Friday, September 22, 2006

Plagiarism for the Glory of God?

I recently received the following e-mail that I wanted to share with you. Names have been removed to protect the sarcasm of the sender:

You might want to check out this article, especially since you’ve been so busy lately — it might be a great time-saver! I hate to see you wasting all that time studying.

Knowing the author of said e-mail, I thought that I had a reasonable idea of what to expect when I arrived at the article. I was wrong. In fact, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I had seen “Rick Warren’s Tool Box” before, a website with article and resources claiming to help equip pastors, but I’ve honestly never spent much time there.

In case you haven’t guessed from the illustration by David Julian, the article essentially advocates plagiarism from the pulpit. The article’s author, Steve Sjogren, introduces the article with these words (I apologize up-front for the large number of block quotes following, but I wanted to very clearly let the article speak for itself):

There has been much talk in recent years on blogs and Web sites about how much of other people’s sermons are appropriate to incorporate into your own messages. When does it get to the point of “plagiarism”?

Sjogren then discusses an interview with Dr. Cho, pastor of “the world’s largest church in Korea” (which must mean he’s doing something right!). Cho was asked how he prepares his weekly sermons because “They’re so powerful.” Sjogren records Cho as responding:
Honestly, I have never given an original message in all my years of ministry here at Yoido Church. Each week, I preach word-for-word messages from either Billy Graham or W.A. Criswell from Dallas First Baptist Church. I can’t afford to not have a home run each weekend when we gather. I don’t trust my own ability to give completely original messages.

Sjogren then notes that he “regularly read(s) the blogs of my favorite communicators from influential churches around the United States.” I find it telling that he doesn’t refer to them as “pastors,” but that’s another point entirely. Sjogren then notes that each of these “communicators” (although at this point he does refer to them as pastors):

has recently come out on their blogging sites and admitted, curiously, the same thing. They get approximately 70 percent of their messages each week from other people – word for word according to them. They fill in their own personal illustrations and stories, of course. Two of the guys that I am thinking of as I write this have churches of more than 10,000 in attendance each weekend” (which, again must mean that they are truly honoring God, right?).

In case there’s any confusion about Sjogren’s own position towards this practice, he says quite clearly:

We need to get over the idea that we have to be completely original with our messages, each and every week. In my mind there is a tremendous amount of pride (let’s call it what it is) when we insist on being completely original as communicators. In our desire to give “killer messages” we are dishing out something far less. Think about it for a second: If you really were giving a killer message each week, would your church be the size that it is right now? Maybe you need to be open to doing things a different way.

I honestly couldn’t believe that I read that. So I re-read it and re-read it and re-read it until I was clear: Sjogren just said that it is prideful to carry the notion that pastors ought to write their own sermons, because we all share a desire to “give “killer messages,” which means “wowing” the “audience” every week! He then asks a very telling question: “If you really were giving a killer message each week, would your church be the size that it is right now?” My heart sank at these words. In Sjogren’s article we have reached the epitome of not only pragmatism, but of elevating numbers to the gauge of success or failure in ministry. In applying this message, Sjogren argues that leaders need to:

Stop all of this nonsense of spending 25 or 30 hours a week preparing to speak on the weekend. The guys I draw encouragement from – the best communicators in the United States – confess they spend a total of about 15 hours preparing for their message. As I have already said, they get 70 percent of their material from someone else. Remember, Solomon wrote that “there is nothing new under the sun …”

He then outright urges that we “Borrow creatively from others in the Church world” and that we need to “forget about originality – which is often a form of pride. Let’s begin to focus on effectiveness, and pray that we will be powerful at connecting with not-yet believers.” He then closes the article by stating:

A wise mentor of mine brought great liberty to me when he was coaching me in the area of how to put messages together. He said, “There once was a man who said, ‘I will be original or nothing;’ in the end he became both.” Dare to step out of the box. Regardless of what you have heard or been taught – hit a homerun this weekend with the help of a message master!
The real issues here are not even about originality, but about respect for the Word and obedience to Christ’s command of making disciples (
Matthew 28:18-20) as our principle ends. Sjogren has reduced effective preaching to mere pragmatics and numbers. How do you know when you are preaching “homeruns,” when you have numbers and if you don’t have numbers, then you ought to consider cutting corners and refashioning your product! This is a blatant lack of respect for the Word and the Church and in the end, God will not honor such approaches. Large numbers sometimes mean that more ears are being tickled than souls edified (2 Timothy 4:3), yet such concerns do not seem to appear on Sjogren’s radar.

The very notion that we must preach “homeruns” is in itself misguided and borrows more from marketing than Scripture. Not that we do not strive for excellence, we certainly do, but the excellence that we strive for is properly understanding, explaining and applying the Word, not “wowing” our audience. If that happens in the process, that’s fine, but once that “wow” becomes our focus, we’ve lost sight of true preaching. The question of the

“communicator/preacher/pastor” as “entertainer is a crucial one. Is it possible that driving a Corvette and pulling things from the trunk while you preach on letting God deal with “your junk in the trunk” is perhaps going too far?

Is it pride for a minister to strive to adequately understand and apply the Word? Is it pride to think that a pastor ought to actually write the words he presents as his own? Is it pride to let our “yes be yes” and our “no be no” (James 5:12)? We cannot tolerate views such as this one that lowers the church from being the “pillar and buttress of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15) to nothing more than a marketing model and business approach. We would do well to remind Sjogren that “we who teach will be judged with greater strictness,” (James 3:1-2) and that God’s business is never truly accomplished using man’s methods. What works for the world does not work for the church. Oh that we would be a generation that takes the preaching of the Word seriously rather than simply as a pragmatic means to an end…

1. Read Steve Sjogren’s article “Don’t Be Original - Be Effective!”

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The President of Iran and the Shia Belief in the "Lost Cause"
By John Baker

Islam is divided up into many different sects, however the two largest sects are: The Shias (20%) and the Sunnis (70%).

To understand Iran, its President and his harsh rhetoric you must understand the differences between these two sects of Islam.

The main concentration of Shia Muslims is in Persia (Iran) and South East Asia, a little more than 80% of the Iranian Muslim population are Shia Muslims. A sense of exclusiveness characterizes the Shias. the Shia see themselves as an “elect” (al-khassa) living among the generality (al-amma) of Muslims, according to Shia Scholars.

Shia Belief revolves around the figure of Ali. A cousin of Muhammad the “Prophet” . Ali was the first male Muslim, and he was the son-in-law of Muhammad. He was the last of the four early Caliph’s who succeeded Muhammad as the rulers of Islam. Ali’s “charisma”, said to comprise of personal “chivalry” and “wisdom” is revered by Shia Muslims. Muhammad was supposed to have said of him, “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate”. Ali his wife Fatima (daughter of Muhammad, and namesake of the village in Portugal where the Catholic “Visions of Fatima” supposedly occurred) and their two sons: Hassan and Hussain, are the key figures in Shia tradition. They are also widely revered by Sunni Muslims.

The Shia’s believe that Muhammad chose Ali as his successor and that he should have therefore been the first caliph. The only caliph that both Shias and Sunni’s accept is Ali. In particular the Shias reject the first three caliphates of Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman.

To non-Muslims the causes of the Shia split with the Sunnis may appear obscure, but these are central to the parting of the ways. Shias believe that Ali should have been the first caliph of Islam not merely the fourth one – not only because he richly deserved the appointment but because he was Muhammad’s son-in-law. If Ali had been the first caliph, then his son Hussain would then have been caliph in place of Yazid, the very man who ordered Hussain’s death at Karbala.

The events of Karbala are of deep significance to Shias. After both his father and elder brother Hassan had been assassinated, Hussain led his family and followers against the caliph Yazid’s army at Karbala in 680, but they faced impossible odds. Hussains army of just seventy men were slaughtered on the battlefield by an army of thousands, and after the battle Hussains body was beheaded.

The idea of the martyrdom is crucial to Shias, who believe that, starting with Ali himself, all except one of the twelve Imams (that is, Ali and his direct descendents) were martyred. Loyalty to the ahl-al-abyt (the house of Muhammad) or Ali and his descendents – is at the core of the sect. The word Shia itself derives from “partisans” or group of supporters of Ali.

Shias believe that the each new leader of the community should be chosen by the previous Imam and they believe that he should be a descendent of Muhammad and thus Ali. For the Sunnis the caliphs held mainly political power. For the Shias their religious authority is far more important. . They could therefore regard Ali’s son Hassan as their Imam even when he had no political influence.

The Shia heartlands would remain in the region where the deaths of Ali and Hussain took place – present day Iraq and Iran. In particular the death, and in the manner it took place, of Hussain and his followers at Karbala ( the city of Karbala is in Iraq) have helped shape the Shia worldview. The need to stand up against all odds on a matter of principle, the readiness for martyrdom, total passion, disregard for death and acceptance of tragedy are familiar aspects of Shiism. It is termed by scholars as the “Karbala paradigm” or the “lost cause” paradigm. Iran’s foreign policy reflects this “lost cause” mentality and explains the President of Iran’s hard line stance, and how he views the world.

The main branch of modern Shiism is the Ithna Ashari or twelve Imam Shiism (twelvers) the majority of Shias in Iran and Iraq are twelvers including the President of Iran. According to this sect, the line of descent from Ali ended with the twelfth Imam, who is believe by Shias to not be dead but hidden (He was supposed to have went into hiding in 874 AD). I have spoken of the 12th Imam in a previous post. The 12th Imam is the Islamic “Messiah” (righteous descendant of the “Prophet” Mohammad, and from the same Arab tribe as Muhammad: the Banu Hashim, from which the Royal Family of Jordan claims descent). The concept of the hidden 12th Imam reinforces loyalty to the house of Ali through the belief that the 12th Imam will return one day as the Al-Mahdi (the expected one). It also strengthens the role of the Ulema (Shia community). For during the absence of the Imam the community was to await his return and be guided by its religious experts or Faqihs (Islamic Jurists). The Ayatollah Khomeini who came to power in Iran after the Iranian Revolution in 1979 was one such Faqih. And an Islamic council of Faqih’s are the ones who wield the main power in Iran today.

The Imam in Shiism is both the Political leader and religious guide who is himself “divinely” guided. He is the final authoritative interpreter of Allah’s will as formulated in Islamic Law, and thus has almost unlimited power. This concentration of power of religious authority is unique to the Shia and not accepted by the Sunnis. For Sunnis religious authority required to interpret lies in the consensus (ijma) or collective judgment of the community.

The Sunnis and Shias have divergent interpretations of history. For Sunnis, early Islamic success and power were signs of Allahs guidance and rewards to a faithful community as well as validation of Muslim belief and claims. For Shias, history was the enactment of the struggle and sacrifice of an oppressed and disinherited minority community endeavoring to restore Allahs rule over the entire earth. The struggle was to be lead by the Imam. The Shia were to struggle in Allah’s way, irrespective of the forces of “evil” ranged against them. The lives of the Imams were seen as embodying this struggle. Their martyrdom especially that of Ali and Hussain gave the Shia a model.

This leaves western nations with a paradox in dealing with Iran and its nuclear program. The more the western nations put pressure on Iran to abandon its Nuclear program the more Iran retreats into its “Karbala Paradox” view of the world. Viewing itself as being “persecuted” by the jahiliyyah societies (countries in a “State of Ignorance of the Guidance of Allah”). And this is how Iran and its President view the United States and not only the other western nations but other Muslim nations that do not have a government led by Faqih’s (Islamic Jurists) dispensing justice via Islamic Sharia Law.

But if the western nations led by the United States ease up the pressure on Iran, This allows Iran to pursue the primary goal of Islam and that is to overthrow all of the governments of the world who do not submit to Islamic Sharia law. As Islam regards the all people and nations of the world as three types of people: those who fight against Islam, those who have submitted to Allah and become Muslims and those who have submitted to Islamic rule but have remained in their own religion and pay the jazyah (infidel tax).

What is doubly dangerous about Iran’s President, since he is a twelver is that he has no qualms about starting a World War, as he believes that if enough Islamic blood is spilt and enough Muslims die it will bring the Al-Mahdi (the Expected one, the Islamic Messiah) forth to assist the Muslims in defeating the jahiliyyah societies, all other Religions and make the World Islamic and fully submitted to Allah.

(portions of this adapted from “Living Islam” by Akbar S. Ahmed)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Before You Jump To Defend the Pope

In these days of ever increasing attacks on Christianity it is sometimes easy to give into anger and take a stand before we know all the facts. In regards to the Pope’s speech that triggered all of the anger among Muslims, in this case both the Muslim’s were wrong for attacking the Pope in regards to him quoting a 12th century Byzantine King’s statement about Islam being violent and conquering by the sword to spread Islam, but the Pope while making a correct observation about Islam via the quote, used it in a speech that did not describe true Christianity and also one which was just one in a long line of speeches by himself and his predecessor Pope John Paul II promoting further interfaith unity.

The aim of the Catholic church in the 20th and now 21st century has been to re-define Christianity and more importantly the Catholic (Universal) Church as the head of a worldwide all-inclusive Church that includes not only all Christian churches (Catholic and Protestant) but Muslims, Jews, Hindu’s, Buddhists and other religions. The Pope’s speech at the University of Regensburg centered around the use of reason or logos (as logos has a dual meaning in the original Greek of: word and reason, reason as in a person’s ability to use intellectual reasoning) to better understand other religions and to use reason to see how the traditions of men cannot be ignored as opposed to rejecting reason and relying on Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura). And how Man made Philosophies are actually gifts form God to better understand God. In short his speech was an Ecumenical Speech appealing to those who wish to work towards an all-inclusive Universal Church and his speech was a criticism of all Fundamentalism, Islamic, and Christian.

But what happened when he made this speech? The Muslims around the world came out in a fury. And Evangelical Christians? They leaped to the defense of the Pope.

The Catholic church has already made it a part of Catholic teaching that Muslims have salvation. The following is from the Catholic Catechism. The Catechism is an official exposition of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church first published in French in 1992 with the authorization of Pope John Paul II:

Catechism 841) “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” (Page 242, 243)

What you see happening now is two separate groups. One led by the Catholic Church which wants to be head of the Global Universal Church and Islam which also wants to be the head of a Universal Religion and Government with Islamic Sharia law and everyone who is a non-Muslim “liberated” by Muslims to become Muslims, or if they decide to remain in their own religion, then a second class citizen in a worldwide Muslim Society, forced to pay a tax for the privilege of being left alive and having less rights than Muslims under Sharia Law. However The Catholic Church which has went into apostasy and idolatry will not give up the Divinity of not only Jesus but Mary as well. Oh I forgot to mention that the Catholic Catechism also teaches that Mary is a Co-Redeemer equal to Jesus. But Islam does not recognize the Divinity of Jesus but considers him only a Prophet. Nor do they recognize the Catholic Divinity of Mary.

Currently the Catholic church is making great headway towards a Global Universal Church. At an ever increasing rate Protestant Churches are moving ever closer to the Catholic Church through Ecumenical Dialogue. And with increasing pressure from Islam, they will eventually stand shoulder to shoulder with the Catholic Church. Completely undoing the Reformation of Martin Luther. Even Hindus’ in India are pledging their support for the Pope in light of the recent Muslim protest’s against the Pope’s speech. Hindu’s in India offering 30 million Hindu Soldiers to assist what they consider to be the Christian church in its struggle against Islam.

Now where should we as true Christians stand in all of this, where should our support be placed? We should stand back and become wise and discern the times. True Christianity is under attack from not just Islam but from the Ecumenical Movement of the Catholic Church whose aim is to erase the Reformation as just one step towards a Global Universal False Church.

I truly believe Ezekiel 38 will be the penultimate battle where Islam comes against Israel to wipe it out as a nation, but the nations that come against Israel will be destroyed and with it the violent form of Islam as we know it today. After the Battle of Ezekiel 38 the world will be so sick of what it deems Religious instigated wars that all religions will sit down at the table and agree an all inclusive “reason” and man based religion just as the current Pope wishes to build. The world will seem to be at peace and then the stage will be set for the arrival of “The Man of Peace” The Anti-Christ.

Oh but friends I intend to be long gone before all of that takes place. I hope you do too! If your not where you should be with the Lord friends now is the time to get right. We are on the cusp of the end of all things!

God Bless,

John Baker

The Pope's speech at The at University of Regensburg can be read in full here:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Christians and Blogging: The Road to Hell?
By John A. Baker

The article below is to me very sad and sickening. It involves a “Christian” Blogger who began a campaign on his internet blog against R.C. Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries alleging Fraud in a recent purchase by Ligonier Ministries of a Christian Publisher. Now the “Christian” Blogger is basing his accusations on hearsay and rumor. He also uses very sarcastic and insulting language towards others on his “Blog site”

I have noticed that on an ever increasing basis so-called Christians are showing the true condition of their heart by the language they are using on their web sites and when commenting on other Web sites. Sarcasm and insulting language is rife. Not to mention making serious unsubstantiated charges against individuals and ministries.

Blogging has for some reason deceived many Christians into thinking they can say what they wish and how they wish. I am flabbergasted at how they come to this conclusion.

Is the internet and blogging somehow exempt from our Lord’s commandments in the word? I think not:

Titus 3: 9-11

“But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.”

Matthew 18:15-20

15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’[
a] 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

Deuteronomy 19:15-19

One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established. 16 If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, 17 then both men in the controversy shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who serve in those days. 18 And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, 19 then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you.

Now there is a place for informing Christians of substantiated and proven heresies and wrong doings of Christians especially ones who occupy a place to have a large influence on other Christians for the express intent of warning other Christians against the heresy or blatant wrong doing. But the intent should never be to ridicule and insult another Christian, and this is what is happening in an ever increasing rate on the internet by so-called Christians.

Jesus himself said in:

Mark 7: 20-23

"What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' 21For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' "

Matthew 7:15-21

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Christians who engage in Sarcastic and insulting blogging on the internet are: a Bad Tree that bears Bad Fruit and are in danger of being cut down and thrown into the fire. Jesus says very clearly: “by their fruits you will know them Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."

Insulting and sarcastic blogging is BAD FRUIT! And those who practice it are in danger of Hell fire! Just as Jesus says above: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven” He is saying that if you bear bad fruit you are not going to heaven.

This needs to be reiterated especially to young people, who by far are the highest percentage of the Christian population who have blogs and online Journals.

God Bless,
John A. Baker

Lawsuit seeks to block blogger
First Amendment advocates decry 'prior restraint.'
Rene Stutzman Sentinel Staff Writer Posted September 5, 2006

SANFORD -- How much First Amendment protection do bloggers have? That's an issue now before a Sanford judge.Ligonier Ministries Inc., a Lake Mary religious publisher and broadcaster, is asking Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson to stop blogger Frank Vance from posting any more slurs about its president, Timothy A. Dick.In the past five months, Vance's blog has described Dick as part of a "family of nincompoops," "a very corrupt man" and "a lying, thieving con artist," according to the lawsuit.Two weeks ago, Dick and the ministry sued Vance for defamation, asking for unspecified monetary damages.It also asked for something that judges have historically refused to impose on news organizations -- a publishing ban.Media lawyers call that "prior restraint.""It's just so repugnant to the First Amendment that you would request one," said Marc Randazza, a First Amendment lawyer in Altamonte Springs.

Courts have long held that plaintiffs should seek justice only after an item has been published or aired. But judges have been less certain about how to handle bloggers and other material on the Internet.There are tens of millions of blogs on the Internet. Increasingly, bloggers are being sued -- for defamation, privacy issues and the use of unnamed sources, according to lawyers specializing in Internet issues.In a very small number of cases, judges are slapping them and other Web sites with prior-restraint orders.In May, a federal judge in Roanoke, Va., ordered the shutdown of a Web site critical of a nearby military school after the site's creators, the parents of a boy who had been expelled, criticized the academy.And earlier this year, a Wisconsin judge temporarily closed an Internet chat room that had been sued by a county official angry about comments posted there by anonymous writers.

First Amendment advocates say those judges were wrong. Bloggers and Web-site operators are entitled to the same protections as other media, said Kurt Opsahl, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco,Greg Herbert, a First Amendment lawyer in Orlando, said, "I think a lot of judges don't know what a blog is."Ligonier, which filed the Sanford case, is a nonprofit, interdenominational group with offices in a business park. The company employs about 50 people, publishes religious materials and its founder, R.C. Sproule, broadcasts a radio show called Renewing Your Mind.Dick is Sproule's son-in-law.

The Orlando Sentinel was unable to reach Dick or the company's attorney, Daniel Brodersen, for comment.Vance, the blogger, is less well known. He won't say where he's from, except that he is in the United States. He launched his Web site -- -- in May and has a day job.

He writes only about Ligonier.He has criticized its choice of president -- Dick -- and the way the group acquired another religious publisher.Vance learned about the lawsuit from the Sentinel."To prevent me from publishing, I view as a very serious breach of First Amendment rights," he said by phone Friday.Some plaintiffs sue bloggers, asking for things they would never dream of asking from a conventional news organization, said Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association."They think they can push bloggers around," he said.,0,6545015.story

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Misinterpreting Daniel Chapter Two
by John Baker

Many prophecy teachers have tried to interpret the ten toes of Daniel 2 as the new European Union and the EU as the Revived Roman Empire. But it has never really fit. Additionally the two iron legs of the statue did not represent the East and West divisions of the Roman Empire, it represented the two idealogical divisions of the empire, that of the Stoics (one leg) and the Epicurians (the other leg). The Stoics were equivalent to our Republican party, and the Epicureans to our Democrat party.

The Stoics believed in Duty, Honor, Morals, Allegiance to the State, family. The Epicureans on the other hand were like our modern day relativists, they held that life was there to enjoy, they believed in a hedonistic and free lifestyle. These two ideologies battled against each other as the Epicureans became more debauched the Stoics became more hard line, this led to the Roman Republic changing from a form of Democracy to a Dictatorship. The Stoics seeing the only way to control the Roman Citizens, who had become rich and debauched ( and were known as the mob) was through a dictatorship.

But what is fascinating is that the Dictatorship, first through Sula and then Julius Caesar was granted by the Roman Senate on a temporary basis to be renewed as thought needed by the Roman Senate. Just as our modern Patriot Act has given our President almost unlimited power albeit on a renewable basis granted by our Senate.

By the time of Augustus Caesar the first true emperor for life in the Roman Empire, the Romans had quite a few scares to their security and quite a bit of internal upheaval within the empire, and they were rich and wanted to maintain their lifestyle at any cost and were willing to allow Augustus to gather about himself great dictatorial powers. What is interesting is that he was never known as the Emperor. Since Rome was a Democratic Republic, the citizens would never allow a person to have the title of Emperor. Augustus Caesar was actually known as the Prince of Rome. And he attained his dictatorial powers by being named as the Chief Justice of Rome, head of the Civil Service, and he was also given dictatorial powers in the conquered territories outside of Rome.

So he gained power by being given titles and named head of the parts of the Roman government that could wield great power and were formerly in the hands of multiple people. In this way he neutralized the power of the Roman Senate. Augustus further advanced his power by bringing stability to the Roman Empire after decades of external and internal instability. The Senate and the People showered him with more power out of a sense of Gratitude. These powers were only supposed to have been for him and his lifetime only. But when he died, in the name of preserving stability most of the titles and power went to his successors. We normally translate Caesar today the same as King or Dictator or Emperor. But Augustus and his successors were given the name Caesar as an honor to show their link back to Julius Caesar (Caesar being his actual last name and not a title) who was greatly loved by the Roman people. So a temporary and informal granting of power to the Caesars first with Augustus slowly over time became permanent. However the Roman Senate existed until the fall of the Western Roman Empire. And the Romans right up until the end considered themselves a Republican Democracy.

And it is true that the Western Roman Empire never really ended abruptly it just seemed to fade away as the Barbarian tribes infiltrated the Empire, intermarried with the Romans, and as the Roman Legions became a hired Mercenary force. The Barbarians came to make up the majority of the Legions strength and because they were its strength were able to raise up one of their own as the leader of the Western Roman Empire.

Where the two legs of the statue in Daniel 2 become the ten toes made up of iron mixed with clay is as follows:

When the Western Roman Empire finally collapsed what it left to all succeeding nations in that area and now the world, that followed it was its legacy of codified laws and form of government, and competing conservative and liberal ideologies, Justinian one of the last Emperors of a combined East and West Roman Empire codified all Roman Law, in other words he made it into a defined code of laws in books for the entire Empire to be used by Judges, Courts, Procreator Fiscals (Prosecutors), it became known as the Code of Justinian. All European Law is based on Roman Justinian codified Law. United States codified laws are based on European codified law, which is based on Roman Justinian codified laws, as is Central and South American law, African Law, Australian law. If you ever go into an Attorney’s office and see the shelves of Books, these books are the Codified laws for City State and sometimes Federal Law. All of this is based on Roman Justinian Codified law in structure and content. Also the two different competing ideologies of Stoicism and Epicureanism have filtered down through societies to today.

All modern Government Civil Services are based on the Roman Civil Service. Virtually all of modern society all over the world finds its roots in the Roman Empire. How our economy functions, banking, retailing, commercial activities etc etc. This was not so during the Communist era in Russia, Eastern Europe and China but since the fall of the Soviet Union virtually all of the World follows the same commercial and economic structures for their societies which find their root in the Roman Republic.

Our form of government owes much to the Romans, the form of our Senate, our Judicial System etc. Parliamentary governments in other countries find their origins in the Roman Republic. Where the Clay mixed with the Iron comes in is this: The iron is the foundations of the Roman Republic that have found their way into our societies, and how those foundations have an iron grip in perpetuating and accelerating humanistic governments. The clay represents popular democracy. Popular democracy mixed in with the iron of the foundational structures of the Roman Empire tempers its strength and weakens it.

How does all of this fit into an end times scenario, well it is not going to be a revived Roman Empire in Europe. If you read Ezekiel 38, it talks about the great Gog Magog war against Israel. Up until that time democracy is being spread across the globe, Christianity is continually becoming relative and compromised. As I have shown in some previous emails the Emergent Church movement and other movements are making Christianity more inclusive of other belief systems. Going so far as questioning the Divinity of Jesus, what you will end up with is a democratized form of religion where everyone has compromised and come to an agreeable position that includes everyone in the family of God and does not “discriminate” against anyone if you know what I mean. But there are always two main hold outs: Those who hold to true Christianity and Militant Islam.

The True Christians will be removed via the rapture, but Militant Islam will trigger Ezekiel 38. If you read Ezekiel 38 the devastation is so great that it takes Israel seven years to clean up the carnage of the destroyed armies. This event will be so horrible that everyone will cry for peace. It will destroy what we know as militant Islam and a reformed “peaceful” Islam will take its place. This war will bring abut the ten nation confederation of Daniel 2. And if you read Daniel 2 you will see that the EU stands by and does not prevent the Ezekial 38 war. This is because one: Europe has no military power, they have always relied on the U.S. since WWII to provide security for them, secondly the European native population is actually shrinking the death rate is more than the birth rate, but the birth rate and immigration rate of Muslims is very high, so the EU will be a weak and partially Muslim entity that will not have either the strength or the will to come against the Gog Magog federation.

The ten trans-national confederation headed by the Anti-Christ will be much larger than just Europe, if you notice the trend among nations today, it is to sign Free Trade Agreements. Such as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Association) ASEAN(Association of South Eastern Asian Nations) etc. Mexico, The United States and Canada are moving towards closer integration. They may one day become an American version of the EU. These ten transnational entities will have a governing committee and will elect as their head a President of sorts and this is where the Anti-Christ will come in. He will be like any other politician; smooth, a great organizer, and diplomat. Laws will have come to a stage by this time to prevent any kind of “religious discrimination” as it will seem like the right thing to do as the horrible results of Ezekiel 38 will be so evident. The Anti-Christ will be given great powers as if you study history and especially the Roman Empire you will see that in times of instability people and governments are willing to give up all of their freedoms for a promise of security, and this will be the case for the Anti-Christ. Religious freedoms will be one of those freedoms taken away. And anyone viewed has having Religious views that “discriminate” against others will be labeled an enemy of the state. It will seem to all people as a necessity.

Also Daniel specifically says that the Anti-Christ will be from the Middle-East, most likely Syria. He wont be from Europe.

The EU is a shadow and type, just like Paul describes the events of the Old Testament being shadows and types for our admonition. Or for our understanding and learning of what to look for. The EU has elements just like the United States has elements that will be used within the 10 transnational confederation that the Anti-Christ will lead.

Some of the main ones are: A commercial and economic structure based on the American model. (Just as the world has adopted today) A type of Republican Democracy, a inclusive structure of many nations and, many religions dissolved into a single inclusive religion. Etc etc.

The woman who rides the beast is not the Catholic Church today per se. Catholic is Latin for Universal, so there will be a universal Church that will be the Harlot. She is a harlot because she has cheated on God and allied herself with the governments, compromised her beliefs to satisfy man instead of God. She will persecute and kill those who do not accept her just as false religions have always done throughout history. This is one of the reasons Rick Warren’s Social gospel is so dangerous and leads to the false Church, because he teaches an ideology called the 3 legged-stool. Where the Church is but one leg of Man centered society, government and civil organizations making up the other two. The Harlot rides the beast as the beast is society and she adapts herself to the society to be relevant, to wield power and to satisfy man not God. Just as false Christianity has always done throughout history and will find its fulfillment in the end times ten transnational coalition.

And lastly in regards to Muhammad’s wife Khadija being Catholic, there is no documented evidence to support this. What is known is that a cousin of Khadija was a Christian. But during the time of Muhammad’s life in Mecca there were various heretical sects of Christianity: Nestorians. Sabean’s there were also other Monotheistic Pagan Religions such as Zoroastrianism. So there is no link in that respect between Catholicism and Islam. And no one knows of what Christian sect Khadija’s cousin was part of.

Also in regards to Muhammad’s daughter Fatima. There is no link between her and Catholicism either. A recent prophecy teacher seemed to infer that the Three Fatima Prophecies were linked to her, and Islam. They are not. The only link is this. The three children who had the supposed visions of the Virgin Mary were from a town called Fatima Portugal. The town got its name because before Portugal was a country it was part of Spain and that area of Spain was at one time ruled by the Moors, who were North African Muslims and they named the town after Muhammad’s daughter Fatima. The Moors were eventually defeated by El Cid, remember the movie with Charlton Heston as El Cid and Sophia Loren as his wife? That is what the movie is about, the defeat of the Moors in Spain, who after their defeat fled to North Africa and Spain reverted to Catholicism.

In addition the interpretation of the statue in Daniel 2 is multilayered, It not only is interpreted: Babylonian Empire as the Gold head, The Medio-Persian Empire as the Silver arms and chest, the Greek empire under Alexander the Great as the Bronze Thighs, and the Roman Empire as the Iron legs, but it in a deeper level it shows in the inferior metals as you go down how the empires will be inferior to the previous:

The Babylonian Empire was an Absolute Monarchy, the Ruler could do what he wanted, when he wanted, he could change his mind on laws, decisions etc anytime he wanted. He was considered a God.

The Medio-Persian Empire was a coalition of the Medes and the Persians. The ruler once he made a law and it was written in the book of laws he could not change it. He was bound to it. He was absolute as long as he didn’t contradict a law he had written because to contradict his own word meant he was not a God.

The Greek Empire under Alexander the Great was a confederation of Greek States ruled by the Macedonian Republic which was governed by a ruling council who appointed a ruler from a hereditary family. Any one in that family could be chosen as the next ruler. The Ruler could only rule with the support of the council and in the Greek states we also see the inclusion for the first time of democratic principles in government.

The Roman Empire was a full blown Republican Democracy which was governed by a democratically elected Senate, the Empire eventually did degenerate into a Dictatorship but maintained the semblance of a democracy to the end.

So you see the degradation of the manner of government in the statue fits with the Metals becoming more inferior. Democracy is not God’s intended form of government. His government when it is set up after Armageddon will be absolute rule by Jesus Christ. God knows that man made democracies are the most degraded form of government because man will always if left to his own devices choose fleshly desires over Godly desires.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The concept of Messiah in Islam & the Anti-Christ
by John Baker

We are living in very interesting and prophetical times. I have studied Islam for over two years now and it never ceases to amaze me the things I discover even still, consider this:

In regards to the Al Mahdi below (or as known in Islam as the Islamic Messiah). If you scroll to the bottom of the article below: “The Concept of Messiah in Islam” where it says “WHO IS THE MAHDI?” it gives his lineage in points 1,2 & 3.

Now there is something very interesting here. The country of Jordan is also known as the “Hashemite Kingdom” or the Hashim Kingdom. This is because they are part of the Arab Banû Hãshim tribe. As seen in point 1 below. And if you go to their Family Web site: , their family tree is exactly as is detailed below for the Al Mahdi or Islamic Messiah. (Anti-Christ)

Now what is also interesting is that the Hashemite Family were also at one time the Royal family of Syria and Iraq, this was during and after the first world war when the Turkish empire crumbled and the Arab tribes rebelled, and the Banu Hashim tribe claimed the title “King of the Arabs” based on their claim of being descended from the Prophet Muhammad.

When the British were given the mandate to govern Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, And the French: Lebanon and Syria after World War I, they refused to recognize the claim of the Hashemite’s claim as King of the Arabs. As they did not wanted a single united Arab Kingdom to be set up covering all of the Middle East, and instead the Hashemites settled for the Kingdom of Jordan, and the British partitioned the rest of the Arab territories into the countries we see today, the British did this to ensure no single Arab tribe could dominate the Arab territories:

Now the “little horn” from Daniel 7: “I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.”

King Hussein of Jordan before he died was always known as the “Great peacemaker” and his son has continued in that tradition. Since Jordan has no oil or great wealth it has relied on being a peacemaker as it is a small weak country and it is bordered on one side by Israel, and the other by Iraq, Iran, & Syria. So in any great Mid-East war it would one of the first crushed. Iran does not consider Jordan as a legitimate country as it was created by the League of Nations (United Nations) out of the old British Palestine mandate. During the war in Ezekiel 38, the Hashemite King is supposed to flee to and find refuge in Israel, ahead of Gog and Magog as they sweep westwards.

The “little horn” The Anti-Christ will come from the Hashemites. It is also interesting that many Scholars consider that Islam was not really a defined Religion during Muhammad’s lifetime but was actually a heretical sect of Judaism, and when the Jewish tribes in Arabia rejected Muhammad as a Prophet he changed his tone towards them and this is where we get the origins of the Hatred of Muslims towards the Jews. When the Jewish Tribes rejected Muhammad he directed his followers to stop praying towards Jerusalem three times a day just as the Jewish tribes did but turn their backs to Jerusalem and he had his followers turn towards Mecca and pray five times a day from then on.

The Al Mahdi, (Anti-Christ) will come to power after peace has been established after Ezekiel 38, he will be accepted as the Al Mahdi by the Arabs and he will be accepted as the “Messiah” by the Jews as he will possibly? Show how Islam and Judaism are actually one and the same. This will also resolve the issue of the Jews wanting to build the Third Temple on the Temple Mount but the Muslim Arabs being opposed to it because of the Muslim Dome of the Rock. It seems to say in Bible Prophecy that the Dome of the Rock will be seriously damaged by an Earth Quake, and if that is so, and the Al Mahdi (Anti-Christ) comes to power and joins these two religions then a single temple for both is a very big possibility. And this is where it may seem he is honoring the Jews by rebuilding the Temple in the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation and then at the end of the 3 ½ years, he defiles the temple by entering it and announcing himself as God.

The concept of Messiah in Islam
by Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi


Islam, being the youngest of the three great revealed religions, shares many ideas and concepts with Christianity and Judaism because the origin of all three religions is the same God. One of those ideas is that of Messianism, the idea of expecting someone who will came as the savior to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.

In today’s talk, let us briefly look at the concept of messiah in Islam.


Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last prophet and messenger of God. Muslims also believe that God will grant total and comprehensive victory to Islam over other religions. The holy Qur’ãn talks about this promise in three different verses. It says:

He (Allãh) is the one who sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with the guidance and the religion of truth so that He may grant victory to it over every religion."

(The Qur’ãn 9:33; 48:28; 61:9)

When and how will this promise of God be fulfilled?

According to the unanimously accepted saying of the Prophet Muhammad, God will bring about a saviour before the end of time to establish the global domination of Islam over all religions. In other words, the saviour will establish the Kingdom of God on this earth. In Islamic traditions, that saviour is known by the name of "al-Mahdi".

The establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth at the hand of the righteous people has been clearly mentioned in the holy Qur’ãn. God says:

We would like to bestow a favour upon those who have been oppressed in the earth and make them leaders and make them inheritors (of the world)." (The Qur’ãn 28:5)

He again says,

Certainly, We wrote in the Psalms (Zabur)...`As for the earth, surely My righteous servants shall inherit it.’" (The Qur’ãn 21:105)

Even the present version of Psalms has this promise of God in chapter 37:1-29 where it says: "And just a little while longer, and the wicked ones will be no more...But the meek ones shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace...The righteous themselves shall inherit the earth."

This shows that the belief in the saviour is not unique to the Muslims. The Christians and the Jews are also are waiting for him: the Christians are looking forward to the second coming of the Christ while the Jews are still waiting for the Messiah.


The belief in al-Mahdi —as the embodiment of the messiah or the saviour who will appear at the end of time— is a belief in the fulfillment of God’s promise. It is a belief common to all Muslims based on the unanimously accepted sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.).

Ibn Khaldun, the 14th century historian famous for his pioneering work in philosophy of history, writes in his Muqaddima:

"It has been (accepted) by all the Muslims in every epoch, that at the end of time a man from the family (of the Prophet) will, without fail, make his appearance, one who will strengthen Islam and make justice triumph. Muslims will follow him, and he will gain domination over the Muslim realm. He will be called the Mahdi."

Ibn Khaldun clearly states that Muslims in each generation have accepted the belief in the Mahdi. The unanimity of this belief among the Muslims is furthered strengthened by the fatwa issued from the General Secretariat of the World Muslim League in Mecca on the 11th of October 1976. This fatwa was written by Shaykh Muhammad al-Muntasir al-Katani and approved by a committee consisting of four other scholars.

After listing the names of twenty companions of the Prophet who have narrated the Prophet’s statements on the Mahdi, and after giving the names of the scholars who have written exclusively on al-Mahdi, the fatwa says:

"The memorizers and scholars of hadith have verified that there are reliable and acceptable reports among the ahadith on the Mahdi; the majority of them are narrated through numerous authorities. There is no doubt about their status as mutawatir and sahih reports.

"And the belief in the appearance of the Mahdi is obligatory, and that it is one of the beliefs of the people of the sunna and jama’ah; and none denies it except those who are ignorant of the sunna and innovators in doctrine.


In trying to identify the person who will be the Mahdi and the Saviour, the only source we have is the Prophet of Islam. According to his sayings, the basic characteristics of Mahdi are as follows:

1. He will be an Arab, from the tribe of Banû Hãshim.

2. He will be from the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad

through his daughter Fatima.

3. He will be the descendant of Husayn, son of Fatima and ‘Ali.

4. He will appear in Mecca.

5. Finally, one of the most interesting thing that we find in the sayings of the Prophet

is that Imam al-Mahdi will be helped by Prophet Jesus.

We are told that Jesus will descend to the earth soon after the appearance of the Mahdi; he will join the Mahdi in establishing the Kingdom of God on earth; and he will pray behind Imam al-Mahdi. The true Christians will follow Jesus in accepting Imam al-Mahdi as the leader at the time and become Muslims.

Let me share with you a thought that I heard from my father:

In the Qur’ãn, God has selected Abraham and his descendants and preferred them over the others. Abraham’s children were from his two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. From the line of Isaac, we have all the great prophets of the Israelites (Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon and, finally, Jesus). From the line of Ishmael, we the Prophet of Islam and the Imams from his family, the last being Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi.

God has, by His decree, preserved the last representatives from both lines of Abraham for the establishment of His Kingdom. At the end of time, He will bring Imam al-Mahdi and Prophet Jesus together for the fulfillment of His plan.

This is the optimistic outlook that we have towards human history; and incidentally it also shows how closely the destiny of the Muslims and the Christians is linked together.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Solomon Church!
By David WilkersonDecember 19, 1994

I believe Solomon represents the spirit and nature of the modern, last-day Laodicean church. And this church -- here in America and throughout the world -- is headed for the same ruin Solomon faced!

Scripture tells us:
"And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly...." (2 Chronicles 1:1).

The church of Jesus Christ today has been strengthened and blessed mightily by God. Provision has been made for endeavors of all kinds. Consider the big, beautiful edifices being built in the land. One large Pentecostal church was built recently at a cost of $28 million. There are other church complexes worth $40-50 million.

Consider also the church's great financial blessings. Millions are spent on televangelism, books, records and tapes, missions, institutions, colleges and parachurch ministries of all kinds. Think of all the huge conventions, the well-attended seminars, the religious pomp and ceremony attending megachurch services and programs.

When all these works began, each one had something of God's anointing. Indeed, most started out with the same blessings that God poured out upon Solomon. Think about it: Solomon was well-organized. He was much more educated than his father, David. And he did everything bigger and better than any previous generation ever could have conceived. Solomon's organizational skills were so great -- his pomp and ceremony so gorgeous and breathtaking -- that when the Queen of Sheba watched him merely ascend into the temple, she nearly fainted at the sight.

Yet the driving force behind Solomon was wisdom and knowledge. This was his heart-cry to God:

"Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?" (verse 10).

Isn't this a wonderful prayer? It sounds so good, and God was pleased he did not ask for selfish gain. Yet there's a problem: It's totally man-centered! This very talented, self-confident king was saying, in essence, "Just give me the tools, God, and I'll get the job done. Give me the wisdom and knowledge, and I'll set everything in order among this people. I'll accomplish it all!"
Solomon's prayer was not the prayer of his father, David, a man who was after God's own heart. No, Solomon's prayer was that of a new generation -- an educated people with new ideas and skills. And his cry was, "I need wisdom and knowledge!"

We Have Become the Church of the Floppy Disk!

The driving force behind the modern-day, Laodicean church is wisdom and knowledge. What great rivers of information flow through this last-day church: computers with countless megabytes, computerized Bibles, computerized commentaries, software programs on philosophy, counseling, fund-raising, child care. All you have to do is insert a little disk in your computer, press a button, and the answers pop up r)ght in front of you.

I am not against computers or software programs. Our own ministry would not function as well without them. But I am amused by all the young ministers who spend much of their time punching keyboards and utilizing fax machines to spit out reams of information, ideas, net-working and strategies. They preach a computerized gospel -- yet so few people are ever saved or delivered through them.

There is an insatiable thirst today for information, wisdom and knowledge like never before. Never has there been so many seminars and massive teaching conventions. Huge screens are needed just to show who the teacher is on the distant stage. And afterward people flock to sale tables to buy hundreds of dollars' worth of tapes.

The emphasis is on more tools, more information, more wisdom. The thinking is, "If we just have enough knowledge in these subjects -- enough books, enough seminars, enough teaching -- we'll get the job done. Just give us the tools, God, and we'll evangelize the world!"
Recently I heard the leader of a youth organization say, "If I had $100 million, I could win the world!" He was traveling across the country trying to raise that amount. He was saying, in essence, "If we just have enough money, knowledge, networking and strategy, we can evangelize the entire world for God!"

Beloved, we will never accomplish anything for God by wisdom alone, no matter how important and necessary it is. His Word says:

"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1 Corinthians 1:21)

All the true treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Jesus Christ.
"In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3).

Yet Solomon's gospel was different. It was said of Solomon:
"And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes" (1 Kings 4:32-33).
This was Solomon's gospel -- three thousand short sermonettes of practical knowledge and wisdom! He created new songs, wonderful stories, great applications of truth on human nature and behavior. You can read many of his words of wisdom throughout the book of Proverbs. He offered practical instruction on marriage and child-rearing. He gave clear directions on how to cope, how to behave, how to be blessed. And everyone loved his preaching. It was so concise, so to the point.

But, beloved, unless the spirit of God anoints the preaching or teaching, it remains dead. It becomes dead-letter unless the Spirit ignites it!

In the end, Solomon delivered an absolutely powerless message -- because he had no power to practice what he preached! He gave himself to strange women. He raised wicked children, including a devil who succeeded him on the throne. Indeed, Solomon ended up a decrepit, anguished idolater, living out his days in a sensuous cesspool of immorality. And his entire generation became harlot- chasing reprobates -- in spite of all his wisdom, teaching and three thousand proverbs!

Now, don't think for a minute that the modern, "sinner-friendly," Laodicean church does not have good, insightful, thoughtful preaching. The sermons of this last-day church are concise, homiletically correct, centered on how to cope with the problems of life. They are mostly fifteen-minute messages, illustrated with clear points and packed with lots of truth.

Yet so much of it is not producing life! Divorce is still rampant, even among the shepherds. Fornication and infidelity are commonplace. Teenagers smoke, drink and sleep around. People's lives are not being changed. Why? It is because knowledge in itself is unable to save or change anybody -- including those who preach it!

A church's services may be well-organized, with excellent, new, contemporary music. The choir may sing a thousand new songs. The pastor may condemn sin and point out the right way clearly. But without the Holy Ghost, it all becomes a letter that kills!

Solomon had a head full of wisdom and a mouth full of songs. He could preach and teach with incredible skill. He had a well-organized operation, with talented leaders. Everything about his church appeared to be decent and in order. But everything Solomon did ended up in Ecclesiastes, in the phrase, "All is vanity and despair!"

The Solomon church has all the answers. It looks great on the outside. But it is absolutely lifeless! And it ends up in vanity, idolatry, sensuality, emptiness and despair.

Compare the Church of Solomon With David's Church of Zion!

The driving force behind David's church was total dependence on the Holy Spirit. Here is what distinguished David:

"Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward..." (1 Samuel 16:13).

When David was on his deathbed, he said to his son Solomon, in so many words: "I want to tell you why God has blessed me. I want you to know the secret of my ministry -- why the kingdom is at peace and why God has been with me everywhere I've gone." Listen to David's last words to his son: "The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue" (2 Samuel 23:2).

David was saying, "I didn't trust in my knowledge and wisdom. I didn't trust in any part of my flesh. I was a weak man -- but I depended on the Holy Ghost! Every word I spoke was under His unction and anointing. His words filled my mouth!"

Thirty-five years ago, when we opened the ministry doors at 416 Clinton Avenue to drug addicts and alcoholics here in New York City, our motto was, "The Holy Ghost is in charge here!" You see, it wasn't "how to cope" preaching that saved gang members like Nicky Cruz and Israel. They didn't fall on their knees because we preached concise, pithy sermons. They weren't convicted by pointed illustrations and nature stories. No -- these former drug addicts testified to their friends, "I once was on the street, like you. But look at me now! The Spirit of God changed me!"

It was the power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost that brought Nicky and Israel to their knees before God. The Spirit came down -- and those hardened criminals fell on their faces and cried out to God for mercy!

Solomon spoke of trees, hyssop, beasts, creeping things, fish. But David spoke of intimacy with the Lord, of brokenness and contriteness. He spoke of "the rock" which is Christ. And David was convicted and changed by his own preaching. He so valued the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life, he asked the Lord never to take His Spirit from him. David knew he was nothing without the Holy Ghost!

In Solomon's church, however, a preacher merely gathers truthful, biblical information and creates a sermon out of it. Then he throws it out to the congregation and tells himself, "It's the Word -- it has to have impact. It has to cause growth and change in my hearers, because it's God's powerful Word."

Not so! You can throw out as much Word as you please -- sermon upon sermon, teaching upon teaching, wisdom and knowledge in abundance. But if it isn't anointed by the Holy Ghost, it is a dead word! If a preacher doesn't spend time on his face before God, he won't have the fire of God in his soul. And there will be no unction of the Holy Ghost in his word, no matter how wise and knowledgeable they sound. They simply won't produce life!

Paul said,
"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).

"...we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth... But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (verses 13-14).

You should never go to church without praying, "God, give me Holy-Ghost ears to hear. Help me to hear, understand and apply Your Word to my life!" You must have Holy-Ghost hearing ears as much as a pastor has to have a Holy-Ghost speaking tongue!

Let Me Show You How You Can Tell a Holy-Ghost David Church From a Laodicean Solomon Church!

In a Holy-Ghost church you will always hear a gut-wrenching cry of repentance. In fact, you cannot be a Holy-Ghost person until you "cry out from your guts" yourself. And that is something Solomon never did!

We never read of Solomon crying out his guts before God. Instead, at the dedication of the temple, he stood with kingly robes on his back and prayed a gracious, majestic, high-sounding prayer. It was all sincere, precise and orderly. But it wasn't a gut-cry -- and it didn't penetrate his own heart!

In his prayer, Solomon admonished the congregation:

"Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day" (I Kings 8:61).

Solomon knew the statutes of which he spoke. Among them were these warnings in Deuteronomy to every king of Israel:

"But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses."

"Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away."

"Neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold" (Deuteronomy 17:16-17).

These were very clear, direct statutes. Yet no sooner had Solomon become king than he violated all three!

"And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt..." (1 Kings 10:28).

"But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites.... Solomon clave unto these in love" (11:1-2).

"And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones..." (10:23) . "And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom" (2 Chronicles 9:22).

Solomon's prayer to walk perfectly before God had no effect on his own life -- because he had no conviction of sin in his heart:

"And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father" (1 Kings 11:6).

Where there is no Holy Ghost-anointed preaching, there is no conviction for sin -- no fully going after the Lord!

Solomon sinned without remorse even while he preached against sin. He could read in the Scriptures that he was not to go down to Egypt to buy horses -- and then immediately he would begin negotiating to buy a thousand new horses and chariots! He could hear a prophet preach that the king was not to multiply wives to himself -- and yet immediately he would go out to inspect a harem for prospective wives.

Solomon showed no evidence of sorrow, no sign of repentance. He could openly indulge in all this gross sin and immorality, and yet go back to his chamber and write another proverb.
Yet compare Solomon's indifference toward sin to David's total sorrow and brokenness for having sinned against God. David's church was not perfect; in fact, it was a Corinthian church. David committed adultery. He killed an innocent man. He walked for a season in horrible deception. Yet after David sinned, he uttered this rending cry from his innermost being:

"Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight... Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me" (Psalm 51:1-4,11).

David later sinned again by numbering the people of Israel, which he had been commanded not to do. He had just defeated all the giants and the remnant of Gath. He had driven out the Assyrians, and the entire land was at peace. In that moment David enjoyed great blessing and victory. And yet he was deceived by the devil!

David was so blinded by his sin no amount of reasoning could change him. Joab, who had seen David's deception warned him, "Why do you insist on going through with this sin?" But David persisted, saying, "I want to know how many fighting men I have!"

Beloved, this is a sobering thought that a righteous, God-fearing servant could be deceived by sin! David lived under the deception for almost ten months. Yet, this time, no prophet had to come to him to expose his sin. It was the Holy Ghost who convicted him!

Soon after the count had begun, David lost heart; he didn't even finish counting. He was now gray-haired and old, and he had become sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us:

"And David's heart smote him..." (2 Samuel 24:10).

The Hebrew here suggests: "Oh God, I am wounded in my heart for what I've done against You!"

That is the mark of the Holy-Ghost David church: a heartrending cry! Of course, there are people in this church who fail and who live in deception. But like David, they have become so sensitive to the work and moving of the Holy Spirit, they don't always need a prophet to tell them they've sinned. They repent even before a prophet comes to them -- because they feel wounded by their sin!

In Solomon's church, deception is never dealt with. Eventually, it leads to blindness and ruin. But in David's church, there is a cry of godly sorrow, a cry for deliverance -- a wounded, grieving heart for having sinned against God!

David said of his sin:

"The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; in my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter his ears.... He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters; he delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me" (2 Samuel 22:6-7; 16-17).

Here Is the Tragic End of The Gospel According to Solomon!

After all that Solomon wrote and sang about, he concluded his life with these tragic words:
"...all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night.... There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour...." (Ecclesiastes 2:23-24).

Solomon was saying philosophically, "You're going to have sleepless nights. And you won't be able to do anything about the despair. You won't be able to change your feeling that everything is vanity. So the best thing you can do is to grab all the gusto you can and to squeeze everything you can out of life. Just enjoy yourself!"

That is how Solomon died. And that is the gospel of this present-day, Solomon age! Everything ends in Ecclesiastes, in emptiness and despair. Many people end up wondering, "What is life all about? Where am I headed? Who am I?"

Yet David's gospel says,

"I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. I laid me down and slept..." (Psalm 3:4-5).

If you've got the Holy Ghost, you will know God's voice and He will know yours. And you'll be able to sleep soundly!

Now consider this prophecy from the New Testament:

"After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up" (Acts 15:16).

God is going to bring the Solomon church to ruin -- and He is going to resurrect David's church from out of those ruins! This remnant church will have a godly sorrow for sin. It will cry out in anguish and repentance. And it will be wholly dependent upon the Holy Spirit!

Two years before the PTL ministry fell, the Spirit of God came upon me and instructed me to write a long letter to Jim Bakker. I wrote, "In two years, by March 15, PTL will be dead." I described a vision of emptiness -- of weeds growing tall and bats nesting in the buildings.
Jim read the letter and called me, asking, "What must I do?" I told him first to get rid of all the homosexuals in his ministry. Yet, not long after that conversation, Jim appeared on television mocking every word I said. Two years later, to the very day, the Lord's word about PTL happened -- just as He had told me.

Right now I sense in my spirit that in less than five years, there will be no more so-called gospel television networks. They will all fall into bankruptcy and absolute ruin!

To hear the Solomon gospel that's preached on much of Christian TV today, you'd think Jesus is going to return to the earth in Beverly Hills driving a Rolls Royce. This image of Christianity is the most abominable thing I've ever seen or heard. And God says He has to bring it to ruin -- because He's going to build His David house upon those ruins!

The only thing left will be some local television programs with true men of God preaching the gospel. And all the phony smiles, the ungodly fund-rasing circuses, the pop theology, the preaching of prosperity are going to come down.

Most of the so-called spiritual revivals today are mere cardboard structures. They're all going to burn in the chaotic days ahead. What Christian will be laughing when our cities are in flames? Who will be giddy and foolish when the economy collapses?

The Bible says of the Jews in the last days:

" that day...I will pour upon the house of David... the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zechariah 12:9-10).

Right now there are Jews mourning and weeping for their Messiah at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. And not long ago some 10,000 Lubavitcher Jews held a march in Brooklyn, crying, "This is the year of our Messiah!" Their hands were upraised, tears rolled down their faces and they wept and cried out for their Messiah.

When I think of the 25 million babies aborted in this country and all the lost people who are going to hell, I don't understand why multitudes of Christians are laughing. Why are millions of Jews weeping and millions of hellbound, disillusioned sinners crying themselves to sleep while charismatics are laughing? When the revival comes, the joy will be because of repentance and because of the ingathering of the last harvest of lost souls.

"I...will build again the tabernacle of David..." (Acts 15:16).

God is going to build His church of the last days on the ruins. That means He must ruin the evil taking place in His church and bring down all abominations. And on those ruins He will raise up a holy, repentant church that utters gut-wrenching cries of repentance.

I thank God for the David church He is building right now out of heaps of ruin. Indeed, many who read this message have come from ruined backgrounds. Dear saint, if that describes you, then rest assured -- God is using you to build His David church!

If you've got an overwhelming sin problem, don't go to some book or tape that's supposedly full of wisdom and knowledge. Instead, get on your face and have it out with God! Be a Holy-Ghost David Christian and cry out to the Lord with all your heart. He is building His church on your very cries. Hallelujah!