Copyright © 2008 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
We who minister the things of God have two choices. We can plan out in our mind what we should do, or we can seek the mind of the Lord concerning what we should do. It appears throughout Church history that the ministers of God have attempted to perform the work of the Kingdom according to their own knowledge, wisdom, strength, and talents.
Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the high hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the LORD’s covenant moved from the camp. (Numbers 14:4)
Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. (Psalms 19:13)
We who minister the things of God have two choices:
- We can plan out in our mind what we should do. Or:
- We can seek the mind of the Lord concerning what we should do.
It appears that throughout Church history, the ministers of God have attempted to perform the work of the Kingdom according to their own knowledge, wisdom, strength, and talents.
While I was in Bible school, I was taught that the Apostles worked out strategies by which they hoped to spread the Gospel. I did not believe it then and I do not believe it now. The Book of Acts is not a record of Church leaders developing strategies for the spread of the Gospel. In actuality, the Book of Acts is not the Book of Acts of the Apostles but the Book of Acts of the Holy Spirit.
In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:1-3)
When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. (Acts 16:7-10)
A study of the Book of Acts will reveal that the Apostles leaned more from the directions given by the Spirit of God than they did from their own understanding of “missions.”
That was and still is true of the Lord Jesus. While on earth, He did not speak His own words or perform His own actions. Everything Christ did and said, and all of His judgments and decisions, were of the Father through the Holy Spirit.
By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:30)
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. (John 8:28)
Don’t you believe I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. (John 14:10)
The Lord Jesus was tempted in three ways:
The first temptation, that of turning stone into bread, represents the error of putting our attention on the necessities of life rather than on the Lord. The Lord responded to Satan by reminding him of the verse of Scripture that declares: “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God.”
Many Christians are so bound by the need to find survival and security in the world that they never discover their true calling in the Lord. They would never find it possible to do God’s will if it meant turning away from the means of obtaining money. The wealthy young man had an opportunity to receive eternal life, but chose instead to maintain his trust in money.
The Lord Jesus was tested also in the area of gaining the pleasures of this life. Jesus knew to receive such pleasures, He would need to worship Satan. Instead, the Lord pointed out to Satan the commandment that we are to worship and serve the one true God.
There remained one more temptation. For some people, this one is probably the most difficult of all. This was the suggestion that Christ jump off the pinnacle of Herod’s Temple. This satanic advice is pitched toward the spiritually ambitious person.
The test of the pinnacle concerns the desire of our sinful nature to act according to our own will rather than to wait for God’s advice and decisions. The test of the pinnacle is the one that Christians have failed throughout Church history. It is the invitation to presumption. It is Satan who places us on the pinnacle and Satan who suggests we prove the Word of God by jumping off.
The pinnacle is a cross. It is the place of frustration, of death to our desire to “get out and do something for the Lord.” It is death to all religious enthusiasm.
“If you are the Son of God, come down from the pinnacle, down from the cross.” “It is written: ‘You shall not put God to the test,’” was the response of the Lord Jesus.
In modern Charismatic teaching, God continually is being put to the test.
- “Give God 500 dollars and God will give you 5000 dollars. You can’t outgive God!”
- “Smash your glasses. It is written: “By whose stripes you were healed.”
- “The Bible is the same as Jesus Christ. Just say the words of the Bible, and believe them, and it is Christ speaking. He sent His word and healed them. My word shall not return to Me empty.”
- “Dare to be a Daniel. Jump into the lions’ den and God will save you.”
- “Borrow a million dollars and build a new sanctuary. God will provide all your needs.”
- “Put a thousand dollars in the offering and you will never have cancer.”
- “The King’s business requires haste, so don’t go to Bible school. Just go to the airport and someone will hand you a ticket so you can be a missionary to China.”
- “Dare to imagine big things for God! Step out in faith! God is waiting to see if you will believe how great He is.”
- “If your husband or wife is not ‘spiritual’ enough, leave him or her and go off with someone who is more ‘spiritual.’”
- “Make out a check in any amount you chose and then spend it. By faith your check will be covered at the bank.”
- “Put legs on your prayers. After you have prayed, go out and make it happen. God helps those who help themselves.”
- “Our work is God’s work.”
- “Don’t just sit around while millions are going to Hell. Go out and force someone to ‘accept Christ.’”
- “God is waiting for you to dare to go to another country and trust Him for your food and shelter.”
- “You should not be sitting in the pew and getting fat. You should go door to door and ‘compel them to come in.’”
- “Command it to be so, and it will be so, according to your faith.”
- “Sons of God, rise up! Put on your administrative hats! Bring deliverance to a lost and dying world!”
The above exhortations are typical of Evangelical-Charismatic teaching and preaching. Perhaps you have heard some of them. Such advice actually is the voice of the False Prophet. The False Prophet has two horns like a lamb but speaks with the voice of the Dragon.
Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. (Revelation 13:11)
The “two horns like a lamb” speaks of power, like a double portion of the power of Jesus, the Lamb of God. This refers to believers who will work miracles in the name of the Lord Jesus and support self-willed, democratic government. But these prophets will speak with the voice of the Dragon.
What does the voice of the Dragon tell us to do? Do you remember when Peter exhorted Jesus to not go up to Jerusalem to make the blood atonement, trying to keep Jesus from suffering? This was the voice of the Dragon, of Satan. Jesus addressed it as such: “You do not understand the things of God but of men.”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23)
The Dragon, being totally and irreversibly self-willed himself, addresses the self-love, the presumption, of people. The “love” the Dragon espouses understands the things of men but not the things of God. The love, love, love we hear today from the churches and the liberal forces of American society is the voice of the Dragon addressing our self-centeredness and self-will, our presumptuous nature.
It is interesting that Hebrews chapter 11, the “faith chapter,” does not contain one instance of aggressive faith or of using faith to meet the needs of the world. Rather, the saints described in Hebrews exercised the faith that is obedience to God rather than a faith that puts God to the test.
True faith results in obedience to God’s will, not an effort on our part to try to believe something into existence or to cause something to take place as we follow our own idea of what we think God wants.
Wouldn’t it be something if all the denominations shut down until they heard from God? What do you think would result from this? However, the record of Church history shows that a denomination will set goals it sincerely believes to be advantageous for the Kingdom of God, and then train people to go out and attempt to reach those goals. But perhaps more often than not, the leaders of the denomination, while they are pursuing what they truly believe to be God’s will, could not afford to wait long enough to be certain.
I am confident that the Catholic leaders were sure they were doing God’s will when they murdered dissenters. I do not believe they understood that they were killing innocent people. They were certain God was looking down and blessing them.
The same is true of the scribes and Pharisees, the chief priests and elders of Israel. Did they understand Jesus was the God of Sinai, or the Christ, or the Son of God? If they had understood, they would not have harmed Him in any manner. They would have sought His favor. The elders of Israel remain one of the most pointed examples of how a religious person can be absolutely positive he or she is serving God, and yet be horribly mistaken.
Trying to serve God and do His will is always dangerous. It is dangerous because Satan becomes involved. If there is any personal ambition, romanticism, or enthusiasm operating in the would-be minister, Satan will use that to deceive the individual.
God is not in much of the Christian activity that takes place. Almost all Christian work, it seems, is performed by well intentioned believers who desire to please God. But they do not understand that Christ is not waiting for human beings to decide to build the Kingdom of God according to their own understanding. Christ is sovereign in His power and wisdom, in His knowledge of God’s will. He is building His Church on the Rock that He Himself is.
I marvel, sometimes, when I see the majestic pageantry that occurs in Rome when an important event takes place in the Catholic Church. Such marvelous pomp and ceremony! The same could be said of the Protestant ceremonies, except they are not as spectacular as those of the Catholic denomination. And there is the Pope who governs several hundred million people—perhaps three times as many as there are citizens in the United States of America.
Yet, none of this is of Christ. I do not say this to insult the Catholic religion, for I know there have been numerous priests and nuns who have given their lives to assist the poor and needy of the world.
Any Christian leader, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant his or her work may prove to be, is of the same spirit as the mightiest of the denominations if he or she is proceeding according to his or her understanding rather than obeying the explicit will of Christ.
But how can we know the Lord’s will? We know the Lord’s will by going to Him continually and letting our requests be known. Then we continue doing what is set before us, making no changes until we have heard from the Lord.
It is not easy to discover God’s will. We must present our body a living sacrifice
If we are a young person, we need to heed the counsel of our parents or of the elders of the church before we launch into some type of ministry. (There are rare exceptions where the Lord will speak to a young person, and he or she will need to go against the opinions of those who normally are to be obeyed. These exceptions are rare indeed and quite dangerous, because a novice is quickly deceived by Satan.)
Waiting for the Lord to direct us is not easy. We tend to get ahead of the Lord or to become passive and get involved in some area of worldly interest. Also, we will be mocked by religious individuals who are busily and happily engaged in “the Lord’s work.” They do not understand what it means to wait to hear from God before we attempt to minister.
God is not pleased when we rush out in our own wisdom and strength and try to do great things.
Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment. (Isaiah 50:10,11)
It can be noticed that the denominations of our day place an unscriptural emphasis on the numbers of people involved in a church or religious work. The more people, the more important the work. The Lord said He would be with two or three who gather in His name. In America at the present hour, a gathering of two or three people would be considered inconsequential. Yet these two or three people together with the Lord Jesus might be shaping the destiny of the world.
When the Lord Jesus was on the pinnacle of Herod’s Temple, He certainly appeared to be insignificant. Think of what was taking place in the Temple at the time. The priests were rushing about doing what they felt was terrifically important. The money-changers were extorting money from the Israelites who came to offer sacrifices. And yet, God was sitting on the pinnacle of the Temple. How ridiculous! But how revealing as to the actual importance of what we think we are seeing in religious work.
Who would have thought Simeon and Anna would have gained the place in history that they have. They recognized the Christ of Israel. Their names have been written in numerous languages and have been heard around the world. Simeon and Anna! What do you think the priests thought of the importance of Simeon and Anna? Yet the names of the important priests have not been written in numerous languages and heard around the world.
We really ought to learn from this to ask God what is important and what is not. When the disciples expected the Lord Jesus to admire Herod’s Temple, Jesus instead saw only rubble. We need to see as Jesus sees, but that requires much prayer and waiting on the Lord.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all Christian work ceased as of this moment, and nothing proceeded to be carried out except that which Jesus was directing?
We Americans are people of action. It is difficult for us to refrain from putting our hand on the Ark of God. We Americans are filled with the spirit of Antichrist, that is, with man making himself God.
In Matthew chapter 24, Jesus warned the elect to flee from Jerusalem when they see the abomination that causes desolation standing in the holy place.
So when you see standing in the holy place “the abomination that causes desolation,” spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matthew 24:15,16)
The above passage is referring to the following verse:
He will confirm a covenant with many for one “seven.” In the middle of the “seven” he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
There is an interesting alternate reading in the footnotes of the New International Version of the Scriptures:
“And one who causes desolation will come upon the pinnacle of the abominable temple, until the end that is decreed is poured out on the desolated city.”
So we have as follows: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And one who causes desolation will come upon the pinnacle of the abominable temple, until the end that is decreed is poured out on the desolated city.”
I will give my interpretation of the above: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’” may refer to Antichrist establishing his forces during Daniel’s seventieth week, a period of time that will occur just before the close of the Church Age. “In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering” may be speaking of the time Antichrist is given the authority to reach into the heavens and tear down some of the host. When this takes place, it will not be possible for the people of the cities of the earth to receive Christ (the sacrifice) or to receive the Holy Spirit (the offering). However, we know throughout the last “week”, there will be deliverance in Mount Zion and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. There will be saints hidden in the wilderness and the people who go out to them will be delivered.
“And one who causes desolation will come upon the pinnacle of the abominable temple, until the end that is decreed is poured out on the desolated city.” It is noteworthy that the test of presumption, of arrogant man conducting his way on the earth without being obedient to God, took place on the pinnacle of the Temple of Herod.
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; They will lift you up in their hands, so you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Luke 4:9-12)
Now we find that Antichrist will place something on the pinnacle of the rebuilt temple. Could it be that a statute of the Antichrist will be installed on the pinnacle, the highest point of the Temple, to show that man is now in supreme control? This would be the greatest possible act of presumption.
Notice the expression the “abominable temple.” If the Jews somehow are able to clear the Temple Mount and rebuild the Temple, it will be an abomination. It would be fitting to have a statue of Antichrist on its pinnacle. Why is this?
Remember that the orthodox Jews follow (or worship) the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. But it is not possible for them to observe the Torah because the required animal sacrifice is not permitted when there is no temple. If the Jews rebuild the Temple, it will be so they once again can sacrifice young bulls and goats to make an atonement for their sins. God will never, never, never regard a temple made with hands, now that the new covenant has been established. He proclaimed this through Stephen. God will never, never, never accept an atonement made by the blood of animals now that His Son has been offered on the cross as an atonement for the sins of the world. Therefore, the rebuilding of the Temple would be an abominable presumption, a religious act completely oblivious to the will of God.
The placing of the figure of a man on the highest point of the Temple would be the supreme presumption. Here we would have an abomination indeed. The abomination is that of man making himself God.
In any enterprise, military, educational, artistic, philosophic, medical, religious, technical, musical, when man works apart from God, the result will be desolation.
We can see today in the United States, at one time a relatively godly nation, a degrading of every enterprise. While progress seems to be taking place in some areas, a closer look will see that new problems arise that negate the apparent progress. To say the United States is a better place than it was a hundred years ago is to ignore the debauchery of human beings taking place. Our country is attempting to better itself without reference to God. The result is—as it always will be—desolation.
Our prisons are crowded. Venereal diseases are rampant. Children are shooting each other in the schools. Hollywood is presenting entertainment that is nauseating in its depiction of mutilation and death. Our large cities are bordering on anarchy. Washington D. C. is not a safe place to visit at night. Violence is worshiped throughout the nation.
We are blind to this and are presenting our philosophy of government, which is based on the rights of the individual, as a model to other societies that do not have many of the social problems that are true of us.
But such blindness always is the way with Antichrist. In the last days, people will be crying “peace and safety” when all around them is desolation and corruption.
If you have served the Lord for any period of time, you have become aware when you serve God and ask Him to help you, much good comes your way. Sometimes the good does not come instantly because you are being tested. But eventually peace and joy become your portion.
Godly people have built a great nation. Now the ungodly are tearing it down. They are arrogant. They will not seek the Lord. They have no intention of surrendering their right to do whatever they wish; to say whatever they wish. They would place a barrier between the State and the Church until Christianity is driven from the consciousness of people. But He who sits in the heavens is laughing at the dust of the ground as it attempts to cast off His restraints. But woe unto us when God stops laughing!
God has set a table. “Take and eat what you want,” God says, “and you will pay for it later.” We in America are becoming drunk on sexual perversion, the murder of fetuses, and satanic entertainment. We are wrenching the gifts of God to please our insatiable appetite for pleasure. But a Gentile holocaust is in the wings.
Presumption is a great transgression. The battle cry of the Protestant Reformation is, “The just shall live by faith.” The opposite of living by faith is living by our own arrogance and self-will.
The righteous do not live by arrogance and self-will. They live by looking to Jesus for every breath they draw, every thought they think, every action they take. They cannot get enough of Jesus. They want to be immersed in Him. They want Him to be in everything they do. It is Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!
Like the Apostle Paul, whatever is gain for us is loss for Christ. Every relationship, every situation, everything that is of worth, must be brought down to death in Christ and reestablished in Christ if it is to be a lasting joy for us.
We do not trust ourselves that we can do anything of ourselves. Our trust is in the Lord Jesus twenty-four hours of every day, seven days of every week. We have the sentence of death in ourselves so that we will not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.
Let those who wish to do so, trust in their own strength and in the strength of others. But as for me, I choose to be crucified with Christ and to live by His Life.
How about you?
(“Presumption”, 3486-1, proofed 20210831)