THE BIG FOUR
We understand that sin is sin and that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23). Anyone who leaves this life without accepting God’s remedy for the removal of sin – the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary – is destined for Hell. [The exception to this is the death of the innocents – the unborn babies and the very young children, and there is also a covering of His grace over individuals in faraway places who have never been reached with the gospel.] Is there a difference however, between one sin and another? There are many who are of the opinion, this writer included, that there are degrees of ‘punishment’ awaiting the unrepentant among us. The 14th century epic poem written by Dante Alighieri titled Divine Comedy concerning his journey through Hell and his viewing of the various levels or degrees of severity of torment awaiting the unrepentant was among the first to suggest this thought. This presented the idea that perhaps there are levels set aside for perpetrators of specifically horrific sins. I remind the listener that we are dealing with Hell and in no way does any of what is discussed here apply to the false teaching of Purgatory. It is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment (Heb. 9:27.)
Scripture does hint at the concept of levels of Hell in 2 Peter 2:4-5.
“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartarus), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;”
This place, Tartarus, is an especially dark and deep recess of Hell that seems to have been reserved for these specific angels due to the gross sin of their rebellion and perversion. So, even though sin is sin and the ‘smallest’ of sin in an unrepentant life (someone who is NOT born again), is enough to forever separate that one from the living God, there are however, in my opinion, levels of sin. And also, I believe that as one’s sin grows and grows and reaches into more rebellious and perverse corners of life, the separation from God also grows, pushing that one further and further away into darker and deeper realms. I remind the listener again that we are speaking of habitual lifelong sin in the heart of someone who has never accepted the grace of salvation through Christ, and so are therefore those who have never been ‘saved’ or ‘born again.’
The sins addressed here do not include the sins of the members of the body of Christ. Once we are saved and washed by the blood of the sacrificial Lamb of God we have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of His dear Son, and our habitation is forever with Him and Hell has no further claim upon us. If we, as believers, do sin during our daily walk with Him, we can repent as outlined in 1 John 2:1-2:
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Before I address “The Big Four” let’s consider a passage from Proverbs 6:6-7.
“These six things does the LORD hate: yea seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brethren.”
Yes, the LORD does hate certain activities – not the perpetrators – but the activities. But He will be separated from those that do such things and remain unrepentant. And, He will separate us, his children, from such things and from such persons. The above list is headed up by pride – the root cause of all sin. It was the first sin, by Lucifer, and continues to be the one motivator of all other unseemly behaviour. With this as our jumping-off text, let us delve deeper.
THE BIG FOUR
As man’s deprivation continues to spiral downward throughout our most current generations, consider if you will, God’s view of the ultimate state of affairs of our fallen race. As the blowing of the 6th trumpet echoes to an end, Revelation 9:21 reads:
“Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”
Let me unpack this.
Murder as stated in Romans 13:9 “Thou shall not kill,” is the Greek word “phoneus” which means murder, to do murder, a homicide. It is the taking of innocent life. There are situations given in Scripture where killing is sanctioned. “The man who kills (murders), shall be killed.” See Lev. 24:17; 21; Num. 35:30 etc. As stated here in Romans and Revelation 9 it refers to “the taking of innocent life – murder.”
Sorceries as used here in Revelation 9 is the Greek word, G5331 – “pharmakeia” from the root G5332 – “pharmakeus” meaning one who prepares or uses magical remedies – the use or the administration of drugs.” (This is considered a form of Idolatry.) This is the word from which we get pharmacy and pharmaceuticals.
Fornications is the Greek word G4202 “porneia” which means “illicit sexual intercourse.” It’s root is G4204 “porneuo” which means “to prostitute one’s body to the lust of another.”
Thefts is from the Greek word G2809 “klemma” meaning “a thing stolen, an act of theft.” And its root is G2813 meaning “to take away by theft, i.e. take away by stealth.”
As the followers of the Christ-rejecting world continue to show their defiance toward the One True Living GOD they choose a course that will ultimately end at the brink of “the pit” by their refusal to repent of these four specific abominations. Are there other sins occurring? Most assuredly. However, these four are indicative of the heinous attitudes and actions of these ‘earth-dwellers.’ What we see distilled in these four abominations are merely the concentrate from all the things that the LORD hates as outlined throughout scripture including the passage contained in the Proverbs mentioned earlier. And it’s not simply that evil has escalated gradually through generation after generation but rather the past two generations have seen an exponential leap in these four areas in both depravity and wantonness that far outstrips anything imaginable before this time. I am reminded of the quote by Thomas Jefferson:
“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
The blowing of the 6th trumpet of Revelation 9 is the final wakeup call. All that follows from Revelation 10 through to the end is but the execution of the Justice of GOD, an unleashing of the consequence due all who continually practice and embrace as life styles the immoral behaviour stemming from these aforementioned sins.
Am I being too harsh, too exaggerative? I think not. We have taken murder to a whole new level in our lifetimes. “The taking of innocent life.” There was a time as we came out of the Industrial Revolution that laws were passed to protect the children among us. Yet, as we scan the world today we can see the unravelling of all of that. Child labour is at an all time high. The working conditions of the Industrial Revolution would be considered a blessing when compared to today’s child mills. We have stolen and murdered their childhoods; crushed hope from their trusting hearts, all for the saving of a few dollars per pair of designer jeans. We have placed AK-47’s in their hands and forced them to kill. Not only do we kill these teens and preteens but we encourage them to do likewise.
Our headlines give an ugly accounting of the wars and terrorism around the globe but many do not realize that crime within our cities causes more deaths, murders, than all the wars and acts of terrorism combined!1 In 2017 there were 89,000 killed in armed conflicts and an additional 26,000 victims of terrorism while there were 464,000 victims of homicides worldwide! “They repented not of their murders.”
Then there is the legislated murder occurring in every major city of the world. The abortion numbers worldwide are staggering. I will not burden the reader with the numbers, these can be investigated individually, except to state just two. In the United States of America, before the current administration put an end to many of the policies favouring abortion, one out of every four pregnancies ended in abortion. One out of four – 25%! Then there is the UN’s figures giving the statistics for women aged 15-44 for China as 19.2 out to 1000, but the true numbers for that country in 2010 were between 41.9-74.2 per 1000 pregnancies! An estimated 13-23 million abortions annually in China alone.2 According to the WHO, 40-50 million per year on average are aborted and this year the rate is approximately 125,000 PER DAY.
The shedding of innocent blood is a vile abomination to the LORD of Life. When the prophetesses of the gods of Baal and Molech offered the newborn upon their altars, drums were pounded loudly to muffle the screams of the children. There is nothing muffling the screams from the wombs of today from reaching the ears of the LORD. He heard and remembered the cries of the children as Herod slaughtered the newborn (Mat. 2:18.) So too, He is keeping count today, and soon and very soon the accounting will be demanded.
SORCERIES The use or administration of drugs.
We are all familiar with the headlines regarding drugs and the so called “war on drugs.” The statistics are mind boggling. It is estimated that 750, 000 deaths occurred from drug use in 2017, double the number of homicides. Deaths from illicit drug use can be differentiated in two ways: as an indirect risk factor for premature death from disease or injury; and as a direct death from drug dependency and overdoses.3
Over 166, 000 die annually from drug overdose and an astounding 1% of the total world population has a drug use disorder.
Any foreign chemical we take into our bodies that altars our state of consciousness is to be avoided. Scripture gives us many admonitions.
Phil. 2:5: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
Rom. 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be yea transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
2 Tim. 1:7: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
An altered state of consciousness is a ripe field for demonic spiritual influence and attack.
We don’t need to bow to the false and empty gods of drugs. We don’t need to run to the pharmacy every time we feel fearful or depressed or worried. We don’t need to stop at the street corner to waste money on our daily ‘hit.” We can drive past the liquor store; avoid the bar; steer clear of the ‘night-spots.’ We can put on the mind of Christ; we can be transformed by the renewing of our mind and thereby understand clearly God’s will for us. We have been given the power to not be conformed to this world system. Our Christ-like-minds can cast out fear and take up a spirit of power over this world system and put on love and a mind that is sound and stayed upon Him.
FORNICATIONS The prostitution of one’s body to the lust of another.
I may not be politically correct but I am scripturally correct. All sexual activity outside of a heterosexual monogamous marriage is sin. We are continuing to allow practitioners of sexual perversions to make inroads into the very fabric of society. We have allowed special interest groups to set the tone and direction for what is considered viable lifestyles. In an effort to support an agenda of “all-inclusiveness” we have erred from the path of holiness and righteousness. The concept of all-inclusiveness is directly contrary to the teaching of the Bible. All will not be included. All cannot be included. Darkness cannot coexist with light. And the darkness of sin cannot be sustained within the glow of His holiness. There will be a separation; there are wheat and tares; there is a heaven and a hell; there are the saved and the lost; there does exists the repentant and the non-repentant. There are those who reject the cross. All-inclusiveness is a myth. It is born from the hearts of the uninformed who wish to sound so accepting and understanding that they end up embracing anyone and anything. For a review of the moral decline of man read Romans 1 beginning at verse 17 through verse 32.
THEFTS To take away by stealth.
The one who breaks into your home and swipes your TV is one kind of theft, but this type of crime pales in the light of organized thievery. Here is a short list of corporate robbery – the steeling of pensions, and life savings. These figures are just a few of many similar crimes since 2010 only. The dollar figures represent the amount swindled by stealth from unsuspecting victims.
J.P. Morgan $920 million; Westpac $934 million; General Electric $1.5 billion; Barclays Capital $2 billion; Tyco International $3.8 billion; Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Barclays, RBS and UBS $5.6 billion; Visa and MasterCard $6.2 billion; WorldCom $8 billion; Enron $8.7 billion; Bank of America, $16.65 billion; Theranos, of Elizabeth Holmes infamy (still in litigation) peak value $10 billion; and of course Bernie Madoff $65 billion stolen.
There were also pharmaceutical firms that defrauded the public with false claims and non-viable products. The dollar figures represent court settlements against them including imposition of fines and penalties against. Abbott Laboratories $1.5 billion; GlaxoSmithKline $3 billion; Johnson and Johnson $8.6 billion; Dow Corning $9.9 billion; Purdue Pharma $12 billion; Wyeth $20 billion.
Identity theft is sky rocketing, as is cyber crime – new and novel ways our generation has invented to steal by stealth. We have all become aware of the scams stalking us by phone and home computer. Every crime from counterfeiting to the trafficking of human organs for transplanting are examples of, “Neither repented they of their thefts.”
The lists are endless as are the thieves themselves.
We live in very evil times. I have only scratched the surface of the depravity that grows all about us. I have said nothing concerning human trafficking involving thousands of young children. Nor have I addressed child pornography in all its sordid aspects. Nor have I mentioned the 20,000 who have been robbed of all they owned and drowned crossing the Mediterranean last year at the hands of smugglers. Suffice it to say that God is not pleased with our state-of-affairs. The good news is that there is still time – still time for individuals to repent. If any of these four hold sway over you please, for heaven’s sake repent and turn away. Job 5:19 offers grace and forgiveness especially concerning our topic today.
“He will deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven no evil will touch thee.”
“He that covers his sins will not prosper: but whosoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
We serve a loving God. But He executes justice and exhibits holiness as aspects of His love. The time is fast approaching when the age of grace will end and a new dawn of righteousness will arrive. The final harvest is near ripe; the reapers are assembling. Will you be counted with the wheat or will you be counted with the tares. The “Big Four” stand as a blatant reminder of the hardness of the man’s heart and the blindness of our current world system. There is a Heart – a loving heart – that beats for us; there is a Light that shows the way through such darkness. Come to Him all who labour and are heavy laden, He will give you rest.(Matt. 11:28). Finally, Heb. 3:15: “Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts as in the rebellion.” Amen.
1 “Global Study on Homicide 2013″.
2 UN reporting China’s 2010 census.
3 Global Burden of Disease
This has been a heavy message. I have carried it about for several weeks. Today seemed the right time. For all of us who trust in Christ, these things have no part in us. Christ has placed us apart from this current world system. We who have cast-off the ‘old man’ walk in the light and freedom of His good will. We are possessors of renewed minds that are focused steadfastly upon Him. We are enveloped within His perfect love and we know and understand that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). We are the sheep of His pasture and we hear His voice. We are trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord (Ps. 95:7; Is. 61:3). We are of His garden, and He is our Husbandman who walks carefully among us (Is. 61:11). We are His wheat, planted in His garden and we bow our heads in honour of Him who saved and continually saves us. We look about and see the proud tares of this world, with their heads held aloft, unbending, unyielding, and we are asked to be patient. Their removal is ordained (James 5:7). Let us take heart and continue to pray without ceasing. Let us remember our brothers and sisters among us, to hold their needs high toward the throne of heaven. Let us remember Christina in her time of sorrow and loss. Let us remember Theresa and Larry as they rally about to offer support and comfort. We pray for Gidget that You dear LORD come along side and grant her comfort and assurance that You are there. Help her gain safe access to HGH so that her testing can be performed. We claim healing for her brain and for her eyesight to be established in Your Divine order. We pray for Ellie as she continues to deal with severe back and arm issues. We hold up our children and young people of our community as they face un-chartered waters in their daily routines. Cover them with a shawl of protection; cloth them with a canopy of care; shelter them ‘neath Thy wings oh LORD. Circle the community of Ohsweken with an angelic presence and grant our leaders wisdom in dealing with so many attacks of the enemy. We bless Thee O LORD, for you truly are worthy. Keep us, this little flock, save and secure within Your Sheepfold; guard the door, and grant us Your Peace. We are so blessed to be called by Your Name. We are so blessed to have our names inscribed forever in the Lamb’ book of life. We are so blessed to have a family that prays for each of us. Receive our prayers and thanksgiving in the name of Jesus, our LORD and Saviour. Amen.