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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November 24, 2014

Kingdom Come…later

Posted in Bible Prophesy, Jesus, The Dispensations tagged , , , , at 4:12 PM by E. M.

THE PHARISEE MESSIANIC FANTASY

THE PHARISEE MESSIANIC FANTASY

The 5th Dispensation failed because the Jewish leadership failed to recognize and accept Jesus as their Messiah, despite the enormous evidence that that proved Jesus was the ONLY person who could be the Redeemer.

As with the previous dispensations, the failure was due to the people choosing themselves over God – specifically, they chose the version of the Messiah that THEY wanted, as opposed to the one God actually sent.

But what if the Jews HAD accepted Jesus? This question is interesting for a couple reasons. First, the aftermath of a successful 5th Dispensation would have been unique due to the promises God made to Israel. And secondly, the end of this dispensation will greatly impact the future, as we’ll see later in this post.

Before we get to the answer, we need to revisit some background information. In the 4th Dispensation, God made an unconditional, unbreakable promise to Abraham (the father of the Jews and Israel) that He would make them a great nation and that all the nations of the world would be blessed through them.

That promise was amplified later in the 5th Dispensation through Old Testament prophets who foretold that the Messiah would set up a world-wide kingdom and would rule the nations from Jerusalem.

But this Kingdom would be preceded by God judging, punishing, and generally going all “Old Testament” on the enemies of Israel (I acknowledge that this may be the first appropriate usage of that term).

And this is what the Pharisees were looking for from their Messiah – a Jewish Super hero who would make all their jingoistic fantasies a reality. And their desires weren’t illegitimate! Just ill timed.

In fact, Jesus began His ministry by quoting this Messianic prophesy from Isaiah 6:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me, To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God;

Except He stopped at the last comma and closed the book. He left off the part about “The day of vengeance of our God”! Or more accurately, He postponed it since the first part of His ministry was to fulfill the law and die unjustly to redeem mankind.

So what would have happened if the Jewish leadership had been contrastive and recognized their Messiah?

First of all, they would have accepted Him as King when He presented Himself as such on the exact day prophesized. His unjust execution would then have likely been initiated by the Romans (who wouldn’t have looked favorably on someone elevating Himself above Caesar) instead of the Jews.

And while they would have been distraught by the brutality of His death, they would have anxiously awaited His resurrection on the third day. The risen Jesus would have presented Himself in the Temple for all of Israel to see (the people would have still been in Jerusalem for spring feasts), and the Jews would have believed on Him and accepted salvation.

Then the entire gentile world would have likely heard this voice coming from heaven. Followed by righteous Judgment raining down upon the enemies of Israel, as well as Satan and his minions for 7 years.

Finally, the long awaited Kingdom would commence with the Jews ruling alongside Jesus.

But as we know, this didn’t happen. Worse, by rejecting their Messiah, the Jews opened themselves up to the curses that God pronounced would occur if they ultimately rejected Him. Jesus cried in despair for His people knowing the horrors and misfortunes that they would have to endure throughout their history as a result of their failure to recognize the Redeemer

Moreover, because they intentionally refused to see the evidence that was staring them in the face for hundreds of years, God justly blinded them to the knowledge they rejected.

[Note: the blindness pronounced by Jesus was a “corporate” curse on national Israel. Individual Jews could obviously be saved since the Jews were almost exclusively the only Christians for several years after Jesus’ resurrection.]

But while the failure of the 5th Dispensation was a tragedy for first-century Israel, it was a boon to the rest of us, because we have the opportunity to fill in the gap. What “gap” you ask?

Allow me to explain:

You see, the aforementioned prophesy in Daniel 9: 24-27 not only gave the exact date of Jesus’ presentation as the Redeemer, it gives timing of the end of the reign of sin and evil in the world!

The prophesy basically said that everything would be wrapped up in 490 years (70 “weeks of years”). As we’ve seen, Jesus presented Himself as Redeemer/Messiah/King after 483 years (69 “weeks of years”). That just leaves 7 years (one week of years) yet to be fulfilled.

But Daniel 9:26 shows that there is an indeterminate gap of time between the 69th week and the 70th week, wherein certain things happened including the crucifixion and resurrection, as well as the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D. (so we know the gap was at least 40 years since the 69th week ended around 30 A.D.)

Now, if the 5th Dispensation had been successful, the gap would have been much shorter – primarily encompassing Christ’s death and resurrection (and probably not the destruction of the temple). However because that dispensation failed, God had to move on to the 6th Dispensation.

But what about those final 7 years?

THEY HAVEN’T HAPPENED YET!!

That’s right, the entire 6th Dispensation occurs in the gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel’s prophesy! That a 2000 year (and counting) gap of time!

This gap of time benefits us because everyone reading this blog was born during the 6th Dispensation and has the opportunity to receive the salvation and redemption offered by Jesus and rejected by first century Israel!

This idea obviously has a ton of implications for us that we will begin to explore in the next post, but before we go there, we need to address a couple of burning questions left over from the end of the 5th Dispensation – namely, what happens with the final 7 years, and what’s to become of Israel?

Here’s the thing, as with all the dispensations, God knew the 5th would fail. But since He is Righteous, He had to be contrastive and give Israel the opportunity to succeed. And since He is Just, He had to judge them with blindness because of their failure.

But remember, the promises God made to Abraham and his descendants are unconditional and unbreakable! Those promises HAVE to be fulfilled. That means that God is NOT done with Israel!

There are still 7 years left to account for and those 7 years WILL happen. In fact, those 7 years are among the most documented periods of time in Bible Prophesy! After the gap (the 6th Dispensation), the 5th Dispensation will come back! The blindness WILL be lifted from the eyes of Israel. God WILL judge their enemies. There WILL be a worldwide Kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital.

We will delve into the 70th week of Daniel later, but in the next post we will begin to explore the Dispensation that is the most meaningful to us (because we currently live in it). What is the 6th Dispensation? Why is it unique? And how (and when) will it end? Next time…

 

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September 19, 2014

The Jesus Myth – part 2: Holy Idoltary

Posted in How to be Right, Jesus, Religion, Salvation tagged , , , , , at 1:10 PM by E. M.

Holy IdolIn the last two posts, we looked at some of the myths surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. The final resurrection myth was actually the one accepted by most Christians – the idea that Jesus rose from the dead looking the same (if not better) as He did before His death; bearing relatively minor evidence of the traumatic torture He endured (namely the nail and spear marks).

On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal. After all, the Bible doesn’t dwell much on Jesus physical appearance before or after His death. So why should we?

The truth is we shouldn’t. But the problem is that we do!

It’s in our nature to want to “humanize” God. Making God into the epitome of the human ideal makes us more comfortable with Him. However anything that does not conform to reality can ultimately lead to deception. This post will explore the implications of this.

Believe it or not, many Christians today are guilty of worshiping an idol. What’s even more shocking is that the worship of this idol is not done in secret or behind closed doors; no, this idol is openly and brazenly worshiped in Christian churches! His likeness is painted on the walls, and his image takes a prominent place in our minds. We sing songs to this idol and pray in his name. Church leaders tell us we should strive to be more like the idol in our everyday lives.

We call this idol “Jesus”, but the Jesus that has been popularized by contemporary culture (and much of the contemporary church) is not necessarily the Jesus of the Bible.

When you close your eyes and imagine Jesus. What do you see? If you are like most Christians, you see a tall, thin, handsome Caucasian man with a beard and long brown hair dressed in a white robe and sandals. Guess what? You’ve just pictured the false idol!

Why do I make this claim? Well, while we do not know exactly what Jesus looked like when He was on earth, we can be sure that He looked nothing like the image derived from European medieval and renaissance art.

Jesus was obviously not Caucasian. He was a middle-eastern Jew and would thus have had the skin tone and ethnic features of a middle-eastern Jew. We have no information about His height, but it is very doubtful that He was thin. Jesus was a carpenter by trade. He probably spent the better pat of 25 years working with His legal father Joseph learning his craft; which included cutting and lifting heavy planks of wood and stone. That kind of life does not lead to a slight build. Long hair on a male was not acceptable in that culture , and we know from the Bible that Jesus was not handsome.

Imagine instead, a stout, fairly muscular middle-eastern man with average to below-average looks, short think black hair and a beard. Now put him side by side with the “Jesus” you previously imagined. What a contrast! But as I said before, His physical appearance is only a minor and superficial aspect of the idolatry. The more damaging aspect is what many imagine the nature of Jesus to be.

The “Jesus” that is usually worshiped in church is warm and fuzzy magic human teddy-bear. He is gentle, harmless, and kind. He is cajoling, forgiving, and accepting. He is mild-mannered, passionless, and bland. He is weak, abused, and impotent. Isn’t this what we are told He is; “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild”?

Yet in the scriptures we see a Man who commands the respect of rough-hewed fishermen; whose very presence leads them to give up their lives and follow Him . We see a Man who boldly walked into holy buildings and claimed He was ushering in the Kingdom of God . He viciously insulted religious leaders , and claimed He knew their doctrine better than they did .

He taught many with the authority of God , but deliberately denied others access to key knowledge . We see a Man who physically assaulted thieves in the temple, threatened to drown anyone who harms a child, and knocked down soldiers with the force of His voice.

We see a Man who loses His patience, gets exasperated with His friends. He insults a woman who has a sick daughter and she has to ask repeatedly before He will heal her. He lets a good friend die to prove  point . He tells us that His presence will cause division in our lives; that following Him will make you hated and despised. He promises  suffering and tells followers they may be killed for serving Him.  He taught about Hell and punishment twice as much as He taught about Heaven. He is a Man who loved tough, fought fiercely, cared deeply, and died passionately.

This is the real Jesus. He is complex. He is hard to deal with. He sometimes makes us uncomfortable. He’s a little scary. He’s rarely seen in modern churches, and most Christians scarcely know who He is.

How did this happen? Why has the Jesus presented in the scriptures been sanitized, sterilized, neutered, de-clawed, and emasculated?

Religion!

Many Christians have made the same mistake the Pharisees made. They’ve embraced the aspects of Jesus that they liked (love, peace, compassion, kindness), and ignored the parts that make them uncomfortable (passion, judgment, holiness, exclusivity, wrath, accountability).

All that is left is an artificially sweetened shell of the real thing; the milquetoast hippie served up to many Christians on Sunday morning.

But why is it so important that Christians see Jesus as He really was?  If one accepts the death and resurrection that leads to salvation, does it really matter how accurate our view of Jesus time on earth is?

Absolutely! The spiritual landscape post-resurrection is not a passive one. The Great Invasion may have ended with Jesus being ultimately victorious; But Satan has not stopped fighting! Although there is nothing he can do change the outcome of Jesus’ work, as we saw in the previous two posts, he can still do damage by preventing as many people as possible from receiving salvation and being discipled as Jesus commanded. And deception about Jesus is an effective way to do it.

The reason is that a false idol leads to a false world view, and when the harsh reality of the real world meets the false expectations of that imitation worldview, can result in a failure of faith.

As Jesus promised, the Christian life is not easy. Christians will have to endure all manner of despair, frustrations, ordeals and calamities.

If a person is led to believe that salvation leads to a life filled with nothing but sweetness and joy, what will happen when a conflict arises that tries their faith? Their world will shatter! They will feel helpless and lost.

Satan can step in and lead them to doubt God. He asks them “if Christians are wrong about God’s “goodness”, what else they are wrong about? Is there even a God at all?  Satan can take up residence in those doubts and lead them down the road to ultimate rejection of God and His plan.

On the other hand if we are willing to accept the reality that Jesus said that life would be difficult, then when those difficulties actually arise, there will be no crisis of faith because expectations match reality!

Most importantly, Jesus holds Christians accountable to know Him as He really is! The bible is clear that when all is said and done, only those who have a relationship with the real Jesus will take part in the meaning of life. Those who intentionally followed a false Christ will be left out.

In the next two posts we will take a contrastive look at the real mission and message of Jesus versus the version that is popularized by the secular and “spiritual” world

 

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August 8, 2014

The Jesus Myth – part 1: Tomb Raiders (cont.)

Posted in Jesus, Religion, Salvation tagged , , , , , at 3:51 PM by E. M.

Jesus myth2We’ve been examining some of the more popular myths and theories used by Satan and his minions in an attempt to discredit and/or deny the resurrection of Jesus. However since these myths are in blatant opposition to the truth and the historical evidence of the resurrection, they tend to be improbable at best or ludicrous at worse.

We looked at two of them in the last post. This time we will examine one of the silliest, followed by one that could eventually prove to be the most dangerous of all.

Myth 3: The Swoon Theory

This one is my favorites – primarily because it’s the most ridiculous. This myth purports that Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead, because Jesus never actually died! The “Swoon Theory” states that Jesus didn’t DIE on the cross; He just fainted (swooned) due to the extreme pain. Because He was so weak and brutalized, the Romans mistook His fainting spell for death and plopped Him into the tomb. Therein, the cool air of the tomb revived Him. He then walked out of the tomb, retired from the ministry, shacked up with Mary Magdalene, and sired a whole bunch of children who went on to be the progenitors of the royal families of Europe.

No, I’m not making this up. My imagination is not that fertile.

So let’s look at all the things that are wrong with this idiotic theory. First of all, the Romans didn’t just start crucifying people the week before they hung Jesus on the cross. They were EXPERTS in this form of execution and they knew how to tell if their victim was dead. When a person dies, their blood separates into the red cell platelets and the relatively clear plasma. The soldier who stuck a spear in Jesus’ side at the end of the crucifixion wasn’t being sadistic; he was making sure Jesus was dead! When blood and “water” (plasma) came out, it proved His death.

As we saw a couple posts back, crucifixion has a devastating effect on the human body. The nerves in the hands and feet are irreparably damaged, the lungs fill with fluid, most of the major organs fail, and the heart ruptures. According to the Swoon Theory, not only did these injuries NOT kill Jesus, it only took the “cool air” of the tomb to heal him enough to hop out of His burial clothes. Then He managed to hobble over to entrance of the tomb on unusable feet, push the boulder out of the way with useable hands, sneak past the aforementioned Roman Guard, and go stud Himself off to Mary Magdalene.

It looks like people have been wasting their time in spas and clinics all these years. Apparently nothing heals and refreshes like cool tomb air!

So does anyone actually take this nonsense seriously? Believe it or not the answer is yes! In fact variations of the “Jesus wasn’t dead when they took him off the cross” variant is the prevailing theory in academia (and Islam) and has been popularized in such mainstream books as Holy Blood Holy Grail, and Da Vinci Code. And if that isn’t proof that contrastive thinking leads to brain damage, I don’t know what is.

Myth 4: The Pristine Corpse

This last myth is actually quite a bit different from the others. It is the most inconspicuous, and seemingly innocuous – but it has the potential to be the most harmful. It’s not a direct assault on the truth of the resurrection, and I’m not even certain that it comes from Satan (although he can and does make use of it where possible).

This myth is tacitly endorsed and encouraged by Christians, which likely makes it the most controversial and uncomfortable. In fact, I’ve never presented it to a Christian who did not find it disturbing if not offensive. It will be especially repulsive to any reader who is religious. The best way to present it is to examine a few post-resurrection narratives from the Bible:

As I wrote earlier, when Jesus rose from the dead, the first person to encounter Him was Mary Magdalene who had come to the cemetery to tend to the body. When she first encountered Jesus, she mistook him for the gardener and only seemed to know who He was when she fully recognized His voice. Later the disciples were out fishing when Jesus called them to shore for breakfast. They seemed to discern His identity only (apparently) because he miraculously produced fish for them, which is something he had done before. On another occasion, Jesus joined two of His followers on a 7 mile walk, and they just assumed He was a stranger visiting the area. It was only after they invited Jesus in for dinner and he broke the bread, did they know who He was (presumably because they saw the nail prints in His hands). Lastly, in the famous “Doubting Thomas” incident, Jesus abruptly appeared in a room full of disciples who thought He was a ghost! Only after He submitted to Thomas’ request to examine His hands and feet did they know it was Jesus.

Are you noticing a pattern here? It seems that after the resurrection, people have a difficult time recognizing Jesus. Why is that?

The popular theory is that the resurrected Jesus had such a “glorious” form, that even His closest companions were blinded by His heavenly appearance. This idea partially stems from our human tendency to disproportionately value physical appearance (which has its roots in comparative thinking).

But why would Mary mistake this “heavenly” figure for a cemetery gardener? The Jewish laws against touching dead things would relegate that job to only the lowliest of people. And why would a “glorious” Jesus scare the crap out of the disciples when he appeared?

While the “glorious” resurrection visage may be a possibility, I’m going to argue against it by looking at a couple verses that describe what Jesus suffered during the crucifixion.

The prophet Isaiah wrote that Jesus would have his beard torn off by His torturers. If you’ve ever known anyone who had a full beard and shaved it off, you know that they look quite different than before. In an even more disturbing prophesy, Isaiah, wrote that the beatings Jesus received during the crucifixion were so brutal that his face no longer looked human!

And now we come to the myth. The common assumption about Jesus’ appearance after the resurrection is that the only physical evidence that He retained from the crucifixion are the nail scars on His hands and feet, and the scar from the spear He took in His side. Other than that, He looked exactly the way He looked before Calvary (if not better).

But the reason for that assumption is NOT because the Bible says or implies that those are the only scars Jesus retained, but because those are the SPECIFIC wounds that Thomas required as evidence!

There is no logical or Biblical reason to think that Jesus didn’t retain ALL the scars from His suffering – Including the massive scar tissue from having his beard ripped off and some degree of facial deformity and additional scarring from the beatings.

If this is true, it would explain the reactions of His followers. It would make sense that Mary would think a disfigured man in a cemetery would be the gardener, and someone would such aesthetics would understandably make the disciples drop a brick in their robes if he suddenly appeared out of nowhere. And while part of the reason the men on the Emmaus road invited Him to dinner may have been a matter of middle-eastern hospitality, they also may have been taking pity on what they thought was an unfortunate stranger.

But why would Jesus choose to retain ANY physical evidence of His horrific death, let alone such disturbing ones? The answer may come from a story I once heard:

There was a little girl whose mother would drop her off for school every morning.   However, the other school children would tease the girl about her mother, because the mother’s face had been badly burned.

One day the little girl asked her mother if she would start dropping her off a couple blocks from the school so that the children would not see the mother and the girl would be spared their teasing.

“I’ve never told you the reason I look like this have I?” The mother responded. “The accident that caused my burns happened when you were a baby, but I think you’re old enough to know now.”

“One day, after you had fallen asleep in your crib, I went outside to do some gardening. After a while, I smelled smoke. I looked up and noticed that the house was on fire! It turned out that there was an electrical surge near your bedroom that caused it, and it was burning out of control.”

“I rushed into the house in a panic. I could hear you crying so I knew you were still alive, but there was a wall of flames between me and your room. I covered myself a best I could and charged in. It was very difficult to get to you and my coverings and clothes began to catch on fire.

“When I finally got to you, I covered you as best I could and shielded you with my body as I ran out. I could barely see due to the smoke so I had to keep my face uncovered. By the time I made it outside, I had third degree burns over most of my body, especially my face. But it didn’t matter, because you were safe. Saving you was all that mattered.

From that point on, the little girl was no longer ashamed of her mother’s looks. In fact, they became a point or pride and comfort. Because now, every time she looked at her mother’s face, she saw the evidence of how much she was loved, and how much someone was willing to sacrifice to save her.

It could be same for that those who choose Salvation and the Meaning of Life. If so, they may spend eternity looking at the face that shows evidence of how much they are loved and how much was sacrificed for their redemption.

But why do I consider this myth so dangerous? On the surface, the worst outcome would simply be the fact that we embrace an incorrect physical image. The problem is that any level of delusion, especially in regards to Jesus and the importance of His redemptive work, can open the door to Satan’s favorite tactic – deception!

In this case, it’s the deception of idolatry – a deception that could eventually cause the LOSS of the Meaning of Life! I’ll explain more in the next post…

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July 6, 2014

The Great Invasion – part 4: Victorious Defeat

Posted in Jesus, Salvation, Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare, The Dispensations tagged , , , , , , , at 3:11 PM by E. M.

Victorious DefeatHaving failed to prevent the advent of Jesus as the Redeemer and meeting defeat when he tried physical and spiritual tactics to defeat his enemy, Satan turned to his pet Mystics as a second line of defense against the Great Invasion. But after they were met with utter defeat, Satan and his minions finally turned to the ultimate evil – they sought to kill Jesus.

The narrative of Jesus’ arrest, trials, and execution is a familiar one. First Jesus was betrayed by his disciple Judas -who, despite being an eye witness to three years of the most profound teaching and amazing supernatural feats in history – sold Jesus out for what in today’s money would be the equivalent of an iPad (worst student EVER!). He was then arrested by the temple soldiers, subjected to three illegal Jewish trials, and was finally sentenced by the Roman Governor to a brutal beating and execution by the most torturous method known to man at the time.

All in all it seemed like a very dark time for the good guys, and it appeared that Satan may finally have gotten his long awaited victory.

Yet, as has been the case every time the former light bearer has seemed poised to win, his supposed victory is just the precursor to a devastating defeat.

Even in the narrative of Jesus’ execution, we can already see signs that something’s amiss.

If we do a close examination of the events, it becomes clear that in spite of appearances to the contrary, it’s actually Jesus who is in control of the situation, and He is the one directing everyone’s actions!

Jesus is the one who commands Judas to complete the act of betraying Him! Thus it is Jesus who is in control of when and where He would be arrested.

When the temple soldiers arrived to take Him, Jesus questioned THEM! He made them state their will that they were sent to arrest Him, and when He identified himself, His words made the soldiers fall to the ground! He then commanded them to take Him and leave His disciples alone, and they obeyed!

The Mystics shuffled Jesus around to three different Jewish trials because He kept exposing the fact that they had no valid reason for arresting Him! Jesus forced them to logically defend THEIR rationale for their actions (and there’s nothing brain damaged people hate more than logic and reason).

When the Mystics went to Pilate to try to get Rome to do their dirty work, Jesus let the Governor know who really had the power in that situation.

It’s clear that Jesus was not the helpless victim of Satan’s clever machinations to have him killed.

Moreover, it was Jesus’ mission to be executed for man’s sake. His unjust death wasn’t a cruel surprise, or an unfortunate tragedy. It was the planned end-game that had been strategized by the Trinity from the beginning. Everything that was done to Jesus was according to scripture, down to the exact details of the death process. Among other things,

The Bible states that Jesus would be whipped and beatenfulfilled here

The Bible states that people would gamble for His garmentsfulfilled here

The Bible states that none of his bones would be brokenfulfilled here

(There are a bunch more in this post)

Most incredible of all, the Bible gives a detailed description (in first person) of the crucifixion 200 years before crucifixion was even invented by the Persians! (and 500 years before the Romans perfected it). This is more proof that God transcends time and knows the end from the beginning.

But even with all that said, it doesn’t take anything away from the magnitude of the suffering Jesus endured. Crucifixion is possibly the most agonizing form of execution ever invented. In fact, the Latin word for it, “crux”, is the root from which we get the English work “Excruciating”.

The effects of crucifixion on the human body are truly devastating. The nails in the hands and feet irreparably deform the limbs, and the position that the victim is forced into results in catastrophic system wide organ failures. The cardiac stress of the ordeal eventually causes the victim’s heart muscle to rupture!

Thus as He hung on a cross, being mock and ridiculed by the very people He came to redeem, Jesus of Nazareth literally died of a broken heart.

Jesus’ mission on earth had all lead up to this. As I wrote earlier, His death was part of the end game that had been planned from the beginning. It was a major key to fulfilling the Meaning of Life.

But how did Jesus’ death redeem man? How did His death allow us to have eternal life?

It all comes down to justice!

Of all the men who ever (and would ever) live, Jesus was the only man who NEVER deserved to die!

Like Adam, Jesus was born alive (connected to God). But unlike Adam, He never did anything to lose that connection. Jesus never sinned, thus he should never have lost his life – so His death was unjust!

However since God is always and completely right and just, He had to do several things to balance the scales of righteousness and justice.

  1. Jesus had to be “repaired”. Life is the ability to repair. Jesus’ life was taken unjustly. Justice demanded that His physical life be restored/repaired.
  2. Jesus had to be resurrected in a form that was no longer subject to physical death. Not only did Jesus not sin, he proved that He would NEVER sin. Satan tempted Him at ALL points and He didn’t succumb, so Satan gave up! Then human Mystics gave it their best shot and failed so miserably that they stated their will that they wouldn’t try anymore! Having overcome the worst that His enemies could throw at Him, Jesus showed that He was beyond external influence to sin and since He only did what God told Him to do, He was beyond internal influence all well. So He justly deserved a body beyond physical death.
  3. Jesus had to be given everlasting life. Since Jesus proved that He would never deserve death, He technically should live forever. He has infinite (everlasting) life. Since He possesses an infinite amount of “life”, He could grant it to whomever He wanted without ever running out. He could offer all men everlasting life!

And that is what “Salvation” is all about!

God loved man so much that He sacrificed Himself and died in our place so that we could justly have access to the infinite/everlasting life that He currently possesses, and we could choose to be with Him and take part in the Meaning of Life!

This is how God is able to get what He wants despite the fact that we are not born with His nature. If we choose to accept this gift, we are given a new heart. We become reconnected spiritually to God. We become spiritually alive eternally. And like Jesus, when we die physically, we will be resurrected with incorruptible bodies. But unlike Jesus we don’t have to live a perfect life (He did that for us and any vain attempt to do it on our own is religion). All we have to do is choose this gift ourselves. This is salvation.

When Jesus walked out of His tomb, He had all power over death (infinite life) and all power over evil (infinite repair of destruction).

By Accepting Jesus, we can be free from the power of death and evil. But since it’s a matter of love, it’s a matter of choice.

WE choose whether or not to accept the gift of Salvation. WE choose whether we are going to live or die eternally. WE choose between everlasting life and everlasting destruction. WE choose whether we will be Redeemed or perish.

We are going to examine the ramifications of Redemption when we look at the 6th Dispensation, but we will begin our wrap up of the 5th Dispensation with a series on some of the many myths surrounding Jesus’ life and mission- beginning with the resurrection – next time

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May 31, 2014

The Great Invasion – part 3: Blind in One Eye

Posted in Jesus, Organized Religion, Religion, Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare, The Law tagged , , , , , at 11:44 PM by E. M.

HOW MYSTICS INTERPRET THE BIBLE

We’ve been looking at the advent and incarnation of The Redeemer from the perspective of His spiritual enemies. From the point of view of Satan and his minions, Jesus was a hostile force who had come to conquer them and take their territory.

Having failed to prevent Jesus’ advent and being unable to personally defeat Him physically or spiritually, Satan turned to his next line of defense – human Mystics.

As we’ve seen in previous posts, Mystics are individuals or small groups who claim to have and hold secret/hidden knowledge, and they use this knowledge (or the perception thereof) to rule over people.

Religious Mystics specifically claim (and sometimes actually have) special knowledge and/or power from spiritual entities.

Since their beginning, Mystics have found their way into every society and culture – and God’s nation of Israel wasn’t spared of their contamination. The priests of ancient Israel were often guilty of mixing God’s Law with the surrounding pagan practices – starting with the very first priest of Israel!

As with other Mystics, the Jewish religious leaders began to modify and add to God’s Law. The promoted themselves as the only ones who truly knew, understood (and therefore could interpret) the actual meaning of the Law. Thus, as the true “authority” on the Law, the people should follow them instead of actually learning the Law for themselves.

During Jesus’ time, these Mystics were called “Pharisees” (but Jesus had a more accurate name for them).

After Jesus had been baptized and anointed by God to begin His mission, He charged right into the flank of Satan’s second line of defense by doing something that the Pharisees would consider the most vicious frontal attack possible – Jesus taught people the Bible!

Not only did He teach the Bible, He taught it with authority! Jesus’ first major doctrinal sermon was a detailed lesson that amplified and clarified the Law. He juxtaposed the traditions that the Pharisees had ingrained in the people over the years with the true spirit of the Law. And it was brutal!

Jesus’ teaching amazed people because it stripped away everything that the Pharisees had piled onto God’s word (or took away from it) and reduced back to the original intention of the Law – to prove man’s nature and depravity and his need for a redeemer.

As His popularity grew, Jesus went from being an annoyance to a major threat in the eyes of the Pharisees – a threat that had to be dealt with. Unfortunately, the Pharisees thought they were just dealing with a street preacher from the sticks instead of the Son of God.

Their first tactic was to reinforce their authority by challenging Jesus’ understanding and observance of the Law. But they didn’t realize they were confronting the person who embodied the Law. Again and again Jesus showed His superiority to the self-proclaimed experts.

Since Jesus popularity was due to His knowledge (granted, the miracles didn’t hurt), the Pharisees next tactic was to show that He wasn’t the smarty pants that everyone thought He was. The Pharisees came up with one conundrum after another in an attempt to outwit Jesus, but when you challenge someone who has access to all the knowledge in existence, your chances of victory are pretty low.

Not only did Jesus answer every challenge, He gave them a taste of their own medicine by presenting them with a conundrum so challenging that they completely abandoned any future attacks!

But Jesus didn’t just play defense against the Pharisees, He directly confronted them and their errant teachings personally! Jesus called them out for being the deceptive, destructive hypocrites that they were and publicly admonished them for the damage they were doing in the “name of God”. If anyone believes that God categorically endorses someone just because they stand up and claim to be a “Man of God”, they have never read Matthew 23.

It was obvious that the Mystics could not defeat Jesus. With each successive public humiliation, Jesus’ stature grew and the Pharisees’ diminished. They only had one alternative left to preserve their illegitimate status. They had to commit the ultimate evil – They had to kill Jesus.

Looking at the narrative of Jesus and the Pharisees begs one huge question – if these Mystics were experts on the Old Testament, and the Old Testament contains over 300 prophesies that Jesus continuously fulfilled, then why didn’t the Pharisees recognize who He was?

The Pharisees spent their entire lives studying the scriptures and Jesus was the long awaited fulfillment of the Law. They should have been Jesus’ greatest supporters and most sincere disciples, not His greatest adversaries and erstwhile murderers.

Why did they reject Him?

Comparative thinking! Specifically the hyper-comparative thinking known as religion (and the inherent brain damage it causes).

The conflict is that in the 300+ prophesies of the Redeemer, there is a significant distinction in how Jesus is presented. In some of them, He is depicted as the suffering servant who is depised and rejected by men; the Lamb of God who must die a torturous death for man’s sins.

In other prophesies, He is the conquering King who thoroughly defeats the enemies of God and Israel, brings justice to the world and sets up a world-wide kingdom with its capital in Jerusalem.

How are these distinctions reconciled? The descriptions seem to contradict each other, but we know that contradictions don’t exist. Contrastive thinking would lead to the resolution that since there are two distinct descriptions and missions prophesized, then there must be two district advents of the Redeemer! Once as a suffering servant, and another as a conquering King.

When confronted with the two distinct advents of the Redeemer, instead of trying to reconcile them contrastively, the Pharisees decided to ONLY accept the advent they liked and completely ignored the less appealing one! They only embraced and taught the idea of their Messiah as a conquering King!

The result of this brain-damaged thinking was that the Jewish Mystics and the people who followed them were completely blind to the first advent of the Redeemer even though the Bible gave the exact date!

Even worse for the Jews is that God held them accountable to recognize their Messiah. Their failure to do so would have many dire consequences…

Jesus’ enemies were now ready to enact their final and seemingly most effective strategy to defeat Him – murder. But as has been the case throughout this war, apparent victory for the enemy would lead to great defeat. Next time

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April 10, 2014

The Great Invasion – part 2: Game of Thrones

Posted in Jesus, Salvation, Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare, The Dispensations tagged , , , , at 8:24 PM by E. M.

GameOfThronesWe’ve been looking at the advent of the Redeemer from the perspective of His (and our) spiritual enemies. In the last post, we saw that as God revealed more details of how man’s Redeemer would arrive, Satan and his minions focused their war efforts to prevent the invasion. But despite their best efforts, they always met progressive defeat.

Once Jesus was born however, Satan was able to put all of his energy into preventing Christ from completing His redemptive work.

As the time of the Redeemer’s prophesized victory grew closer, Satan worked to lay down a political mine field to keep Him from fulfilling his role as King of the Jews. Since the Babylonian captivity, Israel was occupied by the powerful and demonically energized empires of Persia and Greece. By the time of Jesus’ birth, the most powerful world empire- Rome – held an iron grip on the area. Worse, Israel was a contentious buffer state between Rome and the similarly powerful Parthian empire to the east, filled with disgruntled nationalist Jews. So Christ’s potential kingdom was a backwater political albatross stuck between two hostile super powers.

It was during this low point in national history that God decided to give the Virgin Mary the good news that she’d been chosen to carry the savior of the world (who would be considered a bastard since she got pregnant before she was married).

Now the honorable thing for Satan to do would be to wait until the kid grew into an adult and then take Him on man to man (or Man to Devil). But while Satan can be accused of many things, “honorable and fair” are not on the list. To him, even an infant is fair game.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Roman Caesar got the bright idea to have everyone in the empire travel to their home town for a census. By the time a very pregnant Mary and her betrothed, Joseph arrived in Bethlehem; there was no place for them to stay other than a local stable. Thus the Savior of the world; the Redeemer of man; God in flesh, was born in an animal feeding trough in a barn filled with said fragrant animals.

But as I wrote previously, from the perspective of Satan, the ubiquitous manger scene of Christmas card fodder was nothing less than D-Day; a hostile invasion of his territory by an enemy force. Jesus come to size Satan’s kingdom, and was taking the fight directly to him on his turf.

Satan’s first counter-offensive was to have the local rulership command that all the newly born males in the area be killed. But that tactic failed – just like the last time he tried it. But remember, Satan is incapable of original ideas. All he can do is trot out the same stuff he’s tried before and hope to still get mileage out of it (kind of like a Hollywood movie producer).

Seeing that direct physical force wasn’t an effective way to stop his enemy (Hey, it only took him 3000 years to figure that out. Progress!) Satan move on to his next favorite strategies, manipulation and compromise.

After Jesus reached adulthood and was officially anointed by God to begin his redemptive mission, Satan finally came in for a face to face confrontation with his foe (of course he waited until Jesus was physically and mentally compromised due to starvation because, well, Satan’s an a-hole).

Satan knew he had no chance agonist the Son of God, so he went after the Son of Man – he planned to use his temptations to get Jesus to use His free will to choose Himself over God.

Satan started by appealing to the physical desire by tempting Jesus to sate His extreme hunger supernaturally. But as a man, Jesus ONLY did what God told Him to do, and God did NOT tell Him to turn stones into bread. If Jesus had obeyed Satan, He would have made that decision on His own – as a man – to satisfy His physical desires. He would have made the same mistake as Eve!

Jesus responded to this temptation not with the words of man, but as the Word of God.

Jesus 1, Satan 0

Satan then attacked man’s other major weakness – Pride. Satan challenged Jesus to prove His divinity and position with God.

[Begin dramatic license]

Satan – Oh, so you’re pious huh? Not going to feed yourself because “God’s word didn’t tell you to”? Is that why you claim to be the “Son of God”? Well the Bible also says that if you throw yourself off this building, Angels will rescue you. So go ahead, show me you’re the Son of God!”

Jesus – Seriously? You’re actually going to misquote my own words to me? Try this one – “you are not allowed to test your creator!

Satan – Grrrrrrr!

[End dramatic license]

Jesus 2, Satan 0

Finally, Satan brings out his most effective weapon against man – Compromise. Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and told Him that he would bequeath them all if Jesus would give him worship.

Jesus came to earth to conquer Satan and take his kingdom by force (and as we’ll see in an upcoming post, it is a brutal and costly battle). But Satan offered a short cut – no fight, no suffering, no blood, no torturous death on a cross. Just make a simple pledge of fidelity, and the world is yours.

It was a stunningly attractive temptation. One accepted in various forms by otherwise strong and principled men. But not by this one. Jesus chose God’s way over man’s. He did what the first man could not, and thus proved Himself worthy and eligible to redeem Adam’s sin.

Jesus 3, Satan 0. Game over.

Satan lost a major battle, but the war was far from over. Satan took his best shot and came up short. It was time to call in reinforcements. If Satan couldn’t break Jesus, then maybe He could be broken by the people He came to save.

In the next post, Jesus faces the second front in Satan’s army – the mystics!

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April 7, 2013

Know Thy Enemy – Part 8: Tools of the Devil

Posted in Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare tagged , , , , at 4:11 PM by E. M.

Jimmy Fallon devilThis will be the last post in the current series examining the character and career of the primary antagonist of our existential narrative – the being called “Satan”.  In the last two posts, we looked at Satan’s partners in crime, the many fallen angels who rebelled with him against God and have joined him in his vain attempt to thwart God’s plan.

In this final post, we will see that there is one other group that share the goals and aspirations of the fallen angels and act as their agents in a symbiotic relationship.  They are a group that is familiar to us because we’ve analyzed them before – human Mystics!

The goal of Mystics is to rule over humanity and recreate Eden on earth without (or in defiance to) God.  Since their goals are so closely aligned, its not surprising that they would strike up a partnership with their supernatural cohorts.

The Mystics of Spirit rule over men by claiming to have an association with “the gods”. They keep their position by invoking fear of said gods and have maintained their influence through history by being the keepers of these “arcane secrets”.

And that’s all well and good, however I admittedly left something out of my original posts that can be brought up now.  Which is the question, how could Mystics maintain this façade over any moderately intelligent person for so long based only on their empty claims?

One explanation (and the one we probably default to) is to assume that the ancient masses were just not as smart and sophisticated as we are today.  Basically, the knuckle-dragging morons of the ancient world were so backwards and superstitious that they took theses charlatans at their word when they claimed that sacrificing your first born under the full moon at midnight would assure a bountiful crop next season.  Or they could bring down fire from the gods on infidels.  But of course WE wouldn’t fall for that kind of stuff because we’re soooo much smarter.

But is the depiction of the ancients as drooling, sloped-forehead troglodytes really accurate?

Lets keep in mind the fact that these are the same people who invented math, science, and language.  They built monuments such as the Great Pyramid and Stonehenge, which are structures of such precision, accuracy, and astrological/geological expertise that to this day we cannot duplicate them of figure out how they made them even with all of our sophisticated gadgets.

So if the ancients were not necessarily the rubes we think they were, how were the Mystics able to dupe them?  Well, I think it is highly likely that these was some actually truth in the Mystics’ claims.  Insofar as the fallen angels were given god-like regard, certain Mystics DID have a connection to them that they could use to convince the ancients.

If you get in front if the masses and SAY that you have the power to do the miraculous, you might get a few (or a lot of) suckers to believe you if you have enough charisma (I’m pretty sure that’s how our current president got elected – oops, I promised to keep politics out of this blog…).  But if you make those claims, AND give people an occasional demonstration of your supernatural connections, well your argument becomes exponentially more convincing.

The reason that otherwise intelligent folks in the past believed the Mystics is because they saw proof of their supernatural connections!  Remember, that at the end of the fourth dispensation, when God brought the 10 plagues on Egypt through Moses, the Mystics at Pharaoh’s court were able to duplicate the first two using their spiritual connection to the powerful fallen angelic “gods” who governed that empire!

The occurrences of supernatural events are almost taken for granted in the Bible and other ancient texts.  The writers of these stories fully expected their readers to take them seriously when they presented narratives about floods, and plagues, and signs and wonders.

Not only were there physical demonstrations of power, the apocryphal Book of Enoch implies that fallen angels provided sophisticated knowledge of agriculture, medicine, astronomy, and industry to people of the Second Dispensation.  If this information was kept and guarded by the Mystics throughout the centuries, they could make use of it in very convincing ways.

For example, if the Mystics had (and kept secret) knowledge of the cycle of solar eclipses, they could tell people that “the gods will darken the Sun next Tuesday to show their displeasure!”  You can then imagine the reactions of the masses when the eclipse happened as predicted.

So how did this all work?  Well, starting with the Mother of Mystics (who may have had access to supernatural through the being who sired her son/husband), the connection to the supernatural could have been passed on to her various priests, who, when Babel was divided into nations, took their knowledge and connections with them into other societies as they spread throughout the globe.

In this mutually beneficial arrangement, the Mystics would get the power they desired to rule over men, and in return, the fallen angels would mortal aid in their endeavors to thwart the plan of God.  After all, its one thing for them to try to ruin God’s plan on their own, but its an even bigger slap in the face to have that plan opposed by some of the very creatures it is meant to benefit.

Thus, throughout the ages, certain men have engaged in Faustian deals with the gods of this world to gain incredible wealth, power, and influence, in exchange for their souls and allegiance.

Despite how incredible it sounds, its probably not as uncommon as one would think.  If you look just past the superficial façade of our society, stories abound about people taking spiritual short cuts to success. (I mean how else do you explain how incompetent politicians and talentless celebrities gain inexplicable wealth and influence?  I’m sure that when Satan flosses his teeth, chunks of Jimmy Fallon’s soul fly out).

So then, if all of this is true, it begs an obvious question – Why don’t we see overt supernatural shenanigans today?  Surely with common access to video equipment and the Internet, it wouldn’t be much of a chore to document some infidel getting char-broiled by a Mystic channeling “Moltar the god of fire”.  But instead all we get are the occasional fuzzy shot of a “UFO” or the silhouette of Big Foot ducking behind a ponderosa pine tree.

There are a few possible explanations:

  1. The supernatural stuff only happens in uncivilized parts of the world where you can still find the occasional shaman tuning people into frogs.  Maybe, but why is the western world immune?  Are fallen angels afraid of electricity and freeway traffic?
  2. It still happens, but its kept secret by the current ruling Mystics who only trot out their tricks in hidden enclaves like Bohemian Grove.  This idea is touted by the conspiracy theorist, but despite whatever merit it may have, you still wonder why its kept so clandestine when Mystics of the past made a big show of it to aid their cause.
  3. God is currently keeping things in check.  The Bible strongly implies that in our current dispensation (the sixth), God is actively restraining evil.  In the Sixth Dispensation, God resides in the hearts of believers on earth (obviously we’ll detail all this when we examine the Sixth Dispensation).  God’s active presence in the world is the restraining force that literally prevents all hell from breaking loose.  So Mystics and fallen angels are not free to operate as they once did.  However, when this current dispensation ends, the Bible makes it clear that demonic activity will ramp up exponentially…

If explanation #3 is correct.  It would be interesting to observe how the influence of evil in this world grows in proportion to the amount that God’s influence through His believers wanes…

There is a great deal more to say on the subject of Satan and his minions, but for now, we will end our look at the dark side here.  Its time to get back to out examination of the dispensations.

In the first four dispensations, God gave men fairly open-ended opportunities to chose Him over themselves.  With the failure of men to do so each time, it would seem that the only just thing for God to do would be to give men very specific examples of how things should be done – culminating with the ULTIMATE example of how to choose God over man.  The Fifth Dispensation begins next time…

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January 22, 2013

Know Thy Enemy – Part 7: The Devil’s Advocates (cont.)

Posted in Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare tagged , , , , , at 8:25 PM by E. M.

Angels

ANGELS DON’T REALLY LOOK LIKE THIS (UNFORTUNATELY)

Unlike God, Satan is not transcendent.   He can’t be everywhere at once to rule his kingdom, but he has help.  When he fell, a great number of angels fell with him.

The Bible doesn’t give us a great deal of information about angels, and since human curiosity abhors a vacuum of knowledge, people have filled in the blanks with details and characterizations of angels, any of which are fanciful and/or completely wrong.

For example, there are no female angels; angels are always depicted as male (despite a very convincing argument by Victoria’s Secret).  Also, angels don’t have a pair of feathery wings.  A small group of special angels called Seraphim have wings – but they have six, and it isn’t clear that they look anything like bird’s wings. And they don’t have halos (I’m not even sure what the point of depicting them with halos was in the first place).

In the last post, I presented a Biblical passage which provides a rare look into the world of angels (good and bad).  In this passage from the book of Daniel, we see that there is an invisible war going on all around us that impacts our world (and that we can affect!).   In additions to giving us insight into God’s plan through the prophesy that the angels gives Daniel, this passage also gives us some interesting details about angels.

Angels are powerful

If you were to ever see an angel in all its glory, you wouldn’t feel comforted or enraptured by its beauty.  You’d nearly drop a brick in your shorts, just like everyone else in the Bible who encountered them! Angels operate on a level of power that we can scarcely understand and dwarfs anything we can come up with.  One angel killed 185,000 Assyrians one night after dinner!  There are NOT creatures that you want to mess with.

Fallen angels share Satan’s goals

Satan’s goal is to block and hinder the plan of God and all efforts to advance that plan.  The prophesies given in the book of Daniel are some of the most important in the Bible and reveal much about God’s plan. So it seems that the most powerful territorial spirit of that time went to battle in order to prevent Daniel from getting the prophesy (Persia was the most powerful world empire at the time).  Which brings us to the next thing we learn about fallen angels…

Fallen angels are territorial

When Adam and Eve committed Original Sin, their dominion of Earth was given to Satan and his crew.  We know from Daniel and other Biblical references that spiritual entities are often the power behind human leaders.

Its interesting that the “Prince of Persia” was the spiritual entity trying to block Daniel’s message.  Persia was the dominant world empire and Daniel lived during the height of that kingdom.  But note that the Angel with the prophesy stated that after he goes back to fight the prince of Persia, he will have to later fight the Prince of Greece!  The Greek empire conquered the Persians and became the subsequent world empire, but it wouldn’t happen for another 200 years after Daniel’s life!

There is a LOT going on in the spiritual world that we can only scarcely perceive.  And it leads to other provocative questions: has every dominant world power in history had an evil spiritual “prince” ruling over it?  Is there currently a “Prince of the Power of the United States” presiding over us right now (and is he from a red state or a blue state)?

And to bring it a little closer to home, since there are possibly billions of fallen angels out there (enough for each one of us), are you someone’s spiritual “territory”?  (Boo!)

Satan’s kingdom is fractured

As we saw in an earlier post, Satan’s desire to rule over the earth perfectly is constantly thwarted because men share his rebellious nature and his desire to rule.  Well, the same is true for his angelic counterparts.  Although they may share the same big picture goals, they fall into lockstep with Satan when it comes to ruling their particular principalities.  Note that when the prince of Greece succeeded the prince of Persia as the dominant world power, it wasn’t through an amicable transition of power.  It was the result of a bloody war that cost tens of thousands of lives! (Not to mention whatever battles took place in the spiritual realm)  And so it has been with just about every conflict between kingdoms.  Even as the world marches toward the Armageddon scenario where Satan’s own personal world rule is at its zenith under the Antichrist, there are still kingdoms that don’t fall into line.

So man and fallen angels have something in common in that they share Satan’s comparative goals to rule.  It would seen logical that they take advantage of this shared ambition to advance their common aspirations.  And in fact they do!  Evil spiritual entities have often been the power behind a group of mortals that have had historic designs on ruling this world.  We will explore how Satanic entities have used and been used by our old friends the Mysticsnext time

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October 28, 2012

Know Thy Enemy – Part 5: Giving the Devil His Due

Posted in Government, Satan, Spiritual War tagged , , , , at 7:38 PM by E. M.

SATAN’S ARMY

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. – 1 John 5:19

Satan’s position toward man is one of antagonism and envy.  When God created Adam, Satan saw more than a new creature in the universe.  He saw a rival.  Although Adam was not created with the same level of angelic power and glory that he had, it was clear to Satan that God held him in a special place.  Adam was created in God’s image. That is a claim that no other created being, including Satan could make. Moreover, God gave Adam dominion over what was once Satan’s.

Not only was part of Satan’s former primordial kingdom on earth given to Adam, his descendants were destined to have all the things that Satan desired before he fell.

This was not a situation that Satan’s pride could bear.  He desired to bring God’s new creation under his own control and thwart man’s destiny. If Satan could take what God gave Adam, AND get man to choose Satan over God – he would achieve a double victory – he’d thwart the Plan of God and get the worship he desired.

When the serpent convinced Eve (and ultimately Adam) into eating the forbidden fruit, Satan achieved more than just the failure of the First Dispensation; he actually used a legal technicality to usurp Adam’s position as the ruler of Earth (does this make Satan the archetype for all lawyers?  It would explain a lot…).

When Adam fell, the world came under the authority of Satan.  And as a result of Original Sin, we are born with his desire – to rebel against God; to be prideful, deceptive, and destructive.

But even with this victory, Satan does not get what he wants.   God gave man something that Satan does not have – free will.  Although man is born with enmity toward God, he does not automatically turn to Satan as an alternative.  Instead, man chooses to go his own way.  In some cases, man may choose to worship Satan directly, but usually man emulates Satan’s rebellious nature by resisting all authority and doing his own will.  So while the world lies under the SWAY of the devil, men still chose to do what they want in defiance to all authority.  In short, Satan wanted worshipers, but instead got a bunch of unruly teenagers

Satan has legal authority over the earth and if he were able to rule it perfectly, it would go a long way towards showing his equality with God.  But with individual humans possessing a nature as rebellious as his own, Satan cannot replicate God’s perfect rule in heaven. The only way to have perfect authority is for all the subjects under your dominion to have a common will or a common goal.

Although individual humans have their own wills, they have something in common with Satan in that their wills are in defiance to God.  Satan uses this to his advantage in trying to create his kingdom on earth.  Satan uses his evil influence to try to get men to unify behind their dark desires and completely extinguish God’s influence from the planet.  Yet Satan has never been able to completely accomplish this because throughout history, there have always been a remnant of humanity who was willing to choose God.

In Genesis 6, all of humanity was totally subdued by evil , but God found one faithful man through which he could salvage humanity in Noah.  After the flood of Noah, man was again united and, committed to evil, and again God found a faithful man in Abraham through whom he could execute His plan .  Israel was God’s chosen people who preserved His Word and will while Godless world empires rose and fell all around them.  After the death and resurrection of Christ, the early church held up the light in darkness. Their existence kept the world from completely succumbing to corruption. Even today, Satan tempts men to get behind causes that attempt to place entire world under a single authority in defiance to God – be it fascism, communism, socialism, environmentalism, capitalism, theocracy, or any other man-centered form of authority. But the presence of the few who decide to choose God prevent this from happening.

As we’ve seen in this post, Satan’s ambitions to grandeur did not end when he got the boot from heaven.  He still wants to rule the universe and be worshipped.  If you think that this is way too big of a job for a single being to carry out (especially one that does not have God’s transcendence and access to information) then you’re right.  Satan has had a LOT of help.  Satan’s co-conspirators consist of powerful beings like himself, as well as powerful and influential men on earth.  Next week we will take a look at the first of Satan’s little helpers – Fallen Angels.

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