Master and Commander
What Happens When Yahweh Gets Fed Up
Jackson Snyder Masih, September 3, 2004
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This has been a week of raw terror on many fronts. It’s now clear enough that radical Moslems, whose foundational philosophy is death, subjugation and hypocritical morality, are waging a concerted, global war against Yahweh, his people, and all civilization. These wretched killers have no respect whatsoever for life or freedom or Commandments or Law. Nor have they any fear of or respect for the Holy One. They’re throat cutters, blasphemers, torturers, child abusers and the slaughterers of innocents.
They’ve taken their horror into busses full of commuters, restaurants and gathering places, worship and fellowship centers – even into the halls of law and order – police and guard stations and embassies – shattering tens of thousands of lives. Now they’ve taken their bombs to children in a school, causing devastating carnage. Their fanatical wickedness is no longer limited to Gaza or to some little-known backwater in the Philippines. This evil has expanded like a locust plague to such far-reaching places as India and Spain, Russia and the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Japan and France, Indonesia and Great Britain and, of course, Israel and Iraq. There’s no negotiating with them, there’s no reasoning with them, there’s no compassion within them. They are, as Scripture points out,
(2 Peter 12,13 paraphrase) brute beasts, speaking evil of the things they don’t understand; counting it as pleasure to riot in daylight. Spots and blemishes, they boast in their deceptions, but are to be taken out and destroyed. and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.
Their portion is hatred, demonization, bloodlust and mass insanity. ¿But is there yet any good at all in these people? ¿Can they be redeemed? No they cannot. There’s no good in them whatsoever. Like Crabby Appleton, “they’re rotten to the core.” Like the Canaanites of old, they’re so corrupt, so devilish, so insatiable for blood, so engorged with corpses, that their only recourse is the holocaust of the first and second death. War begets war – blood begets blood – fire begets fire – those who live by terror will die in horrible ways. They want to take as many with them as they can.
What is the real G-d doing in this war? Whose side is he on? What part does he play?
Songs of Sabaoth
One of Yahweh’s titles is curious and often misunderstood; that is, Sabaoth (or Tzviot). In most Bibles, the sacred name and this common title, Sabaoth, are hidden beneath the discriminating pen of the translator. Most Bibles gloss over “Yahweh Sabaoth” with the words “The LORD of Hosts” or some other unintelligible appellation. “The LORD of Hosts” has a ring to it as though the Holy Ghost is a party host with the most to boast and the holy toast! Yet “LORD of Hosts” has little in common with hospitality. Just the opposite.
Hosts or Sabaoth must be important and meaningful, since it occurs nearly two hundred-fifty times in the New Jerusalem Bible, by my reckoning. Probably the best rendering of the word Sabaoth is from an unexpected source – The Living Bible – which translates Sabaoth or Hosts as “Commander of Armies.” That’s exactly right. The LORD of Hosts – Yahweh Sabaoth – means that, besides being a loving Father to those in covenant with him, he’s also a powerful provocateur by virtue of his command of vast armies.
With this in mind, we can recast several familiar passages that contain “Sabaoth” or “LORD of Hosts.” Take the Our Psalm, for instance
Psalms 24:10 Who is this King of glory? Yahweh, Commander of Armies, he is the King of glory.
And consider a few other songs from ancient times, their words corrected to emphasize what kind of King the ancients sang about:
Reader 1: Psalms 46:1. G-d is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 6. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7. Yahweh, Commander of Armies, is with us; the god of Jacob is our refuge.
Did you notice the implication that armies were coming to the rescue? Like the troops trapped in Bastogne during the D-day campaign – their fears were allayed because they knew that the mighty George Patton of Sabaoth was on the way.
Here’s another song:
Reader 2: Psalm 48:1. Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised in the city of our god, in the mountain of his holiness. 2. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. 8. As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of Yahweh, Commander of Armies, in the city of our god: Yahweh will establish it for ever.
The reason this Zion of the future is so beautiful and holy is because Yahweh, the mighty Commander, is guarding it against infidels who would tear it to pieces. Consider our beautiful country. We had an outrageous disaster September 11, 2001, a catastrophe that awakened the world. And though these Moslem devils have since struck just about everywhere in the world, there hasn’t been one subsequent strike here. It’s as though we’ve been protected, as the terrorists within our borders have been exposed and arrested time after time by the vigilant angels who’ve directed good people to their rat holes.
How about this song:
Reader 3: Psalm 59:1. Deliver me from mine enemies, O my god: defend me from them that rise up against me. 2. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men. 3. For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me: not for my transgression, nor for my sin. 4. They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold. 5. Thou, Yahweh, Commander of Armies, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors.
Some pray that somehow these devilish people can be saved in the end – that if only god would reveal himself to them, they would repent and lay down their arms. Others, like some very prominent political types who are trying to get elected, have duped their followers into thinking that reasonable engagement, promises or negotiations will end their reign of terror.
The Psalmist here was singing about Philistines (the old word for Palestinians) – these bloody men aren’t awaiting him because he’s done wrong – he’s guiltless. They lie in wait for anyone – the South Korean missionary, the Nepalese road worker, the Turkish truck driver, the Pakistani pastor, the American electrician – they lie in wait to steal anyone’s blood through the most hideous and public means imaginable, so the world may marvel at their transgression.
Reader 4: Revelation 13:4-7. Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against Yahweh, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (O Commander of Armies, visit ALL beasts without mercy.)
And here’s one more song – this one upbeat and hopeful:
Reader 5: Psalms 84: 1. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Yahweh, Commander of Armies! 2. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of Yahweh: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living god. 3. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Yahweh, Commander of Armies, my King and my god. 4. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee.
There’re many wonderful promises in the Scripture – promises that’ll take ultimate power to bring to pass. There’s no better desire than for the peaceful courts of Yahweh, where even a swallow may nest unmolested. Somewhere Yahweh says. “The time will come when all the earth is filled, as the waters fill the sea, with an awareness of the glory of Yahweh” (Habakkuk 2:14). Such a wonder may only be realized when there is a clean end made of evil by means of chains that can never be broken and fire that can never be quenched. In those days the innocent may feel confident in the Commander of Armies; all enemies will be under his feet.
Prophets, Wars and Armies
In the Prophets, Yahweh describes himself as a soldier. The nations that the Commander of Armies swore in his wrath to put down are well known today, though recorded three thousand years ago: Libya (i.e. Put), Sudan and Ethiopia (i.e. Cush), Lebanon, Syria, Iraq (i.e. Assyria, Babylon), Iran (i.e. Persia), Jordan (i.e. Ammon), Palestine (i.e. Moab) and Arabia (i.e. Dedan, etc.).
We have the popular notion that Yahweh’s army consists solely of angels. This is true; however, Yahweh uses the angels to stir up nations and bring retribution upon those who reject his Law and block the blessing he offers every creature. With eyes of flesh, war is waged only on the human level. However, the Bible makes it clear that when war strikes earth, it strikes heaven. The two are entirely interconnected. Nothing can be done on earth that doesn’t affect heaven and vice-versa.
Consider the passage from Revelation:
Revelation 12:7-12 (excerpts). There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels; no place was any more found for them in heaven. And Satan, who deceives the whole world, was cast to earth and his angels with him. Woe to those on earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great rage because his time is short!
The Bible is a powerful tool for understanding the meaning of warfare and how and why Yahweh commands war. If the devil and his bunch are earth-bound, and the prophet cries, then “Woe on us”! Just who do you imagine the devil’s working through at present?
There’re those who say our government is the devil, and that terrorists are rampaging because of our imperialism and occupation; that Muslims have arisen only to protect their homelands (they say). And there’s no way to beat them because Allah is with them and they pray a lot (they say).
Friend, you neither know the Scriptures, the power of Yahweh or the deviousness of the enemy. These fanatics will hack off your head with a pocketknife on television, no matter how open you are to their cause. They’re like the sons of Anak: they kill and eat their own. What design have they on us (Numbers 13:33)? To kill us all and kill themselves. To destroy all that’s good in the world.
What Will You Do About the Violent?
Habakkuk cried out to Yahweh because, though he lived in a holy land, the evildoers of his generation were prospering at the expense of the godly, and violence was the rule of law. “¿Why should this be so in a land that was established under the Law of Yahweh and protected by his Armies?” That’s Habakkuk’s case before the Almighty.
Yahweh gave Habakkuk inside information about how he commands. Yahweh said he was stirring up the armies of the Chaldeans to chastise the people of Israel who were incorrigible. This was a great surprise to Habakkuk, who certainly didn’t want Israel ravaged by Chaldeans. But Habakkuk also understood that He was sending foreigners in only to correct the situation – to excise the evil from the land. When Habakkuk acknowledged Yahweh’s purpose, he cried out again,
Habakkuk 1:12. O Yahweh, my Holy One – I see that it’s not your plan to wipe us out! You’ve decreed the rise of the Chaldeans to chasten and correct us for our awful sins!
A new thought crosses Habakkuk’s mind. “Why should we be punished by people more vile than us? Who could be worse than Chaldeans? Why would Yahweh use them?” Now, if you spoke the language of Habakkuk, you’d know that the Chaldeans were so fierce that even their name reigned in terror. “Chaldeans” means “devils.”
Habakkuk cries out again,
Habakkuk 1:15. Must we be strung up on their hooks and dragged out in their nets, while they rejoice? 17. Will you let them get away with this forever?
Yahweh told Habakkuk to wait and see – before the Chaldeans do any more than chastise, he will send another army into Chaldea to strike them for their wickedness. Quid pro quo. This is how the Commander used armies over and over in the Bible. He doesn’t just rule angels or good guy armies, but all armies are his, good or bad, at his disposal 24/7/365.
Centuries after Habakkuk was in the grave, Yahweh raised up an army of Maccabees, “Sons of Hammers,” they were godly guerilla fighters (165 or so BC). This little band of Levites beat one of the most powerful kings ever known (Antiochus IV Epiphanies of Syria) and liberated all of Israel. Is anything too hard for Him?
Then a hundred years later when Israel’s sovereignty was threatened again by Syria, Yahweh sent the legions of Rome to liberate Israel and keep order. Forty years later and twenty-five years into the reign of Caesar Augustus, Yahweh sent his Son into the world. The Prince of Peace came in the middle of a short era known as the “Pax Romana” – the “Peace of Rome.” Even in these peaceful times, terrorists known as zealots or innovators worked hard to disrupt Roman law and order in the Holy Land. The terrorists were quite successful – for a while, anyway. Thousands were crucified.
Yahshua hadn’t been sent to save the Romans or cast them out or put down rebellion. He came to lay out Yahweh’s plan for humanity’s salvation. Even though the Son of Yahweh made it plain to the Jewish authorities – that they capitulate to his Father, Yahweh, Commander of Armies – or else he would return to destroy Jerusalem and all them with it (Mark 13). Undoubtedly, Jesus quoted their scroll:
Jeremiah 18:11,12. “Yahweh says this: ‘Listen, I am preparing a disaster for you, So now, each one of you, turn back from your evil ways.’ They, however, will say, ‘We shall follow our own plans; each of us will act on his own wicked inclinations.’”
These Kings and Priests of Israel all knew exactly who Jesus was. They weren’t ignorant of his identity. No, they were devilish to the extent of conspiring to kill their own god and take over according to their evil inclinations. Like Moslems who’re today killing anything that’s decent about their god, and defaming the very Allah they proclaim, these Jewish leaders of old had no fear of the very Elohim they proclaimed. Then as now, they prophesied falsely – that the death of the Just One would save their nation – that god blesses ruthless killers – that paradise is reserved for murderers.
But the exact opposite of their prophecy came to pass, just as Jesus said. Yahweh sent Rome against Jerusalem a scant generation after the resurrection, and Rome burned Jerusalem to the ground. One and a half million people in that city died out of proud and wanton disobedience that day in 70 AD – more than died at Hiroshima. Seventy years later, Rome burned Jerusalem again – but this time they banished all Jews from the city forever – an interdiction that’s continued until modern times.
Yahweh would watch what Rome would do next. Perhaps Rome wouldn’t repent and he’d have to send his armies from Parthia against his armies in Rome. What Yahweh saw was that Rome allowed hate for Jews to linger. Rome not only persecuted them sorely, but Christians even more. Rome exiled them, castigated them, tortured them, crucified them, beheaded them, fed them to beasts and burned them at the stake – and they did so for the next two hundred fifty years.
Yahweh gave Rome another look. He sent an angel to a godless but powerful Roman General named Constantine. The angel gave Constantine a dream. The next day, he saw a vision in the clouds overhead. It was the chi-rho sign (“key row” – the sign of Christos – cristoV – cr.) In response to Yahweh’s angel, dream and sign, General Constantine turned his troops against the rest of the Roman army and defeated his own empire in the name of “Christ.” He marched triumphantly into Rome and took over as Emperor. One of the first things he did was ban all persecution against Jews and Christians throughout the entire Roman Empire. And this on account of a dream.
325 AD was a year of incredible turnabout. Considering all the demonic temples situated everywhere –all the blood of martyrs staining every sidewalk – and new intruders nearing the gates – Emperor Constantine moved his entire capital out of Rome to Byzantium, six hundred miles to the East. There he set up his new nation in which Christians, Jews and anyone else, could live in peace. Constantine’s Christian empire was known as Byzantium. Byzantium lasted a thousand years. After the thousand years of peace, Moslems wasted Byzantium.
Count the Cost
Nobody who keeps up with current events can deny that this War On Terror has escalated into a world war. We’re extremely fortunate to be living in a culture not unlike that of Byzantium – it’s a golden age here – we’re free and safe – we’re the most powerful empire the world’s ever known. Yet as Christians, we’re appalled at the tremendous suffering of the innocent from Indonesia to China to Afghanistan to Iraq to Israel to Sudan to Algeria – people still subjugated under the control of brute beasts who call themselves Sons of the Prophet.
We aren’t insensitive to the millions who’ve died at the hands of seditious maniacs like the Sadam, Uday, Qusay, Al Zarqawi, Moqtada Sadr, bin Laden and the rest of hell’s denizens. We’ve lost a great many soldiers and American civilians to battle, murder and accidents. We’re not insensitive towards those thousands who’ve been caught in the crossfire. We feel great compassion for these 700 killed or wounded by maniacs in the Russian middle school yesterday. As Yahweh has commanded certain armed forces to search out and destroy the enemies of righteousness, there are bound to be innocent casualties.
Jesus said, “Count the cost.” Has it been worth it? The cost has been high in lives. No one can deny that. So many today are saying that the price has been too high. But consider another way to count the cost: count forty-four million. Forty-four thousand thousand captives have been set free in the last three years – and that’s exactly what Yahweh Sabaoth, the Commander of Armies, sent his Son and his legions of angels and his armies to do – to set the captives free and preach the year of favor. To know that Yahweh is using our armed forces in such a fashion right now – not to harm what’s decent but to destroy the enemies of righteousness, aid and abed the downtrodden, and proclaim favor – should make every American proud, drive them to their knees in supplication, thanksgiving and glorious praise for what’s becoming a new and kinder world. Amen.
Today we again have the opportunity to approach the table of war and peace – the table of commitment and reconciliation. Yahweh Sabaoth sent his Son so that we might have courage and power to set the captive free and fight the good fight of faith. Today as we come near, consider that we commune with all the saints of glory, with angels and archangels, with the host of heaven and earth, and with Yahshua our Messiah himself – and he shall reign victorious.