E Pluribus Unum

It was the day before Thanksgiving, 2021, that I awoke at 5:45 a.m. with the Latin phrase "E Pluribus Unum" on my mind.  I realized that this is the motto of the United States of America, but more importantly I realized that this was a spiritual declaration I was supposed to make.  So I declared quietly as I lay on my bed, "E Pluribus Unum, in Your Name, Lord Jesus, amen!"  Then it quickly dawned on me that the antichrist will unite all the nations against God and the nation of Israel to make war with Israel, and I did not want to be part of that movement, so I amended my declaration to be, "E Pluribus Unum, as You will, Father, in Your Name, Lord Jesus, amen."  And I felt peaceful about that.

Being a frequenter of the Israel Virtual House of Prayer website and Zoom meetings, I began to share this experience and my conclusions with other Christian intercessors.  Some found my story interesting, and others did not.

This experience made a strong impact on me because on May 22, 1978, I had an interesting experience while attending a Christian conference at the Grand Ballroom at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.  The main speaker at the conference was Bob Mumford, and the host church was called Charis Community at that time.

Bob Mumford was a very dynamic speaker, using frequent hand and arm gestures as he spoke.  He eventually made the statement that he believed that God was trying to unify His people in one heart and one mind, but he, Bob Mumford, did not know how that was going to happen.  As he said this he was making hand and arm gestures as if he were making a giant snow ball.

Immediately after Bob Mumford made that statement I found myself to no longer be cognizant of being in the Grand Ballroom, but found myself in what I can only describe as a cloud.  I could not see anything but fog, but there was no damp feeling at all.

Then I heard a loud male voice ask three questions.  The voice said, "How is it that you call yourselves by this name or that name?  My people should be called by My Name.  And how is it that you say, 'I belong here, or I belong there.'?  You belong to Me, for I bought you with a Price.  And how is it that you bond yourselves together with bonds of covenant when I would have you bonded with Love?"

With those three questions ringing in my heart and mind I suddenly realized that I was back in the Grand Ballroom of BGSU!  And I did not know what to do!  I thought, should I stand up and speak these questions out like a prophesy?  Or should I go to the front of the meeting and tell them to Bob Mumford or the host pastor?  Then a verse of Scripture came to my mind.  Act 22:18  And I saw Him [Jesus] say to me [the apostle Paul], Hurry and go quickly out of Jerusalem, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.

I realized that this meeting was hosted by what was called a 'Covenant Congregation', and that they would probably react negatively if I spoke these three questions openly.  I concluded that Jesus wanted me to be equipped to share these three questions as I was led by the Holy Spirit, and to speak them as the Lord opened doors to receptive persons, so I sat through the rest of that meeting and went home trusting that this message was meant for future times and places and people.

But now, in light of 'E Pluribus Unum', I believe that the time is right to declare the questions openly.  So I present them to you, dear reader, and trust that God will quicken them to your heart and mind in a way which is perfectly appropriate for you!

By the way, in the past nearly 44 years since that Bob Mumford meeting, I have been involved in a variety of churches and denominations, and have found them to be locally united but universally divided by pet doctrines and traditions and by human personalities.  This is no surprise in light of the fact that the main goal of the earthly life of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is summed up in his High Priestly prayer recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 17:
(AFV)  John 17:11 And I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, those whom You have given Me, so that they may be one, even as We are one.

So we find that unity is of primary importance to Jesus and to our Heavenly Father!

The enemy of our souls, of course, knows this as well, and has worked overtime to prevent people from becoming one with each other and with God.  His main method is spelled out in Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 3:
Divisions in the Church
1Cor 3:1-7  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto youall were not able to bear it, neither yet now are youall able.   For youall are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are youall not carnal, and walk as men?   For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are youall not carnal?
1Cor 3:5  Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom youall believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?   I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.   So then neither is he that plants any thing, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase.

We see from this passage that the evidence of 'carnality' is jealousy, strife and division.  But that begs the question - What is 'carnality'?

I have come to the conclusion that carnality is the condition of living for one's self rather than for God, and living according to one's own understanding rather than by faith in God.  I come to that conclusion based on Proverbs 3:5 and 2 Corinthians 5:15:

Pro 3:5  Trust in יהוה with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

2Cor 5:15  and He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them, and was raised.

I discovered Proverbs 3:5 the first time I read the Bible back in 1976.  The verse seemed to leap off of the page!!

And I discovered 2 Corinthians 5:15 years later when it also leapt off of the page, and I realized that it is my personal guiding verse, since I was saved from my sins on May 15, 1976.  5:15.  Get it?

Now, you may ask, how does a person stop being carnal and start being spiritual?  The answer to those two questions is by choosing to become a disciple of Jesus Christ Himself according to the terms which He clearly stated to His followers in Luke 14 and John 8.

First, there is Luke 14:26  If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

Second, there is Luke 14:27  And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, he cannot be My disciple.

Third, there is Luke 14:33  So then, everyone of you who does not forsake all his possessions, he cannot be My disciple.

Fourth, there is John 8:31-32  Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, you are My disciples indeed.   And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Most people choke on the first requirement.  It does seem to be rather harsh.  Other people water this verse down, saying that Jesus only meant that we are to love Him more than we love ourselves. May I suggest that if you want to be a disciples of Jesus, ask Him what these requirements mean and how they apply to your life!!!

Secondly, the day after I was saved I was given 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 by the person who had prayed me into the Kingdom of God the day before.  So I looked up this passage and found:

1Cor 6:19-20  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have of God? And you are not your own,   for you are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

As I meditated on this passage of Scripture I thought, "Temple of the Holy Spirit" - that sounds good.  "Bought with a price" - wait a minute.  I'm in law school, and I know what that means.  That's slavery!!!  So I said, Lord Jesus, please help me to understand.  Yesterday You set me free from my sins, but now today I am a slave?

The answer which came to my mind was simple.  "I have an all volunteer army.  You had to be free to be a volunteer."  That made sense, so I continued my meditations on that passage.  I thought, "The essence of slavery is that there is only one right answer - 'Yes, Master!"  My heart sank.  Then I had my first vision.  I saw myself standing on the four corners of downtown Timbuktu, North Africa, preaching to some locals.  And they understood just enough to become totally offended, and I saw myself dying with a spear in my back on the hot sands of downtown Timbuktu.  I said, "Lord, that is not very appealing.  What could be worse than that?"

The answer which then came to my mind was simple but terrifying.  "There is something much worse than that!  You could continue to tell Me 'No'.  You've been doing that all of your life."  My life passed before my eyes, and I realized that "Yes, if...." is really 'No."  And "Maybe later." is really "No."  Anything other than "Yes." is really "No".

My heart sank again.  I said, "Lord Jesus, You have me between a rock and a hard place.  But I am going to say 'Yes" because You have given me the answer key and the only right answer is "Yes, Master."  I am not thrilled, but I have heard that you are kind and merciful, so please remember to be kind and merciful with me."

I dozed off repeating the Name of Jesus at the rate of my breathing as my new 'mantra'.  When I awoke I was saying 'Olah, Olah, Olah' at the rate of my pulse.

That brings up a whole other story, but suffice it to say that I eventually found out that 'Olah' is Hebrew for 'Burnt Sacrifice', and that a burnt sacrifice is an act of unconditional surrender to God, and raises a pleasing aroma to Him.

So I was born again on May 15, died to self on May 16 by unconditionally surrendering to Jesus, and eventually realized that the cost of being His disciple is everything, but the cost of NOT being His disciple is much worse!!

My advice?  Take the leap of faith, dear reader.  The Lord is Good, and His goodness endures forever!


PS:  Further thoughts:  What will the unity of the  Spirit look like when it is established?  Although we will all remain individuals with our own identities, the distinctions of the world will be swallowed up as follows:

Gal_3:28  There cannot be Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is no male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Col 3:11  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

I believe that we will all look at each other and recognize each other as precious souls for whom Jesus, the Son of God died and rose again to be reconciled with our Heavenly Father!


When the Holy Spirit first confronted me with the requirement of hating own life and my family members, I replied, "Lord, I don't understand.  I know that we are supposed to love our neighbors, but now we are also supposed to hate ourselves and our family members.  Please help me to understand this apparent contradiction.  He first led me to all the verses which tell of His interactions with his family members.  And I came to understand that He did not have animosity toward his mother and siblings, but He refused to allow them to interfere with His Father's will for His life.

On the day after I first received Jesus into my heart as Savior and Lord I was given 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 which includes the phrase 'you are not your own'.  It was clear to me that I did not create myself, and I was not created to satisfy myself, and I was not redeemed from my sinful strayings from God so that I could pursue my own happiness.  I was created by God for God, and I was redeemed by the Son of God to be reconciled with our Heavenly Father to become one of His children to do His will, not my will.  Rev_4:11  O Lord, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You created all things, and for Your will they are and were created.

Years ago I shared what Jesus said about hating father, mother, brother, sister, wife, children, and our own lives in order to be His disciples.  A lady in that Sunday School class stiffened up in her chair, so I asked what that verse meant to her.  Her husband informed me that his wife's first husband had used that verse as the reason he divorced her.  A shocked silence filled the classroom, and I realized that her first husband had apparently ignored or neglected what Jesus said about divorce:

Mat 5:32  But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.

As a result I began to pray for the holy hatred of myself and my family members so that I could be one of Jesus' disciples, trusting that He, being good, would not give me anything bad.

1/3/22 More Further Thoughts:

It occurred to me today that once people become Jesus' disciples according to His standards, are united in Jesus as we should be (united in His Name, in submission to His ownership of our lives, and united in the Love of God - all by the power of His death, burial and resurrection), then we will be able to forcefully complete the conditions listed in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 so that Father can heal our lands:

2Ch 7:13  “If I shut up the sky so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
if My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves, pray, seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 

This promise has obviously failed to be fulfilled throughout creation.  But is is not because God is not faithful to His promises, it is because we have been carnally divided from each other and Him, we have been carnally called by this name or that name, but not by God's name; and we have been united with each other by organizational covenants instead of being united with Him and with each other by His love.

Therefore I am cheerfully declaring "E Pluribus Unum, as You will, Father, in Your Name, Lord Jesus, amen!", and trusting that we will see great things as He responds to this inspired declaration which in perfect accord with the prayer of Jesus :

(AFV)  John 17:11 And I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, those whom You have given Me, so that they may be one, even as We are one.

Rob 1/3/22

1/31/22 More Further Thoughts:

It has been my observation over the years that the writings of the apostle Paul are given much more attention that the words of our Lord Jesus contained in the New Testament. The result of this, in my opinion, is that Paul tends to be more head-oriented, and Jesus tended to be more Heart-oriented.

I have also come to wonder whether Paul's background as a 'Pharisee of Pharisees' was really 100% eradicated by his conversion experience on the Road to Damascus and subsequent years in the desert.

In particular we know that after Paul's conversion he returned to Jerusalem ready to tell everyone there that Jesus had changed his life, but Jesus appeared to him and told him to get out of Jerusalem because 'they will not receive your testimony about Me'.  Paul, being a young Christian, argued with the Lord.  But Jesus, of course, had the last word, and it was 'Depart'!

How do we know this?  Because Paul came back to Jerusalem after several years among the Gentiles, and met with James and all the elders, who devised a plan for Paul to gain acceptance from the Jews by going to the temple and taking part in purification rituals.

What happened?  Far from being reconciled or even heard by the Jews, they rioted when Paul gave his testimony of conversion to Jesus and being sent to the gentiles.  Not quite what he or James or the elders had expected would happen.

Why did he go to Jerusalem after being told by Jesus Himself to depart from Jerusalem because the Jews would not receive his testimony of Him?  According to Acts 15:2 Paul and Barnabas and certain other believers went to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles and elders about whether Jewish circumcision was necessary for salvation.  Apparently this was three years after his conversion according to Galatians 1:18.  Later, after fourteen years Paul went back up to Jerusalem to compare his gospel with the church leaders 'by revelation'.  This seems mysterious to me.  We are not told what the revelation was but, when Jesus appears to a person and tells him one thing and then later he gets a 'revelation' and does what he was specifically told not to do, it causes me to question the revelation. 

I remembered an instance in the Old Testament in 1 Kings chapter 13 that a prophet was given a message to deliver to King Jeroboam and then return immediately to his place.  The prophet did as he was commanded at first, but later, on his way to his place another prophet told the first prophet that an angel had told him to take the first prophet into his home instead of going on to the first prophet's place.  When the first prophet obeyed the countermanding message a lion ate him!!

So I wonder if Paul's instructions not to give his testimony to the Jews in Jerusalem was similarly countermanded by James and the Christian elders in Jerusalem.  The result of Paul returning to Jerusalem and giving his testimony to the Jews was that he ended up as a prisoner for a good portion of the rest of his life.  Another brother recently told me that he had always wondered about why Paul did what he did because even after Paul testified before King Agrippa and Festus, Agrippa told Festus that Paul could have been set at liberty if he had not appealed his case to Caesar!

As I continue to ponder why Paul did what he did, I read that the Holy Spirit in Acts 20:23 witnessed to him that prisons and tribulations awaited him in Jerusalem.  And I also read that Paul knew that he was appointed by the Lord as an apostle to the Gentiles, not the Jews, while Peter was the apostle to the 'circumcision' - the Jews.

My tentative conclusion is that Paul let his love for the Jewish people, and perhaps a certain bravado as a person willing to die for Jesus to interfere with his calling to the Gentiles, and to also interfere with Peter's calling as apostle to the Jews.  As a result Paul paid a huge price for his misplaced zeal for the Jews and was restricted from fulfilling his calling as apostle to the gentiles.

In the end we need to realize that the unity of the Spirit will eliminate the distinctions between Jews and Gentiles for those who are really 'in Christ', and those who are really 'in Christ' will be grafted into and abiding in Jesus, The True Vine, whether they be wild branches or natural branches!