PATRIOTISM IN LIGHT OF THE SCRIPTURES 2 (August 2007)
INTRODUCTION PART 1 - WE'RE BACK AT IT!
I am going to do something here we do not normally do at 11th Hour. Back when this site was launched, Bill Kisiel wrote an article that expressed some of the most basic principles upon which this web site was founded. "Patriotism In Light Of The Scriptures" is not only one of the first articles ever posted on this site, but it is one of the most viewed articles as well. Normally if you wrote an article, you would be the one to write the "2", (if there was ever going to be one). But in this case I spoke with Bill, and I am going to write a "P.i.l.o.t.s. 2" with his permission...
This article speaks to a tragedy so out in plain view and obvious, so prolific and frightening, yet somehow invisible to even the most mature and experienced Christians in this country, that we have tried again and again to address it. Somehow, in spite of the fact that there are literally hundreds of sites on the internet issuing the same warnings as we have, it is still not being recognized by Christians. As I have mentioned before, in conversations and emails we have engaged Christians all over the country and in fact all over the world for the last 3 1/2 to 4 years concerning current affairs. We have discussed America's involvement in the middle east, and the nature of certain activities in the world. Invariably we have encountered a staunchly defended principle that resides in the American citizen and in the American Christian heart today. That principle can be summed up in the following statements, made regularly by those with whom we have spoken...
The original purpose of this web site was to point out a lot of things that were manifesting themselves to us as common beliefs in the church that were proving that there were some things wrong in our churches today. Believe it or not this is NOT a political matter, it is a spiritual matter. Unfortunately the tragic events of 911 pushed the Church headlong into the political arena so desperately, and also brought out the realities we were seeing in a significant way and as a result, we continue to try and get Christians back to an unclouded, bible based world view. We seek to expose Christians to a proper interpretation of the world's actions and policies, and to see the kingdoms of this world for what they are.
Sadly, we are forced into pointing out the huge mistake political activism is for servants of Christ, and quite often people use the subject matter as an excuse. A man recently said to me in an email, "brother, being anti-political is still being political..." I could have gone into why that is just an argumentative statement, and I could have spent a great deal of time attempting to explain why accusing us of being political is not going to divert the truth, but I simply told him, "I am also anti sexual immorality, am I therefore a servant of sex?" The subject matter of this site is as it has always been, and that is to try and help Christians to once again, look at the world through Jesus' eyes Brothers and Sisters!
As our readers well know, whether or not they agree, it is our impression here at 11th Hour, that the above statement about America being a holy nation is an utter lie. It portrays a principle that is clouding the judgment of the Church to the point that it is enjoining itself to ungodly actions, and even blurring the lines between spiritually defined things and politically defined things. Blurring the lines between right and wrong, blurring the lines between a spiritual walk of faith, and a worldly life of political activism. Blurring the lines between hypocrisy and raising the standard of faith in Jesus Christ. Honestly folks, if you want to accuse us of being political just because we are pointing out what is wrong in politics in order to explain why Christian involvement in it is wrong, nothing we say will ever penetrate those defensive strategies, but if you have ears to hear, then PLEASE hear! This tragic event is happening from the most humble and average Christian all the way to the most visible and accepted leaders of the Christian faith in America.
THE "IN LIGHT OF THE SCRIPTURES" PART
We expose the lies and treachery of the Political arena in order to help folks see why a Christian doesn't belong in that arena, and they then say we are into Politics too! Talk about the ultimate example of not being able to see the forest because all the trees are in the way! I am sorry Brothers and Sisters, but the most horrifying betrayals of Christianity are happening in America today and are being projected around the globe as true principles of Christian faith!
Just as there are many Muslims who say that "Radical Islam" is a betrayal of the true teachings of their faith, we submit to you that the portrayals by many political figures and by many religious leaders in this country, that the war in the middle east is somehow sponsored by the Lord Jesus Christ is an outlandish betrayal of everything he taught us, and everything that he told us to stand for. It is a war based on revenge and hypocrisy, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Christian faith.
These betrayals are being preached to a society of well meaning Christians who are traumatized, humiliated, living in fear, and seeking retribution for the tragic deaths of 3000 Americans on 911, and they are being accepted as proper Christian attitudes and beliefs here at home. Meanwhile, those same betrayals are being perpetrated on a world that needs to be shown the love of Christ rather than the barrels of tank guns, and a formation of fighter planes overhead by an elite class of self proclaimed scholars and experts, who's loyalties have been purchased by our government.
At the same time, most of the Christian world has dropped its missions budgets for building expansion and advertising budgets, as the church conforms to the image of the corporate world it doesn't realize it is supporting. The Christian millionaire becomes a billionaire while popular "leaders" have been invited to the Whitehouse and have been so flattered by those invites, and so "star-struck" by standing in the presence of the most powerful world leaders. Having been treated like they are so important, (by world leaders that know how many Christian voters they can mobilize and that they influence), these same Christian "leaders" have been transformed by these flatteries, and by the billions of dollars of "faith based initiatives" laid on the table before them. Then, like any other political support base, they are converted into the chief benefactors of the republican party and unbeknownst to these Christian leaders, they become the actual commissioners of the actions over seas. Being told stories of heroism by political propagandists that shield themselves from criticism with the bodies of our young people who have been killed in battle, they literally take the heart strings of Christian America, and have now become puppeteers of church doctrine all over the country.
I would like to pose this question for Christian thought and consideration here in the "in light of the scriptures" part... What if the Lord asks Americans why they supported such things when we see him face to face? What if he asks us to give account for the deaths of more than a million people in the middle east, and even to give account for the lives of our sons and daughters that we influenced to give their lives for these "causes"? Will the American Christian excuse himself, and point his finger at the politicians who ordered these strikes? Does he think he can say, "Well Lord, I didn't kill anyone"? or "Lord, they started it"? Do Christians in this country really think that the Lord is going to accept the fact that radical Islamist do this stuff as an excuse to do it ourselves? Doesn't that fly in the face of what he taught? Of course it does brothers and sisters. I submit to you that he will judge us by the very excuses we offer, just as he did to the unfaithful servant in the talent Parable. Let's look at part of that parable and examine what the Lord was teaching...
It is unfortunate that most Christians can't realize that this parable is not about money, because they are using it as a justification for multiplying their wealth, and living for their possessions, so it is difficult to get the point across... The point is that this man was judged by the very excuse he offered, and I believe that is the character of God as Jesus outlined it. He read back his own excuse to him and then told him what he should have done. God is going to judge us by the very excuses we offer to him as defenses for the things he is calling us to account for. For instance, could you imagine the point of what I am saying here playing out at the great white throne judgment in the form of a 21st century Christian being asked by the Lord to account for the deaths of over a million middle easterners in the "War on Terror"?
We have made the point before that supporting, and cheering on these actions makes one a partaker of those actions. I had really hoped that on the day that the American Government paraded the bodies of the sons of Saddam Hussein on national television, (conveniently leaving out the 14 year old boy that they also killed in that house that day), that a lot of Christians in this country would have looked at each other and said "we can't support this stuff" but Christians were giving each other "high 5s" instead. You get the point: the American Christian church is not going to be able to excuse itself from the support of these actions which directly contradict the teachings of Jesus, because they definitely ARE supporting them.
Because of their religious hatred toward Islam since the tragic events of 911, which has fostered a racial bigotry. This bigotry was further enflamed by an administration with a definite corporate agenda for the middle east, which actions are being spiritually justified by a "Christian" elite of super wealthy television evangelists who are well aware that it is in their best interest to cater to the government. So once again, in one of the most repeated and brazen moves of Satan that can be observed in history since the departure of our Lord, our enemy has again lured the Christian Church into his own arena, the political arena... THE WORLD!
Just as Satan tried to do to Jesus in the desert, and as the Zealots attempted to do to the Disciples. Just as Caesar's men tried to do to Paul, and as the emperor Constantine successfully made government the ruler of religion. Just as the Vatican turned that around and made religion the ruler of the government during the dark ages, and as it did to the European Catholics during the the crusades, the inquisitions, the 3rd Reich, and now it appears again in this country. Even though we believe it is ushering in the final chapters of the prophetic scriptures which all Christians long to see, we all know it is our call to speak out against deception, because the scripture says it will cost many believers an eternity of separation from God. That point can not be argued by ANY Christian in the world today. One of the most well known verses in the New Testament, and the first scripture verse Bill used in the first Patriotism article says that plainly...
The deeds of Prophesying in the name of the Lord, (which the anti-Christian spirit can NOT do), casting out devils in his name, and doing many "wonderful deeds" in his name is NOT talking about the world. It is talking about a people that formerly were believers and were walking their walk in Christ's name, and who had laid a claim to be Christ's servants. "Not everyone who says unto ME, Lord, Lord..." He was not talking about people who called Mohammad lord, he was not talking about people who called Buddha lord... In context with the discussion in which Jesus said these words, with rest of the gospels, and the entire New Testament, it is obvious that this statement is made about the apostate, deceived Christian/Church of the end times. CHRISTIANS, who had strayed from the truth for whatever reason, being told he never knew them, and that they were workers of iniquity.
I have said here that the political realm represents society, and society is "the world" spoken of in the scriptures. The message Jesus preached was one of absolute passivism when it comes to fighting of ANY kind, and it was a message forewarning us of being trampled under foot by the world as his servants. Anyone denying that reality, is denying the teachings of Christ. So when your passionate, American patriotic "bible teacher" today says "Jesus was no passivist" he takes Jesus' actions in the temple with the money changers totally out of context, using them as an excuse to support the bloodshed we now see again in the world in Jesus name.
MORE FROM THE SCRIPTURES
There are scripturally defined reasons why we believe the current paradigm of Christian political activity can not be supported by the word. The first one I want to address is the result of conversations I had with Christians who say, things like "I take the whole Bible". As correct a statement as that is with respect to understanding the whole of our faith, it is terribly lacking in terms of biblical understanding when it comes to justifying killing in the name of Jesus. But I think it bears mention because there are many more people than you might think using clichés like this to justify supporting this administration's murderous military rampage on the middle east, although those cliché's have been handed to them by the establishment Church, lets discuss it:
The Old and New Testaments:
How do they relate to the Christian life in 21st Century America?
The first thing that has to be addressed in this conversation is not what the Old testament IS, but rather what it is NOT. We do not discount the Old testament's value as a teaching tool, and as the place where the character and will of God were completely outlined for men, but we wish to put in perspective how it needs to be viewed by a Christian today. It is NOT the place that a new testament Christian goes to get the final word on principles by which he governs his life. Be careful there, we are not saying the whole word of God is not important. Every word of the scripture is important, so a statement like "I take the whole Bible" seems innocent enough in spite of how much of a cliché it has become, but plain and simple, the new testament is exactly that... the NEW covenant God has established with men.
We have heard many great preachers teach about how wrong it is to preach "good works", and again and again we have heard them say that preaching good works as the way in which a man becomes saved is a "return to the old testament", and as a result, a departure from, or a betrayal of Jesus teachings. We have heard them talk about how the Pharisees were unwilling to come into the new covenant, and that they wanted to hold on to their position in the community, their self glorification, and the old ways. We have heard them say how the Catholic Church, like the Pharisees refuse to submit to the teachings of the new testament and how their return to the old, pompous, self glorifying ways of the Pharisees, with their glorious gold canes and robes, worship of men and statues is a betrayal of Christ, and it is. There is no question in an educated reader of the Bible's mind when he sees a Pope, or a bishop that these men are setting themselves up as a modern day Moses type of position. Why then is it NOT a betrayal if 21st century Christians, New Testament Christians, use the old testament and the wars that Israel got into as a justification for killing people in Jesus' name?
We know full well that Jesus was purifying certain aspects of the way men related to God from the incomplete relationship that existed in the old testament. We all know that some of the hideous things men did not only out in the open, but even inwardly in the old testament days, and even inwardly there in Israel when Jesus came were being exposed. Jesus was teaching that a new standard of holiness was being outlined, and this is why the Pharisees hated him so much. They truly understood what he represented, and what his mission was.
Obviously the days of selling your brother into slavery, and asking forgiveness later were ending. Obviously getting a beautiful woman's husband killed and taking her for yourself after he is gone were no longer going to be brushed under the burnt offering carpet in the relationship between man and God.
Jesus was teaching that now, we live from the standpoint that you choose not to commit sin before you commit it rather than doing as you pleased, and burning a sacrifice to erase your actions. He was teaching that he offered his Holy Spirit as our conscience, constantly reminding us of sin and also as the power to be obedient to that knowledge. Jesus was fulfilling his destiny, and the scripture...
Which we believe was fulfilled here, when Jesus said these words:
This verse proves our point above also, that the Pharisees knew exactly who Jesus was, and what he was doing and teaching. Anyone who understands what Jesus taught knows that in areas where the way ancient Israel lived conflicts with how Jesus taught us to live, we are called to obey the words of Jesus, and live under the New covenant. We also know there are a lot of places where Jesus updated the principles of the old covenant to illustrate that we are now accountable not only for our outward actions, but also for our inward motives... Will 21st century Christians say "well he didn't actually mention that" when confronted with the things they now use the old covenant to justify? Let's take a look at one of the messages Jesus preached that we refer to often where he told us to "love our enemies" in Mathew chapter 5. Jesus made it extremely clear that he was making some of the old, superficial, "outward" principles of old testament thinking more transparent and he brought inward accountability to the table. Let's take a look at some of the things he said in that message...
Right off the bat, Jesus is making it clear that we are going to be held to a more inwardly pure standard than the old testament Pharisees were. Remember, these men lived very clean lives on an outward level as far as their behavior was concerned, and Jesus was telling us that we can no longer get by just acting like we were good. He proclaimed that he was going to make us who accept him inwardly in addition to outwardly good! He was saying that he was here to cleans us inwardly as well as outwardly. So the Pharisee's outward goodness was no longer the standard for righteousness.
Here, Jesus makes what seems to be an extremely important point in this sermon that really describes what he was saying about our new accountability and the standard of living he was placing before us. He is saying not only is it wrong to kill, but he is saying that even being angry at a person for false or wrong reasons is as serious an issue as killing. (which should cause a lot of Christians in this country right now some deep concern in light of the fact that their current support of actions in Iraq were clearly based on false reasons). He goes even further and teaches us that even treating our fellow man with disregard, which is what the whole "Raca" thing is all about, and calling him a "fool" is in as great a danger of judgment as he who kills. I wonder if the American Christian is treating his fellow man with disregard when he justifies the deaths of a million people in Iraq by saying things like, "Well Saddam was evil so I don't care why they went in to Iraq", when he is told that all the reasons we went in there were lies? This is what Jesus was teaching further when he said...
He is talking about an inner purity that did not exist in old Covenant times, and he was making it clear that he was updating it, and laying out a higher standard of living. THIS is the context of Jesus teachings in Mathew Chapter 5. So how can we escape the truth that is clear in what he said? He goes further and more narrowly defines the reasons a person can divorce, he talks about how careful we had better be when swearing oaths, because in the old testament days they threw around oaths like pennies. Much like today when you hear most folks constantly say "I swear to God". He is clearly drawing a higher standard of inner purity throughout the entire message, so how can we not realize the importance of what he said in verses 38 through 48?
I know, we have quoted that verse of scripture so many times on this site you are probably getting sick of hearing it. You may have already found a way to pass it off as some "old fashioned or outdated" teaching that Jesus surely couldn't have meant for today's global society filled with Muslim "terrorists"...
We submit that this thinking is not going to cut it when we stand before the Lord himself. In the context of this valuable message that Jesus taught, which by the way was pretty much his introductory message to the people of Israel at that time as it was his first big sermon. This message is where Jesus outlined what he came to do, and what his purpose was. It is no coincidence that this teaching is part of this initial message. What did he say? He gives a number of orders here...
And he gives a condition that obeying these orders meet... "That you may be the Children of your father which is in Heaven". That is pretty clear and concise isn't it? You obey these commands, so that you can be the children of your Father which is in Heaven. Period. He further qualifies his reasoning, and makes it even more clear why he says these things...
There is no escaping the reality of these words, and there is no escaping the truth we are presenting here. If you are using the old testament as your justification for this country's killing in Christ's name, or supporting killing in Christ's name, you are in for a sad awakening, as is every Christian who now runs to the political realm for protection instead of the teachings of Jesus Christ. The "Republican party line" as it were about how killing these people is right, or a mission inspired by God is a horrendous betrayal of the faith we were taught by Jesus himself. I know, seems impossible huh? Actually obeying the actual words that Jesus said? There is no denying Jesus' message was one of absolute passivism regardless of what your "patriotic" American televangelists are preaching today. You have to literally butcher Jesus' words and actions in order to support that thinking.
Some have asked us...
"Who are these leaders you speak of? Who are you saying is leading the Church into deception?"
Well, the scripture mentions them. The problem is, are people in this country so captivated by faces on television screens that they can not see them for what they are even when reality is screaming out their names? Since when did the fact that preachers are on TV give them validity?? They are definitely out there...
Knowing that most folks who are reading this article know that God is not a respecter of persons, and that as his servants we need to be bold and tell the truth. I will give a few examples of the men I could be talking about, but I will go into greater detail about a couple of them... I have NOTHING personal against any of these men, and I know they are not all ravening wolves, and false prophets. In fact, I was an admirer of some of these men for decades.
Are they all Patriots? Yes.
Are any of them wolves in sheep's clothing?? Perhaps.
Are some of them False Prophets??? Absolutely.
In the part 2 of this intense Article we will discuss what some of the preachers in this country are teaching. We will discuss who they are, and we will discuss what these things are saying to the world, and we will continue to discuss what the scripture says about these things! Stay tuned for part 2!
In Christ, F. E. Reilly
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Hour ministries All Rights Reserved