Expounding the More Perfect Way….Jesus Christ and Him Crucified Acts 18:24-28

Monthly Archives: December 2016

Religion

Chapter Two

Religion is that which is conceived by man, birthed by man, instituted by man, and carried out by man, in order to reach God, or else to better oneself in some way. Anything of this capacity conceived by man, is unacceptable to God. This means that anything and everything that’s not strictly according to the Word of God is unacceptable.

Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Shintoism, modern Judaism, Mormonism, Catholicism, etc., all and without exception, come under the heading of religion.

Biblical Christianity

Biblical Christianity is not a religion, but rather a relationship, and that with a Man, the Man Christ Jesus. And yet, much of modern Christianity has been divorced from the Bible, meaning that it is perverted and twisted and, therefore, corrupt. It too must come under the heading of religion. Perhaps the simple phrase, “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified,” would come closer to explaining Biblical Christianity than anything else. Concerning this, the Apostle Paul said:

Now the Spirit (Holy Spirit) speaks expressly (pointedly), that in the latter times (the times in which we now live, the last of the last days, which begin the fulfillment of Endtime Prophecies) some shall depart from the Faith (anytime Paul uses the term ‘the Faith,’ in short he is referring to the Cross; so, we are told here that some will depart from the Cross as the Means of Salvation and Victory), giving heed to seducing spirits (evil spirits, i.e., ‘religious spirits,’ making something seem like what it isn’t), and doctrines of devils (should have been translated, ‘Doctrines of Demons’; the ‘seducing spirits’ entice Believers away from the true Faith, causing them to believe ‘Doctrines inspired by Demon Spirits’)” (I Tim. 4:1).

While the words “religious” and “religion” appear in James 1:26–27, the Greek words originally used would have been better translated “spiritual,” and “spirituality,” making it read, “If any man among you seems to be spiritual …” and “Pure spirituality.…”

The Great Whore

The Holy Spirit, even as we shall see, takes a very dim view of religion, which, in fact, has been the nemesis of the Lord from the very beginning of time. We see religion at work in the case of Cain and Abel, the offspring of the First Family. The Lord had given instructions as to how communion with Him should be carried out, plus forgiveness of sins. It would be by the means of the slain lamb, offered up in sacrifice, which would be a symbol of the coming Redeemer. Abel offered up his sacrifice accordingly, and was accepted by God.

Conversely, his brother, Cain, refused to offer up that which God demanded, instead, offering up the fruit of his own hands, whatever that may have been. Please understand, Cain did not deny there was a God, and did not deny the need for a sacrifice, but rather that he offer a sacrifice of his own choosing, which God would not accept and, in fact, could not accept (Gen., Chpt. 4). Cain’s unacceptable offering was the first evidence of “religion.”

We know what the Lord thinks of religion, by what He said in the Book of Revelation:

And there came one of the seven Angels which had the seven Vials, and talked with me (probably is the seventh Angel; however, we actually have no way of truly knowing), saying unto me, come hither; I will show unto you the judgment of the great whore who sits upon many waters (the ‘great whore’ refers to all the religions of the world that ever have been, which are devised by men as a substitute for ‘Jesus Christ and Him Crucified’; God’s Way is Christ and Him Crucified Alone; as well, the ‘many waters’ are a symbol for multitudes of people):

With whom (the great whore, i.e., all type of religions) the kings of the Earth (from the very beginning, most nations have been ruled by some type of religion) have committed fornication (all religions devised by men, and even the parts of Christianity that have been corrupted, are labeled by the Lord as ‘spiritual fornication’ [Rom. 7:1–4]), and the inhabitants of the Earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication (proclaims the addiction of religion; the doing of religion is the most powerful narcotic there is)” (Rev. 17:1–2).

All of this means that all religion is devised either by demon spirits, or men, or a combination of both. In any case, as stated, it is unacceptable to God. Religion is Satan’s substitute for the reality of Christ.

To describe religion, the Holy Spirit used one of the most base, descriptive phrases (the great whore) that could be used. He did this for purpose.

The simple meaning of the word is that it pertains to a woman who practices promiscuous sexual intercourse for hire. It also means, “to pursue a faithless, unworthy, or idolatrous desire.”

Used in the spiritual sense, “it pertains to religious favors offered for a price.” As well, it will stoop to any level, strike any bargain, and go to any length, to attain its devious ends.

The Religion of Islam

I think I can say without fear of contradiction, that the most destructive religion that’s ever been birthed in the heart of evil man, is the religion of Islam. In one overwhelming sense of the word, it is very much akin to the religion of Baal worship in Old Testament times. This form of worship majored in human sacrifice, and I think it is overly obvious that the religion of Islam follows suit.

This religion made its debut in A.D. 622. It began with Muhammad of the tribe of Quraysh in Mecca. He claimed to have received a revelation that God (Allah) was “one” and that he (Muhammad) was to be Allah’s messenger of that truth.

He began this religion by making converts of some of his family members and close friends. Due to opposition, he left Mecca and went to the town of Medina, both in present day Saudi Arabia. This particular episode, his flight from Mecca to Medina, is now viewed as year “one” in the Islamic calendar. But actually it was the year 622 A.D.

The Jews

In Medina, Muhammad came into contact with a large Jewish community. Evidently his dealings with them resulted in him being influenced in that he adopted some of the Jewish practices. For example, at least at this particular time, he taught that faithful Muslims should pray facing Jerusalem. The Jews did the same thing and, in fact, had been doing the same thing for some 1,500 years. When the Jews rejected the message of Islam, which they did unequivocally, only then did he change his method of praying, by directing prayers toward Mecca.

He also taught his followers to fast on the tenth day of Tishri, the same day as the Jewish fast of Yom Kippur. This was later expanded to include the entire month of Ramadan.

In his so-called revelation, he also demanded that his followers abstain from pork and, as well, that all little Muslim boys be circumcised, which as most know, are standard Jewish practices.

He also claimed to accept the Jewish Prophets of Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David. He also included Adam in this list, as well as the “Prophet Jesus.” And yet, he strongly rejected the idea of the Deity of Christ. So, it’s difficult to understand how that he could claim that Jesus was a great Prophet, while at the same time being a liar, considering how much our Lord affirmed His Personal Deity.

Muhammad

Muhammad claimed that he was personally “the seal of Prophecy,” meaning that he was God’s final messenger. While he accepted some of the Scriptures of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, still, he always perverted the Text. At any rate, his “revelations,” embodied in the Koran, became the authoritative “scriptures” for his faithful followers. These followers were called and are called “Muslims,” from the Arabic word “Islam,” meaning “submission” to the one God.

Due to his acceptance of some of the Jewish practices, he felt surely that the Jews would accept his message of “one God.” He found to his dismay, that the Jewish Rabbis gave him no credence whatsoever, ridiculing his illiteracy, and especially his confusion of Biblical traditions. But above all, the Jewish people could not even remotely accept a non-Israelite as God’s “seal of Prophecy.”

In a rage because of the rejection of the Jews, he initiated a policy of extermination that resulted in thousands of Jews being massacred, with thousands of others being evicted from their homes and, in fact, from Northern Arabia.

The Arab-Israeli Conflict

To understand the Arab-Israeli conflict, we must try to understand the attitude of Islam toward the Jewish people.

The land that we presently refer to as “Israel,” or “Palestine,” was conquered and ruled by the Muslims from the Seventh Century to the Twentieth Century.

There was one interruption during this period of time, and that was when the “Christian” crusaders ruled the land for less than 100 years. Islam presently finds it unacceptable that this land, originally conquered for Allah by his followers, to now be ruled by the Jews, a people who they considered to be inferior and subservient. At least that is the way it is pictured in the Koran.

The Muslims find it impossible to acknowledge the historic reality that the land of Israel, according to the Bible, which they do not consider to be the Word of God, but rather the Koran, belongs to the Jews. This is the real key to understanding the impasse that exists in Israel presently. The Arab countries, predominantly Muslim, refuse to accept a foreign, Jewish presence in a land that is supposed to be, according to them, a part of the “world of Islam.”

~J. Swaggart Ministries

What is the Relationship of Islam to the Bible?

Chapter One

In truth, none!

While the Muslims have misquoted the Bible, falsely interpreted the Bible, misapplied the Bible, and even changed the Bible, the truth is, Islam has absolutely no part in the Word of God. While the Koran contains illustrations from the Bible, generally those illustrations are twisted and perverted. In fact, while many religions have borrowed somewhat from the Bible, the Bible, the oldest Book in the world, has not borrowed from anything.

The Muslims claim that Ishmael is the promised seed, and not Isaac.

The Bible portrays Ishmael as a work of the flesh, and that he, along with his mother Hagar, were driven out of the household of Abraham.

The Scriptures say, and I quote from THE EXPOSITOR’S STUDY BIBLE: “And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken (despite all of Satan’s hindrances, Isaac, the progenitor and Type of the Messiah, is born).

For Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. (Referring back to the past Chapter, if it be objected that this whole occurrence is incredible, because no heathen prince would desire to marry a woman upwards of 90 years of age, or to conceive such a passion for her that to secure her, he would murder her husband—the very fate which Abraham feared for himself—it may be replied that God must have miraculously renewed her youth, so that she became sufficiently youthful in appearance to suitably be desirable. Three times in these first two verses, the clause points to the supernatural character of Isaac’s birth.)

And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. (The name means ‘laughter.’ It speaks of blessing, increase, healing, life, and well-being [Jn. 10:10]. As Isaac was a Type of Christ, it would not be wrong to say that one of the names of Christ is ‘laughter.’)

And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him (this was a sign of the Covenant that God would ultimately send a Redeemer into this world).

And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him (this verse is placed in the Text so that all may know that Isaac’s birth was indeed miraculous).

And Sarah said, God has made me to laugh, so that all who hear will laugh with me. (The mention of Sarah’s name some five times thus far in this Chapter is done for purpose and reason; the Holy Spirit is impressing the fact that Sarah was in truth the very mother of this miraculous child. Sarah had once laughed in unbelief; she now laughs in Faith, a laughter incidentally expressing joy, which will never end. It all pointed to Christ. Because of Christ, untold millions have laughed for joy.)

And she said, who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? For I have born him a son in his old age (this is a poem, and could very well have been a song, and probably was).

And the child grew, and was weaned (the custom in those days was to nurse children for two to three years before they were weaned; however, there is some indication that Isaac was approximately five years old when he was weaned): and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned (at this time, the boy was turned over to his father for training, at which time his education began).

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar (Ishmael) the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. (The effect of the birth of Isaac, a work of the Spirit was to make manifest the character of Ishmael, a work of the flesh. The end result of the ‘mocking’ was that Ishmael actually desired to murder Isaac [Gal. 4:29]. Ishmael was probably eighteen to twenty years old at this time, and Isaac was probably about five years old.)

Wherefore she said unto Abraham, cast out this bondwoman and her son: (Isaac and Ishmael symbolized the new and the old natures in the Believer. Hagar and Sarah typified the two Covenants of works and Grace, of bondage and liberty [Gal., Chpt. 4]. The birth of the new nature demands the expulsion of the old. It is impossible to improve the old nature. How foolish, therefore, appears the doctrine of moral evolution!) For the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. (Allowed to remain, Ishmael would murder Isaac; allowed to remain, the flesh will murder the Spirit. The Divine way of holiness is to ‘put off the old man,’ just as Abraham ‘put offIshmael. Man’s way of holiness is to improve the old man, that is, to improve Ishmael. The effort is both foolish and hopeless.)

And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. (It is always a struggle to cast out this element of bondage, that is, salvation by works, of which this is a type. For legalism is dear to the heart. Ishmael was the fruit, and, to Abraham, the fair fruit of his own energy and planning, which God can never accept.)

And God said unto Abraham, let it not be grievous in your sight because of the lad, and because of your bondwoman; and all that Sarah has said unto you, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall your seed be called. (It is labor lost to seek to make a crooked thing straight. Hence, all efforts after the improvement of nature are utterly futile, so far as God is concerned. The ‘flesh’ must go, which typifies the personal ability, strength, and efforts of the Believer. The Faith of the Believer must be entirely in Christ and what Christ has done at the Cross. Then, and then alone, can the Holy Spirit have latitude to work in our lives, bringing forth perpetual victory [Rom. 6:14]. It must ever be understood, ‘in Isaac [in Christ] shall your seed be called.’

And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is your seed (out of this ‘work of the flesh’ ultimately came the religion of Islam, which claims that Ishmael is the promised seed, and not Isaac)” (Gen. 21:1–13).

God’s Promise Concerning Ishmael

Some years before, Hagar, the bondwoman, and her son, Ishmael, were cast out of the home of Abraham, actually just before Isaac was born, the Lord said unto Abraham: “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai (‘my princess,’ referring to the fact that she was Abraham’s princess alone), but Sarah shall her name be (simply means ‘princess;’ the idea is, whereas she was formerly Abraham’s princess only, she will now be recognized as a princess generally, and, in fact, in a sense, could be referred to as the ‘mother of the Church’).

And I will bless her, and give you a son also of her (this is the first time in all of God’s dealings with Abraham that He had mentioned the fact that the promised son would be of Sarah): yes, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her (her ‘blessing’ spoke of increase, which includes even the Church and, in a sense, the Lord Jesus Christ).

Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, shall a child be born unto me who is an hundred years old (Abraham’s laughter was that of joy [Jn. 8:56]? and shall Sarah who is ninety years old bear (Paul said of him: ‘He considered not the deadness of Sarah’s womb’)?” (Rom. 4:19).

And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before You! (Abraham asked the Lord that Ishmael might have some place, and not be completely left out.)

And God said, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son indeed; and you shall call his name Isaac (the name Isaac means ‘laughter’): and I will establish My Covenant with him for an Everlasting Covenant, and with his seed after him. (The Covenant is to be established with Isaac and not Ishmael. This completely shoots down the contention of the Muslims that Ishmael was the chosen one, unless you don’t believe the Bible. Through Isaac, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, would ultimately come.)

And as for Ishmael, I have heard you, behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly (the Lord would bless Ishmael, but not as it regards the Covenant); twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation (the blessing here pronounced was not because of Ishmael, but because of Abraham, and Abraham alone).

But My Covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto you at this set time in the next year (so now they knew when the child would be born).

And He (the Lord) left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. (Communion with the Lord is the most profitable exercise there is)” (Gen. 17:15–22).

~J. Swaggart