The Life Expectancy Lie

babies in wombI know it’s Christmas Eve and everyone will be wanting to read something jolly today. If so, please save this for the new year as your thoughts turn to the condition of our world.

In my last podcast I shared a bit about the humanistic and atheistic arrogance of our medical community and as usual I continued to research the statements I made afterward to be sure that I did not mislead. Unlike edits and retractions that I may have to sometimes post, in this case, my mistake was to understate the problem and rather than continue to discuss our nation’s vaccination tower of Babel, I’d like to point out an even bigger lie that some of this is based on. The claim that medical science is to thank for “longer life expectancy.” Continue reading The Life Expectancy Lie

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1844, the telegraph, and the end-times.

telegraph circa 1844 end-timesThen I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, ‘How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?’

 And he said to me, ‘For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.'” – Daniel 8:13-14

The year 1844 is referred to as the “Year of Disappointment” because so many Christian adherents expected Jesus to return then. The math of Daniel adds up exactly to the birth of Christ, and extrapolating the same logic the “end times” lands at the year 1844. It is some pretty convincing math.

Daniel 12:4 goes on to state: “But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.

Something did happen in 1844, on May 24th, 1844 Samuel Morse sent the first city-to-city telegraph message. The message was: “What hath God wrought?” This short post will serve as a “what if” sort of thought, not a “thus sayeth the Lord” sort.

What if the beginning of the end-times is heralded by the first electronic communication medium?

Obviously, if that is true then we are living in the end. Other prophesies do seem to point to this, such as the Fig Tree prophecy of Matthew 24. The information age really began in 1844. Isn’t it a bit curious that Daniel is told to “seal up the words of the scroll until the time of the end” with a follow-up about going “here and there to increase knowledge“? What better way to “seal up” this prophecy than to connect two concepts that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else until May 24th, 1844?

The information age has caused an unprecedented and drastic change of human lifestyle that couldn’t even have been imagined for the millennia proceeding it. So I find this pretty profound myself. I’ve wrestled for years now to reconcile the progressive ideas that are spawned via globalized group-think with my Christian values as taught by Jesus, all with no success. What’s worse is the ideas of today – ie. abortion, pornography, atheism – are so drastically corrosive to spiritual sensitivity that they render the internet and broadcast cable a demonic weapon of mass destruction.

So my pet theory is this. In 1844 the end-times did begin. 100 years later, the fig tree blossomed, and Jesus could return like a thief any minute now. In the meantime, I will attempt to belay the demonic philosophies conveyed via mass electronic communications with little to nothing to show for it. But it’s all worth it if just you – one person – will read this and realize:

“Look, I am coming soon!”Revelation 22:7

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Dear Europe, Don’t like Donald Trump?

Europe helped produce The DonaldDear Europe, Don’t like Donald Trump? Then you shouldn’t have helped make him.

Happy New Year 2016 Europe!

Of course I don’t expect you to take any credit for this, but you should. At least a bit. You sure hated Bush didn’t you? You hated him so much that you awarded your messianic “anti-Bush” an unearned Nobel Prize. Claiming: “We have not given the prize for what may happen in the future. We are awarding Obama for what he has done in the past year. And we are hoping this may contribute a little bit for what he is trying to do…

Like arrogant socialist governments are prone to do, you attempted to socially engineer part of an election that you otherwise would have no influence in. You dismissed “the colonies'” culture and values much like your monarchs of old and insulted many of the actually noble and deserving nominees in your bee-line to turn a golden coin into an orange carrot to be dangled in the face of what you perceived to be a mindless ass. We the People of the “colonies” as you call us.

Yet, here we are, coming up on the 8th year of a grand social experiment and it turns out your arrogance doesn’t work any better here than it does there. Your social engineering has only again proven that: “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” Your messiah has wreaked so much havoc on our health care system and economy that We the People are manic. I’ve debated this point for months and the fact is, American citizens en-masse are now so fed up with anti-capitalism that we believe we need a mega-capitalist to counterbalance the abuses your savior has heaped upon us. Yes Europe, you had it to do over and you again created a Revolution and his name is Donald Trump.

I’ve known your ilk, and I empathize with your pain. As you socialized your own countries into global irrelevance you became tormented by America’s influence. Your pride was constantly offended by American movies and American money, America this, America that… Oh the agony. I hear ya… Frankly, I’d be perturbed if I were you as well. When our elections mean more to you than your own you’ve truly come to a new low for a collection of ancient and previously great nations. Now you have so much less inspiring priorities. Like trying to prop up perpetually retired countries like Greece, or trying to assimilate millions of refugees – perhaps to do the jobs that your young adults will not? Oh the horror.

Still you haven’t learned. In stubborn arrogance once you could no longer claim prosperity or influence you retreat to your perceived moral high ground, yet how can you continue to fool yourselves? Your policies only serve yourselves and it shows. Your narcissistic humanism disguised as morality is not America’s fault, you have nobody to blame but yourselves.

Now, America can’t blame you for our elections, you’re not relevant enough to earn such blame. We’ll just correct, perhaps over-correct. That’s the beauty and curse of democracy. Just remember this as the chips fall where they may. We the People are no longer your subjects.

I recognize the basis of your fear. Atheist governments cannot tame the wind and waves, yet you want desperately to believe they can. No amount of human rationale ever has, nor ever will, bring salvation.  The wind and the waves still obey only One and Jesus is the only true King & even His kingdom is not of this world.  So for you whose only world is this world, fear is all you are left with. Fear of Bush, fear of Trump.. fear of Americans.

God bless ya, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and cheers mates. Look at the bright side. At least now you can stop being disappointed with your own politician of choice and just despise the guy right from the start. You did hear that Putin likes him right? Wow… just wow.

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Church or Kingdom?

Jesus kingdom not of this earth

Jesus only said the word Ekklēsia translated as “church” twice in all of the New Testament. Once in Matthew 16:15-19 and again in Matthew 18:17.  These discourses should be concerning considering how much stock Christians put in the building and politics of their local “church”.

Before going further it’s important to note that the word “church” itself is derived from a different Greek word, “kuriakos” which only appears itself twice in the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians 11:20 and Revelation 1:10. It means “the Lord’s”. Ekklēsia on the other hand appears more than 100 times, and NOT just in the New Testament. How could it appear earlier than Christ Himself? Well, that’s the problem. Ekklēsia may not mean what you’ve been led to believe that it means. Instead, it means any formal assembly.

In Matthew 18:16-17 Jesus says: But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Translating the word Ekklēsia to mean “Christian body of believers” may be technically correct in this context, but only because of the context not because of the word itself. He is simply stating that rather than “one or two others” escalate it to the larger group. He was most likely not endorsing yet another Sanhedrin type of hierarchy. The Sanhedrin was an “Ekklēsia” as well.

The word can be used to represent any assembly, especially civil assemblies of elected officials. In fact, in Matthew 16:18 – the only other time Jesus uses the word – he establishes more specific context for this very purpose: on this rock I will build my church“. Note the word “my” in there. He does not say “the church” in this instance. Remember that word “kuriakos”? He has essentially specified that the assembly Peter will build is His (“The Lord’s”) because Ekklēsia does not imply it alone.

Translators and the neo-Sanhedrin found it convenient to translate the word as though all mentions of “assembly” meant Jesus’ assembly and then went further to insinuate that the entire “body” of believers could also be defined as such. As you probably already know, it’s this same convenient decision that leads to the Catholic establishment of the Pope as the “only” fleshly “head” of the entire body of believers. The “body” and each “church” were different things in Jesus’ words, yet later people changed them to synonyms.

We’ve discussed before the importance of the later verses of Matthew 20: You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for the proper understanding of what Jesus was establishing. If we must choose just one passage to hang our hierarchical hat on, then Matthew 20 is the less self-aggrandizing of them. Of course, properly interpreted, these scriptures are not in conflict. Jesus did establish an assembly, a flat assembly of brothers of which He is one of us, and God is our Father. This culminates in His being “The King of Kings”, yet our King is also our brother. It’s truly the greatest story ever told.

Later in the New testament as “Ekklēsia” gets repeated in different contexts, Paul does establish designations based around the gifts that Christ doles out (Ephesians 4:11). However, even that is not modeled by institutional assemblies today & did not appear to be hierarchical in Paul’s view. Where are all of the roles? Apostles? Who even knows what that is? Prophets? A large portion of professing believers reject the existence of Prophets at all (of course they do, what modern pastor could tolerate a modern prophet?). The fact is plain to see. If Jesus were actually establishing “church” as we know it today, He would certainly have mentioned it more than twice and He wouldn’t have directly commanded His followers not to establish hierarchies.

What Jesus mentions many more than two times is “Kingdom”. In fact before Pilate He explicitly states: My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” – John 18:36

What kind of madness, idolatry, and abomination have we perpetuated at the behest of power hungry neo-Sadducees? Perhaps an abomination that causes desolation? Have we really watched idly as all of the sins of the Pharisees have been imitated in what we now refer to as “church”? Even Tyndale chose the word “congregation” over “church” because of the danger he foresaw. Please dear brothers and sisters, please consider this last part very carefully.

We are not proposing that everyone quit going to “churches” on Sunday. Only God can guide one to that decision. The world is very confused and opposed to anything that would please God. So God may well call you to work within the “congregations” or as we call them “clubs” to see the gospel preached. Even if you attend the best club you could imagine we simply ask that you do not enter those doors with the belief that you are no longer in the world, rather enter those doors as a way to face the world. Enter those places as “salt & light” and as an opportunity to be such in a place that should encourage such.

When you find that they do not encourage such, take joy in knowing that Jesus’ Kingdom transcends the walls of any building. Remember what Jesus told the Samaritan woman 2000 years ago, and take this to heart. Even if those at your local church oppose you, it doesn’t mean that God opposes you. Persecution comes in many forms, even inside of Christian clubs. The truth has been whittled down century-after-century, so speaking the whole truth today will not be popular, even in “church”. Yet buildings aren’t where Kingdom worship happens. No, Jesus told the Samaritan woman, 2000 years ago:

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” – John 4:23

Be the kind of worshipers our Father seeks despite what people do. Modern churches are imitation kingdoms. Often built to appear like castles themselves they amount to a man-made idol. The imitation kingdom is complete with little kings, little queens, and even court jesters. Many convinced that they are serving God by lording over people. The imitation is meaningless compared to “Spirit and Truth”.

So go out as sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.This is not truth that those attending religiously will want to hear. Yet if we are patient and shrewd the chains of religion can fall away and better yet, we can assist new believers in avoiding those chains. You will have enemies, many are invested far too deeply in their model of Christianity to admit these problems. They won’t want people set free after all that’s been invested in installing those chains. We ourselves often don’t want to be set free once we’ve “tried so hard” to be “part of something“. Yet the only thing we are part of that matters is Christ, we cannot add anything to that but lies.

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Sabbath Day

Sabbath day restAs my family worshiped with music this morning I heard something new to me. As the music peaked and dipped, each progression building and building to an apex holding there briefly, and plummeting away only to repeat I got a glimpse of the analogy of life that is man’s pleasure with music.

My young daughter was pouring her heart out, seemingly capable of remaining ecstatic indefinitely despite the songs going up and down, up and down. My favorite part of any song, for years, has been the building up. Each similar progression more passionate than before until plateauing with excitement.

Human enjoyment of music seems to revolve around some universal law within all of us. Sure different cultures have different preferences, but today, just now, it seems to me that music comes from something spiritual. A knowledge deep within us, that echos the ebbs and flows of life. That reminds us that our flesh is not made for, nor can it withstand, the joy that never ends.

This will not turn into another “without evil there’d be no good” deception. However, I suspect that what I noticed this morning, is that life as we know it always has been and always will be characterized by “wind and waves”.

Today marks the 3rd or 4th week that I’ve been “making my body a slave” (1 Corinthians 9:27) from Friday evening to Saturday evening. This has been every bit as difficult as breaking any addiction or pushing through any challenge that I’ve experienced. I’m literally addicted to working, to being entertained, and even to jumping back and forth between the two while seldom being content with which to do when. The Sabbath day command, demonstrated by God at the creation of the world, and commanded via Moses in the 10 Commandments, is an important counterweight to the inundation of the modern world.

Here is not where I declare that the name of the day is critical to this observance. What I will say, is that “going to church” has never really seemed like an equivalent to the 4th command in my opinion. In fact, going to church really only resulted in swinging back and forth like a pendulum between wanting work and wanting entertainment. Perhaps that’s why there’s music, then preaching, then music, and maybe more preaching, peppered with praying, and then music, then preaching…

God got my attention about this weeks ago when I realized that so little of what I worry about is important. This problem was so bad that the things that were important weren’t getting much attention at all. The cycle is ridiculous. In the midst of my frustration with my own animal instincts I felt a strong conviction that I can and should work hard, but I must be able to stop when the time is right. I must acknowledge my Father, and that The Sabbath was made for me, not me for it (Mark 2:27) because I must rest between peaks. I must have enough faith to be still on a regular basis. I must pause and reflect and every week that I fail to do that makes the next less likely.

The same way that music takes us up to a moment that we cannot remain in, so can 6 days become a building and exciting overture to an incredible climax that cannot last more than a day, but should be cherished while it lasts, only to repeat the week again like the verses of a song. When Friday preparation becomes a bridge leading into yet another beautiful chorus, life is a song.

This idea (and some thoughts from a dear friend a year ago) really convinced me that my flesh cannot exist on a spiritual apex for long any more than the exuberance of a worship chorus can last all week. This reality about human existence has been described in so many ways, perhaps best in the mythological phoenix, that lasts for mere moments in a blaze of glory.

blaze of glory, flesh cannot exist in spiritual joy for long

Similar to the pendulum back-and-forth between joy and the mundane, I’ve often considered even the joy I experience to be meaningless for the simple fact that it is so temporary. While it’s true that we all seek eternal joy, it’s important that we realize that our flesh is incapable of it. It’s drastically important.

Here’s where things are going to get a bit nerdy. You see early in the 2nd century a movement arose among Christians called “Montanism” named after its founder Montanus.  Montanus had started out as a priest of an ancient cult that worshiped a “goddess” they called Cybele. Worship of Cybele included: “…orgiastic ceremonies in which her frenzied male worshipers were led to castrate themselves, following which they became ‘Galli’ or eunuch-priests of the goddess. Cybele eventually came to be viewed as the Mother of all gods and the mistress of all life.”

After Jesus’ resurrection, just about the time Montanus “converted” to Christianity, another tradition had become prominent among the orgiastic worshipers of Cybele. An initiation that included the cutting down of a pine tree, after which the initiates buried it and worked themselves into a frenzy for a night after which they raised it up again.

You may be wondering where this nerdy dive into a peculiar history of early Christendom relates to The Sabbath, and I’ll get to that in a shake, but maybe you’re making the connection already? Montanus’ infiltration into Christianity brought with it a distinct discontentment with the “boring” worship of the early Church. In summary, he tiptoed around orthodox teaching as he gathered a flock. Emphasizing acceptable, but eye-raising practices such as “new prophecies”, “holy rolling”, and speaking in tongues. His very first followers were “prophetesses” (Prisca and Maximilla) who gained a lot of attention with their “ecstatic prophecy” whereby the “orgiastic frenzy” characteristics of Cybele worship infiltrated Christian circles leading to several hundred years of binge & bust “charismaticsm” among otherwise meek and humble followers of Christ. Galatia is specifically noted as one of the places that this created a large divide.

As Montanus gained clout he began paying people (a practice forbidden up until this time among Christian churches) to teach his ideas, which had evolved via false prophecy to include a firm belief that Christ would return on a mountain in Phrygia and that women could leave their husbands so long as they join Montanism. Some more ardent opponents of Pentecostalism have gone so far as to refer to it as “neo-Montanism”.

Whether or not the Assemblies of God necessarily worship Cybele, or were founded by Montanus, would be a matter of blatant dogma that I will not descend to. Even in the 2nd century the early practices of the Montanists were accepted by the Christian orthodoxy. When we recognize that church attendance does not equate to spiritual identity then it’s fairly certain that many true believers would be part of either movement. However, it’s also important to note the specific weaknesses these movements exploit. A weakness common to all. Discontentment.

Day-after-day, week-after-week, Christians behave much like non-Christians in our pursuit of success and prosperity. So much so, that there’s really not much difference anymore. Non-believers go to the country club, believers go to church. The kind of passion that stirs in seeds that fall on shallow soil (Matthew 13:5) can and often does lead to an expectation that each spiritual high experienced needs to be followed by more and more, bigger and bigger, with no end. There is the distinct temptation to go bigger and further with each time around. As Jesus points out, they sprout up “quickly”.

The Sabbath, is a purposeful pause. If we focus all of our efforts on sprouting leaves and branches, and none of our efforts on deep roots, we all risk the manic exasperation of a complete basket case. Conditioning our minds to expect more and bigger, louder, and flashier. Something in modern times exacerbated by the effect of television on our brain development.

Our brains have become addicted to stimulation at an unprecedented rate. Even the worshipers of Cybele weren’t as addicted to extremes as modern humans. These extremes may seem like drive and hunger and passion, but they are more chains for those who are decieved into thinking they are nothing if they aren’t louder and more flamboyant than everyone else.

The charismatic movement boasts the largest meeting attendance of almost any other club. Some rival professional sports in their ability to fill a stadium on a Sunday, under the guise of Sabbath observance. Yet, we still know, that Jesus said:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
– Matthew 7:13-14

So are we to believe that the most popular movement is the most correct one? I for one believe that’s a risky proposition that defies Christ Himself. Instead, as for me and my house, we’ll look to original prophecies rather than hunger for new ones. We’ll be content with being small, and let Christ be great. Call it old fashioned, but Saturday will be the day of rest for us, to break up the unending bombardment of “orgiastic frenzy” that characterizes modern society. After all of that, if our Heavenly Father wants something supernatural from us, then we trust His anointing will come in His timing, and not by our orchestration.

“…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
-Joshua 24:15

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