Christian Holidays Pagan?

We Christians have some significant holidays celebrating Christ, but do they? Have you ever researched what Christian holidays are really about or their origin? Are Christian Holidays Pagan? This article has the results of some staggering findings.

Who are Pagans?

Pagan or paganism is a derivative from the Late Latin paganus that was used to name those who practiced a religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Initially, Christians frequently used the expression to refer to non-Christians who worshiped multiple deities.

The Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines a pagan as “A follower of a false god or a heathen religion; one who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods.”

 Therefore, Pagans were ungodly people, heathens that God warned His people to stay away from them and their sinful practices. Deut 18:9-10 reads, “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.” NIV

This warning is one of several handed down to Israel regarding imitating the ways of the pagans.  

What is the Origin of Paganism?

The origins of paganism go all the way back to the book of Genesis and a man named Nimrod (Gen 10:8-10), Noah’s grandson, who was a mighty hunter and built a great kingdom consisting of the great city Babylon among others.  He moved away from God, declared himself as the religious leader of the citizens, and formed his own philosophies and religions. After his death, his wife vowed that he was the “Sun god” and led the people to worship the Sun. As the people dispersed and resettled, this practice, among other idolatrous acts, was carried around the world that eventually became predominately controlled by Rome.

This eventuation subsequently led to a change in the day of worship, the Sabbath, from Saturday to Sunday.

This occurred under the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, who decreed Christianity as the principal religion of Rome. However, there were many in the Roman Empire that practiced Babylonian customs. To keep peace and maintain unity, Constantine issued the first civil Sunday law, necessitating all the Roman Empire citizens, except farmers, to rest on Sunday.

Therefore, for starters, even the day when most of the world worships is pagan based.

 For more details, see the article, The History of the Holy Roman Empire, on this website.

Changing the day of worship is only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

Christian Holidays, Pagan OriginsChristian Holildays Pagan? -

Christmas – After the death of Nimrod, his wife Semiramis became pregnant. She declared that her late husband, now worshipped as “the Sun,” impregnated her with the rays of the Sun, and the resulting son, whom she named Tammuz, was born on the Winter solstice (the onset of winter). Tammuz was ultimately revered as the reincarnation of the sun god “Nimrod,” and his birthday became acknowledged and celebrated up to presently, on December 25th. So, whose birth do we really celebrate on December 25th?

God Judged Israel harshly for this idolatrous activity. Let’s take a look at Ezek 8:12-17

12 He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land.'” 13 Again, he said, “You will see them doing things that are even more detestable.”  

14 Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz. 15 He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.”  

16 He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east

17 He said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the house of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually provoke me to anger? Look at them putting the branch to their nose! 18 Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.” NIV

In this 8th chapter, Ezekiel reveals what the Lord showed him in a vision regarding the sins and transgressions of Israel. God revealed to Ezekiel the degree to which the people had embraced idolatry and wickedness in setting after setting.

Verse 14 mentions Tammuz. At this point, he was worshipped as the god of fertility, and the women were weeping for him when he died. Mind you that this was at the gate of the temple!

Christian Holidays Pagan? - Tammuz
Before the cross was a symbol for Christianity, it was a Babylonian symbol for fertility.

In verse 16, we see that the men turned their backs to the temple and worshipped the sun. They turned their backs on God to worship the sun!

In   verse 17, we see that God did not see this as a “trival matter” and called them “detestable.”

In verse 18, we see that God did deal with them harshly. Will He not do the same with us?

We should consider this when we worship on Sunday and celebrate December 25th—who and what are we worshipping, and whose birthday are we celebrating?

New Year’s Day – New Year’s Day was a central date for the Romans, but the most notable fact is that initially, the Roman year did not start on January 1st but in March.

This state of affairs was because March was the month devoted to Mars, who was the Roman god of war, who was believed to be the divine father of Romulus, the founder of Rome. Because of unusual conditions during wartime, in 153 BC, the consul Quintus Fulvius Nobilior changed New Year’s Day to January 1st for the first time in history.

However, Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, with his Julian calendar, permanently instituted the holiday on January 1st. The beginning of the year was devoted to a very unusual Roman god: Janus. According to mythology, Janus was the two-faced god of doors (his name Janus comes from ianua, “door” in Latin), beginnings, and passages: that is why the first month of the year, January, was named after him.

On New Year’s Day, the Romans marched in a procession to the top of the Capitoline Hill, where the priests would sacrifice a white bull to ask protection from the gods for the new year. In addition, the high priest, the Pontifex Maximus, would offer Janus a pie made of flour, cereals, cheese, eggs, and olive oil to appeal to the god’s benevolence.

The citizens would subsequently celebrate by feasting together and wearing something red, which desired to result in good luck, health, and fertility.

Easter – Easter is an irregular Christian holiday, which does not fall on a specific date as all the other festivities. Instead, it is based on the moon’s cycle: it falls on the first Spring Sunday after the new moon. The Jewish root of the Christian Easter Holiday is widely known: the Christian festivity is connected to the holiday of Passover, which has its foundation in the exodus of the Jews from Egypt.

However, many traditions connected with Easter show entirely different (and pagan) origins: actually, the word “Easter” itself derives from the name of Eostre, the Germanic goddess of spring. The celebrated Easter Eggs and the Easter bunny, which is supposed to deliver candies to the kids, were initially connected with Eostre as symbols of rebirth and fertility.

Christian Holidays Pagan? - Easter goddess Ostara
Easter goddess Eostre Ostara

The Romans had a spring holiday around March 15th dedicated to Anna Perenna, a relatively little-known goddess that was variously identified with the moon or some Etruscan mother goddess.

More importantly, she was a goddess of the circle of the year since her holiday would fall right on the first day of the year, according to the original Roman calendar. It was traditional to celebrate with meals among family and friends, especially in the woods sacred to Anna Perenna.

On this opportunity, the Romans would consume a lot of wine given that it was held that each cup would extend their life by one full year. This activity was a traditional way of honoring the goddess since she was also connected with the idea of fertility and rebirth, which was for couples to make love by the river.

 Halloween – It is well-known that Halloween traditions originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Still, the Romans had a version that was very similar and perhaps even stranger.

Presently, there is only one day dedicated to the memory of the dead in the US, on October 31st, while the Romans had numerous occasions to reconnect with their passed loved ones during the year. In February, the week from the 13th to the 22nd was wholly devoted to visiting the dead, taking food offers to the graves (this particular ceremony took the name of Feralia, from fero, to bring) or even eating lunch by the grave, to keep the deceased good company.

Furthermore, it was traditional for the Romans to leave behind black beans on the graves to represent their tears.

In addition, the Romans believed that in order to be at peace, the dead desired to visit the world of the living now and then. On some days, they would open the entrance of the Mundus, a bottomless pit that was believed to be the entrance to the underworld, to allow the dead to access the world of the living.

Epiphany or Three Kings Day – Every January 6th, many Christian Churches observe the holiday of Epiphany, memorializing when the Magi Kings visited the Baby Jesus, or, according to Eastern tradition, the day Jesus was baptized.

Christian Holidays Pagan? - Three Kings Day the Epiphany
Three Kings Day

The ceremonies associated with this festivity vary from country to country and entail traditional cakes, such as the Three Kings Cake, chalking the house doors with the initials of the Magi Kings, or just attending mass.

In Italy, Epiphany is very popular, particularly among children, as it is associated with a unique character of Italian folklore: the Befana. The Befana, whose name is an altered form of the word Epifania, is a little old witchy lady who lives in the mountains. The night before the holiday, she flies on a broom and delivers little gifts, mostly candies, to the good kids: the naughty kids, instead, only receive coal, although presently, the coal is made of sugar.

In reality, according to Italian tradition, she was the woman who directed the Magi kings in the correct direction to Bethlehem. However, a look back to Roman times reveals some traditions explaining where the Befana originated.

The Romans believed that during the twelve nights that followed the winter solstice, the moon goddess Diana, escorted by two obscure deities, Satia and Abundantia, who were the representations of satiety and abundance respectively, used to fly over the fields, to make them fertile.

Moreover, the year itself was observed as an old lady, possibly representing Mother Nature itself. Before dying, she would continue to make the last gift of seeds and food to the people to promise that she would be born again in spring.

She would also deliver coal, but not as a punishment for the naughty kids, instead as a symbol of warmth.

Saint John’s Eve – Saint John the Baptist maintains a few exciting records among the saints. He is the most represented saint in all the history of religious art, and he is also the only saint celebrated on his birth date rather than his death date.

He is indeed an extraordinary saint, as he prepared the way for Jesus, who was also his cousin. Just as it happened for Jesus, Saint John’s feast took place on a Solstice: as the birth of Jesus on December 25th marks the rebirth of the Sun, so the birthday of John on June 24th marks the beginning of the diminishing sun.

Saint John’s Eve is one of the most ancient Christian holidays that Christians have been celebrating on this date since the 4th century. Every country has its way of celebrating Saint John. Still, some recurring elements, such as traditional homemade dishes, such as the Irish “Goody,” bonfires, or herbs, like the so-called St. John’s Wort, are supposed to be collected on Saint John’s Eve to keep evil spirits away.

But guess what did the Romans do on that very same date. On the night of June 24th, the Romans would congregate around bonfires in the countryside and dance, feast, and drink all night long in honor of Fortuna, the goddess of luck.

She was a very well-liked goddess, especially among the poor, who would continually aim to please her with offers or sacrifices, hopeful to get at least a change of luck: but Fortuna was a tricky goddess, tough to please.

These are significant festivities and holidays based upon pagan, Babylonian practices that became Roman traditions that we still celebrate today.

It behooves us to examine what we are actually celebrating against what we are supposed to be celebrating; do we celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th or the reincarnated sun god, Tammuz? Do we celebrate St. John the Baptist on June 24th or Fortuna, the goddess of luck? Do we really know what we are celebrating on Halloween?

When we worship on Sunday, are we honoring God as He commanded (Exodus 20:8-11), or are we worshipping the Sun?

Are we guilty of what Jesus accused the Pharisees of: “They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'” Matt 15:9 NIV  Are we worshipping in vain?

Also, Matt 15:3: Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Sunday worship is a tradition of men.

My friends, let us not be deceived, as the enemy is crafty and we can worship the beast without realizing it, and we are warned in the Scriptures: Rev 14:9-11 reads:

9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

 Please read on this website 666 Mark of the Beast for more details.

I welcome any questions, comments, or concerns below. You will receive a response.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

What is Biblical Love?

I have often said, the two most abused words in the English language are friend and love. Love, for example, is a word we toss around indiscriminately; I love – seafood, fast cars, sports, ice cream, the spring, etc. So, when we tell someone that we love them, what does that really mean? To be clear, there are different definitions of love. There are secular definitions, and there are Biblical definitions. This article will answer the question, what is Biblical love?

What is Love?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, love is (1) a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.” (2)
“attraction that includes sexual desire
: the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship.” (3) “A person you love in a romantic way.”

These are secular definitions for love. They are based on feelings and emotions and can change. With this love, you can love somebody this week and not love them the following week. This type of love is the leading cause of the high rates of divorce.

What is Biblical Love?

Biblical love is different from secular love. Biblical love is a love that is sacrificial.

According to the Nelsons Bible Dictionary, love is “The high esteem which God has for His human children and the high regard which they, in turn, should have for Him and other people.”

In the New Testament, one of the Greek words translated as love is agapao (ag-ap-ah’-o). This definition is the love that is defined above. It is unconditional love. It is not based on feelings alone but is broader, embracing mainly the judgment and the deliberate consent of the will as a matter of principle, duty, and moral decency.

To love with agapao love is to love no matter what they say or do. This is the love God has for us.

Let’s look at some Scriptures to confirm this: 1 John 4:8-9

8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” NIV

“God is love” love isn’t just one of God’s characteristics. Instead, love is God’s very essence. It is not simply one of God’s many activities; rather, all of his activities are instilled with love. For example, when He teaches or disciplines, He does so with love. On the other hand, because he loves, He teaches and disciplines. Since He is love, he can do nothing without love.

Therefore, an individual who does not love others has never known God.

1 John 4:10What is Biblical Love - 1 John 4:8

10 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” NIV

What we see here is God initiated the love relationship; individuals had nothing to do with it. After all, all humans were utterly dead to God — dead in sins and trespasses (Eph 2:1). But God loved us even though we were wholly undeserving of his love.

John continued, he loved us so much that he sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. The ultimate materialization of God’s love was established by sending his Son to die to take away the sins of all who believe. With the removal of sin, God removed the obstacle between Him and his people (Rom 5:1-2; Eph 2:18) so that He could live in His people and they could live in Him.

Rom 5:7-8

 8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” NIV

The point: This is agape love demonstrated:” While we were still sinners,” despite our sinful, rebellious condition, God showed His love for us.

How do we Love God?

Again, the answer is in the Scriptures, John 14:15

15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  

We love Jesus by keeping His commandments.

What is Biblical Love - John 14:15
We show our love to God by obeying His Commandments

To love Jesus is not a matter of emotions. Although it involves emotions, it is not based upon emotions or feelings: feeling good today and loving Jesus, and not feeling good tomorrow and not loving Jesus. Loving Jesus is not a wavering experience, nor is it an up and down emotion. It is not a demonstrative love that fluctuates with feelings.

To love Jesus is not simply based on reason or intellectual commitment. Although it does involve the mind, it is not merely deciding that Jesus is the Son of God and adopting His teachings and morality as one’s standard in life. Nor is it not solely an individual living by His teachings and doing the best they can. It is not a matter of the mind alone and not a matter of disciplining one’s life to keep the law and its rules and regulations.
Nevertheless, to love Jesus is a matter of the heart and the spirit: an issue of an individual’s most vital part, an individual’s innermost being, all that they are. The heart is the core of an individual’s affection and will (devotion). The heart fastens and focuses our affection, will, and commitment to an object or a person. The core causes a man to will to give himself either to good or bad. To love Jesus means that an individual will focus their heart, affection, and will (devotion) upon God by giving and receiving the love of God. To receive Jesus is receiving the love of God. It means that an individual gives his affection and will (devotion) and all he is and has to Jesus Christ.

To love God this way is the greatest commandment. Matt 22:37-38

37 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the first and greatest commandment.” NIV

It is crucial to note that loving Jesus is loving God and is received by God. John 14:21 reads:

21 “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” NIV

Jesus said: “He who loves me will be loved by my Father.” When we love Jesus by obeying His commands, He will love us, and God the Father will receive us and love us as well. Therefore, by loving Jesus, we are loving God.

In summary, Jesus stated that his disciples-followers show their love for him by obeying him. Love is more than just charming words and emotional feelings; it is commitment and conduct. If we truly love Christ, we must demonstrate it by complying with what he says in his Word.

Practicing Biblical Love

We have seen what the greatest commandment is in Matthew 22:37&38;. Let’s look at the second greatest commandment in Matt 22:39-40

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” NIV

Biblical Love - Matthew 22-39
This is the message of the entire Bible! [Romans 13:8-9]
Over and above the law, Jesus stated in 22:37-38 a second and similarly important law. This second law concentrates on horizontal relationships; dealings with fellow human beings. An individual cannot maintain a decent vertical relationship with God, a loving God, without caring for their neighbor. For this second law, Jesus quoted Lev 19:18: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The word “neighbor” is in reference to fellow human beings in general. The same love individuals have for themselves should be continued, but it should also be directed toward others.

Notice what verse 38 says: All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The entire bible is based on love!

Let’s look at further confirmation of this in Rom 13:8-10:

8 “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.NIV

This love is to be unconditional. The same Greek word (Agapao) is translated in this verse. This love for neighbors ensures a healthy relationship with God. Look at what it says in 1 John 4:7-8

7” Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” NIV

The Scripture calls for Christians “everyone …who has been born of God and knows God” (born again) to love one another. If we don’t love, we do not know God and cannot have a relationship with God because “God is love.”

The Bottom Line

Biblical love is profound. It is not just lip service but action—a commitment

The Holy Bible
The Inspired Word of God

to a friend, a spouse, a neighbor, and to God. We must obey the Commandments by loving God and loving one another; unconditionally!
Is it easy to love unconditionally? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But this is the only way we can have the Spirit of Christ in us, and as it reads in Rom 8:9,  “…Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

Amen!

Questions, comments, concerns, or experiences with Biblical love are welcomed below.

 

 

 

What is Double Minded About?

 

Recently, an article published on this website concerned backsliding. This article will focus on a significant cause of backsliding, double-mindedness. This article will shed light on what is double minded about.

What is Double-Minded?

The expression double-minded, translated from the Greek word dipsuchos, means “a person with two minds or souls.” Interestingly, this word appears only in the book of James (James 1:8; 4:8). Some Bible scholars have concluded that James may have created this word. To fully understand the meaning of this word, it is best to observe how it is used within its context, which will be done shortly.

What Causes Double-mindedness?

The main culprit of double-mindedness is our environment. Double-mindedness is manifested from the deception and brainwashing of Satan. His goal is to distract and deceive us. He knows discernment is the most crucial component of every decision we make, and he does all he can to distract us from using our discernment by distracting us from what is correct.

When we do not make clear and distinct decisions and waver between two possibilities, we become victims of double-mindedness.

The Danger of Double-mindedness

As mentioned earlier, double-mindedness is only mentioned in the book of James. So let’s take a look at this passage to understand what he is saying, James 1:2-8

2 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;”

3 “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”

4 “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

6 “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

7 “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”

8 “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

What is Double Minded About? -
We must be undivided in our walk with God!

In this passage, James encourages his Christian readers as they go through trials and the benefits of responding correctly; they must have patience. Anyone who lacks the wisdom to respond correctly to conquer trials must ask God for it.

However, they must ask with faith and wholly believe that God will grant the request. Otherwise, the request will not be granted. Another Scripture that makes this point is Heb 11:6-7, which reads,

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

God is not pleased without faith, but He rewards and answers the prayers of those who seek him sincerely, believing that He is and not wavering.

Therefore, the first danger of double-mindedness is unanswered prayer.

The second danger of double-mindedness is instability, according to verse 8. The problem with instability is that it is crippling. When a person is unstable in their walking, it is not easy to move forward. Instead, they stagger back and forth, side to side, and even up and down with little to no movement forward.

What is Double Minded About? James 1:8
                                           We must be deliberate in choosing the correct path!

If we are walking down a path and we arrive at a fork in the road, if we remain at the fork, not making a clear decision of which path to follow, we will never arrive at a destination but be lost.

When we are double-minded in our Christian walk with Christ, we stagger and struggle between following Him and following the world. This condition prevents us from receiving from the Lord.

Another Scripture that addresses this is James 4:4

4 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” NIV

Here, James gives another warning to the wavering Christian readers. “Adulterous” people; professing Christ, yet clinging to the world. This condition is spiritual adultery.

Jesus said it best in Matt 6:24,

What is Double Minded About? - No man cann serve two masters
                     We can only serve one!

24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

Mammon is money, which in this context represents the world and material possessions. We can only serve one master, God, or the world, never both.

Avoid Being Double-minded

Christians are involved in a constant battle with the evil forces of Satan (Eph 6:12). This battle is spiritual warfare. Even though this battle is spiritual and unseen to the naked eye, it must be fought the same as in the natural. That means we must fight constantly and never stop fighting until the battle is over.

All Abut Spiritual Warfare
We must take spiritual warfare very seriously!

This fighting involves taking an inventory of our actions and priorities. What is most important to us, pleasing God, or pleasing ourselves? It also consists in controlling our environment. What are we allowing into our minds through our eyes, ears? How are we speaking? How much time are we spending reading & meditating on God’s Word? How are we taking care of our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit?

These are the things that will keep us focused and winning the battle. These actions will please God and yield His blessings upon us.

As stated by Paul in 1 Cor. 2:14, Christians have the mind of Christ. Our love, devotion, and affection are to be for our Lord above all. Living for God means we are Christ-centered in our beliefs, thoughts, and actions. James 1:14 warns us that we are tempted when we are “drawn away by our lust and enticed.” The word lust is the most compelling word we have for desire.

James further warns that this yearning blinds us, enticing us to pursue the object of our lust. We desire to relieve or fill an emotional, psychological, and in reality, ultimately, a spiritual need. However, our minds and hearts can become divided in directions other than Christ, creating a schism or split within us. We think we are serving God, but we are actually serving ourselves.

Above all we must adhere to the warning in the Scriptures, 1 Peter 5:8

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

With Satan nipping at our heels, we cannot allow ourselves to be double-minded.

Therefore, we must be attentive in our decisions, slowing down our minds, taking every thought “captive” (2 Cor. 10:5 NIV), and maintaining our focus on reality and the truth. Then single-mindedness will prevail.

Adhering to the above will keep us from the spiritual downward spiral and the state of double-mindedness.

Any questions, comments, concerns, or experiences with double-mindedness are welcomed below.

Blessings!

Can a Christian Backslide?

One of the elements of contention in the Christian community is the subject of backsliding. Can a Christian backslide? The central premise on this subject is, can a true Christian backslide? This article aims to shed some clarity on this question.

What is Backsliding?

A word used within Christendom to describe a process by which a person who has professed Christianity relapses to their pre-conversion lifestyle and falls into sin. In other words, it is when an individual turns from God to pursue their individual desires by reverting to sin or wrongdoing.

Can a Christian Backslide?

So, can a Christian backslide? Some say yes, and others say no. But in cases such as these, I always like to say, what does the Bible say? It is all about the Scriptures, so let’s take a look: Heb 6:4-6

4 “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, (5) who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, (6) if they fall away”…NIV

This Scripture passage addresses the believer’s enormous privileges. It is arduous to see how these five experiences could be said about a person unless they were true believers. Being as honest and authentic as possible, one would have to strain the meaning to make them apply to anyone else. The Greek Scripture positively uses the aorist, or past tense, which means the individual had a once-for-all experience. This experience was once-for-all accomplished, satisfied, and completed. This verse cannot possibly apply to anyone else other than a true Christian.

These individuals were once-for-all enlightened.” Enlightened in this context means the light of the gospel and salvation, the light of Christ, and seeing Christ as the Savior and Lord of men and the light of salvation had broken through the darkness of sin and death. In other words, it had actually happened, and it was fulfilled and completed in the people’s lives. They had received the light of Christ, of His gospel, and salvation once-for-all.

The “heavenly gift” is in reference to Christ and His salvation which God gave to the world. Scripture proclaims time and again that Jesus Christ and His salvation are gifts from God.

Notice again that this is a once-for-all experience. These individuals had experienced Christ and His salvation once-for-all.

They were once-for-all made sharers of the Holy Spirit
and they tasted the powers of the world to come, “the coming age.” They had encountered some of heaven upon earth. They had actually experienced the presence and power of Christ in their lives through the power of Christ in conquering the trials and temptations and sufferings of this world and the healing power of Christ in touching both their bodies and spirits.

They had once-for-all tasted God’s “good Word.” This statement refers to the gospel of Jesus Christ and His glorious salvation.
These individuals together were sharers in the Holy Spirit and God’s covenant blessings. It is challenging to see how these individuals can be seen other than as genuine without straining or twisting the Scripture.

Yet verse 6 begins, “if they fall away…”  Fall away is translated for the Greek word parapesontas, which means to turn aside; to turn away; to deviate. Therefore, in this context, it means:

Can a Christian Backslide? - Apostasy

• to turn away from Christ.

• to turn aside from Christ.

• to move away from Christ.

Again, this describes and addresses true Christians-believers.

This Scripture addresses apostasy or falling away, which is the state or act of rejecting the faith in Christ and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, backsliding is a process of sliding back, and it is a slippery slope. Although backsliding is not sudden in onset, it can escalate rapidly, ultimately ending with an individual falling away or into apostasy. Backsliding is a spiritual condition that needs correction pronto.

The point, according to this passage, a Christian can backslide and can do so to the stance of falling away completely (apostasy).

Let’s look at another passage, 2 Peter 2:17-22

17 “These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity — for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.” NIV

This passage addresses false teachers and addresses the issue of backsliding to the point of falling away. These teachers had escaped the “corruption of the world,and teaching others, but became entangled in it again through the process of backsliding.

Can a Christian Backslide? - False Teachers
False teachers lead Christians the wrong way!

Teachers in this state face harsher judgment because they lead others astray (vss. 19, James 3:1). Teaching is the most accountable profession on earth. Consequently, greater accountability falls upon a teacher’s shoulders. God will have no mercy upon a false teacher, and the false teacher will be judged much more severely than an individual who never knew the truth.

There is a warning in this passage against turning from “The way of righteousness” and the sacred command.”

The way of righteousness is Jesus Christ, for He is the One who has made it possible for God to count us righteous and to accept us.

The sacred command is the Word of God, that is, all the commandments of God.

It is far better for an individual not to have ever known Christ or God’s Word than to have known them and to turn their backs on God’s Word. The judgment shall be far worse, much harsher upon such individuals.

Heb 10:35-39

35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Verse 26 of this chapter ten begins a passage of warning to believers of the danger of drawing back or backsliding. The verses highlighted here make it known that God is coming, and we are to live by faith in the meantime. But any person who
draw back”
God is not pleased with.

In verse 39, Paul encourages his readers by stating that they are not those who draw back to perdition. Perdition is eternal punishment that confirms the demise of those who do drawback.

We’ll look at one more passage on this, James 5:19-20

19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. NIV

Notice that this is addressing Christian believers: “my brothers.” James’ exhortation in this passage is when a believer has backslidden, wander from the truth,” search for him and led that individual to repentance.

Notice the point: if a Christian believer is turned around from his sin, his soul is saved from death, which covers a multitude of sins. What is meant by death here? Remember the word perdition? That is eternal punishment, forever separated from God.

These Scriptures and others clearly confirm that backsliding and perdition threaten a Christians’ walk with God.

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Are we forever saved once we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior? Hopefully, yes. But it doesn’t happen by accident.

The common notion is that even when we sin and backslide, we are still saved. Well, that is actually true – to a point.

Let’s look at John 10:27-30

27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”  NIV

Can a Cristian Backslide - Follow the Shepherd
                                      The sheep must follow the shepherd to be saved!

This passage is used to defend the once saved, always saved doctrine. This Scripture confirms that no one can snatch the sheep (Christians) that follow the Shepherd (Jesus). But notice what else it says about the sheep –”and they follow me.” The sheep have to follow the shepherd.

This is what I mean by stating that we are eternally saved—to a point. As long as we follow
the shepherd, we are saved and safe. The sheep cannot receive protection from the shepherd if they cease to follow Him.

Therefore, while no one can snatch Christians from Jesus, the shepherd, they can cease to follow Him on their own and fall away. This fact is Satan’s goal, to entice Christians to cease following Jesus; this is indeed spiritual warfare. For more detail on spiritual warfare, read the article, All about Spiritual Warfare on this website.

This is where God’s gift of free will comes into play. No Scripture indicates that God or Jesus chases down a Christian that backslides to bring them back. They must repent before they fall away.

To be clear, a backslider can still be saved when they repent and turn back to God. Just as the particle son returned to his father, so we must return to ours.

Let us take a look at the balance of the opening text in Heb 6:4,6

4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened,…

6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. NIV

To begin with, Scripture in verse 4 begins, “it is impossible.”
Impossible is translated from the Greek word adunaton: which means weak, unable. If a Christian should “fall away,” it is impossible for him ever to repent again. The word impossible just cannot be twisted to mean anything other than impossible.

Second, the Scripture talks about renewing and bringing people back to repentance. These are individuals who have gone past the point of repentance because they have rejected their only means of salvation.

Now, the crucial question is, what would cause a Christian believer to reach such a stage in life? What could a believer do that would harden his heart so much that he would never again repent?

The Christian believer regresses back to the world, back to a life of sin, defiance, disobedience, and rebellion. He continues, by no means repenting and never turning back to Christ.

The bottom line: if a Christian backslides, before they fall away, they can repent and restore their relationship with the Lord by confessing their sins and repenting of them, and turning away from them. As the Scripture reads in Prov. 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

How to Avoid Backsliding

The Christian life is often not an easy road. Sometimes we can get off track. The book of Hebrews says Heb 3:13, But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
NIV
However, the following viable steps will assist with getting right with God and back on course with Him. Each of these practical steps is followed by a passage(s) from Scripture.

Scrutinize your faith-life frequently. 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV):

5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

If you realize that you are wandering away, return without delay.
Hebrews 3:12-13 (NIV):

12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. (13) But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Draw near to God every day for forgiveness and cleansing. 1 John 1:9 (NIV):

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Revelation 22:14 (NIV):

14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”

Seek the Lord daily wholeheartedly. 1 Chronicles 28:9 (NIV):

14 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”

The Word of God

Always continue in the Word of God; keep on studying and learning daily. Proverbs 4:13 (NIV):

13 “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.”

Continue often in association with other Christians. Hebrews 10:25 (NLT):

25 “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.”

No man is an island. We require the power and prayers of other Christians.

Stand firm in your faith and expect difficult times in your Christian life. Matthew 10:22 (NIV):

22 “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Galatians 5:1 (NIV):

1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Keep at it. 1 Timothy 4:15-16 (NIV):

15 “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. (16) Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Run the race to victory. 1 Corinthians 9: 24-25 (NIV):

24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training … we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV):

7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Keep in your mind what God has done for you in the past. Hebrews 10:32, 35-36 (NIV):

32 “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. (35) So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (36) You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

If you follow these tips, you will make your election and calling sure. (2 Peter 1:10)

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed below. You will receive a response.

Blessings!!

Christians and Vaccinations

Faith is what drives Christianity. So, should Christians get vaccinated or solely rely on their faith to protect them? Let’s explore Christians and vaccinations.Christians and Vaccinations - should Christians get vaccinations?

What is a Vaccine?

A vaccine is a prepared solution that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases. Vaccines are generally administered through needle injections, but some may be dispensed through a spray by mouth or in the nostrils.

A vaccine typically has an agent similar to a disease-causing microorganism, usually made from weakened or dead forms of the microorganism, its contaminants, or one of its surface proteins.

Vaccines are necessary because they help protect individuals and those around them from preventable diseases such as polio, tetanus, meningitis, measles, HPV, whooping cough, and COVID-19. How? They help the body to create immunity – which is how the body prevents disease.

Christians and Vaccinations

There is concern these days regarding individuals using religious exemptions as an avenue to avoid getting vaccinated. Is this a valid excuse? Should Christians get vaccinated?

Christians can always find the answers to this and other questions in the Scriptures. While the Bible may not address vaccinations directly, it presents essential health principles that will guide us in making wise decisions regarding health and other issues that occur in our everyday lives.

Note that recommendations that are in synchronization with biblical health principles and do not contradict them are permissible. Therefore, such a consideration can be recommended or even required when health or life is will be preserved.

Let us look at a few of these Biblical principles.

The most foundational principle is that God is omnipotent and omniscient and is the ultimate healer/physician. It is He that heals our diseases either directly or indirectly.

Ex 15:26

26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee

Contained in this Scripture is God’s promise to the Israelites to keep diseases from them. However, there was a requirement involved: holiness

The Holy Bible
The Inspired Word of God

was the requirement. They were to obey God and keep His commandments and statutes if they wanted to receive the promises.

Through Christ, we are joined with the Israelites in receiving God’s promises (Gal. 3:16, 28-29), and that is indeed the good news (the gospel) of Jesus Christ. Isn’t that Great!

We all like Divine promises; however, lots of us do not like Divine precepts. However, the reality is, most promises require that we conform our lives according to God’s precepts and principles. If we ignore the precepts, we will most likely realize little about the blessings of the promises. Therefore, we are required to obey God as the Israelites were if we are to receive His blessings, including healing.

The second principle to consider is that God created humans in His “own image” (Gen. 1:27) as intelligent beings to use our minds to acquire knowledge, reason, and discern what is correct, sound, and profitable. Humans are additionally obligated to use common sense in life’s dilemmas. We are to be reasonable creatures, and our Creator has given us the ability to think and discern what works best for our health. God desires us to take care of our bodies and live conscientious lives as we are responsible to Him.

Scripture reads in 1 Cor. 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. NIV
Applying this thinking to vaccination and other issues (i.e., abortion) refutes the thought, “my body, my choice.” Our bodies belong to the One who created them, and we are responsible for doing what we can to protect them. This responsibility falls under a huge umbrella. While the Scriptures do not state that we should take vaccines, they are doing good by protecting our bodies from potentially deadly harm.

We can clearly see that the vaccine, a result of the capacities God has given to humans to think and be creative, is a life-saving product. We can unequivocally thank God for the wisdom He has provided for research and invention. Additionally, we can thank Him and His human instruments for their good in preserving and restoring life.

The third principle to consider is God wants us to preserve health in the best possible way.

3 John 2

2 “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” NIV

God not only wants us to be well spiritually but physically as well. However, not only ours but our fellow human beings as well. John was expressing this to an associate, Gaius.

This desire is not only for us to live longer but also to serve others and be valuable for as long as possible. It is foolish to die needlessly only because we neglect remedies available to protect and prolong our lives, consequently allowing us to be a blessing to others.

Further, we are decreed by God to guard life and mind the health of our neighbors.

Lev 19:18

18 “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.”

Leviticus chapter 19 contains God’s laws of social order, and this verse Christians and Vaccinations - Love thy neighboraddresses our behavior towards our neighbors; we are to love them as ourselves, care for them as we would ourselves.

Ezek 34:4

4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. NIV

In this chapter of Ezekiel, God judged the false shepherds, the leaders who have neglected His people, the flock, and how they failed to address their well-being.

God is concerned about our well-being, and He wants us to be concerned as well for others and ourselves.

On that basis, being vaccinated is an unselfish act that aids the well-being and protection of others. While there are currently unknowns regarding the long-term research on the effects of vaccinations, the benefits far exceed the known and potential problems. Therefore, being vaccinated is an act of kindness since vaccinations help protect others from severe sickness, hospitalization, and death. This action fulfills God’s will to safeguard our bodies as well as others.

There are many ways we can be healed from diseases and illnesses. Prayers for healing and good health do not invalidate the use of various treatments, medicines, surgeries, or vaccinations. Prayer is an excellent avenue, but healing can also require action on our part.

Let’s look at one example in the Scriptures, 2 Kings 5:10-14

10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.”

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.“ NIV

Healing was pronounced over Naaman, but he had to be obedient and play a role in his healing.

We are often required to collaborate with God and use available remedies. We cannot put God in a box on how He operates.

Vaccines also safeguard the health of others by mitigating the spread of disease. Understand that it is not a rebuff of faith to use sound treatments prudently. We are also using faith when we engage the proper remedies with the understanding that they are from God.

Science and faith operate closely collectively and must be applied hand in hand. They are complementary to each other. Creativeness and resourcefulness are God’s gifts. God is not the author of confusion, but He is the author of science. The evidence of science is transparently clear that vaccines save lives. Their side effects are primarily minor and short-term. The many positives substantially outweigh their minimal negatives and health risks.

Claiming that the COVID-19 vaccine is a mark of the beast and also changes our DNA is a flagrant misuse of Scripture. Various conspiracy theories grossly misapply biblical texts to create fear and dependency on false information.

Refusing to take common-sense precautions such as wearing masks and being vaccinated to mitigate the infection and spread disease to others is the epitome of narcissism. How did we become so self-absorbed? To not take the precautions for ourselves is one thing and a serious enough violation. But to be so callous towards our fellow humans is an even greater transgression.

The TakeawayChristians and Vaccinations

As Christians, we are obligated by God to be responsible for the welfare of ourselves and others to the reasonable extent of our power. We certainly cannot control the lives of others, but if we can reasonably prevent harm to them, we are to do so.

Remember the response Cain gave to God when he was asked where his brother Abel was: …I know not: am I my brother’s keeper?” [Gen. 4:9] Evidently, his brother’s keeper was since God judged him for killing Abel.

We will also be judged for causing harm to our brethren. We are to be accountable for one another—we are our brother’s keeper!

Amen

Any questions, comments, and concerns are welcome below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

A Faith Failure

An article on faith published on this website recently explained was faith is. This article addresses what happens when that faith fails; a faith failure.

The Importance of Faith

Faith is the engine that drives Christianity from the beginning to the end. It is by faith that we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior and the gift of salvation. However, it is not only at the beginning of our walk with Christ that faith is engaged but is required perpetually and growing stronger as time passes (2 Peter 1:5-9).

How important is faith? Let’s look at what the Scriptures state about faith.

Hab. 2:4

4 “See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright — but the righteous will live by his faith NIV

This verse contrasts the proud with the righteous. The proud trust in themselves and their lives are unrighteous. But the righteous ones live by their faith—faith in the Lord.

Heb 11:6

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. NIV

This Scripture makes it crystal clear that God requires faith. By faith, we must believe that he exists, and He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. Otherwise, He is not pleased.

Heb 10:38

38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” NIV

This is more evidence of God’s displeasure for ones who allow their faith to wane. The righteous are to live by faith.

Therefore, we can see how important faith is in order to have a relationship with the Lord.

So what happens when faith fails?

A Faith Failure

One has to look no further than the Scriptures to find the consequences of a faith failure.

Let’s look at one clear example in Matt 14:22-34

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,

24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on A Faith Failurethe lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little A Faith Failurefaith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” NIV

Verses 22 & 23 – After feeding the multitude of five-thousand, the people sought to make Jesus, king by force. Rather than wait for the crowd to become unruly, Jesus immediately put the disciples in a boat and sent them to the other side. He then went to the mountainside to pray until evening. By then, He was alone.

Verse 24 – The disciples followed Jesus’ instructions, got into the boat, and headed for the other side. But notice after they were in the midst of the sea, they encountered a trial despite following the Lord’s will. The sea and the winds were against them, and they were tossed to and fro.

Take note of who was in this boat. It was Christ’s disciples. Those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour are His disciples as well and must enter the boat of Jesus’s will.

There are countless winds (trials) in this world that are contrary to doing the will of God. When anyone sets out to do the will of God, it won’t be long before they are experiencing the trials of “contrary” (KJV) circumstances that will deter and defy one’s obedience to the Lord. The devil will see to that; it’s his JOB.

But notice that the disciples didn’t give up. They continued to struggle to get to the other side. They were determined to carry out the will of the Lord. Even when faced with the most daunting circumstances, a disciple of Christ must press on.

Look at what Jesus says in Rev 2:10

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. KJV

There is a serious reward waiting for us if we persevere.

Verse 25 – In the fourth watch of the night (between 3:00 & 6:00 AM), Jesus went out to them, walking on the sea. Here we have a display of the power of Jesus. Imagine a man walking on water, a raging sea no less.

What is also on display here is that Jesus is available to meet our needs in times of trouble, no matter how desperate they may be, no matter how tossed and fro the situation may knock us, He’s available.

Verse 26 – In this verse, we see that Jesus showed up, but they were troubled. Sometimes our problems can be so dire that when Jesus shows up, A Faith Failurewe don’t believe it is Him coming to our rescue. He can show up in the most incredible ways and do the most incredible things!

Verse 27 – Here, we have Jesus’ comfort. Jesus comforts His disciples in many ways. If not audibly, in His Word. We must seek all
avenues to enjoy His comfort. Instead of looking to the world for comfort, we must look to the Word.

In John 14:27, He said to His disciples:

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Verse 28 – Peter is often criticized for being impulsive by requesting Jesus to call for him on the water. He is also accused of being a show-off before the other disciples, being irrational, and making a superfluous request.

But on the contrary, Peter was exercising extraordinary faith. He had faith that Jesus could fulfill his request…if it was really Him. He only was seeking to know if the voice he heard out in the dark sea on that stormy night was really that of Jesus. Remember what he said, “Lord, if it is you.”

This appeal was unlike the ones made by the Christ deniers who demanded Christ pass their tests to prove His claims, although He had already given more than ample proof of His claims. Peter undoubtedly believed in Christ (Matt.16 13-16). He didn’t seek a sign to prove that Christ was what He claimed to be. He passed the test of Hebrews 11:6; he believed that Jesus was Jesus, the Son of God, and only sought a sign to confirm that the voice in the darkness was indeed Christ Himself. His request actually honored Christ by the very greatness of it. Because it revealed how much Peter truly believed Christ could do great things.

We, too, must honor God by requesting great things by faith! But note: Peter’s request was out of love for Christ, not to satisfy some whim or fancy of a fleshly, material desire. He loved Jesus and wanted to be with him at any cost—even if he had to walk on water to do it!

Verse 29 – When Jesus said, “come,” which was all Peter needed to hear. His faith was so strong and extraordinary that he stepped on the water and walked toward Jesus in that very faith. What faith!

Those that criticize Peter’s request fail to realize that Jesus validated it by inviting him to come onto the water.

Notice Peter’s immediate obedience. Obedience was critical to his accomplishing the impossible. Not only that, but prompt obedience was also a requirement. A delay in obedience would have cost Peter an opportunity to do the impossible. If he had procrastinated, the possibility to walk on water would have passed. However, he did not hesitate. As soon as the command was issued, he immediately got out of the boat and walked on water.

God does not rally around the disobedient to do the impossible. When we fail to act, He moves on. Therefore, we not only need to obey, but we must also obey swiftly if we are to ensure God’s help.

Peter was not disobedient but immediate. Peter’s attitude was; you folks can stay in this sinking boat if you want to; I am going to my Jesus!

So Peter walked on the water toward Jesus! This is the power of faith!

Let’s face it. Walking on water is no easy feat; it is against physics and nature, but remember what Jesus said in Matt 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” NIV

Verse 30Unfortunately, Peter got distracted. Instead of keeping his focus on Jesus, he looked at the circumstance he found himself. As a result, he began to sink. Peter began to sink because he placed his eyes on the circumstances instead of Christ, and he let fear control his actions instead of faith.

Many of us are guilty of this very scenario. We seek Christ, and we walk with Him, but somewhere along the line, we take our focus off him and on the circumstance. We sometimes get impatient in our waiting for Christ to act and act on our own. These things are the result of our waning faith.

A Faith Failure
Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. NIV

 

Circumstances seldom give confidence for us to do much for God. More often than not, circumstances oppose us from even thinking about accomplishing great things for God or even about living a Christian life. If we focus on circumstances rather than on the commands of the Lord, we will be in big trouble every time.

The Scriptures inform us in 2 Cor 5:7, (“For we walk by faith, not by sight”:). No matter what it looks like through our eyes, we are to persevere by faith.

But it is not an easy task to keep our circumstances from mastering our thinking. They frequently seem so genuine, while the power and commands of Christ seem so elusive and distant.

However, triumph arrives when we focus upon Christ when we consider His commands and His power. But once we take our focus off of Him and remove Him from our vision, we are doomed for failure in life. We will have an unfavorable walk if we allow our circumstances to influence our walk more than Christ does.

Back to Peter, all was not lost. Although Peter began to sink, his faith in Jesus was still strong enough to cry out to Him for help.

We know when we are sinking, and we know when we are off course. The lesson here is, when we begin to sink, when we get off course, the action to take, the thing to do, is to call out to Jesus.

Verse 31
– Notice how close to Jesus Peter was. He was close enough that Jesus could reach out and catch him. Imagine if he had not sought Jesus’ help. As close as he was, he would have sunk.

Sometimes we are so close to Jesus and so close to doing something mighty and receiving a mighty blessing from Him, but we allow a circumstance to sink us. We must remember, “he is a rewarder of them that earnestly seek him.”

But the Lord is merciful and full of grace (Ps. 103:8), and He immediately reached out His hand and caught Peter.

This Scripture sheds light on the fact that Jesus is always standing by to help us; we only need to call out to Him for His help. Further, the Lord’s presence is the full answer to the storms of life—to all those who are distressed.

After Jesus rescued Peter was from sinking in the sea, He rebuked him by saying, “You of little faith,” … ” why did you doubt?” NIV The problem was not that Peter had no faith, but that he had little faith. He could not have walked as far as he did if he had no faith. Walking on water as far as he did was an accomplishment, yet, Jesus called it “little faith.”

Some of us may feel that we have great faith, doing great things…until that faith is tested. When sifted through the eyes of Christ, it may very well be “little faith.”

Jesus asked, “Why did you doubt?”
Peter’s doubt, which resulted from his little faith, was unjustifiable. The question let Peter know that he had no reason to doubt. Rather, he had a host of reasons to trust Christ after personally witnessing all the works He had performed.

Peter had no excuse, but we don’t have one either. We also have enormous spiritual benefits that should result in our having much greater faith than we do. We have the Scriptures instantly at hand from which we can read of many great accomplishments of faith. We also have many other books available that give the testimony of some of the saints over the years that have attempted and accomplished great things by faith. Nevertheless, despite these great encouragements, our doubts are unjustifiably large, and our faith is unjustifiably small.

Moreover, undeniably, our faith can be little. For Jesus said if our faith were only the size of a grain of mustard seed, we could move mountains (Matthew 17:20). The grain of mustard seed is tiny; however, to see the faith most of us have, one would probably have to use a magnifying glass.

The fact is none of us has any excuse for such tiny faith. Christ’s rebuke was undoubtedly very humbling to Peter, but it should be even more humbling to us. Yet, let this humbling rebuke inspire us to get busy developing our faith so that we can glorify God more by our performance.

Amen

Questions, comments, concerns, or faith experiences are welcomed below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

The History of the Holy Roman Empire

A recent article on this website, What is the Antichrist, explained that the Antichrist is a false religious system formed by an alliance between church and state In Rome. However, its origin began long before this alliance. This article looks at the very beginning, the history of the Holy Roman Empire.

The History of the Holy Roman Empire

The history of the Holy Roman Empire goes all the way back to the days that began the post-flood era. Noah and his family, which consisted of his wife, three sons, and their wives, were the only survivors of the flood. His sons were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham had a son named Cush and Cush had a son named Nimrod (Gen. 10:6-8), which means rebellious and lawless in Hebrew. The passage goes on to state, regarding Nimrod, that “he began to be a mighty one in the earth.”

He built his kingdom in the land of Babylonia and built many cities, and one of the first of these cities was Babylon. Nimrod pledged to protect the people from treacherous wild animals. This protection came mainly in the form of walled cities, such as Babylon. It wasn’t long for Nimrod to establish total control over the people. Settled within his city and reliant on him for survival, the people in effect belonged to Nimrod.

As a consequence, Babylon, the capital of Mesopotamia and the seat of human civilization, proceeded to reflect Nimrod’s character and ambition—morally, politically, and religiously. As he grew his empire, he moved away from God and formed philosophies and religions with his immoral wife, Semiramis.

For a description of Nimrod’s character, the words “mighty one” in Genesis 10:8 is a translation from a Hebrew word that conveys a tyrant. Verse 9 records that he was “a mighty hunter before the Lord”; the Hebrew word translated “before” should more accurately be translated as against the Lord. Nimrod was an oppressor whose primary inspiration in his life was laboring against God. Nimrod built the city of Babylon and instituted the entire Babylonian kingdom that included most of the world’s population at the time as an act of rebellion against God.

Nimrod established himself as the supreme, flawless, religious authority, putting himself above God, and to his followers, Nimrod was God!

This sacrilege condition vindicates why Babylon is generally synonymous with rebellion and lawlessness in the Bible.

The History of the Holy Roman Empire - The Tower of Babel
The Tower of Babel

Genesis 11 addresses Nimrod’s construction of the city of Babylon, and his motive for building this city is significant. Verse 4 records that it was an endeavor to “make us a name” to gain prominence and notoriety. However, neither God nor His faithful servant Noah had authorized Babylon’s construction. Since the people constructed a tower, “whose top may reach unto heaven” indicates that the people recognized that they were rebelling against God. Nimrod and his defiant cohorts had mind of the flood, that it was punishment for humanity’s rebellion, and were building a gigantic tower in an attempt to escape another flood that may come resulting from their wickedness.

Thus, Babylon’s construction of the tower represented an attempt by Nimrod and his citizens to break away from God and to void the work God was executing through Noah.

Babylon was the center of operations of Nimrod’s campaign to oppose God. This location is where Nimrod, the great organized world apostasy from God, was initiated and controlled the world until today. Together with his wife, Semiramis (also his mother), Nimrod fashioned, then imposed on his followers, his particular finance, politics, and education system.

Furthermore, Nimrod acclaimed himself as the religious head of the people.

The History of the Holy Roman Empire - Nimrod
Nimrod the Great

He set himself up as the supreme spiritual power in place of God and Noah the servant of God. As the priest of Babylon and in union with Semiramis, Nimrod devised the Babylonian mystery religion, including many pagan religious doctrines and practices. Presently numerous patterns and symbols associated with Christmas and Easter, for example, can be traced back to ancient Babylon. (For proof, read Alexander Hislop’s book The Two Babylons, available online.) [paid link]

Nimrod was eventually killed while hunting. But the false and rebellious political and religious system he fashioned carried on without him. It thrived, actually, thanks to the work of Semiramis. With her husband/son dead, Semiramis persuaded her followers that Nimrod presently lived as an immortal spiritual being. Therefore, Nimrod, even in death, was worshiped as a god. He became celebrated as the messiah. The original mother and child duo, Semiramis and Nimrod, became the main objects of worship in ancient Babylon.

After Nimrod’s death, Semiramis declared him as the “sun god.” She continued in unbridled covetousness and depravity and raised Babylon, where she had reigned to a depraved distinction among the nations as the seat of idolatry and sacred prostitution.

She became an expectant mother, birthed a son, and declared that her late husband, now “the Sun,” fertilized her with the rays of the Sun, and her son, which she named Tammuz, was born on the Winter solstice. Tammuz was eventually worshiped as the reincarnation of the sun god “Nimrod,” his birthday became recognized until this day, on December 25th.

Does that date ring a bell? [It is an ambition to post an article on the Holidays we celebrate…stay tuned]

The immortal soul and mother-child worship doctrines can be traced directly back to Nimrod and Babylon, to name only two of Catholic principles.

When Nimrod died, his false system was profoundly rooted in humanity. It is not possible to overemphasize what Nimrod and Semiramis accomplished in Babylon.

It was from this seditious nation that all other civilizations transpired. Mesopotamia, the region that contains Babylon, is known as “the cradle of civilization.”

The Bible unequivocally records the baffling of the languages and the scattering of the diverse populous from the region of Babylon(Gen. 11:3-8).

This action occurred during the construction of the tower of Babel. God disapproved and confused their language so that they could not communicate with one another. As a consequence, they scattered all over the earth.

As the myriad of races and peoples disbanded, they carried the beliefs and practices of the Babylonian mystery religion with them, as many of which remained ingrained in them. The various races developed new religions, though often altered in the new form.

After they began building a tower to heaven, the tower of Babel, with the occurrence of this scattering, this Babylonian system of idolatrous worship spread worldwide as the inhabitants of the city itself were scattered (Genesis 11:9). As they went from Babylon, these men took their worship of mother and child and the various “mystery” symbols as well. It is noted that Babylon was the source from which all
idolatry emanated.

As time went on, the Roman Empire incorporated the gods and religions of the countries it ruled into its system. Since Babylon was the source of this paganism, it is understandable to see how Rome’s early religion was a form of Babylonian worship that had developed under different forms and names in the countries it had entered.

It was the Pagan Roman Emperor Constantine the Great who introduced Christianity to Rome. He converted to Christianity in AD 312. He was Rome’s first Christian emperor and initiated the empire to become a Christian state.

There is much debate over his conversion to Christianity as being sincere or merely a political maneuver. Nevertheless, in A.D. 313, Constantine and co-emperor Licinius, the eastern emperor, issued the Edict of Milan. The mandate granted “to the Christians and others full authority to observe that religion which each preferred.”This action put an end to the harsh persecution and initiated its spread throughout the Roman Empire.

In 330 A.D., Constantine moved his capital from Rome to Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople, after himself, which is now modern-day Istanbul. This move consequently paved the way for the Roman Catholic Popes to be in power in Rome to succeed Constantine.

As the Papal (Catholic) Church increased in power, it was in disfavor of the practices of the Christians, particularly Saturday worship. Remember, Rome practiced the Babylonian doctrines and worship that including worshiping the Sun on Sunday. These practices were also part of Constantine’s Saturday vs. Sunday Worship - Sun Worshipbackground. Therefore, it became Constantine’s ambition to harmonize these differences to unify the empire. As a result, he imposed his own version of Christianity upon the empire and ordered Sunday worship. He presented the following proclamation in 321 AD: “Let all magistrates and people of the city… rest on the venerable day of the Sun”
(The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, “Roman Legislation for Sunday,” vol. XI, p. 147).

Later, the Roman church additionally passed a startling decree in the Council of Laodicea, declaring, “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s Day they shall especially honour, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing [keeping the seventh-day Sabbath], they shall be shut out from Christ” (A History of the Councils of the Church, vol. 2, p. 316).
To put it bluntly, Christian Sabbath-keepers became affirmed as heretics.

This collaboration amid church and state produced what eventually became known as the Holy Roman Empire.

This empire developed into a multi-ethnic composite of territories in Western, Central, and Southern Europe that formed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

A relic of the Holy Roman Empire is the Roman Catholic Church that continues with Babylonian practices to this day.

Amen

Any questions, comments, and concerns are more than welcome below.

Blessings!

 

 

 

Does God Really Exist?

God is invisible, and because of this, many deny Him. However, even though He is invisible, His existence is obvious. This article answers the question, does God really exist?

Does God Really Exist?

To get a clear answer, all we need to do is consult the Scriptures.

Rom 1:18-23

18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,” NASU

This passage has a paradox: God is invisible, yet He is “clearly seen.” The creation reveals God’s existence. Verses 19 and 20 contain four attributes of the truth of God’s existence as shown in nature: (1) It is plain and “clearly seen”: it is visible. (2) It is “understood“ any intelligent individual who observes the truth will additionally ponder on it and arrive at a conclusion about it. (3) It has been “since the creation of the world.” it is constantly continuing, changeless. (4) It unveils God’s eternal power and divine nature.

We may not be able to see God, but we can certainly see the evidence of His existence through the creation. All we need to do is take a look about us. We only need to look at creation in all its splendor to observe that a mighty power made this world. Nevertheless, not just an abstract, impersonal force; instead, a personal God. Therefore, creation demonstrates both God’s eternal power as well as his divine nature. Indeed, nature reveals a God of intelligence, intricate detail, order, beauty, might, and power, a God who has command over powerful forces. Creation reveals God’s qualities.

However, even those who observe and enjoy creation still fail to acknowledge God.

For the reason that God has made specific facts about Him evident to us, those individuals will someday have to justify before God as to why they chose to ignore his existence and character.

But Some ask, how could a loving God send anyone to hell, in particular someone who has never heard the Good News of Jesus? However, Paul says in this passage that God has revealed himself plainly to all people in the creation. Additionally, every individual has an inner sense of what God requires, but some choose not to live up to it. In other words, an individual’s moral standards are continuously better than their behavior. If people restrain God’s truth to live in their sinful ways, they have no excuse. Therefore, because they really know the truth, they will have to bear the penalty for ignoring it.

This passage in verse 20 mentions God’s “invisible attributes.” So, what are the invisible attributes of God?

The Invisible Attributes of GodDoes God Really Exist? - The Attributes of God

God is an uncreated being: Gen 1:1

1 “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth.”

God created the heaven and the earth. That means God existed before heaven and earth. He has no beginning and no end. He has always been and will always be; He is Alpha and Omega.

Ps 90:2 reads:

2 “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”

There has never been a time when God was not, nor will there ever be a time when God will not be: “from everlasting to everlasting.” For that reason, it is our advantage to establish a good relationship with God instead of ignoring Him.

God is omnipresent

God is everywhere present. Ps 139:7-10

7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

There is no getting away from God!

God is omnipotent—all-powerful.

Matt 19:26

26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

  •  God can do anything and everything
  •  God has all power, but He cannot do anything inconsistent with who He is. He cannot lie and cannot be tempted with evil (Titus 1:2). He is the ultimate of absolute goodness, perfection, and truth.

God is omniscient—all-knowing

  • He knows all things and about all things
  • Deut 29:29-30:1 29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”
    NASU
  • There are some things that God is not going to share with us. Because we are finite beings, we cannot comprehend all that He is doing because we do not have the ability to do so.

God is holy—separated from all sin

Ps 89:15-18

15 “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. 16 They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness.

17 For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn. 18 Indeed, our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel.” NIV

  •  He is the holy one of Israel
  • God’s holiness provides the pattern for us to imitate.

God is righteous—He always acts in harmony with what is right

Dan 9:14

“…for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does…” NIV

  • He is the final standard of what is right
  • He sent us the Holy Spirit to enable us to live righteously
  • We are to do what is right in the Spirit of the living God.

God is a God of wrath—He hates everything that is opposed to His moral character.

Rom 1:18

18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,” NIV

  • He hates anything that brings us as his children to nothing, anything sinful in a person’s life.
  • God intensely hates sin because it destroys the people He loves. God loves the sinner but hates sin.
  • John 3:36- “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” NSAU The wrath of God will not fall upon a child of God. However, the wrath of God is limited to those who are unbelievers and defy Him.

God is judge—He is our judge 2 Cor. 5:10

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. NSAU

  • This judgment is concerning all Christians, not the ungodly.
  • This judgment seat of Christ is a judgment of rewards 1 Cor. 3:10-15

10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. NSAU

  • All of us Christians are going to be judged by the way that we live our lives. God knows everything about us that needs to be known. He will judge us by the truth that we know, the opportunities we had, and what we did with them.

God requires our worship—Col 3:16

16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. NASU

The Word of God
                                                                   The Word of Christ!

This Scripture describes worship.

The “Word of Christ” in the Scripture refers to the message pronounced by Christ, which is the gospel. This is undoubtedly the Bible. This teaching should be inherent in each believer by their study and knowledge of God’s Word. The gospel should also reside in the church, which must be the center for wise teaching of the gospel message as well as encouragement, wise advice, or reprimand. In our efforts to access individuals with felt needs, we must retain the Bible at the core of our church ministries. (2 Tim 3:16-4:2) “Teaching and admonishing” refers to the entire congregation and the duty to teach the Word, including the ministry, life, and teachings of Jesus Christ, as a means to warn and correct one another.

The psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs mentioned were an essential part of this teaching and reproach. Stories and teachings about Christ were occasionally set to music to causing them to be easier to memorize and pass on to one another. When grounded in God’s Word and correct doctrine, music can also be crucial for Christian worship and education.

This is the worship God requires.

Yes, God really does exist!

Amen!

Questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed below.

Blessings

 

 

 

Living Godly in an Ungodly World

Today we live in a society that is becoming more and more secular, resulting in increasing ungodliness. The influence of this ungodliness makes living a godly life challenging. So how does a godly individual overcome this challenge? This article addresses living godly in an ungodly world.

The Ungodly World

We live in a corrupt world that opposes God’s values. We live in a society that is drifting, not drifting toward God, but away from God. Generation after generation has drifted away from the principles of God’s Word. This drift includes the customs and ideas that were based on Biblical principles. So, what is the answer to this drift? What is the answer to living godly in an ungodly world?

As usual, the answer is in the Scriptures. It is the Scriptures that tell us how we can live godly in an ungodly age.

In the book of Titus, Paul writes to Titus, a young pastor, giving him direction in pasturing a challenging church. It is challenging because of the society in which this church is located in Crete.

Titus 1:5-16

5” For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you —  6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”

10 “For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” NKJV

Paul lays out the qualifications of an elder. However, Christians, in general, must possess these qualities.

This description of Crete in verses 10-16 applies to Crete and applies to the US and the world these days. We are living in the degeneration of society. There is more opposition and unbelief than ever before.

These are the words that fit our society:

Secular — There is no place for God in many lives today. The whole idea of secularism is to get rid of God and all spiritual things: “so I can believe what I want to believe,” “have whatever I want.” “Do whatever I want to do.” We are clinging to this thought pattern even if it kills us as well as others (e.g., refusing covid19 vaccines).

Materialism – Money is what drives the majority of individuals today. This desire for money and pleasure often leads to greed. When we drift away from God, a void forms, and we attempt to fill this void with material goods: money, things, and relationships. Etc.

Immorality – Today’s society is inundated with sex. Instead of sex being motivated by love as God intended, it is motivated by lust. Sex is another way we attempt to fill the aforementioned void, seeking sex purely for fleshly fulfillment. When we drift from God, the thinking is convoluted. The result is a society that is degenerating through and through; full of empty philosophy that yields no satisfaction or peace.

When we remove the one true element that can fill the void and bring us peace and satisfaction, it becomes filled with all kinds of false, empty, and vain philosophies, causing the most peculiar things to become popular. These philosophies are on the scene because of the deception that has crept in as we drift from God.

This situation was foretold in Scripture: 2 Tim 4:3-4

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. NKJV

This time has arrived. We seek doctrine that tells us what we desire to hear instead of the truth (false doctrine).

It is more important now than ever for professing Christians to live the life God desires for us to strengthen the church and shine a light on the darkness that is prevailing in the world.

Living Godly in an Ungodly World

We have established the ungodly condition of the world and the need for us to live godly lives despite it. But how do we cope with such a feat? How do we live godly in a world that is steadily drifting further and further from God and His principles? What is the answer to living godly in a godless age?

Let’s look at verse 9 again.

9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

We have to do what Paul urged and encouraged the elders of Crete to do;

Living Godly in an Ungodly World
We must hold fast to God’s Word!

hold fast to the Word of God. We are to grip the Word tight, hold it close, apply it to our lives, and not allow it to drift away. The key to living a godly life is within the pages of the Scriptures.

We must get the Word in our minds and hearts and not read it only. The scripture in James 1:22-25 reads:

22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does.” NIV

We must hold fast or cling to the Word so that we will not drift from it and become like the world. So, why the Bible (the Word)?

The Holy Bible
The Inspired Word of God

  1. It is the mind of God – It is the eternal Word of God Isa 40:8 reads, The grass withers, the flower fades,But the word of our God stands forever.” NASB The Bible is the story of God’s redeeming love for mankind from the creation to the last verse.
  2. It is God’s textbook and guidebook for the salvation of humanity. It was given to us to understand salvation, live a godly life and be saved, and be equipped to defend what we believe.
  3. It gives us wisdom.
  4. It lifts our burdens.
  5. It brings us joy and peace.

Phil 4:7

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. KJV

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. NIV

6. It keeps us from sin – When we read it and practice what it says, it continually cleanses us. It cleanses us from wrong thinking, lust, anger, bitterness, resentment, hostility, and unbelief. Because we are constantly reminded that these things do not belong in our lives. These emotions are not a part of a Christian’s life.

7 It refutes false doctrine – In recent times, there has been an onslaught of false doctrines promoting all kinds of behaviors contrary to the will of God.

How do we cling to the Word?

  •  We must believe it – we must have faith and believe it to be the truth
  •  We have to read it carefully, meditate on it daily (give a passage thought).
  •  We must be willing to apply it – If we do not apply it to our lives and practice it, it cannot work, no matter how much we read it.

The Bible is our textbook, our handbook that can guide us through the treacherous waters of life. It is the best tool in our arsenal to aid us in living godly in an ungodly world.

Amen

Questions, comments, concerns, and any experience you would like to share can be left below.

For more articles, visit www.TheChristianAdvocate.org

Blessings!!

 

 

 

The Rise and Fall of America

America’s rise was prophesied in the Scriptures long before its occurrence, and so is its fall. This article will cover the prophecies of the rise and fall of America.

In the article, What is Happening to America Today, the sins that are actually causing America’s demise are addressed. This article addresses the foretelling of the demise in Biblical Prophesy.

What is Prophesy?

Prophesy is forecasts about the future and the end-time; distinctive communications from God, often expressed through human elements, indicating the divine will for mankind on earth and in heaven.

A prophecy was technically the task of the prophet. However, all truth or revelation is prophetic if it points to some future person, event, or thing, and God Himself can deliver it.

 The Rise and fall of America

The conception of this rise takes place in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, regarding the Promise to Abram by God. Each succeeding generation, God pronounced prophetic promises and blessings to his descendants.

Let’s look at what God said to Abram in Gen 17:5-7

5 “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”

6 “And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.”

7 “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”

Notice that God said Abraham would be the father of many nations.” This prophecy includes not only the Middle Eastern Jewish nations, as the belief of many.

He made the same promise to Abram’s wife Sarai when He changed her name to Sarah in Genesis 17:15-16.

God additionally promised that their descendants would possess the gates of their enemies. H made this promise to Abraham’s daughter-in-law. Gen 24:60

60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her:

“Our sister, may you become

The mother of thousands of ten thousands;

And may your descendants possess

The gates of those who hate them.” NKJV

During Biblical times, controlling the gates symbolized controlling the city. However, in the latter-day fulfillment, the one who controls the strategic geographical chokepoints controls nations. Consider who at one time controlled Suez, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, the Khyber Pass, Singapore, the English Channel, and others. Who controlled the narrow passage between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden? IT IS KNOWN AS THE BOB ELM AND A.B. ARABIC FOR THE GATE OF MONDEB OR THE GATE OF TEARS.

Let’s look at the genealogy:

Abraham—Isaac—Jacob (his name was changed to Israel)—The Rise and Fall of America - Abraham's Lineage

Jacob (Israel) had twelve sons:

  1. Ruben
  2. Simeon
  3. Levi
  4. Judah
  5. Dan
  6. Naphtali
  7. Gad
  8. Asher
  9. Issachar
  10. Zebulon
  11. Joseph
  12. Benjamin

Each of these sons became the father of a tribe of people. The son named Judah was the father of the Jews. However, the word Jews used in the King James Version of the Scriptures for the first time is when the Jews were at war with Israel,

2 Kings 16:5-6.

5 “Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him.”

6 “At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day.”

Judah is only one of the twelve sons of Israel, and the Jews make up only one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Jews are still around, but where are the others?

When the twelve tribes of Israel came out of Egyptian bondage, they settled in the area we know today as Israel. Over time, they grew into a regional power under King David and his son Solomon. However, shortly after the death of Solomon, what was once one nation became two nations; the house of Judah that consisted of the Jews along with the tribe of Benjamin was one, and the house of Israel with the remaining ten tribes.

Both nations rejected God and were eventually overthrown and taken captive. The first to go into captivity was the ten-tribe House of Israel, approximately 721-718 BC. The Assyrian Empire removed them from northern Israel. They took them northeast to the other side of the Euphrates River, where the historian Josephus indicates a vast number of them were there 800 years later.

Alternatively, the House of Judah went into captivity to the Chaldeans or Babylonians over 120 years later and driven to an area far south of their northern brethren.

Because the Jews continued to keep the seventh-day Sabbath, Saturday, they have kept their identity to this day, but the other tribes making up the house of Israel cast off this identifying sign and appear to be lost for the past 1900 years. But are they?

There is a wealth of historical evidence linking the ancient house of Israel to modern nations in northern Europe, especially to the British Isles. What we know is that these people are significant in number and have to be present somewhere today.

It is in the Scriptures that we find the keys to open our understanding. We must realize that not all the prophetic promises made to Abraham’s descendants, as most people believe, apply exclusively to the Jews. This fact is evident in 1 Chron. 5:2:

2 “For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s :)”

The most significant blessings passed to Israel’s sons were divided in two. From Judah would come a kingly line that would include the Messiah, Jesus. However, the birthright blessings of great national wealth would come through his brother, Joseph.

Christians, for the most, are familiar with the kingly line and understand that Jesus was, without a doubt, the pinnacle of the promises made to Judah as Jesus was of that tribe. However, few appear to be aware of the other part of the prophecy: the birthright.

Understanding the birthright promise is key to unlocking the understanding of major geopolitical events of the last three centuries. More importantly, what is happening currently and what will happen soon in the near future.

The birthright promises explain how a relatively small island nation could control ¼ of the earth. However, the birthright promises were divided by two also. This fact is evident in Gen 35:11:

11 “Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body.” NKJV

Notice the middle of this verse: “a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you.”

Another Scripture that sheds light on the fact that this inheritance would spread far beyond Cannon is Gen 28:14

14 “Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” NKJV

After reuniting with Joseph after a long separation, Israel met Joseph’s sons, his grandsons, Manasseh, the oldest, and Ephraim, the youngest. Let’s look at what happened. Gen 48:8-20

8 “Then Israel saw Joseph’s sons, and said, “Who are these?”

9 “Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me in this place.”

And he said, “Please bring them to me, and I will bless them.” 10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them.” 11 And Israel said to Joseph, “I had not thought to see your face; but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring!”

12 “So Joseph brought them from beside his knees, and he bowed down with his face to the earth. 13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him. 14 “Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn.”

15 “And he blessed Joseph, and said: “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has fed me all my life long to this day, 16 “The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; Let my name be named upon them,And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

The name of Israel was to be placed on Joseph’s two sons.

When Joseph observed that his father’s hands were crossed and the greater blessing was being bestowed upon Ephraim, the youngest, he tried to intervene.

17 “Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”

19 “But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”

20 “So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel will bless, saying, ‘May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!'” And thus, he set Ephraim before Manasseh.” NKJV

Manasseh would have become a single great nation, but Ephraim would become a company of nations.

Prior to his death, Jacob (Israel) called his twelve sons together. Gen 49:1 tells us the reason for this gathering:

“ And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days”: NKJV

Next, we see what would become of each tribe in the last days. But how are we to know when these last days will arrive? Jesus speaks of the last days in this way: Matt 24:21-22

 21 “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” NKJV

Daniel refers to this time in this fashion: Dan 12:1-4

12 “…And there shall be a time of trouble,

Such as never was since there was a nation,

Even to that time…many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” NKJV

So we see that both Jesus and Daniel spoke of the most significant time of trouble in history. Jesus predicted human devised annihilation would be possible, and Daniel describes it as a time marked by an explosion of knowledge and transportation. This description could only refer to relatively modern times. So what we see in these prophesies is what we should expect of Joseph’s current descendants.

We see this in Gen 49:22-24

22 “Joseph is a fruitful bough,

A fruitful bough by a well;

His branches run over the wall. “

23 “The archers have bitterly grieved him, Shot at him and hated him.”

24 “But his bow remained in strength, And the arms of his hands were made strong By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob

From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),” NKJV

Joseph was to spread abroad like branches running over a wall that could not contain them. He would have many enemies that would shoot at him and hate him. However, the God of Jacob would make him strong. We also read about the military strength of Joseph in Deut 33:17

17 “His glory is like a firstborn bull,

And his horns like the horns of the wild ox;

Together with them

He shall push the peoples

To the ends of the earth;

They are the ten thousands of Ephraim,

And they are the thousands of Manasseh.”  NKJV

A few verses earlier, Moses also predicted this for Joseph’s descendants: verses 13-16

13 “And of Joseph he said”:

“Blessed of the Lord is his land,

With the precious things of heaven, with the dew,

And the deep lying beneath,”

14 “With the precious fruits of the sun,

With the precious produce of the months,”

15 “With the best things of the ancient mountains,

With the precious things of the everlasting hills,”

16 “With the precious things of the earth and its fullness,

And the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush.

Let the blessing come ‘on the head of Joseph,

And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.” NKJV

So, in the history of humanity, what two brothers have ever fulfilled the prophesies mentioned in this article? What two brothers pushed their enemies to the end of the earth? As we have seen, these two brothers would have great military might. When considering the scope of World War II, the military might of the sons of Joseph come into focus. While many nations were caught up in that horrific conflict, what brotherly nations literally, in the end, pushed their enemies to the ends of the earth?

Remember, this is not concerning the Jews, but the other ten tribes known as the House of Israel.

The younger brother, Ephraim, is none other than Britain and the British descended peoples. His older brother, Manasseh, the single great nation, is clearly the United States of America. These two nations often refer to themselves as cousins, but they would be more appropriately called brothers, for that is precisely what they are.

America and Britain have had a good ride. But that ride is coming to an end. The sun has already set on the British Empire, and the United States’ stance with democracy is in trouble.

The Sunset on America

The Rise and Fall of America - Sunset on America
The Sun is setting on America

The balance of this article will focus on the United States of America.

We have witnessed in Scripture the roots of worldwide power and position (the sunrise). However, the U.S. (Manasseh) is following in the footsteps of its grandfather (Israel-Jacob) by turning away from God as his brother, the U.K. (Ephraim), has. God annihilated the kingdom of Israel, and the citizens that remained were carried into exile because they disobeyed God.

We (the U.S.) may attempt to be great again, but the rejection of the one whose hand guides world affairs shows otherwise. If we allow our eyes to open to the truth, we are witnessing the sunset on America. As the sunrise prophesied in the Scriptures occurred, so will the sunset
if the U.S. doesn’t get its act together because the sun is going down quickly.

It is important to note that Biblical prophecy can have more than one fulfillment of it involves a fundamental principle of God. For example, suppose a judgment is prophesied against a nation for disobedience and that prophesy is fulfilled. In that case, if another nation carries out the same disobedience, that prophesy applies to the subsequent nation as well.

Again, the sun has already set on Britain; will it set on the U.S. as well?

God is merciful, and He sends warnings seeking repentance resulting in restoration. If the subject does not heed the warnings, consequences will go forth. Let’s take a look in Lev 26:14-16

14 ” But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments,

15 “and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant,”

16 I also will do this to you: NKJV

These blessed nations have forgotten where their blessings have come from, and without repentance, dire consequences below will be the result.

Seven Curses

Below are seven curses that will fall upon America without repentance according to Bible prophecy (not necessarily in this order).

 

  1.  TerrorismOriginally recorded for Israel, this prophecy applies to the U.S. and other nations today that turn against God and His ways.

Lev 26:16

16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror…

911 bought shock and awe to America

2.Disease While America has the most advanced medical industries on the planet, rampant and unstoppable disease is on her footstep unless there is widespread repentance. The Corona Virus is on the scene and joins a list of diseases that have pounced upon the nation.

Mers

Ebola

SARS

HINI

 Zika

Deut 28:22

“The Lord will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever”…

Through the mouth of Moses, God tells a sinning nation that is unwilling to repent and change does not expect any vaccine, cure, or quarantine to stop it.

Famine and hunger The U.S., a nation filled to the brim with food, a country whose food surpluses are used to feed the world, will be bought to a state of utter famine and hunger. This situation may be challenging for many to conceive. In addition, there will be chaos in the streets. The shelves have already been pretty empty during the pandemic.

Lev 26:19-20

19 I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze.

20 And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.

National Debt No nation in the world hold more national debt than America. As of this writing, as reported in US Debtclock.org, the national debt was set at more than 25 Trillion Dollars! That is enough U.S. dollar bills to stretch to the moon and back more than 850 times.

Yet, the U.S. enjoys the complete confidence of the world with the faith that the nation will fulfill its obligations. This confidence will fade according to Bible prophecy.

Deut 28:43-44

43 “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. 44 He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.

The U.S., accustomed to being the wealthiest nation on earth, will learn what it is to be on the opposite end of the scale as it discovers poverty and indebtedness.

Prov. 22:7

7 The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.

Complete military defeat Currently, the United States posses the most powerful and well equipped, most technically advanced military force in the history of the world. However, Biblical prophecy is clear what will occur should America fail to repent and acknowledge its creator and benefactor.

Deut 28:25

25 “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth.”

Lev 26:17

“I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.”

Cities will be devastated Ezek 6:6

6 “In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate, so that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, your idols may be broken and made to cease, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.”

Lev 26:31-32

31 “I will lay your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the fragrance of your sweet aromas.”

32 “I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it.”

Slavery
Deut. 28:64-65

64 “Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known — wood and stone. 65 And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul.”

These passages serve as a warning and an attempt to wake the U.S. up to its spiritual condition. What can we do in light of these upcoming conditions?

Unless the nation repents, these calamities are sure to come. There is hope.

1 Tim 2:2

Heb 12:6

Luke 21 36

We cannot control whether or not the nation repents, but we as individuals can repent.

2 Chron. 7:14

14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” NKJV

This Scripture contains the prescription. If the U.S. falls, other nations will follow.

Bottom line: The nation needs to repent and return to God.

Amen

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