Journal of Heresies

My search for truth in a world of deceit.

Location: United States

I have what is probably an insatiable desire to search out the answers to what may be impossible questions.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"The Devil is God's Enemy"

I homeschool my oldest child (eventually I'll homeschool my other two as well), and I am also teaching another homeschooled child math along with my own since they are at the same level. Today when I was done teaching and they were settled into their "homework" assignments, my daughter asked if I could turn some music on because she wanted to dance. I didn't think music would distract my students, so I said yes and put on a CD of Biblically inspired music. After a song or two played, my guest student turned to me and stated in a matter of fact tone: "The devil is God's enemy."

I must say I wasn't sure how to respond to his doctrinal statement. I didn't completely agree with it. But, if that is what his parents (who go to church) are teaching him, then I don't want to undermine their authority in his life. He was waiting for me to agree with him. What do I say? So, I replied: "The devil is certainly our enemy, and we should resist him."

Then he says: "The devil isn't real."

"Isn't real?"

"No, the devil isn't real."

My overly logical brain is processing... Devil=God's enemy; no devil; therefore, no God? I respond: "There is a devil, he is our adversary, our accuser."

He didn't make anymore statements, and our brief theological discussion ended.

You may be wondering what possible disagreement I could have with the boy's first statement: "The devil is God's enemy." Afterall, isn't the devil (a.k.a. satan) trying undermine God's plans and trying take over YHVH's throne? Isn't that his plan? According to scripture? not exactly. The devil is shown as the enemy of righteous people throughout scripture, and it appears that his desire is to rule over the earth and all that is in it, to be the King of the world, or at least to stop the children of YHVH from attaining The Kingdom. Their really isn't much in scripture to tell us about satan, but he is never shown as a power strong enough to fight or even resist YHVH.

The idea that the devil is some power in direct opposition to YHVH is dualism, not monotheism. The devil, no matter how angelic, is a created being. YHVH is almighty God, the creator of all that is, there is none higher nor equal in any way to Him. There is no power that can injure Him or even rise up against Him! He has no enemies that can rightly be called enemies. YHVH, however, can be the enemy of created beings because He has the power to wound and destroy His own creation. So, YHVH might be the devil's enemy in the end, but the devil could never be God's enemy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"They Knew"

Today's headlines include titles such as: "Bush: Congress knew about spy plan" and "Europe's Governments knew of CIA torture flights." The implicite message is: since these other people "knew" about these activities, yet said nothing and did nothing to prevent them even though they had the power to, then they approved of them. It is also possible however that they didn't approve of the activities, and still did nothing about it.

It is strange how change slowly slips by us until one day we wonder how some atrocity ever could have occured. We let some tiny word pass by or we think as long as we know the difference or don't cross a certain line, some practice is okay. Then others allow the same things, but they don't know the lines that were drawn, or the original intent of a word. They interpret from their own view, then make other allowances. The cycle goes on until the end result of a tiny pebble on the road becomes a great and deadly tower blocking the way. We look at it and say how did THAT get there? It started with a pebble, then a stone, then a rock... People step around these things and walk by them as long as they can. There is a tower in the road? What tower? Hey! Cool tower! I think I'll carve a face on it, maybe add some more rocks, maybe ornaments too. Ugh! What a road block, I guess I'll turn around and go back. There are many responses to the thing humanity constructs. There are many excuses, justifications, denials. Yet the tower remains. Its presence persists. Eventually, humans become enslaved by their own creation living life around the tower, for the tower, and in fear of the tower.

Of course there are people who know what is going on. Some of them might even have been able to do something about it. But the fact remains that something is in the road. Looking at it and finger pointing isn't going to make it go away. So, what can we do? I guess that might depend on how much you know, and how much power you have. But, just as these things often start as a pebble dropped in the road, so can their end begin with a pebble thrown away.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Bird Flu

This is a completely off topic post. Although I could discuss what if any connections the "bird flu" has with prophecy, that is not what I have in mind. I just want to know how slaughtering and disposing of millions of chickens is going to stop the spread of bird flu, and prevent people from contracting it? Do the farmers and their employees who lose their livelihood get reimbursed for their losses? Why not just innoculate the chickens (and other domesticated birds)? Afterall, if the chickens can't get sick, it can't spread from the chickens to the humans right? How much Tamiflu would it take to innoculate a chicken compared to a human? Wouldn't it be much more economical (for the common people) when everything is said and done?

Rabies is a contagious disease that can pass from animals to humans, but we don't run out and kill large numbers of animals when there are a few cases of rabies in the area. (Although I think they used to do this sometimes before the vaccine) We would kill the sick animal (carefully handling and removing the carcass with gloves and garbage bag) , and we innoculate the domestic ones. Perhaps I just don't understand biology enough to grasp the methodology of WHO and the nations involved. It seems to me that culling all chickens (and some other birds) in the countries affected will eventually lead to a world without chickens (and some other birds). Maybe someone should start a "save the chickens" campaign...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Doctrines: Do they matter?

There is considerable emphasis placed these days on whether or not the believers we encounter adhere to certain doctrines. Most often the doctrines in question relate to the following: what type of being Yahshua (Jesus) was and is; how one obtains salvation; the role of "law;" baptisms (water and/or spirit); sin; and, tradition. When two believers meet for the first time, one often asks the other: "What church do you go to?" The unspoken question is: "What are your doctrines and point of reference?" The name of the particular church summarizes it all in a few words, that is as long as the person doesn't actually differ with their church in doctrine. People use doctrines to categorize each other and to determine their spiritual state. Some use them to decide whether others are worthy of fellowship. But, when everything is all said and done, what difference will it make if one is convinced that baptism is by immersion, and another that a sprinkling is enough? Will it matter if you believe Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one and three, one or three, one, two, three, or some other formula? Will 'Jesus' be the password into the pearly gates as is often suggested?

What if everyone is wrong? Will we all be tossed into the lake of fire in the end because we didn't get the words just right?

Many christians might be shocked to discover how the second and third century christian church was divided over most of the beliefs that today are considered to be the foundational tenets of the faith. The apostles never uttered the "Apostles Creed" which was written in 390 AD. The winning doctrines that became definitions of orthodoxy were the ones backed by various governments to the point of death. Although today in America creeds aren't signed or confessed at the end of a sword, churches continue to teach that if you do not confess their confession, you will suffer eternal punishment.

The apostles didn't have creeds. Yahshua didn't teach a magical incantation. Yahshua showed us a living faith in the Living God, a faith evidenced by mighty works, love, forgiveness, wisdom, obedience, self-control, patience, humility, suffering, compassion, and kindness.

Will the possession of the right doctrines matter much in the end? Only God knows. But, who was more righteous: the Samaritan (who at that time would be dispised for his doctrine) that helped the man who was half dead in the road, or the priest and levite that passed him by?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Speaking Of The Devil

There is a children's song (I don't know the title) in which the lyrics say: "If the sinner's in the road, I will scoop and pick him up... if the devil's in the road I will run right over him."

Kids like this song because when they get to the last verse, they stomp across the room gleefully pretending to run over the devil. The last verse of this song bothers me quite a bit. I ask myself if this is really the attitude that we should have and promote? Clearly we should resist the devil, but should we gleefully trample on him? I think of Yahshua (Jesus) during his temptation. He met the devil in the road and what did Yahshua do? He had a conversation with him!

Peter writes in 2 Pet 2:10-11: "Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgement against them before the Lord."

And Jude writes in verse 9: "But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgement, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!' "

If the highest angels don't even speak against the devil, why do some people feel we should gleefully trample him? Some will say: "but we will bruise the snakes head, we will tread on snakes and scorpians, we will judge the angels." If we do all those things, we should not do it with glee but with mercy, humility and perhaps even sorrow. We should beware that we ourselves do not become the accuser and revel in the demise of others, because in so doing we become satan and condemn ourselves.

Today, I was looking at comments regarding Ariel Sharon's state of health and was disturbed to see the glee of some people, including Christians, with which they condemn him. Reading their comments made me think of those lyrics...

Their comments also made me think of Yahshua on his way to the cross. Those who condemned him thought he was their enemy, they spat on him and mocked him with glee, unaware that he had come to bring faith, hope and life. Yahshua did not ask for retributions, but prayed that they be forgiven. There were also two others hanging beside Yahshua, the one gleefully mocking even as he suffered a similar death, and the other humble and merciful. We should reflect on our own attitudes, and pray that we possess the attitude of the God fearing criminal.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

God's Wrath?

I can't say that I have personally received any revelations that imply that this is the case. The truth is that PM Sharon is very old, and it wouldn't take a prophet to say that he is near to death, stroke or no stroke. Also, PM Sharon has a multitude of trouble in his lap. For him, death may be more of a blessing than a curse. He is under constant threat of money related corruption charges; he (and his nation) is hated by nearly every neighboring nation, including the one unofficial nation within its own boarder; nearly every other nation is telling him what to do; and, over a third (my own estimate which might be off by a few % points) of his own nation is highly pissed off at him; Although I doubt that PM Sharon's illness is an illusion, if I were him, I might arrange my own apparent death!

If Ariel Sharon really is on the brink of death as a result of his decisions regarding 'The Land,' then so are many other people. Ariel Sharon is a politician. Although he may at times promote his own ideas, many of his actions are shaped by his populace and by pressures from other nations, especially those with more power and influence than his own. The most obvious influence on Israeli politics is the USA, a nation which some Israeli's even look to as their savior. I would not at all be surprised if our government (USA) were even forcing Ariel Sharon with evidence of his 'corruptions' to withdraw from Gaza. Our nation is just as responsible -if not more responsible- for partitioning Israel than Ariel Sharon is.

Israel was commanded to not make covenants with other nations, but to rely on YHVH. Everytime Israel went to another nation for protection, trusting in the might of their chariots and horsemen, Israel was torn apart, exiled and desolated. Eventually the nations that they covenanted with became their enemies. The United States is playing the dangerous role of Israel's savior. History shows that Israel's hope in another nation is misplaced, and it is only a matter of time before the US turns against them like a rabid dog.

In Scripture, there are blessings for obedience and curses (woes) for disobedience in both the Old and New Testament. Yet, the rain falls on the just and the unjust, and even the lives of the righteous end in death. Perhaps there are times when the righteous are delivered as Lot was from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; but, there are also times when distress, death and terror fall on those who have not sown unrighteousness. It seems to me that YHVH is often recorded as warning the objects of his wrath in advance so that they might have the opportunity to repent; when they continued in their sins and wrath then came, they would know that it is YHVH who is God. The righteous who lived cursed lives gain a greater reward; and the wicked who have been blessed in this life will receive no mercy when they wake from death. Although YHVH can reveal his might by destroying a life, a city or a nation, He also reveals it through salvation.

There are difficult times ahead for everyone. Each day brings us closer to "The day of wrath," "The day of the LORD." We aren't going to be wisked away from trouble, but we will perservere through it. Some will be killed, some others will be tortured. Those who are killed and tortured, those who have already suffered, do not do so as a result of their sins. But when "The Day" finally comes, it will not be a day of wrath for those who love Him. It will be a day of rest.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Ariel Sharon and God's Wrath?

While Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister of Israel, lies dying in a hospital, Pat Robertson anounces to the world that PM Sharon's almost certain death is the wrath of God on PM Sharon for kicking Jews out of Gaza and giving part of the land to Palestinians. Meanwhile, many christians are engaging in damage control so their image of their non-judgemental religion/God does not topple. One Christian commentator quoting scripture stated in rebuke of Pat Robertson that no one knows the judgements of God.

There are at least four issues I could discuss in regards to these current events. Is Ariel Sharon being punished? Why was it okay for prophets announce an event as being a judgement, if no one knows the judgements of God? Is it wrong for Israel to split the land? If Ariel Sharon is being punished, what about the USA since our government is pushing Israel to create a Palestinian State? Is the USA being judged (hurricanes, fires, landslides, recession, inflation, etc)? Does YHVH punish/discipline people during their lifetime? Does YHVH only bring judgement on non-believers in their lifetime? How does one define "believer?" Does YHVH judge believers ever? What are His standards? Are the standards for believers, different than those of non-believers? Do I ask too many questions? I think I just listed more than four issues. I can't decide which one to start on. Leave a comment if you have a preference. I may write regarding one or more of the above questions next time.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Thus Saith Someone: Thou Shalt Call the Sun 'Jesus' and He Who Doth Not Observe The Winter Solstice Shall Be Condemned

Four years ago, my husband and I concluded that the roots of Christmas regardless of the sales pitch is not Christian. Even before that, we began to dispose of the obvious pagan practices in which many people unknowingly participate during this time of the returning of the sun. I won't bother to lay out the details or the history of the Sol Invictus and similar pagan holy days centered around the solstice, nor will I bother to explain how these pagan practices became integrated into Christianity. This information is easily found via numerous sources, and information on its origins are even published in newspapers during the holiday season.

Every year I am amazed and hurt at how much other Christians judge us for the decision we made. Its ironic that these who judge us go on to accuse us of forsaking grace and being bound by law. By what law do they judge us? Where is their grace? These people are the ones who are bound, not us. And, if I were to be bound, I'd rather be bound by loving commands given by our Heavenly Father, than by the traditions and expectation of the masses. We desire to serve YHVH with all our hearts, minds and souls; to do what is pleasing in His sight because He loves us. We can show our love in return by seeking and doing his will. Not our will, but His be done.

In this season I truly feel like a stranger in this world, and know what it means to be in the world, but not of it.