The Apple Of God's Eye

May 20, 2009

Is The Miracle Of Fatima A Hoax?

Roman Catholics claim that a supernatural event occurred in 1917 in which the “Virgin Mary” appeared repeatedly to 3 little children in Fatima, Portugal.  Supposedly, the Virgin Mary gave a message to the 3 little children.  The Message of Fatima consists of an alleged number of precise predictions, requests, warnings and promises concerning the Faith and the world which were conveyed by the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children–Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco–in a series of apparitions at Fatima, Portugal from May to October 1917.

While I have no reason to doubt that the children experienced a vision, it is the source of this apparition I question. The Bible warns that people will witness miracles and supernatural phenomena which will mislead them (Matt. 24:24; Rev. 13:13). We also find a biblical example of this kind of false miracle in I Samuel 28:7-20. King Saul believed the dead prophet Samuel appeared, giving him a message; but it was really an evil spirit impersonating Samuel!

The Message of the Virgin of Fatima is nothing more than the invention of the Roman Catholic Church, counter to what the Bible really says. It does nothing but further their own pagan traditions. No cosmic miracle happened, despite  the testimonies of people who THOUGHT they saw one. Catholics adherents tend to see things others do not. What they actually saw in 1917 was an astronomical event which occurs repeatedly every 11 years. The Vatican used the event to dupe the ignorant masses who thought they had seen a “miracle” of nature.

The Catholic Church thrives on biblical ignorance. Most people do not question the “traditions” and “claims” of the Vatican, they just blindly believe it’s structured, non-spirit based doctrines. But religion without the Bible is participation without faith, a sort of make-believe spiritual game where deceivement is easy to panhandle. How else do we explain the unbiblical error of Mary appearing from heaven? The Bible reveals that the righteous dead remain in their graves until the resurrection at Christ’s return (see I Corinthians 15:22-23, 50-54; I Thessalonians 4:13-17; Hebrews 11:39-40). Mary is still awaiting the resurrection and cannot appear to anyone. Not only are Catholics praying to mere human being while ignoring their only intercessor – Jesus Christ – but they are praying in foolish idolatry to nothing more than a pile of dust.

So despite the incessant baying of critics, I can say without hesitation that the message and miracle of Fatima is a lie and a hoax contrary to the Word of God! Roman Catholicism has it’s origins in a heathen Babylonian religion which worshipped the “Queen of Heaven” (Jeremiah 44:19,25). Participate at your own risk.

May 18, 2009

Does Eternal Punishing Differ From Eternal Punishment?

socrates58.blogspot.com

socrates58.blogspot.com

Many people today preach about an eternal hell fire and eternal punishment. First, here’s the terse and brief summation of this popular belief, which I quote from the Encyclopedia Americana:

“… As generally understood, hell is the abode of evil spirits; the infernal regions…whither lost and condemned souls go after death to suffer indescribable torments and eternal punishment… Some have thought of it as the place created by the Deity, where He punishes with inconceivable severity, and through all eternity, the souls of those who through unbelief or through the worship of false gods have angered Him. It is the place of divine revenge, untempered, never ending.”

Now where, and how, did this popular belief about hell originate? The Encyclopedia Americana states further:

“The main features of hell as conceived by Hindu, Persian, Egyptian, Grecian and Christian theologians are essentially the same.” The Western religious leaders from Roman times through the Middle Ages borrowed the doctrine of eternal torture from the pagan philosophers. Certain writers of the Middle Ages had such tremendous influence on the Christian-professing world, that their writings and teachings came to be generally accepted and believed, until it became the doctrine of the Christian-professing world. Among these influential writers were Augustine and Dante Alighieri.”

An interesting book titled Dante, and His Inferno summs up the history of the Christian-professing doctrine of hell. This factual history is rather amazing! Dante lived A.D. 1265 to 1321. Dante, remember, wrote a tremendously popular book, titled Divine Comedy, in three parts – “Hell,” “Purgatory” and “Paradise.”

This from the aforementioned book of history:

“Of all poets of modern times, Dante Alighieri was, perhaps, the greatest educator. He possibly had a greater influence on the course of civilization than any other man since his day… He wrote, in incomprehensible verse, an imaginative and lurid account of a dismal hell – a long poem containing certain phrases which have caught the attention of the world, such as, ‘all hope abandon… ye, who enter here!’ This had a tremendous impression and influence on the popular Christian thought and teaching. His Inferno was based on Virgil and Plato.”

Dante is reported to have been so fascinated and enraptured by the ideas and philosophies of Plato and Virgil, pagan philosophers, that he believed they were divinely inspired.

Here is an article on Virgil, from the Americana: “VIRGIL, pagan Roman poet, 70-19 B.C. Belonged to the national school of pagan Roman thought, influenced by the Greek writers. Christians of the Middle Ages, including Dante, believed he had received some measure of divine inspiration.”

Plato was a pagan Greek philosopher, born in Athens, 427 B.C., a student of Socrates. He wrote the famous book Phaedo, on the immortality of the soul, and this book is the real origin of the modern belief in the immortality of the soul. In it, he acknowledges . .. three kinds of gods: superior, inferior, and intermediate.”

There is the general statement of the popular belief about hell, and where that belief came from – actually from the imaginations of pagans who DID NOT not God!

What about the billions of non-Christians?

Before we examine the common idea about hell to see whether it is true, consider one or two facts. On this earth are some 6,790,062,216 people (US Census Bureau). The most populous lands are China, India and other parts of Asia. In spite of missionaries from the West, actually more than half of air the people on this earth have never so much as heard the only name by which men may be saved – the name of Jesus Christ! Now is there some other way by which men may be saved? The Bible says there is not!

That means that thousands of millions of people on this earth have lived, and died, without ever having known anything about Christian salvation – without saving knowledge – never having heard the ONLY name by which men may be saved! Now think what that means! IF all unsaved go immediately to hell at death – the hell commonly believed in – then more than HALF of the people who have lived on this earth have been consigned there – and they are there, now, without ever having been given so much as a CHANCE to escape it!

Ask yourselves candidly, do you believe THAT is the plan by which an all-wise, all-merciful, loving GOD is working out his purpose here below?

Now what is the TRUTH?

We face this alternative: Either the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God, by which the Creator reveals the truth on the subject, or else we must fling up our hands and confess we just don’t know – we are ignorant on the question – because no one has ever come back from such an ever-burning hell to tell us about it, and science knows nothing about it. We must believe what the Bible says, or we can believe nothing, if we are rational and honest!

Source: The Plain Truth, a955, Herbert W Armstrong

So why does Math. 25:41 quote an everlasting fire?

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…”

The word translated “everlasting” in verse 41 is “aionion” in the Greek. This word comes from the root “aion,” which can mean “eternal” but often means “age.” In verse 41, the correct translation into English should be “age-lasting” fire.

During the Millennium — the “age” of Christ’s rule with the saints on the earth — the valley of Hinnom will be kept perpetually burning. The incorrigibly wicked, those who set their wills in persistent rebellion against God’s laws, will be thrown into that fire as a stern witness to the rest of the world (Isa. 66:24).

Gehenna was a place of destruction and death – not a place of living torture. Jesus was talking to Jews who understood all about this Gehenna or Valley of Hinnom. Utter destruction by fire was complete. Nothing was left, but ashes!  Every text in the Bible translated from this Greek word gehenna means complete destruction – not living torture – not eternal life in torment! The Bible says, in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is DEATH” – not eternal life in torture. The punishment revealed in the Bible is death – the cessation of life. Eternal life is the gift of God!

Then why have we been believing that punishment is eternal life in fire? And why have we been believing we already have eternal life and don’t need to come to God through Christ to receive it as His gift?

When Jesus spoke of being cast into “gehenna fire,” he was using this expression as an illustration of the “lake of fire.” This everlasting punishment spoken of in Matthew 25:46 is what the Bible elsewhere calls the “second death” (Rev. 20:14; 21:3). Death for all eternity is eternal punishMENT. The Bible nowhere teaches eternal punishING. The wicked will be burned up and will become ashes under the feet of the righteous (Mal. 4:3).

That fire will be much hotter than Dante’s imaginary hell!

March 30, 2009

The Lure Of The Dark Side: Occult Powers

 

Many ask about witches, hypnotists, fortune-tellers, mediums, crystalball gazers, supposed miracle workers, clairvoyants, and so on. Others seek clarification on people like Nostradamus, who claims to foretell the future. 

We can know whether anyone who claims to have “supernatural” powers really is a prophet, messenger, or servant of God. In the Bible we find these instructions: “If a prophet arises among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder which he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 13:1-3, RSV). 

God further warns us, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). This is how we should “try” the spirits: “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:19-20). 

Here, then, is the test of a true servant of God. He will teach the people to believe and to obey exactly what the Word of God says (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4).

March 29, 2009

Edgar Cayce: False Prophet Of God

Some people believe that Edgar Cayce, often called “the sleeping prophet,” was a servant of God. Today his influence is stronger than ever as he helped pave the way for the popularity of “channeling.” However the doctrine of reincarnation which he espoused is contrary to the teachings of the Bible.

Cayce’s biographers generally attribute his healing powers to an ability to tap into what they called the “Universal Mind” or “Universal Consciousness.” After 22 years of readings almost exclusively devoted to medical or health issues, Cayce did his first “life reading” in 1923. These readings supported all sorts of occultic beliefs, yet still, Cayce reasoned (falsely) reincarnation was compatible with the Bible. Like most cultists and occultists, Cayce came to believe that Jesus was not the unique Son of God (probe.org).

Though Cayce seemed to have some unique abilities, there is an explanation for the ability some have of viewing or remembering the past and looking into the future. This has to do with communication with evil spirits. Those spirits have been around throughout human history and are able to pass on the details of past events. They also have some knowledge of the future — though they often lie or are mistaken about many things.

Satan gave Cayce enough rope to hang himself. Even Cayce seemed to sense this, when he said in his own words: “The power was given to me without explanation. I’ve tried to discover what to do with it. It’s been hit and miss, trial and error….it was just an odd trait that was useful in medicine…. That’s what I always thought, and against this I put the idea that the Devil might be tempting me to do his work by operating through me when I was conceited enough to think God had given me special power” (Sugrue, 210)

The organization Cayce founded, the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), has become a hotbed for practically every occultic idea imaginable. It offers a theology that is basically a revised version of ancient pagan mystery religions, with a hint of Christian flavoring for palatability.

In any event, God’s command is clear that we are not to be involved in any way with such spirits or those who consult them. The following verses will show you how strongly God warns against any contact with them: Leviticus 19:31, Deuteronomy 18:10-11, Isaiah 8:19-20.

I advise people not to read his works because they are highly deceptive and spiritually harmful to many curiosity-seekers.

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