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KINGDOM PERSPECTIVE
Christianity Oasis Ministry has provided you with this Kingdom Perspective book with Kingdom Perspective lesson. This Kingdom Perspective study and Kingdom Perspective story with Kingdom Perspective lesson looks at the Kingdom Perspective message and asks what does Kingdom Perspective mean, what is a Kingdom Perspective, why is the Kingdom Perspective important, what is the Kingdom Perspective message and how does the Kingdom Perspective affect you. The Kingdom Perspective is essential in the Christian walk. Understanding the Kingdom Perspective message is very important and learning about the Kingdom Perspective can help you to overcome the worldly whirlwinds. Let us delve into this Kingdom Perspective lesson with Kingdom Perspective message in this Kingdom Perspective book, shall we?


 

CHRISTIANITY OASIS

PRESENTS

PURITY PUBLICATIONS
 

Kingdom Perspective-

Odds and Ends

By: Kenneth B. Alexander, JD. Minister
 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface
Introduction
Be Perfect As Your Heavenly Father Is Perfect
Catholicism and Mystery Babylon
Does Our Faith Need Too Much Reassurance?
Hope - The Second Golden Grace
Religion and Clergy Malpractice
Christian Astrology
- The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
The Spirit
Abide
in the Father
Biblical Numerology
Cleanse Your Conscience Before God
Fear
Order Verses Chaos In Life
- The Reality of Futility
Science and God
The History of Babylon
The Song of Songs or Song of Solomon
The First Epistle of John
- A Study of Love and the Word
Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?
Atheism
Big or Small
Futility But With Hope
Refuge of Lies
War and the Middle East
Time Is Not Poetic
The Father and the Mediator
The Holy Spirit
The True Story of the Nephilim
Will There Ever Be World Peace?
Death Is a Lie
The Role of Faith In Politics
The Kingdom of God Has Come Near

 

Preface

Thanks to John Robert Stevens, Pastor and my mentor, deceased; Pastors Gary and Marilyn Hargrave; The Living Word, a World Wide fellowship of Churches (thelivingword.org); Logos Bible Study System; fellow Christians

By: Kenneth B. Alexander, JD, Minister

enoch1122@yahoo.com

Scripture references: The New American Standard, 95 ed. And the KJV (AV) unless otherwise noted

Bold Print Author’s Discretion-Other Emphasis Author’s Discretion

 

Introduction

 

This author is not sure if this Book needs an introduction. I was going through some old files and I came up with some stuff I hadn’t published. So I threw it all together and made something out of it. If nothing else it should be interesting as there are some off the wall topics included, as well as some of my attempts at poetry (not my line). But if you look at the Table of Contents you might find something interesting.

For instance “Was America Founded As a Christian Nation”? Or the history of Babylon or the history of the Nephilim? How about “God and Science”? How about the paganism attached to the Roman Church, who ruled Rome for 1000 years? There are some more familiar topics, always involved with Walking with God In the spirit. Also “Will There Ever Be World Peace” and the “Role of Faith In Politics”. I’ve even included a peace on “Christian Astrology” and “Biblical Numerology”. There is even some of my attempts at Poetry.

So here’s hoping you enjoy it and learn a thing or two.

 

Be Perfect As Your Heavenly Father Is Perfect

 

One statement by Christ during His dissertation to the multitudes, which has come to be known as “The Sermon on the Mount” stands out and is worth analyzing. It is: “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Preceding this statement are scriptures which may be read as leading up to or relating directly to this statement but a close reading and understanding of the scriptures reveals that this statement stands on its own as a proclamation of God’s will for His Sons.

Therefore, and after a reading of the following, there can be no doubt that it is God’s will that His Sons be perfect like He is. If it is God’s will that we be perfect, like He is, how do we come to that place of perfection? Is it by doing good works meant to please God? Is it by trying to follow His will to the best of our human ability? Is there any way we can meet the standards set out by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount when even our thoughts can be a sin against God, rendering us imperfect? Christ said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).

Although we are to attain this perfection, there is little doubt that we can never accomplish this by our own efforts. Is God requiring something of us that we can never hope to accomplish, or is being just a little less than perfect all right with Him since we have Christ’s grace to cover whatever sins we may commit? Scripture is clear that we are to be perfect. John said: “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). Being like Christ means being perfect like He is. Paul said: “For now we see through a glass, darkly ; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). And: “Now we know in part, and prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away” (I Corinthians 13:9–10).

Hebrews points out that God is bringing many Sons to glory, Sons perfect like Christ: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10). Hebrews mentions sufferings as an agent of perfection. Paul said: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:16-17).

Although you may consider this heresy, Christ was not born perfect. He became perfect just as we are to become perfect. Scripture says: “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been MADE PERFECT, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” (Hebrews 5:8-9). Christ, born of woman and the Holy Spirit, had to be made perfect so He could turn and make us, who are also Sons, perfect like He became. If Christ was born perfect, how could He relate to us who are in the same process of becoming perfect? He had to take the same road to perfection as we do. Isaiah 53:2 references this growing up Christ had to do just like us: “For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him”.

When we begin to talk about perfection we must at once talk about love. God is love. That is the sum total of His nature. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). Love is the perfect thing. In the verses immediately preceding Christ’s admonition that we be perfect, He references how we are to love in order to be perfect: “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 5:43-47)

In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul explains the path we follow to perfect love. He explains all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in detail including the gifts of wisdom, faith, knowledge, healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues. These are all gifts that can be exercised by the body of Christ as it grows into perfection. However being able to exercise these great gifts is not love. He goes on to explain that the gifts are only partial perfection and are not the perfect thing God wants. “…but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:8-11).

So what remains when the partial is taken away? “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians13:1-4).

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Therefore through all the stages we go through in our walk to perfection (gifts, faith and then hope) we finally arrive at perfection-love. When we love as God loves we are perfect. We become love, as God is love.

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:15-19).

Now that we know where we are headed, that is to “be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect” how do we get there from here? A great obstacle in our attaining to this perfect love is a spirit we struggle against what is called condemnation. Condemnation is the sense of failure we feel when we think we can never measure up to what God wants in our lives. Condemnation results from knowing about the sin we can never ever get rid of-once for all and finally. Condemnation is our feelings about ourselves that we are never really accepted; that we are never really loved or appreciated by God or those around us. It manifests as a continual deep sense of failure that we carry with us that, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. It affects every aspect of our lives and our ability to fully accept the love and joy God is continually beaming at us. As men of the flesh we look at what God requires of us, realize how far we fall short, and condemn ourselves for not being able to attain it. Believe it or not condemnation is perhaps the greatest obstacle we face as we strive for perfect love.

One example of the spirit of condemnation is: “One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He [Jesus] had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:28-31). The obvious dilemma is how can you love your brother if you don’t love yourself? Condemnation, which in modern terms may be called insecurity, keeps us from fully loving ourselves and thus fully loving God and our brother, which is perfection.

We have been saddled with this condemnation from the beginning. From the moment Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, mankind was cursed or condemned by God. The Lord cursed man, woman, the ground and the serpent with the same ferocity (Genesis 3:14-19). “A curse is evil or misfortune that comes as if in response to imprecation or as retribution; a cause of great harm or misfortune” (Merriam-Webster 11th Ed.). As Paul said: “For the creation was subjected [cursed] to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:20-21).

But this curse was not inflicted without hope, or permanently. God provided a manner by which the curse could be removed. In Genesis 3 God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field… And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise [crush] you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:14-15). This meant that the seed of the woman (Jesus Christ) would crush the head of the serpent (Satan) although, in his battle for survival, Satan would bruise the man-child’s heel. Since the serpent (Satan, the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, Revelation 20:2) is the original and continuing cause of all condemnation, Christ defeating him on the cross (crushing his head) took care of the problem once and for all.

The definition of condemnation is the same as you would expect in a court of law. The Hebrew word "rasha" means to be wicked, act wickedly and as a result to be found guilty and to have final judgment and punishment inflicted (New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionary). In the Garden, God turned His back on humanity, cursing and condemning him at the same time. However in His mercy He left man an open door (Christ) to be perfect.

The Apostle Paul struggled with condemnation as he walked with God and tried to do the right thing. In Romans chapter 7 he recounts his battle: “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:14-24).

What Paul is saying here is that even though he knows the right thing to do he is unable to do it due to the condemned man within him which won’t allow it. He distinguishes between the two natures at war within him but finds no way out of the situation in himself. This is where many of us live. Although we may know the will of God, that is that we be perfect in all our ways, we find we cannot execute that perfection due our nature from which God separated Himself so long ago. However, Paul comes to the only solution possible for the self condemnation that dogs his life. We must walk completely in the new nature provided by Christ and very much alive in the believer.

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:25). When Christ died on the cross and was resurrected he accomplished two things with respect to sin. First of all He forgave sin, all the sin which had been committed by man and the sin he may commit in the future. The second thing He did was the most important: He removed all sin from man so that man never really had to sin again since the act of removal made him completely clean and unable to sin.

However Christ did one more thing on the cross which is important to this process. By removing the sin and guilt from mankind the only one left to carry the sin and guilt was Satan. Whereas the condemnation had been upon mankind, when it was removed, Satan retained the condemnation (guilty verdict and punishment). However what the Father did with Christ in actually removing or transferring the sin away from mankind was a miracle. Satan saw this miracle and realized that he could take the condemnation now upon him and transfer it back to mankind, if they were willing to accept it. Satan, even in his condemned state, remained the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), giving him latitude to carry on spreading evil until his sentence was actually executed. So to this day mankind has been released from the curse or condemnation laid upon it by God in the Garden but Satan, the enemy, continually tries to convince man to reaccept what is not applicable to him anymore.

That is the dual nature that Paul was describing in Romans 7. However he came to the conclusion that Christ’s gift of grace resulting from His act on the cross really did release man from any condemnation. He saw the fulfillment of God’s promise in the Garden that the offspring of the woman (Christ) had crushed the serpent’s (Satan’s) head on the cross. Therefore he came to the conclusion that he expresses in Romans 8:1: “Therefore there is now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). We can no longer be condemned or blamed for sin because Christ took care of the problem once and for all. This is significant because who are there among us who does not blame him/her self for mistakes we make? Who does not condemn themselves for saying or doing the wrong thing time after time? In God’s eyes all our sin is forgotten or made of no effect in our lives.

Does that mean then that we are free to commit sin now that we know it has been forgiven? Paul says a resounding NO: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:1-4). The newness of life Paul is referring to is the perfection of God who knows no sin and walks only in love. When we walk in that newness of life we have become perfect (sinless) like the Father.

A perfect example of how this righteousness comes about is found in Zechariah chapter 3:1-7. That scripture says: “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him”. Here Joshua, a high priest of the Lord, standing before the Lord. Joshua’s name in Hebrew is Yehotsadaq which means “the LORD is righteous,” His name is cross referenced in Hebrew to Strong’s number 3068 which defines it as “the proper name of the God of Israel”. The angel of the Lord is Malek in Hebrew meaning a direct messenger from God the Father (New American Standard Hebrew Dictionary). So here we have a righteous man standing before the Lord.

There was one problem: “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel”. Joshua was a righteous man but he was clothed with filthy garments of sin. And Satan was standing before him and the Lord accusing Joshua for appearing before the Lord in such a condition. But the Lord (messenger) said to Satan: “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” The Lord saw Joshua for what he was- a righteous man who had gone through the fiery testings of the Lord. He saw that the filthy clothes were not his but the result of Satanic input by the accuser.

Joshua was standing before the Lord clothed in filthy garments [he was covered in sin] and Satan was standing with them accusing him of appearing before the Lord in filthy garments. Satan is known as the accuser, who accuses the righteous day and night. “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10). The Lord did not accept what the accuser had to say here and ordered the filthy garments to be removed. These were not his filthy garments; they had been put upon him by Satan. The Lord simply rebuked Satan, who no longer had the power to effectively accuse, and clothed the man in festal robes and a clean turban.

It was as we have said. Satan, even after being a defeated foe due to Christ’s sacrifice, can still make the righteous look bad by transferring his filthiness on us. We simply need to have the filthiness removed, because it no longer belongs to us and thus be perfect (righteous) as is the Father.

The bottom line is that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross not only forgave our sin but gave us the ability to be made perfect like the Father by removing all our sin and sending it to whom it belonged-Satan. He remains the evil one, the condemned one, and will be for eternity. We must refuse his attempt to transfer his filthiness and unrighteous evil onto us. After Christ we have literally been made perfect, like the Father.

 

Catholicism and Mystery Babylon

 

The purpose of this article is not to disparage anyone or their beliefs. It is meant to expose the pagan history of Babylon which became the Roman Catholic Church after the fall of the Roman Empire. In Revelation there is a call to God’s people to “come out of her my people” (Revelation 18:2, 4). This passage describes the false Christian church and says: “I [John] heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. “And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!... She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison [haunt] of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird”.

The information presented here is derived from the partial bibliography at the end of this article.

A. Origin of Babylonian Religion

The beginnings of Babylon go back to shortly after the flood when the great and renowned hunter Nimrod was born to Cush, son of Noah. “He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD” (Genesis 10:8-10). The beginning of his kingdom was Babel [Babylon] and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar” [now Mesopotamia including Iraq]. From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city (Genesis 10:8-12). He became a man renowned in the earth as a great leader, warrior, builder and religious priest. When he is called a “great hunter” it is not that he was a hunter of game but a hunter of souls for his religious kingdom of Babel (Babylon).

When Nimrod died, his wife Queen Semiramis claimed he was now the Sun-god (later called Baal). She gave birth to an illegitimate son Tammuz and claimed he was Nimrod incarnated. Tammuz died 40 days after his birth (similar to the 40 days of Lent). The pagan ritual (religion) grew so that Tammuz was thought to die and be resurrected each year. Thus, he was mourned with weeping and lament for 40 days culminating in the Feast of Ishtar in the late spring. Later these festivals were called “Lent (40 days) and Easter. Ezekiel records this: “Then He brought me to the entrance of the gate of the LORD’S house which was toward the north; and behold, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz. He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? Yet you will see still greater abominations than these.” (Ezekiel 8:12-14).

Actually Easter means “Pasche or Passover” in the Greek. The early church observed only Passover at that time of year, not Easter. The many symbols we attribute to Easter are paganistic: rabbits were a favorite plaything of Tammuz, eggs are symbols of fertility and sexuality of which Queen Ishtar was Queen and hot-cross-buns are represented in the Bible as “cakes” used in various pagan rituals. “The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven;[Ishtar] and they pour out drink offerings to other gods in order to spite Me” (Jeremiah 7:18). The Easter sunrise service is no more than a remnant of Sun-worship prevalent in the ancient pagan religions.

Much of the Babylonian worship was carried out through secret symbols which led God to describe the religion in Revelation as Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17:5). The golden calf was a symbol for Tammuz. For Nimrod, we see fire, candles and ritual fires lighted in his honor; he was also symbolized by: sun-symbols, fish, trees, animals and pillars. As Paul said of such things: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor [glorify] Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures” (Romans 1:21-23).

This system of Babylonian religion spread eventually to all other nations. “Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the LORD, Intoxicating all the earth. The nations have drunk of her wine; Therefore the nations are going mad (Jeremiah 51:7) “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion [wrath] of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth [power] of her sensuality” (Revelation 18:3). It has obviously prevailed until this day, as God’s judgment of Babylon is reserved for the end-times reflected in the Book of Revelation. Herodotus, an early historian, noted the mystery religion was the mother of all systems of idolatry in the world. Bunson said that the religious system was derived from “the primitive empire in Babel”. And Laynard, in his work Ninevah and Its Remains states “we have the united testimony of sacred and profane history that idolatry originated in the area of Babylonia-the most ancient of religious systems” (Vol. 2, pp 440).

B. Mother and Child Worship

Ancient pagan religions are rife with beliefs in the Divine Mother, female goddess, the divine feminine and Mother and Child worship. As we will see, these ancient rites stemming from Babylon became an integral part of the worship in the Roman Catholic Church. It was also the subject of Brown’s recent book The VaVinci Code.

Examples of mother-child worship are prevalent in most world religions well before the birth of Christ. In China the mother goddess called Shingmoo was pictured with a child in her arms. The Scandinavians called theirs Disa who was also pictured with a child. The Estruscans had Nutria and among the Druids the Virgo-Paritura was worshiped as the Mother goddess. In India she was called Indrani, shown with a child in her arms. The Babylonian mother was Aphodite, Ceres to the Greeks and Nana to the Sumerians. In early Rome, she was Venus or Fortuna and her child was called Jupiter. Other mother-child depictions (idols) were Devaki-Crishna (India) and Isi-IshawaCybele-Deoius (Asia). In Egypt, the mother was Isis and the child Horus. Depictions of the pair are among the most prevalent idols in Egypt, featuring mother and child on a throne.

In Greek Ephesus, the Great Mother was known as Diana or Artemus. A statute of her was known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Paul and his companions were run out of the city when he opposed pagan mother worship:

“You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. “Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana [Artemis] be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world [the inhabitated earth] worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence.” When they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, “Great is Diana [Artemis] of the Ephesians!” The city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia” (Acts 19:26-29).

Thus mother-child worship was prevalent over the entire world, and had been for centuries when Christ was born to Mary. There was no reference to the worship of or the recognition of her as a divine image either by Christ or by the early church. There is no reference to her as divine in the scriptures. As a matter of fact, Jesus himself didn’t recognize her as his Mother after the Spirit: “Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:30-33).

Nevertheless, the worship of Mary, pictured with the child Jesus, found its way into Christianity. As we know, the early New Testament churches began to fall away from the truth and evolved into the Roman (western) and Eastern Catholic churches (Catholic means Universal). Many pagans desired to know Christ but they carried with them many pagan ideas. The mother-child image was so engrained in the world at that time that it was impossible for them to give it up. So rather than lose these potential church members, the Universal church instituted their own form of Mother-child worship-that of Mary and Jesus. This Roman Catholic Church was formed in Rome, a center for such worship, so it was easily introduced. Christians of that time faced vigorous persecution partly for their failure to follow Roman religion.

Finally, in approximately 430 B.C.E. Emperor Constantine designated Christianity as the official religion of Rome. At that time Saint Mary worship was made an official doctrine of the Catholic Church. Since at that time there were no other viable Christian religions, anyone who desired to worship Christ had to come by way of the Catholic church, devote themselves to Mary worship and adopt the “mystery” symbols such as the cross, the holy water, immaculate conception, Papal divinity and continual virginity of Mary, all of which are pagan and unscriptural. This was the mixture of Christianity and government (Roman) that God condemns in the Bible. “And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning,…(Revelation 18:9). For another thousand years Catholicism would align itself with world governments, receiving power from them and likewise giving them religious validity. Both grew exceedingly rich living off each.

God condemns them thus:

“[Kings of the earth] standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’ “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more— cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble, and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves [literally bodies] and human lives [souls of people]. “The fruit of your soul’s desire you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them. “The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘aWoe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’ And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance,” (Revelation 18:10-17). Who were the greatest of merchants than the nations who made themselves rich by the blood of the saints and the atrocities committed in the name of religion by the church?

At the beginning of Chapter 17, God identified the church as follows: “And he carried me [John] away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:3-5).

“Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, [commonly interpreted as Rome] and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. “The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. “These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast” (Rev 17:9-13).

The woman, Babylon the Great, Mother of harlots and abominations is seated on the beast who represents Kings and Kingdoms of the earth. In actuality this woman is Satan. Satan is first and foremost a religious spirit, propagating false religion. Paul identifies this: “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even SATAN DISGUISES HIMSELF AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:11-13). Satan’s angelic name is Lucifer which means “light bearer” or “star of the morning”. It was obviously his plan from the beginning to try to foil God’s plan by deceiving nearly all the world to follow after a false, unscriptural, paganistic, mystery religion.

What started out as Babylon spread over the entire world and ended up appearing in many forms throughout the earth (India, Egypt etc). It also ended up as the Universal church, which was worldwide. This universal (Catholic) church used many of the same rituals, symbols and doctrines that used in the mother of all religions, Babylon. Mother and child worship, in any form, is just a continuation of those rites.

There is very much more we can say on this subject. This article doesn’t speak for any religion or organization. It is just an explanation of what is really the truth.

 

Bibliography:

McClintock and Strong Bible Handbook pp. 947-48

Halley Bible Handbook, p.696

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, Ed. “Babylon in the New Testament”

Ancient Pagan Symbols, Elizabeth Goldsmith

Ancient Cities and Temples-Babylon, Albert Champdor

Harper’s Bible Dictionary

Dictionary of Symbols, J.E. Cirot

The Paganism in Our Christianity, Arthur Weigall

Rise and Fall of the Roman Catholic Church, F. Paul Peterson

Satan’s Great Deception, C. Paul Meridith

This is the Catholic Church, Joseph E. Ritter

The Wine of Roman Babylon, Mary E. Walsh

Encyclopedia of Religions, J.C. Forlong

Babylon Mystery Religion, Ralph Woodrow

An Appeal to the Christian World, Alexander Denovan

Rome the True Church?, S.E. Anderson

 

Does Our Faith Need Too Much Reassurance?

 

Our faith in the Lord seems to have need of reassurance from time to time. God will speak something to us and we believe it at the time but when that circumstances or conditions arise we often react with unbelief. Then we must go back to the Lord, or to our brother, to be reassured again in our faith. This process may repeat itself a multitude of times and we still walk away without the abiding faith that God really wants.

Reassure means variously to: “assure anew or reassure, to relieve of anxieties, to restore to confidence or to encourage”. Synonyms may include “encourage, guarantee, convince, bolster, comfort, console or inspire” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, 11th Ed.). Reassurance implies that we are seeking something we have lost and we have to be reminded again of its existence.

Abiding faith is: “enduring, abiding; pertaining to, continuing to exist and so remain in a (sure) state”. It can also mean a resumption of a prior state. (Swanson, James: Dictionary of Biblical Languages : Aramaic (Old Testament). In Greek the word is μένω (menō): “to stay, remain, abide; to wait for, remain in a place or state, and expect something in future; continue to exist, remain in existence; keep on, continue in an activity or state, as an aspect of continuing action or permanence of position” (Swanson, James: Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament) With Semantic Domains).

Why is there such a wavering in our faith that we have to be reminded of God’s word over and over again? Jesus was not unconvinced of His Father’s love for Him. Jesus didn’t waver in faith. His heart was fixed on the Father. He was, however, aware of the instability and unbelief of man who wavered at every turn of the wind.

He commanded: “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet you’re heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But [continually] seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25-34).

The Lord is not suggesting that we have faith and not worry about the material things of this life; He is COMMANDING IT! God wants our time to be His and not moved by trivial, worldly and temporal distractions. He said we could gain the whole world and forfeit our soul by amassing possessions and forgetting to have faith in God. He wants us to be perfect like the heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

Yes our faith seems to be constantly challenged. Perhaps challenged isn’t the right word. God is constantly expanding our faith. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance [steadfastness]. And let endurance [steadfastness] have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, [mature] lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Steadfastness means: “consistent, immoveable, constant, firm, persevering, sure, true, unflinching, stable, unfaltering and never failing,” to name a few (Merriam-Webster’s Thesaurus) We need to be mature as Paul described: “…until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;” (Ephesians 4:13-14).

Jesus Himself said: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock [a solid steadfast foundation] “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).

Why do we continually have to be reassured by God or others to have faith? Why is it that God can speak a Word to our hearts and we can go away with unbelief as to whether that Word is really true? God wants us to believe steadfastly so when rains or storms arise we don’t run and hide like children but we stand mature in His faith.

Paul said: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4). And in the same Book: “He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister” (Colossians 1:22-23).

We always seem to want to move off what we have heard. In Paul’s day he battled ministers who would come into the church (or in our case into our thoughts) with various religious doctrines contrary to the true gospel. Many presented religious rituals such as circumcision, diets etc. which, they said, had to be performed if you were to be made perfect. Paul said: “If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (Which all refer to things destined to perish with use?)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence” (Colossians 2:20-23).

Paul is forced here to reassure the Colossians of their freedom in Christ; free from legalism and rituals. Entry to His Kingdom is by faith, not by works so that man could boast and say “I did it”. Christ has already done it for you yet many believers still think they have to do works to earn salvation. If you are in His rest (Hebrews 4:1-16) then you need to no other works in order to gain favor with God.

Christ’s is a spiritual kingdom. It is not of this earth. : “Jesus answered [to Pilate], “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (John 18:36).

Do we need our faith reassured? Christ called the disciples “oh ye of little faith”. Christ has commanded no boundaries on our faith. The disciples asked Christ why they couldn’t cast out a demon from a man. Jesus responded: “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you” (Matthew 17:20). We can have unlimited faith even if it seems to be a small amount in our estimation.

The point of this article is that we carry this unbelief with us, in our lives. This is a hindrance to our walks with God. Unbelief in Christ is the most deadly of sins. When we say unbelief we are not speaking of not believing that we are saved and are going to heaven. The faith we are speaking about is the active miracle faith that can only come from God. Paul was absolutely convinced of the validity of his faith. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). Likewise we do not need to have our faith constantly reassured. We are convinced of our faith which leaves no room for unbelief.


 

Hope - The Second Golden Grace


 

1 Corinthians 13:13 says: “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love”. As believers we seem to be more familiar with faith and love but do not realize the power that hope can have in our lives. Actually these so called “Three Golden Graces” are levels we attain as we walk with God. We first come into a level of faith, then hope and finally the perfect level of love, the love of the Father completely manifest in our lives.

Hope in Greek is ἐλπίς [elpis /el•pece/]. From a primary root elpo (to anticipate, usually with pleasure) there are 54 occurrences. The AV (KJV) translates the word as “hope” 53 times, and “faith” once. Hope is an expectation, a joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation, the thing hoped for. Hope is closely related to trust [ἐλπίζω [elpizo /el•pid•zo/] and is translated trust 32 occurrences. It means to “wait for salvation with joy and full confidence”.

In Hebrew the word is תִּקְוָה, תִּקְוָה [tiqvah /tik•vaw/] translated as “hope” 23 times, “expectation” seven times, “the thing that I long for” once, and “expected” once; also hope, expectation, ground of hope, things hoped for and outcome or manifestation.

Hope is a virtue wrought in us by God that very few people speak about, nor do they sense the importance of. Yet great things can happen in your life through the hope that God generates within you. An example of hope is found in Romans Chapter 8: “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly [hope] for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (v. 8:23-25).

Boiled down to its essentials hope is expectation. It differs from faith in the following respects. Faith in the Greek language is: πίστις [pistis /pis•tis defined as a conviction of the truth of anything or belief; the belief in a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it. The conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. A strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God. Belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same and fidelity and faithfulness, the character of one who can be relied on.

Contrasting hope and faith, the Bible says: “Now faith is the assurance [substance] of things hoped [expected] for, the conviction [evidence] of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds [ages, epochs] were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:1-3). Faith is the first step in a walk with God. By faith, and our confession, we receive Jesus into our lives even though we cannot see Him. But Hebrews 11 goes on to point out the limitations of faith as it relates to the big picture. Hebrews 11:4-37 speaks of all the great men of faith and all the things they did and accomplished. However in Hebrews 11:39-40 the writer says: “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect”. Although these great men of faith saw the promise at a distance, and embraced it by faith, they did not receive the promise that was reserved for us who walk under the New Covenant of Christ. So you could say their faith did not in and of itself produce fulfillment.

Hope goes one step further in that it not only has faith but it has an expectation that we will see it, in the here and now. The Dictionary definition of hope includes: “to cherish a desire with anticipation, to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence, desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment also expectation of fulfillment or success” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, 11th Ed.). Hope is an unadulterated cry for the fulfillment of a thing that has been seen, sometimes afar off, by our faith.

Isaiah describes hope: “Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, O LORD, We have waited for You eagerly; Your name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls. At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently;” (Isaiah 26:8-9). Hope is an eager anticipation; an impatient waiting.

David cried: “As the deer pants [longs for] for the water brooks, So my soul pants [longs for] You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2). Here David expresses more than a belief (faith) in God but expects to appear before the face of God, and waits eagerly for it.

This hope we have serves as an anchor, pitched within the veil (meaning into the very presence of God). We have anchored in God! Now the storms can be very rough here below; there can be many instances where we feel that our life is nothing more than just continual turmoil and conflict, yet if we have this hope anchored in God, we will find in every respect there will be a joy and a rejoicing and an anticipation of the better things that are to come.

But God sets before us the rejoicing of hope, a hope of many things that are to come. This hope causes our hearts to thrill as time goes on. Our hope is like an anchor, both sure and steadfast, anchored within the veil, into the presence of our God. It is a real and living hope.

Let’s look at the amazing sources, or the springs of hope, in our heart: … we glory in tribulation also, knowing that tribulation works patience; and patience experience; and experience, hope” (Romans 5:3, 4 KJV). A man who has real hope in his life is a man who has come up against life often enough to know that the great catastrophes and problems that would swamp him do not occur as consistently and effectively as one sometimes thinks. A man who gives up without hope is a man who does not realize that many a time there can be a dozen reverses consecutively in his life and that suddenly there will spring forth a pattern of success and blessing. The Christian knows the same thing. We glory in the tribulation we go through, knowing that the tribulation will work endurance in us, the endurance will work an experience, and that experience gives birth to a real living hope in our life.

In Ephesians 1:10–20 we read that this hope comes from being called by God—“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling”. Down in the heart, God places a hope of His calling, something that seems to live and move within our hearts. We know that God has called us. We know that He intends to meet our lives and to bless us richly. So, that living hope is there within us—the hope of His calling.

This hope comes by the grace of God. II Thessalonians 2:16 says, “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work”. There may be momentary periods of despair, but God is always faithful, who will again bring forth such a living, vital hope within the lives of his people. That’s God’s way of working in our lives.

There are things that happen to your life by hope. Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoicing in hope” and Romans 8:24 says we are saved by hope. So we can see that there is a rejoicing and there is a salvation that lingers in our life through the hope of God. Hebrews 3:6 reads, “We hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end”. Hope keeps us steadfast. Much of the stability that comes to a person’s life is not coming because the circumstances round about them are so encouraging, but because they’re hopeful, therefore they are steadfast in the Lord.

The New Covenant of Christ brought forth hope of a better salvation. Before Christ man was caught in futility with no real hope of a permanent salvation. “In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed [guaranteed] with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:17-20).

“And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:11-12).

 

Religion and Clergy Malpractice

 

Churches or its ministers be sued for malpractice in the courts such as doctors and other professionals? Some say that subjecting churches to liability for malfeasance is a violation of the first amendment and produces a "chilling effect" on religion as a whole.

First of all, some see organized religion as a threat to society (one can draw a large polarity between religion and true spirituality). The current state of religion is about the dollar, membership numbers and visibility (via television for instance). Also popular is the compromise of spiritual principles in the name of making the religion more palatable to the masses. Religion is used to obtain political and/or moral goals and is a vast opiate for society in that society is lulled into a false sense of security, claiming possession of some tenet or another that they really don't have. Religion is one big advertisement for its particular brand of spiritually (or lack of it). Denominations number into the multi thousands (or more) each advocating their own particular interpretation of Christ or whatever god or gods they are worshipping. Polytheistic religions aside, if there is only one God how can he have such a confusing and varied set of doctrines?

Verdicts against some large religions are valid. Verdicts against non-mainline religions such as Scientology, polygamy, Mormonism and counseling by ministers without even basic training in how to direct people seems justified. The ministers, who admit the truth that they are unqualified to be a marriage counselor, and refer their congregants to professionals, are to be commended. They know that subject is minimally covered in seminary school and they are willing to stick with what they know which is (purportedly) religion and spiritually. Those who bull ahead, and act out of their field, deserve to be regulated by the rest of society. It is age old law that one be responsible for his/her actions that do harm to others. Those who come to the church for suicide counseling and are told just to believe God are being done a dangerous disservice.

Not that psychiatry has all the answers. But there are myriad support groups where the individual takes charge of his/her own destiny with the support of others similarly situated. Would the church, or would Alcoholics Anonymous, be better able and qualified to treat alcoholism?

What about drug dependence, molestation, mental disorders, violent temper, personality disorders or depression. Who would be more qualified: A group of peers who had been there or a trained mental health professional; or a minister who likely has no education, training or experience (personal or otherwise) in treating these illnesses? Would you want your preacher proscribing a cure for cancer? Yet some have done this, shunning medical care for a spiritual prescription, and have (or should have) had their hands slapped hard by our legal tort system i.e. a reasonable person would find this an abhorrent practice. Religion regulated by a government system is unwise and illegal in our society. There, however, can and should be legal regulation by a group of 12 ordinary persons in a jury box who don't decide policy per se but decide what is preventable negligence in each separate case that comes before them.

When a standard of reasonable conduct is used to measure religion, the result is good if the religion is sometimes brought up short. Do we not sue the Doctor who cut off the wrong arm, or left a sponge in a patient's stomach? Should we not likewise sue the church or religious practitioner for doing psychological damage by applying religion as a cure-all? The constitution gives us a right to practice religion but not apply it in an extreme that goes beyond religion and into conduct that any reasonable man can see as harmful. As an example we have the right of free speech but that right does not extend into areas like yelling fire in a theater.

Our function of a separated government including courts, as set forth in our constitution, seems to do quite well in most cases. We may not find, in all cases, the one right answer, but together we find a reasonable answer. I can think of no standard that could work as well. Since we have the institution of religion we as a society should have the right to reasonably regulate it through the courts without violating the first amendment freedom it enjoys.

 

Christian Astrology - The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

 

"The heavens declare the glory of God;

And the firmament [expanse of heaven] literally shows His handiwork.

Day unto day utters speech,

And night unto night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech nor language

Where their voice is not heard.

Their line [sound] has gone out through all the earth,

And their words to the end of the world" (King David Psalm 19:1-4).

Today's astrology is a perverted interpretation of the true astrology. It is in line with the type of astrology, witchcraft, soothsaying, fortune telling etc. that God condemned. As God said to the Israelites as they were to enter the promised land: “When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations [the nations the Israelites disposed]. “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. “For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you…“For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so. “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him” (Dt 18:9-15). Prohibitions against such practices are noted on at least 50 occasions in the Bible.

Also: “Let now the astrologers, Those who prophesy by the stars, Those who predict by the new moons, Stand up and save you from what will come upon you. “Behold, they have become like stubble, Fire burns them;” (Isaiah 47:13-14). The Chaldeans and many of the Canaanite nations were astrologers. “The king called aloud to bring in the conjurers, the Chaldeans [master astrologers] and the diviners” (Daniel 5:7). The reason God prohibited the use of divination and astrology was that Israel was to rely on the prophets He raised up to speak the true Word of God, not those who used other means to predict the future.

True astrology does not predict anything but paints a picture of the revelation of Christ in the sky, using the stars. It is not known how or how often this method was used but there was a time when there was no writing, and stories were passed down word of mouth possibly using the astrology explained here. The stars and constellations are mentioned many times in the Bible especially, in the Book of Job. For instance: [Job speaking of God] “Who commands the sun not to shine, And sets a seal upon the stars; Who alone stretches out the heavens And tramples down the waves of the sea; Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades, [constellations] And the chambers of the south;” (Job 9:7-9).

Christian astrology, and for that matter astrology before Christ, is ancient. Reading the stars and their interpretation was common to ancient civilizations before there was any writing. Before the Bible, man read the stars and constellations as revealing God's plan or as duplicating in their own religion. The astrology presented here portrays details of the revealing of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Pagan and present astrology only interprets or predicts events that take place on earth and in men's lives, many of the events unrelated to God at all. We will proceed to explain briefly this ancient method of the revelation of the will of God, which can rightly be called Christian Astrology.

The Zodiac is a 360 degree circle, divided into 12 sections. Each section denotes the passing of the earth through one or more constellations as it completes its orbit around the Sun. The denotation of the earth passing through a constellations is called a sign. Each constellation is a grouping of stars that seem to form a shape such as an animal or thing. Also each 30 degree "piece of the pie" is divided into three 10 degree sections called decants. The decants are also constellations, further descriptive of the main sign. Both signs and decants are indicative of an aspect of Christ. When taken all together, they form a complete revelation of our Savior.

The constellations are given names reflecting what they purportedly depict such as Virgo the virgin, Libra the scales of justice, Scorpio the serpent and so on. The revelation we present here begins in the sign of Virgo and ends with Leo. The 12 signs, each with three decants, are: Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aires, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and Leo. The entire Zodiac, its signs, are briefly described below.

1. Promised Seed of the Woman (Mary) is VIRGO (The Virgin), depicts a woman bearing a branch in her right hand and an ear of corn in her left. This is the beginning of Christ’s ministry in the earth, His birth by the virgin woman.

2. The Redeemer's Atoning Work is depicted by LIBRA (The Scales). The price deficient balanced by the price which covers. The coming seed of the woman was, among other things, to give up His life for others. "They sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy...for Thou was slain, and hast redeemed...to God by thy blood" (Rev 5:9).

3. The Redeemer's Conflict is represented by SCORPIO (The Scorpion). The aspect of Christ as seeking to wound the serpent (Genesis 3:15), but itself trodden under foot. "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder. The young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet." (Psalm 91:13).

4. The Redeemer's Triumph is represented by SAGITTARIUS (The Archer). He is the two-natured (man and horse) conqueror going forth "Conquering and to conquer." “God shall shoot at them with an arrow; Suddenly shall they be wounded. So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves; All that see them shall flee away” (Psalm 64:7-10).

5. Their Blessings Procured is represented by CAPRICORNUS (The fish-goat). Represents the goat of Atonement (Azazel goat) slain for the Redeemed see Leviticus 16). This sign opens with the Goat, and closes with the Ram, two animals of Jewish sacrifice; the two middle chapters are both connected with fishes (see below).

6. Their Blessings Ensured is represented by AQUARIUS (The Water-Bearer). The Atonement being made (Leviticus 16), the blessings have been procured, now they can be bestowed and poured forth as water upon the Redeemed [us]. "He shall pour the water out of His buckets, And His seed shall be in many waters, As rivers of water in a dry place" (Isaiah 32:1, 2).

7. Their Blessings in Abeyance is PISCES (The Fishes). The Hebrew name is Dagim, the Fishes. In Genesis 48:26, Jacob blesses Joseph's sons, and says, "Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." The margin in the Bible says, "Let them grow as fishes do increase." It refers to the fulfillment of Genesis 1:28, "Be fruitful and multiply."The seed of Abraham was to be as the stars of the sky, and the sand of the sea. "A very great multitude of fish," (Ezekiel 47:9).

8. Their Blessings Consummated and Enjoyed in ARIES (The Ram or Lamb). This second grouping of 4 constellations (Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces and Aires) began with the Goat dying in sacrifice, and ends here with the Lamb living again, "as it had been slain." The goat had the tail of a fish, indicating that his death was for a multitude of the redeemed. In the two middle Signs the fishes represent Christ's gift presented to us in grace, and in their conflict. This sign also ends up with victory and triumph; the foundation on which that victory rests, Atonement, by the blood of the Lamb "When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son" (Gal 4:4), and "in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Rom 5:6).

9. Messiah, The Coming Judge of All the Earth is TAURUS (The Bull). This is the last of the 3 groupings of 4 of the constellations representing the coming of the Messiah. The star picture formed is that of a Bull rushing forward with mighty energy and fierce wrath, his horns set so as to push his enemies, and pierce them through and destroy them. It is a prophecy of Christ, the coming Judge, and Ruler, and "Lord of all the earth."

10. The Messiah's Reign as Prince of Peace by GEMINI (The Twins). The two-fold nature of the King. The more ancient star-names help us to see the many other myths regarding this sign. Gemini represents the two-fold ministry of God and man, His twofold work of suffering and glory, and His twofold coming in humiliation and in triumph.

11. Messiah's Redeemed Possessions represented by CANCER (The Crab). Christ's possession held fast. This sign represents the completion of His work. In Cancer we see it with reference to His redeemed, and in the next (the last) Sign, Leo, with reference to His enemies. The 3rd Decant of this sign beautifully illustrates ARGO (The Ship). The redeemed pilgrims safe at home. Again speaking of peace and security of the redeemed, Isaiah described it this way: "The ransomed of the LORD shall return And come to Zion with songs, And everlasting joy upon their heads; They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Isaiah 35:10

12. Messiah's Consummated Triumph is LEO (The Lion). The Lion of the Tribe of Judah aroused for the rending of the Enemy. Here we come to the end of the Zodiac, beginning with Virgo, and we end with Leo. Its Head is Virgo and its Tail is Leo. Leo is the end of the Revelation of Christ or the end of the revelation written in the heavens. The Zodiac was first divided when the sun at the summer solstice was in 1 degree Virgo, where the woman's head joins the Lion's tail. His feet are over the head of Hydra, the great Serpent, and just about to descend upon it and crush it. The three constellations (decants) of the Sign complete this final picture of the end of the serpent (Satan).

1. Hydra, the old Serpent destroyed.

2. Crater, the Cup of Divine wrath poured out upon him.

3. Corvus, the Bird of prey devouring him.

Thus we have the complete revelation of Christ written in the stars. This truly is the revelation of Christ's redeeming work on our behalf.

Bibliography: Bullinger, Witness of the Stars

 

The Spirit

 

The spirit comes,

The spirit goes,

From whence it comes,

Or goes we don't know.

The Greeks say its pnumea,

The Jews say ruah.

It's a fresh breath of life,

God's spirit, the end of strife.

Spirit's not the soul,

Or the silver bowl,

That ties to earth,

No its new life, birth

Without it we wander,

Thru life unknown, a beggar,

Lost in us we find,

Our being undefined.

We war for what,

From our secret argot,

A whim, a lust, anger

We think we know what's better.

The soul is lost,

The body is tossed,

Torn to and fro,

By that we don't know.

Oh Spirit show the way,

Come quickly to allay,

Our worst fears we have,

Only You can salve.

 

Abide in the Father

 

Jesus told us to abide in Him (John 15:4). Abide or abiding means, in various languages, the following: enduring, abiding; pertaining to continuing to exist and so remain in a (sure) state. It can also mean a resumption of a prior state. In Greek the word is μένω (menō): to stay, remain, abide; to wait for, remain in a place or state, and expect something in future; continue to exist, remain in existence; keep on, continue in an activity or state, as an aspect of an action (Swanson, James: Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament) With Semantic Domains).

Jesus said: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser… “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:1-10).

Too often Christians live an up and down existence. We are swayed this way and that by the circumstances of our daily lives. Paul said: “…As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;” (Ephesians 4:14).

Jesus said: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on [does] them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on [do] them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).

If we are not constantly abiding in the Father, a stormy situation or a great test of our faith can cause us to turn away from the Lord; whereas had we been abiding with Him we would not have been moved. Conversely, when we are hit by something unexpected we try to use our religious mechanics to get us out of a situation created by our lack of abiding. The age old saying that “there are no atheists in foxholes” generally applies to wavering Christians who reserve their contact with the Lord until something they think of as “bad” happens. According to Heb. 12:5–11, there are several ways Christians may respond to the chastening of God: we may despise it, and refuse to confess; we may faint and give up; or we may endure God’s chastening, confess our sins, and trust Him to work everything out for our good and His glory. This is a form of abiding in Him because when we abide we know that no matter what comes He turns it to good, and we are not moved by adverse circumstances or God’s chastening (Romans 8:28).

With whom do we abide? The Lord Jesus or the Father? Christ said: “Jesus said [to Thomas] “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in [abiding in] the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:5-16).

Jesus relationship was with the Father. He reiterates over and over that it is not Him doing the great works but the Father doing them through Him. He repeats that it is the Father who is the original recipient of the glory. Christ and His Sons and disciples, are glorified together with the Father. There comes a time when everything, all of creation, is turned over to the Father the Creator. “…then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24).

We must accept the fact that it is God’s intention that we become Sons like Jesus Christ. “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,” (Hebrews 2:10-11).

John says: “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (John 3:2). This does not say we see Him when we die but we see Him “when He appears”. If we are to become like Christ then to see us should be like seeing the Father, just as Christ said to the disciples about Himself.

Christ said at the last supper: “The glory which You [the Father] have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may continually know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:22-26).

Jesus abode in the Father. So we are to abide in the Father as He did and does. Since eventually all things created are turned over to the Father, we likewise abide in the Father who is the ultimate recipient of everything. Why should a believer be limited to have to continually go to the Son for our spiritual life and sustenance? Jesus went straight to the Father and abode only with Him. Nothing from Satan came through to Him to divert Him from His ultimate course. He said: “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here” (John 14:30-31). Christ was abiding in the Father and did nothing except what the Father commanded. Therefore Satan had no hold on Him, no button to push, as he pushes our buttons continually.

As we have seen earlier abiding is a continual lifestyle. You don’t abide for a while then take a break. We are to be abiding continually; that means all the time. Then we are like Christ who abided only with the Father, not in this world of futility. He said that we, like Him, are in the world but not of it (John 17:15). We are lifted into the abiding place of Christ at the right hand of the Father.

The communion is a form of abiding. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me” (John 6:56-57). “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father” (1 John 2:24).

God’s name in Hebrew is translated “I am” (Exodus 3:14). We reach the state where we just are. Great works? Abide in the Father and they come naturally. We don’t have to pray all day in some religious exercise to get what we need. When we abide the thing is just done. We abide in His rest. “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it [by disobedience] (Hebrews 4:1-5). When we abide continually we are in complete obedience.

 

Biblical Numerology

 

You certainly do not have to believe in numerology to walk with Christ. However, it is unquestionable that certain numbers appear and reappear in the Bible with frequency. Even the original languages, Hebrew and Greek, have numerical values that are uncanny and both languages had numbers corresponding to their words. However, some numbers used in the Bible are obvious and it is here that we begin.

Like astrology, numerology has been perverted in modern society and in pagan religions from the dawn of time. Numbers are used in such cults as witchcraft, various occult sciences, Kabala, fortune telling etc. The science varies in interpretation from one group to another but most of it borders on God's prohibition, in the Old Testament, against occultism practiced in the Canaanite countries surrounding Israel. Where there is a perversion, there is usually an original truth to be perverted. Biblical numerology is fairly straight forward and, whether you believe it or not, below is a brief summary of the commonly used Biblical numbers and their meanings.

ONE: The number of unity or oneness. "The Lord our God is one God" (Deuteronomy 6:4). Judaism continues to this day to use this scripture as a denial of the trinity.

TWO: Division of natures and things. Examples are the dual nature of Christ (God/man), male/female, Old and New Covenants (Testaments), sheep/goats, this age/the age to come etc. Also, Noah's animals 2x2, the one law written on two tablets, where two of you agree it will be done etc.

THREE: Divine perfection. As one writer put it "we live in a trinity of trinities". The Father, son, Holy Spirit; spirit, soul and body, past, present future; height, width and depth, solid, liquid, gas; three bear witness of Christ- "Spirit, water, blood "(1 John 5:8); three appearances of Christ "past, present, future (Hebrews 9:26-28) and three parts to the ancient temple "the outer court, the holy place and the holiest of holies (the inner sanctuary); a "three-fold cord" is not easily broken.

FOUR: Creation. North, South, East West; four seasons; the materials of the tabernacle; four angels holding back four corners of the earth; four winds of the earth (Revelations 7:1); four corners of the court in the new tabernacle (Ezekiel 46: 21-14); four living beings (Ezekiel 1:5); Daniel's four great beasts (7:2-4); The Table for the show-bread in the tabernacle (Ezekiel 15:26). "You shall make four gold rings for it and put rings on the four corners which are on its four feet” (Ezekiel 37:3); four living creatures around the throne; etc. (Revelation 5:6-8). There are many references to "four" in the description of the tabernacle. The fourth clause of the Lord's Prayer is the first that relates to the earth.

FIVE: The number of Grace. 5000 fed by Jesus (Mark 6:33); outside measurements of the tabernacle, 5 hundred reeds by 500 x 500 x 500 reeds on the north, south, east and west; bronze altar in the tabernacle in the wilderness, where the people came with their offerings to receive God's grace in forgiveness of sins (Exodus 27:1-4); five smooth stones by David to defeat Goliath (1 Samuel 17:40); Holy Anointing Oil used in offerings to the Lord had five components (Exodus 30:23-25); etc.

SIX: The number of man. Man created on the 6th day; the serpent was created on the sixth day; 666 means the triad of man through Satan, a mockery of the Godly triad (Father, Son, Holy Spriit); and if the triune nature of man (spirit, soul and body); also the number of the anti-Christ and the beast. 666 was Satan's best chance of controlling the world by controlling the commercial/money realm of buying and selling.

SEVEN: The number of God or the number of spiritual perfection. The times seven is used in the Bible is very numerous and probably obvious to all. A few examples: 7 seals, 7 trumpets (the voice of God), 7 parables in Matthew, 7 promises to the 7 churches, seven spirits of God (Revelation 1:4), God rested on the seventh day after saying "it is Good" referring to creation, The Sabbath is on the seventh day, the year of Jubilee is 49 years (7x7), Noah's instructions before the flood (Genesis 7:2-4), seven days in the Feast of Passover, the feast of Deliverance of the Jews from Egypt by God, Pharaoh's dream, interpreted by Joseph contains 13 sevens; the instructions for the Jewish Feast of Booths (Feast of Tabernacles) contains 6 sevens, this being the Feast of God tabernacling with man (6&7); the instructions for the conquering of Jericho by Joshua contains 11 sevens (Joshua 6;4-16; on the seventh day the walls fell down, seven loaves in the feeding of the 5000 with 7 baskets left over the list goes on.

EIGHT: The number of new beginnings. There were eight people on Noah's ark, a new beginning for human kind (2 Peter 2:5); circumcision of the eighth day; eight covenants between God and Abraham. Also, the transfiguration: "But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God." SOME EIGHT DAYS AFTER THESE SAYINGS, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, (Luke 9:27-30); Scorpio the eighth sign of the zodiac representing the scorpion or serpent.

NINE: The number of Judgment. The following Greek words occur nine times in the Bible (here English translations only given): Greek for bottomless pit, ungodly, lasciviousness, and lightning. There are 9 Greek words appearing in the Bible meaning in Greek Judgment. There are nine gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8-10).

TEN: Divine Perfection. 10 commandments, 10 plagues in Egypt, 10 lepers cleansed (Luke 17:11-14; ten virgins (Matthew 25:1). 10,000 and 1000 are used many times as well: 100 will put 1000 to flight, 1000 will put 10,000 to flight; “A thousand may fall at your side; and ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you” (Psalm 91:7).

TWELVE: 12 tribes of Israel, 12 disciples, the 144,000 in Revelation (12x12), 12,000 from each tribe, twelve foundations in the heavenly New Jerusalem; the measurements of New Jerusalem were 12,000 stadia, the wall 144 cubits (12x12); it also had: "a had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel” (Rev. 21:12). There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.(3x4=12) And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb"(Revelation 21:12-14). "The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst; and the twelve gates were twelve pearls;" (Revelation 21:19-21). And twelve musicians selected from each family by lot by David (1 Chronicles 25:8-31) and 12 signs in the Biblical Zodiac.

40: Jesus tempted 40 days, Moses fasted 40 days (twice), Israelites in wilderness 40 years, 40 days of Jonah and Nineveh (Jonah 3:4).

This is only a partial list. The information is presented here for your information, interest and enjoyment.

 

Cleanse Your Conscience Before God

 

The problem with mankind is that he invariably thinks he can be righteous or good before God. He thinks that if he just improves himself, acts a little better, is a little nicer to people he doesn’t like (the list goes on) that he will thereby become a better person and thus pleasing to God. All self improvement programs that cram our society today are based on this principle. They teach that if we improve ourselves and be more “good” that our problems will be solved and that if you are a Christian you will “go to heaven”. This can aptly be described as “striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 4:4).

Psychotherapy is based on this principle. They teach how to cope with impossible situations in our lives and call that ability to cope “change” instead of teaching how to get rid of the problem completely. Alcoholics Anonymous teaches you to “change” by requiring an unrelenting adherence to a set of regulations designed to control your actions. Once you can control your actions they call that change. None of these methods deal with the inner you which is the part that needs to change. Only Christ offers real change, not a change in the way you act, but a change in what you are.

Man’s conscience is a part of the human nature. It tells man what is right, wrong or moral and we act accordingly. In essence it tells us that “I can do it, I don’t need God”. The nature refuses the free gift of grace in favor “doing the right thing” and “appearing to be something that they are not”. Christ accused the Pharisees of that very thing; that is trying to be something they were not, making them hypocrites. This hypocrisy is the basis of most of organized religion today.

What Christ was saying is that man is by nature sinful, a nature he has inherited from the original sin in the Garden. There is no way he can be made righteous by his own efforts or by walking out the dictates of his conscious. The Old Covenant, made before Christ, allowed man to be temporarily forgiven of sin by continual sacrifices; that forgiveness lasted only for a short period of time. The sinner had to continually “renew” his forgiveness by more sacrifices. Under the New Covenant, Christ became a permanent sacrifice. By the New Covenant man need accept the grace of Christ to be righteous. As he went to Christ, under the New Covenant, Christ would “write His Laws on their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10). That is, he would transfer His very nature to man so that man would become sinless, producing a nature like Christ. The only righteousness God recognizes is that of His Son. Man can never be righteous in himself.

Why is our conscious described as evil and why does our conscience need to be cleansed? Conscious is defined as: “the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 11th Ed.). The conscious is that innate thing within man that tells him what is right or wrong, and based on its dictates we act accordingly. Everyone has a conscious and no two consciousnesses are completely alike. This diversity of consciences, right and wrong, are the source of the division we see today between persons, races, nations, religions and in the political arena.

The problem with the human conscious is that it takes the place of God in our lives. What the conscience does is dictate to us what is right or wrong in our lives, in the life of others and in our perception of the world in general. As the Lord told the young ruler (Matthew 9:16-22) there is no one “good” except God. What is good in God’s eyes is usually opposite what we tell ourselves is right according to our conscience. The result of man’s following his own conscience is a result called “dead works”. Hebrews says: “…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (v 9:14). Hebrews 6:1 says: “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God”.

Dead works are works that are created from a human level. The opposite “living works” originate from God. Living works are those works which have been prepared by God for the believer to walk in. Mankind itself, without Christ, exists in a state of death-separation from God, making living works impossible. In the beginning God told Adam and Eve: “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). In Eden there was no death but when the first people ate from the forbidden tree, they immediately entered into death. As Paul said: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). From that moment the result of their disobedience (sin) was death. From that time, until Christ, no matter what man did, he was doing so from the place of being part of the “walking dead”. Any works he did, whether or not his conscious told him he was doing the good, right or moral thing, the works produced only death-they were dead works no matter how well intentioned.

Today we see dead works everywhere we look as people attempt to please God by doing what is right in their own sight, by the dictates of their own conscious. Jesus said this about dead works, works created by man, which were nothing more than man doing his own thing, not God’s. In Matthew 7:21-23 He said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” The works they did, mighty as they were, were not God’s works but were works of man, originating from a seared conscious; all the time believing they were pleasing God but were producing only lawlessness.

God is the only one who is righteous. Christ made this clear in the parable of the young ruler. “And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good;” (Matthew 19:16-22). The young man went on to recount all the good things he had done in his life and the Lord rejected them because there was nothing he could do to be “good” before the Lord, even by following all the Jewish laws. To be good the Lord required him to sell his possessions, leave all and follow Him. The Lord knew that a religious adherence to a set of laws does not make one righteous. He knew that the young man had to utterly and completely change his way of thinking and deny his religious nature and his concepts, derived from his conscious, as to what was “good”.

Christ said: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life [soul] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:23-25). Notice that Christ didn’t say he who “improves himself” or makes himself “more spiritual or more self-righteous”. He said that everything had to go including a man’s self life. Just as Christ lost His life for us so we too must lose our lives for His sake.

Another poignant example of the difference between the works of our conscious is recorded in Luke 9:59-62: “And He [Jesus] said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”But He [Jesus] said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” And: “Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” According to the human way of thinking what could be more important than burying your own Father or saying goodbye to your family? The Lord had other ideas as to what was right, proper or moral. In His eyes nothing was more important than doing the living works of proclaiming the Kingdom of God. As God said: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

The book of Ephesians tells of the living works that God wants us to enter into. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). (He provides salvation, and then gives us enough faith to believe it); not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:9). Man’s self initiated dead works creates in him a feeling of self righteousness. There is never a reason for anyone to boast when something is from God, not from ourselves. If it is worth having, God gave it. If God did not give it, then it is not worth boasting about. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8–10). These are the living works. These are the works of God. Man always believes that if he just does enough of his own works God will take notice and approve. You can never work your way into God’s favor by doing any amount of your own good works dictated by your conscience.

Christ brought with Him a New Covenant. This displaced the Old Covenant of the Old Testament where righteousness was determined by the way one acted. That is why the writer of Hebrews said: “and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:21-23).

When Christ died on the cross scripture says: “And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:37-38; Luke 23:45; Matthew 27:51). The veil was the curtain that separated the Holiest place in the in the old temple from the rest of the temple. It was where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, with the tablets containing the 10 Commandments and the showbread and the manna (Hebrews 9:1-28). Under the Old Covenant only Moses and the high priest (once a year) were allowed behind the curtain into the holiest place, the presence of God. When Christ died the veil was torn in two symbolizing the fact that through His death all now had access to the holiest place, the presence of God. All our old dead works, including those of our conscious, were done away with as the veil was rent and our hearts were completely exposed to God.

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20). Man’s conscience, despite all this, would still say he had to do something to deserve this great gift. Man’s defiled conscience says he has to make himself good in order to be approved by God. It is actually arrogance in the nature of man that man still wants to sit on the throne and feels he does not need God; he can do it himself.

The writer of Hebrews takes this cleansing of conscience very seriously. By receiving Christ, and his promise by grace, we enter into His rest. We cease from our own efforts to be righteousness and simply accept His righteousness. The Israelite nation of the Old Testament was an obstinate and disobedient people most of the time. God was displeased with them many times because of their (putting it mildly) falling away. Yet, through all of that, He provided Christ the Lamb of God who had the potential to take away all the sin and disobedience of man, including the Israelite nation. God, in His infinite wisdom, realized that the man of flesh could never, on his own, inherit righteousness. Hebrews warns us of falling into that same trap.

He says: “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they [the Jews] also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said concerning the seventh day “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS” (Genesis 2:2) and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST” (Psalm 95:11”. Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:1-5). (the disobedience is the failing to accept God’s rest and His righteousness as a thing already accomplished by God). We cease from our own efforts to be righteous as we enter into His rest.

In other words God’s gift of grace allows us to rest from all our labors including the all consuming labor of trying to be righteous and good before Him according to our consciences which dictate concepts of right and wrong. Remember there is only One who is good, that is God. We rest in His righteousness and not strive in ours.

 

Fear

 

The Bible uses numerous words to denote fear. The most common of these (giving the noun forms) are Hebrew yir’â, ‘reverence’; Hebrew paḥaḏ, dread’, ‘fear’; Greek phobos, ‘fear’, ‘terror’. The fear we will focus on here is the “dread, fear and terror” that a man who walks with God often encounters.

There is a Holy fear expressed variously as “fear of the Lord”. This is not fear but reverence. There is a fear of the Lord that comes from the believer’s apprehension of the living God, who is so “all knowing” and “all powerful". “Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). But Holy fear is God-given, enabling men to reverence God’s authority, obey his commandments and hate and shun all form of evil (Je. 32:40; Gn. 22:12; Heb. 5:7). It is, moreover, the beginning (or principle) of wisdom (Ps. 111:10); the secret of uprightness (Pr. 8:13); a feature of the people in whom God delights (Ps. 147:11); and the whole duty of man (Ec. 12:13). It is also one of the divine qualifications of the Messiah (Is. 11:2-3).

However there is a fear that comes from Satan that is torment. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has torment, [or punishment] and he that fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). Sometimes a spirit of fear will come against a man even when he has faith at the same time. The enemy would try to dislodge the faith that God has brought to him. That spirit of fear must be rejected. If not we will not be made perfect in love.

A wise man once said “fear freezes, faith frees”. It is the creation of a cloud of fear that hangs over you because you do not turn to the Lord and fix your mind and your heart upon him. David was a man who went through many troubles but he said “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed” (Psalm 57:7). When a man turns to the Lord and he fixes his mind and his heart upon the Lord, it is inevitable that great peace and great blessing will attend him and that is important. It is also important for us to remember that it says in II Timothy 1:7. “For God gave as not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline”, or as in the King James translation, “a sound mind”. It means a “disciplined mind,” “wise discretion.” So if you are fearful in heart, remember that God did not give you that spirit of fear; because God gives us the spirit of power, and of love, and of discipline to our thinking, so that we can meditate upon Him and understand His will, His purpose and His goodness which is beamed toward us (Stevens, John Robert: (This Week, Volume I (1970). Living Word Publications, 1980, p. 53).

Fear places the man of God under an intolerable bondage. Christ appeared that “He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” Hebrews 2:10–15. This passage speaks of rendering powerless Satan who had the power of death. Jesus came and took upon Himself our flesh and blood, so that He might defeat the devil in His death, that we could be delivered from the fear of death.

The disciples, like most people, were conditioned to respond with fear instead of faith. In a great storm, with the winds so contrary, instead of them being thankful for the one person that could control it, they didn’t believe; they didn’t accept Him as He was. “When He [Jesus] got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, [cowardly] you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:23-27). Their fears painted a completely different picture of what was taking place. They should have known the Lord of Heaven and earth was on their boat and that he would not have let them perish. Do we believe the Lord is on pur boat? Or do we shrink back in fear anticipating the worst in every situation?

The U.S. President Roosevelt once told his nation, which was in the direst of circumstances, “all we have to fear is fear itself”. That is because fear is the root of nearly every negative human reaction. What is personal insecurity but a form of fear? What is the fear of man but fear itself? Fear of man can be a blind dread of man and what they can do (Numbers 14:9; Isaiah 8:12; Proverbs 29:25). Why do we respond in fear more often than we respond in faith? Revelation says: “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. “But for the cowardly [fearful] and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (verses 21:7-8). It is the cowardly and fearful, and the unbelieving who lead the parade into hell, even before the murderers and immoral persons. What is fear but a lack of faith and an unbelieving heart?

Without faith (the absence of fear) it is impossible to please God. Hebrews says: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). We can do many things but all are fruitless unless we have faith. We can do many things motivated by fear but they will not please God. What we do and what we become must be done with faith.

In addition to faith it is love that casts out fear. “Beloved let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us…By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment [torment], and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:7-21).

We are not so naïve as to say that as Christians and non-Christians we face many fearful circumstances in our lives that seem overwhelming. But faith is a gift (1 Corinthians 12:9) and all we need do is ask for more faith. Faith is not a natural trait of human man; it is a gift of God. The Lord said: “But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;” (Isaiah 43:1-3)

God has promised us He will always be with us. His last words to his disciples were: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). If Jesus is always in our boat what have we to fear?

 

Order Verses Chaos In Life - The Reality of Futility

This article is written from a purely Biblical perspective. This is not philosophy but from a revelation given by God, and confirmed in the Word of God. Confusion is rampant in those who do not understand the truth and are not spiritual. Order in this present earth is impossible due to deep chasms of disagreement in race, factions, opinions, religious conflicts and the like infecting the people of all nations. Many will call the view expressed here negativity, but sometimes we have to face the truth no matter how ugly. Hopefully, this article will clear up some of the confusion and point a way of hope for the future.

What is called here on earth “chaos” is actually futility. God subjected creation to futility (Romans 8:20) at the time Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden. They were taken from a spiritual world where God sustained them with all good things. They knew no chaos or strife; there was no hunger, grief, temptation, wickedness, death or sickness.

Because of their disobedience they were cast into another world where they had to eat bread produced by the sweat of their brows. Thorns and thistles fought against their very subsistence. “Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:22-24). The world quickly became so evil it had to be destroyed by a flood (Genesis chapters 6-7). The world we live in now is beset by this same evil, perhaps to the greatest extent ever.

We live in a constant state of futility, the same futility as the first humans were subjected to. Futility is variously defined as: “ineffective, useless, not successful, vain, idle, unprofitable, trivial and frivolous”. Take a look at what man has produced in his centuries of striving, ending in the capstone 21st century. We live in a world of decay, wickedness, self exaltation, unsolvable problems, wars, factions, disputes and lust. Even as we experience great increasing knowledge, we most often find the problems grow rather than abate. We sit now truly on the edge of destruction. Most are unaware of the impending doom.

King Solomon, known as the wisest man of his time, reached the same conclusions. In the Book of Ecclesiastes he speaks of the vanity (translated futility) of all of creation.

“The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,

“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” [futility and futility of futilities]

What advantage does man have in all his work? (Ecclesiastes 1:1-3)

“All things are wearisome;

Man is not able to tell it.

The eye is not satisfied with seeing,

Nor is the ear filled with hearing.

That which has been is that which will be,

And that which has been done is that which will be done.

So there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc 1:8-9).

“Is there anything of which one might say,

“See this, it is new”?

Already it has existed for ages

Which were before us

There is no remembrance of earlier things;

And also of the later things which will occur,

There will be for them no remembrance

Among those who will come later still” (Ecc. 1:10-11).

` Solomon went on to test his thesis by acquiring great masses of wealth, luxury and everything he set his eye upon. He concluded that this too was futility (Ecc. 2:11). He says thus about wisdom:

“So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly; for what will the man do who will come after the king except what has already been done? And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both. Then I said to myself, “As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?” So I said to myself, “This too is vanity.” For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die! So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous [evil] to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind” (Ecc. 2:12-17).

So it is in this age. No wonder we are in chaos. No matter what we do the same fate awaits us. Most of us are gone and forgotten as death robs us of the gaining anything permanent. Nothing in this life takes away the pain, the longing for something better. We seek pleasure in possessions, and yet the longing is not satisfied. Most give up on their dreams in the face of the harsh reality of this life. And, as Solomon said, it doesn’t matter what you do or what you possess or how happy or sad you are because all that you are is just a passing scene to be forgotten in the years to come. That is futility.

` What can we do about this prison we all are in? Certainly we cannot change it by protest rallies, elections, petitioning our congressman, learning Eastern religious techniques, finding a lover or making a billion dollars and giving it all away to worthy causes. Nothing we DO can accomplish anything. We can’t do because we have our human nature to contend with, the one that is totally focused, at the end of the day, on itself. The apostle Paul put it this way: “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24).

If you are convinced that we actually living in such a world, there is a way out. Our unspiritual fallen natures are called in the Bible “the flesh”. We are either living in the “flesh” or in the Spirit. Paul explained it thus: “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:5-8).

And further: “for if you are living according to the flesh, you are going to die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:13-14).

So the problem really boils down to the human nature. It is the nature that caused the chaos and lack of order that we live in now, the nature we acquired from Adam and Eve’s original sin. The human nature must be changed before any real progress can be made in the world about us. We have to learn to see and move in the invisible (to us) realm of the spirit.

“God is a spirit” (John 4:24). We can only know Him through our human spirits, not through our minds, souls or bodies. And in Him is real life, eternal as it was once and should be now. In Him is the solution to all the world’s problems. As long as we continue to exist in this temporal world, doing what seems right to us, we will always fail and ultimately die. And all that time the answer was as close to us as our breath. All we need to do is reach into Him and receive His free gift of life.

How do we change? We do not change by self-discipline, by a rigid code of conduct, by self-improvement programs, psychology or by this religion or that. All we can really do in ourselves is change our outward appearance or change our actions. We don’t change inside. We don’t obtain a completely new nature. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots?” (Jeremiah 13:23).

We change by reaching into God’s realm and receiving a new nature. Jesus said you have to be born again. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again [born from above] he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

We don’t have to work for this change; it is given to us at no cost by the grace of God. Grace is unmerited favor. Scripture says that God loved the whole world and sent His only Son to deliver us from this futility (John 3:16). This gift is free to all that come to him.

“Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7). These are promises made by God to anyone. God said that He subjected creation to futility in hope that the spiritual Sons would arise and free creation from futility. “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:19-21). As evil is displaced by God’s Spirit, and Christ comes to rule and reign and be the real government, the condition of this world will change. There will be no more tears, crying, sickness or death.

John the writer of Revelation says it will be like this: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea [means the sea of humanity stirred up like the waves and storms]. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle [presence] of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true” (Revelation 21:1-5).

When Christ died and was resurrected he defeated death, futility and all evil. It remains for us to appropriate this victory as our own. No human work will accomplish this. If that were true humans would exalt themselves above God as being masters of their own destinies. It is God who is to get the ultimate glory. He wants to do this for us by the unmerited free gift of grace. Christ made this gift available to all. We only fail if we refuse this free gift and continue to hang onto life in its currently futile state.

 

Science and God

 

This article is meant to be representative of a comparison of science and God in general, using an example of statements made by the imminent physicist and author Dr. Stephen Hawking, including his latest work The Grand Design. Recently Dr. Hawking narrated a television program on “The Science Channel” called Curiosity-Did God Create the Universe? Dr Hawking has written many books on cosmology and has produced a number of television programs on that subject and its companion “theoretical physics”. I present this article to rebut certain conclusions reached by Dr. Hawking but also to rebut conclusions being drawn by cosmologists, “theoretical physicists” and for that matter scientists of all pursuits worldwide. Since science generally doesn’t acknowledge God as the creator of the Universe, this article generally rebuts that position, using Dr, Hawking as an example.

Recently Dr. Hawking hosted a television program on the “Science Channel” entitled Curiosity-Did God Create the Universe wherein he came to the conclusion that he had proved that there could be no God and that creation was simply a by-product of the natural processes of nature. To “prove” this he used the example of a “black hole”, a subject upon which he is considered a foremost expert. For simplicity sake a black hole is the result of cosmic conditions creating a situation where gas and matter fall in on themselves by the working of gravity, reducing the matter in the hole to a very small point of unlimited gravity and incalculable mass.

Dr. Hawking likened a black hole to the infinitesimal point that exploded from what scientists call “The Big Bang”. That small point, the size of a proton in an atom or smaller, exploded into the vast universe we see today. As an aside, scientists can predict the state of the universe 10-41 of a second after “banging” (that’s a “.0” and 40 more zeros to the right, as a part of a second, called a “plank’s second”. But try as they might they cannot discover where this small piece of energy/matter came from in the first place. The fact that the universe was essentially created out of nothing visible is a major obstacle to them and all cosmologists studying this subject. Unable to accept that the fact that something can be created from nothing visible they concoct various theories to avoid having to assent to that fact. The spiritual accept that fact: “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).

Hawking reasoned as follows: He said that if you lowered a theoretical clock into a black hole (a real clock would not survive of course) but as the clock reached the “bottom” of the black hole time would stop. He was saying, of course, that at the bottom of the black hole science has concluded that time ceases to exist. Space and time, as we know them, cease to exist as they are basically “squashed” out of existence by the massive gravitational force. .

This may all be true (we don’t know because it is only proven by mathematics) but Hawking went one step further. He made the outrageous statement that since time did not exist at the bottom of a black hole neither did it exist in the environment of the singularity of the point of mass and energy that resulted in the big bang. Therefore he concluded that, with no time existing under those conditions, God would have had no time to create the universe.

This all makes fine reasonable atheistic sense. The problem is that God does not live in time; He lives in the spirit realm of eternity where time is only relevant to this creation not to God. Science is continually looking for other dimensions, and claims to have found 10 or 11 but they ignore the biggest other dimension there is-the Spirit realm. “God is a spirit” (Gospel of John 4:24). As such He lives outside of time and for that matter outside the created universe. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Along with that he created space, time, matter, energy and all the elements that make up our cosmos. We could reword Genesis 1:1 to correctly state: “In our beginning God created etc.”. It wasn’t His beginning because He is an eternal being-it was our beginning. Unfortunately the concept of the creation of something from nothing remains the elephant in the room the scientists cannot ignore or explain except by reasoning around it by this or that theory-there are many proposed by this scientist or that.

Hawking recently wrote a book called The Grand Design (Bantam Books, New York, 2010) where he comes to basically the same conclusions. Here, however, he focuses on what is called “M-theory” which means there are many other universes, not just this one, that interact to form universes (plural) as a function of nature. Part of this theory is that black holes from another universe become the singularity of a new universe and form such as our universe formed. M-theory is fine as a theory but it is only mathematically proven as we have no evidence of these other universes. And even if there are multi universes we have the same problem facing scientists that is “who or what created the first one”. As we have pointed out the basic reason for this and other theories is to get around the fact that God DID create something from nothing, a fact science cannot accept.

Dr. Hawking brings up some excellent points in his chapter The Apparent Miracle from the same book which would seem to contradict his own conclusions. This chapter would lead one to believe that the earth and life thereon is more than a coincidence. It would seem that the earth is unique in its positioning in the cosmos and the set of “coincidences” that make it so. These views form part of a theory called the “Rare Earth Theory” subscribed to by many scientists. The view is that earth is so perfectly made and positioned that it would take a creator executing a grand design to make it so.

Hawking discusses many of these “coincidences” in his book while still concluding that they are just “coincidences of nature” and have nothing to do with a god or a grand designer. First he notes that over one-half of the stars in the universe are part of a binary star system which for many reasons would make life improbable or impossible. So we are “lucky” to be part of a single star system.

Secondly has to with the orbit of the earth. The earth’s orbit is not circular but is slightly ellipse at about 2%. If our orbit were a perfect circle or varied from a circle by as little as 1% life could not exist. With our orbital eccentricity we vary from the Sun at only slight distances 91.5 million miles to 94.5 million depending on the season. If the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit were nearer “one” instead of 2% our oceans would boil when we were closest to the Sun and freeze when further away. For instance Mercury’s orbit has a 20% eccentricity and the part facing the Sun is extremely hot while the other side is very cold.

The tilt of our earth on its axis has more effect on our climate that its orbit. As it is the earth is tilted 23.44 deg which gives our seasons a mild quality (as compared with other planets with extreme climate change). If the tilt were less we would have less severe seasons and with no tilt there would be no seasons, probably with disastrous effects. For complex life to form and flourish the tilt of our axis is probably just right to fuel the changes in life that are necessary.

We are also “lucky” in relationship to our Sun’s mass and our distance from it. The mass of a star determines the amount of energy (heat) it generates. If we were even 20% closer or further from the Sun we would have a climate either hotter than Venus (800f.) or colder that Mars (-200+f.).

As science searches the universe for a planet similar to earth they have concluded that a planet must be in what they call a “Goldilocks zone” (not too hot, not too cold). This zone is a distance between a planet and its sun where liquid water would be present and the climate would be friendly to our life form. It takes into consideration the mass of the star, the mass of the planet and the distance separating them. It turns out that our planet earth is “coincidentally” within such a zone. So far astromomers have discovered over 400 planets orbiting stars but none in this narrow band. Hawking notes that Isaac Newton, father of physics, did not think our natural habitable zone was created by accident out of the chaos of the Universe. Instead he maintained “that order in the universe was created by God”.

Further it appears that the earth could have only been created at this certain time in the life of the universe. We are composed of the elements of past exploded stars. In order to manufacture the quantity of minerals and elements to support life is the result of many, many exploded stars in our case taking place over 7-8 billion years before we came into existence. To explain, the universe is believed to be 13.7 billion years old and we came along about 6 billion years ago. If we had been created earlier it is likely there would not have been enough of the specific elements available at the time to form life.

Also our atomic (the world of atoms called “quantum physics”) is composed of a strong nuclear force and a weak force. These, and the electromagnetic force, are the forces that hold atoms together. Gravity is also involved but scientists have not figured out how. Hawking says that if there was as little as a .05% change in the strong force and 4% in the weaker electrical force there would be no carbon or oxygen, essential for life as we know it. Luck?

Our Moon was created some 4.5 million years ago when a Mars sized planet struck the earth a glancing blow and the debris from that collision coalesced into our Moon. What if we had no Moon? It is also theorized by some that life itself would be virtually impossible without a moon, since the moon has a stabilizing effect on the orientation of the earth's axis. Without the moon, the north-south axis would vary tremendously-- to the point where the poles would shift suddenly and frequently. These changes would mean that there would be no stable seasons, and it's questionable whether or not the planet would be able to sustain life. The Moon also has the effect of churning the oceans in what are called tides. But the churning of the waters has effect on the feeding of sea animals as a still ocean would affect that. It appears that our Moon is of perfect size and therefore gravitational pull to stabilize the earth’s orbit and without it, seasons and climate would fluctuate wildly. Cosmic luck that the collision happened the way it did or the design of a creator? If the planet had struck earth head on it is likely both planets would have been destroyed.

There is one other rare phenomenon that occurs on earth that it appears would be unlikely to occur anywhere else-the solar eclipse. As seen from the Earth, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun as viewed from a location on Earth. In order to have a total solar eclipse, the earth, moon and the Sun have to be in the exact positions they are and of the mass they are in order for the Moon disc to completely cover the Sun as occurs in a total eclipse. If the Moon were smaller, the Sun larger or if the distance from the earth to the Sun were changed, there would be no eclipse. Solar eclipses have had significant spiritual or psychological effect on mankind over the ages. Is this just one more thing God created for our wonder and enjoyment or just another cosmic coincidence?

As for Dr. Hawking’s M-theory, and if there are multiple universes, we are still back at question 1. Who or what created the first one? And since he is speaking as a scientist what real proof do we have of this theory? To go back to the beginning, man just cannot accept the notion that the cosmos was created from nothing, by a God who lives in a dimension that the unspiritual man cannot see or sense. Science complicates everything to the point that we have to build miles long particle colliders, at billions of dollars, to attempt to discover the secrets of God. So far there has been no results. To God His ways are past finding out anyway (Romans 11:33; Job 9:10).

Dr, Hawking notes the obvious in the last portion of his book: “The laws of nature tells how the universe behaves, but they don’t answer why? Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why this particular set of laws and not some other?” He goes on: “Some would claim the answers to these questions is that there is a God who chose to create it this way”. Then he asks: “If there is a god then who created God?” This represents the sum total of man’s knowledge of the truth, which is so plain to the spiritual man.

Man in his quest for answers has recently discovered that over 90% of the universe is composed of matter and energy that are invisible to man (so called “dark matter” and “dark energy”. So when man examines the cosmos he is seeing only 10% or less of what’s really there! Yet he exalts himself for his superior knowledge of the cosmos. If 90% of the physical universe is invisible why can’t he accept an invisible spirit realm?

As the Apostle Paul said about spiritual things: “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one” (1 Corinthians 2:14-15).

Satan always wanted to be God and he wanted man to worship him. Isaiah said of Satan: “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). It is Satan’s nature we acquired as a human race as a result of the original sin. Our human nature refuses to recognize something greater than itself. Man continues to plod along, using his own understanding, to attempt to figure out things which are unknowable to the human mind, which in the end is all to no avail.

 

The History of Babylon

 

The Book of Genesis is a book of beginnings; the Book of Revelation is a book of endings. In the Book of Genesis the first two chapters are without sin; and then in the third chapter sin is introduced. In the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, the third to the last chapter, you find the Lord of lords taking over and abolishing sin. In the last two chapters, there is no sin again, just as in the first two chapters of Genesis. This is largely because of the perverse system of religion, created and maintained by Satan over the ages, which we will discuss below.

It is an amazing journey to trace the history of Babylon through the ages. We have touched on it in a previous chapter (Catholicism and Mystery Babylon). First we must understand that Babylon is the Father of religion and its system of religion has continued to this day. In order to fully understand we must contrast the concepts of religion and spirituality. Satan, above all, is a religious spirit and is responsible for most of today’s current “religions”.

Religion is a set of beliefs usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing moral codes governing the conduct of human affairs. It is a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects; a body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices (Dictionary.com). Therefore religion always has the concept of a specific set of beliefs, the adhering to this set of laws or doctrines, devotional or ritualistic beliefs and a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. It is flat out man’s attempt to figure out what pleases God and do it in hopes of going to heaven in the end.

Although churches would argue this concept, religion is man-made. It is man’s attempt to determine what God wants, how He should be related to and worshipped, moral requirements derived from man’s conscience as to what is right or wrong. It always involves a set of doctrines that must be adhered to if you are to remain in that group or church. As a result there are thousands of denominations and religions, all different, each with their own take on what God wants. There is little or no actual relating to God face to face, asking Him what He wants. Instead a religion is operated on man’s ideas about God, and God is usually kept at a distance as an unknowable entity.

Spirituality is not definable by a dictionary or other means. To most it is an abstract quality or described as an aspect of religion. One must look to the scriptures which are based on spirituality rather than religion. First of all man is composed of a triune nature like God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). Man is composed of “body, soul and spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). God is a spirit being. [a woman asked the Lord] “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know…“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:20-24). This the difference between religion and spirituality. Religion worships God in a specific place, in a specific manner, while true worshippers worship God in the Spirit in freedom from rules, doctrines or moral codes.

The human soul or body cannot know God. The only way to know God is through our human spirit. However this part of our being, in most of us, is buried beneath our souls and bodies and cannot express the true worship to God He desires. Only when our “spirits” are liberated can we worship God properly since He is a spirit. A spiritual man worships God through their human spirits to His Divine Spirit. Therefore instead of being burdened by rules, regulations or moral codes, the worship of God makes you free from such restrictions. What Satan does is try to imitate the worship of God from a human (soul) level. That is religion. That is the foundation upon Babylon, the mystery religion, is based.

Paul said speaking of religious ministers in his time: “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Satan’s angelic name is Lucifer which means “light bearer” or “minister of light”. He is also known as the “bright morning star”. When he was in heaven he was the brightest and most beautiful of angels but when he came to earth his light was perverted and is now reflected in religion the world over. It all began many years ago in the mystical Kingdom of Babylon. God spends two entire chapters in the book of Revelation describing its judgments.

With that in mind let us continue to the story of Babylon. When Adam and Eve were removed from the garden of Eden God in a sense turned His back on mankind, banishing him from the Paradise He had created for them. He did not do so as a permanent but left open the salvation which would eventually come from a Savior Jesus Christ.

Then “Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.”To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Gen 4:25-26). This was actually the beginning of religion as man began to construct altars and other places of worship in order to reunite themselves with the Divine.

Actually the world became so corrupt in those days that God had to destroy it and begin anew with Noah and his family. The corrupting force was largely the nephilim, fallen angels who came to earth and corrupted mankind (see The True Story of the Nephilim, this book).

Noah had three sons-Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Noah had three sons-Shem, Ham, and Japheth. After the flood, Noah’s partial ancestry was: “The sons of Ham (son of Noah) were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan” (Gen 10:6). As we read in The Story of the Nephilim (this book) Ham was cursed by Noah and he and his son Canaan brought forth the nephilim spirit on this side of the flood. That spirit in a sense “slipped through” the world destruction. Noah realized this and cursed Ham. Cush, son of Ham, gave birth to Nimrod.

Genesis says this of Nimrod: “Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD”. Nimrod became not a mighty hunter of game but a mighty hunter of souls. “The beginning of his kingdom (and religion) was Babel [Babylon] and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. Mizraim became the father of Ludim and Anamim and Lehabim and Naphtuhim and Pathrusim and Casluhim (from which came the Philistines) and Caphtorim” (Gen. 10:8-14).

In their anger at God for sending the flood Nimrod and his followers began building a high tower, the tower of Babel. Nimrod, among other things, was a high priest of the religion of Babylon. They proposed to build the tower high enough so that God could not flood them again. They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, [fame] otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

This was an exercise or imitation of God and the oneness He wanted with mankind (see John 17). “The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. “Come, let Us [God the trinity] go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, [or Babylon cf. Hebrew balal to confuse] because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Gen. 11:3-9).

However God foiling of their plans did not end the Babylonian religion—the fall of Babylon on that site did not end the Babylonian religion—because Babylon is a system, a demonic system of religion. The religion spread to the cities Nimrod founded and through all the Canaanite nations who settled in what would be the Promised Land of Israel. Each of the nations then developed their own system of religion which were all based on satanic worship of polytheistic gods. That is why Joshua was instructed to conquer all the land, and to kill all people there, women and children alike. This had to be done as the Canaanites, were direct descendants of Ham and Canaan, were bearers of the nephilim spirit. The Canaanite nation continued to exist around Israel and they were all polytheistic societies worshipping many gods including Baal, Molech (sacrifice of babies), Queen of Heaven (Diana, Isis etc.) and thousands of other gods and idols. Against God’s warning Israel began to worship the satanic gods of the surrounding nations incurring His anger to the point that He eventually exiled Israel to the Assyrians and Judah to the rising nation of Babylon. Remember both Assyria and Babylon were offspring of Canaan, the nephilim.

Babylon itself was resurrected as a nation and eventually conquered Judah and exiled its people for 70 years. What was behind ancient Babylon? God compared Babylon directly with Satan as Isaiah prophesied v.(14:12): “How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning!”—there—it is Lucifer—the one that fell out of heaven and the outstanding religious spirit of all time. A religious spirit, he comes as an angel of light. He transforms his ministers as ministers of righteousness, as Paul said (above). Isaiah goes on: (Isaiah 14:12–19, KJV). What is he saying? He is saying that the motivating force behind Babylon is the king of Babylon, and then he begins to talk about Lucifer. Is it confusing, or is Babylon Satan incarnate, the king of Babylon? There you have it—just as Christ is indwelling Zion and is her King, Lucifer is the king of Babylon.

Isaiah said further of Satan (Babylon): “How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, that didst lay low the nations! And you said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north; “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;  I will make myself like the Most High.’ “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit. “Those who see you will gaze at you, They will ponder over you, saying, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, Who made the world like a  wilderness And overthrew its cities, Who did not allow his prisoners to go home?’ (Isaiah 14:12-17).      

History tells us that when Babylon was taken by the Medes and the Persians, the Babylonian hierarchy fled to Pergamos in Asia Minor. In John’s messages to the churches, Pergamos is called “Satan’s seat” (Revelation 2:12-13). The last king of Pergamos, called the “Supreme Pontiff” of the Babylonian order, bequeathed by law all of his dominion and power to the Babylonian hierarchy of Rome, because the Roman empire was coming up strong, with all of their rites, ceremonies, authorities and dignitaries. Thus, the Roman Caesars became and were called: “Pontifix Maximus,” “Sovereign,” “Pontiff,” “Supreme Pontiff.” They had these names that were transferred from the old order of the religion of Babylon and they continued to bear these names, even after they became Christians nominally in the reign of Augustus. Julius Caesar was first made the Pontiff [or Emperor] of the Babylonian order in 74 B.C.—he became the Supreme Pontiff of Babylon in 63 B.C. and this meant that the old Babylonian religion was tied in with the government which often they worshiped. Nero even tried to continue this, proclaiming himself God, that he should be worshiped, and he was doing this only because he had the inheritance by the Babylonian religion that he should stand as God to the people.

In 376 A.D., the emperor Gratian said it was wrong for a Christian emperor to be the Supreme Pontiff; and to be a Christian, he couldn’t be the head of devil worshipers at the same time, so he renounced the title. Then, there was no tribunal before whom the pagans could be tried who followed the Babylonian religion, so confusion began. The authority of Babylon was then bestowed upon the Bishop of Rome, Demasus, in the year 378 A.D.. The “Supreme Pontiff” or the “Pontifix Maximus,” was then the title of the Bishop of Rome. The papal power then actually came from the devil worship of Babylon. Only three years later, 381 A.D., they decreed the worship of Mary. By 519 A.D., they decreed the observance of Easter and Lent, which were Babylonian, idolatrous holidays. You see the mixture of government and religion as these men began to call themselves God and instituted religious doctrines throughout Rome. When Rome itself was sacked, the Roman Church took over the “government of Rome for the next 1000 years. That religious rule proved to be worse than the rule of Rome proper and many Popes became more corrupt than their Roman predecessors.

The sign of the cross came from the T of the tower of Babylon, which had been used by the Chaldeans, the Egyptians and in the Babylonian mysteries for two or three thousand years before Christianity began using the sign of a cross. The rosary, tonsure, celibacy, monks, nuns, formerly the vestal virgins of Rome, all came from Babylonian idolatry. Guides of present day Rome will say, “This used to be a temple where they worshiped Venus,” etc., from which idolatrous statues were not removed, but given the names of saints.

The Japanese fragment of Babylonian idolatry is known as Shintoism. Without Christianity ever invading Japan, or especially Tibet, there was the purest form of Babylonian idolatry. When Babylonian soldiers took this worship to Tibet at the fall of Babylon, they carried the “fifteen points.” No missionary was ever allowed into Tibet, and yet they have holy water, incense, worship of the virgin and child, monks, nuns, monasteries and priestly vestments. Shintoism, Roman Catholicism and Babylonianism are alike: image worship, dead tongues and rituals, candles and incense, masses for the dead, counting beads, vain repetitions in prayer, celibacy of the clergy, nuns, relic worship, systems of merit by penance, the priesthood cures, processions, worship of saints, flowers and Mary worship (the counterpart in Shintoism is the worship of the goddess of mercy), etc..

Back in history to the time of Nimrod, Semiramis, or Ashteroth, whose husband Nimrod was tragically killed, became the sole queen over Babylon and began one of the most sadistic reigns in the history of the world. In her widowhood, beyond being satisfied, her favorite pattern was to find a male, force intercourse, castrate and murder him. She was the “black widow” of ancient history. She claimed to have brought forth, as a virgin, a son miraculously, that is, without a human father, and called him Tammuz. The worship of Tammuz is emphasized in the Bible, especially in the eighth chapter of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 8:14). He was killed by a wild boar while hunting. There were forty days of fasting and weeping, which we now call Lent; followed by Easter, which was originally a feast of Ishtar. Two aspects of the character of Ishtar were prominent: eroticism and belligerence. She was celebrated as a goddess of war, but at the same time she was vitally involved in the realm of sexuality and fecundity. When she descends to the nether world, mating and procreation cease on earth. Tammuz was supposedly resurrected, and the chicken, the egg, the bunny, his favorite pets, became symbols of his resurrection. Cakes were baked and there was a great feast. This was all the result of Semiramis, or Ashteroth, the “queen of heaven.” “Queen of heaven” is the exact title later conferred by the Roman Catholics on Mary. The virgin queen that was worshiped in Isaiah 47 is identical with Mary worship that came later.

Christmas was the birthday of the sun god. The favorite tree of Tammuz was the evergreen. Jeremiah 10 tells how they cut the tree from the forest and decked it. This is the origin of the present day “Christmas tree.”

Do you realize how many things we have in Christianity today that are nothing more than the corruptions of the ancient Babylonian religion? (see Catholism and Mystery Babylon this book). Satan is the power of this mystical Babylon.

This is the prophecy in Revelation 18:1–5 that heralds the fall of Babylon: “After these things I saw another angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried with a mighty voice, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and is become a habitation of demons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird. For by the wine of the wrath of her fornication all the nations are fallen; and the kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth waxed rich by the power of her wantonness. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come forth, my people, out of her, that ye have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues: for her sins have reached even unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities”.

There are people that are afloat from the churches where God is saying, “Come out of them, My people. John said: “I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. “Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. “To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I SIT as A QUEEN AND I AM NOT A WIDOW, and will never see mourning.’ “For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong” (Revelation 18:4-8).

And: “Render unto her even as she rendered, and double unto her the double according to her works” (Revelation 18:6a). There is a double portion prophesied in the Old Testament applicable to God’s people: “Instead of your shame ye shall have double;” (Isaiah 61:7a). God will give a double portion to those of Zion that return, and God also says that He will give a double portion of judgment to Babylon. This is the day of the double portion. God will double up the judgment on the Babylonian system and bring it down.

“And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and lived wantonly with her, shall weep and wail over her, when they look upon the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! for in one hour is thy judgment come” (Revelation 18:9–10). So it is with the political forces. Organized Christianity has been a great political force, whether it was in the middle ages or in some refined form of it now. The religious systems and political powers work closely together.

Then we come to the commercial enterprises, the merchants that weep and mourn. “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, for no man buy their merchandise any more; merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stone, and pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet; and all your wood, and every vessel of ivory, and every vessel made of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble; and cinnamon, and spice, and incense, and ointment, and frankincense and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and cattle, and sheep; and merchandise of horses and chariots and slaves; and souls of men” (Revelation 18:11–13). What would happen to businesses if organized religion was brought to an end? They would begin to mourn. If it were not for Easter and Christmas sales and the system of gifts, the margin of profit in many businesses would be completely gone.

Revelation 18:20 says: “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye saints, and ye apostles, and ye prophets; for God hath judged your judgment on her”. This means that when the fall of Babylon comes, it will be the apostles and prophets, the saints of God and all of the heavenly hosts joining in that will bring forth the judgment upon Babylon and God will bring it down in one hour. God hath brought forth. You must understand—it will not happen sovereignly. God’s people on earth bring it forth. All denominational systems have followed what the Bible calls the harlot system—committing fornication with the kings of the earth to get security, so they’ll not be persecuted—an exchange that goes on back and forth.

What about the true church? Rejoice and be glad—for in the 19th chapter of Revelation it says: “After these things I heard as it were a great voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah; Salvation, and glory, and power, belong to our God: for true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the great harlot, her that corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand” Revelation 19:1–2. Then, what is the great cry? “Let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give the glory unto him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. There are two women in Revelation, the false church is called the harlot, and the true church is called the bride of Jesus Christ, and she is clothed with fine linen, clean and white. And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Verses 7, 8).

God looks upon commercial and political religion as nothing more than spiritual harlotry. God did not raise us up to be political or economic powers. God raised us up to be the bride of Jesus Christ. War is declared, because the god of Babylon is Satan, but the Head of Zion is the Lord Jesus Christ. We too will stand in this glorious road of restoration and cry to Babylon, “Come out of her, O God’s people! Don’t be a partaker of her sins or of her judgments. Come out of her as quickly as you can.” There is an ominous threat of judgment, because judgment is returning to the apostles and the prophets. The only way of power is the way of restoration. The only way of coming into what God has for you is to forsake “spending your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfies not” (Isaiah 55:2, KJV).

Bibliography: Stevens, John Robert: This Week, Volume I (1970). North Hollywood, CA. : Living Word Publications, 1980, P. 333.

 

The Song of Songs or Song of Solomon

 

The Song of Solomon (hereafter Song) is certainly the most poignant expression of love in the entire Bible. It portrays love in its most intense and erotic sense. God is love. This is Him opening His heart and showing us how He wishes us to perceive that love. This book tells us some of what it is like to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength”, the greatest of all the commandments.

There are many interpretations of the meaning of the cryptically worded book, full of symbolism, inferences and mysticism. Without going into detail, all agree that the book is about true love. Applicable to all ages, we here will provide some understanding of the Book and how it is applicable to us today.

In Revelation 19:7-9 it is said “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride [wife] has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints [holy ones]. Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ ” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”

This scripture likens our ultimate perfection as Sons of God to a marriage, which is the likely result of the pursuing of the lovers depicted in Song. And isn’t our relationship with God a pursuit? We love Him, we pursue Him. He loves us, He pursues us. Both are lovesick, as are we, and God is longing for that perfect relationship, culminating in the full expression of love through intimacy. Both lovers are driven to obtain this full expression of their love for each other and will not be deterred.

In the first chapter of Song, it appears as if the lovers are seeing each other from afar but desiring each other. The Bride tells of her life of service to her family (tending the vineyards) but she notes she has come to the point she wants something real for herself. The Bridegroom also thinks how he will adorn her when they come together, and how he sees her now: “Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, Your neck with strings of beads. We will make for you ornaments of gold with beads of silver” (Song 1:10-11). And: “How beautiful you are, my darling, How beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves” (v.15). This recognition of beauty from afar is reflective of the scripture: “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Chapter 2 focuses on the pursuit. Our lives are a pursuit after God. God plays hide and seek with us, and we with Him but our human nature seems to hide us from Him. Yet the lovers remain in pursuit. As a result, unfolding day by day, is our understanding and appreciation for Him; and He rejoices in what we are becoming, His Bride, His beautiful creation of unending love. The Bride says: “Listen! My beloved!

Behold, he is coming,

Climbing on the mountains,

Leaping on the hills!

“My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.

Behold, he is standing behind our wall,

He is looking through the windows,

He is peering through the lattice.

“My beloved responded and said to me,

‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,

And come along.

‘For behold, the winter is past,

The rain is over and gone.

‘The flowers have already appeared in the land;” (Song 2:8-12).

The Bridegroom responds: “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,

In the secret place of the steep pathway,

Let me see your form [appearance],

Let me hear your voice;

For your voice is sweet,

And your form is lovely” (Song 2:14).

In the third chapter, the Bride experiences what we all have felt at one time of another: We can’t find our love, he must be gone. She dreams:

“On my bed night after night

I sought him Whom my soul loves;

I sought him but did not find him.

I must arise now and go about the city;

In the streets and in the squares

I must seek him whom my soul loves.’

I sought him but did not find him.

“The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me,

And I said, ‘Have you seen him whom my soul loves?’

“Scarcely had I left them” (Song 3:1-4).

But alas the Bridegroom is coming in all his glory:

“What is this coming up from the wilderness

Like columns of smoke,

Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,

With all scented powders of the merchant?

“Behold, it is the traveling couch of Solomon;

Sixty mighty men around it,

Of the mighty men of Israel.

“All of them are wielders of the sword,

Expert in war;

Each man has his sword at his side,

Guarding against the terrors of the night...

“Go forth, O daughters of Zion,

And gaze on King Solomon with the crown

With which his mother has crowned him

On the day of his wedding,

And on the day of his gladness of heart” (Song 3:6-8, 11).

Just when it seems He has left us, then He comes with His great army, in splendor and glory, with men skilled at war, to deliver us, to be with us. The Bridegroom arrives in all his splendor and is astonished when sees his bride:

“How beautiful you are, my darling,

How beautiful you are!”

“Your lips are like a scarlet thread,

And your mouth is lovely.

Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate

Behind your veil

“Your two breasts are like two fawns,

Twins of a gazelle

Which feed among the lilies.

“Until the cool of the day

And there is no blemish in you” (Song 4:1-7). [The Lamb of God is pictured as the lamb without blemish; also the Old Testament offerings had to be an animal without blemish].

“How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!

How much better is your love than wine,

And the fragrance of your oils

Than all kinds of spices!

“Your lips, my bride, drip honey;

Honey and milk are under your tongue,

And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon” (vs. 4:10-11).

The Bride counters with:

“Awake, O north wind,

And come, wind of the south;

Make my garden breathe out fragrance,

Let its spices be wafted abroad.

May my beloved come into his garden

And eat its choice fruits!” (Song 4:16).

Once again, when fulfillment seems certain, the Bride experiences the terrors of separation. Isn’t it true that God will meet you overwhelmingly one day, and the next day He seems to be nowhere around?

The Bride mourns:

“I was asleep but my heart was awake.

A voice! My beloved was knocking:

‘Open to me, my sister, my darling,

“I have taken off my dress,

How can I put it on again?

I have washed my feet,

How can I dirty them again?

“My beloved extended his hand through the opening,

And my feelings were aroused for him.

“I arose to open to my beloved;

And my hands dripped with myrrh,

And my fingers with liquid myrrh,

On the handles of the bolt.

“I opened to my beloved,

But my beloved had turned away and had gone!

My heart went out to him as he spoke.

I searched for him but I did not find him;

I called him but he did not answer me.

“The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me,

They struck me and wounded me;

The guardsmen of the walls took away my shawl from me…I am lovesick” (Song 5:2-8).

Isn’t it true that when we seem to be without our love that not only do we experience the loss but we are persecuted, sometimes by friends and well wishers (see the Book of Job). They will gainsay us and ask us where our faith is now? But our love drives us on, no matter what the price.

As always in true love, the lovers reunite and praise each other for their beauty and quality of spirit. There is one verse that stands out and applies to us today.

“Who is this coming up from the wilderness

Leaning on her beloved?” (v. 8:5). Likewise we come up out of the great wilderness of torment, testing, discipline, separation, longing, seeking and tribulation. But we don’t get out alone; we come leaning on the arm of our beloved the Lord.

Love itself is described beautifully in Song in 8:6-7:

“Put me like a seal [signet] over your heart,

Like a seal on your arm.

For love is as strong as death,

Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;

Its flashes are flashes of fire,

The very flame of the LORD.

“Many waters cannot quench love,

Nor will rivers overflow it;

If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love,

It would be utterly despised.”

Often we don’t see the love the Lord has for us. We know we love Him but aren’t sure He loves us back. He seems to test and discipline us to the point that we wish we had never met Him. Our love wanes with the pressures of everyday life. The scripture says “the love of many will wax cold”. We wait and wait for the fulfillment of the promises but they always seem delayed.

The Song of Solomon should be an encouragement to us. It reveals an aspect of God’s love we often don’t see. It is NOT IMPERSONAL; it is PERSONAL and erotically real. It is God opening His heart and saying “This is what love in its fulfillment is like”. This is the Kingdom of God you seek. This is what you shall have for eternity. When we get to the point we don’t know what we are seeking anymore, turn to the Song of Songs, which means in Hebrew the “Best of the Songs”.

 

The First Epistle of John - A Study of Love and the Word

 

John was one of the original 12 Disciples of Christ and following Christ’s death founded and oversaw many churches in Italy, Macedonia and Asia. He wrote three epistles: 1 John 1; 2 John and 3 John. He also penned the Gospel of John which is one of the four gospels detailing the life of Christ, along with Matthew, Mark and Luke. This John, by the weight of opinion, also wrote the Book of Revelation. He was one of the original 12 disciples, and one of the closest to the Lord. He is called John the Beloved, the disciple who leaned on the breast of the Lord. His Gospel, Epistles and the Book of Revelation were written to those churches and contain deep, mystical truths of Christ not found elsewhere in the New Testament. We will focus here on the Epistle of 1 John.

John wrote this epistle both to comfort and increase the faith of the Christians who considered John to be their Father in the Gospel. He also wrote it to expose false prophets, including Gnostics, who did not believe in Christ's resurrection and had doctrines which in his view did not follow Christ’s teaching.

First, John proclaims that the life and the Word were manifested on earth. He acknowledges that he has seen and bears witness to that Word and thus believers have fellowship with Him (1 John 1:1-4). Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, was the Word of God or “logos” in Greek. manifested in human form-the perfect combination of God and man.

In Chapter 1, John describes this appearance of the Christ, with whom he knew personally and walked with for 3 ½ years. More than the man John focuses on who Christ really was from a spiritual perspective.

He says this of the Lord Jesus Christ: “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete” (1 John 1:1-40.

This similar to what this same John wrote in his Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He [Christ the Word] was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:1-5).

Christ came as the Messiah to forgive the sins of all mankind. Thus, if we believe we are not sinners then there was no purpose for Christ to come and forgive us of sin. The truth is that “all have sinned and fall short of the grace of God” (Romans 3:23). John also emphasizes forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Also he says: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1 Jn 1:110).

In Chapter 2 John makes the following points: “The one who says he is in the light yet hates his brother is in the darkness...and walks in the darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes" (v. 8-11). Jesus said the greatest commandments were to love God and love our brother as ourselves (Matthew 12: 29-31). John asks “How can we say we love God who we haven’t seen and not love our brother who we have seen?”

John goes on to describe how we love God with a single-minded focus. "Do not love the world nor the things in the world...For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world" (v. 15-16). "the world and its lusts are passing away but the one who does the will of God lives forever" (v.17).

All the world has been placed in a state of futility, from the fall of Adam and Eve until now. Therefore ALL that is in the world is not from the Father. Futility (vanity in the KJV) is variously defined as:” ineffectiveness, uselessness, trifling, unimportant and incapable of producing any result” (Webster’s Dictionary). When man fell, God separated Himself from man. Therefore, since nothing in the world manifests God, it is useless.

In (verse 18-19, 22) John speaks of the antichrist, the only place the word antichrist appears in the Bible, except in 2 John. Most Christians today place the antichrist as appearing in the end time as a single figure. However John says that there were already antichrists in the world, nearly 2000 years ago. (consensus is he wrote this epistle in about 90 C.E. (A.D.). "Children, it is the last hour and just as you have heard anti-Christ is coming even now many anti-Christs have appeared". The antichrist is “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

Unfortunately, most of the world’s large religions do not acknowledge Christ as the Son of God (Islam, Buddhism, etc). They say He was a great man, a wise sage, a good man but not the Son of God. Therefore the leaders and originators of these religions are false prophets and anti-Christs, according to John. The Christian world, including the recent Pope, is advocating a tolerance for those anti-Christ religions. However, what fellowship has light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14).

The real battle here is that Jesus Christ came to open the door for many Sons, like Christ, to be manifested. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10). The antichrist was defeated by Jesus at His resurrection. But today the antichrist spirit wars to block Jesus coming to birth in His many membered body and has been trying to do this since the time of John.

In Verse 2:25 John said: "This is the promise He Himself made to us: eternal life...abide [live] in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming" (v.28). Adam and Eve shrunk away in shame from the Lord after they sinned. So we, without God, shrink away because we are somehow innately aware of our sin. Those who are Christ’s have no need of shame because they have been forgiven. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). The biggest deception of Satan is to challenge who we are now in becoming: Sons of God with the same nature as Jesus. The battle takes place in our mind as we must be steadfast in our knowing who we are and what we were sent to do.

In Chapter 3, John explains the love of God and His grace:

"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us that we would be called the children [Sons] of God...it has not appeared yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is" (3:1-2). Imagine. If we walk with God we will become "LIKE HIM"!

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep… But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). Again: “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:1-2).

It is important that we realize this doesn’t occur only after we die and “go to Heaven”. Christ wants the will of God to be done and the Kingdom to come here on earth (Matthew 6:10). Some will not die but walk right into the Kingdom. “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:27-28). The very so called “Lord’s prayer” urges us to pray that God desires His will be done on earth as well as heaven. The coming Kingdom will contain no distinction or separation.

In chapter 3 John talks about love. And "this is the commandment that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another" (v.23). In the New Testament (the New Covenant in His blood) the requirement to obey the former Mosaic Law to the letter is done away with. Our righteousness is now obtained by grace through faith. This is the love of God who pours out His love on the righteous and unrighteous alike, for free. Our commandment now is to believe and love.

John makes a clear distinction between those of evil and the righteous. “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before [towards) God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us” (3:21-23).

Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, the source of all evil. The righteous practice only righteousness as they have obtained this heart of righteousness from God by grace. The evil practice the will of Satan.

In Chapter 4 John tells us to test the spirits to see which are from God because many false prophets were in the world then (and now). How do we know? "...every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not [so confess] is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist" (v. 1-3). "You are from God...because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (v. 4). There is literally no other religion who believe that Christ was and is the Son of God.

The victory for believers is actually already won over Satan and the evil forces. When Christ died and was resurrected, He took with Him all the sin of the world. It is up to us to appropriate this victory and manifest it in the earth. Satan can now only delay the inevitable. His raging has delayed the fulfillment for 2000 years. Now we must rise up and manifest his defeat.

The theme of love is prevalent in the entire epistle. ..."let us love one another for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God" (v. 7). And in verse 15&19 he says: "God is love...we love Him because He first loved us".

God loved us when we were ungodly, unbelieving and sinners. He loved us as much as He does now that we have been saved. We now who have salvation should never doubt God's love for us. Because of the shame, accepting this fact, is one of the most difficult tasks we have as Christians. Yet it is essential. How can we love our brother or God if we do not love ourselves?

God is love. His very nature IS LOVE. Perfect love casts out all our fears. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. (4:18). “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:12-13). Paul describes what love is in Chapter 13:1-11. It is not works. Even if we give our bodies to be burned but don’t have love it profits us nothing.

In Chapter 5 is written: "For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whoever is born of God overcomes the world...Who is the one who overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" (vs. 1-5). "And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life and this life is in the Son" (v. 11) (Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life”). "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life" (v. 12).

You see, Christ already won the victory. All we need do is believe that and appropriate all that means in our lives. Faith is not burdensome, like the draconian Laws of religion and the Old Testament. We do not have to work for it; it is by grace, unmerited favor. God considers our human works as filthy rags anyway (Isaiah 64:6). We cannot work up righteousness in ourselves. It must come from God. This is so He is glorified, not us; if we were able to do the will of God in ourselves we would take the credit and the coming of Christ would have been useless.

So from one of the deepest men of God in the Bible, we remain with very simple principles. Love God, love one another, beware of false prophets, do not love the passing scene of the world and believe that Christ is the risen Son of God.

 

Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?

 

This question is one of the most hotly debated topics in the Christian community as well as within the confines of government. Although the resolution of the argument has little effect on the conduct of either the church in America or the government, the examination of this question becomes more philosophical that substantive. There can be no question that Christian principles were applied and influenced the formation of our government. On the other hand the intent of the constitution seems to imply that America was seeking a secular government separated from religious influence or scope of government control.

There are a vast number of writings which support the position that America was founded a Christian nation. The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken on the subject on February 29, 1892 in the case of Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, (143 US 457–458, 465–471, 36 L ed 226). After a lengthy conversation on the subject, examining various legislative and common law approaches to the question they conclude as follows: “Religion, morality, and knowledge [are] necessary to good government, the preservation of liberty, and the happiness of mankind. A commentary on the 1892 case Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, summarized: Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian”.

In 1911, at a Denver rally, Governor [later President] Woodrow Wilson remarked: “A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about …The Bible … is the one supreme source of revelation of the meaning of life, the nature of God and spiritual nature and needs of men. It is the only guide of life which really leads the spirit in the way of peace and salvation. America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture”.

On October 12, 1816, John Jay, Supreme Court Justice, admonished: “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their ruler”.

On February 22, 1812, to the Washington Society of Alexandria, Francis Scott Key stated: “The patriot who feels himself in the service of God, who acknowledges Him in all his ways, has the promise of Almighty direction, and will find His Word in his greatest darkness, ‘a lantern to his feet and a lamp unto his paths’. … He will therefore seek to establish for his country in the eyes of the world, such a character as shall make her not unworthy of the name of a Christian nation”.

In writing to Pope Pius XII, in 1947, President Truman said of America: “This is a Christian nation”. New York Supreme Court (cited in 1905) by Supreme Court Justice David Josiah Brewer in his lecture, entitled “The United States a Christian Nation,” rendered its opinion in the case of Lindenmuller v. The People, 33 Barbour, 561, stating: "Christianity … is in fact, and ever has been, the religion of the people. This fact is everywhere prominent in all our civil and political history, and has been, from the first, recognized and acted upon by the people, as well as by constitutional conventions, by legislatures and by courts of justice”.

On Tuesday, December 6, 1825, in his First Annual Message to Congress, President John Quincy Adams expressed: “In taking a general survey of the concerns of our beloved country, with reference to subjects interesting to the common welfare, the first sentiment which impresses itself upon the mind is of gratitude to the Omnipotent Disposer of All Good for the continuance of the signal blessings of His providence, and especially for that health which to an unusual extent has prevailed within our borders, and for that abundance which in the vicissitudes of the seasons has been scattered with profusion over the land. Nor ought we less to ascribe to Him the glory that we are permitted to enjoy the bounties of His hand in peace and tranquility—in peace with all other nations of the earth, in tranquility among ourselves. There has, indeed, rarely been a period in the history of civilized man in which the general condition of the Christian nations has been marked so extensively by peace and prosperity?. …

Morris, Benjamin Franklin (1810–1867) was an American historian. He wrote many insightful works, including: Memorial Record of the Nation’s Tribute to Abraham Lincoln, 1865; The Life of Thomas Morris—Pioneer and Long a Legislator of Ohio, and U.S. senator from 1833 to 1839, 1856; Historical Sketch of Rising Sun, Indiana, and the Presbyterian Church—A Fortieth Anniversary Discourse, delivered Sept. 15, 1856, 1858; and The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States—developed in the Official and Historical Annals of the Republic, in 1864, in which he expounded in part: “This is a Christian nation, first in name, and secondly because of the many and mighty elements of a pure Christianity which have given it character and shaped its destiny from the beginning. It is pre-eminently the land of the Bible, of the Christian Church, and of the Christian Sabbath. … The chief security and glory of the United States of America has been, is now, and will be forever, the prevalence and domination of the Christian Faith”.

The Declaration of Independence states in relevant part: “When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation”. …“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

The Constitution itself is silent on the issue but the First Amendment to the Constitution states: “Amendment I: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”.

Armed thus with these and other statements by numerous influential men, State governments and even the U.S. Supreme Court, conclude that indeed America was founded as a Christian Nation. The inscription “In God We Trust” appears on our currency. Our pledge to our flag contains the words: “One nation under God” which has remained despite constitutional challenge.

The Book: “The Light and the Glory” (by Peter Marshall, Jr and David Manuel, Jr., (1977) Fleming H. Revell a division of Baker House Co.) is a strong in its advocacy that America is a Christian as they trace the history of the New World from Columbus, a devout Christian, to the infusion of Christian beliefs in the New World.

To begin with, Christopher Columbus, the supposed discoverer of America in the late 1400s, was a Christian. This is confirmed by actual entries in his log book that indicated same. He felt that God had chosen him to carry the light of the gospel to other peoples and other nations to the Pilgrims and similar Christian settlements. The Pilgrims, refugees from England and the English state church, arrived on the Mayflower. They suffered extreme hardship, but the thread of Christianity pervaded through their starvation and hardship, however, as evidenced in their writings. The point to the information recited above and more to come to their “inescapable conclusion.

It cannot be argued that the Christian influence in America has not been considerable but the question remains: “Was America founded as a Christian or secular nation?”

Opponents present the following arguments against the Christian nation supposition. “Many Religious Right activists have attempted to rewrite history by asserting that the United States government derived from Christian foundations, that our Founding Fathers originally aimed for a Christian nation. This idea simply does not hold to the historical evidence. Of course many Americans did practice Christianity, but so also did many believe in deistic philosophy. Indeed, most of our influential Founding Fathers, although they respected the rights of other religionists, held to deism and Freemasonry tenets rather than to Christianity”(The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion, by Jim Walker).

There is no question that Freemasonry concepts were influential in the actions of the founding Fathers. A great percentage of both the signers of the Declaration of independence and the Constitution were active Freemasons. Freemasonry is not Christian and is more of a deistic philosophy. Some of the language of both the declaration and the Constitution had Freemasonry language in them word for word.

Opponents discount proponent’s reliance on the references to God in the Declaration of Independence, stating that the declaration was never made law. They point to the inferential language that “Please note that the Declaration says nothing about our rights secured by Christianity” Instead it infers that “Governments are instituted among men."

Moreover, the mentioning of God in the Declaration does not describe the personal God of Christianity. Thomas Jefferson, who held deist beliefs, wrote the majority of the Declaration. The Declaration describes "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God." This nature's view of God agrees with deist philosophy and might even appeal to those of pantheistical beliefs, but any attempt to use the Declaration as a support for Christianity will fail for this reason alone.

Then of course there is the “Treaty of Tripoli” in which the U.S. government denies any religious affiliation or adherence to same. Unlike most governments of the past, the American Founding Fathers set up a government divorced from any religion. Their establishment of a secular government did not require a reflection to themselves of its origin; they knew this as a ubiquitous unspoken given. However, as the United States delved into international affairs, few foreign nations knew about the intentions of the U.S. For this reason, an insight from a little known but legal document written in the late 1700s explicitly reveals the secular nature of the U.S. government to a foreign nation. Officially called the "Treaty of peace and friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary," although most refer to it as simply the “Treaty of Tripoli”. In Article 11, it states:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." One must wonder if politics entered into this bold but there it is in the law of the U.S.

Another argument in opposition involves the common law. Common law (also known as case law or precedent) is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action. An extended argument concludes that the common law has no Christian basis inherent in it. As common law has been used extensively in America’s legal system, opponents cite that a large part of our government, the law, has no Christian basis. Although a statement by Blackstone, an eminent authority on common law in England, from which our system is derived, says the opposite. He said: 7"Blackstone repeats, in the words of Sir Matthew Hale, that 'Christianity is part of the laws of England,' citing Ventris and Strange ubi surpa. 4. Blackst. 59. Lord Mansfield qualifies it a little by saying that 'The essential principles of revealed religion are part of the common law" in the case of the Chamberlain of London v. Evans, 176. But he cites no authority, and leaves us at our peril to find out what, in the opinion of the judge, and according to the measure of his foot or his faith, are those essential principles of revealed religion obligatory on us as a part of the common law." But there is no extended string in the case law expanding on this position and no real foundational authority for these statements (The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion, by Jim Walker, 1997, 2004).

This position is strengthened by statements of Thomas Jefferson, a lawyer, writer of the Declaration of Independence and co-author of the Constitution, who writes: “if any one chooses to build a doctrine on any law of that period, supposed to have been lost, it is incumbent on him to prove it to have existed, and what were its contents. These were so far alterations of the common law, and became themselves a part of it. But none of these adopt Christianity as a part of the common law. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."

The opposition’s position boils down to a theory that religious leaders have attempted to exert their influence on government to declare America as a Christian nation. (The Christian Nation Myth, by Farrell Till). He reinforces the view that the Founding Fathers were primarily deists, not Christian. Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the natural laws of the universe. Deists typically reject supernatural events such as prophecy and miracles, tending instead to assert that a god (or "the Supreme Architect") does not alter the universe by intervening in it. This idea is also known as the “Clockwork universe theory”, in which a god designs and builds the universe, but steps aside to let it run on its own. It does not recognize Christ as the resurrected Son of God. Deism is the philosophy espoused by the Freemasons, who, as we noted before, exerted considerable influence on the formation of our government.

So, with that information in hand, we must make a conclusion. Again, the argument itself is academic and has no real effect on how the government or our everyday lives are conducted. Our government gives its citizens unlimited freedom to practice any religion they see fir, without government interference. Thousands of religions are practiced within our borders and our immigration policy has been open door since the beginning. If America is to be considered a Christian nation it must be contrasted with other nations where religion is the basis of their government and secular and religion are so intertwined it is impossible to separate them. Islamic nations are an example where they really are religious based nations, and Islamic law is written into the fabric of their government. We don’t have that here as religion really plays no part in our secular government, scientific pursuits, health care, or any of our day to day pursuits.

The First Amendment instead builds an impenetrable wall between the religious and the secular. Religions are free to practice as they wish and the government cannot interfere. From a purely legal standpoint the United States, as a government, is purely secular with no interference from the religious, although Christian right movements, with their massive voting bloc, attempt to influence the government towards the religious with some success. However the government itself remains secular.

There can be no question that Christian principles guided the formation of our government. Nor can there be a question that God has blessed this nation and made it a vehicle for His use over the past 300 years. Christian or not, the influence of God and Jesus Christ are evident in the progression of our democratic form of government, working behind the scenes. Simply the fact that American won the Revolutionary War, against the greatest power on earth at the time, reveals God behind the scenes orchestrating what amounts to a miracle. The fact that America was able to expand “from sea to shining sea”, in a relative short period of time, is a miracle. That God has been able to work through decidedly imperfect people to pull this off is nothing short of astounding. But God works from an unseen spirit realm causing results on the earth, whether we recognize His hand or not. God has used the United States, at least up until the last 30-40 years, to accomplish His will on the earth.

But from a purely earthly standpoint, America is not overtly a Christian nation and God probably set it up that way for a reason. Throughout the last 2000 years, Rome and later the Roman Church, intermingled government with religion with disastrous results. Both branches benefited financially at the expense of the people. Religion, with its propensity to rule by fear, is destructive to a secular government whose ability to rule the people effectively is hampered by the fear generated by religion. As America was set up as a secular nation, it was immune to the conflicting ideologies of religion, which would have done nothing more that inject their own confusion to a government trying to get a job done.

Yet among all nations we, as Christians, are most blessed in America. The progression of “religion” and Christianity has been able to function with few or no restraints. America was raised up by God to assist in bringing the Kingdom of God into the earth. As a wise man once said “I am believing God for the Stars and Stripes to be waving over the land when the Kingdom is established in the earth. I think we should pray and contend for that everyday” (Stevens, John Robert: This Week, Volume V (1974). North Hollywood, CA. : Living Word Publications, 1982, P. 647).

There is one further consideration. It seems the Lord Jesus Christ does not see the nations as religious, Christian or otherwise. In his incalculable wisdom he sees the nations as either sheep or goat nations. The sheep is submissive and obedient where the goat is rebellious and contrary. Jesus said the following as the nations were brought before Him for judgment: “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:31-46).

 

Atheism

 

Atheism is defined as: The doctrine or belief that there is no God or disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings (Dictionary.com). Both positions-belief or non-belief- are non-provable either scientifically or societal. For the spiritual, understanding the beliefs of the atheist are difficult since they can be easily described as believing in nothing that can’t be seen, sensed or touched. Concurrently there is the belief that life has no real definable purpose and that our presence on this planet is the result of a cosmic accident of some sort.

Science is a truly remarkable form of atheism. Eminently educated people seem to have answers for everything but the sum total of their knowledge adds up to more questions. A scripture describes their pursuits: “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). Cosmology is one example. They are ever seeking the elusive “theory of everything” yet the more they discover the more they discover the further they are from the solution than when they began. For instance, many are preoccupied with the beginning of creation, the “big bang”, and even what came before. In every mathematical theory they concoct as to how the universe began they are trying to do one thing: disprove that the universe could have been created out of nothing. In the process they discover that 90% of the universe is actually made up of materials they can neither see nor understand (i.e. dark matter and dark energy).

The same is true of biology. Darwin’s theory of evolution still cannot tell us how life actually began in the first place and yet this is the theory that has gained almost complete acceptance throughout the scientific community. With all his resources and knowledge man cannot create life in a laboratory, even by combining all the right elements. Why is a spiritual solution so repulsive to these dedicated men? It is because humankind simply cannot accept that there is something out there greater than themselves.

At least the Bible has answers to the ultimate questions scientists incessantly struggle. As for creation God says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). And: “By faith we understand that the worlds [ages] were prepared [framed] by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). No scientist can prove otherwise.

The Apostle Paul explains their ignorance. “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised [examined]. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one” (1 Corinthians 2:14-15). Who is making a fool out of whom? As for intellect being the ultimate authority on all things spirituality says: "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so," (Romans 8:6-7). The human mind is not even able to come to any worthwhile conclusions because it is not able to do so.

As for the spiritual things being discussed here, don’t make the mistake that we are talking about what is being taught in most denominational churches of today. Anyone could easily be made an atheist if he is confusing religion with spirituality. Religion is man attempting to explain God while true spirituality is God explaining Himself to man. And it isn’t that man does not have the capacity to be spiritual. We are all comprised of a body, a soul and a spirit. “God is a spirit” (John 4:24). We also have a spirit as part of our being that is capable of communicating with the spirit of God. Most of us are not aware of this attribute because our souls and bodies have preeminence in our lives. The spiritual man is spiritual because he uses his spirit to communicate with God the Spirit.

Spiritualism is something one has to experience. The spirit realm exists just beyond our five senses. It is available to everyone but it has to be sought for. There has to be a hunger in an individual that asks “is this all there is?” Without spirituality, there is no higher purpose to life; no reason for man’s existence.

Solomon, King of Israel and the wisest man of his day said this about the futility of life without God: “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” [futility] What advantage does man have in all his work Which he does under the sun? A generation goes and a generation comes, But the earth remains forever. Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; And hastening to its place it rises there again. Blowing toward the south, All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, “See this, it is new”? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us. There is no remembrance of earlier things; And also of the later things which will occur, There will be for them no remembrance Among those who will come later still” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-11).

Unfortunately we live in this world of futility. God subjected the world to futility a long time ago to teach us something collectively and to leave us with hope. “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:20-21). We should not let the futility we live in and see all around us blind us to the possibility there might be something more.

 

Big or Small

 

A star is small,

A tiny dot of light;

Sprinkled about the universe,

Bright enough to break the night.

Atoms are very small as well,

But larger than quarks or natrinos

Electrons are smaller yet,

Unseen, untouched speeding wither and knell.

The smallest are the eternal strings,

The basic blocks of all that surround us;

10-41 of an inch, they theorize,

A speck of our dust from us our universe.

Neptune engulfs the Sun,

Turns it into just another dot;

Mercury magnifies it,

Now monster where jot.

Time is big or small,

To the market is small,

To Mars is long,

Forever is eternal.

God is big or small,

Big to rule all creation;

Small to relate to you and me,

Specks of dust are all the nations.

Throughout existence earth was the center,

The rest passed by sporting their wares;

Man was the center of everything,

For his appreciation if he dare.

Beauty in the beholder,

Made to absolute specification,

God’s gift to us,

Exquisite in its perfection.

 

Futility But With Hope

 

God has subjected all of creation, including man, to a state of futility (Romans 8:20; Genesis 3). Futility is defined as: “pointless, serving no useful purpose, completely ineffective, occupied with trifles, vain, fruitless, and producing no result”. Futile may connote completeness of failure or un-wisdom of undertaking (Merriam-Webster, Inc: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Eleventh ed. Springfield, Mass. Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003). Like it or not this is the world we live in. All creation reflects this futility. Our lives are full of hardship, unhappiness, grief, sickness, non-fulfillment of goals and finally death. All of these things God has imposed upon us since the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden. Their simple act of disobedience doomed all of creation to a futile state.

Solomon described this condition perfectly when he said: “Vanity of vanities,” [literal translation futility of futilities] says the Preacher, Vanity of vanities! [futility of futilities] All is vanity [futile].”What advantage does man have in all his work Which he does under the sun?... All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun….All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:8-9). Nothing we do leaves anything permanent. Death erases all memory on earth of our works good or bad.

However, Paul recognized futility to be a temporary condition, as God subjected creation to vanity, but not without hope. Paul said: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God [plural]. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, IN HOPE that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:18-24).

Creation was subjected to futility in the Garden of Eden after the first two humans committed the unpardonable sin of disobedience. After the sin God told the serpent: “And I will put enmity Between you [Satan the Serpent] and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; [her seed is Christ] He shall bruise [crush] you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:15). Satan was disguised as the serpent. Revelation describes Satan as: “the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan” (v. 20:1-2).

This scripture means that God, although He had subjected His creation to futility, He had a plan, even then, for redemption. Satan would cripple mankind (you will strike at his heel), but the Seed of the woman (Christ) would deliver the fatal blow (“He will crush your head”).

This is revealed by the scripture in Romans, above. The longing of creation now waits for the revealing of the Sons of God. When the Sons are revealed futility will be removed and the Kingdom of God will replace it. Notice Paul uses the term “Sons”, plural. There will be many Sons, like Christ, revealed in the last day to vanish futility. “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10). God subjected creation to futility in hope; hope that the Sons who would defeat futility. As Sons coming to birth we wait eagerly for our adoption as Sons. Actually, according to the above, all creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the Sons because that means their release as well (Romans 8:22-23).

Isaiah describes his vision of the Kingdom, when all of creation is released from futility. “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6-9). No longer will the stronger prevail over the weak. The “law of the jungle” will give way to eternal peace in all species be they plants, animals or insects. The world of man will no longer be dominated by the strong and the phrase "dog eat dog” will no longer be heard in the land.

Revelation also describes the coming Kingdom age. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true” (Rev. 21:1-5).

Even death will be done away with. “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). Corinthians 15:53-55 says: “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory [Isaiah 25:8]. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? [Hosea 13:14] O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”

Therefore, although we may be experiencing futility in our lives at the present time, and we seem to be in hopeless situations, we must remember to have hope in the Lord and what He is bringing to pass on the earth. We should as James said “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance [steadfastness] And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Remember even Jesus experienced these same sufferings. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” (Hebrews 5:8-9). And: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3).

So although we experience the Godly imposed futility we face it with Hope, as Paul said in Romans 8 above. God subjected creation to futility in hope. Paul said: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits [hopes] eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:18-19).

 

Refuge of Lies

 

This scripture summarizes nicely Christ’s work in setting up the Kingdom and His judgment of Satan. “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. “I will make justice the measuring line And righteousness the level; Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies And the waters will overflow the secret place. “Your covenant with death will be canceled, And your pact with Sheol will not stand; When the overwhelming scourge passes through, Then you become its trampling place. “As often as it passes through, it will seize you; For morning after morning it will pass through, anytime during the day or night, And it will be sheer terror to understand what it means” (Isaiah 28:16-19). Refuge means “a place of shelter, protection, or safety; anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape” (Dictionary.com).

This one scripture says so much so much about Christ and His victory over the enemy. First of all Satan is the refuge of lies. He works his deception behind the scenes so effectively that most times we are unaware of his works. He is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). This was made clear when he tested Christ in the wilderness: “the devil took Him [Christ] to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’ ” Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him” (Matthew 4:8-11). The reason he could offer all the Kingdoms of this world to Christ was because they were his to give.

Satan had been thrown out of heaven to the earth. “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon [Satan]. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old [from the garden] who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; [inhabited earth] he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Revelation 12:7-9). Once he precipitated man’s original sin in the Garden, and the world was thrown into futility, he has pretty much had his way on the earth.

For instance in Job it says: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it” (Job 1:6-7). He pretty much had his way on the earth, roaming around to see who he could deceive. At that time he even had God’s ear.

Satan performs his deception in secret in that most of the world is blind to the spirit realm, where he can comfortably carry out his work in to man’s unknowing detriment. It is not to his advantage to reveal himself to people because if people actually saw him as he is they would not follow him. Satan is 666, the triad of power he shares with man and his satanic cohorts.

He predominately works through pride. By his power he has raised up great nations in the earth, with their great wonders. From Sumeria to Egypt to Rome, to the Roman Church he has raised great monuments to man that marvel the people even today. What we don’t realize is these great monuments (pyramids and great temples in Egypt, great cities, Grecian architecture, Roman society and architecture, churches of splendor) are built to the glory of man or Satan who are one and the same. Man is proud of his achievements and calls them “wonders of the world”. Yet, until Christ, God has given Satan free reign in this world. Many believe that man had the help of aliens in the constructing of the great marvels but it was really the power of Satan working behind the scenes to glorify himself and man. He deceives entire nations as they build to glorify pagan gods that are no more than Satan disguised in his attempt to out-do God, where the real glory resides.

God says He is going to bring all that down. “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. “I will make justice the measuring line And righteousness the level”. Jesus Christ is the tested stone God lays on the foundation. The foundation is God’s, God the Father.

In Job God said: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements?... Or who stretched the line on it? “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7). The foundation was firmly set and the costly cornerstone [Christ] later firmly added. Justice, not deception, was the line used for measuring.

Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies And the waters will overflow the secret place. “Your covenant with death will be canceled, And your pact with Sheol will not stand”. Satan has forged a covenant with death whereby he terrifies the masses. Hebrews says: “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (v. 2:14-15). Satan had the power of death until Christ used that power against him. By dying and being resurrected He defeated forever Satan’s hold on death. “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:25-26).

What this scripture is saying is that through the judgments of God hail will sweep away the refuge of lies. Hail is seen as a plague (Exod. 9:18-34; 10:5-15), as divine judgment (Hag. 2:17), as a destroying power (Isa. 28:2, 17). And water [symbolic of the word of God] will overflow Satan’s secret place. And it will be accomplished openly, not in secret: “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17). Even today we are beginning to see openly the corruption that invades our government. Satan’s secret places are being exposed by the light of the Coming Lord.

When will it happen? “When the overwhelming scourge passes through, Then you [Satan] become its trampling place. “As often as it passes through, it will seize you; For morning after morning it will pass through, anytime during the day or night, And it will be sheer terror to understand what it means” (Isaiah 28:16-19). The terror will belong to the evil one as he sees his refuge destroyed by the coming of the Lord. The Lord comes this time with a sword. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘King of Kings, and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:11-16). This is the second Coming of the Lord, not as a Lamb but as a conqueror.

“And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh” (Rev. 19:20-21). And with all the “refuge of lies” destroyed the evil one who had no place to hide any longer.

 

War and the Middle East

 

This article discusses war as it applied and applies to the Middle East i.e. Israel and the surrounding nations. WAR in Hebrew is milḥāmâ and occurs 313 times in the OT from lāḥam, ‘to fight’; denoting the army in battle array. In the N.T. Greek polemos, is used 18 times.

I. Strategic Importance of Palestine (Israel)

It is no wonder that war so fills the pages of the OT. The position of Palestine in relation to Mesopotamia and Egypt was truly of strategic importance to surrounding nations. Because the Arabian desert was located between Palestine and the two ancient centers of civilization (Mesopotamia and Egypt) ensured that contact between those warring nations had to be via Palestine to avoid the desert crossing. Therefore Palestine could not avoid being the theater of war—and a prize of war—for considerable periods during the last two millennia B.C.E. Added to this was the fact that the people of Israel secured a kingdom for themselves only by embarking on a war of conquest and that, once established, they had to engage in defensive wars to fend off the Philistines who were challenging their claim to the title-deeds of Canaan. Neither was David’s territorial expansion gains made without military engagements beyond the borders of Israel. The imperial era was short-lived, however, and the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah are soon to be seen defending themselves against their immediate neighbors, and finally against the unrelenting might of Assyria and Babylonia.

II. War and Religion

In the Near East generally war was a sacred undertaking in which the honor of the national god was very much at stake. The difference in Israel was that the God of Israel was transcendent and did not rise and fall with the fortunes of his people. For all that, he is ‘the God of the armies of Israel’ (1 Sa. 17:45) and far more involved in the struggles of his people than Marduk or Asshur (pagan gods) were ever thought to be (cf. 2 Ch. 20:22). God himself is described as a ‘man of war’ (Ex. 15:3; Is. 42:13) and one of his titles is ‘Lord of hosts’. This latter may refer to heavenly hosts (1 Ki. 22:19) or to Israelite armies (1 Sa. 17:45). It was God who led the armies of Israel into battle (Jdg. 4:14) so that the earliest account of Israelite triumphs was called ‘The Book of the WARS OF THE LORD’ (Nu. 21:14). Indeed, at every stage in preparations for battle Israel’s dependence upon God was acknowledged. First, inquiry was made as to whether this was the proper moment for attack (2 Sa. 5:23-24); then sacrifice had to be offered. So vital did the latter preliminary seem that Saul, in desperation, arrogated priestly privilege to himself, lest battle be joined before the favor of the Lord had been sought (1 Sa. 13:8-12).

The battle cry had a religious significance (Jdg. 7:18, 20) and, further, acclaimed the presence of God as symbolized in the ARK OF THE COVENANT (1 Sa. 4:5-6; cf. the manner in which the arrival of the ark in Jerusalem was greeted, 2 Sa. 6:15). Because of the divine presence resident in the Ark the Israelites could join battle in confidence of victory (Jdg. 3:28; 1 Ch. 5:22), even if the forces of nature had to be invoked to secure the victory (Jos. 10:11-14). God always went before them in battle because it was His glory at stake.

After battle it often happened that the Israelites observed a ‘BAN’ (ḥērem), which meant that a whole city or country, people and possessions, would be set apart for God. No Israelite was permitted to appropriate for personal needs anything or anyone belonging to a place which had been put under a ban; failure in this matter met with the direst consequences (Jos. 7; 1 Sa. 15). Sometimes the ban might not be so comprehensive as in the case of Jericho (Jos. 6:18-24), but always the right of God to the fruit of victory was being asserted. The ban was God’s way of dealing with ‘the iniquity of the Amorites’ (Gn. 15:16) and is central to the OT concept of ‘the holy war’. Moreover, if pagan tendencies were discovered among the Israelites themselves, the offending community was likewise to be put under a ban (Dt. 13:12-18). And if the whole nation incurred God’s displeasure, as they often did, then the agents of retribution could be the very pagans whom God had previously repudiated (Is. 10:5-6; Hab. 1:5-11). The ultimate is reached at the end of the monarchical period, when God announces his intention of himself fighting against Judah and on the side of the Babylonians (Je. 21:5-7). For a considerable time, however, the prophetic community had enjoyed the assurance of a better hope—nothing less than the eradication of war from the earth and the inauguration of a new era of peace by a Davidic ‘Prince of Peace’ (Is. 9:6; cf. Is. 2:4; Mi. 4:3).

III. Method of Warfare

In the days before Israel had a standing army the national militia was summoned for action by means of the trumpet (Jdg. 3:27) or by messenger (1 Sa. 11:7). When on the offensive the Israelites set much store by military intelligence (Jos. 2; 2 Ki. 6:8-12); since there was no such thing as a declaration of war, the advantage for the assailant was all the greater. Usually expeditions were undertaken in spring when the roads were suitable (2 Sa. 11:1). Tactics naturally depended on the terrain and on the numbers involved, but in general the Israelite commanders were able, in defensive engagements at least, to exploit their superior knowledge of local geography. When it was a case of a head-on confrontation, as between Josiah and Pharaoh Neco at Megiddo, the Israelites do not seem to have fared so well. As well as the trumpet, signaling could be done by means of fires. The conventional methods of warfare are all represented in the OT; foray (1 Sa. 14), siege (1 Ki. 20:1) and ambush (Jos. 8) figure alongside the set armor piece.

IV. War in the New Testament

Extending Christ’s kingdom by military means was not Jesus’ way of battle in the NT. ‘My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight’ (Jn. 18:36) was the principle enunciated by our Jesus when he stood before Pilate. And his words to Peter as recorded in Mt. 26:52 cast a certain shadow on the use of any force whatever the circumstances. But the Christian is a citizen of two worlds and has duties to both; tension between the conflicting demands is inevitable, especially since the secular powers have been ordained by God and do not ‘bear the sword in vain’ (Rom. 13:4). Paul availed himself not only of Roman citizenship but also of the protection of Roman troops, as when his life was threatened in Jerusalem (Acts 21). Piety was not regarded as incompatible with the pursuit of a military career, moreover, and those soldiers who inquired of John the Baptist as to their higher duty were not encouraged to desert (see Acts 10:1-2; Luke 3:14). We are to assume, on the other hand, that the cause which bound together Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot in the original Twelve required both to abandon their erstwhile occupations. In the early church a military career for the Christian was generally frowned upon; Tertullian (an early church Father) is representative in his view that the two callings were incompatible, though he made allowances for those already committed to military service before conversion.

The Christian’s warfare is pre-eminently a spiritual warfare and he has been equipped with all the armor necessary if he is to obtain victory (Eph. 6:10-20). It follows that he should be under military discipline, and to this end the NT abounds in injunctions couched in military terms (cf. 1 Tim. 1:18; 1 Pet. 5:9) and in military metaphors generally (cf. 2 Tim. 2:3-4; 1 Pet. 2:11). The critical battle was won at Calvary (Col. 2:15) so that the emphasis in a passage like Eph. 6:10-20 is not so much on the gaining of new ground, but on the holding of what has already been won. Victory ultimate and complete will come when Christ is revealed from heaven at the end of the age (2 Thes. 1:7-10). The final clash between Christ and the minions of darkness is depicted in Chs. 16, 19 and 20 of Revelation. A decisive battle is fought (either literal or symbolic) at a place called ARMAGEDDON (or Har-Magedon or Mt.Megiddo) according to Rev. 16:16. The most likely explanation of the name is that which links it with the hill (Heb. har) of Megiddo(n).

Megiddo was the scene of many great battles in history (cf. 2 Ch. 35:22) and its appearance in an apocalyptic context is most fitting. For the enemies of Christ this encounter will mean destruction (Rev. 19:17-21). But thus will Psalm 110 and a host of OT passages find their fulfillment as the era of Messianic rule begins. The harbingers of that blessed age will indeed be ‘wars and rumors of wars’ (Mt. 24:6), but when Messiah reigns ‘of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end’ (Is. 9:7).

V. The Qumran War Scroll

Among the first DEAD SEA SCROLLS to be discovered was one which has become known as ‘The War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness’. It is undoubtedly a product of the community which was once installed at Qumran and it issues directions to the community in anticipation of a protracted war between the forces of good and the forces of evil. It would seem that this scroll was one of the more exotic products of the age of Roman domination of Palestine, an age when apocalyptic thinking was at a premium. After the initiation by Christ of the New Covenant in His Blood, however, any war after His ascension is more likely to be spiritual in nature.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. G. von Rad, Der heilige Krieg im alten Israel, 1951; Y. Yadin, The Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness, 1962; The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands, 1963; R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 1965, pp. 247-267; C. Brown, J. Watts, ‘War’, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 vols., 1975-8 pp. 958-967; M. Langley, ‘Jesus and Revolution’, pp. 967-981.

 

Time Is Not Poetic

 

Time itself cannot be defined,

Time or no time is eternal,

With no laws but its own,

Unwillingly we are swept away.

“All your money,

Cannot one more minute buy”

Do you have the time?

No one knows what time it is.

Was yesterday reality?

Or just an illusion created,

By our finite minds,

Will today be our dream tomorrow?

Should we be ruled by Time?

The angel stood in the

Midheaven one foot on earth’s corners,

“Time will be no more”.

So was time just a dream,

Or a reality too much to bear,

Bound as we were,

In its sharp jaws

As a trap, no escape,

Our labor comes to naught,

Our thoughts gone in the wind,

Our beings lost in eternity.

Imagine no time,

Living only in the moment,

Without any care,

Without cruel death a’ waiting.

Futility reigns, darkness encompasses,

Can we be at peace with so cruel a fate?

Waiting just beyond the next turn,

We are victims of what we can’t know.

So time marches on they say,

To its inescapable end.

Will the end be grand?

Or the end of it all?

To the philosopher,

Whatever will be will be,

We cannot see the past,

Blind to the future.

What do we say then?

To love God and ourselves,

To make fun in the Sun,

Knowing this too will pass.

 

The Father and the Mediator

 

Christ’s purpose on the earth was to relate us to the Father and to reveal the Father to us. Christ said: “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? HE WHO HAS SEEN ME HAS SEEN THE FATHER; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves” (John 14:7-11).

Religion has the wrong idea about Christ. Christ was but a representation or representative of the Father on the earth. All the works done by Christ were done by the Father through His earthly ambassador Jesus. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, [The Father] who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God [The Father] was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).

It was and has always been the Father who is represented as God in the scriptures. Christ is the Father’s gift to us so that we can have the opportunity to be cleansed and thus acceptable to the Father. The Father is and always has been seeking a family. Jesus sat on a bluff overlooking Jerusalem and lamented with tears: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” (Matthew 23:37-38). God wants to draw us to Himself, just as He was constantly drawing Old Testament Israel. However Israel was unwilling to come. God wanted to gather them like a mother hen draws her chicks by spreading her wings for the chicks to gain refuge against anything that would otherwise befall them. God the Father is tired of being separated from us. We likewise should be tired of living separate from him. He, the Father, will pursue us throughout all eternity until He gets what He wants-His very own family of Sons.

Everything is going to end up with the Father anyway. Paul said: “…then comes the end, when He [Christ] hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24). Christ’s purpose as well as ours is to abolish all false powers and turn the Kingdom over to God the Father.

Christ is our mediator between us and the Father. A mediator is defined as one that “occupies a middle position to bring accord out of by action as an intermediary to interpose between parties in order to reconcile them; the act or process of mediating especially intervention between conflicting parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or compromise one that mediates between parties at variance” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, 11th Ed.). The Father and humanity have been at odds for millenniums so it was necessary for the Father to send a mediator in order to reconcile humanity to Himself.

Christ is our mediator of a New Covenant. In the Old Covenant of the Old Testament there was only temporary forgiveness of sin by animal sacrifice which had to be performed time and again. There was no permanent provision for the forgiveness of sin. Christ came to institute a New Covenant wherein His sacrifice on the cross was acceptable to the Father as a forgiveness of sin once and for all time. The New Covenant provided that: “FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS… “AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM” (Heb 8:10-11).

Christ becomes the mediator of this New Covenant, working as an intercessor between man and the Father so that the New Covenant is fully implemented. Hebrews 8:6 says: “But now He [Christ] has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises”. And: “For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15). Further “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, [the Father] and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood” (Hebrews 12:22-24).

In Jesus we have a high priest (mediator, intercessor) better than the priests which went before Him. Hebrews 7:25-28 says: “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever”.

Thus the end result is that we learn to relate directly to the Father, as Christ the Son does. If we are to be Sons like Christ our intercession is ultimately directly to the Father, as is His. The time comes when the Sons reach maturity and it is no longer necessary to have an intermediary. As the writer of Hebrews said in 8:10-11: “FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD [FATHER], AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. “AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM”. They will all call God Father.

 

The Holy Spirit

 

The first reference in the Bible to the Holy Spirit is in Genesis 1:2: "The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the spirit of the deep, and the SPIRIT OF GOD was moving over the surface of the waters" (emphasis added). As Christ was the Word of God, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. The Father and Son are spirit and the Holy Spirit is the representation of that Spirit throughout the earth and the universe. Although we will here be referring to the Spirit as it manifested in the New Testament, it is safe to say whenever a reference is made to the Spirit of God in the Old Testament that is probably the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of the Holy Spirit, as it pertains to us and Jesus Christ is discussed most frequently in the Gospel of John. In John 15:5-15, Jesus said: "But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [the Holy Spirit] shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you".

Thus, the Holy Spirit is our helper (Paraclete in Greek). He will help us by revealing the things of Christ to us. Remember, Christ had a limited ministry of 3 1/2 years and He ministered in an area not more than 30 miles from His birthplace Nazareth. He had more to tell us, but since we could not bear the deeper truths He sent the Helper to guide us into ALL the truth.

The Holy Spirit also comes as the "Parousia", Greek for the presence of God. Suffice it to say that anytime we feel God's presence, receive a revelation of Him, exercise a gift of the Spirit like prophesy or worship in the Spirit, all of this comes from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is one with the Father and Jesus Christ, but the Father has turned all things over to the Son. Christ disappeared out of our sight so He could send the Helper, a manifestation of God, to guide us in our Christian walk.

The Book of Revelation is full of references to the Spirit, but like Christ all His functions go back to the Father of spirits. The Father seeks worshipers that worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). It was the Holy Spirit that fell on the many on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-8). And in Romans Chapter 8, the chapter which focuses on a walk in the Spirit, it is the Holy Spirit he is referring to. Of course Christ said that when you have seen Him, you've seen the Father. When we are aware of, and walk by the Spirit, we are also walking with the Father and Christ; they are one.

Oneness of the Trinity: Jesus fervent prayer, recorded in John 17, speaks of the oneness of the "Trinity", and explains that we too are to be one as they are one. Verse 20-21 state: "I do not ask on behalf of these alone [the disciples He was speaking to] but for those also who believe in me through their [disciples] word; that they may all be one ; even as you Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us" He goes on: "the glory which you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one as we are one; I in them and You in Me that they may be perfected in unity Father I desire that they also, whom You have given Me be with Me where I am, so that they may see My Glory” (John 17:22-24). The Helper will guide us into Christ's ultimate vision perfected in unity with the God head.

 

The True Story of the Nephilim

 

In this message, we are going to begin in the Old Testament, and wind up close to the end of the Bible in the book of Jude. We will read passages of Scripture to show how the battle of nephilim spirits has come down through the centuries from the days before the flood. It was their satanic influence that occasioned God to send the flood to destroy all flesh. And he is an unwitting tool to bring forth the will of God in the earth. Of course, he doesn’t intend to. When you really begin to understand the nephilim, you see that there is one basic thing about them: There is a satanic input into their origin or generation, just as by the Living Word you are born of an incorruptible seed, the Word of God that lives and abides forever (I Peter 1:23).

The Hebrew word נְפִילִים (néfilim) is transliterated here. It commonly means “the fallen ones” (from the Hebrew naphal, fallen BDB 658, KB 709). There are other translations of the word nephilim such as “Giants” (KJV), and “tyrants”. However “fallen ones” seems to suit the beings described in the scriptures. The nephilim of the Old Testament were the closest approach to sons that Satan had.

Genesis says the following: “Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God [these were not sons of God but fallen angels] saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”The Nephilim (fallen angels) were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:1-4).

Almost every nation has some kind of mythology about a Hercules or an Atlas who was able to perform great feats—some being who was sort of half god. The Hawaiian people have legends about one called Maui, who did such things as lassoing the sun and holding it. The Greeks were great for stories about beings who were half god and half human. But you say, “Well, that’s all mythology. We don’t want any part of that.” However, it is surprising that there is a counterpart in the Scriptures. These men of renown probably gave rise to these “myths” of great men in the earth, some say giants. However they did not do good, as some of the heroes of old are reported-they were evil incarnations of a mix of the devil’s power and man.

There are indications in other Jewish writings that these men taught mankind things that they were not ready to receive. Since these fallen angels had been in heaven they knew secrets. They taught man to build cities which became centers of evil. They taught them secret sciences such as alchemy, magical potions and principles of witchcraft using transference. Legends of flying carpets and flying may have some basis in fact from these times. They taught man music which can be used for evil purposes. They were taught to forge implements of war from bronze and iron, before the traditional bronze and iron age.

This was similar to the times of Adam and Eve, who were no more than children. The tree of knowledge contained information they were not ready to receive and that is why God blocked access to it. Satan knew this and if his plan had succeeded man would have been armed with forbidden knowledge he could have used for eternity had not God cut it short by banishing them from the Garden (see Genesis 7 for some indications that men were taught by these evil nephilim).

Because of their evil God decided to blot them out from the face of the earth. “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them” (Genesis 6:5-7).

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth” (Gen. 6:8-13).

So God told Noah to build a great ark which was to be salvation for man. “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26). In Genesis 7:1: “Then the Lord said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household; for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time” (or “in this generation”). Why did the Lord say that only Noah was righteous? Ham was not righteous. We read that immediately after the flood, Ham, who was his youngest son, made fun of Noah.

We read about it in Genesis 9: “Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan” (Verse 18). You must understand this, because the curse that we are about to read, which came on Canaan, was the key of everything that happened in the promises that God gave to Abraham later on and in the whole book of Joshua (Joshua 11:10–23). God called Abraham out of Ur of Chaldees and sent him to the land of Canaan. He said, “You are going to inherit this land—but not yet. It will be four hundred years yet” (Genesis 15:7, 13–16). God was getting ready to deal as He had done earlier with the flood—to destroy. He set about to destroy the nephilim and the evil of that day, and start all over with Noah because he was the only righteous man He could find but His plan was foiled by the nephilim who came through on the Ark.

Genesis said earlier that the nephilim were in the earth before and after [the flood]. ”The nephilim (fallen angels) were on the earth in those days, and also afterward”. How did the nephilim spirit make it through the flood designed to destroy the nephilim and all mankind? It came through the line of Ham, son of Noah, and his son Canaan. “Noah was a righteous man”. “And Ham, the father of Canaan (you see how this is the only son identified here), saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him” (Verses 22–24). Some sources even imply a homosexual act here.

So Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan; servant of servants he shall be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.” And Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood. So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died” (Verses 25–29). The curse here was on Ham’s son, Canaan and we will see how this played out over the next centuries concerning Moses, Joshua and the conquest of the Promised Land. The nephilim spirit came through the flood with Ham and Canaan.

In the conquest of the land of Canaan we see the same intent of God to destroy. How could a loving Father above send Joshua in and say, “Kill them all. Anyone you leave will be a thorn in your side. Don’t spare one of them” (Deuteronomy 7:1–2).“But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land in which you live. And it shall come about that as I plan to do to them, so I will do to you.” (Numbers 33:55–56). How can we understand such a bloodthirsty command to annihilate them all? It was because of the curse on Canaan, the son of Ham that we read about in this passage. This was apparently the one nephilim spirit that had made it through from the antediluvian world into the next one. It says that the nephilim were in the earth then and also afterward (Genesis 6:4).

The Canaanite becomes important because it was from the Canaanite that the nephilim came forth, and Hebron became their stronghold. Goliath was one of the giants, nine feet tall, that David brought down (1 Samuel 17:4–10, 26–51). Jerusalem was possessed by the nephilim and it took David’s skill to capture Jerusalem so it could become the city of the Lord’s people. Now as for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah could not drive them out; so the Jebusites live with the sons of Judah at Jerusalem until this day (Joshua 15:63). Now the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, and they said to David, “You shall not come in here, but the blind and lame shall turn you away” thinking, “David cannot enter here.” Nevertheless, David captured the stronghold of Zion, that is the city of David. And David said on that day, “Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him reach the lame and the blind, who are hated by David’s soul, through the water tunnel.” Therefore they say, “The blind or the lame shall not come into the house.” So David lived in the stronghold, and called it the city of David. And David built all around from Millo and inward. And David became greater and greater, for the Lord God of hosts was with him” (II Samuel 5:6–10).

When Absalom became a traitor, he fled to the area of Hebron, to Talmai in Geshur after killing his brother; and there he received nephilim input (II Samuel 13:28–39). When he returned (II Samuel 14:21–23), he succeeded in actually deceiving the hearts of the people until he took over the throne from his father David. And David fled for his life from the son he had forgiven for murdering his own brother (II Samuel 14:33–15:14).

Do not ever think that this nephilim spirit is not one of the most deceptive that has ever come on the face of the earth. A devil spirit has difficulty in relating to the human race. Even the good angels have difficulty relating to the human race. It says of the angels that they desired to look into the salvation. They inquired into it (I Peter 1:12). They could not understand man’s disobedience and the plan of redemption that was coming. They could not understand how a people, made much lower than angels, so very low, were going to come up to sonship, something that an angel himself could never attain (Hebrews 2:5–8).

Devils cannot understand that either; and so, in order for Satan to make his communication and his deception, he has to find a human being whose nature he can infiltrate. This combined human nature and satanic nature can be so subtle and so blended that we have probably the greatest satanic input and difficulty which exists in the whole world today.

From the very beginning, the Word was: ”Canaan is going to serve Shem. Canaan is going to be brought down.” And yet when they came into the land of Canaan it was those accursed Canaanites with that nephilim spirit who so bluffed out the people of God that ten of the spies returned with an evil report. This was the contest there.

“When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev [Amalek are part of the nephilim] and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.”

“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.” (Numbers 13:25–33). Joshua and Caleb understood the nature of the nephilim spirit, and they said that even the enemies’ “shadow had been taken away” (Numbers 14:9, NASB, literal translation). This means that Joshua and Caleb as prophets of God had seen that the aura and the demonic protection had been stripped away, and all that the Israelites had to do was go in and kill those giants—they were already defeated.

“Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs” (predicting the Egyptian bondage, that they would go down in Egypt and be slaves), “where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions. And as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; and you shall be buried at a good old age” Then in the fourth generation they shall return here, “for the iniquity of the Amorite” (now we are back to those nephilim again”) “is not yet complete” (Numbers 13:16). God, in His infinite sense of justice, was willing to wait until their iniquity was full before destroying them.

The spies Joshua sent to spy out the land returned with a bad report, all 10 but Joshua and Caleb. Numbers 13:21–22a says: “So they [the spies] went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, at Lebohamath” When they had gone up into the Negev (Negev means south country), they came to Hebron (remember what was previously said about Hebron, home of the sons of Anak—the nephilim) where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak were.

The spies continued: “And we became like grasshoppers … in their sight.” Numbers 13:33b. The nephilim always intimidate. One significant thing about a nephilim spirit is that it intimidates you until you are afraid to stand up. But the thing about men of God like Caleb and Joshua is that they would stand right up to nephilim every time. They would fight it right to a conclusion: “It’s either God or it’s nothing at all.”

What made Caleb and Joshua so strong to believe that they could do it? Why did they come back to Moses with such a good report? Joshua, the son of Nun, and Caleb are named in verses 5–6 of Numbers 14. Verse 9 is the key verse: “Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they shall be our prey” (or “our meat”). “Their protection” [the Hebrew reads, “their shadow”] “has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”

The aura about them of satanic devil-possession had already been judged. Don’t forget, the nephilim are not defeated by men like Caleb and Joshua. The nephilim are defeated by the fact that God strips these human beings in their protective dedication to the devil. He strips them of their aura, strips them of their satanic protection, and you move in. They are helpless.

Can a person lose that protection? God can see to it that the devil’s crowd loses their aura, their shadow, their protection. “Well, I don’t know much about auras,” you say. Do you have trouble with the idea of an aura being blessed? Just read Acts 5:14–16. People lined up along a street so that when Peter walked by, his “shadow” might fall on them and they would be healed. Is there power around a person? If you have trouble with the idea of an aura, don’t call it that. Call it a shadow. The sun of righteousness is smiling upon us and we are casting a shadow of healing (Malachi 4:2).

In Joshua chapter 14 it describes Caleb taking on the nephilim cities. Forty years had passed since he and Joshua first saw the nephilim, the sons of Anak. When they came back, Caleb said, “Moses promised me that I could have any piece of ground that I want” (Numbers 14:24; Deuteronomy 1:36). He didn’t pick a fertile valley; instead, he went to the hill country where the nephilim were. He said, “That’s what I want.” “Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out as the Lord has spoken.” So Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance (Joshua 14:12–13).

In the fourteenth chapter of Joshua, Caleb tells how he had wholly followed the Lord. Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know the word which the Lord spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me at Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully.” Verses 6–8. At this particular time Caleb was eighty-five years old. So forty-five years had passed, and he still wanted to get at those giants.

“And now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today” (Verse 10). Imagine an eighty-five-year-old man saying, “I still want to take on those giants.” I think that his desire to see God glorified where the children of Israel had been defeated made him strong in the Lord.

He said, “I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out as the Lord has spoken.” So Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. This is very significant; Hebron was the center of the demonic nephilim forces.

Assuming they are a problem to the coming forth of the Kingdom of God, how are we going to fight these nephilim? I think that Caleb gives us a key in the way that he wholly followed the Lord. Elijah gives us a key in the way that he stood up against Ahab and Jezebel (I Kings 21:17–24). The Jezebel spirit is again in the direct lineage of these nephilim (I Kings 16:31; 21:25–26; Genesis 10:15). And that same spirit existed in the New Testament times. In Revelation 2:20 we read that the church in Thyatira tolerated the Jezebel in their midst.

As we pointed out earlier, there are two worlds? And both of them are very real in your life. There is a natural world, and there is a spiritual world. The natural world seems to be circumstances and problems and situations that you face. But if you could just see the spirit world behind it, you would understand much more. You would understand why, when Jesus Christ was in the wilderness, Satan came to Him and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and said, “If You bow down and worship me, I will give them to You, for they are mine to give” (Luke 4:5–7). Satan knew that he had control.

We have been in war against the nephilim spirits that have dominated right up until this present time. Now the battle is coming to a head. And you know what is going to win it. Religious movements will not. The thing that is going to win now will be God’s a Living Word that comes against the principalities and the powers, the spiritual wickedness in the high places (Ephesians 3:10; 6:12, 17). It is going to bring them down.

Paul said: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers, the world rulers of this darkness” (Ephesians 6:12). We are facing something that is not flesh and blood. That is why you cannot say, “The government is all to blame. My wife is to blame; my husband is to blame. It is my kids. It is my job. It is my boss.” I grant you, there can be some real demonic input from all of them. The devil can manipulate to try to bring warfare against you. Many things can be happening to you that you cannot explain. Whenever you come up against witchcraft, you are coming up against a real force that is operating in the spirit world. But do you believe that we have authority in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ over this? Christ has authority over it!

Authority does not work until you have a concept of what you are fighting. Paul said, “I don’t just strike out, beating the air. I don’t run uncertainly” (I Corinthians 9:24–27). If he was going to win the race, he had to know where the goal line was. If he was going to win the battle, he had to know where the enemy was. Paul called it “beating the air.” We do not want to beat the air. We want to be effective. Just as the Lord said, “Whosoever will may come” (Revelation 22:17), He said also, “Whatsoever you ask, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22; John 15:16). However, many people don’t even know what the “whatsoever” is. They don’t know what they should pray for. They don’t know what they are to intercede for.

True believers believe. The battle for Canaan was not as as big as people think it was. Our battle is not as big as you think it is. The Israelites probably thought that they were chasing the enemy, but they looked and discovered that hornets were stinging the Canaanites and that was why they were running (Joshua 24:12). Suppose you say: I don’t have enough time to finish this day! Well, Joshua told the sun to stand still until he finished his job (Joshua 10:12–14). He was killing Canaanites. He was getting rid of nephilim spirits. He was going after the thing that was standing against the people possessing a promise which at that particular time was close to five hundred years old.

We have to understand, strange as it may seem, that the ministry of the nephilim continued in the Spirit long after they were dead in the natural. In Christ’s time it started when a woman took some precious ointment a few days before Jesus was going to be crucified, and poured this costly ointment of spikenard on His body. What a wonderful thing that was. Jesus said: “Let her alone. Against the day of My burial she has brought his forth” (John 12:3–7). In some way her love foretold that even while He was staggering under the cross, mingled with the sweat and the blood would be the precious anointing that she had given Him.

“Mary therefore took a pound of very costly, genuine spikenard ointment, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?” Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Jesus therefore said, “Let her alone, in order that she may keep it for the day of My burial.” John 12:3–7. What is it that makes people so furious against things like that? God is not religious. It has taken the religious people every time to plot to put Jesus Christ on a cross and to crucify Him afresh, to put Him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:6). Think about that, and open your heart to the fact that God is not asking you to be religious. He is asking that He can fill your very nature and change you, transform you, make you the instruments of righteousness in the earth, make you a part of the great plan of redemption that He has for you to see this old world redeemed in the name of the Lord.

Before Judas went out to betray Jesus the following occurred: “Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly” (John 13:26-27). The nephilim spirit does not need to be with someone all the time. But it is at the time of weakness that the nephilim spirit, who is Satan himself, can enter a man and cause him to do things he regrets later. When Satan left Judas, he realized what he had done and killed himself. We must realize that same spirit is among us today and not allow any openness that would present any opportunity to Satan.

Bibliography: The Story of the Nephilim, Stevens, John Robert: This Week, Volume XII (1981). North Hollywood, CA. : Living Word Publications, 2007, P. 997

 

Will There Ever Be World Peace?

 

With man in his current spiritual, mental, emotional and physical condition, there can be no chance of world peace on this earth. But in the long term, with the coming of the Kingdom of God, peace is guaranteed.

You would think that 6,000 years of recorded human history would have proved there can be no lasting peace on earth as it exists today. It is arguable whether or not, throughout the centuries, the world has ever been at peace. All known societies have engaged in war, both offensive and defensive at one time or another. Irrespective of societal advances in science, the arts, philosophy, medicine or government none has brought any lasting peace. Today we have the greatest explosion of intellectuality the world has ever seen but at any given time there are violent struggles taking place among purportedly civilized nations. The names change but the causes and effects remain the same - racial genocide on a larger scale than ever, moral and religious conflicts, nationalism, greed, conflicts over money, goods and lands, jealousy, hatred, wars over freedom and liberty and wars with no real definable cause. You can boil it all down to the fact that war is an expression of the base nature of mankind. Man tries to violently force his will on other men. Its banality increases to the point that neighbor fights neighbor and brother wars against brother. Such travesty only increases, never abates.

The only way conflict can end is that the nature of man change. This can only occur through God. History is rife with examples of the basic nature of man rising up to exalt himself, his ego, his country to the point where that perceived good or evil is forced on other peoples. The same is true of religion as well. Man is never satisfied with the status quo, but constantly lusts for more power, influence, control, ideology, religion and other extremism at any cost.

Albert Einstein had this to say about wars and peace. Einstein came to the following conclusion in his examination of the world "The World As I See It". He says: "Everyone acts not only under external compulsion but also [as man perceives it] in accordance with inner necessity" (page 12,bracketed portion added.) Also, of wealth, which is a most primary human motivator for war, Einstein says: "I am absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can help humanity forward, even in the hands of the most devoted worker in this cause". Again the inevitable application of basic human desires against his fellow man is expressed. And as for legislating morality, which has never proved to be successful, the great mathematician notes: "For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced" (for example the fiction of international law or any moral law for that matter).

These observations are in complete accordance with the 10 moral laws or Commandments allegedly given humankind by God: "Thou shall not kill, steal, bear false witness, Honor your Father and Mother (see the current breakdown of the family unit), commit adultery (wars have been fought over beautiful women), envy thy neighbor so as to covet his wife or property, have idols (we have rampant commercialism) etc.

Einstein sums it up: "...everyone has certain ideals which determine the directions of his endeavors and judgments...the ordinary objects of human endeavor-property, outward success and luxury-are contemptible to me" (page 12). “Everyone who engages in war does so to enforce his own ideas and need for personal gain and power on others. In other words, basic human drives, which so far have not been eradicated, influence man's endeavors greatly including the waging of war. Acting as individuals, men's diverse ideals lead to wars of the diverse ideologies, but which all stem from the independence and perceived individuality of human nature. To obtain peace, the human nature must be changed or at least controlled, to corral its destructive tenancies”.

The first case that springs to mind is the Russian revolution. The benefits of pure communism, i.e. everyone at peace and taken care of, owning everything in common, with virtually no government, is the society envisioned by pure communism. However, after a bloody revolution for this seemingly just cause, up rises a dictator of evil (Stalin) who used the ideology as a cover for the exaltation of himself and a wielding of power not seen before. In Germany arises a zealot using Germany's weakened condition (after WW 1) to unite the country behind inhuman aspirations and constant war and genocide against other innocent nations and persons.

There have been myriads of conquerors since Cain slew Abel over jealousy and hate. Mesopotamia is an apt example. Babylon, Assyria, Canaan, Babylon again, the Persians, Macedonia, Greece, the Romans, the tribes of Gaul and, the Arabians all gained domination of this important part of the world within a 2000 year period through war. England and France, egos dominating, greedy, power hungry aristocrats were constantly at each other’s throats during the middle Ages. Mohammad, Father of modern day Islam, was a religious and warlike leader who conquered in order to force his religious/secular beliefs on other people (just like radical Islam today). The middle age crusades, Muslim v Christian, were the supreme example of an ideological religious war. The Native American Indians were always at odds, tribe v tribe, until the greed of the Americans nearly wiped out the entire spices.

Can human nature really be changed let alone controlled? Can a leopard change his spots? We have self-improvement programs that attempt to train human minds but do those affect real change beyond training our behavior? Power of positive thinking is another attempt to control human minds but they teach how to get what we want and most often the toes you have to step on to get it. Has the Aquarian Age with its explosion of knowledge and science helped man in the long run? It has actually pulled man further away from God, the source of all real change. It has given us a million more things to focus on other than Him.

The change must be inner. No amount of attempts at peace by organizations, grass root movements, government organizations, leagues of nations (UN), protests, marches, petitions or pleas have really caused any change in the real problem, the basic animal nature of humankind, as Einstein noted.

The Bible, the Word of God the Creator, addresses these issues of real change. 1 Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 7 verse 18 says: "For I know that nothing good dwells in me...for the willing is present in me but the doing of good is not". And: "...evil is present within me, the one who wants to do good" (verse 21). "Wretched man that I am who will set me free from this body of death?" (verse 24). This man was perhaps the greatest man of God who was born of women, and considered to be holy, but he was aware of the evil nature within him which is the same as in every other human.

"Mercy [must] triumph over judgment" (Book of James Ch. 2, v.13). The Bible says (paraphrased): Put off the old nature which is corrupted and put on the new nature which can be renewed in the spirit of your mind (Ephesians 4:22-23). In war and politics mercy has no place over revenge and self seeking.

What can be the result of this real change? “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind… And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying. “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed. And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. “They will not labor in vain, Or bear children for calamity; For they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, And their descendants with them. It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. “The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD” (ISAIAH 65:17-25).

"And and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war" (Isaiah 2:4).

John the author of the Book of Revelation also foresees this drastic change that will occur at the end of this age of humanity. He states: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” (Rev. 21:1-5).

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God”, (Revelation 21:10). “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it” (Revelation 21:23-27).

Many dismiss these words as fable, myth or wishful thinking. However, no other spiritual belief (religion) describes this new age in such detail. It addresses all of the current problems that dominate modern day society-famine, war, health and sickness, futility and all the other ills of mankind. Rather than advocate a change of mankind’s behavior or a political or economic policy change, it advocates a starting over, as it were. The end of one and the beginning of another. This is the only way world peace, as man calls it, will ever be realized. And this change is and can be real here and now, not off in some heaven somewhere. Jesus says in His so called Lord’s Prayer:

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). If you can think of a better, more comprehensive solution to all of mankind’s problems please let your government know. The problem is that there are no real solutions and never will be as long as man remains as God on the earth.

 

Death Is a Lie

 

When I face the lie we call death,

I turn to the Lord, He knows best.

It is in His word that I find,

The answers to where I've been blind.

I find it is the last enemy,

And it says it’s not my destiny,

Christ is the way to eternal life,

The end of death and all strife.

Death is the wages of sin,

It’s the one way satan can win.

For to die is to separate,

From God, for the father of lies to celebrate.

Death's been around since Adam and Eve,

It’s this over which we should grieve,

Without what we call the original sin,

There is no death, never has been.

Have you read in Revelation?

Where it says there is salvation,

Death is the last to be overcome,

To be thrown in satan's pond of scum.

When I face death I say begone,

Go your way to eternal incarceration,

We are the ones with resurrection life,

You will suffer in hell, eternal strife.

Christ conquered death by the crucifixion

Through much suffering and affliction,

That we may have the gift of His life,

Eternal here, now, not in the after-life.

Inevitable death is but a lie,

Something not real we need to defy,

Fear of death is bondage to us,

In its shadow we but digress.

Perfect love casts out fear,

That “God is love” is very clear,

Draw Him near and He will show,

That upon His Sons life He will bestow.

“The last enemy that will be abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26).

 

The Role of Faith In Politics

 

The so called "Christian Right" today feels a necessity to advance moral values by becoming involved in politics, candidates, parties etc. They use their own moral values as centerpieces for forming a religious government. Issues such as abortion, genetics, adherence to religious doctrines and laws, sexual practices and the like are at the forefront of their assault. Many religious leaders have come together and decided what the acceptable moral values are. Because they can all agree on some of these values they form significant voter block. This forces political parties to adopt these values in order to capture their vote. They ignore an age old historical fact that you "cannot successfully legislate morality". Righteousness (incorrectly called morality by some) comes from the heart.

The combination of the Roman Emperors and the Roman Catholic Church in the middle ages proved that forcing a brand of morality on the people didn’t work. The centuries long combination of government and religion produced more corruption than the world has ever seen. Such domination would not have come about if the government was of the type that separated church and state government. Countless people were murdered in the inquisitions wherein the governments acquiesced in the religious enforcing of legal codes. Influential Popes commanded the governments. Popes and government leaders alike profited from each other’s vast wealth, at the expense of the people. The Church even sold indulgences, guarantees of heaven, to fearful people at great price. In short only the Popes and rulers benefited. The "Christian right" seeks more or less the same influence and, with the love of money at the root of many religions today, can only have disastrous results for all of us.

A real Christian's reaction to government is clearly laid out in the Bible. First of all, morality does not come from the human conscience as religious leaders would have you believe. The human conscience is not a reliable indicator of what is right, wrong or righteous. The writer of Hebrews states: "how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:14). And: "not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” (Hebrews 6:1). What are dead works? They are what we call moral values. They are works designed to please God. They are works that agree with our human consciences as to what should be done to be righteous and thereby die and go to heaven. These often require the exercise of strict adherence to a code of laws and regulations, which differ from religion to religion.

These moral values get us nowhere with God. By seating ourselves on the throne and exalting ourselves as arbiters of all that is righteous, we wrongly assume God has the same values up as we do. God says: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor your ways My ways,. For high as the heavens been above the earth, so high have been My ways above your ways, And My thoughts above your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8). Yet our arrogance assumes the opposite. Our religions should be teaching us to ask God, rather than rely on our human consciences. Dead works are works originated from the fallen flesh of man imposed many times by religion. These ideas about what is not righteous are not born from a revelation from God. They are born from human ideas of what God wants. In almost every instance they do not represent the views of God at all.

Jesus Christ the Messiah cam to do away with the do and don’ts of the Mosaic Law. He did not come to do away with the law. He came to fulfill it. He came to write the laws on our hearts, through appropriation of His nature (Hebrews 8:10-11).Rather than trying to impose our religious societal values we should be pointing people to Christ in whom there is no sin. Seated at the right hand of the Father as He is, he can change our very natures so that sin no longer becomes an obstacle to us.

Religion attempts to influence legislation forcing the governments to adhere to their moral values by political influence. However, our struggle is not with the physical nations, pressing them to pass religiously inspired legislation. Consider what Paul had to say on the subject:

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). Governments are no more than expressions on earth of the evil side of the spiritual realm (Satan and his cohorts). We do not defeat them by enforcing a code of ethics on people who cannot fulfill them anyway; it's by judging the spirit motivating the nations and people. God's view of the nations is: " the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless” (Isaiah 40:17). Should we not have that same attitude, rather than trying to morally change a world that is under futility? (Romans 8:20). You cannot please God by trying to refine the flesh nature. No amount of good works or “right” moral decisions will accomplish anything. God considers any works originating from man as “filthy rags”. Isaiah 64:6 says: “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment”. Therefore no matter how hard we try we can never please Him with our human works. He despises them.

The Apostle Paul gives us guidelines on how those of us who are "in the world but not of it" (John 17:15) are to relate to worldly authority. "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity" (1 Tim 2:1-2).

The answer is simple. We pray for the leaders and the nations. We pray that God’s will, and not our own conceptions of His will, be done. We pray for the Kingdom of God to come on the earth; a Kingdom that we have not seen and is beyond our imagination. Pray that His Kingdom come when Christ will rule with a rod of iron; pray that the United States (or whatever nation) which is a sheep nation will turn from its corruption and once again serve God. God has a solution for all problems, nations or otherwise. Seek His intervention. Don't tell Him what to do, but pray for His will. "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven" (Matthew 6:10). Entreat and petition God to change the hearts of those in authority so that they may serve the Lord. God wills that no man perish but that all come to the knowledge of the truth. We who believe are enforcers of His Will, not our own.

 

The Kingdom of God Has Come Near

 

Jesus told the 70 disciples, when He sent them out 2 x 2 the following: “Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ “But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ “I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city” (Luke 10:8-12).

Jesus Christ was a manifestation of the Kingdom on the earth. He was one with the Father (John 17); He did only those things the Father told Him to do (John 5:19); He was the perfect combination of God and man-Christ is both God and man. Human attributes and actions are predicated of him, and he of whom they are predicated is God. A Divine Person was united to a human nature (Acts 20:28; Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 2:8; Heb. 2:11–14; 1 Tim. 3:16; Gal. 4:4, etc.); He was the father incarnate “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9); He performed signs and wonders as a witness of who He was. “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves” (John 14:11).

“Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man” (Hebrews 8:1-2).

“For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, [as the Old Testament] high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him” (Hebrews 9:24-28).

“And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, “THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” He then says, “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin” (Hebrews 10-15-18). Christ came with a New Covenant, better than the Old Covenant, where righteousness was determined by sacrifice and obedience. Christ promises to change our nature (write His laws on our hearts and minds) so that it no longer remains possible to sin.

Christ also said, “The Kingdom of God is among you.” Many will scoff, “You say the Kingdom of God is among you? I don’t see it!” But Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God does not come with observation. None shall say, ‘Lo, here!’ or, ‘Lo, there!’ The Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20–21, KJV). The Kingdom of God was in Jesus and can be is us.

Jesus, in His first public ministry, said basically the same thing: “And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, [in Isaiah 61:61] [speaking of Himself Jesus said] “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” And He [Jesus] said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’ ” And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. “But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. “And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff” (Luke 4:17-29). In this case the Kingdom had come a little too close to them as Jesus so much as proclaimed Himself the Messiah, predicting He would not be accepted in His hometown. This enraged the people who knew Jesus after the flesh.

John the Baptist used substantially the same phrase as he was announcing the Kingdom: “Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [or “has come near”] “For this is the ONE referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, [in Isaiah 40:3] “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’ ” (Matthew 3:1-3). They did not refer to the Kingdom as a thing but as a person. The Kingdom is a person, a person with the power to duplicate Himself in all who were open.

It is much the same as Jesus proclamation: “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus was identified as the Way to a new relationship with God (John 14:4-6), which began a new quality of life, a new way of living (cf. Heb. 10:20). One of the earliest designations for the emerging Christian community appears to have been that of followers of ‘the Way’ (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 24:22; cf. Mark 10:52).

Many seek for truth as a quality separate from Christ. Truth is a person, Jesus Christ. Christ reveals God and thus reveals truth (John 8:26, 40; 18:37). Since Christ shares in God’s truth, he is himself full of grace and truth (John 1:14, 17). Indeed, he is ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6); he is the true light and the true vine (John 1:9; 15:1). Christ sends the Counselor, the Spirit of truth (John 15:26). Thus, the OT understanding of God as truth extends to Christ and the Holy Spirit. The believer is guided into truth (John 16:13), to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). Doing Christ’s word enables one to know the truth and so be free (John 8:32). This Christian freedom is not due to possession of correct knowledge but rather comes from relationship to that which is truly real, namely, God (Achtemeier, Paul J. ; Harper & Row, Publishers ; Society of Biblical Literature: Harper's Bible Dictionary. 1st ed. San Francisco : Harper & Row, 1985, S. 1100).

Jesus is ‘the bread of life,’ ‘the light of life,’ ‘the resurrection and the life,’ ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’ (John 6:48; 8:12; 11:25; 14:6). The one believing in Jesus receives eternal life both in the present (‘you have passed from death to life,’) John 5:24) and in the future (‘I will raise him up at the last day,’ (John 6:40).

We must get past the idea that the Kingdom of God is something apart from us, although its manifestation may include things around us. The Kingdom of God is a person, Jesus Christ. He is all truth and life. As John said: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He [Christ] was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men” (John 1:1-4). Christ is over all, in all and through all.

©Kenneth B. Alexander, Northridge, CA

 

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