Jun 9, 2014

Blood on the Altar - The Coming War Between Christian Vs. Christian - Part 7

by Sharon Gilbert


From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love (Eph. 4:4–13).
We have in the passage above a beautiful picture of believers across the centuries as a unified group called “the body.” Each believer holds a unique and important position that contributes to the whole. We are ONE, or rather, that is how we are supposed to behave. Sadly, that is not always true now, and the rising of the Beast will—at least for a time—expose this lack of unity to all the world. Note here that Paul is calling for a unity of the body, that we mature in Christ to “full stature.” Sadly, most of us are too busy bickering to notice how our witness has slipped—how our “stature” has diminished. But, despite how the “body” sometimes behaves, Christ is our head; therefore, it is HE who directs the body, telling us how to act and react upon this earth. (Sadly, we’re often very disobedient to the directions given by our wonderful Head.) When He returns, He will continue to direct us as we serve Him during His millennial kingdom and after throughout the rest of eternity. It is my belief that Antichrist, whose wicked spirit Paul told us was already at work in the first century, will seek to mimic Christ in all ways. He will claim to BE CHRIST, therefore the Antichrist must pose as the HEAD of a BODY. This false claim may seduce some within the true body at first, but it is also my belief that this will serve to expose all those who merely profess Christ but have no true salvation relationship with Him. 
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
            That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of the Lord is present.
            Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come the falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition,
            Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
And now ye know what restraineth that he might be revealed in his time.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now hindreth will continue to hinder, until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming,
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
That they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:1–12, emphasis added) 
Let’s get a little background. In fact, let’s go all the way back to Genesis 3, to the account of when Adam and Eve sinned. God in His wonderful patience not only provided for their immediate need (covering for their sin), but He also promised redemption for fallen humanity through a coming Savior. We read about this wonderful promise in God’s judgment upon the serpent: 
And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. 
            And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen. 3:14–15, emphasis added)
Did you notice that promise? God is speaking to the serpent, the tempter and villain in the garden, the original “snake in the grass.” What does God say? The serpent is a type of dragon called in Hebrew “the nachash” (For more on this, see Michael S. Heiser’s wonderful exegesis on Genesis 3 here.) What is going to happen to this serpent, this dragon? For his disobedience and for his rebellion by defying God and tempting Adam and Eve into sinning, he loses his ability to fly (“upon thy belly shalt thou go”), and he shall eat dust. This is a curious phrase, for snakes do not actually eat dust. The Hebrew words translated as “dust” in Genesis 3 appear many other times in the Old Testament, but most numerously in Job. Aphar (pronounced like the English word “afar”) may mean literal dust of the ground, ashes, powder, mortar, rubbish, debris, clay, and even ore (as in gold or silver). In other words, the serpent’s punishment is to crawl about consuming (and perhaps, by reasonable extension, excreting) trash, junk, and rubbish: the leftovers of everyday life. However, the final meaning of “dust” occurs only once, in the book of Job, where aphar is used to represent gold and silver ore, whether metaphorically or not—my Hebrew knowledge is far too scant to discern. However, my mind paints a picture of a disobedient dragon who is no longer able to fly, but instead must burrow its way into the depths of the earth, consuming detritus and even sitting on a cache upon what he perceives to be “gold.” Perhaps, you and I are the dust, the gold, the rubbish (as the dragon perceives mankind), and this sleeping dragon feeds upon our sins and failures, gaining strength so that he might soon awaken from his deep slumber, when he will seek to unseat Christ from the heavenlies. 
Ezekiel 28 describes an entity that once lived in Eden but has now fallen into ruin and judgment. Called in verse 2 “the prince of Tyre,” the one referred to in the passage is surely not an earthly ruler but one with greater longevity: 
Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee.
            With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasuries;
            By thy great wisdom and by thy merchandise hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches.
            Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God,
            Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness.
            They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.
Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am a god? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee.
Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.
Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy timbrels and of thy flutes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so; thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God, and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty; thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness; I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy merchandise; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 
All they that know thee among the people shall be appalled at thee; thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. (Ezek. 28:3–19, emphasis added)
The previous passage is often hotly debated as regards the “true” identity of the subject of God’s obvious wrath. The “prince” may have been a human “prince” (the king of Tyre) at the time this prophecy was written, but it is also clear that God’s doom is directed at someone else, someone far older than any human, someone—a creature called “the covering cherub” who walked “in the midst the stones of fire” (stones in the altar perhaps, or even stars, or planets?). God’s Word calls this entity “wiser than Daniel,” a curious turn of phrase since it is Daniel who gives us a major prophecy of the coming Antichrist (see Daniel 11). Despite this entity’s amazing “wisdom,” God promises to fling him to the ground, clipping his wings so to speak and banishing him from his fiery walkway. He will be destroyed by the “uncircumcised” of the earth. He will be brought to ashes (dust?). Why? Haughtiness and pride. His iniquitous “traffick” (i.e., merchandising or commerce). This being apparently uses his “wisdom” to create a kingdom where he benefits from commerce, accumulating gold and riches from these pursuits. Some scholars may write this off as poetry and/or metaphor, but it seems to me that the judgment of this creature is all too glaringly similar to the judgment upon the nachash in Genesis 3. 
God lives in a state of constant now—He IS. You and I live in a timeline in which we experience the present, recall our past, and look forward to an unknown future. God speaks judgment from a perspective outside of our space/time continuum. He pronounces a verdict in present tense, but the final fulfillment as you and I see it may occur at a point somewhere along history’s timeline. Has the nachash been judged yet? Certainly. But has the punishment commenced in full? If this creature, the nachash, is also the dragon that enters the Man of Sin, the “prince to come” who is thrown to the ground (“on thy belly shalt thou go”) during the final seven years of premillennial history, then the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.
This brings me back to the Antichrist and his plans to subvert Christ’s return by pretending to BE Christ, the HEAD of the BODY. If, as my theory proposes, the Internet plays a role in forming the BODY of Antichrist, then this unified collection of humanity must coalesce prior to his arrival upon the world stage. We, the TRUE BODY, currently await our Lord’s return. When Antichrist appears, He will claim to be the RETURNING MESSIAH, and he will set up his “millennial kingdom” (one that will, in reality, only last seven years). Most likely this will occur at the end of a major war in the Middle East, which Antichrist can claim is “Armageddon.” Today, many people in the world believe Armageddon to be “the end of days”; therefore, it will take very little Bible knowledge to find the Antichrist’s claim plausible. In fact, one could discern enough from the average blockbuster film or graphic novel these days! Even television programs predict an end to life or a coming cataclysm that only the arrival of super humans or one super man can prevent. 
Now, we must return to our earlier definitions and the meaning of life (bet you thought I’d forgotten about that!), intelligence, and sentience. Postmodern scientists now prefer to relate life to an organism or collection of matter that can EVOLVE. Without a doubt, the Internet has indeed evolved. From its humble beginnings as an idea expressed by a psychologist who loved machines to nascent cells (individual computers) that found each other and joined along an IMP’s back, to small networks (like forming tissue), larger networks (organs), and finally a worldwide “body” of nearly nine BILLION devices, that’s more than one device for every person alive. In our house alone, we stopped counting at sixteen devices that ping our wireless router throughout the day. That sounds like a lot, and perhaps we at PID Radio and our VFTB radio program are a bit odd, but we have multiple desktops, multiple laptops, tablets, televisions (Roku and Blu-Ray streaming), and smart phones and even an iPod that scramble to bring us the latest news, social media, and email. We use these devices for ministry and work, but not all device owners have God’s will in their hearts. In fact, many—and I’d say MOST—of the connected devices in this world are poised for evil deeds and/or warfare. 
Of course, the Internet has not yet permeated every crevice of every corner of the planet, but it is almost there. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, is committed to bringing the Internet to all people.[i] In fact, to quote Zuckerberg in response to one of Steven Levy’s questions from the cited article at Wired.com: 
LEVY: You say connectivity is a human right—up there with freedom of expression, freedom from hunger, and other essential rights. Can you explain?
MZ: The story of the next century is the transition from an industrial, resource-based economy to a knowledge economy. An industrial economy is zero sum. If you own an oil field, I cannot go in that same oil field. But knowledge works differently. If you know something, then you can share that—and then the whole world gets richer. But until that happens, there’s a big disparity in wealth. The richest 500 million have way more money than the next six billion combined. You solve that by getting everyone online, and into the knowledge economy—by building out the global internet. (emphasis added) 
What Zuckerberg is saying here is that every human being has a RIGHT to knowledge. While that sounds reasonable at first, it echoes the words spoken by the nachash in Eden, who promised access to KNOWLEDGE with the added perk that “ye shall be as gods.” 
Singularitans and transhumanists would agree with old nachash. Scientists (men with special “knowledge”) like George Church and Ray Kurzweil dream of a world in which everyone is connected and even uploaded into a mainframe. A recent Doctor Who episode, “The Time of the Doctor,” featured a woman called Tasha Lem,[ii] who served as the Mother Superious of the Papal Mainframe, a church that could change its “faith” on a dime (becoming The Silence, including a subversive splinter group that sought to undo the true mission of the “church”) and that operated across the galaxy using its own military for backup. The program’s premise may not be that far off of truth. Our future as a planet may hinge on whether we fall for the “collective” party line that we are all getting better. As my niece says, that’s “ate up in the head” thinking. 
Sadly, most people will indeed fall in step with the new religion of a hive mind—the BODY or the MANY. The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many—or the one.[iii] Doctor Who, mentioned earlier, is a science fiction program with a whole slew of villains who want to remove you from existence, delete you, or upgrade you. Artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of mechanized organisms like “the Daleks” or computerized upgrades like “the Cybermen” illustrate what can go horribly wrong when cyber intellects rule the world.

[i] Stephen Levy, “Zuckerberg Explains Internet.org, Facebook’s Plan to Get the World Online,” Wired, August 17, 2013, http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-
08/27/mark-zuckerberg-internet-org (accessed January 6, 2014).
[ii] For more on Tasha Lem, see: http://tardis.
wikia.com/wiki/Tasha_Lem (accessed February 5, 2014).
[iii] Paraphrase of conversation between Kirk and Spock in The Wrath of Khan, Paramount Pictures, 1982. Spock has just saved the entire ship by sacrificing his own life. This is a theme that runs through the entire film: that the body requires sacrifice. This is an eerie counterpoint to a Star Trek original series episode in which a computer named “Landru” forces individuals to sacrifice their freedoms to join the BODY (Episode 21, “The Return of the Archons,” original airdate February 9, 1967).