Posts Tagged ‘Pope’


VATICAN CITY, Oct 24 (Reuters) – – Pope Benedict called on Monday for sweeping reforms of the world economy and the creation of a ethical, global authority to regulate financial markets as demonstrations against corporate greed continued to spring up in major cities across the globe.

Caritas in Veritate,” or “Charity in Truth,” is Benedict’s third encyclical since he became pope in 2005. He said the financial downturn had revealed behaviours like “selfishness, collective greed and hoarding of goods on a great scale,” adding that world economics needed an “ethic of solidarity” among rich and poor nations.

Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday Oct 26th 2011 called for a radical rethinking of the global economy, criticizing a growing divide between rich and poor and urging the establishment of a “true world political authority” to oversee the economy and work for the “common good.”

The Vatican called for the establishment of “a supranational authority” and a “true world political authority” with worldwide scope and “universal jurisdiction” to guide economic policies and decisions and work for the common good.

Such an authority should start with the United Nations as its reference point but later become independent and be endowed with the power to see to it that developed countries were not allowed to wield “excessive power over the weaker countries”.

This startling announcement brought back to my mind teaching I heard in the late 60’s that the Pope was the Antichrist. Then I started thinking “ What if this idea gets traction, and the Pope succeeds in getting the world leaders together to put this plan into action. Then some of what is written in the Book of Revelations would make perfect sense.

Revelation 13:17 (ESV) so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.

How easy would this be if we have only one world bank and money?

Then what happens in Revelations 18 would make sense as well:

Revelation 18:1-3 (ESV) After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”

Many teach that the Antichrist will come from ‘Babylon’. Revelation 17 says he will carry Babylon, but then he will carry out its destruction.

I can see the world’s financial collapse leading to such a plan as the Pope is proposing. One of the great supporters of it will be the Antichrist. But after the plan is in place and he comes to power, he will turn on the religious power of Babylon, destroying it (Rev 17) and then turn on the political power of Babylon (Rev 18). This is because all power will belong to him!

So much for conjecture…

Regardless of who or what Babylon is, it plays a prominent role in the events of the Revelation of the end times.  This brings me to the deeper issue…

I.   What Does Babylon Represent in Scripture?

To understand Babylon, we need to go way back, to the time just after the Great Flood. As we examine Babylon’s place in history, we will find that it represents the Best that Man can do and be. Babylon is man exalting himself to God, and even above God.

Babylon represents man’s efforts to replace God with himself!

A. The First Sin of Babylon

The First Corporate Sin that Manifested itself after the Flood took place on the planes of Shinar, the sight of Babylon. Here a mighty ruler named Nimrod built a tower that reached to the heavens.

Genesis 10:8-10 (NIV) Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar.

The Sin of Nimrod and his subjects was seeking to Minimize God’s place in their lives.

  • They were seeking to exalt themselves above God.
  • They were seeking to take God out of their lives. They were also seeking a guarantee that God could never destroy them by a flood again. They would simply go into their ‘tower’ of escape!

Genesis 11:4 (ESV) Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

Babylon represents Man’s efforts to MINIMIZE God. They wanted a God whom they could control. The attitudes revealed in their actions indicate how they sought to accomplish this.

What we glory in reveals the god(s) of our lives.

  1. Glory in Splendor – a beautiful city
  2. Glory in Status – the tower that reached to the heavens
  3. Glory in Success – make a name for ourselves

Man wanted to make a name for himself, through the work of his hands. He wanted recognition for what he could accomplish. So man built a tower on the plains of Shinar, at Babylon. The very first place in the post-flood world that man exalted himself above God was at Babylon. Indeed Babylon became a symbol for the greatness of man!

In his book, Structures or why things don’t fall down (Pelican 1978–1984), Professor J.E. Gordon considers the height of the Tower of Babel. He wrote, ‘brick and stone weigh about 120 lb per cubic foot (2,000 kg per cubic metre) and the crushing strength of these materials is generally rather better than 6,000 lbs per square inch or 40 megapascals. Elementary arithmetic shows that a tower with parallel walls could have been built to a height of 2.1 km (1.3 mi) before the bricks at the bottom were crushed. However by making the walls taper towards the top they … could well have been built to a height where the men of Shinar would run short of oxygen and had difficulty in breathing before the brick walls crushed beneath their own dead weight.”[1]

This desire to rob God of His glory is so entrenched in mankind, that no matter what God does to mankind in the tribulation, mankind will curse God and refuse to repent and give Him glory!

Revelation 16:8-9 (ESV) The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.

Indeed, Psalms 2 reveals this intrinsic attitude toward God in the heart of man:

Psalms 2:1-4 (NIV) Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.

God had the last laugh:

Genesis 11:6 (ESV) And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

Where Does Man Get this desire to rob glory from God?

SATAN

What man was saying was eerily similar to something Satan (Lucifer) had said centuries before:

Isaiah 14:13-14 (ESV) You said in your heart,

  • ‘I will ascend to heaven;
  • above the stars of God I will set my throne on high;
  • I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
  • I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
  • I will make myself like the Most High.’

We all know what happened to Lucifer: Luke 10:18 (ESV) And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”.

B. The First Sin of the Promised Land

The first Sin that spoiled the Promised Land for the Jews was the pride of wearing a Babylonian Garment.

Joshua 7:21 (KJV) When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

Achan just had to have that babylonian garment…

Joshua had warned the people

Joshua 6:17-19 (ESV) And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.”

Jericho, an evil city, full of evil inhabitants, so evil that Lindey Lohan could have been a priestess, was dedicated to God for destruction. It was so evil that everyone in it was to be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. The silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron was to be given to the treasury of God.

Achan cheered at Joshua’s decree. Yeah! Everything is wicked! We’ll destroy it all!

But there he was, checking out the spoil of one of his victims, and his eye was attracted to this snazzy Babylonian garment. The material was so soft, the design was so intricate. The beading and jewels adorning the garment took your breath away. This garment took a year to sew.  He had seen something almost as nice in the latest issue of Babylonia Today! If his friends would see him wearing such a garment, they would be so jealous! He could go anywhere in the Kingdom wearing such a garment. It was fit for a King!

Actually, that garment was fit for destruction. It represented Man’s Pride in his accomplishments, accomplishments made apart from God!

Achan was seduced and brought trouble upon Israel:  “then I coveted them and took them”.

The life of Achan ended in a heap of stones.

Joshua 7:25-26 (ESV) And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.

C. The First Sin of the Church

Acts 5:1-4 (NIV) Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Ananias, in lying to the church, embraced all the sins of Babylon. He wanted the splendor that the money could by him. He wanted to status of appearing to be such a giving saint. He wanted to appear successful in the eyes of the church and his friends. Satan filled his heart with the spirit of Babylon. Ananias tried to minimize God, and exalt himself. God had the last laugh once again.

D. What is the Danger of Babylon?

  • Nimrod built one tall building
  • Achan took one fancy robe
  • Ananias told one little lie

Yet their small act of sin represented a danger to what God wanted to accomplish.

  • Nimrod looked at the Tower of Babel reaching to the sky and said, wow, look what we did!
    • God saw the Tower and changed the course of Mankind!
  • Achan looked at the Shiny Robe and said, Wow wouldn’t I look like somebody in the Robe?
    • God saw the robe hidden in his tent and changed the course of Achan’s life! (In a dramatic fiery heap of stones!)
  • Ananias told a partial truth but still gave the church a lot of money
    • God saw his heart and startled the church

What is so dangerous about Babylon? What dangers was God wanting to protect His people from?

The Best Way to understand the danger of Babylon is to understand what the Babylonian Garment represented. This garment pictures Babylon far better than the silver or gold that Achan also took. That is why it was mentioned.

This Babylonian Garment represents Three Things that are a Danger to our love for God. They are seemingly innocent things, things that we all need and appreciate and even desire. But the Seduction of these three things will work their way into our lives until they minimize our need for God.

The Babylonian Garment Represents:

1. Splendor

We all appreciate beauty. We are drawn to it. Whether it is a car, a woman, even a horse, we love beautiful things. Advertisements shout this loud and clear. Television shows, even reality TV shows, shout this. Women (and men) spend billions of dollars to make themselves beautiful. Architects design buildings, even stadiums, to display the splendor and beauty of their imagination.

King Ahasuerus, reigned from India to Ethiopia, and in the third year of his reign, he gave a feast for all of his officials and servants and nobles and governors that lasted 180 days. All the days of the feast he displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness.

We love to display our splendor and glory-whether in our clothes, our car, our home, our possessions.

America is a land of BLING! We even do it with teeth fillings, piercings and tattoos! We trick out our trucks, our cars, our motorcycles, we wear our jewelry and accessorize!

a) Even Satan was all about BLING!

According to Ezekiel 28:13, a probable reference to Lucifer, we learn that he is an amazing being to behold: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created”.

Splendor is seductive. It lured Lucifer into rebellion. It lured David into deep sin. It lured the wisest man on the earth into committing unspeakable acts against his God, whose very wisdom he possessed.

b) Nebuchadnezzar:

Daniel 4:29-30 (NIV) … as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”

God Had the Last Word. Immediately a voice came from heaven:

Daniel 4:31-32 (NIV) “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.”

c) Israel:

Hosea 2:11-13 I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days –all her appointed feasts. I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them. I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” declares the LORD.

God and Splendor

1. Inner beauty and splendor matters to God

    • 1Pet. 3:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.

2. God Looks on the Heart

    • 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV) But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

3. God Must be our Splendor

    • Psalms 96:9 (ESV) Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
    • Psalms 104:1 (ESV) Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
    • Psalms 111:3 (ESV) Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.

4. We are to make Known His Splendor to our Children

    • Psalms 145:12 (ESV) to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

5. In the End Times, Men will seek to hide from the splendor of God!

    • Isaiah 2:19 (ESV) And people shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.

6. The Splendor of Babylon will be no more

    • Isaiah 13:19 (ESV) And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them.

7. The Church will be presented to Christ in Splendor

    • Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

2. Status

Tradition has it that this robe was a priestly robe, used in worship to the Canaanite gods. This robe not only was beautiful, it represented power. It represented standing. It represented status.

Whoever wore this robe was always on the “A-List” party invitations. This robe granted its wearer access to the power people of Jericho and Canaan. The wearer was somebody. Nobody messed with whoever wore this robe. If they did, they found themselves being sacrificed to Baal!

Status is very important in our world.

  • Satan began it all by saying “I will be as the most high”. He wanted the status of God himself.
  • Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit because they wanted to be like gods.
  • Lot chose the well watered plains of Sodom and Gomorrah, and instead of hating the sin, he became enmeshed in it, even becoming a man of ‘status’ a judge at the gate.
  • Judas followed Jesus for the status he thought it would bring him. When it became apparent that Jesus was not going to become King, he set out to betray the Son of God!
  • Aaron and the Levites set out to worship God in the Tabernacle. But by the time of Christ, the High Priest had become a perverted, corrupt institution motivated by power and status.
  • Ministry today is often corrupted by a pursuit of ratings and donations and status. Pastors focus their efforts on the Four “B’s” – Building Size, Budget Size, Number of Baptisms, and Number of Bodies. Spiritual growth and Character growth are not emphasized, because they do not build the churches ‘status’ as far as the world is concerned.

Focus upon STATUS is PRIDE!

There is no room for Pride in God’s Kingdom: Mark 9:35 (ESV) And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

3. Success

Nothing says success like Excess. Or a Rolex, Cadillac, or ___________.  You name it, we’ll wear it or drive it as long as it makes us look successful!

I can just see Achan trying on that shiny robe. Oooh he felt so good. He couldn’t wait to be seen wearing it. Everyone would be jealous of his apparent success!

Daniel 4:4 (ESV) I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace.

Look at America. We are swimming in debt, but we still consume and charge and buy our way into success. Just a few months ago the politicians were encouraging us to consume more to get this economy going.

We trade our souls for stuff. Stuff to show our success. Stuff to make us feel secure at night. Possessions, Money, those are things we can rely on. Our future is secure if we have money. We don’t have to worry about growing old, or caring for our loved ones, if we have money in the bank.

Man’s Success is Failure before God

Mark 8:34-36 (ESV) And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

Revelation 3:17 (ESV) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

 This is God’s Plan for Success:

Joshua 1:8 (ESV) This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

E.The Splendor of Babylon Will Vanish

  • Revelation 18:10 (KJV) Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
  • Revelation 18:14 (NLT) “The fancy things you loved so much are gone,” they cry. “All your luxuries and splendor are gone forever, never to be yours again.”

When Babylon Falls, there will be the greatest Hallelujah ever!

Revelation 19:1-3 (ESV) After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

F. The Solution for A Heart Infected with Babylon

Joshua 7:19 (ESV) Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

To counter the effects of the Babylonian Garment, Joshua told Achan to give glory to the Lord God!

When we do what we want, when we go our own way, when we place our confidence in splendor, status and success, we are robbing God of His Glory. God wants His people to give all praise and glory to Him. Everything in our live depends upon God!

We are Losing a Generation of Young People because we are wearing Babylonian Garments

The Millennial Generation or Generation Y consists of young adults born after 1980. The latest research from Barna indicates that this generation is growing up without a Biblical Foundation of Jesus Christ. Only 15% of Millennials profess faith in Jesus Christ. Yet their parents, the Baby Boomers, profess a 65% Christianity.

What happened?

The Garment of Babylon is what happened. We have put on our Sunday Faces and Clothes at Church, but throughout the week we wear our Babylonian Garment. We pursue our splendor, our status and our success.

We embrace the spirit of Babylon in our homes and work. We display a MINIMAL DEPENDENCE upon God in our homes, our work and our lives.

Jude 1:11 (ESV) Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.

We have danced with Cain, we have partied with Balaam and we have colluded with Korah. And so Babylon has infected the hearts of our families and children.

  • Cain wanted to seek the God in his own way. He thought his splendor was good enough.
  • Balaam was divided between pleasing God and having the status of the King’s Prophet. So he corrupted the message of God, and gained the status of the King, but lost his soul to the ways of Babylon.
  • Korah wanted to make his own success, apart from Noah and God. He had enough of Moses, and told him, everyone is holy enough. He wanted to go his own way and be successful apart from Moses and God.

We have two choices…

Allow Babylon to Steal our Love for God or

Give Glory to God in everything,  Seek His Glory through Everything and most importantly, allow our lives to display His Glory to those around us!

We Can Live Hallelujah Lives or Crying Lives!

  • The World cried at the downfall of Babylon. It had become their life!
  • Those Saints in Heaven Shouted Hallelujah!

Revelation 19:1 (ESV) After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

When we seek satisfaction in the Splendor, Status and Success of this world, we will end up miserable, dissatisfied, on medication for depression.

Or you will come to the Salvation that only Jesus Christ offers, accept the misery of sin, and fall into the Love and Hope that Jesus Christ alone offers.

When Jesus Christ becomes your Savior, then God can say to you:

Jim, you are the most wretched and hopeless man, and in yourself you will never be anything else. But I have looked upon you through your faith in My Son as though you never sinned at all. I chose to see you in my Son by your faith!

Glory! God alone is worthy of Glory! My Joy, my happiness, my accomplishments are all in Him!

What Does that Babylonian Garment offer me that could even compare? It is temporary, it is fading, it will be soon eaten or destroyed or lost!

We need to embrace Christ with our children. We need to quit putting emphasis on the Babylonian Lifestyle of self effort and success, and focus on the splendor, the standing and the success that come from putting on the Lord Jesus Christ!

Isaiah 43:7 says we are created for God’s Glory! Isaiah 48:9 says God will not give His glory to another.

So God did not create us so that He would become more glorious, for His beauty and perfection are complete. He is already Glory defined. God cannot become more God by making something that is not God.

No, God created us to display His Glory! This world is to KNOW God’s Glory by our lives! We are not to seek our own glory through splendor, status or success. No, in all our lives we are to display God’s glory to the world, not our own glory!

Babylon is man-centeredness. It can be in our churches, our worship, our work, our families, our lives.

God will give His glory to no one. We cannot make God more glorious by accumulating stuff and bringing it to Him. But we can bring our lives and all we have to HIM and ask Him to use it to bring glory to Him.

Never hold on to stuff if it starts to become more important than God or worshipping Him! We are to display God’s Glory to the world with all our lives, with all our being, with all our STUFF!

Advertisements

New York Times Columnist Bob Herbert wrote an editorial June 21 titled “When Greatness Slips Away”. It has been reprinted in every major newspaper and has been talked about around the world.

After describing our blown opportunities in dealing with the 9/11 attack, Hurricane Katrina, the great economic crisis and now the BP oil catastrophe, he writes:

“As a nation, we are becoming more and more accustomed to a sense of helplessness. We no longer rise to the great challenges before us. It’s not just that we can’t plug the oil leak. We can’t seem to do much of anything.”

“The city of Detroit is using federal money to destroy thousands upon thousands of empty homes, giving in to a sense of desperation that says there is no way to rebuild the city, so let’s destroy even more of it. Lots more of it…”

“…The June 28 cover story of Time magazine is headlined “The Broken States of America.” The states are facing a catastrophic fiscal situation that is short-circuiting essential services, pushing even more people out of work and undermining the feeble national economic recovery.”

As Time reported: “Schools, health services, libraries — and the salaries that go with them — are all on the chopping block as states and cities face their worst cash squeeze since the Great Depression.”

We are submitting to this debacle with the same pathetic lack of creativity and helpless mindset that now seems to be the default position of Americans in the 21st century. We have become a nation that is good at destroying things — with wars overseas and mind-bogglingly self- destructive policies here at home — but that has lost sight of how to build and maintain a flourishing society.

How is it possible that we would let this happen? We’ve got all kinds of sorry explanations for why we can’t do any of the things we need to do…Meanwhile, the greatness of the United States, which so many have taken for granted for so long, is steadily slipping away.

I still believe in America! I still believe in the Spirit of America. But I believe that Spirit is slowly slipping away, and I believe I know why!

God has declared his standard of greatness for any nation.

Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34

Righteousness is the foundation for the Spirit of America, for the Greatness of America. Sadly, we are losing our foundation of righteousness.

William Bennett, in addressing the Midshipmen of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, November 24th, 1997, said:

“America is a place of heroes, honor, achievement, and respect. But it is as well a place where far too often, heroism is confused with celebrity, honor with fame, true achievement with popularity, individual respect with political correctness. From inside here you look out at a culture that celebrates self-gratification, the crossing of all moral boundaries, and now even the breaking of all social taboos. And on top of it all, too often the sound you hear is whining – the whining of America, what can be heard only as the enormous ingratitude of modern man toward our unprecedented prosperity and good fortune.

Despite our wonders and greatness, we are a society that has experienced so much social regression, so much decadence, in so short a period of time, that in many parts of America we have become the kind of place to which civilized nations used to send missionaries.” http://www.chaoticsynapticactivity.com/2006/08/03/does-honor-have-a-future-william-bennett/

Even in 1997, William Bennett was decrying the growing decadence in America, proclaiming that many parts of America are the kinds of places we used to send missionaries to!

John Adams foresaw long ago that:

“Human passions unbridled by morality and religion…would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.” — John Adams

The “Spirit of America” is slipping away like a whale through a net because we have forgotten what Righteousness is! Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34

There has been much debate about the religious beliefs of our Founding Fathers. Regardless of what you believe about their religious beliefs, all the writings we have indicate that our founding Father’s knew what “Righteousness” was. They knew what morality and virtue was. They believed that the Bible was the Word of God and that Righteousness and morality and virtue are all defined within its pages.

The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defined righteousness:

“Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion.”

Webster concluded that righteousness is conformity to the divine law, and in short is true religion. Webster considered “education useless without the Bible.” And as a result he utilized God’s written word as a key to the meaning of words. There is a Scripture reference used in most of his definitions.

Noah Webster wrote in the “History of the United States, 1833”;“…the moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws… All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

Our founding fathers knew the Scriptures, knew the validity of them, and realized that Creator God was the defining image of Righteousness and Justice. Righteousness was based upon the truth of God and the truth of His Word. God set the definition of Righteousness.

  • George Washington (Farewell Address, 1796) “And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion…reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
  • John Adams (letter, 1776) “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.”
  • Benjamin Rush (Essay, 1798) “The only foundation for…a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”

JOHN EIDSMOE wrote “Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers” (Baker Book House, 1987, 2008), and in it he demonstrates that at least 51 of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention were members of Christian churches, and that leading American political figures in the founding era quoted the Bible far more than any other source.

John Adams summed it up:

John Adams (Address, 1798) “We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Our government and our Constitution was based upon a people who are moral and religious. Our Constitution was founded upon the principles of Righteousness! Righteousness exalts a Nation! The Spirit of America, the Strength of America is based upon our Righteousness in upholding the Law of God!

Something is happening to America! The Spirit of America is slipping away! The greatness of America is slipping away!

We have Slipped Away From our foundation of Righteousness!

The 1913 Webster Dictionary had modified the main definition of righteousness:

“The quality or state of being righteous; holiness; purity; uprightness; rectitude.”

Gone was the basis or foundation of the righteousness-God and His Word.

By 2010, we see a complete watering down of the term:

“acting in a just, upright manner; doing what is right; virtuous:” “adhering to moral principles”

“characterized by or proceeding from accepted standards of morality or justice;”

Instead of a Nation “under God” we are becoming a nation “apart from God!”

We have taken God out of education, out of politics, and are in the process of taking him out of society.

Even the Pope Sees It

I never thought I would quote a Pope, but Pope Benedict is even concerned about this and on June 30th issued this:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI is creating a new Vatican office to fight secularization and “re-evangelize” the West …

“The process of secularization has produced a serious crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and role of the Church.” The new pontifical council, he said, would “promote a renewed evangelization” in countries where the Church has long existed “but which are living a progressive secularization of society and a sort of ‘eclipse of the sense of God.'” http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-06-30

America is one of those countries experiencing an ‘eclipse of the sense of God!

God has come under attack in America, and is being pushed aside. Our society is becoming increasingly secularized, and everything from churches to politics is being affected. We are turning away from the moral foundation of Righteousness which made our nation great! As a result, the Great Spirit of America is slipping away!

America Needs a Strong Moral Foundation

When we forget God and ignore His Word, the moral fabric that forms the foundation of our Government is seriously weakened.

  • Samuel Adams (letter, 1778) “Religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness.”
  • Patrick Henry (letter, 1799) “The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor…and this alone, that renders us invincible.”

By Secularizing morals and ethics (secularizing means to make profane, to remove the spiritual basis) and by denying God as the source and standard of RIGHTEOUSNESS, we are pushing the American Ideals off the foundation of God’s Word! Those Ideals cannot stand without the foundation of God! The American Constitution cannot be secularized without being torn apart!

Remember the words of John Adams:

“Human passions unbridled by morality and religion…would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.” — John Adams

IS THIS THE INTENT OF OUR GOVERNMENT?

America, from our political leaders to our sacred halls of education, are intent on acting out Psalms 2:

Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” Psalms 2:1-3

OUR GODLY FOUNDATION IS FAILING – WE HAVE A SUBGRADE PROBLEM

Soft Subgrade repaired with Fabric

The Righteousness that is based upon God’s Moral Law is being stripped away from our moral consciousness, and thereby the moral fabric of America is coming unraveled. The Stabilization fabric of America is failing.

Daniel Webster (4th of July oration, 1800) “To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.”

America is starting to yaw (move unsteadily, weave, deviate from a straight course). Our subgrade is failing, our Godly foundation is breaking up.

America was founded by laws drawn from God’s Holy Law. But we have profaned our laws by removing God’s Moral Standard. We have vitiated our Laws by removing that which made them RIGHTEOUS! We have become a SECULAR NATION!

God is being replaced slowly but surely, and we are not even noticing.

In 1986, Dr. Paul Vitz, then professor of psychology at New York University, worked with a committee that examined sixty social studies and history textbooks used in public schools across the United States. The committee was amazed to find that almost every reference to the Christian influence of early America was systematically removed. Their conclusion: the writers of the commonly used textbooks exhibited paranoia of the Christian religion and intentionally censored Christianity’s positive role in American history. (Paul C. Vitz. Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks.)

“The present educational establishment, to cite just one group, has been obscuring the past so that our children have no way of comparing the facts of history with the distorted version promoted by biased secular historians.” (Vitz. Ibid. p. 24)

“In grades 1 through 4 these books introduce the child to U.S. society – to family life, community activities, ordinary economic transactions, and some history. None of the books covering grades 1 through 4 contain one word referring to any religious activity in contemporary American life.” (Paul C. Vitz. Professor of psychology at New York University. Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks . 1986.)

“Are public school textbooks biased? Are they censored? The answer to both is yes, and the nature of the bias is clear: Religion, traditional family values, and many conservative positions have been reliably excluded from children’s textbooks.” (Paul C. Vitz. Religion and Traditional Values in Public School Textbooks. p. 14)

As God is being replaced, so is the Great American Spirit.

Christians are Becoming at Risk in America

I never thought I would not live to see the day when the civil liberties of Christians are at risk in America. Examples of what is Happening:

In an article in the Lexinton, NC Dispatch dated February 24, 2010; Columnist Denny Whalen wrote an article entitled http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20100224/COLUMNISTS/2244021?p=all&tc=pgall

“Christians find themselves under fire throughout United States.”

Here are a few of his comments (plus some more I have found):

  • Arlene Elshinnawy, a 75-year-old grandmother of three, and Lynda Beckman, a 70-year-old grandmother of 10 (along with nine others), were arrested for sharing their faith on the public sidewalk in Philadelphia, Pa., USA. The event was the city funded Gay “OUTFEST”. They faced 47 years (the rest of their lives) in jail for spreading the Gospel because of a Pennsylvania “hate crimes” law.
  • A woman in Houston, Texas, was recently ordered by local police to stop handing out gospel tracts to children who knocked on her door during Halloween. Investigating officers told her that such activity is illegal and that she would be arrested if she continued the practice.
  • At the same time, the Freedom from Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., is allowed to distribute anti-Christian pamphlets to public school children titled “We can be Good without God”
  • Police arrested seven Christians in Elmira, N.Y., who prayed on public property while holding their Bibles. The charges? Intent to cause a public disturbance, obstructing foot and vehicle traffic and taking part in any act that serves no legitimate purpose.
  • In San Diego, the school district granted a group of Muslim students prayer rights despite the rulings that verbal prayer in public schools has been declared unconstitutional, even if the prayer is both voluntary and denominationally neutral.
  • In a Michigan case, it was declared unconstitutional for a student to pray aloud over his lunch.
  • A student in Omaha, Neb., was prohibited from reading his Bible silently during study hall and was further enjoined from opening his Bible at all in school.
  • Sixty-seven year-old Cummings, Ga., resident Fredric Baumann was arrested for passing out gospel tracts on a public street. Convicted and jailed for two days, Baumann was denied his rights to contact a lawyer, and denied the use of his reading glasses.
  • Jim Pullion, a quiet, disabled Christian grandfather would peacefully hold pro-life signs around his community of Owosso, Michigan. But one morning while holding signs in front of his granddaughter’s High School, Jim was viciously shot and killed by Harlan Drake. Drake said he killed Jim because he was upset by his abortion signs. Even though Pouillon’s family extended their forgiveness, Drake remains unrepentant even as he was sentenced to life in prison.
  • April 27, 2010, Julea Ward had the hopes of becoming a certified counselor. With a 3.9 grade point average, she was only a few months away from graduating with a Master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University. The University expelled Julea from her Master’s program because she refused to engage in activities contrary to her Christian faith. She would not counsel in favor of homosexual lifestyles. When approached by her teacher to counsel someone about their homosexual relationship Julea politely declined and referred the client to another counselor. She was expelled.
  • In Boynton Beach Florida, on February 4th of 2010, two young men (Tite Sufra, 24, and Stephen Ocean, 23)were witnessing to Jeriah Woody (18).

They witnessed to Woody for fifteen minutes when he got a phone call and told the preachers he ‘had to go.’ As they walked away, Woody suddenly started walking back toward them. Sufra walked up to greet him and was killed with a shot gun blast at point blank range. When Ocean ran, he was shot in the back. After he fell, Woody shot him in the head execution style. Woody was arrested Wednesday and is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. (Feb 5, Christian News Wire) Jeriah said he had to run a quick errand, left and returned with a pistol. He shot and killed Tite Sufra (24) and Stephen Ocean (23).

Less than two weeks ago:

  • June 19, 2010 DEARBORN, Mich. — Four Christians were arrested for disorderly conduct outside the Dearborn Arab International Festival while handing out copies of the Gospel of John in English and Arabic.

Arrested were Negeen Mayel, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, David Woods, and Paul Rezkalla. Dr. Quereshi is co-director of Acts 17 Apologetics Ministries. He holds an MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School and an MA in Christian apologetics from Biola University. Mayel, an eighteen-year-old female, whose parents emigrated from Afghanistan is a recent convert from Islam to Christianity.

“When Dr. Quereshi was arrested I heard people clapping and applauding, and some said ‘Allahu Akbar,’” Atkins said. There was a crowd of 15-20 people watching the exchange and subsequent arrest.

“These Christian missionaries were exercising their Constitutional rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion, but apparently the Constitution carries little weight in Dearborn, where the Muslim population seems to dominate the political apparatus,” said Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center.

“I never thought I would see this in America,” says Steven Atkins, a resident of Toronto, Canada, who was visiting the festival and observed the incident.

“It was an intense discussion, but it was not unruly,” Atkins noted. “There was no threat of violence,” he said. “It’s becoming more restrictive here than in Canada.”

Just last week:

  • TAMPA, Florida (OneNewsNow) — Earlier this month, World Changers of Florida was denied the right to distribute the Bible in the Collier County (TAMPA) School District during off-school hours. Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, is handling the case.

“The school district said that the Bible cannot be distributed on Religious Freedom Day,” he explains. “It had been distributed on Religious Freedom Day for the past several years, but this time they changed their decision and said it would be unconstitutional to distribute the Bible in a public school to willing recipients who want to receive the Bible.”

Staver notes that other items are distributed at the schools for secular events. In a Liberty Counsel press release, he stated that “limiting access to the forum based on religious viewpoint violates the First Amendment.”

“This particular school says that everything goes but the Bible is banned,” he adds.

According to the Liberty Counsel, the Collier County School Board allowed World Changers to distribute free Bibles to students during off-school hours on Religious Freedom Day, but now the school officials claim that Bibles do not provide any educational benefit to the students and the distribution should stop.

The Collier County School District policy specifically allows the distribution of literature by nonprofit organizations, but only with the approval of the superintendent and the Community Request Committee, whose members are appointed by the superintendent. Approval was denied to World Changers, despite the fact that its distribution included a disclaimer of any school endorsement or sponsorship and that receiving a Bible was purely voluntary.

“How sad that on the eve of Independence Day, when we celebrate the religious and political freedom our forefathers won for us at the cost of much blood and great sacrifice, we are compelled to sue to protect the right simply to make free Bibles available to students in public schools,” said Mathew D. Staver, Liberty Counsel founder.

Click here to read the lawsuit: http://www.liberty.edu/media/9980/attachments/complaint_world_changers_070110.pdf

The Greatness of America is slipping away because we are slipping away from God. We are losing the “Spirit of America!”

God’s Word is very clear:

  • And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips. Jeremiah 7:28
  • The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Psalms 9:17

TODAY IN AMERICA – ANYTHING GOES

We are becoming a society that is not built upon God’s Truth, but based upon the denial of absolute truth, to the end that we accept ANY truth. We are becoming a Nation of “ANYTHING GOES”. We appease everyone and end up pleasing no one, especially our Creator God!

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” ~Winston Churchill

Because we have become a Nation of “No Absolute Truth”, we have accepted a multitude of belief’s. We have become a nation of “Any Lie Goes!” Our acceptance of “any truth” and therefore “any lie” has led to something far worse than a “forgetting” or “neglect” of God. It is a dramatic CULTURE SHIFT!

Albert Mohler Jr

After reading the 2009 American Religious Identification Survey, Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (our largest Southern Baptist Seminary), which revealed that the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990, rising from 8 to 15 percent and revealed firther that the Pacific Northwest is no longer the leader in people who are religiously unidentified, but is now held by the Northeast Region of America.

A remarkable culture-shift has taken place around us,” Mohler wrote. “The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so-called Judeo-Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western cultural crisis which threatens the very heart of our culture.” “Clearly, there is a new narrative, a post-Christian narrative, that is animating large portions of this society,” http://www.newsweek.com/2009/04/03/the-end-of-christian-america.html

America is becoming a POST-CHRISTIAN NATION and the great “Spirit of America” is slipping away…

Gen. Douglas MacArthur: “It must be of the spirit, if we are to save the flesh.”

In 1863, Lincoln called the nation to fasting and prayer in order to be blessed. “We have grown in numbers, wealth and power…but have forgotten God.”

What a long way from our foundation we have fallen:

The Supreme Court in 1892

The US Supreme Court

Strong religious convictions therefore played a role in the development of the United States, which was established on Christian principles and open to all people of good will.

In 1892 (Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States) this was argued before the Supreme Court of the United States. After exhaustive deliberation, the Court said, “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise, and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”

Imagine that. A nation whose laws and institutions are based on the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. Why, such a place would surely become the leader in education, invention, and the arts. Such a place would probably become a haven of religious liberty for more types and religions of people than has ever existed anywhere or at any time on earth. Instead of religious persecution and intolerance, such a place would offer hope and opportunity to the huddled masses of the earth.

This is what America became-a beacon of hope to the world, because the foundation of our government was God’s Law! But now, because we have rejected absolute truth, and in every way have rejected God’s leadership of our Nation, we have opened ourselves to accepting every kind of belief:

And Now This From President Obama:

President Barack Obama stated at a press conference in Turkey April 6th 2009 that we Americans “do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Muslim nation, but rather, a nation of citizens who are, uh, bound by a set of values.”

Besides denying that America is a Christian nation, President Obama told the Turkish Parliament on the same day: “We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.”  http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/election/1003

This is a Far Cry from our Founding Fathers:

George Washington: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

Thomas Jefferson: “The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty. . . . Students’ perusal of the sacred volume will make us better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.”

Andrew Jackson: “That Book [the Bible] is the rock on which our Republic rests.”

Ulysses S. Grant: “Hold fast to the Bible. . . . To the influence of this Book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future.”

As Del Tackett said in Tour Ten of the Truth Project:

We can ignore history and the wisdom of the Founders. We can ignore the design for which this nation was intended to operate. We can even ignore God himself. But if we do so, we would do well to consider Solzhenitsyn’s words describing the reason for the Russian Revolution that swallowed up some 60 million Russians:”Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’

For we would do so not only at our own peril, but our own ruination.

I love America. I want to see us remain a Great Nation. What can we do to turn the tide? What can we do to stand in the Gap? What can we do to see the American Spirit thrive again?

1.  Stand Firm in Your Walk.

Constantly Check it out: Has your Christian walk become secularized? Have you secularized Christian Observances like Easter and Christmas? Do your children and grandchildren know what those holidays are really about? Examine your heart toward your church! Do you enter with the reverence of God on your heart? Examine your life through the week. Are you living as a child of God, are you reading and depending upon God’s Word? Are has your life become secularized, profane, and God rendered ineffective by your constant neglect of Him in your daily life.

2.  Be On Guard With Your Children And Grandchildren.

Become familiar with what they are learning. Examine their textbooks. Point out errors. Acquaint your children and grandchildren with the real foundation of this country. Work to counter the lies of the educational system. Become a proponent of Creator God. Let your children and grandchildren know who really made them, and how he created this world. Let them know how evolution could never explain the intricacies of how wonderfully we are made.

3.  As Christians, become Interdependent upon each other

Be Courageous and Strong! Together! We are not facing this struggle alone. We gain boldness when we join with other Christians. We unite in a common cause of making Jesus Christ known. We pursue the liberty and freedom that is in Him! And we do it united with likeminded Christians in a solid, Bible believing, Bible teaching church.

As Paul admonished the Corinthians, so God admonishes the church in the Last Days: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

We are to be the light of this Nation! We can only do so as we bind together and guide this blind nation to God’s Word once again. We do so through our lives of sincere love and compassion. We are to be the living reality of God’s Word!

Bob and Tina Andrews

Bob Andrews plays golf and has a 30 handicap. That may seem quite average to you, but Bob is totally blind. He lost his sight to a grenade in Vietnam. When he came back to the states, he was still in a coma, but his girlfriend Tina stayed by his side. She said her whole life was lying in that bed. When Bob finally came out of the coma, he was totally depressed about what blind life would be like. Tina assured him, “Look, we’re two people. We’re a team. We can do anything we want!”

They got married within two months, and embarked on an active life as a team! They are successful building contractors, they have three sons, they sail, fish, bodysurf, and even golf.

Last year Bob even became the 2009 United States Blind Golf Association’s (USBGA) national champion. What is the secret to this couple’s success?

INTERDEPENDENT TEAMWORK!

Tom Sullivan, a blind actor and recording artist revealed:

Every blind person is told at first that he’s going to be dependent on others his whole life, and so they react wildly. They walk into traffic, take up dangerous sports, stuff like that, stuff that will prove to the world that they don’t need them. But it only makes them unhappier. Eventually, through love, they recognize that the only way to be happy and at peace is to live interdependently, to live knowing they need others and others need them. That’s what blind golf is, a symbol of that lesson. The notion that we all need each other, blind or sighted.

Rick Reilly caddied for Bob (and others) to write “Who’s Your Caddy.” He observes:

“I saw then what a team they had become. They were so much greater than the sum of their parts.”

America is made up of many, many different people, with many different ideas. God is counting on the Christians, His people to work with each other in guiding this blind nation. We can’t isolate ourselves and hope the problem goes away. No, we must unite with other Bible Believers and together, through love and faithful witness, we can see the Sprit of America restored.

Righteousness Exalts a Nation!

When we fail to see our dependence upon each other, fail to work together for the cause of Jesus Christ, we are giving in to the secular powers that want to remove God from our Nation. We celebrate July 4th as our Independence Day. Yet our independence will lead to the loss of the Great American Spirit.

We need to declare July 4th our Interdependence Day and work as a team to restore the Righteousness of God in our Nation! It begins with our lives!