Free Will

Free will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long been debated in philosophy. Historically, the constraint of dominant concern has been the metaphysical constraint of determinism, which stated most simply is the notion that the present dictates the future entirely, that every occurrence results from prior events. The two main positions within that debate are metaphysical libertarianism, the claim that determinism is false, so free will exists is at least possible—and hard determinism, the claim that determinism is true, so free will does not exist.

Both of these positions, which agree that causal determination is the relevant factor in the question of free will, are classed as incompatibilist. Positions that deny that determinism is relevant are classified as compatibilist, and offer various alternative explanations of what constraints are relevant, such as physical constraints (e.g. chains or imprisonment), social constraints (e.g. threat of punishment or censure), or psychological constraints (e.g. compulsions or phobias). Such compatibilists thus consider the debate between libertarianism and hard determinism a false dilemma.

Some compatibilists assert that determinism is not just compatible with free will, but actually necessary for it; that the randomness of indeterminism is a greater obstacle to free will. Similarly, hard incompatibilism, while still holding that determinism is an obstacle to free will, agrees with the aforementioned compatibilists that indeterminism is likewise an obstacle to free will, and concludes that free will is thus impossible in either case.

The principle of free will has religiousethical, and scientific implications. For example, in the religious realm, free will implies that individual will and choices can coexist with an omnipotentdivinity. In ethics, it may hold implications for whether individuals can be held morally accountable for their actions. In science, neuroscientific findings regarding free will may suggest different ways of predicting human behavior.

If humans are responsible for their actions, they must have free will, the ability to choose right from wrong. But ideas about God‘s providence and scientific notions of biological and psychological determinism create problems for the presumption of free will. This paradox has fascinated Jewish thinkers since the Talmud.

According to Josephus, the Sadducees believed that:

  • There is no fate
  • God does not commit evil
  • man has free will; “man has the free choice of good or evil”
  • the soul is not immortal; there is no afterlife, and
  • there are no rewards or penalties after death

The Sadducees rejected the belief in resurrection of the dead, which was a central tenet believed by Pharisees and by Early Christians. This often provoked hostilities. Furthermore, the Sadducees rejected the Oral Law as proposed by the Pharisees. Rather, they saw the Torah as the sole source of divine authority. The written law, in its depiction of the priesthood, corroborated the power and enforced the hegemony of the Sadducees in Judean society.

The Pharisees (Latin pharisæus, –i; from Hebrew פְּרוּשִׁים pĕrûshîm, pl. of פָּרוּשׁpārûsh, meaning “set apart”, Qal passive participle of the verb פָּרָשׁ pārāsh,[1][2]through Greek φαρισαῖος, -ου pharisaios[3]) were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty (140–37 BCE) in the wake of theMaccabean Revolt.

Conflicts between the Pharisees and the Sadducees took place in the context of much broader and longstanding social and religious conflicts among Jews dating back to the Babylonian captivity and exacerbated by the Roman conquest. One conflict was class, between the wealthy and the poor, as the Sadducees included mainly the priestly and aristocratic families. Another conflict was cultural, between those who favored Hellenization and those who resisted it. A third was juridico-religious, between those who emphasized the importance of the Second Temple with its cultic rites and services, and those who emphasized the importance of other Mosaic laws and prophetic values. A fourth point of conflict, specifically religious, involved different interpretations of the Torah and how to apply it to current Jewish life, with the Sadducees recognizing only the Written Torah and rejecting doctrines such as the Oral Torah and the Resurrection of the Dead.

Free will in theology is an important part of the debate on free will in general. This article discusses the doctrine of free will as it has been, and is, interpreted within the various branches of ChristianityJudaismIslamHinduism and Zoroastrianism. Religions vary greatly in their response to the Standard argument against free will, and thus might appeal to any number of responses to “the paradox of free will” – the claim that omniscience and free will are incompatible.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says, “The question of free will, moral liberty, or the liberum arbitrium of the Schoolmen, ranks amongst the three or four most important philosophical problems of all time. It ramifies into ethics, theologymetaphysics, andpsychology. The view adopted in response to it will determine a man’s position in regard to the most momentous issues that present themselves to the human mind. On the one hand, does man possess genuinemoral freedom, power of real choice, true ability to determine the course of his thoughts and volitions, to decide which motives shall prevail within his mind, to modify and mould his own character? Or, on the other, are man’s thoughts and volitions, his character and external actions, all merely the inevitable outcome of his circumstances? Are they all inexorably predetermined in every detail along rigid lines by events of the past, over which he himself has had no sort of control? This is the real import of the free-will problem.

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 Cult of Christianity

After Sunday worship in recent months, Mormon bishops around the country gathered their congregations for an unusual PowerPoint presentation to unveil the church’s latest strategy for overcoming what it calls its “perception problem.”

Top Mormon leaders had hired two big-name advertising agencies in 2009, Ogilvy & Mather and Hall & Partners, to find out what Americans think of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Using focus groups and surveys, they found that Americans who had any opinion at all used adjectives that were downright negative: “secretive,” “cultish,” “sexist,” “controlling,” “pushy,” “anti-gay.”

On seeing these results, some of those watching the presentation booed while others laughed, according to people at the meetings. But then they were told that the church was ready with a response: a multimillion-dollar television, billboard and Internet advertising campaign that uses the tagline, “I’m a Mormon.” The campaign, which began in 2010, was recently extended to 21 media markets, and features the personal stories of members who defy stereotyping, including a Hawaiian longboard surfing champion, a fashion designer and single father in New York City and a Haitian-American woman who is mayor of a small Utah city.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ website says, “One definition listed for ‘cult’ in Webster’s Dictionary is “a religion regarded as unorthodox.” Since the roots of Mormonism are not a break off from the Catholic or Protestant churches, it is seen by some as “unorthodox.” For example, the LDS definition of the Godhead differs from the Nicene Creed accepted by most Catholic or Protestant churches. The “cult” label is usually applied by Church opponents attempting to criticize or discredit the Church. However, sometimes it’s simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding. Such misunderstandings often vanish when people begin to realize the commonality of what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really teaches and believes. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world whom we love and worship. When people begin to see and recognize these things about Mormons, then their opinion of the Church usually changes, and old beliefs are replaced with new understanding.”

Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, which gave rise to Mormonism. Smith is regarded by his followers as a prophet.

Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont, the fourth child of Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. By 1817, Smith’s family had moved to the “burned-over district” of western New York, an area repeatedly swept by religious revivals during the Second Great Awakening. Smith family members held divergent views about organized religion, but they believed in visions and prophecies and engaged in folk religious practices typical of the era.

According to Smith, beginning in the early 1820s he had visions, in one of which an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates, inscribed with a Christian history of ancient American civilizations. In 1830, he published an English translation of these plates as the Book of Mormon, and organized the Church of Christ, as the restoration of the early Christian church. Church members were later called Latter Day Saints, Saints, or Mormons.

Joseph Smith made many false prophecies and yje Book of Mormon is filled with errors and discrepancies. Remember, that YHVH defined false prophets in the Torah. Please note that having several fulfilled prophecies and even a single false prophecy still means that the person is not a true prophet of God.  The test for a prophet is not if he gets them most right, but all right.

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’– when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
(Deuteronomy 18:20-22 ESV)

Joseph Smith not only a false prophet, but he changed Scriptures and even wrote the Book of Mormon as an addition to the Holy Bible that was “corrupt and translated incorrectly” according to him.

You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.
(Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV)

Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.
(Deuteronomy 12:32 ESV)

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
(Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV)

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(Galatians 1:6-12 KJV)

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
(Revelation 22:18-19 KJV)

In 1831, Smith moved west to Kirtland, Ohio intending to establish a city of Zion in western Missouri, but Missouri settlers expelled the Saints in 1833. After leading Zion’s Camp, an unsuccessful expedition to recover the land, Smith began building a temple in Kirtland. In 1837, the Kirtland Safety Society, a bank established by Smith and other church leaders, collapsed. The following year Smith joined his followers in northern Missouri, where earlier settlers fearing the rapid growth of Mormon communities fought them in the 1838 Mormon War. The Saints were defeated and expelled from Missouri, and Smith was imprisoned.

After being allowed to escape state custody in 1839, Smith led his followers to settle at Nauvoo, Illinois on Mississippi River swampland. There he served as both mayor and commander of its large militia, the Nauvoo Legion. In early 1844, he announced his candidacy for President of the United States. That summer, after the Nauvoo Expositor criticized Smith’s practice of polygamy and called for the repeal of the Nauvoo Charter, the Nauvoo City Council ordered the paper’s destruction. During the ensuing turmoil, Smith first declared martial law and then surrendered to the governor of Illinois. Although the governor promised his safety, Smith was killed while awaiting trial in Carthage, Illinois.

Smith’s followers regard many of his publications as scripture. His teachings include unique views about the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. He is seen as one of the most charismatic and inventive figures of American history, and his followers regard him as a prophet of at least the stature of Moses and Elijah. Smith’s legacy includes a number of religious denominations, including the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Missouri-based Community of Christ, which collectively claim a growing membership of more than 14 million worldwide.

The Book of Abraham is a 1835 work produced by Joseph Smith that he said was based on Egyptian papyri purchased from a traveling mummy exhibition. According to Smith, the book was "a translation of some ancient records, purporting to be the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus". Smith's translation of the papyri describes a story of Abraham's early life, including a vision of the cosmos. Upon examination by Egyptologists, the papyri were found to bear no resemblance to Joseph Smith's interpretation, and were common Egyptian funerary texts, dating to about the first century BC. As a result, the Book of Abraham has been the source of significant controversy, with Mormon apologists offering a variety of explanations as to the reason for the differences.

So is the issue really an attempt to criticize or discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Is the issue simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding? Do they have a perception problem or are they being fairly criticized?

The first thing someone will notice when looking at the cover of the Book of Mormon is that is proclaims itself to be “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” The Apostle Paul warned of exactly this kind of deception in his epistles to the churches in Cornith (G2882),  Greece (G882) and Galatia (G1053).

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
(2 Corinthians 11:1-4 ESV)

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
(Galatians 1:6-9 ESV)

In the Torah, YHVH commanded us, “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV) and “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32 ESV).

In the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon wrote, “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV).

In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John wrote, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19 ESV).

One common tactic that Satan uses to deceive people is to claim new revelations that aren’t in the Bible. His bag of tricks includes written “revelations” like the Book of Mormon and the Qur’an.  These extra-Biblical revelations are often very seductive because they offer alleged secret knowledge that wasn’t revealed in the Bible.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints considers itself not just a Christian denomination, but rather the only true expression of Christianity. However, the history, theology and practices of Mormonism show this religious movement to be outside of orthodox Christianity.

Mormons believe that their church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30), the only organization authorized by the Almighty God to preach His Gospel and administer the ordinances of salvation, and the only Church which has power to save (Mormon Doctrine; 1977 ed, p. 136).

Mormons either deny or pervert every essential doctrine of historic Christianity, including the uniqueness of God, the virgin birth, the Trinity, the authority of Scripture (by relegating it to a position below their other sacred writings), and salvation by grace through faith.

Individuals who, while claiming to be Christians, reject one of more central key doctrines of the Christian faith are considered heretics. Groups which reject such doctrines while claiming to represent Christianity, are considered cults of Christianity. A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible. Thus, while Mormons profess to be Christians, they are outside orthodox Christianity and the Mormon Church is considered to be, theologically, a cult of Christianity.

Is Mormonism Christian? No, Mormonism is not Christian. Why is Mormonism a non-Christian religion? It is not Christian because it denies that there is only one God, denies the true Gospel, adds works to salvation, denies that Jesus is the uncreated creator, distorts the biblical teaching of the atonement, and undermines the authority and reliability of the Bible.

Mormon theology teaches that God is only one of countless gods, that he used to be a man on another planet, that he became a god by following the laws and ordinances of that god on that world, and that he brought one of his wives to this world with whom he produces spirit children who then inhabit human bodies at birth. The first spirit child to be born was Jesus. The second was Satan, and then we all followed.  The Bible says that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:6-8; Isaiah 45:5), that God has  been God eternally (Psalm 90:2) , which means he was never a man on another planet.  Since the Bible denies the existence of other gods (and goddesses), the idea that Jesus is the product of a god and goddess couple is rejected.  The Bible tells us that the Jesus of Mormonism is definitely not the same Jesus of the Bible. Therefore, faith in the Mormon Jesus is faith misplaced because the Mormon Jesus doesn’t exist.

In order to justify its aberrant theology, Mormonism has undermined the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible.  The 8th article of faith from the Mormon Church states, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.”  This means that when the Bible contradicts Mormonism, the Bible isn’t trustworthy.

The interesting thing is that Joseph Smith (the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) allegedly corrected the Bible in what is called , though it is not used by the Mormon church.  Though they claim they trust the Bible, in reality they do not.  They use Mormon presuppositions to interpret it instead of letting it speak for itself.  For example, where the Bible says there are no other gods in the universe (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6-8), they interpret it to mean “no other gods of this world,” which is not what those verses say.  They do not trust the Bible and they often state that the Bible is not translated correctly.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also have many unusual rituals, such as baptism for the dead and eternal marriage. Mormons are also taught secret handshakes and are given secret names that are said to be necessary to enter heaven. Through these temple rituals men and women can become gods and goddesses, according to the Mormon Church. It claims that these rites were a part of early Christianity but were sabotaged by false teachers. However, these Mormon temple rituals are not supported by the Bible, ancient Jewish literature, or early Christian history. Many the rituals and symbolism found in Mormonism have roots in paganism and Freemasonry.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(1 John 4:1 ESV)

So is the issue really an attempt to criticize or discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Is the issue simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding? Do they have a perception problem or are they being fairly criticized?

Nobody that calls Mormonism a cult is unfairly attempting to criticize or discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The problem with Mormonism is not a matter of characterization that has grown up over time through a lack of understanding. The problem with Mormonism is Mormon Doctrine which is entirely unorthodox. The problem with the Mormon Church is that they worship “another Jesus” who is Satan’s brother and a god who used to be a man on the planet Kolob before he was exalted to become a deity.

The Unholy Trinity

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV)

Pagan symbolism is found throughout the church today. When the Roman Catholic Church tried to advance a new religion (Christianity), they began by adopting pagan symbols and rituals that they then “Christianized” so that pagans and Christians would come to terms more readily and assimilate into the masses.

The symbol above is known as the Triquetra. The symbol has been used by Christians as a sign of the Blessed Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), especially since the Celtic Revival of the 19th century. When modern designers began to display the Triquetra as a stand-alone design, it recalled the three-leafed shamrock which was similarly offered as a trinity symbol by Saint Patrick. Some have also suggested that the Triquetra has a similarity to the Christian Ιχθυς symbol. The Triquetra has been used extensively on Christian sculptures, vestments, book arts and stained glass. It has been used on the title page and binding of some editions of the New King James Version.

A very common representation of the symbol is with a circle that goes through the three interconnected loops of the Triquetra. The circle emphasizes the unity of the whole combination of the three elements.

Triquetra originally meant “triangle” and was used to refer to various three-cornered shapes. Nowadays, it has come to refer exclusively to a particular more complicated shape formed of three vesicae piscis, sometimes with an added circle in or around it. This has been used as a religious symbol of things and persons that are threefold.

The Triquetra has been found on runestones in Northern Europe and on early Germanic coins. It presumably had pagan religious meaning and it bears a resemblance to the Valknut, a symbol associated with Odin.

The Triquetra is often found in Insular art, most notably metal work and in illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Kells. It is also found in similar artwork on Celtic crosses and slabs from the early Christian period. The fact that the Triquetra rarely stood alone in medieval Celtic art has cast reasonable doubt on its use as a primary symbol of belief. In manuscripts it was used primarily as a space filler or ornament in much more complex compositions, and in knotwork panels it is a design motif integrated with other design elements. Celtic art lives on as both a living folk art tradition and through several revivals. This widely recognized knot has been used as a singular symbol for the past two centuries by Celtic Christians, Pagans and agnostics as a sign of special things and persons that are threefold.

In contemporary Ireland, It is traditional for a man to give a loved one a trinket such as a necklace or ring signifying his affection towards her. It is believed to represent the three promises of a relationship such as to love, honour, and protect. It is common for the design of the Trinity Knot to be engraved on a wedding ring and attaches to a Claddagh ring (another Irish traditional ring given for friendship or engagement).

The Trinity Knot holds major significance in neopaganism in that it is believed to represent the three stages of the Triple Goddess (Maiden, Mother, and Crone).

The phases of the Moon represent the three aspects of the Goddess and the phases of the Life of Women: Maiden, Mother and Crone. The Triquetra is a symbol of protection to modern Wiccans.

Modern Pagans use the Triquetra to symbolize a variety of concepts and mythological figures.

Germanic Neopagan groups who use the Triquetra to symbolize their faith generally believe it is originally of Norse and Germanic origins. Due to its presence in insular Celtic art, Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans use the Triquetra either to represent one of the various triplicities in their cosmology and theology (such as the tripartite division of the world into the realms of Land, Sea and Sky), or as a symbol of one of the specific triple Goddesses, for example, The Morrígan.

The Morrígan (“phantom queen”) is a figure from Irish mythology who appears to have been considered a goddess, although she is not explicitly referred to as such in the texts.

The Morrígan is a goddess of battle, strife, and sovereignty. She sometimes appears in the form of a crow, flying above the warriors, and in the Ulster cycle she also takes the form of an eel, a wolf and a cow. She is generally considered a war deity comparable with the Germanic Valkyries, although her association with a cow also suggests a role connected with wealth and the land.

She is often depicted as a trio of goddesses, all sisters, although membership of the triad varies; the most common combination is Badb, Macha and Nemain, with “Anand” given as an alternate name for Morrigan. Other accounts name Fea, and others.

The symbol is also sometimes used by Wiccans and some New Agers to symbolize either the Wiccan Triple Goddess; or the Three Realms of Earth, sky and sea; or the interconnected parts of our existence (Mind, Body, and Soul).

Also the Triquetra is a symbol of protection in the Wiccan religion. It is also said to represent family; Father, Mother and Child. However, this is not a traditional or mainsteam Wiccan idea. Wicca is primarily duotheistic – worshiping both a feminine Goddess and a masculine God – and does not include the concept of a divine child except at the winter solstice, when the God is seen as reborn from the Goddess (Nimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz). As with all false religions, the Triple Goddess and Triquetra has origins in Ancient Babylon. Within Wicca, the Triquetra is mainly used as a symbol of the Triple Goddess of the Moon and Fate.

The Pagan symbols, rituals and practices that are entering the Corpus Christianum have an ultimate goal straight from the pits of hell. Satan is the adversary and accuser. He wants to take as many souls into eternity with him as possible. His deceit always starts with a lie that has some truth to it that is badly distorted. It is his modus operandi and he has become very skilled at it over the millenia. Satan knows the battle is already lost, he is just attempting to destroy as many souls until his time is up.

Once Satan has a small foothold in the Corpus Christianum, it spreads like a cancer. The Triquerta seems harmless enough from all appearances, but it is an open door for Satan and his demonic minions. We open the door to Satan in our lives in many ways. The same is true for the Corpus Christianum. Once these doors are opened, they are not easy to close. In fact, only Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) can close a door that has been opened into the world of the occult.

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man;
and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
(Revelation 13:18 KJV)

The Unholy Trinity will make their appearance in the not too distant future. For everything God (YHVH) creates, Satan creates a counterfeit because he wants to be God and be worshiped as God. The Unholy Trinity will consist of Satan, The False Prophet and the Antichrist. When they come to power, all hell will literally break loose on earth.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. 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. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 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. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(Matthew 24:3-51 KJV)

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
(Revelation 13:1-18 KJV)

In the end, God will prevail and there shall be no more death or sorrow, and God will wipe away all tears.

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
(Revelation 22:11-19 KJV)

Are you ready for Jesus to return right now, or are you a Sunday Christian as long as church doesn’t cut into your football game? Salvation is a free gift that requires no work to receive because God loved us before we were born.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
(John 3:16-21 KJV)

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
(Romans 10:9-11 KJV)

The Apostle Paul said, “For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2 ESV) Accept Yeshua now, before it’s too late.

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