April 3, 2015

Church History: part 3 – The Reign of Religion

Posted in Catholicism, The Church tagged , , , at 9:50 PM by E. M.

Keys to the kingdomIn the last post, we began looking at the history of the Church in the 6th Dispensation from the perspective of the seven letters Jesus dictated to seven churches in Asia Minor. When examined in the order presented, I believe the letters outline the history of the Church in advance.

The first two letters documented the growth of the early church from the age of the Apostles immediately after Jesus’ resurrection, through the 3rd century. We also saw Satan’s early attempts to destroy the Church. In the last post, we saw that what Satan couldn’t do through corruption and persecution, he accomplished by “marrying” the church to the world when church leaders compromised with the Mystics.

In this post we will examine the fourth letter that was sent to the church in Thyatira and see how the Mystics consolidated their power over the church to grow it into a monstrous and grotesque perversion of the humble collection of believers that Jesus intended it to be.

The church report card

The letter seemingly starts off well enough with Jesus commending the church for their good works and charity (the effort of which increases over time). However the problem is that they allowed a woman named “Jezebel” to corrupt the Church with pagan ideas and practices.

So who was this Jezebel person? In the denotative sense she probably was an actual pagan priestess who seduced the 1st century congregation in Thyatira with her mysticism. But in the historic sense, I believe she represents something more.

In some translations, “that woman Jezebel” is rendered “your wife Jezebel”. This rendering would fit with the marriage concept from Pergamos. It would also frame “Jezebel” as a metaphor as well as an actual person. This letter represents the age when the church fully embraced the doctrines and practices of the Mystics – the time when Roman Catholicism was the dominant force in the world, from about 800AD to about 1800AD.

Hostile takeover

As we saw in the last post, once Christianity gained a position of power in the fading Roman Empire, the Mystics slithered their way into the sphere of influence by convincing the church leaders to merge Christianity with their pagan mysticism under the guise of reforming the pagans. But any compromise between water and poison can only result in a victory for the poison.

Predictably, the Mystics quickly gained control of church leadership and became the dominate doctrinal authorities during this time period. The declining imperial rule of the Roman Caesars was transformed into the theocratic rule of the Roman Papacy. Where once the world was ruled by armies, it would now be ruled by an arguably more powerful force – religion!

The power of religion

As I’ve written before, Mystics gain, consolidate, and grow their power over the masses through an elaborate con game wherein they dupe people into surrendering their wills to them by making them believe that the Mystics are more powerful than they really are –and religion has traditionally been the perfect tool to accomplish this.

Religion takes man’s innate knowledge and awe of the spiritual, and combines it with his natural tendency to think comparatively. This powerful combination makes religion the most effective way to enslave men’s minds, because it’s self-directed! People WANT to be religious! Religion promises to relive our pervasive guilt while still allowing us to feel like we’re in control. It’s an extremely seductive proposition that leads to a death spiral.

Racketeering in the name of Jesus

The “Christian” Mystics decreed that they we’re the unquestioned leaders of the Church and that God made them His exclusive emissaries on earth.

They used their fraudulent authority to set themselves up as the final arbiters of God’s word, His official spokes persons, and the gatekeepers of the afterlife. It was actually a great racket.  If you can convince people that you are Heaven’s official bouncers and that God has given you power of attorney on earth, you can basically get away with anything – and they pretty much did!

They pilfered untold riches from the people “in the name of God”, they built spectacularly ornate and gaudy edifices (under the guise of honoring the humble carpenter from Nazareth who eschewed the luxuries of this world). They practiced all manner of sexual and lascivious debauchery, and obscene abuses of power.

They twisted the message of salvation so that it was no longer just by believing and accepting Christ’s finished work on the cross, but that you had to EARN it by “appeasing God” though you own efforts and “good works” as well as any number of quasi-Biblical (or outright pagan) rituals that had been “Christianized” by the Mystics.

If anyone dared resist, they were labeled a heretic and condemned to Hell.

But its gets worse

With this religious structure in place, the power of the Mystics grew exponentially until they literally had armies of devoted followers. This allowed the Mystics of Spirit to co-opt and assume the methods of their historic partners, the Mystics of Force. Emperors became “Popes”, Senators became “Cardinals”, territories became diocese, governors became “Bishops”, and warriors become “holy”.

Now those people in their geographic areas of influence who tried to resist the power of the Mystics and could not be converted through religious persuasion, could be dealt with by force!

The Popes promised, blessings, indulgences and heavenly bounties to those kings and soldiers willing to kill, conquer, and die for “the Church” – They enacted various inquisitions, persecuted and expelled jews who would not convert, and they killed anyone who dared accuse them of warping Christianity, or even disagreed with any part of their world views on anything!

Collateral damage

This leads to one of the most tragic outcomes of the rule of the Christina Mystics – they have convinced the public that they represent God, thus leading the world to believe that God is just as unjust and unrighteous, cruel, petty, irrational, bigoted, sexist, hypocritical, vain, elitist, aloof, unpredictable, untrustworthy, selfish, superstitious, greedy, and ultimately as impotent against evil as they are. I shudder to think how many people over the centuries have mistakenly walked away from God because they (understandably) wanted nothing to do with the evil mystics who claimed to represent Him.

Marginalizing the Bible

But how did the Mystics get away with all this? Couldn’t the people they tried to rule over just read the Bible and see the Mystics for charlatans that they were? Absolutely! And the Mystics knew it.

The biggest threat to Mystics is people losing their fear and gaining knowledge of the truth – that mystics are ruling them though nothing more than ecclesiastical smoke and mirrors.  As such, the LAST thing they wanted people to do was learn the truth of the Bible.

So in typical Mystic fashion, they decreed that only their priests were capable of understanding and “properly interpreting” scripture and forbade non-clergy to read the Bible.

(It didn’t help that they only allowed the Bible to be translated into Latin, an academic language only taught to clergy – did I mention that medieval mystics controlled higher education?)

But once the Bible was available to the masses, they had new problems. The people could now read for themselves and see that most of what the Mystics dogma was unbiblical! How do they get around the fact that the Bible BLATANTLY contradicts key Catholic doctrines?

They taught that the Bible is not the only source of Christian dogma! And that the various religious traditions that they invented should be considered dogma too (they call them “Sacred Traditions”, to make them sound cooler). They then decreed that their traditions superseded the Bible! So in any contradiction or conflict over doctrine, Mystic “tradition” overruled the Word of God!

Like I said, it was a great racket, perhaps the best one ever invented.

Working your way to Heaven

The commendation that Jesus gave to the church in Thyatira is a case study on why religion is so deceptive and destructive. Jesus commended them for their good works. Which on the surface seems positive, and on the surface it is! Good works and charity are great things in and of themselves. But good works are an EFFECT of Salvation and the Church, not a CAUSE! You aren’t saved because you do good works in God’s name, you do good works because you are saved!

Again, the doctrine of religious Mystics is that YOU have to do things to please God in order to be saved. And while that sounds great superficially, when you examine it, what it really means is that YOU are the reason you are saved, NOT God! True Biblical/Christian Salvation is based on the work that God has done for you, not the other way around!

When this perversion of salvation is believed, it is a great victory for Satan because it is based on comparative thinking and religion. Both of which lead you away from God!

So am I saying Catholics aren’t saved?

No. I’m not saying that at all. I don’t have the ability, authority, or desire to say which specific people or groups are saved or not. What I DO know is the only way to salivation is the process outlined in the Bible. If you are trying to be saved by any other method, you can be pretty sure it won’t work.

Clue to the end-time church(es)?

Now before we go on to the next letter, I need to point out a subtle, but very provocative structural change Jesus made to the letter to Thyatira and the subsequent letters. All seven letter end with a promise to “he who overcomes”, and a salutation (“he who has an ear to hear, let him hear”).

In the first three letters, the promise to the overcomer comes after the salutation, almost as if it’s a postscript or an afterthought. However in the last four letters, the promise comes BEFORE the salutation, giving the impression that there is still time to actively achieve the promise.

It’s interesting to note that the promises to the overcomers in the last four churches ALL reference events that will occur AFTER the 6th dispensation. Some Bible commentators have taken this to indicate that these four final churches will exist be in existence in some form at the end of the dispensation.

That’s not great news for Thyatira, since those who do not reject the doctrine of the mystics are promised inclusion in the “great tribulation” – the apocalyptic era that occurs between the 6th and 7th Dispensations.

I can imagine that any Catholic readers are uncomfortable (if not outright offended) by the last two posts. But if it makes you feel any better, the next letter would have to chronologically fit the protestant church. And that letter is one of two of which Jesus has NOTHING positive to say. Fortunately for all of us, the letter after that is addressed to one of the two Churches of which Jesus has nothing negative to say. We’ll look at both churches next time.

 

 

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February 23, 2015

Church History – Part 2: How the Mystics Stole Christmas

Posted in Catholicism, Organized Religion, Religion, The Church tagged , , , , at 11:55 AM by E. M.

I'M SURE ITS JUST A COINCIDENCE

I’M SURE ITS JUST A COINCIDENCE

In the last post, we began looking at the history of the Church in the 6th Dispensation from the perspective of the seven letters Jesus dictated to seven churches in Asia Minor.

Generally, in each letter, Jesus gives the church a commendation and an area for improvement. He tells them how they will be judged if they don’t improve, and ends the letter with a promise of reward to the “overcomers”. When examined in the order presented, I believe the letters outline the history of the Church in advance.

We looked at the first two letters last time, and noted how Satan unsuccessfully attempted to destroy Christianity through intimidation, false doctrine, and physical persecution. These two letters conform with the first 300 years of Christianity – from the time of Jesus’ Resurrection, through the 3rd century A.D. In this post, we will examine the third letter that was sent to the church in Pergamos and see how Satan used the next weapon in his arsenal – the Mystics.

In the letter, Jesus commended the church for “holding fast to His name” even though they were in close proximity to Satan’s earthly seat of power. However, he noted that some of them embraced the “doctrine of Balaam”. Balaam was a prophet during the time of the Law who betrayed God and compromised with the world for money and power.

Jesus also accused them of holding the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (who we identified in the last post as Mystics). It looks like the false prophets that were rejected by the Ephesian church in the first letter were embraced by Pergamos.

So it would seem that the problem Pergamos had was compromise with Mystics. Interestingly, the name Pergamos is translated as “undesirable marriage”. Pergamos is the church that “married” the world. Historically, Pergamos corresponds with the “Medieval Church” – from the 4th century through the 9th century A.D.

How did the Church go from being the object of persecution by the world to being its partner? It all started with and very interesting Roman Emperor named Constantine.

The Roman Empire reached its zenith during the second century, after which it began to decline due to internal corruption, a lack of national cohesion due to an influx of disparate cultures, an unsustainable economy, over taxation, bloated government bureaucracy, and external threats from barbaric zealots in other countries who despised the Romans for their lavish lifestyle. All the while, the Roman citizens were too intoxicated by their largess, entertainment, and perceived invincibility to care. (Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it?)

In 312 AD, before the Battle of Milvian Bridge where Constantine would stage his final campaign against a rival emperor, Constantine claimed the he saw the sign of the Cross and the words “in this sign conquer”. He won the battle, united the empire, and consolidated his power.

This event allegedly led to Constantine becoming a Christian. As such, he enacted several unprecedented reforms. He legalized Christianity and ended the persecutions. He favored Christians at court, gave Christian leaders prominent positions in the government, and convened the Council of Nicaea. He also forbade work on Sundays (which was a big deal for the many slaves in the empire,) and had many significant church edifices built – including the “Church of the Holy Sepulcher” at the purported site of Jesus’ tomb.

Additionally (and significantly) Constantine named himself the head of the Church as its chief pontiff (priest) or “Pontifex Maximus” (emperors are not generally known for their humility).

The reign of Constantine definitely brought a great deal of relief to the early Church and drastically improved their lives, but there are valid reasons to question the veracity of his conversion.

Constantine didn’t just legalize Christianity; he legalized ALL the religions of the various cultures in Rome. Also, the title of Pontifex Maximus was claimed by previous Roman Emperors not only as the head of the pagan priesthood, but as a “god” above all the other gods!

Many historians (Christian and secular) believe that Constantine was a very savvy politician who saw religious tolerance as a way to ease the tensions and bring unity to the fractured empire. He likely found Christianity to be the most tolerable and least offensive faith to openly embrace due to the piety and humility of its followers – and the fact that the population of Christians in the empire was growing rapidly.

Whatever his reasons, Constantine’s rule allowed Christians to come out of the catacombs and enjoy a heretofore unprecedented level of social acceptance. Unfortunately, the seeds of compromise had been sowed and would quickly grow into corruption.

In the letter to Pergamos, Jesus said they dwelled where “Satan’s throne” was. As we’ve seen before, Satan and his minions are the spiritual force behind the world’s governments, and Pergamos was briefly the Roman capital in Asia Minor. And wherever Satan’s seat of power happens to be (or any seat of power for that matter), you can be sure to find the Mystics.

Mystics always follow the power. Semaramis first cultivated the mystics when Nimrod ruled the world in the 3rd Dispensation. They created the original pagan pantheon of “gods” – Nimrod, Semaramis, and their son Tammuz.

When the power moved to the Egyptian Empire, so did the Mystics, and the pantheon was renamed Osiris, Isis, and Horus to fit the culture. When Assyria, Babylon, and Persia took power, the Mystics went there and the pantheon took on the names Dagon, Baal, Molech, Astarte, Ishtar, Zororaster, etc. With the Greek empire, the migrating Mystics changed the pantheon to Zeus, Aphrodite, Dionysus, and others. When the Mystics followed the power to Rome, the gods became Jupiter, Venus, and the Roman pantheon.

In each case, the Mystics would absorb some of the native mythology and culture into their dogma, but they would always keep and promote some version of the king/father (Nimrod), the queen/mother-goddess (Semaramis), and their divine offspring (Tammuz) as a key part of their doctrine.

After Constantine died, his immediate successors went back and forth between embracing his edicts on Christianity and trying to overturn them. But it was his fourth successor Theodosius who made the marriage between the Church and the world complete.

In 380 AD, Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of Rome and outlawed all pagan worship as heretical. This presented the Church leaders with opportunities and problems. After centuries of being persecuted outcasts, the church now had the power of the Roman throne behind them!

However Theodosius’ decrees resulted in church buildings being flooded with throngs of unrepentant pagans and mystics who were forced to tacitly accept Christianity under penalty of law.

How would church leaders deal with their new “members”, many of whom were openly hostile to Christianity and had no desire to give up paganism? As expected, the Mystics used this situation as a means to ingratiate themselves with the new, powerful Church through religious compromise.

The Mystics advised the church leaders to simply adopt their operational method of assimilation – nominally merging Christianity with paganism by clothing the pagan gods and practices in Christian trappings!

The idea was that this would make the transition to Christianity easier for the pagans. And eventually, as they became true converts and fully adopted Christianity, the pagan elements could be eliminated.

Thus Nimrod, Semaramis, and Tammuz became the primary “Christian” pantheon of “God the father”, “The Virgin Mary” (the holy mother), and “Jesus” the divine son!

The various and sundry pagan gods of harvest, luck, strength, love, protection, and whatnot, became “saints”, such as Peter, Paul, John, Thomas, and whoever else the Mystics decided to throw in.

The various pagan ceremonies and festivals were also “Christianized”. One such festival that exemplifies this merger is the celebration we call Christmas, which is a Christianized version of the popular pagan holiday centered on the sun god who was contemporarily known as “Sol Invictus” (basically Nimrod again).

At the time of the winter solstice (December 21st) the Sun was at its lowest point in the daytime sky. It would stay at this low level for three more days, and then began to rise gradually until it reached it highest point at the summer solstice. The pagan tradition is that the sun “died” on the 21st, stayed dead for three days, then “god’s sun” was reborn on December 25th.

Its pretty easy to see how this was adopted by the church by replacing “Sun” with “Son”.  And the celebration became a mass for Christ (or Christ-mass). One popular pagan tradition from this celebration was to take a large log called the Yule (the ancient Chaldean word for “child”) and burn it in a fireplace on December 21st, let the ashes lay there for three days, and then replace the log with an evergreen tree decked with gold and silver to celebrate life (sound familiar?). Here’s what God thinks of that practice. And as expected, many of our other Christmas traditions such as mistletoe, wreaths, gift exchanges, etc. are also from paganism.

Never mind that Christians were never told to commemorate Jesus’ birth, and He clearly was not born in December (He would have frozen to death in a barn in the middle of winter in Judea).

For some festivals, they didn’t even bother changing the name. The spring sex and fertility rites of Ishtar (Semaramis), complete with the fertility symbols of rabbits and eggs, were grafted in to the commemoration of Christ’s resurrection. Easter is the slightly transliterated name of Ishtar.

But why would the church leaders voluntarily go along with such a blatant corruption of their faith? They became comfortable with their new position!

They enjoyed not being persecuted (who wouldn’t), but more pertinently, they began to love and covet their newly gained power and were willing to compromise themselves to avoid losing it!

The reason that the church grew and flourished during the persecutions is because they were forced by circumstance to rely completely on God for their day to day survival and sustenance. They didn’t cling to their earthly lives, because there was nothing appealing about it. So they focused on God and the true Meaning of Life.   However as they gained status in the empire, they no longer needed God’s constant protection and provision, and their earthly lives became pleasurable.

Man’s nature and tendency toward comparative thinking eventually led the Church away from God and into the waiting arms of the Mystics. The Mystics enthralled the Church leaders into playing a game in which they were thoroughly outmatched. Over the centuries, the Mystics had perfected the art and strategy of conquest through infiltration. The church leaders didn’t stand a chance.

There is no compromise with evil that can result in good. The Mystics knew this. The Christians didn’t. The Mystics knew that once introduced, the corruption wouldn’t be eliminated; just the opposite – it would fester and grow until it infected the very fabric of Church doctrine and became entrenched in church tradition (raise your hand if you put up a Christmas tree last year).

As is their method, once the Mystics gained a foothold in the Church, they began to dominate it. The pagan mystics of Rome became the priests, bishops, and cardinals of the church. Sure they replaced some of their pagan symbols with crosses, nominal invoked the name of Jesus in their rituals, and put halos and angel’s wings on their idols, but for all intents and purposes they essentially continued practicing the mysticism of ancient Babel as they had done since the days of Nimrod and Semaramis.

And thus “Christianity” became a religion. In case it hasn’t become clear, the religion I am referring to is what became known as Roman Catholicism.

Catholicism is the blend of Christian doctrine and pagan practices that began with Constantine and endures to this day. The religion of Catholicism pretty much epitomizes everything I’ve written about Religion and Mystics in this blog (I told you this post would be controversial!)

The Church at Pergamos was commended for holding on to Christ in spite of their proximity to Satan’s throne. But the corruption that had taken hold in the Church grew exponentially until it became the gargantuan, mystic-driven, pseudo-Christian theocracy that would come to dominate most of the world for over a millennium.

In the next post, we will look at the fourth letter from Jesus written to the Church at Thyatira, which chronicles the rule of the “Christian Mystics”. We will explore the far reaching impact on the world and the Church, and why this organization will endure through the end of the 6th Dispensation… and is promised a terrible fate. Next time.

 

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January 30, 2015

Church History – part 1: Don’t Persecute the Messengers

Posted in Jesus, Spiritual Warfare, The Church tagged , , , , , at 10:36 AM by E. M.

Christian PersecutionThe church is the group of people in the 6th Dispensation who have accepted salvation and have access to grace. The purpose of the Church is to become the Bride of Christ in the Meaning of Life.

In this post, we begin looking at the history of the Church from a very special perspective.

In the 6th Dispensation, the Church is being sanctified in order to be a worthy bride. A big part of that sanctification is living by grace.

In addition to direct influence of the Holy Spirit, a significant aspect of Grace is the guidance that the Church gets from the Bible itself – particularly the epistles (or letters) written by the Apostles (those who had direct physical contact with Jesus) that comprise most of what we call the New Testament.

Seven of the most interesting and impactful “epistles” are found in chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation. These short epistles stand out for two significant reasons.

The first (and most important) is that they come from Jesus Himself! (It would make sense that Jesus would provide direct guidance for since He has a vested interest in the sanctification of His Bride).

Revelation consists of the detailed descriptions that the Apostle John was told to write of what he saw and heard when he was spiritually transported to the presence of God.

The first thing he was told to write was the seven letters to seven Churches in seven cities is Asia Minor (present day Turkey).

The letters are addressed to the first century churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

These were actual cities that existed during John’s time, and they each had unique challenges and opportunities which Jesus addressed in each of His letters to them. In each letter, Jesus told the Church:

  1. What they were doing well (if anything)
  2. Where they needed to improve
  3. How they will be judged if they don’t improve
  4. How they will be rewarded if they either improve, or continue to do well

The second reason that the letters are so provocative is because if viewed in the order written, they outline the entire history of the church in advance! From the Apostolic age to the end of the 6th dispensation!

This is the perspective from which we will examine Church history over the next few posts.

In His letter to the Ephesian Church, Jesus commends their hard work in His name, their intolerance of evil, and their adherence to Biblical doctrine in the face of false teachers.

Historically, this letter signifies the “Apostolic Church” – the Church that existed immediately after the advent of the Redeemer in the 1st and 2nd centuries.

When Jesus ascended to Heaven after the resurrection, He promised that He would send the Holy Spirit down to empower his disciples to do His work – and He did, in a BIG way!

The empowering of the Holy Spirit transformed a group of cowardly fishermen into bold and fearless Apostles who literally changed the world by spreading the message of Salvation far and wide.

The things they said, did, and wrote formed much of the basis of Christian doctrine, discipleship, and worldview which endured to this day.

Of course Satan wasn’t very pleased with this development since his goal was to thwart Christianity. So he went to his usual bag of tricks in an attempt to stop the growth of the nascent Church

He started by trying to eliminate the Apostles through the same Jewish leaders who conspired against Jesus during His earthly ministry.

The Pharisees used their power to intimidate, ostracize, persecute, and imprison the Apostles.

But their plans thoroughly backfired. The strife they caused only made the Church grow faster and the Apostle grow bolder.

Worse yet, one of the more preeminent young Pharisees of the day became arguably the most influential Apostle of them all!

After his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, the Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus, persecuter of Christians, became Paul the Apostle, and used his incredible intellectual prowess to pen profound doctrinal treatise that came to make up most of the New Testament.

With this failure, Satan tuned to his next traditional tactic, corruption and compromise.

Almost immediately after Christianity began to take hold. False doctrines were introduced to corrupt the message of Jesus and Salvation. Several of the Apostolic Epistles were written for the primary purpose of correcting heretical teachings that had crept into the Churches, such as the idea that Christians were still bound by the Law, or the blending of Christianity and pagan mysticism.

Interestingly, Paul warned the Church at Ephesus about the advent of those who would bring corrupt doctrine into the Church some 40 years before Jesus’ letter in Revelation.

Apparently the Ephesians took Paul’s warning to heart because Jesus told them that they did a great job of sussing out false teachers! However, Jesus admonished the early Church for “leaving their first love”. He instructed them to remember, repent, and do the “first works”.

The term “first love” in this context refers to the emotion and exuberance we feel when we first “fall in love”. The first and greatest commandment is to love God completely. Also the primary command of Jesus to the Apostles was to go and make disciples of all men.

It would seem that the issue Jesus had with the Ephesians was that they were so focused on fighting evil and getting doctrine right that they neglected devotional time with God and worship of God, as well as disciple new Christians.

Or as one Bible commentator put is, “they were so busy doing the business of the King, they made no time for the King!”

The next letter was to the Church as Smyrna.   Jesus commended them for enduring persecution and poverty. He had no admonishments for them, but warned them that their suffering would continue. However if they remained faithful, they would be rewarded.

Historically, this is the Church of the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

Having failed to stop the growth of the Church though intimidation and corruption, Satan once again turned to the Mystics to do his dirty work, beginning with the Mystics of Force – the government.

Thus the 2nd and 3rd centuries were a time of intense physical persecution for the Church as successive Roman Emperors attempted to exterminate Christianity and its claim to One True God (as opposed to the many gods of pagan Rome – including the deified Emperors themselves!)

Christians were denied citizenship and any type of legal protection. Their very existence was a violation of law and they were subjected to brutal torture and death if they refused to denounce their faith.

But even when driven underground into the catacombs of Rome and the wilderness on the outskirts of the empire, Christianity continued to grow. In fact, the more furious the persecution, the faster the Church grew as they were forced to focus more and more on God for daily provision and survival!

It got to the point that the population of the Church was so large, persecution and imprisonment became impractical for the empire!

There is one more thing we need to cover before we move on to the next letter. As a postscript to the letter to the Ephesians, Jesus commends them for rejecting the hated doctrine of the “Nicolaitans”. The Nicolaitans are something of a mystery since the term does not seem to be a formal name as much as a description.

The root words in the Greek imply “those who rule over the people”. It’s been theorized that this referred to false teachers who used their religious influence to dominate the lives of their followers “in the name of Jesus”.

If true, then the Nicolaitans were probably Gnostics. Gnostics were local mystics who (in typical fashion) claimed to have special, hidden knowledge that God gave only to them. This knowledge consisted of a variety of odd, often contradictory doctrines consisting of denying the physical incarnation of Jesus (He was basically a holy hologram), worshiping angels, teaching that Jesus was just a man who father a bunch of children, and completely rejecting the material world (not sure how you effectively do that, short of suicide or becoming an environmentalist).

They also claim to have “found” hidden epistles that contradicted the Bible, allegedly written by assorted disciples and followers such as Thomas, Philip, Judas, and Mary Magdalene. Never mind the fact all of these “epistles” have been dated several decades after the death of the author. The fact that they claim one was written by Judas – who betrayed Jesus and killed himself immediately after – demonstrates a special level of lunacy.

Again, to their credit, the early church for the most part rejected this nonsense, but it’s important to bring it up here because subsequent letters show that later churches would accept and embrace the Nicolaitans, giving mystics an irrevocable foothold in the Church. Speaking of which…

With the failure of the Mystics of Force, Satan turned to the Mystics of Spirit to defeat the Church. In the next post, we will explore the next phase of Church history and learn how the Mystics of Spirit were MUCH more effective than their counterparts in damaging and corrupting the Church, and have in fact proven to be a dominant force in the ultimate failure of the 6th Dispensation.

The next  two posts will hit close to home for many and will probably be the most controversial and inflammatory entires on this blog. I can hardly wait…

 

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January 5, 2015

The Church: Mysteries and Prizes

Posted in Jesus, Salvation, The Church, The Dispensations tagged , , , , , at 3:07 PM by E. M.

Arranged MarriageIn the 6th Dispensation, those who choose to accept the gift of Salvation are given a new heart which can be influenced and guided by the Holy Spirit to be always and completely right and just. This influence is called Grace. The group of people who intentionally strive to live by grace are referred to in the Bible as “The Church”.

As we saw in the last post, the Church is unique in all dispensational history as it is a direct conduit to the Meaning of Life.

The term “Church” is first used by Jesus (in the future tense) as something He would build on the “rock” (or foundation) of declared belief in Him as the Redeemer. “Church” is translated from the Greek term “ecclesia”, which means to be “called out” [chosen and separated for a special purpose].

 

The Church is referred to as a “mystery” by the Apostle Paul (who wrote most of the New Testament). But not in the sense in which we currently use the term (something that is unknown). The Greek term used by Paul is “mustérion” which is a reference to something previously hidden that is being divinely revealed.

From the standpoint of the Dispensations, the overarching “mystery” is the seed plot of history – that God literally planted the seed that would result in His plan being fulfilled as a part of the judgments rendered after the failure of the 1st Dispensation. When God said that the “seed of the woman” would be the undoing of Satan’s claim on humanity, He gave the first hints of that mystery which has been carried through the entire Biblical narrative of redemption.

So what specifically is the “mystery” about the Church that was able to be revealed after the Redeemer completed His work? And what is it “called out” to be?

Paul makes it clear in the above referenced verse that the mystery he’s revealing is that marriage is a reflection of the Meaning of Life, and that the Church is the Bride of Christ! This essentially completes the loop I started when I first mentioned that the Meaning of Life is marriage!

The institution of marriage is vitally important to God because it is the divine dress rehearsal for the eternity that He intended for man to have with Him.

Unfortunately, the current process and institution of marriage bears little to no resemblance to the one originally ordained by God (and in some cases, its not even close). As such, it would be extremely useful and revelatory to take a look at the ancient Jewish wedding process and see how it relates to the Church.

The following is an excerpt from the Koinonia House website:

The first step, the Ketubah, or Betrothal, was the establishment of the marriage covenant, usually when the prospective bridegroom took the initiative and negotiated the price (mohair) he must pay to purchase her.

Once the bridegroom paid the purchase price, the marriage covenant was established, and the young man and woman were regarded as husband and wife. From that moment on, the bride was declared to be consecrated or sanctified – set apart – exclusively for her bridegroom. As a symbol of the covenant relationship that had been established, the father of the groom arranged gifts to be given to the bride which was symbolic of a promise providing a legal tie between the two.

After the marriage covenant was established, the groom left his bride at her home and returned to his father’s house, where he remained separated from his bride for approximately 12 months. This afforded the bride time to gather her trousseau and prepare for married life.

During this period of separation, the groom prepared a dwelling place in his father’s house to which he would later bring his bride. At the end of the period of separation, the bridegroom came – usually at night – to take his bride to live with him… Although the bride was expecting her groom to come for her, she did not know the time of his coming. As a result, the groom’s arrival was preceded by a shout, which announced her imminent departure to be gathered with him.

There are several more stages in the wedding process that relate to Christ and the Church on the above referenced web site, and we will explore them as we get closer to a discussion of the 7th Dispensation, but for now, let’s look at how the above relates to the Church.

The “price” Jesus had to pay in order to atone for the curse of Original Sin and make the bride eligible for the Meaning of Life was His sacrificial death on the cross, and the Resurrection.

But like any bride, the populace of the 6th Dispensation must agree to accept the Bridegroom’s “proposal”. (and that proposal is available to EVERYONE).

The Church is referred to as being in a state of sanctification (set aside and being prepared to the Groom). Once salvation is accepted, the Holy Spirit endows every believer with spiritual gifts that are meant to edify the church and further enhance the sanctification (I’m pretty sure my gift is flippancy).

This is the PRIMARY purpose of the Church’s existence in the world – to grow in grace, and become more right and just. Why? Because it is essentially training for what the Church will do for eternity in Heaven, AND it earns us rewards!

This topic is important enough to merit some additional exposition:

If you break it down, Jesus had two primary messages when He addressed people while on earth: salvation and reward. Reward statements are generally in an “if-then” format – If you do this, then that will happen.

The Sermon on the Mount  is Jesus’ first and longest teaching. The sermon is a thorough exposition on the Law – explaining the “whys” behind the commandments. It also addresses all the different types of reward messages. Jesus spoke of how to get good rewards, how to maximize good rewards, how spiritual rewards are better than earthly ones, how to avoid bad rewards, and how not to lose your reward.

If you look as Jesus’ subsequent public teachings (parables etc.) they are all centered on reward (value and profitability), or salvation (life, everlasting life). It’s important to keep in mind that while these two messages are related, they are distinct in very important ways. The good works that you do to earn rewards do NOT save you – Jesus never equates them with salvation/everlasting life, but they increase the amount of value the you will have in heaven.

Why did Jesus focus on these two topics? Because to Him, spiritual inheritance (getting everlasting life in Heaven and the reward when we get there) are far more important than our physical predicaments on earth!

The few decades we spend in these mortal bodies are inconsequential when compared to eternity, so of course Jesus would spend most of His time teaching about them! Thus it also makes sense that people who consider earth to be their main home would interpret Jesus’ message in a way that makes transitory earthly matters of primary importance (love, tolerance, social justice etc). Jesus only concerned Himself with earthly matters to the degree that they increased the value we would have in Heaven (rewards).

Lastly, Jesus made it clear that when He departed for Heaven after the resurrection, He was going to His “Father’s House” to prepare a dwelling place for the Church, and at some point in the future, He will return (unexpectedly) to take his bride with Him. The idea of Christ sudden and unexpected return for His bride comprises perhaps the most controversial (and frankly preposterous) doctrine in Christianity – “the Rapture”. In fact, the only thing it has going for it is that it’s clearly promised in the Bible, so its absolutely true!

Will examine the Rapture when we look at the end of this dispensation, but before we do that, we need to take a more detailed look at the sanctification process. The vast majority of the New Testament (the epistles of Paul and the Apostles) give in-depth teaching to edify and sanctify the Church. But there are seven short and very impactful “epistles” that are often and tragically overlooked. Tragic because they are authored by Jesus Himself AND because they give us an outline of the entire 2000-plus year history of the Church!

Beginning with the next post, we will examine the history of the Church with the “Epistles of Jesus” as our guide.

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December 15, 2014

Dispensation 6: A Change of Heart

Posted in Salvation, Terminology, The Church, The Dispensations tagged , , , , , at 11:48 AM by E. M.

Changed_heartThe dispensations are God’s contrastive way of proving that His plan for man is right, by allowing mankind the opportunity to choose to be Godly on their own. In the first three dispensations God allow men fairly free reign during periods of complete innocence, vast knowledge, and full cooperation. Each time mankind chose themselves over God by thinking comparatively. Furthermore, each dispensation resulted in men becoming more evil!

In the 4th and 5th Dispensations, God provided progressive guidance though earthly representatives and by giving them His Law, culminating in the advent of a divine Redeemer. Again men choose themselves over God by rejecting (and ignoring) the guidance.

Since in the previous two dispensations God gave men guidance through external sources, the next just and logical step would be to make that guidance intimate and internal.

The 6th Dispensation asks the question: What if God’s presence was housed inside us, and gave us day by day guidance on how to be like Him? Would we choose God over ourselves?

Its an intriguing proposition, and its one of the many ways that this dispensation is so special and unique. But how would this work? How does God presence get “inside” us (and how much space does He need?)

It all starts with Salvation.

When a person’s “gets saved”, it’s not a one-way proposition. When the decision to accept the gift of redemption is made, God doesn’t just give a wink and a thumbs-up. God begins the work of actively changing your entire life!

Salvation makes us a new creation. We are given a new heart by God, and His Law is written on our hearts. Why our hearts and not our brain/mind? Because the heart is where your integrity comes from.

Like the brain, the physical heart has neural connections that make it function like a “mini-brain”. Your heart has its own independent nervous system consisting of over 30,000 neurons.. Like the unconscious brain, the heart is part of the body that can respond and make decisions based on intuition and feelings.

But its effects on us are more primal and less influenced by the things that can affect our conscious minds. The heart is much more binary. You can fake all kinds of things with your conscious brain, but you can’t fool the heart. Whatever is true about you flows from your heart. That’s why in salvation, God is much more concerned with what you believe in your heart than in your mind.

The problem is that before salvation, man’s heart is evil! It reflects the fact that man is not always and completely right and just. That heart rejects the Godly thought process (contrastive thinking and growth) and embraces destructive thoughts (comparative thinking and comfort). Fortunately man has free will and can choose to act outside of his nature.

Accepting redemption is an act of free will. But even with that acceptance God knows that is would be a losing battle to try to influence through our old heart, and He certainly can’t dwell there – so He gives us a new one!

Of course I’m not speaking of replacing the physical organ (becoming a Christina does not require major surgery), I’m speaking of the spiritual housing of the heart – the part that affects and is affected by our thought process. This new heart can hear from God and can be influenced by God

This is the definition of grace – the Divine influence on the heart and its reflection in life.

The 6th Dispensation is unique in that it is a direct conduit to the meaning of life. How is it connected to the meaning of life? Remember, in order to be with God, we have to be like God. The only “man” who has ever managed to be like God is Jesus during his earthly incarnation. How? He lived by grace! He ONLY did what God told him to do. This is how he was fully man and fully God. The sixth dispensation gives us all that same opportunity!

The Problem is we get all kinds of inner notions and urges influencing us constantly. Sure we get a new heart through salvation, but the rest of us (specifically our minds) are still under Adam’s curse. We are still not always and completely right and just in our nature. So how do you know if it’s God’s influence that we are hearing?

Unsaved man is influenced by three sources, the “World”, the “Flesh”, and the “Devil. Two are external (world and devil) the other is internal (flesh). All three sources have two things in common – they all oppose God, and they are all “loud” (they all influence us aggressively).

The “voice” of the World focuses you on the pursuit of external things to replace God in your life. The World steers you toward comfort, self-justification, religion, and conformity. The World is the system that wants to deny uniqueness and get you to embrace a Godless Eden.

The Flesh is the enemy within. Is our human nature that is the polar opposite of Godly thinking. The Flesh wants us to be comparative, which is the source of pride, fear, and evil.

The Devil is the demonic influence (“devil” is from the Greek “diabolos” which means “one who hurls thing at you”  In the Biblical context, it is translated as “Accuser”). The Devil’s goal is destruction in long term. The devil works in the opposite manner to God. The Devil is constantly hurling seductive/destructive thoughts at your Flesh (as opposed to the heart), which you must make the moment-by-moment choice to accept or reject. Whenever an evil, destructive thought enters you mind and you think “where did that come from?” It was probably the Devil.

But, when you get saved a fourth influence is added – the Holy Spirit, who Jesus promised would live in the hearts of believers! The influence of the Spirit is focused on growth and faith, through contrastive thinking. The voice of the Spirit is the most difficult to hear. The Spirit speaks in a quiet, still, small voice. If the world pulls at you, the flesh yells at you, and the devil jabs you; the Spirit gives you a gentle nudge.

But why does God, the most powerful force of them all, choose to be so subtle?

Because he wants us to choose him! He wants us to love him – and that takes effort! Unlike the other influences that bombard us constantly and consistently, we have to be intentional to hear from God. We have to actively seek Him and intentionally block out the other voices. We have to pursue God. He wants us to love him enough to sacrifice our comforts, our lusts, and our natural desire to prosper without him.

Why?

1. Its a reasonable response to the sacrifice of redemption. Salvation is offered freely, but it wasn’t free. Jesus paid the price, and to live the redemptive life justly requires effort on our part.

2. The meaning of life requires it! Remember, the meaning of life is marriage. Jesus didn’t just come to save mankind, he came to redeem a bride! And he naturally wants a bride who wants Him and loves Him enough to be conformed to His image. His bride must be like Him – always and completely right and just.

And that’s the whole purpose of the 6th Dispensation, to find a bride for Christ!

This Bride consists of a group of people who are willing to accept His redemption, and intentionally and consistently allow themselves to be conformed to His image by heeding the voice of grace and be transformed into unique individuals who flourish in their individual greatness, adding the value of that greatness to the overall body of believers, thus creating a Bride worthy of God’s Son.

(Grace is personal, the guidance given to each person while always and completely right and just, also guides them to be the royal image bearer that was lost when Adam fell.)

This group of believers who are to be the Bride is called “the Church”.

If the 6th Dispensation were to be a success, the Church would be completely sanctified and conformed to Christ by obeying the voice of the Spirit completely.

However, logically, we know that this dispensation will fail like all the rest. But since we’re still in it, we don’t have the benefit of history to tell us exactly how and when it will end as we had with the other dispensations.

However we have enough knowledge of the dispensational pattern to take a theoretical stab at it. If success is tied to the Church hearing and obeying God’s voice, then failure would be the opposite -to ignore His voice.

But it has to be more than that. Dispensational failure means choosing ourselves over God. So then, in line with that pattern, this dispensation will fail when the Church chooses to be guided by ITS OWN voice instead of God’s!

I’ll address HOW this can happen in an upcoming post. As to WHEN this failure happens. . . I would contend that it ALREADY HAS!

Obviously that is a VERY provocative position that I’ll need to back up, and I will do that in an upcoming post as well.

But before we go there, we need to take a deeper look at this unique and mysterious entity called the Church. What is it? What are its origins? What is its purpose? Why does Jesus consider it his Bride? And what has it been doing the last 2000 years? We begin examining these questions next time.

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