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“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

Truth In Reality

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1 Tim 4:1)

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Cor 11:3-4)

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 1:3)

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Peter 3:15)

“Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” (Proverbs 23:23)  [Buy the truth not just with money, but with time and attention and do not sell it, not just for money but for worthless pursuits such as worldly pleasures.]

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)

“My brethren, let not many be masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” (James 3:1)

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

“And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke 15:3-7)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 

“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. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:1-15)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)

For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:47)

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” (1 Corinthians 11:1-2)

“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” (1 Corinthians 1:17)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” (Luke 4:18)

“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47)

“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16)

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-4,7-21)

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:15-21)

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:5-21)

“This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish,” (Deut 30:15-18)

“Is this not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. 

“Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” (Isaiah 58: 6-12)

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?” (Deuteronomy 32:4-6)

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The Resurrection Plot Pt 2

Questions Without Answers

After the events of that Sunday morning, and the trouble with the guards of the watch, we had persuaded the people that the followers of the false prophet Jesus of Nazareth had stolen his body.

We hoped this would be an end of the matter. Then more reports arrived of empty tombs, and that the dead had been seen walking alive.

Guard: Sir, reports are now coming in of graves having been desecrated.

Chief priest: That is a matter for the elders to attend to.

Guard: But sir, there are witnesses who are certain they have seen empty graves and that the bodies are missing.

Chief priest: Now, that would be a matter for immediate investigation.

Another guard arrives with urgent news saying: Sir, I must report a…

Chief priest: Yes, what is it now?

Another guard: I have an urgent report of dead people seen alive in the city. Some people are saying that they were the ones who had come out of the empty graves.

The chief priest sat down in astonishment and said wearily: Now it begins, the thing we feared most. Did we not warn Pilate that this last error would be worse than the first? And now it’s growing into something even worse… Where will all this lead?

Another chief priest: We must convene an immediate consultation. Call the whole council together. No doubt Pilate’s spies will already be aware of the situation.

The chief priests then angrily demanded to be given the names and addresses of those responsible for spreading these insidious and dangerous rumours. All those involved in this plot must be brought in for immediate questioning.

Not content with stealing the corpse of that imposter, it would seem the grave robbers plotted to steal more bodies out of graves to provide further evidence for their resurrection plot, in preparation for their imaginary kingdom. It must be them, that is the only explanation that would make sense.

Will we never be free from the curse of that Jesus of Nazareth? Everyone in Jerusalem will be troubled. We must act wisely in this matter, or many will be taken in by their deception and become followers.

The Examination

We the temple guards were sent by the chief priests to investigate the rumours of empty graves causing panic among the people of Jerusalem. We entered into the place of graves and were shocked to find it as reported.

Many of the graves had been violated, and we saw that the graves were indeed empty. The bodies were missing! What had happened here? We had never seen anything like it. When we had recovered from the shock of it, we proceeded to examine the graves.

We discovered that the graves were more broken up at the top where the head and shoulders would have been, where they could have been dug up, or pulled out. On closer examination, it seemed that force had been used from inside the grave, almost as if the occupants had broken out, judging by the clumps of earth that were lying scattered around the graves.

I also noticed handprints by the sides of the graves where someone getting out would have placed them. There were some remains of grave clothes and napkins they would have been wearing. Also, there were footprints walking away from the grave towards the city. There didn’t seem to be any footprints leading to the tombs, only away from them. Who could have done such a thing and why?

If a cart had been used to load the bodies, surely it would have left tracks on the ground? The reality of the evidence was staring us in the face, but it was too much to accept: there had to be another explanation, but what? So far, we have caught no one, nor seen any of the missing bodies. How can we explain all this to the priests?

We made our way wearily back into the city to report to the chief priests.

A Counsel of Expediency

After our investigation, we returned to give our report to the chief priests. They were surprised we had returned so soon and alone and were impatient to hear our report.

Guard: We found it as reported. We carefully examined the graves and surrounding areas but were left puzzled and greatly perplexed, as there seemed to be no logical explanation for what had happened.

We found no evidence of grave-robbing or movement of bodies from the area. Instead, the evidence suggested the impossible. The occupants of the grave had somehow come upwards as if force had been applied upward by hands from within. How, or by what means, we had been unable to ascertain. Apart from this, we saw nothing and found nothing.

Chief priest: You found nothing? The Romans will demand answers or they will take the matter into their own hands, and you know what that will mean. We must save the temple and the nation by any means. We must apprehend the perpetrators: we must have those missing bodies!

Guard: But sir, so far we have no evidence. Perhaps we are dealing with supernatural events that…

Chief priest: You understand nothing! It is not a question of what may or may not have happened. It is a question of how to keep the people under control. We must stamp out this dangerous sect before it’s too late. They will always believe us, their priests.

We will make a second proclamation. In the meantime, we instruct you to spread a report among the people that the followers of Jesus removed the bodies out of the graves to deceive people into believing their prophecy of resurrection.

As it was expedient that one man, Jesus of Nazareth, should die for the whole nation, so it is with this case. The Romans demand answers: we will give them their victims, the followers of Jesus.

So the chief priests instructed the guards what to tell the people, commending them for their good work and obedience, and promising to reward them with bags of money.

The Place of Empty Graves

Pilate had become increasingly mistrustful of the promises of the chief priests. Did they not convince the people to choose a notorious murderer, Barabbas, to be released instead of an innocent man? Had they not allowed the body of Jesus of Nazareth to be stolen? So he sent a detail of his own guards to examine the place of graves.

We were startled to find such an upheaval, even given the effects of the great earthquake last Friday. We had never seen anything like it. There were clumps of earth lying around many graves, and looking closer we saw what looked like misshapen holes where a body might have been pulled out, but there was no evidence of footprints leading to the grave or tracks of a cart used to move the corpses.

Stranger still, was the handprints by the grave, almost as if the bodies had been levered or steadied when coming out. Then we realised if the bodies had decomposed there would be remains left around and inside the graves. But there was nothing, not a bone or fragment to be found. It was as if the bodies had simply vanished or got up and walked away. Or is that what we were supposed to believe?

Presumably, if the grave robberies had occurred at night and not in the day when someone could have seen the crime, some traces would have been evident, but again nothing. We noticed that the bare footprints all led away from the tombs towards the direction of the city gates, and they were not wearing any footwear. But either way, ghosts don’t leave footprints.

Who could have perpetrated such an elaborate hoax, and why? How could they have remained undetected? The gruesome work would have taken some time to accomplish. We argued amongst ourselves, trying to find an explanation for this enigma. The hypotheses we put forward were all unsatisfactory, as the pieces did not fit.

One of us voiced the suspicion that some supernatural event could have occurred. But who could explain the inexplicable? Such a theory would not meet with Pilate’s acceptance. We were sent to gather evidence, not to hunt for ghosts or miracles.  But we were unable to explain it or gather any meaningful evidence, and we decided to take refuge in the safe answer of an unexplained occurrence requiring further investigation. We needed to find witnesses, if there were any, to help us solve the mystery of the empty graves.

Having decided we had done all we could do that day, we left the place of graves and returned to report our findings to Pilate.

The Guards’ Report to Pilate

Pilate listened carefully, occasionally raising his eyebrows. After a while, we saw he was becoming doubtful and increasingly concerned by the things we were saying.

It would appear that everything connected with Jesus of Nazareth seemed out of the ordinary as if he was following a path that had been prophesied. But we cannot deal with the miraculous or the supernatural, only with the practical matters facing us. It appears likely that some of his followers conspired with other parties to concoct this scheme to further their kingdom agenda.

After some thought, Pilate said the case would indeed appear to require further investigation and evidence, in particular, finding witnesses. I mistrust those priests: what part have they in all of this? Did they not persuade the mob to choose a murderer instead of Jesus of Nazareth, who they had condemned out of envy, despite my determination to release him. Such people are dangerous and capable of anything.

We must uncover the truth for ourselves, but time has become our enemy. This case then requires the recovery of the bodies and the interrogation of witnesses to uncover the full truth of what actually happened. I will get to the bottom of all of this, one way or another.

Pilate’s Order

Pilate had carefully considered the situation and its implications. He perceived that cunning and subtlety would be required to uncover the truth about this elaborate conspiracy. He instructed his guards what they were to do.

  1. A watch is to be placed on the movements of the priests and guards around the temple.
  2. Anyone claiming to have seen the so-called living dead or found to be spreading rumours of the resurrection myth is to be immediately arrested and brought in for questioning and examination by scourging if necessary.
  3. Any and all means are to be employed to obtain the required information, including impersonation, plying witnesses with money, drink, entrapment, deception, whatever it takes.

 

We must have those witnesses and we must have those bodies. That is an order.

A Decisive Meeting

A meeting had been arranged with the Roman authorities by the order of Pilate. His representative demanded of the chief priests and elders what they were doing to solve the dangerous situation.

Roman guard: I must inform you that Pilate’s patience is coming to an end. The governor is demanding results.

A chief priest: Sir, we are doing everything possible, and more…

Roman guard: Have you apprehended the conspirators of this resurrection plot? Where are they? And what of the empty graves? Where are the bodies?

A chief priest: As we speak, the guards are scouring the city, questioning witnesses, rounding up conspirators, and…

Roman guard: This you told us some days ago. We desire results, not promises.

A chief priest: As you are aware, these things may require a certain passage of time to accomplish.

Roman guard: It appears you are rapidly running out of your allotted time. Need I remind you that it was you who demanded a guard upon a dead man’s tomb. Then you allowed the bodies to be stolen. And now this, an army of empty graves!

These rumours of the walking dead are unsettling the entire city and cannot be tolerated. We are warning you for the final time that unless the conspirators are delivered to us, we will take the matter into our own hands and impose martial law not only on the city but also on the temple. Is that clear enough for you? Pilate has been more than generous and patient already, but now…

A chief priest: As you are aware, because of these things many of the people are becoming followers of that dead prophet, and this forebodes trouble for us all. We are as determined as you to maintain the peace. Be assured, the conspirators will be apprehended, and the bodies located and reburied.

News of the Empty Tomb

As Pilate was just about to finish washing his hands again, a guard burst in and said: Sir, I have just been given a report that the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, formerly the tomb of one Joseph of Arimathea has been found empty. The body is missing.

Pilate: What? Weren’t those vipers given a watch and the tomb sealed? Have they been sleeping on the job? I want the soldiers guarding the tomb to report here immediately. I want a full account and an explanation from the Jewish priests forthwith. In addition, I want a full report of the movement of Barabbas since his release and that of his gang of followers.

2nd guard: Sir, the Sanhedrin desires an audience with you on urgent business.

Pilate: Speak of the devil! Do they? You had better send them in.

Pharisee: Governor, we come on an urgent matter concerning…

Pilate: Yes, yes, I have already been informed. So you let him get away? Were you not given a watch? Did you not seal the door and take the necessary precautions?

Pharisee: Perhaps the Governor has not been told all the facts concerning…

Pilate: The Governor shall very soon judge all the facts. I have already given the order for the guards to report here.

Pharisee: But sir, that will prove difficult for us.

Pilate: How so? Explain yourselves.

Pharisee: The guard came to us for protection, fearing reprisals. The penalty for sleeping on duty is known to you, of course.

Pilate: It is known to me indeed, go on…

Pharisee: The soldiers claim that the reason they fell asleep was perhaps that the wine was drugged. The disciples of that deceiver came in the night and stole the body away. Then…

Pilate: What kind of story is this? Do you really expect me to believe that they all dozed off at the same time? And, if so, who saw the disciples come to steal the body? I want to know who moved that heavy stone? Who dared to break my seal? All I have is questions with no answers and no evidence.

Pilate became quiet, lost in thought. Then he said: I remember when I asked Jesus of Nazareth directly why you, the chief priests and his own nation had delivered him to me. I asked him: What have you done?

He answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom was of this world, then my servants would fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews. But now, my kingdom is not here. I remember asking him: Then are you a king?

He replied: You say I am a king. For this end was I born and for this cause I came into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth will hear my voice.

Then I said to him: And just what is the truth? But there was no answer. There never is.

This time, I intend to get to the bottom of all this – to the truth – even if I have to question every one of you personally.

Did you really believe you could march in here again, hatching your plot to manipulate me to get your desired outcome? Not this time. This time, I will order the course of events and I will decide the outcome.

The Writing of Pontius Pilate

Even though I had washed my hands of the whole matter, I could not let it rest, let so monstrous an injustice end like this. So I took a board and wrote on it, in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, so that all could read it. The writing read “Jesus of Nazareth, The King Of The Jews”. I took the inscription and with my own hands fixed it upon the cross above his head.

As I stepped down the ladder, my eyes met his eyes. Never had I seen such a look. He looked at me as no man had ever looked at me. It was as if I had looked into the eyes of truth itself. I remembered what he said to me: You say that I am a king. To this end was I born and for this cause I came into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.

I then asked him a question that had troubled me all of my life: What is truth?

It was at that moment I understood who the truth was. The experience was overwhelming.

With an effort of will, I walked away from the cross, my head bowed. Suddenly I was descended upon by the chief priests in self-righteous indignation. They demanded that I immediately change the writing from “King of Jews” to “He said he was King of the Jews”. Not even his murder could satisfy them.

I answered angrily: What I have written stays written. I threw the hammer down on the ground and walked back to the city gate.

The Written Accusation

After they had crucified him and two other thieves with him, they sat down and watched him there, in Golgotha, in the place of a skull. Then they set up over his head the accusation written against him: “This is Jesus, King of the Jews”.

Many people were reading it in astonishment because the place of crucifixion was near to the city wall. Some were in shock, in doubt, in disbelief, and some were indignant and angry.

One of the chief priests said: Wasn’t the insult enough in one language but that it had to be in three? Pilate wants to put us to shame before all of our neighbours. It is insufferable!

A priest said: We demand that something be done about this – we must force Pilate to change the title to another.

Another said: Change the writing to read that he claimed he was our king – how dare that arch imposter claim to be not only the son of God but also our king? He’s been nothing but trouble for us from the beginning. Driving the traders out of the temple, arguing with the priests, mesmerising the people with his magic, and turning them away from our traditions. Then, threatening to destroy God’s temple. And now this! It’s all too much!

Another said: When will all this end? We must end it. We must all go to Pilate now and demand that he immediately change the inscription.

A King’s Title

I was one of the guards on duty at Golgotha that day. I was shocked when I saw what Pilate had written on the sign which he then personally fixed to the cross above the head of the prisoner, Jesus. Those watching were also astonished and many became offended and began heckling Pilate, pointing at the sign and shouting that it had to be removed immediately.

They said: Don’t write: “The King of the Jews”, but that “He said he was the King of the Jews”!

I wondered why he had written this, and in three languages? Was this a final revenge against the chief priests? No, it wasn’t just that. He would not have written it unless he suspected or believed it to be true. Pilate had carefully observed and noted the behaviour of Jesus during the trial and marvelled at him.

I then became worried. If this got back to Rome, there could be trouble. In our Empire, there was room for only one king, one son of God, and that was Caesar, the son of Jupiter.

A Day of Days

I had walked away from Golgotha, the place of a skull, and the controversy with the priests over the inscription I had written and placed on the cross of Jesus of Nazareth. I went back to my palace, exhausted by the ordeal.

At about the sixth hour, an unnatural darkness came over the land, settling over the city. This darkness continued until about 9 o’clock, and as it began to recede there was another fearful sign, the sun became darkened.

The dreams of my wife were now beginning to greatly trouble me. After these things, there was a brief pause until suddenly there was a great earthquake, and the rooms of the palace shook. I  glanced towards the direction of Golgotha. I perceived that signs accompanied what had happened there as if they witnessed to him who they had called the King of Jews, and, some, the Son of God. The truth of this was inescapable.

Shortly after this, my wife burst in saying: Didn’t I tell you to have nothing to do with that just man? You must know by now that the things I dream of have a habit of coming true. I don’t know what we are going to do now. I tried to comfort her but she was inconsolable and kept wringing her hands and walking backwards and forwards across the floor, raising her head upwards with a look of fear in her eyes.

A while later, representatives of the Jews arrived, imploring me to have the bodies taken down from the crosses so the Sabbath would not be defiled. I replied that Roman justice had not yet run its course and that the prisoners would still be alive. I also upbraided them for breaking their own rules regarding preparation for their Sabbath day. After some deliberation, and wishing to get closure on the matter, I assured them that the order would be given to grant their request.

Following them, I had yet another visitor. A certain Joseph of Arimathea, an honourable counsellor of the Jews, to implore me that he be granted possession of the body of Jesus of Nazareth. I asked him why he wanted the body and what he would do with it.  He replied that he would lay him in his own new tomb which had been cut out of the rock, located in a garden in Golgotha.

I marvelled that Jesus of Nazareth had died so soon. I called for the centurion who had been there on duty and enquired of him if Jesus had indeed died a while ago. When it was confirmed that Jesus had indeed died, just before the great quaking, I granted permission to Joseph of Arimathea to take possession of his body.

As the centurion left, I perceived that more had happened at Golgotha than had been reported to me and I would later question the centurion further as I desired to know the whole truth. I hoped that with a complete report, there would be an end to the matter.

After all of this, I sat down, never having felt so drained and exhausted. What a day! Never had I seen such a day and would probably never see another day like it. After all the visitors, I Pontius Pilate, Governor, was left alone. Quite alone.

A Centurion’s Report of the Last Three Hours

Pilate:  Centurion stay awhile, I must hear your account of how he died.

Centurion: The man called Jesus died at about nine o’clock. He cried out with his last breath asking why God had forsaken him. With his second cry, the last word he uttered was “Father”. It had been very dark and now the sun was darkened. Even then, he believed to the end!

There was a strange darkness from the sixth to the ninth hour. As the darkness receded, there was another fearful sight: the sun became darkened.

After we had broken the legs of the thieves, when we saw Jesus was already dead, so we did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with his spear pierced his side, near to his heart, and there came out a stream of blood and water. I don’t know why but we seemed transfixed by that sight.

Suddenly, as if in response to the stream of blood, the Earth started to violently shake which increased until the rocks around us started to split. We were all thrown to the ground on our knees, using our hands to steady ourselves. We were very afraid.

Pilate: Yes, I felt the tremors even from here.

Centurion: Then a sudden dread came over me. I could feel a presence in the air. I looked up again at the man Jesus and then I realized, I knew who….

Pilate: Yes, Centurion, go on. Who? What?

Centurion: I knew who he really was.

Pilate: And who do you think he was?

Centurion: I would rather not say, sir.

Pilate: You must give me the full account.

Centurion: Then I knew that he was the Son of God!

Pilate: Do you realize what you are saying, man?

Centurion: I could not help myself, some unnatural power was compelling me. I was on my knees and saying that he truly was the Son God! You would have to have been there. In all my years of service, I have never experienced anything like it.

The account continues. Pilate is visibly shaken and in doubt. At last, he spoke:

I have known you for some years as a man of great integrity and bravery. You have proven yourself yet again and I will vouchsafe you for your past service. But you must see these words stay with you and go no further. That is an order.

A Profound Question

All that evening, I, Pontius Pilate, kept asking myself the question I had asked Jesus of Nazareth: What is truth?

What is truth? It kept echoing through my mind, rippling through my thoughts. Jesus had not answered. Maybe there was no final answer, no definitive truth. But could the truth have taken the form of a man? Thereby becoming a personification of a living truth?

This nagging question has haunted me throughout my life. Is the truth what we think, say and do: is this the definition of our breathing existence? After a lifetime of dealing with cheats, liars, imposters and others, I thought I had finally met an honest man of truth. But is the whole truth too much for any mortal man to bear? I had also asked him where he was from, but again he gave me no answer. Was this the silence of the truth? Or the truth of his silence?

And why was I continually washing and rewashing my hands?

It had started after the trial. I had washed my hands of it all, but I was unable to wash my hands of the truth. Was I destined to be forever washing my hands from it all? Was this to be the fate of Pontius Pilate?

A Guard’s Report

I was the guard on duty in Pilate’s house that day. I heard Pilate’s wife talking in her sleep as if she were having a nightmare. I could not help as I dared not leave my post. Then suddenly she cried out, saying, guard, guard, come quickly. So I rushed in and found her sitting upright in bed with a look of panic on her face. She took a writing tablet and quickly wrote on it. Then she looked at me and told me to deliver the note to her husband as quickly as possible and said: I only hope I’m not too late. So I took the paper and did as I was ordered.

The Dreams of Pilate’s Wife

I was the wife of Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea. I remember that fateful Friday morning so vividly. I had woken up from a frightening dream in which I kept seeing a man’s face who seemed more than a man, someone sent by the gods. He seemed to be in great torment. He looked like the prophet from Galilee.

I sensed a great danger as if the heavens were angry and would fall on us. It seemed so very real as if I too were suffering with him in the dream.

I woke up in a cold sweat, breathing hard. Immediately I reached out and wrote a letter to my husband to tell him not to have anything to do with that just man because I have suffered many things today in a dream because of him. I gave the letter to the guard urging him to deliver it to Pontius without delay. Was I too late?

I remained in my bed, my hands tightly clasped, sick with worry, and frightened by the things that might happen to us today.

An Argument

The dream kept recurring, I kept seeing his face, and the heavens growing dark. I would wake up in a cold sweat, shaking with fear and worry. I had argued with Pilate saying: Did I not urge you to have nothing to do with that righteous man? My husband said defensively what else could I have done? They pushed me into a corner. Anyway, he’s gone now, it’s all over.

I got up, away from his consoling hands, saying is it over? He tried to comfort me in vain. I said, Is it over? Is it? Maybe it is just the beginning of our troubles? I felt things would never be the same for us again. Nothing would ever be the same between us again.

My dreams have never lied but had a habit of coming true. Pilate lowered his head in resignation. I felt a stab of pity for the man I had loved and weakly held out a hand that fell to my side. I felt hopeless and was sick with worry for the future, awaiting the punishment of the gods.

I wish I had never come to this country, so far from my beloved Italy. I knew no good would come of it. I wish I had never heard of Jesus of Nazareth. What could we do now? Where could we go? Nothing would ever be the same for us, nor for anyone else involved with that man.

An Honourable Counsellor

Guard: Sir, there is a man who…

Pilate: Yes, what is it now?

Guard: Sir, there is a man called Joseph of Arimathea who urgently desires to speak with you. He says it is urgent.

Pilate: Yes, yes, it is always urgent. Very well then, admit him. What a day this has been! I feel drained of strength. Kindly state the nature of your business and be brief.

Joseph: Honoured sir, as you know the preparation of our High Sabbath is near and forbids that the bodies should remain on the crosses. I beseech you that I may be allowed to take away the body of Jesus of Nazareth.

Pilate: Can he be already dead? Who are you to ask so boldly? Are you related?

Joseph: Sir, as you have been informed, I am a councillor of Arimathea, a city of the Jews, and I have waited for the Kingdom of God. I beg you that I may be allowed to bury the body of Jesus of Nazareth in my own new tomb.

Pilate: Will wonders never cease? This whole affair becomes ever more perplexing. I will grant you your petition, but first I must be certain that he really is dead.

Centurion: Yes, sir, I can verify that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed dead.

Pilate: So soon?

Pilate writes on a parchment and hands it to Joseph.

Joseph: I thank you, sir, for your kindness.

Account of Joseph of Arimathea

My name is Joseph, a councillor from Arimathea, a city of the Jews. I was there on that terrible day, and had realized that there would be no place for the body. I was unable to find his disciples or his family. It made me think of the prophecy that there would be no place for him either in life or in death.

I took courage, in spite of my tears, for this man who had done so much for us. I firmly insisted to see Pilate who was always busy, but for some reason, he granted me a short audience.

I begged for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised that it was me rather than any of his family, acquaintances or followers who had made such a request. He called the centurion and enquired if Jesus was indeed dead and was visibly surprised that he had died so quickly. A thought, a haunting doubt, crossed his mind. Then he looked at me with a strange look and granted me leave to take the body.

Yes, I took the body of Jesus down. We used a ladder and with help, we removed the nails from his hands and his feet. The body was unusually light and it seemed as if little blood was left in it, as that had been shed at the foot of the cross where there was a large stain on the earth.

We took the body of Jesus down and wrapped him in a clean linen cloth. In the place where Jesus had died was a garden with my own new tomb which had been cut out in the rock. No man had ever lain in this tomb. There we laid him.

Taking a last quick look, we all rolled the heavy stone to the door and quickly departed. The Sabbath was drawing on, and everything was done in a hurry.

As we walked away, we saw two women who had known Jesus, sitting near to the tomb.

A Message

After Pilate had asked the people to choose between the two men, Jesus called Christ, or Barabbas, he sat down on the judgment seat, the pavement, which the Jews had called Gabbatha. Then a guard arrived from the direction of Pilate’s house and handed him a written note. Pilate seemed to recognise it. He took the note and having read it, became thoughtful, and glanced back in the direction of his house. He then asked the crowd again, which of these two are you willing that I release to you? It seemed Pilate was now even more determined to release Jesus.

The Questions of Herod the Fox

I was in Jerusalem during that time of the High Sabbath. News had come to me that Pilate was sending a notable prisoner to me for judgment, a Galilean who was under my jurisdiction.

When I heard this was Jesus, the Jesus, I was exceedingly glad as I had desired to see him for a long time and also because I had heard so many things about the famous cousin of John. Also, I had hoped to see some miracles performed by him for myself.

I had so many questions to ask him, so many hopes and expectations. So I proceeded to ask him of his life in Galilee, his family and friends, where he got his powers from. I even asked him directly if he was John the Baptiser whom I had been forced to behead, risen from the dead. But he answered none of my questions. In fact, he never spoke to me, his king. Indeed, not a single word.

I was becoming somewhat annoyed and tired of this game Jesus was playing. I then asked him if he was aware of what the people and his followers were calling him. They were saying he was Christ, son of David, King of the Jews. But am I not your lawful, rightful king, I asked them? What have you to say to this?

Jesus lifted up his head and looked me in the eyes…. Those eyes, so unnerving, burning with the same power of truth I had seen in his cousin, John.

Then the chief priests and scribes, who were standing by, started to accuse him again of many things, including subverting the nation, forbidding Caesar’s tribute monies and taxes, and that he was claiming to be Christ, a king. A strange, silent king, I thought.

My patience was coming to an end with it all and together with my men of war, we started mocking him as a nobody, a nothing. One of my own men even took one of the royal robes and put it on his shoulders and said: Now he really looks like the King of Israel! Jesus remained silent, and neither said nor did anything to defend himself throughout, but the hall was filled with mocking laughter.

When we got tired of the sport, I said: Enough! Send him back to Pilate with this message: Governor, you sent this man to me to be tried, but despite the vehement accusations of the chief priests and scribes, we could not find him guilty of any crime deserving of death. I am therefore sending him back to you for your judgment.

My audience with Jesus of Galilee turned out to be one of the most disappointing and depressing experiences of my life and left me feeling strangely alone, isolated and empty. If only I had not beheaded John: at least he had been willing to talk to me, his king.

Account of Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s Steward

I was shocked to hear that Jesus had been taken in the night to be tried by the religious elders. Now Pilate was sending him here to be tried by Herod. The chief priests and scribes arrived quickly hoping to be the first to speak to Herod.

I couldn’t believe what I saw. What had they done to him? Jesus looked so beaten up. His poor face was bruised and spots of blood were in his hair and upon his clothing.

I saw Herod rise up when he saw Jesus. He looked very glad as he had desired to see Jesus for a long time, having heard so many things about him. I think he also hoped to see some miracles performed by him. He was always telling us that Jesus was John the Baptiser risen from the dead, and therefore able to perform such mighty miracles.

Herod had many questions to ask Jesus, but Jesus remained silent and said nothing. While the priest and scribes were standing around him, accusing him of so many things. What had he done to deserve such hatred? Jesus was saying nothing to defend himself.

The mood of Herod had changed and with his men of war, they started to ridicule Jesus and abuse him. I saw one of them take one of the royal robes and put it upon Jesus’s shoulders, saying now he really does look like the King of the Jews. They were all laughing at him.

I felt so powerless to stop it. I couldn’t say anything… I was only the wife of Cheza, Herod’s steward. I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t bear to see the most loving of men treated like this. Was this his reward for all his words of comfort and for all the people he had healed? I opened my mouth but no words came.

Then Herod spoke again, saying that’s enough, send him back to Pilate. What had happened? My heart was full of confusion and fear for him. I brushed away my tears so no one could see me crying. I wanted to get away from this den of cruel men. I wanted to follow after Jesus to do something to help him, but I was only a woman…. but my heart cried after him.

Oh, Jesus, we had ministered to you of our substance to help you in your work. I, Joanna, and many others, but now I couldn’t help you. Would no one help you? I could only look on, and pray.

The Appearing of the Dead

There are now many witnesses who were certain that they had seen people who had died who they alleged were now alive. Some had affirmed they had even spoken to relatives and friends who had come back to them from the dead. They said they had appeared and shown themselves to many people in Jerusalem.

Some reported that they had been believers who had risen from the dead as witnesses to the resurrection of the prophet who some had called the Son of God, who had been the first to rise from the dead.

One witness was asked if he had not seen some vision or ghost, but he said no, no, you don’t understand: they were not ghosts or spirits, it was really them, it really was. It was the same person I had known when they were alive before. I touched them and held their hand. It was them. It was the time of the dead when they showed themselves to us. God had brought back our loved ones to us.

A Witness of the Dead

I heard more and more rumours by the day. It sounded so impossible, stories told by over-excited religious zealots. There were too many witnesses saying the same thing. Something unusual – I don’t know what or how – must have happened. There was much disputing, doubts, mocking, I couldn’t explain it, but some had called it ‘the resurrection of the saints’, while others were certain it was a conspiracy.

But there were now many people becoming convinced by Jesus of Nazareth. These rumours were spreading out of control and greatly disturbing the whole city. I felt that trouble would come of it. The priests would never accept it, and the Romans wouldn’t tolerate it.

As if we hadn’t had enough trouble already during the past week, and now this! What a week! I’ve never known a week like it.

You would have to have been there yourself to understand just how life-changing this was.

A Witness of the Dead Rising Up

After the great earthquake that Friday afternoon, there had been a great deal of disturbance in Jerusalem and in particular around the grounds of Golgotha. I often passed by that place of graves and noticed that many of the graves had also been disturbed.

As I looked closer, I thought I saw the ground moving and then moving in several places as if something was moving around under the ground trying to get out.

Suddenly, I was shocked to see… bodies coming up out of the graves. They were rising up. I was seeing heads, and then shoulders and hands coming up out of the graves. The dead were rising up!

No, I am not mad, or drunk. Listen, I tell you the truth. I saw it with my own eyes. First, it was one, then another, until they were like a small army walking slowly towards the city.

I was seized with fear and panic and started running back towards the city gate ahead of them. I think I started to shout like a madman: they are coming, the dead are coming!

Another Witness of the Coming of the Dead

I was standing by the city gates when I saw a man running towards the gate shouting something like: the dead are coming.

After him, I saw a group of people. As they got closer, I saw they all seemed to be wearing what looked like brand new clothes. They were walking purposefully like some kind of company on an errand. They seemed to be happy with a joyous expression on their faces and their eyes were bright.

Then I realised that one of them was a man we had buried several weeks ago – I’m sure it was him, certain of it. I froze in terror and drew in a deep breath, almost fainting. I tried to speak, to cry out, but no words came.

I stood frozen to the spot by the wall, watching them, the living dead, walking through the gate and into the city.

 

More to follow soon on Eyewitness Reports

Posted in The Resurrection Plot | 1 Comment

The Resurrection Plot Pt 1

Pilate Receives a Report of a Plot

After the many things that happened during that momentous week, reports began to come in to Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor, that the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth had been found empty. Pilate demanded an explanation as the chief priests had persuaded him to order a watch over the tomb.

The priests informed Pilate they had already interrogated the soldiers who had reported that while they were sleeping, the disciples of Jesus had come in the night and stolen his body away. This story was already being discussed among the people. Again the priests had managed to persuade Pilate and protect the soldiers, as sleeping on duty was a serious offence.

They all thought this would be an end to the matter. Further reports soon began to arrive that other tombs had also been found empty and that the occupants had been seen walking in the city of Jerusalem.

Pilate Hears of the Empty Tomb

Pilate: I want those soldiers brought here for immediate questioning.

Priest: But Sir, Governor, we have given our assurance to them of their safety inside our temple. We cannot go back on our word, for that would be a desecration of our beliefs.

Pilate: You didn’t think it a desecration of your beliefs when you held illegal night trials to further your agenda? Have your laws changed since then? And desecrating your Sabbath…

Priest: Sir, this matter is difficult for both of us. It seems to us that if the report gets out of sleeping soldiers being punished, it could diminish the fear and respect towards the army in Judea. That means yet more embarrassment for us among the people. It would seem best to let the matter go away and be forgotten. In any case, the whole thing will be forgotten in a week, and the thorn in the flesh of both of us removed for good.

Pilate: He is not the only thorn in my flesh. So I see you have worked this one out too with your customary cunning. I loathe to admit it, but again I appear to have been manoeuvred into a position. But it seems your advice is the least of evils. This, then, is my order. The stone is to be rolled back into its place. The remaining soldiers will return to duty but without harm. Thirdly, you will make a proclamation to the people concerning the true series of events.  And one more thing, you are to supply any information regarding the ringleaders of this resurrection plot and hand them over to us immediately.

Priest: But Sir…

Pilate: What I have said, I have said.

Pilate manages a half-smile, his small victory over his tormentors. He sits wearily down and props up his head in his hands, gazing forward in doubt. The dreams of his wife come back into his mind. So it will all be over in a week? I wonder, he asked himself.

The Last Mistake

The chief priests and Pharisees had come together on the Sabbath because they were not at peace. Even after the death of Jesus of Nazareth, they feared the disciples of Jesus might come in the night and steal his body away. Then they would say to the people that he was risen from the dead after three days as he said he would. They feared that many people would believe the report and become followers. They also feared this last mistake would be worse than the first. So they decided to come together and persuade Pilate to give the order to set a watch and secure the tomb until the third day. After some deliberation, Pilate was again forced to acknowledge the validity of their arguments and grant them their watch, and ordered them to go and make the tomb as secure as they could.

Soldier’s Report of the Empty Graves

It became worse, as if the matter with the tomb wasn’t enough, and hunting for the body of Jesus of Nazareth which was presumed to have been stolen. Despite examination, nothing was adding up, and we were left perplexed. Evidences only led to more questions.

Now reports were starting to come in of graves having been opened. The bodies of people were missing from the graves. Some had only recently died, now reported to have been seen walking in Jerusalem. We suspected a Jewish plot, probably by the followers of Jesus or Barabbas, to destabilise Roman rule and usher in the new kingdom ruled by their risen messiah. Had Jesus not said, my kingdom is not here now, and when it is my followers will fight for me?

Further investigations left us even more puzzled. The graves had been opened all right, but from within. Come to think of it, just like the tomb of Jesus. Report after report came in, supposedly of dead relatives seen in Jerusalem. No, not ghosts, but the actual bodies, the people who had been dead and buried. Was this a cunningly crafted plot? Mass hysteria? Some had called it the resurrection of the saints. So far, we had no reliable witness and no credible evidence or answers. Only eyewitness reports leading to more questions, doubts and panic.

It seems to have all started with that report of the watch. What were we to do? Guard graves of dead people?

Pilate Hears of the Empty Graves

Soldier: Sir, reports are coming in of witnesses who claim to have seen and met the man Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified several days ago.

Pilate: I should have foreseen this would happen. They have their martyr for their cause. First, the empty tomb, and now this. First, they wanted me to get rid of him, then order a guard for a dead man’s tomb. Then to remove the inscription I had written, and then to remove the body from the cross. And now this? But it appears `our friends’ the priests were right and that the last error will be worse than the first. Give immediate orders that any further information is given to me immediately. I want anyone claiming to have seen Jesus be taken and brought in for questioning.

Suddenly, another guard comes in.

Pilate: Yes, what is it now?

Guard: Sir, I have been informed of reports coming in of empty tombs and…

Pilate: Out with it!

Guard: Of empty tombs and… and… of people who have risen from their graves.

Pilate: Order the guards to immediately seek out the body robbers and apprehend them.

Guard: But Sir…

Pilate: Yes, what is it?

Guard: There are eyewitnesses to testify that they have seen and spoken to the bodies of their relatives who they claim are now alive.

Pilate sits down in astonishment that gives way to a great weariness.

Pilate: Is there no end to this business? First, one empty tomb and now an army of them! Now it starts. He spoke of a kingdom and of a resurrection. This is going to unsettle the populace and dangerously undermine our authority in Judea. Rome will not stand for it. I want you to take a patrol of guards and seek out those who are spreading these dangerous and insidious rumours for questioning and examination by torture if necessary. I want the ringleaders of this resurrection sect apprehended and their plot exposed for what it is.

The Proclamation of the Priests

The priests had been ordered by Pilate to make an address to the people. They had taken counsel and next morning made the following proclamation:

We, your leaders, address your concerns over the false reports and tales of the deceiver, Jesus of Nazareth, rising again. We have been reliably informed by the soldiers of the watch that his followers came in the night while the soldiers were sleeping and stole the body away. By doing this, they hoped their story and false teaching could continue after his death. As for stories of the so-called resurrection dead, this too has been revealed as a plot by zealots and fanatics working against both us and the Roman authorities. Therefore we command that anyone who has knowledge of the ringleaders of this dangerous sect is reported to us immediately or else they will be excluded from the temple and handed over to the Roman authorities.

The Soldier in Charge of the Watch

I was in charge of the soldiers who guarded the tomb of Christ. It was the third day after the crucifixion of Jesus.

As it began to dawn, there was a deep rumbling noise, and the whole ground started to shake. Everything was shaking. It was frightening. Then we saw what looked like some sort of man coming down from the sky above us.

I tell the truth. His face was flashing like lightning, and his clothing was shining like snow. He came down and rolled the heavy stone from the door. He then laid the stone on the ground and sat on it! We were terrified.

We couldn’t bear him looking at us with those terrible eyes burning like lamps. We were shaking with fear and fell to the ground like dead men. I felt that if I saw his face again, I would die.

I remember being on the ground face down, still shaking uncontrollably, but I thought I heard some talking. Maybe it was the man talking. Something about the body not being there because he had risen from the dead. Something about him going back to Galilee. I don’t know who he was talking to.

When we came to, there was no one else there, only our weapons lying on the cold hard ground. I looked towards the tomb and then staggered to the open entrance, and saw the stone was still lying nearby. No, it hadn’t been a nightmare, it was all horribly true.

I peered inside but the tomb was empty. The body was gone. I saw the grave clothes lying there, still bearing the shape of a figure but with no body inside. I froze on the spot and couldn’t speak for a while.

I turned to the others who were left. One of them had run off in terror. I shouted to them: He is gone, the body is gone. The others came to the entrance and looked in. They were speechless. I asked them what are we going to do now? How will we explain this? Whoever will believe us?

One of us said: You explain it. I am not going back. No one will ever believe what has happened here. We will only be severely punished. I’ve had enough, I’m going far away.

I tried to regain my composure, and said, There is nothing else to do, we have to do our duty and report back to the priests and tell them what happened here, whether they believe us or not. Let’s go.

One more thing, as we were going back into the city, we noticed two women hurrying also into the city as if they had some important news to tell someone. Somehow I felt they were involved in all this, but I didn’t think to stop them and question them.

I couldn’t rest after this. I kept having nightmares and kept on seeing that terrible face, waking up and saying over and over again: The body is gone, the body is gone.

One of the Watch Who Ran Away

I don’t really want to talk about it. What can I tell you? What happened there early that morning destroyed my life.

After the earthquake, I saw a light coming down like the figure of a man, his clothes shining like snow in the sun, his face flashing like lightning. It was terrifying beyond imagination. We were all shaking. It is difficult to describe what I felt. A sense of danger I had never known. I felt myself falling like being shaken down to the ground.

I still feel shaky when I think about it to this day and I get vivid nightmares where I wake up in a cold sweat. I keep on seeing that face coming down from the sky. I used to think that all that talk about gods and spirits were just stories, but now I know, I’m telling you, nothing in this life can prepare you for what we went through. There was no strength left in me to resist and I fell into a very deep sleep.

That’s it, that’s what it was like. My life is ruined, I’ll never be the same man again. I live constantly with the fear that I’ll be caught by the soldiers. I’ve always got my back to the wall. I can’t even bear talking about it. Maybe the man from the sky will come back and find me.

I wish I’d never been there on that morning.

Another Soldier of the Watch Who Ran Away

Yes, some of us ran away. We ran for it. What would you have done in our position? Who was going to believe our story? They would think that we were mad.

In a way, I am still running. I guess I will always be running. Maybe I am trying to run away from the truth of what happened that morning, but it’s inside of me, inside my mind.

I have no answers, but I feel it has everything to do with that Jesus of Nazareth. I have heard stories about him being alive. It seems impossible, but then what happened to us was impossible, yet it happened. I have nothing more to say and just want to be left alone.

One of the Watch Who Returned to the City

After those things, early that morning, some of us came back into the city and told the chief priest what had happened. They drew back and stared at us as if we had gone mad. Then they put us aside and told us to rest.

They assembled a council with the elders. They came back later with large bags of money and instructed us to say that his disciples came at night and stole the dead body away while we were sleeping.

I knew that we were being bribed to keep silent. I tried to protest, saying that’s not what happened. People will ask us how did we know they stole the body if we were sleeping?

This means big trouble for us. They said if you don’t do as we tell you, there will be even more trouble. Then one of the priests said, don’t worry if the governor hears of it, we will persuade him and safeguard you. Now take the money and tell it like we have told you.

What else could we do? Trapped between the priests and Pilate? So we took the bags of money and told the story – their story. Do you know that everyone believed us? I could hardly believe it myself. They are still repeating the lies to this day. Yes, I lied to others, but I couldn’t lie to myself concerning what really happened that morning.

The Fourth Guard

I kept looking back at that sealed stone blocking the doorway to the tomb. Maybe it was some sense or premonition – all those stories and prophecies – but wasn’t he dead, quite dead? He couldn’t even save himself. How on earth could he come back to life? Hadn’t it all been a superstition? Yet I kept thinking that everything he ever said had a habit of coming true.

Pilate had granted the chief priests and Pharisees their watch, commanding them to go and make it as secure as possible. Had we not checked it thoroughly and sealed the stone? What else could possibly happen?

The priest had feared his disciples would come at night and steal the body away. Then they would tell the people that he was risen from the dead. Not much chance of that, I thought, the cowards had abandoned him in the garden.  They had not as much as showed their faces, even when he was crucified. They were all in hiding for their own lives. But I could not stop myself from looking back at that sealed door.

The Gardener of Golgotha

I was working in the garden on the first day of the week, near to sunset, after the high Sabbath, when suddenly there was deep rumbling beneath my feet, and the whole ground was shaking. I became afraid and noticed the area the lower graves up from the stone tombs of the rich men were heaving as if being broken up.

The shaking increased, and I dropped my rake, and stumbling across, put my back against a rock wall. Then the shaking suddenly stopped. Tense moments passed, and there were sounds like the ground being tossed apart. It seemed like the graves were being opened.

Then I saw the bodies of the sleeping dead slowly rising up out of their graves. I cannot put into words what I felt, but I was petrified, frozen in terror where I stood. I saw them rise and stand up on their feet. I don’t know how many. They were shaking the ground off their bodies, and then they took the cloths off their faces and opened their eyes.

I thought I recognised one of them, a man who had been buried there weeks ago. He reached out a hand of recognition towards me and others were also walking slowly towards me.

That was it, I could take no more. A wild panic came over me, and I started to run for it, running as fast as I could, for my life. I ran through the city gates – it was only a short distance from the tombs to the city wall – into my house, bolted my door and collapsed breathless on the floor.

I couldn’t stop my mind playing the images of what I had seen over and over.

I later heard of the story of the dead who had risen and appeared to many in the city of Jerusalem. I did not see them, the risen dead, again. Others had proclaimed that the crucified prophet from Galilee had also risen earlier that day because his tomb had been found empty. I told no one. This is the first time I have told what I saw that day. I have not been back there ever since.

Simon Peter and the Sign of the Napkin

After we heard Mary’s account of speaking with Jesus, I, Simon Peter and John ran towards the tomb. John, who was younger, had reached the tomb first. When I came to the tomb, he was standing outside and said: It’s true, it’s true.  I asked him: What is true?

He did not reply, and I saw that the stone had been taken away from the door. So I entered into the tomb. The smell of spices was still in the air and light was flooding in through the open door.

I saw the linen cloth that had been wound around the Lord lying there.  They were just lying there on the floor as if someone had stepped out of them as if they still had the shape of a body. Maybe because the living no longer needed the clothes of the dead.

Then I saw the napkin that had been covering his head, but it was not lying with the rest of the linen cloth. It had been folded neatly in a place by itself. What could it all mean? The stone rolled away, the missing guards, the empty tomb, the missing body, the clothes left there as some kind of witness and that napkin like a sign to us.

It kept coming back into my mind. Then I remembered the day when he had washed our feet and the way he had laid his clothes aside folded. It all seemed so familiar.

The simple truth was staring me in the face, but I couldn’t accept the impossible. No matter what my eyes were telling me, it was all too much to take in.

I remembered how he had foretold how he would die and rise again the third day. Today was that day, but I could not understand what the rising from the dead could mean. I could not understand it.

I made my way back, wondering what could have happened.

The Grave Clothes

Yes, it’s true I took the grave clothes of Jesus. The linen cloths that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had used to wind around the body of Jesus. The cloths still had the strong odour of myrrh, and I was struck by the way the linen cloths were lying in the tomb when I first saw them. They seemed to have the shape of a figure as if someone had just walked out of them or through them. It was so strange I couldn’t understand it.

Also, the napkin that had been around his head was not lying with the linen cloths but was lying by itself neatly folded. I imagined that when Jesus rose from the dead, he had folded the napkin that way himself. Maybe as a sign for those who believed in him. It had been John and Peter who first saw the linen cloths and the napkin and they told us what they had seen.

Later that day, I went again to the tomb and gathered them together. When I touched them, I felt a strange, almost unreal sensation. Now I had become the keeper, no, the custodian of the last clothes that Jesus had worn upon Earth. How strange, just like the story we had heard of his birth and how his mother had wrapped him in swaddling clothes. I would keep them safe forever as a witness to his resurrection.

Then a thought came to me. Maybe the Roman soldiers would come looking for the cloths as some type of evidence. I could not bear the thought of them putting their hands on them. I walked out of the tomb while looking to see if anyone was there, and I hurried away.

The Steward

I was Chuza, steward to Herod the King. Jesus was sent to us for judgment by Pilate, who apparently had found no fault in him. I had suspected this was all about envy. People know how jealously those priests guard their influence over the minds of the people.

After Herod had asked Jesus many things and received no answers, his mood was changing from gladness to mockery. I found the many accusations of the chief priests both distasteful and overdone, but it seemed to embolden the men of war who joined in with the mockery. I saw all this, being at Herod’s right hand.

Then one of the soldiers picked up one of the robes and put it upon Jesus. He said: Look here he is, the true King of the Jews.

The whole hall was filled with the sound of laughter. Throughout all this, Jesus said and did nothing in response.

Yes, I had been there, but I did not join in with that ganging up on that one defenceless man who seemed no threat to us.

Despite this, wasn’t he a fellow Galilean?

I didn’t want those stuck-up Jerusalemites making sport, telling stories about those trouble-making northerners, ingratiating themselves to Pilate.

Then I noticed my wife Joanna wiping away tears with her sleeves. I could see the effect all this was having on her, but I couldn’t comfort her. I dared not incur Herod’s displeasure. I knew he had believed in this prophet, that he was the one who John the Baptist had prophesied would come.

One thing I did know, no man who ever lived had done the things this man had done.

Now we were sending him back again to Pilate, a fellow countryman, into the hands of the Romans at the behest of those plotting priests. I could not interfere nor dare to suggest an alternative outcome.

Herod’s decision was final. I saw Jesus of Galilee taken away to his fate.

Herod’s Letter to Pilate

I, Pilate, was surprised to see the soldiers I sent with the famous prisoner Jesus to Herod return so soon. I was even more surprised to see the prisoner adorned in a gorgeous robe, looking both comical and tragic. Even his own countrymen had rejected him and wanted no part of him. Why do these people insist on beating up their prisoners before a trial has even begun?

Guard: Sir, Herod having questioned the prisoner in many words, has sent him back to you, as nothing worthy of death has been committed by him. I have also with me a writing from Herod who desires to see you regarding the matter of a speedy resolution to our common problem.

Has he indeed? Hand me the communication.

Governor, you sent this man to me to be tried, but despite the vehement accusations of the chief priests and scribes, we could not find him guilty of any crime deserving of death. Indeed I was exceedingly glad to see him for some time, having heard so many surprising things he did. I also hoped to see some demonstration of his miraculous powers for myself, but I saw nothing. He also said nothing, not a word. Eventually, our patience came to an end, and my men of war began to mock him as a nothing. They even put on him a magnificent robe deserving of a pretender of the title of King of the Jews. I am sending him back to you for your judgment.

I, Pilate, pondered upon the problem handed back to me and decided the best course of action was to gather together the chief priests and rulers of the people and leave the decision with them, as it was the custom to release one prisoner at the feast of their Passover. I was confident that I could convince the people to choose to release the King of the Jews.

Posted in The Resurrection Plot | 1 Comment

The Truth about Christian Denominations and Sects

People are often bewildered as to why there are so many Christian denominations and sects. Many are confused as to which one of them, if any, could be the right one. Apart from the problems caused by following false doctrine and bad practices, there is a broad array of evidence that there are very some dark goings-on in the higher echelons of many of these cults and sects and some good  – albeit deceived – Christian followers.

I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.” (3 John 9-10)

Undoubtedly, there are thousands of Christian denominations and many types and divisions within them. Whether Catholic, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, or more modern cults such as IHOP – or any other of the many Christian cults and sects – within them are good, bad, and indifferent Christians. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

“For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.  For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” (1 Corinthians 11:18-19)

People can get trapped in these organisations through their community or because they were born into them. They have been programmed into believing certain things. Often they are deceived into believing that their organisation is the only organisation God uses. They are convinced they are the only good Christians who are going to be saved.

“So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 27-30)

Typically, an environment of fear is created in which people are afraid to ask questions lest they somehow lose position and favour or may even be shunned.  People can be easily misled and manipulated so that they are utterly convinced that salvation is dependent upon membership of their particular group, or church, or temple (the gold of the temple) or upon their leader/s. This could not possibly be true because as the Bible says, all these cults were started by people, whereas the Bible is clear that it is God who saves us through Jesus.”There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (1 Timothy 2:5)

God appointed the Apostles to lead the Church after Jesus had ascended to Heaven.From the beginning though, the Christian church was marred by splits, with people wanting to do things their way to get their own following.

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30)

This only became more pronounced as over time the church became more and more fragmented and corrupted. “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (Rev 2:2)

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Cor 11:13-15)

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” (2 Peter 2:1-3)

One reason why they became so corrupted is that by whatever means they came into such money and power, they were not adhering to what it says in the Bible.”Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23)

As the name implies, Christianity ought to have been centred on Jesus Christ rather than membership of any particular church. Whether it is one of the Christian cults, or sects, or denominations such as Methodism or Lutheranism, or any divisions under different leaders, or with different beliefs or aims, or whatever. “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:” (Matthew 12:25)

Jesus did not tell us to go out and build organisations and mega-churches, he said: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Jesus himself told us that to be a good Christian, or to be saved, first of all, we need to believe in Him and then to follow what he said and be obedient to it. After Jesus had healed the blind man, the church leaders threw him out of the building. “Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (John 9:35)

“These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:26-27)

According to scripture, there is a group of people called the “Body of Christ” that is made up of those who truly believe in Jesus and truly follow him – which means to be obedient to what he told us.Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Who would you rather believe, what God is telling you in the Bible, or what men tell you?

Jesus repeatedly warned that in the Last Days there would be great deception.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (2 Timothy 4:3)

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Cor 4:5-7)

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:13-18)

As Christians, we are to seek a sound relationship with God through His Son, according to what God has communicated to us in the Bible, rather than whatever we have decided for ourselves – or have allowed others to convince us – is the right or wrong thing to do. “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)

There is a world of difference between “Christ-ianity” and “Church-ianity”. Jesus said: “Destroy this building made with hands and I will raise up another one made without hands”. What Jesus was telling people is that God’s true building is the body of Christ, those who believe in Him and follow Him, and do what he says, not a temple or a building, or any organisation, etc. made by man. “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;” (Acts 17:24)

In Revelation 17, Bible prophecy tells us that most of these churches and denominations will end up being part of the one-world church leading back to Rome and following the antichrist rather than Jesus.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-5)

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 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. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences 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. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Romans 16:17-20)

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptised in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptised none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptised in mine own name. And I baptised also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptised any other. For Christ sent me not to baptise, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-20)

“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” (1 Corinthians 3-13)

“They told you beforehand, In the last days (in the end time) there will be scoffers [who seek to gratify their own unholy desires], following after their own ungodly passions. It is these who are [agitators] setting up distinctions and causing divisions—merely sensual [creatures, carnal, worldly-minded people], devoid of the [Holy] Spirit and destitute of any higher spiritual life.” (Jude 17-19 AMP)

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off which trouble you. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5)

“Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11)

Posted in The Great Falling Away Today, Who Are The True Christians, Your Church Babylon or Zion | 20 Comments

The Rise of the Global Church of Lucifer by Charles Lawson

Please note
Inclusion on this site does not imply agreement with or endorsement of anything said by that individual or organisation elsewhere, or any links therein. Some information could be doctrinally unsound.  Pray for guidance and discernment and test everything against the word of God. “Beloved, believe not every spirit but try the spirits whether they are of God, as many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) “They searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

Posted in General | 1 Comment

What is a Bible Study

The belief in the transforming power of God’s words given to us in the Bible is central to true Christianity. A bible study is not a bible class where one teaches and others listen, nor a form of sharing where people give their opinions or understandings of what they believe the Bible says.

Rather a bible study is an in-depth study of what God’s word says about any particular matter. All the answers we need can be found in the Bible, through the various stories and parables, etc. The Bible gives us a report, an analysis of what, why, how, when, where, and whom.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” (Psalm 7-9)

A bible study can help us to arrive at a clear understanding of precisely what the Bible is saying about specific subjects, instead of what any man is saying. Consequently, the Bible can be understood and applied in such a way that it can become a helpful and practical part of one’s thinking and way of life.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

It would be true to say that some of the Old Testament such as scriptures relating to Jewish laws relate to the old covenant but by no means all. That is why 2 Timothy 3:17 says:

ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.”

The KJV version of the Bible is the version most often recommended by bible scholars as although not perfect, and some words such as ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ are now out of general use, it does give a far more faithful rendering of what was originally said.

Yea, Hath God Said

Most of the other bible versions are inaccurate and contain omissions and alterations where words and/or their meanings have been subtly altered to facilitate certain beliefs held by the organisations or individuals in translation from the original manuscripts. Thus they have become not only translations, but intepretations.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20)

We can easily apply what it says in the Bible to ourselves and our own lives to find out what to do in any given situation. Along with prayer to God in the name of Jesus, asking that the Holy Spirit is given to teach us and guide us in our study.

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)

The True Holy Spirit

Lastly, a word of caution. Jesus warned of great deception in the Last Days by false teachers:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:4)

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

Posted in The Alpha Course v The Bible, The Bible | 8 Comments

New Life Radio

Online 24/7 broadcasting from Exeter to the UK and around the world

Programmes include musical items, stories, drama, good biblical teaching, Scripture readings and more

NewLifeRadio.co.uk

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Anti-Santa Card 2019: The Truth about Christmas


Santa and his sleigh 1Santa and his sleigh 1.pngSanta and his sleigh 3

The Night Before Christmas.PNG

“I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but
because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” (1 John 2:21)

“Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee,
and thou be found a liar.”
(Proverbs 30:6)

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now
commandeth all men every where to repent:”
(Acts 17:30)

Christmas can be a demon-fest.

Some spirits which can commonly influence people at Christmas are:

Loneliness
Poverty
Fear
Perfection
Anger
Depression
Self-Pity
Gossip
Rejection
Confusion

Screen Shot 08-31-19 at 10.50 PM.PNG

Please note: Inclusion on this site does not imply agreement with or endorsement of everything said elsewhere by that individual or organisation, or any links therein. Some information could be doctrinally unsound. “They searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: as many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John:4)

Posted in Another Gospel Another Jesus, Miscellanea Etc | 3 Comments

The Disney Occult Deception

Walt Disney has accomplished numerous truly amazing feats when it comes to deceiving people, seeming to provide exciting yet wholesome entertainment while delivering witchcraft and occult mind control right into their homes.

Disney has been able to achieve this by skillfully creating characters, screenplay and plots carefully crafted to lead people to think along certain lines, using powerful subliminal messages, imagery and symbolism, of occult, witchcraft, pagan, Illuminati, masonic, sexual and other satanic origins. The borders separating good and evil are blurred and often good is subtly or overtly made to seem evil, boring or just plain wrong, while evil is presented as good, or somehow interesting, fascinating, glamorous, exciting and desirable.

Disney has taken fairy tales, fables, legends and stories from all over the world, and applying various themes to places, nature, animals, and characters both real and fantasy, along with appealing music and lyrics, creatively manipulated and packaged them to cater for their evil agenda. Many of these fairy stories are quite dark anyway, but Disney has cultivated the expertise to make them even darker, ingenuously disguised as wholesome family entertainment.

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:23)

Colourful witches and wizards abound in Disney productions. From Queen Grimhilde in the first Disney film Snow White in 1938, through Madam Mim in The Sword in the Stone, Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmations, to the 2014 film dedicated to the life story of the witch Maleficent, almost every Disney film has some type of witch.

 

In Disney’s Little Mermaid, Ariel signs a contract with the evil witch Ursula – or sells her soul to her? – in exchange for being human so she can marry her prince.

There is a plethora of demonic pagan gods and temples with some impressive imagery. Time and again the hero and/or heroine is seen to visit them to consult them, but the God of the Bible is almost always missing from the equation. For example, in the true story, Pocahontas converted to Christianity, yet in the Disney movie, she visited a temple to consult with demonic pagan ‘nature’ gods and goddesses.

Fantasia is full of demonic imagery and mythological characters. In this cartoon, the third that Disney made, and in its sequel, even good beings are depicted as creatures connected with mythology – which is, in fact, demonology – such as satyrs, aka centaurs or fauns, a half-human half-goat creature which is actually a representation of the ‘god’ Pan, who is actually the devil. As usual, there is no mention whatsoever of God the Creator.

Mulan has a guardian which is a red dragon, thus leading adults and children to believe that Satan, who is portrayed as a red dragon in the Bible, will guard, help and protect them rather than destroy them.

In the Aladdin song, “A Whole New World” Aladdin wants to take the Princess away with him and sings “I can open your eyes, Take you wonder by wonder, Over sideways and under, On a magic carpet ride, A whole new world, A new fantastic point of view, No one to tell us no, Or where to go, Or say we’re only dreaming”.

Disney’s “Magic Kingdom” is in fact – in line with the devil’s compulsion to imitate God – a satanic counterfeit of God’s Kingdom.

Far from being sound family entertainment, in Disney stories, unhealthy relationship models abound. Frozen is one of the most popular animated Disney films of all time and many know some of the songs by heart, especially “Let it Go”. The message given is that children should not be afraid to be themselves and should never apologize for who they are, which seems fine. Only Elsa did almost kill her sister and then, with the help of her parents, simply erase her memory.

In the hugely successful Pirates of The Caribbean movies, Disney has presented pirates, who are in reality thieves, plunderers and murderers, etc. as something glamorous that children want to imitate, to act out and dress up like them, and even want to be one.

Walt DisneyWalt Disney himself was adopted from an abusive home and lost his adoptive mother when she died from asphyxiation due to faulty workmanship in a house that he had bought her. It is fairly well known that Walt Disney was not only a paedophile who liked little boys but a satanist, a type of male witch, a 33rd-degree freemason and member of the Illuminati.

“Manasseh sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Hinnom. He practised sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did great evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger.” (Chronicles 33:6)

A well-known picture of the summer camp in Bohemian Grove attended every year by the wealthy, influential and famous, often termed ‘the elite’. The owl statue “Moloch” presides over an altar created for human sacrifices, although it is claimed they only use an effigy. This same altar is used for the annual “Cremation of Care” ceremony, as covertly filmed in 2000 by Alex Jones and available to view on the internet. Presidents who have been a member of Bohemian Grove include Hoover, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Raegan and the Bush family, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, and White House chiefs of staff, senators, secretaries of state, secretaries of defence, army generals and so on. Henry Kissinger was also a member, along with many of the Rockerfeller family, Walter Cronkite, Clint Eastwood and Charlton Heston, Mark Twain, Bing Crosby, and Merv Griffin.

 

 

 

 

 

Although Walt Disney was not an official member of the Bohemian Club, he is known to have visited the club as a guest in 1936 and he said that what he experienced there inspired the dwarves’ snoring scene in the 1937 animation Snow White. It is however well documented with dozens of photographs in the public domain, that Walt Disney was a member of a similar and related but smaller club for the elite, also located in California and also with an exclusive white male membership (of only 700), “Rancheros Visitadores”.

At Walt Disney World there is a ‘secret’ exclusive club called Club 33, the only place at Disneyland where alcohol can be bought. Lavishly furnished, Club 33 contains an amazing collection of top-notch Disney movie memorabilia, a beautiful reproduction antique French glass lift, and a gruesome trophy hunting collection. There are many rooms and exclusive areas within the club – as there is elsewhere at Walt Disney World – with various levels of access that are strictly controlled. According to one Club 33 member, there is a $25,000 to $100,000 initiation fee and $12,500 to $30,000 annual fee, depending on the level of membership. There is said to be a 14-year waiting list for membership which is by invite only. Clearly, Club 33 is a place only for the connected rich.

Club 33 was said to have been originally designed as a place for Walt Disney to entertain guests and business associates, but he died from lung cancer at 67, only six months before it was officially opened. Club 33 is said to be a Freemasonic club and ’33’ is certainly a number that is very important to freemasons. Pictures of Club 33 show the trademark black and white chequered floor, and other indicators of freemasonry – which is essentially witchcraft.

Disney is one of the six major organisations which control the world’s media.

Disney’s first character was Mickey Mouse, voiced by Walt Disney himself from 1927 right up to 1947. Mickey Mouse is perhaps best known as the apprentice wizard left to take care of the wizard’s workshop while he is away in the “The Sorceror’s Apprentice”.

Disney Mickey Mouse Club.PNG

Snow White.PNG
Like the poison apple in Snow White: The title card following this scene reads: “So beautiful even in death, that the dwarves could not find it in their hearts to bury her”.

There is at least one tragic death in almost every Disney film and according to a study published in “The Social Science Journal” there were 561 incidents of child abuse and mistreatment in Disney movies released between 1937 and 2006, with 62% of the main child characters being subjected to abuse on one or more occasions during the film.

Often in Disney stories, one or both parents are dead and children are left to their own devices, while in others the parents are somehow inadequate or an object of ridicule. The list is extensive.

List of Disney Parents 1List of Disney Parents 2

Disney is full of magicians and magic often involves things vanishing. Disney World theme parks are no exception, with more than their fair share of stories of deaths, accidents, disappearances, ghosts and hauntings.

List of Reported Incidents at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Florida covers 30,000 acres (47 square miles). This is the same size as San Francisco, California, twice the size of Manhattan, or 80 times the size of the European nation of Monaco. Only 7,000 acres of that land has been developed, with the four theme parks taking up just over 1,000 acres. Underneath this is a network of 9 acres (36,000 m2) of tunnels known as utilidors (utility corridors) which are accessed from unmarked doors throughout the Magical Kingdom including some shops, restaurants and attractions.

The utilidors are used for personnel and deliveries to move unseen from one area to the other. The utilidors also house a system of pumps and vents to control smells in different areas of the park known as the “Smellitizer System” used to manipulate people to buy food or other merchandise, or go on a certain ride, etc. The corridors also house Disney’s extensive security systems which monitor the whole area.

Tight management and security systems are in place so they are adept at hiding anything that they don’t want to be seen. Security personnel operate out of the tunnels to make sure that unwanted people – whether due to illness or accidents, death, suicide, or just drunken or abusive behaviour – ‘disappear’, as if by magic. Magic Bands must be worn by all guests and used as a credit card, parking ticket, room key, etc. The Magic Band system also incorporates a tracking and recording device so everyone’s whereabouts at any given time are always known.

It is rumoured that there are terrible things going on in these utilidors as they are the perfect place to hide the production of child pornography and child trafficking. People have reported being taken to Disneyland as children – some at night-time – where they have been terrorised and abused.

According to an investigation by CNN, dozens of Disney employees in Florida were arrested for alleged child sex offences in the period between 2006 and 2014. The crimes involved offences such as trying to meet a minor for sex and possession of child pornography and were all committed by men who worked there including security guards, tour guides, cashiers, maintenance workers and costumed characters.

Disney promulgates the idea that there is good witchcraft and bad witchcraft, but all witchcraft is evil. Many Disney productions such as Disney’s Bewitched, or the 1971 “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” – with the brilliant Angela Lansbury playing the starring role as a glamorous and likeable witch – feature blatant witchcraft. In others, it is more covert. Such as “Escape to Witch Mountain” and its sequel “Race to Witch Mountain” – not escape or race from, but race to! Why would anyone want to escape to a place where there is witchcraft?

Mary Poppins is one of the most beloved films of all time and is generally regarded as being entirely wholesome and good for children. Yet looked at more closely it can be clearly seen that “Mary Poppins” is in fact about a witch with a dark agenda.

Witchcraft is the manipulation of reality with the intent to control. In the film, Mary Poppins has a spellbinding effect on people, especially the children. She seems very nice, proper and wholesome, yet she has some traits that are not so pleasant. She is quite rude, abrupt and critical of the children and at times quite unreasonable. Also, she also appears to be vain, describing herself as “practically perfect in every way”. In fact, Mary Poppins has many of the hallmarks of a witch, albeit somewhat disguised. What else is “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” but a spell or incantation like “hocus-pocus” or “abracadabra”? How else could she pull all sorts of things out of her magic carpetbag?

Mary Poppins leads the children to journey to magical realms, like the Pied Piper. Rather than a broom, she flies with an umbrella, but she does manipulate and control reality. She gaslights the children, telling them they had imagined their journeys to other realms and even threatens to report them to the police if they don’t stop talking about it. This is on the pretext that she doesn’t want the children to tell anyone about her ability to perform magical tricks – but why let the children experience these things and then make out they are imagining it all?

Does this not almost exactly mirror what paedophiles do to children lead them into places they should never go and then pretending it never happened and coercing them into silence about it?

Paedophiles want children to be comfortable with sex as if that is something that should be part of their daily routine. The aim of the majority of paedophiles is to open children up to be receptive to sex and sexual advances and not be scared or upset. Paedophiles want children to be willing. They want children who believe that sex is natural and normal. They don’t want children who reject them. That’s why they work so hard to sexualise and groom children because they want them to be willing participants in paedophilia.

In Disney’s Pinocchio, a coachman pays a fox to capture “stupid little boys”. The fox is afraid of being caught but the coachman insists there is no risk. He says; “They never come back as boys”. The children are trafficked to “Pleasure Island” hinting at sexual pleasure. At Pleasure Island, there are no rules, echoing the satanic mindset: “Do what thou wilt…”.

And the list goes on….

These videos are very revealing and after seeing the truly shocking extent of the damaging occult indoctrination we have been subjected to, some may – perhaps wisely – choose not to have anything to do with Walt Disney in their home.

Prayer for Release from Fairy Stories and Nursery Rhymes etc.
Deliverance Prayer to Break Witchcraft and Mind Control Programming
The Occult and Cursed Object List

For further information – an in-depth article on Disney:
https://thejusticeheroes.wordpress.com/2019/10/11/dirty-disney/

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Prayer for Healing

One thousand prayers on the Youtube channel, “Daily Effective Prayer” including this powerful prayer for healing.

Posted in Prayers for Release | 2 Comments

The Doctine of Christ the Only Way to God


Related articles:
356 Bible Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ
The Mystery of Jesus Christ

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An Honest Discussion on Prayer


See also: Prayers for Release

Renunciation Prayers can help to give deliverance and break curses. These prayers are said to renounce personal and generational inquity (sin and the results of sin). They are widely accepted by Christian deliverance ministries as a helpful form of repentance (godly sorrow and grief) and asking God for forgiveness.

Some of the prayers are long but they only need to be said once. It is usually nor possible to know all the details of generational iniquity in a family line going back four, or some say ten generations (some say back to Adam and Eve) which extends to all immediate family, even uncles and aunts. It can do no harm to say any or all of the prayers even when it is not known whether they apply or not. In particular, it can be helpful to say the prayers for Freemasonry, Catholicism, the Occult, etc. whether they are known to apply or not, as these were common practices often kept secret even from immediate family.

Feedback from people’s experiences with these prayers is almost exclusively positive. People have said things like reciting the words of the prayer has helped to bring it home to them what they have done wrong and why it was wrong. As the prayers are Bible based, are said in the name of Jesus, and are only said once, it seems highly unlikely they would do any harm. Whereas they can help in sometimes dire situations, to break curses and get deliverance from the demonic.

Renunciation prayers can be found on this site or elsewhere on the internet for just about anything. For example, any mistakes we have made, such as having believed in false Christian doctrine or having followed false teachers. Following the basic formula, prayers can easily be written or adapted to suit.

Pray everything addressed to God, our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus. The Lord’s Prayer was given to us in scripture by Jesus as an example of a form of prayer that can be said daily. What the Bible Says about Prayer

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What does the Bible say about…

A valuable tool to find out what the Bible says about important topics which will help to deepen your knowledge of God’s word and can provide a continual source of strength and direction. Particularly useful for active witnesses, lay workers and missionaries and those who wish to instruct new Christians in basic biblical truths. Parents will also find it most helpful in bringing up their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord”. (Ephesians 6:4)

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

What does the KJV Bible say about….

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By their fruits you shall know them…

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” (Revelation 18:4-5)


Related articles:
The Seven Churches of Relevation
Is Your Church Zion or Babylon?

Invalid Reasons for Staying in a Church that Teaches False Doctrine

Please note: Inclusion on this site does not imply agreement with or endorsement of everything said elsewhere by that individual or organisation, or any links therein. Some information could be doctrinally unsound. “They searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God as many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

Posted in The Great Falling Away Today, Your Church Babylon or Zion | 1 Comment

What’s Wrong with Hillsong?

Hillsong songs are so wonderful, beautifully sung, and contain scripture, how could it possibly hurt to just listen to them or sing them from time to time – right?

Worship was never supposed to be about pleasing man for his own entertainment, but it was meant to be about pleasing God.

“Her priests do violence to My law and profane My holy things. They make no distinction between the holy and the common, and they fail to distinguish between the clean and the unclean. They disregard My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey, shedding blood, and destroying lives for dishonest gain.” (Ezekiel 22:26-27)

Any money that goes to Hillsong goes to support an organisation that is steeped in corruption and defiles the word of God.  Hillsong is a heretical organisation founded by Frank Houston, an admitted prolific pedophile convicted by the Royal Commission with the help of his son, the current owner of Hillsong, Brian Houston.

Child Abuse Royal Commission on Frank Houston

Why I Stopped Singing Hillsong

Why Hillsong Music is Dangerous for Your Church

Hillsong Church Watch

Cult of Hillsong’s Sin Files on Members and Attendees

Founder of Hillsong Frank Houston’s notorious pedophile activities

Brian Houston caught lying and trashing Hillsong pedophile victim

Hillsong’s Naked Santa puts Hillsong’s Naked Cowboy to Shame

Hillsong Cornucopia of False Doctrine, Abuse, Obfuscation and Money Generation

Testimonies from Former Hillsong Members by Church Watch Central

Further reading: Does Our Worship Please God?

Posted in Does Our Worship Please God, The Great Falling Away Today | 14 Comments

Deliverance Prayer To Break Witchcraft and Mind Control Programming

Please note: Inclusion on this site does not imply agreement with or endorsement of everything said elsewhere by that individual or organisation, or any links therein. Some information could be doctrinally unsound. “They searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God as many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

See also:
Prayer of Release from the Powers of Witchcraft
Prayer Against Witchcraft Control
What Are Spirits of Witchcraft

Posted in Deliverance, Prayers for Release | 15 Comments

Spiritual Warfare

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Invalid reasons for staying in a church you know teaches false doctrine

When the scales of deception are removed from their eyes, many find themselves in a dilemma. They realise that the church that they love, attend, and where they were possibly even saved, teaches false doctrine. False doctrines such as word of faith, the prosperity gospel, dominion theology and of course the unhealthy mixture of all three found in the New Apostolic Reformation are working their leaven in the visible church.

Furthermore, accompanying these false doctrines are false practices and manifestations.  Individuals are torn in two. Should they leave? or should they stay and attempt to navigate the spiritual minefield that they find themselves in? This post looks at invalid reasons that some use to justify their refusal to walk away from a poisoned well.

If you are not familiar with the false doctrines mentioned above, here are some examples of people and ministries that teach them: Bethel church (Bill Johnson & Kris Vallotton), Hillsong (Brian & Bobbie Houston, Carl Lentz), Randy Clark, Lance Wallnau, Todd Bentley, Georgian Banov, Heidi Baker, Joyce Meyer, John & Lisa Bevere, Christine Caine, Rick Joyner, Patricia King, Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, Craig Groeschel, Rick Warren, Paula White, T D Jakes, Steven Furtick, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Todd White, Beth Moore, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, Mike Bickle, Ann Voskamp, and many more.

The following reasons are not legitimate reasons to stay in a church that teaches false doctrine:

1.  I’ll simply ignore the bad teaching – eat the meat and spit out the bones

To put it another way – don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. There is no biblical mandate for this argument. Those who teach contrary to the gospel need to be marked and avoided, not marked and ignored. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17)

In his letter to Timothy, Paul explains that someone approved by God “rightly divides the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) He then gives an example, of two teachers who did not rightly divide God’s word: “Hymenaeus and Philetus,who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.” (vs 18)

“Finally, Paul tells us what our response should be: “But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” (vs 19)

By sitting under a pastor who twists the word of God, you are submitting yourself to someone God has disqualified and submitting yourself to someone who is responsible for damaging the faith of their followers. Your pastor should in fact be the one rebuking those who teach false doctrine. He “must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it”. (Titus 1:9)

The church at Thyatira was rebuked for “tolerating that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants.” (Revelation 2:20) We must avoid the irreverent babble of those who distort the word of God to suit their own carnal appetites. False teachers need to be silenced, not supported: For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. “They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.” (Titus 1:10-11)

A ravenous wolf has nothing to offer you: they come to steal, kill and destroy.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking the situation is static in the sense that the current level of false doctrine will remain constant. It begins with singing Hillsong or Jesus Culture songs, and before you can say “heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss” your pastor will be introducing the doctrines of Hillsong and Bethel.

Soon your leaders will find it necessary to attend a Bethel or Hillsong conference, and then new materials and courses such as “sozo” or a school of supernatural ministry will be introduced. You will probably observe new terminology coming from your pulpit, as new teachings come with some catch phrases. These words, for example, accompany NAR teachings: “shift, alignment, presence, atmosphere, impartation, acceleration”.

God’s word is ignored or twisted beyond it’s original meaning, resulting in progressive error: “while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:13-17)

2.  I’ll just stay and be a witness

That may work for a short while, but at some point you are going to be accused of ‘sowing division’ and your ‘rebellious spirit’ will be dealt with by your leaders. Your first port of call in any case should be your leaders. A meeting with them, explaining your concerns, will quickly determine whether your discernment is appreciated. There were no undercover believers in the early church; they broke away from the various sects and teachings of the pharisees. If you want to be a testimony then you need to leave and have no fellowship with darkness. Those who are interested in truth, will come and ask you for the reasons you left and that will be your opportunity to present the truth.

3.  I have family members in the church; if I leave I will offend them?

This is a difficult case, but one that Jesus warned about: “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53)

You have the advantage of spending time with your family members and giving your reasons for leaving. I realise there may be some complications, but ultimately your leaving may be the catalyst for their eyes to be opened. You may offend them if you leave, but you won’t be offending God. What is offensive, and indeed unloving, is to stay silent when doctrines that may shipwreck the faith of your family members are not addressed.

You have a duty to warn your family and friends. They should not feel at ease among enemies of the cross. “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.” (Acts 20:29-31)

4.  I stand to lose too much

The opposite is true; you stand to lose much by participating in any ministry that has swerved from the truth, and is deceiving people. Many are heavily invested in their churches. Apart from the possible loss of friendships that are dear, there are other factors that may come into play. A church I attended had a “business directory” for church members. We were encouraged to support the businesses of church members, nothing wrong with that. Some may however find themselves in a situation where their business is largely dependent on the support of fellow church members, or even the church itself. The choice then is simple – God or mammon. The same God who leads us out of deception, will provide for our needs and make a way when disaster seems imminent. Your spiritual welfare must be prioritized above any earthly concern. You can never lose when you obey the word of God.

5.  Despite some bad doctrine God still moves

We need to clarify what “God still moves” actually means. By this argument, people are usually referring to signs and wonders, testimonies from people in the church, or perhaps their own experience. I’m sure you have heard similar expressions such as these: “the presence of the Lord was so strong during the service” or “there was such a powerful anointing during the meeting and Holy Spirit was present.” When subjective experiences take precedence over the word of God, we are dealing with mysticism, not biblical Christianity. People falling over backwards, gold dust appearing during services, rain falling during a prayer meeting, fire tunnels, goosebumps during worship, and even signs and wonders are not evidence of God moving.

These last days will include many signs and wonders, but they won’t be a result of God moving, but of deception:

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:24)

“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11)

In another scenario, people may actually have been saved or even healed in the church they now realise teaches false doctrine. Perhaps the church started off well, but gradually succumbed to the ear tickling doctrines of demons, or perhaps the church has always been rooted in NAR and other false teachings. Be thankful God is his mercy and grace has saved or healed you in spite of people, not because of them. God saved you, God healed you, be faithful to God!

6.  I will be without a spiritual covering

You have not been under a spiritual covering in the first place. The “spiritual covering” that false teachers offer is nothing but a means to manipulate and control their followers. There is no mutual submission to one another in their vocabulary. False teachers serve their own appetites, and to get what they want, they will dominate if they have to. True shepherds lead by example with pure motives: “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” ( 1 Peter 5:2-3)

We are still experiencing the influence of the heavy shepherding movement of the seventies and eighties, and the fear instilled in many due to “covering” teaching remains. Those who experienced this will know what I’m talking about. In some cases leaders had such control over those under their authority, that they had the power to determine who your spouse should be, where to live, and what work to do. If the leaders did not “have peace” or managed to find a scripture in Jeremiah for example (wrest out of context) contradicting your choice, you had little option but to submit to them.

Teachers like John Bevere, are still promoting this aberrant doctrine. This is a long quote (from one of our previous blogs) but worth repeating: “Another book by Bevere – Under Cover, promotes a pyramid model or hierarchical leadership structure in the church, the very thing Jesus and Peter warned about. It’s an abusive pastor’s dream reference book, as Bevere basically equates submitting to your pastor with submitting to God.

A far more appropriate title would have been “The Untouchables Manual For Ultimate Manipulation Of Sheep.” Based on faulty exegesis of Romans 13 which applies to civil authority not church authority, Bevere exalts church authority to a level condemned in scripture itself.

Bevere believes that if we oppose God’s delegated authority, we oppose God Himself. The consequences are severe: “Not only does it place us under the judgment of God, but it grants legal access to demonic powers. If we want to remain obedient to God and ,we have but one choice when it comes to delegated authority – submission and obedience.” p88

And it gets worse: “Our provision as well as protection could be blocked or even cut off as we disconnect ourselves from the Source of true life”.

In a conversation with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit said to Bevere: “John, if I intended for every believer to get all his information, wisdom, and direction only from prayer and communion with Me, then I’d never have instituted authority in the church. I placed authorities in the church with the full intent that My children could not get all they needed just from their prayer life. They would have to learn to recognise and hear My voice through their leaders as well.” p147

God did place leaders in the church; not to dominate people but to instruct them through rightly dividing the word of truth, and setting an example through servanthood. Furthermore, we are commanded to test all things. The Bereans were commended for comparing Paul’s teaching with scripture (Acts 17:11). Bevere makes no distinction between leadership under the old covenant with that of the new. His frequent use of Old Testament authority examples are out of context and he comes to this shocking conclusion: “..when God places His authority on a person, no matter his private or personal behaviour, we may still receive if we look beyond it and honour him as sent from God ” p116

This is in clear contradiction to scripture: “appoint elders in every town as I directed you – if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:5-9)

According to Bevere’s teaching, if your pastor is a drunkard, abuses people in his congregation and teaches false doctrine, your job is to submit: “To resist delegated authority is to resist God’s authority. We should not take upon ourselves the pressure to discern beforehand whether leaders are right or not. Nor should we judge after the fact. This is not our burden, but God’s. He alone knows and can change hearts as He so desires.” p147

The same teachers that want you to be accountable, are accountable to no one. They live in comfort, concoct a new revelation at will, and have established themselves as an intermediary between God and their followers. Our head is Christ, and he has given his body gifts in the form of pastors and teachers to mature us in the faith. These leaders need certain qualifications according to scripture. Their lives need to be an example, and they need to rightly divide the word of truth (life and doctrine). Jesus Christ is your covering, and while we need to be in fellowship, remain accountable and submit to one another, leaving a church that teaches false doctrine is being obedient to your head – Christ.

7.  I play a valuable role in the church

All the more reason for you to leave, especially if you are in leadership. You may be the secretary, lead the worship, teach a bible study group, or as in my case even be one of the pastors. You might think you will let people down, and the thought of leaving can cause a sense of guilt and betrayal. This is when you need to step back, and examine the situation in the light of God’s word as well as from an eternal perspective.

When you leave a church that teaches false doctrine, you are playing a valuable role! Your actions alone will be a powerful testimony. You have made a stand for the faith and you are refusing to betray the word of God. Rather be guilty in the eyes of carnal men and women, than stand before God and give an account for compromise. Your choice is between: contending for the faith, or remaining content with a distortion of the faith.

8.  There is no alternative nearby

This is a reality for some, and it’s not just a problem for those leaving a particular church. People live in isolated areas all over the world and others live in communities with hardly any believers. Using the “no alternative” argument to remain in a church that teaches false doctrine is choosing to support a false teacher. At times, we are simply not aware of any alternative churches because we are still looking for a denomination or movement that we are familiar with. It may take a while to find a fellowship with good sound expository teaching and a body of believers that will encourage you in the faith. God has not forsaken you; you have forsaken false teaching. Keep that in mind if you find yourself in limbo as far as finding a fellowship is concerned.

Many people I speak to in South Africa, have unfortunately at some point come under the spell of Bethel church. Even though they are in a church, Bill Johnson has been teaching them. You know what I’m getting at: modern technology. There are literally thousands of good online resources at our disposal. Not having a home church is not the same thing as not growing in your faith. Study the word of God, pray, and if possible find fellowship with others who may be in the same predicament: “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  (Hebrews 10:25)

In conclusion, if you know that your church is teaching false doctrine (NAR, word of faith, prosperity gospel, seeker sensitive and other forms of false doctrine) there is no valid reason to stay. If your church has started introducing these doctrines and promotes any of the teachers mentioned, you should set up a meeting with your pastor. Be prepared and make sure you are able to articulate your concerns. Prayer is part of preparation. You are not going in to attack an individual, but are going to test their teachings. You should mention specific teachings that you find to be contradictory to the word of God, and give examples.

A pastor worth their weight in salt will want to hear what you have to say. As an overseer they should be concerned for you, and as a teacher of God’s word, they should be only too happy to let God’s word in context be the arbitrator. If they ignore your concerns, they will in all probability begin the slippery slope that leads to delusion.

Flee from pastors and churches that do not preach the gospel. You have nothing in common with an enemy of the cross. You have no business fellowshipping with those who are “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”  (Ephesians 4:14)

Come out from among them and contend earnestly for the faith! Resist, rebuke and run from those who distort the faith.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9)

By Rick Becker

More articles by Rick Becker:

7 effects of false teachings

10 ways to identify false teachings

10 ways false teachers ensnare people

10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers

Like Jackals Among the Ruins

On this site:

By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them

Wolves in sheep’s clothing in KJV scripture

Please note: Inclusion on this site does not imply agreement with or endorsement of everything said elsewhere by that individual or organisation, or any links therein. Some information could be doctrinally unsound. “They searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God as many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

Posted in Another Gospel Another Jesus, The Great Falling Away Today, Wolves In Sheep's Clothing | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The Bible, The Armour of God and The Sacred Names of God

This video is only ten minutes long and well worth watching through.

According to the KJV Bible, the name of God’s Son is Jesus Christ. So why do some now want to change it in some way?

The following is an excerpt from:

“The Name of Jesus: Does it Matter” by Dr Michael S Heisler

“One of the most frequent email questions I get concerns the name “Jesus.” More specifically, the question goes something like this:  “Isn’t the name ‘Jesus’ a pagan invention?  Shouldn’t we say “Yeshua” or Yahshua” instead?”  I’m not sure what motivates people who assign importance to this. I’m sure many are NOT trying to sound superior or more in tune with Jesus or God.  But having fielded a number of these emails, I’m also sure that IS the motivation for some.

“The question is frankly silly, since the same person (the man of Nazareth who was crucified, buried, and resurrected per the New Testament) is the referent of any of these name options. But is “Jesus” a pagan name? Isn’t “Yeshua” or “Yahshua” more accurate?

“On one level, since Jesus was Jewish his name would have been “Yeshua” or “Yehoshua” in Hebrew or Aramaic.  I would hope that the Jesus Tomb fiasco would have taught us this much.  But, on another level, so what?  Since the New Testament was written in Greek, and Christians take the New Testament as inspired, it was GOD’s choice to have the name of the Son of God rendered in GREEK, which looks like this “Iesous”.

“Some thoughts on the Greek name, now.

“First, languages are different, and so proper names are not going to be pronounced the same way. Wow.  Profound.

“Second, languages and language pronunciation (the sounds a speaker makes when air flows through or is stopped in/by the throat, mouth, lips and teeth) has no theology – a language can’t be pagan or orthodox. It just is.

“Third, there is no magic in the Hebrew pronunciation of the name of the New Testament messiah. It matters not that we call the name of the man from Nazareth something that contains the syllable “Yah” (an abbreviation of the divine tetragrammation, YHWH).  If there was, God should have decided to give us the New Testament in Hebrew or Aramaic.  It would also have helped if he’d given us a Hebrew text where the tetragrammaton (YHWH) had vowels so we’d know how it was pronounced.

“Fourth, “Yahshua” is actually not correct, if we’re going with Hebrew, given the vowel pointing in the Hebrew text.  The forms of this name/word that appear in the Hebrew text as pointed by the Masoretic scribes is “Yeshua” or “Yehoshua” (that is, for those who understand pointing) the vocal shewa is the pointing associated with the yodh in this name.  The “a” sound of “Yah” gets a vocal reduction because of the accent on the final syllable.  If you’re still awake after that, “Yah”shua is a contrived attempt to place the abbreviated form of the tetragrammation (Yah; which does occur in the Hebrew Bible) in place of the “Yeh” that actually occurs in this name.

“Fifth, the problem for Greek is that there is no “H” in the language.  Greek makes the “h” sound via what’s called a rough-breathing mark – but that mark only appears on vowels at the beginning of words.  For example, the word for “sin” in Greek is “hamartia” but the Greek word begins with an alpha (“a”). A rough-breathing mark above the alpha tells the speaker/reader to pronounce the first syllable as “ha” not “a”.  Yehoshua (“Yahshua”) has an “h” in the middle, which Greek CANNOT REPRESENT because of the rules of its language/alphabet.

“As such, “Iesous” (pronounced yay-soos) is the Greek spelling – and this corresponds precisely to “Yeshua” (which you notice has no “h” in the middle – only an “sh” which was one letter [“shin”] in Hebrew/Aramaic). Greek has no “sh” letter in its alphabet, so its spelling MUST use “s” [sigma].

“Iesous is a perfectly acceptable and understandable GREEK rendering of the Hebrew Yeshua/Yehoshua. It isn’t “pagan” —  it’s a different language.”

The Name of Jesus: Does it Matter” by Dr Michael S Heisler

Brief Description of The Sacred Name Movement

Wright Way: Divine Name Authorised King James Bible

Divine Name Kings James Version Bible

 

Posted in The Armour of God | 1 Comment