Archive for the ‘Cults’ Category

Accountability, foreknowledge, free will, and Judas are topics, today, along with more on snake handling.  The “Yahoo! Answers” writer using ID “heart” (Level 6 with 15,519 points, a member since November 24, 2007) posted the following:

 

Wasn’t Judas just doing God’s plan?

ok follow me please..Judas. He betrayed Jesus then killed himself. Jesus KNEW that was going to happen (him hanging himself, then Jesus being imprisoned and crucified) but that’s what was supposed to happen right? I mean if you think about it, Judas sacrificed his life like Jesus did because someone had to betray Jesus in order for him to go on the cross to die for everyone’s sins right??

 

THE BATTLE AXE:  Snake Handling? (02/19/2014)—Prophetic demonstrations are a series of actions and nonverbal presentations used by a spokesperson from GOD to proclaim a divine message, and may use gestures, movements, objects arranged in patterns, and symbols in the place of words.  Miracles and signs are sacred events performed by GOD, and through operations of the Holy Spirit, and are not continuing and regularly scheduled sacred practices of men.  Also, Faith cometh  by hearing, and hearing by the word of GOD.  Thus, apart from the word, snake handling is no different than snake charming (a natural process of the material world), and at its best is only a “good work” that can not serve as the foundation of ones salvation.  Miracles and signs do not edify (build up) as do sacred law and prophecy.  Demonstrations of boldness and confidence that oppose the natural order may increase doubt, fear, and uncertainty without also imparting spirit content from Christ.  Where there is no word from GOD, there should be no confirmation that follows.  See Deuteronomy 13:  1-3, Psalms 78:  31-39, John 10:  36-38, Ezekiel 4:  1-17, Acts 28:  1-6, Matthew 16:  1-4 and John 3:  11-12, King James Version.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:  the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.  But there are some of you that believe not.  For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.  And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?  Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.  And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.  Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?  He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon:  for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.  (John 6:  63-71, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Resisting Sin (12/21/2013); When People Covet (12/22/2013); Freewill is Finite (06/30/2013);  GOD Intervenes? (07/01/2013); GOD Knows Tomorrow? (04/12/2013); Did Jesus Know? (12/22/2012); The True Miracle (12/23/2012)

 

“heart”, here are a few points to consider that agree with Christian belief, and fit with the full system that makes up the Gospel:

(1.)  Divine foreknowledge of human events pertain to the operations of GOD among created beings and living creatures, and to the fulfillment of eternal purpose.  It works the same way all Americans now know a new President will be chosen on a specific Tuesday, in November of a forthcoming year, and may determine exactly when by looking at their calendars, yet, have no knowledge of actual details on whom the Nation’s choice will be (e.g., age, eye color, height, marital status, name, party affiliation) until that time.

(2.)  Angels are not mortal, are not omniscient (all-knowing), and may only decide the future as do men, by establishing consequences and effects from their actions and choices.  Only GOD who is a spirit  is immortal, incorruptible and unchanging.  Believers may speak of the foreknowledge of GOD as an aspect of divine will (specifically intent, law, purpose, the sanctions of the law), proclamation, and prophecy.  In this sense, Adam knew death would come upon mankind before the pair laid eyes upon the fruit; and Jesus knew both mankind, and all the things he must do to fulfill his ministry.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (3.)  Foolish men and angels lacking necessary endowments from GOD, insist upon a “free will” that allows disruption of divine order, the annulling of GOD’s will, and the termination of their own existence as an aspect of the divine person revealed.  The many non-negotiable conditions for mankind’s continued awareness and being as created include being cold in snow, and wet in rain.  There is no free will; and the plans of any to set aside divine love, final judgment, and sacred truth only come by lack of imparted spirit content from GOD.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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      Sins of ignorance, the misuse of freedom, and widespread spiritual confusion are the focus of today’s presentation. Also, there is more on cults.

THE BATTLE AXE: On Cults (08/30/2012)—Religious sects are different from cults. Sects are products of schism within an orthodox body, and therefore maintain great continuity with traditional beliefs and practices. Cults are held to arise spontaneously around novel beliefs and practices. Because cults may feature the use of devices associated with traditional religion (such as dogma, imagery, language formulas, and ritual drama), these relatively small groups may be labeled as believers at the forefront of new religious movements. For many the core issues in the discussion of cults are merely the “sensational” aspects described in the media: (1) their reliance upon intimidation; (2) their adoption of paramilitary models with stockpiling and use of weapons for self-defense; (3) their use of “mind control” techniques; and (4) their finish through mass suicide. Cults generally lack the comprehensive doctrine, history, sacred purpose, and spiritual benefit provided through the church created by Jesus Christ. At best, cults fulfill intense, yet, temporary emotional, psychological, and social needs.

THE GOLDEN ARROW: And the man Micah had a house of gods, and he made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. In those days there was no king in Israel: but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. (Judges 17: 5-6, King James Version)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: On Cults (08/30/2012); On Religious Items (08/29/2012); Set Free To… (03/27/2012); Bad Knowledge? (02/05/2011); Responsibility? (01/25/2011)

      One of the most startling accounts of mankind’s need for divine presence and a holy ministry to dispel spiritual confusion is recorded in the Book of Judges, Chapter 17. There, a man named Micah, a descendant of Joseph, from the tribe of Ephraim, resolves a dispute with his mother. When 1100 pieces of her silver were taken from her, she began to call down curses upon the thief, not knowing, her son was the person responsible. When he “confesses” and restores the money, his mother is pleased, and calls to Jehovah for a blessing upon her son. More than this, she dedicates the silver to Jehovah to be used to make a graven image. The molten image is then displayed in a chapel or shrine along with teraphim (small idols representing gods believed to protect ones household gods), and an ephod, (a holy garment to be worn only by those anointed as priests, and a feature in the regalia of the high priest).

      More than simply an account of a dysfunctional family (where a son steals from his mother’s purse to buy cigarettes or marijuana), or an incidence of flagrant idol worship among the covenant people, we are given a description of sins that result through ambition, including one man’s desire to establish his own household as an independent worship unit. Many factors are important to explaining how this could come about: (1) there was no central authority (a king) to enforce uniform obedience to covenant law throughout the many regions and local areas; (2) Levites had no authority except when serving at the Tabernacle. The Levites were dispersed in their cities, suburbs, and fields, going to the Tabernacle only occasionally as scheduled for their service; (3) the priesthood and those of the Tabernacle were both too far away (i.e., remote), and the focus of sacrificial service did not permit continual oversight upon developments within the twelve tribes; (4) the people were ignorant of the law, and were not regularly instructed, or given correction regarding even the most basic commandments forbidding idolatry; and (5) the tradition of Judges sent by GOD (usually following visitations) did not focus upon declaring divine law, or administering ordinances and statutes associated with the covenant so much as upon the deliverance and survival of Israel when threatened by the enemies of GOD.

      When a young Levite, who had left the portion donated to his family in Judah appeared in the hill country of Ephraim, Micah offered to exalt him as father and priest, to provide him with priestly regalia, to give meals and housing, and to pay him 10 pieces of silver per year. Next, Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. The account concludes: Then said Micah, Now know I that Jehovah will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest (Judges 17: 13).

      Those who assume, like Micah, that we may bargain for, buy, control, and possess divine blessings, or purchase the holy provisions for deliverance, redemption and salvation from GOD using our material goods, operate in gross spiritual confusion. When every man does “what is right in his own eyes,” rather than conform to faith as spirit-content imparted from GOD, he becomes blind to the extreme, yet subtle workings of his own appetite, desire, fantasy and imagination. Rightly understood, “religious liberty” means strictly conforming to models given by GOD, and dutifully performing sacred tasks that are assigned. Micah may have had no deliberate intent to challenge GOD, to disobey, or rebel; and Micah was overjoyed to have finally secured for himself and his own household a believer’s most coveted condition and tool, a direct access to Jehovah GOD. However, in ignorance, Micah and all the others had behaved as lawless and irreverent, thoroughly violating the covenant and its primary laws.

      There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, spiritual confusion appears wherever divine law, the sacred spirit, and the holy word of GOD are not consistently relied upon to have power over awareness, and to moderate discernment. Lacking all of these three in proper measure, at no time did Micah recognize that he himself was being rogue and was behaving as a renegade. While every prophet or spokesperson from GOD also had authority to offer sacrifices for sins, only the priests serving the Tabernacle (and later, Temple) were approved to make acceptable holy offerings.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

      Considered today are cults, the benefits of wearing religious items on ones person, and the spiritual issues of owning manufactured tools and technology. A “Yahoo! Answers” writer using the ID “foxy_R” (Level 1 with 210 points, member since June 24, 2006) posted the following:

When does religion become a cult ?

I know this question will anger some, I am really sorry it’s not ment to. My little sister has joined a religious group through school and in the last 6 months has started to spiral out of controll. We were brought up religious, church on Sundays, ect. Now she is throwing all her things out, she said she is not suppose to have worldly possessions. She broke up with her BF of almost 2 yrs,and has stopped being friends with 90% of her friends because they are “non believers” (even if they are religious) she has to read and write bible verses every day. singing and dancing are sins. I just want my fun loving sister back but the more we try to steer her from this group the more she considers us the enemy. Any suggestions?????

THE BATTLE AXE: On Religious Items (08/29/2012)—Men and women take comfort from many objects used to reinforce awareness of doctrines and teachings of various belief systems. Included are depictions of angels, medals, rosaries, mezuzahs, phylacteries, and prayer rugs. Amulets, good luck charms, and talismans are associated with magic and witchcraft, and not with Christian belief. As such, these are objects that reinforce the superstitious idea that a person is endowed with a unique quality (i.e., luck) that enables them to influence the outcome of events, and that maneuvers every result to their benefit and favor. As an instance of power that is not derived through the Spirit of GOD, luck is to be classed with charms, deceits, enchantments, and spells promoted by demons and devils. In the same way money is an idol in the lives of many, drugs, guns, sex, and other people (for example, celebrities, ones children, ones spouse, ones employer) become idols, because fear and desire distort their true usefulness and value making them appear “all powerful,” controlling, and sovereign over life and death. Those who exaggerate the importance of body parts (breasts, buttocks, penis, etc.) also practice a form of idolatry no different than worship of the lingam, phallic worship, and worship of the yoni. Consecrated items (e.g., the rod of GOD used by Moses; the flesh hooks, ladles, gold and silver vessels, and other utensils used in service at the altar of sacrifice; the holy ground of Tabernacle and Temple) at first were common, and became holy only in the sense that they were to function strictly in divine service. Similarly, a man or woman is holy only to the extent they are filled with the imparted, indwelling spirit from GOD, function fulfilling sacred purposes, and make the Divine Person present and visible. Christians are correct to respect manufactured tools, and to carefully clean, estimate their value, store, and use them as needed. Included are automobiles, cell phones, computers, firearms, recording devices and televisions. Christians may occasionally wear festive clothing and jewelry; however, women are specially cautioned to never be without the adornment of a spirit that is quiet, and ready to receive instruction from GOD (1st Peter 3: 1-6, King James Version).

THE GOLDEN ARROW: The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10: 24-28, King James Version)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Mixing Islam and Christianity (03/26/2012); Girdle 3: Through The Fire (11/18/2011); Dispatch 44: Just A Closer Walk (09/23/2011); To Do His Will? (01/31/2011); Chewing Gum? (01/30/2011)

      While cults may be characterized by dietary laws, dress codes and strict social discipline, the elements that actually mark a group as a cult are its (1) departures from, and exaggerated focus upon selected doctrines and teachings of established belief systems; (2) dependence upon the human characteristics and personality of its leaders–as distinct from their spiritual anointing or divine endowment–who are typically aggressive, combative and defensive; (3) isolation and “quarantine” of its believers in communes, gated communities and “secure” facilities; (4) imbalance between recruitment programs and outreach or service programs for the larger community; (5) efforts to manufacture experiences of divine presence; and (6) that members are not entitled to leave the group.

      Generally, cults do not come under organized campaigns of attack by “mainstream” religious groups. Churches, synagogues and others dismiss their members who drop out to join cults as being apostates, heretics or simply immature and irresponsible persons. The cult is held to be a temporary phenomenon that cannot prosper, or be self-sustaining. Nevertheless, because they are seen as attacks upon civil law, “common sense” practice, customs, and tradition, cults quickly come under the condemnation of communities where they spring up.

      There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, to the extent a cult maintains rules of secrecy they will be characterized as endorsing occult practices, superstition and unbelief. Also, while members of cults may be required to participate in fund raising activity, information regarding income, expenses, and the distribution of money are not routinely shared with donors, members, or government tax authorities.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIXWashington, DC