Demons Among Us!

     My wife experienced spiritual oppression four days ago when her tooth that is broken started hurting.  Under normal circumstances, I would expect natural causes to initiate the pain.  However, after hours of extreme pain in her tooth, I began to quietly pray for her….I could really “feel” the pressure spiritually as I waged spiritual warfare against the demonic influence.  After a couple hours of intense pain and about 30 minutes of concentrated prayer of healing, she suddenly looked over at me and exclaimed with a smile on her face that the pain was GONE!  She reiterated again that not only was the pain completely subsided, but it also had left abruptly after the prayer.  I informed her that I had been praying the entire time and she confirmed she also was battling the demon with prayer.  Upon hearing our victory over the spirits of oppression, our oldest daughter, Nataliah exclaimed excitedly, “I was praying too daddy!”.

     A couple of days later my two older children had just returned from their biological mother’s house after staying the weekend.  Every time they return from visiting their mother, they always require intense prayer.  This is because the demonic oppression at the other location is so strong and powerful without proper defense that the influence becomes very imbedded in my children’s behavior. Prior to understanding the reality of demonic oppression I would interpret their behavior as normal under the circumstances given the harshness of my divorce.  However, now that I understand the presence of demons in every aspect of our lives, I have come to accept this reality and I strengthen my spiritual armor daily through prayer and biblical study. 

     So after a couple hours of dealing with the “normal” behavior of both my children, I started to notice my son was becoming increasingly irritable and very antagonistic towards everyone in the house with little to no cause.  After several hours of this behavior it was approaching the time for my children to prepare for bed. I could not knowingly allow my son to go to bed in this state of mind–spiritually shackled by demonic oppression.  I called him into the family room and instructed him to open his Bible so we could read a passage from it. 

     When you confess the Word you are confirming your faith in the power and authority of Jesus Christ which defeats the demons and renders them incapable of oppression and control over your spirit.  We started to read from 1 John where he says, “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world!”. Upon completing that reading I instructed my son to read a passage exclaiming that he believes in Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord and accepts His authority alone over his life. His following response is frightfully true. 

     After reading this passage, I then instructed my son to read it out loud.  He informed me that he couldn’t.  I again instructed him to read it aloud to which he again replied that he did not know the words.  Taken back with surprise, I instructed him to just repeat the verse as I read it to him.  He then glaringly faced me squarely, crossed his arms and stated. “No, I won’t!”.  At this point I had no doubts as to what I was dealing with.  My wife could not believe his reaction and instantly abrupt response.  I then prayed with him and after having him repeat the words I voiced, I instructed him to go to bed. 

     After reeling from the shocking realization that I had just encountered a demonic spirit yet again with my children, I inquired of my wife what her perception was of the recent occurrence involving my son.  She informed me that when our son began to flare up before reading the verses with me, her tooth began to immediately experience pain.  However, it just as quickly subsided upon his exit from the room.  She was very intrigued as a result of this experience and realized how real and present demonic activity is. 

     Today as we arrived at a local DMV in Houston Texas to obtain a new license, we walked up to the sidewalk, which is directly outside the building, and my wife began to immediately experience the pain in her tooth again.  Upon entering the building and after waiting in line for hours, we observed several different nationalities of people waiting to be seen.  Houston is extremely integrated as far as race and ethnicity is concerned so nationalities are commonplace here.  Her tooth pain increases in intensity every time someone (no particular race) walks by.  But when we leave, so does the pain.

     I am writing this true account of our experience in the hope that others may also begin to realize how absolutely vital it is to understand demonic oppression and presence.  It is very real and very dark so any denial of these dark forces and principalities only increases their power and ability to afflict someone.  Do not think this is only Hollywood my friends.  Where do you think they got the idea?  Learn about demonic oppression by studying the gospels and see just how real and common they truly are.  Observe how Jesus and His disciples engaged them and what they did to battle them and cast them out.  Just don’t refuse to believe they exist because this is exactly how they remain in your life oppressing you. 

May the Peace and Grace of Jesus Christ be with you….

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The End Times in American Pop Culture

RESEARCH PAPER: THE END TIMES IN AMERICAN POP CULTURE 1

 

Research Paper: The End Times in American Pop Culture

Richard Mathewson

Mid-American Christian University

BIOT 3713 Prophetic Books and Eschatology

Instructor Brink July 27, 2011

 

Introduction

     Daniel 12:1 says, And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book (KJV). From the message provided long ago to Daniel in the setting of captivity of the Jewish nation of Israel by the Babylonians in the Old Testament to the book of Revelations revealed to John of the New Testament, God has given His people adequate warning involving the signs of the times pointing to what most in the current Christian culture refer to as “The End Times”. The questions I will address here are: 1) How did the advent of globalization affect history? 2) How does prophecy describe story of life? 3) How do the “end times” correlate to our culture? While these questions are not exhaustive they do present a very real and very serious problem which translates to our culture today. So, what is the importance of understanding the end times and what does this have to do with our culture? First, one very helpful way to understand these signs of the end times is what is known as eschatology or the study of last things (Holman, 2007). Jesus reveals the urgency of understanding the signs of the end times and this urgency is reflected in His words, “….ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” Then, as we begin to notice the importance of understanding these signs, suddenly the realization of our lack of knowledge on this subject begins to present a general feeling of anxiety within our culture—what is hereby known as the “pop culture”.

American Pop Culture

     American pop culture has revealed a dangerous and rather detrimental trend within the past few decades regarding eschatology and the “end time” views of the Bible. That is the disregard for the chastity of biblical truth and the resulting corruption of this truth through cultural influence. The progressive saturation of these cultural influences into the understanding of the Bible has led to unbelief of the truths the Bible contains. The sad reality of this ignorance is the resulting affect it has had on our society. This far reaching, devastating affect can be observed in our pop culture. We will discuss this devastating affect in a little while. Whether a culture chooses to accept the story of the earth or not has no bearing on the reality of this story in life. Injection of cultural influence into biblical truth, which almost always includes pagan ritual and worship, presents a situation with dangerous and even deadly effects on the rest of humanity as well. Because of globalization no one culture in particular is exempt from affecting the rest of the world in what it does and how it thinks. In the global village, we must deal with alternative views of reality every day (Regele, 1995). God has long provided consistent warning against the injection of pagan cultural influence into His chosen people of Israel’s culture and presents along with these warnings the effects of this ignorance and complacency in what we will discuss later as prophecy. Sadly, the present generation as well as some in the preceding generation seems to care more about what is current in pop culture today than what has been occurring within the American society and all around the world regarding eschatology. Biblical relevance in respect to the signs of the end times stemming from the occurrences of the world has taken a back-seat to the pop culture of America. To complicate the problem, the introduction of globalization onto the world scene has ushered in a collective atmosphere of connectedness with the rest of humanity. In turn, the resulting progressive increase in international relationships has fostered a spirit of universalism onto the world scene. This globalization has resulted in an even more drastic and far reaching negative influence on the understanding of the scriptures. This has caused those already with understanding to either weaken or completely change their once, strong views of eschatology and prophecy in the Bible. Because very little can be said regarding the positive aspects of globalization I will concentrate mostly on the negative aspects as they are becoming increasingly more apparent and visibly clear in relation to the predicament of eschatology and carry a direct correlation to the study of end times.

Globalization

     In one of his lectures, a theological professor John Cobb explains ecclesiastical globalization with eschatological implications–We inherited from Israel a story about the whole earth; so we have understood ourselves in the context of global history. We have understood that the good news about Jesus Christ was to be carried throughout the world. (Mt. 28:19; Acts 1:8) Although this globalizing impulse has waxed and waned, it has never been absent. Finally, in the nineteenth century, it came close to realization with the implantation of Christian churches in almost all countries (Cobb, 2000). We begin to notice an eschatological pattern emerge from history not only in the American church culture but also in Israel’s religious culture leading up to the church. Because Jesus commanded that the gospel must be spread throughout all the world and only then would the end come, (Matthew 24:14 KJV) it becomes essential to the understanding of eschatology to realize that this is exactly what is happening today in our world through globalization. Daniel was told by an angel in the Old Testament culture of Israel to “….shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4 KJV). Before the first advent of Jesus on earth, the prophet Daniel was already in possession of a clear understanding of what depicted the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro—this can be easily understood as the invention and introduction of much faster and much more efficient transportation within a limited scope of interpretation. Extending this scope of interpretation even further, it would be pertinent to assume this also points directly to the globalization of the planet. Knowledge shall be increased—this without a doubt signals the widening or globalizing of knowledge through increased communication or more simply put: the introduction of the industrial age!

     Without excluding any other possibilities of what meaning this passage of scripture may contain, it is safe to assume that with the enlightenment of the 18th century and the industrial age of the 18th and 19th centuries our world changed drastically. Not only did our world change; it became a globalized environment of instant communication and high speed transportation never before known to the world. Almost overnight everyone collectively became connected to each other regardless of the lines drawn in the sand that previously separated these people from each other. Whether it was war, ethnic division, religion, or political relevance, the issues that caused former divisions of nations seemed to fade away into the past and our world became a global supermarket instantly. Never before had the world seen such an epic change take place in such a small amount of time and it was as if the future erased the past leaving behind nothing to remember it by. Is it safe to say the industrial revolution fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel? Maybe, but then maybe not….However, what we can certainly understand from this information though, is how the industrial revolution of the 18th century has without a doubt played directly into the past predictions of prophets about the future. Here we can clearly see how already prophecy is becoming visible to our modern cultures. The presence of eschatology is now displayed for the world to see and the American culture of the 18th and 19th centuries has received the first big lesson of the relevance of biblical truth. Now let’s discuss just how relevant to prophecy and eschatology in general the industrial revolution really is.

     The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of the times….It began in the United Kingdom, then subsequently spread throughout Europe, North America, and eventually the world (Wikipedia, 2011). It is safe to say from above that the world as we once knew it to be had changed and Daniel could now be interpreted and understood in retrospect to this advent of technology and communication improvements. Because eschatology not only looks to the future for realization but it also looks to the past as well, history took on a fresh interest as it moved from prophecy of old to fulfillment of new. Possibility became reality, prediction turned into production. But eschatology is not alone in its interpretation of prophetic utterances of the past; prophecy also appears to come into view here as we will see.

Prophecy in Relation to the End Times

     Some fifty years ago, with the research of literary critics, linguists, psychologists, anthropologists and philosophers, metaphors metamorphosed from seasoning to substance, from appetizer to entrée….Instead of simply adding ornamentation, metaphors were recognized as a fundamental operative in society (Sandy, 2002). Metaphors are an important element of prophecy. The prophets of ancient used colorful metaphorical language in describing the catastrophic and awesome wrath of God that would happen if the people would not listen and heed God’s directives. Prophecy, while sometimes literal although very rarely understood in this context, tends to be better understood in the figurative sense. There are many reasons for this but the most prevalent reason seems to be the penetration effect needed to cut through the numbness of the hearers (Sandy, 2002).

     Prophecy was a message to the hearers and God wanted them to remember what He was saying to them because their survival depended upon their reception to His message. Because prophecy explains or describes God’s intent and purpose for His children, it can be understood and easily accepted that it is through prophecy, fulfilled and unfulfilled, that we discover clues explaining or describing the end times. Prophecy reveals the wrath of God towards the wickedness and sin of His chosen people through impending catastrophe or doom for those who refuse to repent of this wickedness and sin. However, without portraying absolute hopelessness, prophecy introduces a plan of prosperity in relation to calamity. There is hope and this hope is revealed in God’s patience and mercy during the calamity of this impending catastrophe and doom.

     Because America inherited from Israel a story about the whole earth (Cobb, 2000) we must understand what that story is and how Israel plays a part before we will understand the story. Israel began as a people to be set aside and consecrated unto God; His chosen people with a specific purpose and goal. However, true to the nature of humanity since the fall of Adam, these people, while uniquely dedicated and intensely monotheistic, continued to fall into sin. It was this failure to follow God’s direction and commandments which caused God to react to this sin through His prophets. God sent the prophets in an attempt to set straight the fallen children of Israel. This attempt was met with both success and failure on the part of the Israelites. The cycle of God commands-children disobey, God punishes-children repent, continued throughout the history of Israel. The prophets were given warnings from God. In response to His divine inspiration they turned around and produced colorful, metaphoric language directed towards the people of Israel. In an attempt to convince the people of their sin and much needed repentance, these prophets portrayed catastrophic doom that was doubtlessly going to happen if they refused to repent of their sins.

     Included in these prophetic warnings was apocalyptic language as well. While prophecy is figurative and poetic, apocalyptic is visionary and fantastic (Sandy, 2002). And while apocalyptic is a form or genre of prophecy, it is distinctive in the message it relays. Apocalyptic offers an assurance that the faithful who endure calamity will receive the reward of eternal life in glory. It asserts that God has a plan and His will shall be done despite all other factors involved. Unlike prophecy, apocalyptic points toward an end-time scenario and this is the intended understanding. It reveals the occurrences that will happen during this time in visionary language full of color with remarkable and awe binding descriptions of grandeur. Apocalyptic also directs the listener to the future; both immediate and distant. It is farther reaching than prophecy in this message of visionary display of God’s absolute glory. So even in the Old Testament we can see the end times beginning to surface in the Israelite culture. Now we will look at how the American culture is derived from the Israelite culture of the Bible.

     Both Jew and Gentile Upon sending His only Son, Jesus Christ to earth to remedy the predicament of sin and offer the nation of Israel another opportunity to regain the position of holy people consecrated unto Him, God decided that it was time to extend this offer to all humanity (Romans 4:16 KJV). For once in the history of the world, both Jew and Gentile alike now had the ability, freedom, and responsibility to approach God in awe and reverence through Jesus Christ. Because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 KJV) it is necessary that all repent and receive the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. It is important to the reality of eschatology to understand that Jesus Christ is the plan of redemption.

     At this point in history, tradition became obsolete and it was now faith which became necessary for this salvation.  However, God had not abandoned His chosen children of Israel, no, quite the contrary; instead He was using the hardened hearts of these stubborn people to bring the Gentiles into His kingdom, which had been inaugurated through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. In Romans 11:11 Paul confirms this plan when he clearly says this: I say then, “Have they stumbled that they should fall?” “God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy” (KJV). This passage reveals God’s divine plan of redemption revealed to us throughout history for the entire world, both Jew and Gentile alike. The original covenant was first made between God and Abraham; the father of the Jews. However, due to God’s merciful plan of redemption for the entire world that covenant now extends to all who desire salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

     We now realize that what we are all truly apart of this world story of redemption and it is through this redemption that we can receive salvation. Hebrews 1:1-2 explains that in times past God spoke to us through the prophets but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, Jesus Christ.  Even now we continue to notice the end times appearing again and again throughout scripture. The further we continue in our quest of understanding eschatology in our culture, the more we realize how connected eschatology is to our culture. And as we realize there is a sense of urgency in the rhetoric of the scriptures, we understand that this urgency applies to the entire world whether Jew or Gentile. We must now understand how this urgency specifically correlates over to our own culture—American pop culture.

The American Idol

     The American pop culture is responsible for causing much division of God’s Word recently. This can be contributed mainly to post modernism. With the failure of the modernist goal of a single, true story about what is real (the grand narrative), we have adopted in its place the belief that “truth” is merely a cultural construction (Regele, 1995). Before our post modernist culture, the previous modernist culture called for a “bombproof” certainty of knowledge. However, after the emergence of the global village or globalization everything about the American culture previously practiced and observed as a religious belief changed. The entire belief system changed as a result of a cultural shift in what truth is. Truth was now relative to the culture in which it existed. And because of the constant flow of foreign immigrants swelling its borders, America found its original ideals and theological views change from fundamental to fanatical. Around the same time as this influx of foreign influence, America began to faze into what we now know as the pop culture. However, because of the ideological beliefs of this new culture biblical truth dwindled in importance until it represented just a small minority of faithful adherents.

     Materialism, individualism, and universalism became the staple of the American diet and the acceptable status quo was no longer derived from biblical standard but cultural norm.  Fundamental adherents of the Bible became all but silent as they were forced to the way side and the spotlight now centered on popular opinion. The media evolved into the ruling class and wealth determined an individual’s status in the community. Priority was given to everything materialistic and the seemingly insignificant lives of Hollywood celebrities demanded more air time than world news. Both national and international news revealed the priority of the world; who was going to be voted in as the next American Idol! Popular television series portraying Reality TV ruled the day. The technological age thrusted itself forward with no visible end in sight.

     Where does this leave the theologian, the Bible scholar, the Pastor, and the professor of Bible studies? I cannot truly answer this question because the position of the modern church is really so skewed and corrupted it remains clouded in contradiction. But I can say in complete honesty our American pop culture has turned its back on the end times. Prophecy is openly denied and the very words of God are mocked daily. Should we be surprised? According to Jesus in Matthew 24:38 “….As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (KJV). Now let’s read this passage in tandem with Genesis 6:11–The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence (KJV). So we can clearly see the days of Noah closely resemble the days we live in today. Or do the days we live in today closely resemble the days of Noah? Whichever direction we choose to go with this, one thing is certain; we can ascertain that both of these Old Testament and New Testament scripture passages directly correlate with each other. Anyone with faith should feel secure knowing that those things mentioned above as happening in Noah’s day by Jesus must happen before the end comes (Matthew 24:5-14 KJV).  

     Matthew 24:21 echoes the words of Daniel when Jesus tells us, “For then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (KJV)—Daniel 12:1 says….”and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time….” (KJV). What is the relevance of these two passages that parallel each other so closely? First, we have no evidence that establishes Jesus had access to Daniel’s prophecies during His ministry in Galilee. Without archeological proof to substantiate this fact, one could correctly assume Jesus reiterated the words of Daniel from the Old Testament prophecy. This reveals the credibility of Daniel’s prophecy and general accuracy as well. Furthermore, this points to the survivorability and durability of prophecy throughout history. Second, remaining true to eschatology, one can positively identify the tribulation we are currently experiencing as a fulfillment of this prophecy. Finally, the realization of how the end times correlate over to our American pop culture can be correctly understood in historical precedence, present experience, and future perspective.

Bibliography

(Holman, 2007) AMG International, I. (1984, 1990, 2008). The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible King James Version. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.

Cobb, J. B. (2000, 10 02). The Theological Stake in Globalization. Retrieved 07 26, 2011, from Online Religion: http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1095

Falwell, J. (2005). King James Version Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Hoekema, A. A. (1979). The Bible and The Future. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Holman. (2007). Holman KJV Super Giant Print Dictionary and Concordance. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

Regele, M. (1995). Death of the Church. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House.

Sandy, B. (2002). Plowshares & Pruning Hooks: Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, USA.

Vine, W. E. (2010). Vine’s Topical Commentary: Prophecy. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Vine, W. (2005). Vine’s Concise Dictionary of the Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

Water, M. (2004). AMG’s Encyclopedia of Bible Facts . Chattanooga: John Hunt Publishing Ltd.

Wikipedia. (2011, 07 19). Industrial Revolution. Retrieved 07 26, 2011, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Revolution

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Good Church Administration–True Worship

This was from a post to my school discussion during my recent bachelor’s degree through Mid-America Christian University regarding proper and correct administration of the church in the pastoral study program.  We were all asked what good administration would constitute and many stated that rock music and bands playing properly managed are good ideas for worship.  Because I am a fan of biblical worship–in spirit and truth, I posted this in order to provide a more biblically supported style of worship which is important to understand–see Mount Sinai example of false worship and the resulting affect of failing to obey God. 
 
My Post in the Discussion Board in: The Role of the Pastor in Church Administration.
 
     I will add to your statement even more by expounding on this further….worship in the scriptures was never supposed to include music or instruments.  Scripture reveals that this “enticement” or seduction was what caused the fall of Eve and then Adam in the Garden of Eden (http://www.piney.com/MuGenun2.html).  You must research the scriptures in depth utilizing the elements of study that some of us have learned in previous classes in this course (degree program). 

     Conducting proper and accurate (unbiased and objective study) of the Greek and Hebrew sources (words, meanings) of the original scriptures will reveal this truth to worship.  Mount Sinai reveals the reality of the failure of Israel to worship God as He intended–by obeying Him and worshipping in spirit and truth; spirit by worship from personal or individual to God and truth through the Word of God-the original Ten Commandments.  When God first gave the Ten Commandments to Moses to give to Israel they were to obey them and this was the “rest” of God or worship that was nothing like that of the surrounding pagan nations.  This pagan worship was characterized by music, instruments, and dancing (seductive movements not orchestrated or allowed by God) and resulted in self-centered idolatry, sexual immorality, and worse.  God wants His chosen people to worship in spirit and truth without all the noisy and careless idolatrous elements. 

     So after Moses went up the mountain to secure the tablets to be prepared by God, Israel slipped into idolatry and became absorbed in pagan practices (influenced by their interaction in Egypt during their 400 year-long stay as slaves; with early Egyptian gods and worship rituals).  They first formed a calf from gold and silver.  They then began to worship this calf (resembling the Egyptian gods) and played music.  Dancing ensued which always leads to seduction of the human mind (there is a part of the brain that is captivated by music regardless of religious views which has been discovered in several studies by medical professionals).  Then, nakedness and immoral sexual activity began to occur.  It was at this point that God informed Moses of this sin which led to 23,000 being killed by the loyal “false worship”-free Levites.  After this God then added many hundred more laws (Levitical laws, ceremonial laws, etc.) which He intentionally made impossible to follow without failing to serve as a lesson to the Israelites for their sin of false worship and disobedience.  He made it quite clear that because they refused to obey His first simple laws (original Ten Commandments or the covenant of grace) they would not be allowed to enter His “rest” by being required to adhere to the now many more laws (levitical, etc.) or covenant of the law.  This wasn’t remedied until later through Jesus Christ! 

     Jesus as a part of God’s redemption plan for mankind since Eden became our rest through grace once again offered to us by our merciful and loving God.  Scriptures contain several more markers of the people of God and it is not the worship of the apostate church-false worship or idolatry but instead the worship of God through observing His holy days (Sabbath [saturday not sunday], feast of first fruits; feast of tabernacles; and feast of unleavened bread or Passover–all of which correlate over to their release from Egypt).  Daniel 3 reveals the current situation of our church today-the fiery furnace story.  A quick summary reveals this wicked idolatry of false worship known as the pop culture of Christianity. 

     Briefly, the three Jewish magi who were assistants to Daniel were ordered to bow when the music (via instruments) were played to the golden image of the king-Nebuchadnezzar or be thrown into a fiery furnace.  This directly correlates over to our current church music idolatry–band plays and entertains through music, dancing, and performance-based worship and the congregation or “spectators” respond by raising up upon being directed by the band to rise and worship.  Then they worship the beast by directing their seemingly Godly worship to the band and moving around in cultish and ritualistically pagan worship ways of possession calling it the Holy Spirit.  There is no biblical proof or scriptural evidence supporting this “possession” by the Holy Spirit but that will take us away from the subject of administration of church programs or correct worship.  So this worship (false worship of the locusts representing traveling or roving performers for money and evil influence–see Revelation 9) represents the following example through music signaling the time to “bow to the image.”   

     Each element serves as a direct correlation to our current world situation i.e. the three Jewish magi are the faithful remnant preserved by God throughout history of the redemption plan of history.  Nebuchadnezzar represents the enemy or Satan attempting to get us to bow to His image otherwise known as worshipping the beast.  The Chaldeans who complained against the faithful Jews who refused to bow upon hearing the music represent those false prophets that try everything to enforce and encourage this demonic worship of idols.  All those who bowed upon hearing the music played are those who will appear before the Lord claiming to have done these things in honest effort but they will hear “depart from me.” 

     Upon being given another opportunity (represents the lengths the enemy will go to in order to win the worship of man) the three Jews replied to the threat of the fiery furnace this, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O King, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up!”  This is the endurance of the saints as Paul always refers to it in his epistles in the New Testament, the endurance through trials and temptations to worship the beast which is direct worship of Satan who has been trying to incite this worship since the Garden of Eden through enticing and seducing methods which is known as music and dancing during worship.  Satan even attempted to have Jesus Himself worship him in return for the whole world (see the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days and nights).  Lastly, the fiery furnace represents the trials and tribulation that we are experiencing, will continue to experience, and soon will be victorious over if we choose to ignore and flee from this false worship that has so captivated the body of Jesus Christ.  If we continue to follow Jesus regardless of the unpopular stance of the apostate church then we have nothing to fear because His burden is easy and His yoke is light. 🙂  What a wonderful offer from our Savior and Lord!!!  🙂  

     Revelation 9 reveals these truths by discussing the angel (Satan) and the key (ability to deceive through false worship) to the bottomless pit (also Hades or Hell can be determined to refer to the designation of those who fall victim to false worship.  Further, it describes the locusts (people who entertain to deceive or market God through false worship offering “popular worship” and loud attractive styles through seductive methods), and they ascend from the pit to deceive the world which they have and are currently doing in full force.  The power means (Greek 1849-exousia: strength, force, efficiency) the ability to deceive with efficiency in numbers and with strength.  The “seal of God” is none other than the Passover or more descriptive–those who keep the holy days and sabbath as God commanded to remain perpetual and continue throughout the ages even into the continuation leading to the New Jerusalem to come (see Isaiah 66:18-24).  Those with the seal are not to be killed but only those without the seal of God which are tortured (through partaking in false worship).  Lastly, the king over the locusts (performers who deceive through seduction of music and dancing posing as angels of light [2 Corinthians 11:13-15]  is none other again than the Devil himself!

     So we can discover truths in the living breathing Word of God that free us from the trap of the enemy by studying in depth, which is exactly how God truly desires us to study.  Again, I will quickly reference Isaiah 58:6-7 as true worship and then follow up with Matthew 25:31-46 (Jesus’ own words which fulfilled Isaiah’s words previously).  Isaiah gives Israel (now all who choose to worship God in spirit and truth; see Jeremiah 31:31-34) the instructions of true worship to once again bring them into obedience to God and Matthew reveals the words of Jesus as a fulfillment of this reality of true worship as that thing which ensures those a place in the New Kingdom with everlasting life.  Hebrews 4:1-13 explains the “rest” of God that He was attempting to offer Israel after coming out of Egypt into the wilderness.  However, they refused to take up this offer thereby causing the greatest fall into apostasy which has continued in the church today.  Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ and dies to self to live for Him receives this “rest” as a sign or “mark” of God.  You will know these men by there fruits (observance of God’s chosen holy days and sabbath rest as well as true worship–in spirit and truth.  How wonderful is our God!   

     Please read this with an open mind and willing heart as it can be difficult to understand at first given the very prevalent and real situation of false worship known as rock music or the pop culture of the church.
    
     You must research the scriptures in depth utilizing the elements of study that some of us have learned in previous classes in this course (degree program).  Without searching the scriptures in-depth and dedicating your time to study these kinds of truths cannot and will not reveal themselves.  God tells us that He reveals Himself to those who are willing to understand.  Jesus constantly says, “Let those with ears hear!”  And Revelation tells us that “Let the man with wisdom understand the number of the beast!”  So we know that it requires study which is included in the administration of the church.  Pastors are the front-line of the scriptures or at least should be (see Acts 6:1-7 which reveals the very true and often overlooked or even ignored reality of true ministry of the church which was never supposed to change because of worship being in spirit and truth).  It clearly resembles preaching the Word of God and prayer in addition to healing known as the ministry of the word (v. 4).  This is why we see the number of converts in that time being added daily to the church and the numbers in our time dwindling continually.  You will see the numbers of converts increase exponentially if you administer correct programs in the church.  We must conduct correct administration which is correct and in line with God’s true plan for His church.  The Word of God is the most important worship available and the only kind that He will accept leading to His rest–the Sabbath.

 

 

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Bible Gateway passage: Jeremiah 7 – New American Standard Bible

Bible Gateway passage: Jeremiah 7 – New American Standard Bible.

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The DAY OF RECKONING!

     God laid out the world long ago in a fashion we cannot comprehend.  In addition to creating the earth, He also created life to furnish the earth with; humanity, the animals, and vegetation to reproduce and recycle our air and offer sustenance to both mammal races (Genesis 1).  It was God who decided who played what role and who would serve who.  It was God who saw fit to fashion mankind from simple dust of the earth.  And it was God who decided that dust was not simply “alive” without His own breath of life so He breathed into the dust creation His breath and mankind became Adam; a living breathing functioning creature in God’s own image (Genesis 2:7). 

     God created mankind in His image.  This one line of truth provides much insight into how our world came about but there are many lines of truth covering how the culmination of the world concludes.  Believing in the creation story comes easy due to limited resources providing evidence of the creation but believing in a single story about how this creation comes to an end, well this is a bit more difficult and unsure.  Do we believe that the end is already here and simply needs to see fruition before finalizing in completion?   Or do we believe that, while the end is near it is not yet here? 

     According to Matthew 24:6-14, even after hearing of wars and rumors of wars, the end is still not yet here.  We shall experience tribulation, death, and hate from all nations because of our belief in Jesus.  Nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.  Many of our society will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  False prophets will rise up and mislead many of the elect.  Lawlessness is going to increase greatly and the love of many people will grow cold.  It is not until the gospel is preached to the whole world that the end comes finally. 

     This is promising and encouraging for many different reasons.  We are in the last days of the groaning world.  It groans and grumbles under the pressure of sin and this becomes visible in the ecological problems and calamity we see today.  Global warming is not something of man’s doing.  Despite many claims to this end, God has control over the universe even down to the very temperature of His earth’s core and atmosphere above the earth’s core as well.  Several different books from the Apocrypha reveal that in these end days the earths seasons will begin to change and the climate will alter too.  A fervent student of Scripture should show no surprise to this information then.

     We have been noticing wars and rumors of wars more lately in the last 20+ years than ever before.  While war has always been a vice of the enemy used to murder and control the world powers, we will notice a disturbing trend in the increase of war all over the world on a global scale today.  Ushered in by the introduction of globalism to the world scene, war has become almost mainstay to the daily scene communal news.  You will also notice a very obvious increase in lawlessness in every culture and society worldwide.  The criminal explosion mixed with the explosion of immorality in every culture has thoroughly permeated the entire world leaving no place unscathed by its effects. 

     You need not look far to realize earthquakes have become almost secondary to the other issues demanding so much face time in our daily life.  Yet they are present everywhere and seem to be increasing in intensity as time progresses.  Famine has become a global pandemic and receives very little attention from our society today.  You will hear little tidbits here and there but it seems that famine and starvation have not maintained the same public appeal they used to demand from the previous one-world power cultures.  Maybe it is the globalism effect or maybe some other element involved but there is little attention ever drawn any more to this dilemma. 

     We have begun to observe the most emotionally damaging of all trends today and that is the falling away of our family structure and morals.  Betrayal seems to almost be the norm in business practices and strategy.  Where once betrayal carried great negative connotations, it now seems to be a regular and acceptable norm in our culture and society.  Especially in America, you will observe a very selfish pattern of relations occurring all over.  Harkened by post-modernism, betrayal comes as no surprise where once it was deplorable to even mention.  It seems the love of all has grown cold.  You are hard pressed to find even one honest pastor or Christian leader today in our culture who has everyone else’s wellbeing in mind instead of their own selfish motives.  Family love has all but disappeared, divorce is on the rise and is more acceptable today than ever before.  It is almost inconceivable to hear of divorce not occurring in a marriage at least once in a lifetime.  To observe the coldness of love in our society, just look around at the poor and needy in our towns, on our roadways, under our overpasses.  They swarm the city streets looking for something to fill their bellies with desperation for someone to simply care about them and take notice to their plight.  Love within the church is no exception to any social rule and almost finds normality within the institution of church which is so grevious it burns my heart to think about it.

     False prophets are everywhere today within the church deceiving the elect in everything they do.  Preaching Jesus has become cliché and to hear one speak about Jesus while injecting subjective agenda is the norm of our day and age.  Jesus’ original mandate to preach the Gospel has been disregarded and changed into the “feel good” sermon of happiness and prosperity through pursuit of wealth and good fortune in life.  The Isaiah 58 message of tending to the poor and needy has become obsolete and instead you will hear a message of tending to one’s personal needs and finding absolution within one’s own inner self satisfaction.  2 Timothy 3:5 tells us men will hold to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power. 

     Peter and John cover false prophets extensively yet you never hear of this pandemic in our church message today.  The message of the day is self-satisfaction and self-success when Jesus preached the opposite in the Synoptic Gospels providing depth and insight into why we were to give this lifestyle up and pursue caring for others and doing His will, not our own.  One simply cannot argue this fact of truth but in today’s culture of post-modernistic beliefs arguing truth no longer matters.  Truth is what the individual wants it to be or believes it to be regardless of its historical precedence in credibility.  Reality is whatever an individual believes, not what has truly occurred in their life.

     We see a great effort to spread the gospel to the whole world all over yet little progress in reaching those people with the truth.  The gospel has become whatever denominational doctrine preaches it.  It is the gospel according to that specific church body including their biased and subjective belief system.  This gospel has become tainted half-truths of mixed motivations.  Deception runs rampant within our ecclesiastical walls.  The message of today is not even in the Bible but instead taken completely out of context to be manipulated into a twisted and skewed message of false hope when our world is falling to pieces around us.  Jeremiah 23:9-40 details the plan of the false prophet giving a full disclosure of their tricks and true intentions to deceive the people through tickling their ears with desirable stories. 

     This is not the gospel of Jesus Christ every believer was mandated to preach.  The gospel of the Bible is simple.  “The Kingdom of God has come and is upon us–repent from your sins at once and receive salvation of eternal life!”  No surprises, no hidden agendas, no manipulation or deception.  Just a simple message to those who desire a true change in their lives.  Jesus says in Matthew 10:34-36 that He did not come to bring peace to earth but instead He came to bring a sword.  He came to set man against his father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.  A man’s enemies will be his own household.  If these are the very words of our Savior and He preached this as His message, why do we hear the opposite in today’s church culture?  Jeremiah 23:16-17 clearly establishes that this message of peace is false hope!  Yes, it is right here in the very Bible that we read.  So then we should find no surprise in the false message of false hope denying the truth and claiming pursuit of peace and wealth is godly pursuit.  Stop allowing the false prophets to deceive you my friends.  Listen to God and hear Him today.

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The Dawning of the Ages!

     Aquarius–“this is the dawning of the ages”–a song originally created by the Mamas and the Papas then redone in the more popular rendition of the 60’s by The Fifth Dimension reveals the change in our culture’s perception of belief and spiritualism.  No longer would spiritualism be known by one’s relationship to God or pious observance of biblical principles.  Instead spiritualism has crested the hill of the religious path and has been approaching the attitude of ridding oneself of any inward importance and finding identity in a greater cosmic good through prosperity, peace, and planetary transformation. 

     The three P’s of New Age belief bring about a search for absolution through collective humanism.  The pursuit of God however brings about a much different perspective in what I have titled the three R’s–Repentance, Return, and Renewal.  We must repent of our sinful ways, return to God and His ways for us, and then renewal in our lives can occur.  This belief demands an absolute dependence on God for strength and “enlightenment.”  New Age offers enlightenment through divination, occult practices, and demonic observance through astronomy, astrology, and magic practices.  God condemns this behavior in Deuteronomy 18:9-13 and other passages in His Word to us. 

     It is the lie of the enemy that has convinced us that truth is what we concoct it to be.  Reality is anything we want it to be and as an individual, we make our own reality and truth.  If the standard is determined by whatever side of the bed we wake up on, then we will most definitely face eventual collapse of our society on a global level.  Chaos is mentioned in the Bible as being the removal of the Holy Spirit’s control as He departs from His constant protection of the universe’s order.  It is during this removal that we will begin to notice issues arise that even the stoutest of us have balked at in the past.  The world as we know it will explode into a state of chaotic lawlessness. 

     Post-modernism has placed a feeling of emptiness in our civilization by creating an “every man for himself” mentality from which most of the current culture has adopted their spiritual views and beliefs.  This is relative to the bigger picture in that what remains is chaotic lawlessness.  Despite the world’s idea of individual fulfillment through fleshly pleasure and lust (the broader sense of the word encompassing more than just a sexual nature), God must fulfill His own plan and prophetic claims that identify much calamity to come.  We are already noticing a dramatic increase in the calamity of the day and we will begin to observe a disturbing trend that will become more and more prominent as time progressively moves forward. 

     New Age is the embodiment of this movement from spirituality pertaining to one God with absolute truth (Christianity) to everything is god with personal interpretation of what truth is (New Age).  More importantly, New Age is further intensified in the post-modernistic trend of our culture.  There is only one solution to this

The Peace Symbol

dilemma, the three R’s of the Bible–Repent of our sinful practices, Return to God and Renew our faith in Him and our relationship with Him.  Then we will be healed and our salvation will be secured.  

     2 Chronicles 7:14–“….and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sins and will heal their land” (NASB)      

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Introduction of TheologyofTruth! (via Theologyoftruth’s Blog)

The reintroduction to my blog.

This blog is a theological conversation about the church and its degradation throughout the centuries it has existed. The ekklesia of the New Testament was much different than our current organization. The church has become an industrialized money-generating machine that continues to operate outside the protected confines of God's grace. However, because of God's forgiving nature and His ongoing desire for redemption for all His children, we can … Read More

via Theologyoftruth's Blog

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Bible Verses

(NASB)Daniel 1:8-9 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king”s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. [9] Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials,

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The Separation of Church and State

     Today in America there is supposed to be separation of church and state, even declared as such by our very Constitution!  However, our children in public schools are expected to witness even take part in pagan rituals forced upon Christianity by ancient Roman decree.  Pagan festivals that are not allowed by the very God of Christianity (Rockwell, K.). 

     It is this very separation of church and state that would have paved a way for the church to remain abstinent from influence from the surrounding cultural, political, and social pressures.  While not successful in accomplishing this task, this concept would have provided the church a sort of “buffer” against outside pagan influence through the law. 

     Our generation will never know where and how pagan influence originated unless we educate them in its history.  History has a sick way of repeating itself over and over and over and over and over again.  Was it not for history, we might have fallen into the same trap of going to war against another nation simply based off lies and hidden agenda–or did we?  Was it not for history, we might have failed to grasp the lesson of the wandering [failing to realize our sin while claiming to believe in God] children of Israel [Christians] in the wilderness [world] from the Old Testament–or did we?  Was it not for this same history, we might have fallen prey to the vices of Satan by becoming entangled in cultural pressure and pagan influence [http://www.theologyoftruth.com/], or have we? 

     Friends, it is not just the indoctrination of our children in the schools today.  It is not that simple.  This would limit the enemies potential to cause chaotic widespread control.  This issue goes much deeper but I will not downplay the relevance of education either.  Education is probably one of the biggest forms of desensitization simply because it is organized, collective indoctrination in a controlled environment.  But, the greatest form of education even still occurs in the home.  It is this environment that breeds the most results because it is in this atmosphere where love is a mitigating factor.  Where love abounds hate also abounds and when love grows cold hate will only grow substantially greater, intensifying as it progresses.  Hate is a direct effect of a broken home life.          

     The church is sinking in a politically correct quagmire of religious muck.  Without grabbing onto the life-vest we have been thrown by God, we will see its demise as it faces the wrath of God as the Bible says.  Warning after warning yet we continue to blatantly refuse God’s help.  If we believe the Bible–if we live with the Bible as our ultimate authority–if we obey the “good book” in everything we do then why are we still held hostage by calamity, pestilence, and famine?  If we are following God in our lives then why do we experience death (which Jesus defeated at Calvary)? 

     As the church, the ekklesia or body of Christ, we must separate ourselves from the pagan cultures and society of sin.  Exodus 23:24-27 says this–“You shall not worship their [pagan people] gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces.  But you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst.  There shall be no one miscarrying or barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.  I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs on you.” (NASB)

     So you see friends, it is not “world” in the sense of sin that is wrong, it is our very own community of believers who insist they are “saved” and already have their “ticket to heaven.”  God loves all His children but cannot help those who don’t think they need help.  This is the detail many have passed over and that Satan has capitalized on.  This is how Satan “blinds the minds of the unbelievers to the Gospel.”  Observe it says “unbelievers” which means someone–anyone who doesn’t believe; not just sinners as many unbelieving “Christians” would like to think. 

Christians preach their own version of the Gospel yet they continue to sacrifice their own existence daily on the altar of ignorance through observance of pagan holidays instead of celebrating God’s “holy days.”  They walk around making a huge deal out of small insignificant issues to God thinking the attention they receive will help them gain popularity, which in turn gains favor with the people and ensures increased ranks of the faith.  But we are losing the very battle we are fighting by fighting the wrong enemy.  We are spending too much time fighting an invisible enemy conjured up by our own frivolous imaginations which have been selectively stimulated by a pagan culture instead of fighting the Satanic realm which is clearly described in the Bible. 

Most Christians know how to sell a person the story of “spiritual warfare” and spend a great effort on boasting of their skills yet cannot even recognize the demons in their own lives which plague them daily.  We must separate ourselves from the pagan influence and eradicate any sin in our lives permanently or it will just resurface in the future.  We must separate church and state and keep them separated to ensure positive growth within the church community without interference from the state.  God cannot reveal His awesome power and perform miracles while we insist on walking in sin.  God cannot be in the same vicinity of sin so we must cleanse ourselves from sin to prepare a space worthy of His presence and glory.  Cleanse your life of sin friend and do not wait.  Noah warned the local pagan culture of his era to separate themselves from sin and when they would not listen, they perished in the flood.  A wrath much greater and hotter than the flood is coming and we must not ignore it this time!  www.theologyoftruth.com

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Flickr

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

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