Archive for resurrection

When is the Gog-Magog War?

Posted in 11 : Labor Pains with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/19/2012 by timenolonger

The nearly universal teaching seems to place this war at the beginning or in the midst or at the end of the tribulation. It is what has spurred so many Christians to closely link the present political state of Israel with both the redeemed people of Israel and with the days prior to Yahushua’s return.

I am not so sure we’ve ever been clearly told in scripture, though, that this war occurs at any of those times or that it is in any way linked at all to the present political state of Israel.

We’ve revisited the fact several times that the present state of Israel, its government, boundaries and laws are established by the same people who initiated the holocaust. It should seem strange that a government as willing to partake in false flag terrorism as any other should be suddenly defended by YHWH, who condemns just that kind of tyranny and declares the fate of those partaking in it an unpleasant one.

So, what does the bible say about the timing of Gog and Magog. Ezekiel 38,39 might not clear that answer up, by itself, but lets consider this section:

“Eze 38:11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,
Eze 38:12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places [that are now] inhabited, and upon the people [that are] gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land….
Eze 38:14 ¶ Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know [it]?”

Dwell safely? Is that what is going on for the people in Israel today? Was that going on before the present troubles there? Has that happened at any length since the establishment of the present Israeli state?

As they always say, take things in context, so backing up to Ezekiel 37, we find out how the vision he received from YHWH began…

“1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
2 and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
6 and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
7 ¶ So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
11 ¶ Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
14 and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD. – Ezekiel 37: 1-14″

Nearly all mainstream clergy have been teaching consistently that this is a metaphorical vision of the regathering of Israel. It is that, but why discount the obvious literal meaning? This is a vision of resurrection. Why would it not be the literal resurrection of the redeemed? Why would this not be a consistent foretelling of a regathering which takes place after the raising of the saved dead, whom we know will inhabit His Holy City in the future? Revelation would seem to agree with that…

“4 ¶ And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: Dan. 7.9, 22 and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7 ¶ And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, Ezek. 38.1-16 to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” – Revelation 20:4-10

It is there, in the 20th chapter of Revelation, that an exact time frame for a Gog and Magog war is mentioned, and that time is stated plainly as being “when the thousand years are expired”…after the Millennial reign.

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On the Rapture: Let’s Not Get Carried Away

Posted in 11 : Labor Pains with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10/21/2010 by timenolonger

Many Christians who believe these are the last days view the events taking place in the world as imminent signs of a long awaited event wherein Messiah will make a preliminary appearance, to believers only, and remove them out of the Earth prior to tribulation.

This event called the “rapture” is possibly one of the most hotly debated doctrines in Christianity.

All doctrine learned of church leaders and denominations aside, it is not unimportant that we examine what scripture supports exist for or against an occurrence such as this.

If error exists in a believer’s judgment concerning the rapture, there is the real danger of being set up for serious deception regarding the end times in general.

Knowing that this time is described in terms of the sheer magnitude of deceptions which will ensnare the inhabitants of Earth, it is reasonable that such a dramatic event, which is so debated as the rapture of all believers, would play a central role in that one way or the other.

Should a rapture occur, the danger for those who were never looking for one would, hypothetically, be that any left behind would not, as a consequence, repent of what had disqualified them for it in the first place.

Should no rapture be forthcoming, the danger would be that those expecting one would lose faith as they began to experience the distress of tribulation events… or they would be easily deluded by a staged event meant to mimic a rapture.

There is probably no one on Earth, believer or otherwise, who would not be more than happy to be spared a period of time in the world that was matchless in its upheaval and suffering.

To be taken away from it all and transported to a place of safety and peace is an incredibly attractive idea. For many Christians, the idea of our Heavenly Father allowing His people to suffer along with the rest of the world is unthinkable.

This is the root of where a strong and nearly unmovable conviction for the doctrine of rapture originates. We believe in an Elohim of mercy and therefor it seems altogether unmerciful for there not to be a rapture to spare Christians the tribulation.

We can not let that be our reason, though.

Such a conclusion is drawn out of fear of facing such a horrific trial, and out of a sense of entitlement as a believer to be assured comfort rather than adversity.

A doctrine that we hold as truth can’t be built upon the sandy soil of perception and feeling. It must stand or fall on the rock foundation of His word only, regardless of how we end up liking or disliking the outcome.

The word “rapture” itself is a concern.

Often those who argue against the doctrine of rapture note, as support for their position, that the word is not anywhere in scripture.

That’s not my argument, as I take it as a fairly weak argument at best. The debate is not over a term, but over a concept that is simply summed up in a word.

The question is whether or not the concept is in scripture.

My concern with the word chosen to describe the concept is in the literal meaning of that word. Rapture… does not sum up a lot of very Christian ideas in its definition.

rap·ture:

1. the state of mind resulting from feelings of high emotion; joyous ecstasy 

2. (often plural) an expression of ecstatic joy

3. the act of transporting a person from one sphere of existence to another, esp from earth to heaven

(tr) Archaic or literary to entrance; enrapture 

[from Medieval Latin raptura, from Latin raptus rapt1]

Feelings of high emotions… ecstasy. Every temptation and deception of Satan has always targeted a manipulation of emotions. The ability to create states of pointless euphoria has always been the lure of every sinful act.

By becoming “enraptured”, we’re deceived by and addicted to sin. In essence, to be raptured is literally to “get carried away”.

If that seems much too critical of a mere word which is used to describe an event of being taken away from the suffering of the tribulation… then readers are free to ignore it, but lets examine the definition by which it is defined as doctrine.

“the act of transporting a person from one sphere of existence to another, esp from earth to heaven.”

By all reason… we are to understand this as believers not dying, but being given incorruptible bodies and being taken from Earth into Heaven.

Likewise, the dead who believed on Messiah are also to be returned to their bodies and taken up Bodily with those who were still living.

Clearly all believers taken in the rapture are removed in physical form… not as spirits, yet they are removed to Heaven… a place or state/place understood by most Christians to be a Spiritual abode.

To what dimension or realm do these believers get raptured to where physicality in a human body is sustainable?

That is not a question to discredit the idea of physical locations in Heaven… but one to galvanize some thought on the condition of the resurrected, or perfected, human state which is particularly designed to be sustained in a future perfected Earth.

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no more sea.

Then I, Yahuchanan, saw the sacred city, New Yeruwshalaim, coming down out of heaven from Yahuwah, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold! The tent of Yahuwah is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. 

Yahuwah Himself will be with them and be their ‘Eloah.”

– Revelation 21:1-3

The origin of the doctrine of the rapture… (note: the origin of the Doctrine, not the Word) dates back only to around the early 1700’s. It was supported and preached by Cotton Mather who is also notable as being an integral participant in the Salem Witch Trials.

This idea was picked up and popularized later by other protestant pastors… particularly Edward Irving who preached a twofold return of Messiah such as many believers accept today.

The doctrine of the rapture is a fairly recent one, and does not date to the original church in the first centuries after Messiah came.

All these points aside now… here are the verses which are quoted in support of the rapture:

“For this we say to you by the word of the Master, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Master will by no means precede those who are asleep.

For the Master Himself will descend from the sky with a shout, with the voice of a high messenger, and with the trumpet of Yahuwah, and the dead in the Anointed will rise first.

Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Master in the air.

And thus we shall always be with the Master.”

– 1 Thessalonians 4: 15-17

The words “caught up” here are those which are used to translate to “rapture”…Harpazo: to seize or catch up or away.

In these verse, the most heavily relied upon to argue in favor for a rapture… we do not actually read anything which states that a pre-tribulation rapture is what is being described here.

What is being described in the return of Messiah, the resurrection of the dead who belong to Him, and the transformation of mortal bodies of believers into incorruptible bodies.

If those bodies are then brought up to meet Messiah and fellow saints “in the clouds”… is that to be taken to mean they are “transported to heaven”?

Do we normally Truly view the location of Elohim’s throne and the abode of angels as the cloudy atmosphere of Earth?

The timing of what is described here is not clearly mentioned… however if one continues reading past these verses we see:

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that I should write to you for you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Master so comes as a thief in the night.

For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them as labor pains upon a pregnant woman and they shall not escape.

But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should overtake you as a thief.

You are all sons of light and sons of the day.

We are not of the night nor of darkness.

Therefore let us not sleep as others, but let us watch and be sober.”

– 1 Thessalonians 5: 1-6

Here is a pointed warning to be watchful and sober, but the warning is not be watchful for an impending rapture… but the chaotic events of the tribulation.

It would be reasonable to be watchful for those things… observable events which would prelude a return of Messiah. How can one, after all, be watchful for an event which is by definition sudden and without warning, preceding any tribulation, such as the rapture would be.

“For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Then two will be in the field, one will be taken and the other left.

Two grinding at the mill, one will be taken and the other left.

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Master is coming.

But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.

Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

– Matthew 24:38-44

Here, it is often said is a description of rapture… “one taken… the other left”.

Is this realistically a portrait of a favorable event for those who are “taken” though? “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

If this is the comparison… then we cannot surely say that these who were swept away in the flood were met with favorable circumstances.

Further, the description goes on to make a comparison to a master of a house which is “broken into” by a thief… again, not a favorable outcome for the master of the house.

Other verses referred to in support of a pre-tribulation rapture event are those which mention the transformation of the mortal body into the incorruptible form:

“As the man of dust, so also those of dust, and as is the celestial, so also those celestial.

And as we have borne the image of the dust, we shall also bear the image of the celestial.

Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Yahuwah nor does corruption inherit incorruption.

Behold! I tell you a mystery! We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.”

– 1 Corinthians 15: 48-52

Certainly, there is no room for denial in scripture that there will be a bodily transformation of living believers at the coming of Messiah, or that those who have died in Him will be raised, likewise, incorruptible.

No mention is ever attached to references of this event preceding tribulation on Earth, or that there are appearances of Messiah prior to His final judgment before the millennial reign, though.

With the publication of a series of popular Christian books called “Left Behind”, the belief in a doctrine of rapture saw a manifold increase.

These books covered a fictional account of future prophetic fulfillment on the subject of the end times. The lengthy story begins with pre-tribulation rapture events wherein multitudes of believers all over the world are suddenly and inexplicably missing.

Unbelievers who have been left behind have only the recollection of what their missing loved ones told them of the rapture to come to a conclusion about what has happened. As a result, many become saved, accepting, finally,what the missing believers had told them.

Apart from making the doctrine of rapture a central theme to the story, Left Behind also strongly relies on a position of staunch political Zionism to interpret the fulfillment of end times prophecy.

Many Christians who have never attempted to read the entire Bible have, nonetheless, read these books. As a result, multitudes of spiritually immature believers have come to treat these fictional stories as if they were prophecy themselves.

It might be prudent to give the benefit of the doubt to the authors of these books, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, as having ‘done their best’ and with no intention to skew the perception of the millions of Christians and non-Christians who read them… but for the very questionable background of one of the authors in particular.

Tim LaHaye, an evangelical minister founded an organization known as the Council for National Policy of CNP.

This organization, upon hearing the basic description provided by the same, sounds at once like one which is dedicated to everything Christian values can be said to be.

There is, however, a very familiar air to the workings of the group, which not only mirror the sort of secretive, “behind closed doors” operations that we have come to expect of Masonic societies and government agencies, but have been branded the conservative counterpart to the Council on Foreign Relations.

The CFR, as many of us are well aware, is an extremely exclusive think tank of globalist elites who attempt to steer the nations policies toward a one world governement.

It is not at all unlike the controllers to put forth two sides of every issue and to control them both… this has been a very long standing game plan of theirs and can be seen in action in the two main political parties, ‘left’ and ‘right’ controlled media… etc.

It is far more efficient to their goals to provide at least two camps for the public to choose from and adhere to, rather than one, obvious target which can be easily seen for what it is and countered.

The wealthiest and most powerful conservatives in the country belong to the CNP.

The membership list is not made public and admission to the group is by invitation only… much like the CFR and Bohemian Grove. No guests are permitted, except by unanimous approval of the executives of the organization.

No matter their supposed “reasons”… we must seriously question any organization which conducts their business apart from the scrutiny of the public and which is geared toward being a serious influence on the governing of the country. This behavior is directly contrary to any notion of “We The People”.

Aside from secrecy… Tim LaHaye’s organization has gladly received million of dollars of funding from none other than Rev. Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church… for those not familiar with Reverend Moon, he ascribes to himself a status of being messiah himself.

No true believer in Yahushua would ever accept a position of affiliation or receive support from someone who literally took on themselves the title of a pseudo messianic figure.

With these things in mind, it is reasonable to question the true intention of the publication of the Left Behind series which have so “enraptured” so many believers.

With such strong political and anti-Christian ties… might we not wonder if these books were published precisely for the purpose of misleading Christians about what can and should be expected in true fulfillment of end times prophecy?

It is always… without fail… a 100% error to lean on the understanding of men instead of seeking the truth of His word directly.

How many have and will fall victim to an end times deception which includes erroneous expectation of pre-tribulation rapture?

Among many pieces of the puzzle which are falling into place in these days is a very serious trend toward a belief and interest in extraterrestrials, and much of this recent excitement on the matter is focused on a spiritually benevolent aspect of alien visitation.

We should also not allow ourselves to be unaware that mankind possesses technology capable of both projecting realistic images in sky, and realistic synthesized emotion and vocal messages directly to human brains.

If it seems somehow highly unlikely that all these things are the present contributors to a future “strong delusion”… then perhaps that disbelief makes an excellent foundation for just that.

“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved.

And for this reason Yahuwah will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie,”

– 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11

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Just How Christian Is The Cross?

Posted in 02 : The Truth Is Out There... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/16/2010 by timenolonger

The cross… it is one of the most readily recognized symbols all over the world. It is emblematic of Christianity and understood by most anyone who sees it as a sign of Messianic sacrifice on behalf of a sinful world.

Believers wear it and display it in solidarity with their Savior and His people, but are believers making a serious mistake in their understanding of what this symbol really means?

At a time when many Christians are coming to understand that much of what they have been taught by their leaders throughout the years has been misleading and even deceptive, the symbol of the cross itself is brought into question.

Anyone sincerely determined to have the whole truth can not allow themselves to be in denial when it comes to the appearance of this symbol and where it is found in history.

It is without reasonable doubt that the symbol we know as being related to our Savior did not have its first appearance in religion at the advent of Christianity.

The symbol we are familiar with, having two lines bisecting one another in some form, roughly like a lowercase “t”, is an ancient one, the depictions of which make appearances in a wide variety of pagan traditions.

That being the case, we have a duty to know all the facts and find out: just how Christian is the cross?

The Cross in Pagan Cultures

What can be revealed with fairly little effort is that the symbol of crossing lines goes back thousands of years. One of the most well known of these symbols comes from Egypt.

Ankh

The ankh stood for fertility, eternal life and the act of Heaven intervening on Earth to the effect of producing “life”.

Whether these things can be simplified in an agricultural sense or not (the passing of seasons bringing seed-time and harvest, the flooding of the Nile, etc) it is hard to miss the definitive similarity the ideas connected with the ankh bear to those connected with the Christian cross.

Tau

A similar figure, known as the Tau (after the Greek letter it resembles: appearing like a Capital T) has been associated with like connotations.

Being related to a number of deities such as the Sumerian Tammuz, the Roman Mithras and his Persian counterpart Mithra.

Solar Cross Sunwheel

The symbol of the “sunwheel” or solar cross is yet another example, a derivation of which can be seen in what is known as a Celtic cross.

This symbol also correlates to cycles of rejuvenation… a returning “sun god” who resurrects life each spring, as well as celestial cycles of the “spheres” which return back to their beginning (bringing a “new age”) with each full turn, much like annual seasonal cycles.

The “Saviors” of Pagan Cultures

The similarity of the ideas embedded in the pagan cross symbols to what is understood as Christian exclusive beliefs does not end at the symbols themselves.

The “gods” which were often connected to these cross-like themes also bore a disconcerting resemblance to ideas we associate with Messiah.

Mithras, sometimes surnamed “Sol Invictus” is considered a confusing personality in the Roman pantheon, as there is very little extant information about the cult of Mithraism, and the deity seems remarkably out of place amongst the much more antiquated figures of the Roman-Olympian pantheon.

The Roman worship of this “Mithras” came about very late in game… well after the crucifixion of Messiah.

The puzzle is resolved in understanding that Mithras was not a Roman deity at all, but a borrowed Zoroastrian deity, originally named Mithra or Mithra-yazata.

The name Mithra means “binding oath”. He is also titled thus by his followers: the lofty, and the everlasting, the Yazad (divinity) of the spoken name, and “the holy,”.

With a little background information regarding the rebel angels, known in scripture as the Watchers, we can identify who Mithra actually is.

The 200 rebellious Watchers are recorded in 1 Enoch to have made a “binding oath” upon MT Hermon to seal their mutual culpability for their planned crimes against humanity.

It was also a widely held tradition in Hebrew lore than the leader of this faction, Shemyhaza, taught his own wife how to pronounce the “spoken Name” of YHWH.

Yazidi 1920sThe title which is attributed to such beings “Yazad”, can be seen to be mirrored in the strange cult known as the Yazidi, who worship a pantheon of angels.

Yazidi Melek TausThe top ranking among the Yazidi pantheon is Melek Taus (the peacock angel), who can also be identified with the same leader of the rebel Watchers.

Both Yazidi tradition and some Hebrew folklore claim this being regretted his errors and the Hebrew legends claim he voluntarily hung himself “between Heaven and Earth”… or is some state of limbo between the physical and spiritual realms.

There are no scriptural indications of his state of punishment being voluntary, but the same theme of this fallen angel being “hung” up on a tree or “cosmic pillar” in some manner of self sacrifice can be traced throughout multiple cultures and even in a modern deck of tarot cards.

The Manichaean equivalent – Mihr yazd, was regarded as a savior figure who was hung on a tree. Likewise the Norse Odin, who hung himself on the world tree. In Babylonian legend, Tammuz was killed by crucifixion at the hand of his own consort (and/ or mother), buried and resurrected. The act was memorialized in Phrygian culture by crucifying an effigy of a man on a “sacred” pine tree each year.

"Hanged Man" Tarot CardThe annual mourning for Tammuz was rampant among Semitic cultures. Krishna, Prometheus and multiple other instances also mirror the same idea… self sacrifice and hanging.

The theme can be seen reflected in the “hanged man” of the tarot deck as well… a card of the major arcana which is nicknamed, interestingly enough, both “the traitor” and ‘the martyr”.

The authentic background of this being would suggest that he was indeed hung (head down… not in a traditional cruciform pose) in a subterranean prison, but there is nothing to suggest that his sentence was voluntary or an act of self sacrifice.

1 Enoch is clear in saying that he and his subordinates were all imprisoned quite against their will by YHWH’s faithful angels, whether they had regrets or not.

All the same… there is a familiar theme here which often becomes an excuse for non-believers to dismiss the validity of what Yahushua did, claiming these legends as proof positive that neither the cross nor the act done on it was original to Christianity.

Chronology is the issue… that these tales and symbols precede the crucifixion of Messsiah seems to validate such claims of origin for them.

What non-believers (and many Christians) fail to understand is that:

1… the promise of a Savior was made to mankind immediately after their fall in Eden and before any written record or division of religious beliefs existed anywhere on Earth.

2… the angels, including the rebel angels, were also privy to the knowledge of the expectation of a Messiah and the element of self sacrifice which would be involved.

3… rebel angels and their offspring actively sought to counterfeit the position and the promises of the Almighty, and

4… the rebel Watchers have always held the position of representing the “right hand”, as Satan’s faction has always taken the position of the “left hand”… creating the illusion of rivalry, when in actuality, both oppose YHWH.

The Real Savior

Yahushua does not leave us in hopeless confusion over His uniqueness next to the look-a-like legends before Him.

He did not conveniently fail to address the fact that there were pagan traditions of “saviors” who had gone before. Yahushua clearly states the truth regarding the distinction between Himself and these heathen beliefs.

“Most assuredly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

Iam the door.

If anyone enters by Me, he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.

I am the good shepherd.

The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

– John 10:7-11

Though we may be used to thinking of Antichrist as the last, great, diabolical world leader… the term has a broader meaning as well.

The term anti-christ is more properly translated “pseudo-christ”… not an opposite… a counterfeit, and the spirit of pseudo-christ, we are told in scripture, has been here and will continue to be here until Messiah returns.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of Yahuwah, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

By this you know the Spirit of Yahuwah. Every spirit that confesses that Yahushua the Anointed has come in the flesh is of Yahuwah, and every spirit that does not confess that Yahushua the Anointed has come in the flesh is not of Yahuwah.

And this is the spirit of the anti-Anointed One that you have heard was coming and is now already in the world.

You are of Yahuwah, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

– 1 John 4:1-4

Was He Really Killed on a “Cross”?

An integral part of the debate about the “Christianness” of the cross symbol is whether or not the actual structure on which Yahushua was killed was, in fact, shaped like what we recognize as a cross.

After coming by information on the pagan usage of the symbol, it is often natural to then have doubts about whether our Savior would have been found hanging on something which resembled these symbols.

Roman crucifixion, contrary to popular assumption, was not always carried out on only one type of structure.

The “crucifix” went through phases of transition, and different forms of the structure were utilized for the various ways in which they would cause specific types of pain and death.

Crucifixion itself did not originate with the Romans, but reaches far back in antiquity and originates as literal hanging upon a live tree.

The mention of this type of crucifixion is made in Deuteronomy:

“If a man has committed a sin deserving of death and he is put to death and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree but you shall surely bury him that day.

Whoever is hanged is cursed by ‘Elohiym, so do not defile the land that Yahuwah your ‘Eloah gives you as an inheritance.”

– Deut 21:22,23

and revisited in Galatians…

“The Anointed has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)..”

– Galatians 3:13

Referred to in historical records as “arbor infelix” or the unfortunate tree… the custom was in heathen cultures, to hang a convicted person upon a tree which had been dedicated to a “god”.

This manner of execution, no doubt, has a similar origin as the legends of the “hanging god-savior”…  the difference in how this idea is treated between the Hebrew and pagan nations is illustrated in the fact that the pagan cultures were reverencing this false messianic being, whereas YHWH reminds His people that to be hanged on a tree in this way is to be cursed as the rebel angel was who defied Him.

Then why would Yahushua in this way be cursed and hung in like manner on any type of “tree”?

Because He came as the true Messiah to literally bear the curse of YHWH for all the world’s sins.

He bore a curse for our sakes.

The Roman manner of crucifixion in its various forms also had various names for the structures used to crucify victims. The “Crux Immissa” was in the form of what most recognize as a “cross”…the lowercase “t”. The “Crux Decussata” was in the form of an X. The “Crux Commissa” was in the form of the “Tau” cross… a Capital “T” form and the “Crux Simplex” was simply one pole in the ground.

It is debated in favor of the idea that Yahushua was crucified on a crux simplex, a single pole in the ground, on the basis of the word used for cross in the New Testament… which is “stauros”, literally meaning “a stake”.

It should be noted, though, that the Greek terminology which referred to a crux simplex was usually “mono stauros” (single stake), rather than stauros.

Evidence of Crucifix Form Used

Whereas the symbol normally used in Christianity is a crux immissa, and those opposing this form often favor the crux simplex, evidence has it that neither are right.

Historically and archeologically speaking… the form of the crucifix structure most often used at the time and place of Yahushua’s death was the crux commissa, the tau form crucifix.

Depending upon the type of structure it might take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for a person who was crucified to die. Scourging prior to crucifixion (which was normal procedure) would impact that length of time as well, due to shock and great amounts of blood being lost.

The hands by themselves would not support the weight of the victim, but a nail through the wrists would in any position. On a crux simplex, the hands would be brought together above he head, while on a form with a cross beam, the victim would be hung loosely by a wrist from each side, not so the arms would project straight out from the body but would be raised in a Y formation above the head.

Though it is often claimed that inhaling would be difficult crucified on a structure with a horizontal beam, this is actually not the case. Instead, the diaphragm is forced down and exhaling is what requires an active effort… making the victim unable to do so without pushing themselves up with their feet. Death was often hastened by breaking the legs of the victims, which could cause death by shock or embolism and not by asphyxiation alone, regardless of the cruciform structure.

The Roman soldiers overseeing the crucifixion of Yahushua and other victims on the same day, sought to hasten their deaths by breaking their legs, which might have come (for the other victims at least) hours or days later. The surprise with which they discovered Yahushua to already be dead implies a structure being used which should have taken more time than it had to kill Him.

It is reasonable that this was not a crux simplex form since this form, putting greater pressure on the diaphragm than the types with cross beams, would take less time to cause death. The real cause of His death is perhaps more accurately understood as one brought on by the severity of spiritual trauma which affected Him physically, rather than being purely physical in nature.

An entire crux simplex post, weighing anywhere from 200 to 300 lbs, would have been incredibly difficult if not impossible for a man to haul up a hill by himself after first being beaten.

A cross beam or “patibulum” was often carried by the victim, however… this weighing between 70 and 100 lbs.

Although the depictions of crux commissa and crux immissa forms are sometimes attributed to the highly paganized influence of Catholicism, the first specific descriptions recorded of the structure on which Yahushua was crucified were written down 200 years prior to Constantine’s rule. Those descriptions describe it as a crux commissa, a tau cross.

Should Believers Regard the Cross as Christian or Pagan?

The controversy surrounding what type of crucifix structure Yahushua was killed on is strongly influenced by the idea that Messiah could not be associated with any symbol which had been used in heathen cultures.

What we tend to forget in that line of thinking is that the Romans were, of course, pagan people. The practice of crucifixion was a pagan oriented form of execution, reminiscent of an event which was synonymous with the wrath of YHWH, but which pagan cultures spun their own messianic stories from.

The question of Christian or pagan becomes an issue of what came first.

What came first was the plan of YHWH of course… that predating anything which heathen people did, recorded or depicted in reverence to false messiahs.

If we must equate the cross form with heathen ideals, then what do we make of false elohim who have been called shepherds, fishers and crucified saviors? What form of crucifix would have been less pagan and a more comfortable fit with Christianity when nearly every imaginable shape and form (including every shape a crucifix could be) has been implemented at some point in ideographic reference to a pagan “god”?

The decision to wear, display or otherwise use the cross as identifying with Christianity might not be rightly decided based on whether or not one can find any non Christian usage of it, but rather a conclusion based on what the structure on which Yahushua was crucified really means.

Does it stand for the wrath of YHWH poured out on sin… or does it stand for the redemption from that sin which Yahushua provided?

Obviously, that can be a very complex question worth its own discussion… but we might think twice about displaying a cross if its true connotation is wrath rather than mercy.

As for how I might answer this, at least in my current understanding (which might always change and hopefully for the better) … I understand mercy as having the last word. The instrument of the cross has been the mode of YHWH’s wrath, and yet that wrath poured out upon the One True Savior has resulted in mercy… the result which no false shepherd has ever achieved.

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The Test of Your Endurance

Posted in 01 : The Chief Cornerstone with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/29/2010 by timenolonger

How strong is your faith? How far will you go to prove out your trust in your Creator and Savior? The answer to that question should be… “as far as He leads me to go”.

Most believers will not object to that answer, most will concur and agree that it is their answer, but to what extent have believers pushed the boundaries of their imaginations to see into what it might mean in the near future to have one’s faith tested?

In the coming months and next few years we are likely going to witness a rapid and devastating decline into chaos on a multitude of levels in the world. What has never been a part of your life or most people’s lives in the civilized world might well become commonplace.

The inability to earn a living, the inability to obtain essential provisions, homelessness, detention, torture, threat of execution, disease, poisoning, war and natural disaster… this is a grim list of probable possibilities humanity is facing in the near future.

Without a Father in Heaven to look towards, the unbelieving masses will have only what things they can perceive in their material existence to draw upon in answer to such calamity.

Their answers will be few and insufficient… they will focus on survival of self, and ultimately fall short of that. The good news, if you are a believer in Him, is that you have a better option… an Almighty and Sovereign Elohim who knows of every sparrow who falls to the ground, and who, much beyond any sparrow, cares for you.

That is the truth every child of His is happy to hear, but there is more about trust in Him to consider than just in what ways you are benefited by it.

Trusting in Him Means Living It In Real Life

When we say we trust Him… this has to mean something. Trust is a will to action, we don’t take actions in our lives based upon things we do not believe will have the results we want, or the results which have been promised.

We don’t cross bridges when we can see that they are broken and likely to fall from beneath us, we don’t take medicine we think is likely to do no good or cause more harm than help.

It is interesting then, that in the arena of spiritual truths, many are so willing to say they trust their Creator and simultaneously refuse, or be hesitant, to take actions in their lives based on His promises.

If you found yourself employed in a position in which you began receiving orders to do things which were immoral and you knew that they were, you consequently would be convicted in your spirit by Him to leave that employment.

In the worldly aspect though, comes a conflict… you might begin to worry about how you will provide for your family, what sort of job you could find, and how quickly, to replace the one you left.

You might know in your mind and reflect upon how His promise was to provide for your needs, and that your commission is to seek first His Kingdom and yet, those worries and concerns in their worldly context lead you to justify the immoral actions you are being asked to perform, instead of obeying His voice.

Can you anymore claim to trust Him once your actions have established that you do not? This hypothetical situation could happen presently to anyone on any day, and the consequences of not trusting Him might be quite devastating, yet there is still a chance for a point of repentance… but what happens on the day that the choice to trust Him comes down to a final test of the metal of your faith, when the consequences of choosing wrongly are eternal?

Since the great popularity of a series of books entitled “Left Behind”… the body of believers in Him have, in great numbers, jumped upon a bandwagon of doctrine set forth in these books as if it had come from the pages of scripture itself.

It would seem that it is still the case now that most mainline “Christians” are awaiting a day in the near future where they will be swept away into the clouds by Messiah, prior to the great upheaval of a tribulation period in order that they might be spared from it.

This is a real feel-good doctrine. No one wants to imagine themselves living through hell on Earth and those who propose a pre-tribulation rapture event have a sense in their minds that Elohim would not put them through such a thing.

The reality of the matter does not look this way in scripture. There is exactly zero reference to any event which would spare believers from the tribulation in His Word. It is in fact, very pointedly made clear that He will put His people through the fire to test the sincerity of their resolve to be His.

And those of the people who understand shall instruct many. Yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help, but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end, because it is still for the appointed time.
– Daniel 11:33-35

At that time Miyka’el shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people, and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation. Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book, and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake. Some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the expanse and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniye’l, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase.”
– Daniel 12:1-4

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold, but he who endures to the end shall be saved.
– Matthew 24: 9-13

If you are a believer, ask yourself this day, how much your life proves that you trust Him… and ask yourself how hot of a fire you are willing to go through to prove your trust in Him.

We are approaching a time in history when those who dare speak His name will be condemned to death… when those who will not concede to the identifying credentials of the Beast and his system will be denied the ability to buy provisions or sell anything to anyone.

Have you reached a point of maturity in which you are prepared to face the last days? It is time to know the answer, and it is time that the little lambs still feeding on milk grow to rams capable of digesting the solid food of His truth.

If you are not a believer, understand that the path we walk is not for the faint of heart, but that we follow the One, the Only, and the Completely Trustworthy way to an eternal, imperishable reward and reconciliation to the Creator of all that exists.

You might have found an easier path on which to walk through this fallen world, but you have not found a genuine road to anything but an ultimately short and perishable existence in which is no fulfillment, meaning or peace.

Every second that passes is one second closer for you to the point of no return… i invite you to come find out why we are a people willing to lay it all on the line for someone named Yahushua.

If He says stand, be ready to stand, if He says speak, be ready to speak, if He says resist, be prepared to resist, and if He says “You will go into captivity to be thoroughly tested in the furnace.”, prepare your answer that it might it be “Yes, My King.” Endure to the end.

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