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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is Bakugan evil? Does it have occult ties? Part 1


For some time now I have been researching the history of various children's games like Bakugan and Pokemon that at first glance appear to harmless, but I have found to be dark in nature. My interest in this peaked, when my grammar school aged son just had to have Bakugan's, because "all the kids at school said that it's awesome". 


I want to be clear here...I am not a legalist Christian who believes everything  is satanic, and every issue we have is due to a demon.  In fact I do believe that there is a lot of charlatans out there who make big money "exorcising demons" who were never really there. However, I believe that if your a true Bible believing Christian, you need to consider what type of values this and other similar games are teaching your child.  Not to mention the occult symbolism that is rampant in the cartoon and game. At the very least it's not God honoring, and at could lead a child's curiosity about the occult down a dark and dreary road.   Occult themes are all over the TV, movies, in most of the top selling video games, and becoming the everyday norm with our kids.  Just look at the t-shirts that glorify death with the occultic deaths head skull everywhere you go.  If you don't get out much, just look at the ads at Kohls, JC Penny, Sears or any store that sells teen clothing.
For example:


"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.... Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" Isaiah 5:20-21


Kids today play, wear, watch and obsorb everything demonic like it's no big deal.  God's word says differently.
 
"All those who hate Me love death." Proverbs 8:36


 Berit Kjos from one of my favorite ministries (Kjos Ministries.) has written a tremendous article loaded with links to help us understand why Bakugan is occult in nature, and can be unhealthy for Christian children. Please take the time to read it through, and use the links to other articles including articles on Harry Potter, Twilight, Pokemon and other dark "entertainment" that our kids are immersed in. 
Before you read the article, I want to make a disclaimer to non-believers:  This blog is intended for believers in Jesus Christ to wake up. If you have stumbled upon this post and are not a believer; A) You are welcome here anytime, and if you don't know the Gospel, please see the links above or email me.  B) I do not expect you to understand why Christians see the occult as evil.  I do understand how you would think that what we call "dark" or "evil" in entertainment is normal if you do not believe in Christ.  I used to believe the same way.  In fact, many professed Christians would agree with you, and that is my target audience.

To the Christian parent: I understand this can be a "grey" area for the Christian.   I don't think you or your child are Hell bound if you own Bakugans, or listen to secular music, or watch movies based on the occult. I do however believe that we as believers can do better, and my prayer is that once you understand what scripture says about these things that you may find better choices for you and your child's entertainment.  If, once you understand that God hates what the occult stands for and you choose to continue making it a steady diet of your free time,  then I would say there is cause for concern and would suggest examining yourself to see if you are truly in the faith. 

Please see this article on unconscious learning as well as other articles from Berit Kjos on this subject. You can also click on the label: Occult below for other posts.

Thank you, and now on with the article...


The Rising Darkness in Children's Games
Training kids to love evil more than good
By Berit Kjos - October 22, 2009
Background information: Toying with Death
See the

“Spiritual transformation... is mediated through a person's religious imagination."[1] Lancaster Theological Seminary
"I love anime. I will always love it.... I will not let anyone tell me that the things I hold dear are evil."[2] 
"Satan is not simply trying to draw people to the dark side of a good versus evil conflict. Actually, he is trying to eradicate the gap between himself and God, between good and evil, altogether."[3] Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing
"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.... Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" Isaiah 5:20-21

Don't play games with the occult! Ouija boards have always invited oppression, but they are far more likely to invoke unwanted "spirits" today. So is the new generation of occult games and videos.
I became aware of this change back in the nineties when a Canadian psychologist called me. He had read Under the Spell of Mother Earth and wanted to share some observations with me. In past years, he said, many women would come to scenic Alberta to do a Native American "Spirit Quest" in search of their personal "animal spirit." Few succeeded. But times have changed, and the "spirits" that now answer the summons are numerous as well as oppressive. Treating the scary symptoms as "multiple personality disorders" is no help at all.
In other words, popular occultism is spreading fast, and the "spirit world" has become increasingly more accessible. [See the reasons here] But few families are equipped to resist it. Contemporary churches offer little or no help. Most simply ignore the danger or endorse the "fun." To avoid offense, the word evil is dropped from their vocabulary.
The main victims of this blindness are children. Unless we teach them to recognize and resist these dangers, many will welcome the darkness. So let's examine the nature and tactics of this very real spiritual war. Bakugan -- a popular game and online anime (Japanese animation) -- is a useful example.
"One day," so the Bakugan story goes, "cards began to fall from the sky and were picked up by kids all over the world. The cards featured different characters, different environments, and different powers. ...these cards actually corresponded to an alternate world called Vestroia."[4]
"...we invented a wicked new game we called Bakugan," explained the leader of Vestoria's young Battle Brawlers. "That's when the power of the cards was revealed. Each one held its own battling beast.... The battles were intense, and if you chose the wrong card, you lost it and the beast inside."[5]
"...the beast inside!"  Those words brought to mind some troubling email letters I've received from embattled teens and young adults. Like the Canadian women, they actually felt as if they had uncontrollable beasts inside. Their descriptions of inner battles -- the nightmarish consequences of obsession with occult role-playing games -- were heartbreaking. They couldn't stop playing -- or block out the frightening images planted in their minds! Nor could they find faithful Christians in their communities who would guide them toward freedom!
Too late, they discovered that the seductive journey into occult bondage is far smoother than the road back out to freedom. Yet, few see the dangers of the following progression:


1. Commanding supernatural power through the imagination.  

2. Craving more dark thrills -- while increasingly bored with actual reality.  

3. Suffering the mental, emotional and spiritual consequences of trusting the occult.[6]
Post-Christian blindness
The Bible tells us that "the weapons of our warfare are... mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God." (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) Our main weapon, of course, is the "Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God." Our children need to know His Word, then exercise faith in His timeless guidelines. But those truths are fast fading from the public square, and deceptions -- more enticing, acceptable and pervasive than ever -- are filling the gap!
The weapons used by Bakugan warriors are totally contrary to God's ways. Based on the ancient Chinese force called Ch'i, they flow from the same source as every other occult weapon. Ch'i  (or Ki, Prana, etc.) is merely the Eastern label for the spiritual forces once commanded by Canaanite sorcerers, Babylonian magicians, mediaeval alchemists, and secret societies throughout history.[7] 
Their magic is linked to the forcefulness of the human will. It involves mental concentration and firm commands that enable occultists to "cast spells" and "do magic" without hesitation or moral consideration.
Magic is easy, according to Wiccan author Starhawk, founder of the Covenant of the Goddess. All it takes is "four basic abilities: relaxation, concentration, visualization, and projection."[8] The last step means projecting energy by moving one's mental images with the human will and imagination.
That's what Bakugan's anime fans learn to do: concentrate, visualize, and then project the power through their beast-filled balls or playing cards. [See picture at the top.]  Starhawk described it well in her book on witchcraft: "To cast a spell is to project energy though a symbol."[8] 
To many Western occultists, that empowering "symbol" for invoking and transmitting demonic power is The Tarot (based on the Kabbalah) or other magical cards.
Today's entertainment makes such self-empowering rituals seem more normal than prayer. Young players are continually learning, then practicing, a new worldview -- one that either twists or rejects Biblical Christianity. It's not surprising that this process matches the Marxist formula for social change:

          New information that challenges the old beliefs and values

       + practical experience using the new information 

       = PRAXIS: a transformational strategy based on continual reinforcement and experience.[9]
Together, the mystical images [implanted through the cards and anime] and the ritual actions [repeated again and again through the actual game] become a doorway to occult thinking. With the growing popularity of such thrills, many more children will trade God's truth for capricious powers that appeal to the lusts and ambitions of our fallen human nature.
No wonder these Scriptures have become a reality even in churches around the world: 


"You love evil more than good...." Psalm 52:3

"They obeyed not... but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart..." Jeremiah 11:8
The signs and symbols of magicNotice the tension between opposing powers in this description of Bakugan's cosmos:

"Vestroia is a vast dimension comprised of [six]... worlds: Fire, Earth, Light, Darkness, Water and Wind. At the very centre of this universe there are two opposing energy cores: THE INFINITY CORE, the source of all positive energy, and THE SILENT CORE, the source of all negative energy. Throughout history, these two opposing forces had maintained the balance of equilibrium..."[4]
Notice how this philosophy clashes with God's Truth: There is no balance or equilibrium between the eternal Kingdom of our holy God and Satan's temporary domain!
Yet two symbols illustrate the lie: the quartered circle and the yin yang.  You may remember the "sacred circle" of Wiccan and Native American spirituality. Its four dividing lines point from the center to the "spirits" of the north, east, south, and west -- and to the four basic elements: fire, earth, water and wind (or air). 
Those "spirits" are similar to Vestoria's spiritual domains. Their connections to China's blend of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and folk religions are described in An Encyclopedia of Religion:

"The eternal oscillation of yin and yang gives rise to the material universe through their Five Agents of Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, and Earth....   The religious movement flourishing from the first century B.C. to the fourth century A.D. ... involved divination, alchemy, and the belief in immortals..."[10]
"Taoism is a rich reservoir of superstitions. It has... incorporated and elaborated divination... fortune telling, witchcraft, astrology, communication with the dead, and many others....  [It ] relies on charms and magic formulas."[10]
Does that remind you of God's warning in Deuteronomy 18:9-14?  It tells us to shun all those practices. Don't even imagine them!

"You shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who ... practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord..."
"They... walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart..." Jeremiah 7:24
Eastern and Western occultism have mingled for at least two millennia. But what used to be a trickle has now become a flood. Even churches are welcoming the mysteries that secret societies and Taoist alchemists once hid so well.
Westerners raised in a "safe" Christian culture tend to discount the source of these powers. America, like Europe, has conveniently shut its eyes to occult realities that faded from sight with the spread of Christianity. Now those dark realities are returning with a vengeance.[11] [See "How the occult is changing the Church"]

Deceptive light and inconceivable darkness
The Bakugan universe is divided into six domains -- each represented by a corresponding symbol. These domains break down into three sets of yin-yang opposites: Fire and Earth, Light and Darkness, Water and Wind [or air]. Each has a corresponding symbol: Red for "Fire" and black for "Darkness." "Light" is linked to a white pentacle inside a circle. These three examples alone should raise concerns about the tempting values taught to young fans:





Fire [Pyrus]: The Red Bakugan. "[Dan is] Obsessed with being the number one Bakugan Brawler in the world... His guardian Dragonoid (...Drago - pictured) is a force to be reckoned.... The Pyrus player will use every avenue open to them to crush you...."
Darkness: The Black Bakugan. "They thrive on battles hidden in the shadows, for this is where they draw their strength.... Once a Bakugan is sucked into the Doom Dimension, there is no coming back.... The bottom line is, Darkus is evil but fun."
Light [Haos]: The White Bakugan. "With this power, the Haos Bakugan have mastered the rare and unique ability to manipulate and control light and energy, leaving their opponents dazed and defeated."[12]
The six symbols are shown in a complex circular symbol similar to an image [pictured here] from a kabalistic Tarot card in a deck designed by the infamous occultist, Aleister Crowley. While Crowley's six discs have different meanings, both of these complex symbols [Bakugan's and Crowley's] place the six discs on the edges of a six-sided hexagon -- a shape common to kabalistic art.[13]
Becoming like "god."
Aleister Crowley was called "the most evil man in the world." This founder of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn defined magic as “the science and art of causing change to occur at will.”[14]
Whose will?
Not God's! The following occult statement describes one of the most devious traps set by the evil one since the beginning of time:

"...unless you make yourself equal to God, you cannot understand God: for the like is not intelligible save to the like.... Believe that nothing is impossible for you....  Mount higher than the highest height; descend lower than the lowest depth. Draw into yourself all sensations of everything created, fire and water, dry and moist, imagining that you are everywhere, on earth, in the sea, in the sky."[15]
Remember what the serpent said to Eve in the garden after tempting her to eat the forbidden fruit:


"You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:4-5
It was a devious lie! Instead of making her like God, her sin banished her from His presence. By "knowing... evil" experientially, she became an unholy creature who could no longer walk in the presence of our holy God! Satan's lofty promise was actually deadly trap!
Lofty visions are among Satan's most useful tricks. At one point in the Bakugan myth, the evil Naga manages to "absorb" into himself an overwhelming amount of "negative energy." It caused a major "energy" crisis! As a result, the Battle Brawlers faced an assignment of cosmic proportions: "to restore peace throughout the universe!"[16]

What an arrogant suggestion! Yet it supports what children are taught in public schools: it's up to them to save the planet, build unity in diversity, and counter the narrow views of their parents.
In this fantasy world it makes sense for opposing sides -- good and evil -- to join hands in perfect harmony. Like the dialectic process that "frees" group members from Biblical authority and values, this devious message promotes an arrogance that matches the Old Testament description of Satan:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!... For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.... I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit." Isaiah 14:12-15
If we choose "other gods" and yield to Satan's temptations, we will surely face consequences. Ponder these warnings:

"They... walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart..." Jeremiah 7:24
"...in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons...." 1 Timothy 4:1 
"...each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." James 1:14-15
"...as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man." Luke 17:26 [see End Times]
And what was it like "in the days of Noah"?

"...the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.... The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." Genesis 6:5, 11
What can parents do?

1. Pray for your children's protection, discernment, love for God, and rejection of evil. Pray that they heed God's warnings and memorize His Word. 

2. Discuss this list of questions as a family (www.crossroad.to/charts/checklist.htm)

3. Memorize Scriptures together -- including this verse: "Father... not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39

4. "Put on" the armor of God. For --

"...we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day..." Ephesians 6:10-14
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God..." 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
"The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you..." Deuteronomy 1:30

Find comments on this article here: Ancient Secrets and the Occult






Endnotes:

1. Lancaster Theological Seminary, USA, UMI Order number: AAM9822985 Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities & Social Sciences. 1998 Jul. 59 (1-A): p.0201.  

2. A letter from a visitor. It represents the message of countless others.

3. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Silverton, OR: Lighthouse Trails Publishing Company, 2002), page 101.





8.  Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, (Harper & Row Publishers, 1979), p. 62, 124.


10. An Encyclopedia of Religion (New York, NY: The Philosophical Library, 1945), pp. 149, 154.


12. Index to all six symbols: http://www.bakugandojo.com/

13. The video shows the cards falling. Watch for the card with the six symbols surrounding a hexagon shape: http://old.bakugan.com/en/universe/index.html

14. James Wasserman, Art and Symbols of the Occult: Images of Power and Wisdom ( Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books, 1993). p. 16. Read about the  Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn here:www.crossroad.to/Excerpts/books/lewis/inklings-williams.htm and www.crossroad.to/articles2/2003/occult-rpg.htm

15. Ibid., p. 59. Those occult words are attributed to Hermes Trismegistus (the Egyptian version of the ancient Greek messenger god, Hermes) who has been the symbolic idol of occult orders and secret societies through the ages.




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First time here? Please read "Don't trust a word I say" in the archives, for details on the beliefs of this ministry.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

John Piper - The Completion of Redemption in Creation

Great analogy by John Piper on God's glory in Heaven. It's the last part of this short video that concerns me for many. The horror of those who think Jesus is a "Magic Genie" or those who are living their "BEST LIFE NOW" and how about those who "repeated a prayer" so they could have their "Get Out of Hell Free Card; yet did not repent. God is loving...yes, but he also knows the intentions of our hearts and has to judge those intentions. If we make up a Jesus to suite our needs, but don't read his word, don't make war with sin, or don't fellowship with other believers, then we are worshiping a false idol. We must come to the savior with a contrite heart, turn from our former selves and take up our cross daily and trust him. We don't stop sinning, but we battle it; make war against it as we are sanctified by God's grace. I didn't intend to preach tonight, but it just tears me up to see folks who claim Christ, but their actions and intentions would say otherwise.

-Chris






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For more on this and other topics, see archives.
First time here? Please read "Don't trust a word I say" in the archives, for details on the beliefs of this ministry.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Become real "X-Men"-Stand for Truth!

I love this article by Pastor Larry Debruyn. We must stand for the Truth of Jesus Christ and fight the good fight against heretics, false prophets and weak theology that leads folks to a false conversion. You can't be everyone's friend and be true to Christ. If someone is teaching anything other than repenatnce and faith in Jesus for salvation, call them out! In Christian love of course. : )


If someone you know is reading The Shack, or listening to Rob Bell, Benny Hinn or any other truth twister, stand up and become a marked man (or woman). Once they see the light, they will thank you for it and if they don't-so be it.


-Chris


"X-MEN"

Marked for life: discernment ministry in light of Ezekiel 9:1-11.

Someone once said that sin is as much breaking God's heart as it is His Law. When God looked down on the perversity of the people on earth before the Deluge, it was recorded that He "was grieved in His heart" (Genesis 6:6b). When confronted by resident wickedness both without and within the professing church, Christians can manifest one of three reactions: approval (1 Corinthians 5:2), indifference (Zephaniah 1:12), or disapproval as indicated by the presence of either anger (Psalm 119:53) or grief (Psalm 119:136). So the question becomes, as we see the worldliness-wickedness invading the church, how do we feel about it? Are we agitated by, indifferent to, or accommodating of it?

Not unlike the society and church of our times, during Ezekiel's ministry Judah found herself in a moral and spiritual "melt down." Fraud, violence, adultery, and idolatry were running rampant amongst God's chosen people. Idols had been set up in the Temple (Ezekiel 8:17; 9:9). From his location in Babylon, the Lord took Ezekiel on a virtual reality tour of the Temple, the place where on the Mercy Seat beneath the Cherubim, God's Shekinah glory was to have been seated (Ezekiel 8:4). What he saw in that place of worship stunned the prophet. On his guided tour of the inner court, the Lord showed the prophet where first the people had substituted an idol image for Yahweh; where second, the elders worshiped animals; where third, the women sobbed over the death of Tammuz, a mythological fertility god who had married the Egyptian goddess Ishtar; and where fourth, the priests worshiped the sun (Ezekiel 8:5-18). Up-close and personal, the prophet saw how the nation had abominated into apostasy, how Israel had turned from worshiping the Creator to idolizing the creation and its creatures (See Romans 1:21-23.).

Yet in the midst of all those "alternative spiritualities," and like the remnant of Elijah's day who refused to bow their knee to Baal and kiss the idol god (1 Kings 19:18), some believers preserved themselves to be holy unto the Lord. So the Lord instructed the angel dressed in white to mark an "X" on the foreheads of the faithful, a mark that would spare them from the coming divine judgment (circa 600 BC).[1] Most have heard about "the mark of the beast", the mark the deceived will receive at the end of the age, an identity without which they will neither be able to buy or sell (Revelation 14:9-12). The prophet Ezekiel wrote about a different mark, an "X" that was to be written on the foreheads of those in Judah who had refused to go along with the popular spiritual trends of that day. The "X" would spare them from the coming divine wrath. So the Lord instructed the angel: "Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst" (Ezekiel 9:4). Pause with me . . . for a moment let's project back to that era and ask ourselves the following question: If we had been alive in Ezekiel's day, would the angel have marked us to be spared from divine judgment?

It was a remnant who strongly disapproved of the apostasy of the majority. In the words of the Lord, they groaned and sighed over the "abominations" (Ezekiel 8:6, 9, 13, 15, 17; 9:4) they saw being committed in the name of religion in their midst. What they saw sickened them to the core of their spiritual and emotional being. Would the angel have marked us if we had lived in that day? We should check out our feelings. Charles Feinberg observed: "Grief is always the portion of those who know the Lord in an evil day. The marked ones were penitent and faithful at a time of widespread departure from the will of the Lord."[2] Another commentator adds that the criterion for receiving the mark was "an affair of the heart--a passionate concern for God and His people. Failing that, there was no mark . . ."[3]

Some in the mainstream Christian media have called those involved in discernment ministry "Christian attack dogs."[4] Maybe a better metaphor-label would be "Christian guard dogs"! Discerners so love their Master (i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ) and His Bride (i.e., the church) that they agonize to protect His truth and her purity.

Allow me to propose a litmus test as to whether or not we might have been marked in Ezekiel's day. But before asking some questions, we should note the Apostle Peter's warning: "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you" (2 Peter 2:1; Compare Matthew 7:13-15; Jude 17-19.). Based upon Peter's prediction, does the worldliness that is invading the church bother us? (James 4:4) Does it concern us when we see churches being manipulated by the mechanics of church growth, when the end of growth justifies any means to achieve it? (2 Corinthians 2:17) Does it bother our souls to see the goal of growth eclipsing the Gospel, to see methods employed usurping the Message preached? (Romans 1:16) Does it grieve us to observe the church believing God's truth less while enjoying "worship celebrations" more? (Matthew 15:8-9) Does the rampant immorality amongst professing evangelicals cause us to sigh? (1 Corinthians 5:2) Were you bothered a few years ago when one evangelical leader, who led a movement in his state to preserve the institution of traditional marriage, was cornered into admitting that he solicited sex from a male prostitute? (Jeremiah 23:14) Do false teachers with their strange and unbiblical teachings annoy you? (Revelation 2:2) Given our media age, does the development of the personality cults around evangelical leaders and speakers, where appearance and a schmoozing style trump substance, concern us? (1 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Peter 2:3; Jude 16) Are some of us even unaware that there are such critters as false teachers who stupefy their followers with their heretical teachings? (Romans 16:17) Does it upset us to see the Christian faith being publicly maligned for reason of the immoral behavior and unbiblical teachings prevalent amongst professing evangelicals? (2 Peter 2:2) In short, are we discerners? (Hebrews 5:14) If we are not, then we should not expect to be marked.

Well, you might be asking, how can we know whether or not a person is a false teacher? Through Jeremiah the Lord provided this description of false prophets: "The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds" (Jeremiah 14:14). Of such prophets Jeremiah said that, "They speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord" (Jeremiah 23:16b). Again, I ask you, do you know of any false prophets today? You may protest the question saying, "Well, I know men who speak for God who are true." But that's not the question. Do you know any false teachers? I know this is a discomforting question--but do you? If you don't, I would say that you have a very grave problem . . . a very grave problem indeed. And it is this: You may not value God's truth enough to know what it is and thereby be incapable of discerning "the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error" (1 John 4:4-6).

From his study of human history, a famous historian once remarked how he observed that the majority was seldom right. Jesus agreed. He said: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it." He continued to say, "For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it." Then the Lord concluded: "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:13-15). Interesting, isn't it . . . that the Lord warned the multitudes to watch out for false prophets in the very context in which He differentiated the way of the majority from the Way of the minority. Jesus knew that to their own destruction the majority will follow the way of the false prophets and teachers. They will not be marked out for salvation. They will not be "X-Men". Like the compromisers of Ezekiel's day, they went along to get along. So allow me to ask you again: Dear Reader, do you know of any false prophets around today, or are you living in denial, in "a spiritual never-never land"? Will you choose to remain unwarned by the very warning that Jesus and the rest of the prophets and apostles warned you about; mainly, that false prophets and teachers will arise who will lead multitudes to walk the broad way leading to destruction? Remember: Seldom is the majority right.

For any Christians concerned to discern, they may be comforted to know they're taking the narrow Way. A spirit of discernment is symptomatic of true faith. The Lord's sheep care, yes, even "sigh and groan" when they see fellow evangelicals lapsing into worldliness and ungodliness. Goats however, are unmoved (Matthew 25:31-46). Yet the caring can be comforted to know that their discernment evidences their solidarity with the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Being concerned to discern marks them out-- "X" -- as true believers (See 1 John 2:18-24.). Yet the overriding emotion of discernment ought to be that of grief. Yes, there may be a time for anger. God gets angry. He was with Ezekiel's generation, so much so that after He had told the angel in white to mark the believing remnant, the Lord instructed the other six angels, "Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house." (Ezekiel 9:5b-6). Yet we must remember that, "the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God" (James 1:20).

So it's truly a sad day when we see those professing to know God believing and behaving as if they do not. So it's significant to note that the divine judgment was to begin in the sanctuary and then work its way out through Jerusalem and the rest of the entire nation (Compare 1 Peter 4:17.). This order of judgment compelled Paul to command the congregation at Rome: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Romans 16:17-18, KJV). But if we are to engage in such marking, we ought to be reminded that the accompanying emotion ought to be one of grief. Yet we ought also to be reminded that in the end those who refuse to mark false teachers may not be marked by the Lord to be spared divine judgment.

Pastor Larry DeBruyn

________________

ENDNOTES

[1] Charles Lee Feinberg, The Prophecy of Ezekiel (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969) 55.

[2] The mark was the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, a taw (i.e., the Hebrew "T"). Early Christian commentators noted that often the last letter was written as an "X" that could substitute for a person's signature. See John B. Taylor, Ezekiel (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1969)103. The marking of the faithful finds precedent at the time of Israel's exodus from Egypt when at the first Passover the Lord instructed the Israelites to "take some of the blood and put it on the two door posts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it," after which He explained: "And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt" (Exodus 12:7, 13).

[3] Ibid. 102.

[4] David Aikman, "Attack Dogs of Christendom," Christianity Today, August, 2007, 52. Aikman writes: "By all means criticize fellow Christians if necessary, but do so with grace." Real discerners do it with a sigh and a groan.



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