“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.”
In our ethnocentricity we automatically assume that “my name” is “Christian”. But if we stay consistent with our study, at the time that this was being spoken, the name that was raising such ire was a Jewish name – “Yeshua”, YHVH’s Savior.
Remember from previous posts that name = way. The noun derives from the verb, and is only true when action backs up the claim. The name is a message of salvation from, no, not other people’s oppression, but from ones’ own…sin?! How insulting! Of course they were hated everywhere they declared this distasteful “good news / gospel”.
“Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said [Will you follow me all the way to the end?]…Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master…Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? (Mark 10:17-45)
“they went out into the mount of Olives….And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26)
Jesus / YHVH’s Savior’s last lecture to his disciples – those attending in person and those of us distance learners – expands on the outline given in Matthew 24. John, to whom was also given another, even more expanded revelation of the end times, is the amanuensis for Jesus’ last instructions before his crucifixion. I encourage the reader to pore over John chapters 13-18 to understand the critical instructions Jesus gave his disciples to carry on his work. I can only give a brief summary within the confines of this post.
“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved / bonded with them unto the end….
- If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him…the Holy Ghost…
- I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you…If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you…all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake [YHVH’s Savior], because they know not him that sent me [YHVH].
“Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them…Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus / Yeshua of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it…This Jesus / Yeshua hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses…Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus / Yeshua, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ…And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
- And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold let us straitly threaten them
- Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people…they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them…
- and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 3-5)
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s / Mashiach’s sufferings that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ / Mashiach, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified…let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator / YHVH.” (I Peter 4:12-19)
Faith in the eternal word of God trumps (yes, that’s a pun) an appeal to morality which is often exploited to cement unholy alliances. as well as denominational differences which turns to infighting.
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” (Jude 1:1-11)
“Paul…sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church…said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons…Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.…I take you to record this day…Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:16-31)
And when the Church fell away from the faith once delivered to the saints, it was torn apart by wolves.
The Council of Nicea in 325 determined that Church and Synagogue should have nothing in common, and that whatever smacked of the unity of God and of the freedom of man, or offered a Jewish aspect of worship, must be eliminated from Catholic Christendom.Can we see the pattern though history that the essential heresy in The Church is the elimination of Judaic holiness from the body of Messiah? This is contrary to everything Paul, the chief apostle to the Gentiles, taught and demonstrated as a practicing Jew. Do we fail to recognize how sabotage of true salvation from sin and death continues to our own day?
In all honesty, we don’t really need to battle the adversary as much as our own human nature.
“in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth…evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (II Timothy 3)
This gospel of righteousness which naturally leads to life is, naturally, viciously opposed in the spirit dimension by the adversary seeking humanity’s destruction.
4th Sign: Religious Leaders Taking Offence, Betraying & Hating the Gospel
The previous post The Splitting Church describes the psychological coping mechanism which explains how nominal Christians can separate the YHVH of the Old Testament from YHVH’s Savior in the New Testament. The same method for dealing with anxiety also explains how Christians can blacklist non-believers while simultaneously white-washing Christian leaders who engage in sin, despite the overwhelming evidence of self- and other-harming behaviors wreaking havoc and destruction to a Christian witness.
- Peter Ruckman, Sr., one of the strongest advocates of KJV Only, was divorced twice under a cloud of spousal abuse, married three times. His son and namesake, also divorced, murdered his 12 year old and 14 year old sons then committed suicide. Does not Ruckman Sr’s inability to manage his own house say anything about his qualifications as a religious leader? And yet he has such devoted followers that they call themselves Ruckmanites.
- Evangelical pastor Ted Haggard ranted against the evils of premarital sex, adultery, and gay marriage. That is, until he was caught in a gay sex scandal in 2006…Haggard had been a client for years.
- Jim Bakker…perhaps the most popular televangelist in the 1980s…was brought down by…secretary publicly accused the televangelist of raping and drugging her. After Bakker resigned from his ministry, he was charged with accounting fraud and sentenced to 45 years in prison.
- Bakker was replaced by Jerry Falwell, who called his predecessor, “the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in 2,000 years of church history.” Jerry Falwell Sr., a Southern Baptist pastor…would become one of the leading televangelists in the country. He parlayed that national fame into political influence by founding the Moral Majority, a political group that mobilized conservative evangelical Christians…to support the Republican Party…Falwell Sr. also founded…Liberty University…
- Jerry Jr. succeeded his father as head of Liberty University in 2007… By 2012, the once-ailing Liberty University had more than $1 billion in net assets…GOP presidential candidates sought to win his favor.
In March 2012, the Falwells…met Giancarlo Granda, a 21-year-old pool attendant. Granda told Politico that during this first encounter, Becki Falwell asked him to come back to her room and have sex with her while Jerry watched. The Falwells began flying Granda around in their private jet…also put up $1.8 million to buy and renovate a Miami Beach hostel that would be owned by Granda and Falwell’s son Trey…Enter Michael Cohen…famous as Trump’s lawyer and “fixer”… One of Cohen’s most important duties for Trump had long been to make embarrassing or potentially damaging problems go away. Sometimes that involved making threats to reporters, sometimes that involved arranging payments to women in exchange for their silence. (Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law in arranging hush payments for two women in 2016.) The Falwells now faced such a problem: Someone…had obtained sexually compromising photos. So they asked Cohen for help.
By January 2016, the leading candidates in the Republican presidential race were Donald Trump and Ted Cruz…Falwell lavishly praised Trump during…Liberty appearance (“Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others, as Jesus taught”)…He told one of his own associates, meanwhile, that he was coming “under heavy pressure” (in the Times’s words) to endorse Trump.
Rostom later reported that Cohen “helped arrange” the endorsement…Other evangelical leaders condemned Falwell, with one saying his father “would be rolling over in his grave” if he knew Jerry Jr. had endorsed “the most immoral and ungodly man to ever run for President of the United States.”…Cohen knew about “secrets that can destroy Falwell’s whole world.” Even if the topic never explicitly came up in relation to the endorsement, that’s something Falwell couldn’t possibly have forgotten when he was making up his mind…Over the next two years, one damaging story after another came out about the Falwells…and made broader claims of corruption and mismanagement of the university on Falwell’s part.
Ambrosino reported on how Falwell frequently awarded Liberty loans and contracts to his friends and son, and quoted a source complaining he was running the university like a “dictatorship.”
Roston and Joshua Schneyer revealed that Falwell had given another young man, his and his wife’s personal trainer, ownership of Liberty University’s sports facility.
- Jimmy Swaggart, a Pentecostal televangelist, got his start on television in 1975. In the 1980s, he teamed up with Reverend Jerry Falwell, Reverend James Robison, and Reverend Pat Robertson to use the Christian Right to shape the Republican party…Swaggart’s fall from grace happened in 1988 when it became public that he was cheating on his wife with a New Orleans prostitute…was an avid consumer of porn and experimented with BDSM / bondage, discipline, sadomasochism all while condemning such “immoral” acts.
- Bill Gothard is famous for his homeschooling ministry, known as the Gothard Institute of Basic Life Principles. He promoted extreme submission of women…In 2014, more than 30 women accused Gothard of molestation and assault, including underage girls…Gothard was forced to resign from his ministry, though he resurfaced on the Internet with a blog in 2016.
- Tony Alamo rocketed to fame in the 1970s for preaching a fundamentalist interpretation of Christianity….In 2009, Alamo was sentenced to 175 years in prison. The charges included sexual abuse, transporting underage girls across state lines for sexual purposes, pedophilia, marrying an eight-year-old girl, and child rape.
- Bob Coy was the most famous evangelical pastor in Florida. His Fort Lauderdale megachurch had 25,000 members, and George W. Bush even visited Coy. But it all came crashing down in 2014 when he admitted to multiple affairs and a pornography addiction. He resigned in disgrace.
- Dave Reynolds was a pastor at Cornerstone Bible Fellowship Church in Sherwood, Arkansas…40 years old when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found evidence that [he was]….visiting child pornography websites… In 2016, Reynolds was charged with 70 counts of possessing or viewing child pornography, a felony charge.
- Doug Phillips was president of an extreme Christian-right group called Visit Forum Ministries. He was…an advocate of the Tea Party conservative political movement. Phillips argued that women must be completely submissive to their husbands and fathers. Daughters should not even have a say in who they marry…In 2013, Phillips was forced to resign after being publicly accused of sexual abuse and assault against a woman by masturbating on the woman multiple times while she cried and asked him to stop.
- Robert Tilton was a televangelist based in Dallas and Fort Lauderdale. It came out in 1991 that he was running a scam where he asked viewers to send him prayer requests, promising to pray over each plea. An investigative report found thousands of requests dumped in a garbage bin––but not until the televangelist kept checks, money orders, and cash for himself.
What happens when those who are supposed to guide us away from sin become sinners themselves? Check out these pastors behaving badly to find out.
- Kenneth Copeland, a Texas evangelist, came under fire for a viral “Inside Edition” video in which he defended his three private jets…He owns an airport close to his Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth.
- Louisiana minister Jesse Duplantis, who himself was implicated in Copeland’s jet scandal, has been in hot water for his own jet-setting lifestyle. He claims God told him he needs a private jet – specifically, a Falcon 7X, capable of carrying 12 to 16 passengers at speeds up to 700 mph. “Now, some people believe that preachers shouldn’t have jets,” Duplantis said in a video posted in 2018…In the same video, he showed off a photo of the three planes owned by his ministry.
- As host of The 700 Club, Pat Robertson is one of the more visible televangelists to emerge on the national stage…In recent years, Robertson, 89, defended Trump before the 2016 election after a videotape emerged of Trump making vulgar comments about women. Brushing it off as “macho” talk, Robertson compared Trump to a phoenix. “They think he’s dead, he’s come back. And he came back strong,” he said on his show.
- In the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, preacher Joel Osteen – who helms one of the largest churches in America with 50,000 members and a 600,000-square-foot stadium – was criticized for not welcoming hurricane evacuees into his Lakewood megachurch. A social media post from the megachurch claimed the building was inaccessible because of “severe flooding.” But locals…posting photos around the church showing streets that were easy to get to…brought negative publicity to the church and Osteen, who has a reported net worth of more than $50 million.
- South Carolina megachurch pastor John Gray gave his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini SUV for their eighth anniversary in 2018…“God helped me to make my wife’s dream come true,” he wrote in an Instagram post showing off the luxury automobile.
- Pastor Robert Jeffress has elicited much controversy for his sentiments toward the LGBT community, Mormons and Muslims…He was appointed one of President Trump’s evangelical advisers and gained national attention when he claimed that “God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un,” invoking the Bible’s book of Romans to do so.
Are you sickened yet? Or are you defensive? Making excuses, rejecting demonstrable evidence, accepting claims that they are suffering persecution from the enemy?
“because they received not the love of the truth…God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (II Thessalonians 2:10-12)
Downfall will happen, not just to leadership – but to their like-minded supporters who are willing to gloss over sin because then they aren’t accountable either. This utter self-centeredness is the essence of evil. This is why rich people will hardly enter into the kingdom of God while those of us who have been oppressed and broken by evil sing praises to the God who rescued us by cutting short and cutting off evil – most of all within our own self-destructive selves.