I haven’t been posting much lately because I’ve been working on a new book. The most popular video on our Youtube channel is the one on Nicolaitans, so I decided to write a book explaining more about them. Here’s an excerpt from the manuscript.
The Pharisees. There’s a good chance that Nicolaitans are the Gentile version of the Pharisees. Jesus says He hates the works of the Nicolaitans, and He wasn’t too fond of the works of the Pharisees either. It’s apparent that we can put them in the same group.
When we look at the example of the Pharisees we have to ask ourselves, “Why does Jesus have such a problem with them? Weren’t they teaching the ‘old testament,’ and wasn’t Jesus going to eliminate it, according to the teachings of the modern church?” The fact that He didn’t could be termed an argument from silence, which isn’t a good way to support a position. On the other hand if Jesus was going to change the Covenant that would surely be a huge issue and would have ended up the centerpiece of the controversy. It would also have given the Jewish leaders an excellent justification for the crucifixion.
I’m just saying that, in view of the standard church idea that Jesus loved everybody and the Pharisees could’ve been merely mistaken, it seems odd that He was so wrathful towards them. This is one of the many logical inconsistencies that modern Nicolaitans have generated with their extra-biblical doctrines. If the Pharisees were teachers of the Old Testament, and the Old Testament was being eliminated by Jesus, then why get so mad at them? Wouldn’t Jesus just tell them that you don’t have to do that now because I came to start a new thing?
The fact is Jesus was angry with the Pharisees because they seated themselves in Moses’ seat and did NOT teach the Old Testament (Matthew 23:1-3). They were teaching their interpretations and traditions which had covered over or eliminated much of what Jesus gave at Mt. Sinai. They were “preaching but not practicing” (Matthew 23:3-4), tying up heavy burdens and not lifting a finger to help move them, doing deeds to be seen by others, and shutting the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces while not entering themselves. They twisted the “living oracles” as Stephen called the Law and the Prophets into something that caused people to despair of ever being able to touch God. The Nicolaitans fall into this group of people also. Jesus hates them because they are teaching the same types of things as the Pharisees, albeit in different ways perhaps. Any teaching that causes people to detour from God’s living oracles is hated by Jesus.
One very large fault in the Pharisees illuminated for us by Jesus is that they were hypocrites, meaning that by and large they taught one thing but lived life differently than their teaching. They were play actors. On the outside they looked holy but on the inside they were rotten. In their public teachings they centered on Torah but in their lives they didn’t practice it. They accepted deferential treatment, the best seats at corporate gatherings, dressed differently so they would be recognized, and loved to be called “rabbi” meaning “master.” This is one of the reasons I think Nicolaitans might very well have been (and are) the Gentile version of the Pharisees. They earned God’s wrath because they assigned themselves to speak for God and didn’t follow through in their personal lives.
Hypocrites are variously defined in the Word as “men of falsehood,” “dissemblers” and “vain persons” (Psalm 26:4 ESV and AV), “godless” (Job 36:13, Proverbs 11:9 and others, ESV), “evil doer” (Isaiah 9:17 ESV and AV), and “profane mockers” in Psalm 35:16 ESV. Not a great group in which to be included. Jesus had a lot to say about hypocrites recorded for us in various places, and He also quoted Isaiah 29:13 in Mark 7:6 ESV. “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” We can see that there is not much difference between the doctrines of all false teachers. Just a difference in looks, methods or approach.
More is coming soon, I hope. The book will be about a hundred pages in 6 x 9 format. We will dive deep into the methods, philosophies and dogma of the modern Nicolaitans. We will also explore the damage they’ve cause to the maturity, fruit of the Spirit and abundant life of the believer.
I just read an article by a person who noted that “generalizing” with the words Judaism or Christianity might cause significant problems. The writer didn’t specify the problems, but I can imagine what they are. There is always someone who objects to the characterization that goes along with the general label.
For instance, “men are pigs” is a pretty severe generalization, and I would have to object to an extreme label like this without context. However, there are times when men act like pigs. I told my daughter as she was growing up that men are pigs and boys were piglets because they (generally) only wanted to get into a female’s pants. I was trying to teach her to be wary of the boy who claimed he loved her but (generally) didn’t really. In general, it’s true that many men (or boys) use tactics that generally are intended simply to get into a woman’s pants. If you doubt me, ask some women. I’m sure they’ll have lots of stories on guys who generally wanted nothing more than to hit and run.
I agree that generalizing can be viewed inaccurately. Just because something is generally true doesn’t mean it is true for everyone or everything. There are lots of Christians and lots of Jews who do not behave or think according to generalizations made about them. For instance, not all Christians reject God’s Laws. Some of them at least are just going by the teachings they have heard. All Jews do not drive hard bargains, nor do they all reject the Christ.
However, when a majority of time or a majority of instances something is true then a generalization can be accurate. Generally we need to include some context. For instance, most people who call themselves Christian reject God’s Laws in one form or another. Christians, again in general, have rejected the New Covenant while claiming to follow it. These things are true, even if general. Most Jews are non-practicing or nearly so as far as Judaism goes.
What we really need to do is stay away from absolutes, such as in saying that all Christians are hypocrites or all Jews are Christ killers. Absolutely we are sinners, and we need a payment that absolutely cleanses us from all sin. So there are some absolutes, but we need caution when applying them.
Does God generalize? I think so. He does it both in judgment and in forgiveness. For instance, Israel many times chose idolatry over God. But God didn’t judge immediately. In His grace He gave them time to repent. Not all Israel was into idolatry, even at the worst of times. So there were times He waited for the general majority to repent. In the meantime there was always a remnant who followed Him. Nevertheless, when judgment fell it fell on the whole nation. Sodom and Gomorrah could have been saved, if 10 righteous people were found.
Generally, God’s forgiveness is available to all. But some refuse the gift of the blood of the Christ as payment for sin. Generally, those who do will find themselves in a place that was generally created for fallen angels. We can take care of our sin, in general, by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus. I hope that people do.
I recently saw this headline in connection with Karl Rove’s mom committing suicide. I see these headlines or something like them all the time concerning all sorts of different crimes or sudden events like a suicide or a school shooting.
On the one hand it is true. No one probably saw whatever it was coming.
On the other hand, it’s not because it couldn’t have been seen.
People were just not paying attention.
In most cases if someone is suicidal (or thinking about killing others) it is very easy to tell. But you (and I mean the personal you) have to be aware of what is going on. If it is a friend or family member, there are all sorts of warning signs. Perhaps they are involved in harmful behavior or “lifestyle choices” such as drug usage (and not just illegal ones either), homosexuality or other sexual immorality like jumping in the sack before marriage. Homosexuals have about a nine times greater chance of suicide among other bad effects. There could be a sudden loss in a person’s life such as death of a spouse or child. The key is you have to spend time with them, listen, attempt to understand, and just be there. We have to try and dissuade them from bad choices, rather than “affirm” their lifestyle idiocy.
But see, that takes too much time. And we are too damn busy to slow down, take time, and be around. If we spend time and listen, we will hear the cries for help.
Karl Rove’s mom was in a failing third marriage. Third marriage? Failing? And “no one saw the suicide coming?” Give me a break. Mr. Rove didn’t see the election of Trump coming either, but it’s because he wasn’t paying attention, not because “no one could see it coming.” Blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other as my dad used to say. Or as Jesus said, having eyes they do not see and having ears they refuse to hear.
As tragic and sad as a suicide is, trying to say “no one saw it coming” is just an excuse to take ourselves off the hook for choosing our own, frequently meaningless (in the long run) activities over taking time for someone. We feel the guilt, and mostly rightly so, but we try to dodge it. So we never fix the problem which is in the heart that generally rejects God or much of what God tells us to do.
A school shooting occurs and the parents are mystified about their child killer? Give me a break. We kill babies in the womb and then act surprised when a child performs a “post natal abortion?” There’s no way that even a half-way loving parent spending time with their child wouldn’t be able to see that something was wrong and find out what it was. Were the parents following God? I mean really following, not just going to church or being a decent person. Was home schooling an option, or were they too busy pursuing money and career satisfaction? Were they feeding their own egos, or looking to feed their child on the Word?
We choose our own way in this world, and then we are surprised when tragic things blow up in our faces. Come on, it’s not that hard to figure out. Selfishness inevitably leads to bad results. God’s been telling us this for centuries and centuries. No God means no life.
At a time when people all around are talking about love in many different ways (“all you need is love” as John Lennon sang) love is actually waxing cold. As Jesus said in Matthew 24:12 “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”
Lawlessness is increasing because people are ignoring more and more the Law of God. God’s Law is intimately connected with love, and to move away from the Law of Christ is to move away from love. Talk about it all you want, continue to be surprised by tragic events, but until we repent and return to all of His Living Oracles it’s just so much empty rhetoric. Trying to absolve yourself of guilt or blame won’t make a difference either. We have to be in the Word daily, walking with God and working at putting more of it into our own lives. Then we can “see” to help others.
Admit it. If “no one saw it coming” then we have to do something about our vision. The healing comes when we turn to His Word.
It took a while, but an Audiobook version of our book Whole Bible Christianity is now available. It’s about 15 and a half hours, narrated by Bruce. You can get it free if you sign up for a trial membership at Audible.com. You get a free audiobook when you first sign up for the service. After the first month it costs $15.00 per month but you get one free book per month too.
If you click this link to view the print version, then click on the Free with your Audible Trial button and stay with Audible for two months, not only do you get two free audiobooks (for $15.00 the second month) but we get a $50.00 bonus! You can exchange any audiobook you decide is not for you, and your credit for one free book rolls over to the next month if you don’t use it. Even if you cancel membership after a while you can keep all your audiobooks.
What a great deal! Whole Bible Christianity, Blessings Pressed Down and Overflowing audiobook for free, a bonus to us, and you get more free audiobooks.
There’s also the print version of the book, and Kindle version for a pretty low cost. The Kindle and audiobook versions do not have the Scripture Index with almost 1,500 entries from every book in the Bible, and the audiobook doesn’t have the footnotes, but still you can listen on the way to work and back or read on a Kindle at your leisure. Get all three and get it all.
Many, many times I hear about contradictions in the Bible. Supposedly there are hundreds of them. This contradiction argument has become a common standard attack by people who don’t believe in God and don’t want to believe in God. The statement is made as if the list of contradictions by itself is reason not to trust the Bible or believe in God. And I have one thing to say about it: There are no contradictions in the Bible.
If you look up the word “contradiction” in the dictionary, you’ll get something like the following from the online Merriam Webster.
Act or an instance of contradicting.
A proposition, statement, or phrase that asserts or implies both the truth and falsity of something.
A statement or phrase whose parts contradict each other; a contradiction in terms.
A logical incongruity.
A situation in which inherent factors, actions, or propositions are inconsistent or contrary to one another.
As you can see, a contradiction is a statement that has both a truth and a falsehood. This would be something like “the sun rises in the east and rises in the west.” One is true, the other is false. They can’t both be true. There are three main categories of Bible contradictions claimed by unbelievers. One can be classified as text or copyist errors. A second is due to perception, and a third is in simple refusal to accept.
A large portion of the contradictions that are alleged to occur in most Bible denier’s lists are not contradictions at all. They are, at most, copying mistakes or grammar differences or other minor variations in the text. After all, the Bible was written down over a period of about 2,000 years by dozens of authors in many different styles. There’s bound to be a few blips here and there.
An example of this is the difference between 1 Kings 4:26 (Solomon had 40,000 stalls for horses) and 2 Chronicles 9:25 (4,000 stalls for horses). To a thinking person, this is obviously a minor discrepancy due to a copyist error. Or there might be another explanation. But there is no teaching affected by this error. It is not a contradiction, it is a text mistake. There might be a contradiction if you expect the text to be completely letter perfect. In this case though, the contradiction is in the expectation of perfection. Most of the items on unbeliever checklists consist of these types of contradictions that are not really contradictions. I can say without qualification that there is not a single teaching or meaningful statement anywhere in the remarkable document from God that is a true contradiction.
The second category of so-called contradictions is in the difference between what the Bible says and what people perceive or think it says. For instance, a favorite contradiction is manufactured between a God of Love and the facts that He destroyed people in the flood or used Israel to wipe out a tribe or people group. The perception is that a loving God would not destroy people. The perception is wrong on several levels.
For the flood example, God didn’t destroy man for about 1,600 years. He gave them time to change their ways. Not only did they not change their ways but got to where “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The antediluvians were just rotten to the core and made themselves unredeemable. They willingly turned into trash; so God cleansed the corruption from the earth. A similar principle was in effect when Israel was commanded to “take out the trash.” The tribes or nations that were removed had gotten so bad they even burned their kids in fires to appease their gods. Plus they wouldn’t repent though God in His grace gave them ample opportunity. People descended into abhorrent behavior and God took care of the problem. Unbelievers who claim a better sense of love or justice than is shown in the Bible are sitting in judgment on God’s actions and His Word with a perception of prejudice and deliberate misunderstanding.
The third category of contradictions is from simply rejecting what God says and who He is. This attitude is really the driving force behind alleging some contradictions. First they reject God and then they hunt around looking for confirmation of their rejection. They magnify tiny manuscript differences either real or perceived into huge roadblocks to belief. They mock and criticize because they decided to hate God before they ever start looking for a contradiction. Unbelievers reject God as master and Lord, so naturally contradictions proceed from their rejection. Make no mistake: so-called contradictions in the Bible are only contradictions in the heads of the deniers and unbelievers.
Some unbelievers gleefully point out the contradictions between the behavior or teachings of people/organizations and the Bible. They are correct. There are a lot of contradictions between people who say they follow the Bible and the Bible. However, this does not disprove the Bible, or give me any problems with the Bible text. There have always been pretenders throughout history. Behavior shows what is believed in the heart.
Now let’s take a look at what I think are the real contradictions in the rejection of the Bible and God. At the top of my list is the contradiction between atheists who say they have love greater than God’s and yet reject the God who is the source of love. They claim to love (when it suits them) but then turn around and hate God. This is a classic example of a contradiction that should go under the dictionary definition. Look up atheist in the dictionary and it should say, “See contradiction.”
Second on my list of unbeliever contradictions is between their rejection of God and the miracle of creation. I look at any part of creation and see a complex system that could not have sprung up out of nothing. There had to be a Creator, and not only a creator but a wise and all-knowing one to boot. Everything, though marred by entropy resulting from sin, is marvelously intricate and interdependent. There is no way a thinking person could miss it. Yet the unbelievers and atheists come up with all sorts of contradictory theories to explain.
Speaking of contradictory theories, the third contradiction on the God-hating hit parade is evolution. There is not a single bit of evidence for it anywhere. Unbelievers claim to be rational, thinking people, but evolution is the epitome of the opposite. Circular reasoning, science denying and flat-out lies are the order of the day for this contradiction. Built on hoaxes and sustained by government spending and regulation, evolution destroys morality and vilifies the life and hope that only God offers. It mocks God, pedals death as a good thing, and steals credit that belongs only to the Author of Life.
A fourth contradiction is the claim that the unbeliever has morality without needing to embrace God. Yet all of their alleged morality comes from God. He is the one who establishes morality. There is not a single instance of an unbeliever morality code that doesn’t steal from God. His Law was first; all others are weak copies at best. His ultimate example of morality was in the giving of His only begotten Son to save us from our sinful condition.
Jesus mirrors everything about God, especially in His cooperation with the Father in the sacrifice He made. Along with the sovereignty of God this is what the unbelievers are rejecting. It boggles the mind that anyone would refuse the gift of grace, love and mercy wrapped up in the torturous death of the Son of God, the effects of which are freely offered to hate-filled people. But reject it they do.
Talk about contradictions. Atheists and other unbelievers are selling nothing; everything came from nothing and will return to nothing. There is no hope in their religion, and it is a religion despite their denials. Their god or idol is themselves. They have no means of changing what they are and they stay lost in hate. Hate is not a feeling but the refusal to do what is good and right and truly loving. You cannot love and reject the God of love.
Hedonism or narcissism is what the unbelievers are really selling. Then, in the contradiction of all contradictions, they expect us to buy what they are selling. Believers are supposed to ditch the cleansing of God’s Word and the life and hope for a better future for one of nothingness where you are your own inadequate god. Get real.
So I was catching up on the news this morning and ran across an article titled 50 Christian Statues Defaced and Decapitated in Germany (Heatstreet by way of The Drudge Report 12/15/16). My first reaction was “Huh? Christian statues?” My next reaction was, “This is supposed to be bad news?”
Vandalism is not good, but why do we have “Christian” statues? I mean, there are statues, and then there are “Christian” things, but not Christian statues. God specifically tells believers not to have statues. So you would think we wouldn’t have “Christian” statues in the first place, or the destruction of them would be good news.
I hate to say it because of all the wrong things about Islam, but this is one of the very few things that Muslims have right. They really detest images such as statues or idols. This they borrow from the Law of Moses, and you would think the real “Christian” thing would be to do the same. Most Muslims stick to their laws, however twisted, way better than “Christians” ever thought to do themselves with their Law. But Christianity has become so watered down that God’s Word is just a distant echo in many of the sound rooms of church.
If we were as loyal and zealous about our true God as Muslims are about their false one the world would be a much different and better place. Our young people would be trained up to know the Word of God instead of the words of American Idol. If we stuck to the Christian law (actually the Law of Christ, Moses or God) then we wouldn’t have any such thing as “Christian” statues, we wouldn’t be losing kids to the strictures of Islam, and we wouldn’t be losing families to adultery and divorce. Among the many things that are wrong about Islam, they’ve got a point about the mushy “Christians.”
The congregation at Thyatira in Revelation 2:19 seems to be doing everything right according to Jesus.
“I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.” (Revelation 2:19, ESV)
There was apparently nothing to fault in their faith and service. However, the one glaring problem was that they tolerated a woman called Jezebel.
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.(Revelation 2:20, ESV)
There might’ve been an actual woman whose actual name was Jezebel. More probably, it was a woman like Jezebel. Jesus was most likely calling her out by her actions, which were in keeping with the original Jezebel. Queen Jezebel was the wife of Ahab king of Israel, daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians. The Sidonians were one of the nations left by God to test Israel (Judges 3), but Israel failed time and again by marrying the daughters of these nations, following after their gods instead of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jezebel’s claim to fame was in using the usual tools of her Canaanite people to recruit followers for Baal notably sexual immorality (sex outside of marriage as God designed it, divorce, homosexuality, sex with animals, sex with close relatives, prostitution, and so on). Elijah had a famous battle with her priests and prophets (1 Kings 18) and wiped them out.
This woman in Thyatira was using similar methods to move people away from the worship of God alone. An interesting part of the charges by Jesus against Thyatira was that Jezebel allowed or encouraged “eating food offered to idols.” How could this be a bad thing when all the “ceremonial” laws were eliminated (according to the modern church)? The answer is obviously that all of the Laws were in fact still in effect.
So Thyatira was doing everything right, except they tolerated Jezebel’s teaching that sexual immorality was okay. Anybody see where we are doing the same thing today? The church wants to be “tolerant” of sexual immorality by “loving” homosexuals and transgenders and God knows what else. Love has been redefined to allow sexual immorality. The church is teaching that we should tolerate it. They allow unrepentant sexually immoral persons into their congregations. The more things change the more they remain the same.
The congregation at Thyatira is no longer with us. The followers of Jezebel were given time to repent, but apparently did not. Jezebel was thrown onto a sickbed, and those who committed adultery with her were thrown into great tribulation and were killed. It seems obvious to me that Jesus was not really talking to just that particular congregation at that particular time. He was talking to all of those who claim His name (“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations” Revelation 2:7; 2:11; 2:29; 3:6; 3:13; 3:22). If we have ears, and hear, we will repent of the same things that others were told to abandon. We shouldn’t be embracing these unrepentant sexually immoral people. We shouldn’t be tolerating the woman Jezebel in our midst. Cast her out, disavow her teachings, cast her children out of our congregations and hold fast what we have until He comes. Otherwise we will suffer the fate Jesus warned would come upon all those who tolerate those same teachings. Amen. Even so come Lord Jesus.
I’m sorry. Every time I think about this subject, or read about someone who has positively identified The Beast, I crack up. Or at least chuckle a little. The reason it’s so humorous is that the methods used for identification, and the results of the methods, are mostly based on personal feelings. Or perhaps what I call newspaper exegesis (interpreting by newspaper headlines). I haven’t seen a result yet that comes from an understanding of the Bible. The best method of identification is right there in black and white. Or black, white and red. Or whatever fruity colors are used in your version.
The Beast is the coming ruler spoken of in the Bible who will sway nearly the whole world to follow his lead. As a token of appreciation, he will cause all who do so to receive a mark on the hand or forehead, without which no one can buy or sell. His helper is the false prophet, one who looks like a lamb and is called the anti-Christ or ‘instead of’ Christ. This helper of The Beast is the one who causes all to receive the mark. These two will be backed by the serpent or dragon, also called the deceiver and Satan. This unholy trinity will unite much of the population in a rebellion against God and His Christ. They will not succeed, but while they have their run there will be much death, destruction and wrath poured out from God. The wrath part is why I think this is still future, though others think it has already happened.
The Beast has been identified as Hitler, or rulers/kings like him. Some have pegged President Obama as The Beast. This is funny to me because as bad as Obama is he isn’t a pimple on the butt of The Beast. Various other leaders from time to time have been sometimes hysterically identified as the Beast. At one time people in the Calvary Chapel denomination along with many others were all excited about a computer in Belgium (early ’80’s) that was called the beast (at the time it could have numbered every person on the planet). Lately some are pointing to a smooth-talking atheist in Greece that has got them worried.
The problem with identifying The Beast comes in when people look right past the obvious. Especially the church. We will look everywhere except in the mirror. We are so blinded by men’s teachings, traditions and philosophies that we don’t recognize an important fact:
The Beast will be just as acceptable to the church as to the general populace.
Yes I know. That will be a shocking statement to those who think that the “church” is taken away in a rapture before all the really bad stuff starts, like a fairy tale princess in a flying pumpkin coach. However, the rapture without question is appended to the resurrection, and that resurrection clearly doesn’t happen till the end of the Tribulation. See our video Whole Bible Prophecy: The Rapture for more explanation on this.
So “the church” will be here during the tribulation. That’s the first boo boo in the whole identification process. There will be many who don’t even realize it at first, and many who will be upset when they find out they’ve been lied to by their leaders.
Some people point to the absence of ‘the church’ in Revelation 4 through about 19 as proof that the church is gone. But here’s a fun fact for you: there is no church in the Bible. At all. It exists only in translations. The ekklesia (the Greek word translated by the English word ‘church’) is simply an assembly or congregation, and is found throughout history in the Word. A group of people. Ekklesia is used of Israel in the Septuagint translation, but isn’t translated as ‘church.’ It is just translated as congregation or assembly. So technically ‘the assembly’ is much different than ‘the church’ and includes all believers everywhere and everywhen. This explains the absence of ‘the church’ in Revelation. Especially the modern church. It was never there in the first place.
The typical church-goer can’t (or will not later) properly identify The Beast because they are not grounded on the Word, do not read it except for a few favorite verses, and refuse to do what it says. Instead they have crafted for themselves a seeker-friendly social gospel that only vaguely resembles anything biblical, with a hippie flower-child Jesus letting everyone behave as they choose. We have leaders telling us that hell doesn’t exist, parts of God’s Word are old and irrelevant, men’s traditions are the new covenant, and sexual immorality is really okay. If this doesn’t sound like “tolerating that woman Jezebel” or allowing the teaching of Balaam and the Nicolaitans (Revelation 1-3) I don’t know what does. The church has watered down the message of God for themselves so much that it isn’t even recognizable as God’s. By and large they have removed the whole nutrition of His Law from the message, and are therefore not grounded on the Rock.
For these reasons and a few others I believe The Beast will look a lot like a mega-church pastor, and teach many of the same things. He will be so very acceptable to the majority of the church because He will look and act just like they do. The church looks the same as the world, acts the same, and believes the same except for a little different Jesus flavoring. The Beast will bridge the (very small) gap between the world and the church very easily.
That might sound hard to some of you. But truth is only hard to the hard-hearted.
It is written that The Beast has blasphemous names on its heads and is given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words (Rev. 13). If you do a comprehensive word study you will find out that blasphemy is, at the bottom, either attributing evil to God’s works or attributing the works of God to evil (Satan, the Beast, or the anti-Christ get the credit instead of God). I think this means The Beast will claim that he is the author of works that are God’s, and will blame God for evil he and his two buddies do and the evil that is in the world in general. Right will be wrong and wrong will be painted as right.
The lack of grounding in the Bible for the majority of self-named Christians will contribute to the acceptance of The Beast. The blasphemy practiced by the Church (calling God’s Law irrelevant for instance) along with sexual immorality (adultery, divorce, fornication, homosexuality) and watered-down teaching from the Balaams, Jezebels and Nicolaitans among us will combine to allow easy acceptance by stone-hearted people.
11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 ESV).
Hey. I’m not saying this. I’m getting it right from the Bible. Read the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 1-3 if you don’t believe me. The people described in negative terms there have always been around and always a part of the so-called church. The door that Jesus is standing at and knocking is the door of the church. It’s just that in modern times a greater percentage of wolves in sheep’s clothing are present and the corruption is more prevalent than in the past. See our video The Whole Picture: Who Put the Church in Charge? at http://youtu.be/3dkxJTQCriI for more on this.
A part of identifying The Beast is helped by figuring out who is spoken of in Revelation 17. There we see a woman riding on The Beast who has a name of mystery on her forehead that is “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” She looks pretty, dressed in purple and scarlet (the colors of ruling or royalty), with jewelry to match, but her main claim to fame is sexual immorality and murder of God’s people. She is seated on many waters picturing peoples, multitudes, nations and languages, so this woman is everywhere on earth. She is riding The Beast but he and the kings who give him allegiance (the horns) hate her and destroy her.
The Catholic Church has been identified as mystery religion Babylon, but that is too limited. Catholicism has only been around for about 1,800 years, and has not covered the planet that thoroughly during those centuries. This mystery religion has been around at least since the time of the tower of Babel (Hebrew meaning gate of the deity; Babylon is Greek for the same city/kingdom), which is where we see the record of the first idolatrous behavior (although there was probably much before the flood too). I think it is more likely that this woman is all religion that leads away from God with idolatry, sexual immorality and blasphemy. This includes all paganism, all idolatry, all witchcraft and voodoo and the like. It can even include the church (otherwise Jesus would not be warning the seven churches of the teachings of Balaam, Jezebel, and the Nicolaitans). Idolatry is cheating on God, with or without a statue. The modern church is certainly cheating on God, which will put them right in the same chariot with Babylon on the Beast. The Beast tolerates the false religion for a while, but he wants the first place of worship so he destroys Babylon because she’s in the way. It’s like that movie The Highlander. There can be only one. The Catholic Church certainly is pagan and idolatrous, and part of the mystery religion Babylon, but does not carry the whole burden by itself. There are many other churches and synagogues that are joined to her in immorality.
So identifying The Beast is kind of an exercise in futility for the church. You can’t very well find his hiding place when you’re looking everywhere but in the church building. Inside, this guy will indeed be a ravenous beast, but on the outside he will appear as a fluffy little sheep. He won’t appear to be the big bad wolf that most people are expecting. He will speak beguiling words; words that are close to God’s but just a little bit off at first. Just like the words of most church leaders and followers of today. He will say things that sound good and appeal to our self-seeking pride, and because the average Christian will not be grounded in the Word of God they will be willing to accept him and his instead-of-Christ prophet even to receiving the mark. They will “believe in him” so much they will gladly do whatever he says. They will be enamored of his teachings on sexual immorality, tolerance and unconditional love because these teachings will mirror their own. He will be able to quote the Bible better than most Christians, albeit with his own twisted slant and matching almost word for word the text of many sermons. He will mix science with sorcery and probably claim to be the next evolutionary step for all mankind. The image fashioned by the anti-Christ could very likely be a clone who will speak as the serpent did in the Garden, offering a path to be “like God.”
Believers will need to be filled with the whole of the Word, have patient endurance, reject the teachings of Jezebel and her ilk, and hear what the Spirit says to the congregations that make up the Body. Start tuning your eyes and ears to see Him and listen for His instructions by taking in all of His Words and doing them. Now. While there’s still time. Repent, go through the open door, buy from Him gold refined by fire and white garments to cover the shame of nakedness along with some salve to anoint your eyes. Be zealous and repent.
Hosea 6:7–10 (ESV)
7 But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me. 8 Grand Junction is a city of evildoers, tracked with blood. 9 As robbers lie in wait for a man, so the pastors band together; they murder on the way to Denver; they commit villainy. 10 In the house of the United States I have seen a horrible thing; Ephraim’s whoredom is there; the United States is defiled.
Sounds a little different when we make it personal, doesn’t it? Grand Junction is where I live; interstate 70 runs through it to Denver. Okay, pastors don’t really band together to murder. Yet. But the similarities are there.
You could probably do this yourself with your own town and country. Because while it may not be an exact match, the whoredom of Ephraim is all over.
You’ll maybe say, “But we don’t have idols!” And I’ll say, “Are you sure?” Idolatry is not just a statue. It is really self-will. Self-seeking. A statue is just one expression of self-will. There are many others, such as movie or music stars, your job, your house, your church, or your position in the community. There are lots of expressions of self-will, and not all of them include a statue.
Idolatry is anything short of complete devotion to God. That’s why He hammered it so much in the first two-thirds of the Bible. A little bit of cheating, and next thing you know we have the whoredom of Ephraim with the judgment of God coming soon. Adam and Eve were idolatrous; they didn’t have a statue either, but they made decisions based on what THEY thought was good or right, and not what God said was right. We do this every day in almost every way. A statue is wrong because it represents the start of going our own way. Self-seeking my not utilize a statue, but it is still idolatry.
Churches have been leading the way into self-seeking idolatry for a long time. Every time someone preaches that “we can’t do the law,” or “Jesus fulfilled the law so we don’t have to follow it” we have another step toward the whoredom of Ephraim and the judgment that will surely follow. Every step away from His Word is a step further into idolatry, whether we use a statue or not. Sitting in judgment on God’s Word is, as surely as Adam and Eve kicked themselves out of the Garden, the crooked path to whoredom.
Try making other passages more personal by inserting your name or your church’s name or the name of your own town here and there. We’re pretty much doing the same things, after all. It might help us to realize that a journey that takes us a thousand miles away from God starts with a simple step of self-seeking. Just because there is no idol in the house doesn’t mean that we aren’t just as idolatrous as ancient Israel.
Happily for us, He is merciful in His warnings. We are being warned in no uncertain terms. Beast attacks, disease, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, drought, wars and rumors of wars are on the increase. He is telling us to repent and return to Him. Everyone wants to make the Bible more personal when it comes to blessings. Shouldn’t we personalize the warnings too?
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:8–12, AV)
There’s been a lot of discussion at times over the nature of the “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” Some think it’s a special lie just for the end times, like a campaign promise by the Beast. That is the context anyway; the “man of lawlessness” will be revealed and then people will believe a lie. The lie could be one of the things that the Beast will be peddling, which is his claim of Messiah-ship. Or it could be the lie that we can be gods, which the power behind the Beast (the serpent or deceiver) has been trying to sell since the Garden.
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:5, AV)
According to Strong’s Lexicon (4106), the word delusion is related to “wandering” (from truth) and “deceit.” Sounds like a campaign promise to me. We can see the desire for this campaign promise to be true all around us. I like superhero movies as much as the next guy, but the one commonality they all have is the idea that if we just had more strength we could solve all man’s problems. They sell the lie that we can solve everything without God. All we need are super powers.
You can see the lie in the desire for cheap, abundant energy. Like the push for figuring out fusion energy in movies like ‘Chain Reaction.’ The idea there is we can solve all mankind’s ills if we just had more power.
You can see a form of the lie in the slavish devotion to science. Scientists (mostly) push the thought that we could solve all of man’s ills if we just had more knowledge. The doctrine of evolution is designed to give substance to the lie by implying that knowledge is just around the corner. We just need to keep “evolving.” The knowledge that the scientists think we need doesn’t include knowledge of God. Just knowledge. This assumes that if we had the knowledge we would also have the wisdom to use it. History shows just how much of a lie that is.
Pay close attention. The lie in all it’s forms is simply that we can do without God. We might not actively be calling ourselves “gods,” but that is exactly what we are doing – trying to become as God. Pursuing power (omnipotence), knowledge (omniscience) and presence everywhere (omnipresence) through TV, the internet, and radio are parts of the same lying principle. We want to believe that if we just had a little more (something) we could solve everything and live long lives in peace and happiness. Just don’t include God in that something.
The Beast will probably use all of these elements in selling his Messiah-ship to the unbelieving world. In deceit he will present himself as God and exalt himself above all that is called God, but will not have a tenth part of what makes up God. So he is doomed to failure. In part at least much of the “progress” of science and technology is nothing more than enabling the kingdom of the serpent to flourish. The deceiver cannot be all powerful, or all knowing, or all present. But with nuclear weapons, a bag of “all power and signs and lying wonders,” some science, evolution principles, TV and fast transportation he can come close. And he will, for a while. But like everything built without God it will fall apart of it’s own lack of substance. Close only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes.
No matter what we try we come up short when we wander away from the truth of God. It wouldn’t matter if we had super powers or abundant cheap energy or if we could be everywhere at once. The deceit of that thinking would be evident as we continued to have the same problems we always have without God in our lives. Whatever we build will fall apart. The power of whatever government we invent will lean to tyranny without Him. If we lack God we lack that basic something that actually gives life and that more abundant. Nothing we try without Him will work. We are doomed to failure if we believe the lie. There is no way that we will be successful or complete without submitting to the source of all things good.
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