The majority of mainstream Christian churches focus on what could be called the "Jesus the good Shepherd" aspect of Christianity. This child-like version is a good starting point for the Scriptures do tell us "except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye cannot see the kingdom of God" (Matthew 18:3) However, the Scriptures also tell us that eventually we must graduate from the milk of the Word to the meat.
Many modern pastors manipulate their flocks openly, or lead them to believe that giving to God's work is the only wise way to live, and those that do so shall be repaid many times over. The problem is in determining if that body is truly doing the work that God desires. In many Christian churches, if you are not rich and successful you are simply not "investing" in God enough, or not praying enough.
This "prosperity" cult view of Christianity is in direct conflict with much of the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. Where, for example, was the prosperity blessing upon John the Baptist? The Apostles seemed to miss out on prosperity, living poor and being tortured and killed for following and promoting the teachings of Christ. There are numerous other examples in the Bible that point to catastrophic events occurring in the lives, and often ending the lives, of the early Christians.
The Bible tells us "all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:12). Searching the Scriptures with this understanding we see proof that catastrophe is an integral part of a Christian's life experience.
The first two people on Earth had a totally catastrophic experience occur in their lives. Adam and Eve faced the serpent and lost their initial gift of eternal life; they lost their Garden of Eden blessing, one of their children murdered the other, and they finally died.
Noah and his family experienced a catastrophic event. Noah spent over 100 years building the Arc and proclaiming the coming judgment through rain. After Noah and his family boarded the Arc, the entire world was drowned.
Job had a rather catastrophic period in his life. His children were killed, he experienced horrible physical plagues that wracked his body, his friends judged and condemned him, and his wife told him he should "curse God and die."
Let's not forget that being a Christian in the early days meant that the government, the Romans, considered you to be lion feed.
An understanding of catastrophic occurrences as a part of the Christian life has clearly faded from the teachings of America's churches. It has been erased from the memory of America's Christians with the passage of time. Instead of recognizing that great individual blessings (and hardships) come from God, the great wealth and prosperity of this nation has steadily brought Christians to believe and trust more and more in the beast system - the government - as though the institution of government is the dispenser of God's blessing.
Few modern Christians recognize how the Scriptures plainly show that Satan had control of the Earth's kingdoms back in the days of Jesus Christ. When the Devil offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if he would only bow down and worship him, Christ never contradicted Satan's claim to the kingdoms of the world. Indeed, the book of Acts shows how Satan's kingdoms fiercely fought to deny the Gospel to the Devil's captives - frequently murdering and imprisoning the evangelists that brought the truth to each land.
And of course, there is the misguided belief taught by so many Christian churches that Christians will be raptured before the arrival of the great tribulation - thus denying the presence of the believers on Planet Earth when the catastrophic events so vividly depicted in Revelation begin.
Where was the "rapture" for the Apostles? Where was the "rapture" for those Christians fed to the lions? In more modern times, where was the "rapture" for the Christians that fought to defend God-given rights in the American Revolution? Where was the rapture for the men on the beaches of Normandy, the hell that they faced so accurately portrayed in the recent movie "The Saving of Private Ryan."
It is now a widely known historical fact that the Christians that were martyred during the so-called "cultural revolution" in China at the rise of Mao Tse-Tung all experienced a crisis of faith because they had been taught they would not experience the holocaust that came their way. They were taught the "rapture" was imminent - not a catastrophic political upheaval that cost thousands of lives.
We at the Christian Media Network believe that CATASTROPHE is a part of the born-again Christian life. Jesus told us "as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the son of man" (Luke 17:26) We believe those days are dawning upon us NOW, and HIS return is imminent - "immediately after the tribulation" is over (Matthewe 24:29).
The scientific community is even giving up on the "steady state" of planet Earth in favor of the growing belief and understanding of the old/new view - CATASTROPHISM. America's government is at this very moment searching the heavens for so-called "near Earth objects," asteroids that the experts fear will soon strike the planet. Many near earth object have impacted our planet in the past, and more are believed to be on the way. Perhaps the "experts" have read Revelation 8:8?
From being killed for following HIM as the Apostles and early Christians were, to enduring the catastrophes of the coming TRIBULATION, what is important to the truly born-again Christian is to study the Scriptures "to show thyself approved unto God," to follow the Commandments of God, and to prepare to endure the coming Catastrophes, for those who endure unto the end shall be saved.
February 11, 2002 -- Doug Hudson
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