“For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh” (Mat. 18:7)
At the root of all of Mystery Babylon’s perversions and trappings is the carnal man; the man of sin who works from the midst of men’s hearts. This man has made the earth tremble, shaken kingdoms, destroyed cities and made the world as a wilderness (Isa. 14:16-17). We were once ignorant of this man’s devices when we lived in the darkening shadows of Babylon’s teachings.
Jesus assured us that through this man offences would come in the spiritual progression of every son. Many offences have come upon the Lord’s people. Yet in Jesus’ warning in Matthew 18, we see another man mentioned, the target of the offence – the “little one”. For “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mat. 18:1).
These two men of which Jesus speaks exist and operate from within every man. Both the man by whom offences come and the little one are in you and me. The former causes us to go the way of self and the flesh, the latter is our inner son who submits in obedience to Father’s will. This ‘little one’ is that child of whom it is written: “the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40). In the early stages of our spiritual progression we all received Christ as a seed (Gal. 3:16). That small seed is that little child within who is growing and causing us to be strong in spirit, in wisdom and in grace. This progressive journey of His growth and increase within His sons will continue until the day of his manifestation: for “the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel” (Luke 1:80).
This little one is precious in the sight of the Lord, for we read: “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (Mat. 18:10). The communion of the Father is with the little one. It is through the indwelling Christ that we have access and fellowships with Father. For we are seated in heavenly places in Christ and it is through Him that we behold the attributes, character, and qualities of God in our very own being and enter into union and oneness with Him. Therefore, the development of this little one is of great importance to God. This explains Jesus’ stern admonitions for that man who causes one of these little ones to stumble.
However, that man’s offence not only works from within but also from without. The Babylonish religious system has been birthed out of that man’s offences. Its fame and dominion is energized by the carnal man. Much of that man-made ecclesiastical kingdom we call the church today is an expression of ‘that man’ that causes the ‘little one’ to stumble. The whole system is organized to lure, entangle and pacify that little one.
In symbolic vision of the book of Revelation, John sees an event that resembles Jesus’ warning. He sees the fall of Mystery Babylon: “Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a GREAT MILLSTONE and threw it INTO THE SEA, saying, ‘Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.’” (Rev. 18:21). The drowning by millstone is used for both the man of sin and Mystery Babylon. Remember Jesus said: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a MILLSTONE were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of THE SEA” (Mat. 18:6). To be drowned with a millstone tied to the neck is a terrible way to die. In it we see the severity of this man’s crime and the sternness of God’s dealing. The millstone is a heavy stone which signifies the inescapable and ultimate judgment of God against both religion and the carnal man. That man and Mystery Babylon are an offence to the increase of Christ in the saints and both have to be cast into the sea.
“It must needs be that offences must come”. Briefly consider with me what Jesus meant by offences. These offences were not about being annoyed, upset or having our feelings hurt because of an insult or being wronged. Of course, not getting angry, irritated or reacting out of the flesh is a mark of maturity. Indeed this is a quality of life where the spirit of Christ subdues every agitation or emotion of our flesh and soul. As we grow into His fullness, He will teach us to live out of His nature in every situation. But the offence of which Jesus speaks is much deeper than this.
The Greek word used for ‘offence’ means to be “a stumbling block, a snare, and any person or thing by which one is (entrapped) drawn into error or sin”. Thus the offence Jesus is referring to is anything or anyone that would be a stumbling block, preventing you from pursuing and fulfilling the will of God in your life. Our Lord Jesus encountered such an offence when Peter began to rebuke Him, saying: “be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee” (Mat. 16:22). We are all familiar with Jesus response: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an OFFENCE to Me, for you are not mindful of things of God, but the things of men” (Mat. 16:23). Peter was being an offence – a stumbling block, attempting to deter the Lord from fulfilling the will of God. This is the sole program of the man of sin.
Non will contend that Peter was sincere and well-intentioned in his rebuke. He loved the Lord and wished to protect him. But, Peter’s rebuke was the manifestation of the thoughts and understatings of the natural (soulish) mind – Satan’s control center. Like peter, many ministers today are sincere but they are sincerely wrong because they minister out of the counsel of that man. And rest assured that man is logical, reasonable and pragmatic. Very few ministers in the church system deliberately intend to deceive the saints. On the contrary, they themselves are deceived and the teachings they propagate are founded on the letter of the word and erroneous interpretations. Their teaching is an offence to the little one’s development. The sad reality is that they know it not. They, like Peter, think they are doing good by the Lord, not recognizing that they’ve missed the heart and purpose of God for this age.
It is this very offence that Jesus forewarns us of when He declares: “offences must come”. Indeed many offences have come in this age and none more diabolical than the offence that has come by way of the religious church systems, who unlike Peter, have been successfully in deterring many saints away from the will of God causing them to stand as adversaries to the divine truths of the Kingdom. Many get upset when we tell them there is hope after hell or that God is calling us to perfection in Christ. They know not of God’s will for creation and like Peter stand to bring a rebuke against the Lord’s purpose. Such a people and the religious systems that backs them are an offence to anyone who wishes to press on in the pure walk of the spirit. Though we love them, we can’t fellowship with them because they wish to divert us from pursuing and obeying the will of our Father. They want us to quietly submit to the Babylonish systems that has corrupted their spiritual maturity. I have encountered friends and family who heard this gospel of the Kingdom and received it with joy but were quickly caused to turn back because of peer pressure from their “church”. So it was that they were tripped up and intimidated with fear tactics from pursuing their spiritual progression into Christ’s fullness.
It is in light of this that Jesus states: “wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee” (Mat. 18:8). Of course non would think that Jesus was endorsing the amputation of our limbs. So, who are our hands, our feet and our eyes? By this statement, Jesus is simply referring to the Peters in our lives who mind not the things of God but the things of men. These are saints by whom ‘that man’ attempts to bring offence. In the body of Christ, one is an eye, another is a hand, another a foot. “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Rom. 12:5). If your brother/sister is a stumbling block preventing you from pursuing the pure walk of the Spirit, cut them off is the instruction of the Lord. The Lord who summons us to “come out” is the same Lord that is saying to us: “cut it off and cast it from you”. Consider the hands, the eyes and feet by which offences come:
Hands. These are saints who would discourage us from acting on or doing the will of God. They stand in the way of our obedience to the Spirit’s council in our actions and conduct. We love them but we can’t commune with them for they are a stumbling block to us.
Eyes. These are brothers who would attempt to blind us from seeing (understanding) the spiritual truths of the kingdom of God. They push their erroneous doctrines, their denominational visions, and man-centered teaching over us to keep us from beholding the True light. These are persons whose words and teachings distract us away from understanding the deep spiritual mysteries of God’s kingdom. Cut them off is the council of the Lord!
Feet. These are members of the body who cause us to stumble in our walk. They place obstacles of fleshly works and soulish efforts. They demand us to submit to the traditions and religious observances keeping us from walking in the Spirit and from following the Lamb wherever He goes. Our Lord beckons us to cut them off!
Dear beloved, it is my prayer that everything that is an offence to the increase of Christ in our life would be cut off!