In the Name of Faith: Don't Let the Misguided Turn You From God

People let men who claim to speak the word of God turn them from the actual Word of God.
I've seen people do some crazy things "in the name of faith." From jihadists to klansmen to Westboro Baptist Church. During the age of slavery, both slave and master sat in the pews on Sunday shouting and singing praise to God. So when you combine that with basic Biblical prophecy, it's not surprising that there is a multitude of people that not only don't believe in God, but cite the actions of those who weren't even following God's Word as the source of their disbelief. They don't see how slave and master can worship the same God (there's a meme to that extent somewhere). Some want to know "if God's so good, why did He allow [insert some tragedy]." I know people like this, and it hurts my heart every time I see a Facebook comment or hear a snide comment where they insult, demote, and essentially blaspheme the name of God. I feel bad for these people because they let someone's misuse of the name of God turn them from God. One thing I've noticed is that those that are running them from God are not so different than those that are being driven from God. It all stems from a lack of understanding what the Word of God actually says. At the end of the day you have people saying "God said" this and that, which is either only part of what God said or something He never said at all, and people saying they can't worship a god that would promote this and that. Atheists tend to bring a powerful punch to professing Christians by way of verses that the church never mentions, and said Christians either talk themselves into a hole looking foolish or jump on the atheist train. The truth is, a lot of Christians don't read their Bibles (this was a problem even in Jesus' day, re: Matthew 22:29); most Christians I know quantify their faith by their church attendance record (even though this is not required by Jesus at all). The New Testament constantly repeats the warning "do not be deceived" for a reason. Here we are in the last days and we have deception everywhere; atheists think Christians are deceived, Christians think the antichrist will be an atheist (or a muslim). It's quite the raging debate with misinterpretation, misquoting, and naturally, deception on both sides of the arguments. Below is some food for thought.

Quoting one or two verses can be dangerous

I don't know if this notion came from greeting cards, laziness, or preachers (they tend to do this a lot, that I've noticed), but this is not the proper way to read or understand the Bible. For starters, the verse numberings were not there originally. Stephen Langton added chapters to the books in 1227ad and Robert Stephanus added verse numbering in 1551[1][2]. The authors of the books did not intend for you to read one verse and draw a conclusion. This is how much of God's word gets perverted. Also, it is necessary to remember that the Bible's purpose is not merely to tell believers how to act, but tell them what is to come. From the first foreshadowing of Jesus in Genesis 3:15 all the way through Revelation, the Bible is meant to serve as a battle plan for surviving the reign of the antichrist. Think about it, if you know the enemy's battle plan, and you want to tell your army so they can stay out of harms way, are you going to put it in plain English in a publicly accessible place? "Dear followers, the enemy will come to your door at 5pm on June 12, 1512; do not answer." That would be a horrible message! The enemy would see it, know that you were expecting them, and show up earlier or later or somewhere else all together. Every war has encrypted messages. Similarly, the Bible is meant to be read as a whole; passages from the Old Testament and New Testament, from one book to another book, combined form the message. A complete understanding of the Word can only come from a thorough and intensive study of God's Word (this includes comparing translations and being knowledgable about secular history). One chapter in one book is not necessarily enough to make conclusion. Often people do this (myself included) to reference a particular point; it is difficult to quote an entire chapter when one verse summarizes the point being made. However, sometimes it's done to falsely promote an unsupported claim. If you are given verses, it is necessary to read the verses surrounding that verse as well as other passages relating to that topic to conclude meaning.

Examples

During slavery, slave masters quoted Ephesians 6:5 to "tame" their slaves and to attempt to convince them that it was God's will that they be beat and brutalized.
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;Ephesians 6:5 KJV
Yet, this is an incomplete thought. The passage continues talking about the relationship of slaves and masters:
6Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 9And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.Ephesians 6:6-9 KJV
Similarly, the same slave master perverted the Curse of Canaan into a curse on Ham that was meant to support the claim that Africans were inferior as Africans are descendants of Ham's sons Cush (sub-Saharan), Mizraim (Egyptian), and Phut (Northern Africa). This isn't supported by the Bible as it is Canaan who is cursed, not Ham. Canaan was the father of the Canaanites who would be Arab in appearance, not African. Interestingly, the same people who condemn the Bible for the White slave owners' misuse of these passages openly embrace evolution, the starting point of eugenics and Darwinism which is the actual basis for the claim that Africans are inferior (you know, the idea that Africans are closer to apes and Whites are the more evolved race)...

Westboro Baptist Church is particularly guilty of twisting Bible verses into malicious attacks that aren't supported by the Bible with their "God hates [insert person or group]" signs. Psalm 45:7 says to hate wickedness, not the wicked—love the sinner, not the sin for we are all sinners and have fallen short of God's law. 1 John 4:20 also confirms that as people we are not to hate people, so any church or Christian who says they hate someone is not speaking the Word of God.
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?1 John 4:20 KJV
I could go on and on with examples, but instead, I'll encourage you to read for yourself (or check out some of the posts on the site, I may have covered more verses somewhere else).

There are no holidays in Christianity

I've heard non-believers try to disprove Christianity by attacking Christmas and Easter. Many Christians will muster up some arguments to attempt to defend their faith, but the truth is both Christmas and Easter are pagan holidays and neither are given as holidays in the Bible. They are both the work deception that has entered the church so that Satan can convince Christians to do the things God continuously declares He hates—worship other gods and participate in paganism.

Christmas

I know, I know: Luke 2. I use to have this whole chapter memorized word for word, as we rehearsed it so much for the Christmas play during my childhood. Tradition has taught Christians that Christmas is synonymous with Jesus' birth; they often say "Jesus is the reason for the season." The first thing I'll point out: if you go back to Exodus and Leviticus where the Jewish Feasts and Passover are discussed, there is a direct command from God to keep those holidays (called holy days, hence the origin of the word holiday) along with punishments for those who fail to do so. Those holidays were part of the covenant between God and Israel. Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus command us to keep His birthday or His resurrection as a holiday. Furthermore, in describing the holidays of the Old Testament, God also gives them a timeline: do this on the first day, prepare this on the second day, etc. Again, nowhere in the New Testament do Jesus say string lights, hoist up a tree, decorate it, act out/retell the story of His birth, and give each other presents. To top it all off, Jesus was not born on December 25. While scholars can't agree on when He was born due to scarcity of records and conflicts between known records, everyone agrees He was not born in December, let alone on December 25[3]. Do you know who was born on December 25? Tammuz, the a pagan god mentioned in Ezekiel 8. It's no coincidence that Satan maneuvered Christians into celebrating a pagan god in place of Jesus. I'm working on a dedicated post on this topic, because there's far too much to discuss here. In short, any Christian who comes up with a defense for Christmas should reread and do some studying, and any non-believer who argues that this pagan holiday proves or disproves anything related to the authenticity of Jesus and the Bible should do the same.

Easter

If the bunny and the eggs didn't give it away (notice how both Easter and Christmas coincide with festivals/practices that clearly have nothing to do with what Christians claim the holiday is for?), the date should have. Easter, the pagan holiday named for the goddess of fertility (hence the bunnies and eggs) occurs in conjunction with the Spring Equinox. Thus the date for the holiday is set by this celestial occurrence. The resurrection of Christ, however, is tied to the Passover. Jesus' crucifixion takes the place of the Passover lamb; this timing is what grants us repentance through Jesus and absolves us from continuing to make sacrifices. The Spring Equinox has nothing to do with the Passover, so you will notice that while in some years Easter and the Passover coincide, most years, the Passover can occur before or after Easter. Also, as touched on above, there is no explicit command from Jesus to honor the day of His resurrection as a holiday.

Moral Laws vs. Judicial Laws

I have a post on laws, found here, but I'll touch on it briefly here. There are multiple types of laws in the Old Testament: moral, judicial, and ceremonial. In dying for our sins, Jesus eliminated the need to atone for our sins (ceremonial laws) and bought us forgiveness so that we don't need to be punished according to the judicial laws. This doesn't mean that the moral laws were done away with. If it was wrong before, it's still wrong—it just means you can be forgiven for it, you don't have to sacrifice a cow, and you don't have to be put to death. Therefore, if someone cites something as morally wrong from a verse in Leviticus, replying that they must also agree that women who engage in premarital sex should be stoned is an invalid argument. However, arguing that they should agree that premarital sex is also forbidden is a valid argument. All sins (except blasphemy against God) are forgivable and we've all committed multiple sins, thus no one is better than another on the sin front.
Judge not, that ye be not judged.Matthew 7:1 KJV

God did not create evil

People say if God is the Creator of all, then He created evil, and thus He can't be good. Like the quote that is often misattributed to Albert Enstein[4], evil is merely the absence of God, just like cold is the absence of heat, and dark is the absence of light (remember on the first day God created light, then divided light from dark—He never created dark, the dark was already there and could only be separated as a consequence of Him creating light). Evil was born of God creating life with free will. In giving us free will, He allowed us to choose Him (good), or to reject Him (evil). We created evil by rejecting Him. Further, we would be mindless slaves (which would err on the side of evil) if He had not given us this choice.

Satan controls the world

Satan was cast down from Heaven, not to the lake of fire or to Hell (he won't receive his punishment until the end of the world), but to Earth. Satan may not be God but he isn't human either. Revelation and all passages discussing the end times tell us that the antichrist and Satan are in control of the world. People ask why God let this or that happened, God isn't ruling this world because we rejected Him. People want to know why God allowed people to shoot up schools after they made it illegal to pray or mention God in the classroom. In Exodus, He tells the Israelites He will be on their side if they keep His commandments. He becomes angry at the Israelites for tempting Him in the desert. His Word already foretold that bad things would happen before He came back to fix it all; yes it will get worse before it gets better.

The antichrist will come by peace

The whole good and evil concept is extremely mangled, I'd say. People are expecting the devil to be some horned red guy and the antichrist to be obviously evil. Satan is a fallen angel—he is beautiful and he is a master deceiver. His crime is not that he went out and killed 1/3 of the angels or mankind. His crime is that he wants to be God. All verses that discuss the antichrist and Satan portray him as a cunning, master deceiver who will take the world by peace. The antichrist is not the one saying load up your guns, lets create anarchy. Just like Hitler, the antichrist will take his crown peacefully, fooling most of the world; many will not realize his true nature until the end. Revelation 13 tells us the whole world will to marvel at the antichrist. Daniel 11 reiterates that the antichrist will snake his way to power under the guise of peace then trample the world. All that glitters isn't gold, people. Just because it sounds nice and seems like it would create a nice peace in the world doesn't mean its good. The only person who can bring peace to this world is Jesus and He's coming back to destroy it.
And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.Daniel 11:21 KJV

Being a sinner doesn't make you evil

Everyone has sinned, some repent, some do not, but we've all sinned. Society is all kind of confused when it comes to good and evil—we want clear black and white lines that state someone is a good person or a bad person, but that's not how life works, and that's not how life is depicted even in the Bible. Plenty of God's chosen people fell short of His glory—Abraham was a habitual liar, Moses doubted and killed a man. What set these people apart was their faith in God and their desire to follow him regardless of what it would cost them. Similarly there are people who are wonderful humanitarians that don't believe in God. Just because someone is gay, engages in premarital sex, eats unclean meat, covets, doesn't believe in God, etc. doesn't mean they can't and won't contribute good in the world or that they can't do good things. It doesn't necessarily mean they won't go to heaven either, as all sins are forgiven by the blood of Christ (except blasphemy). Since, we all sin in some way or another, the only thing that sets us apart is our faith. A non-believer can be a great worldly person, their name just won't be written in the Book of Life.

The Nature of Hell

Now, I know you non-believers are going to jump to "well if they're a good person why should they go to Hell and suffer simply because they didn't believe?" There are three points to be made to answer this question. Entry to Heaven is not granted by good works, it's granted by faith. Why is faith important? Because it's much harder to have faith than to be good. If I see you in pain, my instinct is to help not to laugh at you. Compassion is a natural instinct. However, when things aren't going your way, trusting in someone you can't see or hear is not a natural instinct. Faith is what holds a marriage together—each person has faith in the other, trusts the other to be faithful, and chooses to stay with that person no matter what happens. Have you seen the divorce rate in America? Furthermore, followers of Christ are collectively referred to as the bride of Christ in the Bible. I can be nice to you, give you money, donate my time to help you, and still not love or respect God—why would He want me in His home if I neither love, respect, nor trusted Him. God wants you to choose Him, to love Him, to trust Him, and to respect Him—of your own free will—this is not directly tied to your good works (though if you truly love God, you will love His creations and thus you will be as good a person as you can). Yet, the most important point is that Hell, in the sense that most people portray it, doesn't exist. Only those who believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save us from our sins will be granted eternal life (John 3:16). Therefore, if you don't believe that Jesus is Savior, you can't be tormented for all eternity because you don't have eternal life! Note in Revelation, Jesus raises His followers who have died along with taking those who survived to the end of the world. Satan, the false prophet, and the beast (Satan's counterfeit trinity) are said to burn forever—becasue they know Jesus is risen, and obviously Satan already is immortal as an angel. Anyone who knows or believes Jesus was resurrected but chooses not to follow Him, would share this fate.
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.Revelation 20:10 KJV
13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.Revelation 20:13-15 KJV
Revelation 20 tells us those who believe in Christ will be raised first, they will live in Heaven; but those that are raised from the dead second will be judged according to their works. Those whose names are not in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire, where they will die (the second death). Note it does not say they will burn forever and ever. In reference to the phrasing of being judged according to their works, remember that the price of sin, even one sin (remember Adam and Eve only committed that one sin before they were stripped of the garden and death entered the world), is death. So, no matter how many great deeds have been done, if you have not redeemed yourself through Christ, you will be resurrected in this second resurrection, and you will die. Jesus discusses the need to go through Him to enter the Kingdom of Heaven in John 10.

The Bible says insects have 4 legs

One of the popular methods of atheists and agnostics to attempt to disprove the Bible is to assert that it has errors. One such "error" they often cite is Leviticus 11:23.
22Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. 23But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.Leviticus 11:22-23 KJV
Photocredit: Zsolt Brudnyak
Photocredit: Adrian Ardizza
Look at the picture of the praying mantis to the right. What do you see? 4 legs and 2 hands. Look at the picture of the grasshopper. What do you see? Its holding something, in its hands. 4 legs + 2 hands = 6 appendages. Also, the word insect only appears in modern translations, much like the fact that in Biblical days a whale was considered a fish, our classifications of animals while scientific are arbitrary. We could have classified all flying things together (bats and birds would belong to the same class) and furry animals together. These classifications are simply how we discuss (remember not all birds fly, not all mammals give birth to live babies[5]). Though so far, of all the flying insects I've seen, all have four legs pointing backward and two that appear as hands pointing forward.

References

  1. Stewart, Don. "Why Is the Bible Divided into Chapters and Verses?". 2015
  2. "Who divided the Bible into chapters and verses? Why and when was it done?". GotQuestions.org. 2015
  3. Good News. "Biblical Evidence Shows Jesus Christ Wasn't Born on Dec. 25". Beyond Today. December 2004
  4. "Malice of Absence". Snopes.com. March 2015

Post a Comment

About

Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
Distributed by Gooyaabi Templates | Designed by OddThemes