Saturday, April 30, 2011

Can Man Create A Saint ?

Man has been given the freedom, by God, to do anything with his life. Jesus, who was at creation (Heb. Ch. 1) did not make automatons; creatures who would always do what He asked. Contrary to what liberal political ideology teaches, we are not slaves. Some politicians would have us all be slaves to a government or to a political ideology. Jesus had different ideas (2 Cor. 3:17). However, this political argument is best left for another time.

We do have freedom, yet everything that we do does not bring pleasure to God – this much should be obvious to us all. We have the “liberty” to deny the 10 Commandments, to break God’s Law and assign a different day for worship, to eat too much, to drink too much, to fill our minds with garbage of all sorts, etc. In short, we have the freedom to sin!

People will ask the question; “if God knew we were going to sin, why did He make us?”.

He made us because rooted in true freedom and liberty is love. The same argument applies to Lucifer. God, although knowing Lucifer (the Light-Bearer) would rebel and become Satan (the Adversary), created him anyway. He did so out of love! The Roman Catholic Church is in the process of determining whether or not the late Pope John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyła) will be designated a Saint. Mankind has the freedom to do such a thing if he wants. My thinking process is much different than theirs. Man cannot do what God Himself can only do. (Photo from FOXNEWS.COM)

For example, only God can alter His 10 divine Laws – man cannot. Man may do such things and claim he has usurped God’s authority, but this is simply the same mistake Lucifer made. In fact, making such a change indicates you have committed yourself to the allegiance of Satan. Man may teach that you go to heaven (or hell) immediately upon death, for another example, but the Bible (God's actual Word) does not teach that. Satan teaches in the "garden" that we are immortal and have an immortal "soul", but God does not teach that. Instead, God teaches that when we die - we die! That we are "living souls" (in life) and when we die, the breath of God returns to God. When God breathed into Adam he "became a living soul". Upon death, we lie dead, awaiting the Resurrection at the Second Coming. (or the Resurrection of the wicked - later)

The biblical definition of a “saint” is very different from man’s. This person has done a wonderful job explaining this. Although it’s a little dated, please read it.

Do you claim to love God? Did you know the biblical definition of love means more than our modern touchy-feely ideas about love? “Love” – in the Bible, has much to do with obedience. If we actually love God, we will think twice before “eating anything from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. We will obey Him out of our love for Him!.

No … man nor his organized church can do what only God can do – even if it appears that he has. This is the true faith of the saints – that we love and believe our Lord and Savior, not man, and if we do love Him, we will follow His Commandments! (John 14:15)

I hope all of you are having a wonderful, spirit-filled Sabbath!

The Observer

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Biblical Church

Take a long look at the photo of the nice brick church with a classic steeple. Most of us have seen such churches in our own home town, especially in N. America [Peyton-Knight photo]. Many saints and sinners can be found in these places. After all, sometimes the best place to find a sinner is in church. Saints can be found everywhere there’s a need.

The second image is from the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.

My question today is; “do either of these images represent your biblical vision of what the church is?” It certainly did for me for most of my life. Then, I began to really study my Bible.

My wife, the Tigress, and I attended an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) awards banquet last night. The event was held on a sprawling, expansive network of buildings. The facility included schools, meeting rooms, gymnasiums, ballrooms, offices, and conference centers. This was a one church organization folks, spread out on at least one square mile of property, or more! The actual church was immense, certainly able to be described as a mega-church. Right next door, on a separate piece of gorgeous property a famous (un-named) professional athlete has built a sports facility so the young folks could be trained to pursue the given sport with all the help one would need. Yes, the famous athlete is a member of the church.

Being a devout capitalist myself, I have absolutely no problem with all the money associated with this organization and their facility – as long as the money is used for good purposes. And I have no doubt whatsoever that many, many saints attend this church.

But I have to ask, “is this what the biblical text means when it speaks of the ‘church’ ?“

I would have to say, no – not at all. We’ve mentioned before that Bible translations contain word errors. These errors have crept in through the influence of Kings, Popes, translators, and well-meaning clergy. If memory serves the last one discussed was the use of the Latin word “crux”, for cross. The original Greek word used was, “stauros”, meaning stake. This one crept in with William Tyndale, a trained catholic. With the veneration of the cross image that is given nowadays and the fact of it's pagan origin, you can appreciate my concern.

The old English word, "cirice" (the house of a god) was one such word used by the King James translators. We get our word, “church” from this word and it strictly implies a place of worship. The original intent was far removed from this idea. The word, “congregation” is very old and only has one meaning. It means, “an assembly of believers”; a collection of people devoted to worship. “Congregation” is the word that should be used in all Bible translations where the word “church” is used.

So, as you may have suspected already, a church is simply where two or more worshippers are gathered.

Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

Whether you have a meeting at home, at work, in your car, or on the street; and you are having a devotional activity to God – then you are in church. Let no man tell you differently!

Now, there’s nothing wrong if you wish to attend one of these mega-churches. Just be sure they’re doing God’s work, not man’s. And ask this question - are they promoting Jesus or man?

The Observer

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Useless Searching for the Antichrist

Have you ever lost something - your keys, glasses, coffee cup? You look and look, mumbling to yourself about aging and wondering why all that energy is wasted on those young people.

Then you look down, right in front of your face – there’s your keys! Right where you left them! And no, the keys didn’t grow wings and fly across the room. You just forgot!

Most Christians today are doing the same thing concerning the Antichrist. Metaphorically, we are looking in every place imaginable when the answer is right in front of us – all the time.

Joel Richardson has written a book comparing the Islamic “Mahdi” with the Antichrist, others believe that the Antichrist controls the U.N., or the European Union. Some say it’s the Bilderberg folks or the Illuminati; or better yet, the Masons. (we all know it’s really that rat in red pants – Mickey Mouse!)

You know what I’m going to say … yes, the answer is in the Bible. Right in front of our eyes the whole time!

There’s no doubt that those organizations I listed may have antichrist tendencies. The good book tells us this will be so.

1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

My mother used to ask me a question, over and over again. “Son, do you believe we are in the last days?”. I would always reply the same way; “Yes Mom, the Bible says the last days started with Jesus’ first coming!”. Of course, she meant the final, end of days. She was a futurist and was looking towards a time in the future when the Antichrist was to appear.

I’m an historicist, so for me the Antichrist has been around for much longer than most Christians realize. Why do I believe this?

… for the Bible tells me so …

The word, “antichrist” is used 5 times in the Bible, all in 1st and 2nd John. The antichrist is also referred to as, that “son of perdition”. There are references concerning him in Daniel, 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation.

Please notice 1 John 2:18 again, quoted above. “Many antichrists have come”. So, not only is antichrist centered around a single “son of perdition”, but there are actually “many”. Please notice; the word “Antichrist” as a single entity is used, but also “antichrists” – the plural - and, that we know, as Christians, that we are at the last “hour”. Let’s continue reading in 1st John.

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

John says very clearly that these antichrists went out from “us”. Who are the “us”? Why, Christians of course! Now, consider this. Are the Illuminati, United Nations, European Union, Masons, Bilderbergers, or Islam part of us – Christianity? The answer is clearly no! If that’s so then why are people looking for the Antichrist in these groups? They are deceived, that’s why! Continue reading …

1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 1 John 2:21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.

John assures us this is the truth, that antichrist denies the Father and the Son.

1 John 2:26 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.

John writes that some will try to deceive you concerning antichrist. It will be subtle, misdirected.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 1 John 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

Is Glenn Beck a false prophet because he’s pushing a book about an Islamic Antichrist? : ) No, I place no judgment on him. All that’s up to God. What’s important here is that the “spirit of Antichrist” is “already in the world”! Clearly, the apostolic church was expecting Antichrist very soon - and, that you have and must overcome them!

1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Now … let’s go to 2 Thessalonians.

2Th 2:1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2Th 2:2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 2Th 2:3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 2Th 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

Paul doesn’t use the word “Antichrist” here, but all Bible scholars agree that this “man of sin”, this “son of perdition” is Antichrist. Notice that we are to be eventually gathered together with Christ, that the “day of Christ” (Second Coming) has not yet arrived and that before all this happens a “falling away” occurs first, then the “son of perdition” is revealed.

The “falling away” is an apostasy. A desertion of the original precepts of a religion or belief. Then this “entity” will sit in the “Temple of God”, “showing himself that he is God”.

Obviously, in the New testament, there are many references to the actual, physical temple located in Jerusalem. But, with the Advent of Christ the “Temple” becomes something different.

Question: How does the New Testament ultimately define the “Temple of God”? If you miss the progression and change in this regard, then you are not reading your Bible!

[Point of future study - did you know; this "Temple" is also defined as "Israel"!]

Mat 26:61 and said, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.' "

Mat 27:40 and saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross."

Mat 27:51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, (the “temple” and sacrifices ceased to be important)

John 2:21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

1Co 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1Co 3:17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

2Co 6:16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM. I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE."

Eph 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, (referring to the body)

2Th 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

Rev 3:12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

Rev 7:15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.

… Revelation continues with the Temple and it’s always referring to a heavenly Temple until the New Earth.

So … the Antichrist will “sit in the temple of God” (not man) “showing himself to be God”. … this “son of perdition”.

… “son of perdition” hmmmm. Yes! It refers to another person, as well!

John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

This “son of perdition” is Judas! No, I’m not saying that Judas is the Antichrist. I’m saying that Judas came from within Christianity, as close as one could get to Jesus - yet, he was a “son of perdition”! It’s more proof that the Antichrist is from within Christianity, not outside!

Now… continuing with 2 Thessalonians 2 …

2Th 2:5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 2Th 2:6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 2Th 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 2Th 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 2Th 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 2Th 2:10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2Th 2:11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 2Th 2:12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Paul says that even during his time the church already knew what was “restraining” the Antichrist. It’s not stated here because it was dangerous to do so. The Thessalonians knew, Paul knew, but the Roman Empire held an ax over their heads, so to speak. So … how do we know what the “restrainer” is? And, what is “in his time”?

We know from history. (do you see why I’m an Historicist?)

“‘For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now hinders must hinder, until he be taken out of the way.’ What obstacle is there but the Roman state, the falling away of which, by being scattered into ten kingdoms, shall introduce Antichrist upon (its own ruins)? ‘And then shall be revealed the wicked one.” “On the Resurrection of the Flesh,” chapter 24; Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. III, p. 563 - Tertullian (160-240 A. D.)

Again from Tertullian;

“The very end of all things threatening dreadful woes is only retarded by the continued existence of the Roman Empire.” (“Apology,” chapter 32; Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III, p. 43)

“The subject itself declares that the fall and ruin of the world will shortly take place; except that while the city of Rome remains, it appears that nothing of this kind is to be feared. But when that capital of the world shall have fallen, and shall have begun to be a street, which the Sibyls say shall come to pass, who can doubt that the end has now arrived to the affairs of men and the whole world? It is that city, that only, which still sustains all things.” (“The Divine Institutes,” book 7, chapter 25; Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. VII, p. 220) - Lactantius, in the early fourth century

“But this aforesaid Antichrist is to come when the times of the Roman Empire shall have been fulfilled, and the end of the world is drawing near. There shall rise up together ten kings of the Romans, reigning in different parts perhaps, but all about the same time; and after those an eleventh, the Antichrist, who by his magical craft shall seize upon the Roman power; and of the kings who reigned before him, ‘three he shall humble,’ and the remaining seven he shall keep in subjection to himself.” (Catechetical Lectures,” section 15, on II Thessalonians 2:4; Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. VII, p. 108 [New York: The Christian Literature Company, 1895]). - early in the fourth century Cyril of Jerusalem (318-386 A. D.)

… one more for good measure …

When the Roman Empire is taken out of the way, then he [the Antichrist] shall come. And naturally. For as long as the fear of this empire lasts, no one will willingly exalt himself, but when that is dissolved, he will attack the anarchy, and endeavor to seize upon the government both of man and of God.” - “Homily IV on 2 Thessalonians 2:6-9,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. XIII, p. 389 [New York: Charles Scribner’s and Sons, 1905] - Chrysostom (died in 407)

Folks! History can produce many more acknowledgments of Paul’s knowledge and the awareness of the Thessalonians that the Roman Empire was the Restrainer and must have it’s due “time” before Antichrist appears!

Now … to the meat of the issue. What “little horn” came up out of the Roman Empire to become the Antichrist?

Dan 7:7 "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. (the Roman Empire) Dan 7:8 I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.

What Antichrist power was given authority after the fall of the Roman Empire? What power became “lawless” by denying the 10 Commandments and actually changing them? What power stated that one must go through man to get to God and that one man, seated as God was the ultimate source to God?

Justinian I conquered the Italian peninsula in the Gothic War (535–554) and appointed the next three popes, a practice that would be continued by his successors. The Papacy began to grow in power and authority as the Empire diminished.

Yes my friends, the illusive Antichrist is not elusive at all! He is not Islamic or part of the U.N. He has already subtly altered your worship so you worship a different Jesus than the one scripture tells us to worship. He has even changed your appointed day of worship with no complaint from you. He has introduced pagan ritual and gods within your “Christianity” and you don’t even recognize it. His deadly wound has been healed and he is growing again in power and will one day speak a world-wide proclamation to worship himself as God, on the day appointed by himself. He will work with those organizations already spoken of to do this. He will even work closely with the United States of America! He has already captured most so-called Protestant churches!

Stop looking around for the Antichrist folks! He’s been right in front of our eyes for a very long time!

The Observer