Question #1: Pastor, Well, you could say there's been a lot of tragedy in my family. My grandparents lost two children before my father was born. One family member also addicted to drugs and alcohol and became violently ill one evening and wouldn't allow emergency services to be called and died in agony. I have other family members who won't talk about their experiences in Vietnam. I suspect that neither one were born again but don't know for sure. As for their time spent in the service, it makes me wonder, if someone fights in a war and kills another person for his country, if God still considers that murder. Doubtless plenty died during their bombing missions.
I believe my knowledge of history has actually helped me to appreciate how futile war really is, especially after reading dozens of books about Viet Nam and WW2. The latter cost the world 60 million lives, many (as you know) were simply murdered by the Nazi's or Russians and even by our own armed forces, who firebombed Germany and Japan before dropping two atomic bombs. Again, I question how God sees war, he can't condone it although I know there are many accounts of war in the Bible. It's a tricky subject I suppose, especially if a man is drafted into war and is forced to kill people, or, he will die himself or go to prison by refusing to be inducted. I suppose those who make war and cause chaos, like Hitler and Stalin, would be judged much more harshly. I guess if I had all the answers I'd be God, all of us are far from perfect as we are born into sin and certainly no one has all the answers, although some claim to.
I grew up and was raised Lutheran, although I was baptized Catholic, and I have only attended one mass as an adult and didn't care for it, nor do I believe in Catholicism. I certainly don't judge those who are Catholic, I just don't think it's truly Christian, not in my eyes anyway.
Response #1: You and your family have had it rough. It does seem as if some get more than their share. But then, every heart knows its own sorrow, and no one can really share its joy (Prov.14:10). What I can handle might be tough for you and what you take in stride might be the end of me. We have to leave it to the Lord and trust His word not to heap on us more than we can truly bear. This world and its history are in many respects "shadow play". No one dies without God's say so. The notion that we are in control of things as a species, even to the very limited degree of killing one another, is an illusion. The fabric of the universe only stays in place because Christ continues to "hold on" (Col.1:17b), and without God we cannot even make a single black hair gray or gray hair black. So war, like crime, like disease, like natural disaster, like the results of this or that human folly, though they have significant consequences, nevertheless the smallest part of the smallest action was decreed by God in eternity past before He had even created the universe. We are responsible for our own actions. We do also bear responsibility for "our neighbors", but this concerns mainly their spiritual status and their material status to the degree that it affects their spiritual status as individuals to individuals. The ambit of "neighbor" is larger than most would have it (as the story of the "good Samaritan" shows), but it always involves personal contact with individuals. Beyond that we have politics. I know of no scriptures which commend our involvement in politics. On the other hand, there are myriad examples of Christians getting involved in "doing good" on the political level and it always seems to end up doing evil instead while at the same time harming the person's individual spirituality (at least that is my observation, experience, and scriptural application, for what it is worth).
I will defer to you on the issue of Catholicism. Their doctrines are horrible flawed and dangerous, there is no question. I have always wanted to allow the possibility that a person could be a Catholic and yet still somehow be putting Jesus first to the point of being saved. However, all of the ex-Catholic believers I have ever met have consistently assured me that it is impossible to be a Catholic and a true believer in Jesus Christ. I leave this issue to the Lord and confine myself to what scripture says about individual points of doctrine.
It seems to me that reading about history is important, as long as it doesn't involve the glorification of evil. I have read many accounts about WW2, mainly from an American perspective but I once read a book from a Russian's account, which I found to be distasteful because it glorified Communism and to a degree, Stalin (both evil). Most of the books I come across (such as Antony Beevor's) do anything but glorify war, in fact, I think it would be nice for everyone to read these books to get an understanding of what war is REALLY like and the true horrors of it. Beevor does an excellent job in his two main books, Stalingrad and The Fall of Berlin. One thing I did discover in reading these books is that the average German soldier (excluding higher ranking officers, Nazi Party members or SS) had little idea of why they were fighting and even less knowledge about what was occurring behind the lines of battle. Like the Russian soldiers they were fighting against, many were just cannon fodder, filled with ignorance and faith in evil men who's true colors were not discovered until it was too late. Of course, as mentioned above, this does not include party members, camp workers and high ranking officials such as Hitler, Goebbels, Goering and Himmler in addition to the thousands of soldiers (mainly SS) who carried out the mass execution of millions of people once the front line had passed through. All of the higher ranking German Officers were guilty though, some to a lessor extent but from Brig General on up, they all knew what was occurring in Poland and what was to occur in Russia during the planned invasion. Hitler summoned his highest ranking officers (almost all were Nazi Party members as well) to a conference to explain how the war in Russia should be carried out. It included deliberate starvation, by riazing large cities to the ground and blocking rail lines, the mass murder of millions of people through summary executions and later, mass executions. Army commanders were instructed not to interfere with the process of executions and some even took part and helped the SS and other groups responsible for these crimes against humanity. Out of all the high ranking officers who attended this so-called conference, only 1 or 2 objected to Hitler's plans although most considered themselves Christian. Of those who objected, they did so in private. It makes me wonder how many people who call themselves Christian are actually walking with Christ. Lies were told to lower ranking officers such as Lt. Colonels and those lies were spread down to the enlisted men. As Satan, Hitler was a liar from the start.
What upsets me the most is that many people are under the impression that Hitler and the Nazi party he helped to create were actually "bad Christians" disposing of the Jewish population because of their rejection of Christ. This is hardly the case, Nazism, at it's best, was occult based organization that reeked of evil from day one. So when I hear people say that Nazi's were so-called Christians, it's not difficult at all to set them straight. People of this nature are usually looking for an excuse to persecute Christians. It makes me wonder what type of persecution will take place during the tribulation, if the above mentioned were just "birth pains," at last my point to all this, sorry for rambling but I was trying to convey a point.
So many of my friends and family are much too involved in worldly things to bother with the truth. Only my mother (in my immediate family) will discuss these things and listen to what I have to say. I've lost friends simply for sharing knowledge about what's happened and what is to come. I've even had people say, "you actually believe in that stuff?" It's so sad.
I don't believe we are meant to have all the answers here on Earth, I think that's obvious. In my love of science I have to be careful not to fall into their way of thinking. It's easy to sit back and think about time, space, the size of the Universe, what lies beyond our reach and so forth. Fortunately, most of my interest is geography and weather, I've always found astronomy to be far too time consuming and astrology is obviously not healthy, even before finding Christ, I always considered it to be a joke, it's to bad that some take it seriously! I did read your breakdown of angel hierarchy, it was extremely interesting. You actually did answer some of my earlier questions, although I'm still a bit confused, I was almost under the impression that Michael was the most powerful next to Jesus. Reading the Catholics point of view will have one even more confused. Do you consider Catholicism to be evil?
You are most probably wise to stay away from politics. Thanks again for your response and I'll look forward to more updates on your site as well as reading what I haven't gotten to!
History is indeed very important (most of my secular writings have to do with history or historiography), and what happened in Germany is good model to study for anyone skeptical about how quickly an educated population can fall into line to engage in all sorts of evil and ultimately self-destructive practices. As far as friends and family are concerned, when it comes to believing and following the truth, it is the rare individual indeed who finds the ones closest to him/her receptive when he/she begins to pursue the truth of the Bible in a serious way. Many years ago I was initially of the opinion that if people were just exposed to the wonders of the truth they would snap it up. Of course that is not the case, and one has to be very careful about "casting pearls before swine" lest we invite unnecessary and unwanted negative reactions without any hope of positive results. Just as there is a proper time and method to witness to unbelievers, so there is a proper time and method to share insights about scripture with those near and dear, and if we are patient and tactful we can discover easily enough whether or not there is any true interest there beneath the surface. If not, then we can still love them and pray for them.
I'm glad you were able to get some help from the Angelology study. As far as comparing Michael and our Lord Jesus, however, it should be pointed out that one of the primary reasons for the writing of the book of Hebrews is to demonstrate that Jesus is not to be compared to angels, being superior to them in every way since He is the one and only Son of God, true God as well as true man, and the one who actually created and the one who sustains the universe (cf. also Col.1:15-20), while angels are merely creatures like us.
Finally, as far as Catholicism is concerned, I am not a big fan, but as I have said many times, I try to stay as far away as possible from personality, money, politics, and denominations. All of these things, in my view, do more to retard than to help spiritual growth. It's only a question of degrees.
Thanks again for you interest and support. In the One who died for us that we might live forever with Him, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Of course, it is extremely difficult in this day and age of such obvious sexuality to not engage in pornography and sex outside of marriage. There was a time in this country/world were such acts were considered taboo, those days are long gone. As I've said before, I believe Satan has done his work well, that is, he has turned this Earth into his own personal playground, hunting the souls of people (especially young people) like a wild animal searching for it's last meal before hibernation. I find myself angry today, angry with Satan and the demons that do his bidding, does a person get targeted for such things? I say yes, probably so, but I rebuke Satan in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true savior and only one I will ever answer to. I just hope and pray that our own government and the powers that be can see what we see and repent, I believe judgment for America will be harsh, considering our (most of us anyway) ungodliness and our turning away from Christian principles, I thought that's what our nation was about. I don't believe that anymore. I thank God that there are people like you and other Christians who do see the light and realize the battle we are in and the coming judgment. I pray that Lord Jesus will have mercy on America and shine his light on the wicked and that their hearts would be opened to allow the Holy Spirit to come in.
It seems to me that I read in the Bible something about sins that are not forgiven, perhaps it was regarding the Holy Spirit. This is going to sound ignorant (and I am to a degree) but who exactly is the Holy Spirit and how does he relate to Jesus and God? It's a bit confusing, I know what the Holy Spirit is capable of and the power that he has, I also believe he came into me in 1996 when I fell to my knees in tears, begging the Lord to forgive me. If you don't feel like explaining it or perhaps, that a Biblical verse might be better suited, I'd definitely be willing to read. Perhaps your website has something about this?? I'd rather hear your explanation though, if possible.
I'm glad that you are blessed with a good job and it speaks volumes to me that you are running this ministry simply to spread the words of Jesus, many sites ask for donations and certainly there is nothing wrong with that (as I would donate-if I knew they were true to God) but it's rare to find someone like yourself who actually says "I don't need money to run my ministry." There are others who are devoted in such a way but they are not all that easy to find.
From what little I know, your comments about churches make sense to me, it is clear that Christ is working through you and helping me (and others) to better understand these things as much of what you wrote would have gone right over my head, years ago. "The Bible says" is what we should be hearing in churches but in so many of the ones I've been to, I don't hear that. It's as if pastors want to be careful not to offend anyone, lest they stop coming to service and their donations decrease. Not to be judgmental but that is what I think happens from time to time. I did attend a Lutheran Easter service one Sunday in Chicago about five years ago where the pastor gave a very moving sermon, he spoke with conviction and about the times we are living in and begged his congregation to repent and not just come to church but become true Christians, soldiers of Christ. Something had made a great impression on him before the sermon, perhaps a personal crisis but whatever the case, his sermon was not watered down at all and came straight from his heart and the Lord. His eyes were actually filled with tears at the end of the sermon, everyone was moved. Unfortunately, I don't live in Chicago and was just visiting but I was very moved and told him so after the service. So, I think there are some good churches out there but as I've said before, I won't do mass. I don't deny that the Catholic Church is not in the open about their beliefs but I do have a problem with all those years of covering the sexual abuse committed by their priests. Certainly not all or even most were involved in this but it was a tough thing to hear, you never want to think that a so-called "man of God" could be involved in such things. It's bad enough when it happens outside the church but it's just hard to imagine that happening on the inside.
I saw a special on the History Channel last night about the book of Revelations. I didn't watch more than about 15 minutes of it because it seemed (of course) to be more scientific in nature. Stating that the men who wrote prophecies were simply caught up in the times, beaten down by the Roman Empire and wanting to convey their feelings, not spreading the word of God and what WILL occur in the future but venting frustrations. That's what they seemed to convey, perhaps I didn't watch enough of it but it gave me a bad feeling from the start so I turned it off.
Thank you for your prayers, my family and I are actually getting along better now so I'd like to think they helped, although our fighting does tend to wax and wane, I hope it's the prayers though. I know they are heard for sure but we need to do our parts too; God does not simply give us things in most cases, we have to work for them, am I right? The last question I have is regarding prophets, do you believe that there are true Christian prophets today, as there were in the days shortly before and after Christ? Actually, it seems there were prophets many years before Jesus came, like Daniel (that is an amazing chapter.) I am finding that I really enjoy Psalms and Proverbs as well, very beautifully written and peaceful!
May the Lord Jesus continue to bless you, your family and your ministry!
Do keep praying for our country and those in power as this is a legitimate and important Christian thing to do (1Sam.12:23; Rom.13:1-7; 1Pet.2:13-14). What is problematic is putting one's faith in any country, and I think that is an especially bad idea for us on the threshold of the end times (see the link: "The probable identification of mystery Babylon" in CT #3).
As to the Holy Spirit, He is a co-equal, co-eternal, con-substantial member of the Trinity. Because of His role in the plan of God, He is the unseen (but felt) member, and therefore most likely the least well understood. In the analogy of light (to which God is compared in His Word: e.g., Jn.1:5), we know that in its physical properties light, like the Trinity, is one yet distinct: Visible light is seen (like the Son at present), while Radio is heard but not seen (like the Father at present), and Infra-red is felt but not seen (analogous to the Spirit's influence). There is much more on the Trinity in general and on the Holy Spirit in particular in part 1 of Bible Basics, "Theology", section II: The Persons of God: The Trinity. At some point, Basics 5 will take up the Holy Spirit and His unique ministries specifically, but it will be some time before that study is available. In the meantime, you may find the following links helpful:
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
The Filling of the Holy Spirit
The Sealing of the Holy Spirit.
The personality of the Holy Spirit.
An extended conversation about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
In terms of your question about unforgivable sin and blasphemy against the Spirit, those passages are talking about the sin of rejecting the gospel. It is blaspheming the Spirit because when we receive the gospel, the Spirit is the One who makes the truth known to us in our hearts. If we then should reject His testimony (cf. 1Jn.5:6-12), that is the same as calling Him a liar. It is unforgivable because the only means of forgiveness is faith in Jesus and by definition people who reject the Spirit's testimony are rejecting the truth about salvation in Jesus Christ. Please see these links:
Have I committed the unforgivable sin?
The unpardonable sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
I think it is very true what you say about money (legitimate to ask but often a symptom of being all about money rather than true ministry), about churches (afraid or often disinterested in the Bible out of a preoccupation with numbers and finances), and about secular treatments of scripture (the devil is not uninvolved in this latter activity: he wants to paint people who are really "so gullible as to believe" what scripture straight-out says or who care about finding out as uneducated bumpkins). Indeed, in all of our communications you exhibit what I find in 1st John 2:27 regarding the Spirit's ministry of spiritual discernment. I encourage you to continue to add substantive truth to your good attitude and your good spiritual common sense.
Finally, on your last question, there is quite a lot written about this at the site (and you will have some of it in the first long set of links above). In short, my understanding of prophesying is as you suggest, words given directly by God to someone who has been chosen by Him as a prophet. I am very skeptical about this being present today as I am in regard to all of the demonstrably miraculous gifts that occurred during apostolic times. We no longer have apostles for a reason, but we do have the completed canon of scripture which believers lacked before the Church Age. But I certainly do not dismiss God's ability to provide such today; I only note the fact that because God can do something doesn't mean that He is doing it, and especially it doesn't mean that someone who claims to have such a gift actually does. This last point is certainly apropos of our situation on the cusp of the Tribulation:
For [during the Tribulation] false Christs and false prophets will arise and will perform great miracles (lit., "signs") and wonders [sufficient] to deceive even the elect, if [that were] possible. Matthew 24:24
[Antichrist's] appearance [will come about] through Satan's empowerment [and will be] accompanied by every [sort of] false miracle, both signs and portents, and by every [sort of] unrighteous deception [designed] for those who are perishing, [namely those who will believe these lies] because they did not open themselves up to the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2nd Thessalonians 2:9-10
Please also see the following link:
Are there prophets today?
Blessed is the man . . . whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His teaching he meditates day and night.
Just wanted to write back and thank you for your response and comment on a few more things, get back to me, if you like, in your own good time. I understand that running a ministry is rewarding but also time consuming.
You know, there was a site I came across some years ago (when I was a bit more ignorant) that listed the names of dozens of different demons and what their function was (be it to control politicians, create sexual lust, destroy families, cause addiction and mental illness and various other things including controlling the church). This site even had names for these demons but I'm sure now after reading your email that this information was not taken from the Bible, which therefor makes it irrelevant. One thing I have learned is that there are some strange so-called Christian sites out there that tend to create rather than translate or provide accurate and sound information. That is, the information may have come from somewhere other than the Bible and is incomplete, the rest, they probably just make up, who knows. Obviously we know Lucifer/Satan, perhaps that's all we need to know. If we were meant to know more about the demonic world, it would have been written in the Bible. I had a friend, way back in my drug days that was into the occult and remember him discussing such things with me so perhaps the material in which this information was derived from is occult based (Anton LeVay or otherwise). It was only now, after thinking about what I read on this webpage that I recall my ex friend and what he said. Perhaps to much knowledge on this subject (although it is interesting) is dangerous. My thoughts should probably be focused elsewhere. Cutting Edge ministries has a page that lists the names of a few demons and what their purpose is but only 5 or 6, not like the dozens I came across. I don't know what your feelings are about their site (assuming you've seen it) but it's a bit confusing, some of it seems very true and some of it just doesn't seem right. If you haven't seen it, a simple Google search will bring you there. These guys certainly are into the illuminati theory and one of their main focuses is that God basically withdrew his influence ever since Israel became a nation in 1949, which is prophetic in nature and way over my head! Anyway, check it out if you like or share your opinion because I get a better gut feeling reading your site. Their site may be accurate, I simply don't have the wisdom or knowledge to ascertain that.
Times are bad, there's no doubt about it. I went to a so-called Christian private school although I don't ever recall coming across one Christian while I was there. Drinking and pot smoking where abundant and getting laid was the most important thing to these guys, I was no different at the time but looking back, there's a lot of irony there. I can't help but think that things where much different even 50 or 100 years ago. Satan has used technology to his advantage and provided so many road blocks that where not around in those days. Drugs have also become a scourge, at least, since the counterculture movement of the 60's. It's almost as if Satan used groups like the Beatles and Stones (in those days) to start this movement. The Vietnam war and the large, open air rock concerts seemed to bolster the movement. Perhaps it was the start of his most potent attack on the US. He even seems to have used the Civil Rights movement for his own ends although it would be inaccurate to say that nothing good came out of it!! The Lord certainly is infinite in his wisdom, as Satan is known as the Serpent.
I will start reading my Bible again, the whole thing, from cover to cover. That is something I've never done before. I have focused mainly on the words of Jesus and the latter chapters that involve prophecy although I don't pretend to understand. I will read some more of your site as it seems to have a lot of information regarding these issues. In these days, I'm often reminded of 2 Timothy (chapter three I believe) where he predicts (with amazing accuracy) what it will be like before Jesus returns. Some prophecy is easy to understand, some is rather difficult, Revelation I tend to stay away from because I don't believe I have the wisdom to make sense of it.
Thanks for your advice and help and I hope to hear back from you at some point, take care and thanks for putting together such a great site. I believe it's important to have such sites on the internet to combat all the smut and filth!
I am thrilled to hear that you are setting yourself to reading scripture in more depth. This will do worlds of good for you and your relationship to Jesus. Revelation is a difficult book to interpret and just goes to show that there is a reason why there are teachers in the Body of Christ. The Coming Tribulation series uses Revelation as the unifying text for its organization (as it is intended to be used). But while some scripture like Revelation is somewhat difficult to interpret, for those who are consistent about studying scripture I think it is fair to say that it is not too difficult to figure out whether or not a specific interpreter is getting it right or is all wet (yet another reason to "Read your Bible").
I think there's a lot of truth in your analysis of contemporary culture. The devil does indeed use every sort of human activity that is not completely subordinated to God to further his own ends, and as you suggest I too believe his influence has been growing. There is more opportunity today for sin and evil with ever less societal pressure to avoid it. A young person would have to be truly exceptional (and/or have exceptional parents et al.) to keep his/her nose completely clean through high school and college. But as ever been the case, without the mercy of God, none of us could hope to stand. We praise Him for His grace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ who came into this world not to save the righteous but to save sinners, "of whom I am the first" (1Tim.1:15).
As to the site you mention, I am not familiar with it, but I can tell you that focusing on such conspiracy theories as the "Illuminati" seems to me to be somewhat counterproductive. I have always sought to steer this ministry clear of politics of all sorts (conspiracy theory politics included). Ultimately, there are no political solutions, only divine ones. I think this is where many Christians get into trouble (and unfortunately I can back this theory up with personal experience). If we are personally growing in grace, growing closer to Jesus, and helping others to do the same, that will have more positive results for ourselves, our loved ones, and all of our broader communities through God's blessings than even the most successful political campaigns or movements.
In our fellowship in Jesus Christ,
I always pray for our country but have a bad feelings about how things will turn out, for most people anyway. I know enough about the latter chapters of the Bible to ascertain that things will continue to get worse, not better. Therefore, sometimes it can be hard to pray for our leaders, almost as if there's no point. I am of the opinion that many of our presidents, people of wealth and power, our not born again. I don't judge any one particular person but power and money can destroy a soul, or more specifically, cause a person to destroy his/her own soul. I've never really been pleased with any political party although if backed into a corner, I would vote Republican simply because they at least have SOME values when it comes to things like abortion. Otherwise, I try to stay away from politics except when I do pray for Bush and our country. Certainly there are many countries much worse off than we are, although you'd never know it by reading websites like http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org/ It's not that I don't agree with a lot of what this man is saying it's just that he never says anything positive, it's all bad! We should also be grateful for what we have. IMHO Since I do a lot of reading about other countries, I know what conditions are like. Heck, even in Mexico there are many things we take for granted that they don't have. Sure, the tourist towns do well but ever traveled outside of the tourist areas? Africa and parts of Asia are of course, much worse. Any consular information sheet will give you plenty of details about how those poor people live.
Thanks for your links, I read them all and I do have a better understanding of the Holy Spirit although I must admit, many people don't understand the "unforgivable sin." Parts of the Bible are not all that easy to grasp but that's why we have people like you, right? Let me ask you, if you had to choose a particular church, what would it be? If this is too personal I apologize but I have to ask (Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal??) Just a few examples as I am trying to figure out where to start. Obviously I wouldn't go to a Catholic church, as I've stated before, but I do believe there is something missing and would like to meet some good Christian people. I think that's important for all of us, especially those of us who don't have a family of our own.
Yes, do pray for our leaders, whoever they are. That is a good and biblical thing to do (1Tim.2:1-2; cf. 1Sam.12:23; Rom.13:1-7 esp. v.7; Tit.3:1; 1Pet.2:13-17 esp. v.17). As I say, I don't believe in politics or political solutions. In my observation and experience, getting involved in politics only distracts Christians from their true purpose of spiritual growth and ministry to the Body of Christ. Our true citizenship is in heaven (Phil.3:18-20). Politics is a satanic minefield which even the most mature of believers cannot negotiate without damage.
I started out life as a Presbyterian, and I am proud of the work done by my dad and mom as minister and minister's wife. But it certainly has changed in the last 50 years or so. I parted company with that denomination long ago for doctrinal reasons, and couldn't recommend it now. My next foray into denominationalism was an independent church with strong Baptist roots. Some members of my family are Mennonite and others Lutheran, and I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I have personal experience with the Pentecostals as well. I couldn't recommend any of them. In my view, denominations, while they had their historical purposes, are not authorized by the Bible (see the links: Assembly of the Local Church; Church Polity; Tent Making; Elders and Deacons; Patriarchy?). Part of the problem is that denominations are bound to follow their doctrinal statements and ipso facto can't learn anything new or correct past errors (and as a result are generally not much concerned with the Bible at all). So I think any good solution would almost have to be an independent church (or a denominational church that was acting independently for all intents and purposes; see: Can you recommend a church?).
I do understand the need to fellowship for mutual encouragement in Christ - that is a key purpose of any local church (Heb.10:25). So I pray that you will find a place that is more of a positive in teaching the Word of God than a negative, one which fulfills all your needs.
In our dear Lord Jesus,