The Apple Of God's Eye

February 17, 2011

Conversion: Sudden Experience or Lifelong Process?

Filed under: Conversion — melchia @ 8:17 am
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The Plain Truth, April 1977

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At times I have expressed the idea I think many millions have come to believe and on which they are staking their eternity. It is this: You are on a journey on a railway train. It is your life’s journey, whether long or short. At the end of the line, because of Adam’s sin, the switch is automatically thrown to send you directly down to hell, where you will be burned alive — constantly burning, yet never burning up because you are an immortal soul that can’t die. Or, as millions also believe, it will shoot you directly to “purgatory.”

But, if at any point in your life during the journey you “accept Christ as your Savior,” then at the instant of that sudden experience, in whatever manner such experience takes place, the switch at the end of the line is suddenly thrown to shoot you immediately up to heaven. And there you shall live FOREVER in idleness and ease, in glorious surroundings of splendor, with nothing to do — no responsibilities anymore — nothing but to be enraptured with the delight of gazing continually on the face of Christ your Savior. A man once said to me: “Let me see if I can define your belief as contrasted to what you claim many millions of others believe.” Then he explained the belief of the many approximately as I have stated it just above.

“But you believe,” he continued, “that after one is initially converted, accepting Christ, he must then live a life of obedience to God’s way, struggling against himself to overcome all wrong ways and growing spiritually in Christ’s knowledge and in grace — thus training himself and qualifying to carry an important responsibility in the next life. You believe that when he dies, he is dead, will not go to heaven or hell, but will come to life again by a resurrection from the dead, and he will be here on earth. Then he will have immortality, and he will be rewarded according to what his works were in this life — the biggest reward being to have conferred on him the heaviest and most important responsibility. Is that what you believe?”

“Well, not exactly,” I replied, “but you are not too far off.” (more…)

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June 21, 2009

The Cross: A Symbol Of Faith Or Rank Paganism?

chr4.tripod.com

The hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” portrays the cross as the identifying sign of everything for which Christianity stands and around which Christians should rally in their fight against the forces of evil.

Throughout the world, people universally regard the cross as THE symbol of Christianity. Churches have crosses atop their steeples, on their walls, windows and doors. Catholics and Protestants wear crosses on necklaces, bracelets, rings, pendants, keychains and items of clothing. People in some churches “cross” themselves by touching the forehead, breast, and then each shoulder to form a symbolic cross in carrying out certain religious rituals or in blessing themselves or others. Some think the sign of the cross to be effective in warding off evil spirits and for generally protecting believers from harm.

So is it okay to wear a cross as a symbol of our personal faith? Is it OK to assume that the early Christian Church revered the cross as part of its religious observance? Check any encyclopedia or historical reference work on this subject. It makes for an interesting study for those who are not afraid to face the truth.

The cross, in many shapes and forms, was used centuries before Christ by abject pagans! Notice a few of the many examples:

  • In the British Museum is a statue of the Assyrian king Samsi-Vul, son of Shalmaneser. Around his neck is an almost perfect Maltese cross. On an accompanying figure of Ashur-nasir-pal is a similar cross.
  • The ancient Greek goddess Diana is pictured with a crosses over her head, in much the same way that the “Virgin Mary” is represented by many medieval artists.
  • Bacchus, the Greek god of wine, is often pictured wearing a headdress adorned with crosses.
  • Different types of crosses were used in Mexico centuries before the Spaniards arrived.
  • The Egyptians used cross symbols in abundance, as did the Hindus.

The shape of the two-beamed cross had its origin in ancient Chaldea and was used to represent the god Tammuz. Tammuz is the deified Nimrod, the first man to lead the opposition against God after the great Flood. He founded the city of Babylon, and along with his mother/wife Semiramis, founded the pagan Babylon mystery religion—the origin of all false religion today. The Egyptians used crosses in abundance, as did the Hindus.

The surprising thing is that the Christian use of the cross did not begin until the time of Constantine, three centuries after Christ. Archaeologists have found no Christian uses of the symbol before that time. According to one writer, “By the middle of the third century A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had transvestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system, pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols” (W.E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, article “Cross“).

“In the papal system, as is well known, the sign of the cross and the image of the cross are all in all. No prayer can be said, no worship engaged in, no step almost can be taken, without the frequent use of the sign of the cross. The cross is looked upon as the grand charm, as the great refuge in every season of danger, in every hour of temptation as the infallible preservative from all the powers of darkness. The cross is adored with all the homage due only to the Most High; and for anyone to call it, in the hearing of a genuine Romanist, by the Scriptural term, “the accursed tree,” is a mortal offense. To say that such superstitious feeling for the sign of the cross, such worship as Rome pays to a wooden or a metal cross, ever grew out of the saying of Paul, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”—that is, in the doctrine of Christ crucified—is a mere absurdity, a shallow subterfuge and pretense. The magic virtues attributed to the so-called sign of the cross, the worship bestowed on it, never came from such a source.”

“The same sign of the cross that Rome now worships was used in the Babylonian Mysteries, was applied by paganism to the same magic purposes, was honored with the same honors. That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians—the true original form of the letter T, the initial of the name of Tammuz—which, in Hebrew, radically the same as ancient Chaldee, as found on coins, was formed as in No. 1 of the accompanying woodcut (below), and in Etrurian and Coptic, as in No’s. 2 and 3. That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated in the Mysteries, and was used in every variety of way as a most sacred symbol. To identify Tammuz with the sun, it was joined sometimes to the circle of the sun, as in No. 4; sometimes it was inserted in the circle, as in No. 5.” (The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop, page 197).

www.americanpresbyterianchurch.org/Rites%20..

There is an enormous body of evidence proving that the cross is not a Christian symbol but has its roots in rank paganism. Some will argue, however, that we may use the sign of the cross because it represents the manner in which Jesus Christ died, or that they are not using it today to worship a pagan deity. However, using it as a Christian symbol is a product of syncretism, (the blending of pagan traditions and methods of worship with the true worship of God), something God strongly condemns.

Before entering the land of Canaan, God told the Israelites,

. . . take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.” You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:30-31)

Does the cross even represent the manner in which Jesus Christ died? I have argued against this in another article on this blog. The Bible does not specifically state which method the Romans used in the crucifixion of Christ, and as far as I can tell, no one has yet conclusively proven on what shape of instrument of torture Christ was crucified. Does it even matter? We have to consider if it is even appropriate to use the very tool that was used to kill our Savior as an emblem of our faith. If Jesus Christ had been killed by hanging, would we use a gallows or a noose as a symbol of our faith? If He had been beheaded, would we use a guillotine? It makes no sense to parade the instrument of shame and death before the world and be proud of it.

Satan the devil knew long before Jesus was born that Christ would die by crucifixion (Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14; Psalm 22:16). He has deceived the entire world (Rev. 12:9) into worshipping a false Christ by making the cross a popular symbol of worship.

Most importantly, God forbids the use of any item that takes the place of faith. He instructs His true followers to worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23), and forsake all of this world’s false religions, rituals and pagan symbols of worship. This includes the cross, which assists only to add to a dead, empty faith. As the apostle Paul exhorted, Christ’s true followers walk by faith, not by sight (II Cor. 5:7).

April 30, 2009

Fact: Christ Did Not Come To Convert The Nations

 realchristianity.wordpress.com

 

realchristianity.wordpress.com

The popularly held concept is that in His day Jesus tried to save everyone and that He instructed His Church to do the same. It is widely assumed that whenever Jesus spoke in parables He did so to make His teachings more understandable to the multitudes who heard Him. 

However, Jesus gave no such reason. When His disciples asked Him about one of His parables, He said, “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without (the unconverted masses), all these things are done in parables” (Mark 4:11). 

Why? To make what He said easier to comprehend? No, just the opposite! He often used parables so that “seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them” (verse 12). 

Now guaranteed, people will argue with these plain verses because of the common assumption that ALL the world is to be evangelized now. Mass altar calls for accepting christ are common in the evangelical sphere, but that conception is unbiblical. Although many where added tot he early Church in the days of the early Church, they were called by God so that His Church would have the necessary growth to carry His message to all nations, but only as a witness (Matt. 24:14). Nowhere did He say that His true ministers are to try to convert the nations. In fact, Christ Himself never employed mass altar calls. Only 120 disciples were present on the day of Pentecost. That is because often, when He employed parables, Jesus intentionally left the masses in their deception. He spoke in parables to cloud His message, not to make it easily understood. He Himself said so.

“For ye see your calling, brethren,” Paul wrote to the Greeks in Corinth, “how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (I Cor. 1:26). Simply put, everyone on earth is not now able to come to God to be converted. Jesus declared, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). 

The Father of whom Jesus spoke has not been drawing the majority of people. This is obvious from the condition the world is in. Jesus pointed out that the majority of humanity is walking in the way of destruction and that now only a few are finding the way to eternal life (Matt. 7:13-14).  

Although God is not calling every person now, by the time His plan is finished, everyone who has ever lived will have had the opportunity to understand and to accept or reject eternal life.

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