The Apple Of God's Eye

February 22, 2010

Where Did John The Baptist Get The Ceremony Of Baptism?

One of the greatest miracles of the Old Testament was a forerunner and type of what true baptism pictures today. It was the Exodus of Israel out of Egypt.

In I Corinthians 10:11, God reveals that these Old Testament events occurred to be examples to Christians. Now read verses 1-2: “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”

The word here translated “baptized” means “immersed” or “plunged into.” Let’s understand the full meaning of this event.

Israel had just come out of captivity in Egypt. God said that He was going to bring them up out of that land of oppression — that pagan land of strange customs and evil ways. So God sent Moses to deliver them from their bondage in that land of sin.

Israel was in sin, living the wrong way. And God set His hand to deliver them.

After Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, God brought them to encamp “beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon” (Exodus 14:9). To Israel’s amazement, they found themselves trapped, with the Egyptians closing in on them. The only way of escape was through the Red Sea. (more…)

February 10, 2010

Valentine's Day: A Millennia Old Fertility Rite With A Little Magic To Boot!

listverse.com

When we were small children, we’d often use the word “why”—usually in the form of a question, directed at a person older than us. And each answer, it seemed, triggered another question—another why. But as we grew older, our curiosity began to wane. We stopped asking why so frequently. What was the reason? Was it because we thought we knew everything at that point? No, we became comfortable with the status quo. Most of us began to accept things the way they are—without question.

And so it is with the holiday we are fast approaching on February 14, 2010 – Valentine’s Day — a day which supposedly celebrates love and affection between couples by giving flowers and sending greeting cards.

But since there’s no biblical basis for its observance, we must look to secular history to determine its origin.

Centuries before Christ, the Romans celebrated the evenings of February 14 and 15 (named “Lupercalia)” as an idolatrous and sensuous festival in honor of Lupercus, the “hunter of wolves.” This pagan free-for-all was to be done away with when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, but the general public would have none of it, and so only the more grossly sensual observances were toned down.

Modern tradition says that this holiday is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. But the fact is that by this time, the holiday had BECOME a “Christian” custom, appropriating the name St. Valentine in place of Lupercus (Lavinia Dobler, Customs and Holidays Around the World). (more…)

June 8, 2009

Do Nicolaitians Have A Connection To Santa Claus?

“Nicolaitan” means “a follower of Nicolas.” It comes from two Greek words — “nikos” and “laos”. “Nikos” means “conqueror” or “destroyer,” and “laos” means “people.” The original Nicolas was a conqueror or destroyer of the people! That was Nimrod — the original archrebel, who conquered the people and founded a man-made civilization within two centuries after the Flood!

While he was alive, Nimrod put himself in the place of God. When he died, his admirers continued to WORSHIP him as a divine hero. They called him “Baal,” a name found throughout the Old Testament, meaning “master” or “lord.”

Nimrod also had other names. One, commonly used throughout Asia Minor, was “Santa.” (See “Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary”). “Santa Claus” is but a shortened form of “Santa Nicholas” or “Saint Nicholas.”

Many unknowingly honor this Nicholas even in our day by by observing customs associated with December 25th. Christmas originally was the “Saturnalia” or birthday of Nimrod. Of course, these customs handed down from ancient paganism have been renamed and made to appear innocent and good!

Nicolaitans in modern times

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says:

  • nik-o-la’-i-tanz Nikolaitai: – The Sect: A sect or party of evil influence in early Christianity, especially in the 7 churches of Asia. Their doctrine was similar to that of Balaam, “who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication” (Re 2:14,15). Their practices were strongly condemned by John, who praised the church in Ephesus for “hating their works” (Re 2:6), and blamed the church in Pergamum for accepting in some measure their teaching (Re 2:15). Except that reference is probably made to their influence in the church at Thyatira also, where their leader was “the woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess” (Re 2:20; compare 2:14), no further direct information regarding them is given in Scripture. The Nicolaitians were one of the heretical sects that plagued the churches at Ephesus and at Pergamum, and perhaps elsewhere.

Irenaeus identifies the Nicolaitans as a Gnostic sect:

“John, the disciple of the Lord, preaches this faith (the deity of Christ), and seeks, by the proclamation of the Gospel, to remove that error which by Cerinthus had been disseminated among men, and a long time previously by those termed Nicolaitans, who are an offset of that “knowledge” falsely so called, that he might confound them, and persuade them that there is but one God, who made all things by His Word” (see Irenaeus Against Heresies iii 11.  1; ANF vol. 1, p. 426) There is also historical evidence of a Gnostic sect called Nitolaitans a century or so later.

The doctrine of the Nicolaitans appears to have been a form of antinomianism: a belief that is based upon a recognition of the mercy of God as the ground of salvation. However, it goes astray in the mistake that man can freely partake in sin because the Law of God is no longer binding. It held the truth on the gratuitous reckoning of righteousness; but supposed that a mere intellectual “belief” in this truth had a saving power.

James 2:19 refutes this error:

“The devils also believe, and tremble”; reminding us that belief of and by itself is not enough for salvation, especially when held to the light of James 2:20, which says: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”

No one will argue that salvation is a free gift, based upon God’s grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). but from there we have to go on and do something, as the very next verse admonishes us.  “We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10).  The faith of God produces action; leading to a desire for holiness and obedience. (1 John 3:18, Titus 2:11-15, 1 Peter 1:15-16, Revelation 14:12)

There are certain religions  today which still teach the heretical doctrine of holding to the freedom of the flesh and sin, and teaching that the deeds of the flesh have no effect upon salvation. But is this biblical?

The Bible teaches that Christians are supposed to “die” to sin and the deeds of our “flesh”: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2)  “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:11-13)

Today, the doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made God’s law of no effect: that by “believing” we are released from the necessity of being doers of the Word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned in the book of Revelation.  “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)

May 29, 2009

Capital Punishment, Mercy Killing, Self-Defense, Abortion: What's A Christian To Do?

The Bible reveals that God gives lawfully constituted civil authorities the right to carry out capital punishment in certain instances (Gen. 9:5, Ex. 21:12-17, Deut. 7:1-2, Acts 25:10-11). These “governing authorities” do not bear the “sword in vain” (Rom. 13:1-4).

But the New Testament teachings of Christ and His apostles make it clear that true Christian believers are not to be part of the secular governments of this world. Only those who don’t know the true God should be the executioners of the wicked.

Here, then, is the New Testament teaching for true Christians: We are not to bear arms or use swords or guns to enforce Caesar’s laws, avenge ourselves or punish evildoers. When the apostle Peter, with a sword, cut off the ear of a man, Christ rebuked him, saying, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52, John 18:10-11).

To the Christian, Paul says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh” (II Cor. 10:3). Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you.”

The deceived billions on this earth “fight and war” but are unable to attain true peace (Jas. 4:1-2, KJV), because “the way of peace they have not known” (Rom. 3:17). But the true Christian “must not quarrel but be gentle to all” (II Tim. 2:24). He must set the proper example to the world.

“What about mercy killings (euthanasia), capital punishment, killing in self-defense, taking revenge, “just” wars, abortions (killing of unborn infants) and suicide?”

God, the giver of life (Gen. 2:7, Deut. 32:39), has the right to take any life if and when He chooses. But man does not have that power, unless God grants it to him. In numerous instances, God not only permitted His servants (prophets and civil leaders in the nation of Israel) to take life, but He actually commanded it under certain circumstances (I Sam. 15:3-33).

In New Testament times though, Christians are commanded never to avenge themselves, but let God do it in His own time and way (Rom. 12:19).

Mercy Killings or prolonging life

Are “mercy killings” permissible, since they are, supposedly, acts of mercy? No example in the Bible shows any people of God taking the life of another or their own, with God’s approval, either in acts of euthanasia or suicide.

God also does not say that we must give our loved ones drugs or oxygen or do all within our power, such as using various machines, to force them, contrary to nature, to live as long as possible, even when they are in great pain or totally unconscious.

Though God permits capital punishment to be carried out by those duly authorized, it is wrong for those in authority to abuse this power. They should not use this power to kill the just, as Herod did in the case of John the Baptist (Mark 6:14-29).

Abortions

What about abortions? Using abortion as an alternative form of birth control is tantamount to the practice of the ancient Canaanites and others, who slew their infants in sacrifice to pagan gods such as Baal in the mistaken belief that their gods would bless them for doing so. God gives us life, and only He can legitimately take it from us. Is it wrong to take a life, even that of an unborn. By doing so we  violate God’s Sixth Commandment?

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