“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.” – 1 Thess 5:6
Believers in Jesus Christ we are entering a very challenging age in the history of the world as events continue to escalate toward the fulfillment of the Last Days prophecies concerning the times before Christs final return. Many Christians today choose to avoid or ignore discussing this impending reality and likewise ignore the affect that the current social and secular context is having on their lives. This brief treatise is aimed at highlighting areas of current concern and is not a judgement but a warning, to remind and make each aware of what is taking place around about us. The analogy of the frogs in boiling water fable is probably the best example of what Christians are experiencing in our current secular society.
As the society becomes more tolerant and approving of many sinful practices and moves gradually further away from its original Judaeo-Christian principles, Christians are becoming more fearful to respond, as they do not want to appear unpopular or judgmental in a now secular society, which is becoming more judgmental and intolerant toward those who do not accept their views. There is an ever increasing fear of Christians being judged haters and even persecuted by the world’s ever changing standards which has resulted in a silent church resting snugly in its complacently, which sadly by stealth, allows the world to influence its beliefs and narrative. This is the reason for the exhortations and warnings to early Christians in the apostle’s letters, where we are repeated warned to: be alert, be sober, watch out for our Enemy and his tricks, discern all things, and pray continuously in the Holy Spirit for wisdom and deliverance from wicked people.
While I am not saying we should be reacting to the world’s way, as Jesus explained, we are not to judged the world as this will always be the case while the Enemy is prince of this world. Jesus said these things must take place before his return (Luke 21:9). We do on the other hand need to be alert to the tricks of our Enemy, as Jesus and all of the apostles writings warn. To be light in the world it is important that we be acting differently from the world in many areas of life and language.
I am personally becoming aware of simple points in our language that have changed for many Christians in the last 50 years. If we speak or declare something, Jesus tells us, it comes from what we believe and how we believe it in our hearts (Matt 15:18), and this like the boiling frogs, can stealthily and unwittingly cause us to accept principles we know are against God.
For example, many, often unconsciously, repeat sayings which are in league with witchcraft and pagan religions without realising. These religions of the Enemy are prophesied to flourish again in the Last Days, as renewing attention and worship of the ancient Babylonian and Chaldean beliefs (the occult) experience revival, and the Post Christian age moves out of sight. These ancient religions of the Enemy are based on studying the stars and birth dates etc. to get direction rather than seeking the Lord. It is easy to forget that this was the reason that God stopped the building of the Tower of Babel (a ziggurat for astrology) and prevented a world government headed by Satan from being formed before its time. It was not that the tower builders thought they could actually reach heaven, they did not and the words ‘may reach’ are not in the original Hebrew, the word ‘tower’ is the word for ziggurat (the ancient towers used by the Chaldean and Babylonian idolatrous religions to study the stars and make predictions (the roots of fortune telling, necromancy, witchcraft, divination, magic etc). These were intelligent people who had embraced and sought power and understanding through knowledge, similar to those who have embraced the godless evolution belief today, which Darwin himself, a professed theist, would have no part of.
Examples I hear frequently on media and out of the mouths of both Christian and non Christian friends is: “It’s on the cards” (Tarot cards) or “Touch wood” (so the pagan evil spirits, they believed inhabit wood, would not hear you to make ones hope not realised) followed sometimes by an urgent desire to knock or touch timber. It also amazes me how many Christians use the words: bad luck or that’s lucky or good luck ! without realising they are abandoning their faith in that moment to connect with pagan fatalistic beliefs. God works all things for our good and knows the beginning and the end of all things. I always change the word luck to blessing or God bless you instead of Good luck, recognizing that the Lord is the one who leads and guides my life, not some random impersonal principle. Jesus says: “out of the abundance of a man’s heart the mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:45
Many are fearful to do so, yet I have found it a very natural way to create interest in Jesus and witness my faith. It was boldness to witness that the first disciples prayed for most of all after Jesus death, when they were fearful of reprisals. I am constantly reminded by the list from words of the Revelation of John 21:8 that the very first is the cowardly and unbelieving, as these go hand in hand.
There are so many superstitions, sayings and customs that have evolved from occult backgrounds which secular society has embraced, many having a fear basis originating from the Enemy (. One which has grown in popularity in the last 50 years in Australia is the celebration of Halloween. Despite it having evil roots and completely offensive to the work and teachings of Christ, is encouraged and thought to be harmless fun by many Christians. In fact, one of the reasons we withdrew our children from public schools was because they taught children to make up and cast spells as part of the school curriculum for Halloween.
I have been astounded to find many Christian parents speak so highly of the Harry Potter books and films and how they are hanging out for next title. The writer is one of the world’s richest authors, having successfully reopened an interest in the occult in what appears to be a harmless and very exciting experience. Though K. Rowling , the author, has denied her books lead children into witchcraft, as an immediate result of her writings gaining world popularity there was an overwhelming increase in witchcraft and young people signing up for courses in witchcraft and occult studies, some with long waiting lists.
Another example, being spoken in almost Christian churches is the use of the term ‘Easter’ to refer to the period of time Christians celebrate Jesus death and resurrection. The use of this word in connection with our Lord is in itself the most outstanding example of how pagan worship and ritual has invaded our Christian culture today. Ēostre was the much worshiped goddess of the north during Anglo-Saxon pre-Christianity, and heralded Spring for the countries in that area of northern Europe. She was worshiped as the goddess of fertility, and the rabbit and egg (Easter egg) were symbols of hers, as well as the goddess of dawn and light. The young girls dancing around the maypole is one of the customs of that worship celebration of this pagan goddess. Because this time appeared to coincide with the pagan practice it was blended with Christian beliefs some time after Christianity came to Britain, and so unwittingly continues to honour her, rather than Him. It is interesting how difficult it is for a Christian today to declare to non Christian or even another Christian (this includes Pastors and Priests), to say the Celebration of our Lord’s Death and Resurrection, rather than say Easter celebrations. The use of Easter and celebration together, unwittingly honours the Enemy in the spiritual realm.
The northern hemisphere pagan Evergreen custom (from 4 century C. E.) of bringing evergreen trees into homes during the cold dark winters to lighten and brighten them up (hence the term ‘to spruce up’ as Spruce trees were the classic evergreen trees of choice) was embraced initially by German Christians, and Martin Luther apparently also placed candles on tree branches during the winter months. Despite the pagan roots, this custom however does not directly impinge on our Christian beliefs, but there is no such thing as a Christmas tree in the Christian context except the one that Jesus was destined to hang on at his death as he was cursed and punished for our sins, which was prophesied and heralded by his birth, as a free gift for sinners. Yes, there is nothing wrong with decorating a tree at Christmas time or any time of the year, though in Australia most of our trees are evergreen, and we seldom see the icy, dark, snowy winters of the north.
We need to educate our children that the tree at Christmas time bears no spiritual resemblance to the coming of Jesus. In 2004, Pope John Paul called the Christmas tree a symbol of Christ. This very ancient custom, he said, exalts the value of life, as in winter what is evergreen becomes a sign of undying life, and it reminds Christians of the “tree of life” of Genesis 2:9, an image of Christ, the supreme gift of God to humanity. I doubt whether any would associate this analogy today, and we can Christianize anything to justify what we already do. In Jeremiah’s prophecy to Israel regarding idolatry a likeness appears, and we all know what the society of his time did to him for proclaiming this truth from God:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
though the nations are terrified by them. For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold (tinsel); they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.” – Jeremiah 10:2-4
It is interesting how God removed Abram from the land of the Chaldean before blessing him, and how the beliefs and actions of their sears and witches opposed God and his people throughout the history of Israel. Moses contended with them in Egypt before Pharaoh, God sent Israel to the Babylonians to chastise them (like handing them over to Satan to purify them as in 1 Timothy 1:20 & 1 Corinthians 5:5), the Chaldeans attacked and plundered peaceful godly Job. It is interesting in the prophets they refer to both Babylon and the land of the Chaldean as a couplet.
Today we are aware Israel has resettled and the people are returning from all the nations of the world as prophesied in Ezekiel 36-39; , and that the new powers of the north Russia and China are increasing in power and deception. We also know that globalization of the our economy is now more possible than ever with air travel, space satellites and digital technology. There is a definite push by many wealthy, powerful and influential groups to control the world via one world government. People have been groomed over the past 50 years to accept the blending of nations and peoples as a positive and good change, with the result that plans and developments have been underway for as many years, designing World Councils of various forms, for example World Health Organisation(WHO), World Council of Churches(WCC), United Nations Organisation to name a few(UNO). Joining of nations such as the formation of the European Economic Community (EEC) was one of the first steps toward this goal.
For many years now the Parliament of World Religions have met with special world gatherings, which include parties from most world religions to try and nut out a world religion that the global community could embrace and become the world religion, under the guise of their mandate to create a global dialogue of faiths. It is interesting that our current world is being groomed to embrace all faiths, and in fact polytheism is on the rise again as it was in Rome and Greece. Many young people today who have grown up in non Christian homes are finding it much easier to embrace the lie that many roads lead to God, rather than one way to the One True God. Interesting as this is polytheistic belief was what God opposed and punished more than anything else all through Israel’s time as a nation, which was their greatest sin, considering they were a theocracy under God’s institution and headship. They enjoyed prosperity and protection while they put God alone first. Jesus has always been the Narrow Way and not the polytheistic and Unitarian broad embracing way.
In conclusion, it is apparent we need to be aware more than ever of the changing swing away from godly principles and the Christian narrative and be alert, aware and fearless to be light and salt to our immediate community, and live in the world but not be of it. This is why we need to be aware and alert to the Enemy’s attempts to deceive us and have us accept and adopt practices that which are unacceptable to God. It is not our aim to make an enemy with the people we meet who do not know Jesus, but to always “speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:15). Do not let fear of rejection and persecution stop us from standing in faith for what we believe to be true, and trust the Lord to vindicate us (Luke 18:7) and save us from evil people (2 Thess 3:2). Fear and deception are the only weapons the Enemy can use to make us doubt or respond in unbelief, but the choice remains our own. Fear Freezes but Faith Forwards.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
Jesus prayed this prayer to his Father for us:
“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” – John 17:14-16
Jesus reminds us: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” – John 15:19
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
“The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things…” – 1 Corinthians 2:15
Praying this will exhort and encourage you in your faith walk,
Your brother in Christ,
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica.