THOUGHTS & COMMENTS
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them. (Gen 1:)
Religions have you gain self-control for the sake of discipline, and once you have that control, you can feel proud of yourself for having done so.
Christianity, on the other hand, commands that you acquire that discipline - then turn it over to God.
Without that final step, we are of no use to God, or to ourselves. And our efforts to gain self-control is no more than a religious rite.
We would be like a car, that once we got it started and moving, we have no idea where we are going or how to get there. A danger to our self and to others.
Unfortunately, few churches preach self-control any more, except as a sort of by-product that should be done, but it isn't necessary.
In other words, the church has become an easy form of religion, attainable by all, with little or no interest or effort.
The church is now not only without effect, but without the respect it originally had.
No, it's not what you think.
Before I could sell any of the products, I first had to sell myself on the fact that the product was valuable in order to feel I wasn't ripping off my customers.
And I also had to sell myself that I was capable of selling at all, as I had no such confidence.
There are, of course, many people who do not need to learn to sell themselves because they do not care if they are lying or swindling. But for this study, they will not be considered.
Now there is a strong possibility that you are saying to yourself, "I don't have to sell myself on anything, I'm too honest for that."
I hope that's true. And if that is the case you are not one who is reluctant to ask for directions when lost, and admits straight out you have a problem if you smoke, drink, are overweight, become angry, overspend, lust, miss church on Superbowl Sunday, etc, etc.
The rest of us are not so fortunate, we have to convince ourselves that what we do habitually (or accidently) is ok; even if we know our excuse is only as good as a two year old's caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Con men, swindlers, and crooked business men have to be good at their craft in order to make a decent living. And their craft, of course, is doing openly that which the rest of us try to avoid in ourselves, or at least make excuses for.
And when it comes to cheating, conniving and lying, there is none better than the father of lies - Satan.
In fact, Satan may well be behind most all lies, at least behind the best of them.
Many of the biggest lies are told by honest people. I think of the man who tells his lady-love that he will love and cherish her forever. And the young married couples who say they will be the best parents on earth. Or your promise to return your neighbor's rake as soon as you're through with it. Or your vow to protect and cherish your Mother-in-Law's favorite tea set. Or the youngster who promises to take care of the dog if you buy it for him.
We usually don't set out to lie, but very often end up making our truth a lie in spite of ourselves.
And if you disagree with my stance, just for the fun of it, pretend you agree with me in order to follow my logic because evolution is not at all my topic of discussion.
The teachers who are teaching this theory and leading thousands of susceptible children astray, and possibly to their eternal doom - are they intentionally telling a lie? Are they uncaringly spouting a fabrication that they know is untrue?
That's doubtful. The chances are they are firmly convinced in their own mind that what they are teaching is true.
And why would a person chose to believe that something other than what God says is the truth?
Probably because they do not wish to believe in God.
The used car salesman having to convince himself that the rattletrap he is selling to the little old lady is good for her because he has to bring home a paycheck.
This is only one example. We could consider many other such situations, examples being; politicians and CEO's and the media, etc.
But these we expect to be walking the thin line between truth and lie - or flat out jumping over the edge. My interest is in those we look to who are in possession of the Truth, which is, the holder of God's Word.
On the surface, it would seem that God desires all His creation to know His Truth, and would make it very clear for us. Doesn't that sound like what we imagine of God?
But that is not what God has apparently done. Quite the contrary. He has said in several places, and in several ways, that He has hidden the Truth, and He has left false trails to lead all seekers astray in order to assure that only the diligent who are led by the Holy Spirit can find it.
"Narrow is the gate, and few there are who find it."
Yet we imagine that Truth is just laying around everywhere like daisies along the road waiting for any vagrant to pick and manhandle.
A good example of God hiding His Truth is the hints He left in the Old Testament of Jesus' life and purpose. All the Scripture pointing to Jesus are very plain and easy to understand, and we can not figure out why the Bible Scholars of Jesus' day could not see it.
It is plain to us, only because we have Jesus and the Apostle's explanation of it from an angle that lets us see both side-by-side.
The Old Testament was intentionally written to hide the Truth. Just imagine, the greatest events of history are the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus. If it were plain to the Jews what God had planned, do you believe either of those would have ever taken place?
7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1Cor 2:8)
"Surely not," you say?
Is Truth on almost every cover of every religious tract? Does Truth dangle from the wrist or the neck of many children? Is Truth espoused in every Fundamental pulpit? Is Truth filling the airways from every Christian radio and TV station?
Humans were made to worship.
We will worship rocks, trees, animals, even the sun and stars.
We worship rocks, until they break.
We worship trees, until they're cut down for fire wood.
We worship animals, until they die or are made into steaks.
We worship each other, until that other loses their looks or their stardom.
We worship our bank account, until the market goes bust.
And when we have nothing better to worship, we reach to the bottom of the barrel and worship our self.
We'll worship anything!
Except the Eternal God who made us.
That sounds very nice, and certainly appealing - but is it what Jesus said to do?
Jesus, and the Apostles spent a great deal of time and energy telling and demonstrating that we are to not be concerned with this life, and that it is the poor and the misfits of this world who will be welcomed into Heaven.
Jesus said that we are not to lay up treasures here on earth, but to give up all we have here and lay up treasures in Heaven.
It appears to me that the church, as the Ensign Bearer, the Traffic Director, is leading their flock in the wrong direction.
Jesus told us what the world and the churches would be like at the end of the world, so we shouldn't be surprised that the world is heading in the direction it is. And since God knew about it well over 2,000 years ago, it is obvious that He has control over such matters and that nothing is taking Him by surprise. That, in fact, it is all in God's Masterplan for His creation.
We are also told that we are not to concern ourselves with this life, but to prepare ourselves for the True life He has in mind for us. That this life is but a training ground in which to learn of God, to discover who we are and therefore why we have to be changed, and learn of God's ways for us.
This world is but a Basic Training camp where soldiers are trained and conditioned for battle. The devil is our DI (Drill Instructor) whose job it is to toughen us up in preparation for battle. His assistants are many, and called variously: Nuisances, Heartaches, Financial Problems, Family Problems, Trials and Tribulations.
And though we hate it when he and his assistants do their job, the harder they are on us, and the more they beat on us - the more prepared we will be for our true battle, which is, getting rid of our sinful and rebellious human nature.
I think of a boxer who hires the best sparing partner he can get who can beat on him to toughen him up, and can find holes in his defenses by punching the one who is paying him in the face through that weak defense.
I have not boxed, but I have fenced. When fencing, in effort to improve my ability, I sought out the best fencer I could find who could beat me in effort to learn where my weaknesses were, and to strengthen them. I did not seek lesser players in effort to "look good" and add to a list of "wins."
Seeking lesser opponents may feed one's ego, but it will do nothing in preparation for the real battle, which is the Tounament.
I also practiced kendo, a Japanese form of fencing using bamboo double-handed swords. We did not have the real thing, so we used broom sticks. And we did not have padded uniforms, so bruises were a frequent occurrence. Not on him (my teacher), he was toughened up. But I have tender skin, and the whealts and bruises on my arms disturbed him and he didn't want to fence with me.
I wouldn't accept that, so I set out to "toughen up" my arms by beating them on anything available. People thought I was crazy. I would beat my arms hard against walls as I walked along streets and hallways and anywhere else I could find something that would stand still long enough for me to pound on it.
But my arms eventually got so they would not bruise, and I was able to learn kendo.
I have written elsewhere of my bicycle riding days. I could ride thousands of miles over hard terrain and up high mountains. But when I first started riding, a mile and a half ride liked to kill me. Little by little I added to the miles I rode in a day until I found I was tackling what was inconceivable just a short time earlier.
We tend to idolize those who accomplish great things. There are the marathon runners, sports heros, singing and other musical and dance experts, and the many other fields of interests who have their superstars.
But none of these heros were born with their skills and abilities. They had to work hard at their craft, and sacrifice many pleasures in order to acquire their level of achievement.
Consider some everyday accomplishments like dieting, and exercising for health reasons and not just for pleasure.
Sacrifice. This is a naughty word that is not used much any more, certainly not in the churches that supposedly preach from a Book that calls for great sacrifices.
It's our nature to go through life providing ourself with the best of everything. We supply all we can for our comfort and entertainment, and feel deprived if we don't have the best and newest thing available.
We surround and pad ourself with satin pillows, and feel we have been violated if someone even criticizes the color of our pillow slip.
This is not the life that Jesus and the Apostles taught, nor demonstrated. Theirs was a life of self-inflicted hardship, of putting themselves in the middle of the battle while leaving no room to retreat.
We are told to do the same, and that turning back would mean our downfall. (Luke 9:62; 14:28)
Jesus said the rich will find it next to impossible to make it into the Kingdom of God; and that the lazy and self-seeking will be sent to the pit. (Luke 18:25; Rev 21:8)
Yet we think that God is joking and that He really wants His "Children" to have everything and will reward them for their selfishness.
And the churches are feeding their selfish desires while telling their congregation that they are "special" because they wear the badge of "Christian" and will go to Heaven in a silky basket called the Rapture.
We are either of this world, or we are of the Lord. Those of the world should grab all the gusto they can for themselves, because this is all they will have been given. (Luke 16:1-13)
But those of the Lord should strive for mastery over this world and his or her human nature, and be thankful when Trials and Tribulations come because they are counted "worthy" to be so afflicted. (Acts 5:41; 1Pet 4:12-19; 2Pet 1:4-10 )
Your message? Or the message preached in the church down the street? The Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses seem to have the edge on mission fields; perhaps it's their message all the churches are waiting to be spread.
No, none of the messages being preached in any of the churches are what Jesus was talking about. Not the Catholics, nor the Fundamentalists, nor the Evangelicals, not even the Pentecostals are preaching the Message that will be preached throughout the word just before the end.
Besides, isn't your church going to be taken up to Heaven before all this happens? Did you notice Jesus was telling His disciples, (the Church, not the Jews) they would be brought up before magistrates and the council (religious leaders) for their Faith?
But you won't be here, you know that for sure. Your entire confidence is placed on that very doctrine, and you have been fully convinced of this assurance by your Pastor and the many Theologians your Pastor has studied under.
Perhaps you (and they) are right. But isn't it interesting that Jesus didn't seem to be aware of that doctrine? I mean, in every scenario where the endtime is mentioned, the verse that states: "But don't worry, fellas, I will secretly come and take you away from all of this. It's the rebellious sinners that aren't good enough to be taken who will do in just a few short years what you and My Holy Spirit were unable to do in 2,000 years" is missing?
I guess He just forgot to mention that fact because He was so busy talking about not going back to get your coat and staying off of roof tops.
Or maybe someone came along later and erased that verse from all the Bibles we now have in our hands.
Oh well, even if Jesus and all the Apostles didn't know to tell us straight out about the most magnificent of all God's Miracles, that is the sudden disappearance of millions of people, except to hid it obscurely in a half a verse here and word or two there, here a little, there a little (Isaiah 28:13-2; 66:1-5; 2Thes 2:11), at least we know, and that's all that counts; right?
Witnessing to the world.
We are told to be a "Witness" to the world. Just what is a witness? According to the Greek, a witness is a martyr. Or should I say, the word is derived from the word martyr.
Before you get shook, the term for "Martyr" is in actuality a word meaning "witness." However, those who are Martyred for the Word of God are fulfilling that which is required by God in that we are to "endure to the end" and not deny Jesus or He will deny us.
So then, what Message will be delivered to all the world before the end?
The Message of the Gospel preached will be that which Jesus and His Apostles taught, which, as far as I have been shown so far, is just about the opposite of that being preached today.
Along with the "preaching" will be the example that these Preachers will be demonstrating. Being a Preacher will not be a career choice as it is now. It will not be a matter of memorizing Theological studies as it has become. (Most preachers, contrary to popular belief, do not study the Bible or seek guidance from the Holy Spirit in preparation for their sermons; rather they look to what Theologians and Commentaries say will make up a good sermon. Books and web sites are plentiful for just such endeavors.)
I suspect these Witnesses will be like the Apostles, that is, they will endure threats and abuse from those they oppose (which I believe will include the churches, all of them, of today) and will perform miracles, speak in tongues, and perform all the other signs and wonders that the original Apostles exhibited.
In other words, they will be Jesus exemplified here on earth.
And I highly suspect these Missionaries will be the Manchild, the 144,000, the Church as it is supposed to be rather than the apostate organism it has become.
I say "the Church." Doctrine of the churches have confused any understanding of the Scriptures by stating that all rewards spoken of in the Bible go to this laxidaisical thing called a "church" which is fragmentalized and lulled to sleep; While all the condemnations spoken of in the Bible go to the Jews who God has set aside two thousand years ago.
In other words, the church has taken over the special place in God's Heart - except at the end when Discipline is being administered.
Jesus said that He was a Seed from which will come a Harvest. (Mat Chapters 13 & 14; John 12:24)
What will that Harvest be like? Will a seed of wheat produce a field of rice? Of tares? According to the church, it does.
The produce of that Seed will be exactly like that of the Seed planted. Anything of inferior quality, or of another grain (even if it is a perfect specimen of that grain) will be discarded. A perfect rose bush in a field of wheat is nothing but a bothersome weed.
Jesus said that He is the Vine, and that we are branches. What did He say will happen to branches that do not produce? What do you think He will do with branches that do produce, but the fruit of it is nothing but dried up raisins? (John 15:1-11)
[ For more of this, see the upcoming study "the HARVEST."]
I am sure there is a part of you (or at least there used to be when you first read this text, and before it was "explained") that assumed this "woman" refers to something that is to occur in the future. But since you have been informed that the picture has suddenly gone backwards 2,000 years, and that his woman was Israel, and that the Child was Jesus; then suddenly went forward again, that what you have been taught is true.
The word that comes to my mind is "nonsense," but I won't say it because someone might get offended.
That "woman" is the Church (capital "C" Church).
And the Child brought forth is indeed Jesus, or rather the Produce of Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit as He was (and is), the Body of Christ with their minds and their intentions on their Leader and Lord, the Head of the Church - Jesus.
"But if what you say is true, and I'm sure it's not, then what am I supposed to do about it? I can't be like them. I can't be like Jesus."
Funny you should say that, because Jesus and the Apostles did not seem to agree. In fact, their entire Testimony is that you not only can be like Jesus, but must be like Him if you wish to inherit Eternal Life. And those places where they are not telling you that you must be like Him, are telling you how to be like Jesus, or what will happen if you don't strive to be like Him.
Ok, that takes care of the Rapture, and the first Woman. You now know that you are in Heaven eating fried chicken while the Jews are down here on earth doing all you did not do, and were unwilling to do. And you know for sure that the first Woman is the Jews and has nothing whatever to do with you.
"I know that one," you say, "That's the Catholic Church."
You're right! I'll bet you were taught that in Sunday School. That shows your teacher knows what he is talking about and knows his Scriptures. Now then, as you read Revelation 17:5 you see that the Harlot is a "mother of harlots." That would indicate she had daughters, would it not? Who, then, are her daughters? You said that the Harlot is the Catholic church, did you not? Go back 500 years; what "issued forth" from the Catholic church? Was it not the Protestant churches, one to which you belong?
I wonder where the church is (small "c") during the Tribulation?
If what I have said about the Great Whore is correct (a "whore" in the Greek refers to an idolater and the word is "porne") then I should surely hope that the first Woman is not the Jews, but the Church, because she is carried away and protected from Satan and the wrath to come. And if this occurred 2,000 years ago....!
Traditions are like lies and peanuts: you can't have just one because once one is consumed, another must be found to follow after it. The Truth, on the other hand, flows one with another and does not run into dead-ends.
When I was very young, being a "Christian" brought with it a number of requirements. For instance, smoking, going to dances and movies, and even not wearing a tie to church put you at the edge of hell itself. And to make sure I was fully aware of this, sermons were pointed at this very subject, and often pointed directly at me.
Now the church is so lax that you can even wear shorts, a baseball cap, short skirts (even if you are a guy) or whatever else you choose in order to "express yourself."
In fact, you don't even have to go to church at all. Just turn on the Boob Tube and lay back with a beer and a woman (or man) of your choice while being told how you are precious in God's sight and will be taken to Heaven without passing "go."
In the past being a Pastor carried the burden of responsibility and respectability. People might look down on a Pastor's delivery, but rarely or never would (or could) anyone say anything about his morality or message.
Today "anything goes," and with that anything goes the morality and the integrity of the Scriptures right out the window.
Every day more and more church corruption is being laid open to the World through the media. And more and more the church is becoming like the world. In fact, things are occurring in the church, and accepted by their congregation and elders, that shock the world.
Consider reports concerning the ranks of the Lutheran and the Catholic church - the bastions of morality.
And consider that this is the direction of the church in general, and the snowball effect is gaining speed and weight by the hour.
Who is Mystery Babylon? The Apostate church? The Great Whore?
Is this the church God is going to rapture out of the world to protect from His punishment?
Or is this the church He is going to cast His greatest wrath upon?
An abomination of idolaters using God's precious name to perform the vilest of acts, and expecting Him to reward them for it.
Are we not worse than the Jews? Are we not more like those of Sodom and Canaan, who God wiped out?
If you are looking for the Rapture, then prepare yourself to be one of the 144,000, who will be "Caught Up" to the Heavens of Jesus' Spiritual state; and be prepared to present yourself a "Sacrifice" as did our Lord and His Apostles.
Therefore, in the meantime, assume that these "tips" are mere foolishness (which you will doubtless continue to believe them to be after reading my studies on them) and try to pick off the meat of what I am saying in this article.
If you would like to read more on what I have to say about the "Icebergs," watch for them in FANTASIES, FABLES AND TRADITIONS and TYPES AND SHADOWS.
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