The Spirit of the Church
By Dennis Neufeld, with Rick Sterling and Rich Humpal
Some things are really tough to talk or write about: politics of an opposing view, religion with a non-believer, home decorating with your spouse, the death of a loved one, the ”birds and the bees” with your children. Yet nothing has been more difficult than trying to come to grips with what I am now going to present to you in this writing. The very nature of the material that will be covered precludes a lack of opinion as to the veracity of the subject and its application to Truth. You are going to have to make a difficult decision. It will not be comfortable or easy.
Here-to-fore in my writing I have taken the position of trying to convince the reader to accept a position that I have already accepted and presented as truth. In this present case I take no such position. I am caught between a rock and a hard place; not wanting to believe that it is true with my heart, and fearing and finding it true with my mind. According to the rules of logic one must defend either the “pro” or “con” position once the proposition is stated. You must choose a side and then, by logical argument, prove your side correct, not prove the opposing side wrong. Therefore, by logical reasoning it is impossible to prove a negative. What I started out trying to do was to disprove something that appears in Scriptural and historical evidence, and in my searching for a way to disprove the facts of the matter I found a mountain of evidence in proof of its validity. In the proving I came upon considerable background and foreground information that is very detailed and somewhat complex. This material is critical to the process of building the foundation for the core concept of this book and should be carefully considered as you move through the learning curve. I believe your diligence in this effort will be rewarded.
Stating this is by no means a convoluted way of deflecting the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (thank you, Shakespeare) that will surely follow me due to the presentation of this material. I am an adult and I can take the heat for my understanding of truth. It is, however, requested that you look at all the evidence presented, think and pray about it (as I have done), before you vilify me in word or crucify me in deed. May God have mercy on those of us who are willing to search for truth, that when fully revealed, will rock the very foundations of Christendom.
Warning: if your knowledge, faith and belief system is based in any way upon any person (living or dead) other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the son of man, His Words and Spirit then please do not proceed with this reading. You must suspend your disbelief to fully understand and come to Truth.
Dennis Neufeld, September 2005
~The Founder of the Christian Church~
If the Christian Church today had to choose one of the writers in the Bible as the foundation and cornerstone of the Christian faith…who would it choose? Would the choice be Moses, author of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament? This would probably not be the case, because, as is evident in today’s Christian Church, most people don’t have much use or patience for “ancient history”. Even the traditional belief in the Creation Story is falling prey to the hard light of modern science, archaeology and evolution.
Would the church choose one of the great heroes of the Old Testament as the precursor of Christianity? Would this be someone such as Daniel, Joseph, Abraham, or Jeremiah? Probably not, because their faith was not based upon any current concept prevalent in today’s church, such as salvation by grace; their concept of salvation (so we have been told from the pulpit) is one of salvation by works or deeds – totally unacceptable in today’s religious marketplace.
Would the church choose one of the Gospel writers who each gave an eyewitness account (Mark writing for Peter, Luke writing for Paul) as to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Probably not, because of the glaring inaccuracies and conflicting accounts described by these men makes an accurate telling of the events and presentation of doctrine difficult to reconcile at best and totally in error at worst.
Would the Christian church choose Jesus Christ, Son of God, as the foundation and cornerstone of today’s church? Believe it or not, they probably would not. Astounding as it may seem, and even though Jesus Christ is the King of the Kingdom of Heaven, He would not be viewed by most Christians as defining the basic concepts of the church; after all, as He told the Syrophoenician woman;
(Matthew 15:24) But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
[All Biblical references in this book taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise stated.]
The question is then begged, that if Jesus came to save only the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel, (Jews), how are the rest of us saved? So the matter of who would be chosen as the founder of the Christian Church is in practice moot, and the choice must be based on history, founded and practiced in the doctrine and theology of the Church since the fourth century B.C.E. The early church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Christian Churches of today all have the same basic foundation, the apostle Paul.
A History Lesson~
It is truly amazing that many, if not most, Christians do not have even the beginning of an understanding as to how the Church, as we know it today, was formed. This is not the place where the details of this deficiency will be remedied. There is sufficient information in articles and books provided by very well educated and scholarly writers that can give you insight into the mechanics of how the Christian Church came to be. Yet a portion of the vast information that is available will be interesting but certainly will be necessary to the understanding of what is to be revealed in order to grasp the core concept that is herein presented. These concepts, will be impossible to grasp without this understanding.
In the late third and early fourth century A.D. the Church was in a confused condition. The influences of Judaism, paganism, and early Christian writings were strong within various factions of the church, to such an extent that the practices of the “new” religion were a hodgepodge of beliefs not specified in a way that unified the believers. Christians kept both Sabbath (as a rest day) and Sunday (as the day of the Lord). Jewish rites and pagan rituals were included in Christian worship, therefore mitigating and diluting established doctrine. Strife and dissension were rife between churches, one church favoring a particular writer or dogma over the favorites of another church.
Most of the original disciples (hence Apostles) had finished the writing of their version of events between 45 and 75 C.E., except for John who wrote between 80 and 95 C.E.(possibly as late as 100 C.E.). No books were written between 30 C.E. (Christ’s death and resurrection) and 45 C.E. because the early church still had access to living eyewitnesses (Apostles) who were expecting Christ to return at any time. Because of this there seemed to be no real urgency in writing anything down. The term used to describe some of these writings is Homologumena, which were books that were read and accepted by the entire church. Other writings were only accepted by some of the churches: these were termed Antilogumena. These later books were either disputed in their authenticity or the churches were merely unfamiliar with them. Some of the books in this category were James, 2nd and 3rd John, Jude, Peter, and Hebrews. The mid 100’s C.E. already saw the distribution of most of the books that we now call the New Testament to the churches, but there was still no consensus as to their validity or authenticity.
As was previously stated the Church found itself in a confused state because the church fathers rightly understood that without a unified Scripture there could be no unified church. In an attempt to rectify this situation church leaders (Bishops and Elders) met in council a number of times. Most notable of these were the Council of Nicea in 323 C.E. (which de-established the Aryan heresy and confirmed the doctrine of the Trinity), and the Council of Laodicea in 363-364 C.E., which took place in Phrygia Pacatiana. The Council of Laodicea changed the history of the Church in two very important ways; it decided what would and would not be considered canon (the operating rules of the church) and it decided which books would or would not be included in the Bible and read in church.
Although there is no direct historical documentation, various sources suggest that the Council likely established three criteria for the canonization and authentication of a gospel, letter, or other writing:
1. Apostolic Authority – to be included in the New Testament a book had to have either been authorized or sponsored and written by an Apostle.
2. Orthodoxy – a book could not teach doctrine contrary to what the church viewed and accepted as the teaching of Jesus Christ.
3. Circulation to the Churches – a book must have been circulated to and in use by Christian churches in Israel (Palestine), Asia Minor, and throughout the Roman world. If not, the council would not recognize it as being Christian Scripture.
Even though the council was trying to authenticate and categorize scripture in a way that would achieve the goal of having a body of scripture as authoritative as the Old Testament, we can easily see the inherent difficulties in these three criteria with respect to ferreting out lies from truth.
The Apostolic Authority of a particular writing needed to be based upon the validity of the claim that the writer was, indeed, a true apostle of Jesus Christ. We know that there were numerous false apostles going to the churches teaching false doctrine, so just because the claim to apostleship was made did not mean that it was valid. Comparison would need to be made between the apostle’s teaching and that of Jesus. If they are not teaching the same basic doctrine ascribed to Jesus then the apostle (or prophet) is false. It is not clear as to the extent to which the Council looked into this comparison.
The critical factor of the Orthodoxy of belief within the Church was not so much based on the actual teachings of Jesus Christ but on what the Church viewed and accepted as those teachings. The idea that the Church could decide that which was to be accepted as the teachings of Jesus demonstrated the hubris of the leadership of the fledgling church, which was mirrored closely in what Jesus fought against with respect to the Pharisees and the Sadducees. It was not necessarily what was true but what they said was true that was critical as to whether they chose a particular writing or not.
All sorts of letters, books and writings were in circulation among the churches in the first few centuries after events of the life of Christ. There were two types of writers that influenced the early church; Apostles and opportunists. The Apostles of Christ (disciples) wrote some letters and books as a means of preserving the accounts and teachings that Jesus presented to the Kingdom of Heaven. They also wrote Gospels that were written in such a way as to allow the life and teachings of their Lord Jesus Christ to shine through. The disciples wrote these books out of the need to communicate the experience they had with Jesus Christ to others so that there would be a record of the events and an understanding of the Spirit that brought such dynamic change in their lives. They did this neither for monetary gain or fame, but out of a sense of mission, which Christ charged them with before He ascended to Heaven. Other writers were opportunists, who wrote to capitalize on a unique trend in public sentiment or church doctrine with a view toward the author reaping a reward of either fortune or fame, or both. One type of writer was the accomplishment of the Spirit of Christ; the other type was of the spirit of Satan. The Council had difficulty differentiating between the to types principally because their agenda was essentially not to find and promote the search for truth but to deal with confusion and promote unity within the church. Therefore, it was possible that some books were given more credence than others merely because they had a wider circulation and broader readership, even if the teaching found therein was different than that of Jesus.
What was the reason some books and letters were chosen and some left out? Was there an agenda favoring the theology of one apostle over the theology of the others? We should not discount the sincerity of the members of the Council of Laodicea in their efforts to gain control of a deteriorating situation, but neither can we discount the efforts of Satan in promoting the continuation of confusion as to where the Truth resides.
The Council eventually confirmed and approved the documents that were to be used for the New Testament, Canon LX (60). These are now the books of the New Testament: Four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; The Acts of the Apostles; Seven Catholic Epistles, to wit, one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude; Thirteen Epistles of Paul; one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, and one to Philemon. (It was not until 397 C.E. that Revelation was adopted and included in the Canon.)
It is interesting to note that the Seven Catholic Epistles, James, Peter (2), John (3) and Jude were among those books considered by the Council to not have the authority of circulation to all the churches. They were considered to be Antilogumena, yet they were still accepted into the 60th Canon. Why would they allow this to happen? Could it be that God needed them in the New Testament to counter the effects of some of the other writings that were already established there?
Confusion and discord within the Kingdom of God played directly into the hands of Satan and is still happening even today, keeping the Kingdom of Heaven from fulfilling the goal for which Christ brought it into being. It appears that the Council of Laodicea placed the hard work of searching for truth from within the Christian writings of the time as secondary to the political and religious expediency of the moment. Unfortunately that ‘moment’ has extended to more than 1600 years of contradiction, confusion, deception and lies, which go to the very core of Christian belief in the modern church.
This Council of Catholic Clergy met together in Laodicea and produced the New Testament, which is the most widely published and read document that exists today. This document is esteemed by every Protestant denomination the world over, yet it came into being because of the activities of the very Church that the Protestants broke away from during the Reformation and who some now revile as Babylon and the Beast. It is held (as a test of faith) to be the inerrant, unalterable, undeniable Word of God, yet the New Testament is full of contradictions and conflicting statements that are glossed over in study and in sermon as unimportant, enigmatic or just too hard to understand.
As church members and professed members of the Kingdom of Heaven, we stake our very salvation on a set of documents written by fallible human beings, some who had no greater knowledge and understanding of Scripture than have we, who surely struggled then (as do we now) under the onslaught of Satan’s deceptions and lie filled “truths”. These documents were decided upon and put together by a group of men who were not so much interested in getting to the truth as getting to a solution, and who were willing to place their identity and that of their Church over the uncovering, understanding and dissemination of truth. Is it therefore possible that Satan slipped one over on the Council of Laodicea and injected into the mix an imposter, a time bomb, a virus, a deception so great that not even the very elect would be able to see it until just before the “End”? Satan is not called ‘The Great Deceiver’ because he is not good at it. It has been, and always will be, his desire to see lies triumph over truth. That is the only thing which he believes will keep him alive and in power on this earth.
Is the Bible in and of itself “Holy” as it states on the cover? No, not at all! But truth as set forth in the Bible can make one holy, if it is understood and put to use. Is the entire Bible the very ‘Word of God’ as we have been taught? Again no! But it does contain the Words of God as seen in the Old Testament (Covenant, Law and Prophecies), and with the Words of Jesus Christ in the Gospels and in Revelation. Is it possible to find truth within a set of writings that contain hidden lies? If it were not possible to find Truth under even the most trying conditions then Jesus Christ is indeed not fair, as was Satan’s original claim. We know Jesus is fair and will lead us into all truth if we seek and ask for it. The Bible, including the New Testament, contains Truth. We must look to the only source of Truth that is not only in the Bible but also longs to be in us, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Christ, His Inspired Words. If we gauge everything we read by this standard:
(John 8:32) . . . you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Synopsis: By the early fourth century A.D. the Church was in deep trouble. Influences of Judaism and Paganism were infused into the Christian church such that it was difficult to see how one religion was separated from another. The leaders of the Christian church, led by Constantine to regain both religious and political control over the world, convened a Council at Laodicea for the purpose of wresting unity from confusion and stability from chaos. This Council established the Canon (rules of operation) of the Church and set about to bring a unified doctrine through the unification of Scripture. The result of the Council of Laodicea was the Bible as we know it today.
The purpose of the Council of Laodicea was not to find, establish, and propagate truth to the world; it was to find a religious and political solution to the ever-growing problem of discord and disunity within the Church. As evidenced by the condition of the Church today, they succeeded at neither.
~What About Paul~
Paul is by far the most influential, important and widely recognized Apostle in the Christian Church today. Whole theologies have been created exclusively around what he has written in his letters. Paul was one of the most sincere and zealous of the Apostles, turning his hatred for Christians into a love for his fellow Jews that saw him go to Jerusalem even when he had been told that to go there would eventually get him killed. He is upheld as the “Christian’s Christian” by many pastors, evangelists and lay people, exceeding even Peter in current popularity. The doctrine that he teaches comes from direct revelation to his heart and formed the cornerstone not only of the Catholic Church but also all of the Protestant churches of the world. All who love and serve the Lord know by experience that Satan goes with a vengeful purpose after those who are capable of helping to defeat his plans, and who are helping to defeat his kingdom of darkness. Satan does not pay much, if any, attention to those who will have no bearing on the outcome of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. For this reason Satan could have set his sights firmly on Saul of Tarsus of Cilicia.
Curriculum Vitae, Saul~
Saul was a passionate evil man. Mind you, he did not think or know that he was evil. Clearly he thought that he was doing the work of righteousness in ferreting out what he was sure was abject evil from within the Jewish nation. He was killing Christians in an alleged glory to God. He was seeking out members of “The Way” for the Sanhedrin, and under their authority he would bring these Christians back to Jerusalem to be tried before the Sanhedrin as heretics, who would then be stoned to death (as was Stephen).
(Acts 9:1) Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,
(Acts 9:2) and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Saul, a Roman citizen and a tentmaker by profession, declared himself first and foremost a Pharisee, who made the claim that he had been trained by the greatest Pharisee of them all, Gamaliel. It has been reported that starting at the age of 17, this young prodigy was honed and tested in the Law and the Prophets to such an extent that he probably had the entire Scripture (the Old Testament) memorized. There was no question that he felt that he could not answer, even when presented by the wisest and most clever sage in the Sanhedrin. He was insanely jealous for the traditions of the Temple and the Law and could not abide any activity that denigrated his adopted heritage as a Jew.
The reason he hated Jews who became Christians with such an intense passion was that he had converted to Judaism at an early age and could not tolerate anyone who would deliberately turn away from their natural heritage. He wanted to be a “son of Abraham” with all his heart, so much so that he went through conversion and circumcision to become that which he loved most, a Jew. He could not fathom how anyone could give up that which he had so dearly bought with both his soul and his flesh. Hatred coupled with jealous passion is one of the chief methods that Satan uses to control the minds of those he has co-opted for his use. We can see this today in the radical religious fervor that causes young Middle Eastern men and women to strap bombs to their bodies and blow themselves up, along with innocent victims that they murder because of a disagreement over their religious viewpoint. Could it be that Saul became one of these fanatics because Satan had influenced his mind into thinking that killing Christians was a righteous act of God?
We know that Saul was headstrong and arrogant. He knew he was brilliant and was not afraid to show it. Whenever there was someone of lesser intellect around (or someone that he thought was less intelligent) he could and would put them in their proper place by dazzling them with his superior knowledge of whatever religious subject they were addressing. He was an intellectual snob and also a religious bigot, looking upon Gentiles with the oriental idea of gaigin; he saw them as outsiders who were of no consequence, infidels beyond hope of salvation. To Saul only Jews mattered, because only the Jewish nation had been chosen by God to be His kingdom.
The Call of Saul~
One of the most important laws in the Old Testament is the law of the two witnesses. Without two witnesses you could not convict anyone of murder or adultery. Without two witnesses a contract was null and void. Two witnesses were needed to confirm a marriage contract or to allow a judge to render a judgment in court. God is so adamant about the need to validate truth by having two witnesses that He grants authority to what He calls “My two witnesses” in Revelation 11:3, who will bear witness to the Truth during the Great Tribulation at the end of time.
When God called the disciples to Jesus at the beginning of His ministry there were many more than two witnesses who confirmed the events. When John baptized Jesus there was a crowd of people who heard the voice of God and saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus like a dove, which confirmed the start of His ministry.
Throughout the Old Testament God called many different types of people for service to His kingdom, in one capacity or another. Notable among these are Noah, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel. At no time did God inflict pain or physical punishment to force someone to do His will.
(Acts 9:3) As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;
(Acts 9:4) and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
Does it not appear unusual, then, that when Saul was on the road to Damascus God would cause him to go blind in order for him to come around to God’s way of thinking? Previously, God never used force or coercion to accomplish His purpose because this would negate one of the most important laws of God: free will. God did not use force in the call of the other Disciples. He did not use coercion in the call of the Old Testament prophets. [God did hold people that chose to accept His commission to their word by direct intervention; i.e. Moses, Jonah and Jeremiah, to name a few.]Why would God have to use force to get someone to agree to accept the commission (apostleship) of service to the Kingdom of Heaven? After all, wouldn’t God know ahead of time whether or not they would accept? God would never ask someone to do something that He knew beforehand they would never do. He is the Omniscient God and knows the end from the beginning.
The only reasonable explanation and expectation concerning this use of coercive force is that the “being” that used the blinding light to get Saul’s attention did not know ahead of time what Saul would do! This being could not have known what Saul’s response was going to be otherwise he would not have felt the need to use overwhelming power in order to make sure of the result. This would have to mean that this “being of light” that appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus was not the real “Lord Jesus”.
Did Saul, in fact, see this “being”, or was he blinded before he was able to get a look? According to the verse, a light appeared around Saul, and then Saul fell to the ground and HEARD a voice. Apparently Saul did not actually see the being that confronted him. For what reason would this being not desire someone to see who he was? If this being was not Jesus Christ then who was he? If this was the real Jesus then why would He use a method of approach that was so different from His character?
One option, though highly unlikely and with no supporting historical evidence, could be that Saul may have actually seen Jesus during His ministry on earth. Saul would have been 13 or 14 years old at the time, certainly old enough to know what was going on in Israel and remember. It may be that Saul would have recognized this being as NOT being Jesus (having seen Him before), then Saul would have known that this being was impersonating Jesus and would have rejected the “call”. Who then was perpetrating this impersonation if this wasn’t the real Jesus?
The other option falls under the category of impersonation. We have been told, by a variety of sources, that Satan can, does, and will appear as an angel of light, in order to deceive the elect (if possible) and the nations. Even Paul himself makes the statement in 2 Thess:3-4 that Satan will appear as a “being of light” and stand in the Temple proclaiming himself to be “God”. But this will occur at the end of time. When Christ was resurrected from the grave and ascended to heaven as the Wave Sheaf Offering (just after his conversation with Mary Magdalene in the garden of Gethsemane) Satan was cast into the Abyss, which is the spirit world. He will not receive the key to unlock the Abyss until the 5th Trumpet during the Great Tribulation. It was therefore impossible for Satan to appear as Jesus in the flesh because he was, at that point, limited to existence in the spirit world.
Saul was sincere yet filled with hated for Christians, making him ripe for deception. Did Satan appear to Saul and impersonate Jesus in the flesh? No! Is there a reason that this being would not want to be visually identified by Saul? This being did not want to be identified because Saul could have recognized this being as Satan, and although Saul hated Christians he, for reasons of self-righteousness, hated Satan even more and would never have knowingly or willingly joined Satan’s side. The hatred Saul had for Christians created a doorway of entry for Satan into Saul. If Saul had identified Satan it would have completely destroyed Satan’s grand scheme of insinuating Saul into the fledgling Christian church.
(Acts 9:5) And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,
(Act 9:6) but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.”
This verse gives more evidence that Saul did not see this being. Why ask the question, “Who are you, Lord?” if you can see and identify exactly who is speaking. In reply, and not for the first time, Satan responds to Saul by saying that he is Jesus. What was Saul to believe? He could not believe his eyes because he could not see to whom he was speaking. Clearly, the only evidence that he could go on was the voice that he heard, the voice of Satan mimicking Jesus Christ.
(Acts 9:7) The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
It is clear and evident that Paul’s conversion was purely personal. Not one of his traveling companions ever saw a thing. There were not two witnesses to testify as to what occurred. One can’t explain what one can’t see. Satan made sure that there were no eyewitnesses to the call of Saul. Therefore, Saul was absolutely convinced just hearing this voice that he knew this was the real Jesus, just as Satan had planned.
The Demon Within~
It may strike some of you as an absurd notion that Saul could have a demon. Yet as we have seen from Scripture, Saul’s hatred for the Jews that converted to Christianity knew no bounds. This alone should be enough to show that the spirit that was in Saul was NOT the Spirit of God, but the spirit of Satan.
The Scribes and Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by using the prince of demons.
(Matthew 12:24) But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons.”
(Matthew 12:25) And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.
(Matthew 12:26) If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?
(Matthew 12:27) “If I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges.”
(Matthew 12:28) But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Is it possible for the Spirit of God and the spirit of Satan to coexist within the same person? Certainly not! Does the Creator God use Satan and his demons to help Him accomplish His will within the Kingdom of Heaven? Does Satan use God and His holy angels to do his work of evil in the world? In this passage (and many others) Jesus says, “No”.
How can we know that Saul actually had a demon? He tells us himself.
(2nd Corinthians 12:7) Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me–to keep me from exalting myself!
In this passage Paul said that he was becoming arrogant because of the magnitude of the revelations (information) that God had been giving him. The same “being” that had given him these revelations was the same ‘being’ he had experienced on the Damascus road. He had become quite a celebrity within the Christian community (but not with the original Disciples) and he admitted here that it was going to his head. He then categorically stated that to keep him from continuing to have arrogant and superior thoughts, something had been given to him to keep him humble, something that was supposed to stop him from “exalting himself”. He described this “thing” as a torment to him. (Is the Holy Spirit a torment or a blessing?) He called it a “messenger of Satan”. The Greek word “angelos” means messenger or angel. What Paul said here, is that he had been given an entity that we now call a demon.
The most widely held Christian interpretation of this statement is that because of his Damascus road experience (where he was blinded by the light) the ‘torment’ must be that he was partially blind. This is a spectacular assumption. Paul’s explanation does not explain the nature of the torment as being a physical event nor does it explain why throughout his life, Paul was afflicted with an attitude of arrogant humility. This attitude of ‘look at how humble I am, I am the kind of Christian that you should become’ pervades all of Paul’s writings.
Does the God of Heaven give someone a demon to make them righteous? Did Jesus Christ give Paul a “messenger of Satan” to keep him from exalting himself. It is patently ridiculous to think so. As we have seen, Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” in response to the Pharisees accusing him of casting out demons using the prince of demons, Beelzebub. God does not have Satan or demons working for Him with respect to the sanctification process and salvation. Satan does not use God or His angels to help deceive unsuspecting people into believing lies.
(2nd Corinthians 12:8) Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.
How many times did Jesus Christ cast out demons from people who requested His help? The answer is every time He was asked. There is not one account recorded in the Gospels when Jesus refused to help an innocent victim of demonic possession. On the other hand Satan will go to any length to achieve his own ends, including implanting a “messenger of Satan” in unsuspecting victims. Why, then, if Paul asked God three times to cast out this “messenger of Satan”, (demon), did Jesus see fit to NOT cast it out? The answer is because a “house divided against itself cannot stand”. Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, did not put the demon into Paul, and the “god” that put the demon into Paul was not about to take it out.
A Perfect Fit~
By now it should be clear that Satan knew from the foundation of the Christian church that he had to put a saboteur and an imposter into the leadership of the church. The new church would be a tremendous threat to his dark kingdom of lies. Therefore Satan knew that he was going to have to do something dramatic and significant to confuse the new believers as to the truth of the teachings of his adversary, Jesus Christ. This would require a ‘Sting operation’ of monumental proportions. For this con game Satan would need an imposter with very special talents and abilities.
Satan’s first requirement for this agent provocateur would be that he would have to really believe that he had been chosen by God to be an apostle, necessitating that a dramatic and believable call would have to be engineered. The second requirement would be that the imposter would have to have an intimate and superior knowledge of the Scriptures such that he could intimidate, when necessary, the undereducated recruits that would make up the backbone of the new church. The final requirement of Satan for this person would be that he would have to be conditioned to believe that the revelations (information) that he was given were true. These revelations (given in vision directly by a “god”) would have to be close enough to the real thing so as not to raise alarm bells in the minds of those to whom these revelations were to be passed on, via spoken word or writings. This person would have to truly believe in the call; he could not be in on the plan. He would have to be completely deceived. If he believed it completely, then others would as well.
Paul could not have been more perfect for this position; he met all the requirements and then some. He was ardent for the Scriptures and the Law. He was well educated and articulate. He firmly and thoroughly believed that he had been called by Jesus to go to the Gentiles with the gospel.
Power through Weakness~
Now comes the most magnificent yet terrible aspect of this great deception. Paul has asked ‘God’ to take away the demon. Paul does not like this demon that is in him. He really wants to get rid of it, yet this “god” gives him a very strange answer.
(2nd Corinthians 12:9) And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Hereafter, and in many other places, Paul appears confused as to exactly what this statement means. What Satan (as Jesus) in effect told Paul was that, “Even though you asked me to take away this demon from you I am not going to do it. Even though you asked me to remove this ‘messenger of Satan’ I am going to leave it in you because ‘My’ grace is sufficient for you. Go ahead and keep the demon because in the final analysis it doesn’t matter whether it is there or not or whether you keep your sin or not because ‘My grace is sufficient for you.’”
Here begins the great deception of the church upon which Satan is counting to save his own life. Satan wants Christians to believe that the righteousness that is in Christ Jesus is unattainable by them, that they are and always will be sinners, but that they will be saved by the grace of Jesus even if they choose to keep sin and lies in their lives. The church has taught them that the robe of Christ’s righteousness simply covers the filthy rags of their sin so that when God the Father looks at them He sees only Jesus. There is no need to actually eliminate sin; you just mask it with the righteousness of Christ. However, Jesus Christ NEVER taught this theology.
Even more interesting is the follow-on phrase. If you have studied the words of Jesus Christ to any degree, this phrase goes directly against what Christ taught to the Disciples and what the Disciples wrote as their understanding. One must ask the question: whose power is made perfect in weakness? Certainly NOT the power of the God of Creation who, according to Jesus Christ, wants us to be strong in our knowledge and understanding of His Words.
(John 17:17) “Sanctify them through the truth, Thy word is truth.”
(Genesis 4:7) “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
God told Cain that he must master his own desire for sin by doing righteousness. We are to become sanctified, which is the process of replacing lies with truth. The only one who benefits from weakness is the one who will take advantage of that weakness to demonstrate power. Satan is the only “god” that does this. The God of the Kingdom of Heaven does not demonstrate His power by overpowering those who are weak. Jesus said that He would send us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who would lead us into ALL truth. He never said that He would overpower us with the truth such that we could not (if we choose) believe a lie.
(2nd Corinthians 12:9) “My grace is sufficient for you, for (my) power is perfected in (your) weakness.” (Words in parenthesis supplied)
This sentence, written by Paul, is the center point of perhaps one of the greatest deceptions in the history of the Kingdom of Heaven. If we believe as we have been previously taught about the meaning of this passage then we are compelled to believe that the power of Jesus Christ comes through a messenger of Satan. As we have previously shown this is not only ridiculous but impossible. The grand deception could have progressed like this: Satan first deceived a religious zealot named Saul into believing that he had been called of God to be an Apostle; then Satan gave Saul (e.g.. Paul) revelations that seemed true and yet were more than a little different than what Jesus Christ taught while He was on earth; Paul wrote all this down and convinced the church that he, indeed, was an Apostle of Christ, even though the original Disciples had their doubts; much later the Council of Laodicea confirmed the Apostleship of Paul and canonized his writings using faulty guidelines; Paul and his writings rather than Jesus Christ became the foundation of the Christian Church in both of its current forms (Catholic and Protestant); finally the theology of Justification and Sanctification through the work of the High Priest in Heaven, Jesus Christ, gave way to the doctrine of Salvation by Grace and Righteousness by Faith; grace upon grace upon grace which states that sin in your life does not matter, only believe on Jesus and you are saved.
By getting the people of God to believe this new doctrine, which states that salvation is brought about by a “new” covenant, Satan is attempting to prolong his miserable life indefinitely. Satan believes that as long as the people of God believe a lie the Truth will never by told and recognized, judgment will never come, and he (Satan) will be able to live forever, which is his primary goal.
The Revelation in Ephesus~
In the book of Revelation, Chapters 2 and 3, Jesus gives us information on Seven Churches that in total represent the characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven at the time of the end, the time just before the start of the Great Tribulation. These churches are represented as seven lamp stands. Each lamp stand has on it seven lights for a total of forty-nine lights representing perfect and complete truth. If these churches are to have the complete Truth in them then there can be no room for lies.
In all of his writing Paul only wrote to one of the Seven Churches listed in Revelation. That church was Ephesus. This is significant. The instructions and admonition that Christ gives this particular church in Revelation 3 are further compounded by the fact that Ephesus is the first church listed in the roster of Seven Churches.
(Revelation 2:1) “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lamp stands, says this:
(Revelation 2:2) “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
(Revelation 2:3) and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.
(Revelation 2:4) “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
(Revelation 2:5) ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lamp stand out of its place–unless you repent.
This group of people is doing deeds that require toil and perseverance. These deeds are the testing of (evil) people who call themselves apostles but they are found to be liars. These false apostles (and prophets) were found to have received their commission not from the God of Heaven but rather the god of this world, or this claim was made on their own. The testing that this group of people (that is termed ‘Ephesus’) is doing is so serious that Jesus Christ says that this group of people must repent for having left their first love and do the deeds they did at first. If they do not repent their lamp stand will be removed out of its place among the other lamp stands (churches) and they will lose their (implied) salvation. In other words, if this group fails to repent and perform these tests which expose false apostles, showing that they have returned to their first love, their own salvation will be in question, even though they have been diligent at everything else that has been required of them. Their first love would have to be Jesus Christ, his teachings and testimony that they replaced or made equal to (at some point in the past) the teachings of these false apostles.
Paul fits this description perfectly. It is now apparent that he called himself an apostle for he was not named so either by the true God, or by the eleven Disciples of Christ, or by the council of the Church at Jerusalem. It is also apparent that there was more than just a little friction and disagreement between the Disciples, especially Peter, James and John, and the self-proclaimed apostle known as Paul.
Synopsis: Saul was an evil man who had dedicated his life to hunting down and murdering Jews who had converted to Christianity. He was a Gentile that had converted to Judaism and he was employed by the Sanhedrin as a type of bounty hunter. He traveled extensively doing this work. There is also evidence that suggests that he was born into the Herodian family, which would explain his Roman citizenship.
On one such trip to Damascus (outside of the zone of Roman authority) he was accosted by a being calling himself “Jesus” and was coerced by physical means into a change of heart. By his own admission he stated that he had been given a “messenger of Satan” to keep him on the path of righteousness. A number of years after this incident he began preaching a gospel that was counter to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and an anathema to the church in Jerusalem.
In Revelation 2:4 Jesus makes the statement that this church called “Ephesus’” has lost its first love, which is Jesus Christ, his teachings and testimony. Sometime in the past this group replaced the teachings of Jesus Christ with the teachings of false apostles. This special group was fooled for a time into thinking and believing that what these false apostles (and prophets) were saying was the word of God. Having tested the words and teachings of these apostles against the Words of God (found in both the Old and New Testament) they concluded that these apostles did not meet the standard of Truth. Against all odds, persevering for the sake of the name of Jesus, not growing weary of the ridicule and hate from others generated by this new and uncomfortable understanding, they endured.
~James of the Jerusalem Church~
The Church in Jerusalem was one of the earliest bodies of believers that was organized after the ascension of Jesus. They did not call themselves Christians (as many now believe) but called themselves followers of “The Way.” This Church was led by some of the original Disciples, most notably Peter and John.
It is intriguing to note that it was not Peter (Cephas) that became the leader of this company. James, the brother of Jesus, became the undisputed leader of the Council of Jerusalem. Two possible reasons for this might be that James was the full younger brother of Jesus (by Mary and Joseph); and the other because James convinced the early believers of his knowledge and understanding of the theology of Jesus Christ. At this time in Israel people lived in a culture where principal of hereditary ruler ship was deeply imbedded, which made James (also of the Davidic line) appealing to the believers. Yet even these reasons would not have been enough to cause Peter to relinquish the authority given to him by Jesus. Of the original Disciples of Christ, Peter was the least reticent to use this God given authority to further the work of Jesus Christ within Israel and in the world. It would have taken circumstances of a much more dramatic nature than a claim to kinship with Jesus for Peter to give up the position that he knew was given him by his Lord.
(Matthew 16:18) “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
(Matthew 16:19) “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
At this juncture Jesus gave Peter extraordinary power (not given to the other disciples) such that Peter correctly felt that (after the ascension of Christ) it was up to him to lead the work and the “Way” forward into the world. There are some people who have interpreted this passage to mean that Jesus was speaking of himself as the rock. (This interpretation has come principally from the misinterpretation of who or what is the rock in Daniel chapter 2.) It is clear, however, that Jesus was speaking directly to Peter when he made the statements in Matt. 16: 18-19. If this were the case, then why would Peter relinquish this God given leadership role to someone else?
Although little is directly said about James in Scripture, we can get a sense about his attitude toward his older brother and why he would want to have a direct leadership role in the start up of the new church. James was with his mother and other family members seeking to speak with Jesus as he was teaching in the synagogue.
The sentiment in Nazareth was that Jesus was some kind of a nutcase, talking about the Holy Spirit anointing Him to preach the gospel (of the Kingdom) to the poor, proclaiming release to the captives, the blind receiving sight, setting the captives free, and saying “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-30) Jesus continued by calling attention to the fact that the heart of Israel was so hardened toward God that He could not rely on Israel to act in accordance with God’s will so that He had to use some people outside of Israel to accomplish His work.
(Luke 4:25) “But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land;
(Luke 4:26) and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
(Luke 4:27) “And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
The members of the synagogue in Nazareth became so enraged with Jesus over these statements that they attempted to kill Jesus by throwing Him off a cliff outside the city. Somehow Jesus passed right through the angry mob and left town.
(Luke 4:24) And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.
(Matthew 13:57) And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”
The family of Jesus, who lived and worked in Nazareth, would naturally have felt uncomfortable with the negative notoriety generated by what Jesus was saying and doing. It is understandable that they would want Jesus to stop rousing the rabble and come home, saving them from further embarrassment.
(Luke 8:19) And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd.
(Luke 8:20) And it was reported to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.”
(Luke 8:21) But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”
Then Jesus seems to make it even worse by discounting his relationship with his family. It is likely that this statement caused some resentment in Jesus’ family, especially in the younger brother of the “celebrity”. Would James (and his other brothers) have felt resentment toward his older brother because He had gotten most of the attention from Mary and Joseph? Would James have felt left out when Jesus didn’t choose him to be one of the Twelve? Would the brothers of Jesus deem it necessary to take steps to stop Jesus from embarrassing the family and reducing their standing within the religious and social community of Nazareth? All of this is possible. Just as the Pharisees and Sadducees were under the control of Satan (and because of this) wanted to kill Jesus for their own prurient reasons. It now appears that the brothers of Jesus were under the same control and for the same reason. After all, no one enters a conspiracy to murder unless they are under the control of Satan.
(John 7:1) After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him.
(John 7:2) Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near.
(John 7:3) Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing.
(John 7:4) “For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”
(John 7:5) For not even His brothers were believing in Him.
The brothers of Jesus were distraught and antagonistic with Jesus about what He was doing because they had been reared in Jewish tradition and anything that went against that tradition they were adamantly against. The brothers and family of Jesus accused Jesus of seeking public notoriety and fame, which shows that they did not understand His mission. At first they merely wanted to get Jesus to quit by going to the synagogue in Nazareth where He was teaching and trying to get Him to come home. When that did not work it appears that they tried to do to Jesus what the brothers of Joseph did to him, except that they wanted to take it to the final solution. Jesus knew that if He went to Judea the leaders of the Jews (the Sanhedrin) would try to kill Him. Yet His brothers tried to get Him to go to Judea, ostensibly for the purpose of showing off His miracle-working power to the world. Clearly, the brothers of Jesus were trying to set a trap for Jesus. They must have known that if Jesus went to Jerusalem the Sanhedrin would attempt to have Him killed. If they truly did not want him dead why did they tell Him to go there? It is uncertain whether the brothers of Jesus were in direct contact with, and acting as agents for, the Sanhedrin or whether they were doing this on their own for the purpose of distancing themselves from Jesus and His teaching so they could maintain their standing within the synagogue at Nazareth. Whatever their motivation Jesus knew what they were trying to do as is indicated by His response:
(John 7:6) So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune.
(John 7:7) “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.
(John 7:8) “Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.”
(John 7:9) Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee.
Jesus did not get angry with His family over this incident because He knew what they were trying to do and why they were trying to do it. Yet it must have hurt Him deeply that His own family would reject Him to such a severe extent. (He makes a direct comment on this in Matt. 10:34-37) Even in this, He tried to teach them a lesson about who He really was. Normal human beings would have responded in a totally different way to this attempt at murder by getting angry and setting about to get even with those who abused them. The response of Jesus (which indicates that He truly was God and not just human) was to try to teach them the truth about who they were and what they just attempted to do. He told them that the world does not hate them, because they are of the world so the world would approve of what they were doing. He made the connection between them and what they were trying to do and the kingdom of the world, over which Satan is ruler. By this He clearly stated that, as with the deeds of the world, their deeds were also evil. Jesus then made a statement that He makes numerous times in His Ministry. He said; “My time has not yet fully come.” This would seem to indicate that Jesus knew when He was to be the sacrifice for the sins of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus thought that the timing of events was important to know, so it would be fair to say that our knowing of the time and timing of events should be equally important.
Jesus did not go to Judea but stayed in Galilee. It must have really irritated His brothers that Jesus did not fall into what they supposed was their carefully crafted trap. That irritation would have stayed with James and could have been part of the motivation for taking the opportunity (when it was presented) in usurping the role that his brother, Jesus, gave to Peter. After accomplishing his task of removing Peter and taking over the leadership of the Jerusalem Church, James probably felt great satisfaction in knowing that he had finally pulled one over on his brother. A most telling statement is found in John 7:
(John 7:5) For not even His brothers were believing in Him.
How did James take advantage of this opportunity and usurp the role of Peter in the newly formed church? The Catholic Church maintains that James had a vision (like Saul), in which the angel Gabriel told him that he was to be the leader of the new church in Jerusalem. Documentation extant today that gives proof to that claim comes from apocryphal records within the Catholic Church. We have seen just how well that tactic worked for Satan with respect to Paul, so why would it not also work with James? Indeed, James was ripe for the picking.
James had not been chosen by Jesus to be a disciple and neither had James expressed any interest in coming under the discipline of Christ when Jesus was alive and in ministry. James did not believe in his brother or His ministry, and actively sought to undermine his brother in their hometown. It is not likely that James was present at any of the events that lead up to the final events in the life of Jesus Christ, including the last supper, the crucifixion, the resurrection or the ascension of Jesus Christ. This, coupled with a desire for recognition and honor that had already been given to Peter and John, most probably caused him to harbor some resentment toward his more popular older brother. All Satan needed to do was appear to James in a vision as an angel of light, tell him that he was chosen by his brother to lead the Jerusalem church and Satan would be in a position to play both ends against the middle. James would be able to tell the disciples that he had a vision from “God” and they would believe him because, from his perspective, he would be telling the truth. The only way that Peter would have given up leadership in the Jerusalem Church was if he knew that Christ wanted it that way. It is evident from Scripture and the record of history that this is what Peter must have understood.
The leadership of the Jerusalem Church, sometimes called the Jerusalem Council, had been with Jesus Christ throughout His ministry. Peter and John had spent the entire year with Jesus; living, learning, preaching, teaching and healing with Him. They were personally and intimately acquainted with the teachings of Jesus. The believers in Jerusalem and outlying churches saw this Council as arbiters of doctrinal disputes and judges of personal disputes between church members.
These disputes were not limited to the rank and file church members. In the book The Second Messiah, authors Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas propose that there was a dispute between Peter and Mary Magdalene, who was also a recognized disciple of Jesus Christ and was with Him for much of His ministry. In the apocryphal Gospel of Philip, she is described as the one that Jesus loved above all his followers;
“The rest of the disciples were offended by it (His love for her) . . .” They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Why do I not love you as her?” (Intimating that Jesus loved her more just because she was a woman). In the apocryphal book, The Gospel of Mary, we are told that she was favored with visions and insights that allegedly far surpassed the ones given to Peter. From where these visions came is open to debate, but that they came from the true God there is serious doubt.
Another document, the Dialogue of the Savior describes her as the apostle who excels above all the rest . . . “a woman who knew the All”. The Roman Church, under the catch-all accusation of being Gnostic, rejected gospels that refer to the equality of women, but in these versions it is clear that there was a power struggle between Peter and Mary Magdalene. In a document called Pisitis Sophia Peter allegedly complains that Mary is dominating the conversation with Jesus and displacing the rightful priority of Peter and the other male apostles. Peter asks Jesus to silence her, but he is quickly rebuked. Mary Magdalene later admits to Jesus that she hardly dares speak to Peter because “Peter makes me hesitate; I am afraid of him because he hates the female race.” Jesus replies that “whoever the Spirit inspires is divinely ordained to speak, whether man or woman.”
Just how much stock we should take in the above writings is uncertain, but it may be possible that during the playing out of this conflict between Peter and Mary Magdalene (post ascension) that James (the brother of Jesus) flew in under the radar and captured the post of “Bishop of Jerusalem”. Knowing that both Peter and Mary Magdalene were divinely ordained by vision (whether true or not), James could have been lead astray by Satan in vision or by his own hubris (making it up), claiming the same ordaining by vision as a counter to Peter and Mary. And, because he was the brother of Christ, he then usurped the leadership role of the Jerusalem church. In either case, James was apparently placed (by Satan) right where he needed to be to be able to thwart the propagation of the gospel of Christ (see chapter 7) from within the Jerusalem council, as Paul was able to do from without.
James, as the brother of Jesus and a devout Jew, maintained a love for the Law and the Torah. His teachings were not much different from Jesus, as is evidenced in his views about righteousness, sin, faith, works and truth. However, these teachings were just different enough to establish confusion within the members of the Jerusalem church who were sending (or went as) missionaries to the outlying churches trying to mitigate the effect of Paul’s gospel upon the established doctrines of the church. The message originated by Christ and going from Jerusalem via various missionaries trained by the Apostles in the Council was being corrupted from both within and without and was reflected in the confusion that prompted Constantine to call for, and establish, the Council of Laodicea.
Synopsis: James the brother of Jesus was a devout Jew, and maintained a love for the Law and the Torah throughout his life. On the surface his teachings bear some similarity with what Jesus taught, as is evidenced in his views about righteousness, sin, faith, works and truth, but they were just different enough to establish confusion within the ranks of the members of the Jerusalem church and those who went as missionaries to the outlying churches who were trying to mitigate the effect of Paul’s gospel upon the establishment of the doctrines of the church. The message originated by Jesus Christ and emanating from Jerusalem via various missionaries trained by the Apostles in the Council was being corrupted from both within by James and without by Paul, and was reflected in the confusion which many years later prompted Constantine to call for and establish the Council of Laodicea in 363 A.D.
~Paul and the Jerusalem Church ~
We can only imagine the shock of the Council and the Church when Saul made his first appearance in Jerusalem.
(Galatians 1:17) . . . nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.
(Galatians 1:18) Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days.
(Galatians 1:19) But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.
After his conversion Saul, by his own account, did not go directly to Jerusalem but went into Arabia before returning to Damascus. It was not until three years later that Saul ventured to Jerusalem. Apparently no one knows what occurred during those three years in the desert. He does not say anything about what went on during that time; he does not say that he sought instruction from anyone, yet it was during this time that the foundations for his theology were put in place.
(Acts 9:26) When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.
(Acts 9:27) But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
Saul, who later changed his name to Paul, was brought before the Council in Jerusalem by Barnabas at 37 C.E., who was known to the Council because he had given money to the Apostles from the sale of some property that he had owned on Cypress. This is interesting by itself because Barnabas was a Levite, and Levites (by Law) were not to own personal property such as land. Whatever the case, money talks, so Paul stayed with Peter for 15 days. The disciples were leery of Paul and were not convinced of his conversion or of his stated Apostleship, so the only other alleged apostle that Paul became acquainted with was James, the brother of Jesus. It is evident from ensuing events that some animosity developed and remained between Peter and Paul, but especially between Paul and James.
Paul preached his own version of the gospel, his own innovative theology, which resented the gospel as a “law free” zone, not only for the Gentiles but also for the Jews. This is quite a turnaround for someone who never relinquished his Pharisaical past. He preached this “new” gospel on all his mission journeys, raising up Christian churches based on concepts given him in vision by a being calling himself “Jesus”. This “new” gospel was anathema to the disciples, especially Peter, James and John. Modern Christianity makes little of the differences between the disciples of Christ and Paul, basically equating the two sides; yet there were, and remain, vast differences between these theologies.
Paul then went back to Damascus and remained there for quite a while. He then traveled to Antioch where he began his first missionary journey (c. 44 C.E.). During this mission campaign the word was spread to the Gentiles that they need not adhere to the Torah (the Law) to gain salvation. Following the lead of the great and glorious visions that he had received at the hands of the being that Paul believed was Jesus, he established numerous churches that eagerly accepted his version of the gospel. Paul was not shy about how he felt about the veracity of his gospel. In Galatians he addresses this problem by speaking in the imperial third person:
(Galatians 1:6) I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting him (Paul) who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
(Galatians 1:7) which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
(Galatians 1:8) But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
(Galatians 1:9) As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
(Galatians 1:10) For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
(Galatians 1:11) For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
(Galatians 1:12) For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
The audacity of Paul is astounding and shows graphically that the demon (messenger of Satan) given to him at his “conversion” was still with him. Paul realizes that the gospel he is preaching is different from the gospel that was taught by Jesus Christ. He obfuscates by saying that it really isn’t a different gospel at all, only that there are some who distort his gospel and therefore disturb the saints. It is clear that Paul believes his “gospel” to be the only gospel that should be in use by the church because it was given to him by direct revelation. The Jerusalem Church, having noted the difference between the Gospel of Jesus Christ (which they know to be true because it was taught to them personally by Jesus) and what Paul was preaching, sent other apostles to the churches established by Paul to teach those brethren the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Many believers in these churches saw the error of Paul’s teaching and accepted the Truth. This really irritated Paul, so much so that he said,
(Galatians 1:8) But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
Is it possible for an angel from heaven to tell a lie? Paul seems to think so, that is if it disagrees with what he said. Wouldn’t an angel from heaven give a true gospel, not one that needed defending as Paul is defending his in this verse?
Then Paul emphasizes his irritation by saying that anyone (in heaven or on earth) who preaches a gospel other than the one he is preaching is to be accursed. Curses come from evil such as witchcraft or voodoo, not from the people of God. God does not curse anyone, even if they are deserving of it. God may punish someone for disobedience but He never puts a curse on anyone. What type of gospel would Paul preach that is not according to men, that is not according to the true God, but one that is received by revelation of a false Jesus? That type of gospel would have to be a false gospel. It was evident to the Jerusalem Church that Paul was preaching a strange gospel that had some serious problems, so they wisely summoned (or otherwise coerced) Paul to come to Jerusalem for a meeting.
(Galatians 2:1) Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also.
(Galatians 2:2) It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel, which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain.
Paul stayed in Antioch for fourteen years following his first mission trip. Exactly what he did during this interval is not precisely known, but one thing we do know is that during this period Paul was allegedly receiving visions from “the Lord” detailing the message that Paul was to take to the Gentiles. The brethren in Jerusalem called Paul to come and submit or explain his “new” gospel. He tells us that he actually went there because of a revelation. Given his attitude toward the leadership in Jerusalem it is apparent that he went there with something of a chip on his shoulder.
(Galatians 2:4) But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.
(Galatians 2:5) But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.
(Galatians 2:6) But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)–well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.
(Galatians 2:7) But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised
(Galatians 2:8) (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles),
(Galatians 2:9) and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
Paul calls the leadership of the church in Jerusalem “false brethren” who were trying to subjugate him to their will. Even though the leaders of the Jerusalem church were of “high reputation” it made no difference to Paul, who then makes the sarcastic statement that they are “reputed to be pillars” of the church. James, Peter and John (who he names directly) are of no consequence to Paul principally because they disagree with his version of the gospel. It is very evident from these statements that Paul has not given up his superior, Pharisaical attitude, and that the spirit that was leading him was not the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit. He held his gospel (because of the magnitude of the revelations) in a much higher regard than the gospel (of Christ) that was being espoused by the brethren in Jerusalem and he defended his gospel with a determination that bordered upon fanaticism.
Animosity between Paul and the disciples in the Jerusalem Church, especially James, ebbed and flowed through the years, even though Paul knew that it was largely due to the differences in the messages he and his followers presented and that which was presented by the Jerusalem church and its adherents. Clearly he recognized that there were differences:
(1st Corinthians 1:12) Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”
In spite of these differences in understanding, Paul emphatically maintained that these differences were caused principally because the brethren in Jerusalem were stubborn and hardheaded. He could not understand why they kept falling back on the teachings and theology of Christ even though the gospel according to Paul was much easier to follow. In fact, they did this even though it had been made manifestly clear by Paul that Jesus had somehow found His own theology to be “old and ready to die” and instead instituted a “new” theology/gospel along with a “new” covenant which in due time would surely replace the old. They knew that Paul alleged that this ”new” theology had been revealed to him (Paul) in visions of great magnitude and that he would, in turn, reveal this “new” theology or gospel to the world.
Synopsis: Paul felt at odds with the brethren at Jerusalem from the very beginning of his association with them. It is apparent that Paul did not understand why these “so-called pillars” of the church did not welcome him with open arms and unmitigated joy because he felt that Jesus himself had given him divine revelation as to the correct gospel to take to the Gentiles.
Paul is so sure that these visions and revelations are from God that he tells the church that he established at Galatia that they are not to believe a gospel that anyone else preached, even if that gospel was preached by an angel from heaven. If they did then they would be accursed.
The church in Jerusalem, especially the Council, recognized that there were vast differences between the message that Jesus Christ taught and the Hellenistic gospel that Paul was preaching to the Gentile churches. The animosity and confusion stemming from these differences were a major contributing factor in promoting disunity within the early church, and which would eventually lead to the convening of the Council of Laodicea.
~The Gospel of Paul: Righteousness by Grace through Faith~
The understanding of the modern Christian Church with regard to the gospel of Paul, and indeed to the person of Paul himself, is based upon the assumption that Paul knew and understood Jesus Christ better than the disciples. This opinion is held true even with the knowledge that the disciples, especially Peter and John, spent just over a year with Jesus receiving direct personal instruction in righteousness and salvation. As author Robert Eisenman in the introduction to his book James, the Brother of Jesus writes:
“Who would have known the character Jesus better? His closest living relatives, who according to tradition were his legitimate successors in Palestine, and those companions accompanying him in all his activities? Or someone who admits that he never saw Jesus in his lifetime, as Paul does, and that, on the contrary, he was an Enemy of and persecuted the early Christian community, and came to know him only through visionary experiences that allowed him to be in touch with a figure he designates as ‘Christ Jesus’ in Heaven?
The answer of any reasonable observer to this question should be obvious: James and Jesus’ Palestinian companions. But the answer of all orthodox Church circles has always been that Paul’s understanding of Jesus was superior and that he knew him better than any of Jesus’ other Apostles or companions. Furthermore, it is claimed that the doctrines represented by James and the members of Jesus’ family generally were defective in their understanding of Paul’s Christ Jesus and inferior to boot. Given the fact that the Christianity we are heirs to is largely the legacy of Paul and like-minded persons, this is just what one would have expected and it should surprise no one.”
James, the Brother of Jesus, Robert Eisenman
So, when Paul in his writings disagrees with Jesus Christ as the disciples knew him, the Church, without hesitation, accepts Paul’s interpretation of the gospel of Jesus, allowing Paul to supercede Jesus’ words as recorded in the four Gospels. This allows Paul (with the messenger of Satan as guide) to ride roughshod over how Jesus himself presented the gospel of salvation to Israel, and to dramatically change the meaning and understanding of salvation as it relates to the current Christian Church.
What follows in this chapter is a brief description of Paul’s gospel in his own words. Every effort has been made not to take what he has said out of context, but to present his gospel as he alleged it was given to him in his visions. To paraphrase Peter when speaking about Paul, “He is sometime very hard to understand.” It is also evident by his dualisms that Paul was not completely confident in his own understanding. The succeeding chapter will present the gospel of Jesus Christ as rebuttal to Paul’s gospel. It should be evident, even to most the casual reader of the Bible, of the clear and dramatic differences between the two.
In Romans 11, Paul lays out the foundation of his concept of salvation in which he sees literal Israel as continuing to play a pivotal role in bringing the knowledge of God to the gentiles.
(Romans 11:1) I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
It is impossible for Paul, as a professed Pharisee and a devout (converted Gentile) Jew, to even begin to consider that God may have rejected or divorced Israel. By his own admission Paul considers himself to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. Yet, in this verse, he establishes to whom he is writing by saying that he too is an Israelite and therefore confirms his Judaic credentials. This shows that in spite of his words to the contrary, Paul is still primarily interested in bringing “his brothers” (the Jews) into the “truth” by his version of the gospel of Christ.
Paul, being the brilliant (?) Scriptural scholar that he is, clearly understands that in order for the message to get to the Gentiles it must first come to, and go through, Israel. He understands that this is the reason that God brought Israel out of Egypt and established Israel as a nation at Sinai. This is why he spent so much time and effort throughout his ministry trying to get the Jews to see the error of their ways and recognize Christ as Messiah. It was Paul’s understanding that Israel was still the Kingdom of God on earth, fully under the Law. He also felt that the Gentiles could never be saved by or under the Law. He was certain that in order to save the Gentiles the Law would have to be put aside, and a substitute found with which to replace it.
(Daniel 9:24) “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place (actually ‘one’).
Paul certainly knew of the prophecy in Daniel 9:24 concerning the fate of Israel. He knew that the end of the seventy weeks had come upon Israel. Yet in spite of this knowledge he did not understand the full meaning and significance of the prophecy; that if Israel did not come back to God as a wayward wife comes back to her husband, then God would have no choice but to reject Israel as His chosen people. Paul was convinced that God had not and never would reject Israel. He, as with many others in Israel, believed that God would come and dwell in Jerusalem forever, as certain of the Old Testament prophecies foretold. Most of the Christian church still believes this today.
(Ezekiel 43:7) He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever.
It is verses like this one, among many others, that Paul used to justify his belief that God had not put Israel aside. As with the Pharisees and Sadducees before him, Paul selected and used only those verses from Scripture that supported his position. This ”cut-and-paste” theology blinded him to the reality in which he found himself, and caused him to write:
(Romans 11:2) God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?
Paul was being blinded to the truth by the “messenger of Satan” who allegedly was giving him those “magnificent revelations” which cause him to ignore or pass over Scripture that was counter to his closely held position.
In Romans 11: 3-10 Paul proceeds to give his reasons as to why God could not reject His chosen people. Paul quotes Elijah when he spoke about Israel in saying that even though Israel killed God’s messengers, demolished alters to the Living God and even sought to kill Elijah himself that God had reserved seven thousand that still held to the truth.
(Romans 11:3) “Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE.”
(Romans 11:4) But what is the divine response to him? “I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.”
Then Paul totally misinterprets this passage as having a direct meaning for the Israel of his day, even though they rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
(Romans 11:5) In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.
Following this statement in verses 6 through 10, Paul then states that it is by grace (and not by works) that this alleged remnant (numbering 7000) obtained the knowledge of Christ while others in Israel were hardened. He said that what Israel was seeking they did not obtain except for those who, by the grace of God, were not made blind and put into a stupor (so they would not understand). This hardening of the heart and stupor (drunkenness) was inflicted on some by the very God that gave grace to others so they would understand. In other words, by the grace of Christ some obtained what Israel had been looking for (salvation) while the rest sat at a table of retribution because God had blinded them to the truth. It seems that Paul believed that God gave grace to some and blindness to others, willy-nilly as He saw fit, and with no regard for their own choice in the matter.
Paul then reveals to us what was God’s purpose for those who did not see the light.
(Romans 11:11) I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.
Paul insists that God hardened Israel to the truth, but not so much that they would stumble and fall. Then in the next sentence he says that they did fall into sin and transgression. The sequence is as follows: Paul believed that it was God’s plan to have Him offer salvation to the Gentiles because of the transgressions of Israel; this in order to make the Jews jealous that the Gentiles were now to be included in the Kingdom of Heaven; so that by jealousy Israel would come back to God. This logic is convoluted and exactly the opposite of what God told the Israelites.
(Romans 11:12) Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!
(Romans 11:13) But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,
(Romans 11:14) if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.
(Romans 11:15) For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
The gospel as presented by Paul was to go to the Gentiles thus bringing them into the Kingdom of Heaven (Israel is the natural olive tree, the Gentiles are the wild olive tree) thereby making Israel (in Paul’s mind still the Holy Nation of God) jealous such that they would reject the sin that caused the Gentiles to come into the kingdom in the first place.
This is an example of circular reasoning at its worst and is very difficult to understand. (Peter admits such.) Circular reasoning states a question then by the use of a logical fallacy brings you back to the original question without answering it. People who use circular reasoning as a method of proof do not, for the most part, realize that the original question is never addressed. They say that it is answered because by the time they get back around to an answer they have forgotten the original question. Whenever this is pointed out to them they place the blame for the misunderstanding either on the person who calls the question, or they obfuscate by saying that it is impossible to know the whole truth now and that we will have to wait for Heaven to fully understand. Paul’s gospel of salvation by grace through faith is built upon the logical fallacy that there is more than one way for sinners to find salvation; that there is one way for the Gentiles and another for Israel. One by grace, the other by Law.
Does God really provide more than one way for sinners to be saved? Does God use sin to bring someone to the truth? Does God use jealousy to move people in a direction in which God wants them to go, whether or not they really want to go there? In answering “NO” to these questions it should now be quite clear that this type of thinking could not come from the God of clarity, logic and truth.
(Romans 11:17) But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,
(Romans 11:18) do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.
(Romans 11:19) You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”
(Romans 11:20) Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;
(Romans 11:21) for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.
(Romans 11:22) Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
(Romans 11:23) And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
(Romans 11:24) For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?
The understanding that Paul displays in Romans Chapter 11 indicates that he neither understood nor agreed with what Jesus Christ had to say on the subject of how salvation works. Why would he? Paul was so sure of his own gospel (because of the visions that gave him that gospel) that he never spent any time with the disciples that accompanied Jesus during His mission on earth trying to find out from them what it was that Jesus really taught.
In the metaphor above, the natural or cultivated olive tree is Israel and the wild olive tree is the Gentiles. This shows arrogance at best and bigotry at worst. If a branch attached to the natural olive tree was broken off for unbelief then that would leave a spot open for a branch from the wild olive tree to be grafted in. And if the dead branch that had been broken off and thrown on the pile to be burned decides that it wants to be a part of the natural tree again by renewed belief then that branch can again be put back on the tree, good as new.
(John 15:1) “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
(John 15:2) “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
(John 15:3) “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
(John 15:4) “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
(John 15:5) “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
(John 15:6) “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
Jesus tells us that the proof that you are attached to the vine (Jesus Christ) is that you bear fruit. Anyone who does not bear fruit by abiding in Jesus is pruned by the gardener (the Father) and thrown on the woodpile to be burned. Nowhere does Jesus say that the pruned branches can be grafted back onto the vine. Once a branch is pruned off that is the end of the branch because it can no longer get nourishment from the vine. There clearly appears to be a great disparity between what Paul said and what Christ taught.
Did God use the transgression of Israel to accomplish His purpose with regard to the Jews and Gentiles? According to Paul, yes. In this same vain, it appears that God must also use sin and lies to accomplish His will in His apostles.
(Romans 3:7) But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner?
Is Paul truly admitting that he will lie to bring glory to God, and then question whether others should judge him a sinner because of it? Is he making a general application that the glory of God can be achieved by lies and deceit? Is he saying that God deliberately hardened the heart of Israel so that Israel would sin thus bringing the Gentiles to knowledge of the truth? The evidence clearly shows us that by his very own statements it would seem so. This position would fit right in with how he views the gospel message being transferred from Israel to the Gentiles. His position in this justifies situational ethics: the end (the glory of God) justifies the means whereby that is achieved (lies).
(1st Corinthians 9:20) To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law;
(1st Corinthians 9:21) to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.
(1st Corinthians 9:22) To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.
(1st Corinthians 9:23) I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
(1st Corinthians 10:23) All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.
This passage reflects Paul’s Hellenistic point of view that goes to the heart of how he presented his gospel to the churches. By his own words he said that he would do anything, say anything, become anything in order to deliver his gospel to anyone who would listen.
Paul was so convinced that God had not rejected Israel as His chosen people that he used his own Jewish identity as proof through comparative logic; God has not rejected him, therefore God had not rejected Israel of which he was a part. By Paul’s own reckoning God hardened the hearts of Israel so that the Gentiles could be brought into the Israel. Through grace the remnant that had accepted Christ would be saved. The hardening placed by God upon Israel caused them to sin (making God the originator of sin) thus showing the Gentiles that it is not by the Law that they are saved, but by grace through faith in Jesus. All of this is based upon the premise that it is prudent and acceptable to lie in order to bring glory to God.
Without a doubt, it was the gospel and writings of Paul that were the doctrinal foundation for the both the early Christian church and later the Catholic church. So what is it that the Church of today presents as the Gospel?
(Ephesians 2:8) For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
(Ephesians 2:9) not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
This text sums up the gospel of Paul and the new gospel of the Christian Church. As we will see (and by Paul’s own admission) his gospel is different from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those differences will be noted. We shall also come to understand Paul’s gospel by his own words, then based on those words we will see how this is presented in the Christian Church of today. For all of his prodigious intellect Paul established his gospel upon circular reasoning; which by the rules of logic negates the argument.
(Romans 3:28) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
The use of the royal ‘we’ shows the arrogance of Paul for in this one sentence Paul redefines the meaning and source of justification. Christ said that we are justified through the Word that He has spoken.
(John 15:3) “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
In the following passage from Romans Paul says that the promise from God to Abraham was not through the Law but by righteousness brought about by faith.
(Romans 4:13) For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.
(Romans 4:14) For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified;
(Romans 4:15) for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.
(Romans 4:16) For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. . .
Clearly, Paul is reinterpreting a passage from Genesis 15 which states:
(Genesis 15:6) Then he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and He (God) reckoned it to him as righteousness.
It was Abraham’s belief in Lord that God counted as righteousness, not any alleged faith. In fact, Abraham had direct evidence for his belief by direct contact with God. Therefore, Abraham did not need faith for his belief. Paul also wrongly states that the promise is accomplished apart from the Law.
(Genesis 17:1) Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.
(Genesis 17:9) God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.
At the time of Abraham there was no revealed covenant and no established Law. God told Abram to be blameless before Him, and for his descendants to be blameless after him. This stipulation of being blameless was to be performed through all succeeding generations. The Ten Commandment law would not be made known to the “heirs of the Law” until a little more than 400 years later. In this Paul was correct. But then he took a step farther by bringing that very Law (the 10 Commandments) into question, equating it with a Law that had not been made know to Abraham. Yet, it was by a covenant that God established Abraham as heir to the Promise. This was a “blood covenant” established by God that Abraham confirmed by his ascent. (Genesis. 15:7-17)
(Genesis 15:18) On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land . . .
What was the covenant that God established with Abraham? It certainly was not the covenant of the Ten Words that God established with Israel at Sinai; that eventually caused them to become the Nation or Kingdom of God. It was the promise that God would eventually give the descendents of Abraham the “Promised Land”.
Was this Promised Land the entire world? No, it was a specific geographic area defined by boarders that were known to Abraham, which is now called Palestine. Yet Paul said that the descendents of Abraham were to be the heirs of the whole world. (Can you now see why there are so many conflicts in the Middle East today? They still believe that.) In this Paul shows his hubris with regards to his understanding of the role of Israel with respect to the world. He was expecting Christ to come back and establish Israel as the Throne of the Lord, where the children of Israel (of which he was one) would be the leaders, and/or the heirs of the world.
The rest of the above passage deals with how Paul views both the “Chosen” and the Gentiles. He tried to establish this view by a negative argument, which by rules of logic is impossible. The negative argument is that Paul cannot see a way for the Gentiles to be included in salvation as long at the Law is in place and valid. Therefore the Law must be de-established (the negative argument) so that the Gentiles can be saved. If the Law applies only the heirs of the Law then only Israel can be saved, which excludes anyone who is not a son of Abraham. Paul knows in his heart that if the Law is made of none effect for the Gentile then it has to be replaced by something to which the Gentile can respond. The response that Paul is looking for comes from having faith in the grace of Christ. Where no Law exists there is no violation (sin). Therefore, anyone who claims Jesus Christ as Savior is no longer under Law but under grace, and by default can no longer be in violation of the Law. In Paul’s mind it is only by this mechanism that both Jew and Gentile are made equal (with the Jew being a little more equal than the Gentile) and both become heirs of the Promise; the Jew through the Law, the Gentile through grace.
However, what is seen here is that Paul could not separate the Ten Commandment Law from all of the other laws of Israel. In Paul’s mind he had forgotten, or did not completely understand, that the Ten Commandments were a covenant establishing a relationship between God the Creator and his Bride, the children of Israel. God said, “I will be your God, IF you keep my (marriage) covenant.” History proves that Israel broke the covenant and therefore forced God NOT to be their God anymore. He divorced them. As we will later see this same covenant is still in force and valid for everyone who wants to join the Kingdom of Heaven (Spiritual Israel) today. Since most Christians don’t even profess to keep ALL of the original Ten Commandments (while still saying that Jesus is their Lord) they are now confessing that don’t want to be the Bride of Christ. They only want to “shack up” with God. But God will not “shack up” with anyone!
(Romans 7:14) For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
Here follows an interesting doctrine of the modern church, e.g., we are bondservants of sin. As bondservants of sin we are not responsible for the sin in our lives because we were born into sin. Sin is something that we just cannot do anything about. Sin will be with us and in us forever, because while the Law is good we can never keep it because we are, and always will be, sinners. We will always be sinners because the debt is more than we can pay. The good news of the “gospel” of Paul is that since we are covered by grace through faith our sinning no longer matters.
(Romans 7:15) For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
Romans 7:16) But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.
(Romans 7:17) So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin, which dwells in me.
(Romans 7:18) For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
(Romans 7:19) For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
(Romans 7:20) But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
(Romans 7:21) I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
Paul, and now the Church by his example, believed that it is/was impossible to keep the Law. He said that the things he did not want to do he did, and the things he wanted to do he could not do. The reason Paul gave for this is that in his mind he wanted to do good but in his flesh he did evil. After this Paul made another startling confession. Rather, it would be startling if we did not already know what he had said in 2 Corinthians 12:7. In this passage he stated clearly that he knew that “nothing good” dwelt in him. What could be more “nothing good” than a messenger of Satan, i.e., a demon? The demon is the reason that although he agreed with the Law it didn’t matter anymore. That is the reason why he practiced the “very evil” that he said he did not want to do. He found that evil was present in him, but he said that he still wanted to do “good”. In other words, it was not what he did or would do, but what he said he wanted to do that counted.
In trying to explain this same passage one writer, Hyram Maccoby in his book The Mythmaker, said that because of the many conflicts in his life such as being reared by pagan parents and failing to become a Pharisee after converting to Judaism, Paul may have acquired some emotional disorder promoting a psychological dualism which is completely uncharacteristic of Pharisaism. Here is a passage from that book:
Many Christian commentators, especially of the German school, have asserted that the religious dilemma outlined here by Paul is typical of Pharisaism, and this reveals him as the archetypal Pharisee before his conversion. For, according to these commentators, the Pharisees were guilt-ridden, under the burden of the Torah, with its many complicated laws and were obsessed with the fear that they might have failed to observe the law in its entirety. Paul thus (according to the theory) saw Jesus as the solution to his anxiety-ridden state as a Pharisee: instead of having to strive with nagging consciousness of failure to fulfill a law which human nature was too degraded to obey, he could now rely, not on his own puny efforts, but on the initiative of God, who had sent His Son to take away the moral burden from mankind.
The Mythmaker, Hyam Maccoby-page 90
We have here-to-fore assumed that Paul was speaking in humility, identifying with those he was sent to save by saying that he was a sinner as they were, although we all knew that as an apostle of Christ what he was saying could not possibly be true. Here again we were seeing what we wanted to see and hearing what we wanted to hear, rather than accepting Paul at his word. He is the one telling us (again) what it is that resides inside of him, that is, evil. In order to justify this evil he separates his soul from his flesh and blames his flesh for his sin while saying his soul is still good. That is the Greek philosophy of Gnosticism. This allows him to not have to accept responsibility for his sin, but place the blame for his sinning on something else. Remember what Jesus said, “A man cannot serve two masters.”
The way that Paul describes salvation is that instead of getting rid of the sin you get rid of the Law that reveals the sin. No Law-No Sin. This is Paul’s gospel in a nutshell.
(Ephesians 1:5) He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
(Ephesians 1:6) to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
The twin doctrines of predestination and adoption touch the hearts of Christians second only to the cross of Christ, and shows the depth of deception to which Satan, through Paul, will go to achieve his ends.
By most accounts predestination means that you are what you are, you cannot change your fate, that God has already chosen (from the foundation of the world) whether you will ultimately live eternally or die (burn forever in Hell for eternity). There is nothing at all that you can do to affect this outcome so there is no use in even trying. If you are predestined then the Law is meaningless, which is exactly what Paul said. There are some Christians that do not go along with this philosophy and merely say “Paul did not mean it that way”, offering no other satisfactory explanation for his statement (see circular reasoning, above).
Predestination fits perfectly within Paul’s gospel and is the natural follow-up to the framework of the belief that we are, and always will be, slaves to sin and that the Law no longer applies. After all, if you cannot control your propensity toward sinning then why would you be able to affect your own future? If you are predestined to salvation then it cannot be by keeping the Law. This is where grace comes in. God alone knows and has predestined who will accept His grace by faith in Jesus: therefore whatever you choose must be what God has preordained for you to choose. Whether you live or die is solely based upon your acceptance of grace, and God has preordained who will accept His grace and who will not. Grace, then, is only for God’s chosen few-the rest be damned! It also begs the argument of some who claim that God is the author of sin because He created Satan knowing full well that Satan would sin. If predestination is valid as an operating system then this argument has merit, which would clearly make God more evil than the being He created to sin.
The doctrine of predestination negates the crowning achievement of the creative power of God, the power of choice and of free will. Where there is grace there is no need for free will. If you cannot choose your outcome by your deeds then your ultimate fate must be up to God; and God can choose whomever He will to have eternal life or eternal damnation. Paul clearly believed that God had chosen him from birth to be an apostle. He believed that he had no choice in that decision and that is why he wrote several times about his “obligation” and “duty” to the alleged gospel of Christ. Therefore, if God’s created beings do not have free will then Satan had no more choice than mankind with respect to sin and lies, and even he would fall under the umbrella of grace.
(1st Corinthians 9:16) For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.
(1st Corinthians 9:17) For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.
Apparently Paul is expressing fear of something that he calls a “compulsion”, which will cause him some type of woe if he doesn’t preach this gospel. In the very next sentence he says that his preaching is not voluntary. Remember, whenever the word “but” is used in a sentence whatever has come before it can be negated. Therefore, the idea that Paul is doing his preaching voluntarily, with the expected reward, is negated. What is left then is that he is preaching this gospel against his will, and having a stewardship (or administration) of this gospel thrust upon him against his will.
What would cause such a compulsion with its resultant “woe” if he doesn’t preach this particular gospel? Does the God of Heaven coerce commitment and activity against the will of anyone, and then punish them if they don’t do what is required? Or does God always honor the free will of His created beings no matter what course they choose? This is just another reason to believe that Paul was infected by a demon.
Paul also said that once you have accepted the grace of God through faith you are then adopted into the family of God. Once you have been adopted you can no longer be held accountable for your actions because your action no longer matter, you are irrevocably part of God’s family. This shows in itself the sub-doctrine of “once saved, always saved”, which is also very popular in many Christian denominations. If you sin you are automatically forgiven because you are under grace and not under the Law. Only outsiders are under the Law. But you are no longer considered by God to be an outsider once you have gone through the adoption process. You are forgiven for being a sinner, but you are not forgiven of your sins.
The adoption process has three steps: 1) acknowledge that Jesus Christ became sin for you and accept His blood and death on the cross as the complete payment for your own sin; 2) accept Jesus Christ as your very own personal Savior; 3) believe that you are saved by grace and grace alone through faith and are no longer under the Law.
(Ephesians 1:7) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.
(1st Corinthians 2:2) For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
One of the most common sermon topics preached in church today and the subject of numerous songs and hymns concerns the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and His atoning blood. The two elements of the suffering of Christ on the cross and His spilled blood have been worshipped in songs and hymns, and recently Mel Gibson made ‘The Passion of the Christ’ into a major motion picture with the clearly Catholic perspective and display of the sufferings of Jesus Christ and His eventual death on the cross. Paul touts the cross and the blood as the key elements of our salvation, and they represent the overcoming of sin that Jesus Christ did on our behalf. As you will see in the following chapter, the shedding of the blood of the perfect lamb is but a small part of the process of cleansing yourself of sin. Yet the cross of Christ is one of the cornerstones of the “New” Christian church.
(Galatians 5:18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
Paul allowed for nothing in his own view of salvation except the blood of Christ and Him crucified. He was of two minds when it came to how salvation was accomplished, one mind for the Jew and the other for the Gentile. The Torah and the Law and their salvation were for the Jew; and the “grace salvation” was for the Gentiles. In Colossians 3: 9 and 10 Paul tells the reader to put aside the old self with it’s evil ways and put on the new self “who is being renewed to a true knowledge” of the One who created him:
(Colossians 3:11) a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
(Galatians 3:28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:29) And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
It is evident that Paul had no real understanding as to how to put off the old self and put on the new because he has not been given this “true knowledge” by the One God but by the messenger of Satan. He had no real concept of how salvation worked and yet what he said here sounds so plausible and genuine that without knowledge and understanding outside of the writings of Paul, it would almost be impossible to distinguish these lies from the truth.
The statement in Galatians 3:29 “that if you belong to Christ you are the descendants of Abraham and heirs to the promise God gave him”, can in no way be true. The Promise to Abraham was this: His literal descendants would inherit the Promised Land (Palestine) and it did not belong to anyone else. That Promise, and all the other benefits of being a “descendant of Abraham” ended abruptly at the end of 33 A.D., which was the end of the 490 year period that was mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. The redemption that brings salvation is not the Promise given to Abraham. That redemption is brought about only through the blood of the innocent sacrifice and the ministry of the High Priest, as will be explained in detail in the next chapter. About that sacrifice Paul makes a very disturbing statement:
(Galatians 3:13) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”–
We have seen in Paul’s understanding a penchant for curses. In Galatians he says that anyone who believes another gospel other than the one he preaches is to be cursed. In 1 Timothy 1: 20 he hands two men over to Satan to teach them not to blaspheme. And again in Galatians he states that in order for Christ to save us from the curse of the Law (what law is he talking about here?) He had to become a curse for us, totally misapplying a prophecy from the Old Testament. Jesus Christ was the PERFECT sacrifice and as such could not in any way be cursed. If Christ was cursed then He could not be perfect, e.g., His sacrifice would be pointless and all mankind would be lost to the second death, from which the death of Jesus Christ redeemed us.
Is the Law a curse? If that were so there would be no hope of salvation. The absolute and only reason that Jesus Christ gave himself up to be executed by His father was that the Law demanded a penalty for sin, which is the second death. Are faith and Law mutually exclusive? Paul believes so because he says clearly that to have faith you cannot have Law-if you have Law you cannot have faith. In Galatians 4:21 and on he says that the Law is a tutor that leads us to Christ, and that now that faith has come we no longer need the tutor. In Gal. 3: 29 Paul says that Gentiles, like Jews could become heirs of the Promise yet in Gal. 4:21-31 he says that the Jews are no longer heirs of the Promise but that the Gentiles are now heirs; two women (Sarah and Hagar) represent the two covenants (old and new), one for the Jew the other for the Gentile.
He also felt that unless the Law was done away with no one could be saved; first because there was no way for the Jew to keep the Law perfectly; and second in order for the Gentile to be saved they would need something other than the Law upon which to rely on for their salvation. No Law, no violation. With no violation (sin) there is no need for the Law, just one to pay the price for the violation. Since an individual made that violation there was in turn the need of a savior for the individual. Thus came about the concept of Jesus as a personal Savior.
Perhaps that is where (in the mind of Paul) the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and His shed blood fit in the picture. That is clearly also where the idea came from that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross not only paid the penalty but also overcame sin so that the believer would not have to overcome sin. It is easily seen and evident in his writings that he was terribly conflicted over these issues, so much so that he would do anything, say anything, become anything to accomplish the goal set before him by the “being” that gave him the visions that produced this gospel.
(Romans 10:8) But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
(Romans 10:9) that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
(Romans 10:10) for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
Salvation, according to Paul, is as simple as believing and speaking that Jesus is Lord and that He was raised from the dead and you will be saved. No ifs, ands, or buts. Just say the sinners prayer and you are saved from that moment on. This type of salvation is possible only through the blood and the cross of Jesus that according to Paul is free to all who believe. In the Christian Church of today most pastors and evangelists (especially those on television) use this same gospel to bring people into their church in as easy a way as possible, so that with the increase in membership there will be a corresponding increase in tithe and donations. This is nothing other than commercialism.
One notable evangelist holds crusades in large stadiums and uses this method to bring sinners into the fold. He states with some urgency that if you don’t become a Christian right now you are taking the risk that you might be hit by a car on the way home from the meeting, die, and burn in hell fire for eternity because you refused the offer. He and other preaches hold that once you are saved you are always saved, because as Paul said:
(Romans 8:38) For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
(Romans 8:39) nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul clearly taught that once you say that you believe in Jesus you are saved forever. Nothing can then tear you away from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul’s gospel acknowledges the Justification brought about by the blood of Christ yet ignores and negates the process of Sanctification that Jesus Christ strove so hard for His disciples to understand. This fear of eternal damnation has brought millions into the church, but when the urgency of the moment wears off many, if not most of those brought in using these scare tactics find their way out of the church and being disillusioned, will never return.
So instead of preaching the gospel of righteousness by Grace, these preachers end up preaching the “gospel” of righteousness by fear. Indeed, it is the concept of righteousness by grace brought about by faith that sponsors the “once saved always saved” safe haven attitude that beckons the uninformed and unwary person into a false sense of security; and will ultimately lead them to eternal death, which is just what Satan designed this entire gospel to do.
(1st Timothy 4:10) For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.
Apparently it was Paul’s belief (and by ascent the Church’s belief) that the Living God who is the Savior (implied; Jesus Christ) saves all men (mankind), and if that is not sufficient for the purpose of salvation He especially saves believers.
It is no wonder the idea of universalism (that all mankind will be saved by God because no one can “not” sin) is becoming so prevalent within the Church today. This concept may not have even been in the mind of Paul when he penned this verse yet the resultant religious philosophy from which it sprang defines the importance of the absence of Law and the ascension of grace, and by logical extension includes even those who want nothing to do with Christianity, or any other religion, or even God Himself.
Synopsis: Paul’s gospel is responsible for bringing the philosophy of irresponsibility for sin into the church. By his reckoning not only is sin endemic in humans and will remain so as long as we are on the earth but Christ, by His sacrifice, overcame sin for us so we don’t have to overcome it ourselves, which in fact is impossible for us to do. Paul’s premise is that we have been victimized by sin so our sinning is not our fault or our responsibility. It is this thinking that is promoting universalism in the church and, by extension, excuses the victims of sin from the doing the hard work involved in getting rid of the sin from their lives.
The idea that Jesus overcame sin for the believer (on the cross) by Paul’s definition is His grace, which is free to all. In reality this causes a free-for-all in the Christian community whereby all who believe in this type of grace believe it by faith. Yet this “grace” is a lie perpetuated upon Paul, hence the church, by an evil spirit that wants nothing more than to get all men to believe and practice lies. What better way to do this than to disguise the greatest lie as the greatest truth? If sin is the belief, practice and worship of a lie then faith (in this context) takes on a new meaning and purpose: Faith becomes the way in which a lie is given purpose in the heart. Faith allows a person to believe a lie as though it were the truth, without accountability. It is this utter lack of accountability for sin by the sinner (in spite of the lip service about obedience) that is the essential difference between the gospel of Paul and the gospel of Christ.
~The Gospel of Christ: Sanctification~
The “new” theology given to Paul via revelations and visions was not limited to his misunderstanding of grace, and was part of the continuing problem that came to exist between the disciples in Jerusalem and Paul. Satan was not satisfied to limit his corrupting of the gospel of Christ just to grace. He needed to bring about a complete shift in the concept of salvation whereby the result would be that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ would be made of none-effect with respect to how the process of salvation really worked. Satan so hates the fact that salvation is possible for humanity that he will do anything to fool people into believing that they are saved when, in fact, they are not.
The crowning element in Paul’s theology and one of the greatest achievements of Satan’s devious mind is the concept that in order to be “born again” you need to be adopted into the family of God by accepting Jesus as your personal savior. This theology (in conjunction with “grace”) is the cornerstone of the modern Christian Church. Most of the people that read this statement will experience great confusion and possibly some anxiety because accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior and being adopted into the family of God is how most Christians were brought into the church. This theology is what has been taught from the pulpit for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and is the cornerstone of both the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant denominations. On its face it seems to be perfectly plausible. Most alleged “born again” Christians can tell you the exact date upon which they were “saved” and adopted into the family of God. In order to understand just what a marvelous deception Satan has wrought through Paul we must go back into the Old Testament and then to the words of Christ in the New Testament to establish a context for how salvation really operates.
The Passover Lamb~
(Exodus 12:2) Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.”
(Exodus 12:6) “Now you shall keep it (the Lamb) until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight”.
(Leviticus 23:4) On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.
The Lord spoke to Moses in Egypt and told him that the calendar for the children of Israel had begun because He had separated Israel from Egypt (made them His holy nation), and that it started with the first month, in the first year. Gods year was from spring to spring; that is, the year started on the spring equinox and ended on the day before the spring equinox one year later. The festival year in Israel began on the first new moon on or following the spring equinox. The first month of the first year would have started on the new moon. Israel celebrated the festival of the new moon each month as a reminder as to when the month started. In this case the new moon and the spring equinox occurred on the same day, although this was not the usual case.
Passover was to occur fourteen days following the first new moon, which occurred on or following the spring equinox. The Lord was going to destroy all of the first born of the land, both of Israel and Egypt (including flocks and herds), unless the blood of an unblemished male lamb at least one year old (Greek-Arnon) was sacrificed and the blood placed on the doorposts and lintel of the dwelling. This lamb represented the Lamb of God (a mature male lamb). The people were to sacrifice the lamb at twilight, roast it and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They were to eat it standing up, with their sandals on their feet and their belts around their waists. They were to eat it in haste. None was to be left till morning. (Ex. 12)
(Exodus 12:12) ‘For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments–I am the LORD.
(Exodus 12:13) ‘The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
No life other than that of the first born males of both Israel and Egypt was forfeit. This included livestock. The women and girls and 2nd and 3rd sons were not affected. It was the Lord Himself that was to execute this judgment upon the people of the Children of Israel and Egypt. The blood ransom was ONLY for the first born males. Egypt represented the world and Israel represented the Kingdom of Heaven. A first born in the world could become a member of the Kingdom of Heaven and be saved by doing what the God of the Kingdom of Heaven demanded.
Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, the Passover lamb. As the Passover lamb His blood is shed only for the first born of the Kingdom of Heaven, or for the first born of the world who do as He demands. This event does not describe a sacrifice for an individual, but for a group, the first-born. As a matter of fact, when Israel was at Sinai after the incident of the golden calf God told Moses to redeem each of the first born males of Israel (and those of Egypt that decided to go along on the Exodus) by substituting a member of the tribe of Levi for each one of them, because the first born are holy to the Lord. He made them holy at Passover. (Exodus 13:2)
If the Passover Lamb only applies to the first-born of the Kingdom, then how is the rest of the Kingdom of Heaven (or, for that matter, the world) saved?
The Day of Atonement and The High Priest~
(Leviticus 23:27) “On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD.
(Leviticus 23:28) “You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God.
Corporate sin (the sins of the entire camp of Israel) was transferred on a daily basis by the blood of the morning and evening sacrifices. The lamb was slain on the north side of the Alter of Sacrifice (bronze alter) and the blood was taken by a priest into Holy Place and put onto the horns of the Alter of Incense (golden alter). This lamb was to be at least a year old male in spotless condition (Exodus 29). The word in Greek for this type of lamb is AREN or ARNON (Strongs #721).
(Leviticus 4:24) ‘He shall lay his hand on the head of the male goat and slay it in the place where they slay the burnt offering before the LORD; it is a sin offering.
(Leviticus 4:25) ‘Then the priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering.
Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, two male goats were set aside, one as the Goat of the Lord, and the other as the Goat of Removal (scapegoat). The High Priest acts on behalf of God. He can do this because of the sacrifice of a spotless bull, which he sacrifices for himself and his family. The High Priest kills the Goat of the Lord and it’s blood is taken (in a bowl) into the Most Holy and sprinkled seven times at the front of the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant; then seven times before the Ark, between the Ark and the Alter of Incense; then it is placed seven times on the Horns of the Alter of Incense. This creates a blood trail from the Mercy Seat to the Alter of Incense, thus connecting them together (Atonement). The High Priest then goes outside and washes his hands in the Laver and goes back into Most Holy Place to the Alter of Incense and with his hands cleans the blood that contains the forgiven sins of the camp of Israel from the horns of the Alter. Then the High Priest (still acting in the place of God) goes to the outer court and wipes the blood from his hands onto the Goat of Removal. This goat is then lead into the wilderness and released. Please note: The High Priest acts in the place of God in sacrificing the perfect, spotless, and INNOCENT animal. We are continually reminded of the role of Christ as atoning sacrifice but rarely, if ever, is His other more important role of High Priest mentioned. It is Christ as High Priest that removes the forgiven sins of the Kingdom of Heaven from the Golden Alter in the Sanctuary in Heaven.
For whom was this process designed to make atonement? Was it designed to take away the sins of the world, as we have been told?
(John 3:16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
This text seems to indicate that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross was for the whole world. Yet if we go to the beginning and then the end of this discourse of Christ with Nicodemus we note an apparent contradiction.
(John 3:5) Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Here we see that in order to be saved you must be IN the kingdom of God, not in the kingdom of the world. So how do you KNOW that you are in the kingdom of Heaven?
(John 3:19-21) And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light. lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.
Here, Christ said that by your deeds you show evidence of the kingdom to which you belong. Christ’s sacrifice is not for those who do not show the evidence of their Spiritual birth by their deeds.
The only group of people who were required to make atonement for their sins on the Day of Atonement was Israel (the Kingdom of Heaven). Atonement for sin was not required of the nations surrounding Israel. The sins of the camp were removed by the Goat of Removal and taken into the wilderness. The wilderness represents the nations (the rest of the world), and therefore sin is being returned where it originated.
Because the entire Sanctuary service is only a tool or picture (so to speak) used by God to teach Israel the process of how sin was to be removed from the Kingdom of Heaven. However, no one in literal Israel actually had their sins removed from them during this process. The sins of an individual Israelite and the sins of the camp were never actually removed since the actual sacrifice (the Lamb of God) was not to happen for many years. The blood of animals cannot remove sin. The sins of Israel were imputed to the real sacrifice (the Lamb of God) by their faith. When the actual sacrifice of the Son of God was made the Nation of Israel (then the Kingdom of Heaven) did not even recognize it, nor did they accept it. Israel could have accepted the marriage covenant that Christ offered them, but they didn’t. This is why the trusteeship of the Covenant was removed from Israel at the end of the 70 weeks (490 years beginning in 457 BCE and ending in 33 CE) and transferred to the budding Christian Church. Only when the actual sacrifice was made, when Christ paid the penalty for sin by His death on the cross, did the people of the Kingdom of Heaven who believed in Him and hoped in Him and who had accepted His future atoning sacrifice, have their sins forgiven.
The problem came about because the Religious leaders of Israel made the process mysterious and kept the real meaning from the people so that, after a time, the process became the result, instead of pointing to the result, the Messiah. The very same thing is happening today; Satan is trying desperately to keep the truth about salvation from those who most need to know what salvation is and how it really works.
Atonement for the forgiven sin that is placed on the Alter of Incense is ONLY for the Kingdom of Heaven. The sacrifice of Christ, the spotless Lamb of God (Arnon), was only for Israel, then the Kingdom of Heaven. But because they rejected Him as their atoning Sacrifice the way was opened for all who would choose to enter the Kingdom of Heaven by being born again of the water and of the Spirit. The parallel today is that in the Sanctuary in Heaven Christ is atoning only for the Kingdom of Heaven, not the whole world. Therefore, Satan MUST keep the church from knowing about the role of the High Priest. He must keep people in darkness concerning the Kingdom of Heaven and how to become a member. Why? Because Satan knows that anyone NOT in the Kingdom of Heaven are his and lost.
Who then is the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven today? (To answer this question, look at Matthew 25:1-13 and try to find out what group of people or church denomination mirrors this prophecy). What mechanism (if any) is there for the atonement of the sins of the world? Is there anything in Scripture that points to how the atonement for the sins of the “World” is accomplished? (“World” is defined as anyone who is outside the Kingdom of Heaven).
(Leviticus 6:25-26) Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘This is the law of the sin offering; in the place where the burnt offering is killed, the sin offering shall be killed before the Lord. It is most holy. The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of meeting.
(Leviticus 6:30) But no sin offering from which any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of meeting, to make atonement in the holy place, shall be eaten. It shall be burned in the fire.
We can see this description the requirement for the sin offering. It was to be killed in the same place where the burnt offering was killed, on the Alter of Sacrifice in the outer court of the tabernacle. If the blood of the sacrifice was taken into the tabernacle and placed on the Alter of Incense, the offering was burned. That is because Christ was represented by this sacrifice and His sacrifice was complete for the Kingdom of Heaven. Nothing else was needed. For the sin offering the sinner placed his hands on the sacrifice and confessed his sins, that were then symbolically transferred to the animal. The sinner then killed the sin offering at the Alter of Sacrifice. The priest did not kill this sacrifice, the individual sinner did. Then the priest put some of the blood of the sacrifice into a bowl and put some blood on each of the horns of the Bronze Alter, then he poured out the blood onto the ground in front of the Alter. After that the priest ate part of the sacrifice, thus showing the sinner that the sins that he had confessed over the sacrifice were now transferred to the priest.
(Leviticus 9:7) And Moses said to Aaron, “Go to the altar, offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. Offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as the Lord commanded.”
(Leviticus10:16-17) Then Moses made careful inquiry about the goat of the sin offering, and here it was–burned up. And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who were left, saying, “Why have you not eaten the sin offering in a holy pace, since it is most holy, and God has given it to you to bear the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord?”
When an individual had made an offering on the Alter of Sacrifice it was then the Priest that bore the guilt of that person before the Lord, signified by the eating of the offering in a holy place. The blood of that offering was NOT carried inside the Temple, but was kept outside and placed on the horns of the Alter in the outer court and also poured at its base.
It should be understood that the Alter of Sacrifice (Bronze Alter) in the outer court was used for a different purpose than the Alter of Incense that was within the Temple. The animal sacrifice for the Alter of Incense that was inside the Temple was killed by the priest and was for the corporate Kingdom of Heaven. It’s blood was taken into and placed on the horns of the Alter of Incense inside the Temple, then brought out and placed on the horns of the Alter of Sacrifice. The High Priest on the annual Day of Atonement cleansed the Alter of Incense of the forgiven sins of the Kingdom of Heaven that had been placed on it throughout the year.
Synopsis: Jesus Christ is represented as two distinctly different sacrifices. As the Passover Lamb, His precious blood was shed to redeem the first born (priests) of the Kingdom of Heaven. In His role as the Goat of the Lord the death of Christ was for the Atonement of the Kingdom of Heaven. He is also represented as the great High Priest who actually removes the sins (forgiven by the atoning blood of the Goat of the Lord), placed upon the horns of the Alter of Incense in the Holy Place in the Sanctuary, and puts these sins upon the head of the Goat of Removal (Scape goat), which is taken into the wilderness. The wilderness represents the kingdom of the world, and Satan (the Goat of Removal) is the king of the kingdom of the world. Satan brought sin into the world and that is where the forgiven sins of the Kingdom of Heaven are sent, back to the source of all sin, Satan.
The picture that is revealed in the sanctuary service of ancient Israel is that blood is required for the forgiveness of sin, but only innocent blood from a sacrifice that contained no sin; a perfect sacrifice. This sacrifice is presented as the Lamb of God. But a perfect sacrifice, by itself, is not enough to get rid of sin. There must be a mechanism for the complete removal of sin from the Alter of Incense in Heaven. God cannot dwell where there is sin, so the sin that is on the horns of the Alter of Incense in the Holy Place in the Temple in Heaven cannot and will not stay there forever. If sin is in the individual or in the Kingdom God it cannot remain there permanently. The High Priest transfers the blood of the sacrifice first to the horns of the Alter of Incense in the Holy Place in the Temple; the horns are the receptacle for the forgiven sins of the Kingdom of Heaven. Then, once a year, the High Priest cleanses the horns of the blood and places the sins (blood) on the head of the goat of Removal, which takes the sins out of the Kingdom into the wilderness (world).
What the sanctuary service (and Christ in His own words) teaches is anathema to the gospel that is taught by Paul. In the gospel of Paul there is no need for a High Priest to remove sin from where they are temporarily stored (the Horns of the Alter of Incense in Heaven) to a place where they will be destroyed forever. In Paul’s thinking just by claiming the blood of Christ a sinner is thereby saved. Their sins don’t actually go anywhere but they are covered up and hidden so that when God the Father looks at the sinner He only sees His Son Jesus. In other words, it is possible and necessary, according to Paul, to fool God into thinking you are something that you are not, sinless.
~The Rome/Jerusalem Connection~
It is evident that the way that the Christian Church looks and operates today is based on what occurred in the first century Jerusalem Church between Peter, Paul and James. Very little of what we see as the operating system of the church today (either Catholic or Protestant) is based upon what Christ actually taught, even though most Christians believe that He is the basis for their belief. In fact, with the information presented here one can understand that what Jesus taught would actually get in the way or inhibit what “The Church” wants to accomplish in the world, e.g., the salvation of the world without effort, fuss or bother.
Although Jesus designated Peter as the leader of the Jerusalem Church, it was James (the younger brother of Jesus) who acquired the position by subterfuge and deceit for the purpose of de-stabilizing the theology of Christ that was being presented to the Jews. It is highly probable, given his relationship (or lack of it), with his famous and popular brother, that James sided with the Sanhedrin, continuing in his ardent Judaism, rejecting his brother’s new interpretation of the Law and the Prophets, and his claim that He was the Son of God. It is also possible, even probable, that James played a major role in keeping Paul from reconciling with the Jerusalem Church by maneuvering Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem before Paul could talk with Peter and John and come to the Truth. James, because of his ardent and life long love for Judaism, was instrumental in keeping many of the rites of Judaism alive in the early Christian Church, promoting and establishing these rituals as an early form of Christian Church liturgy.
It should be very clear by now that Paul was “called” by a being that he thought Jesus but in reality was Satan. He was given revelations by a demon for the purpose of bringing about a shift away from the theology of salvation as taught by Jesus Christ (John 3:5) to a theology based solely upon grace; where all a sinner need do is become weak, claim the cross and the blood of Christ, believe in Jesus as their personal Savior and they are saved. By Paul’s own admission this was a very different gospel from the one that was taught by Christ. Even though Peter is considered by the Catholic Church to be the first Vicar of Christ on earth (Pope) is was Paul’s gospel that led directly to the founding of the Catholic Church. The Council of Laodicea chose to include fourteen of Paul’s letters in the Canon, and very nearly omitted Peter and John.
One could say, therefore, that Paul was the source of Catholic theology and James was the source of Catholic liturgy. Both were, either knowingly or unknowingly, working for and acting on behalf of the enemy of Jesus Christ in focusing attention away from Him onto a faulty theology that ultimately calls into question the validity and necessity of Jesus Christ’s true service to the Kingdom of Heaven as High Priest.
There are a variety of credible sources (listed in the bibliography) that strongly suggest that there were numbers of people within the Jerusalem Church that held the belief that while Jesus Christ was indeed a prophet He was not the Son of God sent for the salvation of Israel. James did not counter this heresy in any direct way.
The fall of Jerusalem to Rome in 70 A.D. eliminated the Sacrificial services from the practice of Judaism, and at the same time drove the budding Jerusalem Church literally underground. History shows that during the Crusades of the middle ages the Catholic Church sponsored an order of priest/warriors (The Order of the Knights of the Temple in Jerusalem) which were charged by the Pope with keeping the pilgrim road to Jerusalem open for devout Christians wanting to view the religious sites. However, the Knights Templar did not do any of the tasks for which the Church paid sponsorship. Instead they spent a total of nine years excavating under the site of Herod’s Temple searching for treasure and scrolls which contained the secret information left by the Jerusalem Church, information of such an inflammatory nature as to be deadly to the very Church which paid their bills.
The Knights Templar were in reality acting as agents for a group diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church. This group that was called Rex Deus (Kings of God) was founded in ancient Israel during the reign of Solomon and took direct action (which they are still doing today) to bring about the coming of the Jewish Messiah through means other than through the power of God. It is highly probable that members of the Jerusalem Church in the first century were connected with Rex Deus. This group of priests from within Israel had for many years before the appearance of Jesus Christ been trying to physically bring about the Coming of the Messiah by having very young virgin girls of the tribe of David intentionally impregnated by priests of the tribe of Levi; thereby preserving these pure blood lines and thus (in a sense) forcing God to bring about His promise to Jacob. They were taking matters in their own hands (so to speak) as had Abraham with Hagar, and with equally disastrous results. This abominable practice was clearly instigated by Satan as a way of deflecting and diluting the true nature of Christ’s conception thereby casting into doubt as to whether Jesus Christ really was the Son of God. (“Is this not the carpenter’s son?”) We even see evidence of this abominable practice in the Temple described in Ezekiel:
(Ezekiel 8:8-12) And he said to me, “Go in, and see the vile abominations that they are committing here.” So I went in and saw; and there, portrayed upon the wall round about, were all kinds of creeping things, and loathsome beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel. And before them stood seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, with Ja-azaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them. Each had his censer in his hand, and the smoke of the cloud of incense went up. Then he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, every man in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.'”
That the Priesthood of Israel was complicit in the function of Rex Deus makes it more understandable (but not condoned) as to why the Sanhedrin under the leadership of Caiaphas the High Priest rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah. They clearly believed that God had abandoned them to their own devices in fulfilling the promise that God made to Abraham. They had lost faith that God would fulfill His part of the covenant. They knew full well and with absolute certainty that Jesus was the Messiah, just as they knew that His mother, Mary, had been a virgin at the time of His birth. They knew that He was born of God because as members of Rex Deus they knew that they had not been involved in creating Him as the Messiah through the physical means that they were employing. They also knew that if they acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah they would have been exposed in the lie that they invented and willingly entered into. They were literally caught with their pants down, as the real Messiah became flesh right under their very noses. The appearing of the real Messiah, Jesus Christ, was totally unexpected and unwanted. It almost ruined their well-placed plans for their continued domination of Israel, and the eventual ruler ship of the world. There is no doubt that this is still their goal today.
It is to be expected that the Catholic Church would be very concerned that there were members of their own church that believed that Jesus was not the Messiah because their very existence is based upon the Scriptural teaching that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born of a virgin.
Synopsis: Satan wanted the whole idea of Jesus Christ as Messiah called into question, from his birth, to His death, to His resurrection. To do this it appears that he began planning and set in motion events centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ that would make inconsequential what God was going to do through Jesus Christ for the world through the Kingdom of Heaven.
This plan called for the leadership of Israel (then the Kingdom of Heaven) to produce by their own efforts a “messiah” that would overthrow the hated Romans thereby giving them the ruler ship over the whole world, which Satan would then control. Rex Deus was formed for just this purpose. When this effort failed and the True Messiah was born, as the Son of God Satan had to figure out a way to discredit Jesus Christ in the minds of the leadership of Israel. Knowing that they had not been involved in the miraculous birth in any way the leadership of Israel accused Jesus Christ of being a produce of fornication between Mary and Joseph, which they thought would defuse His power and authority to be the Messiah. This too failed.
After Jesus Christ died on the cross to open the way for the Kingdom of Heaven to be sanctified Satan had to discredit the sacrifice and make it of none-effect. Therefore, he set about to undermine the meaning of the Sanctuary Service, the sacrifices, the atonement of the High Priest, and the process of Sanctification by changing the Gospel of Jesus Christ from its original form to an entirely different gospel; brought to the church by the “apostle” Paul, which promised salvation by grace through faith and without effort or accountability.
This new gospel was embraced by the budding Church and gave it immense power that it still exercises through various forms and through numerous denominations.
~What the Future Holds~
On the surface, the opposition between the Jerusalem Church and Paul would seem to be inconsequential, given that Christianity has spread throughout the world and most Christians consider themselves to be “born again”. This is a good thing, right? Yet we must remember and always keep in mind that the ultimate goal of Satan is to save his own miserable life, and to do that he must disguise or modify truth into something that seems right but at its core is a lie. Then he must get people to believe this lie. If he can get all mankind to believe a lie then he can go to God and correctly claim victory, even though Jesus paved the way to salvation.
(Proverbs 14:12) There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
In Revelation 13, we see a description of a world power that is represented by seven heads that are seven religious powers that unify the world under one banner.
(Revelation 13:1-3) And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns upon its heads and a blasphemous name on each head. And the beast that I saw had a body like a leopard, its feet were like a bear, and its mouth was like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave it his power, throne, and great authority. One of its heads appeared to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole world followed the beast with wonder.
These heads have names that are blasphemous, which must mean that they are telling lies. They are declaring to the world the lies were given to them by the Holy Spirit. It also means that they are taking the prerogatives of God. This would indicate religious systems and practices not individuals. One of these heads is certainly the Catholic Church, which is a system; but not the Pope himself, who is just an individual. Another system would be one where the worship practice was “mortally wounded” or killed by warfare, and is currently not being practice by its adherents, but in the future that practice will be brought back. This one head is merely a means of identifying the entire beast. Is there a religious system in the world today whereby the main practice of the religion was stopped by an act of war? When the Popes were captured or killed by warfare did the Catholic Church stop practicing the mass? No, therefore it cannot be the Catholic Church that is this identifier. Does this prophetic description apply to Buddhists or Muslims or (God forbid) Christians? No. The only system that fits this prophecy completely is Judaism. In 70 A.D. the temple was destroyed and the practice of animal sacrifice was eliminated. It is still so today. But when the temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt during the Great Tribulation the practice of animal sacrifice will be reinstated. But is this event enough to cause the world to follow and wonder after the whole beast, or will there be some other event that will cause the world to rally around this one-world religious order?
When we look at the foundation of the Christian Church via the events surrounding the first century Jerusalem Church it is evident that the theology of James and the theology of Paul are two sides of the same coin. Satan devised a brilliant scheme whereby a faulty gospel would go to the Jews (by way of Rex Deus and the Knights Templar) and also to the gentiles (via the Catholic church) emanating from the same source, the Jerusalem church founded by Peter. Satan cleverly manipulated both sides to be in antipathy to one another, yet in the end they will join together under one belief system. Both systems are, as of now, working separately. Yet the nation of Israel today has no greater friend in the world than the Evangelical Christian community. The way is being paved for Christianity and Judaism to join together for a common good. Under the tremendous stress of the first four trumpets which begin the Great Tribulation they will join together with Protestant churches, Muslims, Eastern religions, and cults to bring about a one world order that will try to bring order out of the chaos that appears to be the end of the world.
~The Spirit of the Church~
Why is there such a difference between the gospel of Paul, the writings of James, and the true Gospel as defined and presented by Jesus Christ? Much (if not most) of the beliefs and doctrines of the modern Christian church are based mainly upon the writings of Paul and his contribution to the founding of the first century early Christian church. The abundant evidence clearly shows that it is more than probable that the Spirit that moved upon and influenced Paul was not the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit) but a counterfeit spirit created by Satan to appear as the real thing. It should now be clear beyond any reasonable doubt that Paul is clothed in sheep’s clothing, manufactured by the wolf, Satan, and who (to this day) continues to deceive the church into believing one thing when the other is true.
(Matthew 7:15) “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
As true as the facts in evidence are we must not jump to the conclusion that it was only Paul and James that put the church (as we have come to know it) into the dire straights and spiritual jeopardy in which it now find itself; believing lies as if they were the truth, without any accountability. It is therefore important to remember that this process of substituting lies for truth did not start and will not end with James and Paul. Given a thorough investigation of the beginnings of individual denominations, especially with respect as to how the Kingdom of Heaven is described in Matthew 25:1-13, without any doubt they will find a continuation of the masterful deceptions that the Great Deceiver has brought about in order to fulfill the prophecy Jesus gave concerning the “Wheat and the Tares”. Research may even expose a self-proclaimed prophet and/or prophetess who their denomination has placed on par with, or higher than, the Bible, who was or still is under the influence of Satan’s deceiving spirit.
From the foundation of the world it has been Satan’s one goal to preserve his own miserable life by whatever means he has at his disposal. The means and medium that has proven most successful to Satan in this has not been the overt use of terror, horror and raw dark power in an effort to get the people of God to cede their will to him. Few, if any dedicated and believing Christians would fail to stand up to Satan and his evil forces based solely on the fear of death. Christians, by and large, do not fear physical death. The myriad martyrs that have gladly given their lives to proclaim their loyalty to the Lord and what they believed to be the truth evidence this fact. The hymn “Once to Every Man and Nation” depicts the persecution of the early Church by Imperial Rome as heard in the verse, “By the light of burning martyrs.” Those who stood up for truth during the Dark Ages and the Inquisition paid a terrible price. We see in the murder of Christians in China and the “Columbine’s” of today, believers continuing to lay down their lives for the name of Jesus.
Yet the incredible tragedy is not that they died for their belief but that their heart felt belief was based upon a faith that was faulty from its founding, the core of which is not based in the knowledge and understanding of the One True God but in a marvelously life like and malevolent simulacrum (mirror image) of that God. The God of Heaven will honor their gift and sacrifice even though they did not know the whole truth. Yet is it not incumbent upon those who will live through the Time of Trouble at the End to know the truth about whom they worship? When God gave the command to “Not have any gods before Me” He did not mean only the gods that are easily recognizable as false gods (physical things which interfere with our ability to worship), but He wanted us to now how to recognize the deception of the god that we believe to be the true God who is actually the false god. At the end of time Satan will stand in the place of God (in the Temple in Jerusalem) and will proclaim himself to be God. He will declare that the message that he is giving the world comes from the Holy Spirit, and the world will believe him and wonder and worship after the Beast and believe him to be God. That “world” will probably include most of the Christians who are alive at that time, because they will not have the knowledge and skills necessary to be able to distinguish the True God from the counterfeit.
How could this horrible reality come to be? By what mechanism did Satan so subtly corrupt the truth as to make it the lie that it has become, and have it so widely believed? The greatest most effective lie is the one in which sincere, God-fearing committed Christians believe to be the truth. If it is the case that Satan will try to deceive even the elect then how is it possible for anyone to know which god is the real God? To find the answers to that question we must go back into Biblical history and discover how the True Creator God differs in practice from the god of the masquerade. It is this practice or modus operandi that will let us recognize who is the True God.
~Elijah . . .
The “Battle of the gods” on Mt. Carmel had been a massive defeat for Baal (Satan or one of his demons) and a resounding success for the God of Creation. Four hundred priests and prophets of Baal lay dead on the ground and the altar that was erected in the Name of Yahweh was burned to cinders; bullock, stone and water. It was a phenomenal demonstration of the power and might of the God of Heaven and with it He proved His dominion over the gods of the earth. So why was the prophet of God cowering in the desert, in a cave 120 miles from the scene of triumph? Elijah was scared to death and now was running for his life away from a woman.
The woman from whom Elijah ran for his life was not just any ordinary woman, but the Queen of Israel, Jezebel. She was the most evil and despicable woman in the history of the Kingdom of Heaven up to that time. Even today her name is used as a pejorative. It was Jezebel that brought the worship of Baal to Israel. It was she that convinced the people of God to substitute a false god for the One True God. It was she that had the Aschera polls erected and set the groves dedicated to Baal worship in place. She was the Queen of Israel (the Kingdom of Heaven at that time) and utterly evil. Now she wanted to kill Elijah for what he had done to her pet prophets on Mt. Carmel. Forgetting the just witnessed power of the Most High God Elijah gave way to his terror of Jezebel and ran, and ran, and ran. He ran from Mt. Carmel 120 miles into the desert of the Negev south of Jerusalem and there, exhausted, found a cave, laid down and began to pout. He felt that he was the only servant of God left in Israel and now his life was forfeit to the queen of evil, Jezebel, the whole hearted servant of Satan.
Yet God was not done teaching and training Elijah and He had another lesson for him to learn. It is within that lesson that we today can find out the way in which God operates and how we can know whether it is the True Spirit of God that is teaching us, or the deceiving spirit that instructs in lies.
(1st Kings 19:9) Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
(1st Kings 19:10) He said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
(1st Kings19:11) So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
(1st Kings 19:12) After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.
(1st Kings 19:13) When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah was instructed to stand on the mountain before the Lord. There he witnessed a great and strong (violent) wind that rent the mountains and the rocks into pieces. Next he endured an earthquake followed closely by a fire. Yet God was not in any of these miraculous manifestations. How did Elijah KNOW that God was not in them? He was patient and waited for the Lord to make His presence known. After the wind and earthquake and fire Elijah must have been exhausted with wonder. Yet he waited patiently for the Lord to come. When God did arrive He came not in an outward show of force but in secret, almost as a thief in the night. His presence was made known to Elijah in a “Still, small voice”. (KJV)
Often, as we wait on the Lord, we do so in anticipation of miraculous events, demonstrations of the might and power of the Most High working on our behalf to accomplish His will. The crowd that followed Jesus may not have cared much about what He was talking about; they just wanted to see a good show. They wanted to witness miracles. Yet most of the time Jesus told those for whom He accomplished a miracle to keep it to themselves, because Jesus knew that the real lessons with regards to salvation are not in miracles but in the Words of God.
It is plain that Elijah understood the concept of waiting patiently because he stayed on the mountain long enough to know that God was not in the miraculous events but in the Words of the “Still, small voice”. He did not “jump the gun” and make a personal judgment as to where and when God would show up. He did not assume that God would make Himself known in any particular way, by any specific method. Elijah did not try to put God in a box of his own construction. He knew that God would reveal Himself at the right time, in the right way.
(Revelation 14:12) Here is the perseverance (patience-KJV) of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
This attitude of persevering and waiting patiently has not always been the most widely used and accepted operating system within the Kingdom of Heaven. Adam failed to wait patiently to find out how God would deal with Eve and the fruit, and not trusting God he took the resolution of the situation upon himself, thereby giving Satan a legitimate claim to authority over the earth. Cain, acting in haste and anger, killed his twin brother Abel before finding out why his own sacrifice was not accepted by God. Abraham took matters into his own hands with Hagar (at the behest of Sarai, his wife) in trying to fulfill God’s promise of a son, creating animosity and resentment between Isaac and Ishmael that still exists in their descendents to this day. Jacob (at the behest of his mother, Rebecca) did not wait for God to deliver to him the birthright but deceived his father Isaac into giving him his brothers birthright, causing incredible confusion and descent within the family of the Promise such that without direct Divine intervention Esau would have killed Jacob. The list goes on. Even after the dramatic demonstration on Mt. Carmel Elijah did not trust that God could or would save him from Jezebel; Elijah ran away. Yet Elijah must have learned his lesson on that 120-mile marathon, for in the end he learned trust and patience in waiting on the Lord.
It now appears that it was this same lack of trust, the desire for miracles and supernatural confirmation (wanting God to do it their way) that gave Satan his initial toe hold in the early Church, which has adversely affected the dissemination of truth to this day.
. . . and Pentecost~
Imagine (in your minds eye) what it must have been like for the newly abandoned (so they thought) disciples as they waited in the upper room for they knew not what. Earlier, their Lord had ascended into the heavens right before their eyes, where-upon they had been remonstrated by the Angel:
(Acts 1:11) They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
Later, we find them in the same upper room where Christ had washed their feet and eaten the Last Supper meal together with them (not the Passover). Along with the women, the disciples devoted themselves to fasting and prayer in anticipation of the event that Jesus Christ had promised them. They remembered His words:
(Luke 24:49) “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
(John 16:13) “But when She, the Spirit of truth, comes, She will guide you into all the truth; for She will not speak on Her own initiative, but whatever She hears, She will speak; and She will disclose to you what is to come.
[NOTE: The Holy Spirit is the feminine characteristic of God.]
By this time the disciples would have missed Jesus terribly, and even in the short time since His ascension into Heaven they were already homesick for His presence. The twelve (a substitute having been chosen for Judas Iscariot) had spent just over a year in constant contact with Him, following Him, learning from Him, eating with Him, and being prepared by Him for service. They were not used to being alone without His comforting presence near them, so when Jesus told them that He was going to send a “Comforter” who would guide them into all truth, they could hardly wait. The did not know what kind of contact this would be but they hoped that, while it would not be as it was when He was physically with them, it would be a wonderful and defining experience. Their sense of anticipation must have been tremendous.
We can note with great precision what Jesus told the disciples He was going to do for them after He left. In His pastoral prayer for His disciples (the twelve) in John 17 Jesus prayed that they would be one even as He and the Father were one. He also told His Father that He has (already) given them the glory that the Father had given Him.
(John 17:22) “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;
(John 17:23) I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
The purpose of the glory that God gave Jesus was designed by God to bring forth unity within the Kingdom of Heaven. This glory is the Spirit of Truth, which leads all who desire into ALL the truth (not just some). It is through the truth that unity within the Kingdom of Heaven is to be achieved. It is this unity that Christ knew would be essential to bring the Truth about God to the world. It is this unity that Satan could not allow to happen and which he knew must be stopped if he was to continue to live and rule the earth, forever postponing the coming of the Savior to reclaim the earth. Satan’s goal was (and is now) to compromise the truth by any means, fair or foul. The Spirit of Christ brings unity; the spirit of Satan brings discord, strife, disunity and confusion. Satan knew that if he could place his spirit among the disciples and get the disciples to think that it was God who was sending them the promised Comforter (the Holy Spirit) then he would be well on the way to accomplishing one of his goals of causing disunity, contention, confusion and discord.
Satan knew exactly what Jesus had told the disciples to do (wait patiently and persevere) because he had eavesdropped on their conversations from the beginning of the ministry of Christ. He was well aware of the information and promises that Jesus had made to His disciples, and he knew that Jesus would fulfill them completely, because Jesus cannot lie. In order to accomplish his own purpose Satan would have to intercept the promised Holy Spirit and intervene with his own counterfeit. Satan understood that if he could closely match the disciples preconceived ideas as to how the Holy Spirit would come then he could get the disciples to give up waiting patiently and they would rush to judgment; then he could fool them into thinking his counterfeit was the real thing. This was, and is Satan’s plan in dealing with all Truth. As we look at the condition of the Church today we can plainly see that Satan is meeting with great success in this regard.
The Adversary saw and sensed the excitement in the company in the upper room. He knew the anticipation and frustration that the disciples were feeling as the days went by; anticipation that the Promised Comforter would come and frustration that the Lord was taking so long in the sending. Satan also knew that the disciples did not completely understand what Jesus had told them with respect to this upcoming event, and in the past their complete misunderstanding as to what the Messiah had really come to this earth to do evidenced this. (They did not understand that Jesus was not going to set up an earthly Kingdom by throwing off the yolk of Roman rule as they learned from John The Baptist. Even as late as just before Jesus ascended to heaven the disciples asked (Act 1:6) “Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”) This gave Satan great confidence that his plan would work, and work beautifully.
Satan loves to show off, and gullible (undiscerning) human beings love a good show. It was true at the beginning of time, it was true at Pentecost, and it is still true today. This is completely unlike Jesus who, when He was on earth, wanted to keep His power hidden from plain sight, rather relying on the Power of the Words of God to accomplish His mission. For reasons founded upon Law God has given permission for Satan to demonstrate his physical power when ever and where ever he desires. Scripture is clear as to what happened:
(Acts 2:1) When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
(Acts 2:2) And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
(Acts 2:3) And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
(Acts 2:4) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
(Acts 2:5) Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
(Acts 2:6) And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.
(Acts 2:7) They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
(Acts 2:8) “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?
As was previously mentioned most people love miracles and a good show, and Satan was not about to disappoint the twelve disciples (and the others gathered there with them) who were waiting so eagerly a supernatural display of the power of God.
First there came a violent rushing wind that swept through the house, shaking the house like an earthquake. Then came fire, and not just any kind of fire but fire in the shape of a cloven tongue.
(Acts 2:3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. (KJV)
The Greek language is anarthoris, which means that the language contains no articles such as “them”, “they” and “it”. All articles are supplied by the translators and must needs reflect their bias with respect to doctrine or theology. (It is human nature that when given a choice most people will apply their own perspective to a situation.) Note with care that in the King James Version of the Bible the article supplied for the word tongue is the word IT, which indicates that the word tongue is actually singular not plural. The usual way of translating this verse is that there were multiple tongues of fire, which sat upon all of the people in the house.
What appears to have happened in the house where the disciples were staying was that after the violent windstorm something like a tongue of fire appeared in the air above the disciples. This fire was cloven or split as the tongue of a serpent. Rather that resting on several disciples then spreading out onto the people gathered in the room (as we have been taught) this cloven tongue of fire went to each disciple in the room one after the other, moving from one individual to another until all twelve of the disciples had been touched by the cloven flame. This alternate interpretation would fit well with the fact that Satan is NOT omnipresent and cannot be everywhere at the same time. If this was the true omnipresent Holy Spirit then it would seem likely that every one of the disciples would have received this manifestation at the same time.
Therefore, a more credible translation of this verse could be:
(Acts 2:3) And there appeared unto them a cloven tongue like as a fire, and it rested upon each of them in turn.
The ecstasy and emotion of the moment was irresistible to the believers gathered there that day. They had been anticipating that something miraculous would happen and it did, beyond their wildest dreams. The irony of this moment could not have been lost on Satan and must have been hard for him to resist: a violent wind of the same type as he had used to try to kill Jesus when He was in the boat with His disciples on the Sea of Galilee; followed by a manifestation of a flame in the form of a forked tongue of fire that imitated and represented his own “forked” and lying tongue (like a snakes tongue) bent only on deception.
But Satan was not finished yet; for it now appears that the cloven tongue of fire contained a demon spirit pretending to be the Holy Spirit of God. We do not know with whom it started but it appears that the cloven tongue went around the room to the disciples who were there. This “spirit” caused the gathered disciples to start to speak in such a way that others heard their own languages being spoken.
This was such a strange occurrence that onlookers thought that the disciples were drunk:
(Acts 2:13) But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”
(Acts 2:14) But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.
(Acts 2:15) “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;
The Holy Spirit of God has, and never will, make anyone appear to be drunk and insensate, especially those who are called to take the Truth to the world. The Holy Spirit only brings the clarity of Truth to confusion, not confusion to truth. Peter tries to defuse the situation and reclaim their dignity by making the excuse that it is only the third hour of the day, therefore they can’t be drunk. In Matthew 24: 48, 49, Jesus compares an evil servant with one who eats and drinks with the drunkards, so why would He send His Holy Spirit to make people believe that His servants are drunk? This is ridiculous on its face. When Jesus was speaking to His disciples (as found in the Gospel of Matthew) the metaphor He used meant that eating and drinking with drunkards was giving up hard learned truth and going back to believing lies. When a person is inebriated he cannot focus clearly with his eyes or make rational decisions based on facts. Being drunk means being irrational and unable to see and process the truth. God cannot lie therefore He would never place one of His servants in a position of having to defend themselves from being accused of being drunk.
Even with the prior knowledge that Jesus Christ had given them the disciples were so caught up in the emotion of the moment that they never once stepped back from the situation to take a careful look to see if what was happening was truly from God. They forgot the first rule in dealing with the spirit world; test the spirits to see from whence they come.
(1st John 4:1) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(1st John 4:2) By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
(1st John 4:3) and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
So enamored were they with what was taking place in the house that they forgot what Jesus had specifically told them to do, which was to wait. Jesus did not tell them to wait for Pentecost, He told them to wait. Jesus did not tell them to wait for a violent rushing wind and tongues of fire to light upon their heads. He told them to wait to be clothed in power. Being clothed in righteousness by the power of the Holy Spirit gives an entirely different impression than what actually occurred in that upper room. When Jesus was on earth was His power manifested mainly through physical means such as miracles, or was the power of God made known through Jesus Christ by His words?
(John 17:6) “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.”
(John 17:17) “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
Rather than use the understanding given them by Jesus to question and then judge whether or not the events which were taking place in the house were true, they let their emotions get the better of them and went with the emotions of the moment instead of their minds; the result was that they stopped waiting. They lost patience with God.
In addition to the disciples not qualifying the spirit manifesting itself to them this also shows the character of the opposing forces. Satan is willing to do anything, say anything, be anything to get his way and lead people from truth into lies (where have we heard that before?). He will manipulate and coerce, appear as a demon from hell or an angel from heaven, as long as his purpose is accomplished. God, through Jesus Christ, is so fixed upon free will that He will even let people He has personally trained come to the wrong conclusions and do the wrong things rather than take away their power of choice. This fact in and of itself proves that God was not in that windswept house on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus could have stepped in and stopped the deception even before it started. He could have spoken directly to Peter and the others and told them not to believe their eyes or their hearts, which were full of the supernatural. He could have revealed the spirit in that house for what it was, a demon pretending to be the Holy Spirit, but He did not. God does not work that like that. In fact, He has never worked that way. He gives people the full range of the power of choice and free will and will let them believe the unbelievable, even if it is a lie; even to the detriment of His Kingdom.
What Peter said to the crowd following the disciples “speaking in tongues” also shows that the spirit in the wind and cloven tongue of fire was not the Spirit of Christ but the spirit of the antichrist. Would the God of Heaven prompt one of His most ardent followers to take a passage of Scripture completely out of context and turn it for his own use to prove his own point?
As was his way of doing things (and because of his commission from Jesus Christ) Peter took the lead in trying to explain the unexplainable and proceeded to give an extemporaneous sermon. (It is my opinion that Peter was an extrovert personality type; one who processes information as he speaks it. This mode is evident throughout Peter’s life with Jesus and after; speak first, then find out if you are right.) Was he influenced to give the speech by the spirit in the room? Probably not, because Peter had a track record of speaking out before his brain was engaged. This was just the way he operated. Did this alternate spirit influence him as to the content of what he said? It appears possibly, even probably. In this speech he proceeds to quote scripture from Joel 2, using the passage to confirm the event that just took place as being a precursor to the time of the end. Peter was not alone in letting his strong desire and belief that Jesus was coming back in his lifetime color how he viewed the present and the future. So adept is Satan at manipulation and deception that he can and does use strong desire coupled with stubborn belief to get people to see what he wants them to see, rather than what is truly there. In the process of giving this sermon Peter misquotes Scripture and then makes an incorrect application of that Scripture to what has just happened (the wind and fire) as a fulfillment of prophecy; and as to where he believes they are in time, e.g., at the end of time. Peter said the following:
(Acts 2:16) but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
(Acts 2:17) ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;
(Acts 2:18) EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.
(Acts 2:19) ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.
(Acts 2:20) ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.
(Acts 2:21) ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’
In reading the prophecy in Joel 2, one can see clearly that this is a prophecy about Israel coming back to the Lord. God pronounces dire consequences for Israel’s turning away from God. He tells Israel about the great army that is to come upon them in force and take their city if they do not repent. About this army God says:
(Joel 2:10) Before them the earthquakes, The heavens tremble, The sun and the moon grow dark And the stars lose their brightness.
Yet God continued to call His people back to Him.
(Joel 2:12) “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
(Joel 2:13) And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in loving kindness And relenting of evil.
The God says to Israel that if they repent He will restore them to their former glory. He will remove the army from before them and will provide for their living, as before.
(Joel 2:26) “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; Then My people will never be put to shame.
(Joel 2:27) “Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other; And My people will never be put to shame.
If Israel repents then they will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and the people will praise the name of the Lord. When this happens they “Will know that I am in the midst of Israel.” When Peter was preaching at Pentecost God was no longer in the midst of Israel because Israel had not only rejected the Messiah but had hung Him of the cross. The Shehinah Glory (feminine gender) had left the Temple centuries before and had never returned. After these events (the disaster and the repentance) what does God through Joel say will occur within Israel as a result of their returning to the Lord?
(Joel 2:28) “It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.
It is “After this” not “In the last days” (as Peter misquotes) that this prophesying, dreams and visions will happen. Not only does Peter take the prophecy in Joel 2 completely out of context and misapply it to the events of Pentecost but also he changed the words of the prophecy to fit the circumstances, as he is being led to see them. It is not the “Great and glorious day of the Lord”; it actually reads, “The Great and awesome (terrible, KJV) day of the Lord.”
(Joel 2:31) “The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
Peter is not finished trying to make his point with those to whom he is preaching. He is trying to make the point that the events of Pentecost herald the coming of the Lord and the end of time. Peter failed to realize that the sun had not been turned into darkness and the moon to blood. (There is no historical record of the astronomical events of Joel 2 having occurred before or even since that time.) So stirred is he by the experience of the wind and fire, and so bent on the need to apply Scripture and make a connection with present events that he left off the last part of the last verse of the prophesy, thereby confusing the issue of salvation and paving the way for Paul to prosper in his concept of “belief” and “grace”.
(Joel 2:32) “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.
The people who are to call on the name of the Lord to be saved are the Children of Israel, those dwelling in Jerusalem and those who worship on Mount Zion; and if they call upon the name of the Lord they will be saved from the ravages of the destruction from the army that God has called down upon an unrepentant nation. The prophecy of Joel 2 in no way applies to the event that Peter and the disciples have just gone through in that “windswept house”.
So subtle are the changes in the rendition of the prophecy between what is actually said in Joel 2 and what Peter has quoted that it is unlikely that Peter came up with these changes himself. Peter did not display anywhere near that level of subtlety and sophistication when he was with Christ so it is beyond reason that Peter could accomplish that level of understanding when Jesus was not right there with him. It is not that Peter was ignorant or simple minded (he was neither), or even that Peter was possessed by a demon (he was not), but the demonic influence in the emotions of the moment as displayed in the “speaking in cloven tongues” cleared the way for Satan to manipulate another unsuspecting victim into doing exactly the wrong thing for the right reason. Peter was absolutely sincere in his desire to take the gospel to the Jews (and even the Gentiles), but it is this very sincerity and desire that blinded him to his misinterpretation of the prophecy. Peter had no clue as to the ill effect that this misinterpretation would have upon the formation of the Christian Church with its equally sincere but unaware membership.
The events of the Day of Pentecost are a tragedy for the Christian Church, for not only did they set up the early Church for disunity rather than unity but even more tragic and worrisome is the way in which those events and the reaction of the disciples to them continues to influence the churches of today.
Clearly there is no real unity within the Christian believers of the world, only disunity. There are hundreds of denominations each with their own proprietary doctrine or theology, each believing (even if unstated) that their beliefs are correct and every one else is wrong. Not only can the Christian Church of today not get its own act together it is loosing ground daily in its attempt to spread the gospel of Jesus to a dying planet. Other religions not based upon Jesus Christ the Son of God are growing significantly faster in most of the world than is Christianity.
Ecumenical movements abound, making strong efforts to pull the various churches together for the purpose of stemming the fast rising tide of “heathen” religious beliefs and practices throughout the world, with little success. There is a growing movement which says that maybe the best way to accomplish this unity is to bring the entire world under one religious banner, with the basis of the new religion being tolerance and multiculturalism. They are saying that we all worship the same God one way or the other; it’s just that the one God has many different names and requires different things from different people. In other words, “Your God is my God, and my God is your God”. The world is fast approaching the time for this to happen and, for the most part, believes that this is a good thing. This is exactly what Satan had in mind when he intervened in Pentecost and tried to steal-a-march on God.
The revealing of the concept that Satan has corrupted and co-opted the early Christian Church through substituting a false holy spirit for the real Holy Spirit will have a dynamic effect on the Church and the individual Christian. It will separate the Church into two camps: 1) some believers will realize that they have been duped and blind-sided by Satan in a truly remarkable way. That the Church as a whole and they as individuals will then need to open their minds to the One True Spirit of God for the purpose of being lead to the truth. They will understand that they will need to put aside their old way of thinking in order to form a new and different Truth in their hearts and minds. The Church, and those who worship therein (Rev. 11:1, Matt. 25:2 last part) will reassess their positions, doctrines and theology on everything that it now holds to be true, and when they find something that is out of place with the Words of God they will reject it and replace it with truth; and 2) The Church, and those who worship therein (Matt. 25:2 first part) will reject the idea that the “Spirit of the Church” is in fact the unholy spirit of Satan that has adversely affected the growth and development of the spreading of the gospel of the Kingdom to the world, and they will choose to close their hearts and minds to new truth because they will say that there is no truth except the truth that they presently believe. They will say that New Truth will never supplant or change in any way the Old truth, which is the foundation of the Church. They will continue on the same path that has been laid out for them from the foundation of the Church in Jerusalem in the first century B.C. because they do not have the ability, desire or will to “rock the boat”.
The results of these two decisions will reverberate throughout time and eternity. In reading and understanding Matthew 25:1-13, there is undeniably a dividing time, a shaking as-it-were, for the Kingdom of Heaven in the last days. When the One Hundred and Forty Four Thousand (God’s Bondservants) wake all of them by shouting, “COME OUT TO MEET HIM, FOR HE IS ALREADY HERE”, we see that those who brought with them the enough oil which is the truth of the Holy Spirit, they will get to go into the wedding feast with the Bridegroom. But those who have to go to buy oil (truth) are left in outer darkness. The sellers of the oil are the leaders and teachers of the Kingdom of Heaven who sell it for profit; only their oil, packaged as truth, is nothing but lies!
Synopsis: Jesus Christ knew that Israel (then the Kingdom of Heaven) would reject His offer to be their King. In order to accomplish the task of revealing Himself to the world Jesus Christ had to set up a “New” Kingdom, one that would be uncorrupted by the spirit of Satan that had so thoroughly set His first Kingdom against Him. Satan knew that he could not stop Jesus Christ from founding another Kingdom so he set about to corrupt the new found Kingdom by any means, fair or foul.
The spirit that caused contention, strife and confusion between the Jerusalem church, Paul and James was injected into the very fabric of the church on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus Christ had told the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit, yet because of their anticipation and excitement of the moment the disciples, especially Peter, accepted the evidence of their emotions over the knowledge and understanding that Jesus Christ had tried to give them. They did not test the spirits and were fooled.
Satan is not called the “Great Deceiver” because he is not good at it. Satan was well aware of the tremendous power that God was going to bestow upon His servants to accomplish the purpose of God in accelerating the growth of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. He knew that unless he intervened in the giving of that power his kingdom of darkness would diminish, the glory of the Lord would, indeed, fill the whole earth (Num. 14:21) and he would soon no longer exist. So masquerading as the true Holy Spirit, and putting on a great show for the expectant crowd, Satan used wind and fire to confuse the disciples into believing that they had been given the True Holy Spirit when, in fact, they had been given a simulacrum, mirror image and a counterfeit of that spirit.
After the events that took place in that “wind swept house” the disciples showed evidence of that false spirit by acting as if they were drunk and by speaking in tongues. Peter showed the evidence of the effect of that false spirit by giving a sermon in which he categorically makes a false interpretation of a prophecy. If the Spirit of Christ were in Peter at this time then he would not have given such a blatantly false interpretation of that prophecy.
God did not directly intervene because of His stand on Free Will, personal choice and responsibility. Jesus Christ had given His disciples all the information and tools that they needed to recognize the deception, but they let their emotions override their instructions and they were fooled.
~The Foundation of the Kingdom of Heaven~
At some point in the past, probably before God created this world, Lucifer decided that he wanted to be a god in the heavenly council, a god equal to or even greater than God Himself. What would cause a divine being, who perhaps was the first born of creation, to try to set himself up against the one who created him? No one knows with certainty, yet ancient records from the Sumer and Assyrian cultures speaks of “watchers” that came to earth to oversee the inhabitants and to monitor their behavior toward one another as nations. It is possible that after God created the earth and all of the myriad creatures which teamed thereon (including the nations) that He sent Lucifer, his first created being, to act as the principle watcher, along with a number of other angels of heaven to assist him in this task. After a time Lucifer would have been very familiar to the human inhabitants of the earth, walking among them and interacting with them, yet for the most part (and by design) staying out of the way. Clearly, they would have trusted him in his capacity of emissary of the council of Heaven. It is apparent from these ancient records that the populations of the earth were not fully aware of what existed beyond the bounds of their planet or of the hierarchy of the councils of Heaven, or who, for that matter, was their Creator.
After a time it must have become apparent to Lucifer that the people of earth were going to need constant care and help from the outside to continue to grow toward their rightful place in the universe of God’s creation. There may have come a time when Lucifer, understanding and overestimating the importance of his role in the management of the new creation on earth, went to the Father and asked to be put in charge of earth in a more direct way than just as a “watcher”. From the response that Lucifer gave God it is apparent that the answer that God gave back to Lucifer must have been very disappointing. God answered Lucifer by saying no, you cannot become the ruler of the people of earth, even though you are their watcher. God may have told Lucifer that the ruler ship of the planet known as earth belonged to the one who created the earth, which was Michael.
Lucifer saw that Michael, an archangel (as was he), was equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He had been there “In the beginning” when Michael created the earth. He grew jealous and wondered why he was not accorded similar status as Michael, after all wasn’t he an archangel also? His desire to be the “Ruler of the Earth” and become a god as Michael burned within his heart and mind and eventually outgrew and stripped away his innate desire toward righteousness and obedience. Because he desperately wanted to rule the inhabitants of the earth it became Lucifer’s desire to set himself equal to or even higher than the God of Heaven. Lucifer knew that he would have to convince the Council of Heaven that he was not only worthy to ascend to that here-to-fore unattainable degree of “Ruler of Earth”, but that it was also necessary for him to do so. Therefore, he needed to place doubt in the hearts and minds of the Heavenly Council as to the fairness and compassion of God.
Imagine Lucifer as he appeared before the court of Heaven in all his angelic glory, trying to give reasons and provide a purpose for his demand that God relinquish authority over earth to him, thus making him god of the earth. What argument could he make that would convince the Council of Heaven to listen to and act on his demand and thereby overrule God? The argument would have to be not only plausible but overpowering in its ability to persuade the Council to act against the expressed will of God.
This speaks to the hubris of Lucifer in thinking that he had the knowledge, understanding and wisdom necessary to compete with God on His level, especially with respect to knowing the future and seeing the ultimate outcome of what he wanted to do. It is obvious, that he thought His idea for the argument that he be made the “Ruler of Earth” was brilliant, but in order to solidify the argument he also stated in order for the universe (which God created) to continue to exist there must be a balance of opposites (ying and yang) in the universe. The reason he stated this is because God practiced only good and so there needed to be a god that practiced evil to balance the system. He reasoned that if God is only good where is the balance. Since the argument was brilliant and sounded so plausible eventually one third of the angels (the watchers of earth) were convinced that was true. Satan, the “Great Deceiver” was then and is now very persuasive in his ability to intertwine lies with truth such that the edges of both merge.
Michael (God in the form of an archangel) then made his counter argument before the court. He first stated that ruler ship within the universe of God was strictly limited to God because God is the only being with the power to create “ex nihilo”, something out of nothing. Since Lucifer was himself a created being (albeit the first) it did not fall within his job description to act in the capacity of a ruler. Michael then continued that while balance in the universe was desirable this balance could best be achieved not by the practice of evil balancing the practice of good but by the knowledge of evil balanced by the knowledge of good. The answer Michael gave to Lucifer’s reasoning was that the universe did not need and could not afford the practice of evil to fulfill the requirement for balance. He pointed out that if evil existed in practice the universe would gradually decline, diminish and finally come to its end due to the addition of the entropy of sin into the dynamics of the universe. The sealing rebuttal was that God knew and understood both good and evil, thus providing all the balance that the universe needed. Satan insisted that his way was best, and after this mighty legal battle (war-Rev. 12) progressed to its conclusion the council ruled in favor of God, after which God cast Satan off of Heaven.
(Revelation 12:7) And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war,
(Revelation 12:8) and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.
(Revelation 12:9) And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
The Creator God created this world while Lucifer was still on Heaven because the text says that Satan “was thrown done to the earth”. When Satan arrived on earth, just who was here for him to tempt?
(Genesis 1:26) Then God said, “Let Us make man* in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
(Genesis 1:27) God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female* He created them.
[* NOTE: The Hebrew word for ‘man’ in Genesis 1:26 means ‘mankind’. The Hebrew words for ‘male’ and ‘female’ are entirely different from the words, which describe Adam and Eve in Chapter 2 as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’.]
Satan was cast down to this earth with the evil angels that agreed with him and deceived the people (mankind) into believing that he was the one that created them. (Genesis, Chapter 1).
(Isaiah 14:12) “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened* the nations!
[*Weaken-in Hebrew ‘Khaw-lash’, by implication overthrow, decay.]
How long of an interval of time between when God first created mankind and the time of Satan’s arrival on earth is uncertain. However, what is certain is that the ancient cuneiform tablets provide clear records from the culture of Sumer (and others) dating before the flood, to tell the story of “gods” coming to earth as “watchers” with displays of great power with which they persuaded the inhabitants of the earth that they, (the “gods”) were the ones who had created them. At the time of Satan’s appearance the “nations” were most probably highly advanced cultures, the inhabitants of which lived in righteousness but had not yet been made aware of their True Creator, or the wider universe beyond their sight and understanding.
Before Satan ever took over ruler ship of the earth by deceiving the nations into believing that he was their creator God already had a plan in place to return the earth to its original condition of righteousness. The true Creator and God of heaven (as opposed to the false god) would give the Truth about Himself to the inhabitants of earth by representatives or witnesses on earth who would inform the nations as to the real truth. But since there was no one on the earth who was without sin, due to Satan’s lies, God would have to perform a second and separate creation (Genesis Chapter 2), one in which He would thereafter create a second son of God (small ‘s’) who would then testify and do battle in Truth with God’s first created spiritual son, Lucifer.
Because a creation had already taken place on earth and because the beings that had succumbed to Satan’s deceptions were human, the being that God needed to create would have to also be a son of Man, fully human. This person would be wholly righteous and sinless, one who would be able to take the message of the truth to the world about the truth of who was the real Creator. God’s plan was for this son of God to counter the lies and deceit of Satan with the Truth; plus they could keep living by eating from the tree of life, thus making the nations wonder which story to believe. This would also make it possible for the people of the earth (nations) to return to the righteous state in which they had been originally created.
The responsibility for the telling of this Truth was so enormous that should God’s representative and son, ‘THE MAN’ (Adam), fail to meet and fulfill the requirements of this truth he would have to be executed and never live again. Therefore, Adam would be made subject to the judicial punishment for disobedience to God, which was eternal (the second) death.
(Genesis 2:7) Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Adam was the first representative of the Kingdom of Heaven that God created on (and out of) the earth. He was the agent of truth that God set up to teach the corrupted nations the truth about who God really was and how the imposter had tricked them into worshiping the wrong god. The nations had been deceived, but they did not understand that. They thought that the being of light that was teaching them the mysteries of the universe was indeed the god who created them. God in His mercy and by His own Law could and would not hold them accountable for their sin until they had been made aware of their sin.
God was going to train Adam (and Eve his helper or “lifesaver”) in the Truth and then send them into the world out of the protected garden to accomplish this end. But first God had to test Adam to make sure he would follow the rules that set apart the Kingdom of God from the kingdom of the world. This test was not for God because He already knew what Adam and Eve were going to do. The test was for Adam so that he would know the reward for obedience to the Most High God. In their garden home (in the world, but not of the world) God charged Adam, and later Eve, with only one restriction;
(Genesis 2:17) but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
[In the Hebrew ‘die’ means ‘kill,’ or ‘execute.’]
What kind of threat would it have been for God to tell Adam (and later Eve) that they would be killed for disobedience if they did not already have some knowledge of death? The very nature of this statement would mean that they understood what it meant to be killed, which would mean that they were familiar with their mortality.
Adam sinned because in his disobedience he failed to fulfill this charge. He failed because he did not fully trust his Father. Remember, it was not Adam’s sin that first plunged the inhabitants of the earth into sin. Satan had perhaps brought sin to the earth several thousand years prior to the creation of Adam. It was Adam’s disobedience that put the Kingdom of Heaven on earth into sin, the same condition as the nations. The very Kingdom which God needed to take the truth to the world could now no longer fulfill the duty for which it was established and therefore made it necessary for another “Adam”, a “second Adam” to take the place of the first who had failed.
The failure by Adam to resist and overcome the deceptions of Satan which involved the Tree of the Learning of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (e.g. Septuagint), took the Kingdom of Heaven out of the truth business and made it necessary for someone other than Adam to pay the penalty for the sins of the nations, by first paying for the sins of the Kingdom of Heaven. Since there had been two creations (one for the nations and one for the Kingdom of Heaven) and both creations fell, this would make it necessary to have two atonements; first one for the Kingdom of Heaven, and a second for the nations. (Eventually there will be two resurrections from the dead; the first resurrection for the righteous, (the Kingdom of Heaven), the second resurrection for the wicked, (the kingdom of the world).
Therefore, the being who would pay this penalty would of necessity have to be both an antecedent and descendent of Adam; antecedent because God was Adam’s Father; descendent because only a human being as was Adam could pay the penalty for another human being. Only God had the authority to mitigate the punishment of humanity by substitution, therefore in order to pay the penalty God would have to become a human being.
The punishment for Adam’s sin had to be instant execution, yet God stayed the execution of this judgment; it was not a permanent injunction but a temporary stay of execution that would be meted out at a later time. For what reason would God do this? Didn’t God know what Satan was going to do before He created him? Yes, but God never lets His foreknowledge affect who, what or how He creates. Therefore, God knew what would happen and put in place the Plan of Salvation (which was based upon the Law of God) which God had made prior to the creation of Lucifer or this earth, to take care of a “situation” which God knew would happen.
Adam was created as a perfect, sinless yet mortal being. Since only a perfect sacrifice could make atonement for sin, Adam had to be, and remain sinless in order to accomplish the restoration of the nations. The Tree of Life was in the garden to provide Adam and his offspring with eternal life for as long as they had access. Without this ability to eat from the Tree of Life Adam would have eventually died because he had been created a mortal being as were all the other beings and creatures on the earth. Yet his natural death would not have paid the price of atonement. After Adam and Eve sinned they were ejected from the garden in order that they would not have access to the Tree of Life and achieve continued immortality by eating of its fruit. There would have been no reason for God to put the Tree of Life in the garden had Adam and Eve been immortal. As was stated earlier, God’s punishment for sin is death by execution without ever any hope of any resurrection. If the punishment for sin had merely been dying a natural death then Adam and Eve could have paid their own penalty when they eventually died of old age. When Adam and Eve were put out of the garden and died some 900 years later, their deaths did not pay the penalty for their sin or the sins of the world.
If someone was murdered and God raised that person back to life a week later, would the person who killed still be guilty of murder? The answer is yes. The penalty for murder does not go away unless the penalty has been paid even if the person murdered is raised to life.
When God executed His Son, Jesus Christ (even though He was without sin), did this pay the penalty for Adams sin? Again, the answer is yes. Because Jesus was the only one who has ever died the second death and therefore paid the penalty for sin. This payment of the penalty then funded an Irrevocable Trust to pay of the debt of sin for anyone that accepts the conditions of the Trust and therefore becomes a beneficiary by joining the Kingdom of Heaven and following all of the conditions. As a member of the Trust one becomes a bondservant, (see chapter 12). This mean that someone prepaid the debt and thereafter that person can have only one Master until the Master sets that bondservant free by welcoming him into the family of God at the Wedding Feast. Adam and all of those who died in righteousness before Jesus Christ was executed were beneficiaries of a constructive trust, which then became an Irrevocable Trust at the death of Jesus.
There may be questions about this because of all the songs, movies and writings that proclaim that Jesus died of either a broken heart or was killed by the Jews. If that were true then the penalty of execution by God would not have been paid and Jesus would not have been resurrected.
Jesus Christ became human to fulfill the role that Adam, because of his sin, could no longer fulfill. The death of Christ paid the penalty of execution for sin that Adam and Eve would have paid right after they ate of the Tree of the Learning of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God suspended their sentence of death because that penalty would be paid, as promised, by the execution of the perfect sinless substitute. That penalty was passed on from generation to generation until Christ paid the penalty.
Adam was righteous because he was created without sin. Eve was righteous because she came from and was a part of Adam. Any child born of them in the garden would also have been righteous because they were righteous. God had told them not to eat of the forbidden Tree, and if they did then on that very day they would be killed. God watched without interfering as the events on this fateful day in the Garden of Eden played out, which demonstrates how important Free Will is to God. He watched as Eve ate of the Tree of the Learning of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He continued to watch as Eve turned to Adam who was right there with her (not out of sight as we have been told) and gave him the fruit, which he ate, apparently without saying a word. God did not interfere at any time during this process.
The instant that Adam ate of the fruit, God was legally bound to kill both them, because they were one flesh. [Note: It is only after Adam disobeyed (not when Eve ate the fruit) that they noticed that they were naked and became ashamed. Therefore it is not Eve’s sin that bound the Kingdom of Heaven in sin, but Adam’s sin.]
So why didn’t God immediately execute judgment upon them right then? By God’s own words Adam and Eve should have been killed instantly because God was lawfully bound by His own words to do so. God granted them a stay of extension. At that moment He applied the contingency plan that had been in place before the world was created that would supply a means for Adam, Eve, the Kingdom of Heaven, and the nations to be reinstated into righteousness. If God had killed them then God would have had to create a new Adam and Eve to try to fulfill His plan and Satan would have tempted them to sin also. How many times would this have to happen before God would have lost credibility in the universe? This is just what Satan wanted and would have proved his claim against the Throne of God; that is, that God’s plans are imperfect from the start, therefore He is not the real God.
The penalty for Adam’s sin was passed down from generation to generation of his descendants because none of them would have been born if Adam and Eve were executed in the Garden, having paid the penalty for their own sin. After God found them hiding in the garden did Adam ask God why they were still alive and why they had not been killed immediately after he had done what God had expressly ordered him not to do? Would you have asked that question of God under those circumstances, thereby reminding God of His promise to kill you? Clearly, Adam and Eve knew God always kept His word because His word is who He is. They hid from God because they KNEW that God was going to kill them. They were ashamed not of their physical nakedness but because of their spiritual nakedness. They knew they had disobeyed their Creator and truly believed that God was indeed going to execute them as soon as He found them.
Then the blame game started. God asked Adam if he had eaten of the tree. Adam blamed Eve, who followed by blaming the serpent. The serpent (Satan) did not have to say anything because he knew he was to blame, and was pleased; his plan was unfolding as planned. God did not need to be reminded by Adam as to the instructions He had given them. During this entire obfuscation God did not remind them of their death sentence. God did not say to them, “For this deed you will now die”.
[NOTE: Why don’t we have more detail in the Bible about what went on? What is the function and purpose of the Bible? The Bible was written to let us know the plan that God has to utterly destroy rebellion and reinstitute His authority on this planet. The Bible is not a history book, but it does contain historical events. The reason why people want more detail than is provided in Scripture is that want an infallible standard, this so they don’t have to think, judge and decide for themselves what is truth and what is a lie.]
Since Adam and Eve were humans the only One who would be the substitute and make this payment for them would also have to be human, a son of man, an offspring of the very beings that He was going to save. In order for this payment to work this Substitute would have to exist both before them as well come after them. This is why Jesus Christ was named both the “Son of God” and “son of man”.
An act can be independent of the result of that act. In this particular case Jesus Christ was resurrected from the grave because He was innocent of the sin the penalty of which He paid by His death on the cross. The fact that the result of the penalty for the sin was not permanent does not mean that the sin did not take place. Conversely, if a penalty (second death) for a sin is paid by one not guilty of that sin, that penalty does not vacate the conviction for the one that committed the sin. Also, the one that pays the penalty must be physically identical in every respect to the one who incurred the penalty.
If God had executed Adam and Eve for their sin then they would have paid their debt to the Law, but they would have been dead, so what is the good of that? Death from old age was not the penalty for the second death because Adam, Eve, their offspring and the nations of the earth were created mortal and were going to die anyway. That “natural” death would then have automatically paid the penalty. The penalty for sin is the second death because God cannot die from old age. When someone who has a debt that cannot ever be paid, but which by law says needs to be paid, must find someone who is willing to pay the debt for them or they will have to pay it themselves. After this debt has been paid for them they must willingly put themselves in bondage to the one who actually paid the debt by agreeing to work for that person for as long as required, even forever. That is why when Christ returns as a thief in the night (see below) it is to these bondservants, who are not yet free. The Bondservants of Jesus Christ have recognized their debt has been paid and placed themselves into service in the Royal household of their King. They know that because of the immense magnitude of the debt their service will be for eternity, or until such a time as the Master removes their bondservant status from them and makes them members of His family. It is to these bondservants of Jesus Christ that Revelation was written in order to let them know the “things which must shortly take place” (Revelation. 1: 1-3).
The Israelites in Egypt were slaves in bondage to Pharaoh. God had promised Abraham that he would make a great nation out of his seed and that they would become the Kingdom of God.
(Genesis 17:1) Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.
(Genesis 17:2) “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.”
God needed representatives on earth to be witnesses of the truth and to take it to the world. God had promised Abraham that his descendants would fulfill that role, as long as they obeyed the command given to Abraham to be “blameless” before the Lord. When God took Israel out of Egypt He needed to do two things: 1) He had to get permission from Pharaoh to let them go because Pharaoh owned them; they were slaves in bondage to Pharaoh. God does not go outside His Law to accomplish His purpose. God wrested permission from Pharaoh to take Israel out of Egypt by supplying motivation through the plagues; 2) God needed Israel to understand certain things about Him. They needed to learn the Truth about Himself so that they could learn to be “blameless”. They needed to learn that their God would provide for them. God took the Children of Israel into the wilderness to teach them about Him and to instruct them in righteousness, thereby making them His Kingdom.
When Pharaoh came after them to take them back God could now act lawfully because He was now the King and protector of Israel. Thereafter God offered them the Covenant at Sinai. They committed to and ratified this Covenant, which bonded them to God and made them the Kingdom of God.
(Exodus 24:7) Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!”
However, three weeks later they broke the Covenant by worshiping the Golden Calf. Israel committed adultery against the Lord before the ink was dry on the contract, because they began worshipping another god. Because of this Israel, as with Adam before them, again became slaves, this time in bondage to Satan.
The choice comes down to this; to live with sin brings the curse of death; to live without sin brings the blessing of life. God gave this choice to Israel.
(Deuteronomy 30:19) “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.
Synopsis – Adam was the first son of God created on earth. God was the father of Adam. Adam was created perfect and without sin. Adam could have paid the penalty for the sins of the nations had he remained righteous and sinless. Adam and Eve failed to remain obedient to the command of God to not eat of the Tree of the Learning of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the penalty for which required instant execution. God provided a means for removing the debt from Adam and Eve and their descendants by removing the penalty, which is the second death. God existed before Adam, so in order to be able to remove the penalty for the sin of Adam and Eve and their offspring He would have to become like Adam; divine and human-the Son of God and the Son of Man. Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the son of man, would be able to pay the penalty for the debt to sin that belonged to Adam and Eve, and by extension, their offspring (the Kingdom of Heaven) because He had no sin in Him and could therefore be the perfect sacrifice, which was called for by the Law.
Mary the “mother of Jesus” did not supply any genetic material to Jesus Christ; if she had then He would have been born sinful and imperfect, and could not have been the atoning sacrifice. God the Father and God the Mother (the Holy Spirit) are the parents of Jesus, just as they were the parents of Adam. Adam, the first human son of God, failed because of the deceit and lies of the first created spiritual son of God, Lucifer. To fulfill the requirement of the Law of God the son of Man would have to be absolutely perfect and from the line of Adam in order to pay the penalty for that failure of that line. Jesus, being perfect and not being guilty of sin paid the debt for Adam’s line and therefore could pass the payment on directly and only to that line. The nations would need to become part of Adam’s line (by baptism and new birth, John 3) in order for them to take advantage of the payment for the penalty for their sin. The fact that Jesus Christ paid the penalty and was later resurrected does not discount the fact of the payment. What He paid was payment in full for the line of Adam-the Kingdom of Heaven. The fact that He was resurrected does not discount the unjust execution, which paid the penalty.
~The Bondservants of Jesus Christ~
When we enter this world we come in as sinful beings, genetically altered by the sins of our ancestor’s, which have become ours by being passed down through the generations from Adam and Eve to us. Just as Adam and Eve could not pay the penalty for sin themselves except by being executed forever, neither can we. Everyone must pay the penalty they owe because each person is solely responsible for their own sin in spite of their genetic propensity. One way to pay this penalty is to be executed by God and never live again. This alternative does not appear to be the most pleasant way of dealing with sin, at least for the sinner. The other way is for sinners to request that a sinless substitute, Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, pay this penalty because they can’t pay it themselves. However, there is a price you must pay for this service. To live eternally they must begin by being born again into the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3), then and only then will the penalty that was paid by the perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ the Son of God, have significance.
Yet the Christian Church has been told that when Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins he freed us from the penalty of the second death forever, so that even if we continue to sin we are no longer held accountable. What we hear in Churches is that Christ has set you free, and this new freedom means that you no longer have to obey His commandments. The Christian Church today calls this the “New Covenant” and as we now have seen the “apostle” Paul is responsible for this belief within the church. It is even said that we will always be sinners, that nothing can change our sinful nature, even when we get to heaven. They say that this happens because the blood of Christ hides or covers our sins so that God cannot see them. Their explanation goes something like this; God looks at an individual and sees sin, the sinner asks Jesus for help, Jesus interposes Himself (by His blood) between the sinner and God so that God sees Jesus instead of the sinner, and on that basis God takes the sinner to Heaven. Therefore, if we ask Jesus to help us then He will play His part in fooling God into thinking that a sinner has no sin because Jesus stands in the way, and take them to Heaven anyway. Sadly, this concept of salvation is absurd. If God actually did this He would be acting outside of the Law.
The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross does not overcome sin for us, it makes it possible for our overcoming of sin (as He did) to have meaning.
(Revelation 3:21) ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
(John 17:19) For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
What was it that Jesus Christ overcame (and became sanctified) in order that we might overcome if we are to sit down with Him on His throne? We must overcome the sin, lies and the faulty belief system in which we find ourselves deeply rooted, which we have inherited from our Christian forefathers. God, in dealing with Cain, did not say that He would master sin for him:
(Genesis 4:7) “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
Sanctification is the process by which lies (sin) are replaced with the truth. It is difficult, dangerous and time consuming. To accomplish Sanctification requires patience, persistence and perseverance. When this process is completed we would then be living a sinless life; yet without the payment of the penalty of eternal death by Jesus Christ it would not matter and all that work would be for naught because we would still be subject to the second death. In the end, the only requirement for salvation is that we become bondservants, and then do what He says by keeping His covenant.
(John 8:33) They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
(John 8:34) Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.
(John 8:35) “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.
(John 8:36) “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
Through the power of the true Holy Spirit it is entirely possible not to sin; if it is not then Jesus is a liar, and we know that is not the case. Lies are sin, but Truth is righteousness. The process of eradicating sin from our life and replacing it with truth is called Sanctification. If we are a slave to sin and by our own choice continue to sin (even when that sin is pointed out, we will be put out of the house of God, because no slave will remain in the house of the Lord. We cannot be slaves to two masters. We are either slaves to sin or we are slaves to the Master-the Lord Jesus Christ. If we say in your hearts that it is impossible to live without sinning then we are effectively saying that Jesus Christ is a liar and His Holy Spirit is not capable of doing what He sent Her to do in our lives, i.e. take us through and complete the process of Sanctification.
(Mat 24:45) “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?
(Matthew 24:46) “Blessed is that slave (bondservant) whom his master finds so doing when he comes.
(Matthew 24:47) “Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
(Matthew 24:48) ”But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’
(Matthew 24:49) and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards;
(Matthew 24:50) the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know,
(Matthew 24:51) and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This account speaks of a moment in time when Jesus Christ comes back as a “thief in the night”. This is NOT the same as the coming in the clouds. (Revelation 3:3)
Notice the use of the word “master” and what that word implies. The bond between the parties here indicates that it is not yet one of a close personal friendship as in a buddy-buddy relationship, but one in which the Master expects and demands certain behavior from the bondservant. The reward is either a great blessing or a great curse depending on the response by the bondservant. The Master can hold the Faithful and Wise servant and his fellow bondservants accountable because the bondservants have willingly placed themselves in service to their Master. What is this hold, is it conditional or unconditional, and why would anyone put themselves in such a tenuous and possibly deadly position?
The bondservants, (the Faithful and wise Servant and his fellow servants who are in the royal house of the Master), have placed themselves in permanent servitude to their Master. They have done this because they recognize that they have acquired a huge debt that they can NEVER pay. They recognize that their salvation is not unconditional as they had previously been led to believe, but rather it is based upon the condition that they willing bond themselves to their Master and be completely obedient to ALL of His commandments. They realize that they must go through and complete the process of Sanctification, which will eliminate sin from their lives. They, and only they, realize that if they make this covenant with their Master and fail to abide by that agreement then they will be held accountable just as the servant that turned wicked and said in his heart that his master is not coming for a long time and is punished for his actions; including not knowing the exact time when the Master will return, which clearly are antagonistic to the Kingdom of Heaven.
(Revelation 14:3-5) And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for the have kept themselves chaste, these are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.
The above passage speaks of the servants who are the “first fruits” of the Kingdom of Heaven, and what they will be doing when He comes. When the Master comes as a “thief in the night” the servants will as yet not have been set free for they are still bondservants. (Eventually they will be set free and become sons and daughters of God, but not at this time, not yet.) Because the Master/Bridegroom has paid their debt and they recognize that it is a debt they owe and have no way of ever repaying short of their own eternal death they agree to become servants (slaves) in His Royal household. To do this they willingly bind themselves to Him until such a time that He forgives the debt and changes their status from bondservant to family member.
Why would the “Faithful and Wise” bondservant (singular person) change his mind and do things such as beating his fellow servants and eat and drink with the drunkards? Because he knows that his master is not going to come for a long time, which means that he must know how long the master is going to stay away. And because he knows how long it will be till the Master returns and he doesn’t want to put up with any more of the ridicule that he is being subjected to he then goes out and gets drunk (spiritually drunk with lies) with those who are drunk, those who believe that they have been set free, the very people who have been ridiculing him because he has said that he knows the time of the Master’s return. They have no expectations for a time because they don’t have a master. They are drunk on lies. Clearly they are not bondservants of Christ because they erroneously believe that they are already set free. No one has, as of now, been set free or been “born again”. The penalty for their sin has been paid and placed into a Trust but they do not understand that they must place themselves into bondage to the Master in order to acknowledge the debt and become a beneficiary to the Trust.
For whom does the Master come? He comes for those who are in the Royal house of the Master. (These are not yet to the Kingdom of Heaven/God). The royal house is where the King lives, but he has gone to a far country. While He is gone the bondservants need to know what to do while He is away. The Faithful and Wise servant (only one person) is responsible for telling the other servants what God wants them to do. What is it that God wants them to do? They are to prepare for service.
(Luke 12:35) “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.
(Luke 12:36) “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.
(Luke 12:37) “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.
(Luke 12:38) “Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
(Luke 12:39) “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
(Luke 12:40) “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”
The bondservants of the Master are to be dressed in readiness for service to the Kingdom of Heaven. The lamps that are to remain lit are the lamps that shine a light into a dark place. The admonishment that they must remain lit would seem to indicate that at some point the lamps were in danger of going out. The dark place in which this light is to shine is Scriptural and a particularly prophetic understanding. The bondservants of the Master will know the truth about prophecy in a way that no other person or group has ever known. It also means that they are to know the will of their Master, a will that they divine from the true Holy Spirit who has led them into ALL truth, and the time He is to return.
The readiness of the bondservants is also defined by their understanding that their Master is returning soon, and when He knocks at the door, which leads into His own royal household, his servants must be ready to immediately open the door. Jesus calls those servants blessed for being on the alert and says that the He will wait on them and serve them. Serve them what and when? The bondservants are to be ready for service. Therefore it seems logical that the time when the Master serves them is before their service begins to the Kingdom of Heaven. What the Master is serving them is knowledge and information that will be necessary for them to have to serve the Kingdom of Heaven effectively.
Jesus then gives a cryptic message about when this will occur. It will be during the second or third watch of the night. Night in prophetic terms indicates an absence of signs and wonders, a time when no outward signs of His coming are happening. This indicates that the Master returns to these bondservants at a time when nobody except the Bondservants are looking for His arrival. This statement, as well as the next, flies in the face of the current understanding that the next time Jesus Christ comes to earth will be when He comes in the clouds of glory. How can His coming in the clouds be the same as when He returns as a “thief in the night?” The statement by Jesus in Luke 12:39 which begins with the rhetorical IF makes the statement that the bondservants will know when their Master is to appear, which will be at a time when no one else expects Him. Just as Noah knew the rain would come in 7 days the bondservants will not know the time until they have been “fed at the proper time” by the “Good and Faithful Servant”.
A time is coming very soon when the events that begin the final days of this earth will start. These events are called the Seven Trumpets found in Revelation 8, and begin the Great Tribulation. These Seven Trumpets begin right after Judgment is transferred from Heaven to earth, signified by the casting down of the censer in Revelation 8:5. Just before the casting down of the censer and the beginning of the Trumpets an event occurs which is of tremendous significance to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Bondservants of God are sealed, which means that they have been fully sanctified.
(Revelation 7:3) saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”
These bondservants are alive (living) on the earth when their Master returns to seal them. The harming of the earth, the sea and the trees does not begin until their sealing is accomplished. They are sealed in their foreheads, which indicate their new character, the character of their Master, Jesus Christ.
(Daniel 12:10) “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.
The bondservants of Jesus Christ are sealed because they have been purged, purified and refined through the sanctification process. Because of this process they will understand, and their understanding will be different from the understanding of all the “wicked”. These wicked may not be the evil ones in the world who do not claim to know Jesus Christ for they could care less. The wicked spoken of here are those who make the claim to know and understand Jesus Christ and who, like the Pharisees in the time of Jesus Christ on earth, make the claim that they see and already understand the truth.
(John 9:39) And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”
(John 9:40) Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”
(John 9:41) Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.
Jesus equates this blindness to sin. These wicked are those of the Kingdom of Heaven that like the Pharisees before them choose to see only that which is both convenient and easy. None of these wicked will understand what is true because they have already convinced themselves that everything that they now believe is already true. It is in this that they sin. When the bondservants of Jesus Christ present the truth about what is really happening and going to happen those that consider themselves to be wise (because of their status and standing within the church or because of previously established dogma that is firmly set in the concrete of their hearts) will reject what these bondservants say, and will name what they are speaking as heresy.
It is interesting to note that this will not bother the bondservants overmuch because that is just what their Master had to endure when He was on earth and it is just what their Master has told them would happen when this message was presented to those without eyes to see and ears to hear.
The bondservants of Jesus Christ come from spiritual Israel, the Kingdom of Heaven. Their number is 144,000, which indicates a specific number of those that will be sealed. More significant than their actual number is the fact that they are sealed BEFORE the start of the Great Tribulation.
We have long been told by our pastors and Bible teachers that it will not be until we get to Heaven that we are made sinless and holy (perhaps not even then since supposedly Christ covers our filthy rags with His robe of righteousness). We now know that this is incorrect on two counts: First, we must first get rid of our filthy rags (sin) before Jesus Christ gives us robes of righteousness; and second, some who dwell on earth will be perfect, holy and sealed before Jesus Christ comes in the clouds of Heaven. These are Bondservants of Jesus Christ.
(Revelation 3:3) ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.
(Revelation 3:4) ‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
(Revelation 3:5) ‘He who overcomes (like them) will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
These few who come from the church in Sardis (Kingdom of Heaven) are worthy because they are not wearing soiled garments (filthy rags). This does not mean that they were always wearing clean white garments; it means that they made themselves worthy to wear the white garments because they first put off the filthy rags of lies. They are not asleep when the Master comes as a “thief in the night”. The message to the angel in the church in Philadelphia says in part:
(Revelation 3:8) ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door, which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
Because the bondservants have been sealed, the door to their salvation has been opened and no one can shut that door. This is very important to understand; they are few in number in comparison to the numberless multitude that will come out of the Great Tribulation, so they have little power in and of themselves. Yet God has placed them in a very important position. Remember, they are the first fruits of the Kingdom of Heaven. We can correlate these “few in Sardis who have not soiled their garments” with the “faithful and wise servant” and “his fellow servants” in Matthew 24:45. These are the bondservants of Jesus Christ, the 144,000 of Revelation 7:3. They are the first fruits of the remnant:
(Revelation 12:17) So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
(Revelation 14:1) Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.
(Revelation 14:5) And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.
The only people who are known to be the remnant of the woman in Revelation chapter 12 are those who understand that they must keep the ALL the commandments of God (the Covenant-the Ten Commandments) and have the testimony of Jesus (the Holy Spirit). And of the remnant there are only a few who have not soiled their clean white robes, and those are the ones that have the names of the Lamb and the Father written on their foreheads because they are sealed. They are sealed because they are blameless, just as God instructed Abraham and his offspring to be. These are the Bondservants of Jesus Christ.
Synopsis: The only people who are the remnant of the woman in Revelation chapter 12 are those who understand that they must keep the commandments of God (the Covenant-the Ten Commandments) and have the testimony of Jesus (the Holy Spirit). Of the remnant of Her offspring there are only a few who have not soiled their clean white robes, and those are the ones that have the names of the Lamb and the Father written on their foreheads because they are sealed. These few recognize that the penalty for their sin has been paid by a perfect sacrifice that they have absolutely no possible way of ever repaying that debt. Because of this they place themselves in permanent service to the one who paid that debt, their Master Jesus Christ. They are the first fruits of the offspring of the Holy Spirit. They are sealed because they are blameless, just as God instructed Abraham and his offspring to be. These are the Bondservants of Jesus Christ.
The mechanism for the removal of sin is the process of Sanctification, which begins by entering the Kingdom of God (John 3:5). The entire process described in the sanctuary service including the atoning work of the High Priest is completely negated (made void) by a theology that says that to be born again and saved is merely to believe in Jesus; that His grace is sufficient for you; that removal of sin from your life is not possible because we are born into sin; unimportant because we are saved by grace not by works; and that accepting Christ’s blood for your own justifies you before God and means that all you have to do is put on Christ’s robe of righteousness over your robe of filthy rags (sin) and you can go to heaven, sin and all.
True, this kind of gospel is much easier to deal with than the gospel which Christ presents and is the gospel upon which is founded the entire Christian religion, Catholic and Protestant. It is this gospel that Paul preached to the Gentiles and it is this gospel for which the Elders of the Jerusalem Church called Paul onto the carpet because it disagreed with the gospel of the Law to which James adhered.
Whether as a function of his own arrogance as a Jew or as a response to the “gospel” that Paul was preaching to the Gentile churches, James took his Jewish heritage and transmitted his legalistic view of the gospel to the Jerusalem Church, thus setting up a huge conflict between “Grace” and the “Law” which still exists in the Church today.
There were any numbers of people within the Jerusalem Church that did not like Paul or his “new” gospel, so when Paul came to Jerusalem for the last time someone tried to cleverly do away with Paul and the threat he posed to the leadership of the Jerusalem Church. Not only did James try to undermine Paul’s gospel of “grace through faith” while Paul was on his missionary journeys it is possible, even probable, that James engineered the arrest of Paul in Jerusalem on a trumped up charge of desecrating the Temple (something which Paul, as a professed Pharisee, would never do), preventing a possible reconciliation between the gospel of Christ and the gospel of Paul which could have led to a Christian Church that would have been much different in tone and texture than it is today. It is evident that Paul was an innocent, though easily manipulated dupe, and completely unaware for whom he was really working. The evidence is not as clear for James and we may not know for sure until we get to Heaven whether he was also an innocent pawn or whether he was, in fact, a willing accomplice in doing Satan’s work.
In any case, through astute planning and flawless execution Satan had just the right men in place to prevent the True gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (as seen in the Sanctuary Service and in the Words of Christ) from being preached and understood by those who really wanted to know and understand. The rise of the Universal (Catholic) Church and the subsequent backlash of Protestant denominations are primarily based upon erroneous information and faulty understanding designed by Satan to accomplish one thing; to prevent the Kingdom of Heaven from being ready (sanctified) such that the Bridegroom must forever delay His coming in order that Satan will remain the ruler of this world forever.
The Jerusalem Church and its leadership played a pivotal role in what was going to be presented to the world as to the Truth about how to become a real member of the Kingdom of Heaven and thus be saved. Peter did not fully comprehend the magnitude of his role in this process nor did he fully understand what Christ wanted him to accomplish for His kingdom. Thus Peter (and John, and the other disciples) unwittingly relinquished their God given roles to a pair of usurpers (James and Paul) who, though seemingly on opposite sides of the issue, were clearly manipulating and machining the gospel of Christ and the Early Church in such a way as to promote division and discord and prevent the unity that would have led us to the Kingdom of Heaven long ere this.
None of the changes in the understanding of truth from what was revealed in the Old Testament and in what Jesus Christ taught to his disciples to what Paul preached could have occurred unless there had been a concerted effort on the part of the Adversary, that Great Deceiver, to create a climate within the newly formed Church which would be conducive to the change. This change was brought about by an intervention on the part of Satan which fooled the disciples and the other believers on the Day of Pentecost into thinking that what had just occurred to them was wrought by the Holy Spirit, when in fact it was brought about by the lying spirit of Satan.
(Matthew 13:24) Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
(Matthew 13:25) “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.
(Matthew 13:26) “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.
(Matthew 13:27) “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’
(Matthew 13:28) “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’
(Matthew 13:29) “But he *said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.
(Matthew 13:30) Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”
In this parable, the “man” or Master who sowed the wheat is Jesus Christ. The wheat is the truth, exemplified by those who love the truth. At night, when the Master’s servants were asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds (tares) that are lies in among the wheat. When notified that this occurred the Master told his servants to let the wheat and weeds grow together until the harvest, because in the beginning it is difficult to tell the difference between Truth and lies. But as the harvest approached it became easier to tell one from the other. That which had grown up together in this parable is truth and lies. Until just before the harvest it is very difficult to tell which is which.
One of the ways in which we will know that the harvest is imminent, is when the difference between the wheat and the tares becomes apparent, not by everyone, but by the servants only. It was not long after the ascension of Jesus Christ, just after He had planted the good grain of truth in His new Church, that the enemy sowed lies in amongst early believers. These lies were in the form of a false spirit misrepresenting itself as the ‘Holy Spirit’. These tares (the lying spirit) were, in the beginning, indistinguishable from the wheat (the True Spirit), but as they grow toward maturity it becomes more and more evident that there is a distinct difference. The problem becomes complicated because many sincere believers have substituted lies for the truth and now believe the lies to be the truth. They no longer have eyes to see, and ears to hear. They are blind and deaf to the Truth, as brought to them by the Holy Spirit through the Words of God.
We must not think for one minute that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the real Holy Sprit were caught by surprise by the events on the Day of Pentecost, or any of the events that preceded or followed; they were not. Yet such was the commitment of God to free will and to the truth that He let the events of Pentecost happen unabated. He knew that Satan would masquerade as the Holy Spirit. He knew full well what would be the reaction of the Church and the eventual outcome; that the church would experience centuries of disunity rather than the unity so earnestly sought by Christ and the Father; that the gospel of Christ and His Kingdom would be changed from Sanctification to grace, love and unconditional salvation. We can trust that not only did God know all these things but He had a plan in place to thwart the efforts and plans of Satan which was to cause the Church to confuse lies for truth. God has a plan to bring the Church back from the abyss of permanent disunity, doubt, confusion and the believing of lies to knowing and understanding the Truth. We also know that this plan is to be given to the servants as food at the “proper time”.
The plan that will bring the Church back from the brink of destruction is based upon what is Truth. We must remember though that the Law of God does not discriminate against those ignorant of the Truth. The only people who need to be concerned at the present time are those who hold fast to lies when they are presented with the Truth. It really must gall Satan to know that God can and will save all those who have here-to-fore sincerely believed what Satan, through his agents, has claimed as the gospel of Christ. In human terms “ignorance of the law is no excuse”. You can thank God that He does not think in human terms or we would all face the second death without hope.
God will cast no one aside to whom sin and lies have not been made known, for according to God’s Law you are not held accountable for sin of which you are unaware. Satan has spent centuries trying to eradicate truth from the world by substituting lies in their place only to be shown, by the tender mercy of God, that the people that he thinks he has corrupted with lies will actually be saved because they did not know they were believing a lie; that happens because there was no one who could tell them what was a lie or what was the truth.
God’s mercy in this is granted to mankind only until the moment when the Time of Trouble begins, then the whole world will be faced with the choice of believing the Truth of God or the lies of Satan. This mercy is also extended to those now living until a person is made aware of “new” truth, then they must decide. We cannot lightly disregard, ignore or put away the clarion call of God on our hearts and minds with regards to truth and “New Light”, lest we be left in darkness.
Now that the “cat is out of the bag” and you have been made aware of the deceptions of Satan with regards to the influence of the false “spirit of the church” upon the church you can no longer claim immunity from prosecution; you have been made aware of the lie and NOW you will be held accountable for your beliefs and actions. You need not worry about those who have “died in Christ” or those who are to old or to young to be able to change their thought processes to meet this new and impending spiritual challenge. In this case what they don’t know really can’t hurt them, in an eternal way. Our challenge will be to shift our own thinking (our closely held paradigms) from what we have been told by those in authority (church leadership) and what we now believe to be the truth to what God, through the real Holy Spirit, shows us to be the actual truth.
What can we expect in reaction to this information? Reaction will come only from those that will be most clearly affected or compromised by this new understanding, the Christian Church and the Kingdom of Heaven. Will the reaction be unmitigated joy and excitement that it is finally possible to know and understand the truth because the lie has been exposed and that we need to change our way of thinking in order to accept the whole Truth? Or will it be with great consternation and animas, because the basis for power and control of the present church is now being challenged? When Christ was here on earth and when He confronted the leaders of the then Kingdom of Heaven (literal Israel) their reaction was the same as we can expect from those in authority who have a vested interest in preserving their own positions and control over the Church today.
(Matthew 25:1) “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
(Matthew 25:2) “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.
(Matthew 25:3) “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,
(Matthew 25:4) but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.
(Matthew 25:5) “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.
Are the “virgins” the same as the “bride” as we have been so often told? The “bride” is not mentioned in this parable at all. The virgins are not the “bride” but the bridesmaids, whose job it is to get the bride ready for the coming wedding with the Groom?
Both the wise and the foolish bridesmaids have lamps (the light of prophetic truth), and when the Bridegroom does not come when they expected they ALL go to sleep. The issue here is not that they all go to sleep (even though spiritually they look like they are dead), it is that the wise virgins already had extra oil (Holy Spirit) with them when they went to sleep, but the foolish did not have that extra oil. Why is it that the foolish decided that they did not need extra oil? Because in their arrogance and ignorance they truly believe that they did not need it. It is their opinion that what they currently believe to be true is all they need to achieve eternal life. In fact, when the Bondservants awaken them they do not have eyes to see and ears to hear the truth and that what they now believe is inadequate for the task of getting them into the Kingdom of God.
The five foolish virgins believe lies as if they were the truth, and they do not feel that they need to be held accountable for any new truth especially if it conflicts with anything that they already believe to be true. The unfortunate thing is that the foolish bridesmaids eventually figure out what is the real truth (they go and buy oil), but by then it is too late for them to affect the changes necessary to get them through the door to the wedding feast. Their time is up and they are shut out of the Kingdom of God even before the Great Tribulation begins. At that time their probation will forever be closed.
If you look carefully it is possible to get a glimpse, even now, of the dividing line that will first shake up the Kingdom of Heaven and then the world. On one side you have those sincere but misguided Christians who believe that the only knowledge that is necessary for salvation is that which is provided by the experience that comes from the “Holy Spirit”. These believers care only for how they feel, and that feeling is what brings them close to Jesus. They speak of having a “personal relationship” with Jesus as if they were talking about their lover, and they sing love songs to Him that affect them in the same way as it would with their husband or wife. They will say things like, “It is not what you know, but who you know,” “Jesus overcame, so I don’t have too,” “The blood of Christ washed away my sin forever so it does not matter if I sin again because my sins are covered by the blood of Jesus,” “Don’t bother me with this, all I need to know is that I love God and He loves me” and they will count themselves fortunate if they speak in tongues or are “slain in the spirit”. They dictate to God how and when the “spirit” will move. In many cases they will go here or there to find someone who has the “spirit” so that it can be transferred to them. Little do they realize that they have fallen prey to the spirit of Satan masquerading as the Spirit of God, the same spirit that has corrupted the truth from the foundation of this world.
The other group will understand that it is their responsibility to know and understand who is the real Jesus Christ by spending time learning how God works and how Satan mimics how God works, so they can truly tell the difference. They do not just read the Bible but they diligently study Scripture, history and science to find the hidden truths that others miss because their “blind faith” gets in the way. These are they that “test the spirits” and are not satisfied until that test is well and fully met. These are the ones that are willing to set aside their own preconceived ideas about how things should work so that they can see how things really work. They are not afraid to put Truth to the test because they know that the Truth can stand up to any test. They understand that the light of truth is not static and passive but active and mobile; if they do not walk in the light they know that they will be left in utter darkness. They do not put their faith in any man, be they an alleged prophet or apostle; they put their trust only in Jesus Christ, in His words and Spirit as found in Scripture. They do not worship before idols (real and imaginary) that misdirect their minds and hearts toward a road that seems too easy to travel; they know the road to Truth is arduous, fraught with peril, and seeded with the landmines of Satan’s lies which can explode and direct their minds away from the road to Truth to a false path that leads to destruction. This group knows that they must obey their Master, and that the true Holy Spirit directs them to obedience toward the Covenant of the Kingdom of Heaven-the Ten Commandments. These are the ones who against all odds strive toward the goal of being blameless before the Lord their God (as God instructed Abraham and his descendants), through the power of the Holy Spirit who brings them into the process of Sanctification that will eventually lead to knowing and understanding ALL truth. This group is represented as the few in Sardis who have not soiled their garments. They are represented as the church in Philadelphia against whom God as found no fault. These are the Bondservants of Jesus Christ.
Revelation chapter 12 describes the history of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. In this description the Woman, the Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) is preserved and protected from Satan in the wilderness two separate times. The second time the Woman flies into the wilderness on the wings of an eagle and is protected for three and one half years. We can rightly expect that if She flies into the wilderness on eagle’s wings (that is with great speed) that She will come out of the wilderness in the same way, with great speed.
Why is it just now at this time in earth’s history that the understanding of information that will most surely shake the Church to its very foundations is coming to the fore? Is it merely coincidence or is it time for the Woman to come out of the wilderness for the purpose of preparing the Kingdom of Heaven so that it can prepare the Bride for the coming of the Bridegroom? Is this information here presented an accurate reflection of Truth, or is it merely hyperbole and of no earthly use?
(Revelation 12:17) And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
There is one thing that we can know with absolute certainty, Satan is not going to be angry with and attack those who believe as he wants them to believe. Those who now believe lies as being the truth and do not have any interest in holding themselves accountable to the process of learning the Truth are of no immediate concern to Satan and in no immediate danger from him. Satan is only going to make war on those who want to know and understand the Truth as given to them by the true Holy Spirit. Decisions must soon be made as to whether what a person believes puts them in Satan’s kingdom or in God’s Kingdom.
If you decide that the Truth is important and you decide to enter the process of replacing the lies that are in your life with the Truth (Sanctification) and make Jesus Christ your High Priest then, without a doubt, Satan is going to come down on you like a ton of bricks. He will pull out all the stops to harass you, to put stumbling blocks in your way in all areas of your life in order to keep you distracted and to try to dissuade you from getting anywhere near the Truth.
Truth is life to those who believe in Jesus Christ, but it is ultimate death to those believe and practice a lie. By deciding for the Truth we will be placing ourselves in great jeopardy, as we will be going to war with Satan. God is more powerful than Satan and He will protect us as much as He can. His own Word binds the God of Heaven to His own Laws, yet these same laws do not bind Satan. God must allow Satan certain liberties with the people of God for a time and up to a point, and as of now that point has not yet been reached. Yet the decision time is pressing hard upon us and open warfare is about to be kindled. Jesus Christ did not say that following Him would be easy; it can truly get us killed. But He also said that His yolk is easy and His burden is light because it is through His strength in us that this is accomplished.
The understanding of the prophecy/parable that Jesus told about the “Wheat and the Tares” helps to explain how and why Satan, as the sower of the tares, used Paul and James (and others) as tools whereby he would try to fool even the “very elect”. It is possible that those who now believe that they are clothed with the grace of God and need nothing else are described in the last of the seven churches in Revelation as Laodicean?
(Revelation 3:17) ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
From the context it appears that these people consider themselves to be the “very elect” yet they are not because they have been fooled. The “very elect” cannot be fooled, therefore if anyone has been fooled they cannot be the “very elect”. It is clear that the Laodicean experience is one of self-delusion; they say about themselves, “that isn’t me.” Truth and honesty preclude self-delusion. In order to acquire Truth one must be willing to be brutally honest, admitting that there may be more that needs to be known.
(Revelation 3:3) ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent.
The instruction is to repent. In order to repent one must have something from which to repent. Making oneself vulnerable to the Truth is the only way to find true repentance. The need, as described here in the description of “Sardis” and “Laodicea,” is to exchange hubris for humility. No one who thinks more of themselves than is really there will be clothed in righteousness.
In all of life there is a cost/benefit ratio relative to risk/reward, each is directly proportional to the other; the greater the risk the greater the reward; the less risk the less reward. This is also true with respect to the judgments of God. The “Faithful and Wise servant” of Matt. 24:45 receives the greatest reward (being placed over ALL of God’s possessions) because the amount of risk he faces is the greatest. He must know and understand the Truth at a time when there are no signs and wonders taking place on earth. He must learn the Truth only from diligent study of Scripture, history and science, without outside help from anyone other than the Holy Spirit. He must believe it such that he is willing to risk ridicule and abuse even as he gives this information to his fellow servants. In this he exhibits tremendous faith. If he chooses to go back on this understanding he faces the ultimate wrath of God by his rejecting the truth of what he has learned.
The next highest risk/reward category is found in the “Fellow servants”, the Bondservants of Jesus Christ. These people will believe what the “Faithful and wise servant” tells them, not because he is saying “believe it or else,” but because they have studied this new information on their own and have come to their own conclusion as to whether it is valid or not. Their risk is slightly lower because they do have the added assistance of the “Faithful and Wise servant” aiding them in their discovery of Truth. They also come to the understanding of the truth at a time when there are no outward signs and wonders taking place, and they also face the ridicule and abuse that their own family and friends may heap upon them as they go outside of mainstream theology to learn wherein lies the truth. Their reward is that they are “sealed” as members of the 144,000 prior to the beginning of the “shaking” and the “Great Tribulation”. Even more importantly they will follow the Lamb wherever He goes throughout eternity. (Rev. 7:1-4, Rev. 14:4) There is no greater reward than this.
Following after the “Fellow Servants” are the “Ten Virgins” who are the Bridesmaids of Matt. 25:1-13. Their risk/reward is a little less than the “Fellow servants” but no less important. They have direct instruction in truth available to them through the “Faithful and Wise servant” and the “Fellow Servants.” They are able to see the effects of the sealing by God on the 144,000 that causes them to shine like the brightness of the firmament (Dan. 12:3). The Five Wise Virgins that have extra oil (the Holy Spirit) will see, learn and know the truth based upon what they are told by the 144,000. Those that believe will go into the wedding feast with Christ where He will serve (seal) them in preparation for their going out into the world and teaching the world the truth during the Great Tribulation. These are the ones whose status will eventually be changed from Bondservant to son and daughter of God after Jesus Christ comes in the clouds. These are they that will inhabit the New Jerusalem when it comes down out of heaven and is placed upon the earth made new. Those that decide to stick with what they already believe to be true (but in fact are lies) will go out to try to find oil and they will be left in outer darkness, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matt.25: 10). These people will be lost for all eternity even before the Great Tribulation begins.
The final category of risk/reward is found in those who will go through the Great Tribulation but who are not in the Kingdom of God before it begins. They are the numberless multitude that comes out of the Great Tribulation (Rev. 7:9). Unlike the previous categories they will be making their decisions at a time when there will be an abundance of signs and wonders occurring on earth, and there will also be sufficient instructors of righteousness (Faithful and Wise Servant, Fellow Servants, Five Wise Virgins) available for them to be able to make an informed, responsible choice. These people will be the last to be sealed at the 7th Trumpet, when the kingdom of this world becomes the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev.11:15). They will be sealed either with the seal of the Living God as are the Five Wise Virgins, or with the seal of the dead god, which is the mark of the beast. The reward of those that receive the seal of the Living God is that they will have access to the Tree of Life that will allow them to live for all eternity.
It is critical to note that the reward which is given for each of these categories is based on the timing of when the decision is made; the earlier the timing of when the decision is made the greater the risk and the greater the corresponding reward. God expects more from the Faithful and Wise Servant (and the fellow servants) than He does from the Five Wise Virgins or the Numberless Multitude. Each will receive their just reward, or just punishment based upon when they make their choice.
(Luke 12:48 last part) From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
(Matthew 13:12) “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.
In Revelation we see pictured a great dragon against which Michael makes war. In turn this dragon makes war against the remnant of the seed of the Woman (the Holy Spirit). This is a fire-breathing dragon, and that fire is cloven, as is the tongue of a serpent. This serpent was in the Garden of Eden, and God said that the seed of the serpent would fight with the seed of the woman.
(Genesis 3:15) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
The spirit of this dragon/serpent masquerades as the true Holy Spirit because he knows that he cannot fairly win against the King of the Heavens, so he must try to win by deceit. His greatest desire is to deceive and fool believers into thinking that his spirit, manifested in the form of a cloven tongue of fire, is really the Spirit of Truth.
(Revelation 12:9) . . . the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world;
It is evident that there is a vast difference between the way in which the true Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ makes herself known in the lives of humans and the way in which the spirit of Satan uses people to his purpose, to his own benefit. The desire of the Holy Spirit is to lead people into all the truth, which is singular and absolute. She comes with gentle nudging and a “still, small, voice”. The way in which the spirit of Satan operates is to come upon people and through various forms to coerce and make them respond in a way that only benefits his kingdom of darkness. It is the desire of Satan to have people believe that there are a multitude of truths and many paths to righteousness.
The firestorm that started in the church at Pentecost through the “cloven tongue of fire” (the spirit of Satan) has caused the Christian church to become disjointed, un-unified, confused and ineffective. This is the same condition in which the Jerusalem church found itself, and was instrumental in allowing Satan access to the minds and hearts of the believers of the fledgling church through Paul and James. In actual fact the condition of the church has worsened over the centuries to the point where many Christians make the words of false apostles and prophets equal to, or greater than, the Words of God as spoken by Jesus Christ.
The desire of the true Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ was to bring about unity in the Truth and effectiveness in action in the people of God. The way in which the church has responded and even today demonstrates shows that it is not the Spirit of Jesus Christ which has led the church into spiritual unity but it has been the spirit of Satan that has pushed and prodded the church toward spiritual anarchy. The church today is not unified in Spirit and Truth in any way, shape or form; which is demonstrated in the existence of hundreds of denominations and a multitude of “truths”. It is crystal clear that the church is not where God wants it to be, and it is not doing what God needs it to do. The reason for this is that from the very beginning of earth’s history Satan has co-opted and intercepted what God has wanted to do through and for His people and replaced the true Spirit of Christ with a false spirit.
The Master of Deception has used every means in his prodigious repertoire to bring the inhabitants of this planet to the place where they are unable to differentiate between Truth and lies. In this effort he has found great success. Unfortunately this has caused many unsuspecting and unaware people to be ignorant of the fact that there are two spirits competing for their minds and hearts. Even those who may understand this have become uncertain as to which spirit is the real Holy Spirit. In most cases these sincere and devout people are deceived into believing a lie, as were their Christian forbearers. The Truth that leads to salvation and the Kingdom of Heaven is singular and absolute, and comes only from the source of truth, the Words of God. The final arbiter of truth to the Kingdom of Heaven must be the Words of God as found in the Old Testament, the Gospels, and Revelation.
(Isaiah 8:20) To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (KJV)
Why does not God just step in and straighten everything out? Why does God allow humans to believe a lie as if it were the truth, without accountability, and call it faith? God has allowed this because of His commitment to free will. Unlike Satan, God has never and will never coerce or demand that anyone come to Him under duress. Each person is held accountable and responsible for their own salvation, based upon their knowledge and understanding of God. Satan has tried, and for the most part succeeded, in seeing to it that the people of earth are ignorant of the Truth. This has led to a resistance to the process of learning Truth such that many Christians today are woefully ignorant and unaware of their need of sanctification, settling for the pseudo-safety of justification alone.
God longs for the Spirit of the Church to be the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit that proceeds from the mouth of God. Until the Christian church of today comes to realize that the deceiving spirit of Satan has been the primary influence and force behind the church since its inception and takes direct steps to irradicate that spirit from within their midst the church will continue to lose ground in the effort to bring the message of Salvation to a spiritually starving world. It is impossible to give food to people if you do not already have food to give them. The world is perishing because of the lack of knowledge of the Truth, and right now the church is not in position to fill this need. The changes that are needed within Christian church will begin only as people begin to heed the call of the Bondservants.
It is the goal of Satan that the world should take the spiritual path of least resistance. To this end he has substituted lies for the Truth. Lies are easy to believe because lies find their roots in human emotions that can be and are easily manipulated. It is difficult to come to the Truth, because to do so you must lay aside what you now believe to be true with your emotions and come to the knowledge and understanding of the Living God with your mind. This is not to say that emotions are to be discounted; yet if emotions are allowed to rule over the intellect then the understanding of Truth will never become a reality of the mind.
Soon, very soon, you will have to decide to which kingdom you will belong; the Kingdom of Heaven and Truth, or the kingdom of this world and lies. God is looking for Bondservants who are willing to accept the arduous challenge of acquiring the knowledge and understanding of the Truth, in spite of the antagonism that will be railed against them by Satan and his forces. There is great risk, but even greater reward in being in service to the King of the Kingdom of Heaven. The call of the Bondservants is clear: it is a call to prepare for war in the Spirit of Truth; it is a call to fight along side the Lord Jesus Christ for the purpose of defeating the kingdom of darkness, and slaying the dragon with the cloven tongue of fire.
C 2007 Spirit of Truth Ministries