To the Church at Laodiceaby Chuck Missler
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
- Name Meaning
- Laodicea means “rule of the people.”
- Historical Church Identity
- Laodicea is the wealthy, self-absorbed church of compromise.
About 40 miles southeast of Philadelphia, and just a few miles north of Colossae, stood the large and prosperous city of Laodicea. It rested luxuriously on the banks of the river Lycus, a tributary of the Meander. Laodicea didn’t have a good location for military defense, so it survived by compromise. It was an old city, dating to 2000 B.C. Its name was changed from Diospolis to Rhoas by the Lydians, and when Antiochus II captured and rebuilt the town in 250 B.C., he named it after his wife Laodice.
Laodicea was a successful commercial and financial center in central Asia Minor, and the remains of its theater, aqueducts, baths, gymnasium and stadium all testify to the wealth it enjoyed in its heyday. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, Laodicea was able to restore itself after a major earthquake without aid from Rome. Cicero held court in Laodicea and did his banking there. Laodicea was known for producing textiles made from high quality black wool and for its famous school of medicine which produced a particular eye salve called “collyrium.”
Six miles east of Laodicea stood the city of Hierapolis, which was renowned for its hot springs. Though Laodicea was built on the Lycus, it depended on water piped in from nearby cities Hierapolis and Colossae. The hot springs water from Hierapolis had cooled to a tepid temperature by the time it reached Laodicea, and the cold water from Colossae had warmed to a tepid temperature as it traveled through the aqueduct in the sun, so Laodicea was a city that truly understood lukewarm water.
The church of Laodicea was likely founded by Paul’s friend and coworker Epaphras, who also ministered to the people of Colossae. Colossians 2:1 indicates that neither Colossae nor Laodicea were visited by Paul himself, although he certainly joined Epaphras in his zealous prayers for Colossae and Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Paul also wrote Laodicea an epistle, which the people of Colossae were instructed to read, even as the people of Laodicea were to read Paul’s epistle to the Colossians. Thirty years before Revelation, Paul warned Archippus in Colossians 4:17 to be diligent in the work of the ministry that God had given him to do. There is a tradition that Archippus became the bishop of Laodicea. It may have been his weakness which contributed to the poor spiritual condition of the church there.
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
He is the Amen, the solid and trustworthy One, perfect and perfected, faithful and true.
The phrase “beginning of the creation of God” can be confusing terminology, as though Christ is merely a created being. That’s clearly not His intention, because we know from several verses that Jesus was in the beginning with God the Father and that the worlds were created through Him. When Paul uses the same kind of terminology in Colossians 1:15-16, he refers to Christ as “…the firstborn of every creature,” in one breath while declaring in the next, “For by him were all things created…” We need to understand that the word translated “beginning” is arche from which we get words like archangel and archenemy. It means “highest” or “chief” or “ruler.” Jesus is the chief or ruler of the creation of God. His role as the firstborn also places Him in the highest position. He’s the one with the authority.
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
The Laodiceans were tepid, just like their water. It’s natural to enjoy a drink of chilled water, especially on a hot day. These days we have the convenience of water sanitation and freezers full of ice, but in the ancient days, cold water meant safe water. Icy water from a deep well meant water more likely to be clean and safe to drink. The warm water in Laodicea had traveled through aqueducts, but in that day warm water often meant standing water that had the opportunity to bear bacterial cultures and amoebas and insect larvae. Hot water is good and cold water is good, but lukewarm water at just the right temperature can be used to induce vomiting.
Jesus does not want us lukewarm. He does not want us half-hearted about our faith or our walk with Him. If we’re spiritually cold, there’s a remedy. If we’re spiritually hot, then praise God. However, if we’re lukewarm, then we think we’re all right, but we’re really in a bad place.
When sharp evangelists go onto college campuses, they work to convert the radicals first. Why? Because when radicals come to recognize who Jesus really is, then they fire up the whole campus. Closet nerds need to be saved too, but the passionate radical will quickly reach more people than the shy souls who hide in their rooms. We should all be full of the fire of God, passionate about loving this world in Christ’s name.
Laodicea was named after the wife of Syria’s Antiochus II, but the name has a meaning of its own: “rule of the people.” In other words, this particular church is not looking to Jesus Christ as its leader. It’s ruled by popular opinion. This is the user friendly church that compromised to please the culture.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
The church in Laodicea thought they were doing okay, because they had money. They were wealthy, and we humans easily make the mistake of assuming that having money means having the blessing of God on our lives. Al Capone had money too, remember. The Pharisees and Sadducees had money. It’s great that certain churches are wealthy and able to develop a wide range of church programs. That’s great. But, money doesn’t represent God’s stamp of approval. The church of Laodicea felt at ease because they had their physical needs met, not realizing that they were spiritually wretched. They weren’t dead like the church of Sardis, but they were doing badly enough.
Every one of the seven churches had a surprising report card, but probably none greater than the Laodiceans. They thought they had it made. They were the social church, and their membership included all the top executives of the community. Senators and congressmen attended. The heads of corporations provided large tax deductible donations. They didn’t understand that Jesus looked at them through a completely different lens.
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Jesus offers hope to the Laodiceans. It’s not over. They have a chance to fix this thing. It’s interesting that Jesus consistently uses metaphors that these churches understand. The Laodiceans knew all about gold and rich raiment and eye salve. These were strengths they had; textile manufacture and banking made the city prosperous. Their doctors had developed a renowned eye ointment. Jesus contrasts their versions with His own, however. They specialized in black woolens, and Jesus offers them pure white spiritual raiment. They produced ointment, but He offers them something better than physical sight – He offers the ability to see the truth.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Jesus doesn’t hate the Laodiceans. He loves them, and that’s why He’s sending them this letter to rebuke them. He’s giving them a chance to change before it’s too late. After His rebuke, He gives them this beautiful picture. He’s standing at the door and knocking! He’s not hiding from them or driving them like cattle. He offers them this kind and personal promise. If they just open the door to Him, He will come in and enjoy a meal with them. For a lukewarm church, that’s a warm and intimate offer from the King of Creation.
Notice something, however. Jesus is not already inside the church of the Laodiceans. He’s standing outside, knocking on the door, waiting to be let in. They need to open the door so that He can join them. It’s certain that He was once a part of their congregation, but over the years they must have shut Him out – as they chose instead to be ruled by the opinions of the people.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
We have a great High Priest who passed through the heavens and dwelt with us, taking on the form of a human and living life here with us. He was tempted in all ways just as we are, yet without sin. This gives us great freedom to fall boldly at His throne to seek help in times of need, because He understands exactly what we’re going through. He knows. He’s been there Himself. He overcame, and that’s the greatest news of eternity. Jesus Christ overcame. He conquered!
As we read through these promises to the overcomer, we remember how it is we overcome. We are overcomers through His victory – and His victory in our lives.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
There is an inscription on a cathedral in Lubeck, Germany that I’d like to present here. As we read these letters, we remember that they are written to churches that existed nearly two millennia ago, but they apply to every one of us. We can agree the churches are historical and we can see their prophetic links to churches of the Church Age, but these churches also represent us personally.
- Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us:
- Ye call Me Master and obey Me not.
- Ye call Me Light and see Me not.
- Ye call Me Way and walk Me not.
- Ye call Me Life and choose Me not.
- Ye call Me Wise and follow Me not.
- Ye call Me Fair and love Me not.
- Ye call Me Rich and ask Me not.
- Ye call Me Eternal and seek Me not.
- Ye call Me Noble and serve Me not.
- Ye call Me Gracious and trust Me not.
- Ye call Me Might and honor Me not.
- Ye call Me Just and fear Me not.
- If I condemn you, blame Me not.
That gets the point across.
We believe in liberty in our culture, but it’s gotten out of control. There’s a point at which we need to agree with God, “No. That’s wrong. We don’t do that.” The world will do what the world does. However, in our churches do we let the culture tell us what to think, or do we follow the Word of God?
Sin is an uncomfortable subject in our times. Our culture no longer believes in sin. Yet, without a recognition of our own personal failure, a recognition that we deserve to be punished, there’s no reason for us to seek a Savior. Jesus did not come to condemn us, but to save us. However, without the conviction of our sin, we have no understanding that we need to be saved. We think we can get to Heaven by being “good,” and we don’t think anybody really goes to Hell – except maybe Hitler and Stalin. We fail to recognize that we are all lost, every one of us, until Jesus Christ’s blood washes us clean.
One of the questions we might want to ask is whether our churches have fallen into a worldly mentality toward sin. Do our churches recognize the world is filled with lost people destined for Hell without Jesus Christ? Do our churches offer us salvation through Jesus Christ alone – the good news that God loves us and sent Christ to die for us? We need to speak the truth in love, or people will die with no appreciation for their true predicament. We cannot preach the user friendly message of “You’re okay. I’m okay.” We need to say, “Hey! We’re all in trouble! The earth is falling out from under us and we’re all going to die! But good news! God has made a bridge to the other side of the canyon! Take it!”
We are a lukewarm culture, and for too long we’ve allowed the world to tell us what to think. We need to be fire-hot Christians, filled with true, longsuffering and devoted love for our fellow humans. If we open ourselves to the guidance of His Word and His love through His Spirit, I think we’ll be astounded where the Lord takes us.
In previous sessions of “The Age of Deceit,” we identified Satan’s attack strategies of Contradiction, Condescension, and Deconstruction in Part-2, Disinformation in Part 3, and Infiltration and Accommodation in Part 4. In this session, we will expose what happens when deception comes through indoctrination.
Deception by Indoctrination
The Cambridge Dictionary defines the term indoctrination as “the process of repeating an idea or belief to someone until they accept it without criticism or question.” In the twentieth century, we saw two prime examples of the power of propaganda as it preyed on the innocent minds of the youth.
The Holocaust Encyclopedia tells us:
“From the 1920s onwards, the Nazi Party targeted German youth as a special audience for its propaganda messages. These messages emphasized that the Party was a movement of youth: dynamic, resilient, forward-looking, and hopeful. Millions of German young people were won over to Nazism in the classroom and through extracurricular activities. In January 1933, the Hitler Youth had approximately 100,000 members, but by the end of the year, this figure had increased to more than 2 million. By 1937 membership in the Hitler Youth increased to 5.4 million before it became mandatory in 1939.
The German authorities then prohibited or dissolved all competing youth organizations. The original purpose of the Hitler Youth was to train boys to enter the SA (Storm Troopers), a Nazi Party paramilitary formation. After 1933, however, youth leaders sought to integrate boys into the Nazi national community and to prepare them for service as soldiers in the armed forces or, later, in the Elite SS.”
The Soviet leader Lenin stated, “We need that generation of young people who began to reach political maturity in the midst of a disciplined and desperate struggle against the bourgeoisie. In this struggle, that generation is training genuine Communists; it must subordinate to this struggle, and link up with it, each step in its studies, education, and training.” It is important to note that the term “bourgeoisie” is a French word that Russian revolutionary Karl Marx popularized in an attempt to vilify the enemy of Communist ideals. “It means “the middle class, typically with reference to its perceived materialistic values or conventional attitudes.” Therefore, a bourgeoisie is a person with social behavior and political views held to be influenced by private property interest. In other words, a Capitalist.
Deception by indoctrination is not limited to despotic institutions.
Sadly, there are many examples of brainwashing within religious groups. Many people use an expression like “drink the Kool-Aid” and vaguely know it means to surrender one’s free will and believe whatever they are told to do. This expression comes from the 1978 tragedy of Jonestown, in the South American nation of Guyana, where over 900 people were massacred as they followed their leader Jim Jones in a communal suicide pact. Among the dead were more than 300 children who “drank the Kool-Aid” laced with deadly cyanide poison, thereby demonstrating the power of mind control. These devotees of the Peoples Temple were programmed to do whatever Jones told them to do as they widely believed him to be God’s authority on earth. There are many more examples that could be offered in this account but suffice it to say that many have been led away like sheep to the slaughter by these “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
How Does Indoctrination Happen?
I submit for your consideration three key components to achieving widespread indoctrination, otherwise known as brainwashing.
- Indoctrination begins with Isolation. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (or U.SSR) surrounded their empire with what British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the Iron Curtain. “Churchill used it to refer specifically to the political, military, and ideological barrier created by the U.S.S.R.” According to U.S.S.R. historians, it was created as a veil of protection following World War II to prevent open contact between itself and the West. Like the 2,500-year-old Great Wall of China with its border fortifications stretching over 4,000 Kilometers (2,500 miles), the pretense of protection has the downside of preventing integration with the advancements being made around you.
- Indoctrination is established by Deprivation. Manufactured scarcity is a powerful weapon when attempting to control the masses. This is done by making everyone dependent on the benevolence of the Elite. In both the Nazi and Soviet Youth Camps, food, shelter, and social acceptance were doled out in meager portions in order to maintain the attention of the children. This would then cultivate loyalty through reward for submission. Dressed in the party-approved uniform, these young disciples were molded into the image preestablished by the ruling Elite.
- Indoctrination is maintained by Repetition. The substance of this brainwashing is constructed by the Elite, who rule over the majority of the ignorant. It often masquerades as education. There is a fundamental and important difference between education and indoctrination. Education involves a broad investigation into what is true and what is not true. Indoctrination is solely focused on influencing the hearer to believe in a narrow narrative without being able to back up these newfound “truths” with anything other than their own opinion. It offers cold monologue over constructive dialogue.
It limits all crosschecking or independent validation. Ultimately this leads to the villainization of the “outsiders,” closing down the mind of the child so it can be filled up with carefully constructed propaganda.
Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany, has been credited as saying, “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” Again he said,
“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.” Concerning the mass media, he stated, “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”
Force and fear make up the foundation for all successful indoctrination. Force is expressed as the overwhelming power to subdue all adversaries. This power is not necessarily one of mere military might alone but often reveals itself as the irresistible tsunami of public opinion. Feeding fear leads to spiritual blindness that yields the fruit of hate. When hate takes hold of a human heart, it is amazing what terrible things it can produce. Today we see the pervasive power of the special-interest cartels who are seeking of control over what is to be considered as the acceptable societal narrative.
The media call it the Cancel Culture. Philosophically the Cancel Culture is deemed necessary in order to prevent the spread of racist, violent, and insurrectionary incitement. To its devotees, to be “Woke” is to be awake to the systemic injustices of society and, by extension, the rest of Western civilization. Their thoughts are that this current civilization is part of a long line of oppression and genocide that must be torn down in its entirety. To impose this idea on others, the Woke use the tactics of mob harassment, public penance, hysterical denunciation, and most of all, the weaponization of cancel culture to deprive people of their platforms, livelihoods, and reputation. Unlike the Iron Curtain erected by the leaders of the Communist Party to solidify their power base, these Woke Warriors are attempting to erect an Ideological Curtain that will encircle the whole globe in which they will be the embodiment of the “Thought Police” from the dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” Given the current state of affairs, it would appear that the Orwellian fictional idea of “Thoughtcrime” is being implemented here and now by the Woke Elite.
Breaking the Stronghold of Indoctrination
There is a way of breaking the Stronghold of Indoctrination.
In 1865, following the American Civil War, which saw more than 600,000 deaths, the American poet William Ross Wallace wrote a poem that praised motherhood. Here within, he created one power phrase that has been quoted out of context for decades, which states, “For the hand that rocks the cradle, Is the hand that rules the world.” When you read it in its context, you will find a powerful revelation of his original intent.
“The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Is the Hand That Rules the World.”
Blessings on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace,
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
Infancy’s the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mother’s first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow-
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
Woman, how divine your mission
Here upon our natal sod!
Keep, oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky-
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
The Bible tells us that we can counteract the darkness of societal indoctrination with the Light of the Truth. Deuteronomy 4:4-9 tell us,
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Remember the encouragement of Solomon when he says,
3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. 4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honor, and life. 5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them. 6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Pro 22:3-6 KJV
By: J. Lee Grady
I’ve never believed the Antichrist is just one man. That’s partly because I know from history that Christians have suffered under evil dictators since the first century. In fact, early Christians believed the Roman emperor Nero was the Antichrist.
It’s no surprise that Nero still wins in the “beast” category. He had his own mother killed; he beheaded his first wife and murdered his stepbrother. He kicked his second wife to death while she was pregnant, and then he married a boy. And in his infamous efforts to wipe out all Christianity, he covered Christians in wax and lit them on fire to provide torches during his parties.
But one verse in the Bible gives us a clue that the Antichrist shouldn’t be viewed as one individual. The apostle John wrote: “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18, NASB).
This verse indicates there is a spirit of antichrist that has been working in the world from the beginning, manifesting in various eras. And throughout the book of Revelation we see that this Antichrist figure works in tandem with the devil and the false prophet to wage war on God and His people. The Antichrist is part of a demonic trinity—a counterfeit of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The spirit of antichrist works inside certain people to carry out Satan’s mission.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been more aware of this spirit operating in our nation than I have today. The devil is working overtime because he’s furious that his days are numbered. He is mustering all his forces because he knows heaven is about to unleash the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit in all of history.
We shouldn’t focus our attention on the devil, but the Bible says clearly that we should not be ignorant of his crafty schemes (see 2 Cor. 2:11). The fingerprints of the Antichrist are everywhere around us today, and if you aren’t aware of his strategies, you could come under his influence. Here are six ways to identify the antichrist spirit:
- The antichrist spirit hates God. The devil wants the attention that only God deserves. He hates all righteousness and goodness. He wants evil to triumph. This is why people who hate God celebrate sin. And this is why we see in our own educational system a systematic attempt to replace Christian values with atheism.
- The antichrist spirit hates life. The devil doesn’t have the power to create because he himself was created. Jesus called Satan a “thief,” and He said his goal is “to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10b). No wonder the devil loves it when people abuse alcohol and drugs; he fuels hatred in people so they will kill others. The devil is the author of racism. And isn’t it obvious that only Satan would convince people that killing an unborn child, even up until the moment of birth, is acceptable?
- The antichrist spirit hates the family. Not long ago, secular psychologists would have all agreed that children thrive when they have a mother and a father. You can’t suggest that these days without being scorned or even “canceled” by social media censors. Our universities have become breeding grounds for hostility to anything traditional, including the simple scientific fact that there are only two genders. The antichrist spirit twists and perverts what is normal.
- The antichrist spirit hates authority. In Romans 1:30 the apostle Paul refers to hardened sinners as “insolent”—which means, “showing a rude or arrogant lack of respect.” In Paul’s description of the deeds of the flesh, he also mentions “revilers” (1 Cor. 6:10). A reviler is “one who uses abusive or contemptuous speech.” I’ve heard people use crude language all my life, but never to such an extent as we hear today. When you see hordes of people marching through our streets vandalizing property, spray-painting crude words on walls and screaming curse words, you can be sure the antichrist spirit is near.
- The antichrist spirit hates the prophetic word of God. When Elijah called down fire from heaven, and God proved He was real to the whole nation of Israel, Jezebel got very angry. She was hell-bent on killing the prophet before he could preach again. This is why we must pray for all ministers in this challenging hour. We need the courage to speak, especially when God asks us to step on toes and break the rules of political correctness.
- The antichrist spirit hates the church. Americans have enjoyed more than two centuries of religious freedom. But I have friends overseas who live in fear, either because their own government is closing churches or terrorists are killing Christians. Just this week I heard from a man in Nigeria whose wife and two children were killed by Muslim militants. I pray we never see such violence in the United States, but the spirit that is slaughtering Christians in Africa is already lurking in our midst.
I’m not saying these things to scare anybody. I’m not afraid. I’ve read the book of Revelation, and I know how it ends. The beast and the false prophet will be thrown “into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone” (Rev. 19:20c), and the devil will follow them—”and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10b).
Jesus will rule forever as King of all kings. But until that time, we have some praying and preaching to do. We can’t sit back and let the spirit of antichrist gain ground. Let’s get serious about pushing back the darkness.
Racism, Diversity, Or Identity?
Reprinted from a previous copy of The Evangelist by John Rosenstern
Mark 3:24 – “And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”
GOD DID NOT FORESTALL the political birth of the United States of America due to slavery. The scourge of slavery was predominantly opposed by American Christian missionaries acting as poseurs for abolition against slavery. Warnings pertaining to slavery resounded from our missionaries in the Middle East. In the case of Harriet Livermore, spoken from Mount Zion, she prophesied, “Great national calamities are awaiting the United States as punishment for its permissiveness toward slavery.” Nearly 20 years later, the dawn of the Civil War bore witness to the outcome of God’s warning. Abraham Lincoln accredited three books that shaped his life and thinking: the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, and Sufferings in Africa by James Riley. Riley had been captured by Arabs after being shipwrecked off the coast of the Spanish Sahara and was driven across the desert. He was flogged, beaten, and reduced to just 90 pounds until he was ransomed by the British Consul at the port city of Mogadore. His book became a national sensation, selling 1 million copies over the next 40 years. He urged Americans to cut down “the cursed tree of slavery and to shiver in pieces the rod of oppression.” Many other well-knowns, such as the father of our educational system, Horace Mann, were outspoken opponents to slavery.
TO FORGET IS FOOLISHNESS
To forget slavery would be as foolish as trying to forget the Holocaust. It must serve as a reminder of the cruelty of man to force man to serve man. African Americans of the Civil War era did not liken slavery to the plight of American slaves in Algiers, but to ancient Jews in Egypt. One such preeminent leader, Frederick Douglas, recalled, “We meant to reach the North, and the North was Canaan.”
Many in my family, on my father’s side, were exterminated in the Holocaust. I often remind myself of the horror they must have felt when the sound of the boots from German Gestapo soldiers marched down the streets of Germany in rhythmic patterns, and then, the blunt knocking on doors. Their hearts pounded within their chests with anxiety in anticipation of being taken away from home and family. Stricken people were torn from each other and sentenced to death for simply being Jewish. We must never forget slavery and the plight of those before us who suffered its torment. It is an ever constant reminder of how each of us should look upon one another with love and respect.
A NEW IDENTITY
The result of the Gospel message is so strong that it changes the heart and life — as a result, being born again – for all who embrace Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It gives the believer a new identity. This is essential for us to understand. The fact that old things are passed away and all things become new (II Cor. 5:17) removes the believer’s past and changes his identity. Christian believers “have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Col. 3:10-11). The Christian believer now can live identified to a new race. Paul would say to the church of Galatia, “For you are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus … There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26, 28).
The sullen stains of racism still brood in the hearts of many today. The idea of one race being better than another has hurt America, notwithstanding Jews and others around the world. This kind of thinking ultimately created an Adolph Hitler. The belief is that a master race exists and by the extermination of an inferior race, this will enable the new superior race to manifest(?), or, as with slavery, the inferior race is to serve the superior race. For example, Islam makes this very clear by claiming all who are not believers of Allah and his prophet are classified as dihimmi, a second class or sub-class of people. They must pay jitzia, a poll tax, and are subject to minimal rights, unlike other Muslims.
A principle has emerged that our commitment to diversity has redefined the opposition to discrimination as the appreciation, rather than the elimination, of difference when it comes to equality and recognition. We have also come to think of disagreement as a form of prejudice. If we fail as believers to approach the heartbeat of our social issues with a truly biblical approach, then we will fall prey to believing that skin color is a culture, sexual preference is a culture, religion is a culture, etc. Therefore, if we do not accept someone’s culture, we are being intolerant and even racist or bigoted. May we see each other as our Lord and Saviour sees us — saved or unsaved. Those of us who are saved must work together as one to bring the message that will bring true unity to man – at the meeting place of God and man – in Christ Jesus.
THE NEW CULTURAL WARS
Our society’s new modus vivendi (way of life) toward universal tolerance is to champion diversity. Earlier I mentioned that our commitment to diversity has redefined the opposition to discrimination as the appreciation, rather than the elimination, of difference when it comes to equality and recognition.
God visited His people with a marvelous outpouring of His Holy Spirit at the turn of the 20th century. In 1905, a young black Louisiana man, who attended a Bible school founded by Charles Parham in Houston, Texas, was used by God to usher in modern Pentecostalism. William J. Seymour, at this Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles, California, rejected racial barriers in favor of unity in Christ. “The color line as was washed away by the blood,” said writer Frank Bartleman, testifying of his experience at Azusa Street. Sadly, within only a decade, the great Pentecostal Movement slowly began to splinter, and a racial divide was formed. Instead of the pulpit addressing the racial issue biblically by preaching messages of true Christian unity through faith, the division identified with culture. Instead of interracial comity (civility, courtesy), segregation took its ugly shape, and doubly worse, doctrinal separation gave validity to division and solidified the racial divide as well. Because the pulpit did not spiritually address racism, it became a social issue.
The Bible gives us a clear understanding of the function of the five-fold ministry gifts and the result that follows in Ephesians 4:11-13: “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
TRUE BIBLE UNITY
True biblical unity has to do with our proper object of faith. God made the Cross His object of acceptance. He looks at our faith by the finished work of the Cross, His perfect expression of grace, and accepts us in the beloved (Eph. 1:6). It is there at the Cross that we’re all reconciled unto God, and the enmity is abolished – man toward God and man toward man. Christ is all and in all who are His! Glory to God! The bloodline settles it all! He is our peace.
Now that we are in Christ, we are a new creature with old things passed away (II Cor. 5:17). We are then given a ministry of reconciliation. In II Corinthians 5:18, the Bible says, “And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
If the true church of Christ doesn’t operate and function as a New Testament church with proper unity, can we expect the world to accomplish eliminating racism? Here’s our problem: We have allowed other voices to rise up and address the outward issues; issues that are really the symptoms of the inner problem. Fortunately, Jesus Christ heals the heart and, “He delivers the poor in his affliction, and opens their ears in oppression” (Job 36:15).
Racism has greatly oppressed our country for years. It is still a festering sore. We must listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church in this hour. I believe a time of healing has begun. I believe it can also be a time of greater divide if we do not approach racism biblically and with love and patience. Jesus Christ has “ … redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9). The word nation in the Greek is ethnos and means “race.” Therefore, God is color-blind to race when it comes to salvation and equality. Should we be any different?
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” –II Corinthians 7:10
SOMETIMES, WHEN A famous person dies, we learn from the family bits of their final conversations. A son says of his father, “He had no regrets,” and the world is a little less sad and somewhat relieved to know that nothing would have been changed in the course of that life.
But to say that you lived with no regret also means that you were never sorry about anything—never mourned a loss, suffered a disappointment, or missed an opportunity. How many in the human race can honestly say that? The answer is none. Experts say all of us have things we regret from our decisions around education and career choices to romance, parenting, and finances—usually in that order.
If we allow it, regret can touch every area of our lives. And, if we allow Satan, he will point his accusatory finger toward something behind us until we find ourselves saying, “I should have.” I should have been there when my parent died. I should have had the courage to speak up when I was being abused. I should have stayed in school and applied myself more. I should have risked rejection and told that person how much I loved him. I should have been braver and unafraid of failure.
Notice all of the I’s in that list? That’s because regret is about blaming self, which affects our emotions. We feel sorry for the ways we hurt people. When it’s clear we’ve made a bad decision, we get sad. When it’s realized that the opportunity we just missed will not come our way again, there is disappointment. The Bible calls these sorrows of the world, and they work death.
The bad thing about regret is that it takes us a while to realize it’s been sown. Years pass between the time the seed of regret—the doing or not doing—and its bitter fruit blooms in the heart of the saved and the unsaved.
Every day that we live in this world, we buy and sell with decisions we make, and, in the process, our hearts are revealed.
Esau made a bad decision when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a meal. The Bible says Esau “did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright” (Gen. 25:34).
Bible commentator Matthew Henry said, “Esau ate and drank, pleased his palate, satisfied his appetite, and then carelessly rose up and went his way, without any serious thought, or any regret, about the bad bargain he had made.”
But years later, when Isaac was old and ready to bless, Esau realized the high cost of his mistake: “And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father” (Gen. 27:34).
Esau did receive a blessing, but it was common. Henry notes, “There is nothing in Esau’s blessing which points at Christ, and without that, the fatness of the earth and the plunder of the field will stand in little stead.”
Out of regret, Esau lifted up his voice and wept, but he did not repent. Let’s look at Judas. In the end, he betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ with 30 pieces of silver and a kiss. But in the beginning of the Lord’s ministry, Judas was there, one of the Twelve. He saw the miracles—all manner of sickness and disease healed, demoniacs delivered, the dead raised, and multitudes miraculously fed. Judas, however, valued none of it, demonstrated so clearly in John 12, when Mary anoints the feet of Jesus. As soon as Judas saw the expensive ointment spent on Jesus, he demanded to know why it hadn’t been sold to benefit the poor. “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein” (Jn. 12:6).
Likewise, Judas went about caring nothing for the Lord—from the anointing of His feet to the kiss of betrayal on His face.
And then, realization. When Judas saw what the religious leaders had done to Jesus, he confessed—to them—that he had sinned, and he threw down their silver on the temple floor. The Bible says Judas “repented himself,” but the Greek word for this phrase, according to Ellicott’s commentary, is “not that commonly used for ‘repentance,’ as involving a change of mind and heart, but is rather ‘regret,’ a simple change of feeling.”
After leaving the Sanhedrin, theologian John Gill points out that Judas went out of the temple, “not to God, nor to the throne of His grace, nor to his Master to ask pardon of Him, but to some secret solitary place, to cherish his grief and black despair.”
Judas sided with the sorrows of the world, and they worked death in him until he hanged himself—some say he strangled himself—but either way, Judas died violently. Luke tells us,“falling headlong, he burst asunder the midst, and all his bowels gushed out” (Acts 1:18). Out of regret, Judas confessed his sin to sinful men, but he did not repent. So what is the difference between regret and repentance?
If we gave them voice, regret would repeat itself again and again: “If only I had it to do over, I would have done it differently. I would have done it right.”
Regret, energized by guilt, is a replay of what was done, or not done, and the pain associated with that decision. As with Esau and Judas, regret may cause us to shed some bitter tears, and maybe even confess to others what we did, but that’s as far as it goes. Regret stops short of repentance.
Repentance, on the other hand, acknowledges from the heart, “I see what I have done and I am so sorry. I realize that I have no way to help myself. I need God and His forgiveness. Only God can help me.”
Repentance is to understand the root cause of our sadness, fear, or disappointment—sin. It’s a spiritual reaction to Holy Spirit conviction and revelation—a reaction that helps turn the human heart toward God and ask Him for His mercy and forgiveness.
It’s been said that few have sinned as David sinned, but fewer still have repented as he repented. David, the boy shepherd and psalmist. Slayer of the lion, the bear, and Goliath. David, the man after God’s own heart. Yet at the time when kings went to battle, David stayed behind. He sinned with Bathsheba, and when he learned that she was carrying his child, David ordered her husband Uriah to be “in the forefront of the hottest battle” ensuring his death and hiding David’s sin. But God saw, and “the thing that David had done displeased the LORD” (II Sam. 11:27).
The prophet Nathan was sent by God to let David know that what he had attempted to hide, the Lord would openly and fully reveal.
Unlike regret, where only the mind and emotions are affected, repentance involves the heart—the spirit of man—which is susceptible to the conviction and revelation of the Holy Spirit.
“And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.” My husband notes, “David had a true knowledge of God and, therefore, when charged with his sin, his first thought was not the punishment that would surely follow, but the injury done to God.”
All sins boil down to one. The displeasing thing that King David did was to despise the commandment of the Lord to do evil in His sight. David knew this, which is why he would later write Psalm 51, the truest prayer of repentance ever prayed. It begins:
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”
Regret is behind us, but repentance is before us. “Mock penitents confess their sins and straightway forget them,” Pulpit says. “Real genuine ones find it impossible to forget.”
Out of repentance, David confessed his sin and need for God’s mercy, and he received forgiveness. And then there’s Peter, who denied even knowing the Lord. Before any of us get too judgmental of the great fisherman, we should examine our own hearts and remember that Peter loved the Lord. Peter believed Him. It was Peter who walked on the water to Jesus:
“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus” (Matthew 14:28-29).
At the close of the Lord’s earthly ministry, in the hours between the Last Supper and the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus told His disciples what was about to happen to Him and how His disciples would be scattered.
“But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all” (Mk. 14:29-31).
The Lord listened, but He knew how Peter would react that night, the same way He knew how Peter, while walking on the water, would suddenly see the wind boisterous, become afraid, and begin to sink.
Just as the Lord had said, when confronted that night, Peter denied Him three times, with oaths and cursings: “I know not the man!” Then, the painful realization: “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly” (Mat. 26:75).
Like Judas and Esau, Peter also went out and wept bitterly. The difference with Peter was the trigger of emotion. Like David, Peter remembered the word of the Lord. He remembered some of the first words he heard Him say, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” There was the revelation he received from God about who Jesus was. Surely Peter heard the echo of his own words, “Thou art the Christ.” He remembered that day on the water, when he cried out, “Lord, save me,” and Jesus immediately stretched forth His hand, caught him, and asked, “Why did you doubt?” And the most painful memory of all, after that third denial, “the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.”
Pulpit says Peter “rushed from that evil company into the night, a brokenhearted man, that no human eye might witness his anguish, that alone with his conscience and God he might wrestle out repentance. Tradition asserts that all his life long Peter hereafter never could hear a cock crow without falling on his knees and weeping.”
Out of repentance, Peter realized that he was helpless without Christ, and he allowed godly sorrow to work repentance to salvation. And this work takes time.
When Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, went to the sepulcher to anoint the body of Jesus, they found the stone rolled away, and an angel who said, “Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you” (Mark 16:6-7).
Henry points out, “Peter is particularly named. Tell Peter—it will be most welcome to him, for he is in sorrow for sin. A sight of Christ will be very welcome to a true penitent, and a true penitent is very welcome to a sight of Christ.”
In the book of John, we read of the reunion:
“Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea”(Jn. 21:5-7).
Upon hearing that it was Jesus, Peter jumped without pride or hesitation. He wanted to be the first one to reach the Lord, who was waiting to restore him. Later, Jesus would ask Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” and, in new humility, he answered, “You know that I love you.” Then, in a show of complete confidence in Peter, the Lord tells him, “Feed my sheep.”
Whether you’ve filled your life with regrets or separated yourself from God through sin, the Lord of Glory has one word for you today: Come. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).
Come if you’re thirsty or weary. Come if you’re heavy-laden. Look ahead to the shore, like Peter did, and see the risen Lord. He’s waiting for you—the fish are laid on the fire of coals with bread, and He’s saying to you, “Come and dine.”
By John Rosenstern
When establishing the Illuminati, Adam Weshaupt revealed the long-term goals of his secret society. He wrote: “The true purpose of the Order was to rule the world. To achieve this it was necessary for the Order to destroy all religions, overthrow all governments and abolish private property.”
History supplies us the necessary evidence that Weishaupt’s goals were in operation after his death by his faithful followers. In the late 19th century, Henry Edward Manning, archbishop of Westminster, England, wrote that the Communist International was, “The work of secret, political societies, which from 1789 to this day (1886) have been perfecting their formation … is now a power in the midst of the Christian and civilized world, pledged to the destruction of Christianity and the old civilization of Europe.”
In order to rule the world, one of the long-term goals of the Illuminati was to eliminate Christianity. Weshaupt knew he could not discredit Christianity, so he set out to dismantle the effects of the Christian lifestyle in society by gradually removing its moral constraints. The attack on the economy, family, personal property, nationalism, and education became possible through the strategies of gradualism and revolution. As a philosophy, gradualism is defined as a theory maintaining that two seemingly conflicting notions are not radically opposed, but are related by others partaking in varying degrees of the character of both. Gradualism is the doctrine that social change should be brought about within the framework of existing law. In other words, long-term goals can best be achieved by pursuing incremental steps rather than triggering instability that accompanies abrupt change. Karl Marx argued against gradualism, but called for the working class to violently overthrow the existing social structure. Marx did not believe that the road to socialism would be accessible by following existing laws. Lenin embraced Marx’s ideas and became the winner in the Russian Revolution as the head of the new Russian Communist government.
Weishaupt knew that in order to rule the world: “It is necessary to establish a universal regime and empire over the whole world.”
How could a New World Order arise? What would be necessary for mankind to adopt and then adapt to the necessary changes Weshaupt and his secret society desired? Judeo Christianity and Islam have shaped a large population of the world he intended to dominate. To reach the mass population of people and address their struggles Weishaupt would initially imbed his mysteries into Freemasonry. The objective was to portray the “old theology” as insufficient and hopeless. Manly P. Hall, a well-known 33rd Degree Mason, wrote in his book, “Lectures on Ancient Philosophy”: “A new day is dawning for Freemasonry, from the insufficiency of theology and the hopelessness of materialism, men are turning to seek the god of philosophy.”
Hall would encourage the faithful followers where and when a new day was coming: “A new light is breaking in the east; a more glorious day is at hand. The rule of the philosophic elect-the dream of the ages-will yet be realized and is not too far distant.”
Has the time that Hall spoke of begun? Modern New Age teacher and author Benjamin Creme wrote this in his book, “The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom”: “The new religion will manifest, for instance, through organizations like Masonry. In Freemasonry is imbedded the core of the secret of the occult mysteries.”
NEW AGE RE-VEILED
The means of communication by Illuminati devotees is through secret codes and symbolism. They are hidden throughout society in plain sight. In the book, “The Spirit of Freemasonry,” it says, “A symbol veils or hides a secret, and is that which veils certain mysterious forces. These energies when released can have a potent effect.”
Satanist Alice Bailey said: “The hour of mysteries has arrived … These ancient mysteries were hidden in numbers, in ritual, in words, and in symbology; these veil the secret.”
In Freemasonry, the extensive symbolism, rituals and secrets are not fully comprehended by initiates and outsiders. The explanations given to appease any curiosity are feigned by the architects to conceal their hidden meanings. The concealed language of Freemasons was once given by a former Sovereign Commander: “The word reveal means to ‘re-veil,’ that is, to give one explanation and yet continue to maintain the mystery of the symbol by not explaining it in full and complete manner.” There are many interconnected organizations that cooperate together to address the ills of mankind. At their meetings they discuss various good works and ways to improve human life on earth. Although they appear as champions of social justice and human rights, they are the ones who control and cause much of the suffering in the world. We are distracted by their talk and isolated outward good works, but blinded to their long-term objective. Their objective is to foster the dawn of a New Age with a New World Order.
From its beginning, a variety of people and organizations saw the value of having a One World Order. The Illuminati story begins with an agreement between Amschel Mayor James Rothschild and Adam Weishaupt. Rothschild was said to have gathered 12 influential friends to pool their resources together so they could rule the world. Weishaupt was selected by Rothschild to lead the project. Soon after the plan was set in place, John Robison, a professor at Edinburgh University in Scotland, published a book entitled “Proofs of a Conspiracy” in which he reveals that Weishaupt had attempted to recruit him. Approximately 20 years later, George W. F. Hegel formulates his Hegelian Dialectic. Advocates to the Illuminati storyline believe the Hegelian Dialectic is the process by which Illuminati objectives are met. The process of thesis plus antithesis equals synthesis. In other words, first you incite a crisis. The public outcry to resolve the problem is followed by a predetermined solution that the public would not have initially accepted without the crisis. For example, for Americans to give up their Second Amendment rights, a tragic shooting occurs and the public outcry is the need for more gun control. The goal from the beginning was to have gun control. Justifying the goal first requires public acceptance to occur. Another recent example may be 9/11 and Islam? The list is long and wide of examples that could be used.
Although the various players, and their organizations, cooperated on policy and process, they still lacked the mechanism that could affect people in every area of life on a practical basis. What was the missing ingredient that had to be included to guarantee their success? Money! Rothschild, who sought to control the International banking system, said: “Allow me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who writes the laws.” The central banking system would present the most ambitious means to control the money of the world. Europe, especially England, was already using a centralized banking system. In the U.S., the young nation debated this idea. The debate ended with a split decision. The split decision created the two-party system we now have today. In the United States under President Washington, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton wanted to establish a national bank fashioned after the Bank of England. Acting secretary of state under Washington was Thomas Jefferson. He opposed Hamilton’s idea of a centralized bank for a strong federal government. Jefferson’s group called themselves Democratic Republicans. Hamilton and his group called themselves the Federalists. The Federalists sought to protect the country’s infant industries. The Democratic Republican party drew its followers from planters and small farmers. The Federalists of old are known to us today as Republicans, and the Democratic Republicans as Democrats.
Satan is known as the god of the world system. His workers of iniquity are not easily identified because they appear as angels of light. Only the light of the Gospel can correctly examine their works to see if they are of God. The Illuminati and Secret Societies use a name that speaks of light but is nothing less than darkness. We can expose their evil works with the light of the Gospel:
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21) Paul gives us instruction to avoid and not partake of those who operate in darkness and secrecy:
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for what doth make manifest is light.” (Ephesians 5:11-13)
By: Frances Swaggart
Psalm 139: 13-15 — “For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret.”
WHEN DOES A HUMAN LIFE BEGIN?
God answered this question long before it was ever asked by a politician, a Supreme Court Justice, or a pregnant woman. As Creator, Almighty God is not silent on the subject of life—before, during, or after:
• “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee” (Jer. 1:5).
• “Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things” (Isa. 44:24).
• “Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves” (Ps. 100:3).
We believe that human life begins at conception—that miracle moment when body, soul, and spirit unite to form a person, none of which happens apart from the Lord.
In Psalm 139, David offers us a rare glimpse of the Creator at work—covering, planning, protecting, seeing, and thinking about humanity—body, soul, and spirit—throughout one’s entire life.
Seventeenth century Bible scholar Thomas Manton left us this beautiful exposition of David’s psalm:
“David saith, ‘I am wonderfully made’ acu pictus sum …‘painted as with a needle,’ like a garment of needlework, of divers colours, richly embroidered with nerves and veins. What shall I speak of the eye, wherein there is such curious workmanship, that many upon the first sight of it have been driven to acknowledge God? Of the hand made to open and shut, and to serve the labours and ministries of nature without wasting and decay for many years? If they should be of marble or iron, with such constant use they would soon wear out; and yet now they are of flesh they last so long as life lasteth. Of the head? fitly placed to be the seat of the senses, to command and direct the rest of the members. Of the lungs? a frail piece of flesh, yet, though in continual action, of a long use. In short, therefore, every part is so placed and framed, as if God had employed His whole wisdom about it. But as yet we have spoken but of the casket wherein the jewel lieth. The soul, that divine spark of blast, how quick, nimble, various, and indefatigable in its motions! How comprehensive in its capacities! How it animateth the body, and is like God Himself, all in every part! Who can trace the flights of reason? What a value hath God set upon the soul! He made it after His image, He redeemed it with Christ’s blood.” 1
WE ARE MADE IN HIS IMAGE
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them” (Gen. 1:27).
In this poetic passage of Scripture, we see the word created carefully used three times, each one echoing the fact that man was an entirely new creation. Regarding the word image in this verse, the following Bible commentary is excellent:
“The image of God consists, therefore, in the spiritual personality of man, though not merely in unity of self-consciousness and self-determination, or in the fact that man was created a consciously free Ego; for personality is merely the basis and form of the divine likeness, not its real essence. This consists rather in the fact, that the man endowed with free self-conscious personality possesses, in his spiritual as well as corporeal nature, a creaturely copy of the holiness and blessedness of the divine life. This concrete essence of the divine likeness was shattered by sin; and it is only through Christ, the brightness of the glory of God and the expression of His essence (Hebrews 1:3), that our nature is transformed into the image of God again (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24).” 2
While many medical professionals and scientists agree that physical life does begin at conception, there is so much more that the unredeemed do not know regarding God’s craftsmanship of the human race. For example, there is a clear connection between the “way of the spirit” and growth in the womb, as pointed out in the book of Ecclesiastes:
“As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all” (Eccl. 11:5).
God’s ways and His works are so much higher than man’s; they hardly fit into small scientific terms such as zygote, embryo, or fetus. From the beginning, God the Father calls new a life a child—a heritage, the fruit of the womb, and a reward (Ps. 127:3).
Consider Matthew Poole’s commentary on this third verse from Psalm 127:
“His reward [is] not a reward of debt merited by good men, but a reward of grace …. And although God give children and other outward comforts to ungodly men in the way of common providence, yet He gives them only to His people as favours, and in the way of promise and covenant.” 3
COVENANT AND PROMISE
Throughout the Bible, we find God keeping His Word through covenant, which oftentimes includes the promise of children.
In the book of Genesis, the Lord appears to Abraham and says, “I will establish my covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee” (Gen. 17:7).
Later, according to God’s promise, Isaac was born: “And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. (Gen. 21:1-3).
When the promise child Isaac is grown and married, we find him entreating the Lord on behalf of his barren wife, Rebekah. The Bible says, “And the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived” (Gen. 25:21).
The question has been asked, What was the reasoning behind the barrenness of both Sarah and Rebekah? Among other things, it was to show that the children of promise were to be not simply the fruit of nature, but the gift of grace. 4
THE DIVINE PLAN
“And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen. 25:22-23)
In his book, Great Women Of The Bible, Old Testament, my husband explains the “struggle” described in these verses and the spiritual meaning behind it:
“Two energies—the one believing and the other unbelieving—struggled within her and were present even before they were born. It is like the two natures—the sin nature and the divine nature—within the believer. So, as we had in the union of Abraham and Sarah the beginning of the divine plan, we have with Isaac and Rebekah the opposition to that divine plan.” 5
While still in the womb, we find Jacob and Esau carrying out part of God’s redemption plan—a plan that would reach through time all the way to Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
When God creates a life—and only He can—it is so very precious to Him, and not only because we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” in His image. Each and every life is precious to God because He has an eternal plan for that life. And that plan is salvation, purchased for each and every soul with the blood of His only Son.
Ladies and gentlemen, if God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to save us, shouldn’t we also love and value each and every life that comes into the world?
1. Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Treasury Of David.” http://www.spurgeon.org/treasury/ps139.php
2. Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament.
3. Matthew Poole. http://biblehub.com/commentaries/psalms/127-3.htm
4. Great Women Of The Bible, Old Testament, pg. 138.
What is Truth?
37 Pilate therefore said unto Him, Are You a King then? (This question is not exactly asked in sarcasm or sincerity; quite probably, there is a little of both!) Jesus answered, You say that I am a King (is the same as saying “yes, it is so!”). To this end was I born (addresses the Incarnation, God becoming Man [Isa. 7:14]), and for this cause came I into the world (He is to be King in the hearts of all who believe Him), that I should bear witness unto the Truth (carries in its statement the entirety of the embodiment of the Ways of God). Every one who is of the Truth hears My Voice (only those who sincerely desire Truth will know Christ, i.e., “hear His Voice”).
38 Pilate said unto Him, What is Truth? (Pilate shows himself by his question to be a cynic.) And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and said unto them (is done so in the midst of tumult), I find in Him no fault at all (Pilate knew that Jesus was not guilty of treason against Rome, or any other type of infraction).
In this world of information overload and misinformation, it is very hard to find out the Truth! We often associate “Truth” with what we believe to be true as according to our personal views, perceptions and biases. In reality there is but One Truth in which all other truths are based. That “Truth” is a Person, the Man Jesus Christ and His atonement made at Calvary. How you perceive and view Christ will determine have you evaluate and handle facts, evidence, and information presented to you on a daily basis. As a Christian there is only one way to deal with and perceive information and that is through the Power of the Holy Spirit who indwells the saint upon Salvation. Without the Holy Spirit in you and you daily placing your faith in “Truth” as found in Christ and His atonement, you can only evaluate things based upon your mere human perspective/opinions/biases and lust/desires. You see, in every human being is a sin nature, which is a bent towards wrong doing, and unless this nature is crucified and made dormant by evidencing faith in Calvary (Truth), you can only make assumptions and evaluations based upon the sin nature’s bent towards wrong doing or fleshly desires. Only those living for Christ by evidencing the fruit of Christ are able to properly evaluate/discern what is of “Truth” as centered around the Bible which is the story of Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.
The reason why many of us as professed saints or Christians aren’t saying the same things and can’t see things from a biblical perspective as centered around the doctrine of Calvary is because we lost focus of Christ and His atonement. We went from trusting in the Cross of Christ exclusively to being divided in our beliefs by adding to the Message of the Cross. We have not allowed the work of Calvary to nail our desires, our opinions, our biases to His Cross and we have set out to establish our own righteousness.
In the above Scripture, Pilate who was a Roman governor during the trial of Jesus, had Truth right before his eyes but was unable to recognize Him for who He was and what He would accomplish due to his selfish desires ruling his heart. You see Pilate had the power to condemn Christ or set him free but due to the pressure from the Jews and his desire not to offend his superiors, he condemned an innocent Man. How many of us are walking around condemning and speaking against that which God has ordained simply because we can’t recognize Truth?? Once you and I come to know Truth as in the Person of Jesus Christ and His atonement, we will be able to discern the mind of God and that which is according to the Will of God otherwise you will make wrong evaluations of things due to looking from a corrupt point of view.
By John Rosenstern of J. Swaggart Ministry
Christianity is under attack in America like never before. Our public education system has been purged of any semblance of our Founding Father’s faith. The rich history of the Pilgrims and persecuted believers in Europe, who were seeking to establish a society that gave freedom to worship God and serve Him in liberty, has been expunged from school textbooks and classrooms.
Our children are now fed a liberal, progressive diet of secular humanism. Self is the new god, and satisfying self is the new religion. Man-centered ideals are extolled and exemplified. These ideals are reinforced by the modern prophets who speak to its followers from Hollywood and the liberal media. Grassroots organizations cooperate with politicians and the liberal media in selling the politically correct agenda to silence any and all expressions of Christianity in the public square. Their deceptive message is now so persuasive that unsuspecting believers are seduced into embracing their perverted redefinitions of morality and lifestyles. Many Christians and so-called preachers have joined the liberal-progressive movement with the idea that they are protecting the rights of American citizens. The idea is that we can all get along together in love while overlooking sin. In many cases, they redefine sin to appease their consciences because they are doing good works. This has submitted them to legitimizing the liberal-progressive agenda.
Origin Of Rights
The Declaration of Independence established the principles of our nation, the United Sates of America. Our Constitution and its amendments provide for a rule of law for our government to accomplish those principles. The Bill of Rights protects our individual rights as American citizens. The Declaration of Independence says:
“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
Our Founding Fathers held the highest regard toward God and His sovereignty over the affairs of men. By recognizing that our rights came from God, they believed government was to protect our rights. Our founders placed God’s laws as a higher authority than civil authority. In the book of Acts, we witness an example of this when Peter and the other apostles said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
John Locke and French philosopher Baron de Montesquieu’s writings influenced our Founding Fathers with philosophical wisdom and insight on the structure of government. Locke wrote Two Treatises on Government, (1690) from Psalm 115:16, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s: but the earth has He given to the children of men.” Locke argued that people were born with certain natural rights to life, liberty, and property, and that governments are formed to protect the rights of the people.
Baron de Montesquieu, in The Spirit of the Laws, believed the best form of government, which would incorporate a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches, would be based on natural law.
Bill of Rights
Thomas Jefferson and the Antifederalists raised some resistance to the approval of the United States Constitution, with concern that too much power was given to the federal government, and American citizens were unprotected. James Madison submitted amendments to the Constitution on June 8, 1789. The Preamble of the bill states that the Bill of Rights is to prevent abuse by the government. As history reveals, by December 15, 1791, all the states ratified 10 amendments, which are now known to us as the Bill of Rights. The evidence is clear that our founders believed in a limited role of the federal government. The 13 established states became confederate to fight back against the tyranny of England. The men who sought liberty knew that with God’s help, they could and would create a country that came closer than any other society in supply, respect, and dignity to human life. Although not perfect, our founding documents created a foundation built on man’s accountability to God and man’s responsibility toward fellowman.
The Power of Satan- Man Cannot Overcome In His Own Strength
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. 1 John 5:4
When Lucifer(Satan) was kicked out of heaven he retained his powers. Although he was not created as an evil being, sin within his heart corrupted his true nature(Ezekiel 28:13-18, Isaiah 14:12-15). The bible states that he is the god of this world system (2 Cor. 4:4), but he still has to submit to Jehovah God and get permission to do anything, therefore God is in control. We as humans are no match for Satan he continues to have wisdom and power that is beyond human ability but on a corrupt level. Therefore, as Christians we must submit to Faith in Christ and Cross, this is the only way to defeat satan, remain hidden under the blood of Christ, and when God is ready for the hedges to be lowered you will be prepared for any circumstance(Job 1,2)
Satan may have powers beyond our understanding but he is no match for the Lord. If you read the book of Job you will see that God can take the weak things of the world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). This is why Paul states that “When I am weak then am I strong”(2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Strength comes because we, through circumstances become weak and have need of dependence upon the Lord. The flesh (human strength or ability) is really strong, and it takes events in our lives to weaken us, to get us to lean upon the arm of God. Often times, the believer has faith in the wrong object which may include one’s own strength, intellect, ability, or dependence upon other people or things.
The Lord, in order to get our focus or faith in the right object sometimes causes or allows situations to get the believer to turn to Faith in Christ and the Cross. This is where satan was and is defeated!!! Most would think it cruel but this is the Love of God at work, He states that He chasten those whom He loves, and if there is no chastisement then you are not a child of God (Hebrews 12:6-11). Allow the Lord to correct you in the error of your ways and Victory will surely come!!