A message for our nation:
“I pray that our nation may not copy the crimes of the nations that have perished, and our cup of blessing turn to wormwood and like them we go down. I am by nature and by grace an optimist, and I expect that this country will continue to advance until Christ shall come again. But be not deceived! Our only safety is in righteousness toward God and justice toward man. If we forget the goodness of the Lord to this land; if the political corruption which has poisoned the fountains of public virtue and beslimed the high places of authority, making free government at times a hissing and a by-word in all the earth…we will yet see the smoke of our nation’s ruin…” T. Dewitt Talmadge, D.D. 1894
This is the title of a famous sermon preached by Dr. R.G. Lee years ago. A biblical and literary masterpiece, it is a lesson on God’s judgment of sin from the life of Ahab, King of Israel.
Dr. Lee described Ahab: “I introduce to you Ahab, the vile human toad who squatted upon the throne of his nation — the worst of Israel’s kings. King Ahab had command of a nation’s wealth and a nation’s army, but he had no command of his lusts and appetites. Ahab wore rich robes, but he had a sinning and wicked and troubled heart beneath them. He ate the finest food the world could supply — and this food was served to him in dishes splendid by servants obedient to his every beck and nod — but he had a starved soul. He lived in palaces sumptuous within and without, yet he tormented himself for one bit of land more…”
Ahab is a Bible example of those rulers who live for the lusts of the flesh. He is also a reflection of the nation he ruled; nations get government officials like themselves. Our country is no exception. We have thrown the Bible out of education, the home and government; we have scorned the preachers of righteousness and by Bible ignorance enabled the TV evangelists that peep and mutter for the almighty dollar.
We are in a confused process of national election for a President—our only choice is one who is the lessor of two evils. We have no possible choice of a godly President; our choices are based on economics and social ills–which one will stem the out of control national debt, secure our borders, and put more money in our pockets.
Our condition is that described by the prophet: “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…” (Hosea 8:7). We have begun to reap the whirlwind. I received the following note a few days ago from a Christian businessman who spent over 20 years with an international company and is now reflecting on “days gone by”. It illustrates the coming “Payday” that is fast covering our land.
“A young man interrupted the morning church service spewing hateful disgusting speech. He was escorted from the grounds by two security officers hired by the church about a year and a half ago. He later called the church office with threats of violence and was then arrested at his home and put in jail. My wife and I have been going to this church since 1992 and this is the first such instance anything like this has happened.
It’s a sad commentary on the state of affairs in this country. Looking back, say to the 1950’s or 60’s– would anybody imagine that something like this would happen?
What about the mass shootings? I remember a book I read several years ago and I think the title was “Slouching Towards Gomorrah” which talked about the overall decline of this country.
I’m just a simple bean counter who as a kid earned a dime, bought a candy bar for a nickel and then took a nickel and saved it in a mason jar; I haven’t really changed that much. Look at the financial shape of our country. The idea that the country can spend its way to prosperity and run up a national debt of $20 trillion + is insanity—-it’s going to come to an end, and it won’t be pretty. I hate what is ahead for our kids and our kid’s kids. I am so glad to know that this place is not my home, I’m just a sojourner traveling through.”
The above summary by the man is right. Dr. Lee’s sermon theme is true. There is a “Payday Someday” for individuals and countries that forget God. Our payday has arrived and the whirlwind interest on our godless living has just begun. —Dave Reese, June 2016.
The last verses of Mark 16 are some of the most misunderstood, controversial and debated verses among Christians; they are also among the most ridiculed by Bible critics. Modernist theologians try to remove the verses by ‘higher criticism’; they search for ‘manuscript evidence’ that will remove these ‘sign’ verses to their satisfaction. Fundamental ‘scholars’ change the meaning of the words to fit their allegoristic interpretations. Although Mark 16 fits perfectly with all the Old Testament prophecies related to God’s Kingdom reign on earth, and even though the “signs” are confirmed in Matthew through the early part of the book of Acts, men refuse to accept what the Bible says, as it says it. Anything and everything is employed to make the passage say something else other than what is said! They all fall into the miserable category of skepticism: “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7).
Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
Mar 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
The question is, “Why does my preacher say he believes the Bible but he does not have these signs that confirm his message?” (Mark 16:20). For the person who knows very little about the word of God, the answer comes easy: “These things do not happen today.” And, guess what, that is right! For a Christian who professes to believe the Bible, he faces a dilemma: he does not do and cannot do what the passage says, although he professes to believe every word of Jesus in Matthew 24:35: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (When I was in seminary ages ago, the excuse of choice was “the early church needed miraculous signs in its beginning”).
To my ‘charismatic’ friends I say that you may claim to do all in some form from vs. 15 to even the “serpents” in vs. 18 (as long as you get defanged ones), and blame any failure on your ‘faith’ or on someone else’s, but you are stopped literally cold, dead in your tracks by the last two signs in vs. 18: drinking deadly things without harm and healing those who are truly sick, by the laying on of your hands. The simple fact is, you cannot “confirm” the words you preach with “signs” that follow.
In the USA, (September, 2015) we were subjected to a ‘religious blitzkreig’ by the Roman Catholic Jesuit Pope, Francis II, aka Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a former Argentine nightclub bouncer before he became the religious ‘bouncer’. After his RCC indoctrination, he was Argentina’s Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and headed it up during the country’s “National Reorganization Process“, more commonly called “the Dirty War“. This “Dirty War” was an upheaval over control of the sociopolitical situation in Argentina. Forced disappearances, illegal arrests, imprisonments, were common place. He was accused of being involved, but of course, the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed in the superstitious, Roman Catholic controlled country.
Jesuits are taught to be masters of deceit and that ‘the end’ (advancement of the Roman Catholic Church, or ‘RCC’) always justifies ‘the means’ (assassinations, theft, lying, etc., etc.). Their history of political manipulation, social and educational perversion is legend among countries with a dominant RCC population. For prime current examples, a look at the social, economical and government efficiency of Mexico, the Philippines, or scores of Central and South America countries. The RCC controls the morals of those who hold government offices; the ‘fruit’ is obvious. You might as well take at look at leading USA politicians that are devout Roman Catholics such as the now former Speakers of the House (John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi: both devout RCC). The secret meetings of Pope Francis during his recent whirlwind trip to the continent with Fidel Castro in Cuba, as well as with the USA politicians and the now ‘great defender of the faith’ in Kentucky, Kim Davis, were not just for ‘tea and crackers.’ The Pope’s visit illustrates the slithering path of Catholicism that even the whiz kid mathematician, T.S. Spivett, could not record. Put all of this with President Obama’s actions towards a nuclear Iran, add the Vatican Bank’s money laundering into Iran (Frontline PBS program, 2014), the recent “natural” death before trial of the only pedophile bishop charged and ‘house arrested’ by the Vatican, out of thousands of Catholic bishops accused of pedophilia, plus the alleged great changes under el papa from Argentina–you will get a small window into the vast, deceitful mysteries of Roman Catholicism.
Media news outlets such as CNN and Fox slobbered, gushed and sighed for days over this ‘vicarious son of God’, ‘El Papa’ who claims to be God’s only representative of Jesus Christ on earth. In a great display of sympathy that elicited ‘Oooh’s’ and ‘Ahh’s’ from the superstitious, this man crept from his special little golf cart to embrace and lay his hands on a few cripples. The old man has a bad back just like a lot of us. ‘All the Pope’s horses, all the Pope’s men plus the Virgin Mary, candles, genuflecting priests and nuns, haven’t been able to put him together again’. So, guess how many cripples were healed on his trip, and began to leap with joy? How many instances of healing at the hand of the “successor of Peter to the Papal seat of Rome” and “Vicarious Son of God on earth” were like those seen in the book of Acts?
Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Acts 3:7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
Acts 3:8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
Acts 3:9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
Answer: None. One of those poor souls had previously, years before, even had a Pope’s hands laid on her and she remains in the same condition as before, perhaps even worse. The knowledgeable observer to these religious side shows makes a note that Simon Peter said “Silver and gold have I none…” El Papa could not say that! He is the puppet head of the richest religious organization in the world. Gold decked cathedrals and high living, rich bishops cover the third world countries, while the poor souls living around these hypocritical ‘churches’ languish in physical and spiritual poverty, sickness and death.
By taking the Bible and twisting its words, adding rituals instead of righteousness, the Roman Catholic system has done irreparable harm to true Christianity for centuries, all over the world. The common man in cultures that revere or worship its ancestors, pay homage to spirits in the river, rocks, mountains, trees, or the ‘Almighty Dollar’, is easily duped when a teaspoon of truth is mixed with a ton of lies. When a man can pay his way out of judgment, burn candles for divine favor, fall before ‘holy’ places, kiss the chalk toes off a statue of ‘Christ’, see ornate art in gold and silver, and have local ‘priest witch doctors’ with a ‘representative of God Himself’ over them in a land on this earth, plus have the “Mother Mary” figure to pray to in Heaven–he finds it very comfortable to swap a plain rock in the jungle or his dollar bill for some carved marble idol like a Pieta by another Roman slave, Michelangelo. Deep inside conscience, he knows the marble, candles, and robed priests give him no more peace and comfort than his plain rock, jungle witch doctor, Mercedes or dollar does. This religious and whorish system has been instrumental in wars, social unrest, poverty, and more suffering than anything else in modern world history.
The hypocrisy of the RCC in the Philippines, has for centuries fueled the Islamic terrorist opposition to the Roman Catholic controlled government. The young village Filipino, recruited by MILF or any other terrorist organization to oppose government corruption and lies, does not see Christ in any light other than that portrayed by the Roman Catholic Church. Can we blame them so easily? In fact, the majority of reports in the Philippines that claim “Christians were attacked by Muslim terrorists” –should read “Roman Catholics”. In some jungle villages where we started churches, as simple Bible believers and do what the Philippine Catholic system does not do: provide medicines and clinics to the people with no strings or cost, we were and are readily accepted, protected, and welcomed. Sue (my wife) has treated ‘terrorists’ among all the others and we have always been treated with kindness in return.. (We know firsthand; such as foreign aid sent into the PI that was distributed to the poor people by Roman Catholic nuns–with the stipulation that they first attend Mass and ‘donate’ a few pesos into the church pot!)
The same is true in every country where the RCC is dominant. The ‘Christ’ of Catholicism is always hanging on the cross, dead, helpless, and pitiful. Mary (seen as ‘the Mother of God’) is powerful and supposedly gets everything done, if you pay enough. This is why you can see a large full color, four story painting of Mary on the side of an Iloilo City, Philippines building, where in giant letters she claims that she “will save the world”. Her picture and statues fill airports, private businesses and government offices, throughout the land. In Davao City Philippines you can behold her large public statue, trampling the old serpent, the devil, under her feet. It does not bother the RCC in the least bit that, according to the Bible, it is the Lord Jesus Christ that bruises the serpent’s head under His heel and that the Bible states: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (1 Timothy 2:5 ).
I think even the “faith healers” like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and the self “Appointed Son of God” in the Philippines, Apollo Quiboloy with his global television channel, the Sonshine Media Network International, one and all, must have been chomping at the bit to have such free advertising like the Pope had!
By the way, speaking of hypocritical religious leaders, Jesus said: “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9).
The correct answer to “signs” is easy and the dilemma is removed, if we allow the Bible to interpret itself.
“HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill asked Carter on Tuesday whether he believes Jesus would approve of gay marriage, and Carter said he does.
‘I believe Jesus would. I don’t have any verse in scripture. … I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that’s just my own personal belief. I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else,’ he said.”
President Carter’s remarks (June 30, 2015) reported on Huffington Post’s website reflects a growing influence among professing Christians to simply ignore plain scripture on social and moral problems, or have no interest whatsoever in them, just as long as their belly is full, cable sitcoms work and Starbucks is open.
After all, social and moral situations have been around since ‘Heck was a pup’ and no judgments have been wanting. Christians have no right to judge any man’s faith or salvation on a private whim, but Christians do have a responsibility to “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24) and believe what God says above any man’s opinion—including mine. Furthermore, whether a person ‘marries’ a goat, human, or alien is his/her/its business, not mine—just as long as they don’t require me to foot the bill for the reception dinner.
The former President says, “I don’t have any verse in scripture…” Of course he doesn’t! We should ask Jimmy Carter, where and how did he get this omniscient opinion of Jesus’ view on gay marriage? Did Jesus appear privately to him and tell him Deity’s views on gay marriage? From a Chinese fortune cookie? From little blue creatures in flying saucers? Out of a Georgia peanut shell? No. The printing press was obviously abused simply because Jimmy Carter was elected to the office of President once upon a time. A man’s opinion is just a man’s opinion and he has a perfect right to express it, as others have a right to totally repudiate it. Huffington Post evidently thought Carter’s opinion was very critical to our spiritual, mental and moral progress. Throw in practiced political mumbo-jumbo and make sure ‘love’ is thoroughly mixed into it…Voila! An idiotic statement that says nothing, means nothing, changes nothing. A beautiful cloud without water in a dry and thirsty land.
Actually, Huffington Post should receive a dumbo award for making one man’s ‘opinion’ a news item. Too many news agencies habitually report when a dog bites a man and never report when a man bites off a dog’s leg. Now that would be news!
Politicians, preachers and all others, regardless of titles, achievements, or flops have no authority apart from the word of God to say what Jesus would or would not do. All of our knowledge of the Person of Christ comes from the Bible. Without the word of God, mindless Christians shift into endless, silly debates and disputations, all on whether this or that is what Jesus would do (WWJD).
At the same time, we readily admit there are some divine “gray areas” on personal beliefs and practices by a Christian. God doesn’t tell anyone how to lace their shoes or whether they can wear ‘Crocs’ or even if they must wear a white wedding dress. ‘White’ is not seen at a Chinese wedding simply because white in China is the color representing death. Some punctilious Baptists might even wonder after a few years if they had the right colors when “I do” was pronounced. In fact, the word of God allows a great deal of personal liberty on how or where a ‘wedding ceremony’ is to be held. In various cultures there are wide differences in what constitutes a ‘proper marriage’. Some of us that attempt to get the word of God into remote areas are faced with hard decisions. We had established a church where there had never been a church or sustained Bible witness. I ‘officiated’ a multiple wedding ceremony in the remote jungle village where 13 couples were married at once—each man to his ‘favorite’ wife—his other ‘wives’ looked on with disinterest. The village insisted on a ‘Western marriage ceremony”. When I gave the words, “You may kiss your bride” gasps of surprise went up from the crowded church, every face turned a blushing red glow even under the brown skin—they never displayed in public such shameful, blatant immorality! The polygamist culture was forced by the government to have a ceremony in order to establish an official record of who was married to whom. The culture had been polygamist for centuries. Had I demanded the other wives to be cast out, they along with their children would have starved to death in the jungle for there was nowhere else they could go. Perhaps there was a wiser choice, but we wanted to continue our work there, preaching the gospel, and gradually teaching the precepts of the word of God in that devil worshipping culture. Later, when some accepted the gospel and understood that God intended one woman to one man, the polygamy stopped in many of the families. After pastoring in USA churches for over 20 years and knowing what goes on in some ‘marriages’ I know that many certificates on the wall are meaningless paper because some ‘Christian’ scoundrels sit in church on Sunday with their ‘certificate’ wife beside them, while their other wife–or wives—sit on the other side of the church, waiting until their Monday night tryst. I don’t see much difference in one pagan and another.
The Bible covers major doctrines in clear words in many places, so that no question remains on these basic principles, while lessor matters allow personal liberty in life. The Bible differs from all other ‘books of religion’ in this regard. True Christianity allows for great latitude in certain beliefs, different cultures, and also states in no uncertain terms, definite doctrine and practice on critical matters that are beneficial to mankind.
Does this mean I agree that gender is no issue in marriage? By no means! Common horse sense knows that had God created all horses male, there would be no horses beyond that first generation. As one preacher said, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”.
Whether a person chooses to be in a “gay” or “straight” relationship-call it marriage-call it partnership-call it whatever you may-it matters not; if there is no belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. What a person has or does in this short present life means nothing compared to possessing eternal life. 1John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. There are too many well meaning, but ignorant Christians, who spend all their efforts trying to force the Kingdom of God upon an unconverted world. It is also true that since salvation is not based upon our good or bad works, a “gay” “child abuser” “drunkard” “whore” “drug addict” “Bible corrector” “adulterer” “church hopper” “pew warmer” “pornographer” “negligent father” “liberal” “conservative” etc., etc., can also be saved. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Otherwise, would not any sin (by commission or omission of works) eliminate all salvation? There is no such thing as a $5, $50, or $100 sin before God according to Romans 3:23. Before we accuse others of whatever ‘evil’ and ‘wicked’ thing they do, we should take a long, hard look at ourselves. That might make us temper our judgments on others with grace and mercy.
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-26)
It is very easy to point our index finger at others’ sins and forget there are three on the same hand pointing back at us. Paul, God’s selection to be the “apostle and teacher of the Gentiles” was not ashamed to also lay title to “chief of sinners” and make this confession:
Rom. 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Rom. 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
It is an easy matter to preach that a Christian should “live right” but how a Christian does that is not possible when an old man (the flesh) nags, haggles and hangs on until we drop in the ground. How can we judge a ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ and charge them with a ‘$100 sin’ while allowing our own sins to be only a “$1.00 sin”? Where is the man or woman who will deny that a battle against carnality (of whatever kind or kinds) does not also rage within them? If they can be found, their own denial condemns them, for the word of God also says:
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
It would indeed be “a wonderful world” to some if everybody followed the word of God, rightly interpreted, as long as it was what they believed—then there would be no bad marriages, poverty, political crooks, divorces, sexual dysfunctions and thousands of other sins they could catalog. But when God closed the Garden gate on Adam and Eve, they walked out into a sordid, sweaty, grimy, short life, dying world where the death rate for its mortal inhabitants has been one a piece for at least 6,000 years. I would love to be very optimistic about man’s future rise to ‘superman’ by his own bootstraps, but when everything man has put his hand to for over 6000 years had a fatal flaw built into it…Well, it’s hard to think the prospect of human perfection is realistic. A biblical phrase runs through my mind every time a ‘new’ cure for our ills trumpets a bombastic blast of positivity: “vanity of vanities…all is vanity…all is vanity…vanity of vanities.”
God does promise to make it what it should be at some future date. We are also told that until that Day, we may be assured it will get much worse down here “under the sun”. From my little corner of this unfathomable universe it seems the only hope of having earthly joy and real peace, is to know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and learn what future blessings are promised you “above the sun”. Then, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, giving all others “a little slack” while realizing that but for the grace of God I would be without any hope.
Charleston… where alone, loved ones sorrow and weep through the night, hearts broken.
Dylan Roof, 21, sat down in a prayer meeting at the AME Church in Charleston, SC and about an hour later, murdered nine church members. According to all major news sources that is exactly what he came to do. He is quoted as saying, “I want to start a race war.”
Immediately, cries went up for more gun laws; some pleaded for elimination of the Second Amendment; lawyers sharpened pencils; ‘expert’ commentators flooded media…while alone, loved ones sorrowed and wept through the night, hearts broken.
Pundits cried, “Hate crime!” Racism Rages in the South!” “Charge His Parents!” A major news station posed the question, “What can the government do to stop racial hatred?” Opportunists rushed to Charleston, ready to lead marches… while alone, loved ones sorrowed and wept through the night, hearts broken.
A sharply marked contrast between much of the public reaction and the Christian actions of the AME church membership to the heinous crime became a wonder to behold. The leadership and families urged peace and forgiveness. In Christian obedience, this congregation taught a lesson to our nation and world that all the sermons and political talk will never do…while alone, loved ones sorrowed and wept through the night, hearts broken.
Who would dare excuse Roof’s crime? Who can analyze all the reasons for the murderer’s obsession of hatred toward the black race as well as the Jews? We can examine his parent’s divorce when he was young; we can hear of a “pill popping” habit, know he dropped out of high school in the tenth grade, the many hours spent alone in his room publishing his ‘white supremacist’ jargon, and even talk to a few who knew ‘of’ him but didn’t know him. There are no excuses and no justification for him or his warped views of history and mankind.
Some ignorance wants to blame God or justifies their ‘reservations’ toward the ‘colored races’ (in their view, everybody but pure white people) by misinterpreting portions of the Bible. A glaring fact is the man God used to write more books in the Bible than anyone, and gave the revelation of God’s program for this present age of Grace (Paul), makes no distinction between black, yellow, white, or mixed skin color, or race. All of us are simply people, and all races and color have no difference in God’s sight… while alone, loved ones sorrow and weep through the night, hearts broken.
“God so loved the world…”(John 3:16) Should not we? Who are we to mistreat those Christ died to save? Every person, regardless of color or race who trusts Christ, is in the ONE body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). Who are to put them in an inferior place, separate them, or deny them any privilege others enjoy?
Men may well judge Roof’s upbringing, his home life and school. There were most likely drugs available that should not have been. Someone perhaps should have alerted the proper authorities to his bizarre actions and racist rants. That might have averted one tragedy. But even if Roof was stopped, there are scores who take his place. America gave a token nod to God and “justice to all” in the beginning and has now thrown out all His words from education and society as a whole. We have most deliberately and coldly replaced the love of God with a Darwinian “the strongest shall survive” philosophy and expect it to bring respect and honor between men.
No matter what laws are passed or what the government attempts–there will be no end. Legislation, revision of history or removal of symbols will not stop racism, social ills, and abuse. Pride: religious, social or political is the condemnation of the devil, is at the very core of prejudice and hatred, and eventually leads to the destruction of men and nations… while alone, loved ones will continue to sorrow and weep through the night, hearts broken.
Man has no cure for his ills. Hearts will continue to be broken and brave, courageous souls will ever rise against hatred and indifference to staunch bleeding societal abuse, and rightly so. But one day God Himself will wipe all tears from their eyes and answer the long awaited prayer: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
Recently, a snake handler (a “Reverend” of Kentucky) like many others before him, bit the dust after a snake bit him. Finding the verse in the Bible that mentions several Kingdom signs, including “taking up serpents” without any harm, these preachers walk by fate instead of faith and fail the test of believing the word of God–rightly divided. While they kill themselves, they also give many people cause to ridicule the Bible and Christ.
Let’s be clear: the Bible covers different ages and each of these ages or economies (dispensations) have significant differences as to what God wants done. God never changes in His attributes: Holiness, Righteousness, Justice; God is the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) but He does change His dealings with men.
In Leviticus Israel was told, under the Law, to offer animal sacrifices for forgiveness of sins. In this present age of Grace any man who trusts an animal sacrifice for forgiveness of sins is ignorant of the Bible and what God says to him today. Christ offered Himself on the cross once for all and for the sins of all over 2,000 years ago and set aside all animal sacrifices. Any man who follows Leviticus today and ignores what Romans 5 says about sin will have no forgiveness.
The Bible gives the rule for understanding and obedience to God: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15). We are not to add to the word of God nor are we to subtract its words. We are not to DO EVERYTHING the Bible says; We are to “rightly divide” the Bible and compare the things that differ. Everything in the Bible is NOT TO US but all of it is FOR OUR LEARNING.
Noah built an ark to escape judgment by water on earth; the next judgment on earth is by fire. A Noah’s ark of gopher wood will not save men in the coming judgment by fire. The command to keep the Sabbath Day (7th day of the week under the Law) by not working or even building a fire to cook food was given to the nation of Israel; men who are woefully ignorant of God’s word claim to keep it today, while ignoring what Israel was told not to do on that day–they even miss the whole Sabbath observance which includes the Land Sabbath every seventh year and the Sabbath of Sabbaths every seven times seven years!
God tells us today to let no man judge you in respect of sabbath days (Colossians 2:16). Any man who believes that keeping a sabbath is essential to pleasing God, does not know what time it is! The list goes on and on revealing a gross ignorance and misunderstanding by millions of what the word of God actually says to us today.
To find a verse in the Bible, regardless of to whom it is spoken, and then make it your denominational law, is a sure way to make a fool of yourself, give rise to mockery of the word of God, and put many souls in confusion to their eternal peril.
God promises the nation of Israel a future Kingdom of peace on earth. In this Kingdom on earth there will be no dangers from wild beasts, poisoned foods, tainted medicines, cancer and even false prophets and ignorant preachers. There will be no wars and no weapons of war. In short, God will do by His power what the United Nations has most ineffectively tried to do for decades. The Kingdom will be a Theocracy; Jesus Christ will rule the whole earth as King of Kings from His throne in the city of Jerusalem.
The gross errors of religion and its useless power during this present age is a result of men ripping Bible verses out of context and trying to be what they are not and trying to do what they can not do and should not do.
Certainly there needs to be some control over violent games and guns that are available to irresponsible people but legislation is not the real answer and never will be. “More legislation” has always been the safe political way to skirt the re7al problem and soothe the simpletons. Another law is but a bandaid on a dying, festered, gangrenous limb.
Many will say we kicked prayer and the Bible out of schools; perhaps that is part of the problem.
Others could point to the four major arms companies in Connecticut that provide tax money to the State, salaries to residents, guns and ammunition for assault type arms, and say “the chickens have come home to roost.”
Yet another could insist that armed guards be at every door and window of every church, school, theater and shopping mall as though more guards would do it.
Some would argue the few cases of home violations where the intruder was shot to justify everybody having a gun; those instances are few and not many have the grit or rationale to handle a gun in those cases. Most are crying for more “laws” when we can not read, understand or keep those we have.
What if a drunken school bus driver overturns a bus and 30 children die as the result?
Would there be a cry from all to ban alcohol? Of course not. The event has not happened–all dead at once—but it happens when drunken drivers kill them one by one or a few at a time, in cars, trucks, and buses in small numbers. The coverage on one at a time deaths is local and the grief is local but hearts are broken and children are dead just the same.
Hundreds of child fatalities each year are alcohol related yet there is no call for alcohol to be banned; the major reason? Could it be ABC tax revenue that provides jobs for bureaucrats? No doubt one reason, as prohibition proved, laws simply will not keep alcohol from those who want it. Likewise, a law will not keep a gun out of a killer’s hand, deranged or sane.
Careless, uneducated drivers and speed also are involved in highway deaths; should we insist that only professional drivers drive, and manufacture cars that are capable of a maximum of 40 miles per hour?
Prescription and OTC drugs also cripple and kill children by the hundreds, are we to ban those also?
The real cause will never be removed by present laws or more legislation. The children and adults are murdered by criminals or carelessness, a lack of character, mis-guided judgment, and no common sense. Those qualities or the lack of them, will never be instilled or removed by law.
The decision to make available a weapon such as a gun to an immature or mentally disturbed child or adult, teach him how to use it, allow him (or her) exposure to the violent entertainment in our society, can not be legislated away.
A better use of time and money, (as pertaining to the recent events) instead of more gun laws, would be to provide sincere, meaningful and comprehensive help to the many who struggle with caring for those with mental problems. Instead of pouring millions of dollars into the hands of foreign fanatics and extremists to produce more of the same, we should direct those funds to improve our own health problems.
The larger picture is that, as a nation, we wring our hands and claim to desire a social consciousness that cares for others and puts self last. Without a righteous standard higher than ourselves along with a desire to achieve it, we will not have it. A nation’s character rises no higher than that of its citizens.
History has proven that only a nation led by a tempered, non-fanatical, selfless, believing view of the Bible can do that. Even with our halting and stammering and half-heartedness toward the Bible, we have been blessed. A remnant of that higher moral fiber continues yet to influence our society. Let the critic produce a higher example elsewhere. To whom shall we go? Where shall we look for such better national example outside our borders? There are none, nor has there ever been one. All of the other nations’ fame and glory lie in the filthy trampled dust of history, gone forever. And, it appears many among us are determined to follow.
What we need is more of God and less of self, we need more conscientious Bible practice and less kooky preachers of man’s guesswork, we need more prayer and less talk, we need more guts to protect our liberties at home and freedom from tyrants abroad.
The United States of America yet stands as the light of real promise among all other nations but our light is getting dimmer with each succeeding generation. Men are ripping the threads from the fabric of our banner of right, truth, and morality away; and unless we change the course we are on, that flag will no longer fly over the land of the free and home of the brave or anywhere else.
Here is the law set above all men and their feeble institutions and it does not say the time it applies is only after death. In many places today and at certain times, it appears as “hell on earth” is not just a figure used in literature (as is seen in Revelation 4-18). When your loved ones have been killed by maniacs, all around you is burning and no hope is in sight, it is an appropriate description of your nation.
The USA is not excluded:
“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”
The question asked:
“The one time in the Bible that Jesus was angry is with the money changers selling goods in the temple. My queston is what is the difference in preachers selling CDs and such in the foyer of the church. Please reply”
Thank you for your question. There is no doubt that, like you, many others have wondered about this practice.
My personal feeling is that some of this may indeed overstep the bounds of propriety and the liberty under grace has been at times abused. However much we agree or disagree with the practice, the rule must always be “What saith the scripture?”
I do not read in the Bible that Jesus was “angry” in the Temple although it is evident He was highly displeased. The one time in the Bible where Jesus is said to have been angry is:
“1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. (Mark 3:1-5 KJB)
The only reason I mention this is because every WORD of the Bible is pure and must be carefully read. The subject of Jesus’ anger in the Bible is another study altogether and those verses above are important to it. And, it is very important to note Jesus’ reactions to things and various people. Those He is angry with above are RELIGIOUS LEADERS who deliberately rejected the word of God and had hardened their hearts toward God. The Temple people were ordinary people “trying to make a dime”. You might say, “Well how can a person drive out people from the Temple with a scourge and overthrow tables without being angry?” Jesus could. Good parents correct and even switch their children without anger but in love.
The Temple account says:
“13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;
16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” (John 2:13-16 KJB)
(notice that it was POSSIBLE that Jesus used the scourge “of small cords” to primarily drive the animals out–how else could oxen be driven? And, He was kinder to “them that sold doves” since they were helping the poor people with their sacrifice. Mark 11:17 below says “And He taught” indicating that He saw the ability of these common men to learn by the rebuke of their practice. He did not try to teach those RELIGIOUS LEADERS who had already rejected God. I say “possible”–NOT “probably”)
“15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Mark 11:15-17 KJB)
“45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,
48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.” (Luke 19:45-48 KJB)
Reading the text carefully and comparing His actions toward common people in the Temple passages, might even change our opinions of the artists who typically make the Lord look very angry, picturing almost a battle in the Temple! Art pictures sometime add things that are not in the Bible and do not correctly interpret scenes. One glaring example is the long haired, feminine Christ that is usually portrayed in art.
In order to adequately cover the question, I think we need to get some background. The Temple was in the city of Jerusalem and the needed sacrifices were not available to the worshippers coming from not only the city but also others from various towns and parts of Judea.
The Passover is the greatest of all holy feasts for the Jew. It began the Jewish years in which there were all kinds of holy feasts, sabbaths and holy days. In Exodus 12:11 the scripture said it was “the LORD’S passover.” We can see that many centuries after, the Bible calls this feast “the passover of the Jews”: that description is significant. First given, the Passover belonged to the “LORD.” After centuries of apostasy it is the “Jews'” passover and all kinds of practice was inserted after the traditions of man. The practice developed to meet the needs of these people who did not have a “farm” or those who traveled long distances to get to the Jerusalem Temple and could not bring animals such distances. The “money changers” were there to convert the different currencies needed to purchase the sacrifices. All of this combined to make the business of selling the animals a very profitable business. No doubt the money changers were also thriving—by charging a fee to exchange the money.
There were no provisions under the Law to allow these practices in the Temple, even if they were honest. Had the buying and selling been conducted outside the Temple, Jesus would not have bothered them. But the Temple was “holy” and these practices were not sanctioned under the Law. In addition, these men were thieves (Mark 11:15-17). Therefore, Jesus drove them out. It is significant that, even though the Temple worship had been corrupted, along with the feast days, Jesus did not allow that to stop the proper worship of the LORD, under the Law of Moses. It was not apostasy as such that set aside the Law, it was the death of Christ on the cross and His fulfillment of the Law that instituted this present Age of Grace. Our “passover” in this Age of Grace has already been accomplished: Christ alone. (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Are we to demand the church building and practice in its use in this Age of Grace be what the Temple was under the Law? Everything depends on whether or not the church building is as much the “holy place” as the Temple was under the Law of Moses (Jesus earthly ministry was under the Law) and whether we are still under the Law of Moses or now under Grace.
Under the Law the Tabernacle and the Temple were “holy places” with “holy things” and “holy activities” even though they were “made with hands” of men. God gave specific instruction regarding all the activities and articles and who could be in certain areas. The articles and instruments were all for the worship of God. In fact, the very center was “the holy of holies” and only the high priest could enter it but once a year on the Day of Atonement–and when he entered, he had to bring blood and sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat.
By the work of Christ on the cross we are no longer under the Law; we are “dead to the law” (Romans7) and no longer under bondage to sacrifices, holy furniture, holy days, or holy buildings. These things were all shadows and types of the True. We are to no longer live in the shadows but in the Light. (Hebrews 8:5; Colossians 2:17) The “temple of the Holy Ghost” is the body of the believer–the “temple” is no longer a building..
“19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
In other words, every day and every activity in every place is to be treated by the believer in Christ as the same. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Sunday is no different from Tuesday and 11AM is not holier than 7PM. There are no holy days under grace. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:” (Colossians 2:16)
In this present Age of Grace there are no holy places made by the hands of men and God is not worshipped by priests entering in a “holy place” to make sacrifices and offerings.
“24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; (Acts 17:24-25).”
A “church building” is nowhere commanded to be built or used to worship God in this present Age of Grace. The early churches (groups of saved people) were small groups and met in their houses. (Philemon 3). A church building is a matter of convenience for large groups of people to meet–it is sensible to not want 200 people in your house.
As a matter of personal preference I might sell my CD’s at some other place than the church foyer but the word of God will not allow me to put my brother under the Law and demand that he not do it because the foyer is a “holy place” just like the Temple was in Jerusalem. In that case, we would have to insist on observance of the Feast of Passover, Pentecost, Day of Atonement, Sabbath observance of the seventh day (Saturday), circumcise all the males, never plant tomatoes with beans in the garden, and refuse to eat barbecued pork, fried catfish, etc.
To lay attention on the building because it is a “holy place” is wrong. To treat the place where you meet (even a “brush arbor” or a rented hall or a million dollar complex) as a group to worship God as you would a ball park or Walmart is also wrong. These things should be decided by the “big picture” on Law and Grace in the Bible and common sense in practice.
Is it “wrong” to sell things in the meeting house? It might not be the most practical and it might not be the best choice, but to condemn the practice as unscriptural, the answer is, “No.”