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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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Anti-Santa Christmas Card 2022

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The Resurrection Plot Pt 3

The Two Friends

After Jesus had been sent back again to Pilate by Herod, Pilate’s attitude changed towards Herod. He no longer saw him as a competitor in enmity. Indeed to the surprise of many, Pilate became friends with Herod. They had become the two friends.

Then Pilate called the chief priests and rulers and people together and addressed them, saying: “You brought this man to me accusing him of corrupting the people. Having examined him before you, I have found no fault in him and your accusations appear to be unfounded. I also sent you to Herod, and he too found Jesus had done nothing worthy of death. I will therefore chastise him and release him”.

This was because it was customary for one man to be released to the people at the feast. But to Pilate’s surprise, they shouted: “Away with that man, release to us Barabbas”.

Pilate seemed determined to release Jesus and tried to speak again. But they shouted him down, chanting: “Crucify him, crucify him!” They were determined to have him killed.

Pilate tried to speak to them for the third time, saying: “But why? What wrong has he done? I found no crime worthy of death done by him. I will therefore chastise him and let him go”.

But again, with loud voices, they demanded his crucifixion. And the shouts of the people and the chief priests drowned out any opposition.

Pilate wearily lowered his head, resigning himself to the inevitable outcome. Then he ordered that Barabbas, who had committed sedition and murder in the city, be released from prison and handed over to them.

I saw two soldiers release Barabbas to life and liberty. I also saw two soldiers lead Jesus away to the cross and to death.

The Great Question

I was the guard on duty in the judgment hall that day. I informed Pilate that a company of Jews and priests had gathered outside demanding judgment on an urgent matter.

Pilate replied: Them again? And so early? Let them in.

I told him: Sir, they will not come into the judgment hall as they must keep their Passover.

Pilate replied: Have they not already defiled themselves by coming here? Very well, I will go out to them.

Pilate went out and said: What accusation are you bringing against this man?

The chief priest replied: If he was not guilty, we would not be delivering him to you!

Pilate looked them over and said: You take him, and then you judge him, according to your law.

The chief priest said: It is not lawful for us to enforce the death penalty for any man.

Pilate returned to the judgment hall and called for the prisoner, Jesus, to be brought in.

Pilate asked him directly: Are you the King of the Jews?

The prisoner Jesus asked Pilate: Are you saying this thing of yourself or have others told you this of me?

Pilate replied: Am I a Jew? Your own nation and leaders have handed you over to me. What have you done?

The prisoner Jesus replied, speaking of a kingdom not of this world and not at this present time. He said: If my kingdom was of this time, my servants would have fought for me and the Jews would not have taken me.

Pilate said to him: So you are a king, then?

The prisoner answered: You say I am a king.

I could not help wondering when this kingdom that he spoke of would come. He spoke of a mission, a cause, to give witness to what he called the truth. He affirmed that everyone of that truth would hear him. I had never heard any man speaking things like this, and the power of his conviction struck me.

Pilate then asked him a question that seemed to have been troubling him and asked: “Just what is the truth?” But there was no answer. The hall became silent and empty, leaving only the prisoner, Jesus, standing there.

Pilate suddenly went out again and said to the Jews: “I have found no fault in him. But you have a custom that I must release one prisoner to you at the Passover. Are you willing that I release to you the King of the Jews?”

Pilate’s question was met with a wall of rejection and derision. They shouted back: “Not that man. Give us Barabbas!”

Barabbas was a notable thief and murderer. The Jews had chosen, and now Pilate was forced to scourge him, whom they had called the King of the Jews.

Interrogation of Joel

A story was circulating that the father of one of the resurrected had spoken to his son, who had died some months ago. The temple guards, unable to find the son, brought his father in to be questioned by the chief priest.

Chief priest:  You are Joel and you claim that your son who was dead is now alive. Why are you spreading such stories? Explain yourself.

Joel:  It happened a few days ago while I was in the city. I heard a knock on the door, and when I opened it, I saw it was my own son standing there.

Chief priest:  And what did you do?

Joel:  Sir, I almost fainted: I could not believe it. He spoke to me, trying to calm me.

Chief priest:  But how did he come back to you? By what means?

Joel:  How he came back to me or by what means, I don’t know. All I know is my son was dead, and then he came back to me alive again.

Chief priest:  But can you be sure it was him?

Joel:  Sir, I know my own son.

Chief priest:  Perhaps it was a vision or apparition that you saw. Or someone that looked like him?

Joel:  No, he was not a ghost. I touched him, and I held his hand. It was him. It really was.

Chief priest:  What did he look like?

Joel:  He was as I remembered him, but he seemed changed, somehow different.

Chief priest:  How had he changed?

Joel:  I noticed his clothes were new, and his face was without wrinkles as if he were a newborn. His eyes were bright and clear.

Chief priest:  Enough of this nonsense. Do you seriously expect us to believe such fantastic stories about dead people coming to life?

Joel:  I’m not the only one. There are others who have seen their relatives come back to them. Don’t the scriptures refer to a resurrection of the just and the unjust? Had not the prophet from Galilee taught that?

Chief priest:  So now we come nearer to the truth. Are you a follower of that dead deceiver? Do you presume to teach us who are sitting in Moses’ seat? We strongly warn you to desist from spreading any more of these dangerous and insidious rumours. Are you trying to turn the world upside down?

Another priest: We should thank him for his valuable information. Even as we speak, a search is under way to find your son. We will get to the bottom of this devious plot by the fanatics attempting to establish their messiah kingdom. But first, we need the names of your fellow conspirators.

Pilate Scourges a King

I, Pontius Pilate, had carefully evaluated the situation facing me and knew that a dangerous riot was on the verge of breaking out of control. It seemed I had no choice but to placate the hostile religious mob. Maybe I could save the life of the innocent prisoner they had handed over to me out of envy.

Against my better judgment, I had also been forced to release the prisoner they had chosen, the thief and murderer, Barabbas. Now I was about to do what I had never believed I could do, scourge a king. It was as if we had become players in some tragic drama ordained by the gods.

Jesus was led out to the scourging block. He offered no resistance, not a word. In his eyes, a lonely, haunting sadness, as if he knew all this had to happen. As if he knew all that was to happen.

His hands were tied to the post. I held the whip of leather, weighted with metal balls and sharp ends. My hand momentarily trembled, so I gripped the whip tighter. I shouted for the centurion to begin the count.

The first lash whipped across his back. Already I had drawn blood, the blood of an innocent man. A second, a third, a fourth, a fifth, and so it went on. His back was becoming ever more bloodied. He said nothing apart from the anguished groans and moans wrenched from his soul. Yet he never cried out nor cursed.

I had never seen a man take such punishment in silence. I had wanted to lessen the severity of the blows. But no, this had to look convincing. This had to be real. They would know I was cheating them and would be saying: “Rome’s best friend?” I had hoped when I presented him before them their bloodlust would be satisfied.

His back was now deeply cut, bleeding from every wound. Every stroke a deeper agony, a descent into deeper anguish. He was taking it all, taking it like a man, like the king he truly was. Drops of blood were splattering from his back like rain, and some had fallen on my hand. His blood was on me – but I hoped to save his life by blood.

The people and the chief priests who had been inciting them were baying for more blood, shouting: “Harder! Harder!”. I paused momentarily, a groan of disgust filling me at being a participant in this ugliest of dramas. This was beyond law, beyond all decency, but nothing could stop it. The drama had to go on to its conclusion.

I respected him more with every lash. He kept the silence of the innocent, like a sheep dumb before its shearer. There was no one to pity him, only I, his punisher. What an irony! What a cruel jest of the Gods! Why then did I want to save this man?

I couldn’t fully understand it, but I knew I had to try to save him. Almost as if in doing so, I was also saving myself and whatever was left of decency, justice and truth. I was left with a strange feeling that it was not Jesus who was on trial, but all of us.

The ordeal was over. I was breathing hard, my hand raw from holding that whip. I threw it down into the dust with disgust. The mob’s justice had been served, but would they be satisfied? I motioned to the centurion to untie the prisoner and put his clothes back on.

As I turned to walk back into the judgment hall to rest, I noticed a Galilean woman standing by the gate clutching the bars tightly with trembling hands, her face covered with tears. She seemed to bear a family resemblance, perhaps a sister or even his mother.

Pilate’s Fear

I was on duty as a guard on the day in question, and this is what I witnessed. There was a great clamour as the Jews began to loudly demand the prisoner’s death. Pilate answered them: You take him and crucify him, for I have found no fault in him.

The crowd dared to reject his verdict and said: We have our law, and by our law, he must die because he made himself the son of God. When Pilate heard those words, he became even more afraid. I had never seen him so unnerved.

Pilate entered into the hall again and said to Jesus: Where are you really from? But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate became annoyed and said: Are you not speaking to me? Don’t you know I have the power to crucify you, and the power to release you?

Jesus replied: You would have no power against me at all (as he looked up) unless it was given to you from above. Therefore those that have handed me over to you have the greater fault.

Pilate was once again astonished at his answer. Now he became even more determined to release this man, this strangest of men. Pilate quickly went out again to the Jews, but when they saw him, they shouted loudly: “If you let that man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”

The expression on Pilate’s face fell, and he entered into the hall once again and brought Jesus out before the Jews. He sat down on the judgment seat in a place called “The Pavement” which the Jews called Gabbatha. This was about the sixth hour of the preparation for the Jews’ Passover.

Pilate surveyed the crowd and shouted: Look at your king!

But they all immediately shouted back: Get rid of him! Get rid of him! Crucify him!

Pilate moved back in his seat, astonished. He then asked them: Shall I crucify your king?

The chief priests responded in unison: We have no king but Caesar. Pilate could scarcely believe what he was hearing, and it appeared that he was left with no choice but to hand over Jesus to their will, to be crucified. I saw the other guard take Jesus and lead him away.

I stood there in astonishment at the course of events. Surely, there had never been a trial like this one.

How could this have happened? What of respect for Roman justice now?

First, Pilate had been forced to scourge a king, and now he was forced to crucify one.

The Empty Tomb

Pilate was growing increasingly mistrustful of the manipulative priests. He had not believed their stories of the sleeping watchers and he sent us to examine the tomb of Christ that had belonged to Joseph of Arimathea.

We passed by the place of crucifixion and entered the grounds of the garden of Golgotha. After the earthquake on Friday afternoon, much of the ground was cracked and many of the graves appeared as if they had been pushed about and shaken.

As we approached the tomb, the scene of the crime, we saw that the seal around the entrance had been broken. The large, heavy stone that had blocked the doorway now lay flat on the ground several paces away. Strange, why roll away the heavy stone from the entrance and then go to all the trouble of laying it on the ground away from the tomb? Why not leave it against the rock wall?

There were some footprints by the tomb, presumably of the guards who had been watching and the remains of bread and other food. There was no evidence of a struggle or any disturbance. We also noticed the footprints of two men and some smaller footprints. We examined the rock face for signs of any other opening or entrance but found none.

We entered the tomb to find it was empty: there was no body, nor any signs of one having been there. The stone slab on which the dead body would have been placed was empty. We examined the floor, the walls and the ceiling of the tomb, but there was no evidence of anything out of the ordinary.

We bent down to examine the floor more carefully and noticed faint traces of footprints there. We could not determine if the footprints belonged to those who had lain the body there a few days ago or to people who had recently entered the tomb.

There was a lingering odour of myrrh and aloes, which many of the Jews used in the burial of their dead, but no odour of bodily decay.

Unable to find any answers, we emerged from the vacant tomb, puzzled. The only explanation seemed to be that the body had never been there, despite the many witnesses who had seen him placed there. But if so, why remove the stone?

So there we stood; the tomb was empty, and the body was missing along with any meaningful evidence. How could the body be carried off without being seen? There were no tracks of wheels.

We were drawn back to the stone lying on the floor, which had been blocking the only way the body could have been removed. We examined the circumference of the stone. There were no marks of any metal, wooden or other tools having been used to move the stone from its place. On one side, however, we found faint prints of what looked like a large man’s hand. But how could one man move such a heavy stone out of its place and rolled it to its present place on the ground?

By the stone, we found two footprints as though someone had been sitting on the stone. There were also some marks on the top of the stone. More puzzling still, there were no footprints leading from the tomb door to the stone.

It seemed it was as if someone had left the stone here as some kind of sign, having first used it as a seat while he was waiting for someone or others.

Was it all an elaborate hoax? Evidence carefully planted to draw us into believing a certain conclusion?

It seemed like a conjuror’s trick that was not meant to be revealed although the answer was staring us in the face.

The facts were that the tomb was empty, and the body was gone, taken by one or more persons, but leaving no clues as to how or why, or as to who had done this?

All of this happened while the guards claimed to be sleeping. We had, of course, heard the story of how the guards had fallen asleep, presumably at the same time while the followers of Jesus, who had been in hiding, had suddenly grown brave and come in the night to steal his body away. But there was no evidence to support this story which was now looking increasingly unlikely.

We suspected that the priests or others had bribed them, but why? We were left wondering what had happened here? The clues were leading nowhere, and the evidence gave no answers. Standing there outside the tomb, we could not shake the feeling that something out of the ordinary had happened here.

All we were left with were the witness accounts of those who had been here. The answer had to be with them. One of them, or some of them, must know what happened during those few hours. I could not help but think that the answer was connected to the moving of that stone.

The Capture of Jael

Joel’s son, Jael, had been apprehended by the temple guards who had been watching his father’s house. They had brought him to the high priest’s palace and set him before the assembled priests, who observed him with hostile suspicion.

Chief priest: You claim not only that you are Joel’s son who was dead, but you have been heard spreading rumours that you were resurrected from the dead. What have you to say to these things?

Jael: I am Joel’s son, his only child. I have only spoken the things I know to be true. I was dead, and now I am alive.

Chief priest: But can you prove this?

Jael: There are many empty graves: I am one of those who was resurrected as a witness to Jesus of Nazareth who first rose…

Chief priest: At present, we are only concerned with your case. I ask you again: can you prove you are who you say you are?

Jael: I have already told you who I am. I am Jael. There are other witnesses who will confirm I am he, because they have known me from before.

Chief priest: You might be an imposter. Someone planted who looks like Jael.

Jael: The empty graves are one witness and I, standing before you, am another. Why do you keep asking me the same question? Ask those who know me. They know who I was and who I am now.

Chief priest: You mean your fellow conspirators?

Jael: I think my father and mother would know their own son.

Chief priest:  A little less insolence would be wise. Consider your predicament. The charges against you are serious and include impersonation, grave robbery and insurrection, amongst others.

Another priest: But what if he is telling the truth? Perhaps some purpose of God is at work here? Are we to struggle against the will of God?

Another priest: Practical problems call for practical solutions, not philosophical speculation. The problem we have here…

Chief priest: He ought to be compelled to publicly recant his claims.

Jael: I cannot but speak what I know to be true: I was dead, now I am alive again.

Chief priest: No matter, we will make a further declaration to the people informing them of the true agenda behind this resurrection myth. We would have tried you ourselves, but Roman spies have reported your capture, and they are demanding we deliver you up for questioning. Guards, take him and keep him securely. To make sure, double the guard.

As he is led away, all the eyes of the assembled were on him. They wondered at his calm manner, his countenance bright with joy.

Jael was chained to the wall, watched over by two guards. Around midnight, he was heard to pray: As I have borne witness to you, Lord, before the Jews, so make me bold in my witness towards the Romans also, so that all men might know the power of your resurrection.

The Mother of Jael

Guard: There is a woman who has been coming here demanding to speak with you.

Chief priest: We are too busy. Tell her to go away.

Guard: She will neither leave nor stop talking.

Chief priest: If it’s not one thing… Very well, tell her we will see her briefly and hear her complaints.

Jael’s mother: Where is my son? What has happened to him?

Chief priest: Unfortunately, we are unable to help you. There are serious charges against your son, including grave-robbing, impersonation, spreading rumours, disturbing the peace, and insurrection. We have been forced to hand him over to the Roman authorities for questioning. We suggest you enquire of them concerning your son’s welfare.

Jael’s mother: How can you be so cruel and hard-hearted? You all know it is my son, and a great miracle has happened. How can you deny it?

Chief priest: You dare to talk to us in this way?

Jael’s mother: I meant no disrespect. I am frantic with worry for my son’s safety. We are all desperately worried. We cannot bear the thought of losing him again. Could you not intercede on my behalf?

Chief priest: That course of action would be ill-advised and would only cause further trouble. I am sorry, we cannot help.

Jael’s mother: Who then can I turn to for help?

Chief priest: That is not our concern. That is something you must see to yourself.

Pilate and the Empty Tomb

I, Pilate, Roman Governor, had been forced by events to return for a second time to Golgotha, a place of death. First, over the matter of the title I had written and placed on the cross of Jesus of Nazareth. Then something had compelled me to go and see his empty tomb for myself.

I stood there in front of the open entrance of the tomb. Had I not granted Joseph of Arimathea permission to take the body of Jesus and inter him in his own tomb? If only I had known how events would turn out, I might have been less generous. But who could have foreseen this course of events? I should have listened to my wife and let the matter alone had I not been cornered by a situation I had been cunningly manoeuvred into.

Here I met what I could not govern, what no man could control. But such is the will of the gods, and such was the outcome no mortal power could alter. This empty tomb, the mystery which no one had been able to solve, this empty tomb — his victory over us all – governor, priest and commoner alike.

My thoughts turned to myself as I became aware that my days as governor in Judea were numbered. The sniping reports finding their way back to Rome would no doubt take their toll in due course. But such is life. Someone must take the blame, bear the sin.

I turned my back to the tomb and walked out of Golgotha for the last time. Back to whatever fate awaited me.

Account of The Two Marys

We awoke very early, having slept little after the events on Friday. At the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, we came to the sepulchre where Jesus was buried, bringing spices to anoint his body. Everything had been done so hurriedly on Friday evening, and we had not been able to complete the preparations.

Along the way, we had discussed who could roll away the stone from the entrance for us. As we approached the tomb in the dim light, we were startled to see that the stone had already been taken away. The men guarding the tomb were shaking with fear, some of them covering their eyes, and others on their knees, saying: “The light, the light!”

We drew near and looked towards the tomb, and we saw someone like a man. His face shone like flashing lightning. He was dressed in a long white robe, shining as if it was made of light, sitting on the heavy stone that had been rolled against the tomb.

We were speechless, confused and afraid. Finally, one of us said: “What has happened here? Who are you?”

Then the man spoke to us: “Don’t be afraid, I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is no longer here, and he has risen as he said he would. Come near, see the place where he was laid”

We approached nervously and peered into the mouth of the tomb. It was empty, and there was no body there. Then he said: “Go quickly, and tell his disciples what you have seen. That Jesus is indeed risen from the dead. He is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, as I have told you.”

We did as he asked us and departed quickly from the tomb. We were seized by a mixture of fear and great joy. A realization came upon us like a kind of joyous panic, and we began to run. We had to tell the disciples everything that had happened there.

We were running when we saw a man standing in the road. We stopped, breathless with excitement and fear. The man walked up to us and said: “All Hail!” We looked at him more closely. We knew that face! We knew that voice!

We came to him and grasped his feet, worshipping him. We saw that his feet had the marks of crucifixion. We would not let him go – we could not let him go – from us again.

Then he looked down and said: “Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my family to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

The Doubts of Thomas Didymus

It had been eight days since the other disciples had excitedly told me, that they had seen the risen Lord. There had been much discussion, but I remained unconvinced, and also, nothing had happened since then. It was Monday evening, and we were all inside. The doors were kept shut as usual for fear of discovery by the Jews.

We were disputing again when suddenly we became aware that a man was standing among us. We drew back in fear and astonishment. Then the man spoke: “Peace be to you!”

He looked exactly like Jesus as I remembered Him. Then he looked at me with those eyes that seemed to know all that I had ever thought or felt. He said to me: “Thomas, reach here with your finger and look at my hand, and reach here with your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believing.”

How could he have known the words I said last week? As if in a dream, I slowly raised my right hand and reached with my forefinger towards the open hand of Jesus. Slowly my finger sank into the nail wounds in His palm. I gasped in astonishment, struggling to grasp the reality of what was happening. My mind drawing back from the overwhelming impact of what I was experiencing.

I reached out again and put my hand towards the open wound in His side. My hand was slowly sinking in. It was all too much. I felt the reality of His risen body and sank to my knees, trembling, and with tears flowing, I stammered and said: “My Lord and My God.”

Jesus looked at me and said: “Thomas because you have seen me, now you believe. But blessed are those who have not seen me and yet believe.”

I immediately knew that this experience would change my life. I felt as if I had become part of His body, of his flesh and of his bones.

Also, Jesus did many other signs among them which have not been written, but this is written. That you might believe that the risen Jesus is truly the Christ, the Son of God and that believing in Him you might have eternal life through His name.

Interrogation of a Dead Man

Roman captain: Your story is unlike any we have heard. You claim to be Jael, the son of Joel, whom you allege died and was buried, and then rose from the dead.

Jael: Yes, that was my name when I was alive, and I suppose it is mine now.

Captain: Is it really? Our records show a Jael, son of Joel, who died several months ago, and was buried in the grave by the garden of Golgotha. Who then are you?

Jael: I am, in truth, Jael, the son of Joel.

Captain: Why should we believe such a fantastic story? The penalty for impersonation is severe, as is the penalty for insurrection. I want the truth, and only the truth, and before I am through with you, I shall have the truth.

Jael: I have told you the truth. I am Jael. I died and then became awake.

Captain: If what you say is true, how did you awake?

Jael: I became conscious again. How I don’t know, it’s a mystery. I became conscious, and I just wanted to get out of the grave, so I rose up and got out of the grave and walked away.

Captain: I don’t understand your words. If you were dead, how could you live again? Your body would have decayed. How could you get up without falling to pieces? Can you seriously expect any sane man to believe such an incredible story?

Jael: I cannot explain how I rose from the grave intact, and my body had not decayed, but I did. I was buried in corruption but raised uncorrupted. I was buried in weakness but raised up in strength. Why should it be thought an impossible thing that God, who made all things, could not also raise the dead?

Captain: And what of your clothes? Did you rise naked? Where did you get your brand-new clothes? From your fellow conspirators?

Jael: All these are questions I cannot answer. In our faith, we believe there will be a resurrection of the dead, the just and the unjust, in the judgment. My first thought when I awoke was that it was happening, this was it. But there was no judge and no judgment – not yet.

Captain: In our Empire, many believe in a better place where the dead go, our Elysium.

Jael: In our faith, there is a resurrection to an inheritance in a kingdom on Earth. It seems we were raised to be witnesses of these things, and of Jesus of Nazareth who was raised first. The empty graves around Golgotha bear witness to what I am saying.

Captain: A search is now under way to locate the stolen body of Jesus of Nazareth and the ringleaders of the resurrection sect. You will tell me the names of the grave robbers.

Jael: Sir, I am not the only one who was raised back to life. There are many empty graves in Golgotha, and many witnesses in the city who will testify what they have seen. They have also spoken to those who were resurrected. Ask them what they have seen and heard.

Captain: We will be interviewing them in due course, along with the storytellers. You are asking me to believe the impossible – in things that could never happen. You say you knew you had died. If so, what was your death like? Where did you go?

Jael: I cannot remember. It was like I was asleep. I cannot recall for how long. When I became conscious, the months that I had been there seemed like no time at all.

Captain: For someone claiming to be alive from the dead, you tell me next to nothing. We will leave the philosophy of Elysium alone for the time being. Can you explain your movements after you left Golgotha? If we find out you are lying, you will feel the force of Roman justice, along with your family and friends. Go on …

Jael: After our company of the resurrected walked out of Golgotha, we entered into Jerusalem through the gate, and …

Captain: Yes, there are witnesses who informed us of the coming of a company of strangers into the city.

Jael: Yes, we entered the city and showed ourselves as witnesses to many people. No doubt the Captain is aware of these witnesses. They know who they saw. I myself recognised some people I had known. I said to them: Yes, this really is me, Jael. But some ran away saying that it couldn’t be. I remember the look of shock and fear on their faces.

Captain: Keep to your account only, and don’t bring in other people to give credence to your story unless you can provide evidence.

Jael: I went down the street, near to the city wall where I had lived. A sudden doubt came to me. How would my family and friends receive me? But I had to see them.

Captain: I am listening. Go on.

Jael: I reached my house and knocked on the familiar door. There was no answer, so I knocked louder. Then a voice spoke from inside saying: Who is it?

I knew that voice and replied: Joel, it’s me, your son, Jael.

The voice answered: My son Jael is dead. Who are you?

I cried out: Father, it’s me. Open the door. It’s me, Jael.

The door slowly opened. My father’s eyes grew wide, his mouth fell open in shock. I tried to comfort him, saying: It’s me, your Jael. I have been sent back to you.

He could not believe it and said: No, it can’t be. Jael was taken away from us. Who are you?

I said: What God took, he has also given back.

He said: Can it really be you? It’s a miracle! But how?

I replied: I don’t know how or why. But God has brought me back to you. How is my mother? And the others?

Captain: Yes, this account has already been related to us. We know about the chief priest’s interrogation of your father, Joel. But you have still not proven that you are, in fact, Jael.

Jael: I have many witnesses who would testify on my behalf, Captain, if they were here. But you do not have one witness who can prove I am not Jael.

Captain: That could be proven by other means at our disposal.

Jael: I cannot be frightened into saying things that are not true to fit an agenda. I do not fear death as I have already been dead. Neither torture nor death will make me confess to what is not true. I have already died and come back to life. Can I be tried and killed a second time?

Captain: That is a matter for others to decide.

Jael: Our life on this Earth can be cruel and brief. Our loved ones can be taken away in a moment. But we have faith and hope that one day we will share a lasting life in the new kingdom. Captain, do you not have the same desire in your heart?

Captain: You say things that I have kept closed in the depths of my heart. My own wife died young, but how could I dare to hope to see her again? These things are too painful, as is the reality we must all deal with. My superiors will never accept your story. They will remain convinced of the plot. I must have answers that will be acceptable to them.

Jael: But the evidence is there.

Captain: Yes, the evidence is there. But the interpretation could differ.

Jael: Captain, I pose no threat to your power.

Captain: You have spoken of a new power and a new kingdom. How do you propose to establish this idealistic dream? Where is your resurrection army? Have your followers resorted to grave robbery?

Jael: I have an army of witnesses, those who have been raised and who will believe in our testimony to the name of Jesus. Our power rests in our God, and we are proof of this power in that he raised us from the dead.

Captain: So we return again to the famous son of Galilee. All this appears to have started with his death and that empty tomb. The answer must be there. However, the search continues for his missing body.

Jael: You will never find his body. God raised him as a witness to all men: he shall judge the living and the dead. There are witnesses who will confirm they have seen him alive.

Captain: Yes, Jesus and his apostles, who are in hiding. Do you know of their present whereabouts?

Jael: I was not raised to bear witness to them. I do not know where they are.

Captain: You are not providing any of the answers I require and that are required of me. The penalty for lying and aiding subversives is severe. Your answers have all been noted. If we find out you have been lying to us…

Jael: I have told you all the truth I know. I have no agenda or insurrection plan. I was dead, and now I am alive, a witness to what few dare to believe.

Captain: You claim to be no threat to the authority of Rome. No, you are not a political or military threat. Your threat is much more dangerous, the power of a new idea to infect people’s minds and change the world we know. But you have committed no crime we can presently prove. If we were to release you, what would you do?

Jael: I would live. I would do as I have already done and bear witness to what has happened to me to those who will listen.

Captain: Your answer is what I suspected and feared. Are you truly out of your mind? Your belief is so strong that you almost make me want to believe. Are you also trying to convert me?

Jael: I would that not only you, but that all men might believe, and be saved.

Captain: You could be proved to be right. Perhaps fate has ordained that we should meet. But I am just one part of a complex administration, and I think the matter will be taken out of my hands. No doubt a trial will be convened to uncover the truth and decide your fate. But to die, and then be given life, and then to have to die again? That seems a strange fate for any man to bear.

To be continued…

Posted in Eyewitness Reports | 3 Comments

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 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? People in Jerusalem will be troubled by this. 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 from the graves in order to deceive people with 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, were the handprints by the graves, 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 was 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 on 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 movements of Barabbas since his release and those 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 his powers came 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, “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.

To be continued…

Posted in Eyewitness Reports | 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 followers of Jesus or Barabbas, to destabilise Roman rule and usher in a 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 the 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 known 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 to be 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 of the dead. 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 as 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 to get far away from here.”

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 saw two women hurrying into the city as if they had some important news to tell. 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 warned us, “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 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 had been 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. Holding on tightly to the cloths, 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 everything, 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 it was all 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.

Pilate: 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.

To be continued…

Posted in Eyewitness Reports | 2 Comments

The Truth about Christian Denominations, Cults and Sects

There are tens of thousands of Christian denominations and numerous types and divisions within them. Whether Catholic, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, or more modern cults such as IHOP, or any of the many other Christian cults and sects old or new, within them are those who are genuine but deceived Christians, and ‘false’ Christians, along with ‘lukewarm’ or ‘worldly’ Christians.

People are often bewildered as to why there are so many Christian denominations, sects and cults, and confused as to which one of them, if any, could be the right one. False doctrine and bad practices cause problems enough, not the least of which is providing demonic doorways, or licence grounds.

Then there is a very broad array of evidence that there are some dark goings-on in the higher echelons of many of these churches. Although, generally speaking, it is carried out in great secrecy with the help of various ‘levels’ of knowledge, as in freemasonry, and so not much of it gets into the public domain.

Some stricter cults coach their followers not to pay attention to ‘the outside’ or any outside sources of information so that even when something is in the public domain, they are not aware of it.

“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)

“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 comes PREACHES ANOTHER JESUS WHOM WE HAVE NOT PREACHED, or if you RECEIVE ANOTHER SPIRIT, WHICH YE HAVE NOT RECEIVED or ANOTHER GOSPEL WHICH YE HAVE NOT ACCEPTED, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)

“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)

Often the various cults and sects do not rely only on the Bible – or their interpretation of it – but they have additional books which provide information about their beliefs and practices which are used alongside a Bible to ‘supplement’ or ‘clarify’ etc. the Bible whether a standard Bible or their own ‘translation’.

The Latter Day Saints have the Book of Mormon which they use alongside an AKJV bible. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have a whole library of many hundreds of publications throughout the decades since 1870 which they use along with their own Bible version. In addition, until fairly recently, two magazines were published every month, “Awake” and “The Watchtower”, but now only The Watchtower is published monthly, and Awake is an annual publication.

Christian Scientists have Mary Baker Eddy’s 1875 publication which she called the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”. Baker Eddy authored 16 other titles that are still in print today, as well as about 600 Christian Science pamphlets and serial publications, newspapers, and magazines.

The Catholics have their own version of the Bible, the Vulgate, and “The Catechism of the Catholic Church” which sets out various Catholic doctrines and dogmas summarising the main beliefs, providing the groundwork for understanding what Catholics believe. There are an endless number of books about the Catholic church, Catholic faith and practice, and other aspects of Catholicism.

The Seventh-day Adventists founded their Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association in 1861 and it is still going strong today. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has ‘literature evangelists’ to distribute their literature and they say they acknowledge literature evangelism as a self-supporting missionary in harmony with the church’s teachings and principles.

One of their founders, Ellen G. White (1827 – 1915) wrote dozens of books, about 5,000 periodical articles, and 200 pamphlets. As of 2019, more than 200 White titles are available in English, including compilations from her 100,000 pages of manuscript published by the Ellen G. White Estate, and accessible at the Adventist Book Center. [Wikipedia]

”I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: IF ANYONE ADDS TO THEM, God will add to him the plagues written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22: 18-19)

“Now I beseech you, brethren, MARK THEM WHICH CAUSE DIVISIONS AND OFFENCES contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; AND AVOID THEM. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:17-18)

“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, EVIL SURMISINGS, PERVERSE DISPUTINGS OF MEN OF CORRUPT MINDS, AND DESTITUTE OF THE TRUTH, SUPPOSING THAT GAIN IS GODLINESS: from such withdraw thyself.” (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

“These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” (Jude 1:19)

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 that seem to them to be correct, if not indisputable. Often they are deceived into believing that their particular organisation is the only one God uses. Many are convinced they are the only group who are saved and everyone else is lost. People are manipulated by cult leaders who are often narcissists and very capable manipulators, using tried and tested techniques, some of which have been developed over centuries.

Typically, an environment of fear is created in which people are subtly coerced into a mindset where they know they should not look outside of the cult literature etc. and it is wrong to ask questions or to question anything they are told by the cult leader/s.

Commonly, people feel fearful – and/or are incapable – of thinking outside of the beliefs they have been indoctrinated into. They are aware – subconsconciously or otherwise – that they can lose position and favour, and they may be excluded or shunned, even by their friends and families if they are also members of the cult.

Those who want to leave a cult may believe that even God will abandon them as a result, or won’t help them, which of course is not true, but it seems to be true to them at the time, and their various combined fears seem to have very real substance. Sometimes people can’t see a way out as their whole life has been wrapped up in the cult and they can’t even conceive of a life different that that. What would it look like? How would it be possible? It seems that everything they know and rely upon is in the cult, and there is nothing for them outside of it. This of course is not true but that situation seems very real to them.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17)

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Due to demonic influences among other things, such as clever mind manipulation and control techniques, 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 scripture does not contradict itself and it tells us that all the various denominations, sects and cults were started by man, and the Bible is clear that it is God who saves us only through Jesus.

There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (1 Timothy 2:5)

“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)

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. This only became more pronounced as over time the church has become more and more fragmented and corrupted.

“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)

“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)

“As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, that thou might charge some that they TEACH NO OTHER DOCTRINE, Neither give heed to FABLES and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.” (1 Timothy 1:3-4)

One reason why they became so corrupted is that by whatever means they came into such money and power  – in some cases it was by means of sacrilege as they basically used the Bible to make money – they were not faithful and did not adhere to what God has said in the Bible.

“For we have not followed CUNNINGLY DEVISED FABLES, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: KNOWING THIS FIRST, THAT NO PROPHECY OF THE SCRIPTURE IS OF ANY PRIVATE INTERPRETATION. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:16-21)

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)

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-12)

Who would you rather believe, what God says in the Bible, or what men say?

Christianity ought to be centred on Jesus Christ rather than membership of any particular church or denomination, or follower of any man, preacher or other type of leader. Rather than a Christian cult, or sects, or denomination such as Church of England, Methodism or Lutheranism, with different beliefs or aims than set out in the Bible.

Jesus did not tell people to go out and build organisations and mega-churches and draw followers to themselves. Rather, 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)

“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)

Jesus himself told us that to be a 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.

“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)

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)

“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; AND THAT FROM A CHILD THOU HAST KNOWN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, WHICH ARE ABLE TO MAKE THEE WISE UNTO SALVATION THROUGH FAITH WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:13-17)

“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)

“But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:15-19)

“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3)

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 us 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.

“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” (Romans 12:4-5)

“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; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” (Acts 17:24-25)

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

“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 opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits 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 withholds that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now lets 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.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 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 3:1-13)

“For though we walk In the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our
warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

The True Holy Spirit

Invalid Reasons for Staying in a Church You Know Teaches False Doctrine


Posted in The Great Falling Away Today, Who Are The True Christians, Your Church Babylon or Zion | 23 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)

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Anti-Santa Card 2019: The Truth about Christmas

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:


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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)

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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, myths, 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.

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 story of the witch Maleficent, almost every Disney movie has some type of witch as a central figure.

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”.

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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….

There are many articles about Disney on the internet along with videos on Youtube and 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

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Prayer for Healing

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

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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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How to Get Help Through Prayer

Renunciation prayers give deliverance

Renunciation prayers are formulaic prayers that can be personalised. These prayers are a form of repentance for our own and our family’s iniquities such as idolatry. Renunciation prayers can be found on this site or elsewhere on the internet for just about anything using a simple Google search. Following a basic formula, these prayers can easily be written or adapted to suit.

Renunciation prayers can be for specific things such as personal involvement in Roman Catholicism, witchcraft, freemasonry, New Age, or any other form of occult involvement. Or for general iniquity (sin and the results of sin). These things can bring a curse to the family line which can go back as far as four generations, while some say ten generations or back to Adam and Eve. This applies even if someone has used a Ouija board just once or only consulted a psychic or tarot card reader once, or has brought some occult paraphernalia into their home.

Just about anyone – if not everyone – has various forms of idolatry, occult involvement, or iniquity in their family line, so we can say the prayers for just-in-case reasons. In particular, it can be helpful to say the prayers for Freemasonry which is a dangerous form of witchcraft, Catholicism, the Occult, etc. whether they are known to apply or not, as these were common practices often kept secret even from immediate family.

It may be our own errors, such as having believed in false Christian doctrine or followed false teachers, or difficulties we are having in life, with others or within ourselves, perhaps with some form of backsliding.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

“Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.” (Acts 8:22)

Some have found that reading renunciation prayers helps them to see that their beliefs had strayed a long way from the Gospel in a way that they might not otherwise have realised. Or that reciting the words of the prayer has helped to bring it home to them what they have done wrong and why it was wrong.

Renunciation prayers give deliverance and break curses. This results in improvements in many aspects of our life including our health and well-being and removal of various types of blockages and difficulties.

Widely accepted by Christian deliverance ministries as a helpful form of repentance – godly sorrow and grief – and asking God for forgiveness, these prayers are always said in the name of Jesus. It is God who delivers us and the power to deliver is always in the name of His Son, Jesus.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (1 Timothy 2:5)

“And thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

“And I will do [I Myself will grant] whatever you ask in My Name [as [a]presenting all that I Am], so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son.” (John 14:13)

Renunciation prayers are usually said aloud. Some are very long but as they are a form of repentance, only need to be said once. Also, for a woman these prayers are more effective with the head covered.

They are perfect to deal with any unrenounced sin which provides a demonic doorway or gateway aka portal. Or in other words, it gives licence grounds to demons to torment and harass – and any open doorways that need to be shut.

A good place to start is with the Prayer to Renounce Generational Iniquity

Can a renunciation prayer do any harm if the prayer didn’t apply in my case?

Feedback from people’s experiences with these prayers is almost exclusively positive. As renunciation prayers are Bible-based and always said in the name of Jesus, one can have confidence they can do no harm. They can greatly help – sometimes in dire situations – to break curses or overcome difficulties, breakthrough blocks, or to find deliverance from some form of demonic harassment.

The Bible tells us that Jesus gave us an example of how to pray

The Lord’s Prayer was given to us in scripture by Jesus in The Sermon on the Mount as an example of a form of prayer that can be said daily. By this, we know should pray everything addressed to God, our Heavenly Father, and always in the name of Jesus who is our intercessor.

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:5-13)

The Bible tells us much about prayer

“In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness with sighs and groanings too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will.” (Romans 8: 26-27)

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6:5-8)

“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for everyone that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)

“And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)

We can ask God to grant us more faith, strength or grace, etc.

The Bible specifically tells us we can pray to ask God to give us more faith, more peace, more discernment, more strength to bear and more grace to endure.

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

“Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22)

“And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:5)

“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:5)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8)

The blood of Jesus

We can apply the blood of Jesus in prayer to a person or a situation. Or we can say that we cover a place or a person or a situation with the blood of Jesus. This is because the blood of Jesus represents the suffering and death he endured as sacrifice (atonement) for our sins.

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)

“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13-14)

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,” (Revelation 12:11)

Standing in the gap or intercessory prayer

We can “stand in the gap” for others who are in need of help but who are unable or unwilling to pray for themselves. This is a form of intercessory prayer where our prayers can bridge the gap between God and people who are cut off from God’s helping presence. We can pray for them, lifting up their needs and concerns to God, we can ask God to protect, care for and help them.

Or someone else can stand in the gap for us. Jesus gave us a great example when he made intercession for sinners even on the cross:

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)

“Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (Romans 8:34)

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

”And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:15-16)

Taking authority for deliverance prayer

Demons can cause physical and mental illness and all sorts of problems. Jesus cast out demons and told us to do the same. For deliverance prayer, a parent who is a believer, can take authority and command any demons to leave in the name of Jesus. However depending on how they got there and what ‘rights’ they have to be there, whether generational or whatever, it is not necessarily – nor even likely to be – that easy and more measures may be necessary. Demons are bullies and may be there just because they can.

“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” (Matthew 10:1)

“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.” (James 5:13)

“And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Psalms 50:15)

“The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” (Psalms 34:17)

“Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” (Psalms 32:7)

“And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;” (2 Samuel 22:2)

Fasting can be an important aid to prayer and deliverance.

“Howbeit this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17: 21)

“And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:” (Daniel 9:3)

Praying through the Psalms

Reading the psalms can provide great comfort and wisdom for those going through troubles in their life. King David wrote most of the psalms and he went through many difficulties and trials including with family and friends.

“Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must].” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Amp)

“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)

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

“Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks:” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passes all under- standing shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Prayer Against Generational Iniquity

Prayers for Release

Deliverance Prayer to Break Witchcraft and Mind Control Programming

Daily Effective Prayer on Youtube

Posted in Prayers for Release, The Power of Prayer | 2 Comments

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….

Posted in The Bible | Leave a comment

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.

‘Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed’ reveals something more sinister than hypocrisy

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 Another Gospel Another Jesus, Does Our Worship Please God, The Great Falling Away Today | 18 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 | 22 Comments

Spiritual Warfare

Posted in Deliverance | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Invalid reasons for staying in a church teaching 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

The Truth About Christian Denominations and Sects

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

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

Recovery / Freedom from Codependency – Narcissist / Jezebel Abuse

From an excellent series about Jezebel and Ahab spirits – aka narcissism and enablers – by Without Spot Or Blemish Ministry.

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)

If you have been the victim of one or more narcissists, be careful to make sure that whoever you seek counsel from understands narcissism correctly and gives the right advice that does not make the situation worse. Scripture tells us trusting in man is a snare. There is no one better to turn to than God Himself, who understands absolutely everything about everyone and everything that happened. We can ask God in the name of Jesus for his Holy Spirit to teach us and to guide us.

We need information though, and thankfully there is a plethora of helpful information available today for free on the internet. There are also many books and articles videos available about narcissism and many posts about narcissism on sites like Quora.com. As with Christianity itself though, there is a massive amount of disinformation out there and some of the information may be very inaccurate and/or misleading.

This situation like any and every other can be used by the enemy to turn to his benefit and our detriment. For sure, it can be very dangerous and destructive spiritually to listen to the wrong information, adding salt to our wounds and can easily open demonic doorways – something we definitely would do not want to do.

We should use the utmost care to discern who and what we listen to. and consider carefully whether what we are hearing fits with what we know the Bible says and our experiences. Any such information found can be used as a guide to apply as an aid to understanding what has happened or is happening now or what may happen, while not deviating from Bible principles.

We live in a sick world, and finding out about things like the common practice of ‘victim shaming’ can be extremely helpful to those already suffering from the harmful effects of abuse.

Important info: A letter to every victim seeking help from therapists or groups

See also:

30 Traits of the Jezebel Spirit

Prayer of Renunciation Against Jezebel and Ahab Spirits

The Jezebel Spirit and How It Operates

Twenty-one Jezebelic Footprints

The Conflict Oriented Male Jezebel Spirit

The Charismatic Male Jezebel Conquest By Romance and Assimilation

Characteristics of the Jezebel Spirit in a Man

How To Recognise Religious Spirits

Don’t Eat at Jezebel’s Table Pt 1

The Nine Characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Dr Les Carter is a professional psychotherapist and provides some helpful information on his Youtube Channel “Surviving Narcissism”.

Posted in Deliverance, Jezebel and Ahab Spirit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Prayer for Renunciation After Being Saved

After we accept Christ as our saviour we can renounce our past involvement with any works of darkness. We can take it further even renouncing works of darkness of our ancestors.

Renunciation prayers are a form of repentance which can give deliverance. Repenting of our sins can help to cleanse us from unrighteousness and renunciation of the sins of our ancestors can help to release us from the effects of their sins and inquity.

Specific prayers to renounce freemasonry, witchcraft and the occult, etc. can be found on this site and elsewhere on the internet. Some are long but worth saying as they only need to be said once.

This prayer though could be said from time to time as part of our spiritual warfare, to help close demonic doorways or open portals, and tear down demonic strongholds, giving demons licence grounds or legal rights to harass and torment in all the ways that they do, whether through health, financial or relationship problems, etc. Remember that demons get a toehold, a foothold, a stronghold and then a stranglehold.

Renunciation prayers are best said aloud, and for women with their head covered. If you would like to, it could be helpful to go through written prayers beforehand and make your own version, including specific names, etc.

I forgive any person who has ever hurt me, disappointed me, abandoned me, mistreated me, or rejected me in the name of Jesus.

I renounce all hatred, anger, aggression, resentment, revenge, retaliation, unforgiveness and bitterness in the name of Jesus.

I renounce all pride, haughtiness, arrogance, vanity, ego, disobedience and rebellion in the name of Jesus.

I renounce all envy, jealousy, and covetousness in the name of Jesus.

I renounce all selfishness, self-will, self-pity, self-rejection, self-hatred and self-promotion in the name of Jesus.

I renounce all backsliding, ingratitude, unthankfulness, murmuring, complaining and falsely accusing.

I renounce all lust, perversion, immorality, uncleanness, impurity, and sexual sin in the name of Jesus.

I renounce all addiction to drugs, alcohol, or any legal or illegal substance that has bound me in the name of Jesus.

I renounce all witchcraft, sorcery, divination, and occult involvement in the name of Jesus.

I renounce all ungodly soul ties and immoral relationships in the name of Jesus.

I renounce all ungodly covenants, oaths and vows made by myself or my ancestors in the name of Jesus.

I renounce all ungodly thought patterns and belief systems in the name of Jesus.

Thank you Father for deliverance and salvation we are given through the name of Jesus.


For further reading: The Occult and Cursed Object List

Posted in Deliverance, Prayers for Release | 1 Comment

One Hundred Names of Jesus

After personally experiencing the authority and power of Jesus as He spoke peace to a raging sea, the disciples were left sitting in the stillness, wet from the rain and wondering: 

                  “But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this,
                   that even the winds and the sea obey him!”  (Matthew 8:27)

Over and again the Bible answers this amazing question by giving us glimpses of the character of Jesus through the names and descriptions we find of Him.

Here is a list of 100 Names of Jesus we find in the pages of the Bible.  You can find the verses and study the context of each name by accessing the Logos Online Bible.

  • Advocate (1 John 2:1)
  • Almighty (Rev. 1:8; Mt. 28:18)
  • Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8; 22:13)
  • Amen (Rev. 3:14)
  • Apostle of our Profession (Heb. 3:1)
  • Atoning Sacrifice for our Sins (1 John 2:2)
  • Author of Life (Acts 3:15)
  • Author and Perfecter of our Faith (Heb. 12:2)
  • Author of Salvation (Heb. 2:10)
  • Beginning and End (Rev. 22:13)
  • Blessed and only Ruler (1 Tim. 6:15)
  • Bread of God (John 6:33)
  • Bread of Life (John 6:35; 6:48)
  • Capstone (Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7)
  • Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)
  • Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4)
  • Christ (1 John 2:22)
  • Creator (John 1:3)
  • Deliverer (Rom. 11:26)
  • Eternal Life (1 John 1:2; 5:20)
  • Everlasting Father (Isa. 9:6)
  • Gate (John 10:9)
  • Faithful and True (Rev. 19:11)
  • Faithful Witness (Rev. 1:5)
  • Faith and True Witness (Rev. 3:14)
  • First and Last (Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13)
  • Firstborn From the Dead (Rev. 1:5)
  • God (John 1:1; 20:28; Heb. 1:8; Rom. 9:5; 2 Pet. 1:1;1 John 5:20; etc.)
  • Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14)
  • Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20)
  • Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14)
  • Head of the Church (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23)
  • Heir of all things (Heb. 1:2)
  • High Priest (Heb. 2:17)
  • Holy and True (Rev. 3:7)
  • Holy One (Acts 3:14)
  • Hope (1 Tim. 1:1)
  • Hope of Glory (Col. 1:27)
  • Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
  • I Am (John 8:58)
  • Image of God (2 Cor. 4:4)
  • King Eternal (1 Tim. 1:17)
  • King of Israel (John 1:49)
  • King of the Jews (Mt. 27:11)
  • King of kings (1 Tim 6:15; Rev. 19:16)
  • King of the Ages (Rev. 15:3)
  • Lamb (Rev. 13:8)
  • Lamb of God (John 1:29)
  • Lamb Without Blemish (1 Pet. 1:19)
  • Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45)
  • Life (John 14:6; Col. 3:4)
  • Light of the World (John 8:12)
  • Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5)
  • Living One (Rev. 1:18)
  • Living Stone (1 Pet. 2:4)
  • Lord (2 Pet. 2:20)
  • Lord of All (Acts 10:36)
  • Lord of Glory (1 Cor. 2:8)
  • Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16)
  • LORD [YHWH] our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6)
  • Man from Heaven (1 Cor. 15:48)
  • Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 9:15)
  • Mighty God (Isa. 9:6)
  • Morning Star (Rev. 22:16)
  • Offspring of David (Rev. 22:16)
  • Only Begotten Son of God (John 1:18; 1 John 4:9)
  • Our Great God and Savior (Titus 2:13)
  • Our Holiness (1 Cor. 1:30)
  • Our Husband (2 Cor. 11:2)
  • Our Protection (2 Thess. 3:3)
  • Our Redemption (1 Cor. 1:30)
  • Our Righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30)
  • Our Sacrificed Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7)
  • Power of God (1 Cor. 1:24)
  • Precious Cornerstone (1 Pet. 2:6)
  • Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6)
  • Prophet (Acts 3:22)
  • Resurrection and Life (John 11:25)
  • Righteous Branch (Jer. 23:5)
  • Righteous One (Acts 7:52; 1 John 2:1)
  • Rock (1 Cor. 10:4)
  • Root of David (Rev. 5:5; 22:16)
  • Ruler of God’s Creation (Rev. 3:14)
  • Ruler of the Kings of the Earth (Rev. 1:5)
  • Savior (Eph. 5:23; Titus 1:4; 3:6; 2 Pet. 2:20)
  • Son of David (Lk. 18:39)
  • Son of God (John 1:49; Heb. 4:14)
  • Son of Man (Mt. 8:20)
  • Son of the Most High God (Lk. 1:32)
  • Source of Eternal Salvation for all who obey him (Heb. 5:9)
  • The One Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5)
  • The Stone the builders rejected (Acts 4:11)
  • True Bread (John 6:32)
  • True Light (John 1:9)
  • True Vine (John 15:1)
  • Truth (John 1:14; 14:6)
  • Way (John 14:6)
  • Wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24)
  • Wonderful Counselor (Isa. 9:6)
  • Word (John 1:1)
  • Word of God (Rev. 19:13)

I have personally experienced Jesus through many of the names found on this list, but one of my greatest treasures is to know Him as my friend.

Reblogged from: Monday Morning Review – One Hundred Names of Jesus

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356 Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ
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