Is it Really Written?
By Gary Amirault
Have you ever been in an argument or discussion with someone about a Bible passage and one of you in exasperation says, "Look, there it is in plain black and white. Can't you see what is plainly written?" Both of you look at the exact same passage of written scripture from the same translation, both of you are sincere and yet each sees the passage differently. The example below will amplify the situation for us. Follow the instructions as given. (No cheating).
Read the sentence below at your normal reading speed. Now go back and count the number of F's in the sentence. Count them only once; do not go back and count them again.
AS A RESULT OF FOOLISHLY FOLLOWING BLIND TEACHERS OF THE WORD OF GOD, CHRISTIANS OF ALL SECTS OFTEN CANNOT SEE WHAT IS PLAINLY WRITTEN.
The actual number of F's in the above sentence is given at the end of this article. The vast majority of people who take this very simple test do not find all the F's. As a matter of fact, better readers usually miss the most. Many years ago, in college, I gave a similar test to several college students. It seemed that the better the readers and the more sure of themselves they were, the more likely they were to be wrong.
In this visual test, the eyes gathered in all the proper information. It was the mind that missed the mark. The plain truth is hidden under layers of preconditioned methods, traditions, prejudices, etc. In the case above, we have been trained to ignore unimportant repetitive words like "of." Also, our mind actually "hears" the sound it expects an "F" to make. As it comes to the word "of" whose sound is more like a "v" than an "f," it rejects the "f" in this word because it doesn't sound like an "f." Therefore, the mind rejects the objective truth collected by the eye.
The example above is obviously a very simple illustration. If one can see how easily the mind can be tripped up by a single letter in the alphabet, it should come as no surprise that we get ourselves in much deeper deception when we come to entire words, sentences, books, or things we actually encounter in real life. We think we are seeing or hearing the truth, when, in fact, we are deceiving ourselves all the while.
I am sure many of you have seen various optical illusion drawings where the eyes are fooled into seeing things incorrectly. Lines of equal length, for example, that appear to be different lengths. The above mentioned examples illustrate that our minds do not work as well as we think they do.
We make far more subjective and incorrect decisions than we care to acknowledge. I recall having tea with a fellow Christian one day. He slurped his tea loud enough to wake up the dead! It literally sent chill down by back. It also triggered an emotional reaction inside that made me not only repulsed by his slurp, but it actually tainted my feelings toward him. I sensed anger inside of me. I knew what was happening. As a child, we were not allowed to eat with our mouths open or make noise when we ate. If we did, we would get an icy frown from our father. I did not like that look. Growing up, I did not want to copy any of my father's bad habits, yet somehow I picked up this same habit about eating.
I told my friend what was going on inside of me and how foolish I felt. He told me that in his country, it was polite to make noise while eating. It was a sign that you were enjoying the food. So, noisy eating to one is considered impolite while to another it is very polite. Each will react according to their upbringing, unless we overcome. Our Father really doesn't care which way we eat. But our Father does care about our reaction to how our brother eats!
Various scientific disciplines have made many studies into how much of who we are comes from our hereditary traits versus our environment. There are many views on this subject.
The traditional Christian community is full of false teachings regarding Sovereignty versus "free will." What we are taught in this regard has tremendous consequences on how we view God, ourselves, and greatly effects how we relate to others. To me, the teaching of man being a "free moral agent" and therefore responsible for his own fate is one of the chief cornerstones of the Babylonian religious system of which christendom is certainly a part.
Let's see what the Scriptures say in this regard.
Psalm 51:5-13 "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity ; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden [part] thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; [that] the bones [which] thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [with thy] free spirit. 13 [Then] will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Romans 5:12 (NKJV) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned-- 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift [is] not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift [is] not like [that] [which] [came] through the one who sinned. For the judgment [which] [came] from one [offense] [resulted] in condemnation, but the free gift [which] [came] from many offenses [resulted] in justification. 17 For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore, as through one man's offense [judgment] came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act [the] [free] [gift] [came] to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.
These two Scriptures point out a couple of interesting things. The death penalty was imputed unto all mankind as a result of the act of one man, Adam. Even though it could not legally be called "sin" (transgression of God's law) because the law had not yet been given, nevertheless, we suffered the consequences of the effects of death. In other words, the deck was stacked against us the moment we entered this world. "In sin was I conceived."
Once one entered the world, David says we were "shaped in iniquity." Our parents, our local culture, our national heritage, etc., began to shape us after their own image, which also began in death. In other words, our so-called "life" really was born in death and the rest of our lives we continued to live out that death state. We are truly born slaves to death. We didn't ask to be born this way. Our so-called "free will" wasn't asked whether we wanted to be dipped into this realm. Leaving this realm before our appointed time seems difficult also. I can't tell you how many people I have talked to that have tried to kill themselves and still find themselves here on earth. Some of them are very mutilated by their attempts and yet are still here.
So, we are born into a world whose light is darkness and as we learn, being told it is light, even most of that is really only deeper darkness. I think the grossest darkness, is not the so-called street sin, or even the occult, but religious darkness. Those that claim they see and demand others to follow their light while they themselves are still in great darkness. Most people in this world are followers, not leaders. These followers find themselves following self-appointed teachers who use the tools of darkness to mold others into obedient disciples, disciples of darkness.
There are many different techniques used to mold us into images of darkness. The underlying principle behind most of them is some kind of fear like fear of lack, of rejection, of pain, of death, of appearing stupid, etc. Because of these fears, we are perfect setups for those who would sell us their formulas to deliver us from those things we fear.
This molding process begins at birth and continues throughout our lives. Since this magazine deals primarily with spiritual things, we will concentrate our writings on methods used to mold our side that seeks to understand higher things. Over the course of the next few issues of Dew, we will (Father willing) deal at length with the many ways we are conditioned. Our purpose is not to point fingers at darkness, our purpose is to help people get set free. The darkness was created with purpose and the way of escape was also created with purpose. The work of aiding others to escape from the darkness of their carnal mind is part of the work of reconciliation which work we have been called into. So let us be delivered that we may in turn learn how to help others.
A Catholic theologian once said, "Give me a child for the first seven years of his life and I will make him a Catholic for life." There is much more truth to this statement than most of us care to recognize. Those early years are formative years. They are also years we develop social, cultural, and religious habits that often remain with us for life. They have nothing to do with a real relationship with our Creator. They are habits, nothing more.
These early years are great opportunities for religious leaders to plant fears that will keep a person in bondage to a religious system for life, or keep a person from looking at anything else for fear of being deceived. This is a great opportunity to implant concepts which will actually keep the child from ever seeing the truth, even though the truth may be right before his eyes. If a particular doctrine is implanted into a child's mind with vivid graphic pictures, a handful of scriptures, add a little fear, throw in some respect for church authorities, and when that child reads plain Bible texts, he will not be able to clearly see what is directly in from of him. He will see the text through the filters that were put on his mind; he will not see the text as it really is.
I am absolutely amazed how many times I have heard a Scripture read in a particular denomination that completely contradicts one of their main teachings and no one ever comments about the contradiction. So many times I have heard songs in services declaring the salvation of all mankind, "Every knee shall bow," "I will draw all men," etc., and yet they do not hear, see, or really believe what is said. There was a time when perhaps they asked those hard questions, but when they were rebuked, or ridiculed for asking questions that caused division, they learned not to question anymore. They learned to go along with the crowd.
We are creatures of habit. There are many things we do regularly without thinking about them. This can be a useful function. It allows us to do many things without thinking consciously about them, which frees our conscience to do something else. Once we have learned how to walk, we don't think about it anymore as we are walking. We just do it. We don't think about tying our shoes. As a matter of fact, if I concentrate on tying my shoes, it becomes more difficult. It is almost as if I had never done it before. As soon as I stop concentrating on it, it becomes easy again. Have you ever noticed that yourself? This mechanism in the mind may be very helpful for many everyday things we do, but it can be very destructive when it comes to spiritual things.
In our youth we hear thousands of lies told so many times that we no longer check to see if what we have developed as part of our mind-set is true or not. For example, the ten commandments written on stone tablets and given to Israel have been labeled in the Western World as the "Golden Rule." But Paul, the apostle to the world labeled them the "ministry of death!" (see 2 Cor. 3:7) He called it the "ministry of condemnation" whose glory was fading 1900 years ago! We are taught America's values are based on Judeo-Christian ethics. This merged system is supposed to be the truth, but the fact of the matter is that modern Judaism and true Christianity really have very little in common with each other. The Judaism of today is based upon a revamping of Pharisaic Judaism in the first century which had to be dramatically altered due to the destruction of the temple, the destruction of the priestly genealogical records, and the Jews being forbidden to sacrifice in the only place God said they must sacrifice, in Jerusalem. I am not being anti-Semitic here. I am just stating a fact. Salvation by grace through faith and modern Judaism based upon good deeds should not be mixed. Presently, most of Christianity is very much like modern Judaism, but it should not be so. Judeo-Christian ethics is a mockery of Christianity, yet we have been brainwashed into believing it as truth in the Western World.
In our youth we learn thousands of things which hinder us from seeing as we ought. We learn many cultural values which taint our minds. We do not have space to go into great detail. I just want to crack the door that you may ask the Holy Spirit to aid you in discovering all those things which hinder you from seeing clearer.
In America, from the moment a child is born, it is bombarded with religious traditions which find little to no support from the New Testament. Dedication, infant baptism, confirmation, Easter with all its trimmings of Easter eggs, Easter Bonnets and new dresses, Christmas with good old St. Nick, Halloween which is a left-over from All Saints Day. In the older denominations such as the Roman Catholic church, Orthodox churches, and many of those which sprang forth during the reformation, many more days, rituals, traditions can be added to the list. We are fed injunctions like "God helps those who help themselves," yet just the opposite is true.
Our culture injects thousands of images to form a child into a religious being. Our currency has motto's such as "In God we trust" right next to Masonic symbols such as the pyramid with the all-seeing eye on top. In the Boy Scouts we are taught to believe in this generic "God." By the way, the word "god" whether in caps or not, comes from the Germanic "Gott" which was a non-Christian deity. Today, the word is basically a meaningless term. and that is the point I am trying to make. The term is meaningless and so is the belief in this meaningless term, "God." Millions of people have been programmed to believe in this "God" through cultural conditioning, but rather than having brought the individual into a meaningful relationship with our Father, it has actually closed the door to that relationship. Try to tell a person who believes in "God" because they have been programmed to believe, that they do not have a real relationship with the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ. You will probably have a fight on your hands or you will lose a friend. Why? Because an attack on traditions of any kind is usually strongly resisted. We are creatures of habit. We like our ruts. It is often difficult and painful to pull that wheel out of the rut so we can go a new way.
Those of us who went through Sunday School and vacation Bible school learn that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is an apple tree, the animals all went into the ark two by two, and that Delilah cut off Samson's hair, none of which are true! In this environment, before we really read the Bible directly for ourselves, we are immersed in mythology, Judeo-Christian principles, denominational creeds, customs, statements of faith, pagan rituals, etc. All of this forms our mind and sets ruts, images, and comfort zones, which will be used in the future to determine truth from error. Because the standard is false, we come to false conclusions and end up actually calling the truth a lie and lies, the truth. We declare, "It is written" while never having really seen it.The scales over our eyes are so thick that everything including our concept of God becomes gross darkness. But we do not know it is darkness because we have been seeing that way since childhood.
Everywhere we go, we stumble into this generic "God" or the concept that there are many ways to the top of this mountain. We graduate high school and hear a message from a minister, but it is spoken in a way so as not to offend any particular denomination or faith. We join civic clubs and engage in creeds and rituals paying homage to country, flag, and the generic "God." Some of these organizations, such as the Masons even print Bibles with their logos on them, yet the god they worship is not the true Creator. He is a grand architect, a mixture of all the religions of the world melted into one mysterious cult of strange symbols and rituals.
We are taught in the West that the place to worship God is in a church building. It is generally easy to find a church building. Most of them have similar structure and interior arrangements. Steeples, pews, alters, money plates, hymnals, a pulpit, a choir area, etc. One will be hard pressed to find the structure of a typical modern church in the New Testament, but then, that is the point I am trying to make-- these structures, images, concepts, doctrines, are not in the Bible, but when we have been programmed to accept all these things as Christianity, our minds cannot see what is plainly written. We see through all these filters and so see "through the glass darkly." As a result, we see a very dark "God." And when "God" becomes dark, mysterious, hard to figure out and easy to cross, we need someone to speak to Him for us lest we be consumed by His wrath. We then become like Israel who said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." (Exodus 20:19)
Even when men do not want to become that intermediary, men and women will still follow man rather than speak to God lest they die. Martin Luther told his followers, "Do not be called Lutherans!" Today we have Lutherans, with Lutheran bumper stickers going to many different denominations of Lutheran churches.
It is bad enough when religious organizations join together to perpetuate the lie, but when the business community and government joins in, it becomes almost a hopeless case to escape the trap. Since ancient times, leaders have used the power of fear to keep order in their lands. We have records of Roman leaders telling us they perpetuated the myths of angry gods who would torture uncivil citizens forever if they did not live a "good" life here on earth. They tell us they themselves did not believe in these myths, but it was the only thing that seemed to be an effective restraint upon the ignorant masses. And so they perpetuated the lie. We have records of early Christian church leaders saying the same thing.
There are several scriptures which appear to teach that all governing authorities are established by God and that we, as Christians, are to obey them. Church leaders and kings have used these scriptures to teach they are God's authority on earth. In some cases, such as in the Roman Catholic church, men such as the Pope have claimed titles such as "Vicar of Christ," which means "in place of Christ," or "substitute of Christ." In other words, they are God on earth. King James I of England used this principle to establish his absolute authority in all matters. Interestingly, the then popular Geneva Bible contained footnotes hinting that the populace could overthrow a king if they felt he was not ruling properly. Perhaps this is what prompted James to commission a new Bible translation. When reading the pages of dedication to King James I, it is quite clear who these scholars were bowing down to-King James.
Business leaders have always found it to their advantage to have as employees citizens who "know their place," who do not make waves such as causing strikes, demanding more wages, better working conditions, etc. A theology which teaches submission to those in power, being content with the lot you have in life, teaching "rebellion is as witchcraft," using the fear of eternal punishment to maintain submission to church and civil government, this kind of teaching is very useful to power-hungry businessmen. A good hell-fire preacher is worth his weight in gold to a Rockerfeller. Perhaps that is why most leading evangelists have very close connections with top businessmen. Billy Graham owes his international prominence to the media magnate William Randolph Hearst. D.L. Moody was supported by many Chicago business leaders. Billy Sunday was well acquainted with the Rockerfellers. Most successful evangelistic organizations have as part of their program a detailed plan to gather the support of the business community, Christian or non-Christian. It's the bucks that count! In short, those who desire positions of power, whether in the economic, political, or religious fields, find a philosophy of submission in the here-and-now with rewards and punishments in the hereafter a powerful tool at their disposal!
Please, please, please understand that I am well aware of the many sincere people involved in these efforts. Many people involved in these programs do not see the underlying motives and dishonesty which permeates these efforts. I know many leaders as well as supporters love Jesus and want to share Him with their community. But what I am sharing here, I feel needs to be said. There needs to be some real cleaning up. There are many who spend millions telling the Christian community what great things we are all doing. I think it is important to take off the makeup and see what's underneath. Forgive me if I am painting a not-so-pretty picture. But if it is a true representation, even though none of us like it,what are we going to do about it?
I am straying and I need to get back on the topic. We are much more blind than we suppose. This blindness comes with the package we are born into. This includes our physical makeup, our parental influences, our culture, the times we are born in, the governmental, religious, and economic structures that surround us. These are beyond our control, yet they have profound effects on our outlook on life and how we respond to the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
The Holy Spirit is the only one Who can really unravel our minds. To declare, as most of Christianity does, that we are born with a true free-will is to reveal how blind we Christians really are. The power of these forces I just mentioned upon our outlook on life and our responses to the environment in which we are born cannot be denied. Yet the majority of the church still teaches this mythical "free-will." Did you chose to be born? Did you chose your parents? Did you chose the country in which you live? Does one have a better chance to become a Christian in one country than another? Look at the distribution of Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism. Does one have a better chance to hear the "Gospel" in America than in a South Pacific Island that does not have a Bible in its language yet? Is God a respecter of persons? There are still today hundreds of languages which do not have a Bible translation. Oh, you free-will zealots, please allow the Holy Spirit to clear your minds!! Why do you eat with a fork and knife? Is it because the Holy Spirit showed you, or is it because of your culture? Do you have some similar habits or mannerisms as your parents? Do you have some similar prejudices? Would you find yourself a little uncomfortable at a table with someone who would pick up spaghetti with their hands or slurp their stew from the bowl without using a spoon? Do you have preferences regarding clothing, how you spend leisure time, bathing, body odor, hair styles, foods, political systems, social institutions, entertainment, etc? Then you have been formed, shaped, influenced, seduced, indoctrinated, brain-washed, nurtured, subjected to forces that directly effect your ability to make decisions. Your ability to chose has been tampered with.
This does not mean that we are not accountable for our actions nor does it mean that we do not have an effect on each other. Our Father has allowed this time of good and evil with its short term injustices and favoritism. It will work an ultimate good for all mankind.
In future articles we will explore more of the ways in which we have been trained to see improperly. I have spent some time studying the techniques worldly systems use to control people. The very same techniques are being used in many churches, including brainwashing techniques as sophisticated as the Chinese brainwashing and mass hypnosis as powerful as Hitler's use of it.
The Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, especially the "Prosperity Message" movement, use many of the same techniques used by stage hypnotists. We will give detailed examples in future writings, Father willing.
For now, we must humble ourselves and come before the throne of Grace with the cry, "Open our eyes! Show us. Teach us. Let us see from Your perspective." We will be surprised how powerful such a prayer can be when spoken in sincerity.
So lift up your eyes, O Ye Gates! Enter into your inheritance and behold the goodness of our Father. Let Him open your eyes that you may see how merciful and full of compassion He is. Let Him once again heal the sick, cast out demons, and open the eyes of the blind. Let Him again clean out the Temple, which you are.
There are 7 F's in the sentence.