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Posts Tagged ‘vanity’

An Issue For Rapture Believers: Will The World Know That You Are Gone?

Posted by Job on January 2, 2011

It is the Christmas – New Year season, which means time for certain Christian broadcasters to air their cache of rapture/endtimes movies. Though I turned away from advocating a belief in the rapture a few years ago, I have never declared the doctrine to be clearly false and stated that its supporters are knowingly adhering to a false doctrine. (Now I should point out that some doctrines by some rapture/premillennial dispensational advocates are abominable heresies, but it appears that few pastors who teach the rapture and even fewer Christians who believe in it consent to them, and many of them are not not aware that these strange, outlandish doctrines exist.)

However, for those who do believe in the rapture, consider the “Left Behind” movies (and similar ones that were made before and since, not to mention a large number of novels) that depict this mass panic that grips the world upon the disappearance of a significant percentage of the world’s population, and that this panic is exploited by the one world government and the anti-Christ. First off, the “global hysteria” doctrine appears nowhere in the Bible, but appears to be based entirely on assumptions. Of course, it is very logical, but God’s works – and not just miracles – often exist outside of the boundaries of human logic. Second, the idea that the global hysteria will cause the one world government, one world religion and the rise of the anti-Christ is problematic, because – according to a literal reading of Revelation that assumes a literal timeline  (the preferred hermeneutic of rapture adherents) the beast does not truly take power until halfway through the seven years. This contradicts popular rapture movies, which show the beast taking over – and in many depictions taking over a pre-existing political/military/economic/religious apparatus – almost immediately after the rapture as a direct response to the global emotional trauma and economic, political, etc. upheaval that it causes.

However, Christians who adhere to this doctrine should consider the opposite perspective: after the rapture, will the world even know that you are gone? Will they miss you? Consider three angles to this question.

1. According to every single survey on religious attitudes and beliefs, the vast majority of Bible believing Christians, whether evangelical, fundamentalist or traditional, do not lead lives that distinguish them from non-Christian people. Every ounce of data exists shows that these Christians exhibit no outward evidence of their faith other than showing up to church on Sunday. Almost none of the fruit-bearing that the New Testament speaks of is present in the lives of such Christians, many of whom do not even so much as invite their neighbors or co-workers to church on Sunday or into their homes for Bible study. So, were the rapture to occur, what is it that would make people notice that it is a rapture of Christians, as opposed to just a bunch of random people going missing? More to the point, if you personally were to be raptured, would most/half/any of the people who know you consider that it might be because you are a Christian?

2. Related to 1, minority of Christians that adhere to the rapture belief only believe in a partial rapture, stating that not all born again believers who will eventually enter heaven will be raptured, but only those who are counted most faithful and fruitful. This view has its advantages, as it does deal with the various Bible references to believers who will be alive and suffer during the great tribulation. (The “complete rapture” believers who espouse such doctrines as the persecuted believers are those who will be converted after the rapture – such as by the 144,000 Jews – do so despite a ton of logical consistencies in this belief, such as the Bible evidence in places such as Romans 10 that it takes an believer’s preaching the gospel to convert an unbeliever, and also that conversion cannot take place without the Holy Spirit, which many/most “complete rapture” adherents believe will leave the earth with the church at the time of the rapture.) It also appears to be the view among the rapture adherents that makes the best use of scripture, including Jesus Christ’s promise to the church in Revelation 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

But if this doctrine is true, then only a small percentage of the members of Christian churches and megachurches will be raptured. Instead of the practically empty churches that you see depicted in many of these rapture movies, instead, most or nearly all of these churches will be mostly filled with believers that are lukewarm (i.e. the Laodicea church) or possess varying degrees of the ills identified by Jesus Christ in the other 6 churches. If Revelation 2 and 3 are a guide and should be interpreted literally and mathematically, only 1 out of every 7 Christians will be raptured, and (again using the Laodicea example) virtually none of those will be in the churches that show outward signs of piety (i.e. large size, huge amenities, middle/upper class congregants taught by eloquent erudite pastors with huge support staffs, etc). Again, now this is not to say that these people won’t be saved and ultimately wind up in heaven, but rather that they won’t be raptured. And since the vast majority of people who regularly, faithfully attend Bible-believing churches and even perform good works won’t be raptured because Jesus Christ will “have something against thee” (His common rebuke to 5 of the 7 churches, to all but Philadelphia and Smyrna, and it is pointed out that Jesus Christ didn’t promise to keep Smyrna from great tribulation but rather to strengthen them as they endure it!), how will this be recognized as “a Christian rapture”? Especially since many of the left behind will in fact be Christians who adhere to the complete rapture doctrine, and may likely be ones who deny before the media and the world that a “Christian rapture” occurred because they will (truthfully I might add!) state that if there was a rapture of the entire church, they would have been included! Again, if it is only a partial, seemingly random number of Christians raptured, other explanations for their disappearance may abound, and the continuing presence of born-again Christians will be the main enabler of those alternate explanations.

3. This is somewhat related to the prior point. Consider the great falling away that the Bible states will happen before the return of Jesus Christ. If this is applied to the larger rapture doctrine framework, it fits the teachings of a lot of dispensationalists that the information to the seven churches in Revelation were of 7 church ages, which the last age being the Laodicea one. If the church falls into widespread apostasy similar to that of Old Testament Israel (which was a type that pointed to the church in many respects) just before the northern and southern kingdoms fell to Assyria and Babylon, then whether the issue is a full rapture or a partial one, there will be very few Christians to be taken up in the rapture indeed.

4. Consider that the Bible speaks of a strong delusion being sent by God in the endtimes that will cause people to believe a lie. If this can be interpreted with respect and applied to the rapture, it can either be in terms of 3.) the great apostasy resulting in a very tiny legitimate church when the rapture occurs or the fact that when the rapture occurs, people will delude themselves, lie to themselves about these missing persons in the first place. Many have interpreted this to believe that the strong delusion will cause people to deny the rapture and contrive other reasons for the disappearances (including alien abductions according to one such movie), but it is very plausible that the delusion will be of the nature that denying that the raptured souls ever existed in the first place, something that many in the mental health profession would describe as a trauma-induced dissociation as a coping mechanism.

Add it all up and Christians who believe in the rapture must challenge and question the idea popularized by so many rapture teachers that we are so precious, beloved and important to the world that our presence will cause a worldwide turmoil of the people of this world. Of course, it strokes our own egos and vanity to regard ourselves as being so important … how once we are gone, the world will literally go down the tubes because we will no longer be around to be police officers, bankers, teachers, spouses, parents, community leaders etc., and that people of the world will be so frightened, grief-stricken and left leaderless and impoverished by our loss that they will obviously turn to the anti-Christ and his system!

Wow. Think how that sounds. Think of how that sounds to Jesus Christ, the One who came not bragging about Himself, but who emptied Himself, made Himself of no reputation, humbly submitted Himself to the Will of the Father, and suffered the humiliation and torment of public rejection and public execution. When Jesus Christ died and returned to heaven, the world continued. But we are so important than when we depart this earth, the world spins out of control?

Also, it rejects a key thing about what Jesus Christ teaches about the church: we are not loved, cherished, exalted, embraced, even liked by the world. Instead, we are despised, hated and rejected by it. The world hates, persecutes and rejects us just as it does to our Head and Master, Jesus Christ. If we are Christ’s own body, how can the world love us while hating Christ? If the world hates Jesus Christ because His light exposes that the world’s deeds are wicked, then how on earth can the earth love our light?

Again, we are beloved, treasured and adored by God. We were important enough to God that He sent His only Son for us, and we were important enough to Jesus Christ that He obeyed and died for us. But the world views us as precisely the opposite. The world’s father is not God but Satan, the prince of the power of the air, the same who was a murderer from the beginning and the truth is not in him, the same dragon who persecutes and afflicts the church.

So have no prideful delusions of our own importance, or of anyone loving and treasuring us but God. If the rapture doctrine is true and the event does occur, when it happens, rather than being driven to anguish and grief over our no longer being present, the world will rejoice and say “Good riddance … now we can REALLY get on with what we need and want to do!”

Any false notions otherwise are the product not of honest Bible study and interpretation but of human pride. Well please recall that pride comes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. This includes the fall of Satan, and the fall of Adam as well. Do not walk in their ways, but instead in the ways of Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself, lowered Himself, gracefully accepted His hard task, and never at any point deluded Himself about how hated and despised He was, not only by His own people, but even by one of His very own twelve that betrayed Him!

As Jesus Christ is our Master, those who adhere to the rapture doctrine must take a step back from what is commonly being taught and instead seek interpretations and applications of this doctrine that is consistent with the teachings of our Master and honors our Master.

If Jesus Christ is not your Master, then Satan is your master. If that is the case, when judgment day arrives, you will receive from Jesus Christ, who is Lord, the same punishment that Satan receives, which is eternal destruction in a lake of fire with no hope whatsoever of reprieve. Please turn away from your sins and submit to Jesus Christ as your Master. Do not delay, but do it quickly, for why would you wish to delay such a blessed thing as entering into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ? What is it that the world offers to make any delay worthwhile?

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Posted in Bible, Christianity, evangelism, false doctrine, false teaching, Russia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Christian Women With Weave, Was Your Hair Offered To Idols?

Posted by Job on October 14, 2009

Let us remember the verdict of the Jerusalem council of Acts 15 where the Jewish Christians decided the guidelines for sanctification and holy living for Gentile Christians. Consider this verse:

That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”

Now consider this nugget from an article on the movie “Good Hair“:

… the movie, “Good Hair” … details the lengths to which some black women and men will go for straight hair … from a hair salon where a 6-year-old maintains a stiff upper lip as a chemical relaxer sits on her scalp, to the temples of India where the hair women sacrifice in a religious ceremony is swept up, sent to factories and exported as weave

Of course, I know the difference between eating something and putting it in your hair. I also know that Paul liberated this principle from being made into legalism in 1 Corinthians 8. However, allow me to propose this:  humans generally need to eat meat in order to be healthy. So, if there was a choice between damaging your health by doing all that one possibly can to obey Acts 15:29 and thus becoming malnourished or eating meat and being healthy, Paul said to eat meat. Also the context of 1 Corinthians 8 is that the meat that had been offered to idols was then mixed and sold with all the other meat, and it was impossible to tell which meat was which.

So while Acts 15:29 made it unlawful to KNOWINGLY eat meat offered to idols – which is practicing idolatry – UNKNOWINGLY eating meat offered to idols was not idolatry and thereby harmless. The reason is that the prohibition is not on the meat itself, which was fine, but rather the idolatry, which is sin. So this was not  a choice between being an idolater and not being an idolater. Instead, it was a choice between not APPEARING to be an idolater and being malnourished, or APPEARING to be an idolater and being healthy. Paul’s reasoning was that appearances don’t matter, only the heart does, so go ahead, buy your meat at the market with no worries as to whether it was offered to idols or not – because it was impossible to tell – and eat it.

However, where meat serves a vital human need, I would argue that hair weave does not. It is entirely cosmetic. So even though it may be lawful, is it nonetheless expedient (1 Corinthians 6:12) for a Christian woman to adorn herself with hair offered to idols? Is such a thing edifying (1 Corinthians 10:23)? Is hair offered to idols and then sold for a price an appropriate covering (1 Corinthians 11:15) for the body of a Christian woman, seeing that such a body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) as opposed to a pagan temple filled with idols? And is acquiring and wearing costly weave that has been offered to idols a way of keeping 1 Timothy 2:9-10?

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

Now of course I am not going to claim that it is a sin for Christian women to use weave because it MIGHT contain hair offered to idols. Not only would I be guilty of violating 1 Corinthians in saying such a thing, but I would not even be able to rely on the literal interpretation of Acts 15 or Exodus 20:3-4 (the passages concerning idolatry specifically and practicing false religions – which includes participating in their rites and ceremonies – in general). Instead, I am just providing more information for Christian women (and men) to consider in our efforts to make better, more Christ-honoring decisions. After all, where does the idea to go out and put weave in your hair come from? Or the idea that we have to look a certain way come from? Generally the media, Hollywood, mass entertainment, Madison Avenue (commercials), and what have you. They sell you an image of beauty that is not real. I am not merely referring to this image because so much of it is literally fake, whether the product of airbrushing, lighting, cosmetic surgery, photo editing etc. but because it takes our minds and hearts away from the true beauty that is Jesus Christ that is revealed through us through the wonderful works of His creation (Romans 1) and causes us to exchange it for a lie, an image conceived not in God’s mind or made by God’s hands but rather created by man’s hands and conceived in his sinful, corrupt rebellious minds. And what are images conceived and made by man? Merely idols.

So the real issue is not that the hair MAY HAVE BEEN offered to some idol in some Hindu temple. The issue is that your DESIRE to use weave – wherever its origin – probably comes from looking at magazines, watching television, coming up with some false image of beauty that you desire. So, the false idol that is the problem is not in some temple in India, but rather is inside the temple of your own heart! And these false images and idols promoting a perverted, corrupted sense of beauty and attractiveness in the media have only two real purposes. The first is mammon, money. I fear continuing to sound like a leftist or socialist, but the fact is that these images are disseminated to cause you to buy the magazines that contain them, which contain still more images that cause you to want to buy the makeup, hair products, clothes etc. that make the magazine publishers a lot of money.

The second reason, make no mistake, is to challenge and attack Biblical notions of modesty, decency and sexuality. Most of the publications, TV shows, movies etc. that endlessly present these images also ceaselessly mock anything resembling notions of Biblical purity, including but not limited to marital fidelity. Even if they don’t directly attack it, they undermine it with the lie that a man and wife can sit and look at that junk 24/7 without either A) being tempted to stray (adultery) or B) fantasizing (which is also adultery Matthew 5:28), or similarly that our children can watch it without either being tempted to commit fornication or fantasizing about it. So similar to my challenge regarding tattoos, the issue is not whether weave is permissible according to scripture, but whether the motivation to get a weave is Christ-honoring in the first place.

That said, there may be many motivations for getting hair weaves that are completely legitimate, i.e. totally unrelated to wanting to look like the female vampires in these soft-core pornographic magazines and music videos. Some women may state that their husbands like the way that it looks. Others may profess that it is a look that they prefer for themselves. Others still assert that in their work environments (office or professional jobs, etc.) they must maintain a professional appearance. Again, I am in no sense asserting this to be some sort of law that has any bearing on anyone’s salvation, justification, sanctification or consecration. There are also many who may perceive me to be just totally off base, tilting at windmills and causing unnecessary division and confusion (stumblingblocks as it were) when I should focus only on Jesus Christ and Him crucified, risen, and will one day return. To such people, I apologize in advance, and please know that it is not my intent. Instead, my reason for dealing with this topic is this Biblical one: Christians, beware of and be separate from the world and things in it, whether it be its mindsets, its desires … or its idols. After all, we only have to look at the world of televangelism. Paula White, Medina Pullings, and many others are counted among those who market their own appearance, and tie it into their false health/wealth/family prosperity gospel doctrine. Jan Crouch, Juanita Bynum and Cathy DuPlantis are just among the many who proudly declare that they have had cosmetic surgery (or surgeries)! Extend it a little further and we have professed evangelical Christians Carrie Prejean’s lingerie modeling (and plastic surgery), Heidi Montag’s Playboy modeling, and Miley Cyrus pole dancing, all done for a little bit of fame and fortune that even were it to last 1000 years would be a mere flicker of an instant in the eternity that we will either spend with Jesus Christ in New Jerusalem or in the outer darkness where the worm never dies, the fire is never quenched, and there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. Again, the issue is not the weave, but the heart and where it lies.

However, for people who are considering the issues raised in this post, allow me to refer you to an expert on the topic by following the link below:

I’m a natural systah

Also, for those who may be wondering what all of this is about to begin with, please play the video below.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted in Bible, christian worldliness, Christianity, church worldliness, Jesus Christ, media conspiracy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments »

 
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