Thursday, February 20, 2014

Think Not that I Am Come to Destroy the Law

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy,
but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5: 17- 19
New Covenant Christians understand Jesus to mean that He is fulfilling the law with His life, suffering, death on the Cross and resurrection; thus why He said, "I came to fulfill." Fulfilling the law was His stated purpose and mission while on earth the first time.

The gospel proclaims that in Him, all was fulfilled of the law and prophets! Jesus Himself erased every jot and tittle by His blood and a new heaven and earth were established when He said the words, "It is finished." Jesus is not pointing to a future fulfillment after his life and death. 

SDA's Equate the Law with Only the Ten Commandments and a Future Fulfillment

The Seventh-day Adventists church teaches that Jesus is not only speaking of a future fulfillment, but specifying the Ten Commandments as the law in this passage that is to be fulfilled. 
But is that what Christ was intending? To tell us not to break the Ten Commandments until He comes the second time? 

If we look at the Greek word Jesus used for law, nomos, it specifically meant the complete law in the broadest sense, some translate it as Torah. Nomos means the entirety of the 613 commandments found in the Pentateuch. 

Because Jesus used the well known Jewish phrase "law and prophets" we can be certain Jesus is saying that nothing in the Old Testament can be, not one little law or one small prophecy, can be destroyed until all be fulfilled.

Jesus didn't say, "I am fulfilling a few of the laws and prophets." He said, nothing…. nothing can be left undone, even the tiniest little commandment-- even the tithing of the mint and dill must be kept until all is fulfilled. 

If Jesus hadn't fulfilled the law and prophets then we would still be required to keep all 613 Jewish laws. Since we no longer practice animal sacrifice or covenantal circumcision, we can know that God fulfilled the entire Torah or we would be practicing these things today. Not only that, we would still be seeking the Messiah, for the prophecy of a Messiah would still be yet unfulfilled. 

However, the Adventists do not believe Jesus fulfilled all at the Cross. 

They have a complete misunderstanding of the Old and New Covenant and their independent basis on the eternal, Natural Law. They see Jesus as cherry picking from the Old Law and bringing them into the new. But what they don't understand is that there has always been an eternal law. The Jewish system dipped into that eternal well and brought out some of the laws and custom fitted them for the covenant with the Jews. 

Jesus gave us the entire well in our New Covenant. It is ours to drink from in its wholeness and fullness. The New Covenant is not lawless, it is completed and Christ summed up with "Love the Lord with all your mind, heart and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself." 

Yet for Adventists, because of Ellen White's last day Sabbath prophecies, they must misinterpret the text in order to maintain their beliefs of being the sole remnant. 

Let me explain.

Adventists and the Last Day Sabbath Test

Adventists subconsciously insert into Jesus' words the visions of their prophetess, Ellen G. White. 

Ellen White had a vision that the Sabbath would be the last day test for Christians. In their visionary's teaching, a faithful believer will become a Sabbatarian (and Seventh-day Adventists). And those who obstinately continue to worship on Sunday will receive the Mark of the Beast and the eternal wrath of God.

Therefore to an Adventists they read the passage like this, "Think not that I am come to destroy the Sabbath. I am not come to destroy, but to make it the most important commandment.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Ten Commandments, till all be fulfilled at my Second Coming." 

Within the SDA context of a future fulfillment at the Second Coming and a Sabbath "commandment" it is amazing what they do with what Jesus says next. 

The Least in the Kingdom
Because of their prophetess' vision they must then completely rewrite the last part of this passage in their understanding, as: "Whosoever therefore shall break the Sabbath commandment and shall teach men so, in the last days shall be marked with 666 and be eternally annihilated."

Let's look at what Jesus actually said: 

"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

There are a number of way this passage has been interpreted by scholars, but one thing that it doesn't say is that if someone teaches that the Sabbath is fulfilled that they will end up in SDA hell (annihilation). One thing we can be positive is that Jesus did not say anything coming near what Ellen White wrote. 

No one in this particular passage is in hell or going to hell, even
the commandment breakers or the heretics who teach that someone should break a commandment! 

Jesus is telling His Jewish disciples that those who teach disobedience will end up being the least in the kingdom! So, at the very worst all a SDA can claim is that those who teach that one doesn't have to keep the Jewish Sabbath will take a low position in heaven! This is quite different from Ellen White's vision. 

To conclude, though I want to be careful. Let's not say that we don't have to worry about commandment-breaking, because we do. The New Testament clearly lays out the New Covenant commandments and they have a very different outcome than being "least" in the Kingdom of heaven. 

The New Testament is clear on who will not be in heaven: 

Fornicators, immoral, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, murderers, lawless, rebellious, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, ungodly, cowards, sorcerers. I Cor. 6:9, I Tim. 1: 9, 10, Rev. 21: 8, 22: 15

There is not a Sabbath-breaker in any New Testament list of those who will be thrown into "the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

I would sincerely and earnestly ask that Adventists cease teaching prophecies that contradict the teachings of Christ and His Apostles and start focusing on the things that will actually land us in hell. Let us join together as the full body of Christ and fight the things Christ and His Apostles say that believers should not do. We need your commitment and your passion, Seventh-day Adventists, to be channelled into the Great Commission of Christ. Join us! We love you!

And God bless you!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Abortion and Witchcraft

Preface: The author of this post makes no claim of expertise on the subject but is revealing personal research that may be of use to the pro-life community as groundwork for more in-depth research. It chronologically lays out the possible connection between contraception, abortion and infanticide with the occult. 

Since this subject is narrowly focused, there will be no judgment on the mental health of those who self-identify as witches, nor on the credibility of witchcraft itself. 

The Worship of the Bull and Child Sacrifice

The bull/cow cult, ubiquitous in the ancient world, was built upon the constellation Taurus.  From the Druids to the Egyptian pantheon to China, the bull represented power, anger, warfare, as well as virility and fertility.

Molech, the Canaanite bull god, demanded child sacrifice. This god is depicted by ancient writers as a sitting male body with a bull head. Within the torso was a fire pit and the idol’s arms would be held out and slightly up so that when a baby or child was placed on the hands, the infant would roll down the arms into the flames. Loud music would be played to drown out cries from the child or horrified spectators.

Child Sacrifice and Witchcraft in Ancient Israel

According to the Biblical account, the Ammonites, the offspring of incest between Lot and his younger daughter, enticed Israel to worship this god and perform child sacrifice. The Old Testament records the Ammonites as executing the first known forced abortions in human history (Amos 1:13). The god Molech was later combined with the god Ba’al that is a frequent figure in ancient Israel’s history.

The Bible identified witches as idolaters and therefore sees child sacrifice as part of idolatry. (Exodus 7: 11; 22:17, 18; Leviticus 20:27). During the reign of King Solomon Israel fell into Molech/Ba’al worship and began sacrificing their children in the Valley of Hinnom right below the Jerusalem's temple. Then when Israel’s King Ahab and Queen Jezebel worshipped Ba’al, the child sacrifices returned, inspired by the queen who was herself a witch (2 Kings 9:22). This seems to be the first connection between witches and child sacrifice in scriptures.

What is interesting is extra-biblical Jewish writings strongly suggest that witches in ancient times where primarily engaged in developing and distributing potions as well as other practices to prevent pregnancy and cause babies to be stillborn.
 (Otzar ha-Geonim, Sotah 11)

Abortion and Witchcraft in the Early Christian Era

The word pharmakeia is often rendered in Bible translations as "sorcery" or "magic arts" but the original meaning of the first century Greek is more directly "manufacturer of medicines." Revelation 9:12 and 21:8 place those who practice pharmakon in hell. The placement of this word is important. Usually it is listed in with the sins of murder and sexual immorality as it was known to be potions to produce abortion. Placement of types together was important in first century writers, so it makes great sense that abortifacient drugs were placed between the words murder and sexual immorality.
Alvin Schmidt, Under the Influence, (Zondervan Publishing 2001) relates that that both pagans and Christians understood that the word pharmakeia/pharmakon used by Paul and John refers to the practice of contraception and abortion. He continue that one of the main duties of the sorcerer was to manufacture potions and spells that would expel the unborn from the mother's womb. Plutarch, a pagan, noted that pharmakeia was primarily used for contraception and abortion. (Romulus 22 of his Parallel Lives).
Clement, bishop of Alexandria (155-215) writes that the biblical word pharmakeia directly refers to killing a child by abortion in The Tutor.  And this would again draw a direct tie between abortion and those who practiced making of potions or "sorcery/pharmakeia" aka, witches.

Abortion and Witchcraft in the Middle Ages
While it does seem that many people believed that witches were cannibals, there is very little direct connection I can find online that ties contraception and abortion to the practice of witchcraft. There is a tale of a benevolent spirit who protects children from witches, so we know that there still were legends that witches harmed children.

When the Inquisitions began in the twelfth century, there were began an outcry to the church to begin trying witches. The problem was that the church had been teaching all along that witchcraft was mostly nonsense. When the pressure continued, they replied that if some person were to teach pagan worship they could try them under the heading of heretic. 
A connection between abortion and witchcraft strongly resurfaced after the Bubonic Plague of the fourteen century when rumors of the occult rites were said to require the flesh and blood of an innocent child, born or unborn. Scholars record the chief horror of witchcraft was at this time, the connection with the slaughter of innocent babies but more evidence was emerging that potions were being used to cause impotence, to cause infertility, to contracept and abort unborn children. Most of these “witches” were not arrested, but run out of town.

For instance, August 22, 1380 in Florence, self-proclaimed “magician” Laurentius Pini was executed after admitting that he often gave potions “apt to extinguish unborn life.” Since conviction on those charges could not be proven, a woman came forward and gave evidence of a "dynamic" abortion (by violence). 
Popes Alexander V,  Eugenius IV, Nicholas V, Calixtus III and Innocent VIII wrote against the forbidden arts and harm done by magic that scholars consider more than simply speculation that these “forbidden arts” would have included contraception and abortion practices.
The fifteenth century bull “Summis desderantes affetibus” records Pope Innocent claiming that witches have  "slain infants yet in the mother's womb" (abortion) and of "hindering men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving" (contraception).
Many court trial records include eye witness accounts or testimony of women and men being prosecuted for administering abortifacients. Such as the 1479 account of a guy named Barolotus  who was accused of giving an herbal abortifacient to the pregnant Berta.
Abortion and Witchcraft During the Enlightenment 
In 1782, Anna Goldi, accused of being a witch and killing her child, was executed not for being a witch but for murder. So, the witch trials became murder trials. 
King Louis XIV (who thought himself the new Zeus, there's that Molech/Ba'al symbolism again) had a mistress. Madame de Montespan was thought to dabble in the occult because so many strange and supernatural occurrences happened in her presence. Men were dying, appearing to be murdered, but with no evidence. Detective, Gabriel de La Reynie, the Lieutenant General of the police in Versaille tracked down a witch, la Voisin, who both admitted Madame de Montespan was a witch too and also handed over the poisons used to murder the men. Detective La Reynie also discovered something much more horrible, to provide for their satanic rituals, an underground abortion mill was being run. La Voison's daughter's testimony under oath:

"At one of Madame de Montespan's masses, I saw my mother bring an [premature, aborted] infant and place it over a basin over which its throat was slit, and its blood drained into the chalice. Then the cup filled with the baby's blood was lifted up to heaven and this invocation was given: Hail Ashteroth and Asmodeus, Princes of friendship, I conjure you to accept the sacrifice of this child in return for the favors asked of you."
Abortion and Witchcraft in Modern Times
During the 1970's feminism gained power in America and many of its most radical proponents dabbled in goddess worship and the new age movement. This movement is closely associated with abortion rights.
In a  National Abortion Federation, a speaker at the 1985 national convention, Episcopalian priest and radical feminist, Carter Heyward, was quoted as saying, "If women were in charge, abortion would be a sacrament, an occasion of deep and serious and sacred meaning."
The entire issue of Ms. Magazine (Dec. 1985)  explored the spirituality of feminism. One article was about goddess worship (Isis and Aphrodite) including child sacrifice. 
Patricia Baird-Windle founder of Florida's Aware Woman Center for Choice is dedicated to resisting the pro-life movement. In an interview she was asked about religion. Her answer: "My religion is a holy ritual of child sacrifice." The media thought she was kidding. Two of the founders of this group are also registered Wiccans. When confronted in the 1980's by Operation Rescue's aggressive tactics to protect the unborn, the Wiccans responded publicly, "... steps are being taken to protect not only Aware Woman, but a woman's right to choose. Work is being done mundanely, financially, and magically, to help get through the next few months and beyond."

Wiccan's Open Circle promotes abortion activism of its subscribers and organizes "clinic escorts." The also have guidelines, "If you want to do magical work to protect the clinic, please, please, do it with perfect love and trust." Women involved in occult groups are known to be very politically active in demonstrations and counter demonstrations during pro-life rallies. Laurie Cabot, official witch of Salem, Mass. writes, "The current women's movement has inspired much of the political activism that some covens engage in.... radical feminism, including lesbianism, has found a place in Dianic covens...."
Though today's witches sharply deny animal bloodletting, they admit that they may use their own menses to "pour out libations."

Today's Witches:

High Priest of Ordo Templi Astarte, Carroll Runyon, is dedicated to reviving the worship of the Canaanite goddess Astarte and her consort Baal (Molech).
High Priest Wiccan, Alex Sanders claimed a magical ability to cause abortion just by pointing at a pregnant woman. He also was known as a abortion advocate and often took women to have abortions. But for those who could not afford the fees, he was known to do incantations to abort the child. 
Zsuzsanna Budapest has conducted ceremonies with her coven of lesbians where aborted babies were offered to the goddess.
Margot Adler is a Wiccan priestess, radio journalist and correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) and pro-choice activist. 
Our precious Lord, giver and creator of all life warned the Church of Thyatira about Jezebel (a new Jezebel!): "But I have one thing against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess and she teaches and leads my bond servants astray so that they commit acts of immortality and eat things sacrificed to idols." (Revelation 2:20).

Jezebel was a witch known to force child sacrifice to Ba'al. We are in the time of another Jezebel who rules our country that claims to have a citizenry of more than 80% Christians. We are Thyratira. We are tolerating Jezebel. May God have mercy upon us.