According to their own dictates

By Johnny O. Trail — Humankind made the decision to follow after its own way from the dawn of creation. When Adam and Eve violated God’s will regarding the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when they partook of it, from that time down to this very age, human beings conduct themselves as if God and His commands make absolutely no difference.

God’s longsuffering with the Israelites was coming to an end. Jeremiah 7:23-26 says, “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.” No reasonable person could look at God’s relationship with Israel and accuse God of not being patient with them. The Jews had no excuses, and they were about to be taken into Babylonian captivity. Continue reading

#authority, #idolatry, #johnnyotrail

Refuse and rubbish is putting it lightly

In “honor” of world toilet day (yes, apparently there is such a thing) it seems as if new archaeological information has been released which confirms the biblical information relayed in such places as, “Then they broke down the sacred pillar of Baal, and tore down the temple of Baal and made it a refuse dump to this day.” (2 Kings 10:27 NKJV)

I might add for clarification that the translators of the NKJV may have used some tact in their description of the final condition of Baal’s temple. At least this story would seem to say this much is true.

This isn’t the only time such tact is used by the NKJV translators. For example, Philippians 3:7-11 says,

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

The literal idea of the word translated as “rubbish” would be much closer to what the archaeologists recently confirmed about Baal’s temple. You can read the NET and the KJV translation of Philippians 3:8 if you don’t follow.

Hezekiah had no tolerance for idolatry in Judah and apparently Paul felt the same way about his heart and mind.

#apostle-paul, #hezekiah, #idolatry

Stupid and ignorant: Jeremiah 51.17 VOTD

“All idolaters will prove to be stupid and ignorant.
Every goldsmith will be disgraced by the idol he made.
For the image he forges is merely a sham.
There is no breath in any of those idols.”

Jeremiah 51.17

God would punish Babylon for its destruction of the temple. Idols would be destroyed, v. 18, and the Lord would be revealed as the one who rules over all, v. 19.

What idols are we tempted to make or worship today? How will these bring us disgrace?

#idolatry #destruction #VOTD

A modern application for James 2:6-7

But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?” (James 2:6-7 NKJV)

In a context dealing with faulty favoritism, James reproves any idea of treating someone any better, or any worse, than someone else simply based on that individual’s outward appearance or possession of earthly wealth. He then follows up the point with a poignant question (that I’ll paraphrase), “Why are you favoring someone who favors persecuting you?”

To me, an immediate modern-day application would be a Christian’s support of Hollywood. There are organizations, actors and actresses in Hollywood who constantly use their wealth, fame, influence and even clothing lines as a platform to oppress, persecute and blaspheme the very way of righteousness which produces one’s faith in Jesus, but yet these said individuals still receive the adulation, the re-tweets and the Instagram likes from the very people they seek to humiliate. As James would no doubt say to us – “Wake up!”

Don’t look up to people who look down on Christianity. We can love them without supporting their views with a social-media heart.

Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.” (James 1:9-10 NKJV)

#hollywood, #idolatry, #james

VOTD: 2 Kings 23.25

“No king before or after repented before the Lord as he did, with his whole heart, soul, and being in accordance with the whole law of Moses.”

2 Kings 23.25

King Josiah totally destroyed all the altars and places of idolatry in his kingdom, after reading the rediscovered law, chap. 22.

Have we removed all idols in our lives, with our whole heart, soul, and being? If not, what remains?

#bible, #idolatry, #repentance, #votd, #wholeheartedness

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3-31-2016 Who Is God #4

Comparative Religion” courses, or television programs, treat all religions the same, when they are not! Idolatry is based upon a physical “god” worshiped in a physical place: the Muslims Hajj around the Ka’aba in Mecca; Jews have their “wailing wall” in Jerusalem; Roman Catholics have Peter’s Basilica on Vatican Hill in Vatican City. Christianity, however, follows Jesus’ teaching Who answered the Samaritan woman, and said: “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father’” (John 4:20-21 NKJV). There is NO “holy city” for Christians, so how can that be “compared” to the other religions? “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#comparative-religion-courses, #holy-city, #idolatry

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Calendar Apostasy

God sent His people, Israel, into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, but with these “statutes and judgments” in Moses’ final declaration to them:

“These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things. But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks” (Deuteronomy 12:1-6). The people in that land were pagans and idolaters who worshiped the Creation rather than the Creator. They worshiped the various “gods” which supposedly represented the powers involved in life on Earth. God did not allow His people to simply adopt, nor adapt, the Canaanites’ religious practices as worship to Him. All of: “the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods,” “their altars,” “their sacred pillars,” “their wooden images,” “the carved images,” were to be “utterly” destroyed so they would have no influence among the Israelites, whatsoever. Only the specified worship in the manner God described would be acceptable to God. The Israelites were not to be allied to the worship proscribed by the seasons, but that which was determined by God.

After the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the kingdom of Christ was established on earth, the Gospel of Christ was to be preached to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). While in Lystra, Paul healed a lame man (Acts 14:8-10), but then the idolaters sought to worship both Paul and Barnabas:

“Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!’ And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.’ And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them” (Acts 14:11-18). God’s inspired Apostle Paul stopped any idolatrous practice from being used as an explanation for, or an application to, Christianity. There is nothing in idolatrous teachings or practices which should be admitted or accepted by Christians.

Catholicism, whether Roman or Greek, has incorporated idolatrous practices and seasonal calendars into what they call “Christian,” when all they have done is find some Scripture or event in Christ’s life with which to “tag” what would otherwise be a rejected practice. The disciples were called “Christians” by God first in Antioch (Acts 11:26), but Catholicism has spread the term, like an umbrella, over practices of paganism and idolatry. No Christian in the New Testament ever celebrated an “Easter,” “Christmas,” “Lent,” “Seder,” or any of the 40 days of mishmash found on today’s religious calendars, which are mistakenly termed a “Christian Calendar.”

No denomination is “Protestant” that follows Catholicism’s religious calendar. “Seder” is simply a re-creation of the Jewish Passover, which Jesus died to remove (Colossians 2:14-16); “Yule” is from witches, “Eoster/Ishtar” is from idolaters, and “Fertility rites” demonstrated by rabbits and eggs, are the very things forbidden by Paul (Galatians 4:8-11); and “Lent” is hypocritical display of a misunderstanding of “fasting” condemned by Jesus (Matthew 6:16-18). The Lord’s death, represented in the Lord’s Supper, must be kept free from the impurities of falsehood (1 Corinthians 10:15-22). Everyone who keeps special days on a religious calendar did “not so learn Christ” (Ephesians 4:20).

To be a disciple of Christ, one must believe the historical and factual evidence of His life found in the New Testament (John 20:30-31; 21:25) and obey His command to be baptized  “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). The only events in Christ’s life to be memorialized are: (1) His death, burial, and resurrection first, when a sinner repents and is baptized into death, Romans 6:1-6, then raised “in newness of life”; and secondly, when Christians observe the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); and (2) the day of His resurrection remembered each week when Christians assemble (“the first day of the week,” Luke 24:1-9; Acts 20:7). There are no other special or seasonal days for Christians, according to the New Testament. “The churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16) never observed a religious calendar that would lead them into apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1-3), because those who follow such stand contrary to inspired truth (2 Timothy 4:1-5). “The churches of Christ salute you” but we salute Jesus Christ above all.

—–John T. Polk II

#bible-study, #catholicism, #church-of-christ, #easter, #idolaters, #idolatry, #pagans, #religious-calendar