(The Coming Destruction)
14For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction. (Mat 7:)
Some road signs are very clear in their description, and from them we are able to know for sure we're where we hoped to be. But this isn't always the case. I've spent a lot of time (and a lot of miles) on unfamiliar roads, and I can assure you there are signs that can confuse a person or even lead them astray. One example of this very thing nearly led to disaster. I took some boy scouts on a 50 mile hike on a scout reservation, a place if any where one would expect the trail to be well laid out in order to insure the safety of those on the trail. Not necessarily so. In the wilderness we, the troop, came to a junction that was obscure at best, hardly identifiable as a trail, where there was a clear marker (a flag tied to a stick as I recall) marking a trail. The other path seemed to disappear into a small stream bed, so of course we took the clearly marked trail. The trail, as it turned out, was not a trail at all, but led us to an open field where no markings were visible. After a week of hiking, the mountains having not the slightest idea where we were or where there was water, I was able to get us (the scared and rebellious youths) back to where we were supposed to be (either by sheer luck or divine guidance, not by any skill I possess I assure you). Was the false tail an accident? Or did someone place the false marker on the trail as an attempt at humor? Either way, it could have well led to the death of several innocent people since no attempt would have been made to find us until the end of the trail, a week later, when we didn't arrive as planned.
Have you ever seen a street or road sign that had been turned the wrong way, either out of maliciousness or the wind? I have. And such signs have caused me a lot of grief, and in some cases lost miles and time.
Official street and road markers aren't the only indicators that we're on the right road. For instance there's the condition of the road itself. If we find ourself on a broad and curvy road when we've been informed that the road will be straight and narrow, it should give us a clue that we've taken a wrong turn somewhere. Or, if the road is easy to find and crowded when we're instructed to look for a hard-to-find road that is strewn with obstacles we might assume we've missed our turnoff somewhere back a ways.
Other signs that might well cause us to wonder if we read the map correctly are observing sand and surf when we ought to be in the desert or a mountain lake.
Wrongly pointed signs and arrows aren't the only reasons we can go astray of our destination, sometimes we go amiss on purpose, knowing full well we're not where we ought to be (or not caring that we've gone astray). When I ride (a bicycle, my source of transportation) I always see roads leading in another direction than that which I intend to travel. The road might look more interesting than the one I'm on, or it might appear easier than the mountainous road on which I find myself. I've traveled 200 miles out of the way for just this reason, curiosity.
I for one have taken a few wrong roads merely because of a pretty face who was going another direction than I was planning on traveling. (And mind you, the older I get, the older the "pretty young girls" are that I notice. I've seen many a pretty face who were grey-headed grandmothers lately).
Sometimes when we travel we pay no particular attention to signs of any kind because we've chosen to "Leave the driving to us" and taken the bus or some other form of transportation where another person is hopefully taking us where we wish to go. When we let someone else take the wheel we're able to lay back and sleep the trip away, having full confidence that the one who we have turned our destiny over to knows what they're doing, has gone this way before, and is capable of handling the machine we're resting our confidence in. I for one have a great deal of difficulty being the passenger regardless of who the driver may be. I've always been in control of my life and my destiny (as much control as present circumstances allow, which wasn't much when I was in the Army). I experience a great deal of stress when someone else is doing the driving. I'm constantly watching the speedometer, the road signs, the distance other cars are from the one I'm riding in, and the wakefulness of the driver. Am I a back-seat driver? Rarely, only because I hate the back seat of any form of transportation.
The question might be raised: If I let someone else do the driving, if I place my trust in another person rather than take control over my own life, and I end up where I didn't intend to go: can I blame someone else? Or do I have to accept the responsibility myself?
Assuming we're the type of person who is careful and observant when we go anywhere, what kind of things should we watch for in order to make sure we're on the right road? For instance, let's say (since this is a Biblically-based story) we're intending to make it to Heaven, a destination most of us hope to reach eventually. What obstacles or warning signs that we're on the wrong road, or that we've turned the lead over to the wrong person can we check for? Is there a formula or system we can use? How about history, can we look into the past and see where others have taken the wrong path and learn from them? I should think if nothing else that would be a good place to start. Let's give it a try, shall we?
["Populate - To supply with a population."]
41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. ......47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:)
28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Mat 11:)
9Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. (Mat 22:)
15Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte,.... (Mat 23:)
When a farmer plants a field of wheat he does so with the intent that the seeds he planted will grow and multiply. In everyday life it is no different. A family is not merely for the purpose of their being a man and his wife, but that the family will produce others like themselves who will someday have a family of their own. Propagation is one of the main purposes of life.
["Populist - A movement claiming to represent the whole of the people."]
47Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? 48Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? 49But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. (John 7:)
9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: (Rev 12:)
23For thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. (Rev 18:)
14And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, (Rev 13:)
10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thes 2:)
In the previous segment of this study we see where it is not only the good seed that is out to reproduce, but the bad seed as well. The Pharisees were also spreading their own seeds in the field of the world with the intent of, not bringing in the harvest to the owner of the field, that being God, but rather to fill their own number and to propagate their own doctrines and beliefs.
Here we see in the end times there will be another even greater danger, and that being more widespread then the planting of the Pharisees. And we see how those who lend an ear to such a person will not only be deceived, but they will have their reasoning taken from them whereby they will not be able to discern the truth even when it is presented to them (strong dilution Isaiah 63:16-17; 3:12).
["Popular - Liked or enjoyed by many people; of or for the general public; a belief held by many people (such as a popular superstition)."]
19But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. (Acts 25:)
22Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. (Acts 17:)
27The temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. (Acts 19:)
We all want to be popular. We do everything we can to be like everyone else, and to be liked and appreciated by those in our circle of acquaintances. Jesus said those who are of the world will be loved by the world, but those who stand up and be like Him will be hated by the world. Darkness hates to be exposed by light, and will do all it can to extinguish any light in its midst.
History has provided many examples of seeds gone wild and the influence such wild plants have on those seeking truth other than where truth resides. These wild plants make a strong effort to enlarge their borders and to follow the Lord's admonition to expand and to multiply. We have one such example in the person of Jim Jones. Jones was at one time considered to be a respected and conventional preacher of the Word. Presidents have praised him and supported him, even though knowing of his deviant philosophies and his strong bent toward Communism. Truth holds no place in the reasoning of the carnal mind. Jones looked to enlarge the size of his church. He wanted numbers. In a personal effort to multiply he formed what he called his "rainbow" family" which consisted of children from several ethnic backgrounds. Unlike so many, especially those of the church, Jones was not bigoted against those of other races, only against Capitalism, and against God.
Very late in the last century there was a couple who went by the name (among others) Bo and Peep. Bo and Peep formed an organization called "Heaven's Gate." Their beliefs altered over time, but they always centered their system of beliefs around some aspect of the Bible (as most deviant people and societies do). As with all organizations from the girl scouts to the nations of the world (and certainly the world of the denominational church), Bo and Peep looked to enlarge their number of believers. And as one might expect, they found many, even those of the upper class. When the end came they numbered about 40 who made the supreme sacrifice.
Not long ago we were saturated with visions of the government's attack on a small group of "believers" in Waco Texas who called themselves Branch-Davidian. The leader of this groups was a self-proclaimed Messiah (as was Jim Jones). The name of this leader was David Koresh. Koresh is not his given name but rather a name he officially changed his name to. He, believing himself to be the one who God would reform His Kingdom through, took on a name appropriate for the occasion. David of course being the name the future Kingdom will be named after, and Koresh a Persian word meaning Cyrus, the Persian king who released the Jews from Babylonian captivity. Koresh, like Jones, had a checkered past. He at one time was a Baptist minister, then joined the Jehovah's Witnesses, then over time developed his own form of belief, and his own organization.
Although not a religious organization per se, Hitler (as well as others like him) followed much the same pattern as those portrayed here. He was (so I am informed) a Catholic throughout his younger years, and over time discarded much of the Bible he disagreed with and wrote his own version of the Word of God. Hitler was a man of ambition, and he also saw himself to be a saviour of the world, at least of his nation. As far as I know Hitler didn't have a Messianic complex as had the others, but the result was the same. Again, as with any organization whether it be a church or a nation, numbers of adherents is what causes an organization to be accepted in spite of its unorthodox beliefs and actions. The party or the organization that holds the popular opinion and approval is the one with power. With this concept in mind, Hitler accomplished his aim, that of popularity, through any means at his disposal. In spite of resistance from the governments of the day he was able to apprehend control of the nation.
Catholicism means "Universal," as does Ecumenicalism. Whereas the Catholic church seeks to unify all the churches under their authority, as in times past, ecumenicalism seeks to unify all the churches at its lowest level, that being (though not stated as such) Humanism. In other words, the Ecumenical organizations want Christianity to be an "in name only" organization, but without using the name of Jesus or God. Interestingly enough, there are many traditional churches who have joined such an organization, and others eying it with serious consideration.
Whereas the small groups mentioned in this study lasted only a relatively short time, the Catholic church had centuries to display its intent and direction. Catholicism worked hard to cover the world in its effort to bring adherents to its fold. For instance Catholic priests would enter such areas as the New World in the wake of the destruction the Conquistadors left in their quest for gold and other riches. Numbers was the name of the game. Saving souls was the label they wore. But seeing as how the church didn't believe Indians could be saved, their subterfuge was obvious.
We of the Protestant churches like to point a finger of accusation at our mother church, the Catholic, but history illustrates that when Protestants were in power they committed the very same atrocities under the banner of Christianity as did the Catholic. People are people, regardless of their uniform.
Popular vote rules the world. Get the vote and the power and you can do anything you want with impunity.
["Indoctrinate - To fill a person's mind with particular ideas or doctrines."]
["Doctrine - A principle or set of principles and beliefs held by a religious or other group."]
["Doctrinaire - Applying theories or principles without regard for practical considerations."]
["Brainwash - To force a person to accept new beliefs and reject old ones by subjecting him to great mental pressure."]
15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mat 16:)
15....and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. 16Woe unto you, ye blind guides. (Mat 23:)
5Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 15:)
16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1Cor 2:)
12And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. (Rev 17:)
An important part of establishing any organization is creating a single thought among all adherents. Any disagreement must be squelched immediately before it creates discontent and rebellion. When a nation conquers another the first act it preforms it so abolish all the beliefs of the old government. Books are burned, religious organizations are abolished, the intelligentsia and everyone who would (or has) speak out against the new regime has to be destroyed. When the Allies conquered Japan the old regime was done away with and Shintoism, the religion that allowed for such martyrs as the Kamikazes was abolished. In days of old this transition of governments was so sever the cities were burned to the ground, the people were all killed (including babies) and the ground was salted in order to prevent it from producing crops in the future. We read of this occurrence many times in the Bible, and often under the auspices of God Himself.
Everyone must be of the same mind. In the churches this endeavor is very easily seen in that all members of any denomination is in total agreement with one another over even the simplest of doctrine. When we venture into areas (of the US) we find people thinking alike, sounding alike, and often even dressing alike. We have what are called Hippies, Red necks, Hillbillies, Cowboys, and other such classifications of individuals and groups all struggling to be just like everyone else in their classification. One mindedness is a universal quest, especially in this day and age. Whoever, or whatever organization has the popular vote dictates what the minds of the people will dwell on. And with the aid of the media and the complete devotion to such instruments as the TV, mind control is not only a simple matter, it's inevitable.
["Propaganda - Publicity intended to spread ideas or information that will persuade or convince people."]
15To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, (Jude 1:)
44And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. 45But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. (Acts 13:)
5Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees..... 12Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Mat 16:)
8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Mat 15:)
1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (1Tim 4:)
6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2Tim 3:)
We think of propaganda as something the enemy uses on us "innocent" folks to cause us to stray away from the truth and to agree with them. Propaganda is nothing more than advertising, and gross exaggeration to the point of being a lie. We are flooded with propaganda every day and night from every conceivable direction. When our parents or our teachers (or even our friends) tell us what they think we should do, they are spreading propaganda. They want us to agree with them and to do as they believe we should.
Some organizations are noted for their propaganda and their proselyting practices such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Unification church. Are their practices harmful? Not in themselves they're not. If another church was to use such practices (going door-to-door and handing out literature on corners or train stations for instance) they wouldn't necessarily be frowned on by members of the church in general. However such techniques as flirty-fishing might hold some disdain with the more traditional church, those that haven't fallen to such a bent.
In any endeavor it's essential that everyone agrees with the leader, and this unquestioningly. Whereas Jesus (and Paul) encouraged His disciples to question Him, even to the point of answering unspoken questions, leaders of deviant organizations will not. It seems odd to us that seemingly intelligent people wouldn't question such concepts as a space ship piloted by Jesus (or a cloud) coming for them to take them away if they do certain things, or that a man demonstrating no evidence of being such should be the savior of the world reincarnate.
["Propagate - To breed or reproduce from a parent stock; to spread news or ideas etc."]
33They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, (John 8:)
3And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; ....37He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; (Mat 13:)
11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (Luke 8:)
24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:)
33There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, (Mat 21:)
3But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Mat 15:)
24The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.....30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. (Mat 13:)
The question is not if reproduction is good or bad, the question is what kind of reproduction is brought about, and to what quality. Jesus gives us many parables explaining this phenomenon:
23And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:)
8But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Mat 13:)
The farmer expects the seeds he plants to produce, but not only to produce, but to produce exactly the same kind of plant he planted in the soil. If he planted wheat, he expects wheat to be the result of his efforts. If barley grows instead of wheat, the crop is a failure. If barley is planted, and wheat comes up with the barley, then the crop will be polluted, and at best a difficult one to harvest because the wheat will have to be extracted and separated from the crop he desires.
Another aspect of the harvest is that of quantity. A one-to-one produce is useless to the farmer, he then having nothing to show for his effort but the seeds he planted. This is exemplified in the parable of the talents (Mat chapter 25). The servant expected that his master's investment in him (the Holy Spirit) would be satisfied if he merely returned the investment in its entirety. I see many people in the churches who have this very same expectation. They are counting on their having accepted the offer Jesus presents and died for, and that they have been baptized, to be a sufficient return that will satisfy the Lord's investment in them. In other words, they believe returning the seed planted to the planter is all that He desires of them. Jesus in His parable mentions 30, 60, and a hundred fold. I don't see a single-fold mentioned. Was that an oversight do you suppose?
16John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. (Luke 3:)
When asked, we of the church called "believers" will affirm that we believe what Jesus and John tells us about the chaff, the unquenchable fire, and about hell. And we, as believers, fully believe that we do believe what we're told about the fires that burn eternally. Let's take a look at belief and see if we in fact believe what we think we believe. If your doctor was to tell you there's a cancer growing in your stomach that will kill you if you don't have it removed, what would you do if you believe what your doctor says? Wouldn't you first have a sense of panic and an overwhelming fear come over you? That's the normal human reaction. Then wouldn't you spend a great deal of time learning all you can about cancer, looking for some way of avoiding the consequences placed before you? Wouldn't you make drastic changes to your lifestyle in an effort to avoid the prospect of these consequences? Now, let's say I was to tell you that you will spend eternity in hell if you don't change your ways, what's your reaction? Feel any panic? Are you checking every source to make sure that out of the thousands of doctrines that tell you what the Bible says, you in fact are placing your faith in what God say rather than what man says? Surely you are experiencing these reactions, if you truly "believe."
13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Mat 7:)
Farmers use a process called winnowing to separate the chaff from the wheat. A simple form of winnowing would be that of two people holding a sheet by the corners and bouncing the grain in the air allowing the wind to carry away the chaff while the heavier, substantial seeds fall back into the sheet. If there is no breeze that day, someone else stands to the side and creates a breeze by the use of a winnowing fan. In the passage above we see where John tells us Jesus is holding such a fan.
In this example Jesus uses another example of separating the faithful, the obedient from those who are merely along for the ride. He has placed two paths before us, one path is brightly lit and easy to travel, and easy to find because it's crowded with people having great confidence they, and only they are on the broad road to Heaven and everlasting life. Meanwhile, hidden in the thickets where it's hard to find is a small, unattractive path that seems to go nowhere. This path is uncomfortable to traverse being covered with obstacles such as persecution and tribulation. This unappealing path is the road to the narrow gate. This path is made even more difficult to locate because there are so few people willing to take it, preferring the popular and comfortable highway.
Isn't it amazing that people can be so obviously on the curvy freeway and firmly believe they are on a straight and narrow back-country path?
When the events in Waco took place there were over 50 people living in relatively primitive conditions. The Mormons under Brigham Young endured not only hardship but often threats of violence and violence indeed. Jim Jones had with him over 900 men, women and children in what we would consider undesirable conditions, obeying rules considered unthinkable, and even rehearsing their coming suicide. What could cause people to do such a thing? How did they get themselves into such a situation? Was there something wrong with their thinking?
Consider the church you belong to, why do you go there? Did you check out every one of their doctrines and compare them with the entire Word of God to see if they are actually following the dictates of the Bible? Are the people of that church more Spiritual and more inclined to be Christian in their daily walk and in their behavior toward the poor and the needy? Have you checked out all the other churches and you find this one to be the more Scripturally sound in their teaching?
Or is it more likely you grew up in that denomination? Or maybe this is where your girl friend or your spouse attends and you want to be with her? Or maybe you go just because that's what you're told a good Christian does, even though it takes you away from the Superbowl on occasion? Or maybe this church is prettier than the others, or nearer to your home so you don't expend so much of your hard-earned cash on gas each Sunday?
People are followers. We do whatever seems expedient at the moment. I suspect every one of you is just like me and can look back and see clearly a multitude of stupid mistakes that given a moment of thought we would have gladly avoided. But for whatever reason, we followed the crowd, or we did what pleased us at the time, or that was the easiest, rather than that which would be the most reasonable or logical course to take. We might have had people warning us against our determined actions, but we disregarded their advise and did what we wanted to anyway. I'm guilty of this, and because of the state of the world, I can be certain I'm not the only one so inclined.
What is accepted, what is popular in our circle is what we do. Those people in Jonestown were not fools, they were just like us, human. And it's our human nature we're to do away with, and to take on the mind of Christ.
["Denominate - To give a name; to describe a person or thing as."]
10Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? (1Cor 1:)
3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? (1Cor 3:)
36And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. 37And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be (Ex 26:)
1Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. ..... 5And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Rev 17:)
Once we gather enough people on our side we form a team, a church, or some other organization. The organization is then given a name. Names are given (or chosen) that identify the organization it denotes. Football teams for instance rarely call themselves The Pussycats , nor do they wear pink uniforms. We often judge a person before we even meet them according to how we relate to their name. Rocky Stone we wouldn't expect to be a petite grower of daffodils, nor Winnie Small to be an all-star wrestler. The names we chose will also determine what kind of person will be attracted to our organization. In the church realm for instance a church that has "grace" in its title is going to draw more people interested in the minimum effort expected of them than would "Toe The Line Pentecostal."
In the above passages we have two teams described. Both teams are wearing their team hats (mitre). The first team is that of the True Church headed by the High Priest. The second team leader is called Babylon, and this team, though playing the game, is just the opposite of the first team. Everything the first team stands for, the second team is against. Yet they both are on the field playing the game.
One might assume the second team to be the world, or some organization other than the Church. Many people, including some Catholics, believe the second team is the Catholic church headed by the Pope. I'm not going to get into that argument other than to say, if the Pope is part of the second team, he has enlisted far more than just those churches classified as Catholic, seeing that he too is interested in conforming all the churches under one title and way of thinking. As for the second team being the world, the game from the beginning has always been the church battling against itself. The world of Gentiles (meaning "heathen or pagan, a non-Jew") has rarely been concerned with the war between the churches as long as that war didn't effect them as it does now. Pilot and Rome were drug into the conflict between the Jews and the new sect called the Christian Church, and such people as Nero used the opportunity to employ this sect for sport since no one other than the Christian cared about them. But the war is civil, brother against brother, as Jesus said it would be (Mat 10:34-37).
["Segregate - To put apart from the rest, to isolate; to separate as by race."]
14But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. (Acts 10:)
18When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. (Acts 11:)
6That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: (Eph 3:)
32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: (Mat 25:)
51Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: (Luke 12:)
Separation is a way of life. From the time we were babies we sought out those we felt the most comfortable with and we worked hard to become a part of that circle. Once we have been included in a given circle, a particular society, we are instructed as to who our enemy is to be. If we attend a certain school, all other schools are looked upon as inferior at best, and there is one school, usually the most neighboring school, that is considered our arch-enemy.
In school there is a combative attitudes amongst circles such as the jocks and the geeks (or whatever the derogatory name given to the intelligentsia of the school). And antagonism doesn't end with interests, even those in the upper grades look down their nose at those in a grade under their own. This is the world we are raised in, and an attitude expressed all through our life.
In the church, the one place above all others tolerance and acceptance should be expected, this animosity reigns supreme. There are many churches that propagate the concept they and only they are looked upon favorably by God, and all others are strictly children of the devil. And I have yet to find a church of any nature that does not have another congregation it sees as beneath their dignity to associate with.
In order for an organization to prosper it must create an elitist attitude in its members. Everyone wants to be accepted, and to be looked up to. Those who lack any form of native skill or personality that will cause others to respect them above themselves will strive to be a part of an organization that will allow them to look down on others. We see this in the Pharisees, their efforts to appear better-than-thou. And it's this attitude Jesus confronted them with, saying it is contrary to what God wants of His people.
Hitler and the Nazi party (Nazi being an acronym for the German Socialist party) was heavy into causing those of Aryan blood (Nordic, European), which he considered to be the superior race, to predominate and to subjugate those of lesser quality. Classes of people were instituted in the beginning, those with Nordic attributes being in the top echelon, then those of other races considered of little or no value. The infirm, the aged, those of color, Romanies (Gypsies) and Jews, along with certain Christian denominations, were placed at the bottom of the list, considered expendable.
In the early days of this great nation, the USA, people were set in classes as well, very similar to the social scale of the Nazis. Native Americans were classed as non-people, the poor Irish escaping the potato famine of Ireland were looked on as slaves (and sold themselves as such due to the lack of employment in this nation at the time), as were the Chinese and others of Asian descent. The rich strove to become richer at the expense of the poor, and the poor had no option but to be subservient to those who looked down on them and abused them.
Moving upward in time we have the Branch-Davidians who isolated themselves, and the People's Temple led by Jim Jones who left the country altogether in order to assure they would not be investigated and regulated by outside influences, the which many government agencies and private individuals were making great efforts to do. If a person or organization can isolate, or at least segregate its members from society it can better regulate the thinking and the attitudes of the members. Those groups that are unable to physically isolate its members do so with warnings against associating with anyone outside their association. For instance, I have attended the services of just about every church in this city, and I've been warned many times by those of the "traditional" churches of the danger such an action entails, even to the point of saying I risk damnation for doing so. Consider the reaction of a Baptist for instance if he was to see one of his church body having coffee with a Jehovah's Witness, what do you suppose that person's reaction would be? Although the response to such "unacceptable" behavior is mild now, and in this country, it hasn't always been so, nor do I suspect it will be mild in the upcoming years.
Not that many years ago, a few decades in fact, churches were seen as equal without the combative nature we see today. In the early part of this country those on the outskirts of civilization were happy to see any other Christian, of any denomination, since the opportunity to congregate was so limited. In my day it mattered little, if at all, what church a person attended. I grew up in the Foursquare church, but I attended Catechism for a time and I don't recall ever hearing one denomination put down by another. This may have been due to my youth at the time, or it may have been the consequences of the war we had just fought bringing everyone of any culture or belief together in spirit. What a change from that time to this when religious tolerance is at such a low ebb.
["Isolate - To place apart or alone; to separate from others."]
22Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. (Luke 6:)
11But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1Cor 5:)
17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (2Cor 6:)
24Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:)
1Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. (Rom 2:)
Once a person is isolated from any other source of information they can be taught to believe anything if given enough time. Groups that want to control the thinking of its members try to recruit and influence a proselyte from as young an age as possible. Children are not only more susceptible to influence at a young age, they having yet to develop any other form of thought or attitudes that would have to be countered and unlearned. All that person knows is what they have been told by those training them. When a person shifts from, say a Catholic upbringing to a Baptist church, for whatever reason, they have much they have to either unlearn, or to figure out how they can incorporate what they have already learned with their new belief system. Often the contrast between the new and the old is so extreme that a person is likely to either form a compromise of the two beliefs, or to shift totally to the new and condemn the old, and everyone who continues in that old system.
Jesus is in favor of isolation, as seen in the above passages of Scripture. Those who wear the Christian uniform are to remain completely isolated from the world from which they have been drawn, so much so that the world may look down on them and considers them insane (which they will, since this is what they said of Jesus).
["Cult - A system of religious worship; devotion to, or admiration of a person or thing."]
["Sect - A group of people with religious or other beliefs that differ from those more generally accepted."]
["Sectarianism - Of or belonging to a sect or sects; narrow mindedly putting the beliefs or interests of one's sect before more general interests, especially in a bigoted fashion."]
["Bigot - a person who holds a prejudice against a racial or religious group."]
The church world is full of bigots. While the world as a whole searches for ways to bring people together and to cause us not to judge one another and to love one another, the churches are busy cementing their walls that isolate them from the other denominations bearing the name of Christian.
4Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. (Rom 14:)
1Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Mat 7:)
31For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (1Cor 11:)
5Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. (Isaiah 65:)
9Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; 10And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: 11And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah 58:)
God wants us to judge, and we're to rightly judge. But the one we're to judge is not our neighbor, nor those in the church building down the street. The one we're to judge is the one who stares back at us from our mirror.
Judging is an important part of segregation and of causing those in a group to remain loyal to that group, and to the beliefs of that group. During the last war there were two groups of people this country isolated and feared. If a person was of German extraction they were under suspicion of being a Nazi spy. If a person was of Japanese descent, they were very likely locked up in a concentration camp. We might understandably consider this action as a safety precaution, and for very good reason. However, there are other forms of concentration that aren't as sociably acceptable although much practiced. We know that the Japanese were noted for placing our soldiers in confinement, isolated from everyone else, in an effort to brainwash them and to convince them that reality isn't as they suppose it to be. This action was usually an effort to get the soldier to divulge some information the Japanese wanted in order to assist them in the war.
Of course we know the Germans were themselves very involved with those who they considered a deficit to the country, including those of their own race and nationality who didn't support the Nazi cause.
The Germans were also very strong into training their youth to be Nazi soldiers and workers, up to and including the instruction of the more nationally dedicated of the children to become future leaders. As stated earlier, if begun early, a person can be taught to be other than their natural inclination would have them to be.
We tend to assume everyone in a given organization (or of a certain race) is like all others of that organization. And unfortunately this concept is all too warranted due to social conditioning. However, such is not always the case. The Germans for instance had many notable examples of their own people risking their life to save the lives of those deemed enemies of the state. And when we consider that we made great inroads into the war, and technology in general, due to Germans who escaped to our country, it should be clear that we can't judge a book by its cover as the saying goes. Generalities are too easy to make, and all too easy to be wrong.
When a people or a nation classifies another group as less than themselves it opens the door to persecution of that dehumanized group. We see this in the Nazi regime, and we can see this in our own country. There was a time in the early years of this nation when anyone who didn't fit a certain criteria was considered a witch, and was burned at the stake. The concept was that if the person so cremated was in fact a witch, they wouldn't burn. And if the person did burn, then oh well, they the judges made a mistake in judgement.
For a long period of time the American Indians were dehumanized and there was no law (enforced) against killing an Indian. One of our presidents even went so far as to say the only good Indian was a dead Indian.
During the Civil War families were so divided in their opinions, and so adamant in their beliefs, that if another member of the family disagreed with them, they could well be shot.
In this country, and in the church, those we don't like we call a "cult." In fact this title is wrong from its inception since all churches are in fact a cult. But in our effort to search for those we can dehumanize, we use what ever means at our disposal to do so.
["Dominate - To have a commanding influence over; to be the most conspicuous person or thing."]
25But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; (Mat 20:)
26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion (Gen 1:)
6And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; (Rev 2:)
The disciples were all anxious to become rulers of the people. We, like they, want to have others bow to our superiority and to recognize our special qualities. Jesus said it's those who can serve, who can humble themselves and serve those they want to have bow down to them that will be the rulers of the Kingdom to come. It's not an ego thing like they hoped for, nor what those of the church expect to attain to.
32He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (Prov 16:)
26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27But I keep under my body, and bringit into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1Cor 9:)
We're to judge ourself, then we're to bring what we judge as inadequate for standing before the Lord under subjection. We're to offer ourself as a sacrifice to the Lord (Rom 12:1-2). We can't give to God what we don't have control over. If sin, or the things of this world has influence over us, then we belong to sin and not to ourselves (John 8:34). And if we don't belong to ourselves, we can't give away what we don't own.
17Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:)
1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. (Rom 13:)
9I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. (3John:)
This is hard to read. In this country we're able to tear down our leaders and criticize their every move because we supposedly put them in office. We are a "land of the free," and in our opinion everyone can do or say anything they want to say or do, unless what they want to say or do disagrees with what we want to say or do. For instance, look again at the churches. What do we say of those who go door-to-door handing out literature and instructing people on the Bible? We don't agree with them, so we merely condemn them to hell. Such a loving, Christian attitude we self-righteous souls are. I for one do not agree with their doctrine, and I've told them so. But they do far more in their effort to further the cause of the Gospel than I do, so who am I to judge another man's servant? But I guess I'm in the minority when it comes to being righteous enough to judge others because I see very few Christians who aren't making it a practice to do just that.
We're to subject ourself to those in charge, whatever that charge might be, child to parents, wife to husband, and upward. Consider this concept if we were to be a Jew during the second world war. How easy would it be to subject ourself to such a system when that system is out to exterminate us and all our kind? Yet these words were spoken by Jesus and Paul and others who were under just that kind of condemnation, and about those they were placing themselves under subjection to.
The Nazis made every effort to dominate those, not only of their nation, but everyone they could bring under subjection. We see this in Rome, and Babylon, and Greece, and every other great country throughout history. One nation working hard to subjugate all others and to bring them into likeminded thinking as themselves.
When a nation or a person has everyone under their control, subject to them, entrapped where they are either totally dependant upon that person or convinced in some way that they need the approval of that person, then they can bend the will of the subjugated whichever way they please. There are churches who use the fear of hell, of being cast out of the church, to control every move their congregation makes. Most, if not all such churches demand not only total obedience, but they insure that all possession of every member be turned over to the leadership of the church. Our natural fear of hell and non-acceptance can be used to cause us to do what we would ordinarily never even contemplate. And once we've fallen into the trap of such a mind set, it's very difficult to break free.
Jim Jones, once he had his 900 followers buried away where they couldn't escape, then began to reveal his true person and purpose. No one was safe from his deviant lusts and desires. Whatever he wanted to do, he did, and no one could contest his decision. He had control of every aspect of the lives of those in his domain. Things we consider outrageous were becoming more and more a part of everyday life in Jonestown. Eventually he reached a point where he abandoned any pretext of being a Christian minister and declared himself to be the Messiah. He demanded all Bibles to be disposed of because people were paying more attention to the Bible than to him. Jim Jones had finally gone over the edge. The demon had exposed himself to the world.
David Koresh was another such person who reached a point where he no longer wore a mask of righteousness. Like Jones, he began to dominate even the sex lives of those in his compound, and accomplished whatever his lusts led him to. They say power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Once a direction has been set, and there is no longer a reason to put on airs in order to get what a person wants, then the demon that drives such a person in their quest for power is fully released.
During the time of Jesus the Sanhedrin, made up of the religious leaders of the day who also served as the civil leaders of the nation, had total power over the people. Anyone who opposed or contradicted their power had to be silenced. This is true not only of the Jews, but it's true of any nation or organization, Rome being a prime example of such a struggle for power. Jesus was a negative influence and undermined their (the Sanhedrin's) power, so in spite of the good He accomplished, He had to be taken out of the way (John 11:48).
What is true in the world is also true in the churches. To one degree or another every church does what it can to hold its influence and its power over its members. Free thought, as mentioned, is not allowed since such freedom could well lead to alteration of the norm, something that can not be allowed if an organization is to stand. This nation is a good example of just such a problem. We have certain principles laid down in our core documents that are not to be changed. Once changes are made to the foundation of a nation or organization, then inroads have been made to more and more changes until the nation crumbles. In order to get around the disturbing of those core documents, experts and lawyers have been brought in with the purpose of changing, not the wording of the documents, but the meaning of the words. We have statements like "What they really meant is...." and the like. At the time of this writing it appears the interpretation of the documents are in limbo, which satisfies the whim of those who want to alter the documents because they are able to carry out their desired practices unencumbered while the interpretations are being debated.
Today I was listening to a teaching tape on grace. If you're unfamiliar with grace, that's what many churches use as an excuse to do nothing, believing that it's up to the Holy Spirit to change us into what we're supposed to be. Of course that description of grace is not valid, but it appears that many people believe it to be. In this tape (actually many tapes since the classes extended over weeks and have so far taken many hours of listening, in which I've learned very little) grace is explored from every conceivable angle but that which will cause a person to get off their chair and press for the mark of the high calling, striving to overcome. By this I mean, in my own experience, God does indeed direct my path. But in order to be directed I have to be in the process of doing something. I can't be directed if I'm not in the performance of some activity.
Why so much attention to grace? I've wondered about this for a long time, and since listening to these tape, my question is intensified. Why don't I hear teachings on what God expects and demands of me? Why is there so much effort expended on talking about something that is past, that we experience from the beginning, and not on what we're to be doing on the road we're examining? Beginnings are milk, let's have meat (Heb 6:1-3).
Moving ahead, the forgoing having been a sidetrack, a back alley on the straight and narrow trail. One statement the teacher (preacher) made is that when he was in seminary school one of the pupils piped up and said "What do we believe around here?" The person on the tape I'm listening to said that was the wrong question to ask. Indeed it is, but whether or not the question is appropriate, the fact remains that schools and churches do teach their listeners what to believe. A person's belief system is not formed by personal experience with the Holy Spirit as it should, this being especially evident since few people have had an experience outside the denomination to which they belong.
Why is the Word of God segmented into hundreds of interpretations? Is it that God can't express Himself well, so His Words require a multitude of interpreters to explain what He really meant to say? Surely this must be the explanation since every denomination insists their and their's alone is the correct meaning of the Word (and for this reason they print up their own version of the Bible). And each of those claimants to the truth insist that if anyone believes otherwise, in spite of having accomplished every requirement laid out in the Book, that they are doomed to a fiery pit for eternity.
This causes me to wonder, what if the church you attended was to pull up roots and relocated in a another country like say, oh, Gayana for an example? Of course you say you wouldn't go with the group. You would declare such to be a senseless and absurd move at best. Now, lets say your spouse has been convinced that such a move is the only option since the leader of your church is so certain that the end times is coming very soon and true churches like your own will be first on the hit list of the Beast system waiting right around the corner. Your spouse has threatened to take the children and leave whether you go with them or not. In order to protect those you love, wouldn't you go against your good judgement and accompany them to whatever might come?
Jesus was a charismatic personality if there ever was one. He said those in power who didn't believe in Him who came in the Father's name would believe someone who came in his own name. We see this in Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Bo and Peep, and many other "incarnations" of God. In Florida there's a person who has 666 tattooed on his body, and declares himself to be the Beast. People flock to him and turn their possessions over to him, believing him to be the awaited Messiah. We are gullible people, susceptible to those who would desire to lead us their way. And the more convinced we are that we are not gullible, the more prone we are to be taken in. God has provided each of us a warning system whereby we are able to recognize the whispers and the hiss of the serpent and his messengers (2Cor 11:13-14). Ego and overconfidence are masks that override that system, just as much as sin is the iron that sears our conscience (1Cor 10:12; Luke 6:39).
["Terminate - To end."]
13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2Cor 7:)
29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:)
8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1Peter 5:)
15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Mat 7:)
2They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. (John 16:)
We are warned to be continually on our guard and to be vigilant, constantly watching for those wolves and doctrines of devils that will lead us astray. Once a person is off the straight and narrow path they are susceptible to even more, sometimes gentler forms of false doctrines and traditions of man that awaits those who wander from the fold. Instead of keeping a sharp eye out for the enemy, we instead turn our security over to someone who declares themself to understand the Word of God and who has the light that directs a person to that righteous path. We then lay back in our comfortable lounge chair, turn on the TV, and rest in the confidence that we are well on the way to the Pearly Gates.
The Bible tells us there are wolves in the fold, and it's the lone, confident sheep they're after. When a pack of lions chase a herd of deer, it's not the strongly-antlered buck the lions are after, but that young doe that can't keep up with the pack, or the weak and invalid deer that falters in his effort to escape his doom. Satan wants those who haven't learned to fend for themselves, that are trusting in someone else to protect them (Revelation chapter 12). Satan didn't approach Adam, the one who heard the words of God, he tempted Eve who had yet to be born when the instructions were given. Adam had been the one to teach Eve, and somehow Eve, though knowing the command, did not hear it quite the way God proclaimed it. And this slight deviation was enough of an opening for the serpent to get his pry bar in and redirect her resolve. Why did Adam take a bite of the apples too? I for one believe it was because, whatever may come, he wanted to remain with his wife, the same reason many people followed Jones to Jonestown.
There's an old saying that goes something like "it's easier to believe a lie you hear a thousand times, then it is the truth you hear but once." Thousands of doctrines, all opposing one another, or just a little bit different than the others, are taught every week in thousands of churches. Someone is wrong. If we invest our money having been given bad advise the consequences could be tragic, how much more so is that true if we invest our eternity in a source of faulty doctrine?
12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14For many are called, but few are chosen. (Mat 22:)
46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Mat 25:)
A journey of a thousand miles begins with but one step. What if that first step was directed by a road sign that had been altered by just an inch? How far off would we be at the end of the journey? Let's make that a journey of an eternal number of miles, how far off would we then be at the end of the road?
Most people are taught that they don't have to move at all after they've taken a dip in the baptismal tank, and so they don't. They won't have to worry about where they will end up since they've gone no where, however, what would be the result if the stop sign they're lounging in front of was not placed there by God?
The end of the confidence placed on David Koresh was tragic. Over 50 people lost their lives following someone who had made a contract with death even before he began his quest to save the world. He had been working out plans for his martyrdom for many years before the tragic fire that ended his excursion into oblivion.
The Heaven's Gate assemblage went to great pains to insure their death in preparation for the space ship they knew would come and take them to their next level of existence. Their's was no act of rebellion against society, nor were they placed in jeopardy by those who desired to oppress them. They sought escape, an escape from the madness of the world. But their escape was more mad than the madness they hoped to leave behind.
Jim Jones was another who had a martyr's complex. He too wanted to escape the world and what he considered to be insanity. And like the Heaven's Gate crew, he had the family he placed himself as protector over rehearse their suicide, drinking Kool-Aid they believed to be poison in order to insure that everyone would follow through when the time for the end came.
Whereas the followers of these self-proclaimed Messiahs placed their hopes for eternity in a suicidal maniac, the leader himself in each case, declaring himself to be the representative of God and in possession of the will of God, were in fact merely using the Bible as a means to a devilish end (Phil 3:18-19).
Not everyone who is on the wrong track, who wants to be in control of the lives of others, is as far off the beam as those pictured here. But like the slightly turned road sign, they may be, unbeknownst to themselves, pointing a direction other than the Pearly Gates. And when our time for judging comes, like those in Waco or Jonestown, we won't be able to point at someone else and say it was their fault because they led us astray.
13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Mat 7:)
Jesus has given us, not only a clear description of the road we're to follow, pointing out the signs we're to keep an eye out for, but He traveled that road Himself to show us it can be traversed. If the road we're on is lacking the indicated signs, if those on the road we travel are not absorbed with the Word and the things of the Spirit, if the trailers being hauled behind comfy RV's are loaded with TV's and other pleasurable things of the world, perhaps it might be a good idea to check your road map to insure you've been given proper directions.
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