The Temple, The Mosque, the Vatican and Building 7

 

The Temple,

the Mosque, the Vatican,

and Building 7

 

 by Lawrence S. Jones

INDEX:

Introduction                                                                                                    

Preface:  Major prophetic references to the man of lawlessness                 Chapter 1:   The Divinity and the Redemptive Sacrifice of Yeshua              

DANGER IN THE TEMPLE

Chapter 2:   Locating “God’s Temple,” which is the place in which the man of lawlessness “sets himself up…”                                

Chapter 3:  The susceptibility of God’s people to fatal damage                                             

Chapter 4:  The presence of Satan in the world.                                            

Chapter 5:  The Hallmarks of the Man of Lawlessness                                 

Chapter 6:  The Anti-Christ Who Was                                                          

THE MOSQUE

Chapter 7:   Beyond the Temple of Stone                                                           

Chapter 8:  The Physical Abomination Standing on the Mountain of Sacrifice                                                                              

THE VATICAN

Chapter 9:  The Abomination Which Sets Itself up in Opposition to the Temple of Spirit, Part  A: Opposition to the Authority of Scripture.                           

Chapter 10:  The Abomination Which Sets Itself up in Opposition to the Temple of Spirit, Part B:  The program of the Architects of Catholicism to Obscure the Person and Spirit of Yeshua.               

Chapter 11:  The Abomination Which Sets Itself up in Opposition to the Temple of Spirit, Part C:  Catholic “Modernism:” the Abandonment of the Divinity of the Redeemer and the Abandonment of the Divinity of Creation

BUILDING 7 

Chapter 12: The Externalization of Israel: Part A:  The Phenomenology of the Israel of God,  “not one of the nations.”                                                                   

Chapter 13: The Externalization of Israel:  Part B: The De-Sanctification of Israel,  now become one of the nations.                                                       

Chapter 14: Secular Israel as Golden Calf;  the national mythology as the Statue of the Beast              

             

Introduction

 The Hebrew and Greek Scriptures provide a vision of the end of the era.  It is an apocalyptic vision involving a consolidation of world power in the hands of a figure known as the man of lawlessness.

The proud assumption of “lawlessness” as an attribute of rebellion is a significant addition to the modern historic fabric.  It is not unrelated to old ecclesiastical movements such as “antinomianism,” nor is it unrelated to the modern idol known as Tolerance, under whose rule all things are accepted.

Various figures, most notably Aleister Crowley, have promulgated Ut fiat libertas, “Do as thou wilt,” as the heart of the law of the world and the law of Satan.[1]  By contrast, a covenant relationship with the God of Israel is characterized by the words Fiat voluntas tua, “Thy will be done.”[2]

The man of lawlessness hates the God of Israel and hates his law.  The prophetic vision reveals that the man of lawlessness will be allowed to persecute, conquer and destroy those who are faithful to Yeshua the Messiah of Israel.  This collision of the faithful with the forces of the global empire will, to the world, appear to be the final removal of an unwanted dogmatism from the earth.  But the willing martyrdom of the faithful will turn out to be the final witness that the truth of Yeshua is more precious than life itself.  The blood of the martyrs will adorn the return to earth of Yeshua their king, a return to be marked by his victory over the forces of rebellion.

The Scriptures say that the man of lawlessness is a master of intrigue and deception, a master of armaments, and the direct heir of Satanic power.   The Scriptures also warn that vast numbers of nominal adherents to the person of Yeshua will be seduced away from Yeshua and will follow the man of lawlessness, either through seduction into his deceptions or through “love grown cold” – through failure to maintain the heart in union with their king.

For this reason, we who hope never to be separated from our king must not underestimate the intelligence or the power of the man of lawlessness, nor doubt the depth and breadth of his deception.  For this reason we must be watchful, careful to hold to the essential truth of the being and purpose of our king.  We must be vigilant to distinguish those inversions and syncretisms which pollute our understanding and undermine a life of fealty to our king.  Most of all we must guard that we do not become unwitting enablers of the great deception which will characterize the end of the era, a deception which will attempt to substitute a bland and generic religious habit in the place of sincere devotion to the person of Yeshua.

These pages are meant to give evidence that the deception and the preparation for a final agent of rebellion are well underway.  The man of lawlessness is not simply a figure who appears to claim center stage at the end of the era.  As the late Alberto Rivera has claimed, the lawless one arises out of a dynasty.  He has roots deep in the last two millennia.  Preparations for his arrival are of long standing, even since the early centuries of the Christian era.  All that is missing is the arrival of the ultimate individual who will in himself bear all the marks of prophecy, the one who will be faced directly by Yeshua in the time of his return:

“For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.”[3]

Deception succeeds by the gradual and continuous introduction of chimeras in the place of the real.  If we are to recognize the man of lawlessness when he appears, we must look carefully at the preparations which have been made for his arrival.  It is most probable that his advent will be so carefully prepared that on the day of his coming there will be little of notice beyond the opening and closing of a door.

The world is changing.  We must talk about darkness for one obvious reason: it is getting dark.  The sky is dark with the treachery of all nations against God.  As a race we must not expect to ascend together to some bright shimmering Omega Point.  Much rather we must expect a time when the children of the true light of the world are driven from society.  We must expect the fulfillment of these words in Revelation:

He was allowed to utter loud and blasphemous vaunts and allowed to exert authority for two and forty months; so he opened his mouth for blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name and his dwelling [that is, the dwellers in heaven.]  He was allowed to wage war on the saints and to conquer them, and also given authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation; all dwellers on earth will be his worshippers, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of Life.[4]

 

Preface

Major prophetic references to the man of lawlessness

 

Daniel

[Daniel 7.23-27] “The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.  The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom.  After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.  He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws.  The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.  But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.  Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High.  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.” 

[Daniel 8.20-27] “The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia.  The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king.  The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.  In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise.  He will become very strong, but not by his own power.  He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does.  He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior.  When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. … The vision of the evening and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.”[5]

[Daniel 11.28-39]   “The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant.  … He will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant.  He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.  His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice.  Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.  With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered.  When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. 

The king will do as he pleases.  He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.  He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.  He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all.  Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his fathers he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts.  He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him.”[6]

Matthew

[Matthew 24.3-24,27]  As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately.  “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.  Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again.  If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform  great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible…For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

 

Thessalonians

[II Thessalonians 2.1-12] Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.  He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God….For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 

“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.  The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

                    

Revelation

[Revelation 12.9,12] “So the huge dragon was thrown down – that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, the seducer of the whole world – thrown down to earth and his angels thrown down along with him…Rejoice for this, O heavens and ye that dwell in them!  But woe to earth and sea!  The devil has descended to you in fierce anger, knowing that his time is short.”[7]

[Revelation 13.1-17] Then, as I stood on the sand of the sea, I saw a Beast rising out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads, ten diadems on his horns, and blasphemous titles on his heads.  The Beast I saw resembled a leopard, his feet were like a bear’s, and his mouth like a lion’s.  To him the dragon gave his own power and his own throne and great authority. One of his heads looked as if it had been slain and killed, but the deadly wound was healed, and the whole earth went after the Beast in wonder, worshipping the dragon for having given authority to the Beast, and worshipping the Beast with the cry, ‘Who is like the Beast?  Who can fight with him?’

“He was allowed to utter loud and blasphemous vaunts, and allowed to exert authority for two and forty months; so he opened his mouth for blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name and his dwelling [that is, the dwellers in heaven.]  He was allowed to wage war on the saints and to conquer them, and also given authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation; all dwellers on earth will be his worshippers, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of Life.  Let anyone who has an ear listen:

            “Whoever is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes: whoever kills with the sword, by the sword must he be killed.  This is what shows the patience and the faith of the saints.

“Then I saw another Beast rising from the land; he had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.  He exerts the full authority of the first Beast in his presence, causing the earth and its inhabitants to worship the first Beast, whose deadly wound was healed.  He performs amazing miracles, even making fire descend from heaven on earth in the sight of men, and by dint of the miracles he is allowed to perform in presence of the Beast, he seduces dwellers on earth; he bids the dwellers on earth erect a statue to the Beast who live after being wounded by the sword, and to this statue of the Beast he was allowed to impart the breath of life, so that the statue of the Beast should actually speak.

“He has everyone put to death who will not worship the statue of the Beast, and he obliges all men, low and high, rich and poor, freemen and slaves alike, to have a mark put upon their right hand or their forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he bears the mark, that is, the name of the Beast, or the cipher of his name.”

[Revelation 16.13,14]  “Then I saw issuing from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the Beast and from the mouth of the false Prophet, three foul spirits like frogs – demon spirits performing miracles, who come forth to muster the kings of the whole world for battle on the great Day of almighty God.

 

Chapter 1:

The Divinity and the Redemptive Sacrifice of Yeshua

i

We know and are known by Yeshua in the fabric of our lives, through the intimacy of his life bound into our own life, our spirit bound into his Spirit.  Our knowing of Yeshua is grounded in the words of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures.  These Scriptures hold the record of the activity of our God in history to form us as a people for himself.  These Scriptures also bear the ultimate portrait of our Messiah in the elaborations of prophecy and in the historical record of his time on earth.

But the path of discipleship is not to be mistaken for the broad avenues of religion.   From within the halls of the established Abrahamic religions come all manner of rebellious challenges to the person of Yeshua as he is portrayed in Scripture.  These assaults have arisen in response to the fact that the very being and life of Yeshua is a fundamental threat to the status quo and to the established Powers.  Every religious group which marries itself in some way to the status quo assumes an interest in qualifying the uncompromising stance of Yeshua in the world.

The various Orthodoxies attempt to diminish and deny his divinity, to define him as a noble teacher, a mere moral example.  They attempt to play down the gravity of the human condition, hoping that we will not notice Yeshua’s concern for human redemption.  They accuse Yeshua of overacting in going to the cross for ours sins.  Or they uphold the tenet that even in a lost world his sacrifice upon the cross is insufficient to bear the sins of the world.  Others uproot the very this-worldly promises of Yahveh to Abraham and transport the hope of history to an other-worldly heaven, even claiming that Yeshua was never actually and physically a man, or that his sacrifice was not really a sacrifice.

ii

From the beginning, from the conversation at the gates of Eden, our expectation of the Messiah has been focused on “the seed of the woman,” that from the woman would come the champion who, though bruised, would crush the head of the serpent, Satan.[8]  Over time came the witness of the prophets that the Messiah to come would own the divinity of God and that he, Immanuel, would redeem us from sin:

“pierced for our transgressions,…crushed for our  iniquities,…by his wounds we are healed.”[9]

No mere mortal could by any sacrifice rectify the loss of the fall.  For the coming centuries, be it Abel in the field or Abraham on Mt. Moriah or the priest in the Temple, every animal sacrifice was a rite of profound prayer honoring the expectation that a mighty sacrifice, come from God himself, would alone become the vehicle of the goodness of God and give men the freedom to stand in the presence of God.

At the heart of history lies the need for redemption, the satisfaction of which must come from that royal sacrifice which is as large as all mankind, even as large as God himself.  It is the power of this saving sacrifice which the enemies of God oppose.  For this reason, the widespread rejection of the divinity of Yeshua is coupled with a widespread rejection of the need for redemption, a denial of the significance of sin.

Nevertheless all the prophets and all Israel, throughout their history, have celebrated redemption and have looked forward to the coming of the Redeemer.

Who might pay the price that could reunite man with a God who demands justice?  How should God intervene in the world of the fall and yet remain whole and perfect… a perfection which is not mere style and mechanics but even a perfection of love?

According to the apostle John the sufficient sacrifice is none other than the One who made the world and time and Eden and mankind:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men….The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth…No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only [God the Only Begotten – i.e. Yeshua], who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.[10]

As Yeshua first entered into his ministry he came to John the Baptist, and John, from the beginning, recognized him as the One whose sacrifice would mean redemption:

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”[11]

And so it was that Isaiah has spoken amply of the Redeemer who was the very person of God who would be born of a woman and would rule over his redeemed people forever:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.[12]

In Isaiah’s vision of the coming of Yeshua at the end of the era, it is implicit that Messiah Yeshua is being addressed as “the Lord Almighty:”

“In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below.  They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days.  The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously.[13]

Isaiah told of the coming of John the Baptist and that his message would be that the coming of the Messiah is the coming of God himself:

A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God….You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain.  You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”  See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power…he tends his flock like a shepherd; he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart…”[14]

Israel was not looking for a mere man, or teacher, or philosopher, or military conqueror.  The faithful in Israel were looking for the one who would conquer sin and death.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth…After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by the knowledge of him my righteous servant will justify many…[15]

In our consideration of the advance of the man of lawlessness into the culture of the world, it might seem initially that the divinity of Yeshua is the line in the sand, the touchstone, the chief point of argument between the servants of God and the rivals of God.  But the real line in the sand is something more specific – not merely the nature of the being of the Son of God, but the nature of his redemptive sacrifice.  The more we look at the man of lawlessness the more we see that his armaments are aimed at the cross.

 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God….Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified.”[16]

 

Danger in the Temple

 

******

 

Chapter #2:   Locating “God’s Temple,” the place in which the man of lawlessness “sets himself up…”

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.  He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.[17]

 

i

The above quotation does not say that God’s temple is the place where he “appears.”  It says that God’s temple is the place where he “sets himself up,” leaving open the possibility that he establishes himself there even as his true identity goes unnoticed.

His great desire is to seduce and lead into captivity those who belong to Yeshua.  He can be expected to enter the temple secretly and deceptively, as if he were not there.

The opening quotation also says that in the temple he “proclaims himself to be God”… and the pattern seems to be that everyone believes him.   Since his claim goes generally  undisputed, it is probably not the case that someone who is manifestly-not-god gets away with pretending to be God.  Rather the man of lawlessness and deception, without fanfare, without notice, takes the truth of God and distorts it beyond meaning, manufacturing a caricature of God while successfully maintaining in men the belief that this distorted and fabricated “god” is the true God.

He was allowed to utter loud and blasphemous vaunts and allowed to exert authority for two and forty months…He was allowed to wage war on the saints and to conquer them, and also given authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation; all dwellers on earth will be his worshippers, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of Life[18].

Since this temple is a critical arena of the activity of the man of lawlessness, we must determine what is meant by “God’s temple.”

ii

In the mind of the contemporary Christian church, the notion that there is coming “yet a third Temple” at the end of this era is partly due to the way they read the above quotation from Thessalonians, in particular the phrase, “sits as God in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”  Many conclude that the fulfillment of this Scripture necessitates the appearance of yet another architectural Temple on the TempleMount.

For “temple” there are two words used in the Greek of the new covenant writings: “hieron,” which refers normally to a piece of architecture, and “naos,” which refers, in the most spiritual sense, to the abode of God.  A hieron [temple building] can also be a naos [abode.]  But a hieron is not necessarily a naos.  And a naos is not necessarily a hieron.  In Thessalonians 2.4 the word translated as “temple” is “naos,the abode of God, essence, not architectureTherefore we would draw the following meaning: “he sets himself up in the abode of God.”

In the transformation which came with the appearance of Yeshua and his Spirit in the world, it is understood that, in a present and active sense, we who love Yeshua, we who are subjects in the transcendent kingdom of Yeshua, we who entertain the presence of the Spirit of Yeshua in our heart’s house…We are the temple, the abode of God.

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”[19]

“For we are the temple of the living God.  As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’”[20]

At the same time, God is deeply invested in human history and in his claimed inheritance: Zion, Jerusalem, the land promised for eternity to Abraham.  The historic hieron/naos on MountMoriah is fallen.  But the ground is precious.  And Scripture says that Zion will again know the unqualified presence of the person of our king.

However, if Yahveh’s primary temple is his people, the implication of Thessalonians 2.4 is that there will come a time when Satan will become the apparent shepherd of a flock which imagines itself to be the people of God and is unable to perceive either the ruling presence of Satan or the absence of the hand of the God whom they verbally espouse.  This scenario, by oath of Scripture, is not just a real and imminent danger, it is prophetic certainty.  Daniel painted a similar picture in which the man of lawlessness acnhieves his goals through flattery:

“He will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant.  He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.  His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.  With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him….The king will do as he pleases.  He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of godsHe will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place…”[21]

“Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wickedNone of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.  Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.”[22]

Again, the only hope of escape lies with those who “know their God” and are “wise.”

 

iii

The vision of Daniel suggests that the man of lawlessness is active first in the transcendent naos/ spiritual abode of God:

“he will magnify himself above every god…He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed…”

and active second in the setting of the physical hieron:

“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice…”

The great Herodian temple where Yahveh maintained presence and glory is gone.  With the Dome of the Rock planted on the top of MountMoriah, what about the bond between God and MountMoriah?

Mt.Moriah, Zion, and Jerusalem are not forgotten.  They are not only dear to the heart of God in the past and in the future.  His heart aches for the dust and stone of Zion at all times.  Therefore what transpires on this bit of real estate in the present moment is of great interest to him.

“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch….I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.”[23]

“For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling: ‘This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it – I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will I satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints will ever sing for joy.  Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one.  I will clothe his enemies with shame, but the crown on his head will be resplendent.”[24]

The prophet Ezekiel discusses in great detail a temple which has yet to be built. There is another temple coming – but in the millennium, the thousand year reign of Christ over the nations of the earth.  It is not our task to build this temple apart from his presence among us.  Zechariah left word that the Branch, the Messiah Yeshua, will himself build this temple and also rule from it as priest and king:

“’Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of Yahveh.  It is he who will build the temple of Yahveh, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne.  And he will be a priest on his throne.’  …Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of Yahveh,…”[25]

Many, Christian and Jew alike, believe that they must go ahead and build the third temple.  They may build.  And there may be sacrifices on Mount Moriah.  But it will not be the temple of Ezekiel.

It is declared that Yeshua will be the builder of his temple in the time to come following his return and it is inconceivable that he would come to rule in the blasphemy of a temple built under Zionist sponsorship by a collection of men who deny his kingship in this world, who deny that he himself is the long awaited sacrifice for their own redemption.

Paul Jablonowski, in his book, Sons to Glory, is a great teacher on the subject of the millennial temple. He points out that Ezekiel records that the coming temple will be strictly holy to God:

“Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever.  The house of Israel will never again defile my holy name – neither they nor their kings—by their prostitution and the lifeless idols of their kings at their high places…This is the law of the temple: All the surrounding area on top of the mountain will be most holy. Such is the law of the temple…..This is what the Sovereign Yahveh says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites.”[26]

This tells us that God in his sovereignty, in the coming time, will allow no one in the new temple who is not both ritually pure and spiritually reborn [circumcised in heart].  Therefore it is impossible, Jablonowski points out, that a true third temple of God should be that same architecture which is to be defiled by the man of lawlessness.  [Also, since all the area around the temple will be holy, it rules out the common idea of various religions “sharing” the TempleMount” in any kind of legitimacy.]

None of this means to say that men will not try, apart from God’s blessing, to erect a structure in Jerusalem and call it the temple of God.

We ourselves, however, must be studious in rejecting any effort to force God’s hand by “building for him” a temple in Zion.  In the coming years, everything in the lives of us who serve and love Yeshua must be at his command and by his hand.  By no other model will we be able to avoid deception and endure the persecutions yet to come.  Walking in the narrow confines of his will, with the habit of his true presence, we look for the mercy and grace to stand as witnesses to his truth.

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.”  He is not conditioned to support Our fabrications “on his behalf.”  Yeshua said, “Where I am, there will my servants be also.”  That is the order of the hierarchy.

iv

Once again we assert, along with Scripture, that, for this time in history, for this era, we who love Yeshua are the naos, the transcendent and spiritual abode of God on earth:

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”[27]

“As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”[28]

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us…I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”[29]

Now, How, we must ask, does the man of lawlessness enter this spiritual temple and cause injury to the transcendent kingdom of Yeshua?

Chapter #3:

Danger in the Temple, The Susceptibility of God’s People to Fatal Damage

“And I was given a reed like a rod, and told, “Rise up and measure the temple [naos] of God and the altar, numbering the worshippers; but omit the court outside the temple, do not measure that, for it has been given over to the Gentiles; and the holy city will be under their heel for two and forty months.”[30]

i

This quotation is part of John’s vision of the end of the era as given to him in the Revelation.  Here the temple [naos] has an inner precinct of “worshippers” and an outer precinct of those who merely occupy the courtyards on the periphery of actual worship.  We see that while a visible architecture might be measured in cubits and inches, here the true temple and altar of prayer is measured in worshippers.

The temple mentioned here does not appear to be an architectural temple but rather the spiritual abode of God inside his people.  Similarly I believe the “holy city” is not a reference to a physical city but rather refers to the transcendent City of God, the polis or political body of those in whom God is actively resident.  In the same way, the prophetic voice of Yeshua in Revelation speaks in striking terms of the “City of the World” as covering the earth and even extending through what geographically is Jerusalem itself:

“…and their corpses will lie in the streets of that great City whose mystical name is Sodom and Egypt – where their Lord also was crucified.”[31]

The above readings suggest that we have two issues to consider: one, the susceptibility of God’s own people to fatal damage, and two, the plausibility of the presence of Satan in the world.

ii

The susceptibility of God’s people to fatal damage

There is a very strong argument in favor of the total security of the subject of Yeshua, held by the presence of his Spirit, held by the power of his love.  However, this argument alone does not help us to explain the faithlessness of the mass of adherents of Yeshua.  It is an argument which looks only at the faithfulness of Yeshua and does not consider our capacity for conscious and willful rebellion.  Real faith is real life inside the hand of God.  But most “religion” is characterized by falsehood.  Thus a Gandhi could say, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Paul expressed beautifully the faithfulness of Yeshua in his care for his subjects:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[32]

After reading this passage you would think that anyone who even comes close to faith in Yeshua could not possibly lose that faith.  The issue, however, is less that of losing faith and more that of failing to hold to the clear knowledge of the simple truth which actually accomplishes the restoration of fallen man to his God.  Just a few paragraphs later in Paul’s letter to the Romans he bemoans those who have enthusiasm for God, but an enthusiasm founded in ignorance:

“For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.  Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.[33]

There is no salvation short of coming to Yeshua and trusting that he alone, by his sacrifice, redeems us from the fall, redeems us from the curse of death.  Short of his blood shed on the cross, there is no freedom from the sin which each of us bears.  He alone, by the indwelling of his Spirit brings renewal to the heart, freeing us from servitude to the spirit of rebellion.  This reveals the reason for Satan’s hatred of the cross, since it is exclusively at the point of founding our life upon the redemption of Yeshua that we possess that bond to Yeshua which can not be broken.

There is no salvation short of acknowledging Yeshua as Redeemer and Lord, seeing him in the Father, and seeing the Father in him.  He is our Lord, our life, and our only king.  His kingdom is our eternal kingdom, the place of our first loyalty and allegiance, both in the present and for all times.  Yeshua, by the finality of his sacrifice brought an end to sacrifice in the temple in Jerusalem.  He tore in two the curtain which represented the isolation of men from God.

Because “by his stripes” we are made whole, through him alone we are made free to come into the presence of God.  No church, no protocol, no ritual, no building, no priest or bishop is to presume to come between us and our God.  Every issue of human salvation is to take place in the collision of man and God inside the human heart:

“Behold I stand at the door and knock.   If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and sup with him and he with me.”[34]

The danger of faith is not that God is not faithful.  The danger of faith is that we should choose to come to rest upon half truths which do not lead to the fundamental intersection of the individual heart and the person of Yeshua.  Paul’s harshest warning was against the mishandling of the truth by which one laid claim to his relationship to God:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all.  Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”[35]

In another place, in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, he actually accuses them of being fickle in their readiness to put aside the holy demands of real faith and to entertain ideas which are perhaps more flattering to their natural selves:

“I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.  But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, of if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”[36]

We see then that while the attention of our king to us who love him is an unshakeable power, he has determined that we shall grow and mature in freedom.  He has no use for mindless conformity to his impulse.  He seeks the heart which seeks the presence of his Spirit from a context of freedom and love.  We must, daily, until the far end of this earthly life, choose him, seek him, love him, open ourselves to his instruction and guidance and nourishment.  A moment of faith, a creed, is not enough.   There is no automatic salvation.  In the seven letters of Yeshua dictated through John to the assemblies in Asia, the one who makes it with his faith intact to the end of his life is called a “conqueror.”  It is only the Conqueror, the one who makes it to the end, who can count on never again being separated from his God:

“The conqueror shall be clad in white raiment; I will never erase his name from the book of Life, but will own him openly before my Father and before his angels….I am coming very soon: hold to what you have , lest your crown be taken from you.  As for the conqueror, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God [nevermore shall he leave it], and I will inscribe on him the name of my God, the name of the city of my God [the new Jerusalem which descends out of heaven from my God], and my own new name.”[37]

Yeshua made clear that along with those of real faith there will be many who have all the trappings of faith but who fail in the core aspect of all that Yeshua is doing in this world: they have never opened themselves to his knowledge of their person and they have not sworn fealty to him as their Sovereign Lord:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”[38]

Now, for our consideration of the falling away from faith which we expect to happen in the fast approaching end of the era, we return to the words of Daniel concerning the man of lawlessness, concerning the faithful, and concerning the world at large which abandons its God:

“Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant.  He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.  His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice.  Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.  With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”[39]

 

Chapter #4

Danger in the Temple: The Presence of Satan in the World.

“So the huge dragon was thrown down – that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, the seducer of the whole world – thrown down to earth and his angels thrown down along with him.  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, ‘Now has it come, the salvation and power, the reign of our God and the authority of his Christ! – for the Accuser of our brothers is thrown down, who accused them day and night before our God.  But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they had to die for it, but they did not cling to life. Rejoice for this, O heavens and ye that dwell in them!  But woe to earth and sea!  The devil has descended to you in fierce anger, knowing that his time is short.’”[40]

i

There is no good reason not to have a liberal attitude when it comes to narrowing down the identity of Satan.  The above excerpt from Revelation identifies Satan with the serpent in the garden, with the ancient Accuser in the book of Job, with the dragon of the portents in the constellations,[41] and with the “devil” of verbal reputation.

In the Scriptural literature which discusses the end of the era, it is also useful to allow a qualified identity between Satan and a few associates.  He seems to act through associates, because, I suppose, they are a useful extension of his power and because they are useful in his program of deception.  The prime trio includes “the dragon” [clearly Satan], “the Beast” [Satanic], and “the false prophet” [completely under the control of Satan.]  They are mentioned together in the following quote:

“Then I saw issuing from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the Beast and from the mouth of the false Prophet, three foul spirits like frogs – demon-spirits performing miracles, who come forth to muster the kings of the whole world for battle on the great Day of almighty God.”[42]

From the beginning Satan and his angels built a history of roaming heaven and earth.  Satan first appeared among men as the serpent in the garden.  At that point he, created by God, had already turned against his God.  He had been created to be a prince in the courts of the heavens, but his pride had led him to challenge God himself.  This led to his removal from the heights of power, but it did not cost him entirely his liberty to move about in heaven and on earth, since soon we will find him in the book of Job still able to make an appearance near the throne of Yahveh.

Isaiah and Ezekiel both described Satan’s rebellion against Yahveh:

“You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.  I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’”[43]

“You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you; ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl.  Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.  You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.  You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.  You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.  Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.  So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.  Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.”[44]

In this role of arch rebel, Satan must have been the source of much discomfort in the courts of heaven.  But the record shows that he did have associates.  And it is often the case that the pariah does not run off simply because he is disliked.

Text analysis and supporting documents[45] seem to say that the antediluvian “sons of God,” who came down and married themselves to mortal women,[46] were also fallen angels in the service of Satan’s program of wresting God’s free human creation away from him.

The book of Job opens with a description of Satan in his duel residence:

“One day the angels came to present themselves before Yahveh, and Satan also came with them.  Yahveh said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’  Satan answered Yahveh, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.’  Then Yahveh said to Satan, ‘have you considered my servant Job?  There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’[47]

Satan then takes up his role as Accuser of mankind:

“Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied.  ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?’”[48]

We see Satan play this role once again, in heaven, in a vision of Zechariah:

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Yahveh, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. Yahveh said to Satan, Yahveh rebuke you, Satan!  Yahveh, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you!  Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”[49] 

As the vision unfolds, it appears that Satan is unwittingly present to witness a symbolic or “type” presentation of the very Yeshua who will be his undoing.

Satan’s privilege to remain in heaven finally does come to an end.  Both Isaiah and Ezekiel mention this, without specification of the time of the event, and without specification of the effective cause:

“How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn!  You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!”[50] 

            “So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.

            By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries.”[51]

The Revelation of John tells the tale and gives us the key to understanding the causes and the time of Satan’s being cast from heaven to earth.  Revelation 12 opens with the description of a portent in heaven.  It is actually a description of the constellation Virgo when the sun is in that “house” [September, the true time of the birth of Yeshua] and the moon below her on the horizon [which occurs on Rosh Hashanah, making this both the anniversary of the first day of creation and the anniversary of the birth of Yeshua[52]].  She is the woman who gives birth to the Lion of Judah, Leo.  She is historic Israel, the family of Abraham, from whom the Messiah comes:

And a great portent was seen in heaven, a woman clad in the sun – with the moon under her feet, and a tiara of twelve stars on her head; she was with child, crying in the pangs of travail, in anguish for her delivery.  Then another portent was seen in heaven!  There was a huge red dragon [astronomically codified by the constellation Draco], with seven heads and ten horns and seven diadems upon his heads; his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and flung them to the earth.[53]

As the birth of Yeshua approached, Satan was somehow aware of it and prepared himself to oppose his birth:

And the dragon stood in front of the woman who was on the point of being delivered, to devour her child as soon as it was born.  She gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron flail;[54]

These last words are a quotation from the second Psalm in which God speaks to mark the coming of Yeshua as Messiah and king over his people.   Now, in his birth, Yeshua surpassed the rebel whom he had created by his own hand, successfully went to the cross, and after forty days rose up through the heavens to the throne of God:

her child was caught up to God and to his throne,…

Following the ascension of Yeshua to the throne of God, the ancient people, the national family of Abraham, found itself on the wrong end of Rome and by 70 A.D. the temple was destroyed, Jerusalem razed, and Jews banned from the land of promise.  Furthermore, in the following centuries Rome would dominate the church and marry her to empire, so that most who held true to the cross of Christ were persecuted, killed, or driven into exile.

and she [the woman] herself fled to the desert, where a place has been prepared for her by God, in which she is to be nourished for twelve hundred and sixty days.[55]

Now we get an insight into the divine universe in which planets and suns with the gravitational value of countless tons move about each other in perfect regularity without friction or sound.  We consider that up to this point Satan somehow had maintained his seat in the heavens and somehow God the creator of worlds had tolerated him, even as he bent to rebuke Satan before Joshua.  But now comes “action at a distance” of an order that determines the fate of the universe.  Yeshua on a cross on the outskirts of Jerusalem is about to cast Satan from the courts of heaven through no other effective cause than this: that Yeshua renders Satan’s voice of accusation void of meaning, for Yeshua has just bought mankind:

“And war broke out in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting with the dragon; the dragon and his angels also fought, but they failed, and there was no place for them in heaven any longer.  So the huge dragon was thrown down – that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, the seducer of the whole world – thrown down to earth, and his angels thrown down along with him.  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, ‘Now has it come, the salvation and power, the reign of our God and the authority of his Christ![56]—for the Accuser of our brothers is thrown down, who accused them day and night before our God.  But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;

they had to die for it, but they did not cling to life.  Rejoice for this, O heavens and ye that dwell in them!  But woe to earth and sea!  The devil has descended to you in fierce anger,[57] knowing that his time is short.’”[58]

This battle in the heavens came on the heels of the victory of Yeshua at the cross, because, as stated in the text, the victory of Yeshua to bring redemption to his children now proved that Yeshua had brought into the world a force greater than the drone of Satan’s accusations.

The magnificence of the love of Yeshua to give his own life for his children made the and babble and accusations of Satan so devoid of meaning that Michael and the angels could bear his presence no longer.

The following text tells how, once on earth, Satan continued to pursue “the woman” but the Israel of faith, the Israel of God, went off into the diaspora, into the desert, until,

“enraged at the woman, the dragon went off to wage war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep God’s commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus.[59]

At last Satan mastered the truth that his true enemy is not simply the genetic family of Abraham.  Things have changed and now he sees that his true enemies on earth are the entire assembly of Jews and Gentiles who, apart from any category or institution or state or people, “keep God’s commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus.”

Satan, not welcome in the courts of the heavens, is now on this earth.   He, along with his angels,  has been here against his will for the better part of two thousand years.  He has been active in world culture and devoted to what happens at the heart of the religious establishment.  I hope to demonstrate in the following pages that the visible damage in the cultures and religions of the world are far beyond what can reasonably be attributed to mere human frailty or any degeneration into selfishness or lust.  It appears that the damage sustained in our world over the last two millennia can only be the result of a focused effort to destroy human faith in the God of Israel and essentially rob the earth from its Creator.

Chapter #5…  The Hallmarks of the Man of Lawlessness…

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter …Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.  He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple [naos], proclaiming himself to be God.”[60]

 

i

Here we consider the hallmarks of the man of lawlessness.  In considering what we know of his characteristic traits and actions we come to his defining gesture, the placing of “the abomination which causes desolation” in the holy place.  But we are not just watching for an event at the end of the era.  Consistent with the thesis that preparations have been ongoing for millennia, we need to be able to look at whatever historic activity might be classified as “an abomination which causes desolation.”

Where is the line between bad taste and being an abomination?  What is the real challenge here?  What is the gauntlet thrown down?  As we have said, it seems that Satan’s issue is not merely a challenge to the divinity of Yeshua or to the authority of Yahveh.  Such a challenge God could simply and graphically brush aside.  Instead the Satanic affront is directed at something much more complex, a challenge, in answer to which, only the redeemed can reply in power and knowledge: Satan challenges the meaning and efficacy of the cross.  Here, in the great battle of the ages, Yeshua and the redeemed stand in the trenches together.  It was on this very terrain that the great battle between Michael and Satan was decided:

“…for the Accuser of our brothers is thrown down, who accused them day and night before our God.  But they [our brothers] have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony [to the efficacy of the blood of the Lamb]; they had to die for it, but they did not cling to life.”[61]

ii

The man of lawlessness is, we assume, a human being, a person:

“and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.  He will oppose and exalt himself…proclaiming himself to be God.” 

The act of claiming equality with God is something that a person is capable of doing: created in the image of God, measuring himself in pride against God, choosing to stand in opposition to God.  The above quotation in no way suggests that the man of lawlessness is an angelic being or a demon or a corporate entity.  When Daniel refers to him as “the Prince who is to come,”[62] it further suggests a person, a leader from among men.  The book of Revelation also speaks of him as a man.  The following quote is an apparent allusion to a human being whose figure can be sculpted:

“Whoever worships the Beast and his statue, and lets his forehead or hand be marked, he shall drink the wine of God’s passion.”[63]

At the same time, however, we may find such a conjunction between the actions of the man of lawlessness and the will of Satan, that it will be difficult to determine who is the actual agent, the man or the demonic master.

iii

We may say that the man of lawlessness is synonymous with the person of “the Beast”/the Beast from the Sea,  taking care to note that in the book of Revelation the name “Beast” is applied both to the Beast Kingdom [as in the book of Daniel] and to the one who is prince over the Beast Kingdom.

We find under the title of the Beast someone of the same character and destiny as the man of lawlessness of Thessalonians.

“All inhabitants of the earth will worship the Beast – all whose names have not been written in the book of life.”[64]

The Beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.[65]  He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.”[66]

“But when they [the two witnesses] have finished their testimony, the Beast that ascends from the abyss will make war on them and conquer them and kill them…for these two prophets were a torment to the dwellers on earth.”[67]

“Then as I stood on the sand of the sea, I saw a Beast rising out of the sea…and the whole earth went after the Beast in wonder…worshipping the Beast…”[68]

“He [the false prophet] has everyone put to death who will not worship the statue of the Beast…”[69]

Here, as above in Thessalonians, the man of lawlessness places his own person to stand in rivalry to the very person of God.  Daniel similarly describes this obscene open rivalry with God:

“The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.[70]

 

iv

We may say that the man of lawlessness belongs to Satan.  The “law” of Satan is Ut fiat libertas, or “Do as thou wilt,” proclaiming that his followers are occult supermen,  free to live without boundaries, in a state of “lawlessness,” i.e. without need of the regulation of law.   As for the Beast/ Beast Kingdom, Revelation tells us that he receives his power from Satan:

“The dragon [Satan] gave the Beast his power and his throne and great authority.”[71]

And in Thessalonians:

“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan.”[72]

In many places in Scripture the distinction between the man of lawlessness and Satan or between the Beast and Satan is unclear.  Nevertheless in the end they are separate entities with unique roles to play, as in this quotation from the event of the seven bowls of wrath in Revelation:

“Then I saw issuing from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the Beast and from the mouth of the  false Prophet, three foul spirits like frogs – demon-spirits performing miracles, who come forth to muster the kings of the whole world for battle on the great Day of almighty God.”[73]

 

v

The man of lawlessness clearly sets himself up as rival to God, claiming and usurping a semblance of authority, insinuating himself among men as surrogate for the God of gods. 

Just following our main text in II Thessalonians, Paul claims that because men will have refused to love the truth, God will give them over to a great delusion, by virtue of which they will be unable to distinguish between the pretender and the God of gods:

“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.  They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.”[74]

Satan’s ambition is matched only by his pride and conceit, and so it is attractive to him to put aside every show of rude opposition and instead concentrate on an adaptive “substitution” of himself for God.  This concentrates on obscuring the true face of God and disabling the perceptions of men, so that only with great difficulty can they find themselves in real relationship to the living God.

“He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”[75]

“For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.”[76]

            “He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.”[77]

“He will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes.”[78]

“He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.”[79] 

 

vi

For a time, the man of lawlessness will become master and focal point of worship for the whole earth, for all except the few who hold to the God of history:

“With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”[80]

“And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.  All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.”[81]

“He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does.”[82]

 

vii

The man of lawlessness will become the opponent and conqueror of true children of God.

“He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.”[83]

“As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.”[84] 

“He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people.  He will cause deceit to prosper, …When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes.”[85]

“But I will allow my two witnesses to prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days[86], clad in sackcloth…But when they have finished their testimony, the Beast that ascends from the abyss will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their corpses will lie in the streets of that great City whose mystical name is Sodom and Egypt – where their Lord also was crucified.”[87]

 

viii

Hating God, His redemption, and the holy covenant, the man of lawlessness will put an end to sacrifice and offering….and in a place holy to God he will set up an “abomination that causes desolation,” until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

Prophetic Scripture indicates that he will not merely “vaunt” or “blaspheme,” but will profoundly offend the truth and healing presence of God in the world by the establishment of “an abomination” in a place which is holy to God, be it architectural or spiritual or both.  This event is so momentous that prophecy uses it as a marker in the counting of time to the end of the era:

He will confirm a covenant with many for one seven. In the middle of the seven[88] he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.  And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”[89]

“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1290 days.  Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1335 days.”[90]

This moment to which we refer is an event which, whether broad or narrow in its graphic and temporal dimensions, is a major crisis point in the history of the world.  Before going any further, I offer a short review of the texts in which we find reference to “the abomination that causes desolation” and “putting an end to sacrifice and offering:”

I.   [Daniel 8.11-14]– As in Daniel’s “vision of the four beasts” [Daniel 7] so in “the vision of a ram and a goat” [Daniel 8] there appears, out of a field of ten kings, a powerful eleventh king: “…it set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low.  Because of rebellion, the host of the saints, and the daily sacrifice were given over to it.  It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.  Then I heard a holy one speaking and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled – the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?”  He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and morning; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.”[91]

II. “He will confirm a covenant with many for one seven. In the middle of the seven he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.  And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”[92]

 III. “The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant.  He will take action against it and then return to his own country.  At the appointed time he will invade the South again, gut this time the outcome will be different from what it was before.  Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart.  Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant.  He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.  His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice.  Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.  With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered.  When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time…”[93]

IV.  [One of John’s prophetic visions in Revelation:] “And I was given a reed like a rod, and told, ‘Rise up and measure the temple [naos] of God and the altar, numbering the worshippers; but omit the court outside the temple, do not measure that, for it has been given over to the Gentiles; and the holy city will be under their heel for two and forty months.”[94]

V.  “Jerusalem  will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”[95]       

VI.  “So when you see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains….At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or , ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible.[96]

VII.  “When you see the abomination that causes desolation standing where it does not belong – let the reader understand – the let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains….those days will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning….

for false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect…So be on your guard.”[97]

 

ix

Apart from Creation itself, Yeshua’s redemptive sacrifice at the cross is the most critical moment of God’s involvement in past human history.  Redemption is the most fundamental need of mankind, stemming from the truth that we were created from above, in the image of God, and that we are fallen into rebellion, without hope of redemption apart from the love of the One who made us.  The recognition of this need and the recognition of the solution, these stand in tandem at the threshold of our entry into the life of communion with our God.

We can see that, whether it be Mt. Moriah or the human soul, “the holy place” is the place of redemption.  On the one hand the miracle of God’s redemptive grace takes place in the human soul, we become his temple [his naos], and we are his holy place.  On the other hand, the miracle of the cross played out in the dust of Jerusalem and in the precincts of the Temple; his sacrifice as the definitive Passover Lamb, that determinative event to which every Temple sacrifice looked forward, that massive sacrifice and its predictive antecedents have made the very ground of Mount Moriah and the dust of Jerusalem holy.  By virtue of Yahveh’s promise to Abraham that he would make the former land of Canaan a land for his redeemed people, all the dust and stone surrounding Jerusalem are also holy.

We are chosen by God and are holy.  Jerusalem is chosen by God and is holy.  In its general aspect, then, “the abomination which causes desolation” is that which denies the redemption of God, the noble and complete sacrifice of Yeshua, the Lamb slain since the foundation of the world.

That which denies the redemption of God lays open the world to utter desolation.  The root of the word desolation lies in “separation from that which sustains.”  The removal/denial of the redemption of God is nothing less than the desiccation and emptying of all life and hope from every soul, the withering of the hope of history.

Chapter #6, The Anti-Christ Who Was

 “Daniel 11.28-35   [the king of the north]  “The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant.  … He will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant.  He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.  His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice.  Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.  With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered.  When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.”[98]

 

i

The conventional wisdom is that the world is more or less as it should be, that it is conventional, and therefore the coming of an evil prince would reveal itself to the common perception as lines of shadow falling upon a field of light.  However, having been ejected from the courts of heaven shortly after Yeshua went to the cross, Satan has been developing his “work in progress” for two millennia, and there is reason to believe that when the edifice of his cunning is finally in place it will announce itself with all the drama of a bird alighting on a branch.  If we do not wish to be like the proverbial frog who rests comfortably in a slowly heating vat of water, we must look carefully at the shadows which already surround us.

In looking for evidence of the man of lawlessness, we are looking for the one who sets  himself up as God, who blasphemes the God of gods, who moves toward lordship over all the earth, who tries to conquer the true subjects of Yeshua, and who finally brings an end to sacrifice and sets up, in a place holy to God, an Abomination which causes desolation.

Again, there is every reason to believe that the massive conquest and tide of desolation will not be a simple historical storm at the end of the era, although there will be distinct tragedy at the end.  There is reason to believe that Satan’s business is already far advanced, that the final event will be fabricated of many layers, each brought into place a little at a time, no single contribution betraying the plan.  But toward the end, as even at this moment, all the pieces will begin to lean together, until suddenly and without a sound it is done.

ii

The first person “to bring an end to sacrifice” was Nebuchadnezzar.  This happened as part of the campaign against Israel which ended in the exile of the people and royal court to Babylon, Daniel [a young nobleman] included.  It would be during the seventy years of exile, under both Babylonian and Persian rule, that Daniel would have his dreams and visions of the end of the era.

Daily sacrifice had gone on uninterrupted in the Temple from its first dedication by Solomon in the 10th century B.C. until this siege of Nebuchadnezzar described in the opening lines of the book of Daniel:

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God.  These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.”[99]

The theft of articles of temple worship would have been a violation of the sanctity of the holy place, a disruption in the continuity of sacrifice necessitated by the restraint to stop and re-consecrate the holy place.

“Now the Torah does not allow anyone in the set-apart place except those priests who are authorized and set apart through the cleansing ritual.  Any unauthorized visits into the set-apart place would defile the temple and require a ceasing of the ritual until the set-apart place could be cleansed [set aright].  Since it is clear that Nebuchadnezzar had entered into the temple [either himself or his men] and removed some of the articles which were used in the service, the tamid [continuous sacrifice] was necessarily halted due to the defiling presence of the men in the miqdash.”[100]

The time of the interruption, the third year of Jehoiakim, would have been, by most accounts, 607 B.C.[101]  The interruption of sacrifice was not yet the placement of an Abomination in the holy place.  That was to come later, and shortly we will consider Daniel’s specification of the time parameters for that.  We do know from II Kings 25.1-11 that Nebuchadnezzar continued his attacks on Jerusalem for twenty years and completed conquest of the city in 587 B.C.  In the final siege he destroyed the Temple, burning it to the ground, and carried the population of the city into exile in Babylon.  This happened however as God’s judgment against the people of Judah for their history of unashamed idolatry.[102] It was the beginning of seventy years of forced exile which had been prophesied by Jeremiah.

“So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.  By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between  the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Babylonians were surrounding the city.   They fled toward the Arabah, but the Babylonian army pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, and he was captured.  He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him.  They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes.  Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. 

On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.  He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem.  Every important building he burned down.  The whole Babylonian army, under the commander of the imperial guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem.  Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city….So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.”[103]

This was certainly the interruption of sacrifice and the devastation of the place holy to God, but it still falls short of the dimensions of what is prophesied for the end of the era.

iii

Jerusalem did not remain desolate.  The Babylonians were conquered by the Medo-Persians.  The seventy years of desolation prophesied by Jeremiah came to an end.  Cyrus king of Persia, made a proclamation which promised the facilitation of the building of a SecondTemple in Jerusalem:

“In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of Yahveh spoken by Jeremiah, Yahveh moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:

‘This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:

‘”Yahveh, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.  Anyone of his people among you – may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of Yahveh, the God of Israel….”

Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites – everyone whose heart God had moved – prepared to go up and build the house of Yahveh in Jerusalem.  All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings.  Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of Yahveh, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god.”[104]

And so the temple was rebuilt and completed under Darius in about 516 B.C., with the original articles of worship restored to it.

iv

The second interruption of sacrifice came about under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, in 167 B.C., 420 years after the destruction of the FirstTemple by Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel, during his residence in the Babylonian court, had two similar visions in which boastful men rise to royal power and succeed in opposing the people of God, but the visions differed one from the other in the designation of the kingdom out of which each king would arise.  One was a vision, called the Vision of a Ram and a Goat [Daniel, chapter 8], in which a rebellious king arises from a division of the Greek Empire.  The other was a dream, called the Dream of Four Beasts [Daniel, chapter 7], where a rebellious king comes out of the Empire of Rome.

The Vision of a Ram and a Goat points no farther than the heirs to the quartered empire of Greece following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.  The Dream of Four Beasts curiously envisions Rome as the final world empire… which empire we are, an empire broken apart, of mixed iron and clay, until the dark unity of the final years under “The prince who is to come.”  [The sequence of kingdoms is further established by the prophetic insight of Daniel when he interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s “Dream of the Great Statue, in Daniel, chapter 2.]

The Vision of a Ram and a Goat points to the coming of someone relatively near to the time of Daniel:

“I looked up and there before me was a ram with two horns,…one longer than the other,…No animal could stand against him…suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground…I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns…the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him…The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.  Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land…It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low.  Because of rebellion, the host of the saints, and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.”[105]

Then Daniel heard “a holy one” ask “another holy one” a question which, it turned out, would concern more that just this particular king of rebellion.  The vision so far has near-term ramifications, but the coming question seems to refer to a greater period of time:

“Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, ‘How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled – the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?’  He said to me, ‘It will take 2,300 evenings and morning; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.’”[106]

For Daniel, the next part of the vision is its interpretation by the angel Gabriel.  Gabriel says clearly that the vision concerns “the time of wrath…the time of the end.”   At the same time the king of rebellion comes clearly out of the time of Alexander’s empire divided in four parts.  Gabriel says to Daniel,

“The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia.  The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king.  The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.  In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise.  He will become very strong, but not by his own power.  He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does.  He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior.  When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. …

Then Gabriel separates the question of timing raised by the dialogue of the holy ones.  It apparently relates to something beyond the time of Antiochus:

The vision of the evening and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.”[107]

In 167 B.C. Antiochus IV Epiphanes, with a heart to destroy the worship of Yahveh,  brought a new cult into the Temple, claiming Olympian Zeus as God of gods, with an altar for sacrifice where the flesh of swine went into the flames.  This was a total desecration of the Temple of Yahveh, but it was not yet the overpowering of the world which shall mark the work of the man of lawlessness.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes is an Anti-Christ who was.  We may speak of an “Anti-Christ who was” because he defiled the altar of the Temple in Jerusalem.  The altar of the Temple is defined by sacrifice, and every sacrifice is defined by the sacrifice of Yeshua.  Every sacrifice of animals in the Temple looked forward to the sacrifice of the Messiah.  As Alfred Edersheim wrote in The Temple,

“The sacrifices of the Old Testament were symbolical and typical.  An outward observance without any real inward meaning is only a ceremony. But a rite which has a present spiritual meaning is a symbol; and if, besides, it also points to a future reality, conveying at the same time, by anticipation, the blessing that is yet to appear, it is a type.  Thus the Old Testament sacrifices were not only symbols, nor yet merely predictions by fact,…but they already conveyed to the believing Israelite the blessing that was to flow from the future reality to which they pointed….In short , all this was symbolical and typical, till He should come to whom it all pointed, and who had all along given reality to it;  He whose Priesthood was perfect, and who on a perfect altar brought a perfect sacrifice, once for all – a perfect Substitute, and a perfect Mediator.”[108]

Particularly the altar of the Temple in Jerusalem belongs to Yeshua in every way, for it was his Temple, and the altar of that Temple uniquely represented the altar of the heavenly Temple, after which the whole Temple was modeled.  And it was upon the heavenly altar that the blood of Yeshua was sprinkled in the atoning sacrifice which heals mankind:

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.[109]…We do have such a high priest who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.[110]  When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are to come, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.  He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.[111]…But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself…and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”[112]

MountMoriah, the Temple and the Altar mark the place on earth which has known the figure of the heavenly Temple.  In that hour of the sacrifice of Yeshua, and in that place, was marked the figure of our new access to the throne of God as the great curtain of the Holy of Holies was rent from top to bottom.

Without the sacrifice of Yeshua, without his blood applied to the heavenly altar,

every altar — and every dream of holiness — is but wishful thinking, pure sentiment.

The Mosque

******

Chapter #7, Beyond the Temple of Stone

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”[113]

Jesus revealed to the Samaritan woman the great truth that the kingdom of heaven was in the throes of being re-engineered for the total transcendence of the physical Temple and the transcendence of the borders of the nation state.  The kingdom had to break beyond the nation state, for it was the ancient plan that the Messiah would come and bring salvation to all the world:

“And now the Lord says – he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself…’It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth…’”[114]

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations….’I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles…’”[115]

And it was well prophesied that the vehicle of re-engineering would be the Spirit of God:

“I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants….One will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel.”[116]

“And afterward I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”[117]

Within the trajectory of Yeshua’s steady movement toward the cross, the very day was at hand when the truth of divine redemption would no longer be implicit, but explicit, and that grace would now be communicated throughout all nations by virtue of that substantial being of God which knows no boundary: the Spirit of God.  This unconventional truth was difficult even for the disciples to understand, and Yeshua took care to explain it to them:

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.  Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you…If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him….Remain in me and I will remain in you.”[118]

Within a few short decades the architectural glory of the city of Jerusalem would be swallowed up, the Temple destroyed.  Yeshua labored for the day when he would gather his people to himself in Zion itself, and he wept for the blindness which must, for the time being, postpone that day:

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.  They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.’”[119]

MountMoriah would receive repeated layers of insult.  First at the hand of the Roman general Titus who burned the Temple to the ground.  Then at the hand of Pompey, at the hand of Trajan, at the hand of Constantine and his heirs [who, for all their “glorification” of “Christian sites” studiously ignored the Temple Mount and left it as a midden, a dump], at the hand of Abd al-Malik and his Dome of the Rock, and at the hand of the Crusaders.

But in Yeshua’s final hours the children of God were on the threshold of a new Temple, which Temple we now are, so that Paul would echo the words of Yeshua:

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you.  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”[120]

Now the core concern of Yahveh is not for architecture and stone but for the holiness of this spiritual Temple in the souls of men, and Paul expresses beautifully God’s concern for the holiness of the spiritual temple:

“For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  What harmony is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God.  As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’”[121]

And so, the long history of what men have done to the Temple Mount is important and relevant and needs to have deep interest for us, but if we are to keep our attention focused on the true threat of the man of lawlessness to the Holy Place, where he will place his Abomination that causes desolation, we must direct our attention primarily to what is happening in the hearts of those who seek God’s claim upon them as his children, watching with special care the teachings and doctrines of those who dare to own the responsibility of being shepherds of the children of God.

Chapter #8 —The Physical Abomination Standing on the Mountain of Sacrifice

 

i

We must not lose sight of the core meaning of the “Holy Place.”  In broad terms, the Holy Place is the place of redemption, the place marked with the blood of Yeshua, the place of meeting between man and God, whether it be architectural or spiritual.

The “Abomination which causes desolation” is that which denies the redemption of God, denies the value of the blood of Yeshua on the altar of heaven fulfilling the expectation of  centuries of sacrifice in the Temple.  Without the blood of Yeshua there is no Holy Place, no Temple – architectural or spiritual – for without redemption there is no union of man and God.

ii

After Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and banished Jews from residence in their city, Roman emperors from Constantine to Justinian introduced centuries of shrine and basilica construction devoted to making Jerusalem a center of pilgrimage for Christians in pursuit of the increasingly Gentile worship of the God of Israel.  They did little to adorn the ruins of the TempleMount, part of a deliberate effort to hold the Jew at arms length and to disassociate their Gentile Jesus from his inherent Jewishness.

By 614 A.D.  their architectural accomplishments were largely undone when the city was besieged by the Persians under King Chosroe II.  By now the Christians had become so loathsome to the Jews, that the Jews helped the Persians to penetrate the city.  Monasteries and churches, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, disappeared in the flames.

During this period from 614 A.D. to 629 A.D. when Byzantine glory was fallen, there came, according to the record, a young man named Muhammad in one night, miraculously, from Mecca to the TempleMount.  It is recorded[122] by the faithful of Islam that on November 29, 620 A.D., he came in the company of the angel Gabriel to the sacred Rock and journeyed to heaven and back on a ladder of light.[123]  This was the “Night Journey” which would make the TempleMount dear to Islam and engender the building of the shrine called the Dome of the Rock.   The Islamic claim is that this is what makes the Mount “holy” to Islam, as God’s own sacrifice seemingly does not do so.

By 629 A.D. Heraclius, overpowering the Persians, restored the city to Byzantium.  In the following years the city was partially restored, though not the TempleMount.  [Of this period, it is recorded in a 14th.c. work, entitled  Muthir al-Ghiram, that “at that time there was over the Rock in the HolyCity a great dungheap which completely masked the “prayer niche of David” [Temple?] and which the Christians had put there in order to offend the Jews.]

Out of the desert the new force of Islam was rising, soon to make itself felt in Jerusalem.  Muhammad died on pilgrimage in 632 A.D.  Muhammad’s burgeoning religious movement soon established itself as a force with religious and political and military dimensions under the guidance of the caliphs who established themselves as Muhammad’s successors.

By 638 A.D. Jerusalem yielded to the armies of Islam and the Christian Sophronius made peace with Caliph Omar.  Omar then undertook the first gestures by which to claim the TempleMount for Islam:

“”Now when Umar came to the Holy City and conquered it, and saw how there was a dungheap over the Rock, he regarded it as horrible and ordered that the place be entirely cleaned.”[124]

The Byzantine historian Theophanes wrote in the early ninth century:

“Sophronius, the leader of Jerusalem, obtained from Umar a treaty in favor of all the inhabitants of Palestine, after which Umar entered the Holy City in camel-hair garments all soiled and torn, and making a show of piety as a cloak for his diabolical hypocrisy, demanded to be taken to what in former times had been the Temple built by Solomon.  This he straightway converted into an oratory for blasphemy and impiety. When Sophronius saw this he exclaimed, ‘Truly this is the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, and it now stands in the Holy Place,’ and he shed many tears.”[125]

Between 684 and 690 A.D., Caliph Abd al-Malik devoted “the revenues of Egypt for the space of seven years” to the construction of the Dome of the Rock on the TempleMount in Jerusalem.  It was meant to be a point of pilgrimage for Muslims.  It was also meant to announce to both Jew and Christian that their religions had been superseded by Islam.

It was built in conscious contempt of the God of Israel by being built without acknowledgment of sacrifice over the high point of MountMoriah, the place of sacrifice.  It was built in contempt of Yeshua by adorning its walls with inscriptions denying the divinity of Yeshua, denying the union of Yeshua and the Father, and spurning the redemptive sacrifice of Yeshua.

In its open contempt for the Jew it bears implicit contempt for Yeshua, for he is the Messiah of Israel.  In its conscious contempt for Messiah Yeshua, it bears implicit contempt for the Jew, for Yeshua the Messiah is the ultimate sacrifice for whom every animal slain on the Mountain of Sacrifice was a prayerful prophecy, type, and allusion.

The inscriptions, while spurning the mediation of Yeshua through the sacrifice of his own blood, glibly proclaim the hope that the intercession of Muhammad for his people will be sufficient on Judgment Day!  These inscriptions then are a derision of the seriousness of human rebellion and a denial of the holiness of God.

iii

The following are excerpts from the inscriptions on the walls of the Dome of the Rock:

1.] Inscription excerpts from the inside wall of the octagonal arcade:

“O People of the Book!  Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning God save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God, and His Word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So Believe in God and His messengers, and say not ‘Three’ – Cease! it is better for you! – God is only One God.  Far be it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son.”

“It befitteth not [the Majesty of] God that He should take unto Himself a son.”

2.] Inscription excerpts from the outside wall of the octagonal arcade:

“There is no god but God.  He is One.  He has no associate.  Say: He is God, the One!  God, the eternally Besought of all!  He begetteth not nor was begotten.  And there is none comparable unto Him. Muhammad is the Messenger of God, the blessing of God be on him.”        

“There is no god but God.  He is One. Praise be to God, Who hath not taken unto Himself a son, and Who hath no partner in the Sovereignty, nor hath He any protecting friend through dependence.”

“Muhammad is the Messenger of God, the blessing of God be on him.  May He accept his intercession on the Day of Judgment on behalf of his people.”

3.] Excerpts from the inscription on the bronze plaque at the Eastern Portal/Entrance:

“Praise be to God other than Whom there is no god but He, the Living, the Eternal, the Originator of the heavens and the earth and the Light of the heavens and the earth and the Pillar of the heavens and the earth, the One, the eternally Besought of all; He begotteth not nor was begotten and there is none comparable unto Him, Owner of Sovereignty!”

4.] Excerpt from the inscription on the bronze plaque at the Northern Portal:

“The Living, the Eternal; He has no associate, the One, the eternally Besought of all – He begetteth not nor was begotten, and there is none comparable unto Him. Muhammad is the servant of God and His messenger whom He sent with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may make it conqueror of all religion however much idolators may be averse.”[126]

iv

Many “men of Reason” love to claim that the demand of faith to reach out to a God who is both infinite and finite is a violation of Reason, their revered guide through the chaos of worlds.  But we should be skeptical of their loud claims.  The problem is not the call to reach beyond the commonplaces of logic.  The problem for them is the One who calls, because He calls with a rightful claim to their very lives, and they wish to keep those lives in reserve for themselves.  If the very same call were from among their own group, they would not hesitate, and I will give an example.

Aristotle said that all thinking and all attempts at knowledge must rest upon first principles, and his First Principle was the following, which assumes to establish the nature of what it means to be an existent “thing”:

Nothing can both be and not be the same thing in the same way at the same time.”

This Formula holds true for the investigation of things within normal bounds of being.  It has been useful in thinking and science throughout history.  It also can be considered one of those stumbling blocks which challenge the “reasonableness of radical faith.”  By this reasoning, God is God and Yeshua is Yeshua and they can not be both themselves and each other at the same time.

Then, two millennia later, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel came along, with a radical new first principle, with the same purpose of establishing the nature of what it means to be a thing:

Everything both is and is not the same thing in the same way at the same time.!”

Hegel brought into view a new vision of things, a vision which he felt could not be ignored.  He saw that it is an essential aspect of things which exist that they have both a finite component and an infinite component.  Things “exist” because on the one hand  they are  something, i.e. are owned by the rule of their Definition, the infinite [man, cow, rose, saw, knife], and on the other hand they have existence because they are actual in-historical, finite, imperfect and dispensable instances of their particular infinite or immortal Idea/definition.

The perfection of the definition gives virtue or meaning to the material instance. The perishable nature of the instance/ individual is what preserves the perfection of the definition, the infinite aspect of the being of the thing.  Hegel therefore was known as an “Idealist” because he believed that the Idea of a thing is prior to and gives meaning to the Material of a thing.  Marx later opposed him, because this was an open invitation for a philosophy which included the existence of God.  Marx said you must “stand Hegel on his head,” making Material prior to and author of essence.  Marx believed that the only absolute in the world is Material, and from it the “idea” is derived by us as it suits our convenience.  Hence dialectical Materialism.

Although Marx opposed the “Idealism” of Hegel, Hegel’s thought was wildly popular in Germany in the years following the headlong advances of Napoleon through Europe… including his first principle, which is in fact nothing more than an abstract reduction of the very thing that the children of Reason claim is so offensive.  It is a claim that all things, not only God, have naturally a being which may be considered Infinite and Eternal, and also a being which is finite and specific and participates in time-space  history.  Here, rather than offensive to Reason, the co-existence of divine Father and divine Son are the very model for the existence of all phenomena.

In sum, to complete my example, If, at a given moment in history, the universities of Europe could, at the drop of a pair of spectacles, fill with adherents of the Hegelian First Principle, I am skeptical that in general men really have such trouble believing that Jesus is God, that Yeshua is Yahveh, and that the Son of God shares the very person and substantial being of God. 

Muslims have the same responsibility that others do to sort out the difference between  nonsense and the actual word of God, and yet, if they find it difficult to attain a vision of the person of Yeshua, God surely remembers that the apostate Christian church has usually treated Islam with the greatest vulgarity, and the apostate church has often peddled a cartoon concept of the Triune God, mostly in an attempt to outrage the Jew.  And in addition, as guardians of the holy Scriptures, the apostate church did its best to keep them hidden from their own people as well as from the people of foreign lands, confining them to the reach of their own narrow elite.

In the Scriptures we find from the beginning that God [Elohim] reveals himself to the world as Yahveh [Divine King and Covenant Lord], as Spirit and agent of creation, as the Word and author of creation, and as the Angel of the Lord.  And in the various dramatic instances of these confrontations between man and God, these who came to men were addressed as God [Elohim, Yahveh, Adonai] and so spoke of themselves as God.

In devotion to the fullest understanding of this phenomen, the shema, which Jews regularly recite, was composed to express the unity in that specific multiplicity of the kinds of divine experience: 

Hear O Israel, Yahveh our God, Yahveh is One.  ….

These words were not meant to be a meaningless tautology allowing the speaker to hold to the idea that anything other than a plasmic Unity at the center of the universe is a heretical assault on the divine dignity as well as an assault on the integrity of “Reason.”

Like Abel before him, Abraham saw in the sacrifice on MountMoriah the day of the Lamb sacrificed since the foundation of the world.  Every child of Abraham who has laid claim to the goodness of God sees and occupies this very unity of God in the diverse and substantial being of his Spirit in this world, in the rule of Yeshua from the heavenly throne, and in the rule of the Father binding together the whole.

Job was not a liar and a heretic when he said,

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God [i.e. “my Redeemer”]”[127]

As for God having a Son [who would also be God] Isaiah was not ready to be hung out to dry on the railings of Aristotelian logic:

“For to us a son is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…. He will reign on David’s throne. and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.”[128]

Neither did David bring anything but hope to his people in the 2nd Psalm, speaking clearly of the expectation of the Son of God:

“I have installed my King on Zion, my Holy hill.”  I will proclaim the decree of Yahveh: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.  Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance and the ends of the earth your possession.

The true fear of those in rebellion against God is not at all that they might violate some principle of Logic.  Their true fear is that Yeshua is coming and he will swiftly find them wallowing in their sin, as he establishes his throne in the very dust of Zion.

The inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock, given that they are poised upon the place of sacrifice, the place which more than any on earth calls out to the Lamb slain since the foundation of the world,…this Abomination sits darkly in the imagination, sits darkly in the heart, sits darkly on the land.  It will bring no good into this world.  It is bound to be a sticking place from which grief will erupt.

Even in these recent weeks the Zionists are regularly forcing entry onto the TempleMount.  The groundwork is being laid for “the ThirdTempleCommonwealth”[129] to make its own claim on the TempleMount, setting the scene for their own “messianic installation.”

Since the Zionists also have no thoughts of redemption or sacrifice or Yeshua the true Messiah of Israel, it can be known with certainty that whatever the Zionists do on the TempleMount will be as much an Abomination as anything that Islam has done in building and adorning the Dome of the Rock.

 

 

The Vatican

 

******

Chapter #9:  The Abomination Which sets itself up in opposition to the temple of Spirit – Part A, Opposition to the Authority of Scripture.

“As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  For in Scripture it says:

‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’”  I Peter 2.4,5,6

“For we are the temple of the living God.”  II Corinthians 6.16

 

i

We continue our pursuit of the man of lawlessness, looking for him in the SpiritualTemple, expecting to find a work much more sinister than a few inscriptions in tile on the TempleMount.

We look away from the architectural Temple and we turn to the abode of God in man.  Here the Holy Place is the human heart, as Yeshua makes us to be his spiritual Temple.

This Temple of Spirit is the Temple of men and women made free in the knowledge of their God as he delivers them from the curse of death, as he joins his Spirit into communion with their spirits, as he instructs them and guides them into the knowledge of their true being and purpose.

We whose hearts belong to him are collectively the Temple of God, our hearts the place in which God resides uniquely, and we find that we are individually Temples of God, each heart purchased and made clean by the blood of our king, each heart a private and holy place of meeting:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me.”[130]

The lofty structure of the Temple built by the Spirit of God is perfect and indestructible, as its foundation is Yeshua himself, the Word who has come to live among us, who binds us to himself through his Spirit, who rules in our hearts from the celestial throne.  As he rules in our hearts he is our king and we are his kingdom.  We are that “rock cut out but not by human hands” mentioned by the prophet Daniel, “a kingdom that will never be destroyed.”[131]

Inside the Temple of Spirit we are held secure by two living instruments of God’s power.  One is always in motion and is supremely in control, the very Spirit of God.

“’Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit,’ says Yahveh Almighty.”[132]

The other, the Scriptural record, is constant, stationary, and encoded with all our God’s expectations and purposes.  We who love our God can never accept the authority of any power claiming to stand higher than the Word of God, nor bear any reality more authoritative or substantial than God in his Spirit present within the heart’s house.  By the combination of these two powers, Scripture and Spirit, we who love our God are maintained in union with our God, safe from every siren song proceeding from every false temple.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God…the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.”[133]

ii

But it is this world’s misfortune that not everyone who sets out to discover his God actually reaches that point of communion with God or celebrates in that perfect Temple.  We live under the assault of Satan.  The abode of God in the hearts of men suffers the grave abuse that in this world many False Temples have been fabricated in the name of Yeshua.  They are hierarchies of men pretending to own divine authority; they are simulations of worship, synthetic fabrications of divine ritual; they are networks for outreach emulating true responsibility of love for their fellow man.  These false temples do not tolerate the living Yeshua as their foundation nor do they tolerate the final authority of his Spirit over the heart.  They attempt to establish themselves by programs of open assault on the true Temple of Spirit.

iii

It is not surprising, then, to find that the enemies of God, hoping to establish their own icons in the hearts of men, first make open attack upon the writings of Scripture.   The record of history reveals a chain of assault upon Scripture from the days of the first Roman persecutions through to the blasphemous Roman offensive of Teilhard de Chardin.

In 303 A.D. the Emperor Diocletian rescinded the legal rights of Christians and called for the destruction of their churches and their Scriptures.  Apparently by then there was already some consensus as to the scope and content of these Scriptures.[134]

Christians, having been commanded to offer sacrifice and pour out libation to idols, were publicly degraded and imprisoned.  The ensuing persecutions served to differentiate two poles of response: those who held true to the final authority of their faith without compromise, and those who acknowledged faith though yielding to the state as final authority, even yielding to the imperial commands to give up their holy Scriptures and to perform sacrifice before idols.  These were called “traditores:”

“Traditor, pl. traditores [lat], is a term meaning ‘the one[s] who had handed over.’  This refers to bishops and other Christians who turned over sacred scriptures or betrayed their fellow Christians to the Roman authorities under threat of persecution.  During the persecution of Diocletian between AD 303-305, many church leaders had gone as far as turning in Christians to the authorities and handing over sacred religious texts to authorities to be burned. Later, some traditores would be returned to positions of authority under Constantine, sparking a split with the Donatist movement.”[135]

This division or stratification of believers manifested itself, on the one hand, in the general exclusion from mainstream society of those who served God without compromise, and, on the other, in the general incorporation and social success of those who were willing to be nominal Christians, not putting the authority of God and his Scriptures ahead of the authority of the Emperor who commanded them to worship in accordance with his own decrees.

After Diocletian, Constantine made his way to the forefront of imperial succession.  Constantine put the lessons of Diocletian to work in generating his great plan, a plan which envisaged the demands of church and state as not necessarily incompatible, provided that those who refuse compromise are pressed to one side and those who accept compromise are encouraged to feel at home.

Shortly after his victory at the Milvian bridge, Constantine set about to show the Christians that Empire could be beneficent toward them.  In 313 A.D., in the afterglow of the marriage of Licinius to Constantine’s sister, Licinius, holding the power over the Eastern Empire, and Constantine, holding power over the Western Roman Empire, jointly issued the Edict of Milan, granting full freedom of worship to Christians and full restoration of confiscated properties.  This was meant to serve as a general amnesty, allowing Constantine to distance himself from all past imperial severity.

Licinius, a pagan, nevertheless made certain restrictions upon the lives of Christians in the East.  This gave Constantine, also a pagan, another opportunity to demonstrate his beneficence toward Christians under the Roman mantel: as “Champion of Christian faith,” Constantine enrolled himself to oppose Licinius over the coming years and by 323 A.D. to crush Licinius and claim the entire Roman Empire, East and West, for himself.  Now it was intended to be clear to all Christians that if they lived without fear of persecution it was by the grace of this pro-Christian Emperor.

But from the days of that first general amnesty, an inevitable sorting of Christians began,

as Constantine favored and contrived the installation of many bishops of the church from the ranks of the traditores under Diocletian, thus offending and distancing those who believed that fidelity to Yeshua does not allow either compromise or obedience to the leadership of the unfaithful.

The stratification of believers became more pronounced as the traditores under the cloak of Constantine became “the Orthodox” and the faithful ended up in exclusion, rallying for mutual support under the banner of groups such as the Donatists.

Constantine in 312-314 A.D. settled the Donatist controversy by favoring the “loyal” compromising church over the uncompromising “rebels.”  So, again and again, Constantine made clear that the best guarantor of freedom of worship is the citizen’s capacity to honor Rome as the real arbiter of divine blessing to its Christians.  Conversely, Rome would become the enemy of the few, the uncompromising rebels who insisted upon confessing a higher authority than institutional Roman grace.

Constantine did not curtail at any time his own participation in pagan worship.  As head of the pagan priesthood he was the pagan Pontifex Maximus.  So, analogously, for the Christians he assumed the titles “Bishop of Bishops” and Vicarius Christi: “Substitute for Christ” on earth!  In time the bishops of Rome would become the Popes of the church and would become the owners of the pagan title Pontifex Maximus as well as “Vicarius Christi.”  So all Popes hold these titles to this very day.

It was part of the classical Roman culture and part of the imperial tradition that the emperor should speak for the gods.  It is not, of course, the case that Yeshua has any intention that any man should sit as Vicarius Christi interpreting “officially” the purposes of God to his people.  It is the essence of the transformation worked at the cross that in this time the Spirit of Yeshua must work freely and directly in the heart of men to make known the truths of God recorded in Scripture.

The very willingness of the bishops to allow Constantine to sit in final authority over councils such as the Council of Nicea and allow him to make final determinations between warring factions of theologians…this obscene procedure was in itself infinitely more noxious than any judgment that came from the councils. In the Council of Nicea, in the judgment against Arianism, and in the Nicene Creed, it is easy to accuse them of some distortion of emphasis, but, by God’s grace, its content is tolerably close to the heart of Scripture.  What is abominable is that the pagan emperor was given by the bishops of the church authority to bind judgment in issues which should be determined only in the hearts of individuals and only according to the authority of the holy Scriptures and according to the agency of the Spirit of God.

Out of this debasement of the church into imperial orthodoxy flowed centuries of theological argument, schism, infighting, in which “faith” became merely a measure of Orthodoxy: not a militant adherence to the person of Yeshua the only king, but rather a mere ability to assign oneself a “credo” which would accord with the accepted [imperial] interpretation of Scripture.  Those who disregarded the empire and its orthodoxy and went to the word of God through the Spirit of God usually found themselves outside the camp.

Constantine ordered the transcription of fifty copies in Greek of the accepted Scriptures for use in the Orthodox churches.  These also, in all the richness of the truth contained within them, would be perverted by the empire and used to establish the Orthodox over against the “rebels” until the imperial power of Constantine, now established as authority over the church, turned against those who remained independent of Rome and hunted and persecuted them as being the enemies of God.

So within a few centuries of the life of Yeshua on earth it was fulfilled that,

“They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when  anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.  They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.”[136]

IN 321 A.D. Constantine proclaimed that Christians and pagans alike [ecumenism at its best] should unite in the observance of the “venerable day of the sun.”  Long after the alleged Milvian conversion, Constantine’s coinage continued to carry the symbols of the sun.  He also declared the ancient Sabbath and the Passover as festivals unworthy of Orthodox Christians, and so began the fulfillment of the dark promise of Daniel concerning the FourthKingdom, the kingdom of Rome:

“He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws.”[137]

Constantine’s blatant renunciation of the Scriptural command that we keep the Seventh day holy and that we honor the feast of Passover forever served again to take God and his Scriptures off the Roman pedestal and install in their place the Abomination of imperial orthodoxy.

iiii

The assaults of the coming centuries upon Scripture came in the form of the multitude of doctrinal distortions by virtue of which the Catholic institution evolved, inserting itself into the world, establishing for itself a claim to an interval between man and God, whereas Yeshua had gone to the cross to close that gap forever.  Thus the Catholic institution became the enemy of God.

Traditional history marks the end of the Western Roman Empire in 476 A.D. under barbarian invasion, and the Eastern Empire [Byzantine] in 1453 A.D.  But on closer inspection it may be considered that what took place was the transmutation of Rome from a traditional geo-political empire with vast ecclesiastical power to an ecclesiastical empire with vast geo-political power.  The Popes kept alive the idea of a spiritual realm coextensive with a temporal realm.

Emperor Julius I, who followed Constantine, became Pope Julius I [337-352 A.D.], seating himself in the basilica of St. John Lateran which had been built by Constantine.  The last emperor to hold the supreme pagan office of Pontifex Maximus was the emperor Gratian, who conferred office and title upon Pope Damasus.  When the last emperor, Romulus Augustus, abdicated the Roman seat of power in 476 A.D., the authority of the Papal dynasty was already well established.

By the 8th century it was the great ecclesiastical power of the Papacy which was able to sustain the political ambitions of Charlemagne.  Pope Stephen II anointed 12 year old Charlemagne in 754.  In 772 Pope Adrian I asked Charlemagne to invade his Lombard enemies.  Charlemagne was victorious and became king of the Lombards.  He continued with Christian indignation to assault and suppress the Germanic Saxons.  By 804 he was victorious in his campaigns of military conquest and subsequent forced conversion: refusal to be baptized was punishable by death.

By 800 A.D. Charlemagne was crowned emperor by the Pope in St. Peter’s basilica on Christmas day and he assumed the title: “Charles, most serene Augustus, crowned by God, great and pacific emperor, governing the Roman Empire.”  This iconic act came to stand as a template for ascent to power in Europe in the coming centuries:

“On December 25, 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor.  This act established both a precedent and a political structure that were destined to figure decisively in the affairs of central Europe.  The precedent established the papal claim to the right to select, crown, and even depose emperors that was asserted, at least in theory, for nearly 700 years.”[138]

The Roman institution made itself into a gargantuan ecclesiastical power with a powerful, if proxy, reach into the temporal affairs of nations.  The more the character of this institution developed into a defiance of the intentions of God expressed in Scripture, the more they began to pursue openly the policy of keeping the Scriptures out of the reach of people not married by oath to the institution.  This they effected by restricting its format to Latin, the language of the church elite; by destroying Scripture; and by pursuing the partisans of Scripture.

In 1199 Pope Innocent III stated:

“…to be reproved are those who translate into French the Gospels, the letters of Paul, the psalter, etc.  They are moved by a certain love of Scripture in order to explain them clandestinely and to preach them to one another.  The mysteries of the faith are not to be explained rashly to anyone.  Usually in fact, they cannot be understood by everyone but only by those who are qualified to understand them with informed intelligence.  The depth of the divine Scriptures is such that not only the illiterate and uninitiated have difficulty understanding them, but also the educated and the gifted.”[139]

At the beginning of the 13th c. in France there flourished several groups of rebel Christians in the Donatist tradition, people who scorned the authority of Rome, many of them keepers of the ancient [pre-Constantinian] Sabbath, hence known as Sabbatati, or Sabbatarians.

Between 1209 and 1255 the Catholic church undertook a military campaign to eliminate heretics in the south of France.  These “Cathars” were Christians who opposed the moral, spiritual, and political corruption of the Catholic church.

“The general name for the more important heretical sects, the Cathari, is the Greek word for “the Pure” and it indicates the practical features in which all agreed.  They regarded the Church as a corrupt human institution, generally scorned its sacraments, ritual, and hierarchy, despised its dissolute monks and nuns, and tried to get back to the pure teaching of Christ: voluntary poverty, strict chastity, brotherly love, and ascetic life.

Such were the Beguines and Beghards who, founded by a Belgian priest in the thirteenth century, spread a network of ascetic communities, more like the ancient Essenes and Therapeutae than the Christian monks all over Europe.  They were severely persecuted, though their only heresy was that they did as Christ bade men do.  Substantially the same were the Waldensians, the followers of Peter Waldo, of the same thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.  They called themselves the “Poor in Spirit,” and literally obeyed every word of Christ: and so they were branded as heretics and burned in batches, sixty at one time being committed to the flames in Germany in 1211, and some being burned in Spain even earlier.  The famous Flagellants of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries fairly come under the same general heading.  The modern psychologist wastes his ingenuity upon them.  The world and Church were so corrupt that they expected a speedy end of the world and they did penance for their sins and those of others. The Fratricelli, a detachment from the Franciscan Order whom the clerical corruption drove into heresy, belong to the same period, and were fiercely persecuted.”[140]

The armies of the Pope crushed the Cathars in Beziers and Carcassonne, in the course of which thousands of men, women and children were slaughtered, so marking the beginning of the Dominican Inquisition, which may be said to have gone on into modern times.

In 1215 Pope Innocent II issued a law commanding

“that they shall be seized for trial and penalties, who engage in the translation of the sacred volumes, or who hold secret conventicles, or who assume the office of preaching without the authority of their superiors.”[141]

The Council of Toulouse in 1229 published canons against the Sabbatati and others:

“Canon 1.  We appoint therefore that the archbishops and bishops shall swear in one priest, and two or three laymen of good report, or more if they think fit, in every parish, both in and out of cities, who shall diligently, faithfully, and frequently seek out the heretics in those parishes, by searching all houses and subterranean chambers which lie under suspicion.  And looking out for appendages or outbuildings, in the roofs themselves, or any other kind of hiding places, all which we direct to be destroyed.

Canon 3.  The lords of the districts shall have the villas, houses and woods diligently searched, and the hiding places of the heretics destroyed.

Canon 14.  Lay members are not allowed to possess the books of either the Old or the New Testaments.”[142]

The Council of Tarragona in 1234 ordered all vernacular versions of the Scriptures to be brought to the bishop to be burned:

Canon 2.  “No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments in the Romance language, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days after promulgation of this decree, so that they may be burned lest, be he a cleric or a layman, he be suspected until he is cleared of all suspicion.”[143] 

That Inquisition which began in the early thirteenth century rose to a crescendo of activity in fifteenth century Spain.

“In 1483 the infamous Inquisitor General Thomas Torquemada began his reign of terror as head of the Spanish Inquisition; King Ferdinand and his queen ‘prohibited all, under the severest pains, from translating the sacred Scripture into the vulgar tongues, or from using it when translated by others.’ [M’Crie, p.192]  For more than three centuries the Bible in the common tongue was a forbidden book in Spain and multitudes of copies perished in the flames, together with those who cherished them.”[144]

John Wycliffe was the first person to translate the entire Bible into English.  He completed his translation from the Latin Vulgate in 1382.  His editions were meticulously hand copied by scribes.  Wycliffe taught that the authority of Scripture is higher than that of the church.  He organized bands of priests, called Lollards, to spread the basic truths of the Bible throughout England.  Wycliffe disapproved of the vast temporal power of the church and Lollards taught that loyalty to the call of God might necessarily lead to refusal to participate in the brutal military campaigns of the state.

After his death, the Council of Constance, in 1415, denounced Wycliffe as a heretic “under the ban of the church.”  It was decreed that his books be burned and his remains exhumed, burned and scattered.

William Tyndale became a parish priest in 1521.  Noticing the corruption of the church

he set his mind on an antidote – a careful translation of the Scriptures from Greek and Hebrew into vernacular English.  By 1526 he completed his New Testament and was forced to smuggle printed 8vo copies from Germany into England.  By the time of his death he had completed the New Testament, the Pentateuch, and Jonah.

In 1536, opposed by Henry VIII, by the church, and by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Tyndale was betrayed by a friend, imprisoned, tried for heresy, and condemned.  On August 6, 1536, he was strangled at the stake and burned.

August 22, 1572, came the great feast of St. Bartholomew, when in the evening the troops of the French king broke open the homes of the Protestants of Paris.  At the hands of the Catholic power ten thousand were slaughtered in Paris, eight thousand in the surrounding areas during this St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre.

The Catholic church in Ireland sponsored a similar massacre on October 23, 1641, the feast of Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order.  Fathers, mother, elders and children were slaughtered across the country in the Irish massacre.

The efforts of people like Wycliffe and Tyndale to exalt Scripture became the underpinning of the great movement against the claim of the Catholic institution to own that space between man and God, the movement known as the Protestant Reformation.  The Catholics to this day retain of course their obscene claim to the right to govern the access of men to the truth of God.  Joseph McCabe summarizes quite beautifully the modern state of the Catholic arrogance:

“But death for heresy is the actual law of the Roman Caholic Church today.  Vacandard and others convey to their non-Catholic readers that Rome has repented like every other Church.  Not in the least: it has not sacrificed one syllable of its teaching about heretics. I am under sentence of death in the Canon Law of the Roman Church. I have in my popular work, “The Popes and Their Church,” shown that about the end of the last century, when the new generation of apologists were busy with their glosses on the past and their pretty appeals for universal tolerance, a new manual of Church Law, specially authorized by Leo XIII [reign 1878 – 1903], written by a Papal professor, printed in a Papal press, was published.  It was in Latin; and probably few Catholics in America will fail to be astonished to learn that the author states, and proves at great length, that the Church claims and has “the right of the sword” over heretics, and only the perversity of our age prevents it from exercising that right!  More recent manuals of Church Law have the same beautiful thesis. It is today the law of the Roman Church.  Remember it when you read these subtle Jesuits and eloquent Paulists and unctuous bishops on the “blunders” of the past and the right and duty of toleration today.  The Inquisition [the Holy Office] exists.  The law exists. And you and I may thank this age of skepticism that we keep our blood in our veins.[145]

During World War II Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco all had Concordats with the Vatican.  The Nazi war machine occupied Yugoslavia.  Ante Pavelic, head of the UstashiState of Croatia became the operative power in the region.  The Pope had longstanding differences with the large Russian Orthodox population of Serbia.  The Ustashi, their ranks filled out with Jesuit officers, gave the population a choice: convert to Catholicism or die.

“Catholic priests changed their robes for the uniform of the dreaded Ustashi killer squads and led the most barbaric, brutal raids upon those people and practiced satanic torture never known in this century.”[146]

It is said that the Nazi overlords were sickened by the Ustashi tortures which they witnessed.  It is estimated that the count of those murdered was two hundred thousand.

But the assault on Scripture and upon those who would know God through his word goes even beyond the massacres mentioned here.

v

This final 20th century assault might have ended as the miscreance of a lone Jesuit.  But not only did he gather to his sedition the following of many leaders of the New Age movements.  He also found himself and his ideas gathered into the church by Pope John Paul II and then by Pope Benedict XVI.  What I refer to is the work of Father Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., to advance the world’s willingness to accept the folly of Darwinian evolution, a creed which is undeniably an outright renunciation of the truth that we are created in the image of God, therefore a renunciation of the fundamental premise of Scripture.

The entire meaning of the Fall is lost on a species that arises from the swamp in the image of nothing more than its own blind will to survival.  The meaning of the redemption of man, made in the image of God, fallen, and in need of a Savior …this entire narrative is rendered meaningless in the framework of Darwinian evolution, and with it Scripture becomes nothing but a wishful poem or an excess of hyperbole.  That this should come from the heart of the Catholic institution is an obscenity, and that Teilhard de Chardin should become the darling of the Popes is ample evidence of the cynicism which directs the Popes and their ecumenism.

Let it be remembered that broad ecumenism preceded both the St. Bartholomew Day massacre and the Irish massacre, and may you have no doubt that the modern maneuvering of the Catholic institution to manage the ecumenical center of the world’s religions may come to flower in something very distasteful.  The honor bestowed on Teilhard de Chardin is again proof of the Catholic institution’s contempt for the essence of the holy Scriptures.  That essence is that God has made a way for men and women to come directly into his presence, to know him and his healing through the immediate presence of his Spirit in the heart, and to share in the core hope of history, without need of the mediation of any institution whatsoever.  Therefore the Scriptures are hated by every power-seeking religious institution seeking a claim to that space between man and God.

It has been said that the spread of the doctrine of evolution is the darling project of Satan, for by its means the heart is torn out of Scripture, without pogroms, without blood, and without a cry.

But let us be the ones to cry out!

Post Script

I add here the obscene words of Pope Benedict XVI in his book Fe e Futuro: 

Let us look at the critic’s points in broad lines. The difficulty already begins with the first page of the Bible. The idea of the world’s origin developed there is in evident contradiction with everything we know today about the origin of the cosmos. Even if we say that those pages are not a manual of natural history and, therefore, should not be understood as a literal description of the cosmos’ origin, a bad feeling remains. … On almost every page of the Bible such questions persist.

The figure formed of clay that in God’s hand becomes man is largely incomprehensible to us, as well as what happens right afterward with the woman, taken from his side while he sleeps and recognized by him as the flesh of his own flesh, that is, as a response to the question of his solitude.

Perhaps today we have to re-learn how to understand these images as profound symbolic expressions regarding man. … In the next chapter (the history of the fall) new questions rise. How can we reconcile them with the concept that man, as demonstrated by natural science, did not begin from above, but from below? He did not fall, but little by little ascended, increasingly becoming a man from an animal. And what about Paradise? Suffering and death already existed in the world long before man existed. …

Let us continue to examine these questions and contradictions that distress the general conscience in order to appraise with all necessary harshness the problem behind the words faith and knowledge.

After the report of the fall, the Bible continues with its image of history, where Adam is described to us in a cultural period situated around 4000 BC. This date agrees with the biblical counting of time, resulting that around 4000 years have passed from the beginning until Christ. But today all of us know that before this event, a period of hundreds of thousands of years of life and human efforts had already passed, a time not taken into consideration in the biblical image of history, which was restricted to the Eastern understanding of that time.

With this we touch the next point: the Bible, which faith venerates as the word of God, became clear to us in its entire human character through the historical-critical method of investigation. It not only follows the literary forms of its ambience, but also is influenced by the world in which it originated. This influence marked its way of thinking and its religious character itself.

Can we still believe in the God who calls Moses in the burning bush? The God who kills the firstborn sons of Egypt and leads His people to war against the inhabitants of Canaan? Who makes Oza fall dead because he touched the sacred ark? Or were all these things nothing but an expression of the old East, interesting, yes; perhaps even significant as a level of the human conscience; but not the expression of the divine word?

(Joseph Ratzinger, Fé e Futuro, São Paulo: Vozes, 1971, pp. 11-13)[147]

 

Chapter #10: The Abomination which sets itself up in opposition to the temple of Spirit – Part B.  The program of the architects of Catholicism to obscure the person and Spirit of Yeshua.

 

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.  He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.[148]

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…How dreadful it will be in those days…”[149]

 

i

We continue our search for “the man of lawlessness” in the Holy Place.  I repeat a caveat given earlier: we must not lose sight of the core meaning of the Holy Place.  In essential terms the Holy Place is the place of redemption, the place marked with the blood of Yeshua, because without the blood of Yeshua there is no Holy Place, no Temple – architectural or spiritual.  Without redemption there is no union of man and God.

The “Abomination which causes desolation” is then that which denies the redemption of God, denies the value of the blood of Yeshua on the altar of heaven fulfilling the expectation of centuries of sacrifice in the Temple.  Such an Abomination necessarily then denies all that follows from the sacrifice of our king: his ascension to the throne of God and the release of his Spirit into the hearts of his subjects.

ii

It is uniquely on the basis of reverence for the Holy Place, both personal and geographical, that we object to the presence on Mount Moriah of the “Dome of the Rock” and its blasphemous inscriptions which attempt to deny the being of Yeshua as Immanuel and as Redeemer of mankind.  How pathetically and blasphemously they call for the supplications of Mohammed to achieve God’s mercy for the Islamic faithful, while openly rejecting Yeshua as the Son of God who gave his blood to stand in for his people and bring them before the throne of God.  It follows then that these inscriptions are equally a denial of the ascension of Yeshua to the throne of heaven, and a denial of his royal power as heir to the throne of David.

So much, then, for their offense in stone and tile installed upon the Temple Mount, the ancient place of sacrifice — an architectural offense, a rebuke even of Abraham’s call to sacrifice, and a rebuke of the ancient expectation of Messianic atonement, which day has come come as Yeshua our king has gone to the cross on our behalf.  This architectural offense, this wound, shall be healed, for Yeshua our king has made known and shall again make known his power, even power over death itself.

Having looked at this wound on the TempleMount, we have looked also at the disturbing history of the offensive of the Roman institution against the word of God, against the Scriptures of God.  Such a campaign on behalf of mandatory human ignorance has never been seen under any other guise.  Now we shall go on to examine what it is that the Roman institution crafted on these fields of carnage where, with so much shedding of blood, it deliberately obscured and destroyed countless written records of the truth of our God.  We go on to consider a dangerous and widespread offensive which has known many human casualties, a thrust of the enemy against the very Spirit of God and an attempt to wreak damage in that Holy Place which is the abode of God in the hearts of men.

Over against the divine plan of an immediate relation between our God and ourselves, the historic, hierarchical Catholic institution, claiming for centuries to be the repository of Christian Orthodoxy, has actually manufactured for itself a “space” between the believer and God, installing there an obscene multitude of heavy curtains, by means of which the institution gathers to its own self the human aspirations and worship which rightly belong only to God, by means of which the institution claims for itself the unwarranted role of mediator between man and God. 

Because the Catholic institution has kept its people ignorant of the direct simplicity of communion with God as it is prescribed in Scripture, the people have tragically become victims of the institution.  At the same time, where some eagerly seek God but know only the loss of never coming into his presence, for others the institution provides, cynically, a cheap “blessing,” for, wherever expectations are low, Catholicism seems to offer a way to “have” God by means of rudimentary involvement with the institution, doing away with the great personal demands of directly opening the heart to the presence of God.  As a priest once said to me, “There is no need to try to be holier than the church.”

Of course, the tragedy is that, even at its best, the Catholic institution never offers its people the possibility of true confidence of salvation.  They admit that they can only offer the hope of salvation, since they blasphemously do not recognize the sacrifice of Yeshua as once and for all sufficient to absolve us of our sinsThey scorn the value of his historic sacrifice and so defile the truth of redemption, defile the Holy Place!

They gather wealth and importance to themselves by teaching that the absolution of sin is forever ongoing, as they hideously re-sacrifice Yeshua in Mass after Mass, as they expect continuing penance and good works, not as celebration of salvation but as part of the “labor” by which one “earns” salvation.  Hence it is that in Catholic countries the citizens will acknowledge that in civic life they are considered guilty until proven innocent…since there is no unquestionable ground of innocence, only the hope of rising above one’s assumed guilt.

iii

The First Curtain of Obstruction: the Very Office of the Papacy

 Yeshua is Lord, king over his people, King of kings, Lord and author of Creation, Lord of history.  Scripture asserts that Yeshua is Lord and King over his people.   Everything in Scripture points to his direct rule in the hearts of his people.  And yet, starting with Constantine in the fourth century, the dynastic lords of the Catholic institution have inserted themselves between the individual and his God.  They have assumed for themselves the role of the pagan Pontifex Maximus, a role which Constantine retained within the pagan worship….the role of final arbiter of religious truth conjoined to imperial power.

Pontifex Maximus, a title now held by all Popes, has its bona fides in the pagan Roman religion.  Pontifex Maximus means literally “greatest pontiff/bishop” or essentially High Priest.  Originally a distinctly religious office available only to patricians, in 254 B.C. a plebeian first held this position.  Then, under Augustus Caesar, the role of Pontifex Maximus became an integral part of Imperial office.  Subsequent emperors automatically assumed the title.

Constantine, as first Roman emperor to attempt to engineer for himself a “Christian” empire, yet retained the pagan office of Pontifex Maximus, by virtue of which role he was final arbiter in all issues of Pagan worship, even officially mediator between men and “the gods” of Rome.  Nothing in Roman culture suggested that it would be out of place for Constantine to exercise the role of chief pontiff in his relations with the bishops of the Christian religion, and they, children of their culture [while the dissenters were either killed or pushed to the edges of society], did not refuse him.  Thus Constantine brought imperial power into the halls of the hierarchical church, specifically into the councils of the bishops.  From then on, standing behind the flag of Orthodoxy stood the sword of the Emperor.   And from then on the true children of Yeshua found their lives more and more on the margins of society.

The emperor Gratian [reign 375-383 A.D.] was the last Roman emperor to assume the high pontifical office.  But the title found itself adopted by successive Christian bishops of Rome.  Thus they aligned themselves not so much with the apostle and martyr, Peter, as with Roman imperial power.  If simply offering a Latin phrase for “head bishop,” the phrase Pontifex Maximus would be of no negative consequence.  However, 1.] the title became endowed with the distinct notion of ecclesiastical power in both the spiritual and the temporal realms, thus a full rejection of the truth described to Pilate by our king: “My kingdom is not of this world.” and 2.] the title framed the emperor, and consequently the Pope, as being worthy of interpreting the truth of God, and as being entitled to enforce conformity to his “spiritual” decrees.

For the Catholic church, the two crossed keys, symbol of the Papacy, claim to represent the Pope’s right to both spiritual and temporal power.  And the hive shaped triple crown, [triregnum] or Papal tiara, is a crown having three levels or tiers, representing three domains of power.  The flag of the Vatican, the Seat of Roman temporal rule, displays both the crossed keys and the Papal tiara.  From the Vatican there is limited transparency as to the arrogant significance of the triple tiara – but its standard interpretations are all very close to the following: 1.] the right of absolute power over the church, 2.] the right of absolute power over the kingdoms of the earth, and3.] the right of kingly power over the kingdom of heaven, be it affairs on earth or in the heavens!

Thus we see the open exhibition of a promised anti-Christ, a very man of lawlessness, who vaunts himself above even God, proclaiming himself to be in every way God, assuming to usurp for himself the very throne of Yeshua.

The remaining question is this: is “the man of lawlessness” one individual or does the phrase refer to a type of man, as in “the man in the street” or “the man who knows” or “the well dressed man?”  The martyr, ex-Jesuit priest, Alberto Rivera, claimed that it is both: the very dynasty of the Popes and also the final papal impostor at the end of the age.

“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction, He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”[150]

Popes have made the most radical claims about their own authority.

a.] “We declare, assert, define, and pronounce: to be subject to the Roman pontiff    is to every human creature altogether necessary for salvation…” 

Pope Boniface VIII [reign 1294-1303] in Bull Unam Sanctam

b.] “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”

Pope Leo XIII [reign 1878-1903] in “The Great Encyclical Letters of Leo XIII” Benzigen Brothers, New York, 1908, p.304

c.] “I am all in all and above all, so that God Himself and I, the Vicar of God, have but one consistory, and I am able to do almost all that God can do… What therefore can you make of me but God?”

                        Pope Nicholas [reign 858-867], from “Antichrist” by Ian Paisley

The Pope has another title: Vicarius Christi, “vicarius” meaning “the one who stands in for” or “the substitute for” Christ.  And so he makes himself the “Vicar of Christ,” substitute for Christ on earth….when in fact Christ went to the cross in order to establish the universe in such a way that he could rest in immediate communion with his children on earth, without the mediation or interference of any other being.  As Alberto Rivera asks rhetorically, Was there ever a religion on earth whose leader had the presumption to label himself the “substitute for God on earth”?

To these abominations we respond with the words of Scripture:

“For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth [as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”], yet for us there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.[151]

May no person who seeks the face of God ever do anything but refuse the authority of any Pope to stand between that person and God!  Yeshua is our only mediator, our only high priest, and in him dwells all the fullness of God:  with him we are in the presence of God, and by his Spirit we are held to him inseparably.

iv

The Second Curtain of Obstruction: the Eucharistic Mass

The great centerpiece of Catholic ritual, worship, and dogma is the Mass, at the center of which lies ritual participation in the ingesting of the “Eucharist,” a supposed miraculous presence of Yeshua in a “host,” so conjured by the supernatural power of the priest.  So it is that Mass, Eucharist, and priest must be considered together.

Catholic doctrine claims that in the Mass, the priest is able to consecrate the host and call down God out of heaven so that the bread and wine of the host might become the flesh and blood of God, a miracle known as “transubstantiation.”  The claim of transubstantiation is that in the course of the Eucharist the substance of wheat bread and grape wine changes into the substance of the Body and the Blood of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses [the appearances] remains as before.

Hildebert de Lavardin, Archbishop of Tours [died 1133] is the source of the first recorded mention of transubstantiation. [There is record however that the ancient Mithraic mystery cult supported a similar “eucharistic” feast where bread and wine turned into the flesh and blood of the Mithraic bull.]  By the end of that century the term was known widely.  “The Fourth Council of the Lateran, which convened beginning November 11, 1215, spoke of the bread and wine as ‘transubstantiated’ into the body and blood of Christ: ‘His body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the forms of bread and wine, the bread and wine having been transubstantiated, by God’s power into his body and blood.’”[152]

In a world with a broad range of views about the functioning of the physical and the spiritual, there was a broad range of interpretation as to how transubstantiation actually took place.  Thomas Aquinas helped codify the process by introducing relatively unassailable [for the time] concepts from Aristotelian metaphysics.

“Thus, Thomas distinguished between the outward, physical aspects of the elements [the characteristics that are discerned by the senses] and the essential nature [the thing in and of itself] of the elements, which is invisible. These he referred to with the Aristotelian terms ‘accidents’ and ‘substance.’  In the Eucharist, Thomas taught, the substance of the bread and the wine are changed, trans-formed into the substance of Christ’s body, but the accidents of the bread and wine remain.”[153]

[Later challenges to Aristotelian metaphysics would prove painful to Catholic theologians.]

In 1551, at the Council of Trent, the church decreed,

“If any one shall say that …[in the Mass] …there remains the substance of bread and wine together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; and shall deny that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into blood, the species of bread and wine alone remaining, which conversion the Catholic Church most fittingly calls Transubstantiation, let him be anathema [cursed].”[154]

Transubstantiation became the great revelatory issue of the Inquisition, as virtually all sects which revolted against Catholic Orthodoxy were of the persuasion that the bread and wine merely represented the body and blood of Christ.  This included many of the groups mentioned in the previous sections: Waldensians, Hussites, Lollards, Huguenots, Anabaptists, Covenanters, Puritans, and most Protestants.  Priests of the Inquisition  would present the host to men and women, demanding that they confess it to be the very body of Christ, failing which they would be imprisoned, tortured, and frequently killed.

The Eucharist of Catholic dogma presumes to “take control” over the very presence of Yeshua in the world and put that control in the hands of the church and its priests.  This obscene dogma even claims to enshrine the priest with the fantastical power to call down God himself from heaven and conduct him into the gift of his substance to become the substance of the wafer which these victims of the institution eat.

“When the priest announces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man.  It is a power greater that that of saints and angels, greater than that of Seraphim and Cherubim.”[155]

The understanding of the dissenters, that the communion bread and wine are a ritual of memorial, representing the sacrifice of our king and recalling above all his covenant with us, this is an understanding which assigns no power or privilege to church or priest.

Rome still teaches transubstantiation[156] and even has special “divine services” and religious Orders dedicated to the idolatrous worship of the Eucharistic host.

v

The Catholic Eucharistic “sacrament” ostensibly traces its origins to the call of Yeshua to his disciples to keep in mind his sacrifice with a memorial in wine and bread.  That call  came in the course of his last celebration on earth of the Passover meal, the well established ritual which included the eating of unleavened bread and the drinking of wine in four cups, one of which is known as “the cup of blessing.”

“When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.  And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.’  After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you.  For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’  And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’  In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenantin my blood, which is poured out for you.’”[157]

From the time of the first Passover, that drinking of wine and eating of unleavened bread had been in celebration of the night of liberation from Egypt, when the angel of death passed over the entire country, but God’s people were protected as their doorways were marked by the blood of a sacrificial lamb…a sacrifice which anticipated the ultimately redemptive sacrifice of Yeshua at Calvary.  That night God undertook to lead his people out of Egypt, to establish them as his people by covenant at Mt.Sinai, and to lead them ultimately to the land of promise.

For the disciples with Yeshua on this Passover night, the unleavened bread, as bread, recalled the sustenance which God provided his people in the desert.  The bread being “unleavened” recalled the expectation of holiness which extends to all God’s subjects, a holiness which comes only from God.  The wine recalled the actual blood of the Lamb which had marked the doorways of the children of Israel.

Now, in the Upper Room, Yeshua was calling out the end of the original covenant in its limited form and hailing the completion of all its expectations in the establishment of the new covenant, a covenant which points not to the blood of a lamb over a doorway in Egypt but points to the blood of Yeshua sprinkled on the heavenly altar before the throne of God.  Therefore Yeshua points out to them, not that essential bread can become essential God, Catholicism’s most cynical inversion of the truth, but that God in his Spiritual presence within us becomes our spiritual nourishment.  

The following brief narrative in John makes clear that the whole understanding of the body and the bread is that the Spirit of Yeshua has been made effective for us through the sacrifice of his body on the cross and now is to be our bread, our spiritual food:

[Jesus said,] “I am the bread of life.  Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died.  But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.  I am the living bread that comes down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world….Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, ‘Does this offend you?  What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! [In which case, at the point of returning to heaven, it would be seen that “the bread which comes down from heaven” has no essential connection to the mortal flesh which they were worried about “eating.”] The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.  The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.[158]

The new covenant is sealed by the blood of Yeshua, our king who sovereignly dispenses to us the terms of his covenant.  We are called to participate in the affirmation of that covenant.   Since it would be an absolute obscenity for us to drink his actual blood [even in a “transubstantiation” event!], we, like the disciples present at that Passover, are invited to affirm the establishment of the new covenant by recognizing, by remembering, in the drinking of the wine, that there was an event in history which changed the world: the blood of Yeshua on the altar of heaven sealing the new covenant between God and man!

Catholicism has tried to support its obscene license through the mistranslation of Scripture, noticeably the following lines in I Corinthians.  Reliable translations of I Corinthians 10.16 read very close to this passage taken from my Greek interlinear:

“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the fellowship [koinonia] of the blood of the messiah?  The bread which we break, is it not the fellowship of the body of the messiah?”

In other words, in the course of the bread and wine memorial rite, do we not experience a deep bond with our brothers who share with us in the actual mystery of Spiritual nourishment, which we claim through the mercy of the sacrifice of Yeshua on the cross, and this mercy, this Spiritual nourishment, is “Christ in us.”

However, the Catholic Bible presents this verse with a quite different meaning:

“The cup of benediction that we bless, is it not a communion in the Blood of Christ?  And the bread that we break, is it not a participation in the Body of the Lord?”[159]

Here, by their own declaration, the mystery of Spiritual nourishment is reduced to alchemy, essential God entering into that which has the form of bread: now edible and available to all who are ready to follow Catholic orthodoxy, conjured into being by the fantastical presumption of a priest: yet another curtain, yet another exercise of institutional power over the freedom of the believer.

We must not forget the words of Yeshua at the time when he was telling them that they must eat his body and drink his blood:

The flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.[160]

Scripture is openly trumped by man-made traditions in the Catholic church, because everything in Scripture points to the truth that when Jesus is speaking of ingesting his body and blood he is using the most graphic language possible to tell his disciples that his Spirit must dwell in them if they are to know his life within them.  Everything in Scripture leads to the direct collision of the human person and the person of Yeshua.  Nothing in the new covenant gives license to any institution to insert itself between  man and God.

vi

We must not stop until we have considered one even more abominable aspect of the Mass.  In the ongoing celebration of the Catholic Mass, the institution promotes the understanding that the continual resupply of the “Eucharist” to the believer is necessary to his hope of salvation, fostering the understanding that the once for all times sacrifice of Yeshua on the cross is insufficient to remove the sins of the believer.

By the greatest arrogance the priest presumes to call down God from heaven, and then, in each instance, Mass after Mass, to sacrifice and re-sacrifice the body of Yeshua, claiming that again and again his body is broken for the believer!

“The Mass further claims to be not merely a symbolic ritual, but an actual sacrifice.  In the ‘offering of the Mass’ there is a real victim, the Lord Jesus, under the appearance of bread and wine.  Rome teaches that the sacrifice of the Mass and the sacrifice of the cross are one and the same. When the priest offers up the bread and wine on the altar, it is considered by Rome to be a true and proper sacrifice whereby Jesus, in an unbloody immolation, offers Himself a most acceptable victim to God, as He did on the cross, for the sins of the living and the dead.  Any Roman Catholic Catechism will confirm this.  Roman Catholics take the Mass in order to receive the benefits of the sacrifice of the cross.  It is a sacramental part of their salvation.”[161]

I have quoted this from a great article by Michael J. Penfold, and I owe it to him to include his beautiful response in the following paragraph:

“Salvation is only and ever found in the person of Christ through the finished work of Calvary.  The cross was not simply necessary – it was enough. Sinners are justified by His blood alone, without works, sacraments or ‘the church.’”

This is the teaching of Scripture: once for all times, sufficient beyond measure, with nothing that a man can add.  As the hymn says,

Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bidst me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

The Catholic church scorns the power of our God to absolve us of every failure and monstrously ascribes to the human priest an even greater power, the power to “create the Creator” coupled with the power to forgive sins and the power to place God as sacrifice upon a Catholic altar.  Yes, remember that the Catholic altar is not just a place of prayer, it is the place for the unending “bloodless” sacrifice of God.  Consider the following blasphemy:

“Indeed it is greater even than the power of the Virgin Mary.  While the Blessed Virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man not once but a thousand times!  The priest speaks and lo!  Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows his head in humble obedience to the priest’s command.”[162]

Surely it is only the spirit of the anti-Christ which could rejoice in deceiving so many people into imagining that they should conduct a “worshipful” sacrifice, over and over, millions of times a year, a sacrifice of our king who actually reigns in glory, reigns from the throne of God, deserving only our honor and love.

Scripture assures us that Jesus went to the cross once for all time, that he specifically does not become a repeated sacrifice, and that his one historic sacrifice is sufficient to heal all our sin:

“For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.  Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.  Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.”[163] 

vii

The Third Curtain of Obstruction: The Priesthood of the Catholic institution.

“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [164]

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”[165] 

“To him who loves us and has loosed us from our sins by shedding his blood – he has made us a kingdom of priests for his God and Father – to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”[166]

“And do not call anyone on earth ‘father’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.  Nor are you to be called ‘teacher’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.”[167]

Historically, to be a priest of Israel was to be someone who had been chosen to receive a level of blessing which assigned him to the greatest privilege, to come into the presence of God, and equally to be assigned to the greatest responsibility, to be totally consecrated to God, “preserving knowledge” and “bearing instruction.”[168]  In the wilderness, God chose the tribe of Levi to be his priests.  At one point there came to Moses some men of Israel who were jealous of the Levitical priesthood, feeling that all Israel was holy, and so they protested to Moses: “Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly.”  The response of Moses is revealing:

“In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him.  The man he chooses he will cause to come near him.”[169]

Moses was appealing to the roots of the call to the priesthood:  that a priest is commissioned by God, consecrated to God, and given the privilege of coming before God.  This very call to the priesthood was, in that time, limited to the tribe of Levi, but in this time all we who are the subjects of Yeshua are “Levites”:  we are all priests of GodIt was the work of our king at Calvary to tear down the veil and make a way to unite his Spirit with the spirit of those who love him, thereby making them true priests of God.

At Mt. Sinai God spoke to Israel a great promise whose fulfillment would not come about immediately:

“…if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.  Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

He was not saying that everyone would get a robe and a temple job.  He was speaking of the most profound meaning of being a priest: that the person be totally consecrated to the service of God, and that the person be called and made free to enter into the presence of God.

In the opening of the book of Revelation, John rejoiced that this prospect had now, through the sacrifice of our king upon the cross, been realized:

“To him who loves us and has loosed us from our sins by shedding his blood – he  has made us a kingdom of priests for his God and Father – to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”[170]

Yes, this is our great privilege and our grave undertaking in this time – total freedom to come into his presence, combined with total consecration to his service.  By God’s own witness, all we who belong to Yeshua are priests of our God.

But the Catholic institution, even though we are told to call no man “Father,” has created its own order of priests, with the clear purpose of inserting them as mediators between the  believer and his God.

If I come to the Catholic priest seeking God, the Catholic priest does not guide me to the collision of my consciousness with the consciousness of God, but rather conducts me to the sacramental rites of the Catholic institution: to the Mass and the encounter with “God” as Eucharistic host, to the sacrament of penance and penitential good works rather than direct confession and absolution in the presence of God.

In the following words of Father John Vianney, a French parish priest during the early nineteenth century, we see a portrait of the priest magnified beyond the stature of God Himself and which reveals the believer reduced to the state of a mendicant without hope of a direct personal knowledge of God, a believer surrounded by institutional “white magic:”

“Oh how great is the priest!  If he realized what he is, he would die…God obeys him: he utters a few words and the Lord descends from Heaven at his voice, to be contained within a small host. Without the sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put him there in that tabernacle?  The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of life?  The priest.  Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for the journey?  The priest.  Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ?  The priest – always the priest.  And if the soul should happen to die [as a result of sin] who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace?  Again the priest.  After God, the priest is everything!  Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is.”[171]

Vianney, canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, dares to say that the existence, for us, of God is dependent upon the prior existence and priesthood of the priest!  And so we see how it is that the Catholic priest should be called Alter Christus, “another Christ,” since by the design of the Institution the entire power of God to come to man and the entire power of man to come to God has been taken out of the hands of each and has been planted in the hands of the priest…handily rendering all power to the church and defying the glory and power of God.   In this we must recognize the extent to which the Catholic institution has come under the power of Satan and has become the most blatant enemy of God.

Most typically a member of the Catholic institution has not initially come to God through a conscious act of faith.  He is usually “brought in” through the “sacrament” of Baptism performed over him as an unknowing infant…which rite must of course be performed by a priest.  Then later, having grown up under training in the Catholic catechism, he is brought to First Communion, a celebrated first participation in the Eucharist of the Mass.  Then, a little later, comes the sacrament of Confirmation.  All Catholic parents know that the baptism of their unwitting infants is the standard expectation, as if this institutional “sacrament” could have some effect on the standing of the unwitting child in the eyes of God… a child whom God can only cherish in his innocence and whom God continues to love, be it even in rebellion.  But this is the beginning of the “power” of the institution and the isolation of the consciousness of the believer from the person of God.

The Catholic institution does not encourage its people to bring their confession directly to God in prayer.  Rather they expect their people to bring their confession to the priest.  Men, women and children alike are pressured to confess the most intimate details of their lives to the priest.  And then the priest dares to claim the power to forgive their sins in the name of God.

The Catholic institution does not encourage its people to know the immediacy of the Spirit of God in their hearts through the intimate opening of the self to God.  Rather they pretend to take ownership of that power, claiming that the entry of the Spirit of God into the person is provided through the Eucharist, and through the rite of Confirmation, which are dispensed only by the priest.  The priest presumes to regulate and originate the spiritual life of the believer.

Alberto Rivera, now martyred, once a Jesuit priest, miraculously discovered the course of living faith in Yeshua his Lord.  In a series of sermons still available on “Youtube” he speaks profoundly from the 24th chapter of Matthew.  He points out that in the liturgy of the Mass the priest points to the host and calls out the phrases quoted in Matthew 24.23.  The priest, focusing upon the host, asks “Who is here?” and the congregants respond, “Here is Christ, There is Christ.”  Rivera then points to the words of  Matthew 24.23 as true prophecy:

“At that time if anyone says to you ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.”

Alberto Rivera then speaks of the priesthood, “Alter Christus,” as the fulfillment of Matthew 24.24:

“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible.  See, I have told you ahead of time.”

This handiwork of the priest, the Eucharistic Mass, shows nothing but contempt for the historic, noble and complete redemptive sacrifice of Yeshua our king at Calvary.

viii

The Fourth Curtain of Obstruction: the Deification of Mary which is nothing less than the worship of the ancient “Goddess.”

            Former Catholic priest, Charles Chiniquy, in Fifty Years in the Church of Rome:

“It is thus that the Pope and the priests of Rome have entirely disfigured and changed the holy religion of the Gospel!  In the Church of Rome it is not Jesus but Mary, who represents the infinite love and mercy of God for the sinner. The sinner is not advised or directed to place his hope in Jesus, but in Mary, for his escape from deserved chastisement!  It is not Jesus, but Mary, who saves the sinner!  Jesus is always bent on punishing sinners; Mary is always merciful to them! The Church of Rome has thus fallen into idolatry: she rather trusts in Mary than in Jesus.  She constantly invites sinners to turn their thoughts, their hopes, their affections, not to Jesus, but to Mary!

“By means of that impious doctrine Rome deceives the intellects, seduces the hearts, and destroys the souls of the young forever.  Under the pretext of honouring the Virgin Mary, she insults her by outraging and misrepresenting her adorable Son.

“Rome has brought back the idolatry of old paganism under a new name. She has replaced upon her altars the Jupiter Tonans of the Greeks and Romans, only she places upon his shoulders the mantle and she writes on the forehead of her idol the name of Jesus, in order the better to deceive the world!”

As if it were not enough to obscure the face of our God with the Pope usurping divine authority as Vicarius Christi,  Vicarius Filii Dei and Pontifex Maximus; as if it were not enough to overlay the glory of our Savior with a priest who claims to be Alter Christus; as if it were not enough to deny the Spirit of God by reducing the Spirit of God to a genii in a box, i.e. to a mystical presence in a wafer and a cup  — dispensed at the will of men; as if it were not enough to deny a man the privilege of opening his soul before God by demanding that he bare his soul in confession to a priest; … as if all this were not enough, the architects of Catholicism have gone on to ascribe to the mortal woman, Mary, every divinity and virtue which it has most cynically labored to erase from the name and glory of Yeshua our king. 

 

ix

Mary as “Co-Redeemer”

Yeshua is the only Redeemer of mankind, awaited as Messiah Redeemer since the time of Adam, but the Satanic Catholic power, having put our Messiah out of the reach of its congregants, has put Mary into the center, claiming they do not worship her but rather “honor” her, …Alas, there is no one else, for in their cosmos the person and presence of Yeshua can not be found, and She is “there” in the midst of their cult, “fully accessible.”  They dare to name her Co-Redemptrix and to ascribe to her full participation in the sacrifice of Yeshua at Calvary:

“This doctrine was systematically worked out for the first time at the end of the 10th century in the Life of Mary by a Byzantine monk, John the Geometer.  Here Mary is united to Christ in the whole work of Redemption, sharing, according to God’s plan, in the Cross and suffering for our salvation.  She remained united to the Son “in every deed, attitude and wish” [cf. Life of Mary, Bol. 196, f. 123 v.]  In the West, St. Bernard, who died in 1153, turns to Mary and comments, “…for our reconciliation with all, offer the heavenly victim pleasing to God.” [Serm. 3 in Purif. 2:PL 183,370]  A disciple and friend of St. Bernard, Arnold of Chartres, shed light particularly on Mary’s offering in the sacrifice of Calvary.  He distinguished in the Cross ‘two altars: one in Mary’s heart, the other in Christ’s body.  Christ sacrificed his flesh, Mary her soul.’  Mary sacrificed herself spiritually in deep communion with Christ, and implored the world’s salvation: ‘What the mother asks, the Son approves and the Father grants.’[172]

This last piece of apostasy dares to have the entire sacrifice at Calvary originate in the heart of Mary, to which the Son simply accedes and the Father blandly gives his permission!  How many horrors can the architects of Catholicism invent to denigrate the One who loves us?!

John Paul II repeatedly has addressed Mary as Co-Redeemer of mankind.  He placed  this title on Mary in a very carefully worded context,  a homily given at a Marian sanctuary in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on January 31, 1985:

“Mary goes before us and accompanies us.[1]  The silent journey that begins with her Immaculate Conception and passes through the ‘yes’ of Nazareth, which makes her the Mother of God,[2] finds on Calvary a particularly important moment.  There also, accepting and assisting at the sacrifice of her son, Mary is the dawn of Redemption,[3] …Crucified spiritually with her crucified son, she contemplated with heroic love the death of her God, she ‘lovingly consented to the immolation of this Victim[4] which she herself had brought forth….In fact, at Calvary she united herself with the sacrifice of her Son that led to the foundation of the Church; her maternal heart shared to the very depths the will of Christ [4]‘to gather into one all the dispersed children of God.’  Having suffered for the Church[5], Mary deserved to become the Mother of all the disciples of her Son, the Mother of their unity…[6] The Gospels do not tell us of an appearance of the risen Christ to Mary.  Nevertheless, as she was in a special way close to the Cross of her Son, she also had to have a privileged experience of his Resurrection.  In fact, Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son.[7] [173]

Allow me to tack on a few extra footnotes:

[1] The Pope ascribes to Mary the very journey which is our birthright with our Messiah and which the Catholic architects deny and obscure.

[2]The Pope gives her a title which ultimately serves to dress her in a splendor above God Himself.

[3]This generosity to Mary again serves to make Mary the source of blessing and place the very will of God in Yeshua in a secondary or even accidental position.

[4]What our king accomplished at Calvary had nothing to do with the will of Mary.

[5] However great the suffering of Mary, it was insignificant in comparison with the suffering of Yeshua.

[6]The unity of the disciples, as discussed at length in Yeshua’s “high priestly” prayer in John 17, has nothing to do with Mary but rests only on the presence of the Spirit of God in them.

[7]There is but one Redeemer and that is Yeshua our Messiah.

Out of whole cloth the architects of Catholicism have manufactured from the frailty of the all too human mother of Jesus a “goddess,”  a “Mother of God,” a “Queen of Heaven,” and a “Co-Redeemer” with Yeshua.  These are the height of blasphemy.

x

 Mary as Mediatrix, “the recipient of the prayers of the faithful.”

We have already seen how the Catholic institution is designed to hide the face of Yeshua from the searching heart of the believer.  Of course, Yeshua is always mentioned in some way.  He is there on the stained glass window.  He is mentioned repeatedly in the liturgy.  But in terms of coming to him, there is always some sacrament or person who first intervenes.  Now shamelessly Mary is led forward with all the powers of God Himself!  Catholics are encouraged to pray to her directly and to seek from her everything that they would like to ask of Jesus….for, in their Satanic mythology, She, not the Son of God, is Mediator!  This fantastical creation of Satan joins in with all the other creations of the church in order to obscure the face of Yeshua, the very One who loves us and has given his life to draw us and bind us to himself.  The following are the words of Pope John  Paul II:

“Thus there is a mediation: Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings.  She puts herself ‘in the middle,’ that is to say she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, but in her position as mother.”[174]

There could not be a more straightforward description of the Catholic plan to hang yet another curtain between man and God.  We do not need Mary or anyone else in the middle!  We need Yeshua alone!

I quote again from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, indebted to the research of Matt Slick and his article on The Exaltation of Mary[175].

“Mary is the perfect Orans [pray-er], a figure of the Church.  When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men.  Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus’ mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living.  We can pray with and to her.  The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.”[176]

“Because of Mary’s singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church loves to pray in communion  with the Virgin Mary [?], to magnify with her the great things the Lord has done for her, and to entrust supplications and praises to her.[177]

In response, it is most obvious that the mortal woman, Mary, has lost her mortal body and her soul is with God.  There is nothing in Scripture to suggest her divinity.  Therefore, although her soul rests with God, she, from our point of view is someone who has died and gone to God.  She is dead.  She is clinically dead.  There is no place in our faith for prayers to the clinically dead:

Let no one be found among you…who consults the dead.”[178]

We might also mention the first commandment:

You shall have no other gods [goddesses/demi-goddesses] before me.”

To bring one’s prayers to Mary rather than to God Himself is to spit on the omnipresence and omniscience and endless love of God, by which he most gently calls us to Himself.

Our prayers are meant to go to God alone.  As for the above reference to Mary being “invited into the home,” the spirits of the dead are not to be invited into our homes.  Yeshua our king, however, owns every claim to rule and to share his Spiritual presence with us both in our heart and in our home.

From what quarter comes this Catholic fascination with bringing Mary into every corner of a life, while there is not even a whisper suggesting the opening of the heart to the presence of Yeshua?  It is inconceivable that this is an accident or a mere meagerness of understanding.  Somewhere deep within the Catholic establishment there is an architectural force eager to build walls between men and God.

We must stand up to such a force, in the power of the Spirit of our king.  We must respond: Yeshua alone is our true Redeemer, the only one who says,

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and sup with him and he with me.  And the conqueror I will allow to sit beside me on my throne as I myself have conquered and sat down beside my Father on his throne.”[179]

 

xi

Mary as “Queen of Heaven”

“So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.  Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?  The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven.[180]

“…and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt, said to Jeremiah, “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord!  …We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem.”[181]

Pope Pius IX, 1854: “ She has been appointed by God to be the Queen of Heaven and Earth.”  [made official in 1954 by Pius XII]

The Queen of Heaven is Ishtar, Ashtoreth, Astarte …all versions of the pagan goddess, fundamentally the Egyptian Isis, that Israel worshipped when they were in rebellion against their God.

Catholicism, since its early adorations of Mary in the 5th century, has overtly taken upon  itself the forms of the pagan icons, mother Isis and child Horus, by which piece of blasphemy, by which inspiration of Satan, they have degraded the only God and have glorified a monstrous feminine fantasy.  Now their Mary Queen of Heaven looks much like the ancient portrait of Queen Isis.  In the second century Latin novel, The Golden Ass, Lucius Apuleius describes Isis introducing herself to that ass in the following terms:

“’I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistress and governess of all the elements, the initial progeny of worlds, chief of the powers divine, queen of heaven, the principal of the gods celestial, the light of the goddesses.  At my will the planets of the air, the wholesome winds of the seas and the silences of hell are disposed.  My name, my divinity, is adored throughout the world, in divers manners, in variable customs and in many names, for the Phrygians call me the mother of the gods; the Athenians, Minerva; the Cyprians, Venus; the Candians, Diana; the Sicilians, Proserpina; the Eleusinians, Ceres; some Juno, others Bellona, others Hecate; and principally the Ethiopians who dwell in the Orient, and the Egyptians…do call me Queen Isis.’”[182]

And in this time she is called Mary Queen of Heaven!  Do I exaggerate in claiming that Mary has been given The Position of Full Dominance analogous to the ancient and abominable worship of the goddess?  Let me give a few quotations in my support:

Pope Pius X, 1904: “Since the Divine Providence has been pleased that we should have the Man-God through Mary, who conceived Him by the Holy Ghost and bore Him in her breast, it only remains for us to receive Christ from the hands of Mary.”[183] [And so she stands above God Himself].

Pope Leo XIII, 1891: “With equal truth may it be also affirmed that, by the will of God, Mary is the intermediary through whom is distributed unto us this immense treasure of mercies gathered by God, for mercy and truth were created by Jesus Christ.  Thus as no man goeth to the Father but by the Son, so no man goeth to Christ but by His Mother..…Mary is this glorious intermediary.”[184] [Thus Mary owns all gates of access to God.]

St. Louis Marie de Montfort, in The Secret of Mary: “God chose her to be the treasurer, the administrator and the dispenser of all his graces, so that all his graces and gifts pass through her hands.  Such is the power that she has received from him that, according to St. Bernardine, she gives the graces of the eternal Father, the virtues of Jesus Christ, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to whom she wills, as and when she wills, and as much as she wills...We must never go to our Lord except through Mary, using her intercession and good standing with him. We must never be without her when praying to Jesus…. Beware, chosen soul, of thinking that it is more perfect to direct your work and intention straight to Jesus or straight to God.  Without Mary, your work and your intention will be of little value.  But if you go to God through Mary, your work will become Mary’s work, and consequently will be most noble and most worthy of God.” 186 

Again, they would have Mary own the gateway to life and to all spiritual experience, the gates to salvation.  Who then might claim to stand above such a figure?  Not even God has her power in this scheme!  Do not think for a minute that M. Louis Marie de Montfort is some sort of extremist beyond the mainstream of Catholic thought.  He [1673-1716] was a French Roman Catholic priest, and was made a missionary apostolic by Pope Clement XI.  The Roman Catholic Church, under Pope Pius XII canonized Montfort on July 20, 1947, and there is a “founders statue” of him in the upper niche of the south nave of Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.[186]

One more entry, by Pope Pius IX, is perhaps the most distressing and filthy claim, as it would usurp in the name of their goddess the very central victory of human history, the victory of our Lord Yeshua over Satan, the victory gained at the cross, that victory prophesied upon the day we left the garden:

“All our hope do we repose in the most Blessed Virgin – in the all fair and immaculate one who has crushed the poisonous head of the most cruel serpent and brought salvation to the world.”[187]

xii

There are so many more claims with which the architects try to dress out the “divinity” of Mary – that she was without sin; that her progenitors were without sin; that she was Ever Virgin, even though she bore many children; that she was “Assumed” bodily and directly up into heaven without physical death; etc.: claims not worth addressing, since they only fabricate them in order to steal glory from God.  So they hope to shrink the dimension of their sin by turning their backs on their God.  As for the architects of Catholic faith, I have no doubt that their purposes are bound to the worship of another God, far from the God and Messiah of Israel.  This fabricated Marian goddess thus sits as an Abomination in the heart which is intended by God to be his holy place.

Catholicism as a whole possesses a supreme mediocrity – plenty of pomp and minimal demands on the real soul of a person.  Unfortunately the returns are not only “minimal,” the return is the absolute loss of the soul, failure to know the salvation of God.  For Jesus said, “No man comes to the Father but by me.”  He also said that He, not Mary, is the gate to the sheepfold. Yeshua said that He is the way, the truth and the life.  He said that He is the vine and we are the branches.  He extended the call to our hearts to invite him alone into the sacred halls of the heart.

I conclude this section as I began: We are looking for signs of the man of lawlessness in the Holy Place.  The Holy Place is the place of redemption, be it architectural or spiritual, and it exists only due to the once and for all sacrifice of our king.  Through this sacrifice alone has come redemption, the union of man and God, and the Holy Place.  The “Abomination which causes desolation” is that which denies the accomplished redemption of God, that which denies the value of the blood of Yeshua on the altar of heaven.   Do not be fooled into awaiting some threepenny melodrama on the Temple Mount.  We are the Holy Place, and the man of lawlessness is here among us with his goddesses in tow!

Chapter #11: The Abomination which sets itself up in opposition to the temple of Spirit –Part C, Catholic “Modernism:” the Abandonment of the Divinity of the Redeemer and the Abandonment of the Divinity of Creation

  

i

           The Roman church long prohibited the distribution of Scripture, claiming that men were not wise enough to properly understand its contents.  The Roman church did not want its people responding to the directive of the word of God; the church wanted its people to act in response to the directives of their priests and bishops and Pope.  The expectation of the church was not so much personal enlightenment as enlightened obedience.

In the Renaissance, the scholarship of Catholic humanists in many ways led to the considerations which produced the Protestant Reformation.  The Reformation helped restore the understanding that a person can come to God directly, without the mediation of the ecclesiastical institution and its sacraments.  The Protestant Reformation was persuasive in its arguments against Catholic orthodoxy, and it rooted itself in towns and parishes throughout Europe, creating an environment where men were freed from bondage to Papal authority.

Scripture became available in the vernacular languages, and people were encouraged to read and discover for themselves the beauty of God’s plan of salvation, the exquisite hope of coming unimpeded into the presence of God.  Men and women learned that they could rely on the witness of their own intelligence in their search for God.  The freedom to follow the commands of their own heart and understanding, rather than the commands of the Roman institution, became a powerful influence encouraging men to believe in the validity of their own perceptions and their own understanding.

ii

Jesus himself rebuked those who fail to be led by the honest witness of what is true and manifest.  At one point he scolded his disciples for not paying sufficient attention to what their eyes had seen, their ears heard, and their intelligence perceived:

“Perceive you not yet, neither understand?  Have you yet hardened your heart?  Having eyes, do you not see, and having ears, do you not hear? and do you not remember?[188]  Mark 8.17,18

It is Paul’s claim that we are to be instructed in the nature of the invisible God through our perceptions of the world around us:

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”[189]

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews asserts that we are expected to be able to recognize the call of God through our comprehension of the in-historical event of the coming of our messiah:

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…”[190]

Above all we are expected to be able to consider the historical witness of Scripture, to gauge its integrity and its correspondence to the deepest aspirations of our own nature, and from this to be able to be persuaded and give ourselves in devotion to our God:

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”[191]                       

In every case it is our sovereign God who calls us to himself, but he calls us through the corridors of our senses, our perceptions, the evidence of the written word, the historical events to which those words attest, and through our willingness to synthesize information in our understanding.

iii

Out of the Reformation, the restoration of belief in the validity of individual judgment led in the following centuries to much critical observation of the physical world and to progress in scientific understanding.  A physical science developed which attempted to ascertain quantitatively the forces and elemental agents of the physical world.  Out of this endeavor there came into being a developing series of standards by which men hoped to attain scientific knowledge of natural events.  These standards favored knowledge which is rooted in observation and measurement and is verifiable through experimentation.

The investigation of natural events, however, in its quest for knowledge of the material world, settled on parameters which fall short of the processes which lead to the knowledge of God.  In particular the science of material things paid no attention to the power of human faith and divine Spirit to establish conduits of knowledge between man and God.  Scientists who had no vision of this form of knowing increasingly claimed that anything outside the reach of their scientific method was unknowable.  This amounted to a pre-judgment that only the material is real.

Jesus openly stood for other means of knowing.  When he asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?”  Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  To which Jesus answered,

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”[192]

Here Jesus was speaking of a knowledge brought directly to the heart of Peter through the witness of the Spirit of God.

At another time Jesus spoke to a group of converts:

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”[193]

Here Jesus was speaking of a knowing which does not come from mere observation, measurement, or deductive reasoning.  This knowledge comes from submission of the soul to the lordship of our teacher and king.  It is a knowledge which comes out of being known by God.

After Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman she told her neighbors all about him.  This merely produced in them a state of curiosity.  However they all came and talked with Jesus:

“And because of his words many more became believers.  They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.’”[194]

Here again, time spent in the presence of God produces a knowing which is beyond that which can be attained from second hand narrative.  The quality of God is to be God, and we are granted the intelligence to recognize him as God if we open our hearts and allow ourselves to come into his presence.  The fact that this knowing happens in the deepest privacy of the soul does not discredit it, even when it can not be laid on the table and demonstrated to the satisfaction of all witnesses.

iv

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in a time of discovery, the intoxication of fresh fields of inquiry undoubtedly had some bearing on the emergence of Jesuits in rebellion against the dogmatic confines of the church.  With nineteenth century advances in the understanding and mastery of the physical world, Science was claiming an unquestioned throne in the Western consciousness.  Ecclesiastical men of learning were pressed to measure the stature of their own idols against iconic Science, this new idol of Western culture.    No church, it seemed, dared claim its miracles or mysteries without passing them in review before the scrutiny of Science.  Preachers and priests alike began to explain the scientific underpinnings of “miracles” and apologize for the naïve belief of Scripture in demons and angels.

In granting such authority to Science, power was denied to the avenues of knowledge which fall outside the methods of science.  Withdrawal from belief began to have an aura of legitimacy – even to be praiseworthy and “brave” – if one stood upon the witness of one’s senses, abandoning the human capacity for faith and abandoning every intimate conviction of things which can not be seen.

Author James Turner quotes a letter, written in 1869, from Charles Eliot Norton to his friend John Ruskin:

“There is a matter on which I have been thinking much of late.  It does not seem to me that the evidence concerning the being of God, and concerning immortality, is such as to enable us to assert anything in regard to either of these topics.”[195]

In the Catholic church the growing primacy of the scientific temperament began to manifest itself as Catholic “Modernism.”  This school of thought within the church, initially among Jesuit scholars, became an attempt to see the church make itself over as the modern heirs to Orthodox spiritual authority while ingesting the judgments of material science and accommodating the modern impoverishment of a purely Material Cosmos.  It is tempting to accuse them of an abandonment of faith, but, alas, we can only accuse them of an abandonment of classical paganism, so that the classical Virgin Queen of Heaven became a much more metaphysical Queen of Wisdom [Sophia].  Nevertheless, the new paganism definitely left no room for the true fire of faith — that faith unknown to science and yet so powerful that thousands, even millions, have willingly given their lives in sacrifice at the hands of Rome rather than deny the umbilical of steel by which true faith connects a man of faith to his God.

The Jesuit, George Tyrrell, was one of the first to articulate a “Modernist” position.  We see in him the restless effort to put off every yoke of traditional ecclesiastical authority.  Confidence in what can and should be seen with his own eyes inspires him to reject all authority but the witness of his senses.  Certainly he did well to reject the false authority of the Papacy, but, born into a confusion of ecclesiastical authority with the just claims of God, he threw out God along with the Papacy:

“During his own student days, Tyrrell had been very impressed with the results of the ‘higher criticism’ leveled at the Bible, and with the promise of science to open up the universe.  ‘The Modernist,’ he wrote later, ‘demands absolute freedom for science in the widest sense of that term.’…The fixed dogmas of Rome were his target.”[196]

He turned to reject the fundamental premise of traditional Catholic authority, that the believing Church must adhere to the authority of the teaching Church.

Nor was there to be any further hierarchy of belief.  It is part of the democratizing effect of science to make all things equal… man is man, cat is cat.  Tyrrell’s was a world in which “holiness” [the condition in which men are “set apart” by God for his own purposes] achieved little currency.  For Tyrrell the Spirit of God could no longer be for the few.  For him, like a page out of Hegel, Spirit is that which “expresses itself in the historical process of science, morality, and religion….For the Spirit of God is in us all.”[197]  Once again the life of Yeshua in the heart of the believer – the encounter of a person and the Spirit of Yeshua – is denied.  And the majuscule “I” is taken out of the “individual” so that that honor may be given to the “Collective.”

And what does Tyrrell think of Yeshua?

“It is certain that Tyrrell did not believe that Jesus was God-made-man….Christ does not appear as a living Savior dying on the cross to effect the Salvation of the world.  Christ’s personal love for all men and women does not appear….For him belief in Christ entailed no faith in Christ as a teacher and in his doctrine, but [merely] an apprehension of his personality as revealing itself within us.”[198]

George Tyrrell, in his depreciation of the truths of the gospel and in his assault on Papal authority, became the father of a great field of culture within the Roman institution, particularly among the Jesuits.  According to Malachi Martin,

“What makes Tyrrell’s case most relevant in any assessment of a large number of Jesuits today –as well as an equally large number of theologians and bishops – is the uncanny resemblance between their views and Tyrell’s views, between their attitude to papacy and Church hierarchy and Tyrrell’s attitude.”[199]   

For Tyrrell there is no historical Jesus, no living Savior, no redemption at the cross, no personal love of the Messiah for man and woman.  “We cannot frame our minds to that of a first century Jewish Carpenter.”[200]  For Tyrrell, “Christ” is more like a quality of being, something waiting to emerge from all mankind.  It is this credo, held at the feet of the god of Science, which leads us to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

v

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a French priest, born in 1881, twenty years after George Tyrrell.  At eighteen Teilhard became a Jesuit trainee.  He was ordained at thirty.  His studies focused on paleontology, geology and biology.  He took the work of Charles Darwin as essentially inviolable scientific fact, then brought to it a cosmology which would incorporate the presence of “spirit.”  In such works as The Phenomenology of Man he described the growth of complexity in organisms leading to animal consciousness, destined by their material/psychical energy to advance to that consciousness which is a consciousness of self.  Without the detailed Darwinian beginnings, this seems to be just a re-hashing of Hegel.  Hegel, however offered the hope that the consciousness of self can become a consciousness of Self, wherein men discover that their eternal essence is a pre-existent and always living Absolute.

For Teilhard de Chardin, the expansion of consciousness leads to a Collective Consciousness.  The energy of physical evolution is married to an energy which is mental/spiritual and directs the overall movement of evolution toward an end.  In this process, as the evolution of the individual person may appear to slow, the massive growth of consciousness leads the development of the Collective Consciousness into a kind of Collectivism.

“The outcome of the world, the gates of the future, the entry into the super-human – these are not thrown open to a few of the privileged nor to one chosen people to the exclusion of all others. They will open only to an advance of all together, in a direction in which all together can join and find completion in a spiritual renovation of the earth.[201]

For Teilhard, mankind is more important to God than the individual man.  For him the individual historical Christ is of no consequence.  The incarnation of Christ is rather, for him, this whole vast emergence of collective consciousness into the progress of the evolving world, leading to a point which he calls the Omega point, which may be taken as the completion of the incarnation of Christ in the world.  Curiously enough this is equally a picture of an evolving “Christ!”  Here again Teilhard de Chardin differs little from Hegel, since, for each, their Absolute can not have real existence short of the Phenomenon of human historical existence.  So the Geistphenomenologie of Hegel and Teilhard de Chardin’s The Phenomenon of Man are intimately related.  Teilhard de Chardin’s compounding of Hegel with a Darwinian “science” of evolution, however, leads to the full rejection of the fundamental pillar of Scripture, the fundamental pillar of human existence: that man and woman were created in the image of God.  Short this fact, the Scriptures are without meaning and the progress of our Savior to the cross is a comical melodrama.  For God to die to “redeem” lizards and chimpanzees would be a true case of overacting.  Where the success of the avowed atheist Darwin in peddling evolution is a victory for Satan, certainly the success of Teilhard de Chardin within the halls of religion must reassure Satan of the great value of his efforts to cultivate strong ties within Christian Orthodoxy.

Whatever the lack of originality in de Chardin, and whatever his inconsistencies, of which there are many, it is nevertheless historical fact that he, like Tyrrell, has now evolved from Catholic rebel into a discreetly sanctioned hero, until in this day we have two Popes praising his insights.

vi

On 22 October, 1996, Pope John Paul II issued a statement to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in which he endorsed evolution as being “more than just a theory.”

“Today, almost half a century after publication of the encyclical, new knowledge led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.”[202]

“In 1981, on the 100th anniversary of Teilhard’s birth, speculation erupted about a possible rehabilitation.  It was fueled by a letter published in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, by the then-Cardinal Secretary of  State Agostino Casaroli, who praised the ‘astounding resonance of his research, as well as the brilliance of his personality and richness of his thinking.’  Casaroli asserted that Teilhard had anticipated John Paul II’s call to ‘be not afraid,’ embracing ‘culture, civilization and progress.’”[203]

Now, as my final entry on the subject of the Catholic institution, I include again a quote from Father Joseph Ratzinger, become Pope Benedict, from his book, Fe e Futuro, the same passage which I included at the end of “Item #9” in this series.  This quotation is an obscenely explicit renunciation of God Himself, and of everything that is sacred.  It is the most profane statement from a man who is most obviously profane.  As pretender to the throne of the kingdom of God, as pretender to the title of Vicarius Filii Dei, “Substitute for Christ on earth,” this man is a blasphemer and a deceiver of the most extreme kind.  With his leadership it can be certain that the projects of his institution are in no way directed toward the true purposes of the kingdom of God.  Mr. Ratzinger renounces the truth of creation and explicitly renounces the truth of the very word of God.  Without the creation of man in the image of God, without the absolutely solid word of God, there is no humanity, there is no redemption, and there is no hope of salvation.  This man is a traitor at the heart of the world, casting the darkest shadow across the world’s perception of the living and true kingdom of God.  We thank God that the perfidy of this man and the perfidy of his kingdom of deception shall not last.  A day of judgment is coming, in which day the following lies shall all be swept away.

The words of Father Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI:

“Let us look at the critic’s points in broad lines. The difficulty already begins with the first page of the Bible. The idea of the world’s origin developed there is in evident contradiction with everything we know today about the origin of the cosmos. Even if we say that those pages are not a manual of natural history and, therefore, should not be understood as a literal description of the cosmos’ origin, a bad feeling remains. … On almost every page of the Bible such questions persist.

The figure formed of clay that in God’s hand becomes man is largely incomprehensible to us, as well as what happens right afterward with the woman, taken from his side while he sleeps and recognized by him as the flesh of his own flesh, that is, as a response to the question of his solitude.

Perhaps today we have to re-learn how to understand these images as profound symbolic expressions regarding man. … In the next chapter (the history of the fall) new questions rise. How can we reconcile them with the concept that man, as demonstrated by natural science, did not begin from above, but from below? He did not fall, but little by little ascended, increasingly becoming a man from an animal. And what about Paradise? Suffering and death already existed in the world long before man existed. …

Let us continue to examine these questions and contradictions that distress the general conscience in order to appraise with all necessary harshness the problem behind the words faith and knowledge.

After the report of the fall, the Bible continues with its image of history, where Adam is described to us in a cultural period situated around 4000 BC. This date agrees with the biblical counting of time, resulting that around 4000 years have passed from the beginning until Christ. But today all of us know that before this event, a period of hundreds of thousands of years of life and human efforts had already passed, a time not taken into consideration in the biblical image of history, which was restricted to the Eastern understanding of that time.

With this we touch the next point: the Bible, which faith venerates as the word of God, became clear to us in its entire human character through the historical-critical method of investigation. It not only follows the literary forms of its ambience, but also is influenced by the world in which it originated. This influence marked its way of thinking and its religious character itself.

Can we still believe in the God who calls Moses in the burning bush? The God who kills the firstborn sons of Egypt and leads His people to war against the inhabitants of Canaan? Who makes Oza fall dead because he touched the sacred ark? Or were all these things nothing but an expression of the old East, interesting, yes; perhaps even significant as a level of the human conscience; but not the expression of the divine word?

(Joseph Ratzinger, Fé e Futuro, São Paulo: Vozes, 1971, pp. 11-13)[204]

 

 

 Building 7

 ******

 

 Chapter #12: The Externalization of Israel, Part A,  The Phenomenology of the Israel of God, “not one of the nations.”

 

i

“Separated from the peoples”

We have record in the book of Leviticus that Yahveh laid down parameters at Sinai by which the people of God must know themselves as separated to God.  Through Moses Yahveh established the standard, definitive of the Israel of God:

“You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.”[205]

As the children of Jacob advanced from Egypt toward Canaan along the plains of Moab, King Balak called the seer Balaam to put a curse on Israel.  But his insights revealed to him a people apart, beyond even the reach of curses, under the wing of God:

“I see a people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations.”[206]

But we find an incongruity between the Israel of prescription and prophecy and the Israel which appears in the record of history.  Just a few generations after the prophetic words of Balaam, the people of Israel would ask for and receive an earthly king, in order that they might satisfy their desire to be like the nations.  From the sealing of the covenant at  Sinai through the time of the judges until the day of Samuel, the people of Israel had approached Yahveh directly as their Sovereign Lord and King.  But they began to wander from that vision.  They went to Samuel, judge and guardian of the divine covenant, and made the request:

“…appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”[207]

Yahveh found it within his permissive will to let it happen.  He would give them their choice, even if that choice was to withdraw from the immediacy of his rule.  We, made in his image, come to him in freedom.  He does not force himself upon us.  Yahveh counciled Samuel:

“’…they have rejected me as their king.  As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.  Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do’….But the people refused to listen to Samuel.  ‘No!’ they said.  ‘We want a king over us.  Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.’”[208]

Israel was on its way to becoming embroiled in all the petty ambitions and rivalries of the nations.  Many of her kings would turn completely away from Yahveh.  The people as a result would abandon their role of privilege at the center of God’s will and would suffer estrangement, grieving the heart of God.

How, then, do we interpret glowing prophetic statements about Israel which hardly render themselves true except under the most rarefied circumstances, as in the following pronouncements of Balaam:

“No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel. The Lord their God is with them; the shout of the King is among them…There is no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel….How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!  Like valleys they spread out, like gardens beside a river, like aloes planted by Yahveh, like cedars beside the waters.”[209]

To make sense of this dichotomy requires that we take account of an essential truth, that the collective which is known as Israel can only be bound to Yahveh by the free choice and purposeful allegiance of individuals.  As a result, it is an inevitable circumstance that there will be at all times both a nominal Israel which inhabits appearances and a living Israel which is holding to the truth of Yahveh.  Considering Israel of record as it moves through history, as we regard the collective or as we regard certain individuals, they may or may not own Yahveh as their Lord and King.  And, given the arrival of Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, those known as Israel may or may not swear fealty to him.  But at all times there is a portion of Israel, as well as people from all the nations of the earth, who come to Yahveh and recognize his majesty and own him as Lord and King… and these are the Israel which can be known as Transcendent Israel, the Israel of God.

When Balaam says, “No misfortune is seen in Jacob…” it would be a mistake to conclude that what distinguishes the Israel of God from the world of rebellion is the good fortune of the faithful and the misfortune of the unfaithful.  In reality the Israel of God, above all others, is called to stand in the truth and endure the rejection of the world.  The values of the Israel of God are an affront to the powers of the world, in particular the adherence of Transcendent Israel to Yeshua her king as Lord above every lord, and the claim of Transcendent Israel to be the true heir of the promise of history.

The joy and privilege of Israel is not in earthly blessing but in the depth of their knowledge of their God, in the honor to stand in the truth of their God, and in their confidence that this world is merely the beginning of history in the kingdom of God.

When Balaam was speaking of Israel that can not be brought down by any force or curse or evil of any kind, he was speaking of that Israel which, though they may suffer persecution and trials on earth, yet shall know eternally the salvation of Yahveh, the God of Israel, to whom they belong.

When Yeshua came to his people, the guardians of faith [and the status quo] rejected him.  And so visible, national Israel abandoned its divine king, and in so doing rejected its essential being as the children of God.  What remained was the few, the eternal remnant of individuals who recognized him as Messiah and as God:

“…yet to those who received him…he gave the right to become children of God.”[210]

Paul described the division of Israel in the following words:

“For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.  Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children….In other words it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.”[211]

And again,

“A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.  No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.  Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.”[212]

And,

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.”[213]

And also,

“If you belong to the Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”[214]

Similarly John the Baptist spoke scornfully of those who would claim ownership of the promises to Abraham through genetics alone:

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’  I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.”[215]

It is important to notice that each of these references which offer a distinction between a dead exterior and the essence of Israel refer in some way to Abraham and the promises of Yahveh to Abraham.  In fact, as Yeshua is the Spiritual and eternal foundation of the holy people, his promises to Abraham are the primary temporal foundation of the holy people.

The above references make it clear that in Abraham God was not simply establishing another nation to be defined by genetics.  From the references it is clear that to be a child of promise is a spiritual matter, and that no natural birth in and of itself can deliver you into the Israel of God.  Yeshua told the heads of the Temple, “If you were Abraham’s children you would do as Abraham did,” a statement which places the heir of Abraham well above mere genetic connection.

In this the time of the Messiah of Israel, as he is the living power by which the promises to Abraham are fulfilled, it is very hard to see how anyone can lay claim to the Abrahamic promises apart from heartfelt receipt of the Lordship of the King of Israel:

“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” [216]

 

ii

The promises to Abraham as the enduring foundation of the holy people

What is the significance of Abraham to essential Israel?  What are the promises to Abraham?  What does it mean to be a child of the promise as opposed to a “natural child”?  And what is the link between the eternal Israel of God, the Messiah of Israel, and the promises to Abraham?

If we pursue these questions we discover that the historic ground upon which Israel is rooted is the series of events in which Yahveh believed in the heart of an Aramean man named Abraham and chose to assign to him the patriarchy of a nation in which Yahveh would root a line of kings, from which line would come Immanuel, God With Us, the Messiah who draws all nations to himself.

After the fall, Abraham was not the first to have hope nor the first to have faith.  And yet something extraordinary transpired between Abraham and Yahveh, so that Abraham is known as the father of faith.  In a time of degeneracy and polytheism, Yahveh called Abraham to set himself apart for a life to be lived at the hand of God.  Abraham trusted and believed God, and Yahveh blessed the life of Abraham, even to the point of founding in him the great plan for the restoration of mankind.

The hope of a Redeemer took form at the gates of Eden when God promised that the child of the woman would crush the head of the serpent.  The hope of being a people of God took form in God’s promises to Abraham.

Yahveh promised to make Abraham into a great nation[217] and promised to make him the father of many nations.[218]  Yahveh promised that through Abraham would come blessing to all nations on earth.[219]  Yahveh promised a land[220] as an everlasting possession for Abraham and his descendants.[221]   He promised him offspring as numerous as the dust of the earth and the stars of the sky.[222]  And Yahveh bound Abraham to himself by covenant, promising to be, eternally, the Lord and shield and reward of Abraham and his descendants.[223]

Abraham’s wife Sarah went well into her old age without bearing him a child.  By standard practice of the time, she had given him her handmaid Hagar to bear for them a child, and Hagar bore them Ishmael, whom Abraham loved dearly.  Throughout the childhood of Ishmael Abraham assumed that the promises of Yahveh would find fulfillment through his first son, Ishmael.  And yet, God intervened and specified that Abraham would have another son by Sarah, and that he would be the one to carry the promise.

“Then God said, ‘Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.  I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers.  He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.  But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you…”[224]

Similarly, Isaac would have two sons, Jacob and Esau, of whom Esau would be the elder, and Yahveh would order things not by nature but by his own will, such that the promise would not be subservient to nature:

“Two nations are in your womb, and two people from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”[225]

Isaac’s son Jacob had the heart to trust Yahveh for all his life, and Jacob became the inheritor, bearer, and guardian of the promises to Abraham.  Jacob had twelve sons and one daughter.  They and their children, seventy strong, went into Egypt to find refuge from a great drought.  As they grew in number they became an enslaved minority, but several hundred years later they were led from Egypt by Moses, until at the foot of Mt. Sinai Yahveh elaborated upon his covenant with Abraham, giving them, by the hand of Moses, the parameters which would guide and mark them as the people of God.

Again in this context it continued to be the case that nature and genetics could not secure the grandeur of the promises of Yahveh to Abraham.  What had been promised was not only something for a people.   It was equally something which must come from the people.  And this can only take place where the people are wholeheartedly given in their hearts to Yahveh.

The conditions of the covenant as beyond nature were again made clear to Israel in Moab just prior to Israel’s assumption of the last leg of the passage into Canaan.

“These are the terms of the covenant Yahveh commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb.”[226]

This is one of the most awesome moments in Scripture because here Yahveh confirms the covenant with his people, claiming that this confirmation is applicable not only to those present but also to all who are to come – even, I believe, to include us in this time:

“You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with Yahveh your God, a covenant Yahveh is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you who are standing here with us today in the presence of Yahveh your God but also with those who are not here today.”[227]

Yahveh then made clear that no one is to assume that he is an inheritor of these promises merely by virtue of being born into Israel:

“Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from Yahveh our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.  When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, ‘I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way.’  This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.  Yahveh will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man.  All the curses written in this book will fall upon him, and Yahveh will blot out his name from under heaven.  Yahveh will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law.”[228]

Yahveh then foretold that the descendants of these who were about to enter Canaan would in time be driven from the land after abandoning their covenant with Yahveh.  But Yahveh made the promise that even this would not end his love for them.   He promised that when their hearts returned to him he would restore their fortunes and gather them to himself, even to the point of restoring them to the land of promise.[229]  But for men and women who have found themselves, generation after generation, unable to remain faithful to the expectations of Yahveh, how do they reconstruct their spirit in such a way that they become able to

“return to Yahveh your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command to you…”?[230]

Yahveh declares that He Himself will bring about the change!  The New Covenant is the healing by which men will satisfy the spirit of the Old Covenant:

“Yahveh your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul and live.[231]

The very essence of the shema,[232] which is the frontispiece of the covenant, is somehow to be provided to men by the power of God and by his will to transform their spirits.  What follows over the coming generations is the great new anthem of the prophets, the awesome coming of another covenant, coupled with the advent of the Messiah of Israel.  Such is the hope of Israel.

As the prophet Jeremiah witnessed the disastrous defeat and exile of Israel he also delivered to the people the promises of Yahveh that this was not the end, but that the promise of restoration given to Moses would be brought about by the hand of their loving God:

“’The time is coming,’ declares Yahveh, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant though I was a husband to them,’ declares Yahveh.  ‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares Yahveh. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.   I will be their God and they will be my people.’”[233]

Again, as throughout the history of Israel, the visible or natural nation may undergo apostasy and destruction, but Yahveh makes a way to hold to himself men and women with a heart to know their God.   Furthermore, where the nation served as reservoir for the teachings of God for a single cultural group, the new covenant would bring to all the earth the opportunity to know the heart and mind of God through the direct presence of the Spirit of God.

And so, in this way, the promises to Abraham passed on through sons chosen by God, not by nature, and on into the faithful among their descendants, until our Messiah, descendant of Abraham, brought his Spirit, the Spirit of Yeshua, into the world and gathered children from all nations into the kingdom of promise.

iii

The importance of the land in the promises to Abraham

Of all the promises to Abraham, the promise which causes the most contention, is the promise of a land, for many nations and many individuals lay claim to this land and are not necessarily willing to look to the God of Israel for the assignment of their just portion.  Yahveh promised Abraham

“To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates – the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”[234]

“The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”[235]

We also see in this second iteration of the promise that conjoined with the promise of land for his people is the promise that in that land Yahveh will be their God.

In the promise of the land we see again the dichotomy between that which is prophesied to come and that which is present in the moment.  In the space between the moment and prophecy, the hope of history is stationed, some eager merely to lay claim to the land, some hoping to lay claim to divinely sanctioned power, and some waiting to be united with their king in the land of promise.  Some see the promise as an unconditional real estate bequest, while others understand that it is about the rule of heaven finding its fulfillment in the dust of the earth.

Prior to the advent of Yeshua it was confirmed many times by the prophets that this land is part of the enduring promise of God, revealing this land to be an essential element of the expectation of the people of Israel.

Since the advent of Yeshua, at few moments in history do Christians think about the land of promise, even though Paul is quite devoted to engendering in the recipients of his letters an understanding that they are heirs of the promises to Abraham.  But neither Yeshua in the gospels nor Paul in his letters make much mention of the land or the coming earthly reign, and most of Christianity has allowed that the land be edited from their inheritance and granted superficially to “the Jews” who find ample mention of it in the writings of the old covenant.

Among the prophets, Amos spoke of the land quite clearly, relaying these words of Yahveh to his people:

“’I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.  They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.  I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,’ says Yahveh your God.”[236]

Jeremiah says the same, but it is not stated without context.  The promise of an enduring installation of the people of God in the land of promise is, for Jeremiah, rooted in the coming of the Messiah:

“’The days are coming,’ declares Yahveh, ‘when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.  In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.  This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.  So then the days are coming,’ declares Yahveh, ‘when people will no longer say, “As surely as Yahveh lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.”  Then they will live in their own land.’”[237]

So Yeshua did not have to emphasize that the promise of the land is bound to his coming.  It was more important for him to encourage patience, since first he must rule from the throne of heaven, and then would come the Messianic rule in the land of promise.

Yeshua looked with yearning upon the Jerusalem of the historical moment and saw that there must yet come a great transformation, as the space between actual Israel and Transcendent Israel was too great:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.  Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[238]

Here Jesus was quoting Psalm 118, where this phrase is part of a hymn celebrating the Messiah’s installation of his rule over all the earth.  Yeshua was looking forward to that time and affirming that that time would come, and that it would be the time of his glory.  In that time he is to rule from Jerusalem, receiving tribute from the nations of the earth.  Yeshua said little to describe what will happen in the time of that kingdom, but he in no way withdrew from the truth of its coming.  He told his disciples,

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world…”

This is the great kingdom on earth, the same prophesied by David and Daniel.  David wrote prophetically in Psalm 72,

“Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness….He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations… He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth….The desert tribes will bow before him….All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him.  He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.  He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight…..All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.”[239]

Here we see Yeshua declared by David to be at the center of the promise of the land and also to be the very source of that blessing to all nations which was promised to Abraham.

Daniel also prophesied that the great kingdom on earth would begin with the coming of our Messiah in glory and power, and he specified that the nations of the earth would serve and worship him:

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”[240]

The prophet Zechariah speaks of the Messiah and the land in a wonderful passage which also, by its language, attests to the identity of Yeshua and Yahveh in all things:

“Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion.  For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares Yahveh.  “Many nations will be joined with Yahveh in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that Yahveh Almighty has sent me to you.  Yahveh will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.”[241]

Finally Isaiah chapter 60 is a huge swelling hymn praising prophetically the rule of our Messiah from Jerusalem over the nations, beginning with the lines quoted in Handel’s Messiah:

“Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn…the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come…City of Yahveh, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”[242]

iv

The link between the millennium and the promises to Abraham

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”[243]           

We see in the words of the prophets that it is an essential part of the promises to Abraham that God will unite with his people in a kingdom on earth in the land of promise, with our Messiah ruling from Jerusalem over the nations of the earth.  And we see that the expectation of the fulfillment of that promise has endured in the hearts of the prophets.

Yahveh said through Amos, “I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted.”  Yahveh promised through Jeremiah that in the days of the king who is “The Lord Our Righteousness” his people would “live in their own land.”  The Psalms declare prophetically that the Messiah, through whom “all nations will be blessed,” will “rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth….all kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him.”  Daniel relays to us the message that “one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven” will come and rule in such a way that “all peoples, nations and men of every language worship him.”  Isaiah bears the words of Yahveh,

“The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of Yahveh, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.[244]…For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet…The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory;…You who call on Yahveh, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth…They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of Yahveh.”[245]

The vision continues in the words of Yeshua, in the teachings of Paul, and, at the end of our Scriptures, in the book of Revelation, through the words of John, who provides a graphic description of the coming kingdom on earth as it is revealed to him in a series of visions.  The visions of John reveal that, at the end of the present era, we who are faithful to Yeshua must suffer and even pay with our lives in order to hold true to our kingdom and true to our king.

The book of Revelation tells in detail how Satan, having been cast from heaven to earth, having labored for centuries to seduce the world, will exercise his power overtly at the end of this era through the person of the Antichrist and achieve a world government.  Through this world government he will crush those who are faithful to Yeshua, crush everyone who does not worship him, so bringing into history our great day of witness to the truth of our king.

“He was allowed to wage war on the saints and to conquer them, and also given authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation; all dwellers on earth will be his worshippers, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of Life.”[246]

“He has everyone put to death who will not worship the statue of the Beast.[247]

Then God lets loose a time of torment across the earth in a final warning that men can not own history outside the knowledge of their God, that they can not save themselves by the works of their own hands.

“Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels with seven plagues – the last plagues, for they complete the wrath of God.”[248]

Ultimately Yeshua returns to earth in power and by the word of his mouth defeats the armies of Satan.  This marks the beginning of what is called in Revelation “the millennium,” the reign of Yeshua on earth for one thousand years.  This period of time marks the fulfillment of Yeshua’s promise to bring peace to the earth and join himself to his people in Jerusalem, the Zion of promise.

Because of the great importance of this time, I quote the verses in Revelation which describe its appearance, following the victory of Yeshua over the armies of the Antichrist:

“Then I saw an angel descend from heaven with the key of the abyss and a huge chain in his hand; he gripped the dragon, that old serpent [who is the Devil and Satan], and bound him for a thousand years, flinging him into the abyss and shutting and sealing it on the top of him, to prevent him from seducing the nations again until the thousand years were completed – after which he has to be released for a little while.   And I saw thrones with people sitting on them, who were allowed to judge – saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and God’s word, those who would not worship the Beast or his statue, and who would not receive his mark on their forehead or hand; they came to life and reigned along with the Christ for a thousand years.  [As for the rest of the dead, they did not come to life until the thousand years were completed.]  This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection; over such the second death has no power, they shall be priests of God and Christ, and reign along with him during the thousand years.[249]

Now, at the end of the thousand years, Yahveh, in his will that justice be complete, allows Satan to have one more opportunity to prove himself:

“But when the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison, and emerge to seduce the nations at the four corners of the earth, even Gog and Magog, mustering them for the fray. Their number was like the sand of the sea, and they swarmed over the broad earth, encircling the leagues of the saints and the beloved City; but fire descended from heaven and consumed them, and their seducer, the devil was flung into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the Beast and the false Prophet also lie, to be tortured day and night for ever and ever.[250]

With the final defeat of Satan, all who did not come to life to be with Christ during the millennium rise from the grave and come before the throne of God for the final judgment of all mankind, followed by the appearance of the new heaven, the new earth, and the new City of God:

“The sea gave up its corpses.  Death and Hades gave up their dead, and all were judged by what each had done….Then I saw the new heaven and the new earth, …And I saw the holy City, the new Jerusalem, descending from God out of heaven, all ready like a bride arrayed for her husband.   And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, crying, “Lo, God’s dwelling place is with men, with men will he dwell; they shall be his people, and God will himself be with them…and death shall be no more…for the former things have passed away.”[251]

In this entire chain of events, from the promises to Abraham to the appearance of the New Jerusalem, this era, this millennium, stands as a touchstone, rivaled only by the importance of the present-time rule of Yeshua from the throne of heaven.  As we wait for our king to bring Satan into subjection he rules now from the throne of heaven through the substantial presence of his Spirit in the hearts of his subjects:

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet.”[252]

“’Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.’”[253]

“’The conqueror I will allow to sit beside me on my throne, as I myself have conquered and sat down beside my Father on his throne.’”[254]

George Eldon Ladd is one of the very few mainstream fundamentalist theologians who makes mention of our historic and essential confidence in the ongoing rule of Yeshua from the throne of heaven:

“The primary primitive Christian confession was not of Jesus as Savior but of Jesus as Lord.  ‘If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” [Rom. 10.9].  This is more than a confession that Jesus is my Lord.  It is first a theological confession that I recognize that God has exalted Jesus to the status of Lord.  He is the Lord; he has been exalted to God’s right hand.  Therefore, I make him my Lord by bowing to his sovereignty….The same truth is clearly set forth in Peter’s Pentecost address which he concludes with the statement, ‘Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” [Acts 2.36].  Taken out of context, this verse might mean that Jesus became Lord and Christ at his exaltation.  However, Acts 3.18[255] makes it clear that it was as the Christ that Jesus endured his sufferings…Christ means ‘anointed one’ and refers to his role as the anointed Davidic King.  Lord is a religious word meaning absolute sovereign….In his session Jesus has been made Lord. He has also begun his reign as the Messianic Davidic King.  He has entered upon his reign as Lord and Christ.”[256]

As Ladd points out in the above essay, the millennium simply reveals to the world the sovereignty and lordship which is already his.

The millennium and its consequent total subjection of Satan is the final world historical event, marking the last millennium of earth-time as we know it, marking the ultimate victory of Yeshua over the rebellion of the nations, comprising the arrest and removal of Satan from history, entailing the resurrection of faithful souls to join their Messiah in his rule over the world, entailing the fulfillment of all the great prophetic promises of the restoration of Zion, comprising the full realization of the rule of the Messiah over his people in the land of promise.  Certainly every individual’s assessment of the reality of these events is inevitably a measure of his perception of the level of historical reality implicit in the call to faith.

v

The earliest assessment of the millennium: Historic premillennialism

For support, I will quote again from George Eldon Ladd’s contributions to the collection of essays, The Meaning of the Millennium:

“Premillennialism is the doctrine stating that after the Second Coming of Christ, he will reign for a thousand years over the earth before the final consummation of God’s redemptive purpose in the new heavens and the new earth of the Age to Come.  This is the natural reading of Revelation 20.1-6.  ”[257]

The earliest followers of Yeshua held to this understanding of Yeshua’s return in victory, his bringing to an end the oppression of the saints by the forces of the Antichrist, the institution of his rule over the earth from Jerusalem, his laying the ground for a final judgment and victory over Satan, all to be followed by the kingdom of the redeemed in a new heaven and a new earth.  Among those who notably spoke along these lines were Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian.

Most interesting for us here is Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon in the 2nd century, who, in Book V of Against Heresies, supports his adherence to historic premillennialism by turning to the promises to Abraham:

“The promise remains steadfast…God promised him the inheritance of the land.  Yet, Abraham did not receive it during all the time of his journey there. Accordingly, it must be that Abraham, together with his seed (that is, those who fear God and believe in Him), will receive it at the resurrection of the just.”[258]

 

Chapter #13: The Externalization of Israel, Part B., The De-Sanctification of Israel, now become one of the nations.

i

In Part A. we considered the transcendent Israel of God, not one of the nations, the Israel that owns the great claim of history.  We saw that its existence is rooted in God’s promises to Abraham and that these promises were refined over time by the prophets, by Yeshua and the apostles, and lastly by the words of Yeshua in the Revelation of John.  In sum we see, as Irenaeus remarked, that the rule of Yeshua over the earth, from Jerusalem, is yet a fundamental expectation implicit in God’s promises to Abraham.

Simple historic premillennialism faithfully addresses that in-historical expectation.  It follows Scripture to the conclusion that our Messiah will return to earth in glory, establish dominion over the enemies of the earth, and install a kingdom which shall endure for a thousand years, after which a final global struggle will put an end to every claim of Satan and see the appearance of the new heavens and the new earth.  We do not know God’s full purpose in the millennium, but we recognize that the millennium is the true fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, the promise that he, Abraham, would someday know the peaceful reign of his God in the land of promise as it stretches “from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates.”[259]

This divine designation of the earth, of the dust of Jerusalem, as the locus of the perfect reign of the Messiah is in itself a validation of this earth and a promise of the redemption of our mortal flesh.  Yahveh never scorns the earth of his Creation and never scorns the physical being of man.  Rather he scorns sin and rebellion and reaches out to men to free them from sin and restore the earth.  Yahveh’s solution to the wounds of history is restoration, not rejection and not the abandonment of our material being and our world for the sake of an extra-historical paradise.

However, the core vision of Israel was destined to come into collision with the philosophical prejudices of Greece and Rome.  As Jerusalem, from 70 A.D. onward, ceased to be the geographical center of faith, the new context of faith, from Rome to Alexandria to Damascus, was Greek and Roman culture.  Central to that context was neo-Platonic [see Plato’s Timaeus] philosophy and Gnosticism.  There, in contrast to Yahveh’s affirmation of the goodness of Creation, of the earth, and of the physical world, there at the heart of Gnosticism lay a denial of the integrity of physical existence.

Gnosticism rests upon a determination that human suffering is not the fruit of human rebellion against God, but rather an intrinsic part of the landscape in a world where, they assert, the material world and its Creator are flawed… “our only hope of escape being in an ascent from material existence into a divine realm.”

I offer here a short reduction of the persistent tenets of Gnosticism, as presented by

The Gnosis Archive:[260]

“All religious traditions acknowledge that the world is imperfect….Gnostics have their own…view of these matters: they hold that the world is flawed because it was created in a flawed manner….The blame for the world’s failings lies not with the human, but with the creator….

Gnosticism since earliest times has sought to fashion the God of Creation, the God of Israel, as a failed demigod, while assigning the heights of sublimity to their “True God” [“Bearer of Light”/Lucifer] who exists beyond the pale of existential travail.  Between those two divine beings lies Sophia, mother of the Demiurge, after the manner of the Catholic Mary, “Queen of Heaven,” pretending to be “the mother of God:”

“In the Gnostic view, there is a true, ultimate and transcendent God, who is beyond all created universes and who never created anything in the sense in which the word ‘create’ is ordinarily understood.  While this True God did not fashion or create anything, He [or, It] ‘emanated’ or brought forth from within Himself the substance of all there is in all the worlds, visible and invisible….

“The basic Gnostic myth has many variations, but all of these refer to Aeons, intermediate deific beings who exist between the ultimate, True God and ourselves.  They, together with the True God, comprise the realm of Fullness [Pleroma] wherein the potency of divinity operates fully.  The Fullness stands in contrast to our existential state, which in comparison may be called emptiness.

“One of the aeonial beings who bears the name Sophia [‘Wisdom’] is of great importance to the Gnostic world view.  In the course of her journeyings, Sophia came to emanate from her own being a flawed consciousness, a being who became the creator of the material and psychic cosmos, all of which he created in the image of his own flaw.  This being, unaware of his origins, imagined himself to be the ultimate and absolute God. Since he took the already existing divine essence and fashioned it into various forms, he is also called the Demiurgos or ‘half-maker.’  There is an authentic half, a true deific component within creation, but it is not recognized by the half-maker and by his cosmic minions, the Archons or ‘rulers.’

“Valentinus, the greatest of Gnostic teachers, taught that Christ and Sophia await the spiritual man – the pneumatic Gnostic – at the entrance of the Pleroma, and help him to enter the bridechamber of final reunion…In the fullness of time, every spiritual being will receive Gnosis and will be united with its higher Self – the angelic Twin – thus becoming qualified to enter the Pleroma.  None of this is possible, however, without earnest striving for Gnosis.”[261]

The above mentioned “flaw” in the God of Creation, the thorn which disturbs every Gnostic, is, of course, the covenantal Law, the commandments.  It is the law of the covenant and the call to obedience which the world finds offensive in the God of Israel.  Gnosticism, of course, in accord with the promise in Eden, prides itself on being beyond law and beyond judgments of good and evil.

ii

Gnosticism had its effects.  In the early church, particularly in Rome and Alexandria, many leaders began to espouse doctrines rooted in the currents of Gnosticism.  They adopted the Gnostic pessimism over the material world, adopting the stance that the world and mankind are intrinsically flawed, only to be escaped by escaping the material plane and achieving a return into the divine Pleroma.  Herein lay the roots of amillennialism, the theological framework which rejects the earthly and in-historical fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham, as it reinterprets the victorious reign of God among men as the rule of the church in present time.

Sam Smith’s essay on amillennialism has an interesting insight into this subject:

With its emersion into the Greek world the church was under great pressure to repackage its fundamentally Jewish-centered message and to present a version of Christianity that would be palatable, even attractive to non-Jews.  This pressure undoubtedly increased after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 with the dispersal of the Jewish people.  The problem for the church of the 2nd through the 5th centuries was: How does one proclaim a Jewish-center religion with future promises of global Jewish ascendancy, to a Greek world that viewed itself as vastly superior to anything Jewish [particularly after the Jewish state had ceased to exist]?  In the end, when faced with retaining its original message or morphing its theology into something more palatable to appeal to non-Jews, the church chose the latter path.[262]

Many followers of Yeshua began to entertain an apparent bifurcation of God into, on the one hand, the merciful and gracious Redeemer, Yeshua, and on the other hand, a stern and aloof Creator who brings only law and judgment into the world. Yeshua became, in Greek, Iesous the pantocrator [ruler of all things], and the role of Yahveh became restricted to a domain more limited in both time and space: the ancient God of Creation, God of the Jews.  Gnosticism eroded the original new covenant vision that in Yeshua lies the very love of Yahveh and the promise of Redemption long promised by Yahveh.

In this culture, harshness in the created world became identified, not with man’s rebellion, but with a “harsh Creator.”  Conversely the final hope of Redemption, as it attached itself to Yeshua, became the hope for a supra-historical Paradise beyond the created physical world.  The original promises to Abraham were ignored, left to remain with the Jews.  As tended by the Orthodox church, the new promise of history became the hope of passage into the heavens.  As for those elements of Scripture in old and new covenant writings which refer to a millennium and a rule of God upon this earth, they were granted the status of being “figurative” descriptions of the rule of the church on earth, with the priests and their bishops as “vicars” of [substitutes for] the Messiah of God: Alter Christus and Vicarius filii dei.  Now by a miracle nearly as marvelous as the mystery of transubstantiation, the Orthodox church mastered the presumption to insert its own self as guarantor of every millennial hope.  Having accomplished the de-judification of the Messiah of Israel, having distanced itself from Abraham and his received promises and Torah and all things Jewish, the Orthodox church now made its own self to be the holder and arbiter and substance of the promise of history.

Justin Martyr, at the beginning of the 2nd century, seemed to be devoted to separating the church from Israel, and he argued, in his Dialogue with Trypho, that the church was the replacement of Israel as the people of God, standing on its head the true order of things, that the church are the “ekklesia,” those who have been called to be grafted into the ancient and eternal people of God.

Saturninus, Marcion, Appeles, Valentinus, and the Docetists all tried to exaggerate the distance between Yahveh and Yeshua, transforming Yeshua into a Gnostic Savior, a non-material messenger direct from the Pleroma, to which end they taught that Yeshua did not really have a physical or mortal body – that he “channeled” or “appeared in” a mortal body not his own.

Origen castrated himself on behalf of his belief in the intrinsically evil nature of the flesh.  With his Gnostic mindset he also rejected the idea of a physical resurrection of believers.

Origen and Clement of Alexandria denied the premillennial return of Yeshua.  Origen, considering only the spiritual to be real, spoke of an actual thousand year rule of Yeshua on earth as something “too rude” for our proper expectations of paradise.

Constantine himself exhibited his Gnostic mindset in praising Plato’s hierarchy of “the intellectual and the sensible:”

“Plato…plainly declares that a rational soul is the breath of God, and divides all things into two classes, intellectual and sensible: consisting of bodily structure; the one comprehended by the intellect alone, the other estimated by the judgment and the senses.  The former class, therefore, which partakes of the divine spirit, and is uncompounded and immaterial, is eternal, and inherits everlasting life; but the latter, being entirely resolved into the elements of which it is composed, has no share in everlasting life.  He [Plato] farther teaches the admirable doctrine, that those who have passed a life of virtue, that is, the spirits of good and holy men, are enshrined, after their separation from the body, in the fairest mansions of heaven.[263]

But one person brought Gnosticism definitively into Orthodoxy during the time following  Constantine’s arrangement of marriage between church and empire.  That person was Augustine, bishop of Hippo.

“Augustine, owing to his stature in church history, is responsible for codifying in the western church the practice of “spiritualized” (allegorical) interpretation of eschatological prophecy, with the aim being to provide biblical support for the view that the kingdom of God is essentially spiritual (i.e., supernatural as opposed to physical) and church-centered rather than Jewish-centered. [The replacement of Israel by the church was an essential stepping-stone in the development of amillennialism. This scheme is generally referred to as “replacement theology.”][264]

Augustine considered the age of the church, as of its inception, to be the millennium of promise.  Assuming that the dominion of the church “is” the millennial rule of Yeshua over the earth, it was necessary for Augustine to posit that the binding of Satan [as associated with the millennium in Revelation] was already in place…a claim difficult to establish in the face of historical events, let alone in view of the assertions of the apostles that Satan is a vicious marauder active in the world.[265]  Nor did Augustine give more than the usual disregard for the advice in Revelation that at the cross Satan was thrown down from heaven to earth.[266]

Accordingly, in any careful reading of either Revelation chapter 20 or the many old covenant prophecies of a literal reign of the Messiah over his people from Jerusalem, it was necessary that Augustine treat all this, the heart of the promises to Israel, as the ramblings of godly men overcome with their visions to the point of having to speak not with plain words but rather with an excess of figure, poetic spirit, and hyperbole.  In the process, the Israel of God and Yahveh’s promises to Abraham were ignored, thrown aside, left as gleanings to be gathered by the forsaken Jewish people.

With Augustine amillennialism is established, even into present time, within the Catholic church: an amillennialism which is implicitly a renunciation of the promises to Abraham, a renunciation of the proper place of the subject of Yeshua within the Israel of God, and a renunciation of the true nature of the Israel of God.  Amillennialism grants all the favors of God to the Orthodox church and sets Israel aside as a meaningless relic, without blessing and without honor.  It paves the way for the bizarre modern twist by which “Zionists” without a thought for the God of Israel step forward and secure for themselves the land of Palestine, call it sacred, claim their right to stand as one of the nations of the earth, and call upon the godless nations of the earth to honor them as God’s own people

In this time, in the eyes of the church, what then has happened to the Israel of promise, the Israel of blessing, the Israel that is God’s special inheritance, “not one of the nations?”  It has become less than nothing, as witnessed by the derogatory remarks in Constantine’s letters after the Council of Nicea.  On this foundation we come to this day in which the church will grant the promise of dominion to an Israel which is one of the nations, being ignorant that there ever was another, or that a true and transcendent Israel of God yet survives.

Today the world ethos considers Israel to be one of the nations, as the modern nation of Israel posits herself to be a nation among nations.  She asks to be seen as uniquely blessed by God, she asks that we recognize her “right” to the land as sacred, but seeks no divine destiny and claims no divine act as her foundation.

In the modern church the amillennialists are not only the Catholics.  They also populate the Protestant Establishment.   The Reformation never reached so far as the revision of Catholic eschatology.  Although large numbers of the faithful throughout history have held to hope in the Abrahamic promise, the amillennialism of Catholic orthodoxy has persisted inside the orthodoxy of Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists.  John Calvin wrote in his Institutes that chiliasm [belief in a thousand year reign of Christ on earth] “is a fiction…too childish either to need or to be worth a refutation.”  Thus deeply did the old Hellenic notions of Immaterial Paradise penetrate more than a millennium of church history.

iii

In the 19th and 20th centuries a novel view of Scriptural interpretation known as Premillennial Dispensationalism has flourished within the more fundamentalist strains of the Protestant denominations and within certain offshoot evangelical organizations.

Dispensationalism accepts the estrangement of Israel from the active people of God [“church”], an estrangement handed to it by centuries of amillennial church history.  It then succeeds in fully and permanently alienating “the church” from “Israel”, and upon this foundation of division it builds and tests its theology.  It chooses to enshrine “an earthly people, Israel,” as eventual [Abrahamic] inheritors of an earthly kingdom, while enshrining “a heavenly people, the church” as inheritors of a heavenly promise.

It starts not from any Scriptural understanding of the nature of either “the church” or “Israel.”  It understands Israel to be nothing more than a genetically and historically defined group, accepting nearly all the confinements heaped upon it by the abuses of centuries of Catholicism.  This is blasphemy against nearly every page of the Old Testament which rather portrays Israel as the darling of God’s in-historical efforts, the hope of history, and the seat of every end-time expectation.  It understands the church to be, not the spiritual domain of the Messiah of Israel, but rather that particular sociological, social, and religious organization which centuries of vicars, prelates, priests, and wayward pastors have made it to be.  The church and Israel are merely transcribed from the public dialogue as facts on the ground, accepted in the form delivered by the common understanding of a world without faith.

The millennium, upon which we have focused, is something which the dispensationalists allow.  [Notwithstanding, only the Jews get to enjoy it on the ground; the “mystery church” will enjoy it with slightly different footwear as it hovers in a more Gnostic paradise somewhere in the skies above Jerusalem!]

However, what matters here is that the very present rule of Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, over his people in a present – time transcendent kingdom, this is something which the dispensationalists vigorously deny! 

But we know that there is in all of history but one holy people of God, to which Yahveh and Yeshua are inseparably bound.  And we know that Yeshua is without any doubt seated upon the throne of transcendent Israel, the eternal throne of David: and this the dispensationalists do not see.   Here again, dispensationalism, the great modern departure from amillennialism, does not escape the denial of the kingdom of Yeshua, for the kingdom of God is both mighty in the millennial promise that it shall one day unite all its children on earth at the feet of her king, and the kingdom of God is equally mighty in present transcendent reality, mighty in the hearts of the subjects of our king as we await the redemption of the earth.  This present and unseen kingdom lives in fealty to the throne of heaven, the throne of David, and to Yeshua its king.

Dispensationalists do not believe that Yeshua spoke in good faith when he claimed that he did not come first to overthrow Rome but first to overthrow sin and death. [“Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”[267]]  They believe that he came as a hopeful “candidate” to become their king, that the Jews of that time rejected him; that, apparently, he went in rejection [such blasphemy!] to the cross, and that out of his failure to capture the imagination of his own people he then initiated plan B, the “mystery form” of the kingdom: the church.

They accept Constantine’s piracy and allow that the church is separate from Israel, and so, of course, they claim that the church was unforeseen in the Old Testament.  In fact, we who have read the Old Testament for ourselves know quite well that Yeshua was long awaited as the Messiah of Israel, that he came as the Messiah of Israel, that he went in love and victory to the cross as the Messiah of Israel, and that he is now and shall forever be the anointed king of Israel.

Why is there no future coronation ceremony for Yeshua?  Because when he entered Jerusalem on a donkey and was hailed as king, it was not a bad faith dress rehearsal.  And when the priests asked Yeshua to silence the children who were hailing him as “king upon the throne of David,” he told them that if the children were silent then the stones of earth themselves would begin to announce his praise.  As he shall be forever, so is Yeshua this day king upon the eternal throne of the Israel of God, king and ruler in the hearts of his subjects.

Dispensationalists further believe that the church [“the active and heavenly people of God”] will be removed [“raptured”] from the earth at the beginning of a prophesied time of tribulation, just as the true war between Yeshua and his enemies heats up, just as our faithful witness to the love of God and the value of his truth would seem most worthwhile.  Here again, it would seem, the ugly head of Gnostic thought is having its say: that the battle for the earth is somehow beneath the proper focus of the church and its “Christians.”

In reality, any careful reading of the book of Revelation makes it clear that the end of this era is characterized by the suffering and witness of true servants of Yeshua, as it is equally characterized by the betrayals of a grossly apostate church, affectionately known as “the harlot.”

Dispensationalism adopts the Gnostic vision of the God of the Old Testament as rigid and unforgiving, with brutal expectations, as it has fostered an idea now prevalent in modern fundamentalist circles that the grace of God was missing in old covenant Israel.  In early Scofield Bible notes [a prime early source of dispensational thought] Scofield states:

“As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ…The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ, with good works as a fruit of salvation.”[268]

In reality, the means of grace to mankind are provided once for all time by Yeshua at the cross, but his grace, long anticipated, is shed upon every soul of faith since the beginning of mankind.  Dispensationalism ignores the fact that Abraham was not saved by his works or his “legal obedience” but by his faith.  Dispensationalism does not recognize that the centuries of Tabernacle and Temple Sacrifice, as well as the Passover sacrifice in Egypt and even the sacrifices of Abel and Noah, all look forward to the sacrifice of the “Lamb slain since the foundation of the world,” without which no person of faith would ever presume to place his heart in the presence of God.  Dispensationalists do not hear the words of Job that he awaits the coming of his Redeemer, whom he shall see with his own eyes and in his own flesh.

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”[269]

In other words, all men of faith under the Old Covenant lived in faith in the reality of the coming Redeemer, the coming of the Messiah, lived in faith in Yeshua though they knew not yet his name! 

In summation, then, of this brief confrontation with dispensationalism, and in recognition of the enduring destructive power of Gnosticism, I quote from an excellent essay under the authorship of “GospelPlow” found on the website jesus-is-lord.com:

“Comparing, then, what is said in Scripture concerning Israel and the Church, we find that in origin, calling, promises, worship, principles of conduct and future destiny all is contrast.  Perhaps the central doctrine of dispensationalism is the distinction between Israel and the church.  Dispensationalism sees Israel as an earthly people with earthly promises, and the church as a heavenly people with heavenly promises.  Membership in Israel is by natural birth.  One enters the church by supernatural birth.  Dispensationalists view Israel and the church as having distinct eternal destinies.  Israel will receive an eternal earthly Kingdom, and the church an eternal heavenly Kingdom.

“Darby, the father of dispensationalism, stated the distinction in the clearest of terms: ‘The Jewish nation is never to enter the church.’  Ryrie considers this the most important dispensational distinction, and approves the statement that the ‘basic promise of Dispensationalism is two purposes of God expressed in the formation of two peoples who maintain their distinction throughout eternity.’”[270]

So whatever happened to the claims of Paul that all who were newly called to Yeshua, from whatever origin, were being “grafted into Israel?”  Whatever happened to the claim that we are now “all one” in Yeshua the Messiah, so that there is “no longer any distinction between gentile and Jew?”

What I am giving you here is what I see as the ecclesiastical foundations of the great cynical crime of modern history: the worldwide promotion of a secular Israel, one of the nations, without pretense of spiritual reality, and yet magically dressed and adorned with the Abrahamic promise of a golden destiny and of the land from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates….while the true Israel of God, the great Transcendent Israel which kneels before the heavenly throne…this Israel goes unrecognized.  Most viciously, for the sake of a false Israel, the Western nations assault the Arab world, and even in the land of promise, the Western nations are barely reluctant to see the enslavement of the Palestinian people, many of them servants of Yeshua, enslaved behind walls much like those which contained the Jews in the middle of the 20th century.

Christians meanwhile imagine that in the support of this usurper of the name Israel they are supporting the progress of the kingdom of God.  They know that the gift of missiles and bulldozers to the Zionists is not the same as spreading the gospel, yet, like Judas, they are pressing Yeshua to play his hand, confident somehow that when he appears in power his mercy will certainly cover these who bear his name so loudly.  They imagine that they have made a bargain, Faith rendered for Salvation in return, not knowing that Yeshua is not looking for traders but for obedient subjects, for disciples, for children who live in his love.

Chapter 14: Secular Israel as Golden Calf ; The National Mythology as the Statue of the Beast

“Then I saw another Beast rising from the land; he had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.  He exerts the full authority of the first Beast in his presence, causing the earth and its inhabitants to worship the first Beast, whose deadly wound was healed.  He performs amazing miracles, even making fire descend from heaven on earth in the sight of men, and by dint of the miracles he is allowed to perform in presence of the Beast, he seduces dwellers on earth; he bids the dwellers on earth erect a statue to the Beast who lived after being wounded by the sword, and to this statue of the Beast he was allowed to impart the breath of life, so that the statue of the Beast should actually speak.  He has everyone put to death who will not worship the statue of the beast…”[271]

 

 

i

We have discussed under many settings the proposition of Scripture, the proposition of the prophets, and the proposition of Yeshua that there is no holy Temple, no holy people, no Israel of God apart from the work of the Spirit of God.  We have equally established in many contexts that this holy work of God by which he restores mankind to himself is founded on the cross of Yeshua, the eternal sacrifice to which every old covenant sacrifice looked forward in hope and expectation.  It is this holy work of the Spirit of God and its divine foundation which the world labors to deny, be it Satan in the garden, be it the Roman Catholic institution, be it inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock, be it apostate Protestant denominations denying the in-historical kingdom and denying that the in-historical promises to Abraham are the true inheritance of the children of Yeshua.

In this final chapter, having established that nearly every avenue of culture and religion conspires in this very denial, we see that the governments themselves share and benefit from this same misrepresentation of what it means to be a people of God.  So the nations, in particular the United States of America, support the modern mythology that the secular Zionist state of Israel is that very entity holy to God which deserves the cream of history, the promises to Abraham.  The United States adopts the cause célèbre of defending this surrogate “people of God” with all the apostate religions of the nation in tow.

In defense of this surrogate, this usurper of the holy name of “Israel,” the United States reaches out to defend us against our shared “enemies,” and in the process we run rampant through the world, bringing to its knees one Muslim state after another.  This is mythology in the service of power, mythology in the service of a roaring Beast.

When secular Israel becomes enshrined as an inviolable icon in the Western consciousness, we should consider whether or not we have been restored to the Roman paganism wherein heads of state design and control the shrines which otherwise would be the reserve of priests and shamans.  Scripture assures us that the final global empire is none other than Rome, and here is evidence of its resurgence.

This present assumption of divine prerogative by the state is born out in the fact that the state has become a purveyor of inviolable mythologies which its citizens must acknowledge.  Embodied in these mythologies are simple guidelines enabling the public to determine in an acceptable manner the forces of good and the forces of evil in the world.  These guidelines are meant to relieve us of the need to find fault with those who have power over us.

The state mythology of modern times is gradually assuming the proportions of “the statue of the Beast,” that edifice, mentioned in the Revelation of John, which must be worshiped if one does not wish to forfeit one’s life.

Like the great golden rendition of himself which Nebuchadnezzar presented to the people of Babylon for worship, we see that the myth-edifice is hollow, that it is a gross exaggeration of fact, and yet we accept that to despise it is unthinkable.  As President Bush advised us so shrewdly,

“If you are not with us, you are against us.”

The stature of this mythology is so immense that we shudder to think that it might be made of paste.  Movies feature it.  Wars are waged for the sake of it.  Citizens are arrested, tortured, rendered, and killed for failing to honor it.  For its sake drones and missiles violate the sovereignty of nations and curtail the lives of innocent families.  It is too awesome to imagine that this state-sanctioned mythology might be a web of lies.

ii

One intended lesson of the prevailing Western mythology is that we live under a fearful threat of terrorism; at the base of this mythological fabrication lies a gross misrepresentation of what it means to be the holy people of God.  This distortion, as we have said, is but another edition of the same lies promulgated by the powers and the orthodoxies of the earth since the beginning of history.

On October 27, 1994, President Bill Clinton spoke before the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem, and addressed this entirely secular institution as if they were the holy guardians of the divine covenant:

“’If you abandon Israel, God will never forgive you,’ [quoting the warnings of his childhood pastor]….It is God’s will that Israel, the biblical home of the people of Israel, continue for ever and ever….Your journey is our journey, and America will stand with you now and always.”[272]

Taking the atheist Zionist state as the inviolable darling of God, Clinton promised the resources of the United States in faithful and eternal support of all her purposes.  This mindset endures in the national character: our government does not flinch as Israel bulldozes the orchards and wells and homes of its Palestinian citizens.  It does not flinch as Israel surrounds these people with three-story concrete walls such as have not been seen in the civilized world, unless perhaps to enclose the Warsaw ghetto.  We do not flinch as the Zionist state robs land from its Palestinian citizens and annexes it to lands devoted to the welfare of Americans and Russians and Europeans who can prove that their mothers have an acceptable ancestry.  Nor do we flinch as the Zionist state rattles its sabers and plans for war with the state of Iran.  We, of course, will stand behind their “holy” purpose.  Their war will be our war.

iii

On September 11, 2001, three controversial attacks took place, almost simultaneously, each involving the supposed hijacking of aircraft by Muslim terrorists.  Following the concerted attacks [on the Pentagon; on the World Trade Center; and a purported attempt on the Capitol by an airliner which crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania], the United States government claimed to have the names of the various hijackers and claimed to know that they belonged to a group called Al-Qaeda, a loosely structured Muslim terrorist organization under the control of a man named Osama bin Laden.

A video was ostensibly discovered by the U.S. government and released on December 13, 2001, in which Osama bin Laden “confessed” responsibility for the events of 9/11.  However, this video, besides conveying to the American public gross mistranslations, is of questionable authenticity.  Meanwhile, it is well established that on September 28, 2001, three weeks after 9/11 and one week before the war on Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden gave an interview to Ummat, a daily paper in Pakistan, in which he vigorously denied involvement in the events of 9/11:

“I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States.  As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie.  I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act.  Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people….Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed…..We are against the system, which makes other nations slaves of the United States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom.  This system is totally in control of the American Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States.  It is simply that the American people are themselves the slaves of the Jews and are forced to live according to the principles and laws laid by them. So, the punishment should reach Israel.  In fact, it is Israel, which is giving a blood bath to innocent Muslims and the US is not uttering a single word….”[273]

Who should we believe?  Unfortunately the facts surrounding the events of 9/11 do not favor the claims of the United States government.  It is not my purpose here to weigh the government claims, as the evidence [visual, historical, and scientific] is available and ample on the internet.  I merely posit the general nature of the three 9/11 events.

1.  In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, although a large plane with many passengers is supposed to have crashed into the field, astonishingly little debris has ever been recovered and there were only traces of human remains…nothing to compare to the usual twisted fuselage and gruesome carnage associated with fatal airplane crashes.  A small amount of research reveals that the official investigation of the crash is stained with many suspicious circumstances.

2.  At the Pentagon, all possible security footage which might reveal the nature of the collision of the jetliner with the building has been gathered and stored as confidential.  The original hole in the side of the building was narrower than the distance between the two engines of the airplane accused of entry, while deep in the building the continuation of the damage was witnessed by an even narrower penetration through many yards of concrete fortification, as only a missile might do.  The scene of the attack was not secured in yellow tape and preserved for the witness of material evidence.  Rather it was immediately bulldozed in order to bury the material evidence.

3.  In New York, at the WorldTradeCenter, apparently each of the twin towers was struck by a large airliner, resulting in the collapse of both structures.  However, it is unprecedented that airplane collision or fire at the temperature of burning jet fuel should cause the collapse of a steel building.  The buildings, rather than wavering right or left, fell straight to the ground as in a controlled demolition, fell at nearly the rate of fall of a free-falling object.  In fact, analysis of the debris from the collapse of the towers reveals the extensive presence of traditional and nano-thermite explosives.  As soon as the steel debris of the towers could be gathered it was loaded into ships and sent to China to be melted down.

And then there is Building 7.  Across the street from the twin towers stood Building 7, a fifty story building with a massive footprint.  Not long after the collapse of the taller towers, Building 7, untouched by any aircraft, without known threat from any terrorist, without any serious threat or apology from any person at any time,…this building fell to the ground in what could only be a controlled [long planned and long prepared] demolition, also descending at nearly the rate of fall of free falling objects.  The internet is awash with videos of this bizarre event.

Controversy legitimately surrounds the other events of 9/11.  But there is no controversy surrounding Building 7.  There is no controversy because there is nothing to be said.  For the part of the government, Building 7 goes unmentioned.  Building 7, fallen, is an emblem of the falsehood of the claims of the United States government.  When Building 7 can be explained honestly, and with it the other tragedies of 9/11, then we may begin to believe that our government expects our allegiance to be rooted in reality, not in its mythology.

In the mythology which has been generated, we are given a falsified piece of theater, a supposed attack of Muslim terrorists against the heart of our greatest city, for the contrived reason that “they hate our free way of life and they are angry at us for supporting Israel.”  By forces within our government we have been given this “Pearl Harbor” event so that we will lend our hearts to the battle against the natural enemies of the Zionist state.  But at the core of this contrivance lies the deception so deeply seated in our culture, the misrepresentation of the secular Zionist state as the heirs to God’s covenant promises to Abraham.

As subjects of the Messiah of Israel, we can not acknowledge a false mythology which rests upon a misrepresentation of the true nature of the holy people of God.  To silently acknowledge this mythology is to enable the worship of a Beast. 

Many will say that there is no evidence of any “Beast” or “statue.”  To which we must reply: If now we are able to endure and acknowledge the most outrageous distortions of the truth, if now we can so bow before this most wicked mythology which ushers death to the nations of the Muslim world, then shall we really have a problem bowing down to a caricature of power or to a cartoonish statue when such a tiny gesture might preserve our families and our lives?

We must fear the judgment of God if we see this danger in the world and fail to warn our brothers.

iv

In the first few centuries of the Christian era, during that short period before the installation of the state-sanctioned hierarchical church, followers of Yeshua greeted each other with the phrase, “Jesus is Lord.”  For them it was the core assertion that Yeshua is the anointed king of their transcendent kingdom, the long awaited Messiah of Israel, and that he is also the person of God.  Public identification with this core loyalty cost them their lives: it was an offense to Rome.  Rome needed to preserve the mythology that Israel is nothing more than a genetic group, whose leaders are bound within the sphere of Roman political power.  Rome could not tolerate the thought that Israel should be a power outside its control with a king beyond its control, a king who is also God, who holds his people to a call above the call of Roman power.

So now the resurgent Rome which rises from the ashes of history takes delight in its new rendition of the Final Solution: the apparent eradication of the Israel which is allied to Yahveh, the God of Israel, and the promotion of an Israel which is purely genetic, one of the nations, fitting comfortably within Roman global power.

The radical enthusiasm and spiritual power of New Covenant Israel, which fully survived the physical destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. by Rome – this enthusiasm and power now enjoyed by the Jewish and Gentile remnant within the enduring Israel of God – this was, for the broader culture, subsumed and rendered tame by Constantine and his Roman state religion.  Constantine favored and promoted the bishops who had been traditores in the persecutions of Diocletian, bought them off with basilicas, made himself the gracious arbiter of their theological differences, and married the filthy whole to the times and practices of his national pagan religion.  Orthodoxy became but a label for compromise with the state religion.

The comfort of modern religious life within the status quo is not due to some advanced condition wherein the modern Rome is more tolerant.  The comfort of the modern religious institution is due to the fact that it has given away the core being and the core assertion of the dissenting kingdom and in its stead has settled into a faith with purely personal ramifications.

This private “iPod” sort of faith will never be an offense to Rome.  Under the modern cultural regime of Tolerance you may believe whatever fantastical thing you want to believe about Jesus or about any other imaginary God, so long as it has no implications beyond your own personal being, so long as it suggests no political imperative which might be a challenge to the authority of Rome.

But the time of the witness, the time of the martyr, is at hand.  Only a handful of nations stand in the way of the completion of globalization.  Rome will soon raise its standard, claiming authority over the whole earth. Unless we are ready to give away our humanity, it will be necessary in this time to speak the truth that Rome does not want to hear: We who belong to the Messiah of Israel are the polis of God, true children of Abraham, not one of the nations.  We are the great and eternal political imperative of Yahveh, the God of Israel, the God of all worlds.

***   ***   ***   ***

 


[1] Aleister Crowley, The Book of the Law, and Israel Regardie, Crowley’s secretary, who wrote a commentary called, The Law is for All, in which he states,  “…he became the mouthpiece for the Zeitgeist, accurately expressing the intrinsic nature of our time as no one else has done to date.”

[2] The words of the loyal subject to his prince.  As in the one time that the disciples asked Yeshua to teach them how to pray, he presented the essential elements of the heart opening to God: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done….”

[3] II Thessalonians 2:7

[4] Revelation 13.5-8

[5] Daniel 8.20-27

[6] Daniel 11.28-39 excerpts

[7] Revelation 12.9,12

[8] Genesis 3.15

[9] see  Isaiah 52,53,54

[10] John 1.1-4,14,18

[11] John 1.29

[12] Isaiah 9.6,7

[13] Isaiah 24.21-23

[14] Isaiah 40.3,9,10,11

[15] Isaiah 53.5,6,7,11

[16] I Corinthians 1.18,22

[17] II Thessalonians 2. 1-4

[18] Revelation 13.5,7,8

[19] I Corinthians 3.16,17

[20] II Corinthians 6.16

[21] Daniel 11.30-32,36

[22] Daniel 12.10-12

[23] Isaiah 62.1,6,7

[24] Psalm 132.13-18

[25] Zechariah 6.12,13,15

[26] Ezekiel 43.7,12; 44.9

[27] I Corinthians 3.16

[28] I Peter 22.4,5

[29] John 17.20,21,26

[30] Revelation 11.1,2

[31] Revelation 11.8

[32] Romans 8.35,37-39

[33] Romans 10.2,3

[34] Revelation 3.20

[35] Galatians 1.6,7,8

[36] II Corinthians 11.2-4

[37] Revelation 3.5,11,12

[38] Matthew 7.21-23

[39] Daniel 111.30-32

[40] Revelation 12.9-12

[41] Revelation 12.1-4

[42] Revelation 16.13,14

[43] Isaiah 14.13,14

[44] Ezekiel 28. 12-17

[46] Genesis 6.1-7

[47] Job 1.6-8

[48] Job 1.9

[49] Zechariah 3.1,2

[50] Isaiah 14.12

[51] Ezekiel 28.17,18

[52] Warner, Mystery of the Mazzaroth, Wild Olive Press, 2010, pp. 4,5

[53] Revelation 12.1-4

[54] Revelation 12.4,5

[55] Revelation 12.6

[56] An authority which neither Christian nor Muslim nor Jew is ready to recognize.

[57] A descent to earth in which virtually no Christian or Muslim or Jew believes.

[58] Revelation 12.7-12

[59] Revelation 12.17

[60] II Thessalonians 2.1-4

[61] Revelation 12.10,11

[62] Daniel 9.26

[63] Revelation 14.9,10

[64] Revelation 13.7,8

[65] 42 months is 3 ½ prophetic years or 1260 days [360 days in a prophetic year]

[66] Revelation 13.5,6

[67] Revelation 11.7,10

[68] Revelation 13.1,3,4

[69] Revelation 13.15

[70] Daniel 11.36

[71] Revelation 13.2

[72] II Thessalonians 2.9

[73] Revelation 16.13,14

[74] II Thessalonians 2.9-11

[75] II Thessalonians 2.4

[76] Luke 21.8

[77] Revelation 13.6

[78] Daniel 8.25

[79] Daniel 11.36

[80] Daniel 11.32

[81] Revelation 13.7,8

[82] Daniel 8.24

[83] Revelation 13.7

[84] Daniel 7.21,22

[85] Daniel 8.24,25

[86] 1260 days is 42 months is 3 ½ prophetic years

[87] Revelation 11.3,7,8

[88] i.e. after 3 ½ years

[89] Daniel 9.27

[90] Daniel 12.11,12

[91] Daniel 8.11-14

[92] Daniel 9.27

[93] Daniel 11.28-35

[94] Revelation 11.1,2

[95] Luke 21.24

[96] Matthew 24.15

[97] Mark 13.14,19,22,23

[98] Daniel 11.28-35 excerpts

[99] Daniel 1.1,2

[100] “The Time of the Resurrection as Revealed in Daniel 12” by David M. Rogers,  www.BibleTruth.cc ,  July 2006.

[101] Ibid.

[102] II Kings 23.26,27 “ … and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, ‘There shall my Name be.’”

[103] II Kings 25.1-11,21

[104] Ezra 1.1-7 excerpts

[105] Daniel 8.3-12 excerpts

[106] Daniel 8.13,14

[107] Daniel 8.20-27

[108] Edersheim, Alfred, The Temple, pp. 78-81 excerpts, ISBN 0-8254-2509-3

[109] Hebrews 4.14

[110] Hebrews 8.1,2

[111] Hebrews 9.11,12

[112] Hebrews 9.26,28

[113] John 4.19-24

[114] Isaiah 49.5,6

[115] Isaiah 42.1,6

[116] Isaiah 44.3,5

[117] Joel 2.28

[118] John 14.18-20, 23; 15.4

[119] Luke 19.41-44

[120] I Corinthians 3.16,17

[121] II Corinthians 6.14-16

[122] As recorded in Life of the Prophet by Ibn Ishaq, quoted in Jerusalem by F.E. Peters, 1985, Princeton, p. 184:  “While I was sleeping in the Hijr [a kind of semicircular stone porch near the Ka’ba at Mecca], Gabriel came and stirred me with his foot.  I sat up but saw nothing and lay down again.  He came a second time and stirred me with his foot.  I sat up but saw nothing and lay down again.  He came to me the third time and stirred me with his foot.  I sat up and he took hold of my arm [Mohammed here being perhaps the only person in history to witness the presence of an angel without a sense of absolute dread due to the magnitude of the presence of the angel], and I stood beside him and he brought me out to the door of the shrine and there was a white animal, half mule and half donkey with wings on its side with which it propelled its feet, putting down each forefoot at the limit of its sight, and he mounted me on it. Then he went out with me, keeping close by my side….The Apostle and Gabriel went their way until they arrived at the shrine at Jerusalem. There he found Abraham, Moses and Jesus among a company of the prophets.  The Apostle acted as their leader in prayer [evidence that his dispensation is superior to theirs]…Then the Apostle returned to Mecca and in the morning he told the Quraysh what had happened….”

[123] If such a journey actually took place on any level of reality, it is unfortunate that he did not realize that the ladder from heaven to earth is in fact Yeshua.  [“You shall see angels ascending and descending upon the

Son of Man.]  With this piece of information he might have recognized that Yeshua is more  than a Messenger as he himself claims to be.

[124] from Muthir al Ghiram as quoted in Jerusalem, F.E. Peters, 1985, Princeton University Press, p. 187.

[125] Ibid, p. 190

[127] Job 19.25,26

[128] Isaiah 9.6,7 excerpts

[129] see Professor Louis Beres, Freeman Foundation, http://www.freeman.org/m_online/jul03/beres2.htm

[130] Revelation 3.20

[131] Daniel 2.34,44

[132] Zechariah 4.6

[133] Ephesians 6.12,13,17

[134] The claim that Constantine created the canon is not true. Emperor Constantine did ask bishop Eusebius of Caesarea to have fifty copies of the New Testament reproduced for the new imperial capital at Constantinople. But the work of collating the New Testament books had been done over the preceding centuries. The evidence for this is abundant. The most famous documentary example is a piece of writing known as the Muratorian fragment. This fragment dates from the end of the second century and is named after the Italian scholar who first published it in 174. It is a list of books recognized by the church: four Gospels (though the first two are missing due to damage to the fragment), the Acts of the Apostles, thirteen epistles of Paul; three epistles of John; Jude; the Apocalypses of John and Peter. Significantly, the Muratorian canon rejects Gnostic works by Valentinus and others. Garry Williams, Ph.D. , Tutor in Church History and Doctrine at Oak Hill Theological College in London.

[135] Traditors, Wikipedia.org

[136] John 16.2,3

[137] Daniel 7.25

[139][Denzinger-Schonmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum 770-771]  Source: Bridging the Gap – Lectio Divina, Religious Education, and the Havenot’s by Father John Belmonte, S.J. http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/banned.htm

[140] http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/joseph_mccabe/religious_controversy/chapter_23.html The Story of Religious Controversy, Chapter 23, by Joseph McCabe

[141] J.P. Callender, Illustrations of Popery, 1838, p.387, http://truthdebate.com/Forum/index.php?topic=26.0

[142]      Source: Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe, Edited with an introduction by Edward Peters, Scolar Press, London, copyright 1980 by Edward Peters, ISBN 0-85967-621-8, pp. 194-195, citing S. R. Maitland, Facts and Documents [illustrative of the history, doctrine and rites, of the ancient Albigenses & Waldenses], London, Rivington, 1832,  pp. 192-194. . http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/banned.htm

[143] D. Lortsch, Historie de la Bible en France, 1910, p.14 and The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, article on Scripture

[145] http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/joseph_mccabe/religious_controversy/chapter_23.html  The Story of Religious Controversy, chapter 23, by Joseph McCabe

[146] Smokescreens, chapter 3: a 20th  Century Inquisition, by Jack T. Chick, http://www.chick.com/reading/books/153/153_03b.asp

[148] II Thessalonians 2. 1-4

[149] Matthew 24.15

[150] II Thessalonians 2.4

[151] I Corinthians 8.5,6

[152] Wikipedia on “Transubstantiation” quoting Catholic Encyclopedia on Fourth Lateran Council, 1215

[153] woundandunwound.com, “St. Thomas and Transubstantiation, by Justin Appel, November 18,2010

[154] Council of Trent, 1551, Session 13, Canon 2

[155] (O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, 255-256)
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3415

[156] see John Paul II’s 2003 Encyclical Letter, Ecclesia de Eucharista,

[157] Luke 22.14-20

[158] John 6.48-51;61-63

[159] sacredbible.org

[160] John 6.63

[161] webtruth.org, Theological Issues, Transubstantiation, by Michael J. Penfold

[162] (O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, 255-256)
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3415

[163] Hebrews 9.24,25,26

[164] I Peter 2.5

[165] I Peter 2.9

[166] Revelation 1.6

[167] Matthew 23.9,10

[168] Malachi 2.7

[169] Numbers 16.5  I am indebted to Warren Doud of Grace Notes for pointing out this important passage.

[170] Revelation 1.6

[171] (Fr.John Vianney, 1786-1859, French parish priest). TPhttp://www.osv.com/tabid/7636/itemid/5748/Priest-Alter-Christus.aspx

[172] from The Pope of Mary Co-Redemptrix, by Dr. Mark Miravalle, Dec. 30, 2011:  John Paul II, Inseg., XIII/1, 1990, 743:1.; http://www.fifthmariandogma.com/articles/881/

[173] John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, March 11, 1985, p. 7. quoted in the article

[174] Pope John Paul II, in Redemptoris Mater [On the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Life of the Pilgrim Church], Encyclical promulgated on March 25, 1987, #21  see  http://www.papalencyclicals.net

[175] carm.org/exaltation-of-mary

[176] CCC 2679

[177] CCC 2682

[178] Deuteronomy 18.11

[179] Revelation 3.20,21

[180] Jeremiah 7.16-18

[181] Jeremiah 44.15-17

[182] The Golden Ass, XI, 2  truthbeknown.com/mary.html

[183] Pope Pius X, in Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum [On the Immaculate Conception], Encyclical promulgated on February 2, 1904, #6,  http://www.papalencyclicals.net

[184] Pope Leo XIII, in Octobri Mense [On the Rosary], encyclical promulgated on September 22, 1891, #4,  http://www.papalencyclicals.net

[185] St. Louis Marie de Montfort, The Secret of Mary, #10,48,50  http://www.ewtn.com/library/Montfort/SECRET.HTM

[186] Wikipedia, Louis de Montfort

[187] Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus

[188] Mark 8.17,18

[189] Romans 1.20

[190] Hebrews 1.1,2

[191] John 20.31

[192] Matthew 16.15-17

[193] John 8.31,32

[194] John 4.41,42

[195] James Turner, Without God, Without Creed: The Origins of Unbelief in America, JohnsHopkinsUniversity Press.

[196] Malachi Martin, The Jesuits, Simon & Schuster, p. 273

[197] Ibid,  p. 276

[198] Ibid. pp. 278,279

[199] Malachi Martin, The Jesuits, p. 275

[200] Ibid, p. 279

[201] The Phenomenon of Man, London, 1966, pp. 244-245

[202]Address of John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences [October 22, 1996] as in October 30 issue of the English edition of L’Osservatore Romano,

http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jp02tc.htm

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/vaticanview.html

[205] Leviticus 20.26 ESV

[206] Numbers 23.9

[207] I Samuel 8.5

[208] I Samuel 8.7,8,9,19,20

[209] Numbers 23.21,23; 24.5,6

[210] John 1.12

[211] Romans 9.6-9 excerpts

[212] Romans 2.28,29

[213] Galatians 6.15,16

[214] Galatians 3.29

[215] Matthew 3.9

[216] John 1.10-13

[217] Genesis 12.2

[218] Genesis 17.5,6

[219] Genesis 12.3; Genesis 22.18; Galatians 3.6-19

[220] Genesis 13.14,15; 15.18-21

[221] Genesis 17.8

[222] Genesis 13.16; 15.5

[223] Genesis 17.7,8

[224] Genesis 17.19-21

[225] Genesis 25.23

[226] Genesis 29.1

[227] Deuteronomy 29.12-15

[228] Deuteronomy 29.18-21

[229] Deuteronomy 30.1-5; Isaiah 31.8,9

[230] Deuteronomy 30.2

[231] Deuteronomy 30.6

[232] Deuteronomy 6.4-9

[233] Jeremiah 31.31-33

[234] Genesis 15.18-21

[235] Genesis 17.8

[236] Amos 9.14,15

[237] Jeremiah 23.5-8

[238] Matthew 23.37-39

[239] Psalm 72.1,5,8,9,11, 13,14,17

[240] Daniel 7.13,14

[241] Zechariah 2.10-12

[242] Isaiah 60.3,5,14

[243] Hebrews 11.8-10

[244] Isaiah 60.14

[245] Isaiah 62.1,2,6,7,12

[246] Revelation 13.7,8

[247] Revelation 13.15

[248] Revelation 15.1

[249] Revelation 20.1-6

[250] Revelation 20.7-10

[251] Revelation 20.13; 21.1,2,3,4

[252] Hebrews 10.12,13

[253] Psalm 110.1

[254] Revelation 3.21

[255] Acts 3.18: “But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.”

[256] George Eldon Ladd, “Historic Premillennialism”, The Meaning of the Millennium, pp. 30,31, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1977

[257] Ibid. p. 17

[258] Irenaeus, Against Heresies, V.32

[259] Genesis 15.18

[260] The Gnosis Archive,  gnosis.org

[261] Ibid.

[262] Sam A. Smith, The Non-Christian and Anti-Cosmic Roots of Amillennialism, biblicalreader.com

[263] Eusebius, Oration of Constantine, ch. ix

[264] Sam A. Smith, The Non-Christian and Anti-Cosmic Roots of Amillennialism, biblicalreader.com

[265] See Acts 5.3; I Corinthians 5.5; 7.5;  II Corinthians 2.11; 11.14; 12.7

[266] Revelation 12.7-12

[267] Luke 24.26

[268] C.I. Scofield, Scofield Reference Bible, 1909, 1917 [notes on John 1.17 sec.2] p.1115

[269] Job 19.25-27

[270] “Dispensationalism: A Return to Biblical Theology or Pseudo Christian Cult, jesus-is-lord.com and http://www.frii.com/~gosplow/disp2.html dispensation

[271] Revelation 13.11-15

[272] Vital Speeches 61, no.3 [November 15,1994]: 70 [3]

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s