Thursday, January 19, 2017

Guest Post: Mysticism and the Coming World Religion- Pt3

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand…Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.        —Ephesians:6:13, 16-18
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.      —Acts:2:42
What lies ahead, according to the Scriptures, regarding the increasing development of mysticism today has been addressed in the previous two articles presented in October and November. That’s one of the purposes of biblical prophecy: to have believers “take heed.” But being aware of what’s coming is only part of what God would have us know. There is also the “what we are to do” part. And the good news is that He enables us by His grace and His Holy Spirit.
How we go about our life in Christ is critical. Whether in peace or persecution, in poverty or prosperity, in sickness or in health, our condition cannot determine a response that keeps us from being fruitful, productive, and pleasing to the Lord. That certainly makes no sense to the world and, sadly, many Christians are confused by it. Yet that’s the gist of John:10:10: “I [Jesus] am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” How can persecution, poverty, and sickness equate with an abundant life? That doesn’t seem right, but perhaps one’s definition of “abundantly” inhibits a correct biblical understanding of the word.
If we’re thinking that the abundant life is one filled only with the physical pleasures and provisions of life to the suspension of things not so pleasant or seemingly favorable, we’ve misunderstood John:10:10, as well as other verses throughout Scripture. That erroneous mindset cannot reconcile the joy indicated in verses such as 2 Corinthians:7:4: “...I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation,” and 2 Corinthians:8:2: “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” Words such as “tribulation,” “trial of affliction,” and “deep poverty” seem at odds with “abundance” and may lead a person to a misunderstanding that could play havoc in a believer’s life in Christ.
Jesus said, “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Luke:6:22-23). The point of bringing these verses to our attention is because as we draw closer to the return of Jesus Christ, the obstacles, both physical and spiritual, will increase. Many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world are already undergoing horrendous persecution. Where that is limited, such as here in the West, spiritual deception and seduction are running rampant, thereby shipwrecking the faith of multitudes of believers. Ignorance of what the Scriptures teach is a major contributor to said conditions, but there are numerous verses that every biblical Christian needs to understand in order to successfully weather the trials and tribulations that will surely come.
The good news is that God has provided “abundantly” everything a true believer in Jesus needs in order to be fruitful in his or her life in Christ. The Apostle Peter wrote, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter:1:3). “All things” means all things, and therefore that must include spiritual protection in the days that Jesus characterized by declaring, “Take heed that no man deceives you,” and “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew:24:4, 24). Furthermore, the good news is that the biblical prevention program against being led astray by the cunning deceits of the Adversary is that it is neither complicated nor formidable. Here are the basic elements for preventing being deceived: the Word of God, prayer, and fellowship.
“All things” that the Lord has provided are empowered by the Holy Spirit and enabled through His grace. The preventative process against being spiritually duped isn’t complex, but it does demand a willing heart, a love of the truth, and the exercise of discipline. Avoiding being deceived or seduced by the apostasy must begin with the Word of God and our commitment to it, meaning a consistent reading of the Bible—daily. There is no better habit for the man, woman, and child of God. James gives the primary exhortation for that: “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” (James:4:7) That must include submitting ourselves to God’s instructions. Two things here: we can’t submit to instructions we haven’t read, and submission involves doing what God has instructed.
God’s Word has long been held as a Christian’s authority. Today, although many evangelicals profess that they do believe in the authority of Scripture in matters of faith and practice, in actuality they deny them in practice. A young man who was a local leader in promoting the Emerging Church Movement came in to see me one day. Previous to that, I was praying about how I could explain some things to him and perhaps help him to get back on track with God’s Word. As we were about to start our conversation, I said that I thought it would be very helpful if we acknowledged to what spiritual authority each of us was submitting. With my Bible squarely in front of him, I said, “This book is my authority. What’s your authority?” He looked around, and looked around, as though searching for a response, and then finally said, “My God is bigger than that book.” I wasn’t shocked by his answer because I’ve heard it a number of times. Nevertheless, I followed that by responding that he must therefore have other authorities, and who might they be in whom he was trusting in place of God? Needless to say, our “conversation” went nowhere worthwhile after that.
Most Christians tend to hang on to the belief in the authority of God’s Word, but functionally they bail out on it. That’s because they don’t really believe in the sufficiency of Scripture. That’s unfortunate. It’s also senseless. Why? Because anyone who claims to believe in the authority of God’s Word but denies its sufficiency means he doesn’t believe it has all the answers that it claims. Therefore, if a person feels he must go elsewhere for answers, he’s doing…what? He’s looking for another authority.
It should be obvious that not believing in the Bible’s sufficiency is a rejection of its authority. Again, the Bible makes it absolutely clear regarding its sufficiency. Second Timothy 3:16-17 proclaims: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” These expressions—“inspiration,” being “profitable,” giving “instruction” in order to grow in maturity, and being “furnished” (equipped) for every good work—certainly confirm sufficiency. Ephesians:2:10 spells out a major reason for God making His Word sufficient for every believer: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” And by “all things that pertain to life and godliness,” which we noted in Peter’s second epistle, Scripture is referring to all that is necessary to please God regarding things that have both temporal and eternal value. To what or to whom should a believer in Christ turn for that?
The daily habit of reading the Word of God, recognizing its sufficiency for our growth, maturity, fruitfulness—and then doing what it says by God’s enablement—is necessary for protection against spiritual deception. And that must be undergirded by prayer. “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” Philippians:4:6.
Hopefully, we all realize that when the verse says “every thing,” it means everything. A number of years ago when I was in England I was with a couple of believers, guys I hadn’t met before, but after spending a few days with them, I was stunned by their approach to what we were doing: they prayed about everything. Although I wasn’t used to their zeal for prayer, the way they went about it reflected it as a seamless part of their lives. They prayed at the day’s beginning, prior to a drive to a meeting, for the spiritual blessing of the meeting, thanking the Lord at meals, for those we met along the way, and on and on. I found myself singing phrases from the hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus: All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. That experience with them got me both excited and re-invigorated about how important prayer is.
When I came out of the Roman Catholic Church and into a personal relationship with Jesus, it was difficult at first (on my part) to make that relationship truly personal. My early prayer life more closely reflected the rote prayers I practiced for decades when Jesus was hardly a “friend” to me—certainly far less so than His mother. As the evangelical church of late has become enamored with the Church of Rome, many are practicing contemplative prayer, which has been a historic part of Catholicism from the Desert Fathers to the modern-day promotions of mystic priests such as Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton. Although the claim is that contemplative prayer is more intimate and draws one closer to God, the reality is that it involves hundreds of vain repetitions of phrases and singular words, a process that is condemned in Scripture
(Matthew:6:7-8) and renders intelligent communication totally absurd.
Biblical prayer, on the other hand, consists of a believer’s personal communication with his Creator. Although fully God, Jesus is also fully Man. He demonstrated the intimate relationship we are to have with Him and with God the Father in numerous ways He drew away from the crowds in order to commune with His Father: “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.” and at times He “continued all night in prayer” (Matthew:14:23Luke:6:12). Prayer, according to the Scriptures, is set forth as an imperative for the believer. We are to pray “without ceasing,” “always,” “exceedingly,” “night and day,” regarding whatever conditions beset us. We are to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ (Romans:15:30), for our rulers, as well as for our enemies
(1 Timothy:2:1-2Luke:6:27-28). The simple reason that biblical prayer is so important is that we cannot do anything that has eternal value except by God’s grace, and that is mostly received through prayer.
Specific to spiritual protection we are exhorted to pray “always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians:6:18). The Apostle Paul asked for prayer “that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men”…declaring that “the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil” (2 Thessalonians:3:1-3). Moreover, and better yet, we have Jesus, who prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail (Luke:22:32), and who now is at the right hand of the Father making “intercession for the saints” (Romans:8:27, 34).
Another necessary element in regard to preventing being seduced or deceived by the increasing apostasy may be the most difficult one to satisfy or maintain. It has to do with fellowship. Scripture declares “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes:4:9-12).
Those verses give simple insight regarding how we should go about dealing with these troubling times that aggressively oppose the Bible’s instructions for living our lives in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. Fellowship with like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ is a major part of the Lord’s instructions, given for our protection, strengthening, and fruitfulness. Ecclesiastes implies that those who disdain fellowship have put themselves into a weak and vulnerable position: “Two are better than one…. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” A believer who has no one to support him spiritually will find himself in trouble sooner or later. When any of us gets knocked down spiritually, we need a fellow believer to help us up—mentally, emotionally, and, most important, spiritually. As for those who declare, “The Lord is all we need,” too often, their subsequent thinking is out of line with God’s Word. Jesus said in Luke:6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” We as believers need to “circle our wagons” now and in the days ahead. Our best option is in a church fellowship, supporting the leadership that is steadfast and staying the course of God’s Word, and especially—serving the body. When that isn’t an option, we must ask the Lord to help us to find another committed believer or believers with whom we may have a Bible study, with whom we can pray, with whom we might minister to one another, encourage one another, and with whom we can gather together for doctrinal discernment and spiritual fortification. “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” First and foremost, that third strand must be the Lion of Judah, the Lamb of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus himself.
In summary, the Word of God, prayer, and fellowship are the biblical keys empowered by God’s grace for a believer’s spiritual protection. By His grace, may we be motivated to make these a priority as we see the spiritual darkness overtake the world around us.

By T. A. McMahon

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Guest Post: Mysticism... and Dr. Strange

In the October and November 2016 issues of The Berean Call newsletter, a thesis was presented based upon Scripture and an observation of what has been taking place in the world and Christendom. It is simply this: the coming worldwide religion of the Antichrist is rooted in and will establish itself as mysticism. Definitions of mysticism include: belief that one may attain a direct knowledge of and a final union with God or some Supreme Deity (personal or impersonal) through subjective experiences, altered states of consciousness, meditation, feelings, and occult manifestations. It is the turning from objective reality (reason, true science, facts) to metaphysical assumptions and speculations. Mysticism is believed to be the pathway to the spiritual realm that ultimately controls the physical universe. This article is a review of the latest global promotion of mysticism in the movie Dr. Strange.
Before I became a biblical Christian—one who was graciously saved by putting my faith in the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the full payment for all my sins—I was a Hollywood screenwriter. One of the things I learned in my time at 20th Century-Fox studios and with independent productions was that as a screenwriter my primary objective was entertainment. The formula was hardly complex: the more entertaining the movie, the bigger the box office success. There are many other things that may go into a movie: for example, a message, a teaching, or a political, religious, or philosophical slant. But to the degree that any of those things detract from the entertainment value, they can put financial success in harm’s way. That is a major reason why the majority of theatrical movies fail at the box office.
On the other hand, the movie medium is the most effective vehicle for promoting specific beliefs in the world today, and that potential is not lost on the screenwriter. For example, there are three movies that have had enormous success by featuring a religious teaching and yet lost no enthusiasts because the films were highly entertaining. Star Wars introduced the Force as a spiritual energy field that connects all living things. Director George Lucas wanted to “awaken a certain kind of spirituality in young audiences, suggesting a belief in God without endorsing any specific religion” (The Mythology of Star Wars [2000 documentary]). The ongoing theme of controlling the power of the Force produced occult manifestations throughout the Star Wars episodes such as telepathy and using the mind to manipulate matter. From the late 1970s on, children have been inculcated with “May the Force be with you,” and Yoda’s instruction to Luke Skywalker for manipulating the Force: “Luke, trust your feelings.” Entertaining? Yes. Spiritually seductive? Yes. Antithetical to Scripture? Totally.
In 2009, Avatar (a Hindu term for an incarnated spirit or god) at one point surpassed Star Wars at the box office, becoming the highest grossing film in history. As Star Wars is to Eastern mystical occultism, the movie Avatar is to the largest non-centralized and non-structured religion in the world: shamanism. Shamanism is practiced throughout the globe, from Siberia to the Solomon Islands, from Africa to the Far East. Yet the fact that it functions identically among people groups who have never been in contact with one another confirms that the shaman’s guidance comes from a nonhuman (i.e., spiritual) source. Avatar portrays a litany of anti-biblical beliefs, albeit in a highly entertaining way: through reincarnation, the worship of nature and nature spirits, Gaia as supreme deity, Hinduism, goddess worship, panentheism, the connection of humans and nature, the purity of those closest to nature, and spirit/soul travel. Writer/director James Cameron loaded his film with Hindu nuances (e.g., the blue skin of the Na’vi, akin to the gods Krishna and Rama) and declared that he “tried to make a film that would touch people’s spirituality across the broad spectrum” (The Times of India, retrieved March 20, 2010).
Both Star Wars and Avatar teach various aspects of mysticism indirectly through their focus on the Force and shamanism respectively, but Dr. Strange (the latest of the Marvel super heroes to come to the big screen) is a narrative that specifically and clearly explains mysticism as the story unfolds. A surgeon at the top of his profession loses the use of his hands due to a horrific car crash. Nothing scientifically attempted is able to restore his surgical skills. Dr. Strange, therefore, having lost all but a fleck of hope, journeys to Katmandu. His huge ego, wrapped in a materialist mindset, sets the stage for Mysticism Apologetics 101. There he is led to the “Ancient One,” a sorceress who dismantles his zealous disbelief in nonphysical reality.
Dr. Strange: “I do not believe in fairy tales about chakras or energy.… There is no such thing as spirit. We are made of matter and nothing more.” Brushing his ignorance aside, the sorceress pushes him into experiences and makes pronouncements that have no correlation outside of a mystical worldview. Dr. Strange (and the audience) are taught that “At the root of existence, mind and matter meet. Both shape reality.” Yet we learn quickly that the mystical realm is far more powerful than physical matter, and we follow the path of Dr. Strange, the former hardcore materialist, as he develops into the “Supreme Sorcerer,” supposedly drawing only upon the “good side” of mystical power.
Like the other Marvel movies, Dr. Strange is highly amusing, well written and directed, includes humor, dazzling special effects, and very likeable characters. That’s the good news for the ticket purchaser: you get your entertainment-money’s worth. That good news however is bad news for biblical Christians, those who are aware that the chief mystical ingredients of the Antichrist’s worldwide religion are spreading like wildfire, and who are grieved over the multitude of souls who are deceived in the process. Those ingredients include sorcery (Acts:8:9-11Revelation:9:21; 18:23; 21:8; 22:15), lying signs and wonders (2 Thessalonians:2:9-10Revelation:16:13-14), and a supreme sorcerer-to-come who is empowered by Satan himself (Revelation:13:11-14). Jesus warned that these things would take place just prior to His return (Matthew 24).
Among those who profess to be Christians, confusion is further induced by a myriad of attempts to spin anti-biblical movies as Christian, including the Harry Potter series, which offers pure, unadulterated instructions in witchcraft. Christianity Today, a professing Christian journal that has been fostering the apostasy in copious ways for years, provides an obvious example of sanctifying mysticism in its review of Dr. Strange. Understanding, therefore, that what is taking place is actually a fulfillment of prophecy that will continue its course until Jesus returns, what is a biblical believer to do? We need to know what the Bible declares about the days ahead, and we must pray that the Lord will give us the opportunity to point out these things to people who don’t know what the Scriptures teach, including the lost, professing “Christians,” and sincere but uninformed believers.
The original article may be found here:

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Guest Post: King of the Jews

By Dave Hunt
At this time of year, people who otherwise give little or no thought to God or Christ give lip service to the idea that more than 1,900 years ago Jesus was born in Bethlehem and “there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” (Mt:2:1-2). Oddly, many Christians who believe Jesus was born “King of the Jews” attach no literal meaning to that title, especially one that has anything to do with Jews. Prophecies concerning Christ ruling the world from David’s throne in Jerusalem are taken as metaphors referring to His present rule from heaven.
Jerusalem was founded by King David 3,000 years ago. No fewer than 40 times the Bible calls Jerusalem “the city of David.” There God established David’s throne forever, and on that throne the Messiah, King of the Jews, descended from David, must reign over Israel and the world (2 Chr:6:6; 33:7; 2 Sam:7:16Ps:89:3,4,20,21,29-36, etc.). Jerusalem is named more than 800 times in the Bible and is central to God’s plans. He has placed His name there forever.
Knowing that only the Messiah, descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, can defeat him, Satan has inspired 3,000 years of anti-Semitism. Destroying all Jews would have prevented Messiah from being born. Satan lost that round. But if all Jews were destroyed today, God couldn’t fulfill His promises that Christ would reign as King of the Jews on David’s throne at His second coming. God would be a liar and Satan the winner. God’s integrity and eternal purposes are linked to Israel’s survival!
Yasser Arafat claim[ed] that Israel has always belonged to Arabs and that Jerusalem has been an Arab city for thousands of years. In fact, it isn’t even mentioned in the Qur’an! On July 15, 1889, the Pittsburgh Dispatch reported that of Jerusalem’s 40,000 residents, 30,000 were Jews and most of the others were Christians. In 1948, when Israel declared its independence, only 3 percent of Palestine was owned by Arabs. Israel has its Knesset in Jerusalem. But the world won’t accept that, and foreign embassies are located elsewhere. In defiance of God and His King (Ps 2), the world has its own plans for Jerusalem.
Here we confront the broader aspects of anti-Semitism’s war against God and the King of the Jews: the attempt to control Jerusalem and God’s land (Lv:25:23). Incredibly, the UN Security Council has devoted nearly a third of its deliberations and resolutions to Israel, a country with less than one-thousandth of earth’s population! The UN has never condemned the Arabs for their terrorism but has condemned Israel more than 370 times for defending itself. In March 1999, the EU notified Israel again that it “does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty” over Jerusalem. In a papal bull on the Year 2000 Jubilee, Pope John Paul II once again rejected Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.
We see the continuing fulfillment of Christ’s remarkable prophecy that Jerusalem would be “trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Lk 21:24). The capture by Israelis of East Jerusalem in 1967 seemed to mark the end of the “times of the Gentiles.” But in a surprising move, Israel turned the Temple Mount back to the custodial care of King Hussein of Jordan, leaving the very heart of Jerusalem in Gentile hands. In 1994, Yasser Arafat and his PLO took control.
Roman Catholic doctrine that the nation of Israel has been replaced by that Church is spreading increasingly among evangelicals. This replacement of Israel is a subtle form of anti-Semitism. Instead of sending Jews to ovens, their significance and even their existence is denied: by some twist in history, those now commonly called Jews are supposedly not really Jews—the real Jews are Mormons, or British Israelites, or Catholics, or Christians!
The shameful horror of historical anti-Semitism provides a shocking exposé of the human heart. Satan found multitudes of partners (many of whom called themselves Christians) only too eager to malign, persecute, and kill God’s chosen people. Hitler’s “final solution to the Jewish problem” was known to Roosevelt, Churchill and other allied leaders, who did nothing. Neutral Switzerland and Sweden turned escaping Jews back to Hitler’s ovens. [See Mar 2000 Q&A]
Incredibly, a typical Jordanian textbook equates Zionism with Nazism! Yet Arabs applauded and aided Hitler—and Islam pursues Hitler’s “solution” to this day. Hitlerian threats pour continuously from Muslim religious and political leaders on TV and over radios and loudspeakers in mosque and street. The battle between Yahweh, the God of Israel, who loves Jews as His chosen people, and Allah, the god of Islam, who hates them with a passion, is building to an awesome climax.
It is every Muslim’s religious duty to exterminate the Jews. Muslims dream of destroying Israel. They name holidays and streets after murderers of innocent Israeli citizens and hold celebrations honoring terrorists. Islam’s leaders have called for a spiritual revival as the key to Israel’s destruction—and Islamic fundamentalism, which brazenly employs terrorism worldwide, is now sweeping the world.
Islamic scholars agree that it is the sacred duty of every Muslim in every age to wage jihad (holy war) to force the entire world to submit to Islam. There are more than 100 verses in the Qur’an about fighting and killing in that quest. A Libyan cabinet minister explained, “Violence is the Muslim’s most positive form of prayer.”
In spite of his rape of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein [was] beloved by millions of Arabs because his scud missiles heavily damaged Israeli civilian targets, and he repeatedly call[ed] for Israel’s destruction. When Kaddafi scream[ed], “The battle with Israel will be such that...Israel will cease to exist!” he [spoke] for every Muslim. Islam’s founding prophet, Muhammad, declared, “The last hour will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them.”
Islam’s desire to exterminate Israel is taught from childhood. A Syrian Minister of Education wrote, “The hatred which we indoctrinate into the minds of our children from birth is sacred.” A ninth-grade Egyptian textbook declares, “Israel shall not live if the Arabs stand fast in their hatred.” And a fifth-grade textbook states, “The Arabs do not cease to act for the extermination of Israel.” It is suicidal for Israel to trade strategic land for “peace” with such enemies—but the world forces her.
Muhammad showed Muslims how to make “peace.” In AD 628 he made a peace treaty with his own Kuraish tribe. Two years later, he suddenly attacked Mecca and slaughtered every male. Arafat publicly declared, “In the name of Allah...I am not considering it [the Israeli-PLO peace accord] more than the agreement signed between our prophet Muhammad and the Kuraish tribe....Peace for us means the destruction of Israel....” No place for the King of the Jews! This is Islam—take a close look!
Muslim nations arm themselves with missiles capable of delivering chemical, biological, and nuclear warheads. Syria has manufactured thousands of chemical warheads, has huge stores of biological weapons, and has tripled its military and air power since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The whole world knows these weapons have one purpose: to destroy Israel. But Israel also has nuclear weapons (now deployed in new, efficient submarines) and would use them if needed. Who will bring peace?
Christ warned of such incredible destruction that if He did not intervene to stop it, no flesh would be left alive on earth (Mt 24:21-22). That remarkable prophecy anticipated today’s modern weapons. No wonder the God of the Bible, who twelve times calls Himself “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” promises repeatedly to defend Israel and Jerusalem in the last days! Having brought Israel to birth in 1948, God will complete His purpose. He declares, “Shall a nation be born...? Shall I bring to the birth,...saith the Lord...and shut the womb?” (Is 66:8-9).
In its mad rebellion against God, the world rejects the “King of the Jews” and His promised rule of international peace from David’s throne in Jerusalem and makes its own plans. The ideal of a humanistic world government has been pursued since Babel. In 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) was established. The next year its journal, Foreign Affairs, stated that there would be “no peace or prosperity for mankind...until some kind of international system is created....” In 1934, H. G. Wells declared, “There must be a common faith and law for mankind....The main battle is an educational battle.” Children are being educated to reject God and embrace Antichrist. In 1973, in the Saturday Review of Education, Gloria Steinem, feminist leader, stated that by the year 2000 “we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in Human Potential, not God.”
In May 1947, Winston Churchill declared, “Unless some effective world supergovernment...can be set up and begin to reign, the prospects for peace and human progress are dark and doubtful....” In 1948, in UNESCO: Its Purpose and Its Philosophy, Sir Julian Huxley, its first director-general, explained that “The general philosophy of UNESCO should be a scientific world humanism, global in extent and evolutionary in help the emergence of a single world culture....” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the “concept of national sovereignty” is being redefined and would have to be set aside. In 2000, in a step toward a world religion, “the UN will extend its peacekeeping role into spiritual territory” and call for “its first summit for world religious leaders.”
No matter the form of government, rulers are selfish and oppressive. That has been repeatedly demonstrated worldwide. Africa threw off white colonial rule, but instead of freedom, there was new bondage to black despots. Instead of peace and prosperity, there is growing chaos, poverty, unrest, and tribal and ethnic wars, with blacks killing blacks, repeated coups, and revolutions that gain nothing.
Communism was once the big hope. The communist revolution in Russia was financed to a large extent by some of the wealthiest and most powerful men in America. Praising its enforced atheism, John Dewey wrote in The New Republic in 1928 that communism would “counteract and transform...the influence of home and Church” and ultimately fulfill the goals set forth in The Humanist Manifesto.
It sounded so good: equality for all. But those who enforced this “equality” were tyrants, looking out for their own selfish interests, who oppressed and stole from the people under them. Corruption flourished in the Soviet Union and China and still does in every communist nation.
The same has always been true of Islam. Muhammad imposed Islam with the sword. As soon as he died, much of Arabia tried to abandon Islam, but was forced back into submission in the Wars of Apostasy, in which tens of thousands were killed. Nor did that bring peace. Muhammad’s closest companions and relatives fought savage wars for leadership, slaughtering one another for Allah and their dead prophet. Thousands of Muhammad’s followers were butchered by one rival faction or another.
Islam hasn’t changed. Between 1948 and 1973, there were 80 revolutions in the Arab world, 30 of them successful, including the murder of 22 heads of state. Sunnites, the largest Islamic sect, and Shi’ites, the next largest, still fight one another. In the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq, 1,000 tons of poison gas were used, and there were more deaths than in World War I. Islam can’t even bring peace among Muslims. Yet British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that Islam is synonymous with “peace, tolerance and a force for good.” Incredibly, the [former] Crystal Cathedral housed a joint “Christian and Muslim Institute for peace.”
Peace? Islamic countries are dictatorships that were led by ruthless murderers and international terrorists such as Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Kaddafi, and Hafez Assad of Syria. In the name of Allah, these men and others have imprisoned, tortured, and killed tens of thousands of their own citizens and train and finance worldwide terrorism. In PLO territories taken from Israel, as in every Muslim country, there is no freedom of conscience, speech, religion, election, or the media.
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and she has the problems that democracy breeds. The Holy Land is plagued with drugs, pornography, prostitution, youth rebellion, rape, robbery, and murder. Selfishness pits Israeli against Israeli. More than 200,000 Israeli women are victims of domestic violence each year. The savagery in Israeli schools rivals that of the United States. Violent crime among Israeli youth more than doubled from 1993 to 1998. There is hostility between religious and secular Israelis and increasing disillusionment with Judaism, especially among youth.
Were Jeremiah alive today, he would warn Israel once again of coming judgment. Israel must repent to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But what if she were to do so? The rabbis have no forgiveness to offer. They’ve had neither temple nor sacrifices for sin for 1,900 years—exactly as foretold (Hos:3:4; Lk 21:20-24)!
Why would God prophesy and allow this condition? Only if Jesus is the Messiah who, as the Lamb of God, died for the sins of Jew and Gentile. If His sacrifice on the cross fulfilled all the Old Testament sacrifices, they are no longer needed. That is the only explanation for God having left Israel without temple and sacrifice all these years.
The Hebrew scriptures contain more than 300 prophecies telling when and where the King of the Jews would be born, all about Him, including His rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection. All were fulfilled to the letter in Jesus Christ. If He is not the Messiah, there is no Messiah. On the very day the angel Gabriel foretold to Daniel (Dan 9:25), Jesus rode into Jerusalem, was hailed as the Messiah as Zechariah had prophesied (Zec:9:9), then was crucified for our sins and resurrected as Israel’s prophets had foretold. On the cross above His head, Pilate placed this accusation: “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Mt 27:37).
According to indisputable history and Israel’s own prophets, it is over 1,900 years too late to expect the first coming of the Messiah. Israel’s only hope is His second coming. Tragically, it will take Armageddon for Israel to recognize her Messiah. When Yahweh personally appears to rescue Israel from destruction, every Jew alive will see that He is the man who was pierced to the death for their sins and resurrected, the very Messiah promised by their prophets, whom they have rejected. Then all Israel that is still alive will believe. And the King of the Jews at last “shall reign for ever and ever”! Right now He offers forgiveness, peace, eternal life, and a benevolent reign on the throne of every heart that will open to Him.
Original Feature Date: 
Wednesday, December 1, 1999

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Guest Post: Mysticism and the Coming World Religion- Pt2

By T.A. McMahon

As noted in part one of this series, there is a coming world religion (CWR), and it is advancing rapidly. One of the significant elements that expedites its growth is mysticism, which is a belief system that ultimately rejects teachings that involve objective laws, rules, requirements, obligations, dogmas, doctrines, and the like, in favor of subjective experiences and intuitive feelings. The goal of the CWR (also known as the religion of the Antichrist) is to bring all religions under its patronage and control. Since all religions have doctrines that separate them from one another, even to the point of hostility in some cases, their doctrines must be compromised or altered in order to be acceptable to all—or they must be removed altogether. Mysticism facilitates doctrinal compromise because of its subjective nature. In other words, the objective meaning of a doctrine must give way to one’s subjective interpretation, i.e., how one feels about it. When such a belief system is in place, there can be no absolute truth; so-called truth is whatever an individual feels it is. It’s in the mind of the beholder.
Religions that are heavily legalistic in their theology must change in order to fit in with the ecumenical CWR. Two such religions are Roman Catholicism and Islam. In part one of this series we documented how the Church of Rome is well along the way of shifting from its highly legalistic system of rules and obligations toward a more mystical process. The Catholic Church has more than a billion followers, and they also must be included in the religion of the AntichristIslam, too, has greater than a billion adherents, so it also must become a part of the CWR. However, it is legalistic—and aggressively so—in its doctrine and practices, far more so than any other religion in the world. Consequently, many doubt that it could ever change.
Some have suggested, therefore, that the religion of the Antichrist will be Islam itself. For that to happen, the conversion of the world to Islamic beliefs would follow its historical method, which is at the point of a sword. Although that worked to a large degree in the past, it falls far short of what is necessary to spiritually transform the entire world. Additionally, there are obvious problems for this belief system regarding the coming religion of the Antichrist. The fact that the entire world will worship the Antichrist as God is inconsistent with and opposed by the Muslim worship of Allah. Sharia law, which is the Islamic code of law, is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah (Muhammad’s teachings and examples). Consequences for disobeying Sharia laws are the harshest among religions. Its rules are overtly abusive regarding women. Furthermore, Islam’s collectively intense hatred of Jews and Christians, as well as “all infidels,” is diametrically opposed to the CWR’s necessary ecumenism. These doctrines of Islam work against its efforts to attract followers to the coming world religion. What then, if anything, is there within Islam that might reconcile the billion-plus Muslims to the religion of the Antichrist, with its mystical underpinnings? The answer is Sufism.
Sufism is the mystical Islamic belief and practice through which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge by way of a direct personal experience with Allah. This is Islam in the throes of experiential and subjective beliefs and practices. Being functionally at odds with Sharia laws and practices, many Sufi practitioners reject the rules of Sharia outright, regarding mysticism as the most direct way to achieve union with Allah. Moreover, where it has been historically practiced throughout the world, Sufism has had no problem coexisting with other religions. This is not the case, as we’re well aware, for Sharia-law Islam.
One mystical aspect of Sufism is for its practitioners to put themselves into an ecstatic trance or altered state of consciousness through whirling. These individuals are known as Whirling Dervishes. According to one source, “The hundreds of the Dervish twirling rotations (20-30 per minute) coincide with the theta rhythm in the brain, and the chanting (they repeat the word ‘God’ [more likely ‘Allah,’] about 99 times) makes the dancers dissociate from reality and enter a different state of mind. When the ceremony is over, the dervishes return, side by side, in front of the sheikh [master and guide] and then move to another room to meditate. The physiological goal of the whirling is for the dervish to ‘empty’ himself of all distractions” ( It should be obvious that this is just another form of Eastern mystical meditation along with the contemplative forms practiced by more and more professing Christians in the West.
The various exercises of mysticism are similar throughout the world, even where there has been no connection between the cultures or people groups. Sufi meditation and yoga employ the same lotus sitting position and a hasta mudra (with the thumb curled and touching the tip of the forefinger). Sufi whirling has the same effect as the uncontrollable shaking in the Dynamic Meditation practiced by the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The Sufi Shaykh is similar to the guru in yoga in terms of the practitioner’s absolute submission to him and obedience to the guidance given. In some practices, the Shaykh is a transcended spiritual entity channeled by the meditator. The Encyclopedia of Islam lists a number of manifestations found within the meditation practices of Sufism, e.g., “barking and howling” (MacDonald, D. B. “Darwish (Darwesh),” Encyclopedia of Islam, Second Edition, edited by: P. B. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C. E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W. P. Heinrichs, Brill Online, Augustana, 21 Sept 2009), behavior that was also exhibited through the so-called impartation of the Holy Spirit in places such as the Toronto Airport Vineyard, Pensacola and Lakeland, Florida, International House of Prayer (IHOP), and Bethel Church in Redding, California, among numerous others. These experiences taking place throughout the world should give one more than a hint that spirit entities, contacted through altered states of consciousness and meditation, as well as some people’s faith in the false signs-and-wonders methods, have been facilitating Satan’s goal of seducing and controlling the consciousness and beliefs of mankind. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy:4:1).
Mehmet Oz, better known as Dr. Oz, is someone whom I would describe as the poster boy for everything that I’ve been noting in this article, which is the acceptance of all religions in the formation of a one-world religion. He is a Muslim—a Sufi Muslim. He is also a New Ager and a national spokesman for Transcendental Meditation or TM ( TM is the pseudo-scientific title conjured up by Hindu guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The Maharishi, who came to fame as the spiritual advisor and guru to the Beatles, began teaching meditation in US schools as the Spiritual Regeneration Movement, but it was shut down because the courts realized that it was clearly a religion. The Maharishi simply renamed it The Science of Transcendental Meditation [emphasis added]. This incredibly important alteration was not only successful in promoting his Hinduism in schools, but it also opened the door for other pseudoscientific forms of meditation such as Mindfulness and MindUP, which have been overwhelmingly accepted by our school systems here in the US.
Dr. Oz is a protégé of Oprah Winfrey, who is the leading advocate of New Age beliefs and practices in America. Dr. Oz, a Muslim, is a close second. How can that be? Oz has explained that he grew up in America with parents who were diverse in their Muslim beliefs—one leaned toward Sufism and the other toward Sharia law. “I found myself tugged more to the spiritual side of the religion rather than the legal side of the religion….[Sufism] is the order I resonate to because it’s much more mystical….[Sufis] are more concerned with the true connection with God….But when you get caught up in the religious legal aspects of religion, it frustrates me to no end.” Dr. Oz also noted with enthusiasm that his wife, a “Protestant,” is a follower of the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg who was heavily involved in mystical experiences (as well as blatant biblical heresies).
Dr. Oz personifies what I have been trying to explain regarding what could attract humanity to the coming subjective, experiential, and feelings-oriented one-world religion. Laws, rules, doctrines, and requirements are out; intuition, feelings, and mystical experiences are in. Dr. Oz’s charisma and enthusiasm for the mystical have already deceived millions, Christians and non-Christians alike, toward the direction of the CWR. Rick Warren had Mehmet Oz as a teacher of meditation (read “occult meditation”) for the “Daniel Plan” weight loss program that Warren promoted for his Saddleback Church members and his followers.
Changes are taking place in the world—new concepts that are speeding along at a breathtaking rate. Furthermore, these are changes that defy logic and reason. As the lyrics of a modern song plead seductively, “If it feels so right, how can it be wrong?” And an even more recent popular tune exclaims in its title, “Wrong feels so right!” The very idea that something could be considered “wrong” has not only been questioned, but it is now regarded as belonging to the “archaic realm of judgmentalism.” Daring to call something wrong has become the social sin of the day, and it’s being drowned in the deluge of “let your feelings be your guide.”
In the 1977 blockbuster, Star Wars, which was the most financially successful (and therefore influential) movie series in the history of motion pictures, Yoda (as in “Yoga” – see, etc.) instructs Luke Skywalker to control the Force with this admonition: “Luke, trust your feelings.” Eastern mysticism has gone viral in the West. What were once foreign terms such as karma or guru or deva or mantra have become commonplace. What used to be the Young Men’s Christian Association has morphed into the Yoga Mastery Coaching Association. The latest survey has the number of practitioners of yoga at 37 million people in the US, with projections of 80 million over the next few years. Numerous evangelical churches have pushed aside pews in their sanctuaries in order to practice “Christian” Yoga. Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!(Isaiah:5:20).
The chief reinforcement from the world for the development of the mystical religion of the Antichrist, however, comes from the pseudoscience and religion of psychologyPsychology has duped mankind into accepting psychotherapy as a science when it has no basis in true science. Most of the practice comprises a subjective belief system, i.e., a religion. This is abundantly clear particularly as it pertains to counseling, which is overwhelmingly the largest field of psychology. How, then, does psychotherapy bolster the development of the Antichrist’s mystical spirituality? Consider just a few of psychotherapy’s Antichrist beliefs: 1) Mankind is innately good. That innate goodness, we are told, is the source of the “true self.” Getting back to our true self is accomplished through the psychotherapeutic process of self-actualization. Self-actualization, conjured up by Abraham Maslow, is no different from the Eastern mystical teaching of self-realization—realizing one’s godhood. 2) Sin is simply wrong thinking. Sin, we are told, is a construct of judgmental religions imposing their beliefs and practices upon humanity. It is a control mechanism that prohibits mankind from reaching its potential—which, again, is godhood. 3) Being guided by one’s feelings is the basis for true wellness. Feelings emanate from one’s subconscious, which, we’re told, is where one’s true self resides. Being true to one’s feelings, therefore, is the ultimate path of truth.
Carl Jung, who is highly favored in Christendom, claimed that the comprehension of Eastern mystical thought was essential if Western psychology was to develop. Psychology Today years ago added its own confirmation to the changes we’re seeing now by declaring that Eastern mysticism would come to the West through psychology. It has, and it will continue until the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The demonic strategy of mysticism (which is union with God) is to make man believe that he is God. That lie had its beginning in heaven when Lucifer declared, “I will be like the most High [God]” (Isaiah:14:14). His prideful self-delusion turned him from being a “light bringer” (which was what his name meant) to what he is now—God’s chief adversary and the ruler of the darkness of this world, Satan. He then introduced the lie of Godhood to humanity by convincing Eve that she could become a god (Genesis:3:5) and this lie will culminate with the Antichrist, “…who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians:2:4).
Of course, the lie of godhood will not be exclusive to Antichrist but rather will be all-inclusive. Universally, it will likely take on the form that we find in the Namaste of Hinduism, where a person “recognizes the divinity of another” by declaring, “I bow down to the god in you,” or the grand delusion of Mormonism: “As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become.”
That is the religion of the Antichrist. It will continue to increase in various forms until it reaches its fulfillment when the “man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians:2:3). As our Lord warned us, the times prior to His return for His church will be days of great spiritual deception (Matthew:24:4). How, then, should believers who are living in these perilous days not only protect themselves spiritually but also be fruitful and productive in order to do His will and look forward to His coming? That will be the subject of Part III.

By T. A. McMahon