Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
May 25, 1998
Last Updated :
November 20, 2011
Our Spiritual Warfare, Devilish Ungodly Public School System, Worldly Wisdom Versus Divine Wisdom, God's Holy Spirit, The Word, The Seed Of Faith, Bearing Fruit, Bread Of Life, Daily Remembrance, Our Eternal Intercessor, "I Am" Or I Was?, Our Living Christ, Grotesque Roman Catholic Crucifix, Moses And The Brasen Serpent Nehushtan, Ancient And Modern Idol Worship, Ishtar And The Easter Celebration, Ghastly Easter Nails, Baby Jesus Ritual, Satan's Mental Battleground, Spiritually Renewed In Our Minds, Rebuke Jesus On Right Hand Of God
Introductory note from the author
The following series was originally written in May of 1998, and was motivated in part by a series of tragic gun violence related events which began to transpire a month earlier that year. While some of the events that are discussed in this series are now in the past, nevertheless, the primary information and lessons which are shared in this series are still very much valid over thirteen years later today. If anything, the situation in the USA has only grown worse since I first wrote this series, and in my opinion, some of our children are more lost in a spiritual sense than ever before. Please note that this series does not discuss the April 20, 1999 Columbine High School massacre -- in which twelve students and one teacher were killed -- or the April 16, 2007 Virginia Tech massacre -- in which thirty-two people were killed -- simply because they occurred after this series was written. However, these two events were more deadly than anything mentioned in this series.
The Lord never ceases to remind me how important it is that we fill the minds and hearts of our children with the pure Waters of His Word. This point is so important that I cannot repeat it often enough. As the Apostle Paul clearly reminds us in his Epistle to the Ephesians, we are involved in a spiritual battle to the death, as we see here:
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:12, KJV
As I explain in such articles as "The Public School System And School Prayer", as well as in "Dear Teacher: Standing Up For Our Children's Rights", Satan is determined to rob and destroy our children's faith in God; and he will use every means at his disposal to accomplish this task. By the time they graduate from high school, Satan wants our precious children to become complete atheists who will spout off the lies of the ungodly system he has created with the help of rebellious men. Satan wants our children to become little mindless robots who do as they are told without thinking for themselves. He wants them to place their faith, not in the Lord, but rather in the accomplishments and teachings of man. It is secular humanism through and through.
In my view, high school, and other institutions of so-called "higher learning", are in reality schools of lower learning, because the wisdom they teach does not descend from above; it is not from the Father of Lights; it is not enlightening. In discussing envy, strife and division within the Early Church, the Apostle James wrote the following which could verily easily be applied to our modern educational system:
"This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish."
James 3:15, KJV
In the previous verse, the word "wisdom" is derived from the Greek word "sophia". Pronounced sof-ee'-ah, it means wisdom or broad and full of intelligence. On the other hand, James also describes for us the characteristics of true Godly Wisdom; and he even goes so far as to tell us exactly how we can obtain this kind of Wisdom. Consider these verses:
"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."
James 3:17, KJV
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
James 1:5, KJV
The previous verses goes hand-in-hand with the following ones which also describe how we can receive the Wisdom and the Knowledge of God:
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:"
Matthew 7:7, KJV
"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
Luke 11:13, KJV
"For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;"
1 Corinthians 12:8, KJV
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 14:26, KJV
As you can see, both Wisdom and Knowledge are Gifts of the very same Holy Spirit which we receive from God. When the First Disciples received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, they received these Gifts. That is why they were not only able to remember the things Jesus had spoken to them while He was still with them, but they were also better able to understand them as well. I believe that it is this very same Holy Spirit which brings Bible verses to our minds today, and which helps us to better understand them as well.
Thus, we can see that the Holy Ghost -- which is the living Spirit of God -- is actually our Guide to understanding the written Word of God, which is the Spirit of God in black and white. They go hand in hand. Armed with these two important tools, the Spirit and the Word, we can successfully ground our children in the Eternal Truths of God. Through giving them the Word of God, we plant the Seed of Faith in their lives; for as the Apostle Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Roman brethren:
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Romans 10:17, KJV
Once the Seed of Faith has been planted in our children's hearts, the Word and His Spirit continue to nurture that Seed until their lives blossom; and they become mature Christians themselves, who are also able to begin bearing spiritual fruit in their own lives. As Jesus said to His Disciples in the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of John:
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
John 15:16, KJV
I am also reminded of the following verse that is found in the Book of Isaiah, where we are told that God's Word will accomplish the purpose for which He has sent it forth:
"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:11, KJV
When the Lord, either directly, or indirectly through His Earthly servants, plants the little Seed of His Word in people's hearts, it is because He knows that some of it, perhaps not all of it, but some of it, is going to bring forth good fruit. Consider this verse:
"He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
Psalms 126:6, KJV
Surely, if anyone weeps for His wayward children, it is the Lord Himself. In his second Epistle, the Apostle Peter wrote the following concerning the Lord's desire to see all men accept the Salvation that He so freely offers them:
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9, KJV
In the Gospel of Matthew, as He looked out over Jerusalem, realizing what would happen to it only some forty years later in 70 A.D. at the hands of the Romans, Jesus said:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
Matthew 23:37, KJV
Thus, he who bears the Word of the Lord is like a farmer who goes forth weeping, hoping that the Seeds of Faith that he plants in the fields of the world, that is, in the hearts of unbelieving men, will result in their Salvation. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, we also find the following verse which discusses casting bread upon the waters:
"Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days."
Ecclesiastes 11:1, KJV
As you may recall, the word "waters" is sometimes used in the Bible to represent the peoples of the world. Consider the following verse that is found in the Book of Revelation:
"And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
Revelation 17:15, KJV
In the verse from Ecclesiastes, the waters can represent our young children; and the bread can represent the Word of God. After all, Jesus very specifically told us that He is the Bread of Life who was born in Bethlehem, which actually means "house of bread". Consider this verse:
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
John 6:35, KJV
Not only that, but bread is normally made from wheat, which is grown from a seed; and Jesus spoke all about the wheat and the tares as we will see shortly. So once again, we see that we are dealing with the very same thing. Thus, if we are faithful to cast the bread upon the waters, that is, to plant the Word of God in the hearts and minds of our young children, eventually it is going to bring forth positive fruit in their lives. That is why in Ecclesiastes we are told "thou shalt find it after many days"; and in the Book of Psalms we are told "shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." To confirm these thoughts, only a few verses later in the very same chapter of Ecclesiastes, we read:
"As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."
Ecclesiastes 11:5-6, KJV
Planting the Seed of the Word will bear good fruit, exactly as Jesus explained in the Parable of the Sower; and if there is fertile ground to be found anywhere, surely it is the young, receptive hearts of our very own children. Allow me to refer you to another article I have written concerning this topic entitled "The Parable Of The Sower: Salvation And Service".
What actually inspired this article was a small incident which occurred a few days ago while my daughter and I were discussing a certain Biblical topic. During the course of the discussion, I used the term "Jesus was" without really giving much thought to the matter. However, in my daughter's mind, this placed Jesus in the past, and she didn't like that. For this reason, as soon as I said "Jesus was", she quickly stopped me and corrected me by saying "But daddy, Jesus said "Before Abraham was, I am."
To say the least, I was simply amazed. Here was this little seven-year-old girl reminding me, her middle-aged dad, and with a Scripture no less, that Jesus is alive now, this very minute! That is how real Jesus is to her. He is not dead and in the past as many secular humanists would have us believe! He is not something we keep out of our minds all year long except for certain days of the year when nominal Christians decide to give Him a little praise and a little honour such as at Christmas time or during Easter. My daughter knows full well that we are to think of Jesus, and of His loving Sacrifice, and of His Resurrection, and of His promises made to us on a daily basis. We are to speak with the Lord and to thank Him on a daily basis through prayer.
The point is, we have a living God, and a living Christ, who ever makes intercession for us before the Throne of His Holy Father. Consider what the Apostle Paul wrote in several of his Epistles:
"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."
Romans 8:34, KJV
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."
Hebrews 7:25, KJV
Notice that the first verse says "that is risen again"; and the second verse states "He ever liveth". This is precisely what the Angelic Messenger told the two Mary's when they went to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body with sweet spices that early morning the first day of the week, as we see by these verses:
"In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you."
Matthew 28:1-7, KJV
Thus, we have a living Christ who is constantly interceding for us before our Heavenly Father. As my daughter basically said, He is the great "I am", and not the faded glory of an "I was". He is the never ending story! He is the Living Word of God!
Sadly, the Roman Catholics -- and many other modern churches as well -- are notorious when it comes to pushing the living Christ into the distant past. They have crucifixes hanging everywhere, from their churches, to their homes, to their rosary beads; as if to say that Jesus is still hanging dead on the Cross, just as He was two thousand years ago. While some people may view this as a constant reminder of Jesus' Sacrifice for our sins, I think that it is rather ghastly to have an agonizing Christ displayed on the Cross. In fact, it makes me wonder if perhaps it is a part of the Roman Catholic strategy to keep their followers under a bit of condemnation so that they will continue to rely upon the so-called "holy mother church" for their Salvation. The Apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans, said the exact opposite, as we see by this verse:
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Romans 8:1, KJV
While we should remember the Lord's suffering, I really fail to see the need to place crucifixes in the church, on the rosary beads, in the Catholic home, in Catholic schools, and in any other place where they are able to display them. In a sense, it seems like just another part of the Roman Catholic system of misguided idol worship, which I discuss in other articles such as "Mary Worship, Christianity And Roman Catholicism".
Make no mistake, and be not deceived. Idol worship can appear in very subtle forms. As I discuss in a few other articles, the ancient Israelites had gone so far astray in worshipping idols, that even the serpent of brass which Moses made was eventually worshipped as an idol. As you may recall, Moses was commanded by God to make the serpent on the pole to heal the Israelites after the Lord had sent the venomous vipers to punish them for their constant complaints. We are told that good King Hezekiah eventually grew so tired of it that he had the brasen serpent destroyed, as we see here:
"He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan."
2 Kings 18:4, KJV
Thus, if the Israelites idolized the brasen serpent which was ordained of the Lord for their own healing, should we really be surprised if the Roman Catholics today basically idolize the crucifix, just like their many other statues of Mary and the Catholic Saints? In my opinion, we should emphasize the sweet promises of hope which have come to be associated with the Lord's glorious Resurrection. We should not dwell upon a crucified Christ which really carries a spirit of gloom, doom and condemnation. Jesus gave us words to gladden our hearts, and not to sadden them, when He said:
". . . I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"
John 11:25b, KJV
As you may know, Pope John Paul II carried a walking staff which terminates in a crucifix. Whether or not the current pope, Benedict XVI, carries the same staff, I do not know.
Sadly, the Roman Catholics are by no means alone in their vain traditions. As I point out in other articles, the Protestant world is likewise full of serious compromise.
For example, just yesterday I heard something on our local Christian station which again confirmed how far off-track modern Christianity has gone. As I clearly explain in the series "Our Pagan World: The Easter (Ishtar) Myth Exposed", Easter is nothing short of a Christianized version of an ancient pagan festival to honour Ishtar, the false goddess of love and fertility, and the wife of Baal. She has been known by many different names down through the ages. These include Astarte, Isis, Ashtoreth, Venus and Aphrodite. The Phoenicians, the Hebrews, the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks and the Romans all worshipped her.
It may surprise you to know that the practice of Easter egg hunts is directly related to the fact that the female egg represents fertility. Furthermore, in many ancient cultures, having many children was viewed as meaning that a couple was blessed by the goddess Ishtar.
Sadly, despite the fact that they know this is true, certain weak Christians still compromise their faith by choosing to celebrate this holiday. So exactly how do these people resist the conviction of God's Spirit? What I heard on the radio is one sad example. A certain lady was suggesting that instead of hiding Easter eggs, parents could hide nails. Yes, that's right; nails! This woman then went on to explain that when the children found the nails, it would help them to remember Christ's sufferings on the Cross. I couldn't believe it! I was aghast! In my opinion, that is just as bad as the Roman Catholics with their gloomy crucifixes.
In other words, instead of totally forsaking the pagan feast of Easter -- or Ishtar -- as they know they should, these weak Christian parents compromise their faith, and they try to gloss over the lies and the deception, by attempting to make the festival appear a little more Christian. This they do when they replace Ishtar's eggs with Christ's nails. God help them all!
Other weak Christians will attempt to justify themselves by saying something such as "Well, what matters is that we are worshipping the Lord in our hearts. Even though it has pagan origins, we use Easter to remember the Lord's sufferings and His Resurrection." While on the surface this human reasoning may satisfy one's own conscience, that is, excusing oneself as the Apostle Paul referred to it, the fact of the matter is that the Bible informs us that our God is a jealous God; and He refuses to take second place, or to share His glory with a false goddess like Ishtar. In the Book of Exodus we read the following:
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me . . . For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:"
Exodus 20:3, 34:14, KJV
Another wayward Catholic tradition, which I have personally witnessed and experienced, is that of carrying a statue of baby Jesus door-to-door, so that the Catholic faithful can kiss it. I forget exactly on what holiday they perform this ritual, but it is a once-a-year event.
The last time that they came to my door, I tried to refrain myself, but the Lord's Spirit just swelled up within me and I told them to their faces in an angry voice that what they were doing amounted to blatant idol worship. Of course, the false shepherd who was leading this group of high school teenagers quickly tried to herd his little flock away from my door, acting as if I was just some ignorant Protestant who didn't correctly understand the sanctity of their solemn idol-worshipping ritual. How tragic!
As you may know, in the Gospels, Jesus was quick to expose the hypocrisy of the self-righteous leaders of His own day. Consider the following very pointed example that is found in the Gospel of Matthew:
"Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? . . . Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Matthew 15:2-3, 6b-9, KJV
As we can see, sometimes there is the need to be very direct with the wayward. Sometimes you may only have a few seconds to get in some kind of a witness, and then the opportunity will be lost; so you need to give them something that will remain with them. Immediately after the previous incident, Satan tried to condemn me by telling me that I should have been more loving to those Catholic teenagers. "After all", he reasoned, "they just do it out of ignorance. They don't really know any better. They are just foolish children who follow the traditions of their parents. You should really feel sorry for them and be easier on them."
While some of these things may indeed be true, we need to recognize that this is precisely one of Satan's favorite tactics. In other words, he will try to reason things out with us. He will try to neutralize us in our minds. This is the very same trick that Satan used with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
This is why, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul tells us that we must put on the Helmet of Salvation; because our head, or our brain, is the primary battlefield where Satan wages his biggest wars against us. Once Satan persuades us to give up in our minds, we are defeated. In fact, this is so important that the Apostle Paul also tells us that after we have come to the Lord, our brains must be completely rewired by the Spirit and the Word of God so that we have the mind of Christ. This involves an entirely new spiritual and mental outlook on life. Consider these verses:
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"
Ephesians 6:17, KJV
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2, KJV
"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV
In this particular case, Satan tried to make me feel like I was the big, bad, mean bully for having been so hard on this sincere group of Catholic kids and their adult group leader. While it is indeed true that we must show love, mercy and patience with the wayward, at the same time, sometimes it is necessary to rebuke them strongly, in the hope that we can awake them out of the spiritual stupor into which they have fallen due to Satan's lies and deceptions.
As you may know, the Prophet Jeremiah has been referred to by some people as the Weeping Prophet because of the fact that he also wrote Lamentations. However, that doesn't mean that he by any means compromised the message of repentance and doom which the Lord had given to him to deliver to the Israelites. If nothing else, perhaps some of those teenagers returned home a little troubled. Perhaps they even began to question their Catholic beliefs and practices. Maybe a few of them even decided to open their Bibles in search of the Truth. I only had a few seconds in which to say something to them which might affect them, so hopefully it was enough.
Concerning these Catholic traditions, if there is one thing of which I am absolutely certain, it is that Jesus is no longer a little baby in a manger. Neither is He any longer hanging in agony on the Cross. He is currently sat down at the Right Hand of His Father in Heaven! As He said Himself, He has already overcome the world. Please consider these verses:
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33, KJV
"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."
Romans 8:34, KJV
"Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,"
Ephesians 1:20, KJV
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God."
Colossians 3:1, KJV
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high . . . But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?" Hebrews 1:1-3, 13 KJV
"Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;"
Hebrews 8:1, KJV
"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;"
Hebrews 10:12, KJV
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2, KJV
"Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."
1 Peter 3:22, KJV
In short, Jesus is very much alive and well; and He will someday return to this Earth in order to rule and reign over it with great Power and great Glory. At that time, He will eliminate all Earthly opposition, and He will rule with a Rod of Iron.
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
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