Thursday, September 26, 2013

Is The Catholic Church Sliding Into Last Days Apostasy?

Over the past few weeks, news agencies have reported that the Pope has capitulated on several issues such as homosexuality, abortion and contraception. Pope Francis recently stated in an interview, "The church has grown obsessed with abortion, gay marriage and contraception," adding that, "I have chosen not to talk about those issues." His rationale for not dealing with these critical spiritual issues the Bible clearly calls sin is that he wants the church to be more inclusive, a true sign of the last days.

The Pope’s remarks were taken from a 12,000 word interview with the Jesuit periodical, Civilta Cattolica, (Catholic Civilization) the most prominent statement reaching news agencies is his declaration that the church needs to shake off its obsession with abortion and homosexuality.

With that remark, the Pope has done two things. First, he has pleased the liberal factions of the Catholic Church and he has sickened and worried the conservative members of the church.

With the exception of Evangelist Bill Keller, most protestant news outlets remain free of op-eds or theological treatment of the Pope’s interview, at the moment.

I have believed for many years that many, if not most of traditional or patristic teachings of Catholicism are either in direct conflict with the bible or do not exist in the scriptures at all. These theological discrepancies has been addressed repeatedly for centuries and there would be little room to cover them all in one short article.

Those who stand on scripture can’t ever recognize the authority of the Pope –for two reasons.

First, Because of the Greek rendering of Matthew 16: 18, “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Protestants believe that Christ was referring to himself as the Rock, not Peter. This is supported by other scriptural passages, to wit:

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (Mt 16: 18b)

Secondly, not one word in the bible speaks of ‘apostolic succession.’ It is a concoction of the Roman church, not a biblical teaching. It is very difficult even to support the teaching in view of the fact that there was no Catholic church for over 300 years after Christ came into the world. Most Catholics are totally unaware of this fact. They have been told they are the ‘first church,’ but true history betrays them.

Simply because these facts cannot keep the childlike faith of any Catholic from reaching the Savior does not justify or verify the truth of Catholicism’s origins. It is simply a matter of Catholics being saved or redeemed not because of their religion – but in spite of it!

How can you deal with the discrepancies between the Papacy and the Bible? Gentle, but firm, is the only way to approach addressing the errors of Catholicism, but at the same time knowing that millions of Catholics are of the family of faith simply because Jesus said “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (Jn 6: 37)

It has to be more than an item of curiosity or some minor theological difference. Rather, it is a dire sense of urgency and concern, especially in the last days, that causes anyone who knows scripture to make fair warning.

You may be asking, what warning you ask?

Any religion, Catholic or other, that derives its ultimate authority from a man is subject to heresy, apostasy and error depending on the personality, the current state of mind or the evolvement of personal ideologies in that man.

Faith based solely on the scriptures, the written accounts of Christ’s teaching and his Apostles and biblical prophets cannot be altered, changed or disputed until the very last day of time. God intended this; it is his way of grounding us on a rock instead of the sinking sands of a changing and unstable world, to wit: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Mt 7: 24, 25)

Christ relegated his authority to his Apostles and their teachings too are on the same level as his. They were not mere scribes or interpreters of his will they were Holy Spirit inspired and authorized to speak as final authorities.

“He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.” (Lk 10: 16)

Finally, since we will not be judged by what other men say – why would we waste time or risk being found in total error. Why not go to the source of truth and take Christ’s warning seriously?

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (Jn 12: 48)

So what did the Apostles really say about abortion, homosexuality and issues of the day?

The prophetic part of the bible contradicts the Pope’s assertion that believers are obsessed with homosexuality and abortion. In fact it warns that in the last days it is possession (demonic) that will fuel the slide into apostasy the world over.

Political correctness, floundering Pontiff’s and general acceptance of everything the bible condemns, is proof immutable that the New World Order, apostasy and the emergence of the Antichrist are well on track for the very near future.

And, many believers are being told by those in the pulpits of America not to speak about it.

Not only is homosexuality referred to as an abomination, to be noted, rebuked and refused as part of the church, but immoral behaviors were cause for people to be put out of the church and not allowed back in until they had fully repented. See 1 Corinthians 5: 1-7 Should the perversion of same sex acts and marriage be an exception?

The idea of the Pope suggesting that we are over-talking the subject of abortions reaches to the heights of apostasy. The only voices the over two hundred million aborted babies worldwide have - is ours. Telling us to be silent is the moral equivalent of blasphemy.

After the Sandy Hook massacre of innocent children the liberals went after guns with a vengeance. Doesn’t it seem hypocritical that after 60,000,000 abortions in the U.S. and 160,000,000 abortions worldwide that telling us to pipe down is the only thing the Pope can think of to say? We will never be silent, or to borrow a phrase, you can pry my anti-abortion argument from my cold dead lips, but no other way.

There is a folly of following the fallen. Has the Pope, with his remarks, taken his first steps into the last day’s (apostasy) falling away? If it is, than I believe I can say it is also the end of everything as we have known it. As Scripture says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2 Th 2: 3)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Is the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog battle imminent?

Here is the story:

In Ezekiel 38 and 39 a battle occurs. It is the most lengthy and detailed prophetic battle in the entire bible, even more than Armageddon. This future battle is a coalition which has never formed before in quite the configuration described. For this reason, bible scholars believe the battle to be yet future. I use the term battle and not war deliberately, because this seems to be a very short military foray. As a matter of fact, hardly any weapons are loosed, it is over so quick. It is a battle, and God wins it decisively.
In addition, the battle is not between nations. It is between this coalition of nations and God Himself. The coalition of nations doesn't know it, because they think they are marching against Israel. But it is God who intervenes and protects Israel by smiting the advancing army.

He does this in demonstrable and vivid ways. He wins the battle for Israel so clearly that the nations know it is God who is doing the fighting. More on those details below.

The coalition which is prophesied to come against Israel includes Iran, Turkey, Russia, Armenia, Libya, Ethiopia, Sudan (i.e. northern tier of North Africa). Also Sheba and Dedan (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen? most likely). The merchants of Tarshish (no one quite knows who those people are) and all its leaders stand by. They don't participate in the evil coalition, but they don't help Israel either. They are interested sidelines quarterbacks. (Ezekiel 38:13).

The LORD said that He will plan this and execute it. He said in Ezekiel 38:4- "And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords".

He will do this to show the world that HE IS ISRAEL'S PROTECTOR! And to bring himself glory!!

"And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward. And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them." (Ezekiel 39:22-24)

He shows His protection of Israel and His glory by doing things that only God does:

"In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord." (Ezekiel 38:19-22)

All the people on the face of the earth tremble at His presence??!?! Even the birds?! He rains brimstone down! Turns over mountains! He sends plague! Some estimate the number of dead invaders at three quarters of a million up to a billion dead. All the earth will know God is on the scene. It will be a momentous day. His wrath is a fearful thing.

Remember when the Japan 9.0 quake happened in March 2011? It was a powerful enough quake that it jolted the earth off its axis 8 feet. The quake in Ezekiel's Gog-Magog battle will be ten times worse. A hundred times worse. I can't quantify it because my brain can't comprehend all the mountains on earth turning over and every cliff and every wall falling down.

I am so thrilled when the LORD receives Glory and He magnifies Himself. He has been doing that in the Church Age the last 2000 years by redeeming lost sinners, cleansing them with His Son's blood. In the future Gog-Magog battle Ezekiel describes, He will give Himself glory by demonstrating both His raw power and His seriousness about keeping His covenant promise with Israel.

When does this Gog-Magog battle happen? No one is sure where it falls on the schedule of prophesied events, and there are a lot of opinions on this topic. The only collective thought is that it happens at or after the tribulation. All the stances have some biblical credibility, but some stances are weaker than others and some are stronger. Personally, I used to think it will happen at or just after the rapture. But in reading the verse about every mountain falling down, I am not so sure. In Revelation 6:14 we read that:

"The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place."

So the Ezekiel earthquake removes every mountain by overturning them but then the Revelation earthquake crumbles them ... again?

If the Ezekiel battle happens at the outset of the Tribulation, then the verse where God says in Ezekiel 39:7 that "I will not let my Holy name be profaned any more" would not be true, since His holy name is continually profaned throughout the Tribulation. The antichrist is especially blasphemous. The verse mentions blasphemy three times in succession:

"And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling,a that is, those who dwell in heaven." (Revelation 13:5-6).

Many have said that since the Ezekiel battle mentions in chapter 39 a special crew of buriers burying the dead over the course of 7 months, marking bones with a flag to identify another part of another body from the army God vanquished. And the people of Israel shall use the weapons for fuel for 7 years, so people believe the 7 years means the battle occurs at the outset of the Tribulation and Israel burns fuel for the duration of it, which is 7 years. However, there is no reason the 7 years could not refer to a battle toward the end of the Tribulation, and the fuel burning overlapping into the Millennium. Or it could occur at the end of the Millennium, a more likely prospect since during that 1000 years God's name is not profaned, AND Israel is dwelling peacefully and securely without walls (Ezekiel 38:11, Ezekiel 39:25).

In other words, the timing of this prophesied battle cannot be clearly and dogmatically stated.

In any case, it seems that the world stage is active and lively right now with prophetic implications of these battles to come. We see a potential Gog in Putin, and Russia rising. We see an isolated Israel, bemoaning they only have God and their military to rely on. God is stripping Israel of all, and when Israel finally says, 'we have ONLY God', He will bring them back to His bosom.

Since the chapters of Ezekiel 38-39 show the LORD bringing His people back into personal dealing again, the Gog-Magog battle cannot occur while the church is on earth. Since His program for the church and the nation Israel are separate, it seems the church will be gone when He resumes dealing with the nation of Jews.

During this Church Age, God is dealing with people via His Spirit and through Resurrected Jesus who is in heaven. It is an age of grace, not of wrath. During the Tribulation He parts the veil and personally intervenes on earth again- in wrath and not in grace.

[Elizabeth Prata]

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Congress is full of crooks because our pulpits are full of cowards.

I ran across an article from Western Center on Journalism, and the title caught my interest.

Gordan Runyan posted the article entitled "Congress is full of crooks because our pulpits are full of cowards." While visiting Montana, he ran across a church sign that said this.

He was able to visit with the elders of that church, and they explained that this particular message had not been terribly well-received by the pastors of the other, local churches. A few of these pastors were worried that the sign had been made with them in mind, specifically.

What's the old saying, "well if the shoe fits, buddy".

There is a theory that American Christians have been taught since the middle of the 19th Century, and, with the rise of Dispensationalism, that the church founded by the Lord Jesus can count on increasing defeat around the world in time and history, and this expectation of the progressive worsening of all things has caused many people to withdraw from "secular" pursuits like political involvement.

The thinking continues to be that things are so bad, the return of Jesus and the Rapture of the church must be just around the corner. Now, I do believe that the Rapture is soon, I'm not going to try and set a date, though.

Others will say that politics is dirty, dirty business. Thus, we're told that good, clean Christians ought to stay out of it.

I don't believe that this adea is the result of the teaching of Dispensationalism.

But, could it be that the reason it's dirty business, and full of every kind of corruption, is because those who are meant to be salt and light in the world have voluntarily left the field?

The Christian landscape in America is "fair teeming" with egoistic entrepreneurs masquerading as ministers, building their own kingdoms on the backs of well-meaning dupes who continue to stuff their coffers for them. And since one key to business success is to appeal to the widest possible marketplace, these posturing prosperity poofters shy away from speaking about anything that might sniff of controversy. If they start talking about the strange brew of Islamo-facism and race-baiting communism that animates our President, that may not be good for business: they may wind up preaching in the same sort of tiny congregation I serve.

That would be sad since the pastor's salary at that kind of place will not pay to feed and house an average family, much less purchase a fleet of luxury jets. (I'm okay with working bi-vocational, and serving a church) What I see in most cases is that most of these soul-patch and skinny jeans preacher boys have never worked a full day in their lives. And no, eight hours on the couch with Call of Duty does not count as work.

What kind of pastor do you have?
  • Is he all about the rock band worship team, Power Point, sandals, and patchouli? 
  • Does he give sermons based on movies and TV shows? 
  • When was the last time he explained to you where individuals get the right to private property, from the Bible? Has he ever even mentioned the fact that every civil ruler is accountable to God for how they use their authority? 
  • When did he last mention abortion in a sermon, or the evil of unlawful war? 
  • Gun control? 
  • NDAA's warrantless indefinite detention provision? 
  • The Welfare state? 
  • The Presidential Kill List? 
  • Fiat money? 
  • Is your pastor a thundering heir of the stout-hearted Black Robed Regiment, or a guy who fears nothing more than that he might come off sounding as he has an immovable opinion on something? 
  • Is he focused on you having your best life now? 
  • Have his messages tended to communicate the idea that the Gospel has no real effect on anything that is actually going on in the world? 
Many so called Christians, who set in the pews and sing I shall not be moved, or have been baptized so many time the bull-frogs know their serial number, because of the thin soup they are regularly fed, would be surprised to find that the Bible really does contain clear principles that would address and fix all the things listed above.

They desperately need to find a different church, one where the pastor understands that and has been filled with the spirit of the prophets to forcefully declare such things.

Please pass along this hint to them: the church they're looking for will probably be small because spiritual truth has never been terribly popular with the world.