In many ways, 1995 was a year of grace, an opportunity for our people, and our nation as a whole to turn to God. It is funny that, in recent public opinion polls, the majority of people will say general things like "we are not going in the right direction" or "things are not good." But instead of looking to God, we just keep going ahead without really considering the need to seriously seek the Lord's help.
It has been surprising that the American economy, which has been glutted with high debts (whether national, state, local or personal) in the past ten years, has kept going up and up. Yet it has; with the past three years it has been almost like a cancer in remission.
In 1992, the Federal Reserve began lowering interest rates. The result was that the economy began to improve just as President Clinton was elected in November. The Clinton administration then used the lower interest rates to refinance our national debt with short-term five-year bonds thus decreasing our debt payments, which in turn appeared to reduce the size of the Federal budget deficit.
Of course, the Clinton administration took credit for reducing the deficit and improving the economy, when in reality their economic policies had, absolutely, noting to do with it. In fact, they have made no serious effort to reduce government spending except in the area of defense.
Likewise, many people used the lower interest rates to refinance personal debts (mortgages, credit cards, etc.) thus bringing about a three-year boost to the economy as people have been able to purchase more.
One would think people (and government) would have used this respite to get their financial house in order and reduce budget deficits and eliminate many debts. Yet the patient, having been given a seemingly extended lease on life before near disaster, is merely continuing the same bad habits which led to our economic cancer in the first place.
It was reported at the end of this past Christmas shopping season that consumer debt has doubled over the past three years! Instead of using the lower interest payments to reduce their debt, many just used the extra credit to go on a spending binge.
Surely this is an indication that our nation's financial woes are not an economic problem, but more a spiritual problem; mainly, using money and the things it can buy to fill the empty space left by our broken personal (and national) relationship with the Lord. It is at that point when our emotional security becomes entirely dependent upon this world system and the things it can provide.
This was really the basis of Jesus' temptation by the Devil in the wilderness. It was the Satanic desire to get Jesus to meet His physical needs by performing miracles and not by depending on God.
But the ultimate temptation for Jesus was to have His emotional needs, as the Savior of mankind, to be fulfilled through the Devil offering Him authority over the kingdoms of the world, along with the glory of that authority, (something that Christ already had, which is still a method of Satan's children, to give Christians something they already have/had, thus cheating them out of God's blessings in their life), rather than by achieving this the Father's way; which was by suffering on the stake.
Is The Cross A Christian Symbol?: This study would not be complete without a close look at what has been presented as the instrument upon which the Lord Jesus Christ was placed. The instrument upon which He died. So we present the following for your study and consideration. It is taken in part, from a book called Babylon Mystery Religion ‑ Ancient and Modern by Ralph Woodrow.
The Cross is recognized as one of the most important symbols of the Roman Catholic church. It is displayed on the top of the roofs and towers of their churches. It is seen on their altars, furnishings, and ecclesiastical garments. The floor plan of the majority of Catholic churches is laid out in the shape of the cross. All Catholic homes, hospitals, and schools have the cross adorning the walls. Everywhere the cross is outwardly honored and adored ‑ in hundreds of ways.
In like manner, the sign of the cross is often used in the Catholic rites. When an infant is sprinkled the priest makes the sign of the cross upon the infants forehead saying: "Receive the sign of the cross upon thy forehead."
During confirmation, the candidate is signed with the cross. On Ash Wednesday, ashes are used to make a cross on the foreheads of Catholic members. When they enter the church building, they dip the forefinger of the right hand in "holy water," touch the forehead, the chest, the left and the right shoulder ‑ thus tracing the figure of the cross. The same sign is made before eating meals. During Mass, the priest makes the sign of the cross 16 times and blesses the altar with the cross sign 30 times.
Most Christians will never study enough to come to realize that The Mark of the Beast is the Cross! See #5516: chi xi stigma, khee xee stig'-ma; the 22d, 14h and an obsol. letter (4742 as A Cross) of the Greek alphabet (intermediate between the 5th and 6th), used as numbers; denoting respectively 600, 60, and 6; 666 as a numeral:-six hundred threescore and six..
Protestant churches, for the most part, do not believe in making the sign of the cross with their fingers. Neither do they bow down to it or use it as an object of worship as does the Catholic church and many of its affiliates. They have recognized that these things are unscriptural and superstitious. But they have made use of the cross on their steeples, on their church roofs, on pulpits, and in various other ways. And so, to one degree or another, Christendom ‑ both Papal and Protestant ‑ has assumed that there is virtue in the cross image; that our church buildings should be decorated with it; that it is a Christian symbol. But we ask: Is the cross which took our Saviour's life a thing to be adored?
Should we parade the instrument of death before the world and be proud of it? Do the scriptures anywhere teach that we are to take the cross and place it upon our buildings or wear it around our necks? Many have never questioned the use of the cross on churches and their furnishings.
They have assumed that the cross was a Christian symbol. But a study of historical evidence plainly reveals that the cross symbol is of pagan origin! The early Christians did not consider the cross a virtuous symbol, but rather as "the accursed tree," a device of death and "shame." (Hebrews 12:2) They did not trust in an old rugged cross. Instead, their faith was in what was accomplished on the cross; and through this faith, they knew the full and complete forgiveness of sin!
It was in this sense that the apostles preached about the cross and gloried in it. (1 Corinthians 1:17‑18) Such references to the cross in the epistles never refer to a Piece of Wood one might wear around his/her neck or carry in his/her hand.
The message of the apostles was concerning the One that hung and died on the cross. When they spoke of the cross, they were speaking of the suffering of Calvary, the supreme sacrifice that was made there, and the eternal purpose of God that was accomplished. But never did those of the early church consider a piece of wood as a protector, a good luck charm, or as an object of worship. No, such use of the cross came much later.
It was not until Christianity began to be Paganized that the Cross came to be thought of as a Christian Symbol! It was in 431 A.D. that crosses in churches and chambers were introduced, while the use of the crosses on steeples did not come until about 586 A.D. (Harper's Book of Facts)
In the 6th Century, the crucifix image was introduced and its worship sanctioned by the church of Rome. (Fausett, p. 145) It was not until the second council at Ephesus that private homes were required to possess a cross. (The Cross in Tradition, History, and Art, p. 157) Such use of the cross then was obviously not a doctrine of the early true church. It was not a part of "the faith that was once delivered to the saints." From where then did it come?
In the following, we will give historical Proof that the cross was an object of worship centuries Before the Christian Era. We will see that the cross sign is Babylonish and that its entrance into the professing church was but a further attempt to mix paganism with Christianity.
Centuries before the Christian era, the cross was honored as a religious symbol by the people of Babylon. It is seen on their oldest monuments. (Doane, p. 342) Historians say that it was a symbol associated with Tammuz ‑ a Jewish god. (The Greatness that was Babylon, p. 496‑498)
THE CROSS SYMBOL
The Cross Symbol: In its original form ‑ came from the first letter of the name Tammuz, the "T". The same sign of the cross that Rome now worships was used in the "Babylonian Mysteries," says Hislop, "...that which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of Chaldeans and Egyptians ‑ the true original form of the letter T ‑ the initial of the name of Tammuz...and was used in every variety of way as the most sacred symbol...it was used as an amulet over the heart; it was marked on the official garments of the priests, as on the official garments of Rome today." (Two Babylons, p. 197)
From Babylon, this cross symbol spread to Egypt, where monuments preserved to this day give abundant evidence of its use there. In Any book on Egypt that shows the old monuments and walls of their ancient temples, one can see the kings and gods of antiquity holding crosses in their hands. The inscription shows some of the gods of Egypt in mystery form ‑ part human and part animal ‑ each holding a cross! A building of Amenophis IV at Thebes, Egypt, has inscriptions of the king praying, with a picture of a round sun circle with a mystery form of the sun‑god beneath it. A noted historian in reference to Egypt: "Here unchanged for thousands of years, we find among her most sacred hieroglyphics the cross in various forms ...but the one known specially as the 'cross of Egypt,' or the Tau cross, is shaped like the letter T, often with a circle or ovoid above it, yet this mystical symbol was not peculiar to this country, but was reverenced...among the Chaldeans, Phoenicians, Mexicans, and every ancient people in both hemispheres." (The Cross in Tradition, History, and Art, p. 2‑3)
As the cross worship spread to various nations, it took on varied forms and was used in varied ways: Among the Chinese, "the cross is...acknowledged to be one of the most ancient devices...it is portrayed upon the walls of their pagodas, it is painted upon the lanterns used to illuminate the most sacred recesses of their temples." (The Cross in Tradition, History, and Art, p. 13)
The cross has been a sacred symbol in India for centuries among non‑Christian people. "In Northern India, the cross is used to mark the jars of sacred water taken from the Indus and Ganges...In Southern India the cross is used as an emblem of disembodied Jaina saints...The east Indians (revered the cross symbol)...centuries before our Lord appeared upon earth." (The Cross in Tradition, History, and Art, p. 10)
In the central part of India, two rude crosses of stone have been discovered which date back to a time centuries before the Christian era. One of these crosses is over 10 feet high; the other over eight feet. (The Cross in Tradition, History, and Art, p. 12)
Among the Hindus of India, the cross was regarded as sacred to their god Agni. (Monumental Christianity, p. 14) The Buddhists, and numerous other sects of India, marked their followers on the head with the sign of the cross.
On the continent of Africa, "at Susa, the Abyssinia...the natives plunge a cross in the River Gitche...the Kabyle women although Mohammedans, tattoo a cross between their eyes...In Wanyamwizi, or the land of the moon, the inhabitants decorate their walls with crosses...the Yaricks established a line of kingdoms from the Niger to the Nile...on their shields (was) painted the image of a cross." (The Cross in Tradition, History p. 9)
Here then is mention of the use of the cross by numerous heathen tribes in Africa who knew nothing of Christ!
When the Spaniards first landed in Mexico, "they could not suppress their wonder," says Prescott, "as they beheld the cross, the sacred emblem of their own (Catholic) faith, raised as an object of worship in the temples of Anahuac. The Spaniards were not aware that the cross was the symbol of worship of the highest antiquity...(and was used by many) pagan nations on whom the light of Christianity had never shone."
In Palenque, Mexico, founded by Votan in the 9th century before the Christian era, is a heathen temple known as "the temple of the cross." There inscribed on an altar slab is a central cross six and a half by eleven feet in size! (Encyclopedia or Religions, Vol. 3, p. 70) In olden times, the Indians of Mexico worshipped the cross as TOTA (Our Father).
This practice of addressing a piece of wood with the title "father" is also mentioned in the Bible. When God's people of the Old Testament mixed idolatry with their religion, they worshipped pagan gods and said to a stock, "Thou art my father!" (Jeremiah 2:27) But it is contrary to the Word of God to call a piece of wood (or a priest!) by the title "father." "...call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." (Matthew 23:9)
Ages ago in Italy, before the people knew anything of the arts of civilization, they believed in the cross as a religious symbol. Even at this early period, they believed it was a protector and it was placed upon tombs. (The Cross in Tradition, History and Art, p. 99)
Through the centuries, it was used as a religious symbol right on up to the days of the pagan Roman empire. In 46 B.C. Roman coins show Jupiter holding a long scepter terminating in a cross. (The Cross in Tradition, History and Art, p.26)
This was his symbol. (Encyclopedia of Religions, Vol. 1, p. 495) The vestal Virgins of pagan Rome wore the cross suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns of the Roman Catholic church do now. (Two Babylons, p. 198)
The Greeks depicted crosses on the head band of their god corresponding to Tammuz of the Babylonians. In the Eleusinian Mysteries, a cross was placed on the breast of each initiate. (Bible Myths, p. 343)
Porcelli mentions how that Isis was shown with a cross on her forehead. Her priests carried processional crosses in their worship of her. The temple of Serapis in Alexandria was surmounted by a cross. The temple of the Sphinx when it was unearthed was found to be cruciform in shape.
Ensigns in the form of a cross were carried by the Persians during their battles with Alexander the Great (B.C. 335). ibid, p. 346.
The cross was used as a religious symbol by the Aborigines of South America in ancient times. (Curiosities of Popular Customs, p. 297) New born children were placed under its protection against evil spirits. The Patagonians tattooed their foreheads with crosses. (Encyclopedia of Religions, Vol. 1, p. 495) Ancient pottery in Peru has been found that is marked with the cross as a religious symbol. (Encyclopedia of Religions, Vol. 1, p. 386)
Monuments show that Assyrian kings wore a cross suspended on their necklaces, (Encyclopedia of Religions, Vol. 1, p. 494) as did some of the foreigners that battled against the Egyptians. These warriors wore a small cross suspended to a necklace or to their collar. The cross was also figured upon the robes of the Rot‑n‑no as early as the 15th century before the Christian era. (Wilkinson, Vol. 1, p. 376)
Much more could be said about the many uses of the cross as a religious symbol and object of worship among those who lived in olden times. But enough has been said to well establish the fact that the cross was in use long before the Christian era. To sum it up, there is hardly a pagan tribe where the cross has not been found. (Two Babylons, p. 199) "In some form, all through the ages, the cross has existed and has had a vital significance and influence." (The Cross ‑ Its History and Symbolism, p. 16)
As an instrument of death, of crucifixion, the cross is also very ancient and pagan. "The cross was used in ancient times as a punishment for flagrant crimes in Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Palestine, Carthage, Greece, and Rome...Tradition ascribes the invention of the punishment of the cross to a woman, the queen Semiramis!" (The Cross in Tradition, History, and Art, p. 64)
"But since Jesus died on a cross," some ask, "does this not make it a Christian symbol?" No! The fact that Jesus was killed on a cross shows that it was already an established form of punishment and death ‑ among pagans. However, Christ was not killed on a cross, He was crucified on a "Stake."
It was not a Christian symbol when Jesus hung on it, and nothing has ever changed to make it a Christian symbol now! As one has asked: Suppose Jesus had been killed with a shot‑gun; would this be any reason to have a shot‑gun hanging from our necks or on top of the church roof? Would this make a shot‑gun a Christian symbol of virtue? No!
It is not what killed our Lord, but what his death accomplished that is important! As the cross symbol spread to the ancient nations (as we have seen it did), it took on different forms in different countries until there were many forms of the pagan cross. Catholicism, adopting the pagan idea of cross worship, also adopted these various forms of the cross.
Thus, to this day, the Catholic church does not adore just one type of cross, but numerous types. Now we ask: If the Catholic use of the cross originated with the cross of Christ, then why are so many different forms of the cross used? It is evident that Christ only hung on one cross.
If cross worship originated with the cross of Christ, would it not seem that only one type would be used? The fact is that cross worship did not originate with Christ and all of these various forms of the cross were pagan symbols before the Christian era. A noted writer said: "Of the several varieties of the cross still in vogue, as national and ecclesiastical emblems, distinguished by the familiar appellations of St. George, St. Andrew, the Maltese, the Greek, the Latin, etc., there is not one amongst them the existence of which may not be traced to the remotest antiquity!" (The Pentateuch Examined, Vol. 6, p. 113)
Now let's notice a few examples of how these different crosses were actually sacred symbols long before the Christian era: That form of the cross which is known as the TAU cross was widely used in Egypt. What is known as the Greek cross may also be found on Egyptian monuments.
This form of the cross was used in Phrygia where it adorned the tomb of Midas (B.C. 718). (Doane, p. 344; The Cross in Tradition, p. 21) In the ruins of Nineveh, a king is shown wearing a Maltese cross on his bosom.
The form of the cross that is today known as the Latin cross was used by the Etruscans. Its use on an ancient pagan tomb with winged angels to each side of it.
What has been called the St. Andrew's cross was highly venerated among the Cumas in South America. It was regarded as a protector against evil spirits. (Encyclopedia of Religions, Vol. 1, p. 494) It appeared on the coins of Alexander Bala in Syria in 146 B.C. and on those of Baktrain kings about 140 to 120 B.C. (Needless to say, this was long before "St. Andrew" was ever born!)
Most of the crosses on the Protestant Churches is called the Calvary cross, yet this cross is taken from an ancient inscription in Thessaly which dates from a period prior to the Christian era!
Now the fact that these various forms of the cross have all been adopted by the Romish Church, makes it obvious that such cross‑sacredness did not originate with the cross of Christ, for he died on only one cross!
What type of cross was it upon which Jesus died? The word "cross" in the Bible is translated from "stauros" which comes from the root "sta," that is, "to stand." As far as the Word itself is concerned, there is no indication of any cross piece whatsoever.
In his scholarly "expository Dictionary of New Testament Words," W.E. Vine states that the Greek word "stauros" means simply an upright stake and is, "to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross...(which) had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the Mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt...In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system, pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross‑piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ." (Encyclopedia of Religions, Vol. 1, p. 256)
As to the exact shape of the cross upon which Christ hung, we need not be too concerned, for it is not the shape of the cross that is the important thing. It is the one ‑ The Lord Jesus Christ ‑ that hung there and what He accomplished that is all important.
CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS
When considering the above information concerning the cross, someone will, almost always bring up the so‑called vision of Constantine. So we include the following with that in mind. A factor that caused the adoration of the cross image to become firmly established in the church of the falling away was the famous "vision of the cross" and the so‑called "conversion" of the Roman Emperor Constantine.
On the day before the Battle of Milvian Bridge, Constantine prayed to his sun‑god and there appeared a cross ‑ we are told ‑ over the setting sun with the inscription: "In hoc signo Vinces;" that is, "In this sign conquer."
The next day, Constantine advanced the battle behind a standard portraying a Cross. He was victorious in this battle and professed conversion. Of course such a seeming victory for Christianity, the conversion of the emperor ‑ as the result of the cross vision did much to further the use of the cross in the Roman Church.
But are we to suppose that the Lord Jesus gave such a vision to the Emperor Constantine? Actually there is little reason to consider this vision as authentic, especially since it has no real historical basis, and due to the fact that Constantine's vision was supposedly in answer to him. The only authority from whom the story has been gathered by historians is Eusebius, who confessedly was prone to edification and was accused as a "falsifier of history."
If Constantine ever did, in reality, have such a vision, we can be sure its author was not Almighty God or the Lord Jesus Christ. The very idea that our Lord would command a pagan emperor to make a military banner embodying the cross and to go forth conquering and killing in that sign, is altogether inconsistent with the general teachings of the Bible and with the Spirit of true Christianity.
This Roman empire (of which Constantine was the head), had been described in the scriptures as a "Beast." Daniel saw four great beasts which represented four world empires. These were Babylon (lion), Medio‑Persia (bear), Greece (leopard), and Rome.
This fourth beast, the Roman Empire, was so horrible in the eyes of God that it could not be compared to any earthly beast. (Daniel 7:1‑8) Considering then how wicked this beastly Roman Empire was in the eyes of God, are we to suppose that the Lord Jesus Christ became the leader of this beast system? Or would Jesus give a wicked emperor a vision and tell him to kill and fight as his representative?
Did Jesus ever tell his people to go forth to kill others under a cross‑banner supposedly representing him? Of course not! The very basis of Christianity is opposed to the unfairness of war, hate, and murder. Why then should we suppose that Christ would tell Constantine to conquer in His name and sign to further the Beast system of Rome? Obviously, such a vision came not from our Lord Jesus Christ! But if the vision was not of God, how was it that Constantine was converted as a result? The fact is that the "conversion" of Constantine Was A Hoax! Even though this man had much to do with the establishment of certain doctrines and customs within the fallen church, the facts plainly show that he was not truly converted, not in the Bible sense of the word. Historians admit that the conversion of Constantine was "nominal, even by contemporary standards." (Man and His Gods, p. 220)
Probably the most obvious indication that he was not truly converted may be seen from the fact that after his supposed conversion, he committed several murders ‑ including the murder of his own wife and son! According to the Scriptures, no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:15)
Constantine's first marriage was to Minervina, by whom he had a son named Crispus. His second wife was named Fausta who bore him three daughters and three sons. Now Crispus, his first born son, became a great soldier and a help to his father in the battles.
Yet, in 326, very shortly after the directing the Nicaen Council! Constantine had this son put to death. The story is that Crispus had made love to Fausta, Constantine's wife. At least he was so accused by Fausta. But this may have been her way of getting Crispus out of the way, so that her sons would have claim to the throne!
However, Helena, Constantine's mother, persuaded him that his wife "had yielded to his son." And so, Constantine had Fausta murdered also. (The Story of Civilization ‑ Caesar and Christ, p. 663) But these were not the only murders he committed. About the same time that Constantine had his son murdered, he decreed the execution of Licinianus, his sister's son. Constantine also put Licinus, his sister's husband, to death ‑ even though he had promised her that he would spare his life! (The Story of Civilization ‑ Caesar and Christ, p. 663.; Medieval Italy, p. 4).
After Constantine's supposed conversion, he still remained the Pontifix Maximus or High Priest of the pagan state religion. (The Growth of the Christian Church). As Pontiff, he was required to carry out the ceremonial of the traditional cult. Likewise, when he dedicated Constantinople, he used both pagan and Christian rites in the dedication. Further evidence of how Constantine attempted to unite and mix together both paganism and Christianity, is seen on coins of the period which he had made.
On these coins he put a cross (to please the professing Christians) while on the same coins were representations of Mars or Apollo. While professing on one hand to be a Christian, yet on the other hand, he continued to believe in pagan magic formulas for the protection of crops and the healing of disease. (The Story of Civilization, p. 656) Constantine did show numerous favors toward the Christian faith however.
He abolished death by crucifixion. He stopped the persecutions of the Christians which had become so cruel at Rome. Why them, if he was not truly a Christian, did he do these things? The answer to this is also clearly written in history. Persecutions had not destroyed the Christian faith. Constantine knew this. And since his position was being challenged by a rival emperor and because of his dire need for support from every quarter, he turned to the Christians.
Instead of the empire constantly being divided ‑ the pagans opposing the Christians ‑ why not take such steps as might be necessary to mix both paganism and Christianity together, and thus bring a united force to the empire? This was clearly the reasoning of Constantine. By this time, most of the church leaders were thinking in terms of numbers and popularity, rather than in terms of spirituality and truth anyway, and thus were ready to make compromises with paganism.
This was especially the case at Rome. Soby adopting the cross as a symbol on the banners of his army, Constantine figured he could establish a unity among his troops. The apostate Christians would think they were fighting for the cross of Christ; the pagans could not object because the cross was also one of their sacred emblems. Says the noted historian Durant: "To the worshipper of Mita (the pagans) in Constantine's forces, the cross could give no offense, for they had long fought under a standard bearing a Mithraic cross of light." (The Story of Civilization, p. 655)
And thus the so‑called Christians and pagan Mithraists in the army of Constantine were united and successfully fought the battle.
Another factor that contributed to cross‑worship in the church of Rome centered around Helena, Constantine's mother. In 326, when she was almost eighty ‑ according to the legend ‑ she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and there by the help of a Jew who understood her superstitious tastes, found three crosses.
The original cross was identified, we are asked to believe, because it is said to have worked miracles at the suggestion of Macarius, bishop of Jerusalem. The other two crosses produced no miracles. And so Helena, according to the story, had found the original, the true cross!
But that the true cross was found is no doubt false, for laws among the Jews required crosses to be burned after being used for crucifixion. (Fausett, p. 145) That Helena did visit Jerusalem seems to be historically correct. But the story of her discovery of the original cross was evidently a later addition, for it did not appear until 440 A.D. ‑ 114 years later! (Encyclopedia of Religions, Vol. 1, p. 494)
But let us just suppose that someone did find the actual cross upon which Jesus died. Would there be any virtue in that piece of wood? No, absolutely none. The Calvary cross served its purpose even as the brazen serpent had served its purpose when the children of Israel were bitten by snakes. We will remember that Moses had made a brazen serpent and raised it up on a pole. This was a type of the way that Christ was to be lifted up. (John 3:15)
Nevertheless, after the brazen serpent had served its purpose, the Israelites kept it around and finally began to worship it. (2 Kings 18:4) They made it a relic and attempted to copy the heathenistic use of relics and mix it into their religion! And so Hezekiah "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord" by breaking the brazen serpent to pieces.
In like manner, if we actually had the original cross ‑ if it were still in existence ‑ there would be no reason to set it up as an object of worship. Why? Because its purpose has been fulfilled. If then there would be no power in the original cross, how much less is there in a mere piece of wood in its shape?
In view of these things, it becomes obvious that the use of the cross ‑ in sign or symbol, in any shape or form ‑ as an object of worship, is a mockery to true worship, which is the worship of Christ himself! But each century brought more superstition into the Romish church in connection with the cross image.
It came to be recognized as a protector. Had it not helped Constantine win the battle of Milvian Bridge? Had not the cross worked miracles for Helena? And so it came to be regarded as an image that could scare away evil spirits. It was worn as a charm.
It was placed high up on church steeples to frighten away lightning. But because of the high position of the cross upon the steeple, it was often the very thing that caused lightning to strike the building! The use of the cross in private homes was supposed to ward off trouble and disease. And so even as the pagan Egyptians had set up obelisks, image was believed to possess supernatural powers, even so did people come to worship the cross. Thousands of pieces of wood ‑ supposedly pieces of the "original cross" were sold as protectors and charms.
Ever since the perfect relationship between God and man was broken with sin, man has had to labor over the ground (the earth or world-system) to get his needs met. (Genesis 3:17-19) There are the obvious needs for food, clothing and shelter, but, when all is said an done, the supreme need in man's life is a sense of approval or importance in God's eyes. That is, a sense that our life has meaning. This is something the earth, or world-system, can never provide.
Man has always had two channels by which to meet his needs. The first is from the Lord God, and the only way that man can obtain any spiritual or material blessing from God is by way of the Lord Jesus Christ who declared, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." (John 14:6)
Any other channel for meeting our needs is really of Satan, the god (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Ephesians 2:2) of this present world-system. Satan utilizes a world-system which manifests itself in the various world governments and religions which attempt to fulfill the needs of men apart from the Lordship of Jesus Christ. But perhaps the most oppressive aspect of the world-system is the world economy based on debt and interest. Through it, Satan is able to control so many facets of everyday life.
Like ancient Israel, which was forced by the Egyptians to make bricks for their cities, the modern day Israel nations (particularly the U.S.) have been forced to make "bricks" (money and materials) for the building of the global one-world city.
At one point, the Egyptians withheld the straw necessary to make the bricks, yet demanded the tally of bricks remain the same. Similarly since World War II, modern Israel has found the essential ingredients for its economic life withheld, as our factories are sent to third-world countries and private businesses and assets are either taxed, transferred, merged or socialized into the controlling hands of the gatekeepers of the present world-system.
Still, God has allowed Israel a choice and it has been our choice to mentally depend on the present world economy overseen by Satan to meet our needs. It is that free will choice which has allowed the power of this system to continue.
It really will require a sovereign and mighty act of God to break the power of this present world economic system, and the Bible declares that such will happen when the Lord Jesus appears in Glory.
In the 18th chapter of Revelation, God foretells the fall of the present world economy referred to as "Babylon the Great." "And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her." (Revelation 18:11-20)
Verse one states this is to occur at the time a mighty angel comes down from heaven "having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory."
This is none other than Jesus Christ, and the shock waves from His appearing will be the event which will disrupt the world economy which, when all is said and done, is only able to sustain itself when people's faith in the system's ability to keep going is unshaken.
Such is the case with the stock market, which has been hitting record highs; having topped the 5,400 mark. Yet the stock market is not really a measure of true wealth, but merely a form of legalized gambling in which people bet on how companies (and the economy in which they operate) will perform in the coming years. It really depends on people's faith in the system to keep doing business as usual. Of course, should something shake that faith, the market would collapse; as it did in October 1929, following a year when the market was also setting record highs.
But the events surrounding the Lord's appearing will in every way shake people's faith in the world-system, with the Lord then declaring: "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." (Revelation 18:4)
In many ways, Israel's exodus from Egypt under Moses was a foreshadowing of modern day Israel's coming exodus from the present world order (or system) under the direction of Jesus Christ. And just as Moses was to bring Israel to the Promised Land, so Jesus Christ is to bring His people into the restored Kingdom of God, here in the United States of America.
However, there was also a wilderness wandering prior to entering the Promised Land. Likewise there will be an interim age-ending crisis which will be a wilderness-like time of trouble and trial prior to the return of Jesus Christ to usher in the age of the restored Kingdom of God.
The Prophet Joel told us how it would be with Israel in the days just prior to Christ's return: "The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining." (Joel 2:10 also see Joel 3:15)
We know from the book of Genesis where it is related: "And he (Joseph) dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun (Jacob/Israel) and the moon (Rachel) and the eleven stars (the Children of Israel) made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I (sun) and thy mother (moon) and thy brethren (stars) indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?" (Genesis 37:9-10)
It is, therefore, God's counsel that during the interim transitional period. His people set their hearts to "come out of" the world-system and not, while experiencing the hardships of the transition period, be tempted to return to the old system to meet their needs.
On many occasions ancient Israel desired to return to Egypt because there was food to eat there. (Exodus 16:3; Numbers 11:5-6) They had needs, but lost faith in God's faithfulness to meet those needs in the wilderness. Instead, they were willing to return to Egypt for their sustenance, overlooking the fact that the price of such sustenance was slavery to the Egyptian system.
We today can be quick to point the finger at this generation as an example of faithlessness. But, just as ancient Israel wanted to return to Egypt for physical security, will modern day Israel wish to remain in the Egypt (the world-system) for the security of savings accounts, monthly government welfare checks (this does not include Social Security checks because it is only collecting wages made during productive years, so is not welfare), benefits and the money needed to buy food?
It will require a people who have faith in God to make the transition out of this present system into the restored Kingdom of God. But human flesh always desires to rely on what it can see and feel rather than believing God to meet its needs.
When Israel was first told to enter the Promised Land, they sent twelve spies to scout out the land. While the spies reported the land was a good land, flowing with milk and honey, they also reported the existence of hostile nations led by giants. The result was fear that prevented Israel from entering the Promised Land until forty years later under Joshua.
Thus, the people sinned in relying on what their flesh told them about their chances of being able to defeat the inhabitants of Canaan and capture the Promised Land, and that sin enabled Satan to bring about the fear that kept Israel wandering in their wilderness for forty years; during which time an unfaithful generation died out.
Even Moses, who had been their leader, was not allowed, by God, the privilege of finally leading Israel across the Jordan into the Promised Land after the forty-year wilderness wandering. This was due to an incident at Meribah (meaning "strife") when Moses was ordered by God to speak to "the rock" out of which water was to gush forth for the people to drink. But Moses became angry at the people and instead struck the rock (Numbers 20:11) with his staff.
On a prior occasion Moses had been ordered, by God, to strike the rock to obtain water. (Exodus 17:1-7) But on the second occasion, he was told only to speak to the rock. As a result of striking the rock a second time, God rejected Moses from leading the people into the Promised Land; with that task falling to Joshua.
The reason is that "the rock" out of which gushed water was emblematical of Christ. (See Christ's statements in John 4:10-14; 7:38-39) Yet Jesus, having been sacrificed (stricken) once for our sins, was not to be so stricken again, but from there on those who trust on His Name have the privilege of speaking to "the Rock" in prayer in order to receive life-giving water (the Holy Spirit). Psalm 106:32 stated that, while this incident went badly for Moses, it was for the people's ultimate benefit. How could this be?
First, we must consider that Moses represents the Law. The agreement, which was made between God and Israel via Moses at Mt. Sinai basically stated that, if you keep my Law as I commanded, then I will be your God and bring you into the Promised Land. Of course, Israel disobeyed and we are still doing so today.
In fact, the result of the issuance of God's Law was that Israel became all the more guilty before God upon failing to perform His Laws properly. As such, Paul states in Romans 5:13 and 7:9-10 that the Law ultimately gave sin its power over God's Israel Children. For, by the giving of the Law, we became hopelessly guilty before God upon our breaking the Law. Thus Jesus said to the unbelieving Pharisees (Jews): "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust." (John 5:45)
By saying the Pharisees said they (but actually did not, because Christ went on to say that if they had believed Moses they would have believed in Him) "trusted in Moses," Jesus meant the Pharisees based their acceptance in the eyes of God on their own ability to perform the requirements of the Law. Instead, Moses (the Law) became their accuser when their outward deeds and their inward heart-motives, proved they were liars fell short of the perfection of the Law, they purported to accept.
In Revelation 12:10, Satan is called the "accuser of our brethren." But what many do not consider is that Satan's power to accuse is based on fallen man's complete inability to save himself or make himself righteous in God's sight through the performance of the Law. Man's only hope for a restoration of a righteous standing before God depended on a Savior who could perform the requirements of the Law perfectly, and in so doing satisfy the requirements of God.
Jesus Christ did this by His death on the stake. As a result, God is able to grant (based on the merits of Christs' sacrifice at Calvary) grace (enabling power) to fallen man (both as individuals and as nations) to enter into the way of life and blessings of God's Kingdom. When Moses' time to die had come, the Lord told Moses it was due to the incident at Meribah when he struck the rock a second time. By so doing, the Lord told Moses that he failed "to sanctify" Him in the eyes of Israel (Numbers 27:14)
Moses then asked God to provide a leader for Israel to take his place "which may lead them out (of the wilderness), and which may bring them in (to the Promised Land); that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd." (Numbers 27:17) Whereupon the Lord said, "Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him." (Numbers 27:18)
By the incident at Meribah, God sanctified (set apart) Jesus Christ who, once stricken at Calvary, completely fulfilled the requirements of the Law, so that to strike Him again would be to say in essence that the sacrifice of God's Son was not perfect enough, or sufficient enough, the first time.
Furthermore, it meant Joshua would lead Israel into the Promised Land, and the name "Joshua" means "Jehovah is salvation" and is really an Old Testament form of the name "Christ!" It was in a dream that Joseph was told: "Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
We can now see why Psalm 106:32 stated that, while this incident went badly for Moses, it was for the people's sake; for it was God's way of demonstrating that only by the grace of God given through Joshua (a type of Jesus Christ), and not by Moses (the works of the Law), is sinful man able to enter the Promised Land (restored Kingdom of God).
Yet it also meant that God had not only purposed to bring that generation into the Promised Land under Joshua, but also that He would, by His boundless grace given through a greater Joshua (Jesus Christ), save and bring all Israel into the blessings of the ultimate Promised Land, God's Kingdom which will be restored in all its perfection and glory when Jesus Christ returns to reign upon the Throne of David (Isaiah 9:67-7; Daniel 7:13-14)
That gives great hope to those of us living in modern day Israel, to a nation that is wandering aimlessly about in a wilderness of sin. A wilderness of moral decay, crime, confusion and spiritual dryness. A wilderness from which we are unable to escape without a leader.
That leader is not on the ballot in this year's presidential election, yet He is a leader who cares more for the well being of this nation than any other who will be running for office. He is a leader who has made continued provision for this nation, yet in return gets little, if any, real acknowledgment.
His Name is Jesus Christ, and He is the only one able to lead us out of our present difficulties, and the only one able to pay the price of righteousness necessary to ransom modern day Israel from our physical and spiritual debt incurred by our dealings with the world-system: "For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves (into slavery) for nought; and yet shall be redeemed without money (but by righteous blood)." (Isaiah 52:3)
Just as ancient Israel had Joshua to bring them into the Promised Land, so we will have Jesus Christ, Himself to direct and lead modern day Israel's coming exodus from the world-system; which will involve a great age ending crisis leading up to the physical return of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. Isaiah declared: "For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high." (Isaiah 52:12-13)
According to Bible chronology Christ was born 3,996 years from the fall of Adam (our 4 B.C.). It was Adam's fall which began the present world-system under Satanic rule.
In Bible numerics, the number 6 relates to "man," and Revelation 13:18 makes mention of the number 666, stating "it is the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man." 666 is, therefore, the number of man-made systems (economic, religious or political), which are, by their very nature, opposed to God.
It is, therefore, fitting that Jesus Christ would be born 3,996 years from the fall of man, for 3,996 equals 6 x 666 and Jesus Christ was a "second Adam" (1 Corinthians 15:45) who came to destroy the works (systems) of the devil. (1 John 3:8)
According to this same measure of time, last September was 5,994 years since the fall of Adam, and 5,994 equals 9 x 666. As the number 9 relates to judgment or finally, and 666 pertains to world-systems opposed to God, it is extra reason for remaining watchful for Jesus said: "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." (Matthew 24:42-44)
As we enter travel through 1998, we cannot help but notice the important signs about us:
* An economy glutted with debt positioned for a complete collapse. (Revelation 18)
* The continual cry of "peace," (1 Thessalonians 5:3) as peace agreements in the Middle East and Bosnia, held together with mere spit and glue, are being hailed as triumphs of peace.
* A Russia which matches in every way the northern power which is to challenge Israel at the end of the age, and that will soon throw off its mask of "democratic reform."
* A Pope who is looking for a miraculous manifestation of May, leading to the supremacy of the Catholic Church by the year 2000 (and believes Russia is in some way consecrated to this purpose).
* Trade and political agreements draining the economic life from America setting the stage for a one-world government: today's version of the Tower of Babel.
* New Age and humanistic doctrines in all facets of our society which are replacing a reliance upon Jesus Christ with the "god-force" or "self-power" within us.
* A Christian Church which is (with some notable exceptions) asleep to the dangers facing it. (Matthew 25:5-8)
* A Christian Church which has become so Judaized that few of the Judeo-Christian teachers in the pulpits of America do not recognize real Christianity any longer. Thus fulfilling the Scriptures stated above about the darkening of the "sun"-Jacob/Israel, "moon"-Rachel the wife of Jacob/Israel and the "stars"-the Children of Israel. And,
In a speech given by Senator Joseph McCarthy, six months before his mouth was closed forever: George Washington's surrender: "And many of the people of the land became Jews." (Esther 9:17). The confession of General Cornwallis to General Washington at Yorktown has been well hidden by historians. History books and text books have taught for years that when Cornwallis surrendered his army to General Washington that American independence came, and we lived happily ever after until the tribulations of the twentieth century.
Jonathan Williams recorded in his Legions of Satan, 1781, that Cornwallis revealed to Washington that "a holy war will now begin in America, and when it is ended America will be supposedly the citadel of freedom, but her millions will unknowingly be loyal subjects to the Crown.' Cornwallis went on to explain what would seem to be a self contradiction: 'Your churches will be used to teach the Jew's religion and in less than two hundred years the whole nation will be working for divine world government. That government they believe to be divine will be the British Empire [under the control of the Jews]. All religions will be permeated with Judaism without even being noticed by the masses, and they will all be under the invisible all-seeing eye of the Grand Architect of Freemasonry [Lucifer - as Albert Pike disclosed in Morals and Dogma].' And indeed George Washington was a Mason, and he gave back through a false religion what he had won with his army."
Cornwallis well knew that his military defeat was only the beginning of World Catastrophe that would be universal and that unrest would continue until mind control could be accomplished through a false religion. WHAT HE PREDICTED HAS COME TO PASS!!! Of that, there is no longer any doubt. A brief study of American religious history will show that Masonry and Judaism has infused into every church in America their veiled Phallic Religion. Darby and the Plymouth Brethren brought a Jewish Christianity to America. Masons Rutherford and Russell [both Jews] started Jehovah Witnesses' in order to spread Judaism throughout the world under the guise of Christianity.
It is a frightening future if one thinks about it. A dark future like the darkness ancient Israel faced in Egypt; yet deeper, more subtle, more smothering. But something is to pierce this darkness at the last moment: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:30-31)
Thus is the appearing of Jesus Christ which is to occur at a time when the world really is not expecting it. (Matthew 24:38-39) Even among Christians familiar with prophecy, the words of Ezekiel come to mind as events seem to stagnate: "Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?" (Ezekiel 12:22)
When things seemingly remain the same, people can think that nothing much out of the ordinary ever will happen. This is what Peter said in 2 Peter 3:3-4. But Peter also related: "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."
I believe there is but a short time left for those of us who are Christians to do the work of a Watchman. We have but little time until, as Paul informed us: "Esaias (Isaiah) also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth." (Romans 9:27-28)
Although our Promised Land seems distant, and beyond our reach, as we look around at the terrible things happening in our beloved country today; God's Word is certain: "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion." (Isaiah 52:8)
As we traverse the rest of this century and see the signs of transition and coming change about us, we are reminded by Christ: "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors." (Matthew 24:33)
One of which is the perversion of the Scriptures by the politically correct twisted, Satanic and perverted version of Scripture for the modern man (and woman).
The title of this new revelation is The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version, published by Oxford University Press. This is a tabloid version of Scripture; the Religious Inquirer if you will. It would be funny if it weren't for the sad fact that millions of weak Christians will eat up the lies and grow even more fat and passive.
The editors of this blasphemy say they are proud of the way they handled the anti-Semitic overtones of the New Testament. They simply eliminated all references to the Jews killing Jesus Christ, as in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15, which in standard translations says: "...for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets."
They substituted an insidious lie: "...for you suffered the same from your own compatriots as they did from those who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets." They don't want to hear the truth if it offends someone. The fact is the truth always offends someone.
The Jews claim they don't believe Jesus Christ was/is the Messiah but they sure get offended when you take Scripture at its word and accuse them of the murder of our Lord and Savior. They claim they don't eat port either, but they'll sell you the hog.
This version neuters the gender of God and Christ, the roles of women and men, so God is "father/mother," and the Lord's Prayer now begins "Our Father/Mother in heaven." Christ is the "human one" or "child of God." The human one dying on the stake says, "Father/mother, into your hands I commend my spirit." Neither the word "human" or the term "human race" appears in the Scriptures. Perhaps that's why they have added it to this tabloid bible.
Children should no longer "obey" their parents, but rather "heed" them in this version, and wives are no longer "subject" or "submissive" to their husbands, but rather "committed" to them. This version also neuters references offensive to people of color and people with disabilities: "Darkness" is no longer a metaphor for evil, because of possible racist overtones, and the disabled are not identified solely by their afflictions, as in "the blind." References to the "right" hand of God are also deleted. In deference to left-handed people, it becomes God's "mighty" hand.
The editors deny they have spent the last five years producing a "politically correct" bible. But according to Susan Brooks Thistlewaite of the Chicago Theological Seminary, who is one of the six editors, "This translation is aimed at churches and Christians who are thoughtful about the way the bible includes everyone. I think political correctness is a pejorative term which is used by people who want the bible to produce obedience, not thoughtfulness."
This no doubt will have traditionalists yowling, some with anger, others with laughter. And USA Today asks, "if some people prefer this latest version, why should anybody be concerned?" We can only draw the conclusion they are not the least interested in truth. Then to add insult to injury, can you imagine opening up a bible and seeing an illustration of a black Jesus surrounded by a group of black disciples?
Or turning to the beginning of the Book of Genesis and being told that Eve, the mother of all nations, "was black, liken unto the source from which she came." Another new bible, published by Winton-Derek of Nashville, has done just that. It is called The Original African Heritage Study Bible, and according to publisher James Peebles, "It should reshape the 21st-century church into a more biblical understanding of unification and brotherhood." No mention there of truth!
A group of black scholars (read that propagandists) spent seven years on this version, which uses the King James translation but contains more than 1,000 footnotes to explain the African contribution to Judaism and Christianity. "I think it's an excellent idea. It's got some commentary in the front and it talks about the myths of the Bible with a blond and blue-eyed Jesus," said Tim Way, senior buyer at Zondervan, adding "your guess is as good as mine as to what Moses looked like."
The new Bible highlights what it claims are verses about Africa and biblical people of African descent from Abraham to Simon of Cyrene, and is filled with annotations interpreting passages of relevance to what Peebles refers to as "the African diaspora," black Christians living elsewhere in the world. Interspersed throughout the book are pictures of biblical events taken in the Holy Land using black models, and original art reproductions taken form the Mafa tribe of Cameroon.
Cain Hope Felder, a New Testament professor at Howard University, and also the editor of Stony the Road We Trod: African-American Biblical Interpretation, said he is not arguing that it is a historical certainty all the major biblical figures were black. He then contradicts himself, saying "It's certainly more plausible that they look like the images we are presenting than someone from Sweden or someone from Great Britain."
So it would appear that "scholarship" these days is defined as the talent to rewrite history to suit the current political climate. The fact that a major publisher of Christian books like Zondervan will lend it's name and endorsement to such books reveals how very much they are controlled by the enemies of Christ. It might also suggest concern that our people are learning the truth of our heritage from the not-so-controlled media - shortwave radio and internet.