Friday, February 26, 2016

Disagreement & Persecution in the Church as the Tribulation Comes Closer

Things are getting uncomfortable in the Church.

Well, let's face it.  Things have always been uncomfortable, what, with all the denominations and splinter groups that have risen through two millennia.

Clearly Believers have been at odds with each other almost since the Church's inception, leading Paul to write to the Corinthians,

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you" (1 Corinthians 1:10)?

Paul is trying to say here that if we all have the same Holy Spirit sent to us by Jesus Christ, why on earth would we say different things?  Wouldn't we all have the same mind and judgment if we have been led into all truth by the same Holy Spirit of Truth?

Christ cannot be divided because Truth never changes.  Yet division has arisen because most of us are hearing from the Holy Spirit in certain areas, while being egregiously led of Satan in others.  I know that sounds harsh, but if anyone believes a lie, that lie is from the father of lies, Satan (John 8:44).  How then can we believe a lie about a certain doctrine and that lie not come from Satan?  Certainly the Holy Ghost isn't involved in our believing lies, untruths and false doctrines.

So what generally happens when division arises?  People cut ties and go their separate ways.

Makes sense when considering this question found in Amos 3:3 spoken by God Himself,

"Can two walk together except they agree" (Amos 3:3)?

The obvious answer is no, and people who don't agree tend to walk in other directions.

Ok, they don't just tend to walk in other directions, they almost ALWAYS DO.

Paul and Barnabas did so in Acts 15:36-40.  A disagreement formed over whether John Mark should go with them on their journey,

"And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other..." (Acts 15:39).

And now we have lots of disagreements in the Church, not just over who should go with us on missionary journeys, but over important doctrinal beliefs.  So lots of denominations have formed, many of which hold to the belief that they are the only ones who are saved due to their adherence to whatever core belief for which they've latched on.

And now, as we continue through the birth pangs of the forthcoming tribulation, we see animosity and vitriol rising among us, as we argue and fight over doctrines that each splinter group holds to, that have in many cases been twisted from the plain reading of scripture to suit their tradition.

The same was the case with the Jews of Jesus' day.  You had the Pharisees and Saducees saying different things, too.  The Pharisees believed in a resurrection, while the Sadducees did not (Mark 12:18), and this was a point of contention that kept them apart.  Obviously the Sadducees were in error about this matter, but no matter, they argued their false belief relentlessly.  What a waste of time and vanity, no?

And Jesus warned all of the religious leadership of that day about their extra biblical beliefs and traditions, saying,

"Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:3...9).

This is exactly what's happened today.  Traditions of man have over-ridden the commandments of God.

A perfect example has to do with the second commandment,

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:4-6).

In this case we have God commanding not to even make a graven image, and yet the Catholic Church (which, due to many multiplied issues just like this one, is not true Biblical Christianity) posts statues and crucifixes everywhere, while many in the "Protestant" side of the Church post crosses on their buildings and wear them on their necks (see my videocast

In effect, this tradition of graven images in the Church has made "the commandment of God of none effect."  It's really insane when you think about it.  God commands us not to even make a graven image, yet a vast numbers of His "supposed" followers have them all over themselves, on necklaces, bracelets, rings, etc. They "honor Him with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him." 

Another strange doctrine can be found in the Church of Christ denomination.  

They say musical instruments are forbidden in worship in the New Testament Church (see, based on the belief that since musical instruments are not mentioned in the Bible or other historical sources as being used by the early Church, then it must have been outlawed by the New Covenant, even though Jesus' quoted from the Psalms on many occasions, a 150 chapter book in the Old Testament which proclaims multiple times to glorify God with instruments, psaltery, harp, cymbals, etc (Psalms 33:2, 68:25, 87:7, 92:3, 144:9, 150:4, etc.).

Did God, who has said, "...I am the Lord, I change not..." (Malachi 3:6), change His mind about the use of musical instruments to praise Him with the coming of Christ, or did the Church of Christ twist scriptures to do completely away with the Old Testament as a source of information regarding God's likes and dislikes to come up with a silly and baffling doctrine that handcuffs worshippers in their expression of love toward God? I mean, imagine if God had gifted you to be a musician to glorify Him, and you're told that playing instruments is not of God?  Absolutely befuddling.  You would think your whole life that you were of the devil because you were drawn to piano, or guitar, or violin.

Since they're in the minority of denominations to hold to this belief/practice, it's obvious the remainder of the Church disagrees, and I obviously disagree with it, but who's right?

Let's be honest, just because anyone is in the minority on an issue doesn't make them wrong.  A quick snap judgment without searching the scriptures wouldn't be wise in this case because, as Jesus said, "...many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14).

Often is the case that the minority are in the right.

For example, let's consider how many people of thousands were saved on the ark (eight, Genesis 7) and how many left Sodom safely (only three, would have been four if Lot's wife hadn't looked back, Genesis 19.)

Another example is when God told Elijah that seven thousand hadn't bowed the knee to Baal in Israel (1 Kings 19:19)?  There were a lot more than seven thousand people living in Israel in those days, probably in the hundreds of thousands, so it was only a stark minority were actually doing right at the time.

Nevertheless, the idea of no instruments in worship IS NOT BIBLICAL.  But their viewpoint that instruments can drown out the singing and praise of the congregation is not wrong.  There's nothing worse than going to a Church where the music is so loud you can't hear yourself sing.  That's just as wrong as not having instruments at all.  There has to be a happy medium so that all may praise God in such a way that is pleasing to Him as defined by the entirety of scripture.

Another issue that has created major division is that of whether or not the gifts of the Spirit are in operation today or were they done away with after the early Church? To speak in tongues or not?  To lay hands on the sick, or not?  Prophecy? Words of wisdom? Words of knowledge?  What does it mean to be Spirit filled (I address these ideas in my video podcast, "Being Spirit-filled Means Speaking in Tongues").

Like the parable Jesus told of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25), five with oil in their lamps, five not, it seems we are cut right down the middle on this issue with the mainline denominations, such as Presbyterians, Methodists, Southern Baptists, Bible Churches, Church of Christ, etc. not believing the gifts are for today, that they were only for the early Church, while denominations such as the Assemblies of God, Church of God, and a slew of Pentecostals and Charismatics (though there are a lot of counterfeit gifts going on so be aware of that) all seem to believe the gifts are for today.

Then we have the issue of paganism in the Church, especially through Catholicism's influence.  We have Christmas (see my video cast:, Easter and Sunday Sabbath, hell-a-days that never existed before 300 A.D., and yet dominate our Churches, and yet I hear God saying they are all an abomination to Him (see Jeremiah 10:2-6).

So here we have yet another point of contention, and yet I'm arguing these points with regard to these idolatrous days from a position of a tiny minority who believe the same, while when it comes to the idea of being Sprit-filled I find myself in same 50/50 position everyone else does, and with regard to  instruments in Church I find myself in the vast majority.  Confusing, right?

Need I mention other issues of contention such as the idea of pre, mid and post-tribulation rapture?

How about the idea that we are in the end times?  Many believe we are, others don't.  

What about Calvinism?  Predestination?  Free moral agency?

So many issues, so many divisions.

It's pretty clear that Satan creates these points of contentions just to get us side tracked and deceived, and on the path to hell with him.

So how do we manage our beliefs on these issues that divide us and still remain part of the corporate body?  

First of all we have to realize that our number one priority in life is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strengths (Mark 12:30). 

What does this mean?  Do we have do this just by praising, worshipping and showing our affection for Him?

Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments..." (John 15:10).

Jesus is not even mentioning having affection for Him.  He's saying that if you love Him you will obey Him, which ties back to the idea that " obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1 Samuel 15:22).

God wants our obedience first, and worship second.  That's why Jesus made the point of saying to those who acted like worshippers but were disobedient, 

"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me" (Matthew 15:22).

But you can't keep the commandments of God if you don't know them.  You must read His Word, from cover to cover, if you want to know all the counsel of God, to know all of His commandments.

The Apostle John reiterates the idea that love is tied to keeping Jesus' commands:

"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:3). 

[Note: a lot of people these days who teach a grace only gospel (another point of contention in the Church) will imply you can't keep the commandments, that you cannot stop sinning.  But it's by the power of God's Holy Spirit that He endues you with that you can overcome, even as He overcame.  But this topic is too big and is better addressed in another blog.]

The second most important command is like the first, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 22:39).

Once again, how do you do that?  How do you love others?

The Apostle John tells us yet again,  

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments" (1 John 5:2).

Loving others goes right back to loving God and keeping His commandments, because if you keep the commandments of God you will be default treat God and others with love.

It has little to do with the exposition of gooey and yet phony affection that a lot of Christians seem to drip with as they day after day break God's commands.  It has everything to do with getting right with God's Word and then exhibiting the true love of God.  

Some people think this means not doing what they deem as "judging" others, that is, not calling sin a sin if someone else is doing it, or that you should veer away from topics which seem to be contentious.  But if you go back and read the Old Testament, you'll see that every prophet there was, from Jeremiah to Elijah, suffered at the hands of the religious who tried to kill them.  They were seen as judgmental, and yet the Prophets were in the right and knew that what Israel was doing was hurting the one they cared about the most: God.  Israel, while in disobedience and sin, could have cared less about God.  The Prophets were part of the few in Israel that actual loved Him more than themselves and laid down their lives for that love.

RIght now the Church is indeed in trouble in the same way as Israel was off and on throughout the Old Testament and all this fighting amongst ourselves is indeed demonic to the core.  But the demonic aspect is limited to the side of those fighting who are on the wrong side of Truth.  And there are people who call themselves Christians fighting from the wrong side on every single issue there is.  (Sometimes the people arguing from the wrong side are actually Satanists who know what they are doing and they purposely cause contention to fracture Churches and cause their demise.)

If you approach any of the points of contention found in the Church logically, say for example, the idea of playing instruments in worship, either the Church of Christ is right in their belief and the rest of the Church is wrong, or they're wrong and the others right.  

There's really no in between, and being that such is the case, one side is being influenced by the Truth and by God, while the other is being influenced by Satan.

There's no gray nebulous area when it comes to truth in such a case.  Someone is speaking truth about instruments in worship and is representing God, who is Truth, while the other is not speaking truth and representing Satan who is the father of lies.

So on all of these issues of contention, the people on the wrong side of the truth have strayed far from the pure teachings of Christ and it's sad to say, but at least in the areas in which they are wrong, they don't really know Him.  Especially if they are hard and dogmatic in their false belief.

Let's consider Paul when he was Saul, a religious leader of his day who absolutely thought that seeing to it that Christ-Believers were persecuted and killed was the godly thing to do.  He didn't really know God at all, and certainly not His Christ, and Saul needed a major Damascus Road experience to realize just how far he was from knowing Him, that he had actually been on the side of Satan!

It's the same today.  Adamant denominationalists know their own version of God which has been adulterated by their faction's dogmas, and because many in these organizations are either too lazy, or just don't care, they don't read the Bible on their own with enough frequency to break through their false belief and create the clarity required to see and walk in Truth.

So what God has said in His Word is not really known, and they are unable to see that the beliefs and practices that go on in the Church are actually straight from Satan himself.  There is no benchmark of Truth to measure against, so whatever comes from the pulpit or from denominational doctrine is received like a baby bird receiving its food from its mother, chewed up and processed, not knowing that so much poison lies within.

We, as a whole, have been brainwashed, albeit in many different ways.  One group may have truth in one area, and lies in others, while another group may have another truth and different lies.  Satan has no problem with this as all he wants is for some lies to be believed.  He'll sprinkle his lies within all sorts of truth, but as long as he has you believing any lie, he's got you, at least in that area.  And any amount of space given to Satan is too much.

I find this to be the case with Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) as well as the Jehovah's Witnesses.  SDA's are right about Saturday being the proper day of the Sabbath.  Jehovah's Witnesses are right not to celebrate Christmas.  But these truths they adhere to, that the rest of the Church should also be practicing, are tucked into another belief system which is based on Masonry, making them effectively Satanic cults.  

These two cults have parts of truth, but in other areas are headed right down the broad road that leads to destruction.  And the fact that they are so off-kilter in other ways actually serves to discredit the truths they do have and the rest of the Church then thinks these, in actuality biblical practices, are ridiculous.  If you think about it from a psychological combat perspective, it's pure genius to hide true practices of God in the midst of the bad.

This brainwashing then has many of us fighting against the God we claim to serve.  Jesus once warned that people would think they do God service to kill the true servants of God. 

"They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service" (John 16:2).

This is the length and breadth of the deception in the Church, and there will be many denominational members who Satan uses to make war against the true Believers in these last days.

Jesus forewarned of this betrayal within the Church (just as he was betrayed from inside the group by Judas) and within families, and I'm beginning to see that this betrayal is truly beginning to ramp up, per His prediction.

 "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another" (Matthew 24:9-10).
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household" (Matthew 10:34-36).
So we see in this end time in which we are entering that the closer you get to God, the more persecution and hatred you can expect from other "religious" people who are like Saul was before the Damascus Road experience changed him from a Christian killer to one who actually suffered and died himself for the cause of Christ.
Please don't be surprised, then, when differences of doctrines and faith cause your own persecution.  What you really need to be careful of, however, is that you do not perceive those speaking scriptural truth against your doctrinal error as your persecutors.  We all must be as the Bereans, who searched the scriptures with regard to what Paul was teaching.  
This is because, you must know, that the Church is filled with religious beliefs and traditions that directly contradict the clear word of God.  We must get honest with God and seek Him and His word in order to clean up our acts and to become "Without Spot or Blemish."  
I'm challenging each person who reads this blog to question every single belief you have, get a concordance, and look up all the scriptures you can to determine each of your beliefs' veracity.  I'm challenging you to make it a habit to read three chapters a day of the Bible until you've read the whole thing.  It will take a year.  Read it aloud because " comes by hearing" (Romans 10:17).  Get God's Word deep down in you so that you have a firm foundation of faith and you can shake off the cobwebs of so many false beliefs.
I've presented a number of beliefs that after putting them under Biblical scrutiny I've been led down some narrow paths and away from the majority.  In the case of the music issue, I remained with the majority.  

It can be different in every case.  But this I believe God promises you: if you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).  If you want to know Truth, at the expense of any lie, God will send you His precious Holy Spirit who will lead you into all truth (John 16:13), and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).  
Seek the truth on each and every matter with a clean heart, and God will lead you into it.   

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