2 Corinthians 13 – Farewell and Benediction & Top Worst Roman Emperors

This is the last chapter of 2 Corinthians so tomorrow we’ll start with…

2 Corinthians 13
Farewell and Benediction

1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

“Two or three witnesses” – It might have been like that here in the United States at some time, maybe in the 70s, but it isn’t anymore. 

The laws are no longer made to protect the innocent, but to control the environment.  Prosecutors and the police alike do whatever they can to convict someone of a crime, whether they are guilty or not because if the police arrested them then they must be guilt.

2 I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:

“I will not spare” – Paul will not hesitate to take stern disciplinary action against offenders when he comes to Corinth for the third time, as he is about to do.

Paul is not talking about becoming violent, but exposing any false apostles or anyone that sins.  This is what the pastors, preachers and evangelists of today should do, but the majority of them don’t.

3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.

  “Ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me” – they will be given ample proof when he comes, unless they show a change of heart.

“Which to you-ward is not weak” – rebellion against Paul is rebellion against Christ, who appointed him as His apostle.  The authority of the apostle is the authority of his Master. 

Any who imagine that Paul is weak will find that Christ, the Lord who speaks through His apostle, is not weak but powerful.

4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.

“We shall live with him by the power of God” – Paul is referring to his present apostolic authority, and to the fact that divine power will be displayed by the punishment of any who resist that authority.

5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

“Examine yourselves…prove your own selves” – instead of demanding proof that Christ was speaking through him, as the false apostles were inciting them to do, they should look into their own hearts.

6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

7 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.

8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.

10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.

11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

13:11-14 – these concluding exhortations and salutations exhibit a note of confidence.

12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

13 All the saints salute you.

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

The second epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.

Top Worst Roman Emperors

The Roman Empire was vast at its peak and its influence is still felt today in our forms of military, government, and society in general.

Ruled over for a time by emperors, the Empire had periods of greatness and periods of decline. This list looks at ten of the emperors who have left their mark on history for being so dreadful.

Domitian

The Apocalypse of Saint John is believed to have been written during Domitian’s reign at the end of the First Century.

Domitian was a staunch advocate for the Roman gods and goddesses, the worship of whom had fallen out of practice by the time of his rise to power.

Eusebius of Caesarea, writing 300 years later, recounts that the first large-scale Christian and Jewish persecution began during Domitian’s reign.

There is no non-Christian history of such activities, but Domitian is known to have been tyrannically opposed to all other religions other than Roman.

Like so many other emperors, Domitian dealt with dissent among his close advisors and friends by means of death. He executed a few too many prominent politicians and wealthy citizens, and the straw that broke the camel’s back was his murder of his secretary, Epaproditus.

A man named Stephanus, and several others, conspired to kill him, with Stephanus pretending to be wounded for several days, so he could conceal a dagger under his bandages.

He approached Domitian in his bedroom, and stabbed him in the groin, whereupon the emperor was beset by several men, one of which was a fearsome gladiator, who all stabbed him to death.

Septimius Severus

There is no doubt that Christians and Jews were persecuted severely during Severus’s reign. He believed in a draconian interpretation of Roman law, which did not tolerate any religion but the Roman one.

He did not seek out any particular religious culture, but simply persecuted all of the foreign ones. Christians and Jews were the most common, and up to 1,000 to 3,000 were executed, after being given the option of cursing Jesus or Yahweh, or being beheaded or crucified.

He had absolutely no respect of care for anyone except his army, since they were the ones who could rise up and depose him. He managed to stabilize the Empire through draconian fear, but this stability did not last long, once his son, #4, took the throne.

 

 

Maximinus Thrax

He was, by all accounts, a huge man, well over 6 feet tall, perhaps seven feet or more. He has been blamed as causing the Crisis of the 3rd Century, largely due to his murders of several dozen of his closest friends, advisors, and benefactors.

He did not trust anyone, and intended to make the people love him by conquest and expansion. His first campaign was against the Alamanni people of Germania.

They were absolutely no threat to Rome at this time, but Maximinus invaded them and conquered them, albeit at a terrible cost to his army.

The people did not love him for this, but hated him. But he went right on invading Sarmatia and Dacia, modern-day Ukraine and Romania, respectively. These people had not instigated anything against Rome.

Meanwhile, a revolt began in North Africa, setting up two men as claimants to the Roman throne, Gordianus Sempronianus and his son.

The Roman Senate supported them, and in response, Maximinus marched his army on Rome, but his troops had been fighting for so long that they were exhausted and sick. They were unable to enter the closed city gates, and many deserted.

His Praetorian Guard had finally had enough and stabbed Maximinus in the back, then his son and advisors, beheaded them and put their heads on poles around the city walls, whereupon they were let in.

Diocletian

Diocletian reigned at the end of the Crisis of the Third Century, and though he significantly stabilized and improved the Empire’s military and economy, he will forever be remembered as the worst persecutor of Christians in history.

He issued several edicts in 303 removing all rights from Christians until they converted to the Roman religion. Of course, the Christians refused, and from 303 to 311, at least 3,000 were martyred.

At first, those who refused were simply imprisoned, but it was not long before they were executed by both crucifixion and beheading.

Christian churches were sought all over the Empire and burned to the ground, looted, and even Christian senators were stripped of their jobs, imprisoned and executed.

When the persecution did not seem to be working, as the Christians simply went into hiding and continued to spread their religion, Diocletian advocated their torturous and entertaining executions in the Circus Maximus and Colosseum, and this was the time when most Christians were thrown to the lions, much to the delight of the Roman citizens who worshiped Roman gods.

The murders did not truly stop until Constantine’s rise to absolute power in 324 A.D.

Tiberius

Tiberius was Emperor after Augustus, from 14 to 37, and did not care for the job. All he wanted was the luxury, and left the Senate to do all the ruling.

The Senate despised him for this, and told the criticized him to the Roman populace, until he no longer trusted his safety in Rome and left for the island of Capri.

He erected statues of his captain of the Guard, Lucius Sejanus, all over the city, and gave all the tasks of ruling to him. Tiberius more or less retired to Capri for the rest of his long life, only returning to Rome a few times.

While he lived on Capri, he had a huge villa built for him, Villa Jovis, the Villa of Jove (Jupiter), in which he indulged his pedophilia. He swam naked with and raped infants, toddlers and young boys.

He did not otherwise physically harm them in any way, but even in his late seventies, sex with young children was one of his favorite pastimes.

Nero

Nero used the office of emperor to suit his desire for an opulent lifestyle, and had absolutely no care for the welfare of the people.

He never trusted his mother, Agrippina, rightly so, and tried to kill her by having her ship sunk. This didn’t work, and he simply ordered her executed.

He routinely executed anyone close to him, whom he did not trust, always under mysterious circumstances, because he feared the Praetorian Guard.

He managed to reign for 15 years in this way, killing anyone who dissented. He was accused of treason beginning in 62, and simply executed the accusers, several dozen of them.

He loved to go to bars and whorehouses, not even disguising himself. The Great Fire of Rome, in 64, has given rise to the legend that Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

This is not true. He was away in Antium (Anzio), and returned to Rome to try to have the fire put out. He even paid for this out of his own pocket.

He did help out the survivors tremendously, letting them stay in the palace until homes were rebuilt, feeding them, etc. But the fire largely destroyed the city center, and Nero had a large part of this destruction rebuilt as his Domus Aurea.

Nero and Agrippina. Agrippina crowns her young son Nero with a laurel wreath.
She carries a cornucopia, symbol of fortune and plenty, and he wears the armor and cloak of a Roman commander, with a helmet on the ground at his feet.

The scene refers to Nero’s accession as emperor in 54 A.D. and is dated before 59 A.D. when Nero had Agrippina murdered.

This was his gift to himself, a gigantic palatial garden complex of 100 to 300 acres, for which he heavily taxed the citizens throughout the Empire.

The city wanted a scapegoat, so Nero blamed the fire on the Christians, and they were terribly persecuted. He had many arrested, impaled, and burned to death as torches to light his gardens in the Domus Aurea.

He is said to have breathed in the stench and laughed heartily, then turned to his lyre and sung his own songs. The taxes irritated the populace sufficiently to begin revolts in various provinces, until by 68, Nero was no longer loved, but hated by all.

His Guards deserted him in the palace, and he fled to a nearby villa, where a messenger appeared to tell him that the Senate had declared him a public enemy, whom they would beat to death.

He had a grave dug, while he repeated, “What an artist dies within me!” Then he stabbed a dagger into his throat and bled to death.

It is believed by most scholars that Nero is the Great Beast whose number is six hundred and sixty six referred to in the last Biblical book The Apocalypse.

 

 

 

 

 

Caracalla

Caracalla was not insane. He was malicious and sadistic. From 211 to 217 he presided over an awe-inspiring spectacle of fearsome acts. He had his brother and co-emperor, Geta, and Geta’s wife, assassinated.

The citizens of Alexandria, Egypt ridiculed this crime with a public play, and when Caracalla got wind of it, he traveled with an army to Alexandria, invited the citizens into their city square, and slaughtered them, looting and burning the whole city. 20,000 died.

This was the sort of emperor he showed himself to be in almost every Roman province at that time, putting down all hints of rebellions, even where rebellions were not imminent.

At the slightest whiff of discord, he ordered death. Wherever he went, his army killed, raped, and destroyed. He was murdered by one of his Guardsmen, on April 8, 217, while urinating on the side of the road outside Carrhae. Caracalla had had the Guard’s brother executed on a false accusation.

Commodus

Commodus was the son of Marcus Aurelius, one of Rome’s greatest rulers, and this only enhanced Commodus’s crimes in the public mind.

He adored the gladiatorial games, so much so that he personally entered many of them and fought alongside the gladiators, who were all criminals and slaves, etc.

This severely offended the entire Empire, especially the Senate. Commodus once ordered all the cripples, hunchbacks, and generally undesirables in the city to be rounded up, thrown into the arena, and forced to hack one another to death with meat cleavers.

He especially adored killing animals, and killed 100 lions in one day, to the spectators’ disgust. He killed three elephants singlehanded in the arena, beheaded an ostrich and laughed at the senators attending, brandishing the head and motioning that they were next.

He speared a giraffe to death, an animal which the spectators did not see as fearsome at all. The senators conspired to have him killed, and poisoned him, but he threw it up.

They then sent in his favorite wrestler, a gladiator named Narcissus, who strangled him in his bath. His reign lasted 12 years, from 180 to 192.

Elagabalus

It can be argued that Elagabalus’s assassination reign, from 218 to 222, began the Crisis of the 3rd Century, during which 50 years or so, Rome was ripped to pieces from the inside out by civil war after civil war, rampant anarchy, uprisings, economic hysteria and assaults from Germania and elsewhere.

Elagabalus took the throne at the ripe old age of 14, and immediately indulged his most sordid, depraved fantasies and desires.

He was a man, yes, but wanted dearly to be a woman, and offered gargantuan sums of money to the physician who could turn him into one for real.

Until then, he enjoyed cross-dressing, and whored himself out to common men in whorehouses throughout Rome, wearing female disguises and facial makeup.

He even solicited men in the Imperial Palace, standing completely naked in the doorway of his favorite bedroom and purring at every passerby, even his Praetorian Guards.

He confided to the head of the Guard that he would like to castrate himself, and asked what the most painful method would be, cutting, crushing, or cooking on open coals.

Roman denarius depicting Aquilia Severa, the second wife of Elagabalus.
The marriage caused a public outrage because Aquilia was a Vestal Virgin, sworn by Roman law to celibacy for 30 years.

He had hundreds, perhaps thousands, of affairs with men and women while he was married to a Vestal virgin, which was a serious outrage among Romans.

He installed El-Gabal, the Syrian sun god, as the chief god of Rome, surpassing Jupiter, and it is this sun god from which we derive the emperor’s nickname.

He transferred all Roman sacred relics from their respective temples to a new temple he had built for El-Gabal, the Elagabalium, and named himself the high priest.

After 4 years of this, Rome erupted into riots as the praetorian citizens demanded his death or deposition. Elagabalus responded by walking right into the praetorian encampment and demanding the arrest and execution of everyone.

Instead, everyone descended on him and his mother. He tried to hide in a large clothes chest, but they opened it and stabbed him to death.

He and his mother were beheaded, and dragged throughout Rome. He was then flung into the Tiber and spat upon. He was 18 years old.

Caligula

“Little Boots” took the throne on the death of his second cousin Tiberias, something of a great Uncle to him. Some say Caligula ordered the head of the Praetorian Guard to smother him with a pillow.

Upon his ascension, everyone in the Empire rejoiced. For the first seven months or so, he was loved by all. He paid handsome bonuses to the military, to get them on his side, and recalled many whom Augustus and Tiberias exiled.

But he became very sick in October of 37, and the disease has never been pinned down. Philo blames it on his extravagant lifestyle of too much food, wine, and sex.

After the disease passed and Caligula made a full recovery, he had turned into one of the most evil men in human history. Some Jewish, Christian and Muslim historians of centuries afterward even considered that Caligula might have been possessed by a demon.

He has been accused of the most awesomely disgusting, insane, luridly depraved crimes against humanity and morality, and this lister is sorry to say that the accusations are all absolutely true.

He began ordering the murders of anyone who had ever crossed him, or even disagreed with him on mundane matters. He had a very good memory. He exiled his own wife, and proclaimed himself a god, dressing up as Apollo, Venus (a goddess), Mercury and Hercules.

He demanded that everyone, from senators to Guards to guests and public crowds, refer to him as divine in his presence. When he was a boy, a seer told him that he would never be emperor until he walked on water.

The Vatican Obelisk was first brought from Egypt to Rome by Caligula. It was the centerpiece of a large racetrack he built.

So he built a pontoon bridge across the Bay of Naples, put on the breastplate of Alexander the Great, and paraded night and day across the Bay, throwing lavish sex orgies in the light of bonfires.

He attempted to instate his favorite horse, Incitatus (“Galloper”), as a priest and consul, and ordered a beautiful marble stable built for him, complete with chairs and couches on which Incitatus never sat.

Once, at the Circus Maximus, the games ran out of criminals, and the next event was the lions, his favorite. He ordered his Guards to drag the first five rows of spectators into the arena, which they did.

These hundreds of people were all devoured for his amusement. A citizen once insulted him to his face in a fit of rage, and Caligula responded by having him tied down, and beaten with heavy chains.

He made this last for 3 months, having the man brought out from a dungeon and beaten, until Caligula and the whole crowds that gathered were too offended by the smell of the man’s gangrenous brain, whereupon he was beheaded.

Caligula’s favorite torture was sawing, which topped another list on this site. The saw blade filleted the spine and spinal cord from crotch down to chest, and the victim was unable to pass out due to excess blood to the brain.

He also relished chewing up the testicles of victims, without biting them off, while they were restrained upside down before him. He had another insulter, and his entire family, publicly executed one after another in front of a crowd.

The man and wife were first, followed by the oldest child and so on. The crowd became outraged and began to disperse, but many stayed in morbid fascination.

The last of the family was a 12 year old girl, who was sobbing hysterically at what she had been forced to watch. A member of the crowd shouted that she was exempt from execution as a virgin.

Caligula smiled and ordered the executioner to rape her, then strangle her, which he did. He publicly had sex with his three sisters at banquets and games, sometimes on the table amid the food.

Julia Drusilla, sister of Caligula

He was finally murdered by the Praetorian Guard and some senators, leaving the Circus Maximus after the games. His body was left in the street to rot, and dogs finally ate it. He had ruled for 4 years.

…the Book of Galatians and starting with Chapter one we’ll continue our study on evil, but we’ll look at it in the present time in Washington D.C.

2 Corinthians 12 – Paul’s Visions of the Lord & Evils of Rome

The Pope is a Heretic and sounds like a Politician and contradicts himself when he has said:
“There is no such thing as low-cost Christianity. Following Jesus mean swimming against the tide, renouncing evilness and selfishness.”

Being gay is not a sin, but acting on it is.

He’s basically saying that it’s okay to be a practicing homosexual as long as you love Jesus.

You can’t love Jesus and also do evil things (1 Cor 10:21).

I had Googled (yeah, they’re evil, but the best for research) “The Evil’s of Rome” and the first three pictures that showed up were statues/busts of the ancient emperors.  The third picture was the Roman Catholic Church.

I find that ironic, but so true.  And the next three pictures were also statues/busts of the ancient emperors and the next picture was Pope Francis.  They say pictures don’t lie.

Since we are looking at evil Rome, tomorrow we’ll take a closer look at the…

2 Corinthians 12
Paul’s Visions of the Lord

1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

“Visions and revelations” – if his adversaries falsely claimed to have received their teaching directly from God through  visions and revelations, Paul could claim that this was truly so in his case.

But he mentions this here to show that the supreme height to which he was raised through these ecstatic experiences was counterbalanced by the humbling depth of a particular affliction he was given to bear, so that he should continue to glory not in self but only in the “God of the grace: (1 Pet 5:10).

The Romans transformed the athleticism and ritual of Greek sport into a spectacle.
The Romans loved sports, some of which were quite brutal and bloody.

Chariot racing and gladiator battles were fixtures of religious festivals.

The huge crowds that gathered in stadiums and forums to watch sporting events screamed ” panem at Colosseum !” (“bread and circuses”).

Events were often sponsored by wealthy citizens as displays of their wealth. Horses and athletes were given-performance-enhancing drugs.

Some racetracks were larger than NFL stadiums.

2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven.

2:2-4 – “Caught up in the third heaven…caught up into paradise” – Paul is sure of this remarkable experience, but he is unsure whether this rapture was one that include the body or one that took place in separation from the body.

The third heaven designates a place beyond the immediate heaven of the earth’s atmosphere and beyond the further heaven of outer pace and its constellations into the presence of God himself.

Thus the risen and glorified Lord is said to have passed “into the heavens” (Heb 4:14), and now, having “ascended up far above all heavens” (Eph 4:10), to be “made higher than the heavens” (Heb 7:26).

The term “paradise” is synonymous with the third heaven, where those believers who have died are even now “present with the Lord’ (5:8; cf. “with Christ” Phil 1:23).

The nature of the inexpressible things that Paul heard remains unknown to us because this is something Paul was not permitted to tell.

It was an experience that must have given incalculable strength to his apostleship, which involved him in such constant and extreme suffering.  Moreover, as this experience was not self-induced, it afforded him no room for self-glorification.

3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

5 Of such a one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

Nero

“Of such a one will I glory” – some believer that the man “caught up to the third heaven” was not Paul and that Paul here insists that he will not boast about such a glorious experience, but only about his weakness.

6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

“Thorn in the flesh” – the precise nature of this severe affliction remains unknown.

8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Caligula

“My grace is sufficient for thee” – a better solution than to remove Paul’s thorn.  Human weakness provides the ideal opportunity for the display of divine power.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

11 I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.

12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

“Truly the signs of an apostle” – extraordinary gifts and powers had been displayed in their midst.  By implication, the false teachers had come to them without these apostolic signs (cf. Heb 2:3-4).

13 For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong.

Septimius Severus

14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

16 But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.

17 Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?

18 I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? Walked we not in the same spirit? Walked we not in the same steps?

19 Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? We speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.

“Speak before God in Christ” – Paul’s concern in speaking of himself is not for his own personal prestige and reputation before people.  It is before God that he stands, and his standing before God is in Christ.

Far from being self-centered, his concern is for the Corinthians, his dear friends – for their strengthening as they too stand before God in Christ.  His entire ministry, with its sufferings, is directed to this end.

Sulla

20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:

21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.

Evils of Rome

Rome has a glittering history. Its empire lasted for a thousand years, its great emperors are famous still today.

But Rome had a bad side to it. If we could time-travel back to Rome today we would not like everything we would see.

Slavery

The Romans kept slaves. All the hard work all over the empire was mostly done by slaves. They worked the farms, they cleaned the sewers, and they were the servants in the wealthy houses.

Slaves tend the hair of their mistress.
Slaves were very important to the Romans. Without slaves, the wealthy of Rome would not have been able to lead the lifestyles that they wanted to.

Who were slaves? They were people who were frequently captured in battle and sent back to Rome to be sold.

However, abandoned children could also be brought up as slaves.

The law also stated that fathers could sell their older children if they were in need of money.

A wealthy Roman would buy a slave in a market place. Young males with a trade could fetch quite a sum of money simply because they had a trade and their age meant that they could last for quite a number of years and, as such, represented value for money.

Someone who was a cook by trade could be very expensive.

Once bought, a slave was a slave for life. A slave could only get their freedom if they were given it by their owner or if they bought their freedom.

To buy your freedom, you had to raise the same sum of money that your master had paid for you – a virtually impossible task.

If a slave married and had children, the children would automatically become slaves. Young children were sometimes killed by their parents rather than let them become slaves.

No-one is sure how many slaves existed in the Roman Empire. Even after Rome has passed it days of greatness, it is thought that 25% of all people in Rome were slaves. A rich man might own as many as 500 slaves and an emperor usually had more than 20,000 at his disposal.

They belonged to their owners as though they were animals. Just like animals they could be bought and sold, punished and whipped by their masters.

Bloody Games in the Circuses

When the Romans went to the circus to watch the games, it was to view a brutal spectacle.

Chariot racing was perhaps the least murderous event – although many drivers were hurt in spectacular crashes.

But for more gruesome entertainment the Romans watched wild beasts tear each other apart, or gladiators fighting exotic beasts from far away countries, or gladiators fighting each other to the death.

Insane Emperors, Cruel Emperors

Also, some of their emperors were maniacs. The most famous was Nero, who killed his mother and his wife, but there were many others.

Sometimes even the good emperors needed first to be utterly brutal in order to take power. Brutality was often the order of the day.

More so of course, when mad or just particularly cruel emperors came to power.

Mad emperor Caligula ordered his legions to collect shells on the beach in order to prove that he had “conquered the sea”.

And the cruel emperor Septimius Severus had the body of his dead opponent Clodius Albinus laid out before him, so that he could ride over it with his horse.

These are just some examples of Roman madness and Roman cruelty by its own emperors.

Ordered Suicides and “Proscription

If an emperor wanted rid of a particular senator, he would simply write him a letter, ordering him to kill himself (or else he would send someone to kill him). Emperor Nero ordered a great many such suicides.

The dictator Sulla during the time of the Roman republic invented the “proscription”, by which he would just announce whom he wanted dead. This would be read out in public places and he then would reward anyone who would kill that particular person.

A great fire broke out in the capital city of Rome at midnight of July 18 or 19 in 64 B.C.
The fire raged on for many days and nights. About 40,000 blocks of apartments and 132 villas were consumed by the fire.

All these properties belonged to the Nobles of the Roman Emperor. Emperors palace as well as some shrines and temples were also destroyed by the fire.

It has been recorded that when the fire broke out Nero was not in town but on his return he took many emergency measures such as building temporary shelters for the homeless people, supplying food and supply of wheat, etc.

The Romans were frightened by this catastrophic fire and arranged for various ceremonies to appease their Gods.

It is almost certain that Nero started the fire, but he blamed it on the Christians.

Religious Persecution

Rome was brutal in its enforcement of its religious views. Several wars were fought with the Jews in order to try and get them to accept the worship of the deceased Roman emperors as gods.

The fighting was so fierce, the great city of Jerusalem was destroyed, and with it the ancient temple of Solomon was razed.

Most famously, the Christians were thrown to the lions by emperor Nero who blamed them for the Great Fire of Rome.

Later, after the empire had been Christianized, the believers in the old Roman gods were equally persecuted by the Christian emperors.

And so too the various heresies were persecuted violently by Roman rulers.

So what we always must keep in mind when we read about the Romans is that they were brutal.

…top worst Roman Emperors.

2 Corinthians 11 – Paul’s Fear of False Teachers & Aretas IV of Nabatea and Petra

They loved Paul when he was Saul and was imprisoning the Christians.  The high priest even wrote a letter giving him authority to do so (Acts 9:1-2).

But as soon as he changed and started telling the truth about Jesus they beat him and tried to kill him.  I’m sure that was no surprise to Paul because Jesus said it could happen to anyone that preaches His name:

“And ye shall be hated for all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matt 10:22).

“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” (Matt 24:9). 

Paul never stopped and we shouldn’t either.

Rome was an evil place, so tomorrow we’ll look at…

2 Corinthians 11
Paul’s Fear of False Teachers

1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.

“Folly” – in order to compare his ministry with that of the false apostles who have invaded the Corinthian  church, Paul had to speak about himself, which inevitably seems like foolish boasting.

2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

“Godly jealously” – Paul cannot bear the thought that there might be any rival to Christ and His gospel.

“I have espoused you to one husband” – as their spiritual father, Paul; has promised the Corinthian believers to Christ, who is frequently depicted in the New Testament as the bridegroom, with the church portrayed as His bride (Mat 9:15l Jn 3:29; Rom 7:4; 1 Cor 6:15; Eph 5:23-32; Rev 19:7-9, 21:2).

3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

“Another Jesus, whom we have not preached” – they presented a Jesus cast in the mold of Judaistic teachings (Paul’s opponents were Jews).

Pastors that are really wolves in sheep’s clothing.
You knew this day was going to come, when the LIBERAL “love gospel” preachers who, desiring to fill their seats and bank accounts, would find a way to merge apostate Christianity with the Devil’s religion of Islam. That day is here.

Rick Warren & Cat Stevens aka now Yusuf Islam is a a DEVOUT evil Muslim.

In 2009, Rick Warren, founder and pastor of Saddleback Community Church in Orange County California, addressed the convention of the Islamic Society of North America.

Warren stated that Muslims and Christians must work together to combat stereotypes, promote peace and freedom, and solve global problems.

Christians and Muslims – faith mates, soul mates and now work mates! Chrislam!

5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.

“The very chiefest apostles” – Paul’s sarcastic way of referring to the false apostles who had infiltrated the Corinthian church and were in reality not apostles at all, except in their own arrogantly inflated opinion of themselves.

An example of the same type today is Rick Warren.

6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.

7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?

“Freely” – another slanderous criticism made by Paul’s adversaries was that his refusal to accept payment of his instruction proved that it was worth nothing.

This accusation at the same time helped to cloak their own grasping character, since their method of operation, like that of 1st century traveling philosophers and religious teachers, was to demand payment for their “professional” services.

8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.

“robbed other churches” – accepted freely given support from established congregations.

9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.

11 Wherefore? Because I love you not? God knoweth.

Prosperity Gospel, Word of Faith heretic Benny Hinn of the Trinity Broadcast Network, who has made hundreds of millions of dollars over the years spreading his false gospel, is now pleading with his followers to send him $2.5 million over a 90-day period in order to rescue his ministry from debt.

In return for giving him money, Hinn promises his followers a “double return on investment” for every dollar they spend.

This is yet another example of the shameless scams and manipulation by false teachers in the Christian church who use the love of money to lure unwitting believers into trying to use money to “buy favor and blessings” from God.

12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

“I will do” – Paul will not be deterred from presenting the gospel without charge.  Actually, this practice made his adversaries look bad.  They were greedy for gain, and it would have suited them better if Paul had been willing to accept money for his teaching, for this would have put him on a level with their practice.

13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

“Transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” – Now Paul exposes these would-be “chiefest apostles” as false apostles and servants of Satan who are covering up their true identity.

14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

“An angel of light” – even though in reality he is the prince of darkness.

15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

16 I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.

17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.

18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.

19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.

Prosperity Gospel preacher and false prophet I.V.
Hilliard of New Light Christian Center Church in Houston, Texas, has come under fire for sending a letter requesting a special “favor seed” of $52 million from church members in order to upgrade the church’s helicopter.

Claiming he received a direct message from God regarding the situation, Hilliard’s letter, which promises all who “sow a seed” that they will automatically receive a “transportation blessing” in their own lives, is a stark example of the many heresies and false doctrines in the Prosperity Gospel movement that has corrupted much of the Christian church today.

“Ye suffer fools gladly” – resumes the implied rebuke of v. 4 and has the same ironic tone.  There it was their matter of their readiness to tolerate false teaching; here it is a matter of their willingness to put up with disgraceful treatment by these false teachers, who are described as fools because of their self-centered boasting.

20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.

“Bring you into bondage” – by the imposition of tyrannical man-made rules and prohibitions.

“Devour you” – see Mk 12:40.

“Take of you” – or “take advantage of you” made possible by the Corinthians’ lack of discernment and their readiness to be impressed by outward show and clever talk.

“Smite you on the face” – using physical violence to cow them into submission.

21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.

“As though we had been weak” – compared with the crude self-seeking roughness of the impostors, Paul’s conduct may well be considered weak, but he is probably speaking ironically here.

22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.

“Hebrews…Israelites…seed of Abraham” – the claims implied here on the part of the false apostles indicate that they were Jews who felt superior to Gentile Christians. 

From this there follows the possibility that they were Judaizers, i.e., they wished to impose distinctive Jewish practices and observances as required for Gentile converts.

23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

“Ministers of Christ’ – Paul is not granting their claim to be servants of Christ.  Indeed, the consideration of the nature of his ministry and its cost to him in suffering will show that he is more Christ’s servant than any or all of them.

24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron are going around the world, telling people that they cannot be saved unless they try really hard to stop sinning.

They are partially correct, but there’s a lot more to it than that and that is what makes them Heretics.

Yet, Kirk Cameron admits that he is still a part of Hollywood (a proven cesspool of iniquity and heathendom). Kirk Cameron is a poster boy for the cesspool of Hollywood, trying to make it look like Hollywood has a good side to it; but there’s nothing good about Hollywood.

If either of these impostors truly preached against the wickedness of Hollywood, they wouldn’t be welcomed there anymore.

Hollywood is a spiritually rat infested, whore-mongering, dung heap of smut and homosexuals.
Hollywood is the Sodom and Gomorrah of the earth.

Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort have a false conception of what it means to “repent.” Here is what the Bible really teaches about repentance.

“Stripes…rods” – Eight floggings are mentioned here, five at the hands of the Jews and three at the hands of Roman authorities, who used rods on these occasions.

The three beatings with rods took place despite the fact that Paul, being a Roman citizen, was legally protected from such punishment (cf. Acts 16:37-39, 22:25-29).

25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

“Stoned” – a traditional manner of Jewish execution.

“Shipwreck” – only one shipwreck is recorded in Acts, but it took place after the writing of this letter.

26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

“In perils” – apart from the specific incidents referred to in the preceding verses, Paul constantly faced situations of danger as well as labors and hardships (see Acts 14:24).

27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not?

So closely did Paul identify himself with them that he felt the weakness of any member who was weak. 

If anyone was led into sin, he not only burned with indignation against the person responsible but also experienced the shame of the offense and longed for the one who had stumbled.

Why or how come Paul was so close to the Corinthians that he was hurt and angered when one of them was fooled or ta

ken advantage of is because of his closeness to Jesus Christ.  And that is exactly what happens to God every day – go here.

On the heels of the blasphemous reality show “The Sisterhood”, in which a group of pastor’s wives disrespected themselves and the Christian faith weekly, Oprah Winfrey’s Oxygen Network is now cashing in on the Christian reality phenomenon.

It’s new show, “Preachers Of LA”, will feature six Los Angeles-based pastors who teach the heretical Prosperity Gospel doctrine – a false gospel focused on Christians attaining material wealth, health and earthly success, while ignoring the true message of the Bible: forgiveness of sin and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

The pastors, all false prophets by biblical definition, shamelessly parade their riches before the camera and serve as a clear sign of the growing apostasy in the church – the prophesied falling away of Christian pastors and churches from biblical Christianity into false doctrine and man-made heresy.

Here is the trailer for the show:

30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

“I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities” – Paul’s weakness opens the way for him to experience the superabundant strength of God’s grace.  Therefore his boasting in its entirety, unlike that of the false apostles, is not in what he has done but in what God has done.

False teacher Billy Graham has damning heresies of which he is guilty as you will see in this Video.

31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.

32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:

“Aretas the king” – Aretas IV, father-in-law of Herod Antipas, ruled over the Nabatean Arabs c. 9 B.C.-40 A.D.  The Roman emperor Caligula may have given Damascus to Aretas since it was once part of his territory.

33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

Aretas IV of Nabatea and Petra

Aretas IV ruled the desert kingdom of Nabatea from 9 B.C. to 40 A.D. With its capital at Petra, this nation included southern Syria, Jordan, the Negev of Israel, the Sinai Peninsula, portions of the eastern deserts of Egypt and the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia.

Aretas came to power after the assassination of Obodas III, who was apparently poisoned.
Josephus says that he was originally named Aeneas, but took “Aretas” as his throne name.

An inscription from Petra suggests that he may have been a member of the royal family, as a desendent of Malichus I.

His full title, as given in the inscriptions, was “Aretas, King of the Nabataeans, Friend of his People.”

Being the most powerful neighbor of Judea, he frequently took part in the state affairs of that country, and was influential in shaping the destiny of its rulers.

While on not particularly good terms with Rome and though it was only after great hesitation that Augustus recognized him as king, nevertheless he took part in the expedition of Varus against the Jews in the year 4 B.C., and placed a considerable army at the disposal of the Roman general.

Aretas had two wives. The first was Huldu to whom he was already married when he became king. Her profile was featured on Nabataean coins until 16 a.D.

After a gap of a few years the face of his second wife, Shaqilath, began appearing on the coins.

Beginning during the 4th century B.C. Nabatea began to amass great wealth through caravan trade in luxury goods from the East.

Aretas IV, although a usurper with only a marginal claim to the throne, became the most powerful ruler of Nabatea, eventually winning official recognition from Caesar Augustus. 

During his reign the kingdom reached its zenith commercially, culturally and artistically.

Numerous coins minted by Aretas IV have survived, many of them bearing his image.

One of Aretas IV’s daughters married Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great and the ruler of Galilee and Perea in Transjordan from 4 B.C. to 39 A.D.

Herod Antipas later divorced Aretas’s daughter in order to marry Herodias, the wife of his half brother Herod Philip I.

John the Baptist spoke out against this, warning Herod Antipas, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife” (Mk 6:18).

John was imprisoned and eventually executed at the request of Herodias (Mt 14:1-12; Mk 6:14-29).

As there was also a dispute between Aretas IV and Antipas regarding rule over a territory called Gamalitis, Aretas used Antipas’s rejection of his Nabatean wife as an occasion to wage war. 

The Jewish historian Josephus recorded that when Aretas IV destroyed much of Antipas’s army a few years afterward, many Jews viewed this as divine retribution of John’s execution (Antiquities, 18.5.2). 

The most famous Nabatean site is Petra, located in modern Jordan in what was once Edomite territory.  it lay near the King’s Highway, one of the important trade routes on the eastern side of the Jordan River.

The site occupies an area approximately 1 mile(1.6 km) long and slightly less distance in width.

The Kazneh
Of the 800 carved tombs in Petra, the Kazneh is the most famous.

Its name Kazneh means “treasure” and comes from the Bedouin belief that the Pharaoh chasing the Israelites hid his treasure in the urn at the top of the Kazneh.

Tomb facades were built from the top down. Scaffolding was built and then grooves were carved into the rock.

Into these grooves were inserted pieces of wood, which when made wet, expanded and cracked the rock.

Magnificent tombs and funerary banquet halls had been carved into the sandstone mountains surrounding the area, the most famous of which are the Treasury of the Pharaoh and the Royal Tombs.

An ancient cultic site sitting atop one of the surrounding peaks features one of the best preserved altars from antiquity.

Petra may possibly be identified as the Old Testament site of Sela, captured by Amaziah of Judah (2 Kgs 14:7).  By 312 B.C., when the Greeks took control of the Near East, Petra was the capital of the Nabateans, who may have migrated from the Persian Gulf.

After Paul began preaching in the synagogues of Damascus, the local Jews with the support of the Roman ethnarch under Aretas IV, attempted to kill him, but he was able to escape.

This incident indicates that both Rome and Aretas IV had political power in Damascus.

…evils of Rome.

2 Corinthians 10 – Paul Defends His Ministry & Early Christian Heresies

The heresies in this article are still believed today, they may have been added to another or altered. For example, “The Secret says the same thing that Pelagianism did, just calls it something else.

When I was a non-believer a guy in jail tried to explain Jesus to me, and I told him that Jesus was about as real as love (I had thought people used the term “love” as an excuse for doing something stupid) or a three dollar bill.

He then told me that if I accepted Jesus into my heart and He isn’t real I’ve lost nothing.  But if I don’t accept Him and He is real then in the end I’m in a heap of trouble.

 That didn’t work, I was positive that Jesus was nothing but a con game.  Years later I found out the guy was not wrong, that Jesus Christ is as true as the sun rising.

In the below chapter Paul continues to speak against the false prophets/teachers/apostles and he also tells of all the punishments and hardships he went through for Jesus.

He also tells of a time when he escaped from jail or managed to get away before he was apprehended in Damascus (about 3 days and 3 hours from Corinth).  So tomorrow we’re going to look at the king that was behind this, which was…

2 Corinthians 10
Paul Defends His Ministry

1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:

“In presence am base…being absent am bold” – Paul had been meek and lowly among them, but if opposition to him and refection of his apostolic message continues, he will act boldly when he comes.

2 But I beseech you that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

Manichaeism was a major Gnostic religion and taught that the world is caught in a conflict between the forces of good and evil, led by two gods, a conflict which has existed since the beginning of time.

HERETICAL BECAUSE:
(1) It postulates more than one god.

(2) In the beginning there was only God. Evil therefore could have entered the world only afterward.

4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

“Weapons of our warfare” – Paul is prepared for warfare; his weapons, however, are not the weapons prized by this fallen world and fashioned by human pride and arrogance.

“Strong holds” – of “imaginations” and “every high things” defiantly raised “against the knowledge of God” among which are the faulty reasonings by which the false apostles have been trying to shake the faith of the Christians in Corinth.

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

“Every thought to the obedience of Christ’ – the center of man’s being thus becomes fully subject to the lordship of Christ.

6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.

8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:

“Authority…for edification” – the primary purpose of Paul’s apostolic authority is constructive for building up, not destructive, for pulling down. 

Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius (ca. 250–336 A.D.), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of God the Father to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

It taught that Jesus was different from God and secondary to him.

HERETICAL BECAUSE:
Christ was wholly divine, as well as wholly human, and, being wholly divine, could in no way be secondary to God the Father.

The demands he makes in his letters are written so that they may put right what is amiss and so that things may be in order for his arrival, thus removing the need for severe action (pulling down) and preparing the way for edification (building up).

9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters.

10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

“His speech contemptible” – Paul’s adversaries used a professional type of oratory as their stock in trade, designed to extract money from their gullible audiences. 

But Paul’s manner of speaking was quite different; it was plain, straightforward and free from artificiality – and it was also free of charge, which meant, if his slanderous opponents were to be believed, that what he said was worthless.

But in coming to Corinth Paul had purposely disdained academic eloquence and wisdom and was determined to proclaim the message of Christ crucified and the transformed lives of the Corinthian believers testified to the divine power with which he spoke.

11 Let such a one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.

12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Pelagius rejected the doctrines of original sin, substitutionary atonement, and justification through faith.
He, just like Oprah, taught that people were capable of holiness and therefore didn’t need Jesus.

HERETICAL BECAUSE:

(1) People are saved ONLY by God’s grace through their faith in Christ, not by the works they perform, which may have many motivations, including bad ones.

(2) It is illogical so speak of complete free will, since even free will is a gift of God, and therefore contingent upon God’s agency.

(3) It denies the contamination of all humans by original sin and allows for the possibility of sinless humans without the need of salvation through Christ, or of sinful humans able to gain merit on their own without reference to Christ.

“They measuring themselves by themselves” – the false teachers in Corinth behave as though there is no standard or comparison higher than themselves, but Paul boasts only in the Lord.

13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.

14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:

15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,

16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.

17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.

Early Christian Heresies

In his New Testament epistles, Paul frequently warned his readers to be on guard against false teaching (e.g., 2 Cor 11:3-4).

Marcion of Sinope was a bishop in early Christianity.
He taught:

The wrathful and war-like God of the Old Testament is a different god from the just and forgiving God of the New Testament, who, on discovering human suffering, appeared as Jesus Christ to bring salvation; the Old Testament is irrelevant; in the New Testament only parts of Luke and parts of the Pauline letters are authentic.

HERETICAL BECAUSE:
(1) It denies the unity of God.

(2) It misunderstands the humanity of Christ.

(3) It rejects accepted scriptures.

These cautions reveal that from an early point Christianity was open to distortions and heresies that took many forms through overemphasis on some and denial of other central Christian teachings.

The “super-apostles” who opposed Paul in 11:5 appear to have erred by overemphasizing their own righteousness and boasting about revelations they had purportedly received (12:1).

Perhaps they were similar to the Judaizing opponents Paul faced in Galatia, whose teaching required the continuation of Jewish customs and led to an imposition of circumcision and dietary laws upon Gentiles.

Paul condemned those who distorted the gospel through the addition of Jewish requirements (Gal 1:8) and preached salvation on the basis of faith rather than works.

Montanism was a later heresy that placed strict emphasis on law observance. It arose during the second century and encouraged excessive prophetic utterances in the hope of speeding Christ’s return.

Other early Christian heresies that denied central Christian beliefs included Gnosticism, Docetism, Ebionism and Arianism.

❖ Gnostics were a diverse group, but the main tenet of their philosophy was that the material world was by nature evil and that by knowledge one could ascend to the pure spirituality of the heavenly realm.

❖ Docetists, a subgroup of the Gnostics, affirmed the deity of Jesus but denied his humanity, believing that a divine being was incapable of suffering and concluding that Jesus merely appeared to be human and to experience pain.

Gnosticism describes a collection of ancient religions that taught that people should shun the material world created by the demiurge and embrace the spiritual world.

HERETICAL BECAUSE:
(1) God created everything, including people. There was no “demiurge.”

(2) Jesus did not transmit any secret knowledge. The means for full salvation are freely available from the public teachings and openly performed sacraments of the Church.

❖ At the opposite extreme, beginning at the end of the 1st century A.D., a Jewish Christian sect known as the Ebionites denied the deity of Jesus, preferring to uphold him as a human being who perfectly obeyed the law and was rewarded by being made Messiah.

❖  Similarly, in the 4th century Arians denied the divinity of Jesus, demoting him to the status of a demigod (a being with more power than a mortal but less than a god, or a person so outstanding as to seem to approach the divine). They argued that upholding the divinity of Jesus would contradict a belief in the oneness and immutability of God.

The creeds composed by the early church were an attempt to combat heresy and identify orthodox teaching. They emphasize the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, who is simultaneously fully God and fully man.

…Aretas IV of Nabatea and Petra.

2 Corinthians 9 – God Loveth a Cheerful Giver & God Loves a Cheerful Giver

Sometimes we can be extremely selfish, thinking that we don’t have enough to give. Or our ego, especially men, gets the best of us and we think only of our own needs.

You never think of Yourself first, You always think of us and that is what Jesus did when He was here.  He set an example for us to follow.  

It’s a shame that the rich are unable to see that, instead they think that they have given enough or they need more.

For example, Bill Gates has given  billions away, but he has given it to his own Foundation which appears to help a lot of people to education, but not everyone is accepted. 

He says he’s going to donate his 58 billion to charity when he dies, rather than his children – why can’t he do it now?

You’ve got to care for yourself.

Oprah Winfrey gives away approximately $200 million a year.  With most people that is a lot of money, but she’s worth 2.9 billion and $200 million isn’t but a hiccup. 

Oprah says that we don’t need Jesus to get to heaven,  is it her wealth that makes her say that?  Is it because she doesn’t want to give her money away?  Like the story in Matthews:

“And, behold, one came and said unto him [Jesus], Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

…There is none good but one that is God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

He saith unto him, Which?  Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness,

Honor thy father and thy mother: and, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou has, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

But when the young man heard that saying he went away sorrowful: for he had great possession

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matt 19:16-24).

Oprah and many others is that young man.  It isn’t the giving that matters, but the heart’s desire to give.  The last commandment Jesus quoted is the one the young man failed at.

I am happy that I am not wealthy, or at least not at this time.  If I would have been I may be an Oprah, but since I found Jesus first if I had the wealth now I would do fine because I would spend to help the poor.

We have talked about greedy, selfishness, false teachers/prophets, so staying in there arena tomorrow we’ll look at…

2 Corinthians 9
God Loveth a Cheerful Giver

1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:

2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.

3 Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:

4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.

5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.

6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

See Lk 6:38.

8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

“Always having all sufficiency in all things” – through His abounding grace, God can enable each Christian to abound in generous need – see Deut 8:18.

9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth forever.

10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)

11 Being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;

14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.

“The exceeding grace of God in you” – displayed in this unselfish demonstration of their loving concern for fellow believers who are in desperate need.

15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

“Unspeakable gift” – God’s own Son (Jn 3:16).  God is the first and the greatest giver; He first selflessly gives Himself to us in the person of Jesus, and all true Christian giving is our response of gratitude for this gift that is beyond description (cf. 8:9; 1 Jn 4:9-11).

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

This verse single-handedly sums up the reason Christians are to give. We are to give because…God loves a cheerful giver. When Christians freely give, with a gracious heart, we please God.

God is a cheerful giver and He loves when His children follow in his footsteps. Think about the many blessings God has so richly bestowed on you. He doesn’t bless us because he has to or because he feels obligated to. He gives to us, because He loves us.

In Romans it says,

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”(8:32).

From each breath you take, to the house you live in. From your job, to your children, to your ability to read and write, God has graciously given you all that you have, and the ability to do all that you can do.

There is nothing given to you that does not flow from the hand of God.

Meditate on his many blessings. Think about the cross, and the suffering that was endured for your sake. Know this of God, he is a gracious God, and he calls us to be gracious as well.

He calls us to be cheerful givers, and to freely give to others, as he has done so with us.

When we begin to catch a glimpse of the graciousness bestowed on us as sinners, how can we not desire to please God?

How can we not desire to be cheerful givers, and share some of what has so graciously been given to us?

If you love the Lord, strive to be a cheerful giver. Don’t hold back when it comes to giving.

Whatever we give to the Lord, He wants us to give it out of a willing heart, as a child does.
God does not want us to give grudgingly.

In Psalms we read:

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Ps 84:11).

…early Christian heresies.

2 Corinthians 8 – The Giving of the Macedonians & Lost Cities of the Americas: Cahokia (1 of 7)

It’s obvious that Columbus was not the first person here, not even close, but You knew that because You have always been.

There are six more Lost Cities of the Americas in this study, and we’ll look at them another time.

The following chapter is about Giving and in Chapter Nine we’ll look at an article about how You love a…

2 Corinthians 8
The Giving of the Macedonians

1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

8:1-9:15 – Paul addresses the question of the collection of money for the distressed Christians in Jerusalem, which the Corinthians had started by not completed.

“Grace” – the grace of giving on the part of believers is more than matched by the self-giving “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 

“Abundance of their joy” – in the blessings of the gospel.

3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;

4 Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

“First gave their own selves to the Lord” – the true principle of all Christian giving.  These Macedonian Christians are an amazing example to the Corinthian believers and to the church in every age of the dynamic that God’s grace makes in the lives and attitudes of His people – a central theme of this letter.

6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.

7 Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

“I speak not by commandment” – true charity and generosity cannot be commanded, God doesn’t even command it, but as you will see in the next chapter, He does love a cheerful giver.

“Sincerity of their love” – they can prove this by giving selflessly and spontaneously.

9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

“Though he was rich…He became poor” – the eternal Son, in His incarnation and His atoning death in our place on the cross, emptied Himself of His riches (see Phil 2:7).

“Through his poverty might be rich” – the supreme and inescapable incentive of all genuine Christian generosity.

10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.

11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.

12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

“According to that a man hath” – what matters is the willingness, which is the motive of true generosity, no matter how small the amount that can be afforded.  An outstanding example of one who put this principle into practice is the poor widow (Mk 12:41).

The above scripture is not understood by most, if not all, of the wealthy, such as Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg.  They can’t comprehend it due to their own selfishness and greed.

13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:

14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:

15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. 

16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.

17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.

18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;

19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:

20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:

It is important not only that God sees but also that people see that one is carrying on the Lord’s work in a properly, ethical and honest manner.

21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.

23 Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow helper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.

24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

Lost Cities of the Americas (1 of 7)

Tamarois et Caouquias appears on a map of Illinois in 1718 (approximate modern state area highlighted) from Carte de la Louisiane et du Cours du Mississipi by Guillaume de L’Isle.

Cahokia

Location: Collinsville, Illinois, Nr St Louis, Missouri, USA
Date Of Construction: C 1050 C.E.
Abandoned: C 1350 C.E.
Built By: Mississippian Culture
Key Features: Mounds; Monks Mound; Grand Plaza; Woodhenge; Palisade

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site /kəˈhoʊkiə/ (11 MS 2) is located on the site of an ancient Native American city (c. 600–1400 CE) situated directly across the Mississippi River from modern St. Louis, Missouri.

This historic park lies in southern Illinois between East St. Louis and Collinsville.

The park covers 2,200 acres (890 ha), or about 3.5 square miles, and contains about 80 mounds, but the ancient city was actually much larger.

In its heyday, Cahokia covered about six square miles and included about 120 man-made earthen mounds in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and functions.

In the center of the American Midwest a collection of manmade mounds mark the site of North America’s greatest pre-Columbian city and the center of a lost civilization ignored by generations of Americans.

Huge earthworks and vast landscaped plazas testify to the existence of a well-organized and sophisticated society, but its legacy seems to have vanished almost without a trace.

On the Mississippi floodplains of Illinois, across the river from St Louis, Missouri, lies the World Heritage Site of Cahokia Mounds.

This Illinois State Historic Site encompasses some 70 mounds, including the enormous Monks Mound, which has a base larger than that of the Great Pyramid at Giza, but there were originally around 120 in the lost city.

The site today covers around 890 hectares (2,200 acres), but in its heyday, around 1100 CE, the city had an area of 1,619 hectares (4,000 acres) and a population that may have numbered as many as 10,000-20,000 people.

It was larger than any contemporary city in Europe and not until the 19th century did any city in the New World north of Mexico surpass this.

Cahokia was the apogee of the Mississippian culture (the Cahokian culture), which developed in and around the floodplain known as the American Bottom towards the end of the 1st millennium CE.

But because it was preliterate and collapsed several centuries before the arrival of Europeans, this civilization, and particularly Cahokia itself, remains shrouded in mystery.

It is not known what the inhabitants of the city called it – Cahokia is the name given to the site by local historians who wanted to honor one of the subtribes of the llliniwek (Illinois) Indians who only arrived in the area in the 1600s – nor is it known who they were or what language they spoke.

The ancient civilization at Cahokia took advantage of the nearby

waterways and the rich soil to sustain life in the American Bottom.

While it is known that the city appeared almost within a generation, it is not known exactly why this remarkable development occurred nor why it was subsequently abandoned.

Were the tribes that lived in the area when the Europeans arrived the descendants of the Mississippians? To what extent can the legacy of this vanished civilization be traced?

Overnight Sensation

The American Bottom offers rich arable land that could be cultivated even without heavy ploughs, and Neolithic peoples there grew crops such as sunflowers and squashes.

In the 1st millennium CE the cultivation of corn spread north from Mesoamerica, triggering population growth and the emergence of the formative stages of a recognizable Mississippian culture a little before 1000 CE, evidenced by specific decorative styles on pottery and consistent use of a common set of religious symbols, such as a winged ‘bird-man’, on pottery, copper and stone artefacts.

A Gourd with “Winged Bird-Man” on it.

The Mississippians lived in villages, but as the population density increased a critical mass was reached until, in around 1050 CE, the city at Cahokia sprang into existence over a relatively short time, in what some archaeologists have described as a ‘big bang’ moment.

From its center at Cahokia, Mississippian culture spread its influence over much of the upper Midwest, leaving traces from the present day Canadian border to the Gulf Coast.

The adoption of a core set of practices and styles appears to indicate that people all across this area shared a cosmology and related religious system and Cahokia has been described as the Vatican or Mecca of this system.

Cahokia was the ultimate embodiment of the characteristics that mark out the Mississippian culture, including large communal plazas; massive mounds, especially flat-topped ones; wooden palisades; characteristic styles and motifs on pottery etc.; the game of chungke (see below) and the practice of human sacrifice.

Although there is evidence of these “traits” from other Mississippian sites, at Cahokia they were present on a far grander scale than anywhere else.

Chungke

Plazas were probably used for feasts and ceremonies and may also have been used for playing chungke, a game still practiced by Native Americans today.

White settlers eventually made their way to the American Bottom and founded the town of Kaskaskia.

It involves a stone disc, which is rolled down the center of a court, while the players throw javelin-like sticks, either to knock over the disc or to see who can land nearest to where it comes to a halt.

In historical times players were known to wager all their worldly goods, down to the shirts off their backs, on the game of chungke.

In Mound 72 at Cahokia, 15 chungke stones were found as part of a tribute cache to an early Cahokia leader.

City of Mounds and Plazas

The most obvious features of Cahokia are the mounds and the Grand Plaza. Mounds at Cahokia came in three main types; each one probably served a different function.

Chungke Stone

Platform or flat-topped mounds, such as Monks, usually had buildings on top of them. Cone-shaped or round-topped mounds were used for burials, while ridge-topped mounds may have served as landmarks or boundary markers, and also appear to have had mortuary functions.

The greatest mound – known as Monks Mounds because in 1811 when it was first described by an antiquarian there was a community of Trappist monks living nearby – is over 30 meters (981/2 feet) high with a base measuring approximately 300 x 240 meters (984 x 787 feet), one quarter larger than the base of the Great Pyramid.

It has several different terraces and platforms and a flat top where a huge wooden building once sat -possibly the residence of the paramount chief or a temple.

Monks Mound was constructed over several centuries, with new material and new layers added periodically, perhaps to mark the death of a leader and the ascension of a new one.

It has been estimated that to build it took 15 million baskets of earth deposited over 300 years. The earth came from what are known as borrow pits, some of which are still visible at the site (although many were filled in and even built over).

This photo of three young Kaskasia girls belies the truth that life was difficult in the region.
Despite the rich soil and easy access to water, frequent flooding caused great upheaval for Kaskaskia residents.

In 1998 work to install drains on Monks Mound, to help prevent erosion and slippage, led to the discovery of a mysterious layer of stones beneath the western side of the mound.

The layer is at least 9.75 meters (32 feet) in extent in one direction, but its full size is unknown and it does not extend under the whole mound.

The Mississippians usually preferred to build in earth and wood and the nearest possible source for the stones is at least 12.75 kilometers (8 miles) away, so clearly they must have had some special reason to go to the expense and difficulty of bringing such a mass of stone to the site.

Was it a ceremonial platform or structure? Perhaps a tomb or crypt? Was it a repair job or drainage device? The answer must remain a mystery, for the layer is too deep to excavate without removing most of Monks Mound.

Other smaller mounds surround the central Grand Plaza, which at 19 hectares (47 acres) may be the largest earthen city square in the world.

It is an artificially flattened area and was skilfully constructed by levelling and filling undulations in the landscape, apparently in a single, vast construction project around 1050 CE, at the birth of Cahokia.

An 80-hectare (197/^-acre) area comprising the plaza and the mounds around it was enclosed with a 3.25-kilometre (2-mile) long palisade (wall of logs).

A reconstruction of the sort of thatched but that might have housed the majority of Cahokians.
Surrounding it is a wooden palisade, a distinctive feature of Mississippians culture.

Although primarily a defensive feature, the stockade also served a ritual function, perhaps marking the boundaries of the sacred precinct. There were smaller plazas elsewhere.

To the west of Monks Mound stood a “woodhenge” – a circle of cedar posts, used as a solar calculator to determine the timing of equinoxes and solstices.

It was rebuilt several times, possibly to take into account the successive enlargements of Monks Mound, the profile of which it was aligned with. This woodhenge suggests that, as with the Mesoamericans, the plazas and pyramids of the Mississippians were part of a solar cult.

The Riddle of Cahokia’s Origins

In most civilizations there is a clear progression of intermediate stages of settlement evolution, but Cahokia seems to have emerged and existed as something unique in Mississippian culture, without precedent or antecedent.

Of all ancient civilizations in North America, human hands have built no greater earthwork than the Monks Mound near East St. Louis, Illinois.

The Mound Builders statesmanship, ambitious projects and workforce make them of the most important cultures of World history.

Monks Mound is situated about a mile from the Mississippi River, just north of East St. Louis, Illinois, in central United States.

 In practice, however, archaeologists may have found clues regarding formative stages on the path to Cahokia.

Groups of mounds to the south of Cahokia, known as the Pulcher and Lohmann Mounds, are thought to be the remnants of much smaller Mississippian settlements/cult centers, and one theory is that these were precursors to Cahokia, where the religious ideas and practices that later triggered the development of the larger city first developed.

Elements of the Mississippian culture may also have derived from or been inspired by the Mesoamerican cultures to the south, although no Mesoamerican artifacts have ever been found at Cahokia, indicating that there were no migrations from that region.

Another theory is that Cahokia in effect gave birth to itself. Historian and archaeologist Timothy Pauketat has argued that the abrupt, large-scale coalescence of Cahokia must have involved a process of negotiations and agreements between different tribal groups or peoples, and that if the model of later peoples in this part of America is anything to go by, this process would have involved large public gatherings with massive feasts.

Excavations of borrow pits near the plaza show the remains of such feasts.

Archaeologists discovered postholes during excavation of the site to the west of Monks Mound, revealing a timber circle.
Noting that the placement of posts marked solstices and equinoxes, they referred to it as “an American Woodhenge”, likening it to England’s well-known circles at Woodhenge and Stonehenge.

Detailed analytical work supports the hypothesis that the placement of these posts was by design.

The structure was rebuilt several times during the urban center’s roughly 300-year history.

Evidence of another timber circle was discovered near Mound 72, to the south of Monks Mound.

According to Chappell, “A beaker found in a pit near the winter solstice post bore a circle and cross symbol that for many Native Americans symbolizes the Earth and the four cardinal directions.

Radiating lines probably symbolized the sun, as they have in countless other civilizations.”

The woodhenges were significant to the timing of the agricultural cycle.

Pauketat’s theory is that the Plaza was built to allow the holding of a great gathering/feast/negotiation, which led to the creation of Cahokia.

 Once it was built, the plaza acted as a focal point for the Mississippian religion, providing a space for more feasts and gatherings and giving Cahokia a raison d’etre.

Once Cahokia was established, new hierarchies and social structures quickly became established, probably via the medium of gift-giving. Power in many tribal societies, especially in North America, often derives from the chiefs ability to give things away, thus binding to him lower socio-economic groups, cementing allegiances and appeasing grievances and divisions.

The End of Cahokia

Many theories have been advanced to explain the decline and abandonment of Cahokia.

Perhaps because they had no tradition of city-living, the Cahokians made little provision for mass sanitation, so the high population density must have led to disease.

Overpopulation may also have stretched the ability of the surrounding area to feed the city (and there is evidence that satellite communities were set up specifically to cater for its needs).

The high population and its consumption of wood may have led to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, flooding and rising water levels, all making it hard to sustain a city.

Climate change, such as the cooling associated with the Little Ice Age from c 1250, may also have played a part. Increased warfare and conflict suggests that political changes were taking place, and perhaps challenges to Cahokia’s authority.

And if a settlement the size of Cahokia was unusual in Mississippian culture, perhaps it is not so surprising that once it declined, the population subsided back to a scattered, village-centered existence.

Two of the lesser mounds in Cahokia Mounds State Historic Park.
On the Left is a platform mound, which may have had a structure on to of it, while on the right is a round-topped mound, used for burials.

Cahokia declined in the 13th century, and it was essentially abandoned by the late 14th century.

The Mississippian culture lived on in the southeastern USA, however, and it is thought likely that the Natchez Indians of Mississippi, described by Spanish and French explorers in the 16th to 18th centuries, may have been the inheritors of the Mississippian tradition.

They lived in palisaded villages, played chungke, practiced human sacrifice (the existence of which at Cahokia is attested to by headless and handless skeletons interred alongside nobles in burial mounds) and followed a solar religion.

Cahokia itself, however, attracted little attention and is still comparatively unknown. The mounds were treated with little respect by early settlers who flattened them to clear farmland, and even today much of Cahokia is built on and unprotected.

Statue of Madonna and Child.
These “traits,” as presented through physical remains, indicate that Mississippian peoples shared a common (or at least similar) religious philosophy that governed their interpretation of the world and cosmos around them.

Some scientists believe religious “outposts” of Cahokia were scattered throughout the upper Midwest, interacting with local groups. These local groups may have retained much of their previous cultural and religious heritage.

Some areas to the south and east of Cahokia seemed to have adopted the Mississippian way of life more completely.

There was also a trend among historians and archaeologists to deny or disparage the achievements of the Mississippians, with the mounds attributed to mythical pre-Columbian Europeans such as Phoenician or Welsh settlers, in keeping with the Manifest Destiny agenda that legitimized the dispossession of the indigenous peoples because of their”‘primitive” nature.

…a cheerful giver.

 

2 Corinthians 7 – The Joy of the Good News & Lost Cities of The Americas: Introduction

The Vikings were Scandinavian raiders of the 8th to 11th centuries. Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians all came down from the cold north and plundered Europe. For almost 300 years they terrorized the world.

When I was growing up I was taught that Christopher Columbus found North America in 1492 (according to Ruggero Marino he had reached America in 1485) so my understanding was that South and North America were vacant until that time.

But it has been found that the Norse and Vikings had been there somewhere around 500 years before that, and others had been in Alaska 40,000 years ago.

When God created the world everyone spoke the same language (Gen 11:1) and then man started building the evil Tower of Babel (Gen 11:4), i.e., the devil’s choice of One World Order.”  God then chose to segregate the people by giving them different languages and moving them around the world (Gen 11:6-9).

Therefore, it only makes since that the Americas are not as young in population which I was taught, so tomorrow we’ll start our study with…

2 Corinthians 7
The Joy of Good News

The Tower of Babel = “One World Order”
by Lucas van Valckenborch (1535 or later–1597).

1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.

“We have wronged no man” – implies that Paul had been accused by the false teachers of being unjust, destructive and fraudulent – the very things they themselves were guilty of.

3 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.

Again he declares the depth of his affection for the Corinthian believers and appeals to them to respond, contrary to the wishes of the false teachers, by displaying their love for him, their genuine apostle.

4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.

8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

“I do not repent…I did repent…now I rejoice” – Paul was didn’t regret writing the letter, but the situation that required him to write it.  The result of the letter gave the desire Paul was looking for, the Corinthians did not become angry and hostile, but repentant.  

9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

When we repent it makes God and the angels happy and instead of death coming to us we are saved (Lk 15:10).

11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.

13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

14 For if I have boasted anything to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.

15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.

Lost Cities of The Americas

Ancient Map of the World

Introduction

El Castillo — ‘The Castle’ — in Chichen Itza, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, the Feathered Serpent.

Large crowds gather here on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes to watch the sun cast serpentine shadows across the northern face of the pyramid.

In the Americas lie perhaps the archetypal lost cities: temples, palaces and pyramids that rear up out of virgin jungle, with only weird petroglyphs to hint at the nature of the cultures that once dwelt there and the dark histories that played out against such awe-inspiring backdrops.

Cities such as those of the Maya and the Inca, where a combination of circumstances – the swift and total destruction of indigenous civilizations and cultures, the remoteness of the sites and the rate at which the rainforest encroaches – conspired to allow them to disappear from human ken, remained hidden for hundreds of years.

The tales of their rediscovery are equally the stuff of romantic legend, with intrepid explorers hacking through the jungle in search of lost cities of gold.

Other pre-Columbian civilizations left their mark on the Americas, from the mound builders of Mississippi and the canyon-dwelling Pueblo peoples of the southern deserts to the Aztec Empire of Mexico and the mysterious ancient Tiwanaku culture of the Andes.

In many cases the remains left by these kingdoms and empires are relatively young, compared to the ancient sites of the Old World, and are therefore in good enough repair to amaze and enthral visitors even today.

From the point of view of the historian, New World civilizations offer a unique opportunity. Unlike in the Old World, where civilizations inevitably developed in the context of a network of influences and legacies that stitch one to another, the New World civilizations developed in glorious isolation, from first principles to fully-formed, sophisticated cultures with writing, monumental masonry and many other forms of technology.

The ancient kingdom of Tiwanaku was a major Indian civilization in the Andes Mountains of South America.

The main Tiwanaku ruins are located near the southern shore of Lake Titicaca in what is now Bolivia.

The similarities and differences between these lost cities and those of the Old World are instructive and they offer valuable insights into the importance of ecology, the fragility of the environment in the face of urban civilization and the world views of exotic cultures.

Perhaps it is this last feature that adds to the allure of the lost cities of the Americas – the religion and mysticism of their builders are both strange and intriguing, lending an extra layer of mystery to the already enigmatic.

…Lost Cities of the Americas: Cahokia.

2 Corinthians 6 – A Suffering Ministry & The Judgment Seat

In regards to Paul’s statement at the beginning of the article, remember yesterday I pointed out that yes, we will all stand before Jesus in the end. 

But only the non-believers and those that abuse the name of God (Ex 20:7) will be punished. 

The believers will be rewarded:

“And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev 22:12).

Tomorrow we’ll look at the last set of lost cities, we’ll begin with…

2 Corinthians 6
A Suffering Ministry

What little sign on the wall says “Bema”. This is Ancient Corinth where Paul stood before the magistrate.

1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

“Receive not the grace of God in vain” – To live with oneself is one way to do this (see 5:15).

2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

“The accepted time…the day of salvation” – as affirmation that is true in a general sense of all God’s saving acts in the history of His people, but that finds its particular fulfillment in this present age of grace between the two comings of Christ.

This understanding does not exclude from grace and salvation those who lived before Christ’s coming, for the believers of the Old Testament period received the promises that in due course were fulfilled in Christ (1:20) and they saw and welcomed their fulfillment from a distance (see Jn 8:56; Heb 11:13).

3 Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed:

The Bema/judgement seat–or the place where they would hear cases/trials. It’s one of the few places they know for sure that Paul was in. This could also be the same place Jesus was sentenced to be crucified.

“Giving no offense in anything” – Paul is concerned that he live an exemplary life because he does not want the ministry discredited.

A believer must be very careful of what he or she does or says in front of non-believers, as not to accidentally sway them further away from God. 

For example, if a believer swears or expresses a bad attitude in front of a non-believer then it would be difficult for them to believe anything else a believer says because God is very clear on not swearing (Eph 4:29, Col 3:8).  As  Paul points out in the next few scriptures.

4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings;

Relief of Jesus being arrested and dragged.

6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

8 By honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;

9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;

10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

“Making many rich” – in Christ, True wealth does not consist in worldly possessions but in being “rich toward God.”  The believer, even if he has nothing of this world’s goods, nevertheless has everything in Him who is Lord of all.

11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.

12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

13 Now for a recompense in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.

Pontius Pilate was a Roman prefect of Judaea and he is more famous (or say infamous) for presiding over the trial of Jesus and giving the orders for his crucifixion.

According to the past accounts of his life Pilate was a Roman knight belonging to the Samnite clan of Pontii (this gave him the name Pontius).

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” – doubtless Paul has in mind the Old Testament prohibition of “mixtures” as in Deut 22:10.

For the Corinthian believer to cooperate with false teachers, who are in reality servants of Satan, notwithstanding their charming and persuasive ways is to become unequally yoked, destroying the harmony and fellowship that unite them in Christ.

Being unequally yoked also pertains to being too closely involved with a non-believer.  In Chapter 11, Paul speaks of his fears of people being tricked, or “beguiled like Eve” ( Gen 3:13), and fall away from God.

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?  For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Yesterday I had shown you the confused mind of Marianne Williamson and the above scripture,  aside from others, makes it quite clear that she is off her rocker when she said:

“…Mary symbolizes the feminine within us, which is impregnated by God. .  .  . Through a mystical connection between the human and divine, we give birth to our Higher self.”

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

The Judgment Seat

For a Christian, this is another one of those things of God where we just fall down in Awe!!

I know the picture above may look a bit foreboding, however Theo is a cool artist. This picture showing dark colors, can be used to make a case for Those who are Christians who don’t do well at the Judgement Seat.

I know there are times, when I am like man what a dummy I am, when realizing the future and failing to live like a Christian should.

These things that I write to you today are for believer’s and others who really want to grow in the Faith!!!

It’s possible, quite a number of Christians may not have a clue about all this stuff. I know to me, it is just starting to sink in!!!

The Judgment Seat of Christ is becoming more of a factor to me in my life, in realizing that this is a True Thing!! And I for one want to do good at this Rewarding Judgment for some but unrewarding Judgment for others.

Paul stated,

“We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor 5:10 – also see Rom 14:10).

The Greek word translated “judgment seat” is bema, referred to numerous times in classical literature, was a raised speaker’s platform from which proclamations were read and on which citizens stood to appear before officials.

Three bemas are referred to in the New Testament:

* Pilate tried Jesus at the bema in Jerusalem (Matt 27:19; Jn 19:13).

* King Herod Agrippa I was struck by an angel of the Lord while making a speech at the bema in Caesarea (Acts 12:21-23), and Paul later appeared before Governor Porcius Festus there (Acts 25:1-12).

* The Jews of Corinth brought Paul to the bema to be tried by Governor Gallio (Acts 18:12-17).

The Corinthian bema where Paul was tried has been excavated. It is a large stone structure at the side of the agora, or public market, rising some 7.5 feet above the pavement and originally covered with beautifully carved marble.

A partially reconstructed Latin inscription found nearby reads,

“He revetted the rostra and paid personally the expense of making all its marble.” (The word rostra is the Latin equivalent of bema.)

There is no higher-self, or if you choose to believe there is one know that it is the Trinity within us.

…the Americas.

2 Corinthians 5 – A Confident Ministry & God Help Us – Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson, like Rhonda Byrne, Oprah Winfrey, Mary Baker Eddy, and so many others defy Jesus.  No matter how you look at it, The New Age defies Jesus Christ.  Jesus, and only Jesus can save us and we are His creation, nothing more.

In part, I agree with what Steve says below in his GRIP, we need to replace all of those in the government and especially Congress.  But with people that stand up for Jesus.

That leaves out the Democrats and most of the Republicans. They should make all the Democrats live in Detroit and Washington State.

Williamson thinks that we are the “light of the world” when actually we are the “salt of the world,” but either way, our actions today will be reflected upon in the end.

Therefore, tomorrow we’ll look at…

2 Corinthians
A Confident Ministry

1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

“Earthly house of this tabernacle” – our present body (see 2 Pet 1:13).

2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:

“We groan” – because we long for he perfection that will be ours when we put on the glorious spiritual body.

3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.

4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.

5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

“God, who also hath given unto us…the Spirit” – the Holy Ghost, poured out by the risen and exalted Savior, applies the benefits of Christ’s redeeming works to the believer’s heart and makes the resurrection power of Jesus a reality of his daily experience.

6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

It should not matter what happens to us on earth, if we are with Jesus nothing else matters because earth is temporary.

7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

9 Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

If you are a true believer you live the way Jesus lived and it does not matter how small or great your deeds are for Him because you are accepted by Him.

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

This scripture is misunderstood by many and also used by some to sway people away from Jesus.  Many say that it doesn’t matter how good we are now because we have all sinned and Jesus is going to punish everyone.

This is not true, once we accept Jesus and repent our sins are forgiven, as God said:

“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Ps 1: 4-5).

“The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgression from us” (Ps 103:6, 8, 11, 12).

Yes, we will all stand before Jesus in the end, but only the non-believers and those that abuse the name of God (Ex 20:7) will be punished.  The believers will be rewarded:  

“And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev 22:12).

This is also verified in v. 17 below.

11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.

13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

When you accept Jesus and repent you change your ways.  Not necessarily your ways of thinking, just your behavior. 

I say this because Jesus gave me a new heart.  I accepted Jesus a couple years before Obama became president and I still despise him. 

Until my acceptance of Jesus Christ I didn’t like or dislike Oprah, but now I can’t stand her only because she is a false prophet.

Yet, even though they and people like them anger me, I still pray for them because they are still God’s children.

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Back to v. 10 above, if we are reconciled with God why would He punish us for our past actions?  He wouldn’t and He won’t.

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

God Help Us
Marianne Williamson’s campaign
to save America’s soul,
starting with
California’s 33rd Congressional District

I find the following article humorous, but also very sad.  It is sad because Williamson appears to be a very kind and caring person.

Yet, it doesn’t matter how helpful we are to each other if we stand against Jesus.  Even if we don’t realize that we are in opposition of Him, that is our fault, not God’s.

As they say, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” and hell is where we would spend eternity.

Los Angeles

Beautiful Los Angeles

In case you were wondering, things in California just got a little weird. Okay, maybe not “just.” Let me be more specific:

The congressional election in California’s 33rd District, a coastal tract encompassing some of the wealthiest, most liberal quarters of Los Angeles County – Bel Air, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills, to name a few – just got a little weird.

On January 30, Henry Waxman, the district’s long-serving and notoriously cantankerous representative, surprised everyone by announcing he would retire at the end of this term.

Since arriving in Congress in 1975, Waxman has been a dogged champion of progressive causes and a frequent irritant to Republican administrations.

During George W. Bush’s term alone, Waxman, from his perch on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, launched investigations into everything from the handling of Hurricane Katrina to government contractors in Iraq to Republican National Committee email ethics.

Marianne Williamson (born July 8, 1952) is a spiritual teacher, author and lecturer. She has published ten books, including four New York Times #1 bestsellers.

She is the founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area, and the co-founder of The Peace Alliance, a grass roots campaign supporting legislation to establish a United States Department of Peace.

She serves on the Board of Directors of the Results organization, which works to end poverty in the United States and around the world.

Generally speaking, he has been a pain in the collective GOP hindquarters for nearly 40 years.

But with Waxman bowing out, how will things change? A television producer named Brent Roske has declared his candidacy, but it’s purely symbolic, and he’s not actually campaigning.

Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who made a name for herself by complaining that the Jesuit school’s health plan didn’t cover birth control, floated her name as a possible candidate and then decided against it.

There is a possibility that conservative Bill Bloomfield, who gave Waxman a run for his money in 2012, will give it another shot, but he has yet to announce (Waxman beat him 54-46 in a district Obama carried 61-37).

The field remains wide open. In fact, at the moment, there is only one candidate running anything approaching a real campaign.

Well, maybe “campaign” is the wrong word. It’s more a vision quest. If you live in Waxman’s district, Marianne Williamson doesn’t just want to represent you. She wants to save your soul.

Henry Arnold Waxman (born September 12, 1939) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who serves as the U.S. Representative for California’s 33rd congressional district, serving in Congress since 1975.

His district includes much of the western part of the city of Los Angeles, as well as West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.

Though perhaps not a household name, Williamson is something of a celebrity: Her self-help books have earned her national recognition, and her weekly lectures on spirituality have made her a fixture in Los Angeles for over 30 years.

Back in October, having at long last grown tired of politics as usual, frustrated with the Democratic party of which she has been a member all her life, and armed with a large grassroots following (she claims more than 400,000 Facebook fans and 200,000 Twitter followers), she announced her independent candidacy for Waxman’s seat and has been kissing proverbial babies ever since.

New Age spiritual teacher, guru to movie stars, friend of Oprah—she is both self-actualized and self-made. Born to a Jewish family in Houston in 1952, by the late 1970s, Williamson confesses, “I was a total mess.”

After bouncing “from relationship to relationship, job to job, city to city, looking for some sense of identity or purpose,” she found herself living in New York, “seeking relief in food, drugs, people, or whatever else I could find to distract myself.”

She wallowed in this depression until stumbling across a book that she credits with transforming her life.

That book was A Course in Miracles, a 1,300-page spiritual manual (complete with student workbooks and instructions on how to teach it) written by New York psychologists Helen Schucman and William Thetford and published by the Foundation for ParaSensory Investigation (now the Foundation for Inner Peace).

Williamson heeded the book’s call to become a “miracle-worker.” In 1983, now living in Los Angeles, she began lecturing on The Course (as she calls it) at the Philosophical Research Society in Los Feliz.

By the end of the ’80s, she had helped to found the Los Angeles Center for Living and Project Angel Food, both nonprofits providing assistance to people suffering from HIV, AIDS, and other life-threatening illnesses.She developed a large following, particularly among Los Angeles’s gay community, which was then being ravaged by the initial outbreak of AIDS.

A few years later, she had to resign the leadership of Project Angel Food after a controversy erupted when she fired several employees for their attempts to unionize.

Henry Arnold Waxman (born September 12, 1939) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who serves as the U.S. Representative for California’s 33rd congressional district, serving in Congress since 1975.

His district includes much of the western part of the city of Los Angeles, as well as West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.

To know more go Here: Skull and Bones

In response to numerous media reports of her explosive temper and overbearing management style, Williamson, ever ready to embrace her own weaknesses, nicknamed herself “The Bitch for God.”

In 1992, she wrote a self-help manual, A Return to Love, expounding on excerpts from The Course

A Return to Love’s overall spiritual lesson is that we as human beings are in fact all one being, not under but with God, that all of our minds are actually one mind, and that we have tricked ourselves into thinking we are separate from one another, thus creating fear, which dominates us and throws us into collision with everyone else, who, we need to remember, are really also us.

According to Williamson, there is only one way out of this destructive cycle, and that is (spoiler alert) a return to love.

Both her book and The Course make liberal use of Christian theological terms, but deploy them as merely symbolic of universal spiritual truths.

“The concept of a divine, or ‘Christ’ mind,” we learn, “is the idea that at our core, we are not just identical, but actually the same being.”

A Course in Miracles is a profound spiritual text focusing on the principles of universal love and forgiveness that has a revelatory impact on people of many faiths and religious backgrounds.

Christ, you see, “is a psychological term” and “‘Accepting the Christ’ is merely a shift in self-perception. We awaken from the dream [that] we are finite, isolated creatures, and recognize that we are glorious, infinitely creative spirits.”

And, not to leave anyone out, Williamson’s book also includes a smattering of references to other religious and cultural traditions:

In Taoist philosophy, “yin” is the feminine principle, representing the forces of earth, while “yang” is the masculine principle, representing spirit. .  .  . In Christic philosophical terms, Mary symbolizes the feminine within us, which is impregnated by God. .  .  . Through a mystical connection between the human and divine, we give birth to our Higher self.

And so on. And so forth.

Despite its mealy-mouthed pan-denominationalism, Williamson’s counsel is not, as these things go, all that bad: We should try to think of others more than ourselves; we should try to treat people with kindness; we should try to replace our selfish and fearful thinking with love.

It is all just fuzzy enough about specific directives to appeal to spiritually minded folks who might be turned off by having to do anything, besides think happy thoughts, to achieve enlightenment.

Perhaps as a result, the book spent 39 weeks on the New York Times self-help bestseller list and brought Williamson national attention (not to mention a lot of money).

In the intervening years, she has published nine more books (five more bestsellers), including, in 2000, Healing the Soul of America: Reclaiming Our Voices as Spiritual Citizens.

Oh yeah, vote for Brent Roske, a television producer.

Arnold Schwarzenegger are in the same type of arena, and we all know what a great governor he had been.

The book is really a political manifesto, glorifying the protest politics of the 1960s and lamenting,

“The invisible order that shot our heroes [i.e., JFK, RFK, and MLK Jr.] did not keep shooting, but began providing goods and services as quickly as possible to distract a grieving generation from our psychic pain.”

The result of this materialist conspiracy, Williamson feels, has been a disengagement from politics, and Healing offers a broad indictment of the American voting public’s apathy and ignorance.

“Today’s average American is more apt to rebel against a tennis shoe not coming in the right color than against the slow erosion of our democratic freedoms,” she declares.

“Today, most Americans are too cynical, or tired, or both, to even approximate our Founders’ courageous repudiation of injustice.”

The overarching message is that we need to slough off our materialistic chains and apply our great spiritual wisdom, above all our innate love for one another as human beings, to the political problems of the day. All we need, in other words, is love.

I wonder if she is related to Manson in some way?

On my way to meet Williamson at a restaurant in Brentwood, I’m not quite sure what to expect.

Sandra Kay Fluke born April 17, 1981) is an American attorney and women’s rights activist.

She first came to public attention when, in February 2012, Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee refused to allow her to testify to that committee on the importance of requiring insurance plans to cover birth control during a discussion on whether medical insurance should have a contraception mandate.

She later spoke to only House Democratic members.

I’ve never seen a guru before, let alone had lunch with one, and my East Coast prejudices are already starting to get the better of me.

I’m half-expecting her to glide into the dining room in flowing saffron robes and to answer my questions in New Age hypno-babble.

To be honest, I’m kind of hoping for it. But I find her sitting at a corner table dressed neatly in a black pantsuit, mundanely sipping a cup of coffee.

Clearly, Williamson is not your straight-from-central-casting hippie-dippy-California spiritual type. She is tall, brunette, beautiful, and quite squarely put together: sharp features, a strong chin, a firm handshake. Her bearing is businesslike and utterly without pretension.

The spiritual life has clearly been good to her. She speaks confidently, rapidly. She is relentlessly on message, and her message is simultaneously aggressive and unifying.

“I think there’s a basic disintegration in our democratic foundation which is not being addressed by either major political party,” Williamson tells me.

“Part of the problem I have with the status quo is that they only speak to the selfish interest of the American people, and I believe the American people are better than that.”

Her primary concern is that “Americans are feeling locked out of the system.” When I gently point out that the 33rd District, locus of countless Obama fundraisers and home to some of L.A.’s richest, most famous, most beautiful souls, ranks fairly low on any scale of locked-outness, she immediately agrees.

“This is definitely one of the least locked-out districts.” That being said, “We are more than economic creatures. We have a soul.” She continues, benevolently, “I am not speaking to the rich in you, or the poor in you. I am speaking to the American in you.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” she says with a smile, “capitalism has been good to me. But what is happening today is that too many people can’t get in the club, there has to be enough access. There has to be enough access to opportunity for America to be a stable democracy.

Bill Bloomfield said, “I believe that politics and public policy are too important to be left to just the politicians. As citizens, we all have the right and responsibility to engage on the most important issues facing our communities, our state and our nation.”

I agree with him, but I’m wondering what he thinks Congress is? They’re not politicians?

”All in all, she exudes an aura of moderation, and her frequent references to America’s most popular political icons only add to it. “The Constitution doesn’t mention political parties; Washington warned us against them,” she declares. “JFK said, ‘Let us not seek a Republican answer or a Democratic answer. Let us seek an American answer.’”

What, then, is the American answer that Marianne Williamson seeks? Well, despite the promise of her campaign’s slogan to “Create Anew,” it is pretty much warmed-over, social-justice, progressive, liberal blah, blah, blah, with a little California crunchy-wackadooism thrown in.

Prison reform, climate change, shutting down nuclear power plants, and ending the “corruption of the food supply” are high on her list of priorities.

Above all else, she is intent on getting the money out of politics and views Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision easing restrictions on campaign contributions, as perhaps the greatest threat to democracy that America has ever faced.

But even while condemning both political parties and the state of our democratic system in general, while complaining about incarceration rates and Monsanto and “moneyed interests,” she somehow still sounds quite reasonable, lacking the stridency of MSNBC and the outright incoherence of the now-defunct Occupy movement (RIP).

After just a few minutes, I can’t deny that Williamson is a knockout of a candidate: smart, eloquent, passionate, and considerably more telegenic than her, um, rodentine predecessor.

As our conversation winds down, she suggests I check out her weekly spiritual lecture, you know, “so you can see me in front of an audience.”

I am happy to oblige, and when I show up at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on a Monday night, taking my seat in the back among a crowd of several hundred spiritual seekers, I am not disappointed.

Williamson writes in A Return to Love that “the spiritualization process.  .  . is the cultivation of personal magnetism,” and if she were any more magnetic, people’s fillings would be flying out of their teeth.

Oprah a puppet controlled by George Soros, the Evil entertainment front of the New World Order. compete with an evil empire full of refutable minions.

If Williamson can be the “Bitch from God” then can’t Oprah be the “Bitch from Hell”?

As spirit guide, she is softer than in her candidate persona, but she talks just as quickly and fluidly and with as much conviction.

“May we be lifted above and beyond to the endless love and peace that is beyond,” she prays from the stage, concluding, after a dramatic moment of silence, “And so it is.”

She talks for about an hour to the rapt crowd about a passage from The Course dealing with the idea that “I am as God created me.” Her talk is quite soothing, and she implores us to “discover within your mind the self that is the son of God.”

She reminds us that we “are perfect and changeless, and so is everyone else,” that “the universe is invested in your self-actualization,” and that our “function is to be the light of the world.”

Jesus said we are the salt of the world; He is the light of the world.

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matt 5:13).

The meaning of Jesus’ words are debated, here are a few suggestions:

* Whiteness represents the purity of the justified believer.

Helen Cohn Schucman (July 14, 1909 – February 9, 1981) was an American clinical and research psychologist from New York City.

She was a professor of medical psychology at Columbia University in New York from 1958 until her retirement in 1976.

Schucman is best known for having “scribed” with the help of colleague William Thetford the book A Course in Miracles (1st edition, 1975), the contents of which she claimed to have been given to her by an inner voice she identified as Jesus. However, as per her request, her role as its “writer” was not revealed to the general public until after her death.

* Salt’s flavoring properties imply that Christians are to add divine flavor to the world.

* Christians are to sting the world with rebuke and judgment the way salt stings an open wound.

* As salt, Christians are to create a thirst for Christ.

* Salt has another vital purpose which is probably what the Lord had in mind-it stops decay. When Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth”, He meant that all of His disciples were to serve as preservatives, stopping the moral decay in our sin infected world.

I agree with the last suggestion because salt adds flavor to the meal.  Therefore, Christians are to stand up and show the world their faith in Jesus Christ, not hide it.

In Matt 5:14, Jesus said,

“Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”

That more or less clarifies what I think Jesus meant in regard to us being the salt of the world.  But we are not “THE” true light of the world, Jesus is:

“Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn 8:12).

The overall effect is pleasantly soporific, and by the end of the lecture I get why everyone here loves her so much. I mean, I feel fantastic; I had completely forgotten how perfect I was.

After the closing prayer, after we “gently pour ourselves back into the awareness of the human body,” she gives us another “And so it is.” This time the audience calls back in unison, “And so it is. Amen,” which, I’m not going to lie, is pretty odd.

In fact, it’s almost as odd as some of her supporters. At the campaign’s weekly volunteer meeting, held at The Source Spiritual Center in Venice every Thursday, the first person I encounter, among the crowd of about 50 volunteers, is Steve.

A self-described fiscal conservative and social liberal, Steve is the founder of GRIP—Get Rid of Incumbent Politicians—an organization with the modest goal of removing every single incumbent in America from office.

GRIP means Get Rid of Incumbent Politicians
GRIP is a simple means to effect change. This idea is not aligned with the right wing or the left wing, with Democrats or Republicans.

For years the two party system has been bankrupt. They are two sides of the same coin.

There are plenty of ideas on how to fix things but GRIP is not about ideas that will be shot down due to differences of opinion.

The best idea is to think, vote and Get Rid of Incumbent Politicians.

Steve starts to tell me how he got involved with the Williamson campaign (“Have you heard of Dirty Wars?”), but our conversation is interrupted when an airy woman with flowing blonde hair grabs a microphone on stage and starts welcoming us to The Source.

“Let’s just take a moment of silence and sit in gratitude for a moment and take a couple of breaths together just to get present in this moment. This is all we’re ever in, this is all we have, and that’s where all power lies.”

She closes her eyes, inhales deeply, exhales, inhales deeply again, and exhales before inviting us to check out “the amazing soundbath The Source has on Saturdays,” with a promise that afterwards we can go to the “café and elixir lounge” downstairs, if we like.

She hands the mike over to Rob Nelson, Williamson’s campaign coordinator. Wild-eyed and meticulously unkempt, Nelson paces the stage back and forth like an uncomfortable comedian, the front of his sweater inexplicably tucked into his boxer shorts, which stick out of the top of his designer jeans.

He and the campaign’s political coordinator, a nebbishy young fellow named Ben Eisenberg, go through a simple training session on how to register people to vote, and they dutifully deal with the volunteers’ innocence about the process. 

One supporter, for example, is horrified to discover that some of the people they register might vote for Waxman (he was still in the race at the time).

Another asks if she has to stay in her own neighborhood, or if she can register voters in other parts of the district, to which Eisenberg responds, somewhat wearily, “If you live in Santa Monica, but you want to register voters at a farmer’s market in Malibu, that’s totally okay.”

There’s a brief pause in the action before everyone breaks into smaller groups to discuss canvassing specific locations, and I flinch when a pair of large hands suddenly begins massaging my shoulders from behind and a face pops into my peripheral vision.

“Oh! I didn’t mean to startle you!” my new friend, an African-American man wearing a UCLA cap, says with a smile. “How’s the universe treating you?” I let him know it’s treating me just fine and ask how it’s treating him. “Oh, just living in the attitude of gratitude! So are you ready to create anew and achieve the dream?”

This is Tony. He’s been a follower of Marianne for a while, and when he heard she was running for Congress he signed right up to help. In fact, he even wrote a “musical poem” for her campaign.

Based on the ’90s hip-hop song “I Got 5 on It,” the poem combines the Williamson campaign slogan “Create Anew” with the generally great life slogan “Achieve the Dream.” According to Tony, he got the idea from Gandhi’s grandson, whom he recently met on a trip to India.

When I tell him I’m a reporter writing a story on Marianne, he asks excitedly if I think “America is ready for amazing grace on seis tres,” referring in Spanish (for obvious poetic reasons) to June 3, the date of California’s open primary, when the voters will decide which two candidates get to face off in the general election.

When I tell Tony I’m not sure, he shakes my hand with a smile, tells me it was great to meet me, and vanishes almost as abruptly as he appeared.

A few days later I find myself in another bustling crowd, this time at the Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club, where we are assembled for the Williamson campaign’s first monthly issues forum.

Tonight’s topic is the all-important “Getting Money Out of Politics,” and Marianne has brought in special guest Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor, to give a talk.

As I enter the hall, I run into Whitney and Caroline, a pair of sixty-something students of The Course. Even though they live just outside the 33rd District, they’re big supporters and plan on urging all their friends in the district to vote for Marianne.

“She is a self-actualized person,” Whitney tells me, “Which is a good thing to bring to a body of people like Congress.” Caroline, the more talkative of the two, is more forceful in her endorsement.

“It’s like Marianne says, it’s either love or fear. Do you remember what Eisenhower said?” I assure her I don’t. “Beware the military-industrial complex,” she says with a stern face, before adding, casually, “I believe in the Illuminati and all that.”

Illuminati sign

I believe in the Illuminati too, I believe they exist, but I certainly would not promote them, it’s one of the devil’s groups.

The room is packed by the time our guest speaker is introduced. Winkler, for his part, gives about as interesting and humorous a talk on the legal history of campaign finance reform as one could expect.

Then Marianne joins him on stage, and the floor is opened for questions. “Waxman, while he has been good, has shown a penchant for the military-industrial complex,” the first questioner begins.

“Why is impeachment of the Supreme Court not viable?” asks another. “How can we stop Grover Norquist?” “Is there a shadow government?” “Would you support efforts to eliminate all nuclear weapons from the face of the earth?”

Williamson handles these questions with aplomb, working the crowd, delivering lines that frequently elicit applause. Perhaps not surprisingly, she is less conciliatory here than in her sit-down with me.

Illuminati sign

These are her people, and she is serving them red meat. Or whatever the vegan equivalent of red meat is. “Waxman says fracking is bad, but he won’t do anything about it. How many more studies do we need to realize we are raping our planet?” she asks too much applause.

She announces, to more applause still, that she supports a bill creating a Department of Peace and making its secretary a cabinet-level position.

“The phrase ‘shadow government’ doesn’t feel helpful to me,” she says at one point. “It sounds like something over there that we can’t do anything about. They’re doing it in the light of day!” The crowd erupts. “We repudiated aristocracy in 1776. It is time for us to repudiate it again!” she shouts, to the loudest cheers of the night.

Throughout all this, she still manages to talk about America’s founding principles and the greatness of the American experiment, about the urgency of reengaging with the democratic process, at one point even referring to Tocqueville, all while making the case for her candidacy.

“The House of Representatives is the people’s house—the artist, the philosopher, the shoemaker should all serve terms,” she says. “I think my election to Congress would be the best thing to happen to the Democratic party—it would make them get their soul back.”

And it is the soul after all—be it the Democratic party’s, America’s, yours, or even mine—that Williamson is most concerned with. After a question on the compatibility of spirituality and politics, posed toward the end of the forum, Williamson grows a little quieter, a little softer, assuming her spirit-guide mantle yet again.

“Spirituality is the path of the heart; it should influence everything we do.” She concludes, simply, “We need a politics of conscience, we need a politics of heart, we need a politics of love.”

 As we file out of the Woman’s Club—our political apathy most heartily rebuffed, a nascent sense of brotherhood among us, the energy of a newfound love for our fellow man propelling us merrily toward the parking garage next door—a bearded, burnt-out-looking man sporting a grungy flannel under his “Marianne for Congress” T-shirt asks if anyone can give him a ride to a place called Café Gratitude in Venice.

An awkward silence ensues. Nobody in the crowd responds, or even makes eye contact with him, doing their best to ignore his existence.

And so it is.

…the Judgment Seat.

 

2 Corinthians 4 – An Honest and Tried Ministry & “The Secret,” by Rhonda Byrne

Jesus said:

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:32). 

So what is the truth?  

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn 14:6).  

Only Jesus is the truth, NOT “The Secret.”

The Truth of God’s Word is free, openly available to anyone who desires it’s truths, and it won’t cost you a penny. 

“The Secret” won’t help you and if you follow the words Wattles, Byrne, Oprah, Mary Baker Eddie or anyone like them then you know you destination and it’s not a pretty one. 

Now if you believe in Jesus Christ but also follow the above people your destination is the still the same.

“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils” (1 Cor 10:21).

The above article points out that we live in a very greedy and selfish world and no one can deny that, and I have no doubt that it is going to get worse.

 Yet, Jesus Christ does not change.  So no matter what happens in this world we know that He will always be there to take care of us:

“Being confident of this very thing that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).

She is not alone, below are just a couple mentioned (due space) and tomorrow, talk about a sad joke, we’ll look at…

Corinthians 4
An Honest and Tried Ministry

1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

Beware of Oprah’s New Age “Luciferian” Religion.
Click here to listen to these powerful evil people have to say.

“We faint not” – when God through His mercy calls and commissions His servant, He also supplies the strength necessary for them to persevere in the face of hardships.

2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

“Have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty” – Paul is referring to the false teachers.

3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

“God of this world” – the devil, the unseen power behind all unbelief and ungodliness.  Those who follow him have in effect made him their god.

“Image of God” – Christ, who is both the incarnate Son and the Second Person of the Trinity, authentically displays God to us, for He is the very radiance of divine glory (Heb 1:3). 

He is the image of God in which man was originally created and into which redeemed mankind is being gloriously transformed (3:18), until at last, when Christ comes again at the end of this age, we who believe will be like Him (1 Jn 3:2).

5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

“We preach not ourselves” – as false teachers do, puffed up with self-importance.  Rick Warren is probably the best example of this today.

6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

“Commanded the light to shine out of the darkness” – God commanded this at the creation (Gen 1:2-4) and He says it again in the new creation or new birth (5:17; Jn 3:3, 7; 1 Pet 1:3) as the darkness of sin is dispelled by the light of the gospel.

Peter Popoff is a false prophet! He promotes his Miracle Water.
Sadly, many people have fallen victim to this blatant scam.

Popoff’s TV show uses lures of a better job, better health, and more money to sucker people into sending him a donation.

“The light of the knowledge of the glory of God” – the light that now shines in Paul’s heart (qualifying him to be a proclaimer of Christ) is the knowledge of the glory of God as it was displayed in the face of Christ – who has come, not just from an earthly tabernacle, but from the glorious presence of God in heaven itself.

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

“This treasure” – the Gospel.

8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

“We having the same spirit of faith” – the same spirit of faith that Jesus had, just not as great as His because our human heart is filled of sin and must battle against the Spirit at all times (Rom 7:15-25), while Jesus was without sin.  But as long as we are with Christ we will prevail (Rom 8:1).

14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

The religious world is filled with charlatans and con artists. Robert Tilton is a covetous, money-hungry, lying, false prophet who teaches damnable heresies.

He touts about prosperity, health, and wealth; but Tilton’s message is totally contradictory from the Word of God.

Tilton quotes 3rd John 1-2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

“Things which are seen…things which are not seen” – the experiences and circumstances of this present life, often painful and perplexing, are visible to the Christian; but these are merely phenomena in the passing parade of our fallen age and are therefore temporary and fleeing.

To fix our eyes on these visible things would cause us to lose heart.  By contrast the unseen realities, which are no less real for being invisible (Heb 11:1, 7, 26-27), are eternal and imperishable. 

Accordingly, we look up and away from the impermanent appearances of this present world scene (see Phil 3:20; Heb 12:2).

“The Secret,” by Rhonda Byrne

This book is of the Devil, taking people away from Jesus.  It is available in audio book or DVD format.  Byrne’s “The Secret,” was recently featured on the Oprah Winfrey show…

Self-help books could ruin your life! They promise everything – and sell in their millions, but a leading psychologist remains unconvinced.

Visit the self-help section on Amazon or browse the shelves of your local bookshop and you will find hundreds of books that promise to improve your life in any number of ways.

You can read, among other things, about the secrets to daily joy and lasting fulfilment, how to find career success, five simple steps to emotional healing, and how to stop worry and anxiety from ruining your relationships.

It’s making headlines around the world—and buzz just keeps building. Some say it’s The Secret to creating the life you truly want—losing weight, making money, finding love. See why people everywhere are talking about The Secret.

Oprah is without a doubt the biggest promoter of New Age authors and philosophy than anyone else in the world today. 

The Secret is just another New Age deception, being marketed to the public as a miracle solution for all of one’s problems.

Here is what the official website for The Secret advertises…

Towards the end of 2004, and following a string of traumatic events in her personal and professional life, Rhonda Byrne discovered a great secret – The Secret laws and principles of the universe.

Rhonda’s daughter had given her a copy of The Science of Getting Rich, a book written in 1910 by Wallace D. Wattles. Of that moment, Rhonda says,

Something inside of me had me turn the pages one by one, and I can still remember my tears hitting the pages as I was reading it. It gave me a glimpse of The Secret and it was like a flame inside of my heart…

Rhonda Byrne states that she cried, and her tears fell upon the pages, as she read a 98-year old book titled, “The Science of Getting Rich.” 

The author of the book is Wallace D. Wattles.  As you will learn, Mr. Wattles was a heathen man, who taught damnable heresies, and was a contributing pioneer of today’s Satanic New Age Movement. 

Since Miss Byrne has based her entire work largely upon Wattles’ book, and claims that she discovered “The Secret” within its pages – It is critically important that we take a closer look at the book upon which she places so much emphasis. 

Wattles Taught that God Wants Everyone to Be Financially Wealthy

Throughout the book, Mr. Wattles perverts the Scriptures to teach that God intended for all of us to be filthy rich.  In chapter 5, Increasing Life, Wattles foolishly states:

This is the only book you need for wealth, health, success, relationships, or anything.

 It is the desire of God that you should get rich.  He wants you to get rich because he can express himself better through you if you have plenty of things to use in giving him expression. 

He can live more in you if you have unlimited command of the means of life… The universe desires you to have everything you want to have.

You want to get rich in order that you may eat, drink, and be merry when it is time to do these things; in order that you may surround yourself with beautiful things, see distant lands, feed your mind, and develop your intellect.

In sharp contrast, the Bible condemns the greedy desire to be rich.

“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Tim 6:8-11).

In fact, the Bible teaches that more poor people will enter into Heaven than rich people.

“Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not GOd chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of teh kingdom which he hath promised to them tha tlove him?” (Jas 2:5).

Wattles fails to speak of the reality of hellfire in his book, and the fact that all Christ-rejecters will burn there forever (2 Thess 1:8-9; Rev 20:11-15). 

Jesus said:

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:26)

In view of such overwhelming Biblical evidence, only a fool would dare claim that God wants everyone to be rich.  Riches are a road to Hellfire:

Rhonda Bryne, one of the Jezebels of the 21st century.

“And again i say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matt 19:24).

This does not mean that God despises those that are wealthy, but it is through Him and only through Him, not ourselves, that we become wealthy:

“But thou shalt remember the LORD Thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (Deut 8:18).

Wattles Taught Not to Sacrifice for Others

Wattles selfishly goes on to state:

Get rid of the idea that God wants you to sacrifice yourself for others, and that you can secure his favor by doing so; God requires nothing of the kind.

The Bibles says quite the opposite:

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1st Jn 3:16).

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal6:2).

We ought to “lay down our lives” for fellow Christians.  All but John was martyred for preaching the Gospel.  The Christian life is all about sacrificing for others.

Wattles’ Demonic New Age Philosophy

In the concluding chapter, titled, Summary of the “Science of Getting Rich,” Mr. Wattles again foolishly states:

There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe…A thought in this substance produces the thing that is imaged by the thought…Man can form things in his thought, and by impressing his thought upon formless substance can cause the thing he thinks about to be created.

The man who wishes to get rich must spend his leisure hours in contemplating his vision, and in earnest thanksgiving that the reality is being given to him…The created energy works through the established channels of natural growth, and of the industrial and social order.  All that is included in his mental image will surely be brought to the man who follows the instructions given above…

Mr. Wattles is a New Ager.  The idea of “thinking stuff from which all things are made” is 100% New Age doctrine.

Oprah Winfrey, another lost soul, is the biggest promoter of “The Secret”.
If “The Secret” is so good why is she still so fat?

In chapter 6, How Riches Come To You, Mr. Wattles evidences his New Age philosophies:

God, the One Substance, is trying to live and do and enjoy things through humanity…

God, the One Substance”?  What kind of weird idea is that?  God is not a substance!  God is a Person.  Jesus came to earth, in the flesh, as the manifestation of the Godhead:

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14).

“For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2:9).

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tim 3:16)

Wattles Taught that the World is Becoming Wonderful and is Not of the Devil

If that’s not bad enough, listen to what the fruitcake has to say in chapter 10, Further use Of The Will…

Do not read religious books which tell you that the world is soon coming to an end; and do not read the writing of muckrakers and pessimistic philosophers who tell you that it is going to the devil. 

The world is not going to the devil; it is going to God.  It is wonderful becoming.

In sharp contrast:

“And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 Jn 5:19).

Second Timothy says:

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim 3:1, 13).

Oprah Winfrey, New Thought, “The Secret” and the “New Alchemy”

Though the demonism of the Middle Ages seems to have slowed a bit, there is abundant evidence that in many forms of modern thought – especially the so-called “prosperity” psychology, “willpower-building” metaphysics, and systems of “high-pressure” salesmanship – black magic has merely passed through a metamorphosis, and although its name be changed its nature remains the same.

The foregoing quote reads like an excerpt from a review of the movie, The Secret. This is not the case, however.

Manly P. Hall wrote those words in the late 1920s when New Thought metaphysics was in full swing, and the original self-help gurus combined the burgeoning science of applied psychology with that of Bernays-like manipulative advertising.

An eager public was caught unaware and would consume mass market “willpower-building” manuals, by the millions.

Each successive generation has had its own purveyors, and the Oprah-inspired phenomenon that is The Secret, as we shall see, stems from the same fount.

Self-Help Popular Religion and the New Thought Movement

“Pray! In other words, get an urgent, insistent desire. The first principle of success is Desire – knowing what you want.”  Desire is the planting of your seed.

There is no limit, you know, to Mind. Visualize this thing that you want. See it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blue-print, and begin to build!

The creative power of thought is now receiving increasing acceptance in the West, which is in some cases taking over, and in others, discovering anew, for itself, what was thought by the ancients in India.

Because they have discovered it anew, they call it “New Thought”; but its fundamental principle is as old as the Upanishads which said, “what you think that you become”.

All recognize this principle in the limited form that a man who thinks good becomes good, and he who is ever harboring bad thought becomes bad. But the Indian and “New Thought” doctrine is more profound than this.

In Vedantic India, thought has been ever held creative. The world is a creation of the thought (Cit Shakti associated with Maya Shakti) of the Lord (Ishvara and Ishvari). Her and His thought is the aggregate, with almighty powers of all thought.

Robert Price does not believe Jesus was resurrected or that the Bible is reliable or trustworthy.
However, he seems like a nice guy and can’t so easily be dismissed as a writer or a debater. Price is wrong on quite a few points but at least he is consistently wrong.
So is the devil.

But each man is Shiva and can attain his powers to the degree of his ability to consciously realize himself as such.

Thought now works in man’s small magic just as it first worked in the grand magical display of the World-Creator. Each man is in various degrees a creator. Thought is as real as any form of gross matter.

Wattles Sinfully Places His Book Over the Word of God

Wattles further states:

Read this book every day; keep it with you; commit it to memory, and do not think about other “systems” and theories.

Mr. Wattles elevates his own personal writings above the Scriptures. 

Proverbs says:

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov 3:5).

And Jesus commanded us to:

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (Jn 5:39). 

But, Wallace Wattles tells us instead to read, memorize, keep, and look only to his book —“The Science of Getting Rich.”  Mr. Wattles is of the devil, as are his demonic teachings, and we all know he’s going to hell because:

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev 22:18-19).

A born-again believer only needs one book and that is the Bible, God’s Word.

Wattle’s False Gospel

Wattles states in chapter 15, The Advancing Man:

In the field of religion, the world cried out for the clergyman who can teach his hearers the true science of abundant life.  He who masters the details of the science of getting rich, together will the allied sciences of being well, of being great, and of winning love, and who teaches these details from the pulpit, will never lack for a congregation. 

This is the gospel that the world needs; it will give increase of life, and men will hear it gladly, and will give it liberal support to the man who brings it to them. [emphasis added]

Second Timothy warns of false teachers like Wallace Wattles:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim 4:3-4).

Mr. Wallace teaches that preachers ought to water-down the truth — never speaking of a sinful world, or of the end of times, or of a hell that burns with fire and brimstone for all unbelievers. 

He also says that preachers ought to teach about getting rich, pursuing well-being, and exploiting others with influential love. 

Yeah, it’s called a Health, Wealth, and Prosperity gospel, and it’s taught all over the place today in apostate churches.

We are living in a selfish generation of religious-seeking heathens — who desire health, wealth, and prosperity; but refuse to accept the reality of the Word of God. 

These people reject the saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:16; 2 Tim 3:5). 

Such apostate churchgoers have no problem with homosexuality, no anger over abortion, no qualms about false doctrines taught in the church, et cetera. 

The world is filled today with falsely professed Christians, who have never been born-again, and are woefully ignorant of the truth of God’s Word; yet, they write books, appear on the Oprah Winfrey show, and lead multitudes into hell. 

Mr. Wattles mentions the name of “Jesus” numerous times in his book; yet, he speaks of his god as “One Substance” and talks of men “creating energy” from within themselves to be channeled to achieve success. 

Wattle’s gospel is a financially abundant life achieved through increased self-awareness and meditation.  This is 100% New Age doctrine.

Apostasy Alert: T.D. Jakes Joins New Age Priestess Oprah Winfrey Lifeclass“
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves ” Matt 7:15.

Below you can hear Oprah deny Jesus herself.

Wattles and the New Thought Movement

Wattles was associated with the Chicago-based school of New Thought that centered around the teachings of Emma Curtis Hopkins.  According to Wikipedia:

The New Thought Movement or New Thought is a loosely allied group of organizations, authors, philosophers, and individuals who share a set of metaphysical beliefs concerning healing, life force, Creative Visualization, and personal power.

The New Thought Movement developed in the United States during the mid to late 19th century and continues to the present time.

It promotes the ideas that God is all powerful and ubiquitous, spirit is the totality of real things, true human self-hood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, most sickness originates in the mind, and ‘right thinking’ has a healing effect.

Interestingly, Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, was a disciple and patient of New Thought pioneer Phineas Quimby. 

Here’s a list of New Thought organizations

New Thought is demonic, because it denies Jesus Christ as the Savior. 

There’s not a dime’s difference between New Thought and New Age.  Like New Age, New Thought rejects any attempt to compel humanity to worship God in any particular or prescribed manner. 

Thus, the Biblical proclamation in Acts that there is no salvation apart from the name of Jesus Christ is totally rejected in New Thought and New Age teaching.  New Thought and New Age are of the Devil.

Click here to hear Oprah deny Jesus and even argue with the audience.

“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12).

Conclusion

I took much time to expose the author, Wallace D. Wattles, because his book, “The Science of Getting Rich,” is the basis upon which Rhonda Byrne concocted “The Secret.”

I could not help but laugh at the idea of Rhonda Byrne crying over the content of Mr. Wattles’ book.  Certainly there is nothing to cry over, except that it is such a terrible piece of work. 

Wattles was a New Ager, who believed that true human selfhood is divine. 

Wattles adamantly rejected the Biblical teaching that salvation can only be obtained through faith in Jesus Christ.

The Secret is nothing more than New Age mumbo-jumbo, based upon New Thought, which teaches that a person can solve all their life’s troubles through New Age techniques. 

Click here to hear her explain The New Age.

Whereas the Bible teaches that we can be “complete” in Christ Jesus (Col 2:10); Wattles taught that only through his book could a person be helped.  Mr. Wattle’s is a liar and a fool.

Again, Oprah’s website states:

It’s making headlines around the world—and buzz just keeps building. Some say it’s The Secret to creating the life you truly want—losing weight, making money, finding love. See why people everywhere are talking about The Secret.

Money, money, money — There’s a sucker born every minute.  It seems that everyone is looking for an easy way out these days. 

It is sad that millions of people are buying garbage like, “The Secret,” that is produced by unsaved heathens who love not the Lord Jesus Christ, and only want your money.

…God Help Us – Marianne Williamson.