Friday, August 26, 2005

Diotrephes & the spirit of the Age

We know that in these last days many will fall under the influence of the spirit of the Age, which is antichrist, but ~ do you know it when you see it?

I've been noticing scriptures that speak to this issue and will probably have a book worth's soon. Figured I'd share a piece of it.

This reflection comes from the epistles of John:
7 For many deceivers have entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver, and an antichrist.
8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
9 Whoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
2 John 1 :7-9 WB 1833

Here is one of the first ways to tell one who believes from one who pretends to believe. They don't really believe Christ, the sinless son of God, came in the flesh and made atonement for us by his sacrifice. You'll meet many who have decided that much or all of scripture is allegorical. Others say that Christ was a child of God and/or a prophet, but not more so than many other spiritual leaders.

The allegorization comes most often from those who have been succesfuly indoctrinated with the repeated claims that scriptural accounts of our Genesis, the exodus, the fall of Jericho, and other events are not born out by 'scientific study.' Therefore, they accept the secularist, humanistic, atheistic accounts for these events and the evolution-based psychology as a rule for personal living rather than scripture. Some even denounce believers who dare to base their worldview on the Bible alone as ignorant extremists, which is what THEY mean by 'fundamentalist.'


the support for NOT taking the Bible literally comes from biased research & selective studies.

For some decades most, if not all, funding from public sources has been only to those who accept an evolutionary framework for their research. Supposedly this is because their case is long since proven. Never mind that many of these 'proofs'~ cited in law-changing cases like Scopes ~ were in time shown to be frauds. Ever heard of Piltdown? Nebraska man? Those were some of the 'proofs' that instituted evolution in public classrooms. I'm serious.

& Has anyone ever told you that such famous skeletons as the "Lucy" standing ape had pieces so small and flattened you could have formed them into any shape you wished?

The historic studies haven't been much better. As a lay historian, let me give you an example. The official chronology is the reason that Jericho is called a non-event in spite of the existence of a layer of damage completely consistent with the Biblical account. Good archeological method says that when an account matches evidence but not your timing, then your scale must be the thing out of whack, but this is often not the approach used when the subject is the Biblical account.

The chronological framework for ancient times is extremely shaky before the institution of Anno Domini. Few methods of dating objects or even deciding the relative reigns of ancient kings (the old dating method) are beyond criticism. Even dendrochronology (though better than most of the carbon-dating methods of the 20th C) isn't as solid as most have been lead to believe. It is not certain trees grow exactly the same sorts of rings every year under all conditions.

Meantime many more people have developed well-reasoned doubts about the fairy tale of the steady progress of mankind we all grew up with. There are huge, ancient monuments all over the world that tell of civilizations and times of which we know little or nothing. For all our 'progress' we'd be hard pressed to recreate any of them full-sized. There are ancient stone cities underwater in various parts of the world. One former harbor is now way up in a mountain range in South America. All of this supports the idea that we have had catastrophic changes and lost more information in them than we have retained over the millenia. Add in the records of catastrophic flooding on more than one occasion, (some may well have been from meltwater behind glacial ice dams that caused the sea to rise globally by some meters) and you have a scenario that easily accounts for many instances of suddenly drowned flora & fauna becoming fossils under floodwater/sediment pressure. It could easily explain the creation of large canyons as huge amounts of water flowed down overland from glacial sheets. It would also explain why these canyons aren't everywhere. If they were formed by slow, gentle, natural forces, they should be.

Official academia is well aware of the effect that would be produced if they allowed the official dates and theories to fall (on which so many built their names & credentials.) Secularist humanism has become a religious belief system that holds positions of power and acknowledges no rivals for the ultimate revelation of truth ~ but its wrong just the same. It has depended on political authority and indoctrination to maintain itself for too long now.

Once the real truth is finally acknowledged, the Bible's version of history will become more plausible, but so will other belief systems that mentioned these catastrophes. I support the scientists who are trying to show the plausibility of Genesis but I hope they remain aware that this will only convince those to follow Christ whose hearts were open to the idea in the first place.

But for those who accept the Bible as truth, the quest is to follow God's will for our lives. It is important that we test every spirit, and leader, by God's word to see whether their walk reflects Christ or his opposition in this world.

4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
6 Who have borne testimony of thy charity before the church: whom if thou shalt bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou wilt do well:
7 Because for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing from the Gentiles.
8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we may be fellow-helpers to the truth.
3 John 1:4-8 WB 1833

Implicit in these verses is positive evidence of a Christian walk. Here we see the good fruit of believers. God's children seek to walk in truth and love (charity) to each others and toward strangers. Their efforts for Christ do not focus on gaining wealth or position from non-believers (the world). Christians trust their God to provide what they need and put them where He wants them. The attitude is one of service and humility towards your fellows, as Christ said to his apostles when they asked
which of them should be accounted the greatest.
25 And he said to them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them, are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27 For which is greater, he that sitteth at table, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at table? but I am among you as he that serveth.
Luke 22:24b-27 WB 1833

This compares sharply with what someone influenced by the spirit of antichrist will be like.

9 I wrote to the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not.
10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content with that, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
3 John 1 :9-11 WB 1833

Will you look at this guy??? He joined the church only to take over the local body 'to gain pre-eminence.' He sounds ambitious. As a matter of fact, he probably only made a profession of faith in order to forward his desires, seeing an opening for his ambitions. New groups are usually fairly open (trusting) and not organized into any formal hierarchy. If they are not devoted to democratic principles this makes them easier to take over.

Once Diotrephes had gained the leadership position he desired, he set his aims yet higher. Now you see him striving against, even slandering, the apostles whose word he supposedly was following in becoming a follower of Christ. It gets better. Those who oppose this goal he has thrown out. Those who come from the apostles he refuses to receive. He won't let them speak to the church and shows no hospitality toward them. Those who oppose him in any manner he seeks to excommunicate from the body of Christ in his community. He even ignores a letter from John, an apostle chosen by Christ himself!

Quite a snake, eh?

but despite what must have been some considerable personal charm, not everything is going his way, even locally. John himself tells us that some in the area are trying to show hospitality & act as Christians to their brethren & sisters in faith ~ beyond this fellow's influence. He praises Gaius for being one those who refused to turn on his fellows to please Diotrephes.

Diotrephes made divisions, sought to rule, & once established, sought to punish (as far as he was able) those who opposed his goals. He was not above using lies to turn others against each other, to cause people to do his bidding.

This letter also tells you of the end of Diotrephes ambitions within the larger church. John plans to come in person and appoint a new leader of the real church in the area.

"For whoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Luke 14: 11 WB 1833

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