Saturday, September 30, 2006

What is the Mark of the Beast? Part 2

Let’s continue our discussion of the mark with another excerpt from Steve Wohlberg’s book Truth Left Behind – Exposing End Time Errors About the Rapture and the Antichrist.

Let’s review the mighty issues mentioned by God’s three angels, beginning with the all-important topic of worshiping the Creator. The first angel says with a loud voice, “Worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Revelation 14:7). Then the third angel thunders, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God” (Revelation 14:9-10). Here people are given the ultimate choice: Either worship the Creator or worship the beast and receive his mark. Thus, the issue of worshiping the Creator is central to avoiding the mark.

The next mighty issue is one few people are aware of. Most best-selling prophecy books and blockbuster Tribulation movies skip right over it. Those who believe the mark is a biochip developed by some high-tech firm like Microsoft or Intel usually miss it entirely. As we have already seen, immediately after the third angel warns humankind about receiving the mark, the very next sentence says, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). Here one group receives the mark, while the other group “keeps the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Thus, the issue of keeping the commandments of God is also central to avoiding the mark. In a little while we will place this hidden issue fully under the microscope.

When we take a close-up look at the three angels’ messages, we discover that the sweetest part of all has to do with a Person, the person of Jesus Christ. The first angel announces to the world “the everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6), which literally means the good news of Jesus Christ. The third angel speaks of “the Lamb”, in contrast with the beast (Revelation 14:9-10), which is another reference to Jesus Christ, pointing to His unfathomable love and sacrifice on the cross. And the very last word of the third angel’s message is “Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). Thus, we discover a laser-like focus on “the gospel”, the “Lamb”, and on “Jesus” Himself. To summarize thus far: Those who believe in Jesus Christ, accept the gospel, follow the Lamb, worship the Creator, and keep the commandments of God – these will not worship the beast and receive the mark. These mighty issues regarding the mark of the beast are now rising up before our very eyes.

Jesus Christ is center stage, and so is the worship of the Creator. Therefore, when the first angel tells everyone to “worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Revelation 14:7), this is a special end-time call to worship Jesus Christ, not only as Savior, but also specifically as the Maker of all life. Amazingly, this very issue is closely tied in with the Mark of the Beast, for we have already discovered that those who worship the Creator are placed in contrast with those who worship the beast and receive his mark. Yet what exactly is the Mark of the Beast? Is it possible to know for sure without indulging in wild-eyed speculation? I believe it is. We still have a few more pieces to put together in this awesome prophetic puzzle, yet when we are finished, it will become extremely clear what the Mark of the Beast is. In fact, there will be no mistaking it.

The deadly mark is the Mark of the Beast; it’s a mark that comes from the beast itself. John saw those who gained “the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark” (Revelation 15:2). Logic tells us that in order to understand “his mark”, we must correctly interpret who “he” is. Who is this beast? The Left Behind novels portray the beast as a super-powerful, devil-indwelt Romanian who gains control of the world after the Rapture. Yet what have we learned? Who did Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, the translators of the King James Bible, Sir Isaac Newton and countless other historic Protestants think the beast was? What power rose out of the Roman Empire, has spoken great words against God, has made war on the saints, has received a deadly wound that is now healing and has fulfilled every point of this prophecy? You now know the answer. It is the Roman Catholic Church. And the mark is “his mark”. Therefore, the Mark of the Beast must be something that comes from the Roman Catholic Church itself.

Not long ago someone handed me a copy of a very old Bible from the 1800’s that belonged to a Presbyterian lay pastor. Certain texts throughout this Bible contain footnotes reflecting the beliefs of Christians in the nineteenth century. I quickly turned to Revelation 13:16 about the mark of the beast, and I discovered footnotes that would probably not appear in a Scofield Reference Bible. I was stunned when I read: “Verse 16. A mark. Submission to the rites and ceremonies of the papal communion. In their right hand. By active obedience to the papal power. Or in their foreheads. By outward profession of its doctrines and infallible authority” (The New Testament: With Commentaries, References, Harmony of the Gospels and the Helps Needed to Understand and Teach the Text. 1895. New York and St. Louis. Thompson Pub. Co., p. 530). When those words were written, Bill Gates wasn’t born yet, nor was there a company called Microsoft. In the footnotes of that Bible, when it came to the mark of the beast, computer technology was a non-issue. What mattered was submission or resistance to the Roman Catholic Church!

The third angel’s message is now crying out with a loud voice to everyone, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God” (Revelation 14:9-10). Now think about it. Would Jesus tell us in Revelation, “The mark is coming, so watch out. It will be tricky, almost deceiving the very elect. I love you, and died for you, yet I can’t tell you exactly what this mysterious mark is. If you get it, you’ll be lost. You’re on your own.” Does this sound logical? Would Jesus show and not tell? Why would God send a message to the whole world about the mark, and then keep its identity a secret? How could such a message be given with a loud voice? Again, think about it. Can we know for sure who the beast is? Yes. Therefore, we must be able to find out from the Bible itself exactly what the mark is. Logic, reason, and the integrity of God’s loving character require this.

We are about to make another amazing discovery. I believe the Bible contains a golden clue to this mystery. We can find it by carefully comparing Revelation 13 with its Old Testament counterpart, Daniel 7. These two chapters fit together like a key fits into a lock. The connections are easily seen. Both chapters talk about beasts from the sea, a lion, a bear, a leopard, a dragon, ten horns, a mouth speaking great things, war on the saints, and a specific time period of three and a half years or forty two months. Interpretations may vary, but almost all Protestant, Catholic and Evangelical scholars, including the authors of Left Behind, agree that the little horn of Daniel 7 and the first beast of Revelation 13 refer to the same thing – the Antichrist. Yet there is something many people have missed that is right there in God’s Word. And not only does it tie in with the mark of the beast, but it is a golden clue as to what the mark really is.

The very first time the mark of the beast is mentioned in the Bible is near the end of Revelation 13. Now, if other aspects of the beast in Revelation 13 find such a perfect parallel in the little horn of Daniel 7, then what about the mark? Could there be something near the end of Daniel 7 that parallels the mark near the end of Revelation 13? Yes, there is. It is in verse 25. Daniel 7:25 says the little horn will speak great words against God and this idea is also found in Revelation 13:5. Daniel 7:25 says he will wear out, or make war, on the saints and this idea is also found in Revelation 13:7. Daniel 7:25 says the horn will rule for three and a half years, and this point is also restated in Revelation 13:5. Thus, every point of Daniel 7:25 finds a perfect parallel in Revelation 13. Yet there is one point in Daniel 7:25 we have not yet touched upon. Most people miss it, few ever explain it, yet there it is. It is our golden clue. You may not believe this, but the final destiny of the world is connected with it.

Are you ready? Here it is. The little horn will also “think to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). What does this mysterious sentence mean? Most have no idea. Notice that little word “change”. The horn will “change” something, then the beast will enforce his mark. Could this change, whatever it is, be connected with the mark? Let’s think about it. Can a change be a mark? Has anyone ever entered your life and changed you so deeply that it can truly be said, “He left his mark?”

What will the little horn think to change? He shall “think to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). Because the antichrist comes during New Testament times, it is evident that some of God’s “laws” must still exist this side of the Cross. When Jesus died, He put an end to the sacrificial laws of the Old Testament, which pointed forward to His death, and this is why we no longer sacrifice lambs. Those laws are gone. What about the Ten Commandments? Do they still apply to us?

The answer is yes. The following New Testament verses tell us that the laws still apply to us: Ephesians 2:8-9, Ephesians 6:1-2, Ephesians 4:28, James 2:11, Luke 16:17-18, John 14:15. It is clear in the New Testament that although there is a new covenant through Jesus Christ that puts an end to the sacrificial laws, we are still to obey God’s commandments. What does this have to do with the mark of the beast? You are about to find out. First, let me summarize some major points. Just as there are Ten Commandments, even so there are ten fundamental facts in our Bibles about the Mark of the Beast. These facts do not represent Left Behind fiction, but real truths found in God’s Word:

1. The Mark of the Beast is deceptive, not obvious (Revelation 19:20).
2. The mark will be received on the forehead, which represents the mind, or on the hand, which represents actions (Revelation 14:9, Deuteronomy 11:18).
3. The three angels reveal a comprehensive message from God before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to all the world to help people understand the mark (Revelation 14:6-16).
4. Those who worship Jesus Christ as Creator will not get the mark (Revelation 14:7, 9-11; John 1:3, 10).
5. Those who keep the Ten Commandments will not get the mark (Revelation 14:9, 12).
6. The mark comes from the beast, which represents the Roman Catholic Church.
7. The warning against the mark will be given with a loud voice, thus it must be clear and easy to understand (Revelation 14:9).
8. The mark involves a special sin against God himself, for those who receive it will drink the wine of His wrath (Revelation 14:9, 10).
9. The mark has something to do with the changing of God’s law (compare Daniel 7:25 with Revelation 13:16).
10. The mark of the beast has something to do with the changing of the times and laws of God (Daniel 7:25).

Let’s take a look again at our little-known golden-clue text, he shall “think to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). Now notice that word, “times”. We know that the word “laws” has to do with the Ten Commandments, which continue after the Cross. What about “times”? You are about to discover something you will hardly believe. It shatters all false interpretations, which may sincerely, yet deceptively, hide the real issues. If you pray and humbly study this out, you will know for sure it’s true. Are you ready? There is only one of the Ten Commandments that has to do with “time”. There is only one that has to do with the Creator of heaven and earth. This single, solitary commandment is the only one of the Ten Commandments that the Roman Catholic Church specifically says it has changed. It is the commandment that says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).

Before we go any further, I want to share with you a very important thought. The Bible says, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4). This verse tells us that in the final times, God will be giving new light to His people. This especially applies to an increase of knowledge of the book of Daniel, which includes our golden-clue text: He shall “think to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). In the final days, God will help His people understand what this changing of “times” is really all about.

God Almighty did not write the ten suggestions, but the Ten Commandments. The fourth says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work,….For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11).

Where do we remember the Sabbath? In our foreheads. With what do we work? With our hands. Thus, the Sabbath commandment deals with both the forehead and the hand. The “seventh day” is specified as “the Sabbath of the Lord”. It is not the Sabbath of the Jews, but of the Lord. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day”. These words are directly quoted in the first angel’s message (see Revelation 14:7). And who is this “Lord” that “made heaven and earth”? As we have already seen, according to the New Testament, it is Jesus Christ. Thus, the Sabbath commandment, in a unique and special sense, reveals Jesus Christ as Lord and as the Maker of all life.

A well-known Roman Catholic catechism declares:

Q. Which is the Sabbath day? Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday (The Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, by Peter Geiermann, 1946, p. 50).

The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday (The Christian Sabbath, p. 29. Printed by the Catholic Mirror, the official organ of Cardinal Gibbons, Baltimore, MD, 1893).

The Pope is of so great authority and power that he can modify, change, or interpret even divine laws (Farraris’s Ecclesiastical Dictionary. Article, “The Pope”).

Of course the change [from Sabbath to Sunday] was her act…and the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters (Signed by H.F. Thomas, Chancellor for Cardinal Gibbons, in a letter dated, November 11, 1895).

Thus, the Catholic Church claims the pope has power to change God’s law, just as Daniel 7:25 says. This church claims to have changed the Sabbath into Sunday, which is a changing of “times”, just as Daniel 7:25 says will occur. Papal Rome also calls this change a ‘mark’ of her authority, which makes this a perfect fit with Revelation 13!

This issue of Sabbath or Sunday is now the hottest, most intense, and most explosive issue facing the Christian world. An entire book could be written on this topic alone. Let’s look at ten key Sunday facts found in the New Testament:

1. Jesus Christ rose on Sunday, “the first day of the week” (Mark 16:9).
2. The New Testament refers to “the first day of the week” eight times (Mathew 28:1; Mark 16:1, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19; 1 Corinthians 16:1; Acts 20:7).
3. Five of these references are about the Resurrection (Mathew 28:1; Mark 16:1, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1).
4. One Sunday text refers to a fearful gathering of the disciples on that day before they knew Jesus was alive (John 20:19).
5. One Sunday text refers to a special collection of money on that day in the city of Corinth for a group of poor believers in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-3; Romans 15:25-26).
6. One text refers to a solitary instance in Troas where believers gathered late one Saturday night as a farewell to Paul (Acts 20:6-13).
7. None of these references even remotely suggest that Sunday is now holy or that it has been set aside in honor of the Resurrection.
8. Jesus Christ never said a word about Sunday in any of His teachings.
9. Jesus Christ gave His Church authority to teach only what He taught (Mathew 28:19), which forbids any emphasis on Sunday keeping.
10. The New Testament is as silent as a cemetery about any change from Sabbath to Sunday.

By way of contrast, here are ten key Sabbath facts found in your own Bible:

1. Jesus Christ kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16).
2. Jesus taught much about the Sabbath (Mathew 12:1-14).
3. Jesus said He is “Lord of the Sabbath”, thus revealing that it is His own special day in honor of the fact that He is the Creator of all life (Mark 2:28; Mathew 12:8).
4. Jesus often healed people on the Sabbath, revealing His love and power (Mathew 12:9-13).
5. Jesus freed the Sabbath from the burden-some traditions of the Pharisees (Luke 13:10-17).
6. The Sabbath was kept by Christ’s disciples after the Cross (Luke 23:46, 54-56).
7. The Sabbath was kept in the book of Acts by both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 13:42-44; 16:13; 17:1-4; 18:4).
8. The entire Book of Revelation was given “on the Lord’s day” which is the Sabbath day (Revelation 1:10; Exodus 20:10; Isaiah 58:13; Mathew 12:8).
9. The Sabbath is not just for Jews, but is also for Gentiles (Isaiah 56:1-8).
10. The Sabbath will be kept in the new earth by all the saved (Isaiah 66:22-23).

I want to clarify something of the utmost importance. No one has this mark right now. Most Christians have never really studied this subject before. There are true Christians in all churches, including the Roman Catholic Church. Yes, God has sincere people everywhere. Yet one of these days, according to the Book of Revelation, this mark of Rome’s authority will be enforced by law around the world. Then, after people’s minds have been enlightened, the final time of choice will come.

This may shock you, but Sunday laws have been enforced in various degrees for 1,700 years. The first Sunday law was enforced by the Roman Emperor Constantine on March 7, A.D. 321. His famous edict declared, “On the venerable day of the sun [Sunday], let the magistrates and people residing in the cities rest, and let all workshops be closed” (Schaff’s translation, History of the Christian Church, vol. iii. p.75.). Why did Constantine pass this Sunday law? The reasons are both fascinating and relevant for us today. In the fourth century, the Roman Empire was disintegrating. Morality was at an all-time low. Yet religion was far from dead. Constantine himself was a dedicated sun worshiper, as were the majority of his subjects. In fact, the very name “Sunday” stems from pagan sun worship. By this time, a growing number of Christians were following the Catholic Church’s example of giving up the Sabbath and keeping Sunday in honor of the Resurrection. Constantine had already seen the moral strength of Christianity as revealed in the courage of its martyrs, and this gave him an idea. He thought to himself, “Why not unite the Christians and the pagans together through their mutual respect for Sunday?” That’s why he passed his famous Sunday law hoping to bring unity to his empire, thus saving it from ruin. His plan failed and Rome still went down.

After Constantine, the Roman Catholic Church continued to enforce the keeping of Sunday in Europe for over 1,000 years. Sunday laws were also enforced in England for centuries. Amazingly, this practice was continued in colonial America. In the 1600’s, if you lived in Massachusetts, Virginia, or Connecticut, you were required by law to attend church on Sunday. Disobedience was punished by heavy fines, whipping, confinement in a cage, and in some cases, even by death. Thus, Protestant America still followed the example of Constantine and the Catholic Church in the uniting of church and state, and in the enforcement of Sunday laws.

On May 31, 1998, Pope John Paul II issued a lengthy pastoral letter, Dies Domini (The Day of the Lord), which contained a passionate appeal for the revival of Sunday observance. The pope said the prevailing neglect of Sunday reflects a spiritual crisis inside the Catholic Church and within Christianity in general. Notice his words: “The Lord’s Day has structured the history of the Church through two thousand years: how could we think that it will not continue to shape the future?” Shockingly, the pope then urged world governments to enforce Sunday laws! “In the particular circumstances of our own time, Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy.” Such statements are right in line with this official Vatican position: “Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church’s holy days as legal holidays” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p.528, 1994).

Steve continues this chapter with additional examples of current Protestant Christian leaders who are also calling for America to keep the Sabbath.....on Sunday. So, does Scripture point to the Sabbath as the mark? It would appear that it could, but I have my doubts. I'm not going to say with 100% certainty that this is the mark because it is the political beast, the New World Order, that enforces the mark and requires the mark to buy and sell. This enforcement is also mentioned after the 'image' of the Catholic Church is created. The mark is created after the Catholic Church's judgement. Will this image of the Catholic Church demand Sunday observance of the Sabbath? Hard to say at this point.

We are given a clue in verse 17 that I believe will confirm what the mark is when we see it.

'He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)

I have read many theories on the mark that say the mark and the number 666 are somehow tied to the Popes (if you add up all of the numbers following all of the Papal names, you get close to 666) and the Catholic Church. As Steve Wohlberg and others believe, it is certainly possible, but I believe the Catholic Church will be replaced by the image before the mark is introduced into the world. There is something here we are missing. When verse 17 mentions that the mark is 'the name of the beast or the number of his name', it is referring to the political (NWO) beast, not the religious beast. To me, this is very clear - the mark is related to a name and number (666) of the coming world government. It will involve complete submission to the world system/government while also denying Jesus Christ - so this is definitely a spiritual mark - as Steve mentions. I believe a key to discerning the mark is given to us here in verse 17 and another key is certainly the need to accept the mark to buy and sell. It is quite possible that we are seeing this name and number now and don't even recognize them for what they will become.

Remember, this freemason/illuminati beast is evil and deceptive and has been deceiving us for generations. They are arrogant and feel they control all things from the shadows. They feel they are untouchable and all-powerful. They tell us what their plans are (through money, architecture, hidden messages in public speaches, the media, etc.) and then laugh at our inability to see and understand. They feel they are the 'illuminated' ones, while we are in the dark as to what is really happening. They are the definition of pride. Because of who they are and who leads them, it would not surprise me if this name and number is already known to them and has somehow been shown to us....although we cannot understand its meaning.....yet.

The important thing to remember is that this coming world government is going to be taking orders from our spiritual enemy. Because of this, ever-increasing pressure will be placed on true Christians. This will eventually lead to the ultimate choice....worship our Lord or the beast and his mark. Whether or not it is the Sabbath, you can be sure that it will be deceptive. Those that don’t know Jesus Christ will not even be able to discern what it is. I have no doubt that God will raise up believers to preach the truth in a final attempt to save the lost, but without true faith, will they be able to stand? Most unbelievers will not. This is why it is so important for all of us to come close to Jesus now. Let Him comfort you, strengthen you, correct you and guide you. Do I fear the mark? No. Do I fear the coming beasts that will enforce the mark? No. Do I fear the men that are bringing this upon us? No. Why? Because God’s Word tells me not to fear anything in this world. His Word tells me that the Lord is a shield and protector of the righteous. The Lord is forever faithful and I trust Him. I’m going to spend time in a future posting discussing what the Bible says about fear, because I believe the enemy has used fear as the main weapon to bring about his beasts. You’ll be amazed at what the Bible tells us about fear. How relevant is it? The Bible warns us against the very thing that America is doing right now…and it will lead to the destruction of our nation and the emergence of the 2nd beast of Revelation 13.

Friday, September 29, 2006

What does the Bible say about Fear?

Since fear seems to be running rampant in our world today, let’s spend some time discussing what the Bible has to say about fear. In today’s modern world, we are constantly bombarded with reasons to fear. First and foremost, the current ‘war on terror’ permeates our media and our thoughts. It’s almost impossible today to listen to the news on television or on the radio or read the news in newspapers or on the internet without hearing or seeing something about the war on terror, the war in Iraq, the spread of terrorism, or North Korea and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. We’re constantly told in the U.S. how porous our borders and ports are and how easily it would be for terrorists to smuggle a nuclear device or ‘dirty bomb’ into our country. During the recent midterm elections, the Republican National Committee ran ads that showed Osama bin Laden in videos speaking about what he was planning next for the U.S. superimposed over a mushroom cloud. All of this obviously strikes fear in our population. Is it good for us to fear these things? Because of fear, we have given our government more power to protect us. Is this wise? We have given up freedoms (whether you realize it or not) under the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The National Security Agency (NSA) now monitors domestic phone calls and financial transactions. We believe that by giving up individual freedoms, our government will be more equipped to protect us from the bad guys. Is this an intelligent thing for us to do? Will our government use these new powers to protect us or is there something more sinister going on? Do you feel more or less safe now than you did 5 years ago? If you’re like me, something doesn’t feel right. We seem to be spending more on defense in the U.S. (half a trillion dollars), yet most of us feel less safe. Why? Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about fear before we answer these questions.

You may not know Psalm 23:4 by heart, but chances are you’ve heard it at some point in your life. It’s probably one of the most quoted verses in the Bible because it speaks about something we all must deal with….fear.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

What is the Lord telling us? He is saying that we live in a fallen world that is full of evil, but not to fear, for He is always with us and will comfort us. Even though evil things will come our way, do not fear this evil. Many quote this verse, but how many live by it? How many in the world today truly do not fear evil? I believe there are few. Why? Because few of us truly believe that God will comfort us….that he will be with us…and that he will give us the strength and power to overcome evil. We’re talking about true faith in our Creator to deliver us from evil.

What does the Lord say will result from fear?

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

The Lord is telling us that if you fear people in this world, it could very well be a trap. Yet those that put their trust in the Lord will be kept safe. Once again the Lord tells us not to fear, but put our faith and trust in Him. Only He should be trusted. Time and again we are told not to put our confidence in men, but trust in the Lord. Only He will protect us and keep us safe from the evil in this world. Ask yourself this question – is the United States placing its faith and trust in the Lord or the things in this world? Do we place our trust with God or with our defense budget? Do we feel less secure because of terrorism or because our nation has turned away from God?

“For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that He will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you” (Deuteronomy 23:14).

Sadly, I believe that this is exactly what has happened to us. The United States has slowly turned away from God. We have removed God from our schools and offices, we removed the Ten Commandments from our courts, we have allowed His most precious children to be killed before birth, we worship wealth and the pleasures of this world and we approve all types of unbiblical practices in the name of ‘political correctness’. The fact is that the U.S. has turned away from God, and as a result, He has lifted His hand of protection from us. 9/11 was a spiritual warning and it is only the beginning.

There is another side to turning away from God - we don’t live according to His Word. When this happens, we are not prepared for our spiritual enemy. We don’t see with spiritual eyes so that we can discern his deceptive schemes. We walk around thinking we’re kings of the world, when in fact, we are poor, blind and naked. We may win battles in the natural world, but we are being steamrolled in the spiritual realm.

Do you think this is crazy? Do you think you live in a nice, safe country that can protect you? Don’t think we need to pray and seek God and His protection? Let’s take a closer look at Proverbs 29:25 and apply it to what is happening within our nation and the world according to what has been revealed to me.

Proverbs 29:25 tells us that fear is a trap. How does this relate to us today? It has been made very clear to me that the Illuminati (consisting of Freemasons, Skull & Bones, Bilderbergers, Council on Foreign Relations, etc) is using fear to gain control of both the U.S. population and the world. As I’ve mentioned before, they are the 2nd beast of Revelation 13. Think about it for a moment. Since 9/11, we have lost many freedoms and have started a couple of wars based on the attacks. You may say that we needed to give up some freedoms for security and the wars were needed to protect us…but what if the attacks were orchestrated by our own government? What if it was this ‘beast’ that caused the death of thousands of Americans? What if 9/11 was used to scare us into giving up freedoms? What if it was used to eliminate American freedoms in preparation for the next phase of the Illuminati’s plan for a one world government? What if the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were used to keep fear on the front page of the news and establish a base in the Middle East? It would be hard to keep us in fear if the ‘war on terror’ wasn’t producing some headlines. The truth is that 9/11 has produced fear in us that never existed before in America and it is a trap. Men tell us that we must give up freedom for security……which is not biblical. We are walking into a snare.

What does the Bible say about revenge? Does the Bible say that we should go out and attack whoever we think might attack us? No.

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends. But leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge, I will repay’, says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21).

The Bible makes it clear - do not take revenge because the Lord will repay. Is this what the U.S. has done? No. We’ve done just the opposite. Our nation has gotten so far away from God that when someone speaks of faith in this manner he or she is most often labeled a 'religious fanatic'. Our President is not acting in accordance with biblical doctrine even though he says he is a man of faith (there are many other instances that I will discuss later). If our attack on Iraq was simply a response to an attack on the U.S., it would be unbiblical…but Iraq didn’t even attack us. The truth is that we did not attack Iraq and Afghanistan in response to a perceived threat. Something much more deceptive is happening. Most of us are not living lives according to God’s Word and His Laws and therefore, we are blind to the truth.

The Illuminati is using fear as their #1 weapon. Keep the population in fear and dependent on the government for protection….protection that comes with a price. I believe that the next phase of the Illuminati plan is a catastrophic terrorist event inside the U.S. that will cause widespread panic. This will be the natural explanation. Spiritually, it will be the Lord’s judgment upon our nation. Out of this growing fear, ‘the beast out of the earth’ of Revelation 13 will emerge. I will discuss this in more detail in the next posting.

Regardless of what may be happening to our country and the world around us, the Lord protects the righteous. He shields us, protects us, guides us and strengthens us. Remember, He is with us ALWAYS. He has guided me to these verses time and again to strengthen me. He will do the same for you. Pray to Him and He will answer you if you seek him with all of your heart.

"Security is our nearness to God, not our distance from danger."

Kenneth R. Hendre

‘A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.’ Psalm 91:7

‘But whoever listens to Me will dwell safely and will be secure, without fear of evil.’ Proverbs 1:33

‘Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you….In God I have put my trust; I will not fear.’ Psalm 56:3-4

‘In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’ Psalm 56:11

‘I will both lie down in sleep and peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.’ Psalm 4:8

‘The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil; He shall preserve thy soul.’ Psalm 121:8

‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’ Psalm 27:1

‘I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.’ Psalm 34:4

‘My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.’ Psalm 121:2-3

‘Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.’ Psalm 55:22

‘Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.’ Psalm 27:3

‘But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.’ Psalm 33:18-19

‘The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.’ Psalm 34:7

‘Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me.’ Psalm 49:5

‘He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.’ Psalm 112:7

‘You who fear him, trust in the LORD— he is their help and shield.’ Psalm 115:11

‘Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked’ Psalm 3:25

‘The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.’ Proverbs 10:27

‘The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.’ Proverbs 15:33

‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10

‘Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults.’ Isaiah 51:7

‘In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.’ Isaiah 54:14

‘By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.’ Hebrews 11:7

‘But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.’ 1 Peter 3:14

"He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.’” Revelation 14:7

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The United States and Bible Prophecy Part 1

What does Bible prophecy have to say about the future of the United States? If you read many of the current thoughts on this subject, you will notice one overriding concern – the United States doesn’t seem to be specifically mentioned. You’ll read from some that one of the ‘beasts’ mentioned in Daniel or Revelation could be the United States. Steve Wohlberg and others believe the U.S. is the ‘beast out of the earth’ of Revelation 13. I’ve read that some of the beasts with ‘wings’ in Bible prophecy could represent the United States. I’ve listened to some preachers say that 60 million Americans will be ‘raptured’ before the 7 years of tribulation, thus reducing the United States to a minor global player. Besides the fact that we now know there isn’t going to be a secret rapture, I don’t believe that there are anywhere close to 60 million born again believers in the United States. If there were, the United States would not be in such a biblical and moral decline as it is today. The end result is that you’ll read lots of speculation, but nothing that will convince you 100% that the U.S. is mentioned specifically in Scripture. So, we’re back to where we started – is the United States mentioned in the Bible?

After studying much of Revelation and Bible prophecy, I don’t believe that the U.S. is specifically mentioned in the Bible, but we are definitely given clues to our future. I do believe that future circumstances involving the United States are mentioned. Through prayer I have been led to two places in Revelation that relate to the U.S. The one thing to keep in mind as we discuss this topic is that the final world government is just that – a world government. Bible prophecy doesn’t say anything about a nation controlling the rest of the world, but speaks of a beast that rules the world and enforces its mark upon ‘everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave’ (Revelation 13:16). Revelation 13 definitely tells us that this ‘beast…out of the earth’ is the global government. So, what does this tell us? It tells us that one nation does not rule the world. This beast is truly global and rules from a global government. How does this relate to the U.S.? It means the United States must fall from world dominance. The world’s only superpower is going to be reduced to just another nation in order for the ‘beast…out of the earth’ to rise. For this to happen, something sudden and catastrophic will happen inside the United States.

First, some background on my experiences with this topic of judgment. In August of 2005, I wrote my first letter to friends and family regarding what the Lord had revealed to me about the times we live in. I mentioned the events of 9/11/01, the Illuminati and how all of these things related to Biblical prophecy. It was certainly a wake-up call for me. I definitely felt a sense of urgency from the Lord to spread this message - that the end of this age is fast approaching and people need to be warned and prepared for what is coming. Honestly, at the time I thought this was all I would be asked to do. It took a leap of faith for me to go that far and I figured that things would then settle down for me and my family. I was wrong - the Lord had a different plan for my life. Soon after sending the first letter, the Lord’s message began to change. It changed from a message of information regarding our times, to a specific message of warning to this nation. A message of coming divine judgment upon our country. I tried to tell myself that these were simply my thoughts - my newfound interpretation of what was happening in this country based on my increasing knowledge of God’s Word. Again I was wrong. When I would try to get away from doing anything further with this information, it was made clear to me that this task has been given to me from the Lord and to be obedient. This was communicated to me through the Lord’s quiet, inner voice and through some very strong circumstances. So, even though I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing (walking by faith, not sight), I wrote a second letter concerning the Lord’s judgment and a date of November 11.

I received a phone call from a gentleman in Knoxville the day after an article appeared in the local Knoxville newspaper concerning my letters. During the call he told me that the Lord had revealed the same information to him through visions and that we should get together and talk. He had written and published a book in December 2004 on these visions (‘A Modern Prophecy’ by John Tunstall). We met for coffee that morning – November 9, 2005. I could not believe what I heard him say to me. Through visions given to him by the Lord, he also was told that five U.S. cities faced destruction as a result of the sins of this nation. When I asked him the reasons for the coming judgment, he told me the Lord made it clear that there were two reasons above all others – our worship of wealth and the killing of his precious unborn children. The same two reasons I had been given. Over and over he had been asked, “Why has this nation turned away from Me?” I will never forget his next statement. He said that the Lord told him, “They have done evil in my eyes. The blood of my babies screams in my ears from the sewers of this land, and the haughty call it Choice. I Myself, even I have made a choice and the Sovereign One chooses wrath. I will bring down on their own heads all they have done.” It was chilling to hear. The Lord had confirmed his coming judgment for me in a very dramatic way.

Later that afternoon I ordered John’s book. I received the book a few days later and read it cover to cover in one afternoon. I was absolutely stunned. I felt the Lord told me five cities would be affected (Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., and Atlanta). John had a vision that showed five missiles coming over western Canada – two went west, two went east and one went south. He had a vision of hiding from a nuclear explosion. It was almost overwhelming. It wasn’t just the information John had been given, it was the way he spoke that also told me that his information was from the Lord. No bravado. No pride or arrogance. Just a simple man revealing plainly what the Lord had communicated to him. I felt that for the first time in 6 months, I was speaking to someone who understood my language. I also found the timing to be very interesting. It was as if the Lord gave me a test (which has happened time and again) – pass the test and you move on to the next phase. Meeting John was a confirmation that this test had been passed. It seemed, once again, that the Lord was testing my faith, then confirming the message. My faith would grow stronger as I passed these tests.

After the week of November 11th passed and I was released (ok….fired) from my job for these beliefs and talking to the media about them, the emails and phone calls stopped coming. I knew that judgment was coming, but now I had no idea when it would happen. Talk about wondering if you’ve made the right move! The Lord made it clear that He would give me the wisdom to relate what I had written to Bible prophecy. Try as I might (reading Revelation & Daniel), I could not make any sense of it and gave prophecy study a break.

Fast forward to November 2006. Out of nowhere the message came - ‘Time to get serious.’ A wave of knowledge and understanding followed. Part of this new knowledge was how Bible prophecy related to the fall of the U.S. As I continued to pray for knowledge and wisdom, I was led to Revelation 13:12-14.

‘And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.’ (Revelation 13:12-14)

I read these verses ten times before with no understanding, but suddenly it all became clear. It became clear because the Lord gave me other knowledge that I could apply to these verses. I needed to know who the first and second beasts were and I needed to know what was about to happen to the United States. Finally, I needed to know that this second beast was currently in the world today and deceiving the inhabitants of the earth. Once these things were explained to me, I was then able to relate the prophecy I had been given to the Book of Revelation - as I had been told I would be able to do. It is amazing to me how the prophecies of the Bible are put together like a puzzle. One piece of knowledge unlocks another. It is no coincidence that we are now beginning to understand the Book of Revelation. Many have believed that the following verse in the Book of Daniel only related to technological advances. I believe it refers to knowledge of God’s prophecies as well.

‘But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.’ Daniel 12:4

Let’s take a closer look at Revelation 13:12-14 and what these verses mean for us. Verse 12 states, ‘…he exercises [the Illuminati/Freemasonry beast – One World Order] all the authority of the first beast [Roman Catholic Church] in his presence…’ This passage is telling us that the coming One World Order will have full police & military control to exercise all authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Do you understand what this means? I believe we’re being told that the world government will be carrying out the wishes of the Roman Church. We now know the past history of this church and that this church once ruled over the kings of the earth. It appears that it will do so again….for a time (we’ll discuss this later). What happened in the past when this church was free to impose its non-biblical doctrines and dogmas on the masses? You either accepted their unbiblical doctrine or you were tortured and/or killed. Will this same scenario be repeated? The Bible tells us the answer is yes. Continuing verse 12, ‘…and [the New World Order] causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast [Roman Catholic Church], whose deadly wound was healed.’ No doubt about it. The world government will enforce the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. You can forget about freedom of religion. God’s Word is clear on this - people will be forced to ‘worship the beast’. Also, don’t miss the phrase ‘in his presence’ in verse 12. It appears that these two beasts will be working together very closely. Do we see this in our world today? Absolutely. Pope John Paul II made many political inroads during his reign. I just read today (November 28, 2006) where Pope Benedict XVI has recently hired Henry Kissinger as a political consultant. Henry Kissinger is known to be a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and other global elitist organizations. I believe that the Roman Church is most likely telling them today that they can solve the ‘religious fanatic’ problem. They’ll simply create a one world religion under the Roman Catholic Church. Don’t believe it? We’ll discuss this further when we talk about the ‘image’ of the beast.

Verse 13 stands out to me as the verse that spells doom for the United States. It reads, ‘…he [New World Order] performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.’ Is this some sorcerer calling down fire from the skies? No. God’s prophecy is telling us that this New World Order is going to cause some horrific signs. Given the modern world today, when the Bible speaks of ‘fire…….from heaven’ – what do you think the Bible is referring to? There is only one thing on this earth today that we all would consider fire from heaven – the detonation of a nuclear weapon. Based on what the Lord has revealed to me and to John Tunstall, this is a very chilling revelation. This verse is also telling us that people will be standing at a distance, watching it all in full view.

The final piece of this puzzle is verse 14. Why does this beast ‘cause fire to come down from heaven’? Verse 14 provides the answer. ‘And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.’ This beast [NWO] uses these ‘signs’ to deceive the world. What have we determined these signs are? Nuclear detonations. It becomes clear that this beast is going to use nuclear weapons to deceive the world. Based on what I have been given personally and applying it to these verses, I believe that the Illuminati is going to detonate nuclear weapons inside the United States in order to create unimaginable fear in the world. They will then use this widespread fear to their full advantage – removing personal freedoms and ushering in the New World Order. The ultimate false flag operation. Why the United States? Our time at the top is over. From the natural world’s perspective – it is the Illuminati who will have determined that the United States has completed its duty. It will be time to scare the world AND remove America from superpower status in order to consolidate world government. From a spiritual viewpoint – God’s righteous judgment will be poured out on our nation. I mentioned in my very first letter that a man (with intimate knowledge of the Illuminati) created an Illuminati card game in 1995 that showed the World Trade Center buildings being destroyed and the Pentagon on fire. Another card was entitled ‘terrorist nuke’. I believe we’re going to be told that ‘terrorists’ bombed our country. This would make sense based on what we’re shown in the media everyday. My friends, fear is indeed, a snare.

Verse 14 finishes with, ‘He [NWO] ordered them [earth’s inhabitants] to set up an image in honor of the beast [Roman Church] who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.’ It appears that the world government will setup some type of church that is in the ‘image’ of the Roman Church. Most likely, it will be some type of church that is ruled over by Rome, yet also incorporates aspects of other religions – in order to keep everyone placated. There are some questions here that I cannot yet answer. Verse 14 says the image is setup ‘in honor of the beast’. Why is this image setup ‘in honor’ of the Roman Church? Why is there an image at all? Does something happen to the Roman Church that causes the world government to create an ‘image’? Based on its history, it seems odd to me that the Roman Church would even allow an image of itself. Why create an image if the Roman Church exists? Something doesn’t quite add up here. I’ll add some additional insight to this topic when we discuss Revelation 17 and 18. Revelation 18 could very well be related to this ‘image’.

We’ll wrap up this posting with verse 15 – ‘He [NWO] was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.’ Very sobering verse. Essentially, the world government gives this evil church ‘image’ the power (speaking) to kill all who refuse to join it and its satanically inspired doctrine. We’ll be given the choice of joining this abomination or dying for our Lord Jesus. What I find interesting is that the world government gives the image the power to kill – not the first beast [Roman Church]. Where is the Roman Church? Once again, I believe Revelation 18 may give us an answer. Verse 16 then tells us about the mark – once again enforced by the world government. It comes down to true faith. Will you stand up for Jesus Christ and the Truth or will you deny Christ and accept this evil image and the mark? It’s time to start preparing now.

The United States and Bible Prophecy Part 2

This is difficult for me to write. It’s not an easy thing to know that the nation you belong to has turned away from God and faces judgment. Until last year, I never saw it coming. The reason is that I was like most people in this country. I said I believed in Jesus Christ, but I certainly wasn’t following his teachings. What does Jesus say about this?

‘Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.’ (John 14:23-24)

Once I was born again, came close to the Lord and began following His teachings, the Lord certainly has made His home with me and my family. He began to show me this nation through His eyes. What do I see? Darkness. The good news is that it doesn’t have to remain this way. If we, as a nation, ask for forgiveness and come back to our Lord, then he will heal us and restore us. It is conditional on us seeking Him, understanding the truth, repenting and humbly asking for forgiveness. The bad news is that the Lord has searched this nation and He sees that we have passed the point of no return. The only way for Him to wake us up and cut the sin out is through His judgment. What happens after His judgment is up to us. Will this nation return to Him and stand for Him against the onslaught of our spiritual enemy and his beasts? I do not know. I pray that our eyes are opened and that we will someday become the people that the Lord wants us to be. I pray that instead of being a home to darkness, we will be a beacon of light in a dark world.

For now, I will continue to speak the message I have been given. I mentioned in the previous posting that the Lord has led me to two areas in the Bible regarding the future of the United States. The first was Revelation 13. The second place that I believe relates to our future judgment is Revelation 18. First, I firmly believe that this chapter in Revelation was written in reference to Rome and the Roman Catholic Church (I will spend some time on this topic in future postings). However, the Lord has led me to specific verses within this chapter because they do describe what is about to happen to America. Again, this is very difficult to write, but I know it to be the truth.

Revelation 18 begins with an angel shouting the following:

‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.’ (Revelation 18:2-3)

You will notice that much of Revelation 18 describes luxury, wealth and commerce. The Lord makes it clear that He detests the pursuit of wealth and luxury (I will spend some time on wealth in a future posting). The judgment described in this chapter is clearly a result of the worship of wealth and luxury. Stop and think about this for a moment. Who is the wealthiest nation on earth? Who buys more ‘stuff’ than anyone else on the planet? Who basks in luxury more than any nation on earth? It’s not hard to answer these questions. The United States has a net worth of over $52 trillion dollars. The current city of ‘Babylon’ for the world is New York. What are we doing with our vast wealth? If you read the Wall Street Journal regularly, it’s apparent that we don’t have enough wealth, we want more. Everyday I read about CEOs and the wealthy in this nation scheming to get more and more. Jesus spoke about money more than any other subject in His gospels. Do you wonder why? Ask yourself who the master of this nation truly is.

‘No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.’ (Mathew 6:24)

What does the Bible say about the pursuit of money and wealth? This sounds very familiar to what we read in our newspapers everyday. What does God say about the pursuit of these things? They are meaningless.

‘Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.’ (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

To me, nothing sums up our nation’s problems like this verse from 1 Timothy.

‘For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.’ (1 Timothy 6:10)

What has the love of money done to us? It has caused widespread corporate and governmental fraud and corruption. It drives our pride and arrogance. It causes us to covet our neighbor’s things (thus breaking the 10th Commandment). We simply never have enough. Why? Because we do not strive to lead humble lives seeking the Lord. Most of us are completely consumed by this world and the stuff in it. I should know, I was definitely on this path – always looking ahead to the next new house, car….whatever. Probably the biggest casualty of all of this is our families. The drive to have more money and things has separated us from our children and our spouses. Business trips, day care, endless meetings….all add up to much less time spent together as a family. God created the family for a reason. Guess who wants to destroy it?

Enough about all of this – you get the picture. The bottom line is that money itself is not evil. It’s the love of money that will get you in trouble time and again. The question you must ask yourself is this – do I view my money as mine all mine, to do with as I please or do you realize that the earth is God’s and everything in it. Do you view yourself as simply a steward of God’s money to provide for your family and to use to build His kingdom here? We all need to realize that it’s all His and there’s plenty to go around - no need to be selfish.

Would it be better to live a life of luxury apart from God and spend eternity in desolation or live a humble live in service to the Lord and spend eternity with Him, surrounded by His love and joy?

Jesus sums it up in Luke 18.

‘A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'" "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."’ (Luke 18:18-25)

The following are verses in Revelation 18 that I believe relate to what we’re going to see happen to the United States.

‘When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!’ (Revelation 18:9-10)

‘The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more….’ (Revelation 18:11)

“They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’ The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment… one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!’ (Revelation 18:14-17)

‘…every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, ‘Was there ever a city like this great city?’ They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: ‘Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin!’ (Revelation 18:17-19)

I believe that it is clear that the United States will fall from dominance both economically and militarily. It is also clear that this is going to happen in a very short period of time. ‘In one hour’ is mentioned repeatedly. As I mentioned earlier, I pray that our nation will turn back to God and seek His will for us after this is over.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Weather and God's Warnings

In 2004, 4 major hurricanes hit the state of Florida. The city of New Orleans was destroyed by a hurricane in 2005. Drought conditions seem to be worsening each year throughout the United States. Wildfires are increasing in regularity throughout the western U.S. Thunderstorms and tornadoes now develop well into November. In October and November 2005, tornadoes ripped across the Midwest causing extensive damage in Indiana and Kentucky. Summer heat waves are becoming the norm as global temperatures continue to rise. The last decade has been the hottest on record for the world. The following article appeared today, December 3, 2006, on the Reuters news wire:

“Flowers are blooming on the slopes of Alpine ski resorts and bears are having trouble hibernating in Siberia amid a late start to winter that may be a portent of global warming. Rare December pollen is troubling asthma sufferers as far north as Scandinavia, sales of winter clothing are down and Santa Claus has to reassure children his sleigh will take off on Christmas Eve, snow or no snow. From Siberia to Estonia, bears have had trouble going to sleep for their winter hibernation because their hideaways are uncomfortably warm, soggy and damp. Renowned for frosty winters, Moscow started the calendar winter on December 1 with the warmest December day since records began in 1879 -- 4.5 degrees Celsius (40.1 Fahrenheit). From Ottawa to Moscow, temperatures have been way above average at the start of the winter in the northern hemisphere -- with exceptions including a rare snowstorm in Dallas, Texas. Like many places, Austria has had the mildest autumn since records began and many ski resorts have delayed the season's start. Many scientists say a single warm winter is most likely part of the natural variations of an unpredictable climate. Still, years of mild temperatures fit predictions of global warming, widely blamed on human use of fossil fuels.”

I’ve seen a documentary showing how polar bear populations are declining in the northern Arctic due to thawing ice. Glaciers the world over are now receding at levels that are unprecedented in modern times. The strongest Hurricane ever recorded (Wilma) formed in 2005. Whether or not you believe in global warming, something is definitely changing within our world. If you’re like me, you get an uneasy feeling about what the future holds for us. What, exactly, is going on with our climate?

Have you noticed that as our world’s political climate seems less stable (terrorism, wars, etc), the world’s weather also seems less stable? The world will tell you that there is no way the two are related. Weather is weather, and people will be people. How can the weather be, in any way, related to the overall instability of the world? If you look at the world and our weather through natural, worldly eyes – you will never see a correlation. Look at the weather and the world through spiritual eyes – sight given to you through God’s power, and you begin to see a definite correlation. Once again, you must read the Lord’s Word and you must pray to receive true knowledge and wisdom. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about God’s warnings and what His Word says about weather during the last days.

Does the Bible tell us that God warns before judgment? Yes. The following is Chapter 4 from the Book of Amos.

‘Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, "Bring us some drinks!" The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his holiness: "The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks. You will each go straight out through breaks in the wall, and you will be cast out toward Harmon," declares the LORD. "Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years. Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings— boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do," declares the Sovereign LORD. ……"I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up. People staggered from town to town for water but did not get enough to drink, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD. "Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, I struck them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD.…..He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth— the LORD God Almighty is his name.’ (Amos Chapter 4)

This chapter begins with the Lord describing many of the women of Israel. They were rich, reveled in drunkenness and oppressed the poor. They were not living according to the Word and Laws of the Lord. They offered sacrifices to the Lord and occasionally gave tithes – and bragged about it. The Lord is telling us that these meant nothing to Him because they were living lives of sin, pride and arrogance. They took pleasure in sin and boasted about their religious devotion in front of men. They continued to sin against God even after numerous warnings from the Lord. After Israel was conquered, Assyrian pictures engraved on stone portray prisoners being led away with ropes tied to hooks in their nose or lips. The wealthy women of Israel’s capital were led away in judgment like cattle. These words ring true for us today. This chapter in Amos shows us that the Lord will use weather to warn a nation to return to Him. I believe that He is using it to warn the United States and I believe that He’s using it to tell the world that the end of this evil age is upon us.

In Mathew, Chapter 16, I believe that Jesus gives us a clue as to how to read the times in which we live:

‘The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.’ (Mathew 16:2-4)

Jesus is obviously speaking to the fact that the Pharisees could not see that He was the Son of God. Although they were good at predicting the weather, they could not interpret the times in which they lived. Because they were not close to God, they could not see where they were on God’s timetable and His plan for salvation. They were speaking directly to God and couldn’t see it. This certainly applies to us today. With all of our technological advances, we know more about the natural world than ever before, but we’re still blind to the times in which we live. I believe that the clue to us in this message is Christ’s mention of the weather to the Pharisees, His mention of a ‘miraculous sign’ and most importantly, His mention of Jonah. Many attribute Jesus’ reference to Jonah to mean that He would be crucified and resurrected on the 3rd day, in the same way that Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of a whale. This is certainly true, but I believe there is more to His reference to Jonah. Other than the three days that Jonah spent in the whale, what is another sign mentioned in this Book? A storm.

‘The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD. Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish." Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?" He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land." This terrified them and they asked, "What have you done?" (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.) The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, "What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?" "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he replied, "and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you." Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the LORD, "O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man's life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased." Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him. But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.’ (Jonah Chapter 1)

So, Jonah was running from the Lord (rebelling) and the Lord used a storm to turn him around. Meteorologists will tell you that the increasing number and strength of hurricanes in recent years is cyclical. The U.S. is simply experiencing a cyclical ‘upswing’ in the number of hurricanes hitting its shores. At the same time, we seem to be getting hit with an increasing number of wildfires, torrential rains, floods and severe thunderstorms (with devastating tornadoes) that now extend into November. At the same time that our weather is becoming more intense, we’re facing an enemy that we can’t fight effectively. The ‘war on terror’ has no end in sight. Our leaders tell us it may never end. The war in Iraq is getting worse with no end in sight. What about our economy? It seems that the stock market and our economy are going along just fine. Are they? How long can we sustain a 9 trillion dollar deficit before the bubble bursts? If you read the Old Testament, there is one thing that always seems to precede the Lord’s judgment – prosperity. So, at the same time as our weather seems to be getting more unstable, the world’s political landscape also seems to be much more unstable.

The story of Jonah also tells us that even though the Lord may pronounce judgment, a city or nation can repent and be spared His wrath. ‘The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.’ (Jonah 3:5). ‘When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened’ (Jonah 3:10). The question we need to ask is this – does our nation realize that it needs to repent and return to God? Is it asking for forgiveness? It doesn’t take much contemplation to realize that the answer to both questions is no.

How many times do we hear someone today asking for a sign from God? His signs are all around us, but you’ll never see them unless you believe in Jesus, pray for wisdom and come close to the Lord. God’s warnings are not limited to the political instability in our world. They extend to everything in the world, including our weather. I believe that both the stability of the nations in our world and our climate will continue to deteriorate as we near the end of this age.

Let’s take a look at some instances where I believe the U.S. has definitely been warned. John McTernan published a book in 2001 entitled God’s Final Warning to America. John has done extensive research into natural disasters, financial collapses and how they relate to how America has turned away from God. I am only going to list a few examples here from John’s book.

1. On Thursday, September 21, 1989, the Washington Post had a front-page article about Hurricane Hugo approaching the United States. The Hurricane was expected to make landfall on Friday (the next day). The Washington Post also had another front page article on September 21st relating to abortion. This article said that the Bush administration only had until Friday (the next day) to make oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the Hodgson vs. Minnesota case. The oral argument was for the possibility of overturning Roe vs. Wade. The oral argument was never made and Roe vs. Wade was not overturned. On Friday, September 22, 1989, Hurricane Hugo slammed into Charleston, South Carolina, causing tremendous damage to the city and the entire state.
2. On June 28, 1992, hundreds of thousands of homosexuals and their supporters attended national Gay Pride day parades across America. On the very morning of Gay Pride day, the fourth and ninth most powerful earthquakes this century in the U.S. hit southern California. These quakes were so powerful, their effects were felt as far away as Idaho. The Los Angeles Times actually reported that the marchers had to brave the earthquakes to get to the Gay Pride day parade.
3. During the late winter and early spring of 1993, heavy rains fell on the Midwest. The Mississippi and Missouri rivers rose and approached flood stage. By mid-June the rivers were at flood stage. On June 25, shipping was halted on the Mississippi river. As Gay Pride day, June 27, 1993, approached, the rains increased until USA Today reported: “Then the skies opened up on June 19-21 filling the tributaries; and on June 25-27, finally putting the rivers over their banks.” The Mississippi and Missouri rivers actually began flooding on the weekend of Gay Pride day. The Great Flood of 1993, the worst in American history, started on Gay Pride day. The flood resulted in over $15 billion in damage.
4. During September, 1994, Vice President Al Gore represented the United States at the World Population Control Conference in Cairo, Egypt. As expected, he promoted abortion as a method of birth control. Abortion was promoted as a universal right. On September 12, the next to the last day of the conference, a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake rocked southern California. This was the eleventh most powerful earthquake to hit the U.S. this century.
5. On May 20, 1996, the headlines of the New York Times read, “Worst drought since ‘30’s grips Plains”. The article reported how a powerful drought had gripped the Midwest and western sections of the country. The article pinpointed October 1995 as when the drought started. October 1995 was also designated as Gay/Lesbian History Month by the National Teachers Association. This association passed a resolution for every school district in the nation to observe October as Gay/Lesbian History Month.
6. On February 25, 1997, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to release $385 million overseas into 100 countries for “family planning”. Pro-life forces in the Senate tried to stop the release of the funds because some of the money could be used for abortion. The Clinton Administration backed this release of funds and pushed the date of release of the funds to March 1. On March 1, the legislation was signed into law, and the money released. On the very next day, powerful tornadoes roared across Texas into Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. The storm stalled over Ohio, and torrential rains caused record flooding on the Ohio River.

I have mentioned Homosexuality a couple of times. Does this mean that God hates homosexuals? No. He hates the sin of homosexuality. In the same way that He hates the sin of pride, worship of wealth or the killing of the unborn. Jesus will forgive anyone if they will turn away from their sin and embrace Him. John McTernan mentions many other examples where severe weather and/or economic events coincided with our acceptance of abortion and homosexual activities. All of this doesn’t mean that if your house is hit by a tornado, you have somehow offended God. We live in a fallen world and Jesus made it clear that tribulations will happen to both believers and unbelievers. The difference is whether we have built our lives on Him and how we respond to these tribulations. I do believe, however, that God is making it clear that our support of abortion and our open acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle are unacceptable to Him. How long will we receive warnings before they turn into His judgment? Only He knows. I feel very strongly that we have passed the point of no return. I believe that the Lord has now determined that the only way to remove the sin from our nation is through judgment.

So, the final piece of this is – does Bible prophecy mention weather in our future? The answer is yes. One of God’s final judgments on the world speaks of the weather. ‘The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him’ (Revelation 16:8-9). It sounds like things are going to get very hot on this planet. We see the trends today, but where does it end? We can debate the causes in our natural world (greenhouse gases, fossil fuels, etc) for the increase in global temperature, but the truth is that this world is heading for a period of time where it is going to be very unpleasant – both from wars and from the weather. As the world turns farther away from God, our spiritual enemy will continue to increase his influence. Each of us much choose whether to fight our enemy and proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ or sit on the sidelines and watch the world’s decline from the sidelines.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Roman Catholic Doctrine vs The Bible Part 1

Before we begin a study of Revelation 17 and 18, I feel that it’s necessary to spend some time discussing specific reasons why I, Steve Wohlberg and others believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the antichrist and the ‘beast out of the sea’ of Revelation 13. We’ve talked about the atrocities committed by the papal system throughout the middle ages, but what is the Roman Catholic Church teaching today that would lead us to believe that they will continue to oppose God? As I’ve stated before, I have no personal agenda against individual Catholics. God loves each one of us and each of us will be individually judged by Him. I have been led to write about the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church for one reason – after much prayer and research, it is clear to me that the papal system is deceiving us. Many of their doctrines are not biblical. If they’re not biblical, where do they come from? These doctrines were created by men, not God. If they were created by God, then you and I would find them in God’s Word, the Holy Bible. What has also been astonishing to me is how deceptively these Catholic doctrines lead people away from a direct relationship with Jesus Christ. How is this possible you ask? How can a church that claims to guide people to Christ actually be leading them away from Him? These are the questions we’re about to answer. As I’ve mentioned before, whether you are a Catholic or not, whether you are now a born again Christian or not, you must put away pre-conceived notions of what you may have been told in the past and open your mind to the truth. You must pray to our Father in heaven about these things and ask him for true wisdom. It took me some time to understand what is happening in the world and the world’s deception. At first, I didn’t want to believe any of it. I didn’t want to believe how deceived the world truly is….but I kept praying for wisdom and understanding and faith. As a result, I now know what is happening in the world and why and most importantly, I now know who our true enemy is. Our enemy is not walking around on this planet scheming against us, he is a spiritual being who is using non-believers of Jesus Christ against us. You and I cannot take on Satan by ourselves. We must follow God’s plan for us to fight the enemy. We fight with spiritual weapons, not the weapons of this world. One of these weapons is Truth. God is going to give you a little more truth today. This is part of God’s plan for me – to show others the truth of what our enemy is doing.

Let’s start with a major change that the Roman Catholic Church has made to God’s Word. We have discussed this previously, but it is of the utmost importance, so we’re going to spend some more time discussing it. Remember what the Lord tells us in Daniel 7:25, ‘And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws…’ Daniel tells us that this ‘little horn’ will change times and laws. Let’s first look at what laws have been changed.

The following are the original Ten Commandments taken from Exodus Chapter 20 (KJV):

1. I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Now, let’s take a look at the Ten Commandments according to the Roman Catholic Church:

1. I, the LORD, am your God...You shall not have other gods besides me.
2. You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house.

Do you see what has been changed? The Lord’s second commandment has been removed and the tenth commandment has been split into two commandments. What is the second commandment? ‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…’ (Exodus 20:4). Why would the Roman Church remove the second commandment? If you walk into any Catholic church, I believe you’ll see why. I recently participated in a blood drive that was setup in a Catholic Church. I saw tall, prominent statues of the virgin Mary and dead saints. I’ve seen pictures of Popes bowing and praying in front of statues of Mary. Is this biblical? Should we pray to anyone besides God? Absolutely not. I believe that the second commandment was removed because the Roman Catholic Church is violating it. What better way to hide the truth than to simply remove it from your teachings. The Catholic Bible has even removed this commandment. I would not want to try and explain to God on the day of judgment why I changed His laws.

Something else that bothered me when I was inside the Catholic Church is the Crucifix that is used by the Roman Church. It is a cross with Christ being crucified on it. Is this actually Christ on the cross? Of course not. What is it then? It is an image of Christ on the cross. This is also forbidden by the second commandment. It was also hard to ignore that the statues of Mary and the Saints were tall and imposing figures. Christ is depicted on the cross in a humiliating posture. Yes, Christ was humiliated and yes, He was crucified. But when he spoke, ‘It is finished!’….His ultimate sacrifice was over. ‘When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit’ (John 19:30). Is Jesus still hanging on the cross in a humiliating manner? No! He sits at the right hand of God Almighty with all Power and Authority. ‘”But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God”’ (Luke 22:69). So, why would Jesus be depicted in this manner? Why would Mary and the Saints be depicted in such powerful images while Jesus is shown in a humiliating manner? The Bible is clear on this topic – no images.

Let’s continue by taking a closer look at other Roman Catholic Doctrines. The source for these doctrines is the Roman Church itself – the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This was written to summarize the basic teachings of the Roman Church and was approved by Pope John Paul II in 1992.

First, let’s look at the Roman Church’s teachings on the virgin Mary. The Roman church teaches the doctrine of Immaculate Conception. This doctrine states that the virgin Mary was preserved of all stain of original sin from her conception (Catechism, 490-492). What did Mary say in the Bible? ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour’ (Luke 1:46-47). So, Mary was fully aware that she needed a savior. The church also states that Mary, the “All-Holy”, lived a perfectly, sinless life (Catechism 411, 493). What does the Bible say? ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).‘As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one”’ (Romans 3:10). The Bible is clear – Jesus is the only person referred to in the Scriptures as sinless. ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin’ (Hebrews 4:15).

The Roman Church also teaches that Mary was a virgin before, during and after the birth of Christ (Catechism 496-511). The Bible tells us something different. ‘Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us?’ (Mathew 13:54-56). The Bible even tell us the names of Jesus’ brothers. Other Scriptures that refer to Jesus’ brothers are Mathew 12:46, John 2:12; John 7:3; Acts 1:14; and Galatians 1:19.

This church teaches that because she is the mother of Jesus, and Jesus is God, therefore Mary is the Mother of God. (Catechism 963, 971, 2677). The Bible tells us that Mary was the mother of Jesus the man, not the mother of Jesus as God. According to the Bible, the world was created by Jesus, long before Mary was born. ‘For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist’ (Colossians 1:16-17). Jesus existed before ALL things on earth, including Mary.

According to Roman Catholics, Mary is the mother of the church (Catechism 963, 975). In Acts 1:13-14, we are told that a group of people (including some disciples and Mary) are praying together. Mary is not given any special importance. ‘When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers’ (Acts 1:13-14). It is notable that even though John took Mary into his home after Jesus was crucified, he mentioned Mary Magdalene more often in his writings than Jesus’ mother.

According to the Roman Church, Mary is the co-mediator to whom we can entrust all of our cares and petitions (Catechism 968-970, 2677). According to the Bible, there is only one mediator and He is Jesus Christ. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus: Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Simply stated, Jesus does not need Mary’s help to mediate for us. There are other unbiblical Catholic doctrines related to Mary, I will stop here and leave it up to you to research the rest. I have used the website in researching some of this material and encourage you to continue to research on your own.

I’ll end this posting with words written by Mary Ann Collins. Mary Ann is a former Catholic Nun who now has her own website (

‘Catholic theologians speak of three degrees of homage, which have Latin words. "Latria" is the kind of worship which is due to God alone. "Dulia" is appropriate for honoring the saints. "Hyperdulia" is appropriate for honoring Mary. It is higher than "dulia" but not "latria". Therefore, Catholic theologians say that Catholics do not worship Mary.However, in the practical, down-to-earth, real world, these theological distinctions don't work. Most Catholics have never heard of these words. Of those who have, how many know how to apply them in practical ways? Catholics are not told how to engage in "hyperdulia" without crossing a line that results in actually practicing "latria" towards Mary without realizing it.When asked about praying to Mary and the saints, I always used to say that actually I was just asking them to pray for me, like I would ask a friend. Well, that is not really accurate, because when I talk to my friends I am not talking to people who have died. Also, I just ask them directly for what I want. I would never begin talking to my friends by saying something like: "Hail holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve."I personally participated in many kinds of Marian devotions. ("Marian" means something relating to the Virgin Mary.) I prayed the Rosary, which uses beads to keep track of the prayers. There are ten "Hail Mary's" for every "Our Father" (the Lord's Prayer). The words of the Hail Mary are: "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death." I wore the Brown Scapular (two pieces of cloth attached with strings, worn in honor of Mary). I also wore the Miraculous Medal. Both the Brown Scapular and the Miraculous Medal resulted from apparitions of Mary. There are special prayers associated with them. The apparitions of Mary promised to help people who were faithful to these devotions. I went to special services where we recited litanies (a series of titles honoring Mary), prayed to her, and sang songs in her honor, or else recited the words of the songs. I participated in a procession where people carried a statue of Mary, and we all followed it, singing songs in her honor. I visited several Marian shrines. I read books about apparitions of Mary, and dreamed of some day going to Lourdes.I did not realize that what I was doing was actually a form of worship. I thought that it was pleasing to God. I thought that Jesus wanted us to honor His mother in this way. Copyright 2001 by Mary Ann Collins. All rights reserved.’

Monday, September 25, 2006

Roman Catholic Doctrine vs The Bible Part 2

In the previous posting we looked at how the Roman Catholic Church has made changes to the Lord’s Commandments and how Mary is viewed in an unbiblical manner. In this posting we’re going to look at other Catholic doctrines that have no basis in the Bible. As I’ve mentioned before, this is not a personal attack on Catholics – it is simply a comparison of Catholic doctrine to the Bible. This applies to all forms of religion – if you believe something about God and His ways that are not mentioned in His Word, then you are following man-made religious traditions – plain and simple. Keep in mind Isaiah 29:13-14: "The Lord says: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish." Since we are living in the last days, it is of the utmost importance that we all take a step back and truly look at what we believe and why we believe it. Do we believe because we are following God’s Word and coming closer to Him or are we simply following religious doctrine that people have told us is correct without checking it against the Lord’s Word ourselves? Our spiritual enemy is deceiving billions of people around the world – don’t be one of them. If you know about Jesus Christ and our Father in heaven, but don’t know them – now is the time to come home. Are you following God’s plan for your life or are you going your own way? Do you seek God’s guidance on the decisions in your life or do you make decisions and then pray about the results later on? If you know God, then you are communicating with Him everyday. You ask Him for guidance, wisdom and knowledge and He answers. Most of all, you know that the Lord is watching over you and you know that He loves you – more than you’ll ever be able to comprehend. You are truly set free from this world – regardless of what happens in it.

The following Catholic doctrines have no basis or mention in the Bible. As such, they are nothing more than religious traditions created by men. God has had no part in these things nor does He approve of such things. If He did, then we would read about them in His Word. If you want to read about what God thinks about man-made religious traditions and rituals, spend some time reading what Jesus had to say to the Pharisees of His day. Throughout His gospels, He consistently rebuked them. They were masters at memorizing and adhering to religious rituals and customs, but they did not know God. Some of them were so far from God that they did not even live according to the words they preached. ‘Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy’ (Luke 12:1). Jesus made it very clear that true believers are concerned with relationship, not rituals. Time and again Jesus made it clear that it is a man’s heart that the Lord desires, not his traditions or rituals. I have heard from many people (friends included) who told me that if Jesus were alive today and asked them to give up everything to follow Him, they would do so. The truth is that Jesus is alive today and His words to Peter and Andrew call out to us from two thousand years ago. ‘As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him’ (Mathew 4:18-20). Will we drop our nets and follow Jesus? Are we willing to give up everything to follow Him? Ultimately, this is the question we all must ask ourselves. If you begin to wonder what others will say if you do, keep this verse in mind: ‘Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ’ (Galatians 1:10). Paul makes it clear – if you are trying to please men, you are not serving Jesus Christ. We must overcome this world and its pressures. Pressure that draws us away from Jesus Christ and His plan for us. Do you think Peter and Andrew had friends and relatives working alongside them? Do you think that a few words were probably said to them that ridiculed their decision? In an instant, they heard the call of God and immediately left their nice, safe profession to follow Christ. Jesus saw their hearts and called to them. They responded. We must do the same today.

Let’s take a brief look at some of the current Catholic doctrines that have no basis in the Bible. I encourage each of you, Catholic or not, to research these things on your own. Most importantly, you must pray to God for wisdom and the truth. Remember, each of us will be judged individually by God. We cannot say at that time that we were misled by our church. We have the Lord’s Word to guide us and correct us.

Here are four of the more prominent doctrines that contradict the Bible:

1. The Rosary – The Rosary, in its current form, was created in 1214 A.D. It was supposedly given to St. Dominic by Mary in a vision. It is a Catholic ritual with no Biblical basis. In addition to the fact that Mary cannot hear our prayers (being a human being as we are), this ritual directly contradicts what Jesus tells us in Mathew 6:6-7 ‘But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.’ In order to pray the Rosary, Catholics are taught to first make the sign of the cross (you will not find this ritual in the Bible) and then recite the Apostles’ Creed. The Apostles’ Creed was not written by the Apostles. It was created sometime around the 5th century A.D. While I believe it is fine to use this creed to tell others about your faith, I don’t believe it should be used in prayers. Why? It’s repetitious as described in Mathew 6:7. Merely saying repetitive words is not how the Bible teaches us to pray. The next prayer of the Rosary is the ‘Our Father’ or Lord’s Prayer. This is the prayer Jesus taught us in Mathew 6:9-13. Jesus taught us this prayer, so it is certainly fine to pray this to our Father in heaven. The question is - should we pray this while clutching rosary beads which are not biblical? By doing so, the Lord ’s Prayer (biblical) is being incorporated into something decidedly unbiblical. Does the Bible say it’s fine to incorporate into our worship something that is biblical with something unbiblical? No. We are warned time and again to stay true to God’s word….completely true. 'Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.' (Ezekiel 22:26) The next prayer of the Rosary is the ‘Hail Mary’. Here are the words: ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.’ Based on Scripture, should we pray to Mary? No. Is Mary the mother of God? No. Can Mary pray for us now or at the time of our death? No. If you believe that you’re not actually praying to Mary, but simply asking Mary to pray with you – are we supposed to try and communicate with the dead according to Scripture? No. According to Scripture, Mary was honored by God to be the human mother of Jesus the man, but nothing more. The next prayer of the Rosary is the ‘Glory Be’. Like the Lord ’s Prayer, there is nothing wrong with the words to this prayer – as long as you pray them from your heart to our Father and are not simply saying these words simply because you’ve been told to do so. After the prayers of the Rosary are finished, the following is recited: ‘Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.’ Is Mary a queen? No. Is Mary our hope? No. We place our hope in Jesus Christ and our Father in heaven: ‘May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope….’ (2 Thessalonians 2:16). Mary cannot pray for us or mediate for us. We pray to God and Jesus Christ is our only mediator. ‘For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Timothy 2:5). We violate the first Commandment if we pray to anyone or anything other than God. ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20:3). We don’t talk through prayer. If you pray to someone or something, you are saying this person or thing is a god worthy of prayer. Only God is worthy of our prayers. The final piece of this is the beads used in praying the Rosary. Are beads mentioned anywhere in Scripture? No. Where did this practice of using beads in prayer originate? It was, and still is, a tallying device known in Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. The transfer of the name rosary from prayer form to the physical object took place sometime around the 16th century. Regardless of the history, these beads are simply a tallying device used to count the number of prayers recited – prayers that are continually repeated which contradict Mathew 6:7. If the Bible never mentions the counting of our prayers with beads (or anything else), why should we believe that this is acceptable to God?

2. Confession – Catholic doctrine tells us that Roman Catholic priests have the power to pardon sins based on what Jesus told His disciples before His ascension in John 20:23 ‘If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” They believe that Jesus granted his apostles the power to pardon sin and this power was then passed down to their successors – the Catholic Church. This interpretation of John 20:23 cannot be true since God alone can pardon our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. It is a difficult verse to interpret, nonetheless, the Catholic interpretation of it directly contradicts other verses within the Bible. We should only ask God, through prayer, to forgive our sins as stated in Psalm 103:2-3; Psalm 130:3-4; Isaiah 43:25; Micah 7:18; Acts 8:22; Mathew 9:2; Mathew 9:6. This verse (John 20:23) most likely relates to Ephesians 4:32 ‘And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you’ and Mathew 6:14-15 ‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins’. We should forgive those that commit sins against us. We do not have the power or authority to pardon another’s sins against God – God alone has this authority. You will not find one example in the New Testament of Christ’s apostles themselves forgiving anyone’s sins. They simply spoke of the need to repent of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. ‘Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2:37-38).

3. Purgatory – According to page 291 of the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church: ‘All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation, but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.’ Is there a Purgatory or a place where we will go to ‘undergo purification’? According to Scripture, the answer is no. There is no mention of a Purgatory in either the Old or New Testament. After we die in this world, the Bible speaks of only two places – those who know Jesus Christ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, those who do not know Jesus Christ will enter Hell for eternity. A few of the verses that speak of our entry into Heaven: Mathew 5:20; Mathew 7:21; Mathew 18:3; Mathew 19:23; Mathew 23:13; Hebrews 9:24-25. A few verses that speak of Hell: Mathew 5:22; Mathew 5:29; Mathew 10:28; Mathew 23:15; Mathew 23:33; 2 Peter 2:4.

4. Transubstantiation – Pope Innocent III declared the doctrine of transubstantiation in 1215 A.D. This doctrine states that Roman Catholic Priests have the power to change the wafer into the body of Jesus Christ for all Catholics to receive as communion. In 1220 A.D. Pope Honorius sanctioned the adoration of the wafer as doctrine. Essentially, the Roman Catholic Church is saying that it has the power to change bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ. They believe that the host (Eucharist) is the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and worthy of worship and adoration. Does the Bible say that we are given this power? No. If you are a Catholic, you may say that you don’t really believe this, that you are taking Communion as any Protestant would do. This is not the official doctrine of the Catholic church: "If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist (communion wafer) are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ, but says that He is in it only as a sign, or figure or force, let him be anathema." (An exhausted definition of "Anathema" = to be damned and put to death) p.79, Canon 1. You are probably thinking that this is very strong language from the Catholic Church and would never be put into practice….but you’d be wrong. This church put to death millions during the Dark Ages of Europe and has never asked for forgiveness (This has been documented by both Catholic and non-Catholic historians – I urge you to spend some time researching this topic. If you doubt this, why would various written decrees of the Catholic Church punish heresy with death?). Would Jesus Christ ever force someone to take Communion? Never. God does not force us to do anything. We must willingly accept His offer of Salvation. Remember, all of the Roman Catholic doctrine that allowed the church to persecute people in the Middle Ages still exists today: "The church may by Divine right confiscate the property of heretics, imprison their persons, and condemn them to the flames." (Vatican II). ‘Divine right’? Does this sound at all Biblical? Can you imagine Jesus Christ saying something like this? Absolutely not. The reason is that this doctrine is not coming from Jesus Christ.

Obviously, I’ve only touched on this subject. The purpose of this posting is not to attack anyone, but to show how Catholic doctrine contradicts God’s Word. If a doctrine doesn’t exist in God’s Holy Word, it doesn’t matter who says it’s from God – a pope, a priest, a pastor – it’s not from God. The Lord gave us His Word so that we would know the truth. Always remember that our spiritual enemy is highly intelligent and very deceiving. God gave us His Word so that we would be able to detect deceptions and correct those that have gone astray. Paul even corrected Peter at one point. ‘When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong’ (Galatians 2:11).

Why have I been led to write about the doctrines of the Catholic Church? It’s a good question. I believe that the Lord is revealing the truth to us. The world is presently full of deception and it’s getting worse. We’re nearing the end of this age when things are rapidly going to deteriorate. We’re going to face the ‘beasts’ of Revelation 13 and the Mark. We’re going to face our spiritual enemy at every turn. His tentacles are spreading into a worldwide political and religious system that will oppose God and His saints. It is imperative that we are all prepared. As for the papal system, it goes even deeper. Why? Because I firmly believe that the Roman Catholic Church faces the Lord’s judgment for its unbiblical doctrines. I believe that this is revealed to us in Revelation 17 and 18. In the next few postings we’re going to study Revelation 17 & 18 and how they relate to Revelation 13 and the Roman Catholic Church. Always remember, the Lord wants you to know Him. He desires your heart, not your religion. If you want to learn more about the history of the Catholic Church and its beliefs, I highly recommend you visit Mary Ann Collins' website . Mary Ann is a former Catholic Nun who is now a Protestant. She does a great job of clearly explaining Catholic doctrine and why she left the church.