Well, it’s hard to keep up with all the events that are happening, and which in one way or another reflect the Truth of the Bible. Jesus said to his Father in John 17:17, "thy word is Truth." Well it certainly is, and here we are some 2,000 years later watching it come true in the news headlines. For example, the apostle Peter who was inspired as he wrote his epistles, said to his readers in 2 Peter 2:1, "there shall be false teachers among you." Now no one, of course, likes to point the finger—yet here are Christians who are being told that there would be false teachers among them. Jesus himself in Matthew 7:15 says "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits..."
The apostle Paul, in writing to Timothy (1 Tim. 4:1-3) says this: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."
Now can you imagine people who call themselves "Christians," forbidding to marry! Telling certain people that they must be celibate? No one likes to point the finger of course, but Paul has said that some would depart from the TRUE FAITH, and would forbid marriage, and also the eating of certain meats. Now although we don’t like to point the finger, the apostle John has told us, in 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but TRY the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." TEST THEM, he says. Test the teachers. But how are we to test them? He gives the answer to that in verses 5 and 6 (1 John 4:5,6): "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." The world hears the false prophets, says John, but "we" he says—we the apostles—are of God. Those who know God hear the apostles—for them, even 2,000 years later, they hear what the apostles’ wrote—they BELIEVE THE SCRIPTURE OVER ANY OTHER HUMAN VOICE, or teaching authority. The Scripture says—and you can read it in 1 Corinthians 7:2,—"To AVOID fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." That is what the apostles say. So if someone comes along teaching something different—and forbids marriage to (say, priests, for example) it must cause us to stop and think, even though we don’t want to point the finger.
Now if we see an organisation that claims to be christian, and forbids to marry, while earning a reputation for gross immorality among those who are forbidden to marry—does it not indicate that departure from the faith spoken of in 1 Timothy chapter 4? And if that same organisation is very popular with the world—so that the world hears what it has to say, does it not suggest a conclusion?
No one likes to point the finger of course, but if we know of a popular Christian religion that world leaders respect and listen to, it tends to give shape to what the Bible is telling us. In fact there IS a religious system described in symbolic language in Revelation chapter 17, where we read about: "...the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication."
So here is an influence over the kings of the earth—the world leaders—brought to bear by an unfaithful woman. Now there is a court case going on currently in San Francisco in which a suit has been brought against the Vatican Bank and the Franciscan Order by victims of the Holocaust who were robbed of their funds in WW2 Yugoslavia. The lawyer in the case, Jonathan Levy, has brought forward testimony from William Gowan—a former US Intelligence Officer—who has said that both Pius XII and Montini (before he became Pope Paul VI) were involved in helping Nazi war criminals like Adolf Eichmann, Klaus Barbie and Dr. Josef Mengele, escape from Europe after the war. In order to do this, world leaders were influenced... Now no one wants to point the finger of course —except, perhaps, the victims who suffered. But more of this in a future issue of The Bible Magazine. Benedict XVI has said this week that it is his Church’s mission to influence world leaders—but we must talk more about that some other time.
Uncertainty in the West Bank The West Bank (that is the territory of Judea and Samaria, the mountains of Israel) continue to be in the news. The Palestinian election results are just coming in and although Fatah seems to have won, the shape of their parliament in Gaza and the West Bank has yet to be revealed. It could, and probably will, include members of the terrorist outfit, Hamas. To what extent the U.S. and Israel will be willing to deal with such a governing body is not yet quite clear. As for the Jewish religious settlers who have undergone a traumatic time—and who are still experiencing expulsions and persecution—they appear to be in some disarray right now. However their spirit and belief remains intact and strong. An article in the Jerusalem Post by Michael Freund has the headline: A COMMUNITY ON THE REBOUND. Commenting on a recent community event, he writes: "any one pessimistic about the future of religious Zionist youth could not help but be reassured." We believe that the current hardships and experiences of these people will only serve to strengthen them, and prepare them for what is to come. At present they have a leadership vacuum—and this is recognised. Listen to what this woman has to say: Audio clip: "...there is such a vacuum of leadership. Right now in Israel there is no one. There is no one to lead us, even our great rabbi (Rab Kadura) you know, a spiritual guide, he is now passing it look; there is such a vacuum of leadership, and I really feel like it is an auspicious time for a new charismatic leader—perhaps someone, Ben David (son of David) to come around, because it seems like he is the only one to be able to make the difference. It is going to take something magnificent, some sort of miracle because if we are now putting our hopes on Bibi (Netanyahu)—I’d rather put my hopes almost anywhere else." And so they wait... and we also wait, knowing that Ben David (the son of David) is Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Saviour and the redeemer of Jew and Gentile—and our prayer is that he will come soon.
More News, and more Bible next week, God willing.