Search the Scriptures

March 31, 2010

There is a significant difference between facts and truth. Facts are time relative. Facts, like theories, may change. What is factual today may not be factual tomorrow. Truth however is eternal. Truth is unchanging. Truth is etched in stone, so to speak. What is truth today will be truth tomorrow. The theories of men, no matter how intellectual the man or the theory, are by definition, theoretical. Theories are subject to criticism, correction, and change. Truth is truth. It is unchanging, unalterable, and not subject to criticism or correction. Men may, out of their own ego or ulterior motives, attempt to revise or alter truth but their attempts are foolish and only shine light on their ego and fractured logic.

Two parts of hydrogen, mixed with one part of oxygen will give you water. Why? Because it is truth. It will give you water today. It will give you water tomorrow. It will still give you water a thousand years from now. There has been no attempt that I am aware of to revise or alter the multiplication table. Two times two equals four. It equals four today. It will equal four tomorrow, it will equal four in ten thousand years because it is truth. One plus one plus one equals three. It equals three today, it will equal three tomorrow, it will equal three in ten thousand years, that is of course except in the case of post-fourth century Christian (so-called) thinking.

The Christian (so-called) intelligencia, since the fall of the Church in the late first century, as recorded in II Timothy 4:4, those who ‘turned their ears from the truth and were turned unto fables’, have been attempting to revise the multiplication table, postulating that three times one do not really equal three, it actually equals one. They finally solidified their erroneous arithmetic in the mid-fourth century at the Council of Nicea, and promulgated and forced it upon the world at the point of the Roman sword. Can you imagine what would happen if these same individuals stood before the ‘academic’ world today and proclaimed that one plus one plus one did not really equal three, it actually equaled one. They would be laughed out of the room, but somehow or other when it comes to men’s religious beliefs, logic and science and truth can allowably be set aside, and replaced with metaphysicals and the gobbledy gook and verbiage of theological speculation.

The Christian (so-called) intelligencia for centuries have been developing (making-up) and promulgating all kinds of terms, and vocabulary, and theories to justify their continued acceptance of, adherence to, and promulgation of paganistic doctrine – terms such as “incarnation,” “deification,” and (my favorite) “hypostatic union,” which means that somehow Jesus was fully man and fully God….huh? They’re way too smart for me. They actually have been making-up words to justify and prove their error. It has always fascinated me how seemingly intelligent men can set aside all logic and science and clear biblical evidence to justify their religious beliefs and metaphysical postulations.

As hard as I’ve tried. As thoroughly and as intensely as I (and many others) have read through the Bible. As many of the biblical reference materials (concordances, lexicons, biblical dictionaries, NOT theological commentary), as I have scoured through, I have never been able to find the terms “incarnation,” “deification,” ‘trinity,” or “hypostatic union” in any of these reference sources, never mind that none of these terms are found in the scriptures themselves. Yet, the truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ himself said, as recorded in John 5:39, to “search the scriptures,” and that the scriptures are “they which testify of me.” It is the scriptures that testify of him. Yet the ‘brains’ of Christendom can’t show any of the terms that they use (and made-up) to justify their erroneous, illogical fallacies (they’re not even ‘logical’ fallacies) in the scriptures, only in their own writings and theories, or in those of fellow ‘intelligent ones.’

Jesus Christ said that the scriptures testify of him. After his resurrection from the dead (according to scripture he was fully man and FULLY DEAD) while walking with two men on the road to Emmaus he began with the books of “Moses and all the prophets,” and “expounded unto them in all the scriptures, the things concerning himself.” Where then are the terms “incarnation,” “deification,” “trinity,” and “hypostatic union” in the books of Moses, and all the prophets? And why, given such ample opportunity, did not Jesus Christ himself set forth these ideas and expound them from the scripture. Better question yet, why did not God Himself include these ideas and theories and terms in the scriptures? I guess He needed help from the intelligencia to explain to us simpletons who His “Son” REALLY was. I suppose God’s declaration of who His Son was in His Word isn’t good enough. God needed help from theologians to explain what He really meant to say. How arrogant!

Jesus Christ said that the scriptures testify of him. PERIOD! That ought to be good enough, but evidently is not. It seems that the scriptures, and the truth of God they contain, have been so long illogically and/or deceitfully mishandled by those in the pulpit that the masses have no choice but to TRUST their spiritual leaders and advisors (because, after all, it is all just so difficult to understand). People haven’t been taught how to follow their lord and savior’s instruction to “search the scriptures” for themselves. The masses have given up on the quest for spiritual truth and are content to eat the regurgitated food of antiquated and erroneous theology.

Now, I’m not a scholar, but I’m pretty sure that the deification of a man, or any other created thing is idolatry according to scripture (Romans 1:18-25). To those who believe and promulgate the deification of the man Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2:5), and the new, revised, modern math that one plus one plus one equals one, please expound on the following, trying to use only scripture to try and prove that God and His Son are actually one and the same (this ought to be good) –

I Corinthians 15:28
“And when all things shall be subdued unto him (God), then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him (God) that put all things under him (Christ), that God may be all in all.”

How is the Son also himself going to be subject unto God if they are one and the same?

I Corinthians 11:3
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

How can God be “the head of Christ” if they are one and the same?

I Timothy 2:5
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

How can Christ be the mediator between the “one” God and men, if they are one and the same?

Luke 23:46
“And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

Who was he talking to when he said “Father,” and to whom did he commend his spirit to if they are one and the same?

Hebrews 9:14
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

How can Jesus Christ offer himself without spot to God if they are supposedly one and the same?

John 20:17
“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”

Jesus Christ stated that Mary’s God was also his God. How can they possibly then be one and the same?

These are just a handful of the hundreds of scriptures (which Jesus Christ himself said testify of him) that clearly show the FULL distinction of identity between God and His wonderful Son. The theoretical religious postulations of the Christian (so-called) intelligencia make a mockery of the beautiful simplicity of God’s Word and the identity of His wonderful Son. You can call all the post-fourth century doctrines and theories of men “Christian” all you want, But as I learned from a mentor many years ago, you can a label a jar “applesauce” on the outside but it doesn’t change the “sauerkraut” on the inside!

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There is a battle that continually rages in the mind of the believer. There are two opposing sides that are constantly at war – the human versus the divine, the natural versus the spiritual, human intellect versus divine understanding, senses knowledge versus revelation knowledge. This never ending battle is the crux of Christianity.

In the record of the book of Genesis, when God originally formed, made, and created man (as man exists today), He gave man a body that was formed out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). He then “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became (was made) a living soul.” This soul or “breath of life” is nothing more and nothing less than that which gives life to the physical body (which is composed of the elements found in the dust of the ground). It animates the physical body. All living creatures share this same soul. Soul has nothing to do with whether a person is a believer or a non-believer, just whether they are an alive being or not. Non-believers have a soul. As do animals. In these two categories (body and soul), “they (man and beast) have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast.” (Ecclesiastes 3:19)

The “created” part of the original man was God’s image, which is spirit (Genesis 1:26; John 4:24). Spirit is what gave man a connection with God. Spirit enabled man to have fellowship with God, to commune with God on a spiritual plane. The original man had a body, which was made alive by the “breath of life,” or soul, and he had spirit created within him. When man willfully disobeyed God, he forfeited that spirit (along with many other conferred rights including his second in command dominion over all of God’s creation). It is recorded that in the very day of his act of willful disobedience, the spirit in him died, and when this occurred he no longer had a connection with God. Man and God could no longer have fellowship. They no longer could commune together. Every human individual born since that time is born without spirit, having only a body and breath life, or soul. Man is born without a connection with God. He is born being at enmity with God. He has no fellowship with God and can not understand the spiritual things of God, or know God, for God is spirit. He is called in Ephesians a child of wrath. In I Corinthians 2:14 he is called a “natural man,” who “receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Man is condemned before God, and is in need of redemption from the moment of birth. Not because of what he does or does not do, but rather because he is an offspring of the man, Adam (Acts 17:26), who willfully disobeyed God, committing the crime of high treason, thereby handing over his God given rights to God’s archenemy, Satan (Luke 4:6), thereby turning the earth into a cemetery (Romans 5:12 and 19), and leaving all mankind thereafter to inherit this fallen state. Every human individual is in need of a savior from the moment they are born. Jesus Christ was God’s master plan, conceived and developed in love, to redeem man. God, for no reason other than His love for humanity, provided the necessary sacrifice, Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, who fulfilled all the necessary legal requirements to justify and redeem and reconcile mankind back to God. Now, any man or woman, by simply accepting and claiming what has been done for them, on their behalf, by Jesus Christ can be restored to fellowship with God, made whole by receiving spirit. To be made whole is the meaning of the word “saved” in Romans 10:9 – “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Greek – sozo; made whole).”

The truth of the matter is that after this irrevocable wholeness and fellowship with God is restored, a battle rages. It is the battle for the heart and mind of the one who has been restored to fellowship with God. It is the battle between the information received by the physical senses and the information received by the spirit and revelation of God. The mind of the one who has been restored must continually, day by day, sometimes moment by moment, be “renewed” (changed, conformed) to the revelation of God, His Word, else calamity results in the life of the one who has been made whole.

The “natural man,” the person having only a body and soul, is governed by their physical senses (since this is all they have), and never recognizes or realizes “the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.” Even that man or woman who has been made whole, who is “saved,” who has the spirit of God born within, and who has been previously and irrevocably restored and redeemed back to God, may fall prey to this snare of the Adversary, the god of this world, and allow themselves to become “carnal” in their thinking, allowing themselves to be ruled by their physical senses and human intellect. When this occurs, the things of the spirit of God, God’s moving, His revelation, is not recognized, realized, or respected even to the end of being deemed as “foolishness.” Such was the case in Acts 21:10 and 11 when the prophet Agabus came down from Judea to Caesarea to warn Paul by revelation that he should abandon his plan to go to Jerusalem. Paul did not recognize nor respect the revelation of God by way of Agabus, who was a prophet of God.

The oldest, most experienced, longest standing member of the household is just as susceptible to this trap as the newest born member of the family. There is no inoculation! This is why God has seen fit to give the Church “instruction in righteousness,” the seven Church Epistles, which contain doctrine (how to believe rightly), reproof (to reprove us where we begin to practice error), and correction (to correct us in those areas where we have been practicing error for so long that we have made a doctrine out of it, and bring us back to right believing). Error always “creeps in” due to our misconceptions regarding the practical side of this spiritual walk. No one dare ever set themselves above reproach or the reproof and correction of the Word of God. For this purpose, God has also seen fit to place five ruling “ministries” in the Church, of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4:11), “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Proverbs 19:21
‘There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”

Proverbs 27:17
“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

For questions, information regarding fellowship, or to support the work of the Bible Study Group, contact – fellowship@biblestudygroup.org

The Quest

March 6, 2010

The search for truth and self-purpose is perhaps the greatest of all human quests. The yearning for truth, the yearning to understand the reason for being, has been the inspiration of great poetic lyric. It has been the subject of masterpieces of artistic expression. It has been the driving force behind epic adventures. “Who am I in the grand scheme of the universe? Why am I here? What is my purpose for being? Is there a God, an Almighty Creator? Is there an intelligence and purpose behind the schemes of the universe? Or, is all of this that we see, that which surrounds us, the product of mere chance and happenstance, the result of unintelligible and random acts of mutation.” The reason for man’s yearning is set forth in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 3:11
“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”

The Word of God declares that He “hath set the world in their heart.” The word “world” in that verse is the Hebrew word ‘olam,’ which means ‘forever,’ ‘eternity,’ ‘of old,’ ‘antiquity,’ ‘everlasting,’ and this is its usage throughout the Bible. God has set eternity in the heart of mankind. Every human individual knows deep within themselves that there has to be something more, some greater purpose and meaning to life than just that which they experience and see around them.

It is like a void, a vacuum, in the depth of the soul of a person that they live with throughout their lifetime, endeavoring to fill it with temporary pleasures and carnal remedies, until they come to the knowledge of God, and humble themselves before the understanding of man’s purpose as declared in the scriptures, again in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 12:13
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

The word “duty” is italicized in the King James Bible because it was added by the translators, and as such may be deleted without affecting the truth of God. The word “fear,” as it is used throughout the Bible in this context, means a healthy and deserved reverence, awe, and respect. It is not used in the sense of terror or dread. We are not terrified or in dread of our God. We stand in awe of Him, and have a healthy and well deserved reverence and respect for our Creator. This is the whole of a man or woman, to reverence God and keep His commandments (His Word). This is the conclusion of the whole matter. The only heart satisfying reason for being. Anything less is a mere empty and painful existence.

Proverbs 1:7
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

The ships that sail in the quest for truth and self-purpose must first be laden with awe and reverence and respect for the true God, or they will return with empty holds, or holds filled with worthless and counterfeit trinkets.

Nehemiah 8:8
“So they read in the book in law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”

In this great epic adventure of the quest for truth, man’s first port of call must be the accuracy of God’s Word, the scriptures – rightly divided and handled logically, simply, and lovingly. The first cargo secured must be the knowledge of God, not the religious traditions of men, theological speculations, or the mutterings of the intelligencia and the critics. Not the ‘testimonies’ of the devout, or the academic world’s opinion or analysis of the scriptures, but the scriptures themselves, understood in light of every word of God. This is how a man or woman truly lives.

Matthew 4:4
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Yet, throughout history, the great cargo of the treasures of God’s Word have continuously been thrown overboard as just so much worthless ballast, despised and rejected, even by God’s own people at times.

Jeremiah 2:13
“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold not water.”

Hosea 4:6a
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee.”

The truth of God’s Word has been cut up by the pen knife of a king of antiquity, as recorded in Jeremiah 36, even as it is cut up by the pens of modern theologians, to the end of being so muddied and confused that hardly anybody can understand it, or believes it, or can even read it today without the commentaries, study aids, or opinions of men.

II Corinthians 2:17a
“For we are not as many, which corrupt (adulterate, water down) the word of God.”

II Corinthians 4:2a
“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully.”

The accurate knowledge of God’s Word, His Holy Scriptures, which the world, and religion, and sense-knowledge, pseudo-intelligent man treats with such disdain, is the first, and most valuable treasure we must fill our cargo holds with in our quest for truth and self-purpose.

Psalm 19:10
“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

Proverbs 4:20-22
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

In man’s quest for truth and self-purpose, when his ships of discovery are laden first and foremost with a healthy and well deserved respect and reverence for the Creator God, and his first port of call is the accurate knowledge of God’s rightly divided Word, then his cargo holds will be filled with the genuine treasures of the knowledge of God, and he will understand his purpose and reason for being, and be satisfied and blessed all his days.

There is no mention of the sect of the Pharisees in the Bible before Matthew’s gospel. History records that the Pharisees emerged after the Babylonian captivity of 597 B.C. as a rallying point for the Israelites, to insure that they would never again find themselves in a similar situation. The Pharisees became the “watch dogs” of Judaism, the Jesuits of Jewish society. The children of Israel had lost much in the Babylonian captivity, and the Pharisees made it their job, and went to great lengths, to see to it that nothing like that ever happened again. At first their intent may have been honorable but it evolved into something quite cruel and sinister.

The Pharisees saw to it that the people stayed true to the law of Moses. To help with that, they developed a system of behavioral codes and traditions that were strictly enforced. The ultimate end, sadly, was that their traditions began to take precedence over the law of Moses itself. They even got to the place that they believed and promulgated that the law of Moses could not be understood without knowledge of their traditions.

The truth of the matter is that this same pattern can be seen throughout history. In the centuries that followed the early church and the ministry of Paul, the church of Rome had evolved to where not only could the common person not understand the Scriptures for themselves, but they had gotten to the place where the common person was even barred from having the Scriptures (in their possession or in their own language), from teaching the Scriptures, and from direct fellowship with God. The understanding and teaching of the Scriptures was reserved for a priesthood, and all had to go through a priest to receive God’s forgiveness and His blessings, as well as a knowledge of God (according to Roman church doctrine of course). Man’s point of contact with God, His written Word, was replaced by a “representative,” the top representative being called the “vicar of Christ.” The Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, arose as the enforcers of Roman church tradition and teaching. Human frailty, intellect, and the natural desire to identify with a group often causes men and women to live in fear, and wrongly base their approval before God, or their fellowship with God, on the approval of, or their fellowship with, a particular group, just as was the case in Jewish society in Jesus’ day. People lived in fear of the Pharisees, more than the fear of God. Enforcers always emerge.

A man that had been born blind was ministered to and healed by Jesus Christ. After interrogation by the family’s skeptical neighbors, he was brought before the Pharisees, the religious leaders. The Pharisees concluded that whoever had healed the man could not possibly have been of God because they had done it on the wrong day of the week, the Sabbath day.

John 9:13-16
“They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the Sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath day. Others said, how can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.”

The Pharisees had gotten to the place, like it declares in Ezekiel 12, that even though they had “eyes to see,” they could not see, and even though they had “ears to hear,” they could not hear (God’s Word). They couldn’t get past their traditions and did not recognize the move of the spirit of God in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, who was bringing deliverance to men and women all around them. These were sincere, devout, intelligent men, who were very knowledgeable of the law of Moses, but they couldn’t get past their own intellect to see the truth of God. The situation degraded so far that people became more afraid of the judgment of the Pharisees then they were of the judgment of God.

John 9:17-23
“They say unto the blind man again, what sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, is this your son, who ye say was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.”

This man had been born blind and Jesus Christ had healed him. You would think that his parents, of all people, would have had the courage to stand up for their son and the man who healed him, but fear of being ostracized kept them from doing so. Fear always keeps people from standing up. The truth of the matter is that nothing much has changed.

The Pharisees elevated their writings and traditions above the revelation of God’s Word, thereby making the Word of God of none effect.

Matthew 15:1-9
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

To elevate anything above the Word of God makes the Word of none effect in the lives of those who do. No matter how sincere, or intelligent, or devout. The Pharisees were sincere. They were devout. They were the intellectuals of their day. They worshipped God, but Jesus Christ aligned their worship to that which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying that it was “vain” worship. It was empty, void, and to no purpose, regardless of how clean, or sincere, or religious it looked. They ended up enslaving people rather than helping them. One of my mentors would say, “You can write apple sauce on the outside of the jar, but it doesn’t change the pickles on the inside.” Sincerity is never a guarantee for truth or authenticity.

The Pharisees also vilified Jesus Christ for his movement of God’s Word and his ministering to and healing of those in need, because he did it without their blessing, their traditions, and among the wrong group of people – publicans and sinners. They were especially indignant that Jesus Christ ate with these people.

Matthew 9:10-13
“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

To those of us living in the culture of the Americas these verses may not mean very much, but to cultures elsewhere around the globe, especially the Near and Middle East, they are very significant because the food they ate would have been salted. In the Bible, eating salt with someone represented an irrevocable and binding covenant between the two parties, representing their love, support, and protection for one another. To this day, in many cultures and nations around the globe, when dignitaries or government leaders meet, they oftentimes partake in what is known as the Ceremony of Bread and Salt. This ceremony is practiced in Slavic nations, as well as Russia, and many European and Asiatic cultures.

I know of Christians who say that they do not fellowship or “hang-out” with people outside of their church. Jesus Christ however set the example for how to move the knowledge of God’s Word, and minister to the dieing, bringing them deliverance and healing. He moved among and wholly dedicated himself to “publicans and sinners,” even to the end of eating salt with them, and I love him for that. How are we to bring the knowledge of God’s Word to people if we are not out among them, if we sit in our homes, or offices, or churches, only fellowshipping with “the righteous,” waiting for people to come to the altar of our knowledge? Jesus Christ said that he came not “to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” and he admonished the Pharisees, saying, “go ye and learn what that meaneth.”

Perhaps the words of N.T. Wright regarding the “if ye have love one to another” of John 13:35 are appropriate: “We are bound to cringe with shame at the way in which professing Christians have treated each other down the years. We have turned the gospel into a weapon of our own various cultures. We have hit each other over the head with it, burnt each other at the stake with it. We have defined the ‘one another’ so tightly that it means only love the people who reinforce your own sense of who you are.”

CATACLYSMIC EVENTS

March 4, 2010

The tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004, recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, destroyed so much and killed so many. I am deeply saddened and pray for those who have lost loved ones, and businesses, and property. I am also appalled, though not shocked, by the insufferable ignorance of so many claiming to be Christian, and their unbiblical, unloving, unfounded, and unimaginable comments regarding these occurrences. It seems that every time there is a cataclysmic event of such massive proportions, on radio talk shows (both Christian and secular) and in the press I constantly hear and read a multitude of commentary that these events are some how God’s wrath on all these “sinful” nations. Do they actually believe that there was not one Christian in these places, not one innocent person?

It seems that whenever these types of things happen, it is a “sign of the end of the world.” As I watched the reporting on the events in Haiti, I actually heard Sean Penn say on one of the major networks, “God has been bullying these people for decades.” At first I thought, “what an idiot!” But, hey, let’s be honest, if what the “Bible thumpers” are saying is right, then Sean Penn’s conclusion is logical.

It is amazing how “Bible thumpers” love to thump the Bible on the outside but never get around to reading it on the inside. One of the most basic tenets of Christianity and one of the most fundamental verses in the Bible is John, chapter 3, verse 16, which states, “For God so loved the world…” In the First Epistle of John (not the Gospel of John), chapter 1, verse 5 it states that “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” Again in the First Epistle of John, chapter 4, verses 8 and 16 state, “God is love.” I could go on a great while showing from the scripture the enormity of the love of God for humanity, but suffice it to say that God was not responsible for these destructive events.

The Truth of the Matter is that the Bible declares that there are two gods. One is the true God, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). The one who is light and in whom is no darkness. The one who is love and who loves humanity. The other god is “the god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4), Satan, who blinds and deceives and convinces men and women that the true God is responsible for the things for which he himself is to blame. One of Satan’s greatest weapons has been to hide the Biblical truth of his acquired authority and power in the earth (Luke 4:5,6), and his having the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). Satan’s power and authority in the world is evident, though not permanent. There is a day coming….

The Truth of the Matter is these events happened because of things that occurred thousands of years ago, as recorded in the first chapter of the book of Genesis, verse 2, when God’s perfect creation “became without form and void” due to catastrophic events in the spiritual realm. God did not create the heavens and earth this way, it became this way. The prophet Isaiah clearly states that God did not create it this way (Isaiah 45:18). The prophet Jeremiah speaks of these cataclysmic events (Jeremiah 4:23,24), as does the Apostle Peter in his epistle (II Peter 3:5,6). In the book of Romans, chapter 8, verse 22 it states “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” What occurred in Indonesia, and Haiti, and Chile were tragedies caused by the shifting and movement of plates deep beneath the earth’s surface, the groaning and travailing in pain of the creation, not God’s wrath!

As for these events being a sign of the end of the world, may I again suggest reading the Bible instead of thumping on the cover (II Thessalonians 2:1-4; Acts 1:7).

January 2000 – For the last couple of years, the secular media and the religious media have agreed on something, that Y2K was going to cause global problems. Aside from the current political administration and mainstream journalists, prominent religious figures have utilized their media organizations to bombard people with prophecies of doom and gloom regarding Y2K, i.e. – secret reports from “insiders,” eyewitness accounts of failed testing, and so-called experts in Biblical prophecy. Our military capabilities were going to fail. The stock market was going to crash. The world’s banking system was going to crumble. There was going to be global power outages, failed air traffic control computers, automobile computer failures, planes falling from the sky, trains crashing because the track switches were going to fail, OH MY GOD…RUN FOR THE HILLS! These religious icons of our society utilized their media organizations to again cause fear in people by the deceitful mishandling of scripture, thereby creating a crisis that their ignorant and unlearned followers would have to look to them to solve.

It was sad to watch, especially for those of us who truly love and understand AND BELIEVE God’s Word, and believe in the revelation manifestations of holy spirit. Millions, if not billions of dollars were wasted on the hoarding of fuel, food, generators, wood burning stoves, underground bunkers, and remote parcels of land to which to run and hide. Entire communities were built in the remotest of places to escape the chaos that was going to occur in the cities. What a pitiful demonstration of the lack of believing and understanding of God’s Word by these religious figures. What a pitiful demonstration of the gullibility of the masses and people’s willingness to believe anything that these religious icons of society tell them. What a deplorable waste of money and resources that could have been put to good use for the study and outreach of God’s rightly divided Word and the furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which genuinely helps people. More money was perhaps wasted on preparing for the aftermath of Y2K than was spent on investigating and correcting the problems that might occur. People always seem to want the end of the world without the return of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, ACCORDING TO GOD’S WORD!

Karl Marx is credited with having said, “religion is the opiate of the masses”. How true his words have been demonstrated to be. Religion can, in our modern vernacular, be said to be the crack-cocaine of the masses. It is a terrible addiction, worse than any physical drug and far more mind numbing and detrimental to the user.

The Truth of the Matter is stated in Deuteronomy 18:21 and 22, “And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” This scripture needs to be heralded forth and believed!

As the date changed around the globe, it was interesting to watch the top mainstream journalists having nothing to talk about except the celebrations and other trivia, while really being geared up to report on global millennium bug catastrophes. It will be interesting next to see the response of the doom prophesying religious icons and their media organizations, after they wipe the egg off their faces. The retractions and apologies should be endless. (Yeah, sure.) They will most likely, somehow, figure out a way to take the credit, or weasel out from under their previous statements. Those who followed them ought not to allow them to get away with it, after dealing with their own shame.

The only Y2K “crisis” is that once again God, His Son, His Word and true Christianity has been made laughingstock in the minds of people by the countless numbers of Christians who have again been made to look foolish, making God’s Word look foolish, thereby making His Son and what Christianity truly is look foolish and lack credibility. God have mercy on those false prophets and all those who watch, listen to, support, or believe anything they say.

Those of us who understand and believe God’s Word have stood firm on the promises of God and His revelation, and have publicly stated that this was not going to be a global crisis on any scale. Small problems arose here and there as with anything man invents or controls, but certainly not the “doomsday” that was foretold by so many of the religious icons and their media organizations.

Jeremiah 28:9 states, “The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him.”

A number of years ago my wife and I owned a mid 1970’s era Audi. It was the ‘coolest’ car. We absolutely loved it. It had that classic ‘Euro’ look – rounded body style, two-tone beige and burgundy paint, wood-grain dashboard with old fashioned analog instruments, and a plush, wine-red, fabric interior. It looked like an automobile that you would expect to see driving around Piccadilly Circle in some old movie filmed in London. It had that old car smell, and when you took it on a road trip, it was the most comfortable car imaginable to drive. It would always run better after taking it out on the road to ‘unwind’ a bit. (We use to call it de-gunking the engine). But, boy oh boy, it was finicky.

It was love at first site when we bought it. We paid around $1,500 for it I think, but whatever we paid for it initially, paled, compared to what it cost us after that. In the first year we owned it, we put something like $5,000 into it. It got so bad we began calling it the “O-w-w-w-d-e-e!” The engine had to constantly be tweaked and tuned (by trained professionals of course….at $100 per hour). On a trip to California, the thermostat went out, and, so, we had to run the heater full blast so the car wouldn’t overheat, while driving across Death Valley in mid-July! On another occasion, while taking a leisurely weekend drive around our beautiful State of Colorado, we were traveling through the mountains when we encountered an unexpected blizzard. As if that wasn’t frightening enough, we hit a bump in the road and the engine mounts broke, so that the engine was ‘hanging’ by a thread (almost quite literally) under the hood, with the pulleys grinding and sparking on the frame as we slowly made our way through the storm. Eventually, as much as we loved that old car, we had to say goodbye, farewell, ciao, avidisene, au revoir, good riddance!

The truth of the matter is that the human mind can be as finicky as an old automobile. The mind has to constantly be tuned, and tweaked (by a professional). And, while it does need to be taken out on the road to ‘unwind’ occasionally, in order to ‘de-gunk’ the engine, and can be extremely comfortable and enjoyable to ‘drive,’ if we allow ourselves to get complacent, or ‘rev the engine’ beyond its capability, as it were, just when we least expect it, we ‘blow the motor’, or we hit a bump and the engine mounts break, or the steering linkage gets out of whack and we run it off the road.

The mind can be person’s greatest asset at times or their own worst enemy at other times. The thought processes of a person, when held in bounds by a moral or ethical standard (i.e. the Word of God), can produce tremendous intellectual fruit in a person’s life that may spill over into, and be a positive contribution to society. However, if those same thought processes are let loose, and left unchecked, or unrestrained, they can wreck havoc on themselves and others. There are countless examples in history of individuals, societies, religious orders, and governments where this has happened.

For a Christian believer, the accurate knowledge of God’s Word provides that moral and ethical restraint, the boundaries within which the mind can best function and produce.

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” II Corinthians 10:5

The best translation of this verse that I have ever read is, “Demolish your human logic from the high position to which you have lifted it vertically against the knowledge of God, which you have known by experience. Be wise, lead captive everything to Christ, which you have attentively listened to and heard.”

It is human nature to lift human logic and intellect vertically against the knowledge of God.

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord pondereth the hearts.” Proverbs 21:2

Human logic must constantly be destroyed and brought captive to the obedience of Christ. The mind must constantly be ‘tweaked’ and ‘tuned’ by a ‘professional,’ just like that old Audi. The best professional for the job is, first of all, the individual believer themselves, by their freedom of will, as they learn and study and grow in a knowledge of God’s Word.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2

God has also provided a ‘team of professionals’ to help the believers, five distinct ministries in the Body of Christ – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers – whose ‘job description’ Paul lays out in his letter to the Ephesians.

“For the perfecting of the saints (in their renewed minds), for the work of the ministry, for the edifying (the building up) of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12

These five ministries in the Church of the Body of Christ are here to help the believers in their renewed mind walk with God, to be ‘in the trenches’ carrying out the work of the ministry, and always be building up the body of Christ. There are five of these ministries because five is how many God determined He needed to give. (‘If people don’t like that, they can argue with the management,’ as my mentor use to say). If the record of the Word of God is true (and I believe it is), then, if there are apostles, then there must be some prophets. If there are prophets, then there must be some evangelists. If there are evangelists, then there must be some pastors and teachers. At any one time, one, or more, of these five ministries may be needed, or preferred, above another, or may carry more responsibility, but all five are vital to the Church.

During the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, while Nehemiah oversaw the rebuilding of the wall, and Ezra oversaw the rebuilding of the Temple, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah also were at work, and prophesying among the people.

“And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo.” Ezra 6:14a

These men worked together caring for God’s people, as well as taking care of the work at hand. There was no fear, envy, or jealousy among them. The five ministries in the Church today have the same opportunity and responsibility to bless God’s people, and work together “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Fear, envy, jealousy, and in-fighting among the ministries is counter-productive and is hurtful to the Body). God knows what He is doing. Having these five distinct ministries, men and women with these different long-suits and abilities, sees to it that all the needs in the Church in any area and at any time, are taken care of.

The book of Proverbs tells us that “iron sharpeneth iron” (Proverbs 27:17). So also are these ministries to keep one another sharp on God’s Word. Confrontation in the early Church was vital and necessary to its continued success and growth, and it still is vital and necessary for the success and growth of the Church today. The book of Acts records numerous instances of confrontation among leadership, and how matters of great importance and consequence were brought before the apostles (plural) and elders (plural), where things were discussed, considered, sometimes even argued about, until an agreement in accordance with the Word of God was reached.

Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, refers to these five ministries as the “rulers” (plural), the “higher powers” (plural) that every soul (in the Church) should be subject to.

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers (plural). For there is no power but of God: the powers (plural) that be are ordained of God.” Romans 13:1

The greatest leaders have to be the greatest servants to their fellow man. These five ‘ruling’ ministries, in genuine operation, will never laud their authority over people, but by example, love, and service earn peoples love, respect, support, and subjection. And that subjection by the souls in the Church will be autonomic, an outcrop, a response out of love, never out of dictation, legislation, or fear, else both (the ministries and the subjection) are counterfeit.

Some of you reading this article may have one or more of these ministries, and you may have a tremendous desire to serve and heed the call of God in your life. It is the responsibility, and should be the heart’s desire of the elder ministers in the Church to help you, and teach you, and bring the greatness of what God has given you on the inside to the surface, to help you grow and develop to your greatest potential, so that you too can serve the call of God in your life.