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GOD’S WAY OF BURNING “RELIGIOUS” BOOKS             By Gale Maiden                                                           

Rendering the “Religious” Naked and Wounded

There is presently “no small stir” (Acts 19:23 KJV) in the news media concerning a Florida Pastor, Reverend Terry Jones, who has broadcast his intentions to burn the Quran, the “bible” of Islam. As of this date his plans have changed and he says that he will not burn the Quran. His original intentions were to publicly burn copies of the Quran on the ninth anniversary of 911.

The proposed burning of the Quran by this Reverend was at least partially in protest of a proposed Muslim Mosque to be constructed near “ground zero”, the location of the twin tower terrorist attack by Islamic terrorist in downtown New York City on September 11, 2001.

We have here the epitome of “the pot calling the kettle black”. The totally insensitive “religious” idea of placing a mosque so near to the location where Islamic radicals murdered nearly 3000 people is no more insensitive than Reverend Terry Jones threatening to burn the Quran.

Both proposals represent a true reflection of hearts which are wounded and condemned. This action if carried out by Reverend Terry Jones of Florida would be nothing more than another example of damnable (condemning) “religion” and not true Christianity. “Religion” from a Christian perspective may be described as saying and doing things which are not orchestrated by the Holy Spirit. Where the Spirit of our Lord leads there is liberty. Neither of the subject two declarations or acts will ever produce freedom; on the contrary, only condemnation, guilt and shame are produced.

Burning the books of anyone or any group more than likely will never change the heart. Neither will further wounding of the hearts of people by constructing a mosque. If there is no heart change the result of “religiously” placing demands on others by burning their books or building a mosque will only inflame condemnation which leads to anger, murder and fear (terrorism). 

Historically there are hundreds of well know incidents of book burnings. In my research I found that the Christian Bible records an incident of book burning (Acts 19:11-20). Unlike most other historical book burnings, this book burning has a glorious result and teaches us the proper way to incite the burning of books.

THE APOSTLE’S BOOK OF LOVE

The Apostle Luke, the Author of the Book of Acts, writes an account of the Apostle Paul ministering in Ephesus (Acts 19:11-20). The Apostle Paul was actually at Ephesus ministering in a demonstration of the loving Kingdom of God in word and power.

What happened to the sorcerers, diviners and magicians encountered by the Apostle Paul in Ephesus to incite them to burn their books?

And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. (Acts 19:11-12, NAS)

Paul did not have a New Covenant Bible but his heart functioned as the book of the Bible. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, also in Asia, concerning God’s desire for the human heart to be the book of the word and Spirit of God.

You (Corinthians) are our letter (book), written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets (books) of human hearts. ((2 Corinthians 3:2-3, NAS)

The loving release of the book of God written on Paul’s heart performed extraordinary miracles, healing the sick and casting out devils. This book of God was written on Paul’s heart by the Spirit of the living God through a heart commitment of love for God. We are to love the Lord our God first with all of our heart, soul and mind. This attitude of love for God will publish a true biography book of who we are in Yahweh, our one True God.

Important to note is the fact that in Ephesus Paul’s ministry was engaging the very center of the known world’s paganism. Paul did not condemn them for their paganism but instead through the love of God in his heart healed the sick and cast out evil spirits in the name of Christ Jesus.

THE “RELIGIOUS” ARE WITHOUT A BOOK IN THEIR HEART!

There were certain Jews who witnessed this demonstration of the Kingdom of God emanating from the heart of Paul. They desired and attempted to duplicate the miracles especially the casting out of evil spirits.

There were seven sons of a Jewish chief priest who were exorcists adjuring evil spirits in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches to come out of a man. As we see from these passages of scripture only those who have the book of life in the heart have the authority to give miraculous life to those being influenced by evil spirits.

But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches." And seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. (Acts 19:13-14, NAS)

These seven sons of Sceva, a high priest, were diviners. A spirit of divination is a spirit which refuses the orchestration of the Holy Spirit in bringing about Kingdom of God authority. A spirit of divination therefore perverts the spirit of faith whereby the works of God may be revealed. One of the prominent characteristics of the spirit of divination is that it wants the authority and benefits of the Kingdom of God but is unwilling to enter into the love of God relationship in order to acquire such authority. “Religious” dead works are the major by product of divination.

“BUT WHO ARE YOU?”

This lack of relationship with God by the High Priest’s sons becomes obvious when a man speaking by an evil spirit says the following to the seven sons of Sceva.

And the evil spirit (being spoken by this man) answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" (Acts 19:15, NAS)

This is such a picture of the “religious” activity so increasingly present today. As in the days of Paul those bound up with evil actually recognize the impotency of the so called “religious” of today. It is amazing that this man with the evil spirit truthfully acknowledges his recognition of both Jesus and Paul. Devils know God but refuse to follow Him. The same can be said concerning “religious” activity.

THE “RELIGIOUS” - SUBDUED, OVERPOWERED, FLEEING, NAKED AND WOUNDED

Attempting “religious” acts without a true loving heart relationship with God can be detrimental to one’s health.

And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. (Acts 19:16, NAS)

I believe that the same attitude of disgust with the “religious” found in this man who was bound up with evil spirits can readily be found among many today who are hurting and see no hope in “religious” activity. This evilly influenced man, very much aware of his need for help, was totally disgusted and disillusioned by these obviously powerless “religious” seven. These sons of a high priest were adding insult to injury in their powerlessness. Most who are hurting are continuously experiencing condemnation. These seven sons were further condemning this man in their failure to produce the love and power of God needed to set him free.

“WHIPPING” THE “RELIGIOUS” PUTS FEAR OF GOD IN BOTH JEWS AND GREEKS

And this (whipping) became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified. Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. (Acts 19:17-18, NAS)

As the “religious” naked and wounded sons of the high priest fled the wrath of the hurting and wounded man, great fear fell upon both Jew and Gentile throughout Ephesus. I have on several occasions experienced the frustration of this hurting man becoming angry to the point of “kicking butt”. Also as a Pastor I have fulfilled the role of the seven sons and ended up naked and wounded. There is for the most part among the “religious” community at best a superficial healing…which is no healing at all. The Prophet Jeremiah declared this state of superficiality over Israel when he said:

“And they have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, 'Peace, peace,' but there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14, NAS) Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored? (Jeremiah 8:22, NAS)

“Religious” activity is deception and genders restlessness and not peace. The Balm of Gilead, the healing virtue of God is righteously applied by those with a book of faith written upon the heart.

ARE WE TO EXPECT INCREASING ATTACKS UPON THE “RELIGIOUS”?

In the same manner that this man bound in condemnation physically assaulted the “religious” community of Paul’s day there increasingly continues in the earth many literal attacks worldwide ignited by this same impotent “religious” spirit. Superficial “religious” activity is and will continue to face the reality of being overpowered, subdued, and rendered naked with wounds. Out of despair over the superficial peace offered by “religious” activity will come the destruction of this Babylonian confusion; which despair being empowered ironically by a God given DNA to successfully relate to God.

The holy fear of God incited by the successful attack from one who had evil spirits, hurting and wounded caused those who were “religiously” practicing magic, divination and exorcism to turn to God. THEY BURNED THEIR OWN BOOKS!

And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and {began} burning them in the sight of all; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. (Acts 19:19, NAS)

I pray for an awakening of the fear of God. For the holy fear of God to manifest, will it take an assault from the hurting and condemned church and world community? As we witness the power of the hurting condemned world to render the “religious” wounded and naked, let us fear God and burn the false books of our heart acknowledging the value of the holy fear of God.

So the word of the Lord (God’s Book) was growing mightily and prevailing. (Acts 19:20, NAS)

 

 

 

 

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