NEW BOOKLET: A Christian Perspective on the Environment: How the Catholic Pope and Other Leaders Are Uniting the World’s Religions Through Environmentalism by Roger Oakland is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is part of the content of the booklet. To order copies of A Christian Perspective on the Environment, click here.
By Roger Oakland
(Below is an extract from the booklet.)
In July of 2016, I was invited to present a paper on the environment from a Christian perspective to the International Symposium on Energy and Environmental Management and Technology held in Rome, Italy. The following information you are about to read is that paper and relates to the issue of the environment, from a biblical and Christian viewpoint.
Although I do not consider myself to be an authority on the subject of the environment, and certainly others are more qualified to speak on this issue than I, there are a few areas where I feel I am able to contribute.
First, I have been a Christian for nearly four decades—my conversion to Christianity coming at the age of thirty. Second, because I have a background in biology and agriculture, I have always had a keen interest in environmental issues. And third, as a Christian, I believe it is the responsibility of every human being to be concerned about our planet and the ecological relationship we have with all living creatures that God has created.
Throughout my life, I have made a number of observations about the past, the present, and where society seems to be headed in the future. I grew up in western Canada on a wheat farm and hold an active interest in this farm to this day. I was educated during the ’50s and ’60s through the Canadian public-school system, then later at the University of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan. During these years, like my colleagues, I was brought up in the educational mindset that taught that our world could be understood from a purely natural and mechanistic worldview. The concept that “God is dead” and that “science and technology” will bring utopia to the earth, were two foundational ideas in my belief system during that period of time.
By the’70s and ’80s, it became obvious to many, including me, that a paradigm shift in thinking was underway. It was apparent that many of the byproducts of our technology had the potential for destroying us—the pollution in the atmosphere, our lakes, rivers, oceans, and the soil. Not only was our planet being threatened, our bodies were being pumped full of molecular time bombs that silently tick away. Even more significant was the fact that humans had developed the potential to completely annihilate the entire planet through weapons of mass destruction.
By the early ‘80s, it became apparent to many that there needed to be a solution to the overwhelming problems we were facing as a global community. Scientists described global crisis situations such as global warming and the ozone depletion that would have an effect on the entire planet. It was determined by experts in the field that these global problems, if they were going to be resolved, needed global solutions that could be implemented internationally.
Today, most people recognize we are at a major crossroad in earth’s history. Few would argue that environmental problems need to be discussed and management solutions proposed; otherwise the future of life on our planet as we know it could be in jeopardy.
Over the past 35 years, some have been suggesting that we should look to spiritual solutions for motivation and a method to resolve the problems that the naturalistic worldview has created. For example, Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual leader who has held weekly meditation meetings at the United Nations headquarters in New York since 1970 has stated:
Science and spirituality must be united. They need each other. Without the one, the other is incomplete, almost meaningless. Together they are not only supremely complete but also divinely meaningful.1
Former Vice President Al Gore has been one voice outspoken about his desire to have people see the connection between spirituality and the environment. In his widely distributed book Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, Gore presented the point that “only a radical rethinking of our relationship with nature can save the earth’s ecology for future generations.”2
In a chapter of his book titled “Environmentalism of the Spirit,” Gore called for a “new ecological awareness”3 and the consideration of a “new faith in the future.”4 He suggested it was imperative to call for a “spiritual response”5 to the global environmental problems we are facing. He challenged readers to consider “evolution” as the basis of an ecumenical faith that he suggested could unite science and religion as a means of saving our planet from ecological disaster. He stated:
And if we could find a way to understand our own connection to the earth—all the earth—we might recognize the danger of destroying so many living species and disrupting the climate balance.6
Then developing this idea further Gore suggested:
The long and intricate process by which evolution helped shape the complex relationship of all living and nonliving things may be explicable in purely scientific terms, but the simple fact of the living world and our place on it evokes awe, wonder, a sense of mystery—a spiritual response—when one reflects on its deeper meaning.7
The Parliament of the World Religion’s and “Mother Earth”
Now, fast forwarding, I would like to quote from a report written by author Carl Teichrib regarding his personal experience at the Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Salt Lake City October of 2015. In the introduction of his article, he wrote about his observations at the opening session:
“What if the world were a place where it was effortless to recognize our common humanity, our shared virtues and concerns, and our collective devotion to the Earth?” asked Rabbi Amy Eilberg. “What if the whole world, all seven billion of us, were like this?”
Ojibwe “Grandmother” Mary Lyons told the multitude, “When you breathe in, you breathe in a breath of Mother Earth. And when you exhale, those are your ancestors.”
New York Times best-selling author on spirituality, Marianne Williamson, wowed the crowd with her charisma: “Every woman here who is a healer is a priestess. Every woman here who is a teacher or an educator is a priestess.” Her call to sacred femininity energized the great crowd, bringing them to their feet again and again during Williamson’s eight-minute speech.
“A Divine Goddess is not just beautiful,” Marianne exhorted, “she’s fierce. And when you mess with her babies . . . and you mess with her earth, she’s had enough of that [expletive word]. And we’re here on her behalf . . . you know what to do, go do it.”
The response to Marianne wasn’t a standing ovation. It was more. Women wept, danced, raised their hands, shouted and whistled and clapped. Someone yelled out, “Marianne for President!” Drums pounded in affirmation. I have no doubt that some of the attending men poured out their adoration too, as the Plenary was open to all, but where I was sitting, the male gender was largely absent.8
The observations made by Teichrib at the plenary session of the Salt Lake City Conference is very revealing. It seems a paradigm shift is underway. This “collective shift” towards a one-world religion designed to save the planet has reached the point of no return. The avalanche has already been unleashed towards a global government forcing a global religion. Saving the planet from ourselves is the impetus. For those who want to remain on the sidelines, the environment police have sounded the alarm—either get with the program and jump on board the environmental bus to save the planet, or you will be thrown under the bus without any warning.
Climatic change was a major topic of discussion according to the first-hand testimony of Carl Teichrib at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City regarding the relationship of the environment to the coming one-world religion based on the common belief of evolution. One thing that was evident throughout the conference is the belief that evolution is the uniting factor and the only hope for mankind. In other words, it is an evolutionary imperative for man to recognize the dangers facing the planet and take the next step towards godhood or suffer the consequences. Teichrib reported:
Climate change was another major theme, and the Climate Plenary started with a multi-faith children’s choir followed by opening words from Marc Barasch, founder of the Green World Campaign: “We’re here today to explore the connection between the life of the spirit and the fate of the Earth… We stand as one people under the same Tree of Life… and we are seeking, each in our own way, to harmonize a profound sense of oneness and wonder with the urgency of our times, so that Tree will continue to flourish.”
Karenna Gore, the Director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and daughter to Al Gore, was the Climate Plenary moderator. Her father . . . sent a special video message to those in attendance, reminding us that Pope Francis had earlier called on global action to “solve the climate crisis.”
Archbishop Bernardito Auza, holding the office of Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, represented the Catholic Church to the Parliament’s plenary on climate change. To this end, Auza noted Pope Francis’ connection between the “true right of the environment” and “social justice,” and that the Pope views this within the context of “integral ecology.” Auza then read a selection from the Pope’s encyclical On the Care of Our Common Home. “When we speak of the ‘environment,’ what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it.”
As the Archbishop explained, “the Earth, our Sister, mistreated and abused, is lamenting.” What we need, he said in reference to the Pope’s green vision, is an “ecological conversion.”
Chief Arvol Lookinghorse, another plenary speaker, told the crowd that we are at a crossroad—face the consequences of environment destruction, or “unite spiritually in this global community.” Lookinghorse challenged the audience: “Mother Earth is sick and has a fever, so . . . stop the fracking, stop that KXL, stop abusing Mother Earth.”9
This idea that “Mother Earth” is sick is strangely familiar in light of the Bible and also history. Throughout biblical history, mankind has always leaned toward this direction of worshipping the creation and not the Creator. For example, Paul warns about this in the letter he wrote to the Romans as recorded in the first chapter. He stated quite clearly:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (vs. 16-17)
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. (vs. 18-19)
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (vs. 20-21)
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen (vs. 22-25)
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (vs. 26-32)
The Christian View (And Responsibility) of the Environment
First, it is important to clear up a misnomer regarding what some people think Christians believe about the environment. Based upon Genesis 1:26 and 27 (two verses where God instructed mankind to have dominion over the creation), some say the Bible gives man the mandate to do whatever he wants, in whatever way he wants, thus having no respect for the planet and the ecosystem.
Often this argument has been used to blame the “Christian worldview” as the reason for our ecological problems. In response to this, let me say that I have had the opportunity to travel to several of the countries that have enforced atheism and have outlawed Christianity for several decades. The disregard for the environment in these areas has been deplorable. Christianity should not be blamed for environmental genocide; the problem has been created by mankind’s selfish lust for power and greed.
The biblical Christian view on the environment is very simple: God, the Creator of all things, did indeed create all things. Although there are some who would try to say that God used evolution as a process to create, such a view is a contradiction of terms. Evolution, by definition, is a natural process that does not require supernatural intervention. Naturalistic evolution is based upon time and chance—natural selection by natural direction rather than supernatural intervention that requires an intelligent Creator Designer God. I am convinced that the complexity I see within nature cannot be explained by fortuitous events that accumulate over vast periods of time driven by random chance.
The Christian view is that creation is the handiwork of the Creator. Although the original creation was perfect, we now live in an imperfect world. When man allows his greed to supersede environmental need, this degeneration and contamination accelerates further.
As well, the Christian view is that the Creator is sovereign and eternal while man is not. God is the Creator of all things, and He is separate from His creation. What’s more, creation is not to be worshipped but respected while God is to be worshipped and adored. In other words, God created everything, but everything is not God.
The Psalmist in the Bible wrote, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalms 139:14). A Christian believer who truly believes that God is the Creator of all things has a reverence and awe for God and His creation. Because of this reverence and accountability, there comes a responsibility. This responsibility should reflect on the way we treat other people, the environment, and all things that exist because there is a God.
Pope Francis’ Interspiritual “Global Common Good”
While I am not a Roman Catholic, I do respect and care for Roman Catholics. As fellow members of the human race, we should all love and respect others and treat one another the way we would want to be treated. Likewise, everyone should also have the moral right to examine the beliefs of others just as we should examine our own beliefs. Otherwise, like the blind leading the blind, we will all end up falling into the pit. Unfortunately, the one-world religion will be close-minded to a pursuit of truth.
For example, in order to be scientific and reasonable, we need to examine the claims of others and test the beliefs carefully. If we do not do that, blind faith can lead to a blind faith that can actually lead towards a cultish mentality. Every reasonable person knows that cults are often very dangerous as people can be blindly driven towards false conclusions that often end in disaster. Those who refuse to follow some of the cultish teachings are often told to leave the cult or are excommunicated by the cult leaders, and even their families do not accept them any longer. This, of course, is very devastating for those who have left the cult for another point of view.
Because I study the news from a biblical perspective, it has come to my attention that some very strange teachings have been presented recently in the name of Christianity with regards to saving the planet. For example, it would be important to read the following statement taken from an article titled “Vatican Official Calls for Greater International Effort to Combat Climate Change”:
Addressing the World Health Organization’s annual World Health Assembly, a Vatican official welcomed the call for universal health coverage in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Msgr. Jean-Marie Mupendawatu, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, also called for a greater international effort to combat climate change for the sake of global health.
“With regard to action to combat climate change and its impact on health, my delegation wishes to underscore the need for more political will and strong commitment from civil society in order to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment,” he said. “Often international negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good.”10
Where will this “greater international effort” for the “global common good” lead? How far will we go? There is one direction it is going that is most evident. At one time, Christian history reveals that Roman Catholicism and Islam were two different religions. Allah was the “God” of Islam, and Jehovah was the God of the Jews. Now that we have reached the new millennium and there is a desperate need for peace in the world, Islam and Roman Catholicism are joining forces. While this may seem to be unrelated to the environment, there is actually a connection. A one-world government requires a one-world religion. They go hand-in-hand. What’s more, I am convinced this binary partnership can only be forced on society by an electronic system of surveillance that requires global communications.
The environment is also a necessary factor in resolving global warming or global cooling depending on how data is interpreted. One thing for sure is that the climate is changing as we witness more storms, droughts, famines, and floods than ever before while the population increases.
With all this in mind, the head of the world’s largest congregation is taking action. In September of 2015, during Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, he spoke at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, New York. His remarks did not seem to stir much of mainstream media or even leaders in the Christian church, but what he said was significant in understanding the direction that things are going right now. The pope stated:
I would like to express two sentiments for my Muslim brothers and sisters: Firstly, my greetings as they celebrate the feast of sacrifice. I would have wished my greeting to be warmer. My sentiments of closeness in the face of tragedy. The tragedy that they suffered in Mecca.
In this moment, I give assurances of my prayers. I unite myself with you all. A prayer to almighty god, all merciful.11
In an article titled “In New York, Pope Francis Embraced Chrislam and Laid a Foundation for a One World Religion,” one commentator writing about the pope’s speech states:
[Pope Francis] did not choose those words by accident. In Islam, Allah is known as “the all-merciful one.” If you doubt this, just do a Google search. And this is not the first time Pope Francis has used such language. For instance, the following comes from remarks that he made during his very first ecumenical meeting as Pope…
“I then greet and cordially thank you all, dear friends belonging to other religious traditions; first of all, the Muslims, who worship the one God, living and merciful, and call upon Him in prayer, and all of you. I really appreciate your presence: in it I see a tangible sign of the will to grow in mutual esteem and cooperation for the common good of humanity.
“The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions—I wish to repeat this: promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions—it also attests the valuable work that the Pontifical Council for interreligious dialogue performs.”12
While it may seem odd to some that Islam and Roman Catholicism are joining hands, it is becoming more and more acceptable to the millennial generation who have been taught that texting is better than talking and reading. They have also been taught that there is no right or wrong and that Christianity and Islam or any other religion belong in the same camp. Even the gods of the pagans qualify for the new spirituality within the boundary of what is called modern-day Christianity.
The above is part of the content of this booklet. To order this booklet, click here.
1. Sri Chinmoy, Inner and Outer Peace (Montreal, QB: Peace Publishing), p. 32.
2. Al Gore, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company), cover flap.
3. Ibid., p. 262.
4. Ibid., p. 263.
5. Ibid., p. 264.
6. Ibid., p. 264.
7. Ibid., p. 264
8. Carl Teichrib, “Things Change. Fast: A Report on the Parliament of the World’s Religions” (Forcing Change Newsletter, Vol. 9, Issue 10, October 2015), used with permission.
10. “Vatican Official Calls for Greater International Effort to Combat Climate Change” (Catholic World News, May 26, 2016, http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=28408).
11. To read full transcript: http://faith.nd.edu/s/1210/faith/interior.aspx?sid=1210&gid=609&pgid=27546&cid=53261&ecid=53261&crid=0&calpgid=10746&calcid=25903.
12. Michael Snyder, “In New York, Pope Francis Embraced Chrislam and Laid a Foundation for a One World Religion” (http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/in-new-york-pope-francis-embraced-chrislam-and-laid-a-foundation-for-a-one-world-religion, September 27th, 2015), used with permission.
The above is part of the content of this booklet. To order this booklet, click here.
By Victoria Arnold
President Putin has signed amendments imposing harsh restrictions on sharing beliefs, including where and who may share them, and increased “extremism” punishments, introduced with alleged “anti-terrorism” changes. There are widespread Russian protests against the suddenly-introduced changes, and may be a Constitutional Court challenge.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has signed into law legislation on so-called “missionary activity”, further restricting the public expression of freedom of religion and belief, including in the media and online, Forum 18 notes. The amendment – which has been rapidly introduced – caused widespread protests, but was signed on 6 July and the signing was made public at Moscow lunchtime on 7 July. It was published on the presidential website that day and comes into force on 20 July.
Lawyers working to protect the right to freedom of religion and belief are already preparing for an appeal to the Constitutional Court. At the same time, they are preparing advice to individuals and religious communities on how to abide by the terms of the Law. One Protestant leader, though, has warned that some of the restrictions “a good Christian cannot fulfil.”
Against international human rights obligations, the amendments to the Religion Law restrict those who can share beliefs to people with permission from members of state-registered religious groups and organisations. This excludes people from groups which have chosen to operate without state permission, such as certain Baptist congregations. The amendments also bar even informal sharing of beliefs, for example responding to questions or comments, by individuals acting on their own behalf.
The amendments also restrict the beliefs that can be shared, specifies a restricted list of places where beliefs may be shared, and explicitly bans any beliefs from being shared in residential buildings, or on another association’s property without permission. An allegedly “anti-terrorist” part of the amendments bars the conversion of residential property to religious use. Click here to continue reading.
LTRJ Note: “Co-incidentally,” Lighthouse Trails had just posted an announcement about the Great Lakes Prophecy Conference this fall, when 30 minutes later we received this news brief reporting that Calvary Chapel Appleton is withdrawing from the Calvary Chapel Association. Lighthouse Trails was expecting this to happen in the near future based on information we had been sent.
Given the sad present state of the Calvary Chapel movement, we commend Pastor Douville for this action.
“Fed Up With False Teaching: Calvary Chapel Church Says “So Long” to the CC Association”
By Amy Spreeman
Fed up with false teaching: Calvary Chapel church says “So Long” to the CC Association – Berean Research
2016 Great Lakes Prophecy Conference with Lighthouse Trails Speakers and Others . . . September 9-11 (Appleton, WI)
The 2016 Great Lakes Prophecy Conference at Calvary Chapel Appleton (Wisconsin) will take place on September 9th through the 11th. If you live within driving distance or can fly in, this will be a great time of fellowship with like-minded believers and a chance to hear some wonderful teachings and information. This year’s conference will feature two Lighthouse Trails authors – Roger Oakland and Warren B. Smith. In addition to Oakland and Smith, also speaking will be Jim Fletcher (a writer Lighthouse Trails uses), Pastor Chris Quintana (featured on the Wide is the Gate DVD), David Hocking, Elijah Abraham, and Robert Congdon (Congdon Ministries).
The cost to attend the conference is just $35. If you are flying in or traveling from some distance and need lodging, be sure to book it early. Pre-registration is required. For more information, please visit the church website. Calvary Chapel Appleton is also the home of Lighthouse Trails author Mary Danielsen. The pastor of CC Appleton is Dwight Douville.
Note: As the days grow more difficult, the number of conferences like this is diminishing. Lighthouse Trails commends churches that are willing to “go against the grain” and hold such events with speakers who are not afraid to tell the truth.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
It has been some time since I have written a personal note sharing about the progress in the ministry of Understand The Times and expressing things that are from my heart. Those who are close to me know that the last six months have been among the most difficult days of my life. This may come as a surprise to those who are not close to me or are, at best, indifferent to the ministry of Understand The Times. One of the greatest difficulties has been to learn of those who have professed to be friends who, at best, are no friends at all.
If you are close to my closest friends and my family, you know I am not exaggerating. In short, the ministry of being a watchman is not a glorious one nor does it bring any honor or position with it. When a man or woman is called to serve God, there are no guarantees there will be great times of blessing or an overabundance of encouragement. And, in fact, even the closest friends and relatives can turn their backs on you, sometimes out of misunderstanding the calling of a watchman and even sometimes out of fear of the price it costs to be one or to be associated with one. Check out the Old Testament prophets. Click here to continue reading.
NEW BOOKLET: Signs & Wonders! Five Things You Should Consider by David Dombrowski is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet is 10 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Signs & Wonders! Five Things You Should Consider, click here.
By David Dombrowski
Setting Things Up With Great Delusion
Jesus taught his disciples that in the last days, a time of mass delusion will come upon the earth. He said:
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. (Mark 13:22-23; emphasis added)
Likewise, Paul spoke of this time when he said:
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)
If we look at what is happening in the world today, the only logical conclusion is that we have already entered into that period of history. The world is going through a mystical paradigm shift where an increasingly high number of people are engaging in occultic mystical practices which are leading them into a New Age all-paths-lead-to-God kind of mentality.
This is not only happening in the world, but it is happening in the church as well. It is shocking to see that doctrines and values formerly held sacred are now being discarded. Many Christian leaders today have replaced the reading and study of Scripture with having spiritual experiences or what Jesus referred to above as signs and wonders. In effect, multitudes of Christians are being led to believe that if they can have some type of spiritual experience or witness a miracle, that will bear more validity than the words of Scripture itself.
What we have now generated is a delusion so great that if one has an “experience” that contradicts the Bible, one will hold the experience as valid and not the Bible because the experience is seen as tangible and therefore more real. But this is an insult to our God because as David points out in a Psalm:
I will worship toward thy hold temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2; emphasis added)
God holds His Word in highest esteem as being entirely truthful, but many would rather trust and rely on their own experiences as their standard for truth.
We have become like the masses in former centuries who believed that the world is flat (because it appears to be flat), while the Bible itself refers to it as a globe (Isaiah 40:22). Frankly, in a practical day-to-day sense, it makes no difference to me whether the earth be flat or round, except perhaps a fear of falling off the edge if I went too far, but when it comes to spiritual matters, the truth is essential as to where I will be spending eternity. You see, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ Himself, who is all Truth and paid the price to take us to heaven; but we also have a deceiver, Satan, who is the father of lies and is intent on leading us to hell.
It is imperative to realize that not all paths lead to heaven, or should I say, there is only one path to God, and Jesus is that Path (John 14:6). All the other paths of the world believe that man is intrinsically good and can therefore earn his way to heaven. Only the Gospel reveals the truth that we were born sinners, and our transgressions have alienated us from God; but Jesus paid the price for our sins, and through His death and resurrection we have, by faith, salvation (having been forgiven), righteousness (imputed and not earned), peace with God, and the grace for holy living (being “raised with Christ”).
Nothing could make the enemy of our souls happier than to steal away our soul, and his primary way of doing this is through deception because Satan is a master of lies.
Are All Signs and Wonders From the Same Source?
Knowing that we are in a time of great delusion, let us focus here on one aspect of it, where Jesus referred to it in Mark 13 as the realm of signs and wonders.
In doing a Scripture search on the words “signs” and “wonders” appearing together, I expected to find only a few references but was surprised to find eighteen references in the Old Testament and fourteen references in the New Testament. The majority of these references in both the Old and New Testaments were used in a positive sense. In the Old Testament, the most common examples were those referring to how Moses delivered the Israelites through signs and wonders, while in the New Testament, the most common examples were those of God confirming the preaching of the Gospel by the apostles through signs and wonders. When used in a negative sense, the words “signs” and “wonders” were usually used together in a prophetic warning to avoid false leaders and prophets.
Now, the point I wish to make here is that we cannot make a sweeping statement saying that all signs and wonders are bad, nor can we say that they are all good; rather we need to look beyond the physical manifestations and determine the source from which they come. But in the cases of Moses and the apostles, God was confirming the ministry and message of these men. Too often, however, signs and wonders are unquestioningly accepted as being “from God.”
As a former Catholic, I can remember stories from my youth up of miraculous signs taken as divine confirmation that God has spoken, be it the apparitions of Mary giving messages that contradict Scripture or of communion wafers that bleed or pulse contradicting the message of the Gospel (Jesus clearly said that the “flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63) and the book of Hebrews speaks of a sacrifice made once for all time—Hebrews 9:27-28;10:10,12,14). In the case of the Catholic Church, there are strange manifestations that inevitably glorify man, and those who perform such wonders bear a message that requires redemption through human performance as opposed to grace by faith alone. It is not always easy at the surface level to recognize the meaning behind a sign or wonder, but we do have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God as witnesses for us.
A key passage from the Old Testament that strictly forbids the unquestioning acceptance of all signs and wonders is the following:
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-4; emphasis added)
Notice how explicit these instructions are about maintaining a faithful and unwavering devotion to the Lord even when the sign or wonder has “come to pass!” It is never enough that a sign or wonder happens; it must always be tested as to whether or not it supports and confirms God’s Word.
Yet, for many people today (including many Christians), if a strange, paranormal manifestation occurs, that is evidence enough that it must be from God without any recognition or acknowledgment that dark supernatural forces can do these things. For example, the manifestations of holy laughter, “slaying in the Spirit,” jerkings, convulsions, twisting, contortions, and animal-like behaviors have all been witnessed under the “ministering” of eastern gurus who draw on kundalini energy (serpent power) to do their work. And, as discerning believers, when we listen to the doctrine or teaching of these ministers (who are so wrapped up in manifestations that they hardly preach at all), we can only conclude that these are wolves in sheep’s clothing deceiving and being deceived. Many of the ministers actually even mock the preaching of God’s Word and arrogantly proclaim or imply that because they have the power to do these things, they are greater than all preachers. But God has chosen to use the “foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).
Now, I’m not saying that these ministers necessarily know they are wolves. For the most part, they believe they are doing God a service. But as Jesus pointed out, many ministers are just hirelings in that they “careth not for the sheep” (John 10:13); they will fleece the flock for gain, but they will not lay down their lives for the sheep. Jesus said, “I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15).
Preparing the Way . . . But For Who?
Unbeknownst to themselves, many of today’s ministers are paving the way for the Antichrist. They are like John the Baptists for the Antichrist as their efforts are actually preparing the hearts of the people for such a leader. This is especially true of ministers who minimize the preaching of sound doctrine and maximize on manifestations “from God.” I say this because the Antichrist will be a master of signs and wonders, which will actually be his trademark and likely the primary way he will get the world to believe in him. In speaking of the coming Antichrist, Paul had this to say:
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10)
Meanwhile, people’s hearts are being conditioned for this figure who will integrate the economic, political, and religious sectors together under a worldwide peace plan while confirming his authority and power through lying wonders. It will be a “grand day” for the world as millions will be duped by a man with a charismatic mantle and anointing like unto Adolf Hitler who stirred up a nation; but this time it will be the whole world. In fact, there are many similarities today between our country (the USA) and much of the world with that of the mindset of much of society in Germany prior to Hitler coming into power: In both cases, we see an emergence of anti-Semitism, even among those claiming to be Christians; churches and Bible colleges are becoming more and more liberal and humanistic in theology and rule; spiritual apostasy can be seen everywhere; and political powers are bringing about radical changes to the infrastructure of our society. At Lighthouse Trails, as we watch the pace of things accelerating, we often wonder if we may have less time than we think.
This is a time in history when it is imperative for Christian believers to stay alert and warn all we can about the delusion coming upon the world and the apostasy taking place in the church. The future will unfold as predicted in the Bible, but we can be prepared and help prepare others for whatever comes.
Signs and Wonders, and A True Minister of God
As for the signs and wonders delusion, it is important to remember that if someone performs a sign or a wonder, he is operating beyond the realm of his own strength and mere physical laws, but we cannot automatically assume he is operating from God just as we cannot assume he is operating from the demonic realm. To help us discern, we can apply the test of 1 John 4:1-3 and ask ourselves what is the message of the person performing the wonder? Is he glorifying God and promoting the Gospel, or is he glorifying himself as if he were greater than all other ministers? The mark of a true minister of God is humility and not pride. Jesus said of the true John the Baptist, “Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist” (Luke 7:28). Here is a man who was anointed of the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15, 41). Yet, we also read in John 10:41 that “John [the Baptist] did no miracle.” John was a unique individual, and we need more like him. When he said of Jesus, “this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:29-30), in a few words, John indicated his attributes. He was a humble man with the right priorities who remained obedient to his mission. He did not need to do a sign or a wonder because he revealed Jesus and had prepared the way for Him.
The Purpose of Signs and Wonders
Signs and wonders are performed for a purpose.
In the Old Testament, they were performed to deliver God’s people:
Which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men. . . . And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders. (Jeremiah 32:20-21)
In the New Testament, Jesus performed signs and wonders to show that He was approved of and from God. Peter spoke of this on the day of Pentecost:
Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs. (Acts 2:22)
The apostles likewise did signs and wonders:
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. (Acts 2:43)
The book of Hebrews makes it clear that these signs and wonders were done to confirm the Gospel message:
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation [the Gospel message]; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (Hebrews 2:3-4)
Yet, we know that Jesus rebuked the seeking of signs and wonders where the Gospel is not received and believed:
Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. (John 4:48)
And this is the way it is today. People flock to witness manifestations, but they will not flock to hear the Gospel—to hear about sin and judgment and faith in the finished work of Christ on the Cross. The fact is, we do not need to be seeking signs and wonders because that is not where the real power lies. The prophet Elijah, a man who called fire down from heaven to burn his sacrifice, subsequently had an encounter with God while hiding in a cave. As the Lord passed by, He sent powerful manifestations: first, in a strong wind that “rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord” (1 Kings 19:11); second, there was an earthquake; and third, there was a fire. Yet, it says that the Lord was not in any of these, and Elijah remained unmoved from his fear and despair. But, after the fire, there was “a still small voice” (vs. 12) and then we read, “And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave” (vs. 13).
The point is really quite simple. While God can demonstrate His power in marvelous and supernatural ways, it was the word of the Lord that brought Elijah out of the cave, encouraged him, instructed him, and sent him on his way. And this is the problem with signs and wonders that are not accompanied by and supported by God’s Word; nothing really changes of lasting value. People may witness signs and wonders, but that is not going to bring personal transformation or eternal salvation to them. Only when a life has been surrendered to the Lord through faith in hearing the Gospel do we have changes that are of a true and lasting spiritual value. We know that the apostles went out to preach the Gospel, and signs and wonders followed them—the emphasis being on the Gospel. Paul made it clear in his letters that the power that changes lives for eternity is in the Gospel. It is the power to save:
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
I know there are people reading this who have great needs and are hoping for a word of encouragement to get through a particular situation. And there always will be needs of one sort or another where at times it seems that it would take a miracle to get through the present challenge. If you feel this way, let me say this: God is faithful, and He is there for those who hope in His mercy (Psalm 147:11). But as Christians, let us be careful not to be caught up in fear and worry that would rob us of our effectiveness for God and of the abundant life God has for us. Jesus said:
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Remember also that Jesus said:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [our needs] shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)
God is faithful, and He can be depended upon to deliver us in whatever trials we face. Peter writes in his epistle:
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:19)
We are on a journey through life, and there are many obstacles along the path that would slow us down and rob us of our attention to the things of the Lord. Let us not lose sight of our destination.
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“Kaine’s Catholicism has been strongly influenced by the Jesuits – the order Pope Francis is part of that has long been associated with education and social justice.”—Washington Post
“‘A Pope Francis Catholic’: Now that Tim Kaine is Clinton’s VP pick, will his faith matter?”
By Michelle Boorstein and Julie Zauzmer
Many of the most circulated names for Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick are Catholic – a fact that both says a lot about the influence of America’s huge Catholic population, but also reveals, when you look more closely, how far the country has moved away from basic religious tribalism.
Clinton on Friday chose U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a former missionary who personally opposes abortion and who pleased anti-abortion advocates earlier in his political career by saying he would aim to reduce the number of abortions by promoting adoption and abstinence education.
Yet it’s not clear what impact Kaine’s faith — or that of any Catholic — would have on voters. Click here to continue reading.