Posted in beth moore, catholicism, false church, franklin graham, james robison, john macarthur, pope francis, roman catholic, spurgeon

Catholicism: "the most pernicious system of error the world has ever known"; last days church forming quickly before our eyes

INTRODUCTION

This is long. Settle in.

I have come to a conclusion based on both what the bible says about the last of the last days, and on the evidence I’ve seen and gathered over the last few years. Though this essay is based on the bible, the conclusion I am coming to is speculation. It is opinion. I cannot be dogmatic about it. And neither can you.

Source

It is crystal clear to me that the Tribulation church is forming before our eyes. The Tribulation Church in my opinion may be mainly Catholic in some form. All false religions will be part of the final, Babylon church. But the most recognizable portion, the foundation, will likely be Catholic. Allow me to lay out why I believe this. This will be in three sections. First, let’s get an introductory understanding of that the final church is.

In Revelation 17 we read of a whore, the Whore of Babylon.

And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. (Rev 17:3-6)

That tremendous chapter describes the fall of the final religion, the Tribulation ‘church’ of which I speak. Here is John MacArthur:

Since the fall of man recorded back in the third chapter of Genesis when he rebelled against God, God cursed man. And because man was cursed, because he is now by nature sinful, his nature has been perverted and so that innate longing to know God has been twisted. Man still reaches out for the supernatural but no longer does he long for the true God. In fact the Bible says no man seeks after God. His residual religiosity makes him long for some deity, but it’s usually a deity that accommodates somehow his sinfulness.

Satan, as you well know, has spawned all the false religions. They’re really one and the same, they just have different names and a few different rites and ceremonies, but they’re basically all the same. They fit in and out of varying cultures for varying purposes and reasons in Satan’s enterprise, but ultimately they are all the same. They are systems that attach themself to non-existent deities, systems that teach that man can save himself by his own works and his own achievement and his own self-righteousness, that the way to God is through ceremony, ritual, rite, things like that. It’s all the same. And it will come together in one great world final form of religion in the very end.

Source

As the 2000’s have seen the rise in power of the Muslim religion, many people have said that they believe the last days church will be Muslim. They make a connection between the future beheadings prophetically reported in Revelation 20:4 and the Muslim’s favorite method of execution. They tie Islam’s rise in power and terror to the antichrist, and speculate the antichrist will be from Islam.

The Muslim end times eschatology is eerily similar to the Christians’, except the opposite. Their Jesus is our false prophet. Their Mahdi is our antichrist. Their outcome is that Islam will win, and of course, God has already won, through His Son. Christianity will prevail in the end, and all Christians already have prevailed.

Though of course Islam is satanic, I’ve always thought that Islam is to extreme and too violent to be the winner of the Tribulation religion last days false religion trophy. After all, satan is the most subtle creature in the Garden (Genesis 3:1). Islam is not subtle. I have always believed that satan’s most successful, his most crowningly subtle dark achievement, has been Catholicism.

In a piece I quote in lengthier form below, RL Dabney (1820-1898) said in “The Attractions of Popery,” that Catholicism is “the most skillful and pernicious system of error which the world has ever known.”

I firmly agree.

There are three pieces to the final Babylon church puzzle I am seeing in the wide scale, of which Catholicism is taking a major role.

~~~~~~~~~~~~SECTION 1~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pixabay: Public Domain

Here is reason #1 why I believe the final Babylon religion will be most recognizably Catholic. In 1990, Pope John Paul II initiated a “new evangelization.” Since nothing at the Vatican moves quickly, it wasn’t until 2010 that the new evangelization began in earnest, and then boy, did it leap forward with light speed. Pope Benedict’s creation in 2010 of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, the installation of the first officers to this council in 2011, in 2012 the Year of Faith so as to get ready to evangelize, and the three year plan being issued in 2013 all have hurtled Catholicisim into the forefront again.

We are seeing much movement and energy from the Bishops regarding this initiative. It is all the talk in Catholic circles.

There are three aspects to the Catholic new evangelization,

  • Evangelization as a regular activity of the church, a lifelong process directed at practicing Catholics;
  • The mission ad gentes, meaning the first proclamation of Christ to non-Christian persons and peoples;
  • “New Evangelization,” meaning outreach to baptized Catholics who have become distant from the faith.

As the article explains in plain terms, the Catholic New Evangelization means

In the United States, there are now 22 million ex-Catholics, big enough to be the largest religious denomination in the country. The church drops four members for every one member it gains, and if it were not for Hispanic immigration, it would have been declining for decades. Yet the Catholic church in America also holds on to almost 70 percent of its members into adulthood, a higher retention rate than any other Christian denomination.

Pixabay: Public Domain

The Vatican is aggressively doing something about this. If you think this has nothing to do with Protestants, you are quite wrong. If you think for one moment that Catholics won’t poach Protestants, you are absolutely wrong. That uneasy truce with Catholics on one side of the Reformation and Protestants on the other is shrinking every day. More about that in part 3 below.

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

~~~~~~~~~~~~SECTION 2~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Here is reason #2 why I believe the final Babylon religion will be most recognizably Catholic.

Informally since Constantine, and formally since Pope Gregory I (pope from 590-604AD), the Catholic Church has practiced something called interpretatio christiana.

A notable strategy for Christianization was interpretatio christiana – the practice of converting native pagan practices and culture, pagan religious imagery, pagan sites and the pagan calendar to Christian uses…Reformatting native religious and cultural activities and beliefs into a Christianized form was officially sanctioned; preserved in the Venerable Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum is a letter from Pope Gregory I to Mellitus, arguing that conversions were easier if people were allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditions, (source Wikipedia)

So for example, a missionary priest entering the jungle of South America would tell the local indians there, that sacrificing to the jaguar god was no longer acceptable, but if they sacrificed to the sky God Yahweh, it would be all right. Their fertility festival was no longer acceptable, but Mardi Gras-type bacchnalias were all right. The Catholics simply renamed the pagan practices, encouraged the locals to continue them, and melded Catholicism to the locals’ already established pagan religions. In this way, Catholicism has a centuries-old head start on syncretism. Renaming is not converting.

So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. (Acts 20:31)

Interpretatio christiana in the secular world is known as syncretism,

the combining of different, often seemingly contradictory beliefs, while melding practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths

The Catholic leaders have syncretized most other religions into Catholicism in some way and they are working on Islam. In his Evangelii Gaudium (Apostolic Statement) on November 24, 2013, in the section on interfaith dialogue, Pope Francis said of Muslims,

We must never forget that they “profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, who will judge humanity on the last day”.[198] The sacred writings of Islam have retained some Christian teachings; Jesus and Mary receive profound veneration and it is admirable to see how Muslims both young and old, men and women, make time for daily prayer and faithfully take part in religious services. Many of them also have a deep conviction that their life, in its entirety, is from God and for God.

Pope Francis has also said that “inside every Christian is a Jew“. And so on with Catholic attitudes toward Hinduism, Buddhism, Charismaticism, paganism, animism, and the rest of all the other world religions. Catholicism has had almost two millennia of organized practice of melding the local religion into its own. They have a head start at laying the local infrastructure to absorb it, the organization to execute it, and the will, money and tradition to sustain it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~SECTION 3~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is reason #3 I believe the final Babylon religion will be most recognizably Catholic in some form. The chasm between Conservative Protestantism and Catholicism is closing rapidly, with frightening speed. With such speed it must have been supernaturally induced.

Since the Reformation when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the All Saints’ Chapel door at Wittenberg, there has been a chasm between Protestants and Catholics. The twain did not ever meet. There was no common ground. There was only split and more distance. One side cast a wary eye at the other but mostly the two sides have left each other alone.

Except…now that chasm is shrinking. It’s as if God had held the Protestant and Catholic apart until His timing, and is now allowing satan to bring the chasm together at warp speed. One “evangelical” leader after another is caving in to the popery of Rome. The unification of the two sides is rapidly occurring, so rapidly it seems to me it is directly supernatural in its origin.

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.(Philippians 3:18)

The other day I wrote about a Franklin Graham crusade in Pittsburgh. In that piece I’d mentioned in 2011 I was shocked to find an Episcopal congregation in Maryland voted to return to Rome and become Catholic. The church had been Protestant for 100 years. However, unbenownst to Protestants, there were new rules that had been issued by the Vatican, the article revealed, that deliberately propose to reach out to disaffected Protestants. Father Dwight Longenecker wrote of the mass conversion,

The way to understand this more dynamic possibility is to see the ordinariate as a new bridge across the Tiber for a whole range of Protestant Christians.

The bridge across the Tiber is a reference to the Tiber River which surrounds Vatican City in Rome. The Father continues,

Already, conservative, liturgically minded Lutherans are asking why there isn’t a Lutheran ordinariate,  … And if Lutherans may come across the ordinariate bridge, why not Methodists? … The way to a very exciting future for the Anglican ordinariate is for the new Anglican-style Catholics to set out with missionary fervor. They might begin with American Evangelicals.

And they have. They have set out to unite with, partner with, ‘dialogue’ with American evangelical leaders. And they have been successful. In 2011 Fr. Longenecker wrote that Rome should begin seeking American Evangelicals. In 2014, done. Check that one off the list.

2014: Pope Francis with evangelicals (Life Outreach)

And if Lutherans and Methodists…why not Baptists? You see there is no end to the Pac Man gobble. Not until Mystery Babylon is slain by a returning, wrathful Christ.

Later, James Robison telecasted the video of his meeting with Pope Francis on his daily TV program, Life Today.

“The pope, in the video, expressed a desire for Protestants and Catholics to become what Jesus prayed for — that Christians would become family and not be divided,”

I am hearing more and more of this plea to “unite”. For example, Beth Moore has said she believes the Reformation was a mistake. She discussed it in a segment on the 2006 Catholic-influenced Contemplative DVD “Be Still,”

You know, one of the things that time gives us is that it erases the lines in between people so many different sections of the people of God. Because many years later it doesn’t matter any longer that this person was of this practice in the Christian faith and this person of another. Time somehow blurs those lines and we are profoundly moved by the historical narratives of all their lives, of so great a cloud of witnesses; that we can look back on and see what kept them running the race, what kept them running toward the face of Christ at the end of that finish line.”

So, ‘all that messiness’ was so long ago it doesn’t count anymore? All the martyrs burned for daring to oppose the Catholic Church’s authority can be dismissed, while we embrace the forefathers of this perpetration of evil because we’re moved by their historical narrative?

Why do I mention James Robison and Life Today ministries? Because by their own account, they are in 50 nations over 6 continents. Because Beth Moore, monetary anchor of LifeWay Books and member of the conservative the Southern Baptist Convention, partners with Robison which airs her program, Wednesdays in the Word.

Joel Osteen Meets with Pope Francis at Vatican: ‘He’s Made the Church More Inclusive’

Because Joel Osteen regularly speaks to 16,000 people at his stadium and broadcasts to over 100 million homes in the U.S. and tens of millions more in 100 nations. Each week more than one million people download Osteen’s heresies on their audio and video podcast, by Osteen’s accounting, “making our podcast consistently one of the top five in the world.”

That is quite a bit of heresy spread around and I’ve only mentioned three people. What of Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, when he partners with Pittsburgh’s Bishop Zubik? When Graham set the venue for Graham’s crusade/festival next door to Epiphany Catholic Church so that Crusade seekers can enter there and be counseled? So said Zubik, exultantly, here,

Those who respond to Rev. Graham’s invitation to make a decision for Christ, and who identify as Catholic, will be given the opportunity to go to Epiphany Church — adjacent to the Consol Energy Center — for the sacrament of reconciliation, or confession. ”We’re right next door,“ Bishop Zubik said. Bishop Zubik said Catholics don’t share all of Rev. Graham’s controversial political statements but added: “That’s not what this is all about. The whole point is to bring people back to Jesus.”

Google map, with stickies ‘finger of death’ & ‘black hole’ added

This makes me cry. Which Jesus? I weep with pain for those who are delivered back to darkness, with the Light so near. You can see the end of all this, the very end, when the ones who were deluded into thinking Catholicism was faith, who cry,

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’(Matthew 7:21-23)

Since the DVD ‘Be Still’ was published in 2006 with Moore’s cloaked language, Moore now openly teaches that Catholicism is part of denominational Christianity. Below are stills from a video in which she was teaching this, and below that, the actual video. She wasn’t using the bible as her basis, either. Moore was teaching from a directly revealed vision.

Vatican. Pixabay: Public Domain

Moore said that “Jesus” sent her a vision which included lifting her into a dimension in which He dwells, to see the global church through His eyes, and which included Catholics. We know her vision is not from Jesus. Firstly, because Jesus is not giving personal and direct revelation any longer. And second, because He would never teach that the blasphemous doctrines of Rome are part of His church. Beth Moore is NOT hearing from Jesus. She is having satanic visions.

Here are the denominations Moore was using in her lesson as representations of this ‘global interdenominational church’ “Jesus” showed her.

“First United Methodist Church”, & “Christ Redeemer Lutheran Church”
“Mt Zion Missionary Baptist Church”
“St Anne’s Catholic Church”

Transcript: “Right back here, I want you to meet St Anne’s Catholic Church of Lessthanland. These ladies, although they attend different Catholic Churches, all attend a Catholic church, right here in Houston, and I am so thrilled they are here.”

Babylon is to be better understood as the sort of the archetypical head of all worldly resistance to God. It is a trans-historical Babylon. It is the Babylon of idolatry. It is the eschatological symbol of worldwide satanic deception and power. ~John MacArthur
The Puritans always thought a future Pope would be antichrist. In one sense, the general sense, all popes are antichrist, because they do not believe the truth. (1 John 4:3). But we all know (or should know) that there will be one final man who will embody the totality of the antichrist spirit. Just as there was one last Adam, the Son of Man, embodying all of God’s Spirit (Jesus), there will come one man who will perform all the perdition there can be, and thrust it onto the world, which will accept it. This one will be the Beast, the antichrist, a man, later indwelled by satan. One of his very names is “Son of Perdition.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

Here is a piece written in 1894 which portends much,

The Attractions of Popery
R.L. Dabney
Appeared In The Presbyterian Quarterly, April, 1894.

Dr. John H. Rice, with the intuition of a great mind, warned Presbyterians against a renewed prevalence of popery in our Protestant land. This was when it was so insignificant among us as to be almost unnoticed. Many were surprised at his prophecy, and not a few mocked; but time has fulfilled it. Our leaders from 1830 to 1860 understood well the causes of this danger. They were diligent to inform and prepare the minds of their people against it. Hence General Assemblies and Synods appointed annual sermons upon popery, and our teachers did their best to arouse the minds of the people. Now, all this has mainly passed away, and we are relaxing our resistance against the dreaded foe just in proportion as he grows more formidable. It has become the fashion to condemn controversy and to affect the widest charity for this and all other foes of Christ and of souls.

Prophetic words, those. The feature of the distant past time was to speak against Rome’s Popery/Catholicism. Active and organized vigilance against it. How refreshing. But now, vigilance has thoroughly decreased in the face of those who vociferously condemn “controversy” and command speaking only of “charity” (niceness). The piece continues,

The popish system of ritual and doctrine was a gradual growth, which, modifying true Christianity, first perverted and then extinguished it. Its destructive power has resulted from this: that it has not been the invention of any one cunning and hostile mind, but a gradual growth, modified by hundreds or thousands of its cultivators, who were the most acute, learned, selfish, and anti-Christian spirits of their generations, perpetually retouched and adapted to every weakness and every attribute of depraved human nature, until it became the most skillful and pernicious system of error which the world has ever known.

How I long for strong, clear words today condemning “the most pernicious system of error the world has ever known”! Instead, ‘Christian’ leaders partner with it! There will be a dire price to pay for this. Roger Oakland of Understanding the Times wrote:

The purpose of the New Evangelization is to promote the Roman Catholic gospel by reaching out to all religions as well as the separated brethren and introducing them to the Eucharistic Christ. … Evangelicals who believe there will be a great revival (rather than a great apostasy) in the last days centered around the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are candidates for this delusion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~CONCLUSION~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While American evangelicals have been distracted by the shadow Muslims crouching at the door, the Vatican has been intentional, missional, and aggressive in aiming for our most conservative Protestant remaining pockets of resistance to pollute the minds of those who are supposed to be leading us. Muslims have been loudly storming the front door, but Rome has silently infiltrated the back. (Jude 1:4; Galatians 2:4; 2 Timothy 3:6). There are so few religious battlegrounds left for Rome to conquer.

Therefore, because of the “new evangelization”, because of a centuries of interpretatio chrstiana, and because of the rapid absorption of so many leading ‘evangelicals’ into Catholicism and so much infusion of Catholicism’s traditions into Protestant life, the final days church is nearly formed. This is my opinion.

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (Titus 1:16)

~~~~~~~~~~~~ENCOURAGEMENT & ACTION~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pixabay: Public Domain

I appreciate that you read this lengthy opinion essay of the last days church. I think the pieces of it are coming together quickly. It is significant that Rome, not known for speed, is moving so fast. It is important to be careful and measured when speaking an opinion though, that is why I laid it out so thoroughly, with examples and many quotes. However, far be it for me to analytically present the pieces without encouragement to your soul, and suggested actions.

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalm 34:7-8)

We are all familiar with this next verse. For these times especially when so much prophetic activity is occurring, that which we see, and that which we sense, lean not on our own understanding. Trust in Him and His word. He has told us beforehand!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

No matter what is happening in the world, we are not of this world, but of the world where Jesus dwells,

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Meanwhile we can take actions.

1. Do not partner with darkness, including Rome. (2 Corinthians 6:14). Not even for a moment. Do not let anyone fool you, Catholicism is not Christian. (2 Corinthians 11:4).

2. Because Catholics need the true faith, evangelize them. (Matthew 28:16-20)

“What was at stake? I’ll tell you what was at stake. What was at stake is whether or not we evangelize Roman Catholics, that’s what’s at stake. One billion of them in the world. Are they a mission field? Or are they our co-laborers for Christ? That changes everything, everything. On the other side, one of the leading evangelicals said, “I think it’s so wonderful that we can now see Catholics as Christians because that means millions and millions of people are Christians.” As if somehow by them deciding they were Christians they became Christians. I was absolutely incredulous, almost fell off my chair.”

Reclassifying the Pope, reclassifying the Roman Catholics as believers isn’t that simple. It has massive implications. It has implications that literally overturn centuries of missionary effort. It has massive implications that overturn centuries, if not millennia of martyrdom. In the long war on the truth, the most formidable, relentless and deceptive enemy has been Roman Catholicism. It is an apostate, corrupt, heretical, false Christianity, it is affront for the kingdom of Satan. The true church of the Lord Jesus Christ has always understood this. And even through the Dark Ages from 400 to 1500, prior to the Reformation, genuine Christian believers set themselves apart from that system, and were brutally punished and executed for their rejection of that system. ~John MacArthur

3. Do not be afraid to name names. We must declare ones like Joel Osteen false so that when he promotes the Pope we will not be confused by his doctrinal error. As Tony Miano said, “Any man who declares a Roman pope to be a brother in Christ is, himself, an enemy of Christ.”

When Apostle John wrote, he said,

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them
that are causing the divisions
and occasions of stumbling,
contrary to the doctrine which ye learned,
Romans 16:17a

I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church. Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. (3 John 1:9-11)

John did not say, “Love Diotrephes and do not criticize him, and neither will I.” No, John said he will bring up what Diotrephes was doing, because Diotrephes was doing evil.

Paul wrote to warn of Alexander the coppersmith:

Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. (2 Tim 4:14-15).

Today’s Christians would chastise Paul for “gossiping” and “criticizing”. When they tell you not to name names (after prayer and if you have evidence), don’t fall for it. Name them! (Romans 16:17).

How will we know to beware of anyone if Christians refuse to say who to avoid? Who to guard against? Who to refuse into their homes? (2 John 1:10).

3. Pray. Pray for all the ones mentioned in this article. They need Jesus too. Pray for the ones who follow the ones mentioned in this article (Robison, Osteen, Moore, Graham, etc). Pray against antichrist.

It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the popery in the Church of Rome there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. …

Popery is contrary to Christ’s Gospel, and is the Antichrist, and we ought to pray against it. It should be the daily prayer of every believer that Antichrist might be hurled like a millstone into the flood and for Christ, because it wounds Christ, because it robs Christ of His glory, because it puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His atonement, and lifts a piece of bread into the place of the Saviour, and a few drops of water into the place of the Holy Ghost, and puts a mere fallible man like ourselves up as the vicar of Christ on earth; if we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we hate their errors: we shall love their souls though we loath and detest their dogmas, and so the breath of our prayers will be sweetened, because we turn our faces towards Christ when we pray. ~Charles Spurgeon

Posted in depravity, encouragement, macarthur, mario batali, spurgeon

‘If we could just get rid of all the bad people, THEN the world would be a nice place’

I watch a Hulu original tv program called The High Road with Mario Batali. According to Wikipedia, Mario Francesco Batali is an American chef, writer, restaurateur and media personality. In addition to his classical culinary training, he is an expert on the history and culture of Italian cuisine, including regional and local variations.

Batali is a chef who put celebrity in the phrase celebrity chef.

In his ten-minute program on Hulu, Batali interviews other celebrities. Some of these famous personalities are from the realms of tv or movies, but some are celebrities in the spheres of finance or philanthropy or of course, cooking. He asks them questions as they go to famous New York City landmarks and iconic places, and the program is just a discussion type chat with the spectacular black and white backdrop of the most famous city in the world.

I watch it for the cinematography. It’s beautiful to look at. Also for the length- sometimes I’m too tired to commit to a long program or a movie.

Well, I’ve watched three or four of these Batali-celebrity chats now, and it’s interesting to see the world through an unsaved person’s eyes. It is almost unbearably sad, but it’s interesting to see and hear how they see the world’s problems and what would solve them.

For example, in one chat Mario asked journalist Frank Bruni “What is your dream for how the world might change in our lifetime?

Bruni answered,

“I would love to see a world in which there was no one craven, callous, or inhuman enough to torture another human being. I think if there were no torture happening, the world would be a better place in a whole lot of ripple ways- because that would mean we didn’t have the kind of horrible people that we do”.

In the tv world of highbrow question and answer sessions such as this, it’s supposed to be a profound statement. Unsaved people think they are good. They think that the bad people won’t go to heaven. They think if we can just get rid of the horrible people, then there would be no more wars, no more torture, no more evil. But who are the horrible people? As soon as we get rid of one, another pops up.

Christians know that “getting rid of the torturers” only leaves all the rest of us who are depraved, craven, horrible, and compared to God, just as bad as the torturers. And what about the murderers? And the rapists? And the child molesters? Let’s get rid of them, too. That leaves the adulterers, the homosexual, the fornicators. So they’re out. We still have to deal with the liars, the thieves, the cheats, the oppressors, the gossips, the brutal, the disobedient.

Does that leave anyone? No.

There is none righteous. No, not one. (Romans 3:10).

There is none good but the Father. (Mark 10:18).

They suppress that there has to be a God who is holy and has standards for entrance to His kingdom. (Romans 1:18).

In another segment with Julianna Margulies (of The Good Wife tv show), Batali asked

NYC is known for its busyness, rushing, New York minute aggressive attitudes, rudeness, and snobbiness. (PS think on this for a minute: why is kindness unexpected?)

Margulies answered,

I was here on 9/11. It was almost eerie how much kindness was going on there. People were actually opening doors, and getting up on the subway and giving you their seat, and it was a strange, eerie quietness. After a week of being mesmerized by people’s reactions, personally, I remember going into this deli. I was waiting on line to buy something and I heard this guy say “I SAID, f-*&%$-n pastrami!” And everyone applauded. We all were just like, Thank God we’re back to New York”.

Margulies laughing at the relief they felt
when the spell of kindness was broken

Yes, it must have truly been a relief that the cruel and oppressive regime of kindness was over. Do you want to know why the people in the deli applauded when kindness was no longer required of fellow man after the worst terror act on US soil in history? Because it is hard to be kind. It is not man’s natural state. It’s tiring for man to be friendly. It’s spooky to be in the side of the light.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:20).

I was one of those unsaved people who thought I was good. I sometimes wondered why I’d be allowed to go to heaven, because deep down I knew I’d sinned. I didn’t call it sin, of course, but I knew I wasn’t perfect. If I followed the thought to its conclusion, and everyone on earth who wasn’t perfect was allowed into heaven, then what made heaven perfect? What made it nice to be there if everyone else was there too?

I pushed those troubling thoughts away (“suppressed the truth in unrighteousness”) and went on. I am everlastingly grateful that my Savior brought me to a right understanding of my sin, my depraved self, and His holiness. It is always a joy to ponder these two things. The more I know I’m a sinner, the more I appreciate His life on earth, His sacrifice, and His atonement.

“The mark of a mature life is not sinlessness, which is reserved for heaven, but a growing awareness of sinfulness.” John MacArthur

That growing awareness of my sin hurts. It is painful. It hurts just as badly to see people like the above mentioned celebrities try and grapple with the big questions, and come up so woefully short. Charles Spurgeon has this to say about the human condition:

We declare, upon Scriptural authority, that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, and so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful. supernatural, irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit, no human will ever be constrained towards Christ.

If we were to follow Bruni’s method of getting rid of all the bad people, there would be only One left: Jesus. Yet, here He is! He is seeking and saving the lost! How marvelous to witness to His excellencies, His nature, His kindness, His perfect demeanor where not one blot mars His visage.  Be grateful today. Be grateful we see Him as He is, and that we see the world as it is- and in His time He will take us from it and bring us home.

————————-

Further reading:

An excellent and easy-to-understand essay from Answers in Genesis

Lessons from the Fall: Genesis 3

Posted in faith, john child, judas, spurgeon

What are the effects of final apostasy? The case of Judas, John Child, and Francis Spira part 1

Part 2 here

The nature of apostasy is tremendously fascinating to me. There is the quick apostasy, like Billy Graham’s partner and friend, Charles Templeton, and the slowly emerging apostasy like Billy Graham’s. There is the open apostasy like Demas’, and the secret apostasy like Judas‘.

Apostasy is a falling away from or an open rejection of the truth. No one who is truly saved is nor can ever be an apostate. John says that the apostate’s going out from us is the proof they never were of us in the first place. (1 John 2:19).

Rare in the recounting of the martyrdom of believers is the story of those who recanted. Some did, though. In reading about Judas this week in one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons, Spurgeon mentioned two men in history who, under Catholic pressure to recant Luther’s doctrines of faith under the Reformation, recanted. They openly rejected Christ and publicly said so and signed papers to the effect. Their end was startlingly similar to Judas’.

You might remember that after Judas conferred with the Pharisees, got his 30 pieces of silver, and kissed Jesus unto betrayal, Judas was filled with remorse (but not repentance) and he hung himself. His branch fell and Judas was splashed onto the rocks below, his intestines bursting out in a gory and spectacularly failed death.

Christian looked to see if he knew him; and he thought it might be one Turn-away, that dwelt in the town of Apostacy. But he did not perfectly see his face, for he did hang his head like a thief that is found; but being gone past, Hopeful looked after him, and espied on his back a paper with this inscription, “Wanton professor, and damnable apostate.”  (John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress)

Satan harasses believers, (Luke 22:31; Acts 5:3) and his demons oppress non-believers too, and even possessing some (Luke 4:33, Mark 5:2). Satan himself possessed Judas and will possess the antichrist.

What do satan and his demons do to men who have heard the Gospel, even professed the Gospel, but then have rejected the Gospel? John Child (d. 1684) and Francis Spira (d. 1638) are two horrific examples. Obviously not all men who reject Jesus and show their apostate attitude are tormented like this, but the experience of these two men is worth sharing. Always paired, Child and Spira have become almost synonymous in the retelling. The pamphlet published about their case was the runaway bestsellers of their day, and on through the 1700s and even the 1800s.  Here is the title of the pamphlet and a picture from amazon.com,

A relation of the fearful estate of Francis Spira, after he turn’d apostate from the protestant church to Popery. As also, the miserable lives, and woful deaths of Mr. John Child, and, Mr. Geo. Edwards

In his sermon, “The Betrayal” Spurgeon said this of Mr Child,

Mr. Keach, my venerable predecessor, gives at the end of one of his volumes of sermons, the death of a Mr. John Child. John Child had been a Dissenting minister, and for the sake of gain, to get a living, he joined the Episcopalians against his conscience; he sprinkled infants; and practiced all the other paraphernalia of the Church against his conscience. At last, at last, he was arrested with such terrors for having done what he had, that he renounced his living, took to a sick bed, and his dying oaths, and blasphemies, and curses, were something so dreadful, that his case was the wonder of that age. Mr. Keach wrote a full account of it, and many went to try what they could do to comfort the man, but he would say, “Get ye hence; get ye hence; it is of no use; I have sold Christ.”

Wikipedia says this,

CHILD, JOHN (1638?–1684), baptist preacher, born at Bedford about 1638, was apprenticed to a handicraft; after a while he adopted another calling, and removed to Newport Pagnel, Buckinghamshire, where he lived for some years, married twice, had several children, and increased in wealth. He held ‘the baptism of believers,’ joining himself to the baptists, or, as they were then generally called, ‘anabaptists,’ and for some years was in the habit of preaching occasionally. About 1679 he removed to London. Fear of cution and anxiety to better his position led him in 1682 to publish ‘A Second Argument for a more Full and Firm Union amongst all good Protestants,’ in which he argued against dissent from the church of England and ‘slandered his brethren.’ He appears to have published an earlier book of the same character, but neither of his pamphlets has been discovered by the writer of this notice. The idea that he had acted the part of a traitor preyed upon his mind. He fell into religious mania, and hanged himself in his house on the night of 3 Oct. 1684. A broadside was published the same year on the subject of his death, and after the declaration of indulgence and the subsequent increase in strength of the dissenting interest, pamphlets on Child’s ‘fearful estate’ obtained a large circulation.

Spira’s case was graphically written in almost torrid language. I’ll post that in its entirety in another post next. As John MacArthur said this week in his essay about sanctification,

…sanctification is essentially the believer’s work of mining out the spiritual riches that God placed within him at salvation. It is the active and aggressive pursuit of obedience.”

Source

I would presume to say that apostasy is the opposite of sanctification and thus if I paraphrase, can be said to be ‘an active and aggressive pursuit of corruption’. Apostasy is secret, open, happens fast or slow, but in all cases it is horrible. Look at this verse,

And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, (Luke 4:33).

Before the church was born, the synagogue was the place where God had designated men to assemble for holy worship. However, by Jesus’ day the worship had become so apostate that a demon felt perfectly comfortable hanging out in a man who was attending services there. Only when Jesus, the Holy One of Israel came, did the demon cry out. Have some of our churches become so apostate that demons would feel perfectly comfortable residing in a man attending worship services there? I would venture to say yes.

Emotionally or mentally professing Christ but failing to go all the way, with all your mind, heart, strength, and soul, will only end in failure. But the worst part about apostasy is that the end result is worse than the beginning.

Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” (Matthew 12:45)

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.” (2 Peter 2:20)

The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24)

And with Judas’ end we see that is true. With Mr Child’s end we see that it is true. And next post, with Mr Spira’s end we see that it is true. The tragedy is that when they die their end does not come. They will be tormented forever. That is why, even among brethren, we preach the Gospel. In addition, we ourselves must remain holy, so that the demons around the apostates become uncomfortable to the point of crying out, so that we will know who the apostates are. Or at least some of them if not all of them, since wheat and tares look so much the same.

Next is the “Fearfull Case of Francis Spira

Posted in gog magog, jews, prophecy, spurgeon, ukraine

Ukraine Jews, Anti-semitism rising, Russia-China gas megadeal, kids’ reaction to gay couple, prophecy

We are moving rapidly to the end of the school year here in northeast Georgia. As a teacher’s aide in kindergarten we have been busy with end of year programs, field day, field trips, ice cream day, ceremonies with certificates, and the like. Friday noon, the kids leave for the year. The next Friday after that, I’m done completely.

It’s been busy, but good. I always love the beginning of the year, so fresh with promise of making a difference in a child’s life. The end of the year is weary but happy, knowing we are sending the children to the next grade armed with knowledge and love, ready to grow some more on their life’s path.

Despite coming home so tired lately, I praise the Lord for His enduring strength which He gives me generously. No matter how tired I am when I get home, after a time of cool beverage refreshment (lately ice water with lemon, but I’m anxious to try fruit-infused water this summer) and a period of quietude, I feel ready to read His word, write about Him on the blog, and pray some more.

Here are some news headlines I thought were particularly evocative of the end of the end times. We see ahead in God’s word what will come to pass. And on the ground all around us we see motions drawing toward those events which will come to pass. Some, most, of the machinations are invisible to us, either because they take place in back rooms out of public view, or because they take place in the heavenlies and we are not privy. But with the times being what they are, more and more often we see the drawstring tightening, the hole closing, and the times darkening The few items below are examples of such machinations, attitudes, and events I believe play directly into the Tribulation prophecies to a larger than normal scale.

Israel National news reports,
EU Officials Appalled at Rise of Anti-Semitism in Europe
“At high level meeting with Jewish leaders, 18 EU member-state representatives are urged to wake up and lead the fight against Jew-hatred. …European Jewish Association (EJA) General Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin led a briefing for EU ambassadors and officials at week’s end, following the release of the most comprehensive survey to date on global anti-Semitism by the ADL, which revealed startling levels across the continent.”
“Then you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, because you did not obey the LORD your God. “It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. “Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known. (Deuteronomy 28:62-68)

‘Startling levels.’ That’s an interesting phrase, especially for a newspaper not usually given to hyperbole.

Then there’s this. On May 4, the Times of Israel reported that “Ukrainian Jews immigrate to Israel amid growing unrest; immigration from troubled country up 142%
“Almost 800 people arrived in the country over January-April, and over 200 have signed up for May. The agency noted these figures do not include those who have arrived as tourists and later completed the immigration process while already in the country.”

Yet this week Israel National News (INN) says that “Reports of mass exodus of Ukrainian Jews are ‘nonsense,’ says Joint head
In first interview since taking over as head of JDC, Alan Gill says Jews are not fleeing the violence en masse, and are not likely to in the future.

Yet the news article cities the same statistics as the Times of Israel. It is fair to say that in the Haaretz report, there are over 350,000 Jews in the Ukraine, many of the elderly and not planning to move anywhere. A thousand Jews moving back to Israel is very small sampling, however the fact that so many more Ukrainian Jews are moving back compared to the year before as INN reported, is also fair to look at.

What does the bible say?

In the Tribulation, Jews will be hunted and killed. Persecution levels will reach genocidal, bloodbath proportions. (Revelation 12:13; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1).

The WWII Holocaust, the terrible time when millions of Jews were hunted and killed, was a preview for what is coming on the Day the LORD has set.

In other news, it is reported today that Russia and China have signed a gas exporting contract and in so doing seem to be moving toward a new Eurasian nation. Business Insider has the report:

Russia And China Sign Gas Pipeline Megadeal
Russia’s Gazprom and China’s China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) have signed a historic 30-year contract to supply natural gas to China, according to Russia Today and confirmed by Bloomberg. The total value of the contract is $400 billion, Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller told RT, although the price in the document remains a “commercial secret.” Negotiations have been ongoing for more than a decade. … The gas will be sent through a new eastern pipeline linking the countries. Reuters reports that Russia will invest $55 billion in gas exploration and pipeline construction and Beijing will give roughly $20 billion to Moscow as part of the agreement. … Europe is Russia’s largest energy importer as it bought more than 160 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2013, but tensions and sanctions over Putin’s meddling in Ukraine have Russia looking elsewhere.

The Business Insider article has the facts, but what are we to make of it? Is there an analysis of what this means? Yes. Yves at Naked Capitalism reposted the take on this megadeal by a reporter for the Asian Times. He introduced the Asian Times reporter’s analysis this way:

Astute readers will no doubt point out that some of the elements of the Russia-Chinese emergent plan, such as reliance on gold-backed currencies, are sorely misguided. But the bigger point is that the two nations are looking hard for ways to undermine the US economic hegemony.”

This week should provide the first real fireworks in the celebration of a new Eurasian century-in-the-making when Russian President Vladimir Putin drops in on Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.  You remember “Pipelineistan,” all those crucial oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing Eurasia that make up the true circulatory system for the life of the region.  Now, it looks like the ultimate Pipelineistan deal, worth $1 trillion and 10 years in the making, will be inked as well.  In it, the giant, state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom will agree to supply the giant state-controlled China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) with 3.75 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas a day for no less than 30 years, starting in 2018. That’s the equivalent of a quarter of Russia’s massive gas exports to all of Europe 
 

Look at that. Russia’s monstrously big.
Combined with Asia as ally or as one of the ten kingdoms, it dominates


Exit the Petrodollar, Enter the Gas-o-Yuan
And then, talking about anxiety in Washington, there’s the fate of the petrodollar to consider, or rather the “thermonuclear” possibility that Moscow and Beijing will agree on payment for the Gazprom-CNPC deal not in petrodollars but in Chinese yuan. One can hardly imagine a more tectonic shift, with Pipelineistan intersecting with a growing Sino-Russian political-economic-energy partnership. Along with it goes the future possibility of a push, led again by China and Russia, toward a new international reserve currency — actually a basket of currencies — that would supersede the dollar (at least in the optimistic dreams of BRICS members).

There’s more good stuff at the link to Naked Capitalism, but there is much to consider here, prophetically.

What does the bible say?

The United States figures nowhere important in prophecy. By the time the Tribulation arrives, the US will likely be marginalized, insignificant, or maybe even reduced to rubble. We’re nobody special, at least in the prophetic theater, which is 99% contained in the Bible Lands.

Russia, however, does figure prominently. God plans to use Russia to demonstrate His power and His protection of Israel. Ezekiel 38-39 has the story. (Begin with Ezekiel 38:1-4). Asia also figures in prophecy too. The Kings of the East come from Asia (Revelation 16:12).

There are prophesied to be ten kings reigning with the beast over ten kingdoms for a brief time at the end of history. Perhaps this megadeal is the demonstrable movement toward that. (Revelation 17:12). Europe is already united by open borders, economic alliances, and a common currency.

We’ve looked at God’s people the Jews. We’ve looked at geo-political changes in the prophetic lands. Last, let’s look at culture. The liberal media Huffington Post posted this video which apparently (according to them) has gone viral. It is listed as ‘Most Popular’ on their Gay pages. It is a snippet of a little boy reacting to learning that the two men talking with him are married. The boy looks to be about 5 or 6 years old. It is actually a three-year old video.

WATCH: This Kid’s Reaction To Meeting A Gay Couple For The First Time Is Priceless

Transcript. Calen is the kid.
Calen: A husband is a boy.
Right.
Calen: A husband’s a boy and a wife is a girl. But you two are husbands! A husband is a boy.
Yeah, we’re both husbands
Calen: You’re both husbands?! You married each other???!!! That’s funny [smacking forehead, and not funny as in ha-ha but that’s funny as in that’s weird]
That’s funny, right?
Calen: Yeah. It’s usually husbands and wives. But this is the very first time I saw husbands and husbands!
Homosexual man leans into camera range, laughs- ha ha ha ha ha
Calen: So funny. [thinks, looks away] So that means you love each other.
Yeah.
Calen: Yeah. You’re much alike. I’m going to play ping pong, You can play if you want to.

The liberal media is picking up on this (3 years late, I don’t know why) and calling it “ridiculously adorable” “innocent” etc. One writer at Slate said

“kids who haven’t been indoctrinated with their parents’ animus tend to react to gay couples with open-hearted curiosity that quickly fades into apathy.”

One commenter said, “what i want to know is what were 2 gays with a video camera and a child doing in the bathroom?” Good point.

What media is focusing on is the child’s statement that they “must love each other.” They trumpet his reaction as one totally without prejudice. But it is not so. The title could well be changed from “Kid reacts to gay couple” to “Kid confused by gay couple”. What none of the articles picking up on this speak to his first reaction, with head smack no less; ‘that’s funny’ [weird].

Matthew 18:5-6 says

And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Homosexual union IS weird. It is unnatural. (Romans 1:26). There are two prophetic things here. First, any culture that engages in the perverted behavior of homosexuality is ripe for judgment, (Romans 1:18) and any nation that heartily approves of it is being judged already. (Romans 1:32).

Romans 1 is the picture of a process into degradation and God’s judgment for that degradation.

Cultures that have become totally depraved such as the world in Noah’s day, or the homosexuality that was rampant in Lot’s day, are noted by Jesus to indicate that the time of judgment is near. (Luke 17:6, Genesis 6:5, Luke 17:28).

We will see in the near future if things come together quickly or not. I think they will. It seems that the prophetic activity is quickening each day. The Lord is always working so each day actually brings us closer to the Lord’s re-appearance. Blessed is He. May His name always be exalted in the highest.

Charles Spurgeon said,

It is idle to talk about looking for His coming if we never set our house in order, and never put ourselves in readiness for His reception.

Are you ready?

Posted in encouragement, spurgeon

Spurgeon on Hopefulness amid Apostasy

Charles Spurgeon on hopefulness in the face of general apostasy, heresies, and false doctrines. The entire piece is worth reading.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As for myself, I am often sadly tossed about because of the heresies and false doctrines of this present age. It grieves me to the heart to see the lack of spirituality among ministers and of holiness among professing Christians. It cuts me to the quick to see the utter rubbish and poison which is preached instead of Christianity. At times it looks as if all things were going wrong! The men to whom one looked as pillars, forsake the faith, and the staunchest give way for the sake of peace. We are apt to cry, “What will become of us?”

But if God is our refuge and strength, we need not be afraid, even amid general apostasy! While God lives, Truth is in the ascendant. I remember years ago meeting with that blessed servant of God, the late Earl of Shaftesbury. He was at Mentone with a dying daughter and he happened, that day, to be very much downcast, as, indeed, I have frequently seen him and as, I am sorry to confess, he has also frequently seen me. That day he was particularly cast down about the general state of society. He thought that the powers of darkness in this country were having it all their own way and that, before long, the worst elements of society would gain power and trample out all virtue.

Looking up into his face, I said to him, “And is God dead? Do you believe that while God lives the devil will conquer Him?” He smiled and we walked along by the Mediterranean communing together in a far more hopeful tone. The Lord lives and blessed be my Rock! As long as the Lord lives, our hope also lives! Gospel Truth will yet prevail! We shall live to see the old faith to the front again! The Church, like Noah’s dove, will come back to her rest and bring something with her which shall prophesy eternal peace.

Posted in bible, christian life, mothers, spurgeon

The importance of Mothers

I mentioned in a post a earlier today that I’d received a pile of books, one of them being the “Life and Works of Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon” (Memorial Edition), January 1, 1892. It is a biography of Charles Spurgeon, the famous preacher of the late 1800s.

In endeavoring to illustrate to the reader the influences of Spurgeon, it is noted that his great-grandfather, grandfather, and father were all preachers. The life and works of these respected men was much detailed, and used as an important illustration of the influence onto Spurgeon the son.

However, the mother is not left out. She is an important influence also. It was written of Charles Spurgeon’s father and mother,

“Both Mr and Mrs Spurgeon made great sacrifices of personal comfort to give good education to their children, and the children were taught the habits of thrift and self-denial. The care thus bestowed on their training when young has been to the parents a source of much satisfaction; the good results of that care are manifested in the happy home lives of their children. When, at some future period, the historian of the Metropolitan Tabernacle and of the Stockwell Orphanage is considering the primary cause of those great enterprises, the care which Mrs Spurgeon bestowed on the early training of her family must be counted as valuable auxiliary in preparing the way for such exemplary conduct.”

In addition, of Mrs Spurgeon solely, we read the following: (and please note Mrs Spurgeon bore 17 children, with nine of them dying when they were babies and she raised 8, all while her husband was often gone for long periods traveling the preaching circuit.)

Household Nurture

As the children were growing up, the father, like many professional and public men, feared his frequent absence from home would interfere with the religious education of the little ones. But happily for him he had a true helpmeet to cooperate with him in this important work, and happy for those children they had a noble mother who lived for them, and sought to build them up in true Christian character. Nor had she lived unrewarded for her pains. Hear the good man speak thus of his wife:

“I had been from home a great deal, trying to build up weak congregations, and I felt that I was neglecting the training of my own children while I was toiling for the good of others. I returned home with these feelings. I opened the door and I was surprised to find none of the children about the hall. Going quietly upstairs, I heard my wife’s voice. She was engaged in prayer with the children. I heard her pray for them one by one by name. She came to Charles and specially prayed for him, for he was of high spirit and daring temper. I listened till she had ended her prayer, and I felt and said, ‘Lord, I will go on with Thy work. The children will be cared for.”

Thank You Lord for Godly mothers! Thank You for Godly fathers!

Posted in blackaby, books, hybels, reading, spurgeon

(Updated) A pile of books, oldies and I hope goodies!

Update at bottom

A year ago, our pastor resigned/was fired for having discovered that he’d spent years in serial plagiarism. The deacons and staff were cleaning out his office this week (because it looks like God may just now have sent the man He wishes us to have lead us) and there was a stack of books left over on the old pastor’s shelves. The staff put them on the bench with a “free” sign. One of the men saved aside a book for me. I was bowled over with delight. Here it is:

This book was published in 1892 just after Charles Haddon Spurgeon, AKA “The Prince of Preachers” had died in Menton France.

I’ve read about 50 pages so far and it is charming, well-written, and of course, glowing (being in the height of grief over the loss of the word’s foremost preacher at the time).

Other books that were set aside for me include some I’m very much looking forward to reading, such as–

W. Eugene Sallee: Christ’s Ambassador, a biography written by Sallee’s wife. They both were missionaries in China in the very early 1900s. I have high hopes for this book- it should prove very interesting. I hope I’m not let down… It is the book I’ll read next.

Life and Sayings of Sam P. Jones: A Minister of the Gospel, a famous Georgia preacher of some note who preached in the late 1800s. Wikipedia says Jones “was one of the most celebrated revivalists of his day, at the close of the 19th century. Famous for his wry wit and masterful story-telling, he is credited as a principal influence on Will Rogers.

Home of the Bible: What I Saw and Heard in Palestine (1895), by Marion Harland, AKA Virginia Terhune, a prolific American writer. She lived from 1830 to 1922, and was still writing at age 90 even though she had gone blind. This book was her travelogue, having made an expedition to determine for herself to see what God was doing in the original Christian lands with the peoples there.

Up Among the Ice-floes (1890) by James MacDonald Oxley. I always love me a good old Arctic expedition book.

I also received biblical non-fiction and reference books-

The Second Coming of Christ by Len Broughton, (1902)

Jewish Tales by Leopold Von Sacher Masoch (1894)

The Revelation: Verse by verse study by Oliver B. Green (1963)

Exposition of Ecclesiastes by H. C. Leupold (1952)

Arnold’s Practical Sunday School Lesson Commentary (1926)

The Church of God at Corinth: verse by verse commentary on 1 & 2 by Corinthians John R. Rice (1973)

These three came together in a little case: they seem kind of elementary but will be useful as a quick guide, and also of course to give away to someone who needs something a little elementary when the time comes to give it away!

  • Who’s Who in the Bible by Dietrich Gruen (2011)
  • Bible Almanac Anna Trimiew
  • Bible Facts: People, Places, Events David M Howard Jr.

The Discipling Pastor beat me to the commentaries but I’m thrilled he got some good ones. He offered to let me see what he got, already tucked away in the back of his car, but I declined because I knew it would lead to the sin of me coveting!!

I was just saying to myself, “Self, you’ve given away a good many books lately, I wish I had some more. The shelves are looking mighty thin.” So thank you Lord, for your provision. I’m delighted to have been graciously re-stocked, and just in time for school ending next week. I will actually have time and energy to read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read….

Sometimes there are simple things that tell the story. For example, the old pastor had books like the life of Spurgeon and other solid books from AW Pink, John R. Rice, and the like, but also alongside those old venerable standards were Purpose Driven stuff from Rick Warren, Max Lucado, Bill Hybels, and Henry Blackaby on ‘how to hear God’s voice’. The solid and practical and expositional had over time, been relegated to the back of his book shelf and at the forefront were books illustrating his heart and his penchant for the mystical, emotional, purpose driven leaven that eventually clouded his judgment and polluted his heart. It was shortly after that his massive sin was uncovered: serial lies from the pulpit in the holy name of Christ. And his bookshelf was a graphic display of his sad decline into apostasy.

If a bookshelf told your story, what story would it tell?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A couple of days after this essay was published, Pastor John MacArthur tweeted out a link to a three minute chat called “The Christian Bokshelf”. In it, Pastor MacArthur mentions the kinds of books he likes to read (Commentaries, theology, biogrpahies, with occasional other historical books thrown in, like The Athenian Navy, Salt, and the Great Influenza).

He goes on to explain what publisher to look for (“Banner of Truth) and urges CHristians to buy books and fill their bookshelves with solid kinds of books like these. Enjoy

//player.vimeo.com/video/93187462
Truth for Today | The Christian Library from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.

Posted in galatians, good, spurgeon

Do not grow weary in the doing good

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

These days are getting more and more evil. A Christian in an area like ours, the Southern United states, is so far spared the persecution many are experiencing abroad, praise the Lord. However, attitudes toward Christians from secular people are shifting rapidly even here in the so-called ‘bible belt.’ Though we are not persecuted from the outside, many local churches are dying from the inside.

Just as Britain is grappling with the reality that they are a post-Christian nation, a clear look at the US will show that we are too.

Apostasy is rising, which means that people who have called themselves Christians are behaving less and less like our Master and more and more like the world.

I used to think that discernment ministries, such as the ministry the Spirit gave me to perform online and in the real world, was the hardest. I was wrong to think so. Plus, I was in error. It is hard for everybody. I’m nobody special.

The tendency is to excuse themselves because at some time or other they have been victimized.~Charles Spurgeon
For example, I was talking with a sister in the faith who serves in a helps ministry. She has been given a strong desire to serve. Even when people who call themselves Christian ask for help from churches where a sweet women like my sister serves, the seekers of help often display the worst of human attitudes; entitlement, greed, laziness, ingratitude, and anger.

Paul warned Timothy to:

“understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

“Having the appearance of godliness”…Christians who look like they are Christians aren’t really, but will at some point be found to never have known the Lord. (Matthew 7:21-23). This is one of the saddest verses in the entire bible, to me.

Weary traveler by eharsee. reuse allowed

Discernment ministries arise within a church and online when a person has been spiritually gifted with a supernatural ability to distinguish between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error, between holiness and evil. It comes from 1 Corinthians 12:10.

Because it is getting toward the end of the end of the age (we have been in the end of the age since Jesus ascended (1 John 2:18), there are a good many people who succumb to tickled ears, heaping up teachers for themselves, and won’t endure sound doctrine. As I read on Challies’ website, not that they don’t know what sound teaching is, but that they WON’T ENDURE it.

People still refuse to accept such and such is a false teacher, or that a particular doctrine is aberrant, or an activity founded on a scripture is actually a twisted use of that scripture…. Discernment is seen as something unnecessary to a vibrant Christian life. So many people display an attitude of “let’s just agree Jesus is the only thing we need to agree on and leave the rest to God. But that’s not all there is, and still the gift of discernment isn’t adhered to much.

Back to the Galatians verse, Charles Spurgeon said in his exhortation about not being weary in the doing good, as related to teaching Sunday School

“It is true, my Brothers and Sisters, that you are not to save yourselves by doing good. Your motive is not selfish, but because you are saved already, you desire to manifest the power of gratitude and to prove to all the world that those who receive a free salvation are the very men who most cheerfully labor to please God and to bring glory to His name. O you who are debtors to infinite mercy, “Be not weary in doing good.” …

Now, secondly, it appears from the text that in your service YOU WILL MEET WITH EVILS common to Christian workers of all descriptions. You will especially be liable to weariness and faintness. Take the first word as it stands in our version—you will be tempted to grow weary.  …

Do you not think that, at times, our getting lax in Christian work arises from our being very low in Grace? As a rule, you cannot get out of a man that which is not in him. You cannot go forth, yourself, to your class and do your work vigorously if you have lost inward vigor. You cannot minister before the Lord with the unction of the Holy One if that unction is not upon you. If you are not living near to God and in the power of God, then the power of God will not go forth through you to the children in y our care! Therefore I think we should judge, when we become discontented and down-hearted, that we are out of sorts spiritually. Let us say to ourselves, “Come, my Soul! What ails you? This faint heart is a sign that you are out of health. Go to the Great Physician and obtain from Him a tonic which shall brace you! Come, play the man! Have none of these whims! Away with your idleness! The reaping time will come, therefore thrust in the plow.”  

By Benson Kua from Toronto, Canada. Wiki commons

“Sometimes, too—I am ashamed to mention it—I have heard of teachers becoming weary from lack of being appreciated. Their work has not been sufficiently noticed by the pastor and praised by the superintendent. Sufficient notice has not been taken of them and their class by their fellow teachers. I will not say much about this cause of faintness because it is so small an affair that it is quite below a Christian. Appreciation! Do we expect it in this world? The Jewish nation despised and rejected their King and even if we were as holy as the Lord Jesus we might still fail to be rightly judged and properly esteemed. What does it matter? If God accepts us, we need not be dismayed though all should pass us by. 

Perhaps, however, the work itself may suggest to us a little more excuse for being weary. It is hard work to sow on the highway and amidst the thorns—hard work to be casting good seed upon the rock, year after year. Well, if I had done so for many years and was enabled by the Holy Spirit, I would say to myself, “I shall not give up my work because I have not yet received a recompense in it. I perceive that in the Lord’s parable three sowings did not succeed and yet the one piece of good ground paid for all! Perhaps I have gone through my three unsuccessful sowings and now is my time to enjoy my fourth, in which the seed will fall upon good ground.”

Spurgeon always has a good word. In addition, the Good Book says to

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (Philippians 2:14-15)

Spurgeon again,

“If there are a hundred reasons for giving up your work of faith, there are 50,000 for going on with it! Though there are many arguments for fainting, there are far more arguments for persevering. Though we might be weary and do sometimes feel so, let us wait upon the Lord and renew our strength and we shall mount up with wings as eagles, forget our weariness and be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!” 

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Methodist Church Organist has been playing every Sunday for 73 years

Posted in fearing the Lord, holy fear, spurgeon

The fear of the LORD is clean

The title is from Psalm 19 verse 9. It has an intrinsic beauty and a comprehensible truth that is evident but hard for puny man to describe. However, Spurgeon did.

I’ll post it in context. Psalm 19:7-9;

7The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.

Spurgeon wrote,

“The fear of the Lord is clean.” The doctrine of truth is here described by its spiritual effect, viz., inward piety, or the fear of the Lord; this is clean in itself, and cleanses out the love of sin, sanctifying the heart in which it reigns. Mr. Godly-fear is never satisfied till every street, lane, and alley, yea, and every house and every corner of the town of Mansoul is clean rid of the Diablolonians who lurk therein. “Enduring for ever.” Filth brings decay, but cleanness is the great foe of corruption. The grace of God in the heart being a pure principle, is also an abiding and incorruptible principle, which may be crushed for a time, but cannot be utterly destroyed.”

Posted in asclepius, brazen serpent, moses, spurgeon

How satan twisted Moses’ brazen serpent into the rod of Asclepius

In around 1400 BC, Moses led the Israelites into the wilderness. They had been released from slavery by powerful acts of God, including ten plagues and parting the Red Sea to aid their escape. (Exodus 1-15)

However, it wasn’t long before the Israelites grumbled. They were sick of manna, they wanted an easier life, they wanted to get there. (Numbers 20:4). So they grumbled some more, against Moses and against God.

God heard their grumbles.

Wiki CC, Moses and the Brazen Serpent, Sebastien Bourdon

“Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.” (Numbers 21:6-9)

As with everything, God had a purpose. Jesus explained it to Nicodemus.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15).

And as with everything, satan is busy, too.

By 700BC or so, satan had encouraged the Israelites to worship the brazen idol, rather than worship the God to whom it pointed. Worse, the Israelites had actually named the idol! They called it ‘Neshutan.’

He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).” 2 Kings 18:4

Hezekiah removed them, which pleased God, but it was too late. The idol worship had taken root. By ~460 BC Cult of Asclepius was well underway. To the Greeks, and then the Romans and finally Europe, Asclepius became a god, represented as a man holding a rod with a serpent twined around it. This is actually the pale memory of the actual brazen serpent curled around the rod Moses held, where the Israelites were to look at the serpent lifted high and be healed, but since the world hates the bible, the truth, and anything to do with Jesus, they easily fell into the myth that it was Asclepius. He became known as “Asclepius savior,” in a brazen attempt to remove the righteous place of Jesus in saving souls and bodies.

The serpentine cross sculpture (the Brazen Serpent Monument)
atop Mount Nebo was created by Italian artist Giovanni Fantoni.
It is symbolic of the bronze serpent created by Moses in the wilderness
(Numbers 21:4–9) and the cross upon which
Jesus was crucified (John 3:14). Wiki CC photo

The Greek Island of Kos seems to be ground zero for the largest of the Asclepius cult followers, with a close second a HUGE cult temple at Pergamum. Remember the church at Pergamum? That Pergamum.

After 400BC or so, Asclepion complexes sprung up, monumental temples with a sanctuary, spas, baths, dormitories, patient intake, and a hall of records. (I.e., scrolls and marble carvings of patients who were served and who got healed)

Hippocrates is said to have received his medical training at an asclepieion on the isle of Kos. Prior to becoming the personal physician to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Galen treated and studied at the famed asclepieion at Pergamon. (source)

Asclepius was HUGE in the ancient world. Worship of Asclepius was such a part of Greek life that the false god remained on the Greek currency until 2001 when Greek money was replaced by the Euro.

The reverse side of the 10,000-drachma note, showing Asklepios,
the god of healing, with his symbol, the staff with a serpent coiled around it.
Beside him, a healing scene depicts a sacred snake licking or biting
the right shoulder of a sleeping patient. Source

Here is how the Asclepius worship went:

In honor of Asclepius, a particular type of non-venomous snake was often used in healing rituals, and these snakes – the Aesculapian Snakes – crawled around freely on the floor in dormitories where the sick and injured slept. These snakes were introduced at the founding of each new temple of Asclepius throughout the classical world. From about 300 BC onwards, the cult of Asclepius grew very popular and pilgrims flocked to his healing temples (Asclepieia) to be cured of their ills. Ritual purification would be followed by offerings or sacrifices to the god (according to means), and the supplicant would then spend the night in the holiest part of the sanctuary – the abaton (or adyton). Any dreams or visions would be reported to a priest who would prescribe the appropriate therapy by a process of interpretation.

Satan sure can twist things, and make them seem complicated and spiritual at the same time. The Gospel is so simple. Moses’ directions from God as to what to do to be saved was so simple. (Look at the lifted up serpent and be saved).

I mentioned Hippocrates a moment ago. You might know the Hippocratic Oath, an oath doctors swear by to this day. It first appeared around 400BC at the time the Asclepius worship got going. The Oath is one of the oldest binding documents in history. In its original version it read:

I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement:

Today, the modified Hippocratic oath doesn’t make the speaker swear allegiance to Asclepius but instead worships science.

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant: I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I also said a moment ago that Pergamon is mentioned in the bible, and that the largest mainland Asclepion hospital-temple sanctuaries were located there. It is thought by bible scholars that one reason Jesus called the city of Pergamos in the book of Revelation, the place where satan’s throne is located, could be because of the Asclepion there. Wikipedia describes the main feature of Pergamos:

Three kilometers south of the Acropolis at , down in the valley, there was the Sanctuary of Asclepius (also known as the Asclepium), the god of healing. The Ascelpium was approached along a 820 meter colonnaded sacred way. In this place people with health problems could bathe in the water of the sacred spring, and in the patients’ dreams Asclepius would appear in a vision to tell them how to cure their illness. Archeology has found lots of gifts and dedications that people would make afterwards, such as small terracotta body parts, no doubt representing what had been healed. Galen, the most famous doctor in the ancient Roman Empire and personal physician of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, worked in the Ascelpium for many years. Notable extant structures in the Asclepium include:

  • the Roman theater
  • the North Stoa
  • the South Stoa
  • the Temple of Asclepius
  • a circular treatment center (sometimes known as the Temple of Telesphorus)
  • a healing spring
  • an underground passageway
  • a library
  • the Via Tecta (or the Sacred Way, which is a colonnaded street leading to the sanctuary) and
  • a propylon
Wikipedia Rod of Asclepius

“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is...” (Revelation 2:13)

Rod of Asclepius is used by 62% of all medical professionals. As I drove home today, thinking about how to write this blog essay, I pass by my town’s fire department and an emergency vehicle was parked in the lot. The side of the vehicle was emblazoned with this symbol.

We are grateful to know Jesus, the only deity one should look to in order to be saved. Asclepius might be everywhere today, but Jesus soon will return to erase all the false gods, AND worshiped rightly.

Charles Spurgeon preached about the rod of Moses in a sermon called “The Mysteries of the Brazen Serpent“. He said,

But the picture blackens; we must have deeper shades to paint it. Behold the people after they were bitten! Can you picture their writhings and contortions when the poison of the serpent had infected their veins? We are told by the old writers that these serpents when they bit caused vehement heat, so that there was a pain throughout the body, as if a hot iron had been sent along the veins. Those who had been bitten had a great thirst; they drank incessantly, and still cried for water to quench the burnings within. It was a hot fire which was lit in the fountain, and which ran through every nerve and every sinew of the man; they were racked in pain, and died in most fearful convulsions.

Now my brethren, we cannot say that sin instantly produces such an effect as this upon the men who are the subjects of it; but we do affirm, that, let sin alone, and it will develop itself in miseries far more extreme than ever the bite of the serpent could have caused. …

And now comes THE REMEDY. The remedy of the bitten Israelites was a brazen serpent; and the remedy for sinners is Christ crucified. 

But remember, that much as those who heard of the brazen serpent might have despised it, yet there was no other means of cure. And, now hear me for one moment, while I tell the whole story of salvation. Men, brethren, and fathers, we are born of a sinful generation, and we have ourselves increased our guilt, for us there is no hope; do what we may, we cannot save ourselves.

“Could our zeal no respite know,
Could our tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone.”

But brethren, Christ Jesus, God’s eternal Son, came into this world, and was born of the virgin Mary, he lived a doleful life of misery, and at last he died a death accompanied by unutterable pangs—that was the punishment of the sins of those who, as penitents, come to Christ. If you this day so repent, and put your trust in Jesus, you have in your trust and repentance a sure proof that Christ was punished for you.