Counterfeit gods and False Christs

“For even if there are so-called gods,
whether in heaven or on earth
(as there are many gods and many lords),
yet for us there is one God, the Father,
of whom are all things, and we for Him;
and one Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom are all things, and through whom
we live. However, there is not in everyone that knowledge."
(1 Corinthians 8:5-7)

India has 1.4 billion people occupying 1.3 million square miles of land, or about a thousand people per square mile. Probably there are about 700 million Christians (5%) in India today.
The United States has 330 million people occupying 3.5 million square miles, or about a hundred people per square mile. Possibly 33 million of us Americans today are Christians (10%), but this is optimistic.

The default religion of India is Hinduism with about 80% of the population Hindus. The default religion in America is Protestantism, at 60% of the population. Roman Catholics number about 20%, about 4% are atheists. (Almost no one anywhere is an atheist or even an agnostic. Most of the world believes there must be a god around here somewhere). The best way to identify true Christians from the rest of mankind is ask the person if he or she has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This litmus test almost always quickly levels the playing field. For those who say yes, they do know Jesus, ask them if they are trusting Him now, today. Those two questions cut to the chase if you ask them in a gentle loving way. Never beat someone over the head with the Bible.

Jesus: ‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’

Again the Jews were divided because of these words. Many of them were saying, ‘He has a demon and is out of his mind. Why listen to him?’Others were saying, ‘These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’

At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered, ‘I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 

My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.’ (John 10:1-30)

 

 

The Pantheon of Hindu gods is vast. Yet, in fact, Hindus are a monotheistic religion worshiping one God. Hindus believe that there is only one ultimate reality, Brahman. Brahman is a supreme spirit that permeates everything. Brahman is entirely impersonal, however, and entirely impossible to describe. Everything in the universe is part of Brahman, but Brahman is more than the sum total of everything in the universe. The Hindu gods; Shiva, Parvati, Krishna, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Ganesh, Nataraja, Devi, Saraswati, Shakti, Buddha, Kali, Murugan, Patanjali, and Hanuman --serve as a way in which devotees can see, touch and feel this unknowable God, Brahman. They are supposed to give the layperson a tangible, knowable aspect of the Supreme Being. Each of the Hindu gods represents one aspect of Brahman. Each Hindu God of the trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva -- are each part of the godhead and each are responsible for one aspect of him. Brahma is the creator and creates all things in the cosmos. Shiva takes on the destructive aspect of Brahman. Vishnu preserves the Dharma, the working order of the universe. Each Hindu God is one aspect of the Supreme Being.

America is no longer a nation where many Hindu or Buddhist Avatars--fake Christs--now appear on our streets, today. Yet the number of true followers of Jesus in our nation is now very few--perhaps 10% of us. The vacuum has been filled with all manner of counterfeit Christians. Most are way more subtle than India's Ascended Masters. Yet just about everyone says he or she believes in "a god." Please see The Ego Papers.

Hinduism as a default religion allows everyone to be his or her own god, Ancient Egypt had much the same. The Greeks were more “enlightened” and they chose gods who are mostly human, but with big flaws. Americans like to think we are not idolatrous but this is not the case at all! Please see Idolatry Notes. Our world-view today is a digested, assimilated amalgamation of belief systems. But with so much monotheism and the influence of Christianity, our false teachers today are most likely to be church men, pastors and Bible teacher! We don't find the Hare Krishna types as appealing now as they were in the '60's. Our big bane is leaders in churches who claim to represent Jesus but don't actually know Him from Adam. Early on, immigrants from Europe came here for religious freedom and were mostly Protestants. They knew Jesus mostly.

South American countries have historically been Roman Catholic, but Papal authority and authoritarian regimes are not welcome here, and likewise the restraints of the usual false religious systems. Since we offered freedom of religion and great opportunity, America attracted refugees from everywhere--but mainly at first from Europe. This plurality was considered a good thing--we were a great melting pot. When immigrants moved here later from Asia they brought not only cultural diversity but their gods. It was no longer considered kosher to force our limited stereotypical forms of Christianity, and cultural conformity, on other races and groups. We assumed foreign gods were harmless.

We have had great difficulty as Americans blending in with other sons of Noah who also bear the image of God. Basic Christian core beliefs are held by many Anglos, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, but there has been much discord across racial as everyone knows. Jesus, by the way, is Jewish and not a gentile at all.

Pulpits were a big deal in the past but now even a lectern seems intimating. Jesus had neither a chair nor a lectern, and no sound system either, yet His audiences were often many thousands -- who sat on the ground.

Deism is belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason, but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.

Jesus is not an intimidating Lord most of the time, but He is Lord. If you don't believe this now, wait a bit!

The older generations of professing Christians in America (now dying off) were usually cautious nominal Christians as they grew up, got an education, married, entered the mainstream of our then-flourishing culture. But many in the older gen allowed themselves to be compromised by man’s  three great enemies, the flesh, the world and the devil. The younger generations (x, y, z) have largely reacted to the hypocrisy of their elders by throwing the baby out with the bath water. In so doing they have, by and large, ignored history, and sound traditional values, to embrace new forms of what is actually paganism. 

Of coure both kids and parents are afflicted with original sin. Their parents were in many cases well aware of the admonition of Jesus to build one's house on a solid foundation. Turns out the content of Christian faith--orthodoxy--is a big deal. Purely existential Christianity has always been lacking--see On Knowing God. Motives matter: Cultural Christianity can not save!

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:  “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.  “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:  “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching,  for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Luke 6:47-49)

Half a century ago when I discovered that real life was about knowing Jesus Christ personally, my then-pastor, Ray Stedman, felt that every promising young convert should go to seminary. The seminary he attended was enjoying its greatest years. So I dutifully applied to Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), after checking out the other leading schools of that day. I had no idea how I’d pay for seminary and my job in scientific research was plenty challenging. Dallas turned me down but did not cite their reasons. Ray was visibly shaken as he had written a strong letter of recognition. Not long after that,, I had lunch with the godly pastor who had led me to Christ a few years later. Ralph W. Kraft was a DD (Doctor of Divinity) from a Conservative Baptist Seminary and he also had written DTS at my request. Over lunch, Dr. Kraft told me right out that he had written the school urging them to not admit me. Then Dr. K., said, “Lambert, preachers like me are a dime a dozen these days and we carry little weight in society. I’d give anything to be where you are now. A scientist who believes in God will be heard. Just keep reading your Bible, coming to church and staying accountable. There is no limit to what God can do with your life, even though you got off to a late start." (I was 30).

I was grateful and relieved and of course, so I couldn't wait to tell Ray. When I told him, he was thoughtful, and he soon saw the handwriting on the wall, realizing that Bible schools and seminaries were then on a slippery downhill slope. He and his elders started an in-church program known as “Scribe School”  which flourished for several years.  But the apostasy was real and continues to this day.

Back then a distinction between seminary trained clergymen and unlettered laymen was quite evident -- and women counted even less.  But the slippery downhill slope continued so even thriving churches fell by the wayside. Seeing this first hand my friend Chuck Missler predicted that the future of the true church would probably be found in small home groups. This proved to be true.

Just recently (2018) Tim Keller saw a huge generational disconnect coming as the institutional church no longer attracted the younger generation. He felt our only hope was a return to the church before Augustine. God, of course has not been caught off guard. Jesus asked, “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

The Church at the End of the Age (2011)

The Philadelphia Church

The Last Church Before the Rapture 

Exodus 2020

The Management of the Universe

The Church Papers

Dead Orthodoxy Can Not Save!

Rather than preaching only to the choir in Jerusalem, God asked the Prophet Jeremiah to reach out to all of Israel, --scattered abroad--urging them to come to Him! Jerusalemites had the great Temple of Solomon, the Levitical priesthood, the Feasts and Festivals, and the outward form of a government by a King ruling from Jerusalem. The defection of the Northern Tribes after the death of Solomon, retained sovereign rule by a king--but in Samaria, not in Jerusalem, plus they added two religious centers at Bethel and Dan, where a golden calf was central and the officiating priests misrepresented God big time. Today's equivalent would be membership in a sound congregation, paying taxes on time, some knowledge of the Bible--but still "dead orthodoxy." Jeremiah spoke to Israel about her spiritual adultery. All of Israel was the "wife of Yahweh," by covenant. Knowing about God but not obeying Him--not trusting Him daily is hypocrisy--and God hates hypocrisy

Outsiders see this hypocrisy in professing Christians often and want nothing to do with God -- that is, if trusting Him will make them like the Jerusalem Orthodoxy -- or like us today. A similar situation could be seen in the hippie movement, c. 1967. The young rebels who came to San Francisco with "a flower in their hair," hoped to see, at last, who the real Jesus really was. Their home church back in Kansas was probably lacking the basics and already apostate, and many hippies did find the real Jesus in the Jesus Movement that followed the demise of hippiedom. It's been downhill for the the church in America ever since. We live in big time denial today. 

Unlike Israel we don't have a marriage covenant with God as does Israel. The nation Israel is the "wife of Yahweh" but the true church being called out now by Jesus is "the Bride of Christ." The. Old Testament book of Hosea vividly depicts the failed marriage of Israel, but God's persistence in saving their marriage long term which will be happening soon in our day. 

As a side note, Israel was-scattered from their land after the Destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70. This tragic event is called the Diaspora. Yet God promised He would be to them "a little synagogue" until the time of their return for their Final Redemption.

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, 
lest you should be  wise in your own opinion, 
that  blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
 And then all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion, 
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 
For  this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” 

Concerning the gospel they  are enemies for your sake, 
but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 

For the gifts and the calling of God are  irrevocable. For as you  were once disobedient to God, 
yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, 
that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 

For God has committed them  all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. 

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! 
How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 

“For who has known the  mind of the Lord? 
Or  who has become His counselor?” 
“Or  who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” 

For  of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, 
to whom be glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:25-36)

I believe that God has recently brought about a change of dispensations. He is apparently no longer dealing with mankind through the old paradigm churches, but now He his kingly, direct authority is becoming evident. 

When God brings in sudden changes most of the world goes into denial — until it starts raining outside the Ark. 

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: “They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; “but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.  “Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.  “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back.

 “Remember Lot’s wife.  “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.  “I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left.  “Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.  “Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”   And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” (Luke 17:24-37)

The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations

 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 
“All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.  
“And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.  
“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  
‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in;  ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 
‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  ‘Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 
“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did did it one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:  
‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;  
‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’

 “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
 “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

Jesus annoyed everyone by talking candidly to lepers, non-Jews and half-breeds like the Samaritans. His stop over in Samaria North of Jerusalem (on his way North to Galilee) was earth shaking!

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, ‘Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John’—  although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— he left Judea and started back to Galilee. But he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’

Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ 

Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he,the one who is speaking to you.’

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you want?’ or, ‘Why are you speaking with her?’ Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?’ They left the city and were on their way to him.

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Saviour of the world.’

When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honour in the prophet’s own country). When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival. (John 4:1-45)



Are We the "Final Generation?"

Another issue here is “Are we living in the final generation?” What was Noah’s generation like before the Flood? Population then probably soaring out of control then like now. Noah pleaded with his generation for 110 years but had only 7 takers when it was time to leave.  Further thoughts.

Jesus warned His disciples of what to expect:  “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. If they say He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.  “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together." (Matthew 24:23-28)

Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.  “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.  “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.  “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, “that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.  “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.  “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice  “and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.  “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.“ (John 5:39-40) 

Further Reading

Idolatry Notes 

The Temple Cleansings by Jesus,

In Canaan Land

Sheep and Goats Judged

Christian Deism

False Messiahs

Our Hiding Place

The Solid Rock

False Messiahs, Antichrists and Modern Caesars



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September 14, 2021