FIRST-TRUMP#top..........Sound the alarm in Zion..... ...........................

.........

. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar

 

PRINTABLE VERSION


THOUGHTS & COMMENTS

page 32


5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:)



ASK IN FAITH


The above Scripture is often used to prove that whatever we want from God we will receive as long as we believe we will get it, and not falter in our belief. The Prosperity preachers especially like this Scripture.

Another Scripture that is used by the Prosperity proclaimers is this:


11If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Mat 7:)


Sound familiar? Luke has given us the same message with a slightly different twist. Check this out and see if you have heard it very often from the pulpit of those seeking funds from your wallet:


13If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:)


We find here that what Jesus was talking about is not filling our mansion with goodies, but something much more valuable and long lasting. He wants to give us of Himself, His Holy Spirit.


Again, if we look carefully at the introductory verses at the top of this page we will see that what is being spoken of is not wealth, but rather the very same thing Solomon asked for, the which he was given far more than he could have ever hoped for.

If we add the two Scriptures together we find that they are in actuality saying the very same thing. Both Scriptures are talking about wisdom and the Holy Spirit because both are one and the same. To understand this connection we must insert as a junction these Words that Jesus spoke to His disciples before He had to leave them:


7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. 15All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you. (John 16:)


Ask and ye shall receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Truth. And knowing the Truth of the Gospel is Wisdom.


DOUBTING NOTHING


"The Bible tells me that I should believe, doubting nothing. And that's exactly what I am going to do. You try to tell me I'm wrong and that I should change my mind. But I read where the Bible tells me that a double-minded man is like the waves of the sea and will receive nothing. And I see where God would rather have us cold than to be lukewarm. So just keep your opinions to yourself from now on and don't try to confuse me."


"Those are good points to be sure. What can I say but that you are right? Of course you do realize I'm sure that you have just knocked your own convictions out of the box. Haven't you been telling me all along that you believe the cults and the other denominations are wrong in their beliefs? Didn't you tell me that you try your best to straighten them out and show them the Truth of the Word as you see it? Yet many of these people are renown for their convictions and their missionary work. Their beliefs are firmly planted. By your saying you should not change, you confirm that they should not change as well.

"The unwillingness to change one's mind is what Jesus got on the Pharisees about. They were dead certain they were right, and they had hundreds of years of tradition to back up their fallacious beliefs. The 'cursed and unlearned" on the other hand who did not take a ridged view of what they had been taught were open to receive the Truth when it was presented to them, and because of their willingness to change their mind, they were saved.

"Faith is a good thing. Confidence in one's beliefs is a good thing. But when that faith and confidence is placed on a failed premise it is like the building Jesus told us about that was built on sand. Truth is not truth because of what we believe or because of what makes sense to us. Truth is true because of Who told us it is true, in spite of the fact it makes no sense to us. Truth becomes apparent when it is explained and judged for its own merits. But when we have already decided that we hold the truth, and that there can be no other, we have dismissed any chance of being shown what God wishes us to see.

"For myself, no matter how certain I am that I hold the Truth, and such a certainty comes from extensive study of the Word leaving out nothing that might conflict with my findings, I still leave room for doubt. I have found that often the Holy Spirit will lead me to a Truth that has a purpose for the moment, and is clearly expressed in the Word; but that such Truth is not an end in and of itself but rather a stepping stone to further Truth that is to follow. The parable that warns us of the danger of missing the forest because we have our eyes fixed on the trees is very appropriately applied here.

"Doctrines are built upon the clinging to a tree. I believe that many a denomination has been founded by someone who has been given a partial truth and rather than wait for their next leading, ran off and built a wall around that partial truth, adding synthetic beliefs to their doctrine that seems to stand in support of that partial truth.

"John 18:37 tells us: 'Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.'

"To hear the voice of Jesus we must be of the Truth. We can not be stuck in a falsehood believing it is Truth. Jesus has said His sheep hear His voice. To hear His voice, we must be one of Jesus" sheep. And if we can't hear the voice of the Shepherd because we are overly confident in our false beliefs then we are none of His.

"John also tells us in chapter 16: '12I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. 15All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.'

"In spite of our brilliance, or our position, or our education in the ways of the church, we can not know the Truth without the Word of Truth, the Holy Spirit, instructing us. And when we have entered into a learning session with the Holy Spirit as our guide, but we tenaciously hold on to what we believe before the Lord instructs us, we will never be taught that which we are to know. Instead, because we have had the Holy Spirit as an Instructor, even though we have never listened to Him, we will become that much more convinced that we are the one and only holder of Truth."


SHORTLY


There are certain verses of Scripture which cause confusion when it comes to understanding eschatology (the study of End Time and the prophesy thereof) and the sequence of events leading up to the end of the world. While many verses seem to point in one direction, such as an immediate fulfilment of prophesy, other verses lend themselves to an extended period of time with all events to be fulfilled in the future.

My point in this study is not to debate one point of view over another. That I will do at a later date. Such a study will require many long and tedious days, if not months to complete. In my opinion such a study rests far down the list of what I consider important. If all events are past, or if they are going on at this present time, or if they are to come means little to any of us except those who enjoy an argument, or who have a special affinity for such things. What is important in my mind. is that whatever view one takes, they make every effort to stand prepared to meet the Lord, their lamps full and at the ready, when He arrives for His bride.


In spite of the lack of consequence derived from eschatology, there are certain things that have been brought to my attention that cause me to think, and to wonder. One such thing is the use of the term: "these things must shortly come to pass." If the endtimes events are to take place in the future, then John and Paul have a very strange concept of "Shortly," since almost 2,000 years have passed since they made their statement.


The term "Shortly" has been used three times in the Old Testament and twelve times in the New Testament. Eight of those times different words were used to express an immediate event, the which could be interpreted in no other way but that of in the very near future.

The remaining four Scriptures are unlike those mentioned above, and they have more of an application to the endtimes.


The word used to express "shortly" is a compound of two words, and in this they differ from the other uses of the word where a single word was utilized.

These are the Greek words used in the four Scriptures in question:


SHORTLY:

G1722 en A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); "in", at, (up-) on, by, etc.: - about, after, against, + almost, X altogether, among, X as, at, before, between, (here-) by (+ all means), for (. . . sake of), + give self wholly to, (here-) in (-to, -wardly), X mightily, (because) of, (up-) on, [open-] ly, X outwardly, one, X quickly, X shortly, [speedi-] ly, X that, X there (-in, -on), through (-out), (un-) to(-ward), under, when, where (-with), while, with (-in). Often used in compounds, with substantially the same import; rarely with verbs of motion, and then not to indicate direction, except (elliptically) by a separate (and different) prep.


G5034 tachos takh'-os From the same as G5036; a brief space (of time), that is, (with G1722 prefixed) in haste: - + quickly, + shortly, + speedily.


In the above definition we have a preposition that tends to reinforce that which is being expressed in the word we are interested in, which is the word "tachos."

By all analysis of the use of the word "shortly," it would indeed appear inescapable that what a writer using this word means is "in the very near future."


Now that we have looked at the word out of its context, let us see how it looks as used in Scripture.


Acts 25: 4But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.


I don't think we have to deliberate as to whether Festus meant a few days, or if he was talking about a couple thousand years.


Now to the next Scripture:


Romans 16: 17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 19For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Now things begin to get a little sticky. Just what does Paul mean when he says Satan will be bruised under their feet shortly? Little inserted words or statements like this are why a study of simple things take on great complexity. To understand Paul's statement, we must know what he meant by Satan being bruised.


The first time we see a reference of a head being bruised is in the Garden of Eden:


Genesis 3: 14And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.


Here we have a situation where there are two bruises spoken of. The second of the bruises is on the seed of man's heel.

In most doctrines this is referring to Satan causing the crucifixion of Jesus, who is taken to be "The Seed" referenced here. This certainly would seem reasonable if it weren't that the serpent is to crawl on its belly, and that it is a "beast of the field." Of course the Bible uses a lot of similes and metaphors, so it is not impossible that this interpretation is correct. Whatever may be the case, I don't care to deliberated the topic here.


The first bruising is that of the serpent's head. Is this also a prophetic statement referring to the cross? Did Jesus bruise (defeat as is stated by some) Satan when He died on the cross? If this is so, then all is fulfilled and there is nothing to look forward to. As it applies to us of the 21 Century there is nothing we can do but look back at fulfilled history.


But! We run into a problem. Paul said: "20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."

These words were spoken long after Jesus died and ascended up to Heaven. And besides, Satan will not be under Jesus' feet here, but the believer's feet.

When was Satan bruised under the believer's feet? If it is an event that took place in past history, I missed it. And if it is an event that is to take place in the future: that adds an entirely new perspective to the word "shortly," does it not?


We have yet another reference to bruising that may apply to our study. Isaiah said:


Isaiah 53: 4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.. . . . .10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.


I don't think there is any question as to whom Isaiah is referring here. And I believe we will all agree that it is an event that has taken place in the past. Certainly the rewards spoken of here are future, but the bruising has seen its completion.


Having taken this little detour of several thousand years, adding yet more confusion to this study, we return to "Shortly."


Paul has left us with a puzzle that as far as I can see has not been pieced together as yet. When has, or when will Satan be bruised by the believers?


Our next reference to Shortly is found in Revelation. I find it interesting that we have jumped from the beginning of the Church to what is considered by many to be the very end of the Church age in order to learn what "Shortly" means. And while we make this jump, we find we must leave the answer to what Paul was referencing far behind.


Revelation 1: 1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:


This passage by John is probably one of, if not the most controversial verse in the Bible as far as the timing of eschatology is concerned. We have already seen that as far as Greek grammar is concerned, there is little doubt but that a short time is being spoken of by John. However, we also know (those of you who have been following my studies at all) that God the Father and Jesus hid much of the Truth of the Word in parables and double entendres (multiple meaning words and phrases). This has been done so the blind may remain blind, and those who seek God's Truth through the Holy Spirit may do so. Because of this, what may appear a certainty as it is viewed, may well be a false avenue meant to be taken by the blind.

It is important that one have no preconceived notions when studying God's Word. One concept held as a surety will become a stumbling block to further progress in one's quest for Truth.


There is no doubt that "Shortly" means "shortly." In other words, what John is going to tell us about is something in the near future.

But, just what is it that John is saying will happen shortly? Of course we assume that all of what John is going to tell us will happen very soon after he has seen the vision.

However, we know that everything can't be meant by "shortly" because there are obviously some things John wrote about that couldn't possibly have happened in the past. For instance: have we had hail stones the size of small automobiles yet? Has the ocean turned to wormwood, or the lakes to blood? Has the Babylonian church, whatever that might be, fallen yet? And although some believe the Millennium under the complete peaceful rule of Jesus has begun, I think it is safe to say that if this is the Millennium, then Jesus died in vain.

We can also be quite certain that Eternity under the New Heaven and the New Earth with God Himself being the light thereof, and the Tree of Life at our disposal has not occurred as yet.

Since we know some parts of John's prophesy has not been fulfilled; and by this we know "shortly" does not refer to all of Revelation, then what does shortly refer to?

Let's move on just a little farther, just to the next word, shall we?


"Come to pass" in the English language incorporates three words. And as we read these words, we gain the impression that something is finished. But is that necessarily so? Let's take a look at the original Greek:


COME TO PASS: G1096 ginomai A prolonged and middle form of a primary verb; to cause to be ("gen" -erate), that is, (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literally, figuratively, intensively, etc.): - arise be assembled, be (come, -fall, -have self), be brought (to pass), (be) come (to pass), continue, be divided, be done, draw, be ended, fall, be finished, follow, be found, be fulfilled, + God forbid, grow, happen, have, be kept, be made, be married, be ordained to be, partake, pass, be performed, be published, require, seem, be showed, X soon as it was, sound, be taken, be turned, use, wax, will, would, be wrought.


I find it very interesting that controversial passages tend to be based on the slimmest of premises. This is especially so in this instance since I just recently finished a study on a subject of grand magnitude based on the very same concept. The study I am referring to is: Lucifer, the Making of a Doctrine.

In the forming of the doctrine of Satan having once been a beautiful angel fallen from Heaven long before Adam and Eve were ever created, a single tilt of a diaphone is used to create a vast cosmos wherein the mutation of slime could evolve into the Son of God. The tactic used to perform this miracle of deception was to distort the verb "to be" from meaning "was" to mean "became."

Here we have the very same word standing as an obstacle, but without the intent of fraud as in the Lucifer deception. Rather than an intentional twist of Scripture, a word with various possible meanings stands as a junction in the road that leads one toward several differing possibilities.

The King James translation of the Bible presents us with the attitude that what is expresses is behind us. That is, to say something has "come to pass" intimates that it has passed. However in reality the word used is a broad spectrum word that merely states that something "is" without giving a definite state of the occurrence. If you look closely at the definition you will see that the first expression of the word given is: to become (come into being).

If I was to tell you that something "came into being," would you assume I meant it was no more, or that it had just begun and that there was still yet to follow?


As further evidence that the word "shortly" here means "shortly to begin," we have yet another time the very same phrase is used, albeit translated slightly different:


Revelation 22:6 1And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

6And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7Behold, I come quickly:


SHORTLY BE DONE: (G1096 - Same as "shortly come to pass")


Here again we have what appears to be an angel, or Jesus, or John (in my mind, although the words are not in red, it could be any of these speaking) saying that what is spoken will shortly be done. In this case, unlike at the beginning of Revelation, what has just been spoken of could not have been accomplished in 70 AD or at any other period of history.


What I have presented here, as I said in the beginning, is not intended to prove one point of view or another. As with all my studies, my intent is to provide anyone interested in learning the Truth more information than what they will find in the box of denominationalism. If, after digesting what I have presented here, and having researched for yourself the subject in effort to prove the fallacies of my thinking, you believe as you did in the beginning, all the better. At least you will better understand why you choose to believe as you do rather than merely absorbing what you have been told like an un-evolved sponge.


As with most all the studies I undertake, this one has opened a door to another subject I wish to pursue.

Paul spoke of Satan being put under the feet of the believers "shortly." Although I have concluded my study on shortly, I am still in question as to the meaning of feet. As it seems to me Satan is to be under the feet of the Christ rather than those of the believers. Could Paul be wrong?


Cor 15: 23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.


Here it is, as I thought. It is Jesus who has everything under His feet. This being so, what was Paul talking about?


Eph 1:22 19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.


Now I find this interesting. Jesus is the Head of the Church, is He not? A head does not have feet. A body has feet. In 1Corinthians 12 we have this:


9And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.


The Head needs the feet. And what is it feet do? Well, what does the ear do: it hears. What does the eye do: it sees. But what do the feet do? Don't they stand? Stand on what? What was it the Paul said the believers would be standing on shortly?

Let's look further:


Heb 2:8 5For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (See Psalm 8:6)


Jesus has fulfilled His part. The Head has overcome. What about the feet?


Rom 10:14 13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Isaiah 52:7: Nahum 1:15)


I don't suppose Paul or the writer(s) he was quoting were talking about someone having beautiful feet. My suspicion is he was referring to the people who were the feet of the body who were spreading the Good News. (Beautiful: the Greek means "timely, of the right hour or season.")


Feet stand. Feet walk and preach the Gospel. Feet Subdue. Feet are shod with the Gospel of the preparation of peace (Eph 6:15).


Feet are washed. Feet are cleansed in blood of the Lamb. (John chapter 13: Revelation 5:1

Psalm 47: 1O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

2For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.

3He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.


Under Us! Under our feet! I thought Jesus was going to have everything under His feet.

Am I missing something here? Is there something you see that I don't?


Again, I am not trying to prove a point. This page is far too small to take on such an endeavor. I'm just pointing out some things someone might have missed. Food for thought, as they say.


There is one more little tidbit I would like to leave you with, kind of an appetizer you might say. It's just a little something you might consider when reading any passage that has to do with time or eschatology.


2Peter 3: 3Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.


SIN


Does it sound as if I believe that anyone who commits sin after they become a Christian is doomed to hell? As Paul would say: "God forbid!" If I was to preach such a message as that I would have to lead the fallen into the pit. I find myself returning to my own vomit more times than I wish to even consider. And I have had (and I'm sure will in the future) to catch myself on the backslide many times.

I hate to admit it. And I hate even more to believe it is so of me. But what I fear most is that on those occasions I find myself heading back to my own flesh that God will give up on me and just let me become reprobate.


No, I don't think sin is what makes for a sinner. "All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God." And, I suppose, all of us still do sin. What I believe is important is that we recognize that even the slightest sin (as we would see slight) is an abomination to the Lord. And if He has entrusted us with His Holy Spirit, and if He is supposedly guiding us into Truth and Salvation: then how can we continue sinning without feeling sick with ourselves and in tears asking for forgiveness and freedom from our own wretched selves?


If we, as is taught by so many, can feel ok about ourselves when we are less than struggling with our own humanity, then I believe we need to take a very serious look at our Salvation, and the doctrines we are listening to and choosing to follow.


Sin is not the question. The sinner without asking the question is what in question.


BLINDED BY THE LIGHT


"I've been looking over your website, and I gotta' tell you: I think you done gone over the deep end. Your theology is way off base, none of what you say makes any sense to me, and there's nobody I know of who agrees with you at all!

I don't mean to be cruel or anything, but I think you're groping in the dark, grasping at straws. In other words, I think you're a fool working on nothing but blind faith."

"Thank you. I'm glad you noticed."


NEGATIVES AND POSITIVES


There are places in the Bible where Jesus was asked a question, or a statement was made regarding Him to which he gave no reply or contradiction. Preachers will often make an assumption by Jesus' silence that He is affirming the statement.


My father when he was younger tended to be very dogmatic in his beliefs, and he was very outspoken when his beliefs were contradicted. I, my family, and anyone else who knew him learned to not disagree with my father.

I had not seen my father for several years during his "maturing" stage. When I next saw him I was very surprised to see that he had made certain changes. One of those changes that I had a hard time adapting to was his ability toward silence. When a situation arose where I or someone else contradicted my father, instead of arguing, he would just remain silent, not even offering a gesture or a hint of disapproval.

On these occasions, even though I was certain my father was very much in the wrong, I would carry with me for some time a lingering suspicion that he knew more than he was revealing, and this unspoken knowledge was further evidence that he knew what he was talking about.

In other words, what my father had not said seemed to carry more weight than what he had said.


Preachers and commentators like to grab on to every sliver of possible evidence that what they are teaching is fact. An excellent example of this process in action I have portrayed in Lucifer: the Making of a Doctrine.

The Bible is designed to throw off-kilter those who try to understand it with the carnal mind. Peter called this type of behavior: "Willingly ignorant."


There are so many places in the Bible where we can be led astray. There are a multitude of dead-end roads that can be, and that are taken by anyone foolish enough to continue on them. The multitude of denominations testify to this fact. But while we leave Spiritual understanding of the Word, along with our good sense as well, at the starting gate of knowledge: let us not be so foolish as to assume the silence of God for agreement with our desires.


DUMBING DOWN CHRISTIANITY


It appears that Christians are becoming dumber and dumber with each generation. If it was just my own observation that indicates such to be the case, I would hold such a statement in high suspect.


I wish I had the statistics here so I could print them, but I don't. However, I believe most of you readers will know full well what I am talking about having heard or read the statistics elsewhere.


For thousands of years people have read religious books. In fact many religions read their books religiously. For instance, what are the chances of meeting a Buddhist who is not familiar with the Sutras, or a Hindu who has not read many times the Bhagavad Gita?


Yet, to meet a Christian who has read the Bible, that is who has taken more than a periphery skim of select texts, is rare indeed. In fact there are a great many churches who discourage the reading and the carrying of the Bible, preferring instead to make use of bulletins, cheat sheets and projected images to read from during service.

Then, to comply with the implied dictum of the Word that seems to indicate it is unChristianlike to not have a Bible, books that are hardly more than elementary school readers that soften the meanings of God's word are produced.


There was a time when it was not only unChristian to not read the Bible regularly, but un American as well. Even the beaver pelt hunters who spent their lives in the wilderness of the mountains were likely to at least know the Word. Those who traversed this land in search of a new life, should hard time befall them and everything must be dumped along the roadside, they would treasure their Bible above all their meager possessions.


Belief in God has become a cliche, a byword without meaning. The churches are expected to preach a little Gospel, so some still do. But the bulk of the church meetings are about social interaction and community events, with perhaps a talent show and a dab of human psychology thrown in for good measure.


The chances of finding a Christian who knows more about Christ or Christianity than that they are supposed to attend Sunday School once per week and pay tithes (whether they do even these or not) to remain in good standing with God is very slim.


Christianity has become a farce when applied to denominational churches. For the most part, the only place to find anything near true Christianity is in the outcast "cults" who, although their doctrine is often far off kilter, are behaving as God expects them to behave, and are much more likely to be familiar with their books of guidance and with the Bible than the traditional churches.


Am I talking about you? If not, good for you. If you feel offended, do something about it, get in there and do what your conscience is nagging at you to do and prove me wrong.


An addendum: I found some statistics. At the end of this study I have copied statistics regarding Christians and the use of the Bible for those of you interested in such things. As for me, I am not.


FRIENDS & ENEMIES


I saw a website with this logo: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Is this a reasonable statement? At first glance it would seem to make sense, but after a moment of thought....


5And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. 6And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him. (Mark 3:)


11And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. 12And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves. (Luke 23:)


14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2Cor 6:)


6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Rom 8:)


3Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:)


"Enemies forced by circumstances to work together; members of an unlikely alliance, often attacked as an 'unholy alliance. True it is, 'that politics makes strange bedfellows.' Charles Dudley Warner


IS THE LAW ABOLISHED?


33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jer 33:)


6Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (Rom 9:)


1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Rom 8:)


2Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (2Cor 3:)


7Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,

8I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:)


10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: ((Heb 8:)


1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:)


36Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Mat 22:)


1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:)


14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1Cor 2:)


WE TEACH WHAT WE KNOW


10Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? (John 3:)


23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

25These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

28Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. 30Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 31But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence. (John 14:)


13But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Mat 13:)


There are a lot of Spiritually blind leaders out there preaching and teaching what they call: "The Word."

A new Christian is like a baby, Spiritually blind having no discernment. We trust our leaders to guide us into the light.

If we, the Spiritually blind attach ourselves to a Spiritually blind guide, we will find ourselves in the ditch along with our guide.


21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Mat 7:)


GREAT IS THEY FAITH


Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and even raised the dead. Of these He did not say: "Great is thy faith." Yet, what faith must a leper or a blind man have to be healed? Except for Naaman, no leper had ever been healed. What faith it must have taken to be a leper and have faith that they might be healed.

At no time in recorded history had a blind man ever been given sight. This was an impossibility. Yet blind men had faith that they could be healed by Jesus. What faith that must have taken.

Can you imagine what faith a dead man must have had to be brought back to life after being dead for four days?

Or how about the man possessed with a legion of devils, who asked not to be delivered, how much faith must he have had?


All these above were outcastes in the eyes of society. None of these would have been allowed in the Temple, into the presence of God, even if they were born of the priestly tribe of Levi because they were less than perfect. They were of no stature, and they knew they were "nothings" in the eyes of man and of God.

Then on the other end of the spectrum we have the priests, the scribes, the Pharisees who thought they were special in the eyes of God, of man, and especially in their own eyes. Jesus said of none of these: "Great is thy faith."


Yet Jesus did say to some: "Great is thy faith." It might well behoove us to see who these people were who had such great faith.


21Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. (Mat 15:)


5And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 10When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. (Mat 8: also Luke 7:1-10)


We find that one of those commended for her faith is someone who acknowledged that she was a "dog" in the eyes of society, and was after no more than "crumbs" for her daughter. This was a Samaritan woman. She would not be allowed to be in the temple, nor would she be accepted by any Jew regardless of how perfect a person she might be. She had no reason to accept Jesus' accusation that she was a lowly dog. Yet she did. And by so accepting such an accusation, she was given praise from Jesus Himself.


On another occasion of praise we find just the opposite to be true. This man is not a Samaritan, nor a Jew, but a Roman leader. This man, contrary to what we would suspect of any Roman, had gained much respect from the Jews. This man, essentially, had it all.

Yet, this man of means and power said of himself: "I am not worthy that you should come under my roof."

We hear from the pulpit, and we read for ourself, that what this man was commended for was his faith that his servant could be healed. What faith should that take considering that he had heard of Jesus' fame as a healer of everybody who came to Him, without a failure. We might consider this Roman's faith was in that, like the Samaritan woman, his being a non Jew, Jesus would even bother with him at all. But I don't think so.


Jesus had a ministry of preaching good things for the humble of heart. He tore down those who praised themselves, and He lifted up and healed those who considered themselves as low. The Beatitudes are an excellent example of this.

Here we have a unique situation where a person of high position is humbling himself. This is unheard of. And to this humbling of oneself we hear Jesus say: "I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel."


I believe that the faith Jesus is looking for is not the faith to be healed. I believe the largest part of "Faith" is our ability to humble ourself at the feet of Jesus and do with us as He will.


25But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mat 20:)


1At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 18:)


10So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:)


16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. (Mat 20:)


CLONES


Apparently the scientists are now capable of cloning animals. And, of course, we humans are animals. I find it amazing that science can't cure the common cold, or often tell the difference between a tummy ache and a heart attack, yet they can discover thousands of miles of DNA in each of us and reproduce us without the aid of God.

It causes me to wonder: Who is behind all this do you think?


We like to imagine that Man is valuable, especially in God's eyes. If Man is valuable in God's eyes, then we, being Man, are valuable in God's eyes. And if we, as an individual are valuable in God's eyes, He will do all He can for us, and He will certainly not send us to a fiery pit.


Let's consider: We are in God's image. How valuable are we in one another's eyes? I don't mean our friends and our family, nor even the attractive man or woman on the boob tube. I mean, how valuable is that panhandler on the corner who bugs you every day for a handout? Or how valuable is that no-account brother-in-law who is always laying around your place, making a mess and expecting you to feed him as if he were your own son? Or how about that grubby little kid who eats out of garbage cans, spends half his time in jail, and the other half trying to pick your pocket. Or consider the mass-murderer who ate his young victims while they were yet alive?

Are any of those listed above below the level you would consider "valuable"? Have I named any you would place on the "expendable" list?


Consider Hitler. How do you think he, should he ever gain a position of authority (we all know such a person as him could never influence a civilized people, don't we?) How do you think he would value those he considered beneath him? Or closer to home, how about the Indian hunters of the 1700's, or the slave owners of the even more recent past? How do you think they would catagorize the human race.


Cloning.

Already we have counted those unborn as unworthy of life. If we chose to kill them, even though they have been born (when will the age rise to puberty?), we may do so without a fear in the world of reprisal. We can murder more than Hitler ever considered (and we have done already) and have no officials breathing down our neck telling us we did a naughty thing by taking the most innocent of life. And who pays for these murders? Why, you and me, the tax payers. In other words, regardless of how you say you feel about the value of human life, you call yourself a hypocrite by the fact that you support the killings and do not oppose them.

"I didn't kill any Jews. I would never do that! I'm a Christian after all. All I did is give Hitler the money, that's all."


Cloning.

We now, in spite of what we say, no longer value human life. After all, there's so much of it running around with nothing to do but get into trouble and use up government resources. Euthanasia, abortion, declining Medicare benefits, high cost of medical treatment and drugs: these are what separate us, the "Civilized" nations from those of the third world where such niceties as abortion on demand are unapproved of, and even disallowed.

From the top of the age list, the end of the ailing list, and the bottom of the youth list we arbitrarily count them useless and cancel their life.

We, by making choices we would never allow God to make, decide who and who will not live.

We must do this in order to abate the overpopulation problem the "uncivilized" nations are experiencing.


The population must be controlled.


Then, why clone? Why produce people ( that must be fed and otherwise cared for) through other means than through the God-given birth process?

Who would benefit? You? Me? The government?

Imagine if Hitler had an army of people without birth certificates: Without human rights: What do you suppose he could do with them? Wouldn't you say he could do anything with them he wanted to?

Imagine if you were able to clone yourself, should you have the wealth needed to do so. And lets say you had a need of a heart, or a liver: where do you suppose you might obtain such vital parts? And what could you do about it if someone chose to "abort" their own clone?

Consider, a clone is just as much human as that person who cloned them. What do you suppose it must be like for the clone to learn that their heart was to be removed?

What if you were that clone?

What if you were that aborted child?

What would you say those aborted clones, those aborted babies are going to say at the Judgement Throne when it comes time for them to testify for or against those who aborted them?


In spite of what we say, we do not value life. We only value our life.

We are made in God's image. We should be able to understand God by understanding ourselves.

If we do not value life unless it suits our needs to do so. If that life we do value is valued only because it has a value to us, then why should we suppose God is any different?

And if God is not different that us, then when it comes time for God to decide who will live for eternity with Him, and who will spend eternity separated from Him, who do you suppose He will choose: those who chose to listen to and to serve Him, or those who chose to have God serve them?


MATURING INTO CHILDHOOD


Have you ever seen a 70ish woman, overweight and flabby skin wearing a bikini? How about a man of the same age and body structure with rings through his lips, a pony tail to the back of his bald head and the crotch of his trousers down around his knees?

What did you think of these people? Did they impress you with their display of maturity? Were you wowed by their apparent wisdom? Would you feel comfortable turning your wallet or your child over to them for safe keeping?


I thought not.

Yet this very thing we do daily in our churches.


When I was growing up shortly after the last World War when people were thankful to be free and still be alive, it was common for older folk to at least try and set an example of what a mature adult was to be like. At that time immature behavior in an adult could however, on occasion, be seen. Such behavior was usually frowned upon and apologized for, unless that immature display happened to be at a ball game, a wrestling match, or a bull run. But on the norm we rather expected our senior citizens to act their age, and for the younger generation to aim toward that same goal.


When I, as a child, attended church I was not expected, nor was I allowed to act like a child. In spite of the fact that I was yet a young boy, I was expected to act, not my age, but as an adult I would eventually become.


Before my day, and for thousands of years before, in just about every culture, children were taught to become adults. It was not expected that adults would be taught and encouraged to act like children.


Our media has changed this considerably.

In the beginning the media aimed at the adult (one reason for this being so, is that adults were the ones with the money) and toward the higher end of human behavior.

Then came the age of rebellious and self-centered youth. Instead of focusing on training children to be adults so that they could fit properly into society, society turned its focus on those who refused to grow up, and who demanded their right to be respected in their Peter Pan state, the perpetual child.


In the beginning this childish behavior took on an air of quiet innocence, called the "Beatnik" age. But nothing begun remains as begun, but it either dies, or it moves in the direction it is facing.

Since the eyes of the nation, and the media, were no longer on the mature, but on the child; the mature began to cater to, and to become as the child.

This attitude is easily seen on the screen, on the news, and in the music we hear.

And it is seen in the churches.


When I was a child in church, I was expected to act the part of an adult until I became an adult. Adults wore a suit and tie to church. And even though my good shoes had holes in the soles, the soles of which were tearing away at the seams, I wore a suit and tie to church.

Boys wore suits, and girls wore their loveliest dress, full at the hem, and at least to the knees.


Times change.


This morning I was listening to a sermon on the radio recorded from a popular church of considerable size. The sermon was about this very same subject, what now constitutes the church.

The preacher, to the great glee of the young audience, stated that it is now the day of the youth, and the church should be directed toward bringing in these youth. If the older parishioners didn't like it, they could either lump it, or they could go elsewhere.


Good thinking, I thought. Take the maturity out of the church, and the mature who wanted to remain mature must go elsewhere to do so.

I wonder, if the mature is no longer in the church, or setting the example, how will the immature learn to become mature? And if immaturity is the aim of the church, what possible motive would the child have to become mature?

Is this, I wonder, what Jesus died for? Is this what the Apostles dedicated their life for? Is catering to the babies in the church the higher goal of Christianity?

The idea in catering to the youth is that it is important to bring in the youth to the church. And as it stands, this is true. But, why stop with just the rock and roll generation? I mean, if a church who claims to be unbiased and anti-prejudiced is going to bring in the offscouring of society, why not also aim toward the dead-heads, the gangsta's the druggies, the sexual perverts...(ooops, they already are, aren't they). I mean, let's not stop with a live band that is striving to become the next top ten of the World scene, let's add some rap, a few bloody skulls, and other such paraphernalia that will attract the typical youth from off the street.


And you know what? There are churches doing just that. There are churches that, if you don't listen to the words being sung, you would swear you were in some ghetto dive or a Rock concert.


The Church is not taking over the World as it claims to be doing. The World has taken over the church.


Jesus told His disciples to go into the World and spread the Gospel. To the churches this means to bring people into a building, take a bath, say a few words, and maybe sign a piece of paper.

The end justifies the means.

If the church must be like the World to entice the World into the church, then so be it.


Does it sound as though I think conforming to the World is going to mean hell for those who do so? I don't mean to sound as if that is what I mean at all. No, I see the behavior of the churches as a symptom, not a problem. I think the problem lies far deeper than that which appears.

It matters not at all what the church does. It can be just as vile as it wants to, or it can behave perfectly as laid out in the Word. It is not in what is done, but rather in Who does what is done.

The true Church, the body of Christ, is not interested in filling up a building or an enrolment sheet. The true body of Christ is interested in filling themselves up with the Holy Spirit while dumping their own fleshly lusts and desires. The True Church is working to form an Army of dedicated soldiers ready and willing to sacrifice their life, if need be, in service of their Leader, and for one another.

Such an Army can never be established by a group playing church and catering to the lowest and youngest of its membership.


Those of you who are responsible for the condition of the membership of the church you lead: if Jesus was to return during one of your services, and if He was to walk in your door: would He be pleased with what He sees? Would Jesus commend you for doing well with the talents he gave you (authority over His Church); or would He cast you out as an unworthy servant?


TAKEN


I began this study with an example of how God has written His Word in such a way that a person can read out of it what he or she wants from it. If Godliness and Truth are what a person wants, they can read one version of what Jesus has said and ignore the others that help clarify God's meaning. God has written His Book so that we can direct everything to our own wants if we so please; or we can direct our desires to pleasing the Lord, which is what God has sought in His creation since Adam and Eve.


There is yet another set of Scriptures that are very popular in this day and age as we grow ever closer to the end of time. And with the prevalence of books and movies concerning the Rapture growing day by day, Scriptures concerning that event also become more popular.


Here is a Scripture I am sure you have heard and read many times:

32Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (Mat 24:)


Of course everyone who reads this, especially after reading the book or seeing the movie by the same name wants to be taken. But what basis do we have that the ones "taken" are going to be rewarded in the clouds, and that the ones left will have to suffer the tribulation? Couldn't it just as easily be the other way around?

For instance, if you were a Jew standing along the railroad tracks as your friends and neighbors were being herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, would you wish to be taken? Or would you rather be "left behind"?

We take our doctrine from our preacher. Whatever our preacher tells us is so, that we believe. This is why our preachers are going to stand before the Lord carrying a much greater burden seeing as how they have taken it upon themselves to interpret the Words of God to His sheep, and if they have done so, lead the sheep astray.


Here in this study let us forget what the books, the movies and our preacher says and turn for once to the Word of God for our doctrine.

Matthew tells us that in the days of Noah we will find understanding as to what will happen in the end of days. This being so, let us look back 4,000 years at those days:


21And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 22All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. 23And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. 24And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days. (Genesis 7:)


In this account there doesn't seem to be any information given one way or the other to clarify taken or left, unless we consider that Noah and his family "remained" (left behind) and that all living things were "Destroyed." As it stands, such is mighty slim reasoning to base a doctrine that counters so popular a one as the Rapture. But then again, isn't stretching fact past the breaking point what church doctrine is all about?


Let's move on.

Although Peter and Paul has given us other references to the days of Noah that might give us a clue into the true meaning of "Taken," these, as far as I can see do not clarify or lend support as to whether being taken or being left is what we might desire.


However, fortunate for us, Luke has not left this topic unmentioned. As I have said elsewhere, we often have at least two versions whereby we may pick and choose what we wish to believe. Let us take a look at Luke's account and see whether we should like to be taken or to be left on the docks of the railway station:


23And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 25But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. 26And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32Remember Lot's wife. 33Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 37And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. (Luke 17:)

Matthew said the floods came and "took them all away." The "Taken" people have taken this to mean that Noah and his family were the ones taken away above the destruction below. It appears to me that Luke sees it just the opposite. And what was it that the Bible tells us about "destroyed" and "remained" in Genesis 7?


Leaving the Rapture and Noah, there are other Scriptures where the use of the word "Taken" has been utilized. Here is one that, I believe, makes itself quite clear what is meant by "taken," at least clear as it is being referenced in this context:


6But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:)


This certainly makes it clear that "taken" is for the bad, wouldn't you say? Do you have any doubt now as to whether you want to be taken or not?

Like I have said. God likes to throw a monkey (Darwin?) wrench into the works:


1The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. 2He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness. (Isaiah 57:)


In this case it is the righteous who are taken away and rewarded. I wonder why I haven't heard this verse quoted by the "Takers."


1Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! . . . . . 7But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. 8For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.

9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

14Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. 15Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: 16Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. 17Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. 18And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. 19From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. 20For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. 21For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. 22Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth. (Isaiah 28:)


It could be said all this has been fulfilled in 70 AD. However, doesn't it say the devastation will cover the whole earth? Has that happened yet?


As far as I can see I have not proven one way or another if "Taken" is what a person should be preparing for. Nor, as I have said earlier, is that my intent. What I want to do here is say that whichever may be true, anyone counting on gaining rewards for their Couch Potato Christianity, resting their confidence on a bath and a few words they have spoken had best prepare to be disappointed at best, and to gnash their teeth (or worse) at their Judgement.

And if I (or you) happen to be one who has appointed himself shepherd over the Lord's flock, and I find I am teaching the Lord's sheep to graze in the wrong field, I just might prepare myself to be "Taken."


TAKEN: G3880 paralambano par-al-am-ban'-o From G3844 and G2983; to receive near, that is, associate with oneself (in any familiar or intimate act or relation); by analogy to assume an office; figuratively to learn: - receive, take (unto, with).


LEFT: G863 aphie mi af-ee'-ay-mee From G575 and hie mi (to send; an intensive form of eimi (to go)); to send forth, in various applications: - cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.


[Consider the scape goat at the Feast of the Tabernacles, and the sheep divided from the goats at Judgement.]


I don't think the question of whether or not we want to be taken is at issue. Nor do I believe the timing of the "Rapture" is the relevant issue. Of course if there were to be such a thing as a Pre-Trib "Rapture" that might be nice. Even with my acrophobia sailing past the clouds might be a fun adventure.

And of course if the "Rapture" takes place after the tribulation, and I must live through it, then I needn't fear God's judgement because I will either be worthy enough to stand under God's protection, or I will die at the hands of ungodly sinners and win an Overcomer's crown.


No, it's not when, or how the "Rapture" will take place: it's what the rapture is that is important. And since everyone believes they already know what the rapture is, no one questions it. And if you have read Lucifer, the Making of a Doctrine, then you know that I believe the more people there are who believe a doctrine, the higher the probability that it is in error.


But, that is a subject for another study.


I leave you with these final Words to us from Jesus:


7Behold, I come quickly: (Rev 22:)


COME QUICKLY: G5035 tachu takh-oo' Neuter singular of G5036 (as adverb); shortly, that is, without delay, soon, or (by surprise) suddenly, or (by implication of ease) readily: - lightly, quickly.

(Also Revelation 2:5, 16: 3:11; 11:14; 22:12, 20)


This statement was made almost 2,000 years ago. I wonder what God's concept of time is, and how it differs from ours?


ADDENDUM:


The following are statistics concerning Christians and their use of the Bible according to two sources:


ACCORDING TO THEOLOGICALSTUDIES.ORG (HTTP://WWW.THEOLOGICALSTUDIES.CITYMAX.COM/)

Americans and the Bible:
Bible Ownership, Reading, Study and Knowledge in the United States
by Michael J. Vlach

The Christian Bible continues to be a revered book in the United States. In fact, no other book comes close to having been read and re-read as much as the "Good Book". Every year, millions of Bibles are printed in this country. Researcher George Gallup points out that so many Bibles have been printed in the United States "that even rough estimates of the total number published to date do not exist." 1

How do Americans use the Bible and what do they know about it? Recent research has produced important information about Bible ownership, reading, study, and knowledge in the United States.

Bible Ownership
Most Americans own a Bible. In fact, 92% of households in America own at least one copy. Of those households that own a Bible, the average number of Bibles is three. This includes not only the homes of practicing Christians but hundreds of thousands of atheists as well. 2

Bible Reading
Although most Americans own a Bible, use of the Bible varies significantly. In a poll taken by the Gallup Organization in October, 2000, 59% of Americans reported that they read the Bible at least occasionally. This is down from 73% in the 1980s. The percentage of Americans who read the Bible at least once a week is 37%. This is down slightly from 40% in 1990. 3 According to the Barna Research Group, those who read the Bible regularly spend about 52 minutes a week in the scriptures.
4 Barna, "The Bible," data is from 1997.

Which gender is more faithful at reading the Bible at least weekly? The prize goes to the women. Women (42%) are more likely than men (32%) to have read the Bible in the past week. What version do people prefer? As of 1997, those who read the Bible preferred the King James Version to the New International Version by a 5 to 1 margin.
5

Bible Study
When it comes to going beyond merely reading the Bible to actual study of the Bible, the numbers decline sharply. Only one in seven Americans report an involvement that goes beyond just reading the Bible. Fourteen percent of Americans currently belong to a Bible study group.
6 This is down a full one-third from 1990 when 21% said they were involved in a Bible study group. 7

Bible Knowledge
How about knowledge of the Bible? According to Gallup, "Despite the impressive statistics concerning Bible reading and study, it is apparent that ignorance about its contents is widespread." 8

He gives evidence for this conclusion:
-- Only half of adults interviewed nationwide could name any of the four Gospels of the New Testament.
-- Just 37% of those interviewed could name all four Gospels.
-- Only 42% of adults were able to name as many as five of the Ten Commandments correctly.
-- Seven in ten (70%) were able to name the town where Jesus was born, but just 42% could identify him as the person who delivered the Sermon on the Mount. 9
Researcher George Barna has also documented the lack of Bible knowledge in the United States:
-- 38% of Americans believe the entire Bible was written several decades after Jesus' death and resurrection (While this is true of the New Testament, the entire Old Testament was written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ).
-- 12% of adults believe that Noah's wife was Joan of Arc.
-- 49% believe that the Bible teaches that money is the root of all evil. (The love of money is said to be the root of all types of evil).
-- 75% believe that the Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves. 10

George Lindbeck, the famous Yale theologian, has commented on the decreasing knowledge of scripture from a professor's perspective: "When I first arrived at Yale, even those who came from nonreligious backgrounds knew the Bible better than most of those now who come from churchgoing families." 11

Recent research highlights the decreasing influence of the Bible in the United States and the importance of serious Bible study by Christians. As our society becomes increasingly pluralistic and subjective in its worldview, the more important it will be for Christians to know and study their Bibles. Only by doing so can we intelligently present a biblical worldview to those who know so little of the Word that is able to save their souls.
1 George Gallup, Jr., The Role of the Bible in American Society (Princeton: The Princeton ReligionResearch Center, 1990)
2 Barna Research Online, "The Bible," www.barna.org. This information is based on 1993 figures.
3 Alec Gallup and Wendy W. Simmons, "Six in Ten Americans Read Bible at Least Occasionally," TheGallup Organization, www.gallup.com, October 20, 2000.
4 Barna, "The Bible," data is from 1997.

ACCORDING TO THE BARNA GROUP (HTTP://WWW.BARNA.ORG/)


Beliefs

· In 2006 48% of all adults agreed strongly that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings compared with 42% in 2002 and 35% in 1991.

· 12% of born again Christians disagree that "the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings." (2006)

· A majority of both women (74%) and men (62%) believe that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings. (2006)

· Belief that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings by generation: Mosaics 50%, Busters 66%, Boomers 72%, Elders 68%. (2006)

· 71% of those who attended high school or less believe that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings compared with 52% of those who have graduated from college. (2006)

· 59% of adults living in the South strongly affirm that the bible is accurate in all of its teachings versus 50% of those in the Midwest, 42% in the West and 37% in the Northeast. (2006)

· Blacks (82%) are the group most likely to believe that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings compared with 68% of whites, 62% of Hispanics, and 39% of Asians. (2006)

· A strong majority of Republicans (78%) believe that the bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings, while 69% of Democrats believe in the bible's accuracy. (2006)

Readership

· Bible Reading During A Typical Week By Year 1988- 36%; 1991- 45%; 1992- 47%; 1993- 34%; 1994- 37%; 1995-31% ; 1996 34% 1997-36%; 1999- 34%; 2000- 40%; 2001 - 37% 2002-42%; 2004-44%; 2005-45%; 2006-47%

· 96% of evangelical Christians have read the Bible in the past seven days. (2006)

· Women (51%) are more likely than are men (42%) to have read the Bible in the past week. (2006) Women 2004-49%; 2002-46%; 2000- 46%; 1997-38%; 1993-40%; Men 2004-38%; 2002-37%; 2000-35%; 1997-34%; 1993-28%

· Nearly seven out of ten born again Christians (67%) have read the Bible in the past week, compared to 35% of those who adhere to a non-Christian faith. (2006)

· 62% of Protestants have read the Bible in the past week versus 28% of Catholics (29%) (2006)

· Bible reading during a typical week drops as age drops: 58% of Elders (Builders and Seniors); 47% of Boomers; 42% of Busters and 32% of Mosaics read the Bible in a typical week. (2006)

· Blacks (66%) are the ethnic group most likely to have read the Bible in the past week, followed by whites (45%), Hispanics (41%) and Asians (20%). (2006)

· Bible reading by adults during the week by region-Northeast 38%; West 42%; Midwest 45%; South 57%. (2006)

· The percent of adults in California, Oregon, and Washington that read the Bible during the past week (other than while at church), has risen from 29% in 1994 to 42% in 2006.


 

To CONTENTS

To NEWLY ADDED PAGE



© Info

*To WELCOME PAGE

TO BIBLE CONTENTS

To SITE MAP

 

To .info HOME PAGE


Contact me by e-mail


top of page

www.FIRST-TRUMP.info

www.Tumbleweed.name __ Morality Stories - Bible Studies - Ethics__www.First-Trump.info