Lockwood’s Reading Vault
Read Bill’s Religious Commentary
Divorce: The Scourge of America
by Bill Lockwood
Nowhere in the Old Testament do we have so much said concerning the evil of divorce than in Malachi chapter 2. It is a sin which cries out mightily to God and its applicability to our own day is obvious. The prophet begins his indictment against God’s people Israel in (verse 10).
First, God says they have actually dishonored God in their divorces. In that the people did not keep their covenant (v. 10) of marriage, what we call the “marriage contract,” implies that they dishonored God. Why? Because the contract of marriage is not simply a civil union to be made or broken as often as men like, but a vow before God. They were “profaning God” by divorcing their wives to replace them with “heathen women” (11).
Second, God had forbidden marriages with heathen (idolatrous) people (11). This law, too, they disregarded. The obvious reason was that partners in life who have different religious views of God and worship strike at the very heart and core of a marriage, which is contracted in honor of God. Important it is to note that the problem marriages in Malachi’s day is religious, not racial or ethnic. Members of other peoples were welcomed into Israelite life and society and into marriage with Israelites so long as they accept the faith of Israel. Christians today need marry those who are in sympathy with God.
Third, a pitiful picture of the horrors divorce causes is given by Malachi. The prophet gives us an unforgettable scene in (v. 13) of a woman who has been “put away” (divorced), who, being heartbroken, covers the altar with her tears. Because of this God will not accept their offerings the husbands bring before Him. It is difficult to avoid the plain implication here. How can a people worship God acceptably while violating the covenant of marriage? This behavior is labeled “dealing treacherously” with the “wife of your youth” (v. 14).
Fourth, the Bible shows us a High View of Women. Unlike the pagan world in which Malachi and the Jews of the OT period lived, where women were treated as so much chattel, God’s Word shows that a wife is a “companion” or “partner” with the man (v. 14). God made them “one spirit” (v. 15). Reference here goes back to Genesis 2:24 wherein husband and wife were made “one.” Let no one suppose that the Bible degrades women. It is the teaching of Holy Writ that has elevated a woman to honor.
Fifth, the reason God wants marriage to be solid is that families may produce a “godly seed” (v. 15). That is to say, anyone desiring to have holy posterity in Israel would not have divorced his wife as they did and married heathen women! Is it necessary to point out the terrible effects divorce has upon children by a selfish society wherein men and women violate their vows before God and seek to raise children in broken homes? Children deserve both a father and mother in the home. Neither polygamy nor divorce are conducive to nurturing children in the fear of God. For these reasons, God finishes: “I hate divorce.”
Ten Lost Tribes?
by Bill Lockwood
The Israelite kingdom split in the days of Rehoboam, son of Solomon. The Northern Kingdom was composed of 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel. Only Judah and Benjamin remained in the Southern Kingdom. The Northern kingdom went into Assyrian captivity in 722 B.C. The Southern Kingdom lasted until 586 B.C.
Regarding the Northern Kingdom, also called “Ephraim” for its largest and most populous tribe, Second Kings 17:6 reads, “In the 9th year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.”
From this passage it is supposed today by many that there continues to exist as a separate entity the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom. These are termed “The Ten Lost Tribes.” This, however, is a grand mistake which is not only unsupported in the text of the Bible, but is contradicted by many passages.
Mormon doctrine is threaded with the fabricated idea of the Ten Lost Tribes. According to Mormon mythology, when the city of Jerusalem was under siege (about 600 B.C.) there was a man named Lehi who had a son Nephi who in turn led faithful Jews away from Israel. They finally migrated to the New World, America, and settled here. Among them were also followers of one named Laman, who were called Lamanites. These were apostate Jews (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p.32) (This is authored by Bruce McConkie, a so-called “Apostle” of the Mormon LDS Church, until his death in 1972).
Even though of the House of Israel, the Lamanites were cursed with dark skin because of their rebellion and were ancestors of the American Indians. “The Indians are repeatedly called Lamanites in the revelations to the Prophet, and the promise is that in due course they ‘shall blossom as the rose’ (McConkie, Doctrine & Covenants, 49:24), that is, become again a white and delightsome people as were their ancestors a great many generations ago” (33).
Joseph Smith went on to say about the Indians that “they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations” (1 Nephi 12:23). When they are converted to Mormonism they shall become “a white and delightsome people” (2 Nephi 30:6; MCKonkie, 429).
No Ten Lost Tribes
Biblically speaking, there are no ten lost tribes. Pertaining to Ephraim, Isaiah prophesied that there would only be a “remnant” that would be saved (Isa. 10:22,23) and that a “full end” had been determined. They would, generally speaking, lose their identity. Paul quotes this in Rom. 9:27-28 to show that though the “children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant would be saved.” He quotes Isaiah 1:9 to the same effect (Rom. 9:29). Most of those carried into captivity by the Assyrians simply merged with the foreign peoples among whom they lived.
Ezekiel prophesied that the two kingdoms, Ephraim (Northern) and Judah (Southern) would be once more joined together as one in the return from captivity (Ezek. 37:15-17). Only a few remained from the tribes, as God had promised, and in the New Testament period there is mentioned even one from the tribe of Asher—one of the “lost tribes.”
In chapter 10 of Zechariah the post-exilic prophet celebrates God’s promise of the return of all twelve tribes from captivity. In a message that might be entitled “The Divine Exaltation of Ephraim” the spokesman of God first reminds them that their present depressed condition, though having returned from captivity, is because they allowed themselves to be misled by false predictions (v. 2). Lack of leadership was a prime cause (v. 3).
Instead of this, God promises that Judah will have leaders from among themselves (v. 4). Added to that is the divine word that in the exilic period both Judah and Ephraim would share in the renewed prosperity (v. 6-7). Ephraim was the largest tribe in the northern kingdom that went into Assyrian captivity (722 B.C.) the the prophets frequently utilized “Ephraim” as standing for all ten tribes of the north. More than that. Ephraim would come out of captivity still and settle in the land (8-10). This occurred in Zechariah’s day and the period immediately following leading up to the Maccabean wars.
Mormonism and the Regathering of Israel
How does the above square once again with the doctrine of Mormonism which supposes there will be a “regathering” of the “Ten Lost Tribes”? One of the main Articles of Faith of the Latter-Day-Saint church, written by Joseph Smith himself, is this: “We believe in the literal gathering and the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent: that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory” (LDS Articles of Faith #10).
Once more, from the Joseph Smith’s Doctrine and Covenants (133:26-34), is the tenet that the ten “lost tribes will receive from the tribe of Ephraim their promised blessings. This physical gathering of Israel will only be complete at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately for Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church, the entire doctrine of a “regathering” of the “ten lost tribes” is founded upon the figment of the imagination of Joseph Smith, who had accepted a “popular” – but unscriptural—doctrine of “Ten Lost Tribes.’
In a lengthy note, OT scholar E.W. Hengstenberg discussed the usage of “Ephraim” in Zechariah 10:8,9 and the historical circumstances surrounding it (Christology of the Old Testament, vol. ii, p. 164).
Great crowds flocked to Judea when the new colony had established itself there, especially in the period between Nehemiah and the Maccabees, about which so little is known. Even those who stayed behind connected themselves closely with the temple, sent their presents, and made pilgrimages thither. Hence according to the view here given, no one need trouble himself to make further inquiries about the dwelling-place of the ten tribes.
Josephus and the 4th Book of Ezra are very poor authorities, on which to found the opinion that they exist somewhere as a distinct people. Such an opinion is inconsistent with prophecy, and particularly with the predictions before us. It is also irreconcilable with the large number of Jews, who lived partly in Judea, and partly in the Diaspora. It is also at variance with 2 Chron. 34:9 from which it is evident that, after the overthrow of the Israelitish state, the remnant of the Israelites, which was still left in the land, entered into religious fellowship with Judah.
And what is true of those, who were left behind, will equally apply to the exiles. Jeremiah 51:5-18 shows the fallacy of the idea. That the inhabitants of Canaan in the time of Christ did not all belong to the tribe of Judah, but on the contrary embraced all the twelve tribes, is evident from the fact that the people are called ‘our twelve tribes’ in Acts 26:7, and also from Luke 2:36. The utter fruitlessness of every attempt, which has been made to discover the ten tribes, is sufficient of itself, in the present state of geographical science to prove that it is quite a mistake, to suppose that the ten tribes have any separate existence, and that they must, in fact, be included in the great body of Jews, to the whole of which the tribe of Judah, as being spiritually the strongest part, has given both is character and name.
The speculative theories pertaining to the “Ten Lost Tribes” has no historical nor biblical evidence with which to support it.
The Bible and the Quran
by Bill Lockwood
“It was not so long ago that Westerners could converse freely about Muhammad, Islam, Muslims and militant Islam, just as they still can about parallel Christian subjects. No longer. ‘How Dare You Defame Islam’ surveys the ways in which violence and intimidation have shut down the frank discussion of these issues. It has reached the strange point that, in a secular, Christian-majority country like the United States, a biographer of Jesus has freedom to engage in outrageous blasphemies while his counterpart working on Muhammad feels constrained to accept the pious Muslim version of the Prophet’s life. I present this silencing as something significant in itself and potential first step toward the imposition of Islamic law” (Daniel Pipes, Militant Islam Reaches America, 2002, xvii-xviii).
Daniel Pipes is currently one of the leading Islamic scholars in the world, the president of the Middle East Forum whose bi-weekly columns appear regularly in newspapers around the globe. The Washington Post labeled him “perhaps the most prominent scholar on radical Islam.” Having received his Ph.D. from Harvard University (1978), Pipes spent six years studying abroad, including three in Egypt. His words are weighty. In the passage above, he essentially warns Americans that Shari’a Law is on the rise in the United States, in part because Americans have allowed “frank discussion” to shut down.
Many Islamists have been exceedingly clear about their agenda for the United States. “Bizarre as it may seem, they seek nothing less than to bring the Shari’a to bear in the land of the free. The main argument between Islamists is not about the desirability of this outcome, on which they all agree, but about the best method to achieve it. Some Islamists advocate violence and others prefer legal means (conversion, political action).”
Another alarming trend that Pipes finds is that the once “objective scholarship” that one expected to find emanating from the Universities and colleges is no more when dealing with the subject of Islam. “I found that, in an age when objective knowledge has faded as a goal, scholarship readily turns into partisanship and that this plague reaches even into a major reference work published by a prestigious press.” (He here refers to the four-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World).
The message is clear. It is past time that American Christians should stand up for the truth of God and expose errors in doctrine and practice as commanded by the apostles (2 Tim. 4:2-4). If not, the day is fast approaching when we will no longer be afforded this freedom without political repercussion.
Muhammad, the False Prophet—His “Journey to Jerusalem”
by Bill Lockwood
According to The Sira, Muhammad’s authoritative biography composed by Ibn Ishaq (The Life of Muhammad, translated by Alfred Guillaume, 264-66), Muhammad allegedly took a night journey to the temple mount in Jerusalem from his home in Mecca. As pieced together by Ishaq the episode sounds more like a wild tale out of the Arabian Nights which have been matched only by American folklore hero Pecos Bill who, being up Kansas way, grabbed a tornado, leaped on its back and rode it all the way to Texas, jabbing it with his spurs.
Filled with historical inaccuracies as well as geographical contradictions Ishaq’s account of Muhammad’s supposed wild ride in the night includes blasphemies against Jesus Christ Himself. That one would accept this chimerical story as authoritative for any religion is more than incredible.
As Muhammad lay sleeping an angel nudged his foot. It was Gabriel who awakened him. Taking him outside Gabriel led him to a white animal, half mule and half donkey, equipped with wings which enabled him to leap from horizon to horizon in a single bound. All prophets before Muhammad had ridden this beast. What an honor! (see also Bill Warner, politicalislam.com).
When Muhammad neared the animal, it shied. Gabriel then placed his hand in the animal’s mane admonishing it, “O Buraq, to behave this way? None more honorable than Muhammad has ever ridden you before!” Muhammad mounted the winged creature and off they went to Jerusalem!
Ishaq’s text specifically states that Muhammad was carried “to Jerusalem’s TEMPLE” (Ishaq, 263). Once they arrived “at the TEMPLE in Jerusalem” (Ishaq, 264) Muhammad found Abraham, Moses and Jesus and a company of prophets. Muhammad was invited to act as their leader in prayer. Once he “returned” to Mecca he described their appearances. Moses was a thin ruddy complexioned man with curly hair and a hooked nose. Jesus was a reddish man of medium height with lank hair and many freckles. Later in the vision (Ishaq, 270) Muhammad allegedly was taken to Paradise where he saw a young woman with “dark red lips” and “she pleased me much.”
Gabriel brought Muhammad two bowls, one filled with wine and the other with milk. He was asked to choose. Muhammad chose the milk, which he drank. That was the right choice. Such are the earthy descriptions of Muhammad.
When Muhammad related his “experience” to his fellow townspeople the following day, they disbelieved him and “many Muslims gave up their faith.” Muhammad’s friend Abu Bakr suggested they just find out if he was telling the truth, so they asked Muhammad to describe Jerusalem. Since no one knew what Jerusalem was like any more than men know the surface of Pluto today, this test itself was ludicrous. Therefore, to verify his description a companion Al-Hasan was “lifted up” from the earth so that he could see Jerusalem hundreds of miles away! Al-Hasan confirmed that, “Yes, Muhammad’s description of Jerusalem is accurate!”
The only mention of this journey in the Koran is Surah 17:1 which states that Allah took Muhammad from the “sacred mosque” in Mecca “to the farthest [al-aqsa] Mosque.” This was the mosque that was to be built in Jerusalem in the late 7th century. Surah 17:1 makes clear that this was to be considered part of the signs or tokens to prove Muhammad’s “apostleship” from God. It must also be noted that based primarily on this episode Muslims today consider Jerusalem as a sacred holy site.
What Shall We Say to These Things?
First, the entire event is filled with historical inaccuracy. Even the translator of Ishaq’s authoritative biography, A. Guillaume, warns in the preface (p. xix-xx), “In his account of the night journey to Jerusalem and the ascent into heaven he allows us to see the working of his mind. The story is everywhere hedged with reservations and terms suggesting caution to the reader.” Yea, verily! Yet, the Koran states 91 times that Muhammad’s words and actions are considered to be the divine pattern for humanity! Islam is itself defined in part by The Sira. This alone speaks volumes of the religion of Islam.
More arresting than the above is the fact that during Muhammad’s lifetime there was NO TEMPLE in Jerusalem. It had been reduced to rubble by the Romans in 70 A.D. and remained a stone heap. Nor was there a “mosque” on the temple mount (see Surah 17:1). Muhammad was hopelessly inaccurate here.
Sam Shamoun (website: Answering-Islam.org) has brought together several Hadiths (traditions of Muhammad, which together with the Koran and the Sira or biography, comprise Islam itself) which mention this “Night Journey.” From the Sahih al-Bukhari (vol. 6, Book 60, Number 233) we learn that this was an “actual” trip, not dreams. Yet, Aisha, Muhammad’s wife, declared that he never left the bed that night. “One of Abu Bakr’s family told me that Aisha the prophet’s wife used to say: ‘The apostle’s body remained where it was but God removed his spirit by night’” (Ishaq, 265).
Further, according to another Hadith (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0309) Muhammad also visited the MOSQUE at the Temple Mount that night. However, no mosque would be built there until many years later. In fact, the al-Aqsa mosque would not be built until 691 A.D.
But we are assured by Ishaq’s biography that Muhammad’s description of Jerusalem is accurate. How so? One of his companions was “lifted up” from the ground and peered the hundreds of miles away to verify the description. To say more is needless.
Second, Muhammad offers this as a “sign” of his prophethood. In fact, Muhammad’s mission as “an apostle” is largely based on this account. Sam Shamoun’s website incorporates the following commentary on the Koran passage, 17:1. From Tafsir Ibn Kathir-Abridged Volume 5, Surah Hud to Surat Al-Isra’, Verse 38, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, (Darussalam Publishers & Distributors; Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore, July 2000):
“Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa means ‘the Sacred House which is in Jerusalem, the origin of the Prophets from the time of Ibraham Al-Khalil. The Prophets all gathered there, and he (Muhammad) led them in prayer in their own homeland. This indicates that he is the greatest leader of all …”
Muhammad claimed apostleship from God and this “sign” was one of his major supports to that assertion. His “sign” however, was as empty and as vacuous as the Arabian deserts from which he sprang.
The “signs” of the New Testament were openly verifiable miracles which Jesus did in the presence of others (see e.g. John 2:11). They were offered to the reasoning capacity of man who were to analyze the grounds on which claims rested. Therefore, even enemies of Christ did not deny the reality of the miracles and we hear the unbelieving Sanhedrin Council confessing that a “notable miracle has been done and we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:16).
The fact that the word “sign” is commonly used in the NT to refer to miracles shows that miraculous events were offered to substantiate one’s word (see Mark 16:20). “The multitudes gave heed with one accord unto the word spoken by Philip, when they heard and saw the signs which he did” (Acts 8:6). Jesus encouraged the unbelieving Jews, “…though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father” (John 10:38).
Clearly, one’s own “word” about a vision that he allegedly had, filled with error and contradiction as was Muhammad’s; then supposedly “confirmed” by another man’s voice that he was “telling the truth” because he had been “elevated from the earth” to see if Muhammad was accurate in his description of Jerusalem is not even akin to the signs and miracles of the Bible. Muhammad was more than mistaken, he was a false teacher. His Night Journey to Jerusalem smacks more of a cheap sophomoric effort to imitate the Book of Books than it does sober history.
The Degradation of Women in Islam
by Bill Lockwood
Islam itself degrades women. The Koran is astonishingly plain here, teaching that women are of inferior status. “Men are in charge of women because Allah made one of them [male] to excel the other …” (4:34). According to the official
collection of hadiths [sayings of Mohammed] by Bukhari (vol. 7, p. 96), Mohammed declared that the majority of inhabitants in hell are women. Because of her mental incapacity, a woman’s testimony in court is only worth one-half that of a man (2:282). These types of male-dominated uninspired corruptions fill Islamic teaching.
Women cannot, per Mohammed, be placed in political positions of leadership in any society. This is because “women are deficient in religion and intellect” (Sahih Bukhari 1.6.301). This built-in prejudice is being played out across the world today. As reported by the Jakarta Globe (2010) and relayed to Americans via Jihad Watch, women are “unfit to lead.” This is the statement of Acehnese District Council Chairman Ridwan Mohammed. “According to Shariah, a woman is prohibited from becoming a leader.” Aceh is a province in Indonesia where Sharia law is imposed upon non-Muslims as well.
The simplest example of the low civilization that Islam produces is found in the Koranic teaching of polygamy, mistresses and concubines. Mohammed said in the Koran that each man (excepting himself who was unlimited in his possession of women) may “possess” up to four women (4:34) and as many “concubines” and mistresses as “his right hand” grasps.
The glue that holds together what is left of American society is the integrity of the family unit, consisting of “a husband” and “a wife.” Western civilization has been considered just that—civilized; primarily due to the adherence of people to the teaching of Jesus Christ that marriage is to be one man and one woman for life (Matt. 19:3-9). The family unit is that which is to instill morals, ethics, and a sense of obligation before God and man.
It is true that in Old Testament biblical times polygamy was allowed by God (Matt. 19:3,4), Christ clearly stated that “from the beginning” it was not God’s intention. One has but to glance at the history prior to Christ to witness the baneful effect of polygamy on society generally, and upon individuals specifically.
F.W. Farrar, OT scholar from yesteryear, comments upon the household of David, the “man after God’s own heart” (Notes from The Expositor’s Bible: The First Book of Kings). He noted particularly the damaging effects of polygamy. “The royal position of David brought with it the surer curse than that which follows the extreme exaltation of a man above his fellows. It brought with it the permitted luxury of imaginary necessity for polygamy, and the man-enervating, woman-degrading paraphernalia of an Eastern harem.”
Monogamy brings with it the sweetest sources of earthly blessing. “It renders life more perfect and more noble by the union of two souls, and fulfills the original purpose of creation. A home, blessed by life’s most natural sanctities, becomes a saving ark in days of storm.”
But in a polygamous household a home is exchanged for a troubled establishment, and love is carnalized into a jaded appetite. The Eastern king becomes the slave of every wandering fancy, and can hardly fail to be a despiser of womanhood, which he sees only on its ignoblest side. His home is liable to be torn by mutual jealousies and subterranean intrigues, and many a foul and midnight murder has marked, and still marks the secret history of Eastern seraglios.”
Farrar, though speaking of polygamy in David’s household and homes throughout history in general, summed-up well Mohammed’s family itself. “The women—idle, ignorant, uneducated, degraded, intriguing—with nothing to think of but gossip, scandal, spite, and animal passion; hating each other worse of all, and each engaged in the fierce attempt to reign supreme in the affection which she cannot monopolize …spend wasted lives of … slavish degradation.”
Summarizing, he notes that “Polygamy, as it is a contravention of God’s original design, enfeebles man, degrades the women, corrupts the slave, and destroys the home.”
These calamitous effects were introduced by David himself into the Kingdom of Israel and have been unfortunately copied by other despots throughout history. It is only to disastrous ends that Muslims bring such degradation of women to America. That multitudes of liberal political women support the intrusion of this type of cultural malaise into America can only speak of their hatred for Christianity and the teaching of Christ.
Hatred of the Human Race
by Bill Lockwood
The world cannot hate you; but me it hates, because I testify of it that its works are evil—Jesus to his earthly brothers – John 7:7
The burning of Rome during the reign of Nero is established by the unanimous testimony of antiquity. Per the eminent historian, Philip Schaff, on the night between July 18-19, AD 64, a fire broke out among the wooden shops on south-eastern end of Palatine Hill in Rome. Lashed by the wind, it raged unabated for 6 days. Then it burst out again near the field of Mars, burning for 3 more days. The calamity was incalculable.
When the conflagration had ended, only 4 of 14 regions remained of Rome. The metropolis of the world had been turned to ashes. Public rumor blamed emperor Nero himself, who desired to build a mini-city called Neropolis on the some of the destroyed portions. He was practicing an ancient version of “eminent domain.” However, to divert general suspicion from himself, per the ancient contemporary writers Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny, he wickedly blamed the Christians.
Other contemporary writers had already stigmatized Christianity as a vulgar superstition. Christians were therefore arrested and convicted, not so much for the fire, but for “hating the human race.” They were crucified along Roman roadways, their bodies serving as torches of light by which Nero could drive his chariot.
We pause today and ask why Christianity was so considered? Hatred of the Human Race. The uniform testimony of both secular and Christian writers of the period testifies it was primarily due to their abhorrence of heathen customs and their spoken opposition thereto.
Our contemporary culture likes to sweep to the background the unadorned fact that Jesus was murdered, not for saying, “Consider the lilies of the field”, but “Woe unto you scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites…!” (Matt. 23). His murder at the hand of the Jews was due to his stern opposition to their teaching. One has written that Jesus drew his sword on the banks of the Jordan and threw away the scabbard.
“Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute and murder?” asked inspired Stephen rhetorically (Acts 7:52). He was himself then murdered for his pointed message. The OT prophet of God, Amos, was told by the unauthorized High Priest at Bethel, Amaziah, to “leave” this place—go back to your home in the south, “because the land is not able to bear your words” (Amos 7:10ff). Amaziah then sent word to the king that Amos was involved in a “plot” or “conspiracy” against the king. This is the way it has always been: man-made religion and man-inspired doctrines of inclusion cannot stand the plain speaking of the Word of God. Straightforward proclamation of the will of God is ever displeasing to the ungodly.
When the apostle Paul was brought before a Roman governor, Felix, with his wife Drusilla, the purpose was so that Felix might have opportunity to make more exact determination of the Jewish charges against Paul (Acts 24:24ff). The apostle had one opportunity to preach. His selected topic: “righteousness (right-living), self-control (literally sexual self-control) and judgment to come.” So effective was Paul that “Felix was terrified.”
Our pabulum society today wants to correct Paul. “Where is the Love of God?” we ask. The answer: It is in the message. But sometimes love cuts like a sword; sometimes it scorches like fire; sometimes it burns like acid. Jesus forgave the sinful woman (John 8:1-11)—but do not ignore the instructive: “Go thy way and sin no more.”
The sterling ethics of the New Testament condemns the softness or wickedness of a society that calmly accepts adultery, fornication, abortion, homosexuality, pornography, graft, thievery, drunkenness and revelry (worldly parties) (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Our loving God referred to some of the sins here as “abominations” (Leviticus 18) and promised the Jews that the “land [of Canaan] would vomit them out” if they practiced them. The Good News (Gospel) calls men and women out of the fields of wickedness and continues to call sin “SIN.”
No one courts the disapproval of society or their fellows. No one whom I know likes being persecuted. But in the name of biblical values, our forefathers in the faith were labeled “Hatred of the Human Race” not because they approved, ignored, or even blessed prevailing sins of the day. Let alone did they tolerate it “in the church” (see 1 Cor. 5). They were so called because they refused to compromise the truth and continued publicly to recognize SIN as the real stigma of the human race.
Even more to the point, we fail to recall that even our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was “hated” by the world because He testified of it that its works were evil. If we are to judge by the Bible, God has little if any use, for the anemia that marks many of today’s pulpits and the people “who love to have it so.”
by Bill Lockwood
The first two centuries of Christianity saw violent and bloody persecutions against followers of Jesus Christ. Some of these assaults were localized in various portions of the Roman Empire, others were wider in geographic scope. Some were leveled against God’s people by Roman prefects and governors; Jewish opposition stirred others. In all, the effects were to solidify the Christian faith.
N.T. Wright is a conservative New Testament scholar and prolific writer. In his Judas and the Gospel of Jesus (2006), he explains another predictable effect of persecution. It was the retreat in some quarters by Christians into eastern philosophical speculations. The result was what is known as Gnosticism.
Gnosticism was a “Quest for an Alternative Jesus” in which Jesus was merely a “powerful teacher” who has come from the “other side” to tell us how we can “escape the material world” by searching for the “god within us.” Like a “soft version of Buddhism” in which salvation is nothing more than “discovering your own star” and following it, Gnostics denied historical events in the Life of Christ, especially his death and resurrection. With this type of mentality, the Gnostics, who were not really Christian at all, confronted no cultural sin and did never preach a resurrected Lord in whom only salvation is to be found. They simply molded into society. An “Escapist Theology.”
Another modern-day escapist theology is that of Premillennialism. “Eschatological ideas have consequences, and many Christians are beginning to understand how those ideas have shaped the cultural landscape. A world always on the precipice of some great inevitable apocalyptic event is not in need of redemption but only of escape,” writes Gary Demar (Why the End of the World is Not in Your Future, 31). Or, as Os Guinness notes, “dispensational premillennialism … has had the unfortunate consequences on the Christian mind,” including reinforcing an already developing “anti-intellectualism” and a “general indifference to serious engagement with culture” (DeMar, 30).
This is precisely the problem. The Left is waging relentless war against Christian foundations of our culture while those whom we might expect to be defending biblical foundations of our society are disengaging. In response, the Right constantly retreats from the field of battle under the misguided impression that general laws of society are no place for a Christian.
DeMar himself tells of Tom Sine lecturing at universities in which he encourages the youth to engage our culture with Christian principles only to have students who believe that the rapture is about to occur tell him that that it is futile exercise. They are looking forward to “leaving it” at any moment and have no desire to interact with the foundational principles undergirding society. Such are some of the consequences of false doctrine.
N.T. Wright explains that this “disengagement” by fundamentalists in American religion who have bought into millennial concepts has “a good deal in common” with the Gnostics of earlier ages at this point. As expressed by the popular Left Behind novels, the main goal is “to escape from this wicked world and go off to a different one, namely ‘heaven,’ rather than (with the New Testament) to seek for God’s kingdom to come on earth as in heaven” (Judas, 130-31).
Wright goes so far as even to label Premillennial teaching “neo-Gnosticism.” This disturbing feature of dispensational teaching goes directly to its heart.
Tom Sine gives this startling example of the effect of “prophetic inevitability” can have on some people:
“Don’t you realize if we start feeding hungry people things won’t get worse, Jesus wont’ come?” interrupted a coed during a Futures Inter-term I recently conducted at a northwest Christian college. Her tone of voice and her serious expression revealed she was utterly sincere. And unfortunately I have discovered the coed’s question doesn’t reflect an isolated viewpoint. Rather, it betrays a widespread misunderstanding of biblical eschatology … that seems to permeate much contemporary Christian consciousness.
I believe this misunderstanding of God’s intentions for the human future is seriously undermining the effectiveness of the people of God in carrying out his mission in a world of need …The response of the (student) … reflects what I call the Great Escape View of the future. So much of the popular prophetic literature has focused our attention morbidly on the dire, the dreadful, and the destruction of all that is. (Quoted by DeMar, 31).
The erroneous systems of Gnosticism and Premillennialism are both, at least at this point, “Escapist Theologies” that refuse to enter into any conflict with a North American culture which seems to be intent on imploding. Reformation is a futile idea. With this mentality there would have never been an America.
by Bill Lockwood
Totalitarianism is a big word for “slavery.” On a personal level, slavery is defined as one person or entity totally owning the production and/or labor of another. The slave thereby becomes “chattel” or property of another. Involuntary servitude. At a national or state level slavery is known as totalitarianism. The state owns the property and productive efforts of individuals and very little, if any, freedom exists. Since it is involuntary for the most part, this control is enforced by violence. It results from the absolute dictator who is not restrained by a constitution or laws.
Freedom looks and feels very different. Government simply provides a zone of order, but individuals have liberty of action. Their actions respect one another because godly principles are imbedded within their hearts. Society as a whole generally operates rather smoothly. Respect for people and property is the cultural norm.
Islam is a species of totalitarian dictatorship. It is completely imposed from without by force. It is a system of regimentation that manages every element of one’s life, down to the smallest detail. How many times must I breathe when drinking a glass of water? Which direction do I face when I relieve myself? How must I put off my shoes? How shall I wash my hands?
All elements of life are strictly enforced by the iron fist. The entire culture, social, educational, political, and civic is dictated by Sharia Law which is a compilation and compression of Mohammed’s arbitrary and uninspired rules.
Elijah Abraham grew up in Iraq as a strict adherent of Islam. Later he escaped to the west. In an interview several years ago he correctly pointed out: Islam is NOT a religion, but “a socio-political system locked into 7th century Arabia.” Exactly. To see this clearly, consider the principle of “conversion.” How does the process of conversion demonstrate this?
Muhayyisa and Huwayyisa
According to the canonical biographer of Mohammed, Ibn Ishaq (554), the apostle of Islam commanded his followers to “kill any Jew that falls into your power.” At that, one of his devoted Muslims named Muhayyisa leaped upon a Jewish merchant named Sunayna and murdered him.
Muhayyissa’s older brother, Huwayyisa, who was not a Muslim at the time, began to beat Muhayyissa remonstrating with him for killing the Jewish merchant. But Muhayyissa had this to say: “Had the one [Mohammed] who ordered me to kill him ordered me to kill you I would have cut your head off.” According to Ishaq, “this was the beginning of Huwayyisa’s acceptance of Islam.” He later exclaimed, “A religion which can bring you to this is marvelous!” He became a Muslim.
What a difference does Christianity make! As Sidney Collet wrote many years ago, “But alas! Mohammed was as unlike Christ as the Koran is unlike the Bible. His historian tells us that ‘he was at times deceitful, cunning, revengeful, cowardly, addicted to sensuality, and even a murderer … Unlike the Prince of Peace, Mohammed won his influence by the sword, and authorized his followers to go to war with the enemies of Islam—Jews and Christians…his cruelty is notorious; after one battle he beheaded seven hundred men, and sold all the women and children….But when we turn to the Bible, how it is different! It is like stepping off shifting sand onto solid rock” (All About the Bible, 308).
It is Christianity alone which engenders free discussion, debate and reasoning addressed to the heart and mind of man. The apostle Paul fearlessly entered into Jewish synagogues after his conversion to engage in open debates regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “He spoke boldly in the name of the Lord; and disputed against the Grecian Jews” (Acts 9:29).
The word “dispute” literally means to discuss or debate. This was the uniform practice of apostolic preaching (see Acts 18:4-11; 19:8-10, et. al.). Persuasion by argumentation was the result as principles of King Jesus were implanted into hearts. These principles included the invitation of Christ to “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
See the results. Upon their conversion, without government or church coercion, many Ephesians voluntarily brought the scrolls which they owned that taught magic and burned them (Acts 19:18-20)
. What a difference is there in that and this: “Islam does not allow free speech as adopted by the west because this includes promotion of ideas that clearly contradict Islam…this is not to say that Islam does not allow Muslims to express their opinions freely. It is allowed for a Muslim to express his opinion about any issue, but his opinion must be derived from the Quran and the Sunna of the Prophet” (Islamicity website).
The conversion process between Islam and Christianity upon individuals is stark. So are the results. What a difference society looks like when impelled and controlled by principles that flow from the heart rather than those that are imposed by the sword! One rejoices in liberty. The other is totalitarian slavery.
The Role of Women in Public Worship
by Bill Lockwood
Our modern “post-Christian” culture seems to delight in rebelling against God. Witness the Salon article published this week in which the author advises the Republican Party to “drop God” from its platform as has already been done by the other party. This must be done, it is insisted, if the Republicans wish to remain relevant in the modern world.
Our society will continue to become ensnared in problems, as the ancient prophet Hosea put it, “like a silly dove” that has no understanding (8:11) as to the real cause and effect relationship which has brought upon us our troubles. God will throw his net over us and “bring us down from the heavens” (v. 12).
One area where our rebellion against God has become manifestly evident, even in the Christian world, is the complete disregard for what God orders concerning he leadership of women in the church and in the public worship assembly. Two notable passages in the NT clearly outline God’s intention for men and women and their respective roles in this regard—1 Timothy 2:8-15 and 1 Cor. 14:33-36. Both contain identical principles. Let’s examine the first.
First, Paul’s discussion in 1 Timothy 2 involves public gathering to worship. The context of the their chapter involves the public worship assembly where there is “teaching” and “learning” occurring with both men and women present (see v. 11, 12). A quick glance at the parallel passage in 1 Cor. 14:34 shows exactly the same situation where Paul uses the phrase “in the church” to refer to “in the public gathering.” That (1 Cor. 14) context demonstrates that the phrase “in the church” speaks to this public assembly (see v. 12, 19, 23).
Second, regarding public prayer, Paul says men are to lead it, not women. “Men are to pray in every place…” (1 Tim. 2:8). Every place means “in every church.” These directions are to apply to every church without exception. “Men” is from the Greek word “aner” referring to “male” as opposed to female. According to the companion passage in 1 Cor. 14 the women are to “keep silent in the assembly” (v. 34).
Some may ask, are not women to pray and sing in the public worship? The answer is obviously, “Yes.” Women are certainly to pray in the public assembly as Paul himself says (1 Cor. 11:5). And she can pray in “every place” (in each congregation). Obviously, the meaning in those contexts is the leading in public prayer. “…the men should conduct the public worship” (W. Robertson Nicoll, Expositor’s Greek New Testament, IV, 107).
Third, Paul’s direction are not limited to the cultural norms of his day, but are eternal. Why do we draw this conclusion? Instead of listening to the multiplicity of false teachers who cave in to the pressures of modernism, perhaps we ought to hear the reasons Paul himself gives. Two of them: (1) “Adam was first formed, then Eve” (1 Tim. 2:13). The order of creation. (2) “Adam was not beguiled, but the women being beguiled has fallen into transgression.” The nature of Adam and Eve’s sin in the beginning. Both of these reasons rely upon the sober facts of history, not cultural norms.
None of this concludes that women are “inferior” to men, or that men are somehow “better” than women. The New Testament is clear. Both men and women are equal before God in the blessings of salvation (Gal. 3:28). However, God assigns different roles to each.
Freedom of Forgiveness
by Bill Lockwood
One of the most glorious promises of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the forgiveness of one’s sins. Sin is defined as the violation of God’s eternal standards (1 John 3:4; Rom. 4:15). Having violated God’s law, as all have done (Rom. 3:23), we long for forgiveness. Jesus came “to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:77). It is only in Christ Jesus that we have “redemption, the forgiveness of our sins” (Col. 1:14). This is through the Jesus’ work on the cross.
The Greek word for “forgiveness” is άφεσις (aphesis). Its root concept is “release” or “letting go” such as “acquitting” one from the guilty charge of murder, or thievery. This is not crediting one with merits of another, but rather counting a guilty party as though no crime had been committed. To “release” one from the guilt of one’s sins is the most liberating element of life in Christ!
To appreciate the freedom of forgiveness, consider the fact that other religious philosophies outside of Christianity do not offer forgiveness. In New Age thought, many varieties of pantheism, including Zen, Yoga, Buddhism, Hinduism the entire goal is to achieve various degrees of “spiritual enlightenment” by becoming one with the ultimate spiritual reality (Nirvana in Buddhism) (Mary Poplin, Is Reality Secular?, 167). Various disciplines such as meditation, chants and ceremonies are designed “to free us from the ignorance and desire that block our enlightenment.” The first thing one notices by this is that “salvation and enlightenment are solely the responsibility of the individual person” (Ibid.). “Connecting with the ultimate spiritual reality and becoming enlightened is said to enhance both our human well-being and consciousness and in turn positively affect the world.” In other words, works salvation.
The second thing that one sees is that there is ultimately no forgiveness in these New Age religions. ‘Karma’ is an impersonal force that embodies the consequences that follow a person’s choices. The Dalai Lama defines karma as “the intentional acts of sentient beings …The entire process is seen as an endless self-perpetuating dynamic.” In other words, the consequences of our past actions, sinful or not, continue to be attached to us.
The Buddha taught, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with a evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.” As Mary Poplin noted, “These karmic consequences are irreparable, offering no process for complete redemption in one’s lifetime, though one can decide to change their thoughts, feelings and intentions, thus changing their actions” (168).
What a difference Christ makes! “Release” from the burden of sin as opposed to a shadow that never leaves. God “let’s go” of our crimes. They are not a “self-perpetuating” weight that hangs around our neck. Only in Christ is there true forgiveness and the freedom it brings.
Historical Verification of Christianity
by Bill Lockwood
The basic historical facts of Christianity are the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4). That this was proclaimed by the apostles of Jesus in the first century is without dispute. Sometimes extra verification of historical realities come to us from strange sources. Such is the case when one considers the enemies of Christianity—the pagan philosophers of the early centuries.
August Neander, the German historian, lists in brief 5 pagan philosophers who still give testimony to the truthfulness of the basic facts of Christianity. These include:
• Lucian (125-180 AD). A witty but irreverent writer of the early second-century, Lucian, through his sarcastic railing, shows us what was the perception of Christianity in the eye of the second-century pagan. Mocking Christianity, he wrote, “The wretched people have persuaded themselves that they are altogether immortal, and will live forever; therefore they despise death, and many of them meet it of their own accord. Their first lawgiver (i.e. Christ) has persuaded them also to regard one another as brethren, as soon as they have abjured the Grecian gods, and honoring their crucified Master, have begun to live according to his laws. They despise everything heathen equally, and regard all but their own notions as profaneness …”
• Celsus (2d Century). He wrote a book entitled A True Discourse which is the earliest comprehensive attack on Christianity. Opposed by the Christian writer of that period named Origen, Celsus mocks Christianity and its record of miracles. He compares these miracles, such as the resurrection, to the works of enchanters and places the prophets of the OT in the same class of magicians of his day.
• Porphyry of Tyre (234-305 AD). Endeavoring to show contradictions in Holy Writ and between the apostles, he in one writing endeavored to show that the god Apollo justified the murder of Jesus by the Jews. The Christians, he said, have a Dead God.
• Sossianus Hierocles (284 – 305 AD). Hierocles was a Roman aristocrat and office-holder who spewed much vitriol against Jesus Christ. He compared Christ to Apollonius of Tyana. (See below, # 5). “You regard,” says he, “Christ as a God, because He restored a few blind men to sight, and did a few things of a similar kind, while Apollonius, who performed so many miracles is not on that account held by the Greeks as a God, but only as a man especially beloved by gods.”
• Apollonius (1st century). Philostratus lived from about 170 to 247 AD and wrote a biography of the first century “miracle worker” named Apollonius. He compared Jesus Christ with this charismatic teacher.
What do we learn of Christianity from these inimical writers? All the basic facts of Christianity. Jesus Christ lived, died and was declared resurrected from the dead; that he worked miracles during his ministry; that his life was the fulfillment of ancient Old Testament prophecies; that He was murdered by the Jews; that Christians died for their faith.
God Fulfilled Promises Given to Jews
by Bill Lockwood
Paul begins the great letter to the Romans emphasizing that the gospel is for the Jew as well as the Gentile, and offered to both on the same terms (Rom. 1:16, 17). In Jesus Christ God has been true to all of his promises to the Jews (Rom. 3:4). Summarizing the same point in chapter 15:8,9 he concludes, “For I say that Christ has been made a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, that he might confirm the promises given unto the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy …”
Paul distinguishes between the Jew in Romans 15:8,9 and the Gentile. What attracts the Jew to Christ is not exactly the same as that which gains the heart of the Gentile. Let’s examine it.
First, Jesus Fulfilled the Old Testament in His Personal Ministry. The Jew is especially struck with the fact that Christ fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. Two words emphasize this in the text. “That he might confirm the promises given unto the [Jewish] fathers” (Rom. 15:8). The word “confirm” means “to establish a promise is to confirm it by fulfilling it.” As our Lord Himself explained in Luke 24:44, He “fulfilled all things” concerning Him written in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms. God has already been true to the promises given to the Jews. The blessings are spiritual.
The second word of emphasis is “truth.” In Jesus’ confirmation/fulfillment of OT prophecies, God displayed His Truth, or as Paul puts it, “…for the truth of God.” That is, His fidelity to the ancient promises. “To maintain the truth [or fidelity] of God in the accomplishment of the promises made to the fathers …” (Chas. Hodge, Romans, 435).
Consider this. One of the most popular false doctrines today encroaching itself upon churches posits that the Old Testament was not completely fulfilled by Jesus Christ during His personal ministry but will be fulfilled in the future. It holds that somehow the promises to the Jews will come to completion later in some nationalistic manner. This millennial concept destroys souls by causing them reject the plain fact taught in the New Testament that Jesus fulfilled the promises given unto the Jewish fathers and that by doing this God maintained his fidelity to His own promises.
Second, Jesus extended to the Gentile His mercy. “That the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy…” Thus, from Jews arises the voice that celebrates God’s faithfulness but from the Gentiles arises a voice celebrating God’s mercy. THIS is the meaning of this admirable passage which extends to v. 13. Gentile as well as Jew is able to come to Christ on the same terms. Here, in the verses that follow, Paul reminds us that the Old Testament itself contains the evidence that the non-Jew was to be included in the promises given. How does this vitiate against the widespread notion that the non-Jew is on the outside, a second-rate citizen of the kingdom of God, which is supposedly a Jewish organization?
What is the conclusion? There are no more promises given to the Jewish fathers awaiting future fulfillment. What we now enjoy in Jesus Christ is all that God ever promised from the Old Testament. Further, the promises of God extend equally to the non-Jew. That which remains is an eternal heavenly abode (1 Thess. 4:13ff) vouchsafed to all Christians by the New Testament.
The Bible Does Not Predict Muhammad
by Bill Lockwood
Muslim apologists habitually assert that the Bible “prophesies” of the coming of Muhammad in 7th century Arabia who would be the “final prophet” God would send. Hamza Abdul Malik, for example, says that the “Comforter” predicted in John 14-16 is a reference to Muhammad. Malik is following the foundational biography of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq called The Life of Muhammad, in which it is asserted that Jesus used the term “Comforter” in John 15:23ff (Greek: “Parclete”) which refers to “Muhammad.” (Ishaq, p. 103-04).
Jesus, in the night in which he was betrayed, informed the disciples that He would be “going away” and where He went they could not come now, but would follow afterwards. In the course of that discussion, the Lord promised the coming of “The Comforter.” (John 14:26; 15:26, 27; 16:13). It is noteworthy that 7th century Arabians recognized the integrity and authority of both the Old and New Testaments, and sought to insert Muhammad into the sacred text.
What shall we say to these things?
First, the promise of the Comforter refers to the Holy Spirit which would be sent upon the 12 apostles in the first century. The text of John is emphatic. Only the apostles were addressed by Jesus in the night before He was crucified (John 13, 14). Announcing that He was leaving, Jesus reassured the twelve that “the Comforter” would be sent to them to give them perfect recall on what Jesus had taught (14:26). The Comforter is defined by Jesus as “the Holy Spirit,” who would be with them. Muhammad is 600 years too late to be the “Comforter.”
The reason the Comforter would be given to the 12 apostles was because they “had been with me [Jesus] from the beginning” (15:26). For this reason they were qualified as “witnesses” in their preaching. Once again, no Arabian person of the 7th century could possibly qualify, Ibn Ishaq not withstanding.
According to John 16:13 Jesus promised that when the Comforter, the “Spirit of Truth” is come upon the apostles, “He shall guide you into all the truth.” ALL truth was revealed to the selected apostles of Jesus Christ. Not one part of truth was to be left for any other group of men or self-styled prophets of later centuries. It matters not if that board of men would meet in Rome or Mecca. Nothing more could be added to the sacred text when the apostles of Jesus Christ finished their course.
Another fact needs here be added. The Holy Spirit is a personage of Deity. The Bible clearly teaches there is ONE GOD (Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4) but three personalities of that one deity (Matt. 28:18-20).
Second, Jesus had earlier promised during His ministry that the Holy Spirit would come upon the apostles within a few days of His ascension. It was for this reason that Jesus told the apostles to wait in Jerusalem until this occurred. In Acts 1:5 this promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit was said to be “not many days” more. If the coming of the “Comforter” would not be until 600 years later in Mecca that would be a long wait!
Third, the apostles later recognized and quoted the promise of Jesus regarding the Comforter as having reference to themselves, not Muhammad. In Acts 5:32, while Peter stood on trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin for preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he quotes the words of John 15:26, 27. “And we are witnesses of these things [resurrection and ascension of Christ] and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to them that obey him.” This is exactly what Jesus had promised in reference to the apostles.
The right place to begin studying the life of Muhammad is the biography (the Sira) by Ibn Ishaq. It is authoritative to Islam, much like the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) to Christianity. Ishaq is the supreme standard. The fact that one discovers this distortion in it pertaining to Jesus’ promise of “the Comforter” demonstrates the error of the whole.
Pooling of Goodness?
by Bill Lockwood
One of the teachings of the Roman Church that so bothered Martin Luther (born 1483) was the Selling of Indulgences. What exactly is this? In the age of Luther, in 16th century Europe, it was as follows:
First, “the Church, while taking an individualistic view of sin, takes a corporate view of goodness” (Roland Bainton, Here I Stand, The Life of Martin Luther, 35). In other words sin was viewed as individual transgression but goodness or good deeds by Christ, or Mary or various saints throughout the centuries was considered as treasured up or pooled up so that others may draw from that account, much like one draws from a savings account. “These superfluous merits of the righteous constitute a treasury which is transferable to those whose accounts are in arrears.” An “Indulgence” therefore is, according to Romanism, a “transfer of credit.”
Second, these transfers of “merit” were affected only through the Roman Catholic Church. One could not, for example, simply pray in his or her closet and receive these merits upon the asking. A sinner, which is all of us, must go through the official route of the Roman Church in order to receive these “credits.” The Roman Church established itself as the official world bank of merit dispensing–much like a banker will give you money from a savings account, or the new emerging World Bank for a World Government will issue “Special Drawing Rights” (SDR’s). The only difference here was that one might receive the credits from others people’s savings account!
Third, Popes traditionally specified “how much” benefit or merit from this “pool” or “account” could be transferred for various or particular acts which one might perform. A viewing of a supposed “relic” in the city of Rome could be worth more indulgences than, for example, a journey to Jerusalem. This wicked system allows the Roman Church to stipulate where pilgrims will spend their money.
“[F]or no theological reason but in the interest of advertising, the Church associated the dispensing of the merits of the saints with visitation upon the relics of the saints.” Popes frequently specified precisely how much benefit could be derived from viewing so-called “relics” – such as the supposed bones of Peter or Paul, or a splinter from the cross of Christ and so forth. Various cities throughout Medieval Europe therefore collected relics so that people might come visit their particular city. This was a financial boon to that city.
That this concept of trafficking in meritorious works is also where Mohammed got similar ideas cannot be doubted. Muslims are required to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. “Receiving credit” from a pool of spiritual resources became a part of Islam as well and marks that religion as false as Catholicism.
Saved by Monkery?
To get the idea of how Catholicism works, remember that in Luther’s day Rome itself was considered to be “the greatest storehouse” of “relics” the viewing of which would supposedly earn merit for the viewer. “Here in the single crypt of St. Callistus forty popes were buried and 76,000 martyrs. Rome had a piece of Moses’ burning bush and three hundred particles of the Holy Innocents. Rome had the portrait of Christ on the napkin of St. Veronica. Rome had the chains of St. Paul and the scissors with which Emperor Domitian clipped the hair of St. John. … Another [church in Rome] had a coin paid to Judas for betraying our Lord. Its value had greatly increased, for now it was able to confer an indulgence of fourteen hundred years.”
Luther had become a monk of the Augustinian order in 1505. While in Rome in 1510 Luther himself, still enmeshed in these mystical legends of Roman Catholicism, climbed Pilate’s stairs on hands and knees repeating a Pater Noster for each one and kissing each step for good measure in the hope of earning more credits. He later confessed, “I was a good monk, and I kept the rule of my order so strictly that I may say that if ever a monk got to heaven by his monkery it was I.” The system that demanded he compensate for his sins was later repudiated by Luther.
This is not simply ancient history. The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia (ed. Glazier and Hellwig, The Liturgical Press, 1994) recommends that this pool of good deeds can be today “transferred” to persons via the Roman Church. “By granting indulgences the Church applies, … to those who are rightly disposed and who fulfill the prescribed conditions the treasury of merits of Christ and the saints and in this way removes totally or partially the temporal punishments…” So repulsive does this sound that the writer of the article “Indulgences” in the MCE adds this note: “Pastorally, it is important to stress the necessity of personal conversion of mind and heart when discussing indulgences today” (p. 425). The entire doctrine of indulgences is unscriptural and without a note of biblical warrant. It is founded upon the erroneous belief of meritorious works for salvation.
“Righteousness” that belongs to the Christian is not a “transfer of credit” from one account to another. It is “justification”– by which Christ counts as “not having sinned” those who place their trust in Him (Rom. 3:21-26), much like the state will “justify” a criminal and free him from prison. It has nothing to do with “transferring credits.” The Roman Catholic Church maintains this imaginary system to maintain control over people. In truth, there is not a bank account of good deeds upon which sinners may draw and certainly, no church manages such a “transfer of credit.” Salvation comes through the grace of Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8,9) which is appropriated by personal obedience to the Master (Heb. 5:9, 10).
by Bill Lockwood
A prominent NT topic which is seldom discussed is that of “eternal punishment” in hell. Multiple passages reveal everlasting damnation that is reserved for those who are outside of Jesus Christ.
“Gehenna” is the original word translated hell in the English translation and represents the Hebrew “Ge-Hinnom” (the valley of Hinnom) which geographical location is on the southern edge of Jerusalem. By etymology the word came to be used by Jews to refer, not to that literal valley, but to a place of eternal torment for the wicked after death. Twelve times “Gehenna” appears in the NT text.
For instance, Jesus warned that, “He who says to his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire” (Matt. 5:22). So also, if “thine eye” causes stumbling, Jesus admonishes “Pluck it out,” for it is better to lose the eye than the “whole body be cast into hell” (v. 30). In Matt. 18:8,9 the warnings are repeated, but this time, instead of “hell” our Lord mentions “eternal fire” as the doom. This comparison alone shows that “Gehenna” came to be used to refer to a place of eternal torment.
One highly instructive passage which reveals the nature of eternal punishment is Rev. 14:9-13. Having announced the “Fall of Babylon”” (v. 8), John opens the warning to “any man that worships the beast and his image” (9). This person will be “tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb” (10). An apt description of the “Gehenna” which our Lord mentioned.
The doctrinal significance of this passage should not be overlooked. First, the smoke of “their torment” goes up forever and ever. Hard it is to imagine a more descriptive phrase for unending pain and sorrow. The Greek text here reads “unto ages of ages.” This particular phrase occurs 12x in Revelation and indicates “endless duration,” as, for instance, at 1:6 where God has “glory and dominion” “forever and ever.”
Second, the wicked have no rest “day and night.” No release from their lot. The exact phraseology is used in 4:8 of the four living creatures who cease not to give praise “day and night” to the Lord God Almighty. In 20:10 the “beast” and “the false prophet” are to be “tormented day and night forever and ever.” Contrast this threat with that of “rest” promised to the faithful who die in the Lord (14:13).
This accords with the teaching of our Lord in Matt. 25:46 in which “everlasting punishment” is set for those on His left hand. A fearful conception. Unfortunately, many today have been inflicted with modern-day Marcionism—a 2d century heresy named for Marcion who taught a dichotomy between the God of the Old Testament, which he saw as “wrathful,” and the “God of love” of the NT. No such distinction exists. Jesus Christ taught us plainly that a healthy fear of Him who casts into hell is necessary to keep us from evil (Luke 12:5).
Roman Catholic Communist Church
by Bill Lockwood
Caritas Internationalis is the Vatican’s top social justice organization comprised of 162 Catholic organizations that operate in over 200 countries. It is officially listed as a member of the World Social Forum, one of the foremost Marxist groups in the world. Caritas is not only a member, but is on the International Council for the WSF. These facts alone demonstrate the communist orientation of the Roman Catholic Church.
According to the American Life League, a Catholic organization itself, Caritas is providing leadership to further the Marxist agenda worldwide. The ALL has recently provided a 76-page PowerPoint presentation demonstrating the fact that “The New World Pope” Francis, formerly known as Jorge Bergoglio, is utilizing unsubstantiated climate change hysteria to promote a World Socialist Government.The author of the report, Michael Hichborn, stated, “This is a very serious problem. Given how intimately connected the World Social Forum (WSF) has been with the promotion of communism, abortion, and homosexuality since the very beginning, it’s impossible to see how any Catholic can participate in it, or even speak positively about it, let alone have any involvement in its governance. But Caritas Internationalis does!”
The Red Vatican! Hichborn’s PowerPoint is well-documented and thoroughly researched. Included in the PowerPoint presentation is the WSF website from 2004 in which Caritas is listed as a sponsor. Among other things, Caritas and WFS promote, “How to Redistribute Wealth & Power Globally.”The WSF in 2002 featured speakers who advocated abortion and homosexuality. Catholic Workshops in 2003 listed the following topics: “Ecology & Eco-Socialism; Sustainability,” “Feminism & Socialism—Challenges in Socialist Feminism,” “Homosexuality: Without homophobia, another world is possible,” “Sexual Rights,” and “Abortion.” Catholic emphasis is upon the universal right to these crimes against God.
One of the highlighted speakers at a recent Caritas conference was Jeffrey Sachs. In his recent book The Age of Sustainable Development, whose forward was authored by the United Nations’ Ban Ki-Moon, Sachs openly condemns the free market and presses for a world government that will assist in transferring American wealth on a global scale. The United States, according to Sachs, is the chief of environmental sinners (p. 394) and its citizens must learn to live “sustainably!” (p. 485).Apparently the Roman Catholic Church, continually using the communistic model for people control, is vying for top leadership in the forming world socialistic government.
An Investor’s Business Daily editorial in December, 2014 noted the following:“The Vatican apparently now has been infiltrated by followers of a radical green movement that is, at its core, anti-Christian, anti-people, anti-poor and anti-development. The basic tenets of Catholicism—the sanctity of human life and the value of all souls—are detested by the modern pagan environmentalists who worship the created, but not the creator. At is core, Big Green believes that too many human beings are responsible for the basic global problem.
People, according to this view, are resource destroyers. Climate change, they say, is due to the overpopulation of Mother Earth. The head of the Catholic Church should denounce—not praise—such anti-human thinking…Instead, the pope unwittingly has linked arms with the people who have provided finance, intellectual credibility and applause for radical and immoral population-control policies including eugenics, millions of forced abortions and sterilization, and one-child policies, all in the same of ‘saving the planet.”
by Bill Lockwood
Every seventh year the Israelites were to allow their fields to lie fallow. “You may plant your land for six years and gather its crops. But during the seventh year, you must leave it alone and withdraw from it. The needy among you will then be able to eat just as you do, and whatever is left over can be eaten by wild animals. This also applies to your vineyard and your olive grove” (Exodus 23:10–11).This sabbatical year was known also as “The Shemitah,” the Hebrew word meaning “release.” “At the end of every seven years, you shall celebrate the remission year. The idea of the remission year is that every creditor shall remit any debt owed by his neighbor and brother when God’s remission year comes around. You may collect from the alien, but if you have any claim against your brother for a debt, you must relinquish it. …” (Deuteronomy 15:1–6).
New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Cahn has issued a 2015 warning based on this seven year “biblical cycle” that America will see economic disaster, war in the Middle East, or worse (Charismanews, 3-10-15). Blood Moon prognosticator John Hagee of San Antonio bases dire predictions for the world (“the world will change forever” Four Blood Moons, 229) based upon the Jewish calendar.
Note the Following: Several things need be observed regarding these types of predictions. First, to Apply Jewish Sabbatical Years to Modern Events is Fanciful Thinking. No New Testament text or inspired writer ever faintly alludes to such a timetable. Further, not a single Old Testament text justifies utilizing the “sabbatical year” for anything other than that which is explicitly stated: allowing the crops to lie fallow and releasing individuals from debt. Biblical justification for such a scenario is completely and totally absent.
Second, the Bible Explicitly Teaches that the Old Testament was Completely Fulfilled by Christ and was Removed. Jesus announced that he had come the first time to “fulfill the law and the prophets” (Matt. 5:17). He further pointed out in the same text that ALL of it was to pass when SOME of it passed. “One jot or one tittle [smallest strokes of Hebrew alphabet] shall in no wise pass away until all things are accomplished.” If any of the law has passed, all of it has. And we are informed that that law was “nailed to the cross” (Col. 2:14). Hebrews 9:9,10 show that in order to establish the second law (Christ’s law) the first had to be removed. Even the purpose of the Shemitah has passed and is no longer a valid system before God.
What Would Jesus Do About Islam?
by Bill Lockwood
Bill O’Reilly opined on Thursday that he does not question the right that Pamela Geller has to free speech, but that it is wrong to insult every Muslim on the planet by organizing an event in which cartoon images of Muhammed were displayed. Jesus would not have such an event, we are told.I suppose Jesus’ own words do not count as to what Jesus would or would not do. “I am the door, by me if any man shall enter in, he shall go in and go out and find pasture. All that came before me [besides me] are thieves and robbers” (John 10;9,10). This includes Muhammed.
More pointedly, He addressed the Jewish rulers with these words, “Ye are the sons of them that slew the prophets! Fill up the measure of your fathers! Ye serpents, ye offspring of vipers, how shall ye escape the judgment of hell? Therefore, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel the righteous unto the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom ye slew between the sanctuary and the altar. Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation” (Matt. 23:31-36). To Judaism itself Jesus charged, “Your house is left unto desolate!”
I suppose every Jew upon the earth is insulted by these words of our blessed Lord. But He knows that truth must not be sacrificed to please the multitudes. He was crucified in part as a result of this plain preaching.Apostolic preaching, inspired by the same Jesus Christ (John 16:13), received this reaction from the Jewish Sanhedrin addressing themselves to the apostles: “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name: and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon our heads!” (Acts 5:28). Per our cultural leaders we must examine how the apostles must have presented the message of Jesus Christ, for surely no one displaying the “love of Jesus” would evoke this type of reaction. Geraldo Rivera perhaps would angrily retort that “when he sees these apostles he ‘wants to bathe himself’”—as he did when speaking about Pamela Geller. Look how offensive they were to the Jews!
Two observations need be logged here: One, the entire focus about the Geller-Garland event has shifted as to whether or not she should have sponsored it. In so doing, we are hurrying to absolve “Islam” itself of hate as commentators are careful to label terrorists as “extremists.” We just refuse to discuss whether or not Islam itself actually instructs its followers to kill in the name of Allah. In point of fact, there is only ONE ISLAM and it teaches emphatically its doctrine with the edge of the sword. Muhammed did this and so the world has witnessed the spread of Islam throughout history.
Two, in reality, the Muslims of the world oppose any type of negative exposures of Muhammed, be they scholarly reviews or emphatic sermons showing what the Quran actually demands. Cartoons may not be how one thinks these things ought to be done, but Islam is just as vehement if one were to say that Muhammed is a false prophet or to apply the words of Jesus Christ to Islam.The entire debate, driven by the O’Reilly’s and Rivera’s, as to whether or not we should “restrain ourselves” when opposing Islam is the beginning of the softening of the minds in preparation for Sharia-type law. Our own troops have burned Bibles overseas so as “not to offend” the Muslim population. Is this in the making in our own country?
A Socialist Vatican?!
by Bill Lockwood
To those who follow the uptick in current socialist trends it comes as no surprise that the Vatican, the official seat of the Roman Catholic Church, is in stiff competition with the United Nations to push a world socialist agenda. Using the supposed environmental crisis as the excuse to impose governing policies on large portions of human populations, Pope Francis and the Catholic Church echo all the talking points of Karl Marx.
As initially reported by Cliff Kincaid (USA Survival) the recent Catholic Caritas International Conference held in Rome on May 12 concluded that climate change, not sin, was “the defining challenge of our time.” The solution lies in the false theology after the manner of Al Gore’s Nature Religion. Says the Conference: “Humankind is a part of nature, not separate and above” as is taught in Genesis One. A direct assault on the Word of God.
Jeffrey D. Sachs, one of the featured speakers was Jeffrey D. Sachs. His billing lauds him as a “leading expert” on economic development and the fight against poverty. But this “fight against poverty” is the unbiblical and unscriptural doctrine of “Sustainable Development”—the doctrine built upon the hysteria of “climate change” which demands a Socialist-style government to “redistribute” the goods and resources and wealth of the world. Sustainable means RATIONING. For his Marxist views he has been Special Advisor to the United Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on the Millennium Development Goals. He professes “Sustainable Development” in the Marxist-oriented Columbia University.These developments alone illustrate the drift of the modern Catholic Church and its methodology for people control.
Christiana Peppard, writing in the online version of America: The National Catholic Review, opines that Pope Francis’ anticipated environmental encyclical, soon to be forthcoming, has created a media buzz.She suggests that Pope Francis’ encyclical will probably build on the edifice of two recent addresses by Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Per Turkson, “the earth needs to be protected; humanity needs to be dignified.”What are his solutions? “The current economic-developmental model is out of balance…. We need to shift away from an unthinking infatuation with GDP and a single-minded zeal for accumulation. We need to learn to work together toward sustainable development, in a framework that links economic prosperity with both social inclusion and protection of the natural world.”Pope Francis appears to be a full-blown Marxist.
Sustainable Development is merely the hip terminology that is currently used to preach this doctrine of anti-freedom.Peppard further references Benedict XVI’s encyclical letter which is filled with hand-wringing about wealth “inequity” while proposing socialist solutions. Since the “…world’s wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase” what the globe needs is “social justice.” Benedict exulted that the modern “processes of globalization” “suitably understood and directed, open up the unprecedented possibility of large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale…” Wonder what “directorship” to “redistribute wealth” the Roman Catholic Church prefers? Itself or the United Nations?
Social Justice (socialism) continues to be Benedict’s theme. An added dimension, per Benedict, is that the world needs “inter-generational justice” because “human development cannot ignore coming generations.” The perfect formula for top-down control orchestrated by the Roman Church.Benedicts’ work exploits environmental concerns which necessitates government control via the papacy. Tipping his tiara to the Bible, Benedict recognized that man is to “till” the soil and “keep it” (Gen. 2:15) and that nature is not “something more important than the human person.” “That having been said,” Benedict stresses, mankind is not to have “total technical dominion over nature” because it is “more than raw material to be manipulated at our pleasure.”What these collectivist comments lack is a realistic view of why income inequality exists in the first place.
Globally speaking it comes about primarily because of sinful dictatorial governments which manipulate and control their populaces with an iron fist. But as all socialists do, these Roman pontiffs ignore these types of man-made causes and criticize freedom that Americans enjoy. There is just too much of that. Look for Pope Francis to continue to sow seeds of envy among the have-nots while preaching guilt to the haves.
God’s True Israel
by Bill Lockwood
The letter by Paul to the Romans has been called the chief book of the NT and the perfect gospel. Some suggest that to know Romans is to have an entire theological education. While that may be overstating it, it is true that to know the basic doctrine of Romans provides the key that unlocks the meaning of many passages in the NT which are otherwise obscure.
After the apostle sets forth the marvelous teaching of salvation by grace through faith (chapters 1-8) he turns his attention to the Jewish nation. What about Israel? Seeing that is continues to be a burning question even today (e.g. some suppose that when God promised Abraham personally that “I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee,” Gen. 12:3, that this was a promise extending to how America now treats Israel) let’s see Paul’s answer in Romans 9.First, Rom. 9:1-5 shows that Israel was lost. As Paul points out in 9:28 “only a remnant will be saved.” This situation grieved Paul greatly. He even stated that he could wish himself to be accursed from Israel for his “kinsmen according to the flesh” (Israel). But that, of course, could not be. What then? Second, God’s promise was only to believers in Christ! (9:6-29).
In spite of Paul’s grief about fleshly Israel being LOST he adds “it is not as though the word of God (promises) have failed.” Why not, Paul? Because “they are not all Israel [spiritual Israel] that are of Israel [physical Israel].” That is to say, all of the offspring of Jacob are Israel in the sense in which the word is used in the promise. Neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all heirs! (v. 7). The very next line in v. 8 is emphatic: “That is, it is not the children of the flesh that are children of God but the children of the promise are reckoned [counted] for a seed.” The Jews of the first century supposed one of two things had to be true. One, Jesus is really the Messiah in which case all of God’s promises to Israel have failed and are nullified; Or, Israel is and remains forever, the people of God. If the latter is the case then Jesus is an imposter!It is curiously sad that the modern premillennialist assumes that the Jews are correct in their argumentation!
The only difference is that those of this modern millennial school say Jesus is the Messiah, but accept lock, stock and barrel the rest of the Jewish argument that all of the promises to Israel as a fleshly nation have yet to be fulfilled. Take Jesus, they say, but refuse that he fulfilled the law and the prophets (Matt. 5:17-19). Where do the modern millennialists and Jews of yesteryear go wrong? Answer: they BOTH mistake who is the TRUE ISRAEL. Paul’s entire point in the chapter is that the Jew did not understand true Israel. They never learned to distinguish between Israel according to the flesh and Israel according to the spirit. For example, in Romans 9:6-13 the great apostle shows that the promise given to Abraham did NOT belong to a fleshly relationship even from the beginning. Otherwise, Ishmael and Esau would be heirs of the promise, too!
Then, to top it off he calls the physical nation of Israel “vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction” (v. 22). But all of this was to prepare for God’s TRUE Israel who “He prepared afore unto glory.” Who is this people whom God always planned to bless? Answer: Believers in Christ who come from Jews as well as Gentiles (v. 24). Christians! These were called in the OT prophecy of Hosea “MY PEOPLE” (9:25-27). God’s true Israel is the church (Israel 6:16). Physical Israel has served its purpose and is no longer the people of God.
by Bill Lockwood
In his error-riddled book Four Blood Moons, John Hagee has strong words about those who believe that Israel has been “replaced” by the church in God’s plan. This “Replacement Theology” he labels as “deceit” (p. 111) and “anti-Semitic” (118). Hardly able to contain himself, Hagee charges those who teach it as being “intellectually and scripturally dishonest” and who think that God broke the covenant with Israel. What about this?
First, it is ironic that such false teachers as Hagee mislead readers with the terminology “Replacement Theology” when in point of fact, premillennial dispensationalists believe that the church will be replaced by the nation of Israel in the future. Stephen Sizer points this out in Christian Zionism (p. 174). Zionists “generally afford Israel a special status above the church, dispensationalists also believe Israel will succeed the church. So it is ironic that they accuse covenantalists of perpetrating a ‘replacement theology’ for suggesting that the church has replaced Israel.”
Second, the “Replacement Theology” criticism ignores the basic Bible teaching that God’s promise of salvation was always intended only for believers. Paul’s entire point in Romans 9 is that in spite of the fact that Israel is lost (9:1-5) the promises of God did not fail, or “come to naught” (v. 6). Why? “Because they are not all Israel that are of Israel.” That is, “they are not all spiritual Israel that are physical descendents of Israel.” The promise never was to “physical Israel” as such. The inimitable Philip Schaff comments on this chapter, “The germ of distinction between the true religious Israel and the fleshly, national Israel is already laid in the Old Testament.”
Or, as Paul goes on to say, “It is not the children of the flesh that are children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned for a seed.” The very reason fleshly Israel was wrong in their thinking during the first century is because they did not understand true spiritual Israel. Paul labors to show this by pointing out that there are other children of Abraham, such as Esau. But God rejected him. Physical lineage is worthless.
More importantly, the NT explicitly teaches that God had always intended that the promise would take in believing Gentiles as well as believing Jews. “Afore prepared unto glory” is how Paul describes God’s eternal plan which included Gentiles (Rom. 9:23,24). Believing Gentiles are called “my people” (Hosea 1:10; Rom. 9:25,26). In the same vein Paul shows that the church was always God’s eternal plan (Eph. 3:8-11). There is no real “replacement” here—only the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan. And how in the name of common sense can it be “anti-Semitic” to say that God “afore prepared unto glory” those whom he calls, “not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?” ‘Jews and Gentiles’ is surely not hateful to Jewish people. The entire point of Romans 9 is that one better learn to distinguish between Israel according to the flesh and Israel according to the spirit. Sadly, those of the “Blood Moon” Hagee ilk have never learned it.
In the last it was pointed out that John Hagee, in his error-plagued book Four Blood Moons, strongly criticizes those who believe that Israel has been “replaced” by the church in God’s plan. This he pejoratively labels “Replacement Theology.” “Deceitful,” “dishonest” and “anti-Semitic” (118) are terms he heaps upon this method of interpretation. To all premillennialists, including Hagee, God’s intention has always been to bless the Jews as a nation in the future and this is the end to which history is now rapidly moving. Other peoples and nations are in turn blessed only as they relate to nationalistic Israel.Many who oppose this Jewish-oriented future kingdom theory merely suppose that the entire issue revolves around harmless theories pertaining to the future or a peculiar interpretation of Revelation 20.
And why bother with theories that have been spun about what may or may not occur in the days to come?This is a serious miscalculation. Premillennialism involves a system of interpretation that revamps the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. It is not just a discussion about Revelation 20 or speculations about things to come. Among other things at stake is whether the Old Testament actually prepared for the New Testament. God either did, or did not, through the prophets and the Old Covenant system, make ready for the New Covenant. This brings us to the next consideration, continuing from the last article.Third, the entire Old Testament, including its system of worship, was designed by God only as a preparation for the New Covenant.
The Old Testament physical system pointed to the spiritual realities which we enjoy in Christ. How do we know this to be the case? Jesus summarized the entirety of the OT at the beginning of His ministry: “Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets, I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away one jot or one tittle [small strokes of the Hebrew letters] shall not pass away from the law, till all things are accomplished.” (Matt. 5:17-18). “Fulfill” means to “make full, to fill, to fill up … to carry through to the end, to carry out, to accomplish …” (Thayer Lexicon).In the above one can see that even the law was filled full—that is, its purpose was accomplished in Christ. H.L. Mansel observed that this passage shows that “Christ came to complete its [Law of Moses] design; to fill up what was predicted; to accomplish what was intended in them.” “The purpose of this discourse [Matt. 5-7] is to represent the elder dispensation [Old Testament] as preparation for the kingdom of heaven. The law is not destroyed, but perfected when it is developed into the church of Christ which He has promised to be present, even to the end of the world.” (Mansel was Dean of St. Paul’s Church, 1874).
This included not only the prophecies in the OT, but also the institutions of the law itself, for Jesus said, “The Law and the Prophets.” Jesus’ relation to the entire old economy under Moses was to complete its intention, perfect its purpose, fulfill its meaning. It is important to note also that this related to Jesus’ first coming, not to the future. Therefore, the apostle John says that while on the cross Jesus “knowing that all things are now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled …” (John 19:28-30). “Fulfill” does not refer to some isolated passage, but the completion of the prophetic picture, the entire fulfillment of the prophetic image (B.F. Westcott). Who denies it? Those who believe Hagee’s Blood Moon doctrine. The first coming of Christ was merely a bump in the road to them. God’s entire supposed intention was to bless national Israel. They erroneously propose that God still has a place for the nation of Israel and the “blood moons” (various lunar eclipses) that are occurring throughout 2015 portend those events. Blood moons there may be, but they have not one thing to do with Bible prophecy.
Islamic Tribunal in Dallas & 1st Corinthians
by Bill Lockwood
The distinction that Texas is the first state in the Union to have an Islamic Tribunal is not something for which we should be proud. Actually, a Sharia Court pre-dated the current one in Richardson, but the onus is still on Texas. One of the “judges,” Dr. Taher El-badawi, says that participation is only voluntary. Nevertheless, the new Sharia Tribunal is operating in Irving, which ought to be of no little concern to all Americans because there is no school of Islamic jurisprudence among either Sunnis or Shi’ites that does not mandate stoning for adultery or the subjugation of women.
What concerns me here is the reaction of liberalism to the court and the complete misuse of Bible passages to support it. When measures were introduced into the Texas House several years ago to forbid Sharia Courts in Texas, liberal bloggers went wild accusing conservatives of seeing ghosts that weren’t there. Now that the Sharia Court is operating, liberals chirp, ‘Well, at least they are not cutting off hands,” blah blah blah. But it is Rodger Jones of the Dallas Morning News (2-3-15) who writes in defense of the Islamic Court, “Don’t mainstream Jewish and Christian congregations offer those kinds of services? Consider, too, that the New Testament includes an injunction against taking a Christian brother to court. The church is a better place to solve disputes, according to some interpretations. From 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 (pretty snappy for a Catholic guy, eh?).”
Now the snappy guy is dragging the Bible into it. Let us see about it.Paul addresses the church at Corinth regarding a number of problematic areas, including sin in the church (chap. 5) which the community of faith was to judge (5:13). This judgment was to expel the wicked man—not physically, but that he was to be considered outside of the realm of the faithful.The entire paragraph of 6:1-11 turns to a kind of “judgment” that was to occur within the church, namely matters of everyday life where one member has a grievance against another. But instead of settling disputes within the church Christian was litigating Christian before tribunals of the unbelieving (v. 2) and soiling the church’s name. Paul is filled with indignation and alternates between statements of horror (v. 1, 6), rhetorical questions (v. 2-4, 5b) and sarcasm (v. 5). He warns that their misconduct would forfeit their inheritance of the kingdom of God (v. 9-11).
What can we conclude? First, Paul is talking about settling disputes without ‘going to law.’ He even urges “Why not rather take wrong?” “Why not rather be defrauded?” The church’s reputation is at stake. Why will not members suffer wrongdoing to protect it? The primary point: Guard the reputation of the church! Quit airing dirty laundry before the community! What has this to do with the subject at hand? Just this. Paul nowhere advocates an official “tribunal” with an alternate system of laws that come into conflict with legal jurisprudence of the nation. He is advocating settling disputes by brotherly agreements within the church. For the “snappy Catholic guy” to use this text to somehow equate to an official Islamic legal system complete with civic and criminal courts called Sharia is not snappy at all. It is an abuse.
Second, the only penalty enacted by the Corinthian texts, and any text in the NT, is expulsion from the community of faith. Withdrawing fellowship (2 Thess. 3) is how it is worded elsewhere, including “to have no company with” (3:14). Yet, even those “put away” from the church are to be loved and admonished as brethren (v.15). What has this to do with “legal physical punishments” enacted by Sharia Courts around the world? Even the Dallas Court already uses Islamic denigration of women, for according to El-badawi, “The husband can request a divorce directly from the tribunal” BUT the “wife must go to an Imam who will request a divorce for her.” She herself cannot even apply in the Court! What has this to do with the New Testament? Nothing at all. No resemblance whatsoever.
Sodom’s Second Coming
by Bill Lockwood
SUMMARY: Several years ago F. Lagard Smith published a book with the above title. Sodom’s Second Coming sums up well the cultural struggle in which America is now locked. Indiana passes the Religious Freedom Restoration Act but Governor Mike Pence hurriedly back-peddles after tremendous public backlash. He wants to “clarify” it. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed a similar bill. Both of these measures, however, simply mirrored similar bills in a number of other states.
BACKGROUND: Following the Civil War, the 13th Amendment officially outlawed slavery in the United States. Out of that came the Civil Rights Act of 1875 which granted blacks equal treatment in public accommodations and public transportation. Subsequently, the Supreme Court held that that law was unconstitutional in that the federal government has no authority by our Constitution to take action against individuals deemed in violation by over-stepping state governments. States were to be the protective barrier against an overreaching federal government. Nor was the Federal Government ever intended to be the organ by which attitudes and feelings should be changed.Move to 1964. The Civil Rights Act of that year was right on the heels of the New Deal Legacy of bigger, more expansive federal government. The 1964 Act is considered a “landmark legislation” because it outlawed discrimination in private business practice based on “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” It effectually ended segregation in schools and once again mandated there be no discrimination in “public accommodations.” This time, the federal overreach was not successfully challenged.
Did the measure accomplish what it proposed to do? Surveying the racial scene in America no one could argue that relations have become improved since the 1960’s. In fact, I will argue that they have worsened. Multiple causes of this there may be, but one major component of deteriorating relations between races is due to the fact that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 diminishes personal liberty and tramples the “right of contract” which is the hallmark of a free people. It intermeddles into areas of the human mind by seeking to correct ill-motives—prejudice, whether real or perceived.This province belongs, however, not to government, but to the human heart and should be addressed in the local pulpit, not from halls of Congress. More importantly, the Civil Rights Act of1964 has been the major cause of transferring power from the states and individuals to the federal government.
THE CONSTITUTION: How was the 1964 Civil Rights Act justified constitutionally? It has been chiefly defended by means of the Commerce Clause (Article 1.8). This clause was designed however, according to the founders in their authoritative statements on the topic, to create a “free trade zone” in the United States and simply to prevent inter-state trade wars.How can an employer hiring an employee (free contract between individuals, Article 1.10) fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government—especially if the business has nothing at all to do with interstate commerce? But that is what the Government claims.It is illegitimate for any governing body to “close the income gap,” to “favor one form of energy over another,” to “mandate racial quota’s in the workplace” or even to “change attitudes” among the citizens. That belongs to opinion-makers, not lawmakers.
ENTER THE HOMOSEXUAL LOBBY: What has all of this to do with “homosexual rights” and the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that are being challenged in the states? Just this. The American culture has merely papered-over the entire issue of homosexuality. The American Psychiatric Association, for example, “voted” in 1973 to remove homosexuality from its illness list.The very fact that a vote was taken following political maneuvering by radical homosexuals who stormed into the APA meeting in San Francisco and demanded change shows that there is nothing scientific about the politically correct mantra that people are “born homosexual.” It is hard-ball politics, pure and simple.
Homosexuality is lawless behavior, it has nothing to do with people being “born that way.” But the political fallout from the Rainbow Agenda for saying this is so great that politicians like Pence and Hutchinson are scrambling backwards. The shrill demand is that we equate homosexuality with race. Therefore, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will apply and private businesses and individuals will forcibly be required to do obeisance to the god of the Almighty State. Freedom has all but disappeared.
Barack Obama & Boko Haram
by Bill Lockwood
Like too many ivory-towered academics, President Obama shows that his brainwashing into the Marxian world-view has been thorough. In his May 20 U.S. Coast Guard Academy speech at New London, CT, Obama flat-footedly refused to recognize that violent behavior of persons is linked with the doctrines that they believe. Instead, with straight face he turned his back on common sense and with academic arrogance lectured the cadets on behalf of America that jihadist terror and blood-letting is somehow linked to “Climate Change.
”Here are his words. “Understand, climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world. Yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram. It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East.”
Let’s break this down. The professor of community organizing says that Muslim jihadist terrorist groups such as Boko Haram (which name is officially ‘The Group of People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad’) is in part caused by Climate Change. Secondly, America is the chief of climate sinners in Obama’s eye.The conclusion is that in order to combat Muslim global jihadists we (Americans!) need to cut down on fossil fuel production.
To adequately defend our homes and our lives, we need to give up economic prosperity and the freedom upon which it thrives. Turn down your thermostats. THIS IS THE PRESIDENT’S STRATEGY FOR DEFEATING ISIS.America was once the envy of the world. But this cruel jokester, who is nothing but a hack for the World Socialist International, is fundamentally transforming our nation into the laughingstock of the world.
Lest one suppose this is too harsh a criticism, consider more of the speech. Regarding Climate Change, Obama opines:“This is not just a problem for countries on the coast or for certain regions of the world. Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune. So I am here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security and, make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act — and we need to act now!”
To the graduates: “You are part of the first generation of officers to begin your service in a world where the effects of climate change are so clearly upon us. Climate change will shape how every one of our services plan, operate, train, equip and protect their infrastructure, today and for the long-term. ”Socialism: Disconnection from Reality Angola is in the process of banning mosques and hindering Islam because it is “counter to our culture,” says its Minister of Culture Rosa Cruz e Silva; Norway just deported a record number of Muslims (824 in October 2014) and watched its violent crime drop by 30%; the province of Lombardy in Italy is banning construction on new mosques while the ones in existence are being forced to install a closed-captioned TV camera so that law enforcement can watch and listen to make sure no radicalization occurs; yet our CEO’s big safety plan against jihadists is to curtail green-house emissions!
Obama’s speech at the Coast Guard Academy is like watching a Junior High son of a communist scribble penciled notes from the rants of his father on a Big Chief tablet and everyone in the country is forced to listen to him read it. I suppose that Obama’s Marxian world-views is caused by keeping the refrigeration too low in the White House which gives him brain freeze. It’s all about the climate.
Free Speech in Garland, TX
by Bill Lockwood
Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), according to many, “provoked” and “invited” the terroristic attack by “taunting” Muslims with the Muhammed Art Exhibit last week in Garland, TX. Whether one agrees or disagrees with how Geller’s event opposed Islam and celebrated free speech, the attempted shooting by Muslims allegedly connected with ISIS has immediately highlighted how deep is the wound inflicted upon America by multi-culturalism.
Many Americans have become so anemic in their thinking that they are ready to relinquish First Amendment free speech to keep the jihadi’s at bay. From Bill O’Reilly to Chris Matthews to Donald Trump to the leftist-socialist Southern Poverty Law Center the focus has wrongly been on the impropriety of Geller’s event. All right, for the sake of argument, let’s agree with them. Geller was wrong to put on the event. She purposefully provoked the Muslim community and “this is what you get,” in the words of O’Reilly.
Where then are we? Can one properly oppose Islam in any venue? Is it possible for one to expose the Quran as an uninspired book of man? Might one write or speak to show that Muhammed was a false prophet and imposter? Should serious students refrain from exposing Muhammed’s personal sexual escapades—which are freely reported by Muslim histories and defended in the Quran?
Can one quote the well-informed and learned John Quincy Adams on Islam? He certainly knew more of that religion than is allowed in our pluralistic society. From the clear historical record he summarized: “In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar, the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth.
Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust, by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE.”
Might one publish this today? Well, I have news for you. Every one of these expressions of sober free speech is considered just as “inflammatory” and “provocative” by Muslims. They will be no more accepting of a preacher or president exposing the slavery of Islam than they will tolerate Pamela Geller hosting a cartoon of Muhammed. Opposing Islam in any of these fashions is just as blasphemous to Muslims. The crisis here is that when our minds begin drifting down the corridors of thought that to appease Islam (for it is not only the “jihadists” who are offended by a Muhammed cartoon) the end result is that we allow jihadists to define the parameters of “free speech.” Exactly where the Bill O’Reilly’s of the world stand. ‘We have free speech, but we must be smarter’ than Pamela Geller, he opines. ‘She is asking for trouble,’ echoes the mainstream media chorus.
The written creed of America stands upon free speech defended by the Second Amendment. But the ‘unwritten creed’ that many wish us to observe is, “Free speech, unless Muslims are offended.” I started to write, “…unless people are offended.” But it has been open season on Christianity for about 50 years in the media and the collegiate classroom and I have yet to hear the media suggest that we must be “smarter” than to allow professors to assault Christianity. Offense to Christianity is openly celebrated in Western culture—in the name of “free speech.” Christians don’t count. Have we become so weakened that we will allow Islam to re-write our First Amendment? Has our multi-cultural society that celebrates pluralism, diversity and political correctness become so blinded that the attempted murder in the name of Allah by Muslims in Garland, TX has turned into a debate on whether or not Pamela Geller should or should not say certain things and arouse the enemy? Apparently so.