Jesus, Mary and the Holy Ghost

Idolatry is the worship of an idol (a physical object such as a cult image) as a deity, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honor and regard to created forms other than God (YHWH). Idolatry is anything we put before God. The Apostle Paul wrote: “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them” (Ephesians 5:5-7 KJV).

An idol is a material object, representing a deity, to which religious worship is directed. It is also controversially and pejoratively used by some Protestants to describe the Orthodox Christian practice of worshiping through the use of icons, a charge which Orthodox Christians reject. In a similarly controversial sense, it is also used by some Protestants to pejoratively describe various Catholic worship practices such as scapulars and the veneration of statues and flat images of the Virgin Mary and saints, which Catholics do not consider to be idolatry.

Veneration is practiced by groups such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Eastern Catholic Church. In some Christian denominations, veneration is shown outwardly by respectfully bowing or making the sign of the cross before a saint’s icon, relics, or statue. Veneration amounts to the heresy of idolatry as there is no real distinction between veneration and worship. The practice of veneration distracts a believer’s soul from its true objective, the worship of Almighty God. The Roman Catholic church teaches there is a difference between idolatry and veneration.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says: “Idolatry etymologically denotes Divine worship given to an image, but its signification has been extended to all Divine worship given to anyone or anything but the true God. An essential difference exists between idolatry and the veneration of images practiced in the Catholic Church, viz., that while the idolater credits the image he reverences with Divinity or Divine powers, the Catholic knows “that in images there is no divinity or virtue on account of which they are to be worshiped, that no petitions can be addressed to them, and that no trust is to be placed in them.”” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Idolatry)

The Hebrew word for worship is shachah (שָׁחָה). Shachah means to bow down or prostrate oneself before superior in homage, before God in worship, before false gods, and before angels.

Bishop Robert H. Brom claims that idolatry is condemned by the Catholic Church,  that there is no prohibition against the making of statues or images of various creatures for religious purposes in Scripture, that a Catholic may kneel in front of a statue while praying, and that the religious use of states and images is acceptable because God commanded us to make them. This is open disregard of Scriptures as they are twisted to benefit their positions.

Matt Slick at the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry did a wonderful article that examines and cross references Roman Catholicism and the Scripture passages in the Holy Bible.

In the Book of Exodus, the Ten Commandments say: “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 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 20:2-6 KJV).

In the Book of Leviticus it says: “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 26:1 KJV). Throughout many Christian churches, especially in Catholicism, there are various statues and images of Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach), Mary, and the saints. In those churches, people very often bow down to statues, sometimes in prayer.

In the Second Book of Chronicles there is an account of Manasseh, a king of Israel, and the error he committed which led the Children of Israel into sin. It says: “Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses. So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken” (2 Chronicles 33:1-10 KJV).

The Prophet Ezekiel wrote: “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?” (Ezekiel 14:3 KJV). The Catholic Encyclopedia says: “Veneration of Mary is accomplished in the heart. “The Blessed Virgin, as manifesting in a sublimer manner than any other creature the goodness of God,deserves from us a higher recognition and deeper veneration than any other of the saints; and this peculiar cultus due to herbecause of her unique position in the Divine economy, is designated in theology hyperdulia, that is dulia in an eminent degree” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Adoration).

Catholics view Mary and the saints as “intercessors” before God. They believe that a saint, who is glorified in Heaven, has more “direct access” to God than we do. Therefore, if a saint delivers a prayer to God, it is more effective than us praying to God directly. This concept is blatantly unbiblical. The Bible says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6 ESV). Also in his Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paulwrote, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 KJV). We don’t need an intercessor to approach God for us if we approach Him through Jesus Christ.

In his Epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity” (Ephesians 4:17-19 ESV). “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:28-32 ESV). “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:3-5 ESV).

Clearly, the Bible prohibits making images of Almighty God, among other things. These objects are may not be intended for idolatry with everyone who makes or owns one. The concern is that we are making something that may lead someone astray and or make them stumble. The Apostle Paul said, “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14 KJV). Likewise, Saint John wrote, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21 ESV). Religious art is nothing more to me than more than a drawing of a man, woman or bird. I would prefer to be accused of anconism than idolatry.

Advertisements

The Sacred Heart

As Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of First Fruits as commanded by God (YHWH) our Creator approach yet again, many of us still cannot see through the paganism adopted by the Roman Catholic Church centuries ago and they and others are being greatly deceived. These holidays have everything to do with our history, culture and the undeserved atonement for our sins made by Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha’Mashiach) almost two thousand years ago.

This article will not explain these feasts and works of redemption, instead, it will expose the Sacred Heart which we unfortunately see every year in greeting cards and Facebook posts/Yeshua said, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:22-24 KJV). If ever there was a time that believers need to be aware of this and come out of the pagan practices of the Christian Church, now is that time. We are under constant attack by the deception and subtlety of Satan, our adversary.

Moses was told by God that, “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 KJV).

Likewise, the Acts of the Apostles (which is presumed to have been written by Luke the Evangelist) wrote, “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts 17:29 KJV). Therefore any image of Yeshua (Son), Yeshua (Son) or the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirt) is a violation of both the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament).

The Sacred Heart is one of the most famous religious devotions to Yeshua’s physical heart as the representation of His divine love for humanity. The origin of this devotion in its modern form is derived from a French Roman Catholic nun, Marguerite Marie Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Yeshua during a mystical experience. Predecessors to the modern devotion arose unmistakably in the Middle Ages in various facets of Catholic mysticism. The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, surrounded by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross and bleeding. Sometimes the image shown shining within the bosom of the Messiah with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Yeshua’s death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God, her maternal love for her Son, Yeshua, and her compassionate love for all people. The consideration of Mary’s interior life and the beauties of her soul, without any thought of her physical heart, does not constitute the traditional devotion; still less does it consist in the consideration of the Heart of Mary merely as a part of her virginal body. In 1855 the Mass of the Most Pure Heart formally became a part of Catholic practice. The two elements are essential to the devotion, just as, according to Roman Catholic theology, soul and body are necessary to the constitution of man.

The Feast of the Sacred Heart has been in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar since 1856, and is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost. As Pentecost is always celebrated on Sunday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart always falls on a Friday.

These are the Christian origins of these symbols, masses and holidays according to the Roman Catholic Church. However, are they the true origins of these things? There is no question that Christianity and Catholicism has been corrupted by the adoption of paganism.

The Sacred Heart originates in Ancient Babylon. It was the heart of Queen Semiramis who passed it on to her illegitimate son, who according to her, was her late husband King Nimrod who had been reincarnated as Tammuz. Queen Semiramis was deified and became known as Ishtar (pronounced Easter). When Tammuz became an adult, he married his mother. Unfortunately, Tammuz was killed by a wild boar while boar hunting. Nimrod (Tammuz) became known as the Sun God, and Semiramis (Ishtar) became known as the Queen of Heaven. These events eventually led to Easter, Easter Eggs, ham in place of lamb, Sunday and Sunrise Services on Easter morning. These are the earliest recorded historical facts in which Satan attempted to steal and corrupt the Messianic Prophecy contained in the Book of Genesis  (Genesis 3:15).

The Feast of the Sacred Heart has it’s origins in the pagan Aztecs and Mayans of Mexico. Human sacrifice, particularly by offering a victim’s heart to the sun god, was commonly practiced. They would cut the heart out of a living victim and offer it as a sacrifice to the sun god, in this case, Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatl, also known as the feathered serpent.

Sol Invictus (“Invincible Sun”) was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire. In 274 the Roman Emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. Scholars disagree whether the new deity was a refoundation of the ancient Latin cult of Sol, a revival of the cult of Elagabalus or completely new. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine.

The word for heart is identical (the only difference as listed is the vowel marking) to the word for Baal in Hebrew and Chaldean Aramaic. Vowel marks are an invention of the Masorete Scribes of the tenth century.

Kukulcan and Quetzalcoatl

It is obvious that all pagan practices will lead one back to Ancient Babylon. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad” (Jeremiah 51:6-7 KJV).

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
(Revelation 17:1-5 KJV)

Saint John also wrote, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”
(Revelation 18:4-5 KJV)

Who is referred to as “my people” in this passage of Scripture? It is none other than Christians that are involved in the apostate churches of the world. This is a warning. If you attend a church that does not teach sound biblical doctrine, the time to leave and separate yourselves is now, unless you wish to receive the judgement of God when He pours it out on these churches.

Saint Peter said, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
(1 Peter 4:17-18 KJV)

Happy Passover and Resurrection Day.

The Theology of Money

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
(Matthew 6:24 ESV)

Almost everyone has heard the saying that, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Not only that, they will steadfastly insistent that this ‘phantom verse’ is in the Bible. I for one, thank God that these so called phantom verses are not contained in scripture.

As all rumors and lies, howver, their is typically some grain of salt to any fanatical, absurd and fabricated scripture verse. Some quote these verses in hypocrisy and some in arrocgance. So where exactly does, “The love of money is the root of all evil” come from?

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
(1 Timothy 6:9-10 ESV)

Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the Prosperity Gospel or Health and Wealth Gospel)is a Christian religious doctrine, which claims the Bible teaches that financial blessing is the will of God for Christians.The doctrine teaches that faith, positive speech, and donations to Christian ministries will always cause an increase in material wealth. I like to refer to Prosperety Therology as Slot-Machine Christianity.

Prosperity theology teaches that it is part of the path to Christian dominion over society, arguing that God’s promise to Israel of dominion applies to Christians today (Replacment Theology or Supersessionism Theology, other unsould heresies that wull be adessed in another article). The doctrine emphasizes the importance of personal empowerment, proposing that it is God’s will for his people to be happy. The atonement is interpreted to include removal of sickness and poverty, viewed as curses to be broken by faith. This is believed to be achieved through visualization and positive confession, which is often taught in mechanical and contractual terms. This stems from an interpretation of the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver his promises of security and prosperity. Confessing these promises to be true is perceived as an act of faith, which God will honor. The doctrine is often based on non-traditional interpretations of the Bible, with emphasis often on the Book of Malachi.

Prosperity churches are usually directed by a sole pastor or leader, although some have developed multi-church networks that bear similarities to denominations. They typically set aside extended periods of time to teach about giving and request donations from the congregation, encouraging positive speech and faith. Some prosperity churches also teach about financial responsibility, though some journalists and academics have criticized their advice as unsound.

Prosperity Theolgy hangs most of its doctrines on one verse, “Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him (Malachi 3:18 ESV).”

Of course, for every concept there is a negative or reverse concept, and that brings us to Poverty Theology.

The basic idea of Poverty Therology is that wealth is wrong and poverty right. In many cases, it also includes the idea that voluntary poverty is a special class of moral excellence. Poverty Theoulogy is a lifestyle philosophy characterized by the denial of the flesh, especially in the form of basic material pleasures (food, shelter, possessions, etc.). It is called Poverty YTheology because its proponents subject themselves to poverty for theological reasons, namely, the imitation of Christ (Colossians 1:24), amd the conflict between the spirit and flesh (Galatians 5:16-26). Historically, ascetics have done things like renouncing material possessions, begging for food, living in solitude, even beating their own bodies. At its worst, Poverty Theology is accompanied by an unbiblical merit theology. At its best, it is a spiritual discipline undertaken in response to the gospel of grace.

Sadly, much of the teaching about stewarding one’s treasure is prone to either poverty or prosperity theology. Poverty theology considers those who are poor to be more righteous than those who are rich; it honors those who choose to live in poverty as particularly devoted to God. Conversely, prosperity theology considers those who are rich to be more righteous than those who are poor; it honors those who are affluent as being rewarded by God because of their faith. In fact, both poverty and prosperity theology are half-truths because the Bible speaks of four ways in which treasure can be stewarded (Doctrine, Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears, pg.388-391).

  • Righteous rich stewards – Biblical examples of righteous rich stewards include Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job (both before and after his life tragedy and season of poverty), Joseph of Arimathea (who gave Jesus his personal tomb), Lydia (who funded much of Paul’s ministry), and Dorcas (who often helped the poor).
  • Righteous poor stewards – Biblical examples of righteous poor stewards include Ruth and Naomi, Jesus Christ, the widow who gave her mite, the Macedonian church, and Paul, who often knew want and hunger.
  • Unrighteous rich stewards – Biblical examples of unrighteous rich stewards include Laban, Esau, Nabal, Haman, the rich young ruler, and Judas Iscariot.
  • Unrighteous poor stewards – Biblical examples of unrighteous poor stewards include the sluggard and the fool, who are repeatedly renounced throughout the book of Proverbs.

Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.
(Proverbs 30:7-9 ESV)

A loving and generous Father once bought his son a shiny new bicycle. With a broad smile, the Father surprised the son and rolled it out and handed it to him. Strangely, rather than looking happy, the son looked anxious. Rather than riding the bike, he stepped away from it in fear. The Father asked the child what was wrong. The son replied, “Father, I cannot ride the bike. All around the world there are missionaries who do not have a bike. I would like to give them my bike so that they can ride it to unreached peoples and preach the gospel. The Father replied, “If you simply ask me, I am glad to also give you a second bike to give to a missionary.” Yet, rather than simply riding the bike, the son continued to argue with his Father, saying, “I would much prefer an older bicycle. This one is shiny and new. It makes me look proud if I ride it.” The Father explained, “If I want you to ride the bike I gave you, and you are more concerned about what others think of you as you ride it than my joy in seeing you enjoy my gift to you, then you may look humble to them, but I know there is pride in your heart because you are living for their approval instead of my joy.” Unrelenting, the son said, “But some people will talk about my bicycle out of judgment, envy, or jealousy because it is so nice. Some might even stumble and covet my bicycle. I do not want them to sin, and so I would rather not have a new bike so as to be considerate of them.” The Father replied, “If others respond to my grace to you in this way, the problem is not the bicycle but their hearts. I will deal with their hearts should they prove sinful—something you assume will happen but do not know. I will love and serve them by working to change their heart if they respond sinfully. But for you, my request is that you simply ride the bicycle I gave you. You are thinking about it too much and enjoying it too little.” The Father walked away for a few hours, kindly asking the son to consider his request. Upon returning, the son had yet another line of reasoning. “Father, I will not ride the bike because I am fearful. I fear that it is so nice and I would enjoy it so much that it would become an idol to me. So, to avoid idolatry I will abstain from riding the bicycle.” The Father replied, “You could also ride your bike as an act of worship to me, enjoying the gift I gave you to your joy and my glory. Once again, the problem is not the bicycle.” The son replied, “But Father, you are better than any bicycle. You are enough. I do not need a bicycle. I have you. You, Father, are enough.” Grieved in his heart, the Father said, “I know I am enough. But I am a generous Father. I like to give gifts to my children. I like to see them blessed, happy, and free. I just wanted to watch you ride the bike. And I wanted to go for a ride with you. Then, we could have had fun, spend time together, make memories, and laugh.” Tragically, the son never did ride the bicycle. Instead, he gave it away. He did not cause anyone to stumble, or treat his bike as an idol. And he did not obey his Father and worship him by simply being a kid and enjoying the gift his Father gave him because he was too busy being a theologian with a head full of fears rather than a heart full of fun.”
(Pastor Mark Driscoll, Discipleship and Parenting, September 21, 2011)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 ESV)

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
(Psalms 37:4-5 ESV)

Money and material possessions are a problem only when we place them before God, which is the sin of idolatry.

  • Here is a short video clip of Pastor Mark Driscoll concerning both “poverty theology” and “prosperity theology.”  http://youtu.be/3C9aa2C-Bdw