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MoreBloodWine

October 14, 2020, 06:17:44 PM
But ya, any PM's sent they should be made aware of via email, if they have notifications set for receipt of a PM.

But even if so, my newsletter blast can ignore such settings so anyone registered will at least get my message. But I can name them specifically in it for *** & giggles.
 

MoreBloodWine

October 14, 2020, 06:15:17 PM
Still need to check some things but that will be easy enough to do via PM.

When the site is re-opened. It is now, but tech locked down... but when it's "back". I can send out a newsletter, anyone who has an email attached that they still use will be made aware / be able to come back if that's what they choose to do.
 

Hidden In Him

October 14, 2020, 05:56:59 PM
You're kidding... That would be something. Any way to contact ShadowKen and Indybones? And maybe Pineapple, LoL. I suppose if it's all intact I could just message and it would go thru to email.
 

MoreBloodWine

October 14, 2020, 01:53:33 AM
@HIM: The MP is back, but it will need to remain in maintenance mode until I can re skin it / fix some of the underlying addons, But it is loading again... all data should still be intact.

I've already alerted spddmn's wife to let him know ;-)
 

Hidden In Him

April 27, 2020, 06:37:28 PM
And after checking, it wasn't done yet, LoL. Looks like it is now (hopefully).
 

Hidden In Him

April 08, 2020, 10:37:46 AM
This one's pretty good, LoL. Should be fun to put on video some day.  :)
http://www.spiritualwarbiblestudies.com/index.php?topic=181.msg207#msg207
 

Hidden In Him

March 10, 2020, 12:43:23 PM
 :) :) :)
 

MoreBloodWine

March 10, 2020, 07:02:44 AM
Everything happens for a reason, even if it's rewriting old works ;-)
 

Hidden In Him

March 07, 2020, 07:12:18 PM
My wife dislikes the idea that I'm rewriting studies rather than writing new ones, but the Lord is now opening up Colossians to me like never before, and some work needs to be redone. Very excited about the new insight!  :)
 

Hidden In Him

February 29, 2020, 02:19:44 PM
...get back to making sure studies were ready to put on camera when the time comes.  :)

So how's life with you?  
 

Hidden In Him

February 29, 2020, 02:18:44 PM
I noticed you were still lurking around, LoL. Glad to see I'm not the only one happy about it.  :) Hard at work converting the garage into a recording studio & music room. Gonna be nice! The soundproofing is going to be work and money, but a lot of it is already purchased. In the meantime, I had to
 

MoreBloodWine

February 29, 2020, 01:59:43 AM
 :) :) :)
 

Hidden In Him

February 28, 2020, 05:43:50 PM
I'm officially going back to writing! Glory to God Almighty!! Having fun again already, and going to be going to work improving and the adding to the set on Colossians.

Blessings in Christ to all who visit,
Hidden
 

MoreBloodWine

November 02, 2019, 02:37:56 AM
I rarely ever used Tapatalk to log in to the site. Not sure if anyone ever actually did as the issue of it not working was never reported.

But for our mobile uses, certain things like this chat box will not be available through the app as this chat box is an addon itself. But all boards within the forum are available and currently confirmed working.

Ty & my apologies !
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:21:06 PM
An excellent passage I am now writing a study on in the Book of Colossians.

"And I am now rejoicing in [my] sufferings over you, and filling up in my flesh what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church, of which I became a servant
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:20:49 PM
... of which I became a servant according to the administration of God having been given unto me, for you to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but which has now been made manifest to His saints, to whom God wished to make known what
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:20:34 PM
... the abundance of the glory of this mystery is among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfected in Him.
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:19:58 PM
An excellent passage I am now writing a study on in the Book of Colossians.

"And I am now rejoicing in [my] sufferings over you, and filling up in my flesh what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church, of which I became a servant
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:19:21 PM
... of which I became a servant according to the administration of God having been given unto me, for you to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but which has now been made manifest to His saints, to whom God wished to make known what
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:18:57 PM
... the abundance of the glory of this mystery is among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfected in Him.
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:57:00 PM
An excellent passage I am now writing a study on in the Book of Colossians!  :)

"And I am now rejoicing in [my] sufferings over you, and filling up in my flesh what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church, of which I became a servant
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:56:30 PM
... of which I became a servant according to the administration of God having been given unto me, for you to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but which has now been made manifest to His saints, to whom God wished to make known what
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:55:42 PM
... the abundance of the glory of this mystery is among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfected in Him.
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:55:19 PM
... of which I became a servant according to the administration of God having been given unto me, for you to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but which has now been made manifest to His saints, to whom God wished to make known what the abundan
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:54:41 PM
An excellent passage I am now writing a study on in the Book of Colossians!  :)

"And I am now rejoicing in [my] sufferings over you, and filling up in my flesh what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church, of which I became a servant according to the admin

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Author Topic: James 2:14-20  (Read 1649 times)

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Hidden In Him

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James 2:14-20
« on: June 05, 2016, 04:46:26 PM »
True Christianity: A Clean And Undefiled Religion, Part 2

     In the previous study, we covered how James was chastising early believers for belittling those whom God had made heirs of the coming kingdom by practicing respect of persons towards the rich. Now he would continue on this theme by criticizing those who were speaking hollow words of encouragement to the poor yet doing nothing to actually help them:   

     My brothers, what help is it if anyone claims to have faith yet does not have works? Is faith able to save him? And if a brother or sister is insufficiently clothed and may be lacking daily food, and anyone from among you says unto them, "Go in peace. Be warmed and filled," yet does not give them the things the body needs, what help is it? So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead by itself. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith apart from works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one? You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble. But will you know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is dead? (James 2:14-20)

     Evidence in this letter suggests that whereas the early church had originally operated in great generosity towards the poor immediately after Pentecost, now, some ten years later, some in the church were already falling back into the covetous spirit that dominated much of Judaism. Seeing this occurring, James will eventually address it head on as follows:

     Go now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such a city and spend a year there, and do business and make money," you who do not know what will happen tomorrow… Go now, rich men, weep, howling over your miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted, and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have become corroded, and their rust shall serve as a testimony against you, and eat your flesh as fire. You hoarded up treasure in the last days. Behold, the pay of the workmen who harvested your fields is crying out, having been kept back by you, and the cries of those who reaped your fields have entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts. (James 4:13-14, 5:1-4)

     Is the subject of greed relevant today? And then some. The demon of greed has been assigned with a very important task by Satan in the end-times, as was revealed to Harold Pittman when he was escorted through Second Heaven by the angels of God and shown how demonic spirits now operate in today's world:

     After my encounter with the warring demons, my escort went on to show me the second most powerful demon in the order of rank. I was surprised at his appearance… expecting something more than what I saw.
     It seemed as though I was looking at an ordinary man… even his apparel was ordinary. I don't know what his garment was, but it appeared to be a common, inexpensive, charcoal grey business suit. This particular demon resembled an average, portly caucasian. What appeared to be hair on his head was sandy in color and somewhat thin. As I studied his face, he glared at me through eyes as cold as steel. I noticed a faint smile at the corner of his mouth, and I found it hard to believe that one so fierce could look so mild.
     He was identified to me as the demon of "greed." It was revealed to me that the assignment of the demon of greed in the last day attack on man is the second most important task of all. He has been given the assignment of destroying the economy of the world. (Pittman, Demons: An Eyewitness Account, P.26, 15)

     The demon of greed, however, is not some new spirit that just came along. Jesus informed the disciples about this spirit in His day, warning them that it would be impossible to serve both God and Mammon:

     Store not up for yourselves treasures on the earth, where moth and rust consume [them], and where thieves break through and steal [them]. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves do not break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
     No one is able to serve two lords, for either he will hate one and love the other, or cleave to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:19-20, 24-25)


     It is probably no coincidence that just as the demon of greed, unlike most other demons, bore a distinctly human appearance and resembled a business man in Harold Pittman's vision of Second Heaven, so too was the spirit of Mammon often depicted in a similar fashion by Christian artists.

                                                               
 
     Gregory of Nyssa asserted that Mammon was another name for Beelzebub. In the 4th century Cyprian and Jerome related mammon to greed and greed as an evil master that enslaved, and John Chrysostom even personified mammon as greed. During the Middle Ages, Mammon was commonly personified as the demon of wealth and greed. Thus Peter Lombard (II, dist. 6) says, "Riches are called by the name of a demon, namely Mammon... according to the Syrian tongue." Piers Plowman also regards Mammon as a deity. Nicholas de Lyra, commenting on the passage in Luke, says: "Mammon is the name of a demon." Thomas Aquinas metaphorically described the sin of Avarice as "Mammon being carried up from Hell... coming to inflame the human heart with Greed." (Mammon, Wikipedia.org)

     As will be seen, this demon clearly succeeded in inflaming the hearts of Jewish leaders at various points in Israel's history, including during the time of Christ.


The Demon Of Greed, And Its Infiltration Of Judaism

     By the time of Amos, severe corruption had set in, for the rich were deliberately cheating the poor to enslave them. People went to the market thinking they had just enough to buy food or a sorely needed pair of shoes only to find out they would have to sell their children into slavery because the scales were rigged. Worse, the wheat they were sold contained inedible chaff in it, yet another cheat from the wicked men who now owned their children.

     Hear this, you who crush the poor, even to exterminate the lowly of the earth, saying, "When will the new moon pass away, so that we may buy grain? Or the sabbath, so that we may open the wheat market, and make the measure small and enlarge the weight to unfairly falsify the balances, so as to buy the helpless with silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals, and sell the chaff of the wheat? (Amos 8:4-6, Masoretic)

     This was a rebuke directed at the rich merchants of Israel, who were financially cheating the poor to become even richer. More insidious, however, was how the demon of greed was infiltrating the religious leadership, leading Ezekiel to prophecy to them as follows:

     Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to them, “Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: ‘Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Yet you eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool. You slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost. But with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd.’” (Ezekiel 34:2–5)

     By the time of Christ, not much had changed. In fact, many of things mentioned above can be better understood from New Testament passages that described what the religious leaders were doing. They were encouraging men to devote their property to the temple after death because this helped fund the lavish lifestyle they were leading. The scribes were clothing themselves in the finest robes and enjoying expensive banquets from the proceeds of homes dedicating to God. This benefitted the self-serving men who dedicated their homes also, because it meant they were no longer under obligation to sell them to take care of their elderly parents, should they need help. The scribes and Pharisees could continue to fund their rich lifestyle and the men got to keep their property until they died, no matter how badly their parents might need help, because all of this was sanctioned "by God."
     According the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:

     Anything dedicated to the temple by pronouncing the votive word "Corban" forthwith belonged to the temple, but only ideally; actually it might remain in the possession of him who made the vow. So a son might be justified in not supporting his old parents simply because he designated his property or a part of it as a gift to the temple, that is, as "Corban." There was no necessity of fulfilling his vow, yet he was actually prohibited from ever using his property for the support of his parents. (Corban, Biblehub.com)
 
     No wonder Jesus chastised the scribes and Pharisees over this matter so sternly: 

     Then, Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying, "Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." But having answered, He said unto them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God on account of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, "Honor [your] father and mother," and "He who chastises his father or mother, let him die the death." But you say, "He shall not [be obligated to] honor his father or mother who shall say to them, 'What you might have derived profit from through me [is an] offering'," and through your tradition you invalidate the word of the law. (Matthew 15:1-6)

     In Mark's gospel, Jesus replies:

     "Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and 'He who chastises [his] father or mother, let him die the death.' But you say, 'If a man shall say to [his] father or mother, "What you might have derived profit from through me [is] Corban," that is, "an offering,"' and you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or his mother." (Mark 7:10-12)

     This practice of homes being declared as "Corban" also left widows and orphans destitute. After the man's death, the scribes would rush in and "devour widow's houses," i.e. rush in and lay claim on what the man had dedicated to God, covering their greed by making a long prayer in honor of the dead man's supposed "love for God." As Jesus would warn His disciples, people needed to beware of emulating the behavior of these scribes, for in assuming positions of religious leadership over the people of God they would be held more accountable:

     Beware of the scribes who like to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the best places at the banquets, who devour widow's houses, and pray at great length as a pretext. These shall receive the more strict judgment. (Luke 20:46-47)

     Sadly, some early Christians now appeared to be doing just as little to strengthen the weak among God's flock. Rather than offering their poorer brothers and sisters in Christ any real help, they were simply speaking words of "blessing" over them, and so pretending to care about their plight while in reality practicing hypocrisy:

     If a brother or sister is insufficiently clothed and may be lacking daily food, and anyone from among you say unto them, "Go in peace. Be warmed and filled" yet does not give them the things the body needs, what help is it? (James 2:15-16)

     Even more tragic, while the rich could cast large sums of money into the treasury and not have it effect their rich lifestyles, in order for widows to give to the treasury out of love for God, they usually had to sacrifice any lifestyle they otherwise might have had:

     And having looked up, [Jesus] saw the rich casting their gifts into the treasury, but a certain poor widow casting two mites in. And He said, "Truly I say unto you that this poor widow has cast in more than them all. For out of their abundance all cast into the offerings to God, but this woman out of her poverty did cast in all the livelihood which she had. (Luke 21:1-4)

     One might assume Jesus was here praising this widow for her sacrificial giving, but in reality the context suggests He was lamenting her oppression. The religious authorities had promised to redistribute these Temple funds to the needy, yet were instead spending it on their own conspicuous consumption - long robes and banquets - while she gave sacrificially to support their lavish lifestyle, robbing herself and her orphan children of what little livelihood they might have had otherwise. The most she probably received from the scribes was a long prayer in honor of her "righteous" husband, just before they seized her home and left her destitute.
     This, then, is why God addressed the religious leadership of Israel so strongly through Ezekiel years earlier (passage quoted above). They were "eating the fat," i.e. enjoying lavish banquets, and "clothing themselves in the wool," i.e. adorning themselves in expensive robes, yet not spiritually feeding the flock or healing the sick.


Distribution To The Poor After The Day Of Pentecost

     Beginning with Pentecost, the apostles became the new priesthood, and the church became the true temple of God on earth. As it says in Acts:

     When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from Heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest upon each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4)

     The change in how "temple collections" were being distributed by the new priesthood was immediate and obvious. Instead  of scribes and Pharisees using deceitful means to seduce men into devoting their homes to the temple as "corban," members of the early church, led by the Holy Spirit, were selling their houses and estates of their own accord, and bringing the proceeds to the apostles. And instead of them "devouring" these proceeds to fund their own lavish lifestyles at the expense of the poor, the apostles were distributing them where they were needed the most:

     And the multitude of those who believed were one in heart and soul, and not one of those possessing anything claimed it to be his own, but all things were common to them. And with great power the apostles were testifying of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. For neither was anyone among them in want, for as many as were owners of estates or houses were selling them, [and] bringing the proceeds of what had been sold and laying it at the apostle's feet, and it was being distributed to each in accordance with the need anyone had. (Acts 4:32-35)

     This is why James referred to Christianity as a "clean and undefiled religion." They were visiting orphans and widows in their oppression, and bringing them food, clothing and financial assistance. Even the Gentiles were storing up collections for widows in Jerusalem (Acts 11:29, Romans 15:25-26, 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 Corinthians 8:1-4), a further sign they were manifesting God's genuine compassion for the poor to a far greater extent than were the Jewish leadership.
     As the scripture states:

     Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord... He upholds the cause of the oppressed, and gives food to the hungry... The Lord watches over the foreigner, and sustains the fatherless and the widow, yet He frustrates the ways of the wicked. (Psalm 146:5, 7, 9 NIV)

     Even before the crucifixion, Jesus was instructing His disciples to make friends with "unjust mammon" by giving to the poor. He prophesied to them that their generosity would be returned to them a hundred fold once Pentecost occurred and the church age began. Believers by the hundreds would welcome them into their homes and provide them with sustenance as if they were family. Jesus even used the Parable of the Unjust Steward to get across to them the wisdom of selling what they had and giving to the poor:

     And Peter began to say to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You." And having answered, Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for My sake and the gospel's who will not receive a hundred fold now, in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecution, and in the age to come, eternal life." (Mark 10:28-30)

     And He said also to His disciples, "There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and the same stood accused to him of wasting his goods. And having called him, he said to him, 'What is this I hear concerning you? Give account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.' And the steward said within himself, 'What shall I do, for my lord is taking away from me my stewardship?  I have no strength to dig. I am ashamed to beg. I know what I will do, that when I shall have been removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their homes. And calling to each one of his lord's debtors, he said to the first, 'How much do you owe my lord?' And he said, 'A hundred baths of oil.' And he said to him, 'Take your bill and, sitting down, quickly write fifty.' Then, to another he said, 'And how much do you owe?' And he said, 'A hundred cors of wheat.' And he said to him, 'Take your bill and write eighty.' And the lord praised the unjust steward because he had done wisely…  And I say to you, Make friends for yourselves with unjust mammon, that when it fails they may receive you into [their] everlasting habitations"... And the Pharisees, being covetous, heard all these things, and ridiculed Him. (Luke 16:1-8a, 9, 14)

     As always, the Pharisees did not appreciate this sort of teaching because it advocated giving away one's money to the poor. They were busy doing just the opposite: Taking money from the poor, by ingraining in them the importance of "giving to God."


The "Hundred Fold Return," And Million Dollar Homes

     So what is being done with these teachings today? For the last several decades, a teaching has been popularized particularly within the prosperity movement called the "one hundred fold return" principle. It goes something like this:

    “Give $10 and receive $1,000; give $1,000 and receive $100,000. I know that you can multiply, but I want you to see in black and white how tremendous the hundredfold return is…Give one house and receive one hundred houses or one house worth one hundred times as much. Give one airplane and receive one hundred times the value of the airplane. Give one car and the return would furnish you a lifetime of cars. In short, Mark 10:30 is a very good deal.”

     This is a famous quote from the wife of a prominent faith and prosperity teacher. It was written decades ago, yet it is still being taught today. I heard precisely this same message taught in a local church just a few years ago, and from a pastor with mega-church aspirations whose church is now laying foundation on a much larger building.
     According to this interpretation, it is no longer about the disciples receiving a hundred fold increase of spiritual family in the church age, all of whom would welcome them into their homes. Instead, it's now a promise of donating your house "to God" and receiving in return a hundred houses, or "one house worth a hundred times more," and without all the baggage of dealing with new brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers.
     There is an ever-growing list of ministers living in multimillion dollar mansions, owning private jets, driving very expensive cars and making salaries in excess of $1,000,000 a year. I will not name names here simply because I do not encourage finger-pointing and enmity, but speaking just of the properties some preachers now call home, one currently lives in a $10,000,000 mansion in Houston. Another owns a $2,400,000 apartment in New York as well as a $1,000,000 mansion in Atlanta. A third lives in a $10,000,000 seaside mansion in Orange County, CA. All of these men are well-known, and have television ministries. Another resides in an 18,000 square foot, $6,300,000 home on the outskirts of Ft. Worth. Another lives in a mansion in Palos Verdes Estates worth $3,500,000. One prominent female preacher, together with her husband, owns a $2,100,000 home on Bayshore Boulevard and a $3,500,000 Trump Tower condo in New York. Nor is such lavish wealth exclusive only to prosperity teachers. There are now several prominent Baptist preachers living in multimillion dollar mansions, and collecting salaries of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. One, who is a household name, last checked possessed a net worth of over 25 million dollars.
     Yet while the number of millionaire preachers appears to be growing every year, it is has not kept pace with the number of Christian refugees who are being displaced and left homeless as a result of persecution.
     The following web article was published at the beginning of 2016, showing that more Christians are now being displaced and left homeless than ever before in history: 

Record Numbers Of Christians Are Displaced
Jan. 13, 2016 by Ronald Boyd-MacMillan

     Never have so many Christians been on the move as a result of war and persecution. Here is a round-up of some of the main places responsible for the unprecedented numbers of refugees… More than half the pre-war Syrian population of 22 million have left their homes; 7.6 million are internally displaced within the country, and four million are refugees outside it… According to the UN Human Rights Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights, 5,000 people leave Eritrea every month... Asia has been an area with the world’s most high-profile refugees... although the UN figure is 4,000, the real number is thought to be about 10,000 Pakistani Christians who have fled to Thailand, most of them in the past year. They are badly treated and are refused refugee status by the government, so they are not allowed to work and are subject to police intimidation and forced to rely on handouts and sporadic work. Unfortunately, even Thai churches are wearying of the burden of supporting them... There are thought to be 100,000 Christian refugees sitting uneasily across the border in China, and even more are internally displaced. Their camps are cruel places, where young girls particularly are exploited and married off… Violence caused by Boko Haram has also led to massive displacements of people, many of them Christian. In total, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre estimated the total number of IDPs in Nigeria, as of April 2015, was more than 1.5 million. In Latin America too, conflict has displaced millions. Colombia comes second only to Syria in the numbers of internally displaced – over six million. In Mexico there are just over 281,000 displaced...
     “You flee to survive and keep your children safe, but often that is just as hard in the camps, since it can be tough to find enough to eat and also to stop undesirables preying particularly on our young daughters,” said one father in a camp in Lebanon. “Yes we have to cope with the trauma of leaving, and sometimes with the dreadful things we have seen, but the hardest thing I find is to keep hope alive that we will ever return – if you feel despair about the future then it is very hard to find the motivation to survive,” said another in Iraq, one of the 120,000 Christians who fled the march of the Islamic State over the Nineveh plain in the summer of 2014. (Record Numbers Of Christians Are Displaced, World Watch Monitor.org)

     But in defense of preachers hanging on to their wealth instead of distributing it to the poor, some would argue, "Did not men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, David, and Solomon retain great wealth throughout their lifetimes?" Yes. The big distinction, however, is that none of these men made their fortunes by exploiting the poor, and lifting money off the church in the name of tithing, offerings, ridiculously exorbitant "salaries," and promises of hundred fold returns.
     Such men and women should be prayed for, for the Spirit is now giving warnings that a day reckoning is coming to those who lavish the church's resources upon themselves instead of using it for what God intended it for: Helping the poor.

     "Listen, you ministers of My Holy Word... Do you think that I am blind that I cannot see and deaf that I cannot hear? You who hold the truth in unrighteousness and line your pockets with silver and gold at the expense of the poor - repent, I say, before it is too late. On the day of judgment you will stand alone before Me to give an account of what you did with My Holy Word...  If you will repent and be ashamed of your sins, I will have mercy and compassion on you, and I will not remember your sins anymore. Pray that you may be an overcomer.
     "Awake to life and live. Repent to the people you have led astray and taught false doctrine. Tell them you have sinned and that you have scattered My sheep. Repent to them." (Baxter, A Divine Revelation Of Hell, P.139)   

     Christ gave similar warnings to His disciples, instructing them not to use their positions of power in the coming church to spiritually and financially abuse the faithful, or a terrible judgment awaited them:

     Be ready, for in an hour you think not the Son of man will come. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the Lord has appointed over his household to give them [their] food in due time? Blessed will be that servant whose Lord, having come, will find him doing so. Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all His possessions. But if that evil servant should say in his heart, "My Lord delays," and should begin to beat his fellow servants and eat and drink with the drunkards, the Lord of that servant will come in a day that he does not anticipate, and in an hour he has no knowledge of, and will dismember him, and assign him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:44-51)

The Tragic End Of One Preacher Seduced By Greed

     Specifically what sort of judgments await Christian leaders who, like the scribes and Pharisees before them, turn to "beating" their fellow servants and "eating and drinking" with the self-indulgent? The following account from Mary K. Baxter's vision of Hell is a warning. Greed will often not operate alone. In its desire to completely corrupt ministers of the gospel, it brings with it other demons, such as those of false doctrine:

     Ahead of us I could hear voices and the cries of a soul in torment. We walked up the small hill and looked over. A light filled the area, so I could see clearly. Cries like you have never thought possible were filling the air. They were the cries of a man.
     "Listen to Me," said Jesus. "What you are about to see and hear is true. Take heed you ministers of the gospel, for these are faithful and true sayings. Awake, evangelists, preachers, and teachers of My Word, all of you who are called to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are sinning, repent or you will likewise perish."
     We walked up to within fifteen feet of this activity. I saw small dark-clothed figures marching around a boxlike object. Upon closer examination, I saw that the box was a coffin and the figures marching around it were demons. It was a real coffin, and there were twelve demons marching around it. As they marched, they were chanting and laughing. Each one had a sharp spear in his hand, which he kept thrusting into the coffin through small openings that lined the outside.
     There was a feeling of great fear in the air, and I trembled at the sight before me. Jesus knew my thoughts, for He said, "Child, there are many souls in torment here, and there are many different types of torment for these souls. There is greater punishment for those who once preached the gospel and went back into sin, or for those who would not obey the call of God on their lives." I heard a cry so desperate that it filled my heart with despair. "No hope, no hope!" he called. The hopeless cry came from the coffin. It was an endless wail of regret...
     I pulled at Jesus' hand and begged Him to let the man out of the coffin. Jesus said, "My child, peace, be still." As Jesus spoke, the man saw us. He said, "Lord, Lord, let me out. Have mercy." I looked down and saw a bloody mess. Before my eyes was a soul. Inside the soul was a human heart, and blood spurted from it. The thrusting of the spears were literally piercing his heart. "I will serve You now, Lord." He begged, "Please let me out." I knew that this man felt every spear that pierced his heart.
     "Day and night, he is tormented," the Lord said. "He was put here by Satan, and it is Satan who torments him."
     The man cried, "Lord, I will now preach the true gospel. I will tell about sin and Hell. But please help me out of here."
     Jesus said, "This man was a preacher of the Word of God. There was a time when he served Me with all his heart and led many people to salvation. Some of his converts are still serving Me today, many years later. The lust of the flesh and the deceitfulness of riches led him astray. He let Satan gain the rule over him. He had a big church, a fine car, a large income. He began to steal from the church offerings. He began to teach lies. He spoke mostly half-lies and half-truths. He would not let Me correct him. I sent My messengers to him to tell him to repent and preach the truth, but he loved the pleasures of this life more than the life of God. He knew not to teach or preach any other doctrine except the truth as revealed in the Bible. But before he died, he said the Holy Ghost baptism was a lie and that those who claimed to have the Holy Ghost were hypocrites. He said you could be a drunkard and get to heaven, even without repentance. He said God would not send anyone to Hell; that God was too good to do that. He caused many good people to fall from the grace of the Lord. He even said that he did not need Me, for he was like a god. He went so far as to hold seminars to teach this false doctrine. He trampled My Holy Word under his feet. Yet, I continued to love him.
     "My child, it is better to have never known Me than to know Me and turn back from serving Me," said the Lord.
     "If only he had listened to You, Lord!" I cried. "If only he had cared about his soul and the souls of others."
    "He did not listen to Me. When I called he would not hear Me. He loved the easy life. I called and called him to repentance, but he would not come back to Me. One day he was killed and came immediately here. Now Satan torments him for having once preached My Word and saved souls for My kingdom. This is his torment."
     I watched the demons as they continued to march around and around the coffin. The man's heart beat and real blood ran from it. I will never forget his cries of pain and sorrow.
     Jesus looked at the man in the coffin with great compassion and said, "The blood of many lost souls are upon this man's hands. Many of them are in torment here right now." With sorrowful hearts, Jesus and I walked on.
     As we left, I saw another group of demons coming up to the coffin. They were about three feet high, dressed in black clothes, with black hoods over their faces. They were taking shifts tormenting this soul. (Baxter, A Divine Revelation Of Hell, P.69-73)


Uncleanness Must Again Be Removed From God's People

     Speaking of a visit he once made to the poverty-ridden slums of Mumbai, the following writer points out that the American Christian culture is now so consumed with the gospel of wealth that few could stomach witnessing the living conditions many people have to endure in other parts of the world: 

     The reality of global poverty to many would simply be too disgusting. However it isn’t to me. The poor and oppressed of this world are my people – because they’re Jesus’ people – and I love being with them. However, if you take a 16 hour flight from Mumbai back here to the United States, you’ll find some things that I actually do find disgusting: the association between Christianity and wealth. This unholy matrimony between Jesus and cash is becoming especially true with many Christian leaders… [and] sickening churches of all sizes in America... In the past, this gross association between wealth and Jesus was largely a thing for slimey televangelists, but sadly it isn’t anymore – it has permeated into much of American Christian culture. (Benjamin L. Corey, When Pastors Live In Multimillion Dollar Mansions, Patheos.com)

     To those with eyes to see, this is a very dangerous trend. If Satan can succeed at corrupting the church past the point of no return, God will have no choice but to execute judgment. Corruption rose to this level in Israel just before they were led into Babylonian captivity, which God had no choice but to allow because their sin and uncleanness had reached the point of being intolerable.
     As the prophet Ezekiel recorded:   

     And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "And you, son of man, will you judge the bloody city? Indeed declare to her all her iniquities. And you shall say, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Oh city that sheds blood… you have defiled yourself, and brought your days to an end, and brought on the time of your years. Therefore have I made you a reproach to the Gentiles... they shall mock you who are notoriously unclean, and abundant in iniquities."
     'Behold, the rulers of the house of Israel have conspired within you, each one with his kindred, that they might shed blood. Within you they have reviled [their] father and mother, and within you they have practiced injustice toward the stranger. They have oppressed the orphan and widow... I will scatter you among the nations, and disperse you amongst [other] countries, and your uncleanness shall be removed from you... [your rulers] are as roaring lions seizing prey, devouring souls by oppression, and taking bribes. And your widows are multiplied in the midst of you… [your rulers] are as wolves rapaciously eager to shed blood, that they may get dishonest gain…'
     "So I have poured out My wrath upon her in the fury of Mine anger, to accomplish it. I have recompensed their ways upon their own heads," says the Lord God. (Ezekiel 22:1-7, 15, 25, 27, 31 LXX)


     Corruption in Jerusalem was even more severe in Ezekiel's time than during Christ's day. They too were "reviling father and mother," i.e. chastising their parents for complaining about property being dedicated as Corban. But it appears the rulers were also "conspiring, each one with his kindred, to shed blood," that is, conspiring together to frame as sinners (i.e. adulterers, or blasphemers, etc.) these men once they had dedicated their property, so as to have them stoned to death and claim the property even quicker. As a result, "widows were being multiplied" in Jerusalem. The rulers even grew so sinful that they were sacrificing their own sons and daughters in the fires to Molech, which led to God finally declaring judgement was at hand.
     Is the modern church heading for judgment? Like ancient Israel, it is prophesied that the church too will eventually become "notoriously unclean," even in the eyes of the world. Today, many would have us believe that the prosperity message "makes people want God more." The truth, however, is that it is actually causing many to be repulsed by Christianity, not drawn to it. A Pew Research Study from 2012 revealed that greed is one of the primary reasons why the religiously unaffiliated are rejecting the Christian faith:

      Overwhelmingly, they think that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused upon rules, and too involved in politics…  Two-thirds or more of the unaffiliated say that churches and other religious institutions are too concerned with money... These views are significantly more common among the [religiously] unaffiliated than they are in the general public. ("Nones" On The Rise, Pew Forum.com)

    This seems to confirm what the Spirit is now stating repeatedly through heavenly visions: The end-time harvest will not take place until greed and strife in the church have been dealt with (see 1 Thessalonians, Study #9, under "Christian Brotherly Love Will Return, And Become A Witness To The World"). Only when the spiritual uncleanness still plaguing Christian leadership has been removed will God finally be able to begin rebuilding His church once more on a solid, trustworthy foundation.






Sources:
http://biblehub.com/topical/c/corban.htm
https://redeeminggod.com/devouring-widows-houses/
http://www.inplainsite.org/html/tele-evangelist_lifestyles.html
https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/news/4195287/4195294/4225574
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammon
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/rich-pastors-peoples-stupidity/
http://clclt.com/charlotte/greed-seen-as-the-churchs-top-problem-andmdash-so-why-isnt-elevation-angrier-at-pastors-excess/Content?oid=3280274
http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/



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