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The Cause Of Riots

What did the Oakland and the previous Los Angeles riots of a few years ago teach you? That racial prejudice is still alive in America? That white jurists pick on blacks and acquit whites? That the poor need more Federal money and will burn down their cities to get it? That it was all caused by the failure of the white community to understand and help minorities? What does the recent rioting in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Turkey and other Muslim nations teach us?

Today I want to talk with you about the causes and solutions of the problems demonstrated by riots, and discuss how we in the Church should react concerning it.

1. Both Los Angeles and Oakland have been grappling with drug wars, gang wars, uncontrolled immigration, and economic problems for many years. The riots indicate another step downward for the local area and all of the U.S. It has been an embarrassment to the U.S. who, according to those who encourage strong pressure on other countries, is supposed to be the model of democracy and justice. Is this democracy? Why are these problems increasing year by year, decade by decade, generation by generation, not only in the U.S. but globally?

Let's first look at Paul's description of today's world:

2 Tim 3:1-7 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. {2} People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, {3} without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, {4} treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- {5} having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. {6} They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, {7} always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

Are these terrible times? Let's consider each of these verses we just read:

Do the rioters look for an excuse to riot?

Do rioters love themselves and their desires? Were they caring for others?

Did the rioters love money and material possessions?

Did the rioters boast? In the case of the Los Angeles riots, was their attitude: "We are appalled that the American judicial system would acquit four white policemen of beating a defenseless black we are looting and burning a Korean appliance store."

In the case of the Oakland riots, were they rioting because a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) policeman shot an unarmed black man while arresting him?

Do rioters demonstrate pride and arrogance? Do you hear the arrogant justifications of their actions?

Did the recent Egyptian rioters consider whether their desire for more democracy was justified? Were they aware that a founding father of the American constitution said that democracy can only work in a Christian nation? Was he correct?

Did the rioters exercise abuse? Did you see the attackers dancing after nearly killing the white truck driver in Los Angeles or throwing firebombs on those supporting their government?

Did the rioters disobey their parents? Do you think their parents knowingly taught them to act like that? Do you think they would have acted like that if they thought about the dishonor brought to their parents or considered the reflection on their nation, parents and family? Would their grandparents be ashamed of such conduct? Let's look at two scriptures:

Exo 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Mat 15:4 For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'

But, you may ask, did they curse their parents? No, probably not, but if you were to have asked them what their parents would think of such action, what do you think they would have said? "Well, (bleep) them. We'll do what we want." The attitude was surely there. Please turn to Exodus 21.

Exo 21:17 "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.

Are the rioters ungrateful? We in this country have been blessed materially more than any country in the world (with the possible exception of the British people). The Federal government has doled out over 2 trillion dollars of our money in an attempt to help the underprivileged or to buy votes. Two trillion is a 2 with 12 zeroes behind it. That is two million millions. If you laid out dollar bills around the equator, you would have to circle the globe with them 7576 times to spend 2 trillion dollars.

Is it ludicrous to ask if rioters are unholy?

Is it ludicrous to ask if rioters are without love of their opponents?

Is it ludicrous to ask if they are or were forgiving?

Were they slanderous? Certainly the news media was. Of course the media makes a business of being slanderous, political, and slanting their stories to rile up the public, thereby creating more news to report and promoting the media's political slant even if it is injurious to their country.

Is it ludicrous to ask if rioters have self-control?

Is it ludicrous to ask if the rioters in Los Angeles were brutal when the man hit the white truck driver in the face with a brick?

Were they lovers of the good? As they tear down store fronts and set them ablaze, and stomp on cars, did they even consider whether the owners were good or not? The owners had invested large sums of money in those stores and cars.

Were the looters and burners of the Korean stores in Los Angles treacherous? Did they go out of their way to pay back the Koreans for their ability to come to this country, set up stores in poor neighborhoods, and become a success?

Did the attacks on police correct any overreaction by the police?

Another ludicrous question: Were they rash?

Were they conceited? Did many black merchants display "Black owned" property signs in an attempt to appeal to the conceit of rioting blacks?

Another ludicrous question: Were they lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God? Do you think they even considered obedience to the true God's word in all this?

Did they have a form of godliness but deny its power? How many would have professed belief in God but rationalized that God gave the underprivileged the right to retaliate? How many know or care what Christ taught. How many wore crosses on their necklaces and ears? How many worshipped the true God?

I doubt if many of us would want to have anything to do with them while or after they rioted. Let's read 2 Timothy 3:1-7 again:

(2 Tim 3:1-7 NKJV) But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: {2} For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, {3} unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, {4} traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, {5} having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! {6} For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, {7} always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Verse 6 described loose women and men. Are you aware that in New York 65% of all black births are to unwed mothers? About the same percentage of black pregnancies end in abortion. Government leaders have stated that the major reason for riots is the fact that there is no father in the homes of black children to teach the children moral values. Is verse 6 applicable to today's world?

Does verse 7 describe to a tee our population, particularly our children today? Does it describe our schools - where our children are over-taught political values but under-taught academics.

Self confidence is unduly stressed in schools. (One basic principle is 'if you want it, go after it'....It is often taught starting with very young children.) That principle is fine when applied to proper goals but is not appropriate when applied to greed or rebellion. That this self-confidence deception is taught to children in our public schools was brought out recently when children who felt that they were good in a particular subject were found to do poorly on competitive tests in the very subject they thought they excelled in.

In school they are taught that their parent's values are just that... just their parent's values. That each person must determine what is best for themselves even if it is different than the values and principles of their parents

That evolution is provable while creation is disprovable.

That sexual lifestyles and values are up to the individual.

Are we living in the last days?

(Dan 11:40-42 NKJV) "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. {41} "He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon (Jordan). {42} "He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape.

Does the "king of the South" include or describe Egypt?

Now I would be the first to admit that many scriptures primarily describe God's support, or threat of lack of support, for ancient Israel. But, they also apply to our country if we continue to reject God.

(Gen 12:3 NKJV) I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

In Isa 59, we can read a prophesy which describes our country very well. I wish every government and church leader would preach this to the public.

Isa 59:1-8 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. {2} But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. {3} For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things. {4} No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil. {5} They hatch the eggs of vipers and spin a spider's web. Whoever eats their eggs will die, and when one is broken, an adder is hatched. {6} Their cobwebs are useless for clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands. {7} Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways. {8} The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks in them will know peace.

Now you tell me...Is our country being cursed by God or cursed by us?

2. Now I want to take you through some scriptures which deal with rebellion and make comments about how they apply to the rioting in Los Angeles, Oakland, and wherever.

Ezek 7:23-27 "Prepare chains [for the coming captivity], because the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of violence. {24} I will bring the most wicked of the nations to take possession of their houses; I will put an end to the pride of the mighty, and their sanctuaries will be desecrated. {25} When terror comes, they will seek peace, but there will be none. {26} Calamity upon calamity will come, and rumor upon rumor. They will try to get a vision from the prophet; the teaching of the law by the priest will be lost, as will the counsel of the elders. {27} The king will mourn, the prince will be clothed with despair, and the hands of the people of the land will tremble. I will deal with them according to their conduct, and by their own standards I will judge them. Then they will know that I am the LORD."
Deu 21:18-21 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, {19} his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. {20} They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate (immoral and extravagant) and a drunkard." {21} Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

If rioting youths knew that this scripture applied to them, would they act as they do? It is pretty clear that God does not tolerate rebelliousness.

Does the Word of God tell us to obey man's law or does God care?

Mat 22:17-21 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" {18} But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? {19} Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, {20} and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" {21} "Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

If not contrary to God's laws, we must obey the laws of the State, like them or not.

1 Sam 15:23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king."

Here Samuel informs Saul that he has rebelled against God. Rebellion and arrogance are obvious practices in all riot areas.

Youths attacked innocent people on the street. How has God responded when youths insult the elderly (and, in Saul's case his prophet)?

2 Ki 2:23-24 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" {24} He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

What does God tell the oppressed of riot torn cities and the angry officials of riot-torn areas how to react to their problems?

Isa 1:16-20 wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, {17} learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. {18} "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. {19} If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; {20} but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

In the following verses, is God condemning the law-makers, judges, police and criminal justice system for their attitudes as well?

Jer 5:21-29 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: {22} Should you not fear me?" declares the LORD. "Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. {23} But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. {24} They do not say to themselves, 'Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.' {25} Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good. {26} "Among my people are wicked men who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch men. {27} Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful {28} and have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, they do not defend the rights of the poor. {29} Should I not punish them for this?" declares the LORD. "Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?

Many criticize the police for their tendency to look at everything in black and white. But during the Los Angeles riots, the police, at times, did nothing at all to stop the looting. On the other hand, the Oakland riots only increased when an Oakland policeman shot a black prisoner in the back, killing him. In Egypt law enforcement has tried various ways to control the mob, with questionable results. Many people feel the police should take the following approach:

1. Declare martial law at the very beginning of the rioting.

2. Given the people 30 minutes to clear the streets.

3. Observe the time proven practice of shooting looters.

In the Watts riots of 1965, the National Guard set up machine guns to control rioters. In the Los Angeles riot, many of the looters were women...were they to be shot too? But lawyers and court decisions have so weakened the courage of the police that they are often afraid to exercise force. Furthermore, they certainly knew that the not-guilty verdict in beating of black Rodney King was not entirely correct, and they didn't want to compound the problem or end up in court themselves. Notice the following verses:

Luke 11:46 Jesus replied, "And you experts in the law [ the KJV uses the word lawyers], woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

Our courts can literally destroy people, including policemen, who come before them. No policeman can afford to pay today's court costs. The Los Angeles riot was a clear example of our country losing the pride of its power as we read in Lev 26:19. The Oakland riot was partly the result of an impulsive, possibly reactionary, policeman.

Luke 11:52 describes another problem with our court system: Corrupting the original intent of the jury system. Originally, the jury was to give its verdict unhindered. Now the jury must formulate its verdict around instructions from the judge. This was not the way it was done 200 years ago when our judicial system was established:

Verse 52 "Woe to you experts in the law [lawyers in the KJV], because you have taken away the key to knowledge (obedience to God's word). You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering."

In other words, lawyers and judges can not make a wise decision because they are not in tune with God. But neither do they always allow others, such as the jury, from exercising the wisdom God gives to them.

Now we know that, in these verses, Christ was primarily talking to the Pharisees, but in these verses he specifically addresses the lawyers who were with them. As we have seen, these scriptures are applicable to this country's legal status as well and may, in fact, be a prophesy for our time. Now keep in mind that the bulk of the people who establish and interpret our laws in all levels of government are lawyers. Additionally, since only lawyers can become judges, they can establish new laws by

interpretation and precedent-setting judgments. Notice again, verse 46: lawyers (and judges) encumber people with burdens (penalties, fees, support payments, taxes, etc.) which people can not afford to pay because their income is simply insufficient. But the lawyers themselves, as stated by Christ in verse 46, will not lift one finger to help them ..e.g. lawyers typically charge the people they are claiming to help 10 times what the average citizen makes, and legislators exclude themselves from the very laws they pass for others. The prime objective of the members of our legislatures is to keep themselves in office. Just as lawyers will sell their ethical principles to promote their own career, so will legislatures sell out their constituents to keep themselves in office by pleasing the special interest groups who keep them there. Rare are the government leaders who choose country over self-interest.

The Egyptian riots are the result of the Muslim media convincing the Egyptian public that they must replace the existing long-term President Mubarak in order to cancel their relation with Israel and the United States. What was not told the public was that after the president is forced to resign, a secular president would be obtained, followed by a candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood supporting Sharia law. The same plan has been successful in Iran and is presently being used in Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen, and Jordan. The goal of the Muslim Brotherhood is to surround Israel with enough hostile countries to destroy Israel. The same is true in destroying other religious groups. There are over seven million Coptic Christians in Egypt. They are presently terrorized by the thought of Egypt becoming a part of the Muslim Brotherhood which would result in the demise of these seven million Christian believers.

The same is true in other attempts of the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization, to establish Muslim caliphates in all other parts of the world. Whether western countries will allow themselves to be deceived again as they were in 1979 when Iran seized the American embassy, is yet to be seen. Egypt has been a loyal friend of America. I personally believe that President Mubarak is justified in staying in office because he has been a friend and supporter of America and there appears to be no one else who will join Israel in keeping peace. Many news reports describe the need to establish a democratic election but because a majority of Egyptians have been encouraged to favor a pro-Islamic, anti-Israeli government, a democratic election would assure another Muslim Brotherhood nation. Israel prevents the extension of another Muslim caliphate in the Middle East. In addition, the U.S. has an agreement with Israel to protect it.

The rioting and looting in Los Angeles are alleged to have been mainly done by blacks and Hispanics but film strips also showed a few young whites joining in the melee. Nevertheless, it is the minorities who are taking most of the blame in Watts, Los Angeles, and Oakland. This is another fulfillment of the prophesy in:

Deu 28:43 The alien (gentile) who lives among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you (the Israelitish people) will sink lower and lower.

Christianity tells us that we are to love our enemies and that God is love .

(Mat 5:44 KJV) But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
(1 John 4:7-11 NKJV) Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. {8} He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. {9} In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. {10} In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. {11} Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. . . . 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

And where are our leaders today? President Obama tilts left and seemingly toward Islam. This is also evidenced when he publically instructed Egyptian President Mubarak to select a nonsecular, i.e. religious, replacement. This is exactly what occurred in Iran after the Shah was encouraged by U.S. President Carter to resign. Some say that Islam is just another religion. Please consider that Islam is traditionally vicious and warlike, commanding via its Koran with its Sharia law, and its adherents to kill others, especially pagans and Jews but also those Christians who refuse to convert to Islam.

Isa 9:16 Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray.

Our leaders do not know how to lead anymore because they are under constant criticism and/or are not lead by God. If they see a solution to the problem, they seem too worried about their political future to chance doing what is right. As they have rejected God as their leader, so have they lost their ability to lead. When they do lead in a politically correct manner, as verse 16 points out, they lead the people astray. Too many of our leaders have lost their way and don't know where to go.

As the people turn their backs on the true God, the problems increase. Look at:

Isa 59:12-13 For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: {13} rebellion and treachery against the LORD, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived.

This country needs a thorough and complete moral and spiritual reformation. It needs families that teach and demonstrate moral and spiritual values and classroom teachers allowed by the courts to reinforce these values. And churches that refrain from clamoring over maldistribution of income so as to teach the moral law: declining ridiculous excuses like, "hey, you've got your morality, I've got mine, where's the problem?" Race doesn't or shouldn't come into moral matters. Between good, honest, hard-working people of whatever race there's no qualitative difference. Among barbarians and vandals of whatever race, there's no qualitative difference either.

So where do we go from here? U.S. influence appears to be fading fast these days. If Egypt or Jordan adopts Sharia law, Israel will be threatened. Will the U.S. fail eventually. Some prophesies seem to say so. What must those called by God do? The most important thing we can do it to be sure we are close to close that we stand for what is right and depend upon Him to provide us with protection.

Psa 121 I lift up my eyes to the hills, from which comes my help. {2} My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. {3} He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber; {4} indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. {5} The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; {6} the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. {7} The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life; {8} the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Secondly, we must accept that, as we get closer to the end, things are going to get continually worse.

Ezek 9:4 ..... "Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it."

We have entered a time of sighing, praying, and total dependence on God for our physical and spiritual survival. Brethren, don't become fearful, but instead, be sure you have received that mark on your foreheads for lamenting and grieving for the world around us. In other words get close to and depend upon God.

Sermon given by Wayne Bedwell
5 February 2011
Copyright 2011, Wayne Bedwell

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