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It's the year 2012, God wakes you at 3:00 in the morning: says "quickly, write this down, I am coming shortly, tell your loved ones my coming is at hand, make sure they understand it's soon, convince them that it is nigh and near, even in this generation, tell them it is the last hour and these are the last days.
Do you roll over and go back to sleep, thinking it might occur in the year 4,012?
This scenario demonstrates precisely what modern / mainstream / traditional Christianity has done with the Last Days/End Times prophecies in the Bible.
As I reflect on all my years of study in the scriptures, I have to ask a question; where did Christianity get off course? How is it that a religion of love, peace, and tolerance, could have produced the bloody history the world has witnessed of, and in Christianity?
I’ve dedicated the better part of the last 10 years of my life trying to show people the answer to this question. I’ve alienated family and friend in this pursuit, and have been called every name in the book.
An End Times Parable?
The Old Testament speaks of the reunification of the Northern Tribes (House of Israel) with the Southern Tribes (House of Judah) and the New Testament speaks greatly to the removal of distinction between Jew and Gentile; and I'm really surprised more don't see this connection, as each being the other!
I believe what happened in the 1st century was the Bible's "Last Days" but all too often, man confuses these end times to be about things to occur in our own future.
The End Times is a Parable; it uses many physical (temporal) realities, to demonstrate spiritual (eternal) truths. These scriptures clearly show the re-unification of the divided house of Israel, and Jew and Gentile are one (as scripture promised) but the spiritual truth of this parable is the "reconciling of all things" to God.
The Creation and its Creator are one, but most live in denial, confusion, or disbelief of, and even aggression against, this reality.
Mankind can, and most certainly will, argue and quarrel over the details, specifics, and minutia, for as long as he exists on earth.
We can deny the truth, as well as accept a lie, but neither creates its opposite. An accepted lie is not truth, any more than a denied truth can be a confirmed lie........
Christianity lives in the perpetual state of believing the world is in the last days of human history, and as each generation passes, believing the world is in the worst shape it’s ever been in, they long for a coming of a Messiah who will relieve them of all their worldly suffering.
They yearn for the day when humans will no longer experience; sorrow, violence, tears, and death. While I share in their longing for brighter days and a better world, mankind is never promised these things in scripture.
Infiltration, subversion, and invasion; this is where I believe Christianity began to get off course, and we’re even shown this within these same scriptures from which I speak of.
Galatians 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privately to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
The Book of Galatians is written to a specific body of people, who had been introduced to a new way of living, which had been designed to free them from the rigors of an oppressive system, in which they were seen as inferior to the ruling party.
This new system of belief was not new in that it didn’t exist prior, but in that it brought about a new way of thinking, living, and believing, that was seen as a threat by those who then had to use trickery and deceit to infiltrate, and attempt to subvert its adherents back under their previous system of bondage.
From Genesis to Revelation, what we witness in this book we call the “Holy Bible” is the ever contrasting struggle between what God has purposed, and what man evinces. We see this duality expressed in many ways; good versus evil, sin versus righteousness, right versus wrong, etc… and this is the ever present plight with which we are faced.
Much of the world views the totality of scripture as depicting a story of a small and secluded group of people, in contrast to the rest of humanity.
In many ways, and through numerous religions, we are taught that God favors a select people, and while it is his desire or will that the balance of humanity would adopt, adapt, or convert to becoming as this select group, it is this balance of humanity that is inevitably resigned to either complete destruction, or an eternal conscious existence apart from him.
It is supposedly in these ever looming, imminent last days, or end times, where these two groups; wheat and tares, sheep and goats, etc… are at last separated from one another for all eternity; but is this message actually found within the words and works of this tremendous book we call the Bible? I must answer with an emphatic no!
Whether it be viewed through the Old Testament, New Testament, or a combination of the two, phrases such as; latter end, latter time, last time, or even last days, we are consistently taught by our modern doomsday preachers, prophets and prognosticators, that these (and other) phrases refer to this end of humanity, the end of time, and the end of this world we live in, as well as the end of all things bad, evil, or even sinful.
A mere cursory reading of these phrases in scripture should immediately demonstrate this is not the case.
Within Christianity, this doctrine or teaching of the last days/end times is really not so dissimilar from what the Israelites were expecting in the first century, when they had heard that their Messiah had finally arrived.
Just as those 1st century Israelites who had rejected the notion that this Jesus of Nazareth could have been the long awaited and prophesied Messiah, because he did not come as a conquering king and liberate them from their Roman oppressors, fundamental Christianity teaches and believes that at some coming/return of Jesus, he will then relieve mankind of the worldly/secular powers, that rule and reign over them.
1st Samuel, Chapter 8 introduces us to what I believe to be a sobering reminder of what fundamental Christianity has done, and why it has failed in its mission, message, and purpose.
“And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto you. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said this will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and you shall be his servants. And you shall cry out in that day because of your king which you shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and appoint them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go you every man unto his city”
Israel had reached a point where they no longer trusted in God, and demanded a king so that they could be like all the other nations. Even after hearing what a cruel tyrant this king would be, they insisted on this earthly king, rather than the God of all creation.
This situation is eerily reminiscent of the 1st century Israelites who had cried “We have no king but Caesar” and is likewise seen throughout much of the history of Christianity, in the Pope, Preacher, Priest, Prince, President, or Prime Minister.
As Galatians 2:4 shows us, Christianity was viewed as a threat; and as we approach the year 2013, not much has changed. One merely need remind themselves of the writer of most of the books of the New Testament, before his experience on the road to Damascus.
Acts 9:1-2 “And Saul, yet breathing out threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem”
Saul had been raised according to the customs, traditions, and religious system, which centered on the Temple in Jerusalem, with its Synagogues, Priesthood, Sacrificial system, and Law; and which was overseen by the local governing body, comprised of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Acts 26:1-5 “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, you are permitted to speak for yourself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before you touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: Especially because I know you to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech you to hear me patiently. My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straightest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee”
With few exceptions, the Institutional Church (IC) of Christianity remains much the same as this 1st century (and prior) model that many are lead to believe was made null and void by the onset of this new faith called Christianity.
With more than 38,000 denominations of Christianity worldwide; the differences of which could not be catalogued in one book, the Clergy has replaced the Levitical Priesthood, Church buildings replace the Synagogues, Liturgies (writings) replace the written law, and Christianity even has its high-holy days.
Christianity as we see it today is not what this man Jesus, or his 1st century followers, had in mind. Christ referred to himself as “The Way” (John 14:6) to the Father, and man has made a religion out of that, and an Idol out of him.
Something has gone terribly wrong, but what, and how did it get so wrong?
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