A Voice in the
Wilderness

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Re: Afraid...?

As God is reviewing with Israel what they are about to face as they go
in to conquer the land God is giving them, among other things, He says,
"You shall not be afraid of them..." (Deut7:21)

In reviewing the matter of false prophets and their visions/predictions
God says the false will be known, because they are not always accurate,
and says, "..you shall not be afraid of him." (Deut18:22)

In both of these verses the several KJV versions and LITV use
variations of the word/s "afraid" or "terrify". And indeed, haven't we
been used to quoting, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good
courage. Do not be afraid, neither be dismayed. For the LORD your God
is with you in all places where you go." (Josh1:9)

For years "christians" have taught that it is well-nigh-unto a "mortal
sin" (a catholic concept) to be afraid of anything.  Just as
"Christians never (allegedly) get depressed" they also are "never
fearful".  I mean, doesn't the characteristic of "fear" indicate a
person who isn't a -real- "Christian"?  After all, "fearful" is one of
the characteristics of those who end up in the Lake of Fire. (Rev21:8)

So, when Nehemiah was "very much afraid" (Neh2:2) before Artaxerxes the
king, was he condemned to hell? It was "not proper" for a cupbearer to
be of sad countenance before royalty. Any slightest infraction, at the
whim of a king so-disposed, could result in imprisonment, flogging or
death. Any of these, things to be 'feared', certainly!

Recently, in applying one of Jay Green's updates to Deut7:21, I became 
aware of differences in all these places where the word "afraid" is 
used. There are several different words in the Hebrew, which the 
English translators have rendered with the same word, "afraid". I'm not 
sure why, because the differences are not at all subtle. [Editor: And 
seeing what Green did at Deu7:21, I wish he would do the same
throughout, consistently, where appropriate.]

Notice... "You shall not TREMBLE before them..." (Deu7:21-litv)  

If we were to apply this same meaning to Christianity's 'favorite' 
memory verse, it would come out something like, "Be strong and brave. 
Do not TREMBLE or be discouraged..." (Josh1:9)

The Lord has kept me from being "a man of battles, and..shedding blood" 
(1Ch28:3), apparently keeping me for ministering His Word. Thus, I do
not have the knowledge of what it is like to anticipate battle. Nor
have I ever taken human life. But I have seen interviews of those who
do. One question that comes up periodically is of their mental state
before going into battle, "Were you afraid/scared?" And the general
concensus that I always hear is, "If a person isn't at least a little
afraid, they'd have to be crazy".

But... you don't let the enemy 'see' your fear. How does the enemy see
one's fear? When one "trembles". Fear is something within a person's
own being. Trembling is the outward physical manifestation of that
fear.

As Believers, we are in spiritual warfare. (Eph6:12) The enemy comes at 
us in all sorts of ways. And notice that our duty is to "..having done 
all, to stand." (vs13) There is no surrendering to the enemy. We are 
exhorted to "Watch! [be alert] Stand fast in the faith! Be men! Be
strong!" (1Cor16:13)  The expression "be men" in today's social climate
may sound 'chauvinistic'; but it indicates not hiding, clinging to
mamma's skirts; but rather standing up eye-to-eye with the enemy. Yes,
there may be some 'adrenaline pumping', and the fear of the unknown,
but we are not in terror, because we know that even if we are at the
"valley of the shadow of death" there is nothing to fear, because we
know that God is "with me". (Ps23:4) And He prepares "a table for me in
the presence of my enemies". (vs5) And so, like Paul, we "buffet [our]
body, and lead it captive". (1Cor9:27) As we spoke of on another occasion...
"self-control".

And if we find ourselves in a situation of persecution (like the study
from two weeks ago), we do not go 'snivelingly'. If Christ is "in" us
(Rom8:10, Col1:27), we have "confidence" (Eph3:12, Heb10:32-36) they
will see the "boldness" and the fact that we are "with Jesus".
(Acts4:13)

Furthermore, when the enemy's false prophets come around, prophesying 
and performing their "lying wonders" (2Th2:9) we are not "afraid" of 
them. (Deu18:22)  Now this instance of the word "afraid" is used even
more grossly in error. This one actually means that we are not to
"sojourn, dwell, or reside with" or "have hospitality" with. (2Jn10)
And also includes, "do not be IN -AWE- OF". In other words, do not
'respect' such people so as to kow-tow to them, give deference to them,
and fellowship with them.

Yes, a Believer does not need to 'fear' something like a voo-doo curse.
(Lk10:19) But of even greater importance, we are not to "have
-fellowship- with the unfruitful works of darkness.." (Eph5:11) We are
not to be in awe of, and investigate (because everybody is wowed by
it). (Deu12:30)  Don't go to 'see' the manifestations of the
'outpourings'. Don't 'marvel' at the magic tricks of the shaman who
performs super-human feats. Those are the works of satan and his
emissaries.

Don't have fellowship... "but rather reprove them". (Eph5:11b)  If you 
were to find yourself in the presence of the pope, do not bow (Est3:2b, 
Dan2:16-18) and kiss his ring. Do not genuflect around pagan symbols.
Do not show "partiality" to people of such 'status'. (Jas2:1)

But there is something of which we should be "fearful". "It is a
fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God". (Heb10:31)
Therefore... "The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; and the
knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Pr9:10)

Amen!