Spiritual Warfare: Image Manipulation and the Media

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Replacing God’s Image with Satan’s Counterfeit

To try and put into perspective just where we are in our current series of exercises in Spiritual Warfare, let’s take a moment to recap what we accomplished during our last three workout sessions.  In…

  • Getting the Lay of the Landwe began creating a spiritual map of Satan’s kingdom, with a survey of its Celestial, Terrestrial, and Subterranean Divisions—that is, the vertical dimensions of its territory;
  • Surveying the Earth’s Political and Financial Landscapes—we turned our attention from the kingdom’s vertical dimensions to mapping out its horizontal ones, with an exploration of the Physical Structures used in keeping the residents of planet Earth in material servitude; and,
  • Evolution and Educationwe looked at some of the ways the Educational System has been used to supplant the long-held Biblical Worldview with the godless Secular One needed for the brainwashing of generations of unsuspecting teachers, students, and parents.

Since our last session was the first of two dealing with the Structures making up Satan’s Cultural Landscape, this session, as the second of the two, will deal with the Structure of Media; for, it is through this Structure that our Emotions are bombarded relentlessly in a devilish crusade to alter the way we feel about ourselves, our relationships, and the things that we value in life.  Remember, Satan’s goal in all of this is to get us to think, feel, and act in accordance with his purposes which, as we should know by now, are in direct opposition to those of God. 

Here is what we have learned about His purposes over the course of these exercises…

  • God’s purpose in creating Man was to provide Himself with a Family to love, both now and throughout eternity.
  • Before Man could qualify as a member of God’s Family, though, he first had to be like his Father in every important respect. Therefore, when God created Man, He made him in His Image and Likeness, to be a visible reflection of Him and His Character in the World, as well as the Steward or Executor of His Will upon the earth.
  • Because God is Spirit, He created Man as a Spirit Being which He then placed in the two houses He called Male and Female.  As Spirit, Man could relate to God and, in the physical houses of Male and Female, he could (re)produce the Family that God has always desired to have.
  • Because he was created first, the Man was placed in the Position of Head over God’s Creation; with the Woman being created later, to be his Companion and Helper in carrying out the Work of God in the world.
  • This arrangement, however, did not mean that the Male was superior to the Female–it was simply to provide a system of order and accountability for God’s Kingdom Work on the Earth.  For, from the beginning of their history together, Man and Woman were both…

Equal in their standing before God;
Equal in their call to the work of God; and,
Equal in their blessing by God.

  • In his Position as Head, the Man was to be an Image in the world of the Headship of God the Father; the Woman was to be an Image of the complementary Nature and Work of the Holy Spirit; while the Children produced from their union were to be living testimonies of their Love, as well as Images of the Obedience and Love of Jesus Christ to and for God His Father.
  • God’s purpose for the Human Family, then, was for it be an Image in the natural of the Family God was creating for Himself in the supernatural—a Spiritual Family that He wanted every human being to be a part of.
  • When it came to their relationship to the physical world around them, as the Sons and Daughters of God, Man and Woman were to exercise Dominion over their Father’s Creation, Imaging the Righteous Rule of God while administering His Holy Will on the Earth, just as it is already being done in heaven.

To summarize, then, God’s Purposes for Man (as male and female) was for him to provide the World with an…

Image in the flesh of the Triune God;
Image in the flesh of God’s Spiritual Family; and,
Image in the flesh of God’s Kingdom Rule.

We Were All Created to Reflect the Image of God to the World

Getting Rid of One Image…

It should be obvious to us by now that God’s Purposes for Man have everything to do with Image; and, that in every aspect of his being—in his Spirit, Soul, and Body— Man has been imprinted with the likeness of his Creator.  Just as earthly kings and emperors have, throughout most of human history, placed their images on the coins and stamps that were circulated throughout their domains, the Sovereign King of the Universe placed His Image on every human being who has ever lived, so that as they circulated throughout His Earthly Domain…

 …the earth [would] be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).

In light of this, it should come as no surprise that the destruction of the Image of God in Man—and the replacement of it with his own perverted one—has been Satan’s primary objective from the beginning of time.  Since Man’s Maintenance of the Image of God required that he maintain…

Righteousness in his Relationship with God;
Love in his Relationships with Others; and,
Authority in his Relationship to the Earth…

…Satan’s strategy for the destruction of that Image required that he find a way to…

Sever Man’s Relationship with God through Disobedience;
Replace Godly Love with Lust in Man’s Relationships; and,
Usurp Man’s Authority over the Earth.

This he accomplished in one fell swoop with his successful temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden—the consequences of which were…

  1. With Man’s disobedience came death—an immediate spiritual death or separation from God, to be followed later by physical death. This spiritual death brought with it an end to Man’s communication with God; depriving him of his ability to receive instruction from the Spirit of God on what he was to do and how he was to live, and leaving him at the mercies of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil; 
  2. Lust entered the world and into human relationships when Eve acted on her craving to have that which was forbidden; and, with this action, the drive to satisfy one’s own selfish desires became more important than doing what it right; and,
  3. When it came to Man’s Authority over the Earth, this priceless gift was forfeited by Adam when he, by succumbing to the Influence Power of his wife, abdicated his Headship and gave up the Position Power that went along with it. Consequently, Man’s Authority was given over to Satan, and God’s Order for Creation was overturned, all because…

A member of the Animal Kingdom had usurped the authority of the Woman;
The Woman had used her Powers of Persuasion to usurp the authority of the Man; and,
The Man had rejected the authority of God and His Word and given up his position of Headship in the process.

…And Replacing It with Another 

Knowing now that God’s Purposes for Man have always been about his projection of a Godly Image in and throughout the World; and, given that Satan, as the master counterfeiter, has a Corrupted Image of his own that he wants Man to bear, how can we know what this Counterfeit Image looks like?  Well, all we have to do is invert God’s Image for Man to reveal the one determined for him by Satan…

The Truth vs. the Lie

As for how to go about replacing the Godly Image with his counterfeit one, Satan has that all worked out; for, even now, he is in the process of…

  • Eliminating human sexual distinctions and making society Gender-Neutral;
  • Tearing down traditional Authority structures and reducing everyone (except those who are pulling the strings behind the scenes) to the same base level for the purposes of corporate servitude;
  • Destroying the nuclear Family and replacing it with a Universal Brotherhood of Man, where everyone and everything is tolerated—with the exception of those holding to Biblical values; and,
  • Demoting Man from his divinely-ordained status of Lord over Creation to that of a mere animal within the Creation (as we discovered in our previous session, this is something that has been achieved through the teaching of Evolution).

To anyone else, such undertaking would certainly have been written off as an impossible mission long ago, however, the Prince of the Power of the Air remains completely undaunted at the prospect of its achievement.  That’s because, he has found a way to use the airwaves over which he rules as a weapon—the powerful weapon known to us as the Media.

Media—The What, the Why, and the Who 

To be sure that we have the same understanding of the term and the strategic part it plays in Satan’s offensive, we now need to identify…

What Media is;
Why it is Satan’s weapon of choice; and,
Who is manipulating the messages it conveys.

  1. The What

For our purposes, Media is defined as…

  • a plural of medium;
  • (usually used with a plural verb) the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, that reach or influence people widely.

As for its usage…

Media, like data, is the plural form of a word borrowed directly from Latin.  The singular, medium, early developed the meaning an intervening agency, means, or instrument’ and was first applied to newspapers two centuries ago.  In the 1920s media began to appear as a singular collective noun, sometimes with the plural medias.  This singular use is now common in the fields of mass communication and advertising, but it is not frequently found outside them…[1]

We can understand Media, then, to represent the collective agencies, means, or instruments that a sender uses to communicate a particular message to a specific receiver or group of receivers; with Communication itself being defined as…

…a process involving the sorting, selecting and sharing of symbols in such a way as to help a receiver elicit from his or her own mind a meaning similar to that contained in the mind of the communicator; and…

Mass Communication being defined as…

…a process whereby professional communicators use technological devices to share messages over some distance to influence large audiences.[2]

Since it is this Mass Communication aspect of Media that Satan has commandeered for his own evil purposes, it is essential that we learn why he has chosen it as his weapon of choice.

  1. The Why

There are at least three reasons to account for Media’s effectiveness when used as a weapon…

It’s Pervasive;
It’s Powerful; and,
It’s Personal.

It’s Pervasive

Gone Are the Days!

Throughout much of human history, if someone wanted to convey his thoughts or feelings to someone else, he had to do so in person—within shouting range of that person, at least.  Apart from the use of drum beats, smoke signals, homing pigeons, letters, or the use of runners or relays similar to the pony express, there was just no way for people to communicate with other people—especially large numbers of them—over long distances.[3]  However, this began to change after the German inventor, Johannes Gutenberg (1398-1468) invented the process of movable type…

Prior to that time, most books were handwritten and very time-consuming to produce.  Because of this, reading material was scarce and limited to those in the elite culture—the clergy and nobility…Gutenberg’s invention increased the number of books and made them available for a new emerging middle class.

The development of printing, which led to the spread of literacy for the middle classes, plus the development of trade and commerce caused major cultural changes. [4]

One of these major changes was the Protestant Reformation (c. 1517-1648)…

The Reformation, led by a German monk, Martin Luther, was the first mass movement made possible by mass communication.  Print was used to mobilize people of all social classes…

Luther and his followers used mass-produced pamphlets to distribute the new religious thoughts to the masses.  They communicated with the illiterate through pictorial prints, much like present day editorial cartoons, which carried propaganda messages against the Catholic Church and the pope.

After mass communication developed, more and more people learned to read and write, especially among the middle classes.[5]

As literacy increased and more information became available to the masses, more and better ways to disseminate it became necessary.  This need was eventually met through the development, over time, of books and novels, newspapers, letter-writing and new or improved postal services, the telephone, telegraph, phonograph, photography, radio, films, television, and the internet—and the communications web which is currently encircling the globe.  In fact, this web is now so pervasive that even people living in huts in some of the most remote parts of the world, without electricity or indoor plumbing, can somehow reach or be reached by some type of the Media!

The Reasons for Media’s Effectiveness

It’s Powerful

As a weapon, Media is effective not only because it is pervasive but also because its powerful; In fact, it’s powerful enough to…

  • Expose people to other people, places, ideas, and products that they would never come into contact with or considered otherwise;
  • Capture the attention and imagination of millions of people with one thirty-second commercial, and making millions of dollars for its advertisers in the process;
  • Unite completely disparate groups of people around a cause by playing upon their fears or emotions;
  • Build up or tear down huge corporations, illustrious professional careers, and even governments;
  • Prompt people to re-examine what they believe and convince them to re-evaluate their value systems; and,
  • Change a society through the promotion of some practices and lifestyles, and the condemnation of others.

What gives Media the power to do all of these things is its ability to manipulate images.  As Elizabeth Thoman, in an article for the Center of Media Literacy, explains…

…the consumer culture as we know it could never have emerged without the invention of the camera and the eventual mass-production of media images it made possible.

In 1859 Oliver Wendell Holmes described photography as the most remarkable achievement of his time because it allowed human beings to separate an experience or a texture or an emotion or a likeness from a particular time and place—and still remain real, visible, and permanent.  He described it as a ‘conquest over matter’ and predicted it would alter the physics of perception, changing forever the way people would see and understand the world around them.  Holmes precisely observed that the emergence of this new technology marked the beginning of a time when the image would become more important than the object itself and would in fact make the object disposable.[6]

Today, we can attest to the accuracy of Holmes’ observation and prediction; for, anyone with a camera phone can quickly and easily record an image which they later, with the aid of computer software, can manipulate in any way that they choose.  With this newly created image—of something that never really existed—a photographer can dispose of the original and then replace what was real and true with a fantasy of his own making—which is something that those in the Media do every day.

It’s Personal

Its power, then, along with its pervasiveness, has made it possible for Media to become something that is also extremely personal.  Just think about it…

A television set is on for nearly eight hours in the average American home each day, with each occupant viewing something on television for nearly four hours daily.  The average American listens to radio over three hours each day.  Add video games, Internet browsing, DVD watching, occasional movie attendance, and roadside billboards to this equation, and it is clear that Americans are deluged with mediated messages in every waking moment.

By now, media use (and misuse) is just an accepted aspect of American culture, as people have become protoplasmic blobs being washing over by countless messages that seek to alter your political views, make you buy something, or change your values.  These narcotizing messages seek to keep you watching so that your eyeballs can be sold to advertisers.

Media usage has become more than a supplement to our American lifestyle; it has become perhaps the largest aspect of our lifestyle.  More productive pursuits like exercise, family interaction, community work, and household duties are over looked in order to keep up with American Idol or catch the big ball game on TV.  For most Americans, time spent with the media surpasses time spent at work or at sleep, and certainly surpasses interaction with friends and family.[7]

And, if you’re anything like me, the cell phone is one of the last things—along with the lights—that we turn off at night, as well as one of the first things that we check when we get up in the morning—so, it doesn’t get much more personal than that!

Today’s Media Landscape

  1. The Who

Now that we know a little about the what and the why of Media, it is time for us to learn something about the who behind it.  In other words, who are the people or groups whose pockets go deep enough to buy and control this very expensive and highly profitable global communications network, and how are they using this powerful tool to advance Satan’s agenda?

Who owns it?

Throughout much of the twentieth century, Media ownership was regulated by laws enforced by the Federal Communications Commission—laws including…

  • the 1941 National TV Ownership Rule, which prohibited broadcasters from owning television stations that could reach more 35 percent of the nation’s homes;
  • the 1970 Radio/TV Cross-Ownership Restriction, which prevented broadcasters from owning a radio and a TV station in the same market; and,
  • the 1975 Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Prohibition, which was designed to limit the ownership of a newspaper and a TV station in the same market.

However, during the Reagan administration, new laws were enacted which dramatically reduced government regulation of the Media and initiated what was soon to become an unprecedented period of consolidation for the large mass-media companies in the United States.  Whereas, in 1980, about fifty corporations were controlling nearly all of U.S. Media, today, that control has been consolidated in just a handful of Media Conglomerates[8]–with only recently, two of the largest media mergers ever to take place having been announced—these being, AT&T’s offer to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion, and the Walt Disney Company’s bid of more than $52 billion to buy out much of 21st Century Fox’s holdings.  If these deals go through, according to information gathered for National Public Radio, the major owners of digital media, with a sampling of their holdings, will be…

  • Walt Disney Company—including 21st Century Fox and its properties, ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Freeform, Walt Disney Studios, Pixar, Marvel, Touchstone Pictures, Lucasfilm, Disney Digital Network, Polaris, Disneyland, Walt Disney World and other parks and resorts;
  • 21st Century Fox—Fox News, Business, Sports, TV Network, National Geographic Partners, FX, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Blue Sky Studios;
  • Time Warner, Inc.—CNN, HBO, Warner Brothers, Cinemax, TBS, TNT, NBA.com, MCAA.com, TMZ.com, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, DC Comics, Bleacher Report;
  • AT&T—AT&T, DirecTV, Cricket Wireless, U-verse, YP.com (Yellowpages.com), Sky Brasil, Time Warner and its properties;
  • Comcast Corporation/NBC Universal—XFINITY, NBC News, Sports, TV Network, MSNBC, CBNC, NBC Entertainment, Telemundo, Bravo, Sprout, USA Network, Syfy, E!, Philadelphia Flyers, Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Animation, Focus Features, Universal Studios and other parks and resorts, Golf Channel, Oxygen;
  • CBS Corporation—CBS News, TV, Radio, Entertainment, Sports, Showtime, Simon & Schuster, Smithsonian Channel, CNET, ZDNet, TV Guide, Last.fm, Metacritic, Chowhound, Gamespot, Watch! Magazine;
  • Viacom, Inc.—Paramount Pictures, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, VH!, Nickelodeon, Spike, CMT, Centric, Logo TV, TV Land, Tr3s;
  • Univision Communications, Inc.—Univision TV, Radio, Digital Networks, Fusion, The Onion, The Root, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Uforia;
  • Verizon Communications, Inc.—Verizon Wireless, Fios, AOL + Yahoo!, Flickr, Tumblr, HuffPost, Engadget, TechCrunch, MAKERS, BUILD Studios, Rivals.com, Ryot, go90, Terremark;
  • com, Inc.—Amazon Prime, Cloud Drive, Web Services, Marketplace, Whole Foods, Echo, Fire TV, Kindle, Audible, Twitch, IMDb, Goodreads, AbeBooks, ComiXology, DPReview, Zappos and other online retailers, The Washington Post;
  • Alphabet, Inc./Google—YouTube, Android, Chrome, Nexus, Pixel, Google Home, Blogger, Zagat, Nest, Waze, Verily, Google Search, Gmail, Maps, Hangouts and other apps, Project Fi; and,
  • Facebook, Inc.—Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus, Facebook Messenger, Internet.org.[9]

Some of the companies not included in NPR’s listings are the leaders in the Radio and Print Industries…

  • Clear Channel—which owns 866 radio stations and Premiere Radio Networks (a national radio network that produces, distributes or represents approximately 90 syndicated radio programs, serves nearly 5,800 radio station affiliates and has over 213 million weekly listeners, and with programs including the Rush Limbaugh ShowGlenn Beck and the Sean Hannity Show); Fox Sports Radio; Fox News Radio; Australian Radio Network;
  • Bertelsmann—one of the world’s largest media companies, it also owns Random House (with over 200 imprints in 15 countries, including the Ballantine Publishing Group, the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, Broadway, the Crown Publishing Group, the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, Pantheon, Random House U.K.), the Knopf Publishing Group, and Waterbrook Press;
  • The Hearst Corporation–a media conglomerate that controls or has ownership stakes in newspaper, magazine, television, cable network and Internet properties—including Twenty U.S. magazines (like Car and DriverCosmopolitanCountry LivingELLEEsquireGood HousekeepingMarie ClaireOPopular MechanicsRedbookSeventeenand Woman’s Day); King Features (syndicator of newspaper comic strips including BlondieBeetle BaileyHagar the HorribleFamily CircusDennis the MenacePopeye); Black Book; Hearst Business Media (Electronics Products MagazineFloor Covering Weekly); IDG/Hearst; Hearst Books; Hearst News Service; and,
  • The Tribune Company—which owns 23 TV stations, one radio station, 12 daily newspapers- including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sunand the Hartford Courant, and numerous magazines and other media properties.[10]

Why is this information so important for us to know?  Because these are the companies that are controlling what we read in print, what we hear on the radio, and what we see on television, at the movies, and on the internet every day.  These are the groups who, through the Image Culture they are helping to create, are replacing our reality with their fantasy, and reshaping our values and our views on life and of the world.  And, without a doubt, these are the organizations which, as they continue to consolidate, will provide the Coming World Ruler with the Communications Monopoly he will need to control the world and the mindset of its entire population.

Going back to our earlier definition of Mass Communication, then, we can now identify these Media Giants as…

…the professional communicators who are using [their] technological devices to share messages over some distance to influence large audiences.

This, of course, begs the following questions…

What kinds of messages are they choosing to share; and
How are they attempting to influence us through these messages?

We Need to Be Aware of the Messages that Are Really Being Communicated

Mediated Messages and Influence Peddling

Although there are millions—perhaps even billions—of messages conveyed through the Media each day, of particular interest to us are those which are designed to…

Separate Us from Our Money;
Steal Our Identity; and,
Secure Our Support or Sway Our Vote. 

  1. Separating Us from Our Money

There can be no question that the most plentiful and the most obvious messages are those whose purpose it is to sell us something.  Every day, no matter which way we turn, we are confronted by advertisements of one kind or another.  That’s because…

One of the basic ingredients of American popular culture is consumption, and it is the advertising industry that makes mass consumption possible.  Advertising sells us sexuality, beauty, youth, fashion, happiness, success, status and luxury.  When Calvin Klein, for example, advertises blue jeans, he is selling us sex appeal, not jeans.  Polo sells us fashion status and Miller beer offers us macho good times.

Advertising is an important element of our culture because it reflects and attempts to change our life styles.  New cultural trends and fashions are first transmitted to the mass culture through advertisements.

It is estimated that, by the time a person raised in the United States reaches the age of 21, he or she has been exposed to 1 million to 2 million advertisements.  The cumulative effects of this lifelong exposure plays a significant role in shaping our behavior, social beliefs and values.[11]

And, one man who was extremely instrumental in the success of advertising as we know it today was noted psychologist and radical behaviorist, John B. Watson; for it was he who…

…recommended to advertisers that they could make a fortune by manipulating basic human motivations and emotions to their advantage, and often, of course, to the consumer’s disadvantage.  One of his basic ideas, used with gusto and impunity by advertisers today, was to convince people that their possessions were inferior and consequently that they needed new possessions.  In other words, he helped create the modern consumer mentality…[12]

As a result, day in and day out, consumers are bombarded with messages telling them that they need to buy bigger houses, newer cars, the latest fashions, and the best technological devices—and that, for their overall well-being, they need to take more vacations, eat out more often, and still somehow manage to lose weight.  Far from benefiting from this consumer mentality, more Americans than ever are finding themselves over their heads in debt, more overweight, and more stressed out and feeling inadequate than ever before.  What has really been sold and bought, then, is the lie that more will make us happy; an exchange that has most often taken place right under our noses, in our very own living rooms.  Or, as Kalle Lasn, a co-founder of the Canadian media criticism and environmentalist magazine Adbusters describes it…

…In the privacy of our living rooms we made a devil’s bargain with the advertising industry:  Give us an endless flow of free programs and we’ll let you spend 12 minutes of every hour promoting consumption.  For a long time, this seemed to work.  The ads grated on our nerves but it was a small price to pay for ‘free television.’  What we didn’t realize when we made our pact with the advertisers was that their agenda would eventually become the heart and soul of television.  We have allowed the most powerful communications tool ever invented to become the command center of a consumer society defining our lives and culture the way family, community and spiritual values once did.[13]

Sadly, with our eyeballs having been sold to the highest advertising bidder in this way, many of us are ill-equipped to recognize the dangers inherent in the next set of Messages when they come our way.

Eyeballs for Sale

  1. Stealing Our Identity

If advertisements are the most plentiful and most obvious of Media’s Messages, surely the subtlest are those that are designed to steal our identities.  Usually, when we hear the term Identity Theft, we think of a person whose financial information has been stolen by some unknown internet hacker, who has made off with his or her social security number, or bank and credit card account numbers.  As devastating as this kind of crime can be to an individual’s long-term financial situation and reputation, there is a crime that is far more subtle and insidious being perpetrated upon the numberless recipients of Mass Media’s Messages.  This crime is the slow, subconscious, yet systematic theft of each recipient’s God-given Image and Spiritual Identity—a loss of reputation which will have everlasting ramifications.

Through the Media’s programming of television, music and music videos, movies, the internet and social media, and video games, today’s airwaves have been saturated with Images promoting hedonistic and godless lifestyles.  By appealing to our flesh—that is, our baser human instincts—they have successfully convinced many of us that what is evil is really good, and what is good is really evil.  Routinely, their Images have been and are being used to promote…

Idolatry and a rejection of God;
Vulgarity, swearing, and cursing;
Disrespect for parents and of one another;
Disrespect for authority and for life;
Drunkenness and substance abuse;
Lying, cheating, stealing;
Violence and murder;
Greed, covetous, and corruption;
Sexual immorality—both heterosexual and homosexual; and,
Marital infidelity and divorce.

In case you hadn’t noticed, each of these is a violation of God’s Standard of Righteousness, or what is better known as the Ten Commandments—and is something which God has repeatedly warned will be judged and punished.  Not only that but, each time a person buys into the lies embedded within Media’s Messages, that person trades the Image of God that he was designed to bear for the one that Satan has long been trying to imprint upon him.  And, without the light and salt effects produced by that missing Godly Image, individuals have become devoid of purpose in life, families have fallen apart, and the moral fabric of society has, over time, been eroded.

What We Take in Helps Make Us What We Are–or Shouldn’t Be!

  1. Securing Our Support or Swaying Our Vote

No where is this erosion more evident than in the Media Messages whose intent it is to secure our support or sway our vote—with the Media’s coverage of Politics and Public Affairs being a prime example.  In my lifetime alone, journalism—both print and television—has gone from being a respected and objective source of information to being a dog-and-pony show, with its blatant liberal bias on display for all to see.  Instead of just relaying the facts, today’s reporters have taken to giving their opinions instead, as they attempt to impress and gain a following with their editorialization of the stories they are covering.  Instead of real news reporting being the order of the day…

…studies have confirmed that the focus in journalism has shifted over the last two decades from an emphasis on policy, politics, ideas, and analysis to the current agenda of scandal; personality; human interest, entertainment, and spot-news cop-shop stories of crime, wrecks, and fires.  In most local television news markets, stories about crime outnumber stories about government and policy by a more than three-to-one margin.[14]

One must question whether the media help or hinder our collective ability to learn what is really happening in the world, and whether television news is trying to dazzle us or inform us.[15]

Further evidence of society’s erosion can be seen as a result of its embrace of all things “gay”—the promotion of which has been one of Mass Media’s most cherished causes.  Once again, just over the course of my life, the major Media outlets have gone from producing television programs and films which wouldn’t even show married couples sharing the same bed to shows and movies promoting every kind of sexual deviation as normal and worth experiencing.

The Media Would Have Us Believe that Love Justifies all Behavior–and that It Should Be Accepted

To demonstrate just how successful the Media-promoted Gay/Lesbian movement has been, we need only look at society today and compare it with the proposals contained in the ‘Gay Bill of Rights,’ legislation which was introduced in the House of Representatives on January 3, 1985.  In that bill, the LGBT agenda was clearly stated to include…

  • the legalization of homosexuality and lesbianism;
  • the criminal prosecution of all churches, schools and businesses for refusing to hire homosexuals;
  • the criminal prosecution of an individual who refuses housing accommodations to homosexual/lesbian couples;
  • the legitimization of marriage between homosexual/lesbian couples, as well as their adoption of children; and
  • the requirement that all public schools create sex education courses taught by homosexuals in order to show their lifestyle as a moral, healthy, and normal alternative to heterosexuality.[16]

With each item on this wish list now having been checked off, what we’re left with is a society in a state of confusion because its citizens have lost their sexual bearings.  Young children in school no longer know whether they should go into the boys’ or girls’ restrooms, while older ones are in a quandary as they try to decide which sex they should be.  Of course, this state of Androgyny, where people…

–are both male and female; hermaphroditic;
–have both masculine and feminine characteristics;
–have an ambiguous sexual identity; and,
–are neither clearly masculine nor clearly feminine in appearance…[17]

… has been Satan’s goal all along.  That’s because, once people have lost their sexual identity, the last vestiges of God’s Image will have been removed, and they will be prepared to worship the hermaphroditic image of the Antichrist when he makes his appearance.

Satan’s Plan from the Beginning

Media’s Motive

The final question that we need to answer, then, is this:  why would the owners of these Mass Media Conglomerates use their messages to help create a society in which its citizens…

  • are in debt up to their eyeballs, relentlessly chasing unattainable images and lifestyles–like gerbils on a wheel;
  • have been narcotized by mindless “entertainment” while being left ill-informed about what is actually happening in the world; and,
  • are so confused about their sexual identity that they are willing to try anything, no matter how outrageous it is, in an attempt to figure out who they are?

It’s because the heads of these organizations are members of the groups we learned about when we surveyed the Earth’s Physical and Financial Landscapesgroups that are dedicated to the creation of a One World Government (which the Bible predicts will happen)—a government with…

  • One international identity, and one set of universal values;
  • Centralized control of the people in a society with no middle class, only rulers and servants;
  • A zero-growth policy designed to eliminate prosperity and facilitate the repression needed to keep society divided;
  • A state of perpetual imbalance that will keep people physically, mentally, and emotionally confused and exhausted;
  • Centralized control of education, enabling them to erase and rewrite the history that is taught to students;
  • Centralized control of all foreign and domestic policies;
  • Empowerment of the United Nations as the world’s government;
  • An American Union, a trading bloc similar to the European Union;
  • Expansion of NATO—with NATO becoming the UN’s world army;
  • One legal system; and,
  • One socialist welfare state, where those who cooperate will be rewarded and those who don’t will be eliminated.[18]

As for the Media’s role in all of this, it has been their job to distract us from what is really going on, and to con us, confuse us, and condition us for the coming new regime.  In remarks made at the 1991 Bilderberger meeting, David Rockefeller praised the Media for their part in the advancement of the globalist agenda

We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine and other great publications, whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years…

It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years.  But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government.  The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto determination practice in past centuries.[19]

The elite in this case—those who anticipate being the head and not the tail in this coming world government—would be the Media, and the members of the other globalist groups, who are helping to usher in the earthly kingdom over which Satan will one day rule.  Of course, anyone who is familiar with the book of Revelation knows that, for those who are responsible for the promotion of Satan’s Image on the earth, the story does not end well at all!

Phillips Craig & Dean remind of our responsibility to be the image of God to our children…

 

 

[1] media. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/media(accessed: February 9, 2018).

[2] Stan Le Roy Wilson, Mass Media/Mass Culture: An Introduction (New York: Random House, 1989), 14.

[3] Early Methods of Communication, Skwirk On-Line Education Website, at http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-11_u-26_t-70_c-247/nsw/science-technology/way-out-communication/delivering-messages/early-methods

[4] Wilson, Mass Media/Mass Culture, 24-25.

[5] Wilson, Mass Media/Mass Culture, 26-27.

[6] Elizabeth Thoman, Rise of the Image Culture: Re-Imagining the American Dream, Center for Media Literacy at http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/rise-image-culture.

[7] Jeffrey McCall, Viewer Discretion Advised (Lanham, Maryland: Roman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2007), 1.

[8] Mark Crispin Miller, “Media Monopolies are a Serious Problem,” in Mass Media; Opposing Viewpoints, ed. William Dudley (Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2005), 77.

[9] Alina Selyukh, Maria Hollenhorst, and Katie Park, “Big Media Companies and Their Many Brands—In One Chart,” for National Public Radio at https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/10/28/499495517/big-media-companies-and-their-many-brands-in-one-chart, updated December 22, 2017.

[10] “Who Owns the Media?,” article on Free Press website at https://www.freepress.net/ownership/chart, accessed March 14, 2018.

[11] Wilson, Mass Media/Mass Culture, 263-264.

[12] Karen E. Dill, How Fantasy Becomes Reality: Seeing Through the Media Influence (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 144.

[13] Thoman, Rise of the Image Culture.

[14] McCall, Viewer Discretion Advised, 51.

[15] McCall, Viewer Discretion Advised, 69.

[16] John Daniel, Scarlet and the Beast, Vol.2 (Tyler, Texas: JKI Publishing, 1994), 68.

[17] androgyny. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/androgyny (accessed: March 29, 2018).

[18] Daniel Estulin, The True Story of the Bilderberger Group (Waterville, Oregon: TrineDay Publishers, 2007), 42-43.

[19] Estulin, The Bilderberger Group, 92-93.

Spiritual Warfare: Evolution and Education

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Education is One of the Most Important Pillars in Satan’s Cultural Landscape

In our last Workout Session, as part of our on-going effort to map out Satan’s Kingdom, we began surveying the Landscapes of the Terrestrial or Earthly Division of his realm.  Given the amount of territory to be covered in this exercise, it will no doubt prove to be one of the most strenuous ones we have undertaken to date; so strenuous, in fact, that it must be spread it out over the course of four sessions, with…

Session 1—Covering the Political and Financial Landscape of Satan’s Kingdom;
Session 2—Covering the Educational Aspect of Satan’s Cultural Landscape;
Session 3—Covering the Media Aspect of Satan’s Cultural Landscape; and,
Session 4—Covering the Religious Landscape of Satan’s Kingdom.

Since the subject matter of these sessions is also progressive—with the first one laying the groundwork for the second, etc.—to help prepare us for the additional stretching we will be doing in this second session, let’s pause briefly to review what we learned about these landscapes during the first of these sessions.  So far, we know that…

  • Just as the human body is made up of a Body, Soul, and Spirit, Humanity as a whole also has a Body, Soul, and Spirit.
  • In order to keep Humanity under his control, Satan—as the ruler over this world’s systems—has designed these systems to not only satisfy the needs and wants of Humanity’s Body, Soul, and Spirit, but to do so in ways that allow him to maintain his domination over of every aspect of its being…
    • Through the ubiquitous Political and Economic Systems, he can control what human beings do and where they can go;
    • Through the multifaceted Cultural System, he can control what human beings think and how they feel about any given issue; and,
    • Through his counterfeit Religious System, he can control what human beings believe and what or whom they worship.
  • As for the Political and Economic Landscape, over the past century Satan has used it to establish the framework for the coming One World Government—over which he will one-day dictate—through the creation of the Federal Reserve System, the United Nations, the Bilderberger Group, the Council for Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Club of Rome, and their assorted subgroups.

Although most people have no know idea what these groups do—or, that they even exist, It is essential that we familiarize ourselves with them and their activities because, as we shall eventually see, they are, in effect, being employed as Satan’s puppet-masters who, from behind the scenes, are pulling the strings that determine what we see, hear, and read in the media, what we or our children are being taught in school, and what we as a people are supposed to believe about the nature of Family, the World, and God.

To understand the necessity for such control and coercion, we must remember that Satan’s ultimate goal is to be like God—that is, he wants to rule the world and receive the worship which should rightfully go to God.  He made a giant leap in this direction when he successfully wooed and won Man away from his Creator in the Garden of Eden; however, given his own experience with willful rebellion, and knowing all too well that Man, also endowed with a mind and will of his own, could one day choose to reject him and follow God once again, he has remained ever-vigilant in his control over the systems which might otherwise be used to reveal the Truth about God to those under his dominion, and expose him as the lying, thieving murderer that he is.

So, with this ultimate goal in mind, Satan has designed…

  • The Political and Economic Structures of the world’s systems to be the external controls which will eventually be used to coerce the masses into worshipping the Beast, the Antichrist, and, ultimately Satan himself;
  • The Cultural Structures of the world’s systems to reprogram our minds and emotions; using every form of social interaction to transform the masses into willing, or at least cooperative, “citizens” (slaves) in his New World Order; and,
  • The Religious Structures of the world’s systems as the ultimate deception, and the best counterfeit of God’s Kingdom; using them to convince the masses that they are part of the one great “Brotherhood of Man,” and, the gods and the masters of their own destinies, while simultaneously alienating them from the One True God and conditioning them to worship him instead.

Now, having established in our previous session that the Political and Economic Structures are the legs upon which Satan’s future kingdom stands, it is time for us to learn how, through the Cultural Structures he has erected, Satan is filling out the torso of Humanity’s Corporate Body, and using its soulish aspects to deceive the masses into accepting and supporting the ideals espoused by that kingdom.

The Cultural Landscape

Since the Human Soul—both the Individual and the Corporate one—is the seat of our Personality, or our Mind, Emotions, and our Will; and, since the Thoughts and Feelings produced by our Mind and Emotions are what determines the things that we Will to do, in order for Satan to direct our actions, he must first gain control of the way we think and feel.  To do that, he has fashioned an entire Cultural Landscape through which he and those whom he empowers work relentlessly to…

Change the Way We Think About the World;
Change the Way We Feel About Family; and,
Control the Things We Will to Do…

As a Man Thinks, So Will He Do

…a necessary course of action if he is ever to realize his goal of world-wide rule and worship.  As he is (and always has been) incapable of creating living beings in his own image over which he can rule, his only option has been to take those created by God for His glory and, through the systematic eradication of the Divine Image within them, as well as their knowledge of the Divine Plan for them, remold them in his own distorted image and in accordance with his own devilish plans.  To accomplish this, he has become a master manipulator of every form of Media–Art, Music, Theatre, Films, Television, Books, Magazines, Newspapers, and Social Media—as well as the curriculum at every level of Education, from Preschool through Post Graduate Work, to slowly and insidiously redefine, in the minds of men, what it means to be a human living on planet Earth.

Changing the Way We Think About the World

Before we can grasp the changes that Satan wants to make to our worldview, we must first understand what God has to say about the World—for the former will be in direct opposition to the latter.  From the revelation He has given us in Genesis 1-11, we know that…

  • God created the world ex nihilo—that is, out of nothing;
  • The world came into existence in an orderly and progressive manner over the course of six days, in response to the spoken Word of God;
  • The world was created to be the home for Man, and was especially designed to sustain his life and to meet his physical needs;
  • The world was meant to be ruled over and blessed by the Righteous Rule of Man—both Male and Female—but instead, it came under a Curse and the Right to Rule over it was transferred to Satan as a result of Man’s Sin; and,
  • Because of Man’s Corruption of it, the primeval world was destroyed by a catastrophic and Universal Flood, which permanently altered the Earth’s Climate and Geologic Features.

Of course, this Worldview, as a God-Centric one, is one that demonstrates God’s great Wisdom and Power, His Love and Grace toward Man, and Man’s High Calling and Superior Standing in and over the created world—something which Satan is determined to eliminate from the Mind of Man.  From the Garden of Eden onward, he has been busy feeding Lies about the World and its Origins to every gullible person who has ever rejected the revelation of God—for, in his rejection of the Truthful testimony of the only Eye-Witness present at the time of the Earth’s inception, Man has been left with no other choice but to come up with his own explanations for how it and he came to be.  And, throughout his history, he has managed to come up with some real lulus.

Apart from the Truth of God, We are Clueless

For example, in one of Man’s earliest civilizations in Sumer of Mesopotamia, near where the fresh waters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers merged with the Persian Gulf, he concluded that the earth originated when two creator gods emerged from the eternal and sacred primordial waters.  Apsu, the god of the freshwaters, and Tiamat, the goddess of the salty waters of the sea, came forth from the primeval chaos, merged their waters together and, in the process, brought into being the other gods who made up the Sumerian pantheon, or household of gods.

Unfortunately, life in this household did not remain divine for very long, for the younger, rowdier gods soon became too noisy to suit their father.  In an effort to get some peace and quiet, Apsu came up with a rather extreme solution—he decided to kill the “kids” to ensure that he could get a good night’s sleep.  Before he could carry out his plan, though, one of his sons, Ea, found out about it and killed Apsu first.  Ea then took his dad’s place as ruler; after which, he and his wife, Damkina, gave birth to their own wonder-son, named Marduk, who later became the sun god.

Relationships in this family of gods went from bad to worse when Tiamat, the mother of the younger gods, decided to avenge her husband’s death.  Taking the form of a dragon, she gathered together an army of monsters for the purpose of waging war against her own children.  Marduk, her grandson, went to the other gods and offered to fight Tiamat on their behalf—but, only if he could become their ruler.  Once they agreed to his terms, Marduk went into battle, first defeating the monsters, and then Tiamat.  After killing his grandmother, Marduk cut up her body, using half to make the sky and the other half to make the earth; then, with some leftover parts, he created other features such as rivers and mountains.

Following a period during which he whipped the rest of the universe into shape, Marduk decided to create man.  The motive behind this decision was in no way benevolent, however, for Marduk and the other gods were just so tired of doing all of the dirty work needed to maintain order on the earth that they decided to create a race of people who could do the work for them.  Their plan became a reality when Marduk, after killing Tiamat’s consort Kingu, mixed some of his blood with dust to create man as a servant for the gods.[1]  It would seem, then, that to the ancient Mesopotamians, the earth came into existence because the loser in a family fight among the gods was hacked up by the winner and then hung up to dry; with the earth’s human residents being created solely for the purpose of doing the earth-related housekeeping chores—chores considered too menial for the gods to do.

Pan Ku Chiseling the Universe into Existence

As far-fetched as this explanation might seem to us today, it is no more fantastic than those found in many other ancient cultures.   Take, for example, one of the early Chinese creation myths which began with the cracking of a giant “cosmic egg.”  Contained within the egg were the two forces of Yin and Yang, the universal but opposing principles of masculine and feminine.  As these forces struggled inside the egg, they caused it to break in two, making it possible for the creator god, Pan Ku—usually described as the child of Yin and Yang—to emerge.  As he did, the “light” or masculine part of the egg, the Yang, rose to become the sky, while the Yin, the feminine or the “heavier” substance, dropped down to become the earth.

For 18,000 years, Pan Ku held the earth and sky apart, while he busily worked on the creation with his hammer and chisel.  When he thought the sky was finally secure and wouldn’t fall down, he laid down to rest, but died instead.  As he expired, Pan Ku’s body morphed into the various elements of nature:  his voice became the thunder; his breath the wind and clouds; his eyes the sun and moon; and his limbs the mountains.  Additionally, the fluids in his body turned into the rivers and the rain, while his body itself became the soil; the hair on his head became the stars, the hair on his body changed into vegetation, and his teeth, bones and marrow became the minerals in the earth.  Lastly, the bugs on his body became human beings—a rather inauspicious beginning for humanity, to say the least!

Sadly, in the absence of the Truth provided by God, and when left to their own devices, these are the kinds of crazy stories concocted, in all seriousness, by men of old, from cultures all over the world, seeking to explain the origins of Life.  Each story is a reflection of the unique culture which produced it, and of the environmental conditions impacting the lives of those within that culture; and yet, as dissimilar as these appear on the surface, when examined more closely, there is a detectable pattern—a methodology, if you will—in the way they were created; one requiring their…

  1. Observation of the then-current environmental conditions around them;
  2. Projection backwards in time in an effort to come up with a theory as to how those conditions came to be; and,
  3. Creation of a story around those natural elements which might explain events happening before their time.

In other words, those responsible for the creation of these myths arrived at their conclusions by trying to explain the unknown past through their observations of the natural processes occurring in their present time—something which men have continued to do until this day; with the one difference between then and now being, that those in earlier times typically made gods out of the elements they observed, while those who came later sought to eliminate any reference to god in their explanations.

A Modern-Day Creation Story

British Naturalist Charles Darwin

Probably the best and most successful example of this—and, by successful, I mean the most well-known and universally accepted one— is the explanation produced by a British Naturalist, living in the nineteenth century, named Charles Darwin; a man who, like the men preceding him, set about trying to explain the unknown past by first observing the natural processes at work in his day.  In 1859, he presented those observations, and the suppositions which he had drawn from them, to the world in a revolutionary book entitled, On the Origin of Species—a book which laid the foundation for the modern-day Creation Story we commonly refer to as the Theory of Evolution.    Although it has been touted as fact and embraced by most of the scientific community, in reality, this evolutionary theory is nothing more than a pseudo-scientific religion; one in which God has been eliminated and Man reduced to the status of a highly-evolved species of animal.

In sharp contrast to what we have already established about the world’s origins from God’s Word, Darwin’s theory was predicated upon four basic principles…

  1. …the first and most fundamental one which states that all life originated from one single cell. If true, this would mean that all forms of life are related genetically, and that all plants, animals, and humans are derivatives of the same original substance.[2]  Although this principle has come to be regarded by most as scientific fact, no one—not even Darwin—has ever been able to say just when, where, or how this single cell came to be.  In fact…

… “Darwin himself speculated that spontaneous generation of life may have occurred by chance formation of proteid in ‘some warm little pond’ with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat and electricity (emphases added).”[3]

  1. The second principle, as an outgrowth of the first, proposes that life, since its origination from that one primitive cell, has been a progressive development from the simplest of life forms to those of the most complex. This upward movement resulted from the on-going struggle of the cells, and their subsequently produced organisms, to survive in the natural elements; with their survival being made possible through the changes, modifications, or mutations taking place in some of the life forms.  The surviving cells or organisms—those proven to be the “fittest’ for survival—were the ones having undergone genetic mutations or random changes in their makeup, changes which gave them advantages the other organisms didn’t have. In short, the organisms with mutations were the ones that survived, while those without them died.
  2. The third underlying principle supposes that, as a result of this natural process of selection, the struggling, upwardly-mobile organisms became more and more complex, more numerous, and more adaptable to their environments. As they did, somehow they were able to come together to form the earth as we know it, and the various life forms that came to exist upon it.
  3. Closely related to this is evolution’s fourth principle—which states that, since these random mutations take so long to occur, the earth would have to have been in existence for millions of years in order for them to have taken place.

Is There Any Evidence that We Are Getting Better and Better?

According to these principles, when it comes to understanding our origins, evolution would have us believe that, as human beings, man is nothing more than the accidental product of millions of years of genetic mutations.  Having originated from the same cell, and being genetically linked to all other forms of life, including the animals, means that he need never aspire to being anything more than the most highly-evolved form of animal life—a species which, through self-effort and chance alone, has happened to work its way to the top of the food chain. 

In its classification of him as an animal, evolution has provided Man with a rationale for eschewing accountability to any and all forms of externally imposed laws or codes of conduct.  The one exception to this would be the “the law of the jungle,” the one code permitting humans to act beastly with impunity.  In its reduction of men to mere brute beasts, without any codes to guide or control their behavior, humanity is also relieved of its need for any morality or religion in life.

With these restraints removed, man’s purpose in life becomes focused on the pursuit of physical or fleshly gratification, with the highest ideal of this gratification being the mating with, and the reproduction of, the most genetically superior humans possible.  In this way, he can continue to produce offspring with the most favorable mutations, insuring that in the future, the species will become even more highly-evolved than it is now—and, with the expectation that these more highly-evolved humans will be better equipped to solve life’s most perplexing problems. Given enough time, perhaps a few more billion years, they may even evolve into perfect human beings, or physically superior specimens of male and female who are absolutely devoid of any soul or spirit.

As for satisfying the basic human question concerning life after death, evolution promises us that there won’t be any afterlife to worry about; our animalistic bodies will simply return to the earth from which they came, with our only lasting contribution being in our service as the most genetically superior fertilizer to date, for the soil of all future generations of human animals.

What we’re presented with, then, are two diametrically opposed ways of looking at the World—the Biblical Worldview originating with God, or the Secular Worldview, produced by Man’s Enlightened Thinking…

A Comparison of Worldviews

This certainly begs the question, that given the more meaningful and hopeful nature of the Biblical Worldview, why would anyone (most of the world, in fact) choose to buy into the meaningless and fatalistic existence offered by the Secular Worldview?  Well, two reasons immediately come to mind; there is…

  • The Theoretical Reason—this being the same reason Adam and Eve chose the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil over the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden—because they fell for the Big Lie promising them their independence from God and divinity on their own terms; and,
  • The Practical Reason—because this Big Lie has been promoted world-wide through the Cultural Landscape set up and managed by Satan.

Selling the Lie

When it comes to selling people a Lie–big or otherwise–nobody does it better than Satan, and the method he continues to use is the same simple one he has been using since his initial success with it in the Garden of Eden.  As he did with Adam and Eve, when it came to convincing the masses to buy into this Secular Worldview, all Satan had to do was…

Discredit the Word of God; and,
Replace the Truth with a Lie.

And, the best way for him to do this on such a massive scale was with a masterful manipulation of the Educational System and the Mass Media. 

Because we will be discussing Satan’s use of the Media at length during our next session, what’s left of this one will be given over to highlighting how he has been working through the Educational System to discredit the Word of God and replace the Biblical Worldview with a counterfeit one.  His strategy for this, like his Lie, has been simple yet highly effective, and is based upon the three-pronged approach of…

  1. Promoting an Alternative Worldview—Offering the Intellectual Community an Appealing Alternative to the Biblical Worldview;
  2. Compromising Biblical Scholarship—Infiltrating Seminaries with the New Worldview in order to Compromise Biblical Scholarship;
  3. Corrupting the Public School Curriculum—Infiltrating Teacher Training Schools, then the Public Education System, and gradually but systematically changing the Curriculum to promote the Alternative Worldview.

1. Promoting an Alternative Worldview

Before the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species, the Biblical View of Creation was the most widely-accepted one—at least, as far as Western Civilization was concerned. For some time before that, though, the scientific community had been searching for an alternative theory; the reason being, that for centuries the institutional church, in its zeal to prevent any potential heresy, had routinely suppressed scientific inquiry and persecuted those who were engaged in it.  The intellectually curious, who had long suffered under this type of oppression, were ready to cast off the teachings of the church and pursue a more rational, enlightened explanation for the Earth’s Origins.  They had a big problem, though—which was, how to explain the more dramatic features of the earth’s landscape, like its mountains and canyons, apart from any reference to supernatural catastrophes which may have taken place in the past.  This belief was called Catastrophism, and it…

…was accepted as the only possible explanation until about the 18th century.  Catastrophism taught that the geologic rock strata were primarily a result of catastrophes like the world-wide flood of Noah.  At that time James Hutton and Sir Charles Lyell proposed an alternative explanation of uniformitarianism.  The theory of uniformitarianism taught that the present was the key to the past and exactly the same slow process that we see today is the one responsible for the formation of all the geological rock strata.

Since deposition with the uniformitarianism theory was so slow, long eons of time were required.  This meant that the current biblical beliefs at that time of a young earth, the recent history of the life on earth and the worldwide flood of Noah were discredited.  In addition, uniformitarianism laid the foundation for Darwin’s’ theory of evolution, which also needed an old earth to be credible.

So uniformitarianism dethroned catastrophism and evolution dethroned biblical creationism and both became the dominant theories in academia and science until the present time.[4]

“Higher Criticism” is the just another version of the SOL–the Same Old Lie!

2. Compromising Biblical Scholarship

Given the speed at which it was embraced by the academic disciplines, it would seem that Satan had picked the perfect time for the publication of Darwin’s book because…

…his book seemed to provide support for a point of view, a world outlook that was just what the intelligentsia of his day wanted.  What Darwin wrote was evidently just what the ‘mainstream’ of academia in England, and subsequently in nation after nation, were waiting for.[5]

Not surprisingly, then—given who was pulling the strings behind the scene—one of the first disciplines to be affected by this broad-based acceptance of Evolutionary Theory was Theology, with the person most responsible for its application to Biblical Scholarship being a German rationalist scholar named Julius Wellhausen…

Wellhausen was an Old Testament scholar, an intellectual, and a theologian…and produced a colossal change within the church by presenting to the Christian community a new, and he would say better, way of understanding the Bible.

He held…that human reason was totally dependable and insisted that it was the Bible that could not seriously be trusted.  He presented the idea that the Bible, far from being the Word of God, was in fact a sublime collection of human documents.  For instance, he insisted that we must not hold that Moses wrote the Pentateuch.  Rather, this history of early man was given to us by a number of writers, whose views were compiled to form what we now call the Pentateuch.  Therefore, the story of Adam and Eve is a lovely myth that can illustrate certain truths, but it surely does not represent the actual story of people whom God called ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve.’

Exodus, he thought, was completely historical; prior to that, all was myth.

During his career as a theological professor, Wellhausen published many books in the German language on the subject of biblical criticism.  Over the years, his reputation grew as the leader of a school of thought concerning a method of interpreting the Old Testament Scriptures.  This school of thought came to be called Higher Criticism…[6]

…a school whose scholars…

…’seek to explain Old Testament belief in God in terms of evolution.  They would have Old Testament monotheism be the resultant from lower stages, or from polytheism, or regard it as a peculiar instinct of the Semites, or as borrowed from neighboring nations.’[7]

The lasting effect of all this was…

Wellhausen’s scholarship became an important contribution to liberalism as it sought to demythologize the Bible by taking God and spiritual things out of it.  Through this means, Wellhausen opened the door for subsequent scholars to expand the base of liberalism and add to it their own interpretations of biblical truth.  Some found the Bible to be an endless round of allegories rather than necessary historical truth.

The logical consequence of all this speculation was a defection from sound doctrine by the church and its leadership, as well as a fundamental shift in religious allegiance from Christianity to an empty humanist religion.[8]

Satan’s Plan is to “Train up a child in the way…(Prov. 22:6)” he wants him to go.

3. Corrupting the Public School Curriculum***

With the seminaries no longer producing ministers who believed the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, the Church lost much of its spiritual power and was fast becoming more of a social institution, preaching a social gospel.  As such, it…

…abdicated its responsibility to be a corrective within society and instead cooperated with the golden promises of the secular humanists.  Moving with the tide, the church quickly changed its message of salvation through the cleansing of the blood of Christ to a message of salvation through the improvement of the social structure…

…thus, leading to the conclusion that…

If man is no longer a sinner, all he needs is education and inspiration, and the flame of bright possibility will burn brilliantly in all society.[9]

Of course, Satan had a man ready to step into the situation—one who would revolutionize the educational system that was training new teachers, and the one that was shaping the minds of the children in the Public Schools of America.  This man, known as the “father of progressive education,” was John Dewey—a socialist and one of America’s leading atheists—who wrote…

There is no God and no soul.  Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion.  With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable (unchangeable) truth is also dead and buried.  There is no room for fixed, natural law or permanent moral absolutes.[10]

Dewey viewed public education as being…

…a massive behavior-shaping tool and enterprise.  Dewey knew that that you could sway the beliefs of a generation in the classroom and thereby alter the course of society.  He saw the public school system as an ideal platform to proselytize his radical socialistic view.  Regardless of what the parents believed, it was only a matter of time before the successive generation took over.

But John Dewey’s ideas did not just come out of a vacuum.  He was influenced by an insider group of intellectuals in England known as the Fabian Socialists…an elite intelligentsia of world socialists who envisioned an end to war and poverty by a united world order dedicated to the ideals of socialistic humanism.

Unlike Marxists, who advocated bloody revolution for world socialism, the Fabian Socialists of Britain advocated a more gradualist path to socialistic globalism.  The plan of these early one-worlders was to use intellectual penetration, from the top of the pyramid down, into key areas of influence on society.  Elite minds were to influence and change the social order.[11]

A brief resume for Dewey reveals that…

  • He began his career teaching classics, science, and algebra to high school students.
  • From there, he went to John Hopkins University, where he earned his doctorate in 1884.
  • That same year, he became a professor at the University of Michigan, where he stayed for ten years.
  • Then, in 1894, he became chairman of the Department of Philosophy, Psychology, and Education at the University of Chicago. While there, he ‘…founded the Laboratory School, which then became known as the Dewey School, and wrote a number of important books on education.’
  • In 1904, he took on his longest and most influential position as chairman of the Education School at Columbia University in New York City; and…

…from this position of influence, he labored until his retirement in 1930, gaining international prominence for his radical views in education and philosophy.  The Columbia Teacher’s College soon became a training center for teachers from around the world, thereby spreading Dewey’s education philosophy literally to the ends of the earth.[12]

The Effects of Dewey’s Progressive Education

So, how has Satan used Dewey’s views on education and his tenure at Columbia Teacher’s College to transform the mindsets of students and teachers across America?

Dewey knew that to penetrate the existing social order a united front of educators, who embodied the new viewpoint, needed to emerge from graduate schools.  These teachers of teachers would then influence future teachers.  Among the new views was a national self-criticism that spurned narrow patriotism for a broader globalism.  At the same time all traditional values were to be questioned, from parental authority to the validity of established religion.

Rather than equipping the child to handle the demanding academic and moral standards of the old order, with its McGuffey Reader and its implicit moral virtues, Dewey’s progressive education considered behavior-shaping as its highest education priority.  ‘Socialization’ was now defined as a type of learning at least equal to traditional learning.  Now the old morals and ethics could be replaced by situational ethics or ‘values clarification.’  Reading, writing, and arithmetic took a backseat to an array of experimental programs such as ‘sensitivity training.’  The virtues of hard work were replaced by new permissive standards that would pass a failing child rather than ‘harm’ him by labeling him a failure.  Total equality was the new ideal…[13]

Now, if we go back to our question of why anyone would choose to buy into the meaningless and fatalistic existence offered by the Secular Worldview, we have our answer.  It’s because they have been duped by the master deceiver into thinking that it is the only viable one out there—which is why, for a lot of people…

It’s more comfortable to feel that we’re a slight improvement on a monkey thin a fallin’ off from the angels.[14]

 


I, on the other hand, would prefer to believe that I am a unique creation of my Heavenly Father’s Love, rather than anything remotely similar to a monkey…

 

*** I am well aware that there are many fine, godly educators in the public school system–my husband being one of them–so in referring to the corruption of public education, I am referring to the system and not to those ministering so faithfully as teachers–so often overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated.  I am also so grateful for the truly dedicated teachers who have taught all five of our sons over the years.

[1] Information on the creation myths of ancient cultures is summarized from these sources:
Philip Wilkinson, DK Illustrated Dictionary of Mythology (New York: DK Publishing Inc., 2006), 22-23, 46-47.
Kenneth C. Davis, Don’t Know Much about Mythology (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005), 137-150, 370-373.

[2] A.E. Wilder-Smith, Man’s Origins, Man’s Destiny (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers,1975), 33.

[3] Professor H. Enoch, Evolution or Creation (London, England: Evangelical Press, 1967), 86.

[4] Taken from an article, with no author or date given, on the website https://www.allaboutcreation.org/catastrophism-versus-uniformitarianism-faq.htm.

[5] John N. Moore, M.S., Ed.D., 1977. The Impact of Evolution on Social Sciences (http://www.icr.org/article/impact-evolution-social-sciences), Acts & Facts.6(10).

[6] Dave Breese, Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave (Chicago: Moody Press, 1990), 91-93, 95.

[7] Breese, Seven Men, 93.

[8] Breese, Seven Men, 95.

[9] Breese, Seven Men, 153.

[10] Gary H. Kah, En Route to Global Occupation (Lafayette, Louisiana: Huntington House Publishers, 1991), 60.

[11] Tal Brooke, When the World Will Be as One (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1989), 100-101.

[12] Breese, Seven Men, 157-158.

[13] Brooke, When the World Will Be as One, 103-104.

[14] Finley Peter Dunne, “On the Descent of Man,” Mr. Dooley on Making a Will and Other Necessary Evils; 1919.

The image of Pan Ku provided by Wikimedia.

 

Spiritual Warfare: A Question of Authority

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The Workout Room

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So far, in our efforts to become more spiritually fit, we have successfully worked our way through three of the four levels of exercise in our Workout Program; where, at…

     Level 1, we covered the basics of our Faith; learning how, through Salvation, we are Redeemed from Sin and Death, and adopted as children into the Family of God.

     Level 2, we dealt with Sanctification; or, the life-long training process by which the Holy Spirit transforms us from the Sinners we once were into Holy Sons and Daughters of God.

     Level 3, we learned about Service; or, the Work of God that we, as His Children—the Church—have been commissioned to carry out. It was here that we were introduced to the concept that…

…as the Corporate Body of Christ, we are to reach out to those in the world around us, bringing them the good news of God’s Love and Salvation;
…as the Corporate Soul of Christ, we are to relate as Family to those who are already a part of God’s Family; and,
…as the Corporate Spirit of Christ, we are to serve as the Army of Spiritual Warriors charged with the task of liberating those still held in captivity by Satan, and taking his territory captive for the Kingdom of God.

Since this last matter deals with Spiritual Warfare, something which we have only recently touched upon, we will make its study the objective of this fourth and final Level of Exercise in our Program—a Program which, when completed, will have helped us…

Define our Position, as a Child of God;
Refine our Person, as a Child of God;
Outline our Purpose, as a Child of God; and,
Underline our Power, as a Child of God. 

It is through this progressive pattern of growth—from Position to Person to Purpose to Power—that we have advanced from our original state of spiritual infancy to God’s more highly desired state of spiritual maturity, becoming better equipped along the way for our eternal destiny with Jesus Christ.

Not How to Spend Eternity

It’s Certainly Not Biblical

What is this destiny for which we, as the Children of God, are presently being equipped?   Contrary to one of the more popular conceptions of what life will be like in the hereafter, we will not be floating around on a cloud, with a crown on our heads and nothing better to do than strum on our harps for all eternity.  Not only is this a perfectly wasteful—not to mention boring—way to spend one’s everlasting life, but it in no way compensates us for all of the hardships we suffered through during our earthly sojourns.  And, it certainly doesn’t call for any specialized equipping on our parts to prepare for it.

On the other hand, the destiny that God has planned for us is a gloriously challenging one.  In keeping with His divinely ordained principles of Sowing and Reaping, it is one that will provide us with levels of rewards commensurate with the levels of faithfulness we have demonstrated during our times of training on the earth, and elevate us to positions of authority in the coming Kingdom of God.  From these positions, we will exercise the Dominion originally gifted to us by God, lost to us as a result of the Fall, and restored to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Destined for Dominion, Subjected to Slavery 

We first learned about this matter of Dominion during one of our visits to the story of Adam and Eve.  For, it was there that, upon his creation, Man—as both Male and Female—was commanded by God to fill the earth with people, and to rule over everything in it.  This Right to Rule, however, was lost when Adam, as a result of his disobedience to God, forfeited his Position of Power—a position which Satan immediately claimed as his own.

In his classic book, Destined for the Throne, the late Paul Billheimer explains some of the legal issues involved in this transfer of power…

The entire universe is governed by law…God’s grant of authority and dominion over the earth to man was a bona-fide gift.  This authority and dominion became legally his.  What he did with it was his own responsibility.  If, so to speak, he ‘fumbled the ball’ and lost it, God could not lawfully step in and repossess it for him.[1]

We know from Romans 6:16 that…

…if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness.

Therefore, when Adam chose to obey Satan instead of God, he became Satan’s slave.  And…

As a slave of Satan, Adam lost all of his legal rights, not only to his person but also to his domain.  This gave Satan legal authority to rule over man and the earth.  If Satan’s dominion was to be revoked, a way had to be found to redeem fallen man and recover his lost authority without violating universal principles of justice.

No angel could enter the contest because these legal rights were never his.  Thus a member of Adam’s race had to be found who could qualify to enter suit in universal court and wrest Adam’s lost heritage and dominion from Satan.  The government of the earth had been given to man.  It was lost by man.  It could be legally recovered only by a man.[2]

But where was such a man to be found?  To qualify for the task at hand, he would have to be a full-fledged human being; and yet, because Adam and all those who would eventually descend from him had become the slaves of Satan, he would have to be sinless in order to be free from Satan’s control…

To the human mind the situation was hopeless, but God found a way.  ‘When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons’ (Gal. 4:4).  God solved the problem by the Incarnation.

Since Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, the divine nature was present in Him.  Because he was sinless, Satan had no claim upon Him.  But because He was ‘made of a woman,’ He was an authentic human being and could therefore qualify as a bona-fide member of the human race to enter the legal fight to reclaim Adam’s lost estate.[3]

Victory in Jesus

He Has Made Us More than Conquerors

The Spiritual Battle to the Cross 

Although I can’t think of anyone who would willingly sign up for a task like this, the spiritual battle to win back our freedom that Jesus freely committed Himself to was one that was repeatedly characterized by humiliation, rejection, opposition, and affliction; which, when you put them all together, add up to a whole lot of suffering.

Just think of the humiliation involved when…

…Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2: 5-8).

Or, the rejection He must have experienced when…

  • His family…went out to seize him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind (Mark 3:21).
  • The people in His hometown said, ‘Where did this man get these things?  What is the wisdom given to him?  How are such mighty works done by his hands?  Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?  And are not his sisters here with us?’  And they took offense at him (Mark 6: 2-3).
  • John the Baptist sent messengers to Jesus, asking, ‘Are you [sure] you are the one [the Messiah] who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ (Matt. 11:3)
  • Upon hearing some of Jesus’ hard sayings, ‘…many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.’  (John 6:66)

As for opposition, Jesus had that in abundance; for, even as a child, when He was perceived to be a contender for his throne, King Herod tried to have Him killed.  And later, during His earthly ministry, He found Himself constantly at odds with all factions of Jewish society…

  • With the Sadducees, because He threatened their economic and political power;
  • With the Pharisees, because they considered Jesus a law-breaker, and His teachings overturned their religious traditions;
  • With the Essenes, the ascetics of the day, who considered Jesus too worldly because He socialized with “sinners;”
  • With the Zealots, or the anarchists of the day, because Jesus preached a message of love instead of rebellion; and,
  • With the people who, in their apathy, did not want to be confronted with change.

And, when it came to affliction, no one has ever endured more.  Of Him, it was said that…

…he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.  By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?  (Is. 53: 2-8)

And, if all this wasn’t enough, from the time of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry until the moment when He drew His final breath, Satan, in an effort to take Him captive through sin just like the first Adam, was constantly working to trip Him up…

The fallen Lucifer, once the Light Bearer, the guardian of the throne of God, the highest of all pre-Adamic created beings, marshaled all of the available resources of the underworld in an effort to break down the allegiance of the God-man to His heavenly Father.  One weakness revealed, one thought of rebellion or self will entertained, and all of Jesus’ efforts to repossess the world and its enslaved race from the usurping god of the world would be lost.[4]

But, Praise God, in spite of all this pressure, Jesus didn’t give in; for…

When Jesus died without failing in the smallest detail, His death resulted not only in defeating Satan’s purpose to obtain a claim upon Him—it also canceled all of Satan’s legal claim upon the earth and the whole human race…

Therefore, since Calvary, Satan has absolutely no rights or claims upon anyone or anything.  Whatever authority he carried with him on his banishment from heaven passed into the hands of the new Man along with the lost heritage of Adam[5]

Dominion Restored

So We Can Rule and Reign with Him Throughout Eternity

Our Authority Restored

It is this authority that Jesus restored to His disciples; the same authority…

…to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you (Luke 10:19)…

…that Jesus delegated to the seventy-two He sent out to proclaim the Kingdom of God—and, it is the same authority that we possess today.  For…

As individuals we have authority over all the combined powers of the enemy.  This is an incredible, wonderful truth.  Everything at Satan’s disposal—every demon, every coven, every cult and religion, every work, and every influence—is subject to the authority given to us by Jesus.

When Jesus rose from the dead after ripping the usurped authority from Satan’s hands, He did not immediately go to heaven.  He stopped off to see the eleven remaining disciples…Jesus handed to them the authority He had taken from Satan.  The authority legally changed hands once more and belonged to man again.[6]

This truth is what we need to keep at the forefront of our thinking as we approach our upcoming exercises in Spiritual Warfare—because our success in any battle will be totally dependent upon our acknowledgement of the One who has already won the victory.  Satan and his demons certainly know who it is; for, it was Jesus who, after overcoming every form of Spiritual Warfare in His life–on the Cross and through His resurrection…

…disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them (Colossians 2:15).

Even so, Satan and his legions continue to fight on, using our ignorance of the authority in Christ as one of their chief means of success.  Let’s determine not to give them that critical edge over us; always bearing in mind that, in whatever situation we may find ourselves, the One who won the war for us has already been there on our behalf…

…For, we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Therefore…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  (Hebrews 12:1-4)

The Victory of the Cross

The War Has Already Been Won for Us by Jesus

 

 

The Gaither Vocal Band reminds us of who we are in “On the Authority”…

 

 

[1] Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1975), 73.

[2] Billheimer, Destined, 73-74.

[3] Billheimer, Destined, 74.

[4] Billheimer, Destined, 76.

[5] Billheimer, Destined, 79-80.

[6] Dean Sherman, Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian (Seattle, Washington: YWAM Publishing, 1990), 130-131.

Sanctification: Regeneration Perfected

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Regeneration

In our first set of exercises, we began stretching our spiritual muscles as we learned some of the basic principles of Salvation…

We also learned that Salvation is the process by which God redeems lost sinners—those who have been in bondage to the world, the flesh, and the devil since their births; buying their freedom for them through the substitutionary death of Christ on the Cross and thus making it possible for them to be adopted into the family of God as His children.

A person’s Salvation isn’t limited to his just being adopted by God, though; it also involves his being transformed into a true Christ-resembling Child of the Most High.  That’s because, once a person becomes a child of God through the process known as the New Birth, he or she can no longer continue to think, speak, and act like the sinner he or she once was; instead, he or she must learn to think and behave in a manner befitting the son or daughter of a Holy King.  And, this is where Sanctification comes into play.

 

Sanctification

As we discovered in Salvation: What It Is and Why We Need It, Sanctification is the second of the three Stages in Salvation, with the first being Redemption and the last being Glorification; and, that it means…

To make holy; set apart as sacred; consecrate;
To purify or free from sin;
To make productive of or conducive to spiritual blessing. 

And, according to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, it is something which…

…involves more than a mere moral reformation of character, brought about by the power of the truth:  it is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing the whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul in regeneration.  In other words, sanctification is the carrying on to perfection the work begun in regeneration, and it extends to the whole man.[1]
 

The Work of Regeneration

In order to better understand the work being referred to here, we will need to go back to Salvation:  How Do We Get It, where we learned that…

…Regeneration is the act by which our dead spirits are brought back to life again by the Holy Spirit of God…

…and, where we learned that the need for this regeneration goes all the way back to Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden.  For, it was then that their spirits, as well as those of all of their future descendants, died—or, were separated or cut off from God.  As for how this spiritual death impacted them, and us, in practical terms, it completely shut down the communication system God had established between Him and Man; and, it overturned the authority structure He had designed for His entire created world.

System Failure and Structural Collapse

When God created man, He fashioned him with a Spirit, Soul, and Body, so that…

  • Through his Spirit, he could relate to and communicate with God;
  • Through his Body, he could relate to and function in the physical world; and,
  • Through his Soul, consisting of his mind, will, and emotions, he could not only relate to other human beings, but his soul could also serve as the connecting point between his spirit and his body.

When this system was functioning as it should—which was, before the entrance of sin into the world—it meant that…

  • God’s Spirit could speak to man’s spirit, telling him what God wanted him to do;
  • Man’s spirit could relay that message to man’s soul; and,
  • Man’s soul could then direct man’s body to carry out the command it had been given by God…

…and, in this way, the will of God would be carried out on the earth by man.

As for the authority structure that God had devised for His creation, it was ordered along very similar lines—with God at the top of the structure and Man next in authority under Him; then, with Woman, an equal partner with her husband, yet coming under his authority—to be followed lastly by the creatures in the animal world.  Given that this arrangement was one which was ordained by God, it should come as no surprise that in his scheme to overturn it, Satan would come disguised in the form of an animal (a creature at the bottom rung of the ladder) and present himself first to the woman (on the next level up), who would then turn around and entice the man (on the next higher rung) to disobey God.

Unfortunately, and certainly unforeseen by our forbearers, this colossal structural collapse marked the beginning of what would turn out to be mankind’s perpetual rebellion against authority in every form; manifesting itself not only in his rebellion against God’s authority, but also in the rebellion of wives against husbands, children against parents, workers against employers, and the governed against those governing them.  It was a rebellion which also gave rise to an egocentric lust for power which would eventually lead to the commission of every other kind of sin that man could imagine.

This entrance of sin into the world also resulted in the failure of the once ideal system of communication between God and Man.  Instead of the top down system previously described, it became a bottom up one in which man’s flesh, instead of his spirit, began dictating to him what his thoughts, feelings, and actions should be.  That’s because, with the death or separation of man’s spirit from God’s Spirit because of sin, there was no longer any communication between God and man; a situation which left man’s powerful fleshly appetites to determine what he would or would not do in any given situation.  And, this is the way that it has been ever since.

The Apostle James explains the consequences of this system failure in the following way…

…what causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?  Is it not this, that your passions are at war with you?  You desire and do not have, so you murder.  You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel (James 4:1-2)…

…each person is tempted when he lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death (James 1:13-15).

The Effects of the Fall
Extending Regeneration to the Whole Man

Since the unregenerate, or…

…the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14)…

…when a person becomes Born Again, it then becomes the work of the Holy Spirit, through the process of Sanctification, to restore what was lost to that person as a result of The Fall and to reprogram him as to the right way to live.  As we have just learned, this means that…

  • His soul will have to be restored to its proper function; and,
  • His inborn tendency to rebel against authority will have to be dealt with and brought under control.

Rebellion to Submission

Although this work is a challenging one, and one taking a lifetime to complete, its success will be insured by the presence of the Holy Spirit who, once a person is regenerated, takes up residence within him.  Working from the inside out, He not only begins teaching this new Child of God the right way to live, but He provides him with the supernatural power needed for him to succeed.  Evidences of this success will become apparent in the life of the believer as…

  • He learns to communicate with God, his Father, through Prayer;
  • His mind is transformed into the mind of Christ through the Study of God’s Word;
  • The character of Christ is formed in him through Testing;
  • The works of Christ are reproduced in his service through the Gifts of the Spirit; and,
  • He learns to successfully wage Spiritual Warfare through his respect for and submission to God’s Authority Structure.

We will learn more about this process of spiritual transformation in our upcoming workout sessions, as we begin the basic exercises in Sanctification dealing with Prayer, the Bible, Worship, the Fruit of the Spirit and Testing; with these to be followed later by the more advanced exercises in Service, the Gifts of the Spirit, and Spiritual Warfare.  Before moving on to these, however, we first need to become better acquainted with our Trainer and Coach, the Holy Spirit, whom we will meet when we get together for our next session.  Until then…

…may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Thes. 5:23)

 

Smiley Face with Earphones2
The Sidewalk Prophets remind us that our salvation makes all things new…

 

[1]  Sanctification. Dictionary.com. Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/sanctification (accessed: April 07, 2016).

 

 

Salvation: How Do We Get It?

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Way to SalvationNow that we have a better idea of what Salvation is and why we need it, let’s stretch our spiritual muscles a little further as we learn how to appropriate this wonderful gift for ourselves–through something called the New Birth.  Although some may consider the “head” knowledge of Salvation we gained in our previous workout session to be sufficient, that mere intellectual knowledge will prove to be woefully inadequate in providing us with the foundation we will need for our upcoming exercises in practical Christianity.  For the purposes of this program, then, we can gain an experiential knowledge of Salvation (if it hasn’t been done already) through an active participation in each of the following four exercises…

Exercise #1—The Mandate for the New Birth
Exercise #2—The Spiritual Dynamics of the New Birth
Exercise #3—The Legalities of the New Birth
Exercise #4—Making the New Birth Personal


Exercise #1—The Mandate for the New Birth

In His encounter with Nicodemus, one of the religious leaders of His day, Jesus made the New Birth mandatory for anyone seeking entrance into the Kingdom of God.  This meeting, recorded for us in John 3:1-14, took place one night when Nicodemus sought out Jesus for reasons which were never really made clear.  That’s because, before Nicodemus had a chance to reveal the motivation for his visit, Jesus told him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God (V.3).”  Thinking like a natural man, Nicodemus tried to figure out how he could go back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time.  To this, Jesus responded, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not be amazed that I said unto you, ‘You must be born again’ (vv. 5-7).”

Mandate for the New Birth

The Mandate for the New Birth

In this statement, Jesus made it clear that there is a fixed gulf which exists between our fleshly and spiritual beings; and that, while everyone born into the natural world will initially be born into a fleshly or physical state, only those who have been regenerated by the Spirit of God will be born into life in the Spirit.  Here, then, we find the mandate, given by Jesus Himself, that anyone who hopes to see God and participate in His kingdom must be born again. However, what we aren’t told here is the reason why this New Birth is necessary, or the way that we go about experiencing it.

Exercise #2—The Spiritual Dynamics of the New Birth…

If we are to understand the reason for Jesus’ mandate, we first need to learn about the dynamics involved in the New Birth; dynamics which have everything to do with regeneration.  Since, by definition, regeneration isthe act of bringing something into existence again—that is, to form again, or to be made new—for us…

…Regeneration is the act by which our dead spirits are brought back to life again by the Holy Spirit of God. 

But, why is this necessary?

To answer to that question, we must go all the way back to the beginning of human history; back to the time when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.  That’s  when their spirits, as well as those of all of their future descendants, died because their sin caused them to be separated or cut off from God.  This meant  that every human being who would ever live, with the exception of Jesus Christ, would be born spiritually dead—or, with a spirit cut off from its source of life in God.

In his book, The Spiritual Man, Watchman Nee explains what is meant when we speak about this state of spiritual death…

…when we say the spirit is dead it does not imply there is no more spirit; we simply mean the spirit has lost its sensitivity towards God and thus is dead to Him.  The exact situation is that the spirit is incapacitated, unable to communicate with God…it remains in a coma as if non-existent.

Because of this spiritual death, no descendant of Adam has ever been able to have, much less maintain, a relationship with God while remaining in his or her natural or fleshly state.  The New Birth, then, is what occurs when God’s Spirit brings a man’s spirit back to life and restores that man’s lost relationship to God, making it possible for him to communicate with God once again.  But—and this is a very BIG BUT—before this can happen, there are certain legalities which must be addressed, legalities involving our repeated violations of God’s laws.

Exercise #3—The Legalities Involved in the New Birth…

As we learned back in Salvation—What It Is and Why We Need It, each of us has, throughout our lives, repeatedly offended God by violating His laws, or His codes of acceptable moral and spiritual conduct; and, in the process, we have unwittingly erected a barrier—or a wall of offence—between Him and us, something which makes any relationship between us impossible.  Until such a time as we confess our faults—or, until we agree with God about what we have done wrong, and seek His forgiveness—we will continue to be “cut off” from Him; losing whatever opportunities we may have had to get to know Him and to experience His grace.  Thus, the elimination of our offenses against God, as well as the removal of the wall which those offenses have created, is what the New Birth is all about.

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The Wall of Offense Between God and Us

Unfortunately, because most of us have no concept of what God’s righteous requirements for relationship with Him are, we don’t know what we have done to offend Him.  Most of us have lived our lives according to the codes of conduct that we have acquired from our parents, picked up from our friends and associates, or created for ourselves in response to the ever-changing circumstances of life.  Unlike God’s immutable standard of holiness, our concepts of what constitutes right and wrong have been derived from very human and fallible sources and, as a result, tend to have very nebulous boundaries.  Consequently, the principles by which we live are often adapted to the situations in which we find ourselves at any given moment, with what is true and right in one situation differing from that in another.  With backgrounds steeped in such a relativistic system of ethics, how are we to know for sure what God’s requirements are; and, how can we understand what our offenses against Him have been?

The only way we can know how we have missed God’s “mark” for acceptable behavior (with “sin” being defined as “missing the mark” of God) is through the Bible, where God has set forth His standard of righteousness, or right living, in Exodus 20: 1-17—a standard we know today as the Ten Commandments.  In these commandments, He makes it clear that, in order for us to have a spiritual relationship with Him, we must meet certain conditions:

  1. We can have no gods other than Him; ours is to be a personal and an exclusive relationship;
  2. We cannot make an idol, or anything in the form of a person, or an object from the natural or spiritual world, which we worship in His place; so, no person, possession, position, pleasure, power or money can be substituted for Him;
  3. We cannot take His name in vain—that is, use His name in a disrespectful or dishonest manner.  We are not to use God’s name as a swear word, or to legitimatize or authorize any activity which He has not sanctioned;
  4. We are to remember the Sabbath day, or one day in seven as a day of rest and worship, and keep it holy, or set apart for Him;
  5. We are to honor our parents, respecting them as God’s appointed authorities in our lives;
  6. We are not to murder; or, according to Jesus in an expanded version found in Matthew 5: 22, to even harbor hatred in our hearts toward another person;
  7. We cannot steal—that is, take anything which is not ours, including money, property, an employer’s time, a person’s reputation, or the affection of someone who belongs to another;
  8. We cannot commit adultery, or any sexual sin, either by thinking about it or actually doing it (see Matthew 5: 28 for another amplified rendition);
  9. We cannot bear false witness or lie about anyone else; and,
  10. We are not to covet, or want for our own, anything that belongs to another person; this includes his or her spouse, children, positions, possessions, personalities, looks, or money.
The Laws of God

The Laws of God

Since we all have violated these laws at one time or another, how can we, as naturally unrighteous people, meet such rigorous demands for righteousness and enter into a relationship with God?  In all honesty, we can’t—at least, not on our own.  We must have the help of Someone Else who can meet these demands on our behalf; Someone who can bridge the gap between God’s holiness and our sinful condition, thereby making a relationship between God and us possible.

Exercise #4—Making the New Birth Personal

Since God is the only One who completely understands the strict demands of His law, as well as man’s total inability to meet those demands, He took it upon Himself to create a plan by which Someone named Jesus could bring God and man together.  And, for us to understand how this plan works, here is what we need to know:

  • The Bridge Between God and Man

    Our Lifeline to God

    First, we need to understand that God is so holy that anyone who comes into His presence must be free from any and all impurities, or else he will die.  When God told Adam that if he ate from the forbidden tree he would die, He was making clear to him the principle that “…the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23)” and that “the person who sins will die (Ezekiel 18:20).”

  • Since the law of God’s holiness requires that sin’s offenses be paid for by death, the one who has offended Him must die to satisfy the judgment imposed upon him by the law.
  • However, God in His grace also stipulated in His law that a substitution could be made for the offender—that is, the sinner could avoid paying the penalty for his own violations of God’s law if he could find Someone else who was willing to die in his place.  But, in order to qualify as such a substitution, this Someone could not be a person who was himself a sinner—he would have to be a person without guilt in order to satisfy everyone of God’s specific rules for holiness.  The only person who has ever lived who could meet these demands was Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
  • Therefore, God sent Jesus into the world to live a life of sinless perfection; a life which would fulfill all of the righteous demands of the law. Then, Jesus died an agonizing death on the cross—a death which paid sin’s penalty, and one which could be substituted for the death required of each and every sinner who would ever live.
  • In addition to paying the price for everyone’s sin through His substitutionary death, Jesus also conquered the power of death once and for all when He was raised from the dead to live again forever.
  • But, even though Jesus’ death paid the price for everyone’s sin, the payment for any individual’s penalty would not automatically be credited to him:

     First, he must come humbly before God, acknowledging that he has violated the laws of     God and is unable to meet God’s demands for righteousness on his own, in order to receive, by faith, what Christ has done on his behalf;
    –  He can then exchange his sin for the gift of salvation graciously made available to him through Christ’s sacrificial death; and,
      With this transaction, the wall of offense separating him from God will come down, his spirit will be Born Again, and God’s Spirit will come to live within him and begin teaching how to live like a son of God.

If you aren’t sure that you have experienced this New Birth, then let me urge you to go to God, acknowledge the offenses which have kept you spiritually dead and alienated from Him, and ask Him, for Jesus’ sake, to remove them.  When you do, the Holy Spirit will come to live within your spirit and you, too, will be born again as a child of God.

Born Again

“You must be born again.” — John 3:7

 

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The Talley Family shares the story of our Salvation in this moving medley…

Salvation: What It Is and Why We Need It

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When it comes to thinking about Salvation, there seem to be two vastly different approaches to the subject.  Although both of these are very broad generalizations…

  • To the “Unsaved,” Salvation is often regarded as either–
    • an antiquated theological doctrine, designed to rob life of its happiness and any sense of personal fulfillment; or,
    • a religious crutch for those who lack the intelligence, sophistication, attractiveness, or success necessary to do life well on their own; while…
  • To the “Saved,” it is often regarded merely as the means by which—
    • their sins are forgiven and their lives are made right with God; and,
    • their eternal destination is changed from Hell to Heaven.

Of course, the first approach is completely inaccurate and the second one is woefully incomplete.  So, in an effort to correct the former and complete the latter, let’s begin to stretch our Spiritual understanding as we learn What Salvation Is, and Why We Need It.

Salvation

We All Need to be Rescued by Jesus


What Salvation Is
 

For a definition of Salvation, I prefer the one found in my little Webster’s pocket dictionary which defines Salvation simply as “a saving or a being saved” or as “a person or thing that saves.”  I like this definition because “a saving” implies an act“a being saved” implies a process; and “a person or thing that saves” implies that salvation is not something that we can do for ourselves—it must come from a source outside of us.  Essentially, this is what Biblical Salvation is all about; for, in reality it is…

  • The One-Time Act of faith which makes a person a child of God;
  • The Life-Long Process of spiritual growth which follows; one that transforms the character and behavior of that person into that of a child of God; and,
  • Jesusthe One Outside of Ourselves who does all of the saving.


The One-Time Act of Faith

As simple as this may seem on the surface, please don’t let its simplicity blind you to the real significance of this One-Time Act of Salvation; for it is the only legitimate, divinely-authorized way in which a Holy God takes a Sinner, or a person who was…

…dead in the trespasses and sins in which [he] once walked, following the course of this world…carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and [was] by nature [a child] of wrath, like the rest of mankind (Eph. 2:1-3)…

…and not only adopts him or her into His family as His own child, but also makes that child a Joint-Heir with His only begotten Son, Jesus!  And, it is through this One-Time Act that a person goes from being alienated from God to being accepted by Him, from religious slavery to spiritual freedom, from unrighteousness to holiness, and from certain death to life everlasting!  So, just how does all of this happen?  Well, through the three stages of Salvation known as Redemption, Sanctification, and Glorification.


Redemption and Why We Need It 

Since the definition of Redemption is…to pay off, as a debt; to buy back or recover; to ransom or to obtain the release of a captive by paying the demanded price; to restore to favor… 

Redemption for our purposes is the act by which our sin debt is paid, making us righteous in the sight of God and releasing us from the penalty and power of sin. 

This act is a necessity for us because while God is holy, due to the sin nature we all inherited from Adam and Eve, we are not.  Therefore, before any of us can be reconciled to God and any adoption can take place, something has to be done about the problem of sin in our lives.

The Heart is Desperately Wicked

“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34

While most of us are all too quick to deny that any sin problem exists, it is a spiritual reality that from the moment of our births until the moment of our deaths, we are constantly filling up a “rap sheet” of offenses against God; that is—through our thoughts, words, or deeds, we are repeatedly violating the laws of God’s righteousness, with these violations all too judiciously being transcribed into our “permanent records.”  This means that we are all lawbreakers from birth, on the run from God, and unaware of the day looming before us when we will be apprehended and called to appear in His court for judgment.

Guilty

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” –Romans 3:23

Sadly, because we don’t realize or accept the fact that we are sinners, or because we think we will be able to appeal to God on the basis of our morality or relatively good works, we mistakenly think that we can safely put this day of reckoning off until after our deaths. But, this is a disastrous decision which will leave us standing before the Righteous Judge of the Universe, alone, guilty, and without any legal representation.  And, once the charges against us have been read—and our appeals of innocence have been proven to be without merit—this Just Judge will have no other choice but to honor the law and sentence us to the death that the law demands—a death which will mean our eternal separation from God and all things holy.

But, there is a way that such a terrible outcome can be avoided. You see, this Righteous Judge is also the God of love, grace, and mercy—the One who was…

… not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9)…

…and because of that, He made a way to provide us with an Advocate, sort of a court appointed attorney, who will plead the cases of all those who come before Him and acknowledge the crimes for which they are guilty—if they will only do so before they die!

Advocate

Jesus is Our Advocate

This Advocate is Jesus, the Son of God, and He can represent a sinner before God because He is the One who came to earth, lived a sinless life which met the righteous demands of God’s law, and then died an agonizing death on the Cross to pay off the sin debt owed by every human being who has ever lived.  Through the substitution of His death for theirs, deaths which the law calls for, He is able to clear the charges against them and offer them a pardon, without so much as a fine to pay!  Once pardoned, and with their sin records expunged by the blood of Christ, they can stand righteous before God and in a position to be legally adopted as His spiritual children!


As for Sanctification

Since the definition for Sanctification is …to set apart as holy; to consecrate, or to devote to sacred use…

…Sanctification, for us, is the process whereby a new child of God is set apart for the sacred or holy service of God.

In reality, this is the life-long schooling in righteousness that every child of God must undergo if he or she is to realize the eternal purpose for which they were created.  It begins at the moment of adoption when the Holy Spirit of God comes to live within the heart of each new believer, and He begins teaching him what it means to be a child of God.  He does this by…

  • Training him in the laws of God, and then empowering him to obey those laws;
  • Reproducing the character of Christ in him through the development of the “fruit of the Spirit”–or the character qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control;
  • Empowering him to carry out the work of Christ through the various “giftings” of service imparted by the very same Spirit;
  • Teaching him how to worship God, and how to overcome His enemies through prevailing prayer and persistent praise; and,
  • Helping him learn to die to the things of the flesh so that he can learn to live by the power of the Spirit.

This training—which we will discuss in greater detail in a later sessionis designed to totally transform every child of God, until he thinks, speaks, and acts like Jesus; something which, when completed, will prepare him ultimately for his graduation into the glorious and eternal presence of God, his Father.

Glorification

Glorification: The Final Stage of our Salvation


About Glorification…

Since the definition for Glorification is …to give glory to, to honor; to extol; to praise highly

Glorification is what we will experience when, upon our physical deaths, our earthly bodies are replaced by heavenly or glorified ones, and we are ushered into the presence of God where we will receive the inheritance He has promised to His children.

Then, as the legitimate, blood-bought children of God, we will be recognized and honored in heaven, and share in the same glory that is accorded to Christ.  And, having been prepared and equipped through our earthly training process, we will be ready to move into positions of authority as co-regents, or rulers, with Christ, when He sets up His kingdom, first here on earth and later in eternity.

As you can see, Salvation is, in no way, just an antiquated theological doctrine or religious crutch for the needy; neither is it merely about having one’s sins forgiven so he or she can bypass Hell and go to Heaven.  It is the one and only way that we can realize our God-ordained destinies of becoming the Children of God—destinies made possible solely through the sacrificial death of God’s Son, Jesus Christ—and ones which will become realities once we have been Born Again.  

 

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A message worth considering from Francesca Battistelli…

 

 

A New World, An Old Nature

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In our recent critique of Vignette #8 in Act 1, Scene 1 of God’s One Big Story, we talked at length about the many changes thought to have been brought about by the Flood which occurred in Noah’s day.  The ones we discussed were…

  • The change in climate;
  • The change in the landscape;
  • The change in man’s diet;
  • The change in the way society was to be governed;
  • The change in the configuration of the continents; and,
  • The beginnings of the formation of fossils and fossil fuels.
Noah leaving the Ark

Noah and His Family Leaving the Ark

With so many innovations having taken place in such a relatively short space of time, I think that it is safe to say that when Noah and his family stepped out of the Ark,  they stepped into a whole New World.  For all of its power to effect change, though, there was still one thing the Flood wasn’t able to alter—and that was the fallen nature of the eight people who had survived its ravages.  For, when they entered the Ark, they did so as sinful human beings and, when they exited it, they were still in the same fallen condition.  This is the sad truth that will be documented for us in Vignette #9 which, if the flashing lights in the theatre are any indication, is just about ready to begin.

As we settle into our seats once more, with the theatre going dark and the curtains parting yet again, we hear the familiar voice of our offstage Narrator as he announces the inauguration of this whole new era in human history with…

The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  (Ham was the father of Canaan.)  These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed.  (Genesis 9:18-19)

With this announcement, the lights come up on stage, revealing a rustic scene set in a hilly landscape, with a good-sized tent occupying the center of the stage, and with what looks to be a variety of crops growing up behind it.  To one side of the tent, there is a large grape vine and it is here that we see a much older Noah hard at work, tending to his vines.  Mrs. Noah is nowhere to be seen, so we have no idea if she is still alive at this point—and, there are no signs of Noah’s sons either.

Upon first view, the sun is high in the sky—so we know that it is about midday when this scene begins.  But, as we watch Noah continuing to toil, first with the weeding and then with the harvesting of the ripest of the grapes, the sun slowly sets in the background, letting him—and us—know that it is time for his workday to come to an end.  Tired, dirty, and obviously thirsty, Noah goes to the tent, picks up a wineskin and begins drinking from it.

It is here that our Narrator interjects…

Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard.  He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.  (Genesis 9:20-21)

It is not long after this that Ham appears on the scene, followed at a short distance by his two brothers, Shem and Japheth.  Ham calls out several times to his father but when he gets no response, he bursts into his father’s tent—creating a scene described by our Narrator in the following way…

And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside.  Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father.  Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.  (Genesis 9:22-23)

Shem and Japheth Cover Noah

Shem and Japheth Cover Noah

With nighttime quickly setting in, the three brothers close up the tent and leave, only to return the next day after the sun has been up for a few hours.  By this time, Noah has slept off his inebriation and is starting to recall some of what happened the night before.  As our Narrator relates it…

When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan:  a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.’

He also said, ‘Blessed be the Lord the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.  May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.”  (Genesis 9:24-27)

Following these rather enigmatic pronouncements, and without any further explanation as to their meaning or significance, the lights dim and the stage goes dark—while our Narrator brings closure to Noah’s life with the following remarks…

After the flood Noah lived 350 years.  All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died.  (Genesis 9:28-29)

Thinking that this Vignette is over, we begin to stir in our seats—only to be startled into stillness again by the sudden appearance of three spotlights focused on the front of the stage—with one on our left, one in the center, and one on our right.  We then hear our Narrator as he speaks again…

These are the generations of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.   Sons were born to them after the flood.  (Genesis 10:1)

After pausing briefly, he continues with…

The Sons of Japheth…

…and, as he does, Japheth steps out of the still darkened set at the rear of the stage and moves forward into the spotlight on the left.  Resuming his commentary, our Narrator begins calling out the names of Japheth’s sons

Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.

As each name is called, a man enters from offstage, walks over to Japheth, and takes his place behind him.  Then, for some reason, our Narrator calls out names of a few, but not all, of Japheth’s grandsons…

The sons of Gomer were Askenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.  The sons of Javan were Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.  From these the coastland people spread in their lands…

As he does, they, too, appear on the stage and take their places behind their respective fathers.  When the last one is in place, the process is repeated for Ham and, as he is called out to his place in the center spotlight, our Narrator announces that…

The sons of Ham were Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan…

These men also take their places behind their father and as they do, our Narrator, calls attention to Cush, and one of his more notorious sons…

The sons of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca.  The sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan.

Cush fathered Nimrod:  he was the first on earth to be a mighty man.  He was a mighty hunter before the Lord.  Therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.’  The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.   From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen…

Then, after naming the many sons of Egypt and Canaan, our Narrator calls Shem forward to take his place in the spotlight on the right side of the stage, and begins introducing his descendants in the following way…

To Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, children were born.  The sons of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram.  The sons of Aram were Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.

Arpachshad fathered Shelah; and Shelah fathered Eber.  To Eber were born two sons:  the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and his brother’s name was Joktan.

As the lengthy list of Joktan’s sons is called out, each one takes his place behind his father; and our Narrator concludes this second of the Bible’s genealogical line-ups with…

These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies with their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.           

Immediately upon the conclusion of his remarks, the men who have been standing at the front of the stage turn and circle around to the rear of it, where they take up new positions and assume their roles as Noah’s descendants for next part of our story.  As they do, the spotlights at the front of the stage dim while the lights come up on the rear of it, exposing a brand new set.  In place of the hilly, farmland one depicted in the previous scene, we now see a flat, virtually tree-less plain, full of ditches and mounds of straw.  We also see many men laboring to make bricks for the partially built tower located at the back of the set.

Building the Tower of Babel

“Building the Tower of Babel” by James Tissot

As we familiarize ourselves with this new scene, our Narrator proceeds to explain the activity we see taking place here…

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.  And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.

And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.  Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.’  (Genesis 11:1-4)

However, unknown to these men, as these they continue to work feverishly at their tasks, the clamor created by their labors rises heavenward—something which God takes immediate notice of, and a problem that our Narrator alerts us to when he says…

And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built.  (Genesis 11:5)

And, as soon as these words are spoken, we hear the deep, resonant Voice of God as it once again reverberates throughout the theatre…

Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.  (Genesis 11:6-7)

The Lord Confuses the Languages at Babel

The Lord Confuses the Languages at Babel

Suddenly, a warm wind sweeps across the stage and as it does, all construction on the tower comes to a halt.  We watch as the workmen try feverishly to communicate with one another but, when all their efforts prove futile, they throw down their tools and walk away from the project in anger.  It is at this point that our Narrator adds…

So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.  Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth.  (Genesis 11:8-9)

With these words, the stage goes dark, the curtains close, and Vignette #9 comes to an end. As promised, this Vignette has demonstrated that even those who were righteous enough to be saved in the Ark were still  sinners by nature after the Flood; and that, sadly, it would be this fallen nature that these regenerators of the earth’s population would pass down to all of their descendants.

To be sure, there has been a lot of material covered in this Vignette.  What, with Noah’s drunkenness, his curse and blessings on his sons, some new characters added to the Story, and a rebellion at Babel, there will be a great deal for us to critique during our next analytical pause.  So, be sure to put your Theatre Critic’s Cap back on in preparation for what promises to be a very informative session about this often problematic portion of our play.

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As the Sidewalk Prophets remind us, all things can and will be made new through Christ…

Image of God confusing the languages at Babel courtesy of www.freebibleimages.org.
Other images courtesy of www.commons.wikimedia.org.

Obedience Doesn’t Come Cheap

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The curtains here at Stage #1, where God’s One Big Story is currently in production, are now opening on Vignette #6 of Act 1, Scene 1 of the Story.  As they do, they reveal a set which, in the absence of any light, appears to be completely empty.  However, when we begin hearing angry shouts, screams, and cursing, as well as the unmistakable sounds of fighting—as unseen fists are meeting with unknown faces in what surely sounds like unrestrained fury—we immediately become aware of the presence of a great many people on the stage, even though they continue to remain invisible to us.

Violence in the age of Noah

“…the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.”

Given the volume of this din, and with what we have so recently learned about the Planet, Population, and Powers at work during this period of human history, we are not at all surprised to hear our off-stage Narrator announce…

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.  And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth (Gen. 6:11-12).

What does surprise us, though, is the sudden appearance of a near-blinding shaft of light, streaming from an overhead spot and directed toward the center of the stage—the place where we now see a man standing alone in the light.  As soon as he comes into view, the commotion in the background diminishes enough for us to hear the Narrator once again, as he says…

[But] Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation.  Noah walked with God.  And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen. 6:8-10).

As Noah continues standing alone in the light, the stage, as well as the entire theatre, suddenly begins to shake as the inimitable voice of God is heard, revealing to Noah the following startling news and very specific instructions…

Spotlight on Noah

Noah Hears From God

I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them.  Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Make yourself an ark of gopher wood.  Make rooms on the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.  This is how you are to make it:  the length of the ark 300 cubits [abt. 450 ft.], its breadth 50 cubits [abt. 75 ft.], and its height 30 cubits [abt. 45 ft.].  Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side.  Make it with lower, second, and third decks.

For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven.  Everything that is on the earth shall die (Gen. 6:13-17).

At this point, there is a brief pause; just long enough for us to wonder what must be going through Noah’s mind upon hearing such an ominous pronouncement.  Surely, he must be questioning what an ark is, what a flood is, and what this will mean to him and his family.  Then, as if to allay any such thoughts—or possible fears—we hear the voice of God say to Noah…

But, I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you and your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you (Gen. 6:18).

And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you.  They shall be male and female.  Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come into you to keep them alive.  Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten and store it up.  It shall serve as food for you and for them (Gen. 6:19-22).

Having finished with His instructions, God stops speaking, and Noah walks off the stage.  As he departs, the spotlight dims and we hear the voice of our Narrator close out this Vignette with…

[And] Noah did this, he did all that God commanded him (Gen.6:22).

With this, the curtains close once again, giving the crew time to reset the stage for the next Vignette—and giving us time to consider just what Noah’s obedience to God’s commands would have cost him. 

The High Price of Obedience 

Although no one knows for sure how long it took Noah to build the Ark, given its enormous size—and the fact that he didn’t have the luxury of (or the electricity for) power tools—it must have taken him many years.  Some understand God’s declaration in Genesis 6:3, “…My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years,” to mean that it would take Noah that long to complete this assignment.  Given the massiveness of the undertaking, the limited number of tools and hands available, the extended life spans of those in Noah’s generation, and the incredible long-suffering of God, this was entirely possible.

If this was so, Noah would have been about 480 years old when he was given this job; which, when considering that he lived for 950 years, would have put him at the midpoint in his life. Since Scripture doesn’t tell us anything about Noah’s occupation prior to this time, we have no way of knowing if he had any carpentry skills or construction experience which would have qualified him for this type of work.  And yet, here at midlife, he was being directed by God to leave whatever vocation he may have had before and take up a new one; one for which he may not have had any preparation, and one from which, for the next 120 years, he would derive no income.  Not only would this job not pay him anything, before it was finished, it would end up costing him a ton of money (in whatever the currency of the day happened to be) for the materials (I can’t help but wonder what Mrs. Noah had to say about this plan when she first heard of it?).

To get a small idea of what these expenses could have amounted to, let’s get out our calculators and do a little math:

  • Using 18 inches as the approximate measure for a cubit, the ark would have measured 450 feet in length, 75 feet in width, and 45 feet in height—a space containing 1,518,750 cubic feet.
  • However, not all of that space would require lumber—only the hull, roof, three floors, interior walls, and doors would have needed it. If these features accounted for roughly one-fourth or 25% of the space, then 379,687.5 cubic feet of lumber would have been needed for the wooden surfaces.
  • Since a board foot of lumber (1” thick, 12” wide, and 1’ long) equals 144 cubic inches of sawed lumber, and 1 cubic foot equals 1,728 cubic inches, then 1 cubic foot (1728 divided by 144) would yield 12 feet of sawed lumber.
  • If the Ark required 379,687.5 cubic feet of sawed lumber, this would translate into 4,556,250 board feet of lumber.
  • Although no one is quite sure what type of wood gopher wood was, it surely must have been a high quality, durable wood—no doubt, one far superior to the pine used for general construction purposes today. However, just for the sake of this discussion, if Noah had used pine for the ark, at today’s price (per Home Depot) of approximately $2.30 per foot, the bill for his wood would have come to $10,479,375—which, when spread out over 120 years, would have amounted to a yearly expenditure of $87,328.13.
  • Of course, these figures do not take into account the cost of the pitch (probably a resinous substance similar to shellac), any wages that Noah may have paid out to hired help, or the food which would be needed to sustain the people and animals on board the Ark for at least a year. They merely help us put Noah’s possible monetary investment into proper perspective.

    Noah Building the Ark

    Noah Building the Ark

As for the 120 years that he invested in this project, any one of the following reasons would have made these years some of the most physically demanding and emotionally and spiritual draining ones of Noah’s life.

  • The work of locating and cutting down the trees, converting them into usable timber, transporting them to the construction site, and incorporating them into the structure of the Ark would have required tremendous amounts of physical strength and ingenuity, not to mention tenacity.
  • With the first of the three sons who would eventually be sheltered with him in the Ark not being born until at least twenty years after he began this project—and since it would be several years after that before they would be old enough to help—apart from hiring extra help, Noah would have had to do the work by himself. Although his father and grandfather were still living throughout most of this period, I am not sure how much help they would have been able to offer him.  He certainly couldn’t have counted on any assistance from his neighbors because, as we learned in our discussion of the Planet, Population, and Powers, they would have been card-carrying members of the society who had rejected God and followed in the path of Cain—some of whom may have even been among those unseen participants in the opening melee of this Vignette.
  • Surrounded as he was by people later described by Jude as those who “…blaspheme all that they do not understand (Jude 10)…” and as “…grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires… loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage (Jude 16)…”—people who no doubt mocked him day and night for undertaking such a foolish project—Noah would not only have been an easy and a frequent target for ridicule and persecution but, because he was living in a violent and demonically-controlled society, his life and those of his family members would have constantly been in jeopardy.
  • Plus, being “…a herald of righteousness…(2 Peter 2:5)”—one preaching to people who, for 120 years, rejected and scoffed at the truth he offered, surely must have caused Noah untold frustration and discouragement; while the knowledge that all of the people he had preached to—some of whom would likely have been near relatives—were going to die alienated from God, certainly must have brought tremendous grief to his heart.
Time and Money

Obedience to God is Costly

So, to recap what we have just discussed, Noah’s obedience to God’s commands cost him…

  • A lot of time;
  • A lot of money;
  • A lot of hard work;
  • A lot of aggravation;
  • A lot of loneliness;
  • A lot of rejection;
  • A lot of humiliation; and,
  • A lot of heartache.

Given the expensive price tag that was attached to it, why did Noah choose to go the way of obedience?  What could possibly have motivated him to give his all to the completion of this work?  For that answer, we need look no farther than Hebrews 11:7a, where we learn that…

By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.

And, I think if we could ask Noah if it was all worth it, he would say that it was, for…

By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith (Hebrews 11:7b)…

…and the payoff doesn’t get any better than that!

Smiley Face with Earphones2

 

Here is Don Moen with “Trust and Obey”–something that Noah certainly knew how to do..