Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Spiritual Warfare is on the increase; can you discern its presence/

                          (Matthew Henry gives us a good example of spiritual warfare                                                   in his commentary on Acts, Chapter 16)

16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her. 19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities, (Acts 16:16-19) Paul and his companions, though they were for some time buried in obscurity at Philippi, yet now begin to be taken notice of.

I. A damsel that had a spirit of divination caused them to be taken notice of, by proclaiming them to be the servants of God. Observe,
1. The account that is given of this damsel: She was pythonissa, possessed with such a spirit of divination as that damsel was by whom the oracles of Apollo at Delphos were delivered; she was actuated by an evil spirit, that dictated ambiguous answers to those who consulted her, which served to gratify their vain desire of knowing things to come, but often deceived them. In those times of ignorance, infidelity, and idolatry, the devil, by the divine permission, thus led men captive at his will; and he could not have gained such adoration from them as he had, if he had not pretended to give oracles to them, for by both his usurpation is maintained as the god of this world.

This damsel brought her masters much gain by soothsaying; many came to consult this witch for the discovery of robberies, the finding of things lost, and especially to be told their fortune, and none came but with the rewards of divination in their hands, according to the quality of the person and the importance of the case. Probably there were many that were thus kept for fortune-tellers, but, it should seem, this was more in repute than any of them; for, while others brought some gain, this brought much gain to her masters, being consulted more than any other.

2. The testimony which this damsel gave to Paul and his companions: She met them in the street, as they were going to prayer, to the house of prayer, or rather to the work of prayer there, v. 16. They went thither publicly, everybody knew whither they were going, and what they were going to do. If what she did was likely to be any distraction to them, or a hindrance in their work, it is observable how subtle Satan is, that great tempter, in taking the opportunity to give us diversion when we are going about any religious exercises, to ruffle us and to put us out of temper when we need to be most composed.

When she met with them she followed them, crying, "These men, how contemptible soever they look and are looked upon, are great men, for they are the servants of the most high God, and men that should be very welcome to us, for they show unto us the way of salvation, both the salvation that will be our happiness, and the way to it that will be our holiness.'

Now, (1.) This witness is true; it is a comprehensive encomium on the faithful preachers of the gospel, and makes their feet beautiful, Romans 10:15. Though they are men subject to like passions as we are,and earthen vessels, yet, [1.] "They are the servants of the most high God; they attend on him, are employed by him, and are devoted to his honour, as servants; they come to us on his errands, the message they bring is from him, and they serve the purposes and interest of his kingdom. The gods we Gentiles worship are inferior beings, therefore not gods, but these men belong to the supreme Numen, to the most high God, who is over all men, over all gods, who made us all, and to whom we are all accountable. They are his servants, and therefore it is our duty to respect them, and harken to them for their Master's sake, and it is at our peril if we affront them.' [2.] "They show unto us the way of salvation.'

Even the heathen had some notion of the miserable deplorable state of mankind, and their need of salvation, and it was what they made some enquiries after.

"Now,' saith she, "these men are the men that show us what we have in vain sought for in our superstitious profitless application to our priests and oracles.' Note, God has, in the gospel of his Son, plainly shown us the way of salvation, has told us what we must do that we may be delivered from the misery to which by sin we have exposed ourselves.

But, (2.) How came this testimony from the mouth of one that had a spirit of divination? Is Satan divided against himself? Will he cry up those whose business it is to pull him down? We may take it either, [1.] As extorted from this spirit of divination for the honour of the gospel by the power of God; as the devil was forced to say of Christ (Mk. 1:24): I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

The truth is sometimes magnified by the confession of its adversaries, in which they are witnesses against themselves. Christ would have this testimony of the damsel to rise up in judgment against those at Philippi who slighted and persecuted the apostles; though the gospel needed no such testimony, yet it shall serve to add to their commendation that the damsel whom they looked upon as an oracle in other things proclaimed the apostles God's servants. Or, [2.] As designed by the evil spirit, that subtle serpent, to the dishonour of the gospel; some think she designed hereby to gain credit to herself and her prophecies, and so to increase her master's profit by pretending to be in the interest of the apostles, who, she thought, had a growing reputation, or to curry favour with Paul, that he might not separate her and her familiar. Others think that Satan, who can transform himself into an angel of light, and can say anything to serve a turn, designed hereby to disgrace the apostles; as if these divines were of the same fraternity with their diviners, because they were witnessed to by them, and then the people might as well adhere to those they had been used to. Those that were most likely to receive the apostles' doctrine were such as were prejudiced against these spirits of divination, and therefore would, by this testimony, be prejudiced against the gospel; and, as for those who regarded these diviners, the devil thought himself sure of them.

II. Christ caused them to be taken notice of, by giving them power to cast the devil out of this damsel. She continued many days clamouring thus (v. 18); and, it should seem, Paul took no notice of her, not knowing but it might be ordered of God for the service of his cause, that she should thus witness concerning his ministers; but finding perhaps that it did them a prejudice, rather than any service, he soon silenced her, by casting the devil out of her.

1. He was grieved. It troubled him to see the damsel made an instrument of Satan to deceive people, and to see the people imposed upon by her divinations. It was a disturbance to him to hear a sacred truth so profaned, and good words come out of such a wicked mouth with such and evil design. Perhaps they were spoken in an ironical bantering way, as ridiculing the apostles' pretensions, and mocking them, as when Christ's persecutors complimented him with Hail, king of the Jews; and then justly might Paul be grieved, as any good man's heart would be, to hear any good truth of God bawled out in the streets in a canting jeering way.

2. He commanded the evil spirit to come out of her. He turned with a holy indignation, angry both at the flatteries and at the reproaches of the unclean spirit, and said, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her; and by this he will show that these men are the servants of the living God, and are able to prove themselves so, without her testimony: her silence shall demonstrate it more than her speaking could do. Thus Paul shows the way of salvation indeed, that it is by breaking the power of Satan, and chaining him up, that he may not deceive the world (Rev. 20:3), and that this salvation is to be obtained in the name of Jesus Christ only, as in his name the devil was now cast out and by no other. It was a great blessing to the country when Christ by a word cast the devil out of those in whom he frightened people and molested them so that no man might pass by that way (Mt. 8:28); but it was a much greater kindness to the country when Paul now, in Christ's name, cast the devil out of one who deceived people and imposed upon their credulity. Power went along with the word of Christ, before which Satan could not stand, but was forced to quit his hold, and in this case it was a strong hold: He came out the same hour.
III. The masters of the damsel that was dispossessed caused them to be taken notice of, by bringing them before the magistrates for doing it, and laying it to their charge as their crime. The preachers of the gospel would never have had an opportunity of speaking to the magistrates if they had not been brought before them as evil doers. Observe here,

1. That which provoked them was, that, the damsel being restored to herself, her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone, v. 19. See here what evil the love of money is the root of! If the preaching of the gospel ruin the craft of the silversmiths (ch. 19:24), much more the craft of the soothsayers; and therefore here is a great outcry raised, when Satan's power to deceive is broken: the priests hated the gospel because it turned men from the blind service of dumb idols, and so the hope of their gains was gone. The power of Christ, which appeared in dispossessing the woman, and the great kindness done to her in delivering her out of Satan's hand, made no impression upon them when they apprehended that they should hereby lose money."

Friday, June 24, 2016

Christian colleges and universities will no longer be allowed to require students attend chapel services or require them to profess a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Democrats, LGBT activists’ sinister plan to crack down on Christian schools FILE -- If California Democrats have their way, Christian colleges and universities will no longer be allowed to require students attend chapel services or require them to profess a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Senate Bill 1146 would close a loophole that lawmakers say allows Christian universities to discriminate against students based on their gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.

“All students deserve to feel safe in institutions of higher education, regardless of whether they are public or private,” said Senator Ricardo Lara, the author of the legislation. “California has established strong protections for the LGBTQ community and private universities should not be able to use faith as an excuse to discriminate and avoid complying with state laws.”

The legislation has already passed the Senate and is expected to clear hurdles in the Assembly. Thus far, Lara has refused to compromise with the state’s Christian colleges and universities.

“No university should have a license to discriminate,” he said in a statement.

If the loophole is closed, it would only exempt schools that prepare students for pastoral ministry.

“It discriminates against religious colleges, said John Jackson, the president of William Jessup University. “If we don’t play ball with state — the state will attempt to drive us out of existence.”

The president of the Sacramento-based university called the proposed legislation chilling.

“The passage of this bill would destroy the foundation upon which this university was founded,” said Jackson. “Systematically discriminating against religious institutions and preventing student access and choice to Christian higher education is bad policy and will have a negative effect on the state of California.”

Lee Wilhite, vice president of university communications at Biola University, said they, too, have serious concerns with the bill.

“It functionally eliminates the religious liberty of all California faith-based universities,” he told me. “It really does infringe on how we carry out our mission.”

Like most Christian universities, Biola integrates the Bible through all of their courses — something they’ve been doing for more than 100 years.

If the loophole is closed, it could have a devastating impact on faith-based institutions.

“We would no longer be able to require a profession of faith for students,” Wichita said. “That’s something Biola requires of all incoming students.”

Schools would no longer be allowed to integrate faith throughout their teaching curriculum, he added.

Leaders at three universities I spoke to say that they would not be allowed to require mandatory chapel attendance or mandatory core units of Bible courses.

“The danger for Biola University is that it prevents us from carrying out our mission the way we have for 108 years,” Wichita said. “It would eliminate our ability to continue our mission. That’s why it has our attention.”

The legislation would also give students a right to sue if — for example -- they were offended by a prayer in a class.

Biola and William Jessup refute the notion that LGBT students are discriminated against on their campuses.

“We don’t tolerate harassment or bullying of any of our students,” Wilhite told me.

Many of the schools are working with the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities to urge Lara to amend his bill to include a religious exemption.

“If passed without amendments, the new law would also very likely disqualify students attending California Christian colleges and universities from eligibility for Cal Grants, a key state-level student aid program,” wrote Kurt Krueger, president of Concordia University Irvine.

“Sen. Lara wants to safeguard LGBT students. We want the same protection for all students, including members of the LGBT community. The bill calls for more transparency from schools about their beliefs and recourse for unfair treatment. We share his concerns about student safety, transparency and recourse. With every prospective student, we share who we are, we provide the framework for how we build community and do life together and we ask those who enroll to uphold our student standards of conduct. Right now the proposed bill would invite challenges to required chapel attendance and public and communal observation of Christian sacraments such as the Eucharist and baptisms, among other activities central to our identity.”

Several of the universities I contacted said they are going to respectfully stand their ground -- even if it means taking their case to the Supreme Court of the United States.

“We are not willing to change our policies,” Jackson said. “There is a very intentional attempt to marginalize those who don’t accept the notions of sexual orientation and gender identity as the government has framed them.”

And Jackson warned that what’s happening in California could happen in other parts of the country.

“Religious freedoms are in play in California,” Jackson told me. “Ultimately, I’m concerned that what begins in California rolls across the nation.” Posted by Shlomo Maccabee at 12:57:00 PM Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Do You Fear Death? If So, Do You Know Why?

The following is an excerpt from our book, "Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, which is the sequel to our first book "The End Times Passover." This excerpt is actually part of the 12th and last chapter of this book, with a similar title from the first book, but we call it, "God's End Times Passover."

We don't want to confuse the reader, but this excerpt is probably the most important chapter from both books, because it deals with the subject of death and (especially) the topic of suffering, which most folks would rather avoid. The fear of suffering and death could very well be why the topic of the Rapture to Heaven is so popular. Most people perceive that this Rapture theory represents an escape not only from death but from all of the horrors we see spoken of in the Book of Revelations. 


People also call this escape "The Blessed Hope." Those pastors, teachers and evangelists who hold to this dogma are obviously more popular than those of us who have studied deeply into this topic and found the Rapture to Heaven theory wanting. None of us cares to experience tribulation (persecution) at the hands of anti-Christian forces, much less being on earth when God pours out his wrath on unrepentant sinners. The wise know the Bible tells us that we are not destined for wrath, but it also says (in Acts 14:22) that we "must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God."

Do we fear persecution? Not just being denied our Christian rights, but great tribulation (such as being tossed into prison and being tortured) like those poor souls who experienced great tribulation during the Inquisition and the Great Crusades. Or does the thought of dying scare us more so? This excerpt answers this question!


Tribulation or Wrath?
The biggest confusion the author has seen coming from the secret escape from tribulation camps has been their inability to recognize the difference between tribulation and wrath.  The man of lawlessness and his cohorts will afflict (Gr. thlipsis, tribulations) and even kill many Christians, but God’s wrath is designed solely for the unbelieving and unrepentant.  The wrath by the man of lawlessness is the called out ones tribulation, but God’s wrath is His vengeful punishment on the unrepentant, that wrath which He will pour out on those who did not accept His gift of salvation:

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him, (1 Thessalonians 5:9, 10 NIV).[Bold and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]

All of the scriptures mentioned so far in this chapter prove that God is able to deliver His people from any calamity.  He did so throughout the Bible as previously mentioned with Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego, Noah and so many others.  Why would anyone think that God is not able to protect His chosen people while at the same time He is pouring out His wrath on the unrepentant? 

Unfortunately, what many Christians are not prepared for, nor even want to imagine, is what was spoken about in Matthew 24, where it states that Christians will be persecuted, and even at the hands of relatives and other loved ones.  That’s the true horror, that many of our so-called friends and loved ones (and maybe even fellow church members) will abandon the faith and acquiesce to the pressures of the world and literally sell out their souls to antichristian forces. Many in exchange even for mere scraps of food and water, and to avoid any pain being inflicted on them. The treachery by those who we once befriended, loved, trusted and supported in all things, will, in a self preservation mode, betray their former friends and relatives. “The horror, the horror,” is the appropriate and descriptive phrase for this time, words which actor Marlon Brando uttered so agonizingly in the movie, Apocalypse Now.
So, the truth remains that many, hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of Christians will be brought before the magistrates, kings, or government officials that will comprise the authorities of the Beast state, to face charges of treason and sedition for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many called out ones will be tortured and even killed for what will be perceived as blasphemy against the world’s new ruling order, which will (by then) have abolished the freedom of religion.  However, God said not to worry, He will provide His called out ones with words to speak that cannot be dissuaded, words that will pierce the hardest of hearts in order to bring great glory to God and to His Kingdom.  These select Christians will become witnesses (martyrs) as a result of being accused, judged and executed as enemies of the state, at those diabolically controlled tribunals. Many in attendance at (or who view through media) these trials, who do not believe in Christ, will be moved by the power of the Holy Spirit. They will stirred by the testimonies of these called out ones to also pick up their cross for Jesus, as they themselves will witness those innocent soldiers of the cross being convicted of no crime save their belief in Jesus Christ. Many will be moved by the power of the Holy Spirit as they witness the diabolically induced injustice against the called out ones. They will repent and hitherto will instantly convert to the Lord, also placing them in harm’s way. Unfortunately, the Pre-Tribulation theory, that bespeaks Christians will be secretly caught away to safety in heaven before God pours out His wrath, has literally lulled millions into a false sense of security.  When in fact, millions will suffer for Christ’s sake and will be put to death at the hands of anti-christian forces. 
No one wants to think about death or dying, primarily because no one really knows what death truly entails.  Ecclesiastes states that when a person dies, they remember or know nothing henceforth, until The Resurrection. There have been numerous recorded accounts of out-of-body experiences by those who came close to death.  And in each of those cases, those who came back have reported that after supposedly experiencing either a hellish encounter or seeing a wonderful white light (or even seeing Jesus) or departed family members, after being resuscitated back to life, have never reported or could remember the pain of death or dying.  Who really knows what death is like until it is experienced? There must be something about death that God knows needs not to be feared. 
Humans fear death for many reasons.  Fear of leaving loved ones behind uncared for, fear of leaving their earthly possessions to others, fear of not being able to finish a work. However, as the Bible clearly states, the biggest fear is in not knowing what death holds in store. The biblical reality is that we have this fear because we don’t know true love, the love that one can only know and experience from God. Those who don’t know the love of God have fear of punishment, because there is punishment for sin, our daily sinful actions. Those who know true love have experienced the forgiveness God provided when Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins. If we have not accepted this grace and forgiveness, we will always fear death because the only judgment for those who do not accept this forgiveness is eternal punishment. In the book of 1 John 4:10-21, the author clearly explains this profound truth:

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.  14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.  16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in Him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment, because in this world we are like him.  18 There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishmentThe one who fears is not made perfect in love.  19 We love because he first loved us.  20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  21 And he has given us this command:  Whoever loves God must also love his brother, (1 John 4:10-21, NIV). [Bold, italics and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]

Based on our understanding of this group of scriptures, an important question begs to be asked. If Christians have already been caught up to heaven for safety reasons, seven or three and a half years before Christ returns to pour out His wrath on the unrepentant, why would John be giving Christians a warning about love being complete among them so that they should have confidence on the Day of Judgment?  If the Christian Church has already been Raptured (before this great onslaught of tribulation), obviously it has already made it to heaven and needs not fear death or judgment.  The answer is that we fear death because fear has to do with punishment.  If the Christian Church is already in heaven, God’s love for it is made complete and, at this point in time, there is no punishment due to the church because living in God is love and whoever lives in love lives in God and, if we live in God, we need not have the want for confidence on the Day of Judgment. Therefore this exhortation would not be necessary. However John does warn the called out ones about this aspect, because the ecclesia will be here on earth when Christ returns to pour out His wrath on the unrepentant. While many fear this aspect, they fail to understand that experiencing martyrdom so others can obtain salvation is the zenith of the human experience. Jesus Christ showed mankind this great love, and conquered sin and Satan by giving His life so others may live, and called out ones, during this most horrific period in history, will also have an opportunity to be conquerors themselves:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, (John 15:13, KJV).

Next to God’s (in the person of Jesus Christ) willingness to lay down His life so others can live, there exists no greater example than the love resident in martyr Stephen’s heart. One of the author’s all-time favorite Bible chapters is Acts 7, because it paints a perfect picture and example of what he believes Christians will be experiencing at the End Times. This chapter ends with how Stephen’s soon-to-be assassins reacted to the words of his piercing truth; and, his last dying wish as he succumbed to the stoning by those very same people, was a prayer that God had to answer:

When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.  55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  56 "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."  57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.  Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.  59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."  60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them."  When he had said this, he fell asleep, (Acts 7:1-60, NIV). [Bold and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]
As mentioned in an earlier chapter, the author is convinced that God answered Stephen’s last prayer, and thereby called out Paul (and possibly many others) amongst this band of legalistic Jews, a man He converted and used like no other man has been used by God to bring others to His Kingdom.  The entire Chapter of Acts 7 shows us how Stephen was not only the first, but one of the greatest martyrs in Bible history, but it also shows us a profound role model and a perfect example of what Christians can truly expect to experience immediately before the Lord’s return.  

Like Stephen, God will use many called out ones during the End Times to bring others to Christ. And the author believes that many of those called out ones will be mere humble and faith-believing servants of God, unknown by many, and not necessarily will include renowned evangelists, pastors, Bible teachers, prophecy writers and others who take so much pride in their knowledge of theology and seek worldly acceptance as great religious leaders:

But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.13 and it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14   Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. 16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17   And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. 18   But there shall not an hair of your head perish. 19 In your patience possess ye your souls, (Luke 21:12-19, KJV). [Bold and underline by the author, solely for emphasis]

Of course, none of us wants to think about death and dying, but that’s what many Christians will truly experience in the End Times, especially those who choose not to shrink back, those who hate their lives and will find it, as opposed to those who love their lives and will lose them. [To grasp a greater understanding of the phenomenon of dying for Christ, please read Foxe's Book of Martyrs after finishing this book]

It is interesting to note that the true beauty of Acts, Chapter 7, is that the word Stephen (stephanos, in the Greek) is the very word used for the ‘crown of life’ reward Jesus brings with Him upon His return, as mentioned in Revelation 22:12. Nevertheless, as profound an example of what true Christians can and should be prepared to experience during the End Times, most humans (Christians, too) still have this inbuilt fear of death. The author is not claiming that all Christians will experience martyrdom during this period immediately before The Second Advent. However, the possibility of persecution unto death is highly probable for many Christians. No one truly knows if God has chosen us for this fate; but, individually, each and every true believing Christian alive today is a strong candidate for martyrdom. Some (or many) will have to face this possibility. Others may escape death before The Second Advent.

To Know and Feel the Love Of God


Scriptures abound that speak of the love of God for His creation. Those who have experienced the regenerative power of forgiveness can attest to the knowledge and feeling of God’s love. Many a Christian who was once bogged down in the swamp of sin, who openly welcomed the forgiveness of God, can attest to the wondrous feeling of His love.
The author believes Christ loves each and every one of us and does not want us to suffer pain. This is so clear especially in the Book of John, Chapter 17.  While true faith is not based on feeling, as we read this chapter, one can feel the special and personal closeness and love Jesus has for each and every one of us, as He prays to the Father for our protection during the End Times.  Read this in its entirety, and feel His tremendous love:

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come.  Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  4 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.  5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. 6 I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.  They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.  7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.  8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.  They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.  9 I pray for them.  I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.  And glory has come to me through them.  11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.  Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name you gave me--so that they may be one as we are one.  12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.  None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled13 "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. 20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me.  May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  24 "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.  25 "Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.  26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them, (John 17:1-26, NIV). [Bold and underlines is by the author, solely for emphasis]

The most important verse in this chapter, which is crucial to the major premise of this book, is verse 15, which bears repeating.  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”  If there is any one scripture that confirms that there will be no secret Pre-Tribulation escape to heaven before The Second Advent, it is this one verse.  Here, Jesus Christ Himself is praying to God for Him not to take us out of this world, but to protect us from the evil one. God is perfectly able to do this without removing us anywhere. God is able to pour out His wrath on the unrepentant, and still provide protection for all of His saints, as Peter so boldly states:

For if God did not spare angels, when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) – 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to Hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment, (2 Peter 2:4-9, NIV). [Bold and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]

Yes, my friends, God truly has an End Times Passover program.  Many of the called out ones will be persecuted and killed by the man of lawlessness and his demonic minions, and maybe even by friends, neighbors and relatives; and, sadly, even by former church members.  Many will be alive when the Lord snatches His ecclesia to meet and greet Him in the air, to escort Him back to earth, where each called out one will actually see Him pouring out His wrath upon the unrepentant.  Some of members of the ecclesia might still feel a little squeamish about the possibility that they will be tortured or killed for standing up for Him, while others will escape unscathed through His End Times Passover.  Regardless, when He does return, whether we die a martyr’s death or remain alive upon His return, we will finally be united forever with Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God; we will be able to look Him in the face and hear Him say “Well-done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful in a few things; I will put you in charge of many, (Mathew 25:23, NIV).

Therefore, the author herewith boldly encourages his fellow called out ones. As we begin to faintly hear in the distance, the imminent hoof beats of that great white horse, carrying our soon-to-return Messiah, to stand firm and, as Ephesians 6:10-18 so boldly exhorts, let us:

…be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  11 put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints, (Ephesians 6:10-18, NIV).

In conclusion, the author believes he has provided in these two books sufficient scriptures that literally refute both the secret Pre-Tribulation escape to heaven theory, and the establishment of a 1000-year geopolitical kingdom reign for Nationalistic Jews. God’s Kingdom reign will be established on earth, its headquarters will be inside of the soon-to-descend New Jerusalem, and it will be an eternal kingdom. Until this day arrives, the world and its people will continue to slide further down the diabolical trash heap of history. One only has to see on television, hear on radio, read in newspapers and the Internet, to realize that mankind is drifting farther and farther away from God. The world is being dragged asunder by demonic forces, appearing as angels of light, twisting God’s message set forth in His Holy word. Heathen religions (and even many Protestant denominations) are fomenting a different Gospel than the one Paul was given by Jesus Christ, the very God of creation Himself!
In the United States (especially), many churches and their leaders are propagating a soothing, titillating Gospel and lulling many uninformed Christians into a false sense of religious security. Many American citizens (especially), believing they are true God-fearing people, are being duped by religious charlatans, whose sole mission is to glorify themselves and fill their coffers by writing and promoting false doctrines at the expense of people who genuinely seek the truth, who genuinely seek forgiveness for their sinful lives, and the proper direction to serve God in truth. Many of them have fallen victim to “quick fix” religious formulae used by the thousands of false teachers and prophets, who use the media as their pulpit of expediency, charming and seducing many of God’s children away from their local congregations, and the faithful service required in their immediate households and in their respective neighborhoods. These demonically inspired (and so-called) men of God are snatching our loved ones from the flock right before our very eyes.

Yet, while many who boldly speak forth the gospel truth, which calls for the genuine sacrifice of prayer and faithful service to the poor, hungry and homeless, they are being told that they will be Left Behind to suffer God’s wrath, while their adherents are being craftily seduced to believe they will not experience tribulation through secret escape to heaven mythologies.
The choice is yours. Keep waiting for a secret escape to heaven, or pick up your cross and follow Jesus, wherever that path may lead. Are you ready to pick up your cross, and follow Him? Are you ready to lay down your life so others can also share eternal life with Jesus Christ, our God?
Until next time, maybe sooner, when we will be joined together in that great meeting in the air at His Coming, the author leaves you with this profound message:

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.  4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.  5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking.  6 But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet." In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him.  Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.  9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.  10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.  11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family.  So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.  12 He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." 13 And again, "I will put my trust in him.  And again he says, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil-- 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death,  (Hebrews 2:1-15, NIV). [Bold and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]


For more information about the author and his books, please click on Joe Ortiz

Saturday, June 4, 2016

WHAT PRETRIBS DON'T SAY! by Dave MacPherson



     Noisy pretribs can sure be quiet when they want to sell another book or video.
     Take the famous "rapture" passages in I Thess. 4-5 and I Cor. 15.
     Pretribs endlessly see an "any-moment rapture" in I Thess. 4 and paint it in glowing pretrib colors. But the same Paul in the same book ties together the "times and seasons" (5:1) of the rapture (4:17) with the "sudden destruction" (5:3) part of the (posttrib) "day of the Lord" (5:2) - which doesn't have even a hint of pretrib coloring!
     (The "day of the Lord" is posttrib because the posttrib sun/moon darkening happens BEFORE that "day" - see Joel 2:31 and Acts 2:20.)
     And can you guess what's in the rapturous I Cor. 15 that pretrib teachers love to cover up? They screech to a stop at "twinkling of an eye" and "last trump" and then omit telling that what is "changed" (vss. 51-2) is tied to the end of death (vs. 54). (Trib death ends when the posttrib arrival of the Victor over death ends trib death!)
     Ready for more? Look at Acts 2:34-35, Acts 3:21, and II Thess.1:6-10. Christ stays in heaven UNTIL it's time to come to earth to destroy His wicked foes and restore "all things" and give "rest" to His followers!
     If pretribism can easily skip over Scripture, wait till you see how they cover up their own history which was never a part of Christian theology or any organized church before 1830!
     Throughout most of the 1900s, leading Christian scholars assumed - while influenced by those who were repeating and not researching - that John Darby of the Brethren had fathered the pretrib rapture view in the 1830s. No scholar had ever found any clear public teaching of pretrib in the centuries preceding Darby. Even the late Dr. John Walvoord, the longtime No. 1 pretrib authority and head of Dallas Theological Seminary, had stated in his book "The Rapture Question" that Darby (who admitted in print that pretrib was then a totally "new" doctrine!) had been one of the "early pretribulationists"!
     My books, from the 1970s to the present time, have provided long forgotten and newly uncovered evidence (endorsed by many eminent scholars) that Darby furtively plagiarized British pastor Edward Irving and his followers, all of whom had credited a young Scottish woman with the initial pretrib "spark"!
     Trying to distance themselves from the scandals associated with the earliest pretrib developers and promoters of the 1830s, today's pretrib defenders have been desperately trying to find anyone before 1830 who seemed to have at least a hint of pretrib in their writings. Today's desperados can even "find" pretrib in Old Testament passages that tell about folks merely "escaping" trouble, or "find" pretrib in folks being raptured before an endtime "conflagration" in an obvious posttrib setting!
     Two historical figures of the past that present-day pretrib promoters have tried to put revisionist pretrib make-up on are Pseudo-Ephraem (8th cent. ?) and Rev. Morgan Edwards (whose quoted sermon is dated 1788).
     To see the hatchet job on Pseudo-Ephraem, Google "Pseudo-Ephraem Taught Pretrib - Not" and "Chuck Missler (left)- Copyist" (and catch deceitful censors at work).
     For the complete skinny on Morgan Edwards, Google "Morgan Edwards' Rapture View" (and find out what Thomas Ice etc. knew they couldn't hide forever).
     For more information about how you can get my 300-page book "The Rapture Plot" (the most accurate and detailed book on pretribism's sordid history) dial 800.643.4645, or you can check it out via inter-library loan at any library.
     For in-depth theology and what the Greek New Testament is really saying about any Rapture to Heaven mythology, when it comes to Bible-based facts, check out Joe Ortiz' two superb books  at "The End Times Passover" web site.

    
Dave MacPherson. What People are saying
What They Are Saying About ... THE RAPTURE PLOT!                                                                           
Gary DeMar (President American Vision): "A majority of prophecy writers and speakers teach that the church will be raptured before a future tribulational period. But did you know that prior to about 1830 no such doctrine existed. No one in all of church history ever taught pretribulational rapture. Dave MacPherson does the work of a journalistic private investigator to uncover the truth....The Rapture Plot is the never-before-told true story of the plot - how plagiarism and subtle document changes created the 'mother of all revisionisms.' A fascinating piece of detective work." Robert H. Gundry (Professor Westmont College): "As usual MacPherson out hustles his opponents in research on primary sources. C. S. Lovett (President Personal Christianity): You don't read very much of Dave MacPherson's work before you realize he is a dedicated researcher. Because his work has been so honest and open his latest work The Rapture Plot has produced many red faces among some of the most recognized rapture writers of our time. When their work is compared to his it is embarrassing for them to see how shallow their research is." R. J. Rushdoony (President Chalcedon): "Dave MacPherson has been responsible for major change in the eschatology of evangelical churches by his devastating studies of some of the central aspects thereof. In The Rapture Plot MacPherson tells us of the strange tale of 'rapture' writings, revisions, cover-ups, alterations and confusions. No one has equaled MacPherson in his research on the 'pretrib rapture.' Attempts to discredit his work have failed...."


About the Author: Born 1932 of Scotch/English descent Dave MacPherson is a natural for British historical research. His calling was journalism. Receiving a BA in English in 1955 he spent 26 years as a newsman reporting and filming many notable events persons presidents and dignitaries.

Friday, June 3, 2016

JERRY JENKINS: BETTING ON PRETRIB ! by Dave MacPherson



     Maybe I should say that Jerry Jenkins is betting on fellow pretrib investors like Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice who seem to have put all of their money - and a lot of their spin - on their pretrib rapture roulette wheel.
     Since the 1830s pretrib gamblers have been addicted to numbers including the numbers of Bible verses which they think can be combined to "prove" a pretrib rapture.
     Even worse is their desire to predict dates for it, some of which have been based on occult things like the measurements inside Egypt's Great Pyramid and constellations in the Zodiac! (See my book "The Three R's" for massive documentation on such speculation which so far has created only losers.) 
     The earliest pretribs gambled with only their British reputations (lawyer Robert Baxter had predicted the rapture would occur on July 14, 1835). Today's rapture robber barons and tribulational tycoons, especially in America, make millions of dollars with books, videos, films, music, and radio and TV shows - and often predict actual dates or, while playing it safe, merely talk about only "times and seasons."
     Jerry Jenkins has to know that Corrie Ten Boom's 1974 "Logos Journal article: (Corrie Ten Boom: Beware of False Teaching of Pre-Tribulation Rapture) "The Coming Tribulation" (which labeled pretribs as "the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days") revealed that millions of Christians were tortured to death" in China when the communists took over in 1949 simply because they had been trusting only in pretrib rapture escapism that had been brought in by foreign missionaries! (And pretrib date-setting fizzles since then have caused many other such tragedies like the Chinese one!)
     Even so, Jenkins has long seared his conscience and kept on making fortunes with the same fund-raising fly-away fraud. And he's even jumped willy-nilly into the current worldwide discussion on pretrib rapture history, preferring repeating to researching.
     In the May 18, 2016 issue of "Christianity Today" Jenkins, while politely pilfering the rapture "cards" that hired guns like Thomas Ice like to misleadingly shuffle with, audaciously referred to "the fiction that the rapture is as recent as John Nelson Darby." 
     (Pretribs often like to say "rapture" instead of "pretrib rapture" as if they have a monopoly on that word - something I found Jenkins doing in that same May 18 magazine. And if you say you don't believe in a pretrib rapture, the pretrib rapturally-correct "thought police" like to make the dishonest claim that you don't believe in a rapture at all!)
     In the same "CT" piece Jenkins "found" pretrib is some "17th-century expressions of the rapture" and listed some practically unknown names, but gave no quotes or sources. 
     He undoubtedly wouldn't have labeled "Baptist Morgan Edwards" in 1788 as a holder of "a pre-tribulation rapture" if he had chanced upon a Google item titled "Morgan Edwards' Rapture View" in which "Dr. " Ice deliberately stopped his quotation of Edwards just BEFORE the sentence where Edwards tied his rapture to the second coming to earth in Matt. 24!
     Well, Jenkins can find out if Tommy Ice (whose "Ph.D" came from a tiny unaccredited Texas school that was fined for illegally issuing degrees, according to World Net Daily!) is operating with a full deck if he Googles "Pretrib Rapture Pride," "Walvoord Melts Ice," "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)," "Be careful in polemics - Peripatetic Learning," and "Pretrib was NEW in the 1830s." And Jenkins may need some additional tranquilizers when he Googles "Prof. Wm. L. Craig Leaves Tim LaHaye Behind!" and "LaHaye's Temperament."
     Right now stop and take a deep breath because you're about to hit a jackpot involving a famous hypocrite!
     Not only has Jenkins been gambling with countless numbers of trusting believers around the world with his 186-year-old pretrib delusion (which no Greek scholar before 1830 ever found in the Word - Google "Famous Rapture Watchers"), but for quite some time he has been a below-the-radar secret casino gambler himself, even though he is the Chairman of the Board at Moody Bible Institute, a longtime evangelical icon that DOES NOT allow its students to gamble!!!
     Now that you're really awake, Google "Left Behind's Jerry Jenkins: Casino Hypocrite," "Jerry Jenkins Apologizes for His Gambling in Casinos," and "Jerry Jenkins Rebuked for Gambling" (Examiner, Oct. 28, 2013). By the way, one of Jerry's sons (one of the "chips" off the old block who has discovered the "sin" in caSINo) has followed in Jerry's noble footsteps and has a high-up position in a casino, as the above info brings out!
     It's obvious that multi-millionaire pretribber (and prefibber) Jerry knows how to spin the lucrative rapture wheel of fortune. 
     But does he have the Vegas idea how soon horrendous world events could collapse his ill-gotten pretrib house of cards and shuffle him off the scene?

Dave MacPherson. What People are saying
What They Are Saying About ... THE RAPTURE PLOT!          
                                                                 
Gary DeMar (President American Vision): "A majority of prophecy writers and speakers teach that the church will be raptured before a future tribulational period. But did you know that prior to about 1830 no such doctrine existed. No one in all of church history ever taught pretribulational rapture. Dave MacPherson does the work of a journalistic private investigator to uncover the truth....The Rapture Plot is the never-before-told true story of the plot - how plagiarism and subtle document changes created the 'mother of all revisionisms.' A fascinating piece of detective work." Robert H. Gundry (Professor Westmont College): "As usual MacPherson out hustles his opponents in research on primary sources. C. S. Lovett (President Personal Christianity): You don't read very much of Dave MacPherson's work before you realize he is a dedicated researcher. Because his work has been so honest and open his latest work The Rapture Plot has produced many red faces among some of the most recognized rapture writers of our time. When their work is compared to his it is embarrassing for them to see how shallow their research is." R. J. Rushdoony (President Chalcedon): "Dave MacPherson has been responsible for major change in the eschatology of evangelical churches by his devastating studies of some of the central aspects thereof. In The Rapture Plot MacPherson tells us of the strange tale of 'rapture' writings, revisions, cover-ups, alterations and confusions. No one has equaled MacPherson in his research on the 'pretrib rapture.' Attempts to discredit his work have failed...." 



About the Author: Born 1932 of Scotch/English descent Dave MacPherson is a natural for British historical research. His calling was journalism. Receiving a BA in English in 1955 he spent 26 years as a newsman reporting and filming many notable events persons presidents and dignitaries.





     

Sunday, May 29, 2016

America’s Version of Christianity Has Been Skewed from the Very Beginning!


At the heart of the culture wars, especially the immigration debate, is the notion that God has been on the side of “American Christians” since they bolted Europe onto the shores of what we now call the United States of America. They left their homeland and established a religious beachhead to get out from under the heavy handed arm of the church-state that ruled most of the then known world.

Reformed Christians had had enough of that Church and its collusion with the state, and were justified in leaving in hopes to practise religion without that organization’s persecution. Most religious scholars of that period knew that Church was not practicing biblical precepts as Luther and other great men of God rightly proved. Basically, the so-called Church was an off-shoot of Constantine’s invention when he merged paganistic Rome with the downtrodden remaining flock of the church of Jesus Christ, who accepted a watered-down version of the true Gospel after almost four centuries of being fed to the lions and other heinous persecutions. That can wear down even the most faithful and committed person in due time.
After Constantine merged these two factions, the early leaders of the new religious order usurped and enforced a man-contrived persecutory doctrine on the half Pagan, half true believers and misinterpreted (or rather twisted) the scriptures to infer that Jesus bestowed the leadership of the community of His true followers on the Apostle Peter when he stated thusly in Matthew 16:17-20:


"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Religious zealots have believed for centuries that (in these verses) Jesus was bestowing the leadership of that (newly perceived religious) organization on the shoulders of the Apostle Peter, who they claim was the first Pope of the now powerful Catholic Church. This particular issue has caused a major chasm between Catholics and Protestants and continues to this very day.
However, many theologians (much, much more qualified than me) answered that question a long time ago and have provided deep biblical explanations as to what Christ was truly conveying to Peter. (See Was Saint Peter the first Pope?). Nevertheless, the Internet alone contains thousands of individuals and organizations that continue with their pro and con opinions. There are two facts that settle the argument right out of the starting gate. One is provided by renowned and profound Bible commentator Matthew Henry, who up summed the issue as to whether Jesus was prophesying that the Apostle Peter was going to be the foundation of God’s church:

Now we have one of two choices. The church is built upon Peter, or the church is build upon Peter's confession, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Now the Catholics assert that the church was built on Peter. There are problems with this. Number one, Jesus said unto him, "Thou art Petra's", which in the Greek is a little stone. And then He declared, "upon this Petras", which is a giant stone, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The church was not build upon the little stone, but upon the giant rock; "Thou art Petros", a little stone, "upon this Petras".

This is great exegesis, to say the least. However, an even more profound fact besides Henry’s word comparison analysis (petras, petros) of Matthew 16:17-20, is one key word in this group of scripture few ever have focused on. It is the verb build (to strengthen, embolden), as opposed to create! I wrote about this profound fact in my book, The End Times Passover (page 32), a clear Bible-based fact that relatively few theologians have ever dealt with in their “Peter the Pope” debate that has torn apart any hope for unity between Catholics and Protestants. This revelation is actually a small and minor one that any student of the Greek language would be able to understand, if only they would take the time to examine God’s words more closely.

When Jesus told Peter that upon this rock I will build my church (Matthew 16:18), Christ was telling Peter that on the Day of Pentecost, His already existing ecclesia (a people called out) would receive the edifying, strengthening and emboldening power from the Holy Spirit, in order for His already existing ecclesia would possess the power it never had before, (see Luke 24:49; Joel 2:28; Ephesians 1:13). In Matthew 16:18, the word build used by Jesus in this verse is the Greek verb oikodomeo, which means to strengthen, edify, embolden.  If Jesus wanted to tell Peter He was going to create something new on the Day of Pentecost, Jesus would have used the more appropriate word for creating a new religious entity, which is the Greek verb ktizo, to create!    Jesus was not saying He would be creating a new religion (the so-called Christian Church); but, rather, He was telling Peter that through Himself (the bigger rock) He would strengthen His already existing assembly (ecclesia), this small remnant group of faith-believing Israelites and Gentiles who are now following Him, (Luke 12:32). 

How does someone strengthen something that supposedly doesn’t already exist?  If God’s ecclesia (a people called out) didn’t already exist before the outpouring of Holy Spirit-induced power, what was the Holy Spirit giving strength to? God’s ecclesia (a people called out) includes all of His children of promise going back to faithful Abel and up to those who today believe in the promised Messiah, who Himself surrendered His life so believers could live for eternity with Him. Jesus was prophetically telling Peter that on the Day of Pentecost, those true believers would receive power to fulfill His mission of broadcasting His Good News to all mankind, not that Peter was going to be a Pope. God’s true church cannot function without Holy Spirit power. Even accomplished theologians and masters of varying philosophies since time immemorial can never convey God’s truth to humanity unless they are imbued with Holy Spirit power (1 Corinthians 2:14

But yet that one issue (the Peter the Pope debate) alone keeps many beloved and believing Catholics and Protestants at each others throats, preventing greater unity among God’s children worldwide. The common believer, those who faithfully kneel before God inside a Catholic cathedral in Rome or inside a modern glass hewn edifice in Dallas, Texas, have been kept biblically in the dark for centuries, as their leaders continue their contrived doctrinal battles, instead of teaching their parishioners God’s truth.

And that truth cannot be discerned until both teacher and student have received this “power from on high!” Instead, those “competing” entities (Catholics and Protestants) adopt man made precepts as if they hold more biblical sway than the other, when in fact they are both wrong on so many fronts. Sadly, the American version of Christianity is in shambles, crumbling, destined to the dust heap of religiosity, along with those who chose not Jesus’ way, but to practise church their own fashion, to suit their own selfish needs.

A.W. Tozer, one of America’s greatest Bible scholars and preachers we have been blessed with in recent modern times, himself spoke of the church’s condition over forty years ago when he said:

Within the last quarter of a century we have actually seen a major shift in the beliefs and practises of the evangelical wing of the church so radical as to amount to a complete sellout; and all this behind the cloak of fervent orthodoxy. With Bibles under their arms and bundles of tracts in their pockets, religious persons now meet to carry on "services" so carnal, so pagan, that they can hardly be distinguished from the old vaudeville shows of earlier days. And for a preacher or a writer to challenge this heresy is to invite ridicule and abuse from every quarter, (Of God and Men, pg 16-18 by A.W. Tozer)


Pastors and priests need to tell their flocks the truth, and not encourage and perpetuate mythologies to control their man-conceived religions. For example, the belief by the Catholic faithful in Mariology (reverence of Mary on an equal plane with God), confessions to a priest, repetitious prayers such as the Rosary, and lighting votive candles for the dead (among other man conceived traditions) are beliefs and practises that are not called for nor contained in the Bible any more than the belief by many Protestants that Jesus is planning to come down from heaven and secretly snatch born again Christians up to heaven seven years before His Parousia (return to earth), to avoid the so-called Great Tribulation. There is no Bible truth foundation, either, to support the evangelical Protestant doctrine that the cultic Zionism philosophy (which purports ethnic Jews and the land they currently control has been divinely promised to them) is biblically based, nor that today’s nation of ethnic Jews will soon rule the whole world from New Jerusalem. 

Prior to this rampant break from things that involved the true spirit of Jesus Christ (who guides and directs His children of Promise to help the poor, widows and orphans, the infirm and the homeless), throughout the remaining years, leading up to the 16th century period when Reformist said, “Ya Basta,” the then known Church had totally decimated any semblance of the true religion that followers of Christ practiced and believed in. Through its manipulative alteration of scripture and invoking a myriad of diabolical, ecclesial distortions, some of which still exist today, the true disciples of Jesus Christ, His children of promise, those who are prepared to surrender everything they have (family, jobs, homes), ready to pick up their cross and follow Him, have been replaced with an American version of Christianity that belies everything Christ represents. If this angers you, instead of hanging your head in shame, then your belief system needs to be questioned and challenged! Keep reading; it gets worse!

First of all, one can’t really blame the Puritans for leaving their European homelands to escape the painful rule and control by the religion-state cabbalistic elites. But two wrongs don’t make a right! From the outset, those Puritans who landed on Plymouth Rock got it all wrong; firstly, by believing the Manifest Destiny concoction that they were the “New Israel!” Even though that concept had not been coined yet, the emerging American church viewed itself as the modern Israel and assumed its perceived role as inheritors of the proverbial Promised Land, New Jerusalem USA!

Sadly the mostly pious Puritans viewed themselves as better than any other peoples in the then known world, and proved so in their dealings with Native Americans, whom they called heathens. Early explorers such as Columbus and others who in the name of God conquered the Mayan and Aztec nations (of whom historians have painted as mere barbarians) served as inspiring examples for the Puritans.
Throughout America’s short history of 250 years, it has carved itself a worldwide reputation as a conquering body of so-called Christians, almost to the point of eradicating an entire nation of indigenous people through its genocidal penchant, all of this in the name of God. America forced the remaining Native Americans onto reservations, moved back the border boundaries (and in essence stole much of the land) of Mexico, has proclaimed its Lordship on most peoples of color, including throughout its history, by building the most powerfully economical, political and societal infrastructure in history, on the backs of African slaves, and Chinese and Mexican labor. Let us not forget the interned Japanese Americans during WWW 11.  All of this was done solely to enrich the coffers of the elitist money-changers of the world! Now, American Christians, what would Jesus say about all of these shenanigans?

And now, as the immigration reform debate becomes more heated as never before, the nativists’ reactions scream louder than the atomic bombs we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki! And yet, many theologians of today are at the forefront and feed the mad frenzy of the uninformed, uneducated peoples with their “let’s save our culture, let’s stop the browning of America” rhetoric and inciting their flocks to extricate from this country those “parasitic” Latino immigrants, also in the name of God!

Sad! So sad! Not for those Americans who feel their “culture” is being threatened by Liberals and the so-called “Reconquista” cabal (as the Lou Dobbs, Pat Buchanan, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh led mantra festers); but sad because those who claim to be “good American Christians” have no idea what has happened to what they believed was their ideal of Christianity. They have co-mingled Christianity and Americanism in such a distorted manner that no true believer of Jesus Christ can recognize! The once patriotic tunes written by American heroes such as Francis Scott Key, Sabine-Baring-Gould and Arthur Sullivan have morphed into the background music of the “Friday the 13th” movie!


Sadly, the existent cultural view of American Christianity was based on how our forefathers practiced religion to begin with. Their version of American Christianity has always been a “holier than thou” and “let’s see how many folks we can convert” to swell up our respective ranks. Let’s see how big we can build our “true” churches. And then, once we build them to heights unimagined, let’s see how we can control the government and mandate that all people in America have to practise religion the same way we do, because we are a Christian nation, the true children of God!

That version of America Christianity has been doing that ever since it landed on American shores. It has built huge, giant mega-churches, crystal cathedrals, some of the biggest and most beautiful edifices this side of ancient Rome. It has organized itself into various denominations, yet all with enough money and power to influence any politician they so choose. They have their “Christian” candidates that once they get into office they will change the “culture” back to the way it used to be, an American Identity culture, where primarily its adherents can still rule and still eradicate the good old US of its “heathen” peoples.

Well, folks, the questions beg to be asked! What happened to listening to what the Holy Spirit wanted us to do? What happened to turning the other cheek? What happened to picking up our crosses and following Christ, ready, willing and able to die for Him as He did for us, in order that he may be glorified and get all the credit due Him for paying such a heavy price for our salvation? What happened to praying for the needy, the sick, the infirm, helping the widows and orphans and the aliens amongst our midst, as Christ told us was true religion? Instead, the churches then and the churches today have become smug, self-righteous, and holier than thou, vindictive, mean-spirited; full of pride, just like the “church” the Puritans fled from over 300 years ago!

Matthew Henry, once again, sums it up best:
“It is here plainly and peremptorily declared wherein true religion consists: Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
(1.) It is the glory of religion to be pure and undefiled; not mixed with the inventions of men or with the corruption of the world. False religions may be known by their impurity and uncharitableness; according to that of John, He that doeth not righteousness is not of God neither he that loves not his brother, (1 John 3:10) But, on the other hand, a holy life and a charitable heart show a true religion. Our religion is not adorned with ceremonies, but purity and charity. And it is a good observation of his that a religion which is pure should be kept undefiled.
(2.) That religion is pure and undefiled which is so before God and the Father. That is right which is so in God’s eye, and which chiefly aims at his approbation. True religion teaches us to do every thing as in the presence of God; and to seek his favor, and study to please him in all our actions.
(3.) Compassion and charity to the poor and distressed from a very great and necessary part of true religion: Visiting the fatherless and widow in their affliction. Visiting is here put for all manner of relief which we are capable of giving to others; and fatherless and widows are here particularly mentioned, because they are generally most apt to be neglected or oppressed: but by them we are to understand all who are proper objects of charity, all who are in affliction. It is very remarkable that the sum of religion be drawn up to two articles: it is to be charitable and to relieve the afflicted,” (Matthew Henry Commentary on James 1:26-27)

There is no more afflicted person than one who is scorned, maligned, mistreated, and rejected (especially by those who call themselves American Christians), solely because economic conditions in Third World countries have forced the poor to seek work (wherever) to feed their families and their children.

God’s true disciples (not the American version) are hereby those whom Jesus uses, not the government, but His ecclesia, a people called out, to be the charitable ones, and those who will bring relief to the afflicted!    

-30-


Joe Ortiz is the author of two books that challenge the Left Behind and Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and premillennial dispensational precepts and doctrines being promoted by many right-wing evangelicals. The two books include The End Times Passover (Etymological Challenges to Millenarian Doctrines) and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation (The Sequel to The End Times Passover), published by Author House Publishers. The former talk show host, journalist and news columnist is the first Mexican American to host a show on an English-language, commercial radio station, beginning in 1971 at KABC-AM Radio in Los Angeles.

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Web sites:
·  Joe Ortiz Associates    Web site for Joe Ortiz Associates, a full service public relations company
·  The End Times Passover   Web site to discuss end times topics and to promote books written by Joe Ortiz
·  Tom Flores NFL USA     This is the new and official site of the Tom Flores Fan Club, managed by Joe Ortiz, fan club President.






2 comments:

1.            
This is an excellently written and well-researched article. Quite worth reading. The only problem I have with it is that the author seems to forget that Jesus didn't speak Greek. Whatever he may have meant with regard to Peter, (petras or petros) or the strengthening (oikodomeo) vs. creating (ktizo), the Greek words didn't come from Jesus, but from a man who wrote in Greek, which means it was an interpretation...one that came several years or even centuries following the death of Jesus. This is not the word of God...it is the interpretation of those words by man.

On the other hand, I agree wholeheartedly that "The Church", Christianity and religion itself (regardless of what religion that may be) has been usurped throughout history by men driven by lust for power and wealth...quite successfully. The author's perspective of American history is quite accurate and painful, especially for those of us, Native, Mexican and Black, who were the historical victims of their corruption. I agree that this corruption continues and is even now being used to oppress and victimize those who do not fit the template of what they believe is the "face" of America.

Perhaps it's time, as the author suggests, for Christianity to investigate itself and its motives. Perhaps it's time for Christianity and all religion, as they exist now, to come to an end. Instead, let people read the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, The Popul Vuh, the writings of the Buddha, Confucius and Lao Tse and find that ultimately they and we all have one basic Truth in common...we are creations of God and are One with that Creative Energy. When we understand that, we can let go of our illusion of separateness from God and from each other and create this world as it is intended to be...filled with love and understanding for one another and with joy and gratitude for the blessing of life we've been given.
2.            
Real truth - as found in the above article and the Bible - brings about far more conviction than falsehood. Thanks for bringing us all to our knees. Johnny