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Adversarial Brotherhood
by Judith Gayle Smith 
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An introspective look, while preparing for a Bible Conference:

What if the two witnesses allowed personal jealousies to cloud their witness?

This Conference’s theme is about God’s two witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11. Please take the time to read the entire chapter, keeping it all in context. If we had time, I would have us read them now..

A few definitions may prove edifying:

3144 ma,rtuj martus {mar'-toos} • of uncertain affinity; TDNT - 4:474,564; n m • AV - witness 29, martyr 3, record 2; 34 • 1) a witness 1a) in a legal sense 1b) an historical sense 1b1) one who is a spectator of anything, e.g. of a contest 1c) in an ethical sense 1c1) those who after his example have proved the strength and genuineness of their faith in Christ by undergoing a violent death

4394 profhtei,a propheteia {prof-ay-ti'-ah} • from 4396 ("prophecy"); TDNT - 6:781,952; n f • AV - prophecy 16, prophesying 3; 19 • 1) prophecy 1a) a discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden; esp. by foretelling future events 1b) Used in the NT of the utterance of OT prophets 1b1) of the prediction of events relating to Christ's kingdom and its speedy triumph, together with the consolations and admonitions pertaining to it, the spirit of prophecy, the divine mind, to which the prophetic faculty is due 1b2) of the endowment and speech of the Christian teachers called prophets 1b3) the gifts and utterances of these prophets, esp. of the predictions of the works of which, set apart to teach the gospel, will accomplish for the kingdom of Christ

KJV 2 Corinthians 11:1 "Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."

6887 rr;c' tsarar {tsaw-rar'} • a primitive root; TWOT - 1973,1974; v • AV - enemy 14, distress 7, bind up 6, vex 6, afflict 4, besiege 4, adversary 3, strait 3, trouble 2, bound 2, pangs 2, misc 5; 58 • 1) to bind, be narrow, be in distress, make narrow, cause distress, besiege, be straitened, be bound 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to bind, tie up, shut up 1a2) to be scant, be cramped, be in straits 1b) (Pual) to be bound, be tied up 1c) (Hiphil) 1c1) to make narrow for, cause distress to, press hard upon 1c2) to suffer distress 2) to show hostility toward, vex 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to show hostility toward, treat with enmity, vex, harass 1a2) vexer, harasser (participle)

2205 zh/loj zelos {dzay'-los} • from 2204; TDNT - 2:877,297; n m/n • AV - zeal 6, envying 5, indignation 2, envy 1, fervent mind 1, jealousy 1, emulation 1; 17 • 1) excitement of mind, ardour, fervour of spirit 1a) zeal, ardour in embracing, pursuing, defending anything 1a1) zeal in behalf of, for a person or thing 1a2) the fierceness of indignation, punitive zeal 1b) an envious and contentious rivalry, jealousy

KJV Psalm 133:1 {A Song of degrees of David.} "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore."

3162 dx;y: yachad {yakh'-ad} • from 03161; TWOT - 858b; • AV - together 120, altogether 5, alike 5, likewise 2, withal 2, misc 8; 142 • n m 1) union, unitedness adv 2) together, altogether, all together, alike

Please also take the time to read the entirety of KJV Ephesians 4, keeping it in context. The first four verses read::

1 "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ":

Are you all familiar with the grief "sibling rivalry" brings?

Example: My sister Barb and me - childhood vs housework:

Barb’s purpose - to help Mom with housework and ease tensions in home.

My purpose - because Mom told us to do chores!

Barb, who had then and is still blessed with the ability to work in hyper-speed, always rushed through chores, doing mine BEFORE hers, and THEN her own - making slow moving me feel that she was "being a goody-two-shoes", and that she was always trying to show me up, making Mom love HER more…not realizing that what Barb desperately desired to make everyone happy. Mom always asked me "why can’t you be more like your sister?" Barb, to me, was so "perfect" that I could never live up to the challenge to be like her at all, so why even try?

According to Mom, Barb did everything like Mom herself did - to even crayoning within the lines, whereas I always managed to messily crayon "outside the box" - hysterical - today that is accepted, nay ENCOURAGED! Barb, with mobile expressions and highly charged emotions was always able to display what was in her heart, exceeding by far the one emotion I was able to project - anger. I received far more punishments because I became very stubborn in my jealousy. I was determined not to let anyone know that I was dying inside. I would go to bed, hurt and angry, and try to smother myself in the bedclothes.

How could I know that Barb was so fearful of our parents’ tempers that she made herself the official peace keeper of our home? All I saw was that she was stealing Mom’s love from me so that she could have it all to herself. Jealousy is a childish emotion. Children are so often unable to understand the motives of others - good or bad. So a game of one-upmanship is concocted. "I will prove myself better than you" - more willing, far more obedient, more frantically desperate to jump through any flaming hoops, more intelligent, more gifted, more, more, more. Needless to say, Barb and I did not compete ideally - neither of us has possession of either the Nobel Peace nor the Pulitzer Prizes!

I buried myself in reading everything I could get my hands on - even the backs of ketchup bottles and cereal boxes! As a result, I was a runner-up in the National Spelling Bee while in 7th Grade. (A talent which quickly dissipates with age!) I applied my not so considerable talents to Data Processing. (Truth to tell - my dream had been to go into musical comedy - but Mom and Dad always told me that I sang emotionlessly - despite what my music teacher told me.) Barb, who initially taught me to read when she came home from school, became bored with reading and applied her energetically creative talents to all things artistic. After high school Barb became a commercial artist and technical illustrator. She is still the most gifted artiste I know! I also liked art, but could not create - only copy, so I suggested at one time that she and I create greeting cards - I would do the verses while she crafted the designs. You should have seen the cards she crafted for all the family as a child! And, as usual, I was full of jealous envy when people "ooohed and aaahed" over them. I broke the 10th Commandment frequently.

Barb looked like our Mom - a stunner - with curly hair almost soft black, huge eyes and eyelashes that never needed curling nor mascara. Naturally dark lips - the camera adored her! She photographed almost ethereal. I, with pencil straight brown hair, bangs, pigtails, overbite and freckles - think Norman Rockwell’s drawing of the girl shooting marbles with the boys - was almost insanely jealous when people would comment on what a beautiful child Barb was. But they would concede that I was "cute" with my freckles. Wow. Barb was slim while I was chubby - I did like food - it comforted me greatly. How the sugar bowl overflowing with cubes beckoned to me! We both were blessed with Mom’s "cat eyes" of green - but mine, sadly, were terribly greener with painful jealousy. I recall Mom telling me, when I was quite small, that she had to love Barb more than me because our paternal grandmother favored me. Why? Because I looked like her oldest son when he was born. That was the only reason Gram loved me so, Mom said.

But what I did not realize was that our competition for Mom’s favors was preparing all of us for a lifetime of resentment - almost hatred. Why? Because I did not take the time to understand my sweet Barbie doll. It wasn’t until after our Mom died in December, 1999 - that Barb and I finally had the opportunity to sit down and discuss our childhood angst. And then the truth indeed did come out - each of us thought Mom loved the other more! And, after much discussion, we realized that Mom suffered greatly from emotional instability herself, along with our real Father - who was my inspiration for "Jumping Trains" - unfortunately, a too true story…and his very untimely death set up a chain reaction of horror that has taken years - especially for Barb - to overcome through the Grace of God:

Jumping Trains

I never thought he could be suicidal, this handsome young man
so deeply intent -

there are times I recall he was homicidal. Yet "old country", so courtly,
a well-mannered gent.

This courtly young man craved a habit so deadly that he couldn't maintain all his charming control.

What was this habit he partook of so readily? His addiction to alcohol
captured his soul.

He was young, thirty-six when I last saw him, I thought that I knew him,
but now realize

there was actually nothing that we had in common 'cept he was my Daddy, and I have his bad eyes.

He fitfully grew up with three older brothers - in their larger footsteps
he jealously plod.

In the war they died heros, and their grieving Mother worshipped them all -
to her they were gods.

Flatfooted and cursed with very poor eyesight, this youngest brother
remained safely at home.

He, raging within, jealous pain held so tight, started sneakily drinking
when he was alone.

Then, introduced to a raven-haired beauty - gypsy eyes slanted so
deeply dark green,

he began courting her, then felt 'twas his duty to propose to her sweetly,
to make her his queen.

They married and soon they had two little babies, busy Mom! We were just
fourteen months apart -

then his wandering eye noticed less busy ladies, and he callously strayed,
breaking poor Mother's heart.

She mistakenly thought that we would be better to live with a Father
who drank and caroused,

than to live with no father, with no care, no tether. But ne'er moment's peace
had we in our house.

He so dearly loved his "Four Roses" whiskey - he even cajoled us
small girls to partake.

But we ran and we hid, it seemed much too risky to stand there and tremble
and watch as he drank.

Our Daddy, so very handsome when sober - when he was drunken,
he ceased to be dear.

Then he became the uncontrollable monster cruelly beating us all -
we girls early learned fear..

I still vividly recall when he entered our room - he was horribly drunk,
holding a very large knife.

Mom had followed him in, and raising a broom, broke it over his back,
nearly ending his life.

When sober and happy, he enjoyed his collection of rocks and of seashells
and fossils so rare -

that he quietly spent his time scraping his fossils in the furnace room where
he kept table and chair.

I then would sit quietly, just reading and listen to the odd scraping noises
that he busily made -

my older sister would hear him, then hasten to join him, to scrape, just to please him, soon unafraid

She grew to share his love for such treasure, tho' I couldn't quite see it -
wouldn't even try.

I, ignoring him, became a comic book reader, and escaping in fiction
I found freedom to fly.

Then, fourteen years after Mom and Dad married, Father, bored - took his bottle and quietly left -

he hoped to find fossils at freshly dug train tracks. On a double train track,
peering down he was bent

digging through fresh dirt, seeking still further - he must have heard a freight train thundering near -

they say he quickly jumped from his track to the other smack into the train...

Must end this here.

Mom, breaking a broom across our daddy’s back -somehow proved to us that she did indeed love us.

After our real father died and Mom married Barb’s Godfather who adopted us, Dad was caught up in the constant emotional crises Mom and us girls were embroiled in, and quietly retreated into a whole little world of his own. Dad, also in a competitive race with his brother and sister, found his supportive strengths dissipating. He wound up with severe emotional problems of his own due to circumstances outside the home which contributed greatly to the whirlwind in which we were all caught up.

Our lives were manipulated by our emotions - our home was a constant battlefield. A couple of examples: Barb cut her eyelashes because someone at school had told her that her eyelashes would grow in twice as long and twice as thick. (Someone else with jealous intention?} To punish Barb, Mom took me into the bathroom, threatening to cut off MY eyelashes, leaving Barb a burbling flood of emotionalism outside the bathroom door. One time, my Dad decided that Mom was wrong about an issue wherein she felt that Dad should take his belt to me. (Whenever she felt we were wrong, it was never about her, but "Look what you’ve done to hurt your Dad!") Dad took me to the bathroom (I was developing a deathly fear of bathrooms!) - and told me to scream my head off as he took the belt to the tub, rather than to my hinder! Again, when I reached puberty - Mom slapped me as hard as she could, then kissed me - to teach me the pain and joy of being a woman. I was ready to leave home before I was a teenager!

To sum this up, what exactly is the upside of sibling rivalry and petty jealousies? So that we can prove ourselves better, brighter, more worthy of praise and adulation in the name of success? Why are we not able to simply appreciate each other’s gifts rather than trying so hard to compete with one another? Who are we actually seeking to please? Why should there be so many divisions between brethren? Why must we always seek to edify rather than to be edified? "I could have said that better - I could have done that better." "I could have been a contender!"

Mom thought Barb needed her more - I was almost savagely independent. I thought Mom loved Barb more because she was so very needed by her, so much prettier, way more talented, and a most eager "servant". Barb thought that Mom loved me more because I wasn’t so "needy" of Mom. Gurk!

All that Barb and I managed from our confused childhood was heartbreak whenever we look back - it is indeed difficult to recall the happy moments. I did not even know that when Mom brushed Barb’s hair, she yanked hers just as painfully as she did mine! Barb and I have learned to forgive and to honor our parents and each other. Am I worried today that you all will love Barb more than you do me? No. For I love her far more than I love myself - I have reached maturity, yes? …Although there have been several people who think Barb is my daughter…

Make the time to read about Jacob and Esau. Study Isaac and Ishmael. As I write this, Israel and Lebanon are seeking to destroy each other. All in the name of their religion. All because they feel they have the exclusive rights to God’s promises to Israel. But - not all Israel, and not all Lebanon - the individuals who are embroiled in such wars are the innocents who seek peaceful resolutions. Let’s take it down to the initial adversaries - God vs Satan. Satan wanted to be like the Most High God. He enlisted a third of God’s angels to battle against God. Why? Satan was the "covering cherub" - the most beautiful of all! Why wasn’t that good enough for him? Jealousy, plain and simple. Who always wins? God. Thank God!

What if the two witnesses sought for one-upmanship with GOD? Who would believe them or even listen to them? Would God Himself? If we have any beauty, any wisdom and intellect, let us seek to glorify God and not ourselves.

Study prayerfully God’s 10th Commandment - one of the easiest Commandments to break. Yet if we take a very careful look at "Thou shalt not covet", we will see that by not breaking ourselves of this very human trait, we become quite capable of breaking all of God’s Laws: What does unsatisfied desire lead to? What means do people employ to get what they want? A few examples - thievery, murder, false accusations, adultery, ad infinitum.

Read God’s Moral Law in Exodus 20 - focus on His 10th Commandment. There is no Godly reason why, as of 2001 - there should have been over 33.830 Christian denominations claiming that they have the truth as opposed to one another - except for one little phrase: Adversarial Brotherhood. Oh Brother!

Exodus 20:20 "And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not."

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