenly Father, then why do so many not acknowledge this & do what is evil in the sight of the Lord?

Sometimes, Freedom might sound more like a trumpet-call, a call to arms, than it does a bell! A great battle was fought for our freedom; yes, in the greatest sense, this was a spiritual battle, with Michael the Arch-angel leading the charge against the forces of wickedness in high places, but this war had its physical aspect as well; for instance, probably not many realize that though it was Rome's armies that made the Judean country-side desolate, it was actually the Jews themselves who laid a fire in the midst of the Temple! Though we understand that Jesus descended to Hades ( I Peter 3:18-20 ), we know that He first hung on the tree to pay the penalty for the sins of His People! 'Satan' was crushed under the feet of the Children of God ( Romans 16:20 ), but we know that, after the Christians had fled to the mountains, it was the Roman armies that stamped out their oppressors!

Such is the Freedom that the Christ brought, a dirty, dusty & bloody battle that ended with the Children of God standing as One! The bell ( which may have sounded more like a trumpet ) signaled  forever the division between the Children of God & the children of the devil. Those children of the devil, whose names were not found written in the Book of Life were cast into the Lake of Fire, the conflagration of Jerusalem & the Temple in 70AD. Those who escaped that desolation, those who were found written in the Book met their Lord in the air ( Greek metaphor ) & rest with their Lord forever. Today, we who have embraced our relationship with this same Lord have found rest from our labors!

In this Day & Age, what some are calling the Age of Aquarius, or 'The Water Bearer', one may rightly say that there is no such division anymore! Yes, undeniably, there are those who still do their best to oppose the Purpose of their Heavenly Father; these may act like children of the devil, but really, they are simply children, children that, like most children, like to see just how far they can push before they experience opposition! Are these wicked people, children who do evil? No doubt, but they, like we, are children of their Heavenly Father, though they may not acknowledge this relationship. We may not wish to treat them as such, or give them the same 'right hand' of fellowship that we offer to those who have become in Christ, but they are our brothers & sisters, we all having the same Heavenly Father, the Creator of Heaven & Earth!

We bear ready witness to the fact that 'freedom aint free'; not in the sense necessarily of the many foreign wars that this nation has been embroiled in for the past two centuries, but in that the struggles that our infant nation faced, as well as it's internal struggles that it still, to whatever extent suffers! It's messy & bloody ( it hurts like hell, sometimes! ), but when the dust clears & we find ourselves breathing that clean fresh mountain air ( again, metaphorically ), we find that all that struggle, all that heartache was worth it! In fact, most often we find that, maintaining this freedom can be quite costly; those who have not yet found this freedom & in fact shrink from it may likely even oppose those who have heard the bell ring. It's not easy; no one's promising that, but Freedom, True Freedom, when it comes, is so refrehing that you may feel that you've experienced a Resurrection of sorts!

Does this 'Bell' still ring today? In a sense it does, for we must still, to whatever extent, distinguish ourselves from those 'children' who still live in ignorance & disobedience, but no more is it 'The Division Bell'; it is the Bell of Freedom! We may not agree with our all our brothers & sisters, in fact we should vehemently disagree with their disobedience, but we should not treat them in such a way that they feel that there is no hope & that they are forever doomed to live in separation from their Heavenly Father & His rightful Children; Let Freedom Ring!

Charles Haddon Shank

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