Heat of the Day

3 Washed in the Blood of the Lamb: Revivalism in America541
    In the most famous of all American revival sermons, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Jonathan Edwards terrified his listeners by describing them as spiders held over a fiery pit: “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire.”542 After arousing both terror and, he hopes, repentance in the hearts of those gathered, the evangelist begs them to fling themselves upon the mercy of an all-powerful God who sent his only son to earn the grace of redemption for humankind through his death on the cross. Sometimes, in fact, there are two evangelists: one to preach on human sin and one to describe God's mercy to sinners. In the revival hymn "Amazing Grace" we have a vivid example of that contrast in emotions: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound / That saved a wretch like me; / I once was lost, but now am found / Was blind, but now I see.” These are not empty words sung to a pretty tune; rather, they speak of extremes of emotion, of radical chance in self-perception: the blind and wandering wretch--the sinner-- finds safety, acceptance, and new vision in the sweetness of God's grace, freely given. In revival theology the individual is responsible for his own repentance, but the acting out of the drama in the presence of others undergoing the same experience has a tremendous effect of reinforcement.
Chapter Two543
Heated daytime preaching ‘And the ungodly shall be cast out into outer darkness when that day comes, my friends. And only those who have given their hearts and their souls to Jesus shall walk in the light.’
    ‘What about the Chinese?’
    ‘Only those who have stepped forward for Our Lord will be received into his company.’
    ‘And the Indians: Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists? Millions of them. Aren't they going to walk into the light?’
    ‘Come on Dunster,’ I said. ‘Please. We'll miss the matinée.’
    ‘And how shall we know when the day is at hand? you ask.’
    ‘No,’ Dunster said. ‘I didn't ask that. I asked about Buddhists.’
    ‘What's troubling you, young man?’ the speaker, unwisely, decided to confront Dunster.
    ‘All those Buddhists. Are they going to be cast out into darkness?’
    ‘Unless they have stood up for Jesus.’
    ‘They've probably never even heard of Jesus.’
    ‘That is why, young man, I have taken it upon myself to spread the word.’
    ‘Well, you're not spreading it much here, are you? You're not exactly surrounded by Buddhists waiting to be converted. In fact you would hardly have had anyone here at all if Progmire and I hadn't turned up.’
    ‘Please, Dunster. let's go. We're going to be late.’ I wanted to put an end to this scene. Not only did I find it embarrassing but I was sorry for the man on the stepladder. He seemed to me to have enough on his plate, what with the ... Day of Judgment, without having an argument with Dunster to contend with.
    ‘Oh, all right. You never want to do anything interesting.’ Dunster agreed to leave with a good deal of reluctance. I looked back at the preacher, who stood in silence on his stepladder for a moment, the wind disturbing his neat grey hair, before he drew a breath and shouted after us, ‘Outer darkness, my young friends. I ask you to beware of the outer darkness. Just you mull it over.’

            The Scope of Demonology
         God's realm            Satan's realm
GUIDANCE I John 1:5, 4:1         II Cor. 11:14
        God's love           truth out of balance
        testimonies          cults
        godly counsel        "prophecies"
        commandments         Heresies
        examples, reproof    humanistic philos.

You know, sometimes I wonder if Satan doesn't use merely "truth out of balance" to confuse us on issues where we'd normally not be confused by outright falsehood. Here's one instance of confusion over balance of payments, from the gospels. (Matt. 20:12) "Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day." What in the world, though, does the heat of the day have to do with anything? Okay, let's look at an example:

    When court resumed, Dobbs testified that Paul McCann knew that Patty Alvarez loved to ride in the desert and that she rode in the morning before the heat of the day. According to Dobbs, McCann planned to ambush her out of sight of the hacienda. Alvarez would be tied up, blindfolded, and taken in the back of a van to the basement of an abandoned house in the next county. The plan called for Dobbs to babysit Alvarez while McCann negotiated the ransom. Nothing went the way it was supposed to."
    "Please describe the phone conversation to the jury."
    "It was short. First, he said everything had gotten ..." Dobbs paused and looked up at the judge. "Uh, can I use the F-word, Your Honor?"
    "Accuracy is very important, Mr. Dobbs," Judge Schrieber replied. "Please make sure that you use the exact words that you claim the defendant used."
--Phillip Margolin, The Associate544

Okay, let's look at that trip before the heat of the day.

    One way to cut the heat was to race through the gaps between the stone monuments that spread out before her. In the canyons, the narrow rock walls shot up to the sky and cast cooling shadows over the trail. Conquistador knew the route of their morning run by heart, so Patty could concentrate on the view. Patty believed that the mesas had been painted by nature and sculpted by God. She never tired of looking at them. They were red or brown or yellow, depending on the light, and she imagined that she saw the faces of Indians or the bodies of muscular warriors in the rock.
    The land in front of the canyon was flat and the huge boulders that marked both sides of the entrance were big enough for a man to hide behind. Conquistador was drawing alongside the massive stone pile on the right when two men appeared abruptly from behind the boulders to the left. The wore navy-blue ski masks, jeans, and jackets that were zipped to the neck, a bizarre outfit to wear in a land where the heat of the day was over one hundred degrees. As the man in front raised his hand toward Patty, palm outstretched, the other man leveled a rifle at her horse.

Okay, I would say that without looking at the context of the parable, the heat of the day refers to the noonish time of direct exposure from the big light in the heaven; at other times of the day the light is more indirect or blocked by natural obstacles in the world. The complainers are griping that they had more to do with heaven and the others were shaded by the world, so that the ones laboring more directly under heaven should get a greater reward.

Of course, we really should look at the context before pegging an interpretation, and what would that context be? Oh, an agreement of a day's labor for a penny. And what exactly is the agreement that the parable refers to? From the context, Peter has asked, (Matt. 19:27) "Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" And the general (non-apostolic) deal is, (Matt. 19:29) "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." This is in the overall context of many having been called but few chosen, therefore we take it to mean that ordinarily the believer being one of the few is going to find himself surrounded by one or more of "houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands" in the control of the world, so that he must to some degree refute his alignment with them and realign himself with God's people, yoked together with them for the day's labor, so to speak, for which he receives a hundredfold and in the world to come everlasting life, i.e. a penny.

That would be the ordinary interpretation of the bargain in the parable, derived from its context. The parable itself explains some aspect of the reward for the labor.

Now, the NIV leaves out "wife" from the list. There is no reason to do that as a wife is among one's intimates, so some separation would apply to her as well as brothers, sisters, etc. Here's the point. In the courtroom the F-word was allowed in testimony for sake of accuracy even though we ordinarily wouldn't allow it in polite company. If we want to hear all the counsel of God we can't eliminate words we don't want to hear. In fact it was because of so many deletions that the NIV came to be known as the "Non-Inspired Version," whereupon they put some of the verses back in footnotes, but not all.

Okay, let's look at the parable in terms of "leaving wife" and see what the scripture says about that. (I Cor. 7:29-31) "But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away." Can't be overly attached to this world and its emotions, possessions and people. Your family wants to take the boat out on the lake and party on Sunday; forget it, you belong in church.

Okay, I'm going to use a model to help us understand the difference between laboring one hour with a called spouse and laboring a full day with a chosen one. Dating is a model to help us understand marriage. Once during my course of knowing a certain girl we discussed religious things and she asked me what church I went to, and I told her such and such a church. She got all excited and told me that her parents took her to that church and had the pastor baptize her. Here many Christians investigate in detail the religious background of someone before going out with him, but I end up dating a girl for years before the subject comes up, only to find we belong to the same church. But she hadn't been attending, so I took her with me one Sunday.

For the sake of our model, we'll say she was chosen to be a member of that church as it was a higher power--her parents--who decided it for her, along with the exercise of her own will. So we're walking to church and she wants to stop in a corner grocery store to pick something up. I don't normally shop on Sunday, but how long can it take to dash in and get something? Quite a while. She took her time shopping which frustrated me as I abstain from shopping on Sunday as a day of rest. We had different views of the sabbath, if she even thought about it at all. Then we went and enjoyed the service.

By and by I wanted to take another girl to church, but she wouldn't go with me, and then finally consented to go to our annual Fourth of July breakfast. She had been baptized in that denomination as a baby but hadn't attended church since she was a kid. We'll say she was called to be in that church as that meant her family was committed to bring her up in the church, but she didn't continue as an adult.

She was a vegan. When it came to adding sausage to my plate, I asked if she objected, as some of them have problems with even the smell. But no, she wanted me to enjoy my meal, and the ladies standing by agreed to let me. This potential conflict went much smoother than the one about the sabbath. It's easier for us to deal with mere earthly issues than it is with heavenly. (John 3:12) "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" The more equally yoked one is to a spouse, the more Christian things they'll do together and the more occasion for conflicts on issues they've not worked out between themselves. A nonchristian spouse will not be doing Christian things with the other to have conflicts over them, just earthly things that are easier to deal with. It's no wonder that the equally yoked married laborers in the Lord will complain about getting no greater reward than the mixed marriage Christian who has only the earthly issues to work out. As for that one hour labor of being a witness to his spouse, ‘What about the Chinese? ... And the Indians: Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists? Millions of them.’ Why bother to labor as a witness with one's life to a group of one (spouse), and a disinterested one at that, when there are ever so many people who haven't even heard the gospel that he could labor to reach by marrying another Christian and working together? Yes, some people do just that, but you can't really fault the guy preaching on the street corner for doing something wrong or forbidden just because he's missed a lot of the world's population, can you? Ask the preacher. He'll help you figure it out.

Or let's use an illustration from the 1st part of King Henry the Sixth, by William Shakespeare, Act One, Scene II

LA PUCELLE  Reigner, I am by birth a shepherd's
  My wit untrain'd in any kind of art.
  Heaven and our Lady gracious hath it pleas'd
  To shine on my contemptible estate.
  Lo, wilst I waited on my tender lambs
  And to sun's parching heat display'd my cheeks,
  God's mother deigned to appear to me,
  And in a vision full of majesty
  Will'd me to leave my base vocation
  And free my country from calamity --
  Her aid she promis'd and assur'd success.
  In complete glory she reveal'd herself;
  And whereas I was black and swart before,
  With those clear rays which she infus'd on me
  That beauty am I bless'd with which you may see.
  Ask me what question thou canst possible,
  And I will answer unpremeditated.
  My courage try by combat if thou dar'st,
  And thou shalt find that I exceed my sex.
  Resolve on this: thou shalt be fortunate
  If thou receive me for thy warlike mate.
CHARLES  Thou hast astonish'd me with thy high
  Only this proof I'll of thy valour make --
  In single combat thou shalt buckle with me;
  And if thou vanquishest, thy words are true;
  Otherwise I renounce all confidence.
LA PUCELLE  I am prepar'd; here is my keen-edg'd
  Deck'd with five flower-de-luces on each side,
  The which at Touraine, in Saint Katherine's
  Out of a great deal of old iron I chose forth.
CHARLES  Then come, o' God's name; I fear no
LA PUCELLE  And while I live I'll never fly from a
  man.                 [Here they fight and Joan
                            la Pucelle overcomes.]
CHARLES  Stay, stay thy hands; thou art an Amazon,
  And fightest with the sword of Deborah.
LA PUCELLE  Christ's Mother helps me, else I
  were too weak.
CHARLES  Whoe'er helps thee, 'tis thou that must
  help me.
  Impatiently I burn with thy desire;
  My heart and hands thou hast at once subdu'd.
  Excellent Pucelle, if thy name be so,
  Let me thy servant and not sovereign be.
  'Tis the French Dauphin sueth to thee thus.
LA PUCELLE  I must not yield to any rites of love,
  For my profession's sacred from above.
  When I have chased all thy foes from hence,
  Then will I think upon a recompense.

One may discern the elements of the burdened laborers in the scene above. As David was a shepherd called to be king and shepherd a nation, and as Peter was a fisherman called to be a fisher of men, so was Joan la Pucelle called from her task to be a deliverer. She was called in the heat of the day, "Lo, wilst I waited on my tender lambs/And to sun's parching heat display'd my cheeks," and so receives a corresponding calling to the heat of battle.

She deigns to become "equally yoked" with another called to effect the same deliverance: "Resolve on this: thou shalt be fortunate/If thou receive me for thy warlike mate." But before they fight together, they must fight each other to prove their worthiness. "Then come, o' God's name; I fear no woman. ¶And while I live I'll never fly from a man."

And after all that there are priorities to consider. "I must not yield to any rites of love,/For my profession's sacred from above./When I have chased all thy foes from hence,/Then ..." It's after the ministry is taken care of that they pursue the love that the one-hour laborers have a whole lot more time for. Is it any wonder the full-day equally-yoked laborers are envious of the single-hour mixed-marriage laborers and expect more reward than they?

Well, that's how it is with the equally-yoked full-day laborers. They must bear the heat of the day. At any rate there exists a great deal of envy of mixed couples by Christian couples, so to seemingly equal the reward, they have reworked Paul's hard-to-understand doctrine to say that although a mixed marriage is okay if one is in it when converted, he is forbidden to enter a mixed marriage as a Christian already. That way if he does anyway, he receives a less enthusiastic fellowship--say, 85 fold instead of a hundredfold. The NIV has incorporated such a doctrine into their paraphrase of whom a widow is permitted to marry. Thus not understanding family matters, the translators must not be allowed to authoritatively interpret spiritual matters.


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Earl Gosnell
1950 Franklin Bv., Box 15
Eugene, OR 97403


Copyright © 2005, 2007 Earl S. Gosnell III

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