Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
From Arutz Sheva: Israel Daily News:
Anti-Christian 'Cleansing' Campaign Picks Up Pace in Gaza
by Gil Ronen
Attacks on Christian targets and those identified with Western culture have grown more frequent in Gaza in the past two years, and especially since the Hamas takeover in June 2007, experts say. The targets have included churches, Christian and United Nations schools, the American International School, libraries and Internet cafes.
The most recent incident occurred this past Saturday, May 31, when gunmen attacked the guards at the Al Manara school, stole a vehicle belonging to the Baptist Holy Book Society which operates the school and threatened the society's director. The Hamas leadership is not acting to stop the attacks and no one has been brought to justice.
Global jihad involvement
An Israeli intelligence report determined that there has been an increase in the number of attacks on Christian figures and institutions, as well as those associated with Western values. The attacks are being perpetrated by elements identified with the global jihad and radical Islam. In the past two years, groups associated with Al-Qaeda took responsibility for attacks upon Christians and Christian institutions with the expressly-stated goal of driving Christians out of Gaza.
The Christian community in Gaza numbers around 3,000. According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), the attacks on Christians have included the following:
May 18, 2008: a large bomb exploded at the entrance to a fast-food restaurant near Al-Quds Open University in the center of Gaza City. The restaurant was completely destroyed.
Groups associated with Al-Qaeda took responsibility for attacks with the expressly-stated goal of driving Christians out of Gaza...
May 16, 2008: a bomb exploded in the Rahabat al-Wardia school run by nuns in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City. Hamas condemned the incident and a call was made to the police to bring the criminals to justice. The previous year, when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, the school was subjected to thefts and an arson attack.
April 3, 2008: a monument in the Gaza Strip's foreign nationals' cemetery was blown up. Hamas promised to investigate.
February 15, 2008: Three gunmen from the “Army of Islam in the Land of Ribat,” a network headed by Mumtaz Dughmush, broke into the YMCA library in Gaza City and set off a bomb which caused extensive damage. Hamas police condemned the event, calling it “a criminal act” and promising to investigate. The Hamas security forces detained a number of Army of Islam operatives but released them shortly thereafter, following a threat to use force to free them. After the event, senior Hamas figures met with senior Christian figures to express solidarity.
January 10, 2008: a group called "Army of the Believers -- the Al-Qaeda Organization in Palestine,” attacked the International School in Beit Lahiya twice, burning vehicles and stealing equipment. According to a statement issued two days later, the school was accused of spreading polytheism and hatred for Islam. The attacks were timed to coincide with U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to Israel.
December 31, 2007: the “Friends of the Sunnah Bayt al-Maqdis” issued a manifesto on the Pal-Today Website, affiliated with Islamic Jihad, threatening to attack anyone who participated in New Year's Eve celebrations.
October 6, 2007, elements linked to Hamas abducted Rami Khadr Ayad from his home and shot him to death; he was a Christian who worked for the Holy Bible Society. The Hamas administration condemned the murder and opened an investigation whose results are so far unknown.
June 19, 2007: during the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip Hamas gunmen attacked and vandalized a monastery and church.
April 21, 2007: elements linked to the global jihad attacked the American International School in Gaza City.
April 15, 2007: a group calling itself “The Swords of Truth in the Land of Ribat” set off bombs in two Internet cafes and a store selling Christian books, causing damage.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Todd Bentley is an evangelist conducting a revival in Central Florida who claims to have a female angel named Emma as a spirit guide. Below is an excerpt from the book REDEMPTION: BIBLE PROPHECY SIMPLIFIED that should prove to be of interest to those who are researching what is currently happening in Florida.
The Bible says God will allow a great delusion to overcome all who love not the truth. This is a specific reference to an end-time apostasy/ defection from the true faith. This is taking place even now in alarming numbers (Luke 12:54-56, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 10-11).
It is a dangerous thing, particularly in these last days, when the great falling away is predicted, to reject the truth (which is contained in its entirety within the pages of God’s Written Word—the Bible). Any so-called truth that does not line up with what has already been written is no truth at all, but rather a lie. And the Written Word of God warns that those who love the lie will be given over to it (Isaiah 8:20, 2 Thessalonians 2:11).
Not only will those individuals who trade their birthright for a bowl of pottage be left behind when the rapture occurs, they will be given no opportunity to repent afterwards. Hebrews 6:4-6 is clear that once a person falls away, renewal into repentance becomes an impossibility (Hebrews 12:16-17, Genesis 25:30-34, 27:34-38).
There are those who claim the falling away, spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, took place during the 2nd or 3rd centuries. They maintain that “truth” was lost to the church very shortly after the apostles died. The scriptures do not bear that out. Get away, quickly, from anyone who teaches such heresy. That interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is in direct opposition to Psalm 100:5, which assures us that not one single generation will ever be lost because they have been deprived of God’s truth. “His Truth endures to every generation (most modern English Bibles contain a corrupted version of this verse).”
The falling away predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 7-8,10-12 is a direct reference to an end-time apostasy, and it will happen shortly before the Man of Sin is revealed. The scriptures say the rapture must take place before the identity of the Man of Sin can be revealed.
This will be a deliberate defection from known, revealed, truth due to rebellion against the truth, not a result of truth being lost.
**This is worth repeating: The defection will be so overtly rebellious and contrary to the written Word of God that the Lord will give the defectors over to the lie they are whoring after. They will not only be left behind when Jesus comes to raise the dead and catch up the living, but they will be given no chance to repent during The Great Tribulation. They will lose all chance of obtaining eternal life.
This is not the time to blindly follow those who encourage the use of unscriptural, subjective spiritual experiences and eastern forms of meditation such as centering prayer, soaking prayer, contemplative prayer and other spiritual “disciplines” that replace the Written Word of God in discerning the true from the false. This is not the time to place our trust in those who claim their unbiblical message is validated by experiences, signs or wonders. These who foster such practices imperil souls. Below are quotes from the sort of teaching and teachers that should be avoided:
- God is a lot bigger than doctrine
- The church is so hung up on Bible study they don’t know Jesus!
- It doesn’t matter that the Hindus, Buddhists and New Agers use this kind of prayer and meditation in their religion. As long as our goal is to glorify God, we can adopt their methods. It is the motive—not the method—that matters.
- If we keep recruiting people to evacuate the earth, then every person who gets saved is taken out of the action….
All of the above statements defy scripture. The first two fly in the face of every verse which commands and encourages the study of the Bible and the acquisition of sound doctrine. Doctrine is not a dirty word! And how do we resolve the third with the clear scriptural command not to imitate unbelievers and to learn none of their ways (Jeremiah 10:2)?
Those who attack the pursuit of sound doctrine via Bible study do not know Jesus. It is as simple as that. Doctrine is derived from Bible study and we are admonished in the scriptures to pay close attention to doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2).
Jesus warned us about following false prophets or teachers in Matthew chapter seven. They will stand before him at the Judgment of the Nations woefully crying, “Lord, Lord! Didn’t we do many miraculous works in your name?” The Lord will assure them that they are workers of iniquity, that he never knew them, and will proceed to condemn them to hell (Matthew 7:22-23).
Do not allow spiritual experiences, miracles, signs (Jeremiah 10:2) or wonders to be a basis for deciding whether someone or something is or is not from God.
The Bible clearly warns that those who are given over to believing the lie will be deceived by means of lying wonders. That could conceivably include the experiences described by those who meditate using unscriptural meditation aids that include but are not limited to vain repetitions of the names of Christ, etc.. This is a form of mantra meditation and Jesus clearly commands his people not to engage in any such activity (Matthew 6:7).
The Bible also reveals that just before Christ returns, spirits of devils working miracles will be very prevalent. And by means of miracles will deceive the people of the earth (2 Thessalonians 2:9, Revelation 13:14, 16:14).
In Zechariah 5:2-3 the angel calls the prophet’s attention to a strange sight. Zechariah was told to look and see what was going forth. Something was happening. The winds of change were blowing. Something was moving forward. And the thing he was told to be looking at was an ephah (a basket).
Remember that this entire prophecy will be taking place during a time of worldwide judgment, which, by process of elimination must be referring to the time of The Great Tribulation. So we know this prophecy must be for those who will be living during that time or very close to it—possibly in the time known as The Beginning of Sorrows (Zechariah 5:6, Matthew 24:1-8, 21).
Jesus said the time of the Great Tribulation would be so horrendous that this world has never seen anything like it before nor ever would again. Considering the horrors this world has already seen—that’s pretty bad. The scriptures reveal that up to 75 to 80% of the world’s human population will die during that time. The Jewish population will be so reduced that Isaiah predicted even a child could write them. No wonder God said to tremble at the very thought of it—to be horribly afraid… (Isaiah 10:17-21, Joel 2)
Look, see, pay close attention to what is happening—right now. This prophecy is for the very near future and gives important details as to how the Man of Sin will come to power and where he will be operating from after he comes to power.
But what possible significance could an ephah (not just any measuring basket—but specifically an ephah) have concerning a judgment that will go forth over the whole earth?
Notice the order of events: first we see a curse (a judgment) moving forward. Then we see an ephah moving forward (Zechariah 5:3, 6).
An ephah was a basket. It was the largest measure in use among the Jewish people of Zechariah’s time, and was commonly used as a symbol of commerce (much like the “basket” is used today in connection to the **Euro).
** Euro: The name for the composite monetary unit that has replaced national currencies in several European countries. The Euro was introduced on January 1st, 1999 and went into general circulation on January 1st, 2002 (the specific amounts of euro in the valuation basket…).
ECU: (European Currency Unit). A composite monetary unit consisting of a basket of European Community currencies that served as the predecessor to the Euro.
The ephah (basket) Zechariah saw moving forward symbolized currency and commerce—both in his time and now, again, in ours as well.
The angel elaborated further and said the ephah was disguising something. The resemblance (the outward appearance) of it looked good. It looked like commerce was getting a well-needed boost and was moving forward. The angel said the resemblance (the outward appearance of a commercial boost) would deceive the whole earth.
It is crucial, at this point, to have a King James Bible. Most other versions corrupt this passage—especially verse 6—obscuring the entire purpose of the passage, which is to expose the game plan of the enemy (Zechariah 5:6).
The ephah, in Zechariah’s vision had a lid made of 100 lbs of lead. This lid effectively hides the contents of the basket. What we see can be very deceptive. But what exactly will be hidden in this ephah (Zechariah 5:7)?
The scriptures tell us a woman will be hidden in the container. The angel introduced the woman by saying, “This is Wickedness.” A more literal rendering of the angel’s words are, “her name is Wickedness” (Zechariah 5:7-8).
Why would a female be used to represent wickedness? Is it because women are inherently more wicked than men? As far as the commonly accepted perceptions of mankind go, history would validate that idea. Both men and women have participated in, and perpetuated, discrimination against females. But the answer is, “No,” all mankind is inherently wicked, not just the females of the species (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:10).
Could it be that a female is used to represent this wickedness because it will quickly multiply and infect the whole earth? After all it is females who are fertile, conceive and give birth.
Or is it possible this might represent a female who will be a major player in end-time events? Only time will tell.
At any rate, the scriptures reveal it is a woman whose name is wickedness that is hidden in the basket, and the ephah represents a commercial boost, or at the very least, the promise of one.
Zechariah watched as the lid was lifted, and the woman stood up (or was lifted up by the angel). She was momentarily exposed, but the angel immediately cast her back into the container and replaced the lid in order to keep her hidden (Zechariah 5:8).
**It is important to note here, that it is always God who is in control of the times and the seasons—even the horrendous season of The Great Tribulation. It is God allowing the woman whose name is wickedness to remain hidden (although it/she will be temporarily exposed to those who are alert).
God knows those who are alert and love the truth will not be motivated by ungodly lusts to deviate from the simplicity found in Jesus Christ. But those who love not the truth, who rebel against the simplicity of Christ, who are greedy for personal power and gain, and who seek after spiritual experiences, signs and wonders, will be deceived and will ultimately be destroyed by whoring after these things. These things will not come looking overtly sinful and evil. They will come well disguised behind a seductive veneer of spirituality and godliness. Many who will lose their souls in the last days apostasy, will do so believing they are truly following Christ (Matthew 7:22-23, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11, 1 Timothy 6:9, 2 Timothy 4:3).
Zechariah looked again and saw two women with wings. They had wings like a stork, and he saw that the wind was in their wings. The two women with wings picked up the basket containing the woman (Zechariah 5:9).
These women are spiritual beings. They are not angels. They have wings like a stork, which according to scripture, is an unclean bird. Thus they are identified as being unclean spiritual beings. The wind is in their wings which means they can fly very fast. When they pick up the basket containing the woman, they will get it/her to its final destination with amazing speed.
**Note – These are the only women with wings found in the entire Bible. Women with wings are not angels. Images of women with wings do not represent angels (regardless of the intention of the artist). Although wings are seen in scripture as a symbol of God’s protective covering (Psalm 91:4), they are also depicted as an abominable covering (Daniel 9:27). The women with wings in Zechariah Chapter five have the wings of an unclean bird. This reveals that any covering they might represent will be an unclean spiritual covering—i.e., an unclean false religious covering (Psalm 91:4, Revelation 12:14, Zechariah 5:9, Isaiah 30:1).
For more information on the Prophetic Movement, contemplative or soaking prayer, visit www.HungryHeartsMinistries.com
From Lighthouse Trails Research Project:
Kundalini Energy (the effects of Soaking Prayer)
LTRP Note: With the rising interest in Todd Bentley's "revival" and his use of soaking prayer, we post the following warning about soaking prayer (i.e., Kundalini energy).
"Kundalini Energy (the effects of Soaking Prayer)"
by Ray Yungen
Many Christians might have great difficulty accepting the assessment that what is termed Christian mysticism is, in truth, not Christian at all. They might feel this rejection is spawned by a heresy hunting mentality that completely ignores the love and devotion to God that also accompanies the mystical life. To those who are still skeptical, I suggest examining the writings of Philip St. Romain, who wrote a book about his journey into contemplative prayer called Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality. This title is revealing because kundalini is a Hindu term for the mystical power or force that underlies Hindu spirituality. In Hinduism it is commonly referred to as the serpent power.
St. Romain, a substance abuse counselor and devout Catholic lay minister, began his journey while practicing contemplative prayer or resting in the still point, as he called it. What happened to him following this practice should bear the utmost scrutiny from the evangelical community--especially from its leadership. The future course of evangelical Christianity rests on whether St. Romain's path is just a fluke or if it is the norm for contemplative spirituality.
Having rejected mental prayer as "unproductive,"(1) he embraced the prayer form that switches off the mind, creating what he described as a mental passivity. What he encountered next underscores my concern with sobering clarity:
Then came the lights! The gold swirls that I had noted on occasion began to intensify, forming themselves into patterns that both intrigued and captivated me ... There were always four or five of these; as soon as one would fade, another would appear, even brighter and more intense ... They came through complete passivity and only after I had been in the silence for a while.(2)
After this, St. Romain began to sense "wise sayings" coming into his mind and felt he was "receiving messages from another."(3) He also had physical developments occur during his periods in the silence. He would feel "prickly sensations" on the top of his head and at times it would "fizzle with energy." This sensation would go on for days. The culmination of St. Romain's mystical excursion was predictable--when you do Christian yoga or Christian Zen you end up with Christian samadhi as did he. He proclaimed:
No longer is there any sense of alienation, for the Ground that flows throughout my being is identical with the Reality of all creation. It seems that the mystics of all the world's religions know something of this. (4)
St. Romain, logically, passed on to the next stage with:
[T]he significance of this work, perhaps, lies in its potential to contribute to the dialogue between Christianity and Eastern forms of mysticism such as are promoted in what is called New Age spirituality.(5)
Many people believe St. Romain is a devout Christian. He claims he loves Jesus, believes in salvation, and is a member in good standing within his church. What changed though were his sensibilities. He says:
I cannot make any decisions for myself without the approbation of the inner adviser, whose voice speaks so clearly in times of need ... there is a distinct sense of an inner eye of some kind "seeing" with my two sense eyes.(6)
St. Romain would probably be astounded that somebody would question his claims to finding truth because of the positive nature of his mysticism. But is this "inner adviser" St. Romain has connected with really God? This is a fair question to ask especially when this prayer method has now spread within a broad spectrum of Christianity.
This practice has already spread extensively throughout the Roman Catholic and Protestant mainline churches. And it has now crossed over and is manifesting itself in conservative denominations as well--ones that have traditionally stood against the New Age. Just as a tidal wave of practical mystics has hit secular society, so it has also in the religious world. St. Romain makes one observation in his book that I take very seriously. Like his secular practical mystic brethren, he has a strong sense of mission and destiny. He predicts:
Could it be that those who make the journey to the True Self are, in some ways, demonstrating what lies in store for the entire race? What a magnificent world that would be--for the majority of people to be living out of the True Self state. Such a world cannot come, however, unless hundreds of thousands of people experience the regression of the Ego in the service of transcendence [meditation], and then restructure the culture to accommodate similar growth for millions of others. I believe we are only now beginning to recognize this task.(7)
A book titled Metaphysical Primer: A Guide to Understanding Metaphysics outlines the basic laws and principles of the New Age movement. First and foremost is the following principle: You are one with the Deity, as is all of humanity. Everything is one with everything else. All that is on Earth is an expression of the One Deity and is permeated with Its energies.(8) St. Romain's statement was, "[T]he Ground [God] that flows throughout my being is identical with the Reality of all creation."(9) The two views are identical!
St. Romain came to this view through standard contemplative prayer, not Zen, not yoga but a Christian form of these practices. The lights were also a reoccurring phenomenon as one contemplative author suggested:
Christian literature makes reference to many episodes that parallel the experiences of those going a yogic way. Saint Anthony, one of the first desert mystics, frequently encountered strange and sometimes terrifying psychophysical forces while at prayer.(10)
Unfortunately, this experience was not confined to St. Anthony alone. This has been the common progression into mystical awareness throughout the centuries, which also means many now entering the contemplative path will follow suit. This is not just empty conjecture. One mystical trainer wrote:
[T]he classical experience of enlightenment as described by Buddhist monks, Hindu gurus, Christian mystics, Aboriginal shamans, Sufi sheiks and Hebrew kabalists is characterized by two universal elements: radiant light and an experience of oneness with creation.(11)
Without the mystical connection there can be no oneness. The second always follows the first. Here lies the heart of occultism.
This issue is clearly a serious one to contend with. Many individuals, using terms for themselves like spiritual director, are showing up more and more in the evangelical church. Many of them teach the message of mystical prayer.
1. Philip St. Romain, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality, Crossroad Pub. Co., 1995, p. 20-21.
2. Ibid., pp. 22-23.
3. Ibid., pp. 28-29.
4. Ibid., p. 107.
5. Ibid., pp. 48-49.
6. Ibid., p. 39.
7. Ibid., pp. 75-76.
8. Deborah Hughes and Jane Robertson-Boudreaux, Metaphysical Primer, Metagnosis Pub., 1991, p. 27.
9. St. Romain, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality, op. cit., p. 107.
10. Willigis Jager, Contemplation: A Christian Path, p. 72.
11. Michael J. Gelb, The How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci Workbook, Dell Publishing, New York, NY, 1999, p. 142.
This article is an excerpt from A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen.