… a beast rises out of the sea … thoughts on the apocalypse …

…i think that most people on the planet would agree that these are strange and unusual days we are living in. so far, in this year alone, over 100,000 people worldwide have been killed in ongoing wars. And the probability for more and greater wars is immense… Korea and Iran come to mind, not to mention Syria…

…here in the United States, Congress has started their impeachment inquiry and the vitriol being spewed from both sides of the aisle is distressing and causes a lot more stress and anxiety for the average American than either side will acknowledge, not to mention that neither side seems to care about the average man or woman…

…all over the globe there is a rise in nationalism and the groups that just a few years ago were considered far right-wing, now seem to be mainstream if not in the majority in many nations-USA, Australia, UK, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Greece, and many others have seen tremendous rises in this mindset, and it seems that almost every nation is currently in a state of turmoil…

“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” – Jesus

Luke 21:25–26

…and then there’s the weather…i live in Richmond, VA where we haven’t had rain since the end of August, and yesterday and today are record breaking heat days while, at the same time, the governor of Montana declared a state of emergency because of the record smashing 3′ of snow in his state, that fell one week after the official end of summer…

…there was this headline on the Weather Channel – “Extreme Fall Start Marked by Unusual Heat, Snow and Cold Records in the United States.” they say that over 100 cities in the US broke heat records yesterday alone…

…and so in many, many different Facebook and Twitter feeds, people are talking about “The Apocalypse” and “The Rapture.”

…i will get into “The Rapture” a little later, but my main purpose for this post, is to discuss “The Apocalypse”

Apocalypse comes from the Greek word ἀποκάλυψις (apokalypsis) meaning “making fully known, revelation, disclosure.”³ it’s interesting to me that the English word apocalypse has a completely different definition…

apocalypse /əˈpɒkəlɪps/
■ noun
1 an event involving destruction or damage on a catastrophic scale.
2 (the Apocalypse) the complete final destruction of the world, as described in the biblical book of Revelation.
▶ (especially in the Vulgate Bible) the book of Revelation.
—ORIGIN Old English, via Old French and ecclesiastical Latin from Greek apokalupsis, from apokaluptein ‘uncover, reveal’.

Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Disaster Apocalypse Danger War Apocalyptic

…now, you can see an obvious difference between “making something known, revelation, disclosure,” and “an event involving destruction or damage on a catastrophic scale,” but i believe that is why so many people completely misunderstand the last book in the Bible, the book called The Revelation of Jesus Christ...

…i consider myself very fortunate to have a digital library of over 6,000 titles, including more than 20 different commentaries on the book of Revelation alone, and i can unequivocally tell you that there is NO consensus on what the book is about and how it is to be interpreted…

…some of the more popular interpretations include:

  • preterist: about the author’s own social world
  • church-historical: a prophetic survey of the history of the world
  • futurist: the future of the world yet to come
  • historist: associates biblical prophecies with actual historical events and identifies symbolic beings with historical persons or societies

…now i am not here to tell you which one is “right,” i am looking at what others believe and how it explains a lot of their words and actions that seem to make no plausible sense at all. for instance, how can people who self-identify as “Christian” support taking away babies from their mothers at the US border? how can they push for the so-called right to have more guns and weapons that cause extreme damage to people created in the image of God? how can they go on tv, radio,and print media and say some of the most vile things, while continuing to maintain their “christian” appearance?…

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

2 Timothy 3:1–5

…and so we need to look at the belief systems that can cause people who claim to follow the teachings of the Man called Christ to go against everything that is recorded that he taught…

Literal or Allegorical and Figurative?

…when looking at the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the first thing we need to figure out is, is the book written literally or allegorically? in other words, can we read the Revelation and know exactly what is to happen? or is it prophetic and figurative?

Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God.

Revelation 13:1

…in this verse, Revelation tells us that “a beast” rises out of the sea. if we believe in a literal Revelation, then we should expect a Godzilla type figure to come up out of the sea (not an ocean, but one of the seas)…

Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon.

Revelation 13:11

…so now we have two beasts – or Godzilla type figures – one from the sea, and one from the earth. unlike the Godzilla movies, these beasts do not fight each other (see Godzilla vs. Mothra), but instead work together. in fact, it says “He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.” Revelation 13:12

…so the two beasts work together, the second making “all the earth and its people” worship the first beast. and let’s not forget this: “Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born.” Revelation 12:3–4

…so, if we believe it is literal, we must expect a dragon and two beasts (Godzilla types) to run around the world causing chaos…

The beast was allowed to speak arrogant and insulting things. It was given authority to act for 42 months.

Revelation 13:5

…i may be wrong, but i’m not expecting two Godzillas (maybe Godzilla AND Mothra) and a big fire-breathing dragon to show up. i think logic would dictate that these words are, in fact, allegorical and figurative…

…but there are many in the ‘church’ who do not consider these things to be literal, but do consider at least most of Revelation to be literal. i just read an article from someone who argues that because there are specific numbers mentioned in Revelation, it must be literal. logic leads me to believe that author is in error…

One World Government and Religion

One of the beast’s heads looked like it had a fatal wound, but its fatal wound was healed. All the people of the world were amazed and followed the beast.

Revelation 13:3

…there are many who believe that Revelation 13:1-8 tells us about a ‘One World Government’ while Revelation 13:11-14 and Revelation 13:16-18 is about the antichrist’s global domination of money…

…i truly believe most people don’t believe in a literal beast or a literal dragon. in fact, it would be hard to find anyone in the church who doesn’t believe that ‘the dragon’ is symbolic for ‘the devil/Satan.’ but many of those people believe in a literal interpretation of this passage. they expect that “all people of the world” will follow the beast. if we agree that ‘the dragon’ is symbolic for the devil, then how can we say that the first half of Revelation 13:3 is figurative and the second half is literal?

…does ‘all’ mean ‘all’? “And all who live on earth will worship the beast—all the people since the beginning of the world whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life. The Lamb is the One who was killed.” (Revelation 13:8) well, this verse tells us that ‘all’ doesn’t include the people “whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” so, in a word, no, all in context of an allegorical book of prophecy, does not necessarily mean all. this is especially true when another verse five lines later, says otherwise…

Mark of the Beast

The second beast also forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on their right hand or on their forehead. No one could buy or sell without this mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

Revelation 13:16–17

…this passage is a biggie in the church. ‘the mark of the beast’ has been discussed for at least my entire lifetime, and i have heard many different ideas on this one. i have heard it said that the UPC codes are the mark, or an implant is the mark, or some form of tattoo or stick-on is the mark…

…when i was in high school, i joined a Bible study group that showed us a series of movies about the ‘end times’ called A Thief in the Night series. these movies showed an interpretation of Revelation that reflects the pre-tribulation belief about the rapture, the tribulation, and the second coming of Christ. there have also been a number of movies called The Mark of The Beast (1997, 1998, 2012 at least)…

…in all of the above movies that have been watched by millions and millions of people, they teach a literal interpretation of the last half of these verses, but a figurative interpretation of the first half of the first sentence. in it’s review of the 1997 edition, dove.org states:

“The mark of the beast is one of the clearest prophecies of the Bible. It simply says that in the last days no man or woman will be able to buy or sell anything unless they are willing to receive “the mark” on their right hand or forehead.”

Dove.org

…so, there you have it. in all of the above movies the rapture takes place and all the ‘good Christians’ disappear, and then all the bad Christians and everyone else are faced with having to receive a literal mark on their forehead or hands…

…the major problem with this belief is that you have to take some verses literally and others figuratively in order to ‘get it right.’ who decides what is literal and what is figurative? will a Godzilla type beast force people to get ‘the mark’ or will it be a red fire-breathing dragon that does it? i haven’t found anyone who believes that an actual beast or dragon will do it. there seems to be a general consensus that ‘the beast’ refers to ‘the antichrist’ – although there is no consensus on whether the antichrist is an actual person or group/organization or something else altogether…

…the televangelist John Hagee has made millions of dollars selling his books about the rapture/tribulation/mark of the beast, and on his website under Prophecy for Tomorrow there is an article that says:

“All of this to say…in the immediate future, some of you are going to hear words that will determine the destiny of your immortal soul. “We interrupt this broadcast to announce that the Church of Jesus Christ has been raptured from the earth.”

Reports will pour into the news centers from every major city in America and across the world. Grave stones will be toppled over. Funeral homes from every region will report that those who were dead have resurrected and suddenly disappeared. Cars will be parked beside freeways, their engines left running, their passengers mysteriously missing. Airplanes will fall from the sky as pilots who are Believers are called home.

The news centers report that churches around the world are flooded with people who are sobbing uncontrollably. They know. They have missed the rapture.

Those who remain will be faced with the coming antiChrist who will force them to receive his mark in their right hand or forehead. The Bible says this will cause them to lose their eternal soul. Refusing to take the mark of the beast will be rewarded with decapitation.”

HageeMinistries
Rapture

(the Rapture) North American (according to some millenarian teaching) the transporting of believers to heaven at the second coming of Christ.

Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

… as to “The Rapture,” the word “rapture” is not in the Bible at all. in the Latin translation of the Greek New Testament, they used the word rapiemur from the Latin verb rapio meaning “to seize and carry off, snatch, tear, pluck, drag, hurry away¹ to translate the original ἁρπαγησόμεθα (harpagisometha), from the Greek verb harpazō (ἁρπάζω), meaning “to make off w. someone’s property by attacking or seizing, steal, carry off, drag away; to grab or seize suddenly so as to remove or gain control, snatch/take away.”²

Deinde nos, qui vivimus, qui relinquimur, simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Christo in aëra, et sic semper cum Domino erimus.

1 Thessalonians 4:17, Clementine Vulgate

… and among those waiting for a literal rapture to take place, there is no concensus of when it will happen …

By Lamorak – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6710032

The locusts looked like horses ready for war. They had gold crowns, human faces, women’s hair, the teeth of lions, and iron breastplates. The sound of their wings was the sound of horse-drawn chariots charging into battle. Their tails were equipped with stings, like scorpion tails. With those tails they were ordered to torture the human race for five months.

Revelation 9:7–10

… do the people who believe in a literal mark on their right hand or forehead also believe that literal locusts will come out of ‘the bottomeless pit’ with scorpion tails, etc? most do not…

Scofield’s Reference Bible ®

… so where did all these ideas about Revelation come from and how did so much of the church come to believe in a theology that takes a book and decides that some verses are literal and others are figurative?

… in my studies, i can only find a few examples of anyone in church history that believed this way, up until 1909 with the first publication of the Scofield Reference Bible ®…

“It was largely through the influence of Scofield’s notes that dispensationalism grew in influence among fundamentalist Christians in the United States. Scofield’s notes on the Book of Revelation are a major source for the various timetables, judgments, and plagues elaborated on by popular religious writers such as Hal Lindsey, Edgar C. Whisenant, and Tim LaHaye; and in part because of the success of the Scofield Reference Bible, twentieth-century American fundamentalists placed greater stress on eschatological speculation. Opponents of biblical fundamentalism have criticized the Scofield Bible for its air of total authority in biblical interpretation, for what they consider its glossing over of biblical contradictions, and for its focus on eschatology.”

Wikipedia

… the first edition of the Scofield Reverence Bible was published a few years before World War I. one of the components of Scofield’s notes was the belief in the establishment of a new nation of Israel. Scofield, almost exclusively, is the reason for what we call Christian Zionism and support for the modern nation that took the name of Israel.

“Since it was first published in 1909, the Scofield Reference Bible has made uncompromising Zionists out of tens of millions of Americans. When John Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), said that “50 million evangelical bible-believing Christians unite with five million American Jews standing together on behalf of Israel,” it was the Scofield Bible that he was talking about.”

The Scofield Bible—The Book That Made Zionists of America’s Evangelical Christians

… there were over 2,000,000 copies sold before the end of World War II alone. since then, 10’s of millions of copies have been sold, in numerous editions and translations in at least 7 different languages. Scofield’s study notes have been put in hundreds of seminaries and thousands upon thousands of pastors, teachers, and other church leaders have embraced his theology …

“The modern teaching of a secret rapture of the church, a seven-year tribulation, and a literal thousand-year reign of Christ on earth are not found in the Bible. More and more scholars have begun to doubt the validity of this teaching and have done research to uncover the facts. Their search has led them to libraries in England to the Plymouth Brethren, John N. Darby, Edward Irving, and to a fifteen-year-old orphan, Margaret MacDonald. Several Jesuit priests were also involved as well as Cyrus I. Scofield.

To date, this is the information that has come down to us. The first recorded history of a heretic writing and preaching the idea of a one thousand year reign of Christ on this earth was Cerinthus. He was contemporary in time and place with the Apostle John and was his enemy. The historian Eusebius wrote about him in his book Ecclesiastical History, A.D. 324.

The Protestants were calling the papacy the antichrist in the 16th century because of the millions of Protestant Christians being martyred. Hoping to take the heat off the Catholics, the Jesuit priests formulated doctrines calculated to counter the Reformation.”

ORIGIN OF SCOFIELD HERESIES, Emma Moore Weston

… it is primarily from Scofield that so many churches believe in:

  • a revived Roman Empire (kingdom of the beast),
  • a pre-trib rapture, and
  • Zionism – modern Israel and the Third Temple

… his teaching that the Pope is the antichrist and that the Catholic Church, vis-à-vis Rome, is Babylon, is deeply embedded in the minds of many Christians. because Scofield taught these theories as fact, many cannot see it any other way…

“Revelation 18:2 Babylon, “confusion,” is repeatedly used by the prophets in a symbolic sense (see Isa. 13:1, note). Two “Babylons” are to be distinguished in the Revelation: ecclesiastical Babylon, which is apostate Christendom, headed up under the Papacy; and political Babylon, which is the Beast’s confederated empire, the last form of Gentile world-dominion. Ecclesiastical Babylon is “the great whore” (Rev. 17:1), and is destroyed by political Babylon (Rev. 17:15–18), that the beast may be the alone object of worship (2 Thes. 2:3, 4; Rev. 13:15). The power of political Babylon is destroyed by the return of the Lord in glory. (See “Armageddon,” Rev. 16:14; 19:17.) The notion of a literal Babylon to be rebuilt on the site of ancient Babylon is in conflict with Isa. 13:19–22. But the language of Rev. 18. (e.g. vs. 10, 16, 18) seems beyond question to identify “Babylon,” the “city” of luxury and traffic, with “Babylon” the ecclesiastical centre, viz. Rome. The very kings who hate ecclesiastical Babylon deplore the destruction of commercial Babylon.”

C. I. Scofield, ed., The Scofield Reference Bible: The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments (New York; London; Toronto; Melbourne; Bombay: Oxford University Press, 1917), 1346–1347.

… and so today, many will ONLY see Babylon as a revived Roman Empire and will ONLY see the antichrist figure in the Papacy of the Roman Catholic Church. they mostly believe that in order for Revelation to complete its course, there MUST be a rebuilt third temple in Jerusalem- the temple in which the antichrist will proclaim himself to be God.

You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16

… conclusions …

… when we take a prophetic and allegorical book like The Revelation of Jesus Christ and decide that we KNOW exactly what will happen, our hearts become hard or unrepentant and when we KNOW something without a doubt, we lose the ability to change our minds. i personally think that much of this has to do with what i call The Cult of Repentance.

… again, i’m not trying to tell you what to believe, just trying to figure out how so many who say that they are Christians, who say they believe in the Bible and follow the teachings of the Man called Christ, could so openly support so many things that the Bible clearly teaches are evil. it causes me to join with Paul and say:

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if ye receive a different spirit, which ye did not receive, or a different gospel, which ye did not accept, ye do well to bear with him.

2 Corinthians 11:3–4

¹ Charlton T. Lewis, An Elementary Latin Dictionary (Medford, MA: American Book Company, 1890). (return)

² William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 134. (return)

³ William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 112. (return)

… the cult of repentance …

.. a number of years ago, a famous child tv star and an evangelist from New Zealand, got together and created a system for street evangelism that they called “The Way of The Master.”  this program, in a nutshell, was to ask people a few simple questions that get them to admit that they are sinners. once you get them to admit that they have broken some of the 10 Commandments then you get them to “repent” and say they are sorry to God, then they are “saved for all eternity” because once you repent and tell God that you are sorry, then you are saved for ever and ever …

.. but is that what the Bible teaches?

.. well, here we see that Jesus tells people to repent, but what does that really mean? is that even what He really said?

… for an answer to that question we need to look at some definitions and the words in the original languages of the Old and New Testaments. remember, your English Bible is a translation. it is not the original and sometimes the translations don’t get it quite right. and then, with living languages, words will change their meanings over time. e.g., when we say something is “bad” what are we really saying? and what’s a ‘google’? in 2018 alone, the Oxford English Dictionary added over 1,100 new words to the dictionary …

.. so we can see that the English word repent is about a feeling – the feeling of regret or remorse – or you could even say to feel sorry about. synonyms include regret, deplore and rue. as a side note, the word repentance has synonyms such as penitence, attrition, compunction, contriteness, contrition, penance, penitency, remorse, rue, ruth.

.. is that what the Bible teaches? that you need to feel sorry to God for breaking His commandments and if you can feel sorry, then you are “saved”?

.. in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, we see that the English word “repent” is used 13 times in the ESV, 26 times in the NLT, and 42 times in the KJV. this alone should show that even the translators disagree about how to translate some words. the very first time ‘repent’ is used in the KJV, is in the book of Genesis … ‘repent’ comparison chart

And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Genesis 6:6

.. and again in Exodus 6:14 it says:

And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

Exodus 32:14

.. and then we read:

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Numbers 23:19

.. so, in the first 2 verses it says that the LORD repented – but then in Numbers that the LORD has no reason to repent. so, what’s going on here?

.. in all three of the above verses the original word translated as repent, is the Hebrew word נחם [nacham], with a meaning of: to have regrets about something, be very sorry, to change one’s mind. in the ESV translation, they used the word regretted

.. 37 of the 42 times the KJV translation uses the word repent in the Old Testament, it is the same Hebrew original word. another word, used only one time, is the Hebrew word נׄחַם [nocham], from the base נחם [nacham] above, with a meaning of: to be sorry, console oneself, repent, regret, comfort, have compassion …

.. the final Hebrew word translated as repent in the KJV, is the Hebrew word שׁוּב [shuwb] , with a meaning of: to return, turn back, to bring back, to restore, to turn away …

.. and then we move to the Greek of the New Testament. in the ESV there are only 2 Greek words translated as repent. μετανοέω [metanoeo] with a meaning of: to change one’s mind, to feel remorse – and μετάνοια [metanoia], with a meaning of: turn about, primarily a change of mind …

.. the primary definition of the word repent, especially in the New Testament, is to change one’s mind. and so when we get to the third chapter of Matthew, and read the words of John the baptizer, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2) – what he is saying is “Change your mind,” in fact he goes on to say in the 8th verse, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8) or as the NCV puts it, “Do the things that show you really have changed your hearts and lives.” (Matthew 3:8)

.. in many, many churches today, the concept of repentance is all about saying you are sorry to God and takes place with or without an actual change of mind. this goes along with a OSAS –once saved always saved theology that teaches if you repent and say you are sorry to God, then there is nothing you can do to loose your salvation …

… back in my 20’s i had a friend who was killed by his bi-polar girlfriend. this man was a nice and generous man, but by no means was he a believer or follower of Christ and although i was a believer, i certainly was not active in my walk at all. in fact, the group i used to run with used to buy our LSD and pot from this man …

… when we went to the funeral, a pastor got up in front of everyone and told us that he was glad that this friend had “given his life to Jesus as a young child” and he was fully assured that he was “in Jesus’ arms for all eternity.” now, this pastor had not seen my friend in years and years, but the OSAS theology was certain that my friend is in paradise… i am much less sure …

… in his letter to the church in Philipi, the apostle Paul wrote:

Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Philippians 2:12–13

Work hard to show the results of your salvation.” if you only have to repent to be OSAS, then why would the apostle write this?

… Paul went on to write; “Do everything without complaining or arguing. Then you will be blameless and innocent. You will be God’s children without any faults among people who are crooked and corrupt. You will shine like stars among them in the world as you hold firmly to the word of life. Then I can brag on the day of Christ that my effort was not wasted and that my work produced results.” Philippians 2:14–16

… so Paul is stating that complaining and arguing are things that would keep us from being blameless and innocent before God. if you spend a few minutes, that’s all it will take, and flip through the so-called “Christian TV” channels, you will find a plethora of pastors, teachers, evangelists, deacons and apostles who spend all their time complaining and arguing. these people get their followers to make phone calls and write letters to their elected officials to complain and argue about the things that they don’t like …

… and when they are not complaining and arguing they switch over to name calling and slandering the people they disagree with. back in August of this year, there was a viral video of an ‘evangelist’ who brought up a Jewish comedian in his ‘sermon’ and with all the appropriate arrogance of the self-righteous man, stated: “I hope that God breaks her teeth out and she dies.

… the Man Jesus, called Christ, taught us a different way. He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way you show that you are children of your Father in heaven. He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust. If you love those who love you, do you deserve a reward? Even the tax collectors do that! Are you doing anything remarkable if you welcome only your friends? Everyone does that!” (Matthew 5:43–47)

… so how can a supposed teacher of the Word of God so very clearly go against the Word that he claims to teach? OSAS – he said he was sorry once, and he may have even changed his mind about a few things, but he never actually changed his mind to believe that all the words of the Christ matter. in his discourse against the unsaved Jewish comedian, he went on and on calling her all kinds of names and telling everyone how evil she is …

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 1:21–22

… but isn’t an evangelist calling for God to kill someone, itself pure evil? he said she was persecuting Christians with her jokes and comments. and that gives an ordained member of the body of Christ the right and license to slander and call for someones death?

Those who try to live a godly life because they believe in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil people and phony preachers will go from bad to worse as they mislead people and are themselves misled.

2 Timothy 3:12–13

… so now we have churches full of people who say they believe in God who say that they are now and forever saved because they said The Sinner’s Prayer®, who say some of the most awful, hateful things about people the Bible teaches are trapped in sin – the very people that Jesus the Christ came to seek and to save …

… these are the people who bring shame to the name of the Christ and to Christians and Christianity world wide. people who said they are sorry for offending God, and so now that they are saved for all eternity, they can do and say whatever they want …

… so now you can understand how people who claim to be “Christians” can speak ill of foreigners, immigrants, and refugees – how they can support taking children from their mothers arms and putting them in cages – how they can so blindly follow leaders who lie, cheat, and steal in plain view.. they simply believe that they have “repented” and now can go and do whatever they want …

After John had been put in prison, Jesus went to Galilee and told people the Good News of God. He said, “The time has come, and the kingdom of God is near. Change the way you think and act, and believe the Good News.”

Mark 1:14–15

back to article

… the slanderer …

… what is slander?

.. slander is defined as:

1: the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation
2: a false and defamatory oral statement about a person—compare LIBEL

Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

… when we look at synonyms for slander, we see words like; malign, defame, denigrate, libel, slur, belittle, disparage and scandal.

… so we can see that slander is basically lies told about someone to make them look bad with the purpose of destroying a person’s reputation. this includes name calling and should be familiar to anyone who has seen a political attack ad.

… when we look at the English Bible, we see that slander is used 13 times in the Old Testament and 17 times in the New. in the Torah, the Law of Moses, we read;

“Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people. “Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:16

.. and in the Psalms we read;

Let not the slanderer be established in the land; let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!

Psalm 140:11
διάβολος (diabolos)

… and so, throughout the Old and New Testaments, the Bible is crystal clear on the LORD’s feelings about slander. in fact, one of the Greek words translated as slanderer is the word διάβολος (diabolos) – translated as; pertaining to engagement in slander, slanderous, one who engages in slander, slanderer, adversary, opponent and devil. and actually, every time you see the name “Satan” in the Old Testament, it is actually translating the word διάβολος (diabolos). yes, the very name and nature of the Biblical character called Satan and Devil is that of a lying slanderer, the adversary of everything that is good, decent, and honest.

.. it is recorded in the book of John that Jesus, called Christ, was having a discussion with the religious-right of His time. He tells the man;

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44, ESV

You are of your father διαβόλου…

βλασφημία (blasphēmia)

… another word used in the Greek New Testament is the word βλασφημία (blasphēmia) from where we get the English words like blaspheme and blasphemy. it is translated as; to revile, to defame, to blaspheme, profane speech, defamation, disrespect, insult, and slander.

The beast was allowed to speak arrogant and insulting things. It was given authority to act for 42 months.” Revelation 13:5, GW

…. to speak arrogant and βλασφημίας

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Matthew 15:18–19, ESV

… and, just like his father, the beast of the book of The Revelation, aka; the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition, the man of sin, the adversary, the antichrist, will be known by his slander which he will use to knock off heroes and holy ones left and right. expect him to call people names and spread lies about his opponents and anyone who stands against his will as he claims to be the greatest at everything – even a god himself.

His power will swell enormously. He’ll talk big, high-handedly, doing whatever he pleases, knocking off heroes and holy ones left and right.” (Daniel 8:24, The Message)

καταλαλιά (katalalia)

.. the third Greek word, most translated as slander, is the word καταλαλιά (katalalia) with a meaning of; evil-speaking, slander, insult, evil report, defamation, and disparagement.

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 1 Peter 2:1–3, ESV

… envy and all καταλαλιάς

… i’m hoping, if you call yourself a Christian, that you can see calling people names, lying about them and trying to defame others is NOT what you should be doing.

… it is a dark time we live in, where so many who call themselves Christian, actively engage in slander on a regular basis. many of them are in the Congress of this country and you can watch them slander their opponents on TV daily…

.. but Jesus taught us a different way, and He taught us that we could tell His disciples from impostors by the way they act.

But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:25–28, NLT

.. where is “slander” in the Bible?

Old Testament

Lev 19:16, Pr 11:13, Pr 20:19, Je 6:28, Je 9:4, Ex 22:9, 2 Sa 19:27, Ps 15:3, Ps 101:5, Pr 30:10, Ps 50:20, Ps 140:11, Pr 10:18

New Testament

Mt 15:19, Mk 7:22, Eph 4:31, Col 3:8, 1 Ti 6:4, Re 2:9, 1 Ti 3:11, 2 Ti 3:3, Tt2:3, 2 Co 12:20, 1 Pe 2:1, Ro 1:30, Ro 3:8, 1 Co 4:13, 2 Co 6:8, 1 Ti 5:14, 1 Pe 3:16

.. i will close with a passage from the letter that Paul the Apostle wrote to the church at Colossae.

But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.
Don’t lie to each other,
for you have stripped off your old sinful nature
and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature,
and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator
and become like him.
Colossians 3:8–10, NLT

… Hanukkah – Feast of Dedication

… this year both Christmas and the first day of Hanukkah fell on the date and it reminded me that the Gospel of John mentions a time that Jesus was in the temple during Hanukkah, or the Feast of Dedication.

חֲנֻכָּה [chanukkah /khan·ook·kaw/] n f. Eight occurrences; AV translates as “dedication” six times, and “dedicating” twice. 1 dedication, consecration.

ἐγκαίνια [egkainia /eng·kah·ee·nee·ah/] n n.  AV translates as “feast of dedication” once. 1 dedication, consecration. 1A in particular the annual feast celebrated eight days beginning in the 25th of Chislev (middle of our December), instituted by Judas Maccabaeus [164 BC] in memory of the cleansing of the temple from the pollution of Antiochus Epiphanes.

James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995)

… the actual story of the events surrounding the ‘first’ Hanukkah are recorded in three main books; Jewish Antiquities, Book 12: Chapter 5 – Book 13: Chapter 7, and 1 & 2 Maccabees, which can downloaded from their links.  Jewish Antiquities was written by the Jewish Historian, Falvius Josephus (CE 37 – c.100) whose works are te principle source for the history of the Jews from the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes in 17 BCE through the fall of Masada in 73 CE.  1 Maccabees was originally written in Hebrew c. 100BCE, but all original manuscripts are gone, and the oldest copies are only in Greek.  2 Maccabees was written between c.124 BCE and c.80 BCE in Greek. both of these books are in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Bible which was finished around 100BCE and was most likely the Bible that Jesus and the Apostles used and were familiar with.

Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning, and offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of burnt offerings, which they had made. At what time and day the heathen had profaned it, even in that was it dedicated with songs, and citherns, and harps, and cymbals. Then all the people fell upon their faces, worshipping and praising the God of heaven, who had given them good success.
And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days, and offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice of deliverance and praise. They decked also the forefront of the temple with crowns of gold and with shields; and the gates and the chambers they renewed, and hanged doors upon them. Thus was there very great gladness among the people, for that the reproach of the heathen was put away.
Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the fire and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness.
” (1 Maccabees 4:52–59, Brenton LXX En)

… although the modern celebration of Hanukkah centers around a miraculous vial of oil that should only last for 1 day, but last for 8 seems to be based on myth, the historical events surrounding the re-dedication of the Temple are attested to in more than one historical document, as well as recorded again in the New Testament where Jesus is seen in Jerusalem during Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication.

Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.” (John 10:22–23, NKJV)
It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade.” (John 10:22–23, NLT)

.. the Hanukkah story…

… the Southern Kingdom of the ancient nation of Israel, was called Judah, and while the Northern Kingdom, called Israel, fell to the Assyrians in 722 BCE, which fell to the Babylonians c.612BCE , and then finally the temple in Jerusalem fell to Babylon in 422 BCE.  and then in October of 331, Alexander the Great takes over Babylon and so begins the beginning of the Seleucid Empire of ancient Greece, and that’s where our story in Maccabees begins.

. “And it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chettiim, had smitten Darius king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece, and made many wars, and won many strong holds, and slew the kings of the earth, and went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of many nations, insomuch that the earth was quiet before him; whereupon he was exalted, and his heart was lifted up.” (1 Maccabees 1:1–3, Brenton LXX En)

… the land of Judea was part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt until 200 BCE when King Antiochus III defeated King Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt and outlawed Judaism in 167 BCE and he ordered an altar to Zeus be erected in the temple in Jerusalem.  this caused a wide scale revolt and in 165 BCE Judea, under Judah Maccabee retakes the temple and begins the Hasmonean Jewish Kingdom.

… after retaking the temple, the first thing they did was clean and fix it up.  and then they had an 8 day festival to celebrate the re-dedication of the temple.  to celebrate this festival todayou use a special menorah with 9 branches (the regular manorah has 7), 1 for each night of the festival and 1 to light the other candles, called the shamash.  you light an additional candle each night of the festival until on the final night, all 9 candle are burning bright.

… let your light so shine …

… tonight is the 8th and final night of Hanukkah this year.  it is also a Sunday and it is New Years Day.  as is customary for many people, new years resolutions are being made and people are dedicating themselves to keeping this years resolutions, to somehow make up for all of the resolutions of the past that remain unfulfilled.

… and so i consider Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication of the Temple, and i remember that the Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the church at Corinth, wrote,

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17, NKJV)

.. the first Hanukkah  was a story about how ‘the world’ got into the Temple and defiled it, so they had to clean it up and rededicate it.  as for me, this ‘temple’ let’s the world in and i think there is no better time than the present, than to ‘clean out this temple’ and ‘fill up the oil in the lamp’ and rededicate it to the One it was created for.  with fresh oil in my lamp, i will be able to burn brighter for the upcoming year.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14–16, ESV)

 

… trust in the LORD and do good …

… one issues that comes up over and over again in the Bible is the concept of ‘trust.’  this is especially true in the Psalms of David where the AV translation uses ‘trust’ 63 times in 62 verses alone. over and over again David proclaims his trust in the LORD.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7, ESV)

.. it is that trust that is the basis of any relationship with the LORD.  in the book of Genesis, we are told that father Abraham “ believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6, ESV)

.. in the book of Hebrews we are told

“It was by faith that Abraham was made able to become a father, because he trusted God to do what he had promised.” (Heb 11:11, NCV).

… if you spend any time at all on social media you can’t help but see the fear and anxiety that is rising around the world as a consequence of the results of the US Election.  on the initial word, stock markets around the globe took sharp dives and the protests seem to be every night in major cities across the US.  all the great minds and talking heads of our day are giving us their analysis of who, what, where, when, how and why the results are the way they are and why the people are reacting the way they are and i can’t help but wonder what would be happening if the results were the opposite.

… but in the midst of all the fear and anxiety, i read the words of David, who spent most of his youth being chased by government soldiers who intended to harm and or kill him.  speaking prophetically, David gives instruction to himself and us.

A psalm of David.
Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
Trust in the
Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the
Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the
Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause
will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the
Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
Stop being angry! Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the
Lord will possess the land.
Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone.
The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity.

(Psalm 37:1–11, NLT)

… Trust in the LORD and do good.

… and so, like Abraham, David instructs us to trust “God to do what He had promised” and to “do good”.  David then tells us the promises that God will keep. if you “trust in the LORD and do good, then you will live in safely in the land and prosper.”  if you “trust him,” then “he will help you. if you “trust in the LORD,” then you “will possess the land.”

… David, speaking in the book of 2 Samuel, says

This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (2 Samuel 22:31, ESV)

… so either we believe in the instructions found in the scriptures or we don’t.  that is the real question.  do we really trust the LORD to do what He said He will?  can we join with the Psalmist and say,

I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.” (Psalm 3:5–6, NLT)

… because if we truly dare to believe that the LORD cares about and watches over me, then i don’t need to be afraid but i should follow the advise of another prophet of old and

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.” – Jesus (Luke 6:27, NLT)

… while Jesus taught us to ‘do good’ even to our enemies, James goes on to say,

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17, NKJV)

… so ‘let your light shine.’ …

 

… ‘christian’ capitalist – or – what’s an oxymoron?

. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
(Acts 11:26b, NKJV)

… in order to look at the issue of ‘christian capitalism’ we should first start with simple definitions.  the disciples of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch, sometime around the year 42 AD/CE. so the Bible tells us that the first ‘Christians’ were the disciples of Jesus, Who was called the Christ.  upon further study, we find out that the followers of Christ did not call themselves Christian, but that the term was actually one of ridicule.  this is during the time when the Roman patriots would throw the Christians to the lions because they believed that worshiping the gods of Rome was one’s patriotic duty, and therefore people who would not worship their god must be destroyed for the good of society.  surprisingly, this is the attitude of the religious right today, who mostly call themselves ‘christians’ who believe that their god should be the only one freely allowed in this country.  most of these people would consider themselves ‘capitalists’ as well, their true god being money and the possessions it can afford them.

  Chris•tian \ˈkris-chən, ˈkrish-\ noun
[Latin christianus, adjective & noun, from Greek christianos, from Christos] 1526
1      a: one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ

Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

… i would note that the dictionary states that anyone who ‘professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ’ is a ‘Christian’, but Jesus said that only those who actually follow His teachings are counted as His disciples.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” – Jesus (Matthew 7:21–23, NLT)

… in order to understand what a ‘capitalist’ is, we should look first to the definition of ‘capitalism’ itself.

capitalism

■ noun an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

.. the big ‘key’ ? to ‘capitalism’ is the ‘for private profit‘ part.  capitalism by definition is self serving, looking at the personal private profit of the owners of the business, rather than looking at how a business would profit society at large.  currently in the country of my birth, we have publicly funded fire stations, where collectively our taxes go to pay the salaries of the fire men as well as the equipment costs, etc, in order to run the station for everyone’s benefit.  under a pure capitalist system, the fire stations would only work for people who could afford their services. our publicly funded fire stations are actually part of a socialist system, as is our public schools, police departments, gas and water departments, national park service, military, and other services and industries where the profit, or benefits are mutually shared.

… in the area of the country where i live, you can see the effects of capitalism in our roads. our publicly funded roads are in major disrepair, but if you have the money, you can drive on the privately owned toll roads, which are very nice and can save you a lot of time as they are usually the choice route for your destination.  under a pure capitalist system, you would have to pay a toll to drive on any roads, as all lands would be owned by private individuals.

  cap•i•tal•ist \-ist\ noun
1781
1:      a person who has capital especially invested in business broadly: a person of wealth: PLUTOCRAT
2:      a person who favors capitalism

plu•toc•ra•cy \plü-ˈtä-krə-sē\ noun
plural -cies [Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; akin to Greek plein to sail, float—more at FLOW] 1652
1:      government by the wealthy
2:      a controlling class of the wealthy—plu•to•crat \ˈplü-tə-ˌkrat\ noun—plu•to•crat•ic \ˌplü-tə-ˈkra-tik\ adjective—plu•to•crat•i•cal•ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

.. now a ‘capitalist’ is a person who favors ‘capitalism’ and has generally become wealthy through a capitalist system.  remember, the primary motivation in capitalism is the personal profit for the owners of the capital.  you can not be a ‘capitalist’ if you don’t have any ‘capital’ and you are only going to get the ‘capital’ by serving the owners of capital and by getting them more capital to add to their stockpiles of capital.

… we see the results of the capitalist system in the Oxfam Davos Report which revealed that only 62 people own as much as half the entire planet. this is based on the 2015 numbers which show that the number of people who own half the planet is shrinking dramatically, even since 2010 where 388 people owned as much as half the planet. that number dropped to 177 in 2011, 159 in 2012, 92 in 2013 and 80 in 2014 before hitting 62 in 2015.  this report was made public in January of 2016, so it will be very interesting to see what that number is using 2016 numbers.  will we see a 42% drop like in 2013, revealing only 36 people own as much as half the planet? or will we see a more modest drop of 22% like in 2015, revealing only 49 people own as much as half the entire planet?

… the world and it’s systems …

… and so we get to the things that are recorded that Jesus, the Man called the Christ, said and taught about. one of the most popular ‘sermons’ that we have recorded that Jesus taught was in what is popularly called The Beatitudes, which is recorded in both Matthew 5:1-12 and in Luke 6:20-26.

Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,
“God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.
God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied.
God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.
What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

“What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now.
What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you.
What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.
What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets.
– Jesus (Luke 6:20–26, NLT)

… and it should be obvious what Jesus is teaching about being rich.  a capitalist desires to be rich through the acquisition of capital, regardless of need.  in the Bible, this is the very definition of greed – “πλεονεξίαa, ας f: a strong desire to acquire more and more material possessions or to possess more things than other people have, all irrespective of need—‘greed, avarice, covetousness.’” (Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 290–291.)

Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back.
Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.
Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.
You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
– Jesus (Luke 6:30–36, NLT)

… ” … give to everyone who asks… ” and “… love your enemieslend to them without expecting to be repaid…” are just a couple more examples of how completely contrary to capitalism His teachings are.

.. and so we see that the phrase “Christian Capitalist” is nothing more than a ‘pointedly foolish‘ oxymoron…

“Beware of false prophets. They come to you disguised as sheep, but in their hearts they are vicious wolves. You will know them by what they produce. “People don’t pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles, do they? In the same way every good tree produces good fruit, but a rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a rotten tree cannot produce good fruit. Any tree that fails to produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into a fire. So you will know them by what they produce.””  – Jesus (Matthew 7:15–20, GW)

… slander.. ‘free speech’ and the professing Christian …

Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous?
Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies!
Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the
Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.
But the
Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth.
(Psalm 34:12–16, NLT)

… the one thing that makes the United States of America™, Inc. unique in history is it’s Constitution and it’s Bill of Rights.  this document is considered to be the ultimate law of the land.  any other law written by congress must comply with these documents or it can be challenged in the courts.  in most cases that test the constitutionality of a law, the case will eventually be heard by the Supreme Court as prescribed in Article III of the Constitution of the United States of America©.  when the judges of the Supreme Court render their decision, their decision is final and cannot be appealed any further.

… the Constitution was signed in 1787 and then amended in 1791 with the first 10 amendments known as the Bill of Rights.  the very first amendment grants me the right to practice my religion and publish this blog.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

… in the 1919 case Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919), the Supremes, in a unanimous decision, ruled against the defendant for breaking the Espionage Act of 1717, by distributing pamphlets encouraging draft-age men to resist induction into the military. in the unanimous opinion written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., he stated;

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. […] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.[6]

… so even the First Amendment for freedom of speech has limitations, or at least had limitations in 1919. but even before the Constitution was written there was the 1734 case involving John Peter Zenger that established precedent on libel law based on the English “Common Law” of defamation, stating that “The Truth” is an absolute defense against charges of libel.  then in the 1964 case, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 the Supremes, in a landmark case, established the ‘actual malice’ standard which has to be met before press reports about public officials can be considered defamatory.  this established a very high bar for public officials to meet if they file a case, and why there are so few cases by public officials for defamation.

… but, for the most part, US law gives me the right to say what i want without fear of being thrown in jail.  but the question i have is, as a student of the Bible and it’s teachings, and as someone who claims to follow Jesus’ teachings, even though i have a ‘legal right’ to say anything that is on my mind, should i?

… in “… making something ‘legal’ … doesn’t make it right ..” i discuss the simple fact that there are many things that the law considers ‘legal’ that are wrong and simply against biblical law.  for instance, charging interest on loans is prohibited in Exodus 22:25, but is the basis of the entire the world’s economic system.  and now, on a daily basis, you see some famous person who claims to be a Christian pastor/teacher/evangelist/prophet who say some of the most egregious things about the politicians running for office.  many, in blatant defiance of 1954 Johnson Amendment to the US tax code, are throwing their support behind the candidates of their choice daring the IRS to revoke their tax exempt statuses.

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” (Romans 13:1, NLT)

… in the book of Acts, Paul apologized for ‘reviling’ a leader by calling him a ‘whitewashed wall.’  ““I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’”” (Acts 23:5, NLT)

… so if the Apostle Paul, the writer of almost one quarter of the New Testament, apologizes for calling a leader a name,what are we to think of these people who call themselves Christians who go a whole lot further than that?

But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13, NLT)

… as someone who claims to believe in the God of the Bible, i have a different set of standards that i should live by.

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.” (Titus 3:8, NKJV)

… in fact, the Bible talks about the person who can’t control their tongue.

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:26–27, NKJV)

… so, no, the United States was NOT founded on biblical principles, and someone who actually follows the Bible can’t say anything they want and still call themselves a Christian.  their religion is useless…

For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”” (1 Peter 3:10–12, NKJV)

.. stand against sin? .. or .. stand against sinners? … #LoveWins

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.
For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.
For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy.
Mercy triumphs over judgment.

(James 2:8–13, ESV)

… “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is a phrase that you often hear people use while they in the process of telling you how horrible someone else is. it is a common phrase used to justify judgemental behavior against others, but is it something that Jesus said?  is it an example of His attitude at all?

… according to Catholic.com, the phrase is attributed to St. Augustine around the year 424 CE.

“It’s from St. Augustine. His Letter 211 (c. 424) contains the phrase Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum, which translates roughly to “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.” The phrase has become more famous as “love the sinner but hate the sin” or “hate the sin and not the sinner” (the latter form appearing in Mohandas Gandhi’s 1929 autobiography).” Fr. Vincent Serpa O.P.

… there is a story told in the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus is hanging out and eating a meal with His disciples and a bunch of sinners.

And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
” (Matthew 9:10–13, ESV)

mercysacrifice

… according to the Jewish philosopher/rabbi Maimonides (1135-1204), there are a total of 613 commandments in the Torah, or Old Testament.  in the Torah book of Deuteronomy, the people who are given the law, the ancient nation of Israel, take a vow to follow “all the words of this law” or be under a curse.

Cursed is every man that continues not in all the words of this law to do them: and all the people shall say, So be it.” (Deuteronomy 27:26, Brenton LXX En)

… James, the brother of Jesus called the Christ, warns people about showing partiality, and how showing partiality makes you guilty of breaking the whole law.  partiality is the preference of one people over another.

My brothers and sisters, practice your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ by not favoring one person over another.” (James 2:1, GW)

… i think it is pretty fair to say that everyone has shown partiality at least one time in their life.  when we ignore the person on the street corner who is asking for some money for food, while we have money on us, is showing partiality. you have preferred your wants and desires over the needs of another person that the LORD loves.

Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3, GW)

… the whole point is that we all sin and are guilty of breaking the whole law.

… the other day i was blocked from commenting on a site that claims to be Christian based, for trying to show people who claim to follow the Bible, that being intolerant of the LGBTQ community was hypocrisy, as they were guilty of breaking the law as well.  the religious spirit likes to point fingers at others sins, without first looking at it’s own sins.  this is also a form of partiality, where it is ok for me to sin, but i will stand against your sin.

.. in his letter to the church at Rome, the Apostle Paul wrote,

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.” (Romans 2:1–11, ESV)

Ephesians 210

.. we were created “for good works,” not to be judges …

… who may live on the holy mountain of the LORD? .. or .. go and do likewise …

… yesterday i was blocked from commenting on another website that claims to be Christian for quoting scripture and using logic …

… on my twitter feed, someone had shared an article entitled, Christian could be fired for refusing to watch LGBT ‘inclusivity’ video from the website Life Site. the article explains that Mr. Hall believe that training in “LGBTQ “diversity and inclusivity” is against his “Christian convictions” and “sincerely held beliefs” that sodomy is not “healthy or normal or good for people.

.. the article then talks about how Mr. Hall “has gay and lesbian friends, he holds no animosity against anyone, and he does not discriminate against anyone” but watching a 17 min video about LGBTQ inclusivity was too much.  i wonder what his ‘gay and lesbian friends’ think when they hear that Mr. Hall believes that they are not normal.  does anyone really believe that they are really his friends?

inclusion

■ noun
1 the action or state of including or of being included.
▶ a person or thing that is included.
2 chiefly Geology a body or particle of distinct composition embedded in a rock or other material.
—DERIVATIVES inclusionary adjective

Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

… they want to be included and treated as normal people.

.. pick and choose ‘christianity’ …

… in the entire Bible there are 6 verses about homosexuality and in just the Old Testament there are 14 about usury fees and charging interest.  in Leviticus 18:22 the Bible calls homosexual sex ‘an abomination’ and in Leviticus 20:13 is proscribes the penalty, which is death.  the prohibitions in the Torah about charging interest are in Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:36-37; and Deuteronomy 23:19-20.  in the Psalms of David usury is mentioned 3 times as evil in Psalms 15:5; 55:11; 72:14 and again in Proverbs 28:8, and that is before the Prophets start in Jeremiah 9:6 and again in Ezekiel 18:8, 13, 17; 22:12.  in Ezekiel 18:13 it states that the person who lends their money on interest charges should be put to death.

… aren’t there a lot more people who work at banks than call themselves part of the LGBTQ community?

… where are the ‘good christian’ protests at banks like there are at pride parades?

A psalm of David.
Lord, who may enter your Holy Tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?

Only those who are innocent and who do what is right.
Such people speak the truth from their hearts and do not tell lies about others.
They do no wrong to their neighbors and do not gossip.
They do not respect hateful people but honor those who honor the Lord.
They keep their promises to their neighbors,even when it hurts.
They do not charge interest on money they lend and do not take money to hurt innocent people.

Whoever does all these things will never be destroyed.
(Psalm 15, NCV)

… and who is my neighbor?

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”

He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”
And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:29–37, ESV)

luke-10

… while it is not recorded that Jesus ever spoke about homosexuality, He did talk about lending.  He said to “lend hoping for nothing in return” which is as far away from charging interest as you can get.  not only don’t get interest back, but under Jesus leadership, you don’t even get the principle back.

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. – Jesus (Luke 6:27–36, ESV)

… most of the fight against the LGBTQ community is waged by multi-millionaires, and we know what Jesus said about them…

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.””- Jesus  (Matthew 19:24, ESV)

… the man who dressed in purple .. a modern take ..

.. at the end of the sixteenth chapter of the book of Luke, there is a story that Jesus tells about ‘a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.‘ i want to look at who this ‘certain man’ would be today, and if this was the only time that Jesus or any of the Prophets spoke about the fate of the rich.

“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
evil_bankerBut there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
veryhungrySo it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.
abraham-bosomThe rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

hell-fire“Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
rich_man_and_lazarusBut Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’
billionairespolitcsAbraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
oldbibleAnd he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’
” (Luke 16:19–31, NKJV)“

.. so who is the ‘certain man?’  and if Jesus was specifically referring to a specific individual, would it have any bearing on our lives?

… let’s just say that the certain rich man was any rich man who liked to eat on gold rimmed dinner plates with crystal glasses to drink from.
richdinner

… after this man dies, he cries out ‘Father Abraham’ so he is a member of the Jewish community. fast forward to today, this man who claims to follow the teaching of Jesus, called Christ, would be a ‘good Christian’ who is involved in his church.  this man would have a nice home or two, nice cars, nice clothes, probably eats out a couple times a week in nice restaurants  in other words, this ‘certain man’ would look a lot like your average ‘middle-to upper class American.’

… the rest of the story needs no explanation, but in the modern version, Father Abraham might remind this rich man of the 21,000 children who die daily because of starvation because they can’t get the $.50 or so it would cost to eat for another day.

… in March of this year, there was an article about all the American Billionaires on Forbes, and in the article it said,

“America boasts 540 billionaires, more than any other country on the planet and more than all of Europe combined.”

… these are the greediest people in the country.  they worship money over people, so they sit loaded down with money, and watch as our schools are being closed because of lack of funds, our cities and states closing services, like homeless shelters. they watch the 1,000,000+ homeless school children struggle to make it through another day.

… and many of these people blame God for making them rich, when it is truly just their greed.

… i think Clement of Alexandria, one of the early church fathers round the year 170 CE, put it like this.

clement

.. in what is called The Beatitudes of Luke chapter 6, Jesus is quoted as saying,

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:24–26, ESV)

.. the Prophet Ezekiel blamed the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah on the rich who didn’t take care of the poor.

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.” (Ezekiel 16:49–50, ESV)

… Ezekiel then goes on to describe the penalty for the unrighteous son of a righteous man,

“If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.” (Ezekiel 18:10–13, ESV)

.. charging interest and making money off of the poor is punishable by death under the Old Covenant.

richest-pastors-in-the-world
richest ‘pastors’ in the world

… stop following men who lie to make themselves wealthy.  they don’t care about you, they just want your money.

… will you listen to the cries of Jesus and the prophets who tell you to listen to the cries of the poor?

…or will you continue to accumulate and consume?  the choice is yours to make…

And a final word to you arrogant rich: Take some lessons in lament.
You’ll need buckets for the tears when the crash comes upon you.
Your money is corrupt and your fine clothes stink.
Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from within.
You thought you were piling up wealth.
What you’ve piled up is judgment.

All the workers you’ve exploited and cheated cry out for judgment.
The groans of the workers you used and abused are a roar in the ears of the Master Avenger.
You’ve looted the earth and lived it up. But all you’ll have to show for it is a fatter than usual corpse.
In fact, what you’ve done is condemn and murder perfectly good persons, who stand there and take it.

(James 5:1–6, The Message)