Category: India Blog

I wanted nothing to do with Christianity

“I wanted nothing to do with Christianity!”

Satabdi was born in India and raised in an affluent family of the highest Hindu caste. She was a proud Hindu in her formative years. In fact, she used to think Christians didn’t understand anything. She believed that all names referred to a single god—some called him Christ, others called him Allah, and she called him Krishna. “We used to celebrate Christmas, Hindu, all the gods and goddesses, all the festivals. And because we thought Jesus was one of the Hindu gods, we loved him—but we hated Christians,” said Satabdi.

Each year, a Gideon visited her Hindu school to offer Testaments to students. Satabdi always declined the gift. “We had enough gods and goddesses. I didn’t need to read that book,” she said. As a child, her mother had given her a children’s book with pictures and stories based on the Bible, but she never wanted to read it.

“We had enough gods and goddesses. I didn’t need to read that book.”

Satabdi eventually transferred to another school, where she became friends with a young girl who was Catholic. Satabdi knew all about what Hindus believed, but she wondered about other beliefs. Specifically, she grew more curious about Christians.

After her 10th grade year, she decided to read that children’s book. She told her Catholic friend, “Hey, I read the Bible.” Satabdi admitted, “I knew that was a lie because it was not the Bible.” She started feeling guilty for lying to her friend and the feeling would not go away. Around the same time, she encountered another Gideon at her new school. She decided to accept the Testament he offered. She thought that if she read from the Testament her lie would be fixed because she would have actually read from part of the Bible.

Satabdi began reading her Testament. “As I came to the book of Romans, I realized from chapter one how far my community had gone away from God by making idols,” she recalled. “My society, my ancestors, my caste that I was so proud of had gone away from God.”

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (ESV)

Throughout her whole childhood, she and her family had done meditations and fasted to various gods. Satabdi considered herself very religious and believed she would surely go to Heaven. But she got to Romans 3:23 (ESV) and read, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” She realized that if God was the holy, true God, He couldn’t accept all of the fruits, flowers, and money she had given to other gods and goddesses. He could not be a righteous judge if He was overlooking her sins. If He was not a righteous judge, He could not be God. At that point, she realized she had been worshipping idols.

She came to Romans 5:7-8 (ESV), which reads, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus was not just a good person who had experienced bad things. “He was the true and living God who created me, who loved me enough to die for me!” realized Satabdi.

She couldn’t fathom how God could love her that much! Not wanting anyone to see her, she went to the bathroom and began to cry. “The Lord opened my heart. I knew that I believed through reading the Scriptures,” she said. Her parents and family thought someone had brainwashed her, yet Satabdi continued studying God’s Word. It took her almost a year and a half to find another believer, and she eventually joined a church in Calcutta. “I prayed, ‘God, what do you want from me?’ and He answered, ‘Go, spread the Word.’”

Today, God continues opening doors all over the world for Satabdi to share her story. She encourages members of The Gideons by saying, “It is because of those faithful Gideons who did not stop going to schools and sharing the Gospel—thank you for the work you do. Do not ever give up!”

“I prayed, ‘God, what do you want from me?’ and He answered, ‘Go, spread the Word.”

Who were the three Wise Men from the East that worshipped the baby Jesus?

The three kings on camels against a setting sun.

For my Parsi/Zoroastrian Friends all over the world and Bombay, India
Who Were the Wise Men? Sermons Matthew 2:1 Who were the wise men?

Are you ready for that? Matthew chapter 2. All of us have wondered. I remember when I was a little boy I wondered who those guys were. How many were there? Were they really kings? Did they really ride camels? Why did they come to Bethlehem? And, as Paul said, we have most of our ideas about this fascinating group from the people who draw Christmas cards rather than theologians.

Vincent, who has written some very helpful word studies, says in regard to this, “Many absurd traditions and guesses respecting these visitors to our Lord’s cradle have found their way into popular belief and into Christian art. They were said to be kings and three in number. They were said to be representatives of three families of Shem, Ham, and Japheth and, therefore, one of them is pictured as an Ethiopian. Their names are given as Caspar, Balthazar, and Melchior.” You’ve probably heard that.

And their three skulls, amazingly enough, are said to have been found. Yes, they were found “in the twelfth century by Bishop Reinald of Cologne.” The bishop dug those up and knew right off they were skulls. It’s very clear. And their eyes were still in the sockets fixed toward Bethlehem. Today, believe it or not, friends, they are on exhibit in a priceless casket in a great cathedral in Europe.

Now frankly, folks, the only thing we know about these wise men is some history and what is said in Matthew. We really are very, very limited in terms of specifics. In addition to what we have here in Matthew which is very limited, it says, “There came wise men from the East.” That’s it, folks, right there. We don’t know their names; we don’t know anything from that.

But as we put the pieces together, historically, and we do have some very fascinating history. Some of it from the Old Testament, books such as Daniel where the Magi or wise men appear in several different texts, other Bible books as well as the writings of Herodotus and other historians. We basically have found, and then here’s the basic thrust of who they were. And then we’ll get into the specifics, and I think you’ll be fascinated by it.

We’re going to spend a lot of time with history tonight. This is going to be teaching not preaching. We believe they were members of an Eastern priestly group, descendant of a tribe of people originally associated with the Medes, M-E-D-E-S. Now, I just want to remind you of something so you’ll get a little bit of a picture.

Basically in the history of the world there have been four major world empires, all right? First one was the Babylonian Empire. And that, basically, was settled in the fertile crescent area east of Israel in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates River, north of the Arabian gulf, east of what we know is Israel today. That was where the Babylonian Empire was. It was followed by the second great world empire that Daniel talks about, and that was the Empire known as the Medo-Persian Empire.

It was a conglomerate empire made up of the Persians and the Medes. The Medes were a very large and powerful people. The third great world empire was Greece. When the Medo-Persian Empire was conquered by Alexander the Great, the world became Greek, as it were. The fourth great empire was the Roman Empire.Now as we go backwards, even while the Babylonian Empire was in existence there was still Medes and Persians. So they are very ancient people.

In fact, there are many people in history who trace the origin of the Medes all the way back to the time when Abraham was called out of Ur of the Chaldees, way back in the 12th chapter of Genesis. So it may well be that these are very, very ancient people. Certainly they are people who appear in the Babylonian Empire because we see them in the book of Daniel.

They are people from the Medo-Persian Empire and existed on through the time of the Greek Empire and are still in existence in the Roman Empire when Christ is born. So they are a very ancient and long-lived people were these wise men. And by the way, the word wise men…in verse 2, it says, “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king behold there came magi.”

The Greek is magos, magoi, magi. It is really an untranslatable word. It is not a translatable word; it is simply the name of a certain tribe of people. It should better be translated, perhaps, magi. The magi were a priestly line, a priestly tribe of people from among the Medes, this very ancient and large people. They were very skilled in astronomy and astrology. This was a very great preoccupation with them. Their interest in astronomy and astrology was only part of their involvement. They were sort of occultists in a way. They had some sort of divination processes.

They were involved in certain kinds of things that we would assume, perhaps, were like a sorcery and that’s why the word magi was corrupted through history into the word magic, magician, which is a synonym for sorcerer. But the magi originally were basically a pagan, priestly tribe of people from the Medes and the Persians and there are many, many historical sources to validate this.

They became interested in astronomy and astrology and the study of the stars. And in those days they didn’t make much of a separation between the superstition and the science. The science is astronomy, the superstition is astrology, and they were pretty well blended at the time. Now, what’s interesting about this is that during the time of the Babylonian Empire these magi were dwelling in the area of Babylon. They were there during the Babylonian time and the Medo-Persian Empire as well.

Now while they were there during the Babylonian Empire, they were very heavily influenced by the Jews. You remember that one of the things that Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon did was take Judah into captivity. Do you remember that? That’s what Jeremiah was saying. “You are going to be taken into captivity.” Jeremiah pronounced this fact and of course even the book of Lamentations laments this reality. And they were carried off into the Babylon captivity.Well, here in Babylon were existing these magi, and they were very high-ranking officials. By that time they had ascended to a high place in the Babylonian Empire because of their amazing intuition, wisdom, knowledge, astrology, occultic ability, whatever you want to call it, they had risen to a place of prominence.

And so, immediately, they came into contact with all these Jewish people that had been brought to captivity. They also came into contact with one very specific Jew by the name of Daniel, who was elevated in the Babylonian Empire. And, consequently, they were very familiar or made familiar in the dispersion of the Jews in Babylon with Jewish prophesy regarding the Messiah.

They were made aware of what was really on the Jewish prophetic plan for this One who was to come. And so that’s basically who they were.Now I want to really dig into that a little bit and set the scene for what happens in this incredible incident in chapter 2 of Matthew. Let’s go back and see their history.

According to the ancient historian, Herodotus, the magi were a tribe of people within a larger people called the Medes. Now listen to this. They were a hereditary priesthood tribe. In other words, they were like the Levites in Israel. In Israel there were twelve tribes, but one of those tribes was set apart as the priestly tribe. And they were the ones who ministered in the rituals and the religious ceremonies of the temple, and they were the Levites.

Well the pagan Medes had a similar thing. Of all of the tribes within the Medes they had selected one of them to function as priests in their pagan rituals. And that tribe which they had selected was the magi. Again, it’s an untranslatable word, really. This is the name of that priestly group of people. It was a hereditary priesthood. Now as I said earlier some historians see them all the way back in Ur of the Chaldees as a part of a nomadic people that were wandering about in that part of the world.

Whichever is true, whether they go all the way back to Ur or whether they just first kind of surface in the Babylonian time we don’t know. The point is this. During the Babylonian World Empire they were significant, during the Medo- Persia Empire they were significant, during the Greek Empire they were significant, and during the Roman Empire they were significant. And in all of those empires they maintained a place of tremendous prominence in the orient, in the east.

You see, even when the Greek Empire was in vogue, there was still certain eastern culture and power. Even when the Roman Empire was in vogue there was certain eastern power. And in both of those periods, the Magi were really the key people in the government of the East, centered in the Fertile Crescent, the area around Babylon and Medo-Persia. Now they always appear with tremendous political power. Now this is very important for you. You’re going to have a little history lesson.

They always appear with tremendous political power. I would say the majority of historians, at least the ones that I read, and the ones that were referred to, see them as an eastern people who rose by virtue of their very unique priestly function. By their unique rather occultic powers of divination, by their astrological, astronomical knowledge, they rose to places of prominence. And they rose up in Babylonian government, Medo-Persian government, even in some cases in the East during the Greek period and for sure during the Roman period, to be the advisors to the royalty of the East.

And that’s where they got the name the Wise Men. They were the ones that were consulted about the various things that the kings and the rulers and the nobles and the princes wanted to know. Now, we even have some history that tells us about their religious activities. Now, I’ll give you a little description of the kind of religion that the Magi were involved in. Their priesthood had certain functions and here are some of the things: The principle element of their worships seems to have been fire. It’s apparent from history that they worshipped or that they sort of reverenced fire. And we don’t know for sure why, but perhaps they saw fire as some kind of incarnation of deity. And, by the way, they were monotheistic, they only believed, really, in one God and so they had that in common with Israel.

But they looked at fire as the principle element of their worship. And in connection with that they had an altar which burned with a perpetual flame. And they believed that that perpetual flame was kindled by God from heaven.So they had this perpetual flame altar. Now, over beside that, in their temples and wherever, they also had another altar and on that altar they offered blood sacrifice. So they actually had a blood sacrificial system. And they lit the fire to burn the sacrifice with the flame off the perpetual altar. And then when they had burned their sacrifice, this is interesting, the victim was then eaten by the worshiper and by the Magian priests.

What’s fascinating about that is that’s almost a direct parallel to Judaism. And you can see how way back then Satan was counterfeiting true religion from the very beginning, you see. He’s always done that. You know, even today, there is real Christianity and there is phony. And in that day there was real sacrificial system with genuine worship toward the one right true God, and there was phony monotheism, phony blood sacrifice, false sacrifice, and offering burned and then eaten by the worshiper and the priest.

Additionally, these people had a hereditary priesthood. Again, a counterfeit of the Levitical priesthood. These people carried about small bundles of divining rods in their garments, and they used these divining rods for their little ceremonies. Not unlike the Urim and the Thummim of the priests, the high priest, by which the knowledge of God was sought. They believed in the distinction of certain kinds of unclean animals. That’s interesting. They believed that certain insects and certain reptiles were unclean. Again, this is an interesting parallel to what God truly revealed to Israel. And another thing that I felt very interesting as I was reading about it was they were very ritualistic about ever touching and disposing of a dead body, another thing common to God’s standard for Israel.

So in the Babylonian Empire this very interesting religious group of people appears. And they rose to tremendous prominence. In Jeremiah 39:3 in verse 13, a man by the name of Nergalsharezer is mentioned, and Nergal-sharezer is the chief of the Magi in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. Okay? These oriental kings starting with Nebuchadnezzar had elevated the Magi, and even before that. But as far as the Scripture is concerned, we see them first with Nebuchadnezzar.

They had elevated this priestly group from the Medes to the place of being the official advisors to the king. And so they are tremendously powerful people. And even when Babylon fell and the Medo-Persian Empire came in and you have great rulers like Cyrus and others, you still have the high-ranking officials of the Medo- Persian government being taken from this group called Magi. They were unmatched in political power.Now I want you to turn in your Bible with me for a minute, back to Daniel, and I want to show you how they appear in the book of Daniel, Daniel, chapter 2.

When I get all done with this and you re-read verse 1 of Matthew 2 it’s going to make a lot more sense. Daniel chapter 2 in verse 10 and we won’t take time to set all the context. But here we are in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel is there, the Jews are in captivity in Babylon, and it says, “The Chaldeans answered before the king and said, ‘There is not a man on the earth that can reveal the king’s matter: therefore, there is no king, lord, nor ruler that asked such things of any Magi or astrologer or Chaldean.’” And it’s very likely that those are all synonyms. And then astrologer and Chaldean may just be other ways of saying the same thing.

So here we find the word Magi, it’s not strictly the word magician, that’s an English corruption it’s the word Magi. It’s talking about this priestly tribe. They had a very prominent place at that time. They were known as those who could interpret dreams. Now you remember Nebuchadnezzar had this bizarre dream and none of them could handle it.

Now you know what’s so fascinating about it is there was one man who could interpret it. You know who that was? It was Daniel. And let’s go on a little bit, Chapter 4 verse 7. We again see the Magi. Chapter 4 verse 7, “Then came in the Magi, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, the soothsayers, and I told the dream to them but they didn’t make known unto me its interpretation.” Verse 9, “O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians.” Now here we meet the master of the Magi. And I’m just trying to point out that they are mentioned repeatedly in the book of Daniel. And rather than call them magicians, they should be Magi.

That’s essentially what he is referring to. Now when Daniel came along and all these Magi who were in the high, high-ranking place of advisors to the king couldn’t give any answers, Daniel could, something amazing happened. Daniel 5:11, “There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods, and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods was found in him” – talking about Daniel now – “Whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king I say, thy father made master of the Magi.”

Now how interesting. Daniel was so adept at telling the dreams of the king that the king made Daniel the master of the Magi, so that Daniel was literally in Babylon the chief over this whole priestly group. Okay? It’s fascinating. Now, that puts Daniel in the tremendously unique position of being able to dispense to these Magi all of his information about the Old Testament, which without a shadow of a doubt is precisely what Daniel did.

We know that Daniel was a man of God. We know that Daniel was a man totally devoted to worship and expression of his faith because he wound up in a lion’s den because of it, didn’t he? And there’s no question in my mind but that Daniel and the other godly remnant in the Diaspora, the dispersion, shared their knowledge of the Old Testament and their copies of the Scripture with these people in Babylon. And, additionally, when the final decree of Cyrus came that they could go back to the land the majority of the Jews never went back.

The majority of the Jews stayed in Babylon, intermingled, intermarried, and throughout the remaining history of Babylon and Medo-Persia there were people in the noble families, people in the high-ranking offices, some say even monarchs in that part of the world who had part Jewish blood. And certainly we would have to conclude that Daniel had a profound impact in the dispensing of that information. And, by the way, I want to add another footnote to this, that as I was studying, this was very fascinating to me because I began to think about this.

If Daniel was so good at winning these Magi over and convincing them about this fact of the coming Messiah, why was it that they plotted against him and threw him in the lion’s den, if he was so influential and believable? And so I began to study, and the sixth chapter of Daniel revealed a most interesting thing. You don’t need to…we’re not going to go all through it. But this, in the sixth chapter of Daniel we find a plot against Daniel based on jealousy. But what is really amazing about this plot is that it is not a plot devised by the Magi who dominated the hierarchy of the royal court. It is a plot developed by men known as the satraps, and I don’t mean SET. I mean SAT, satraps.

That was the term used to describe the regional governors who had nothing to do with the palace. So remember, the plot that was hatched in jealousy against Daniel was not a plot hatched at the hands of the Magi. Which, again, leads me to see that very likely Daniel was extremely believable and convincing in his impact.In fact, do you realize that when Daniel was actually being thrown in the lion’s den, the king said, “Daniel, I know that your God will deliver you.” You remember the king actually said that? He was so convinced of the power of God through the testimony of Daniel. And I’m sure he just checked it as often as he possibly could to see that that anticipation was in fact a reality.

So, the Magi kept their place of prominence, influenced, no doubt, by such a great man as Daniel, and there were few who ever lived like him, influenced by Godly Jews in the dispersion, influenced by the intermarriage and the constant Jewish culture that was imposed upon them in many ways. And they became and maintained a position in the Medo-Persian Empire of great power in the court of the king.

Now let me tell you something else interesting. In the sixth century B.C., there was a great king of Persia by the name of Darius, Darius the Great. This is in the Medo-Persian Empire. This is right around the time of Daniel. And Darius came in and Darius said, “I am going to establish a national religion.” And you know which one he picked? Zoroastrianism. Now we don’t have time to go into Zoroastrianism, but Zoroastrianism had with it a lot of astrology. And it may well be that the final little nuances of astrology and the preoccupation of the Magi with that, came in the merging of Zoroastrianism.

So, now what you’ve got, you’ve got these Magi who have their own culture religion. On top of that has been superimposed Judaism, and on top of that has been superimposed Zoroastrianism. Now that’s really a can of worms, to put it mildly. But what’s so interesting is the Magi was so anxious to maintain their political power, and they were so anxious to maintain their religious power that when the decree came from Darius that Zoroastrianism was the religion that was going to exist, they just slid right in and said, “Fine with us,” and they made some adaptations.

But now what you’ve got is very interesting. You’ve got the Magi all gobbled up here. And you’ve got some of them, no doubt, committed to Zoroastrianism as time went on, some of them committed to ancient Magian formulas and some of them maybe believing, honestly in their heart, that the God of Daniel was the real God. And so this is the key. As history moved on from here, the Magi began to depart from a singular commitment to their historic religion, and they began to find their way into different things. Some maybe leaning toward Zoroastrianism, some toward the ancient magianism, and I believe in my heart that some, like these Magi that show up at the birth of Christ, were really true seekers of the true God.

And so that gives you a little bit of the background. Now, I’m going to talk some more about this history. The Magi were so powerful that historians tell us that no Persian was ever able to become king…now watch this one…never able to become king except under two conditions: One, he mastered the scientific and religious discipline of the Magi. Two, he had to be approved of and crowned by the Magi. Now that’s something. That’s power. Do you know what they called the wisdom of the Magi? They had a name for it. The name for it was this. The law of the Medes and the Persians.

That law was the law or the code defined by the Magi. And if you want to see that phrase it’s in Esther 1:19 and Daniel chapter 6 a couple of times. The law of the Medes and the Persians was the code, the scientific religious discipline of the Magi. And their wisdom was that which was required for anyone to be a monarch in Persia. Additionally, historians tell us that they controlled the judicial office as well as the kingly office.In Esther 1:13 we have the indication that the royal bench of judges was all chosen from the Magi. Man, they were powerful.

And you have to remember when you talk about the Persian Empire and the Median Empire and the Babylonian Empire, you are talking about control of the Orient. This is a massive empire. And in the Babylonian time and the MedoPersian time, they literally controlled the known world. These were powerful men. And they were not only responsible for making every monarch that was made in that era, but they were responsible for setting up the judges as well. They had a check system for the despotism that could grow out of a kingship, and so they were the judges that counter-balanced the dictator king.

History tells us they knew astronomy, they were very good in mathematics, they knew natural history, they were good at agriculture and architecture. And do you remember back in…I think it’s Acts 7 that talks about the fact that Moses was raised up in all the wisdom of the Egyptians? Same thing was true of anybody who was raised in a nobility in the East. They were raised in the law of the Medes and the Persians, all nobility raised by them. And they were the kingmakers. They were the kingmakers, and no one ruled at all apart from them.

Now, as I mentioned earlier on of their special skills was interpreting dreams. And when they failed to do that and Daniel moved in on top of it and became the chief, as we saw in Daniel 5:11, the setup was made by God to set the scene for Matthew chapter 2, hundreds of years before Jesus was born, six hundred. God was setting up the situation for a great Hebrew prophet to rule a group called the Magi so that one day when a baby was born in Bethlehem, some of those Magi would find their way to the house where the baby was.

That’s planning history. So the syncretistic hybrid religion of the Magi very much like Judaism, monotheistic and a hereditary priesthood, blood sacrifice, believed also in supernatural revelation, believed in prophecy, these common things sort of made Judaism an easy thing for them to accept. And I believe in my heart, and this is just what I believe because of what I see happen in Matthew 2.

I believe that apparently there were some God-fearing gentile Magi historically existing in that eastern part of the world. Now I want to move to the time of Jesus. Look with me at Matthew 2. Time has gone on, century after century until Jesus is to be born. Somehow and by some marvelous way God has managed to maintain some true seeking Magi. Most may be corrupted. Certainly, many corrupted, and we’ll meet a few of the corrupt ones that are in the New Testament. But there were some real ones. There were some like Cornelius, you know, God-fearing gentiles. There were some like Lydia, a God-fearing gentile. There were some back there in that part of the world, some from the Magi, high-ranking kingmakers in the great Empire of the east.

There were some at that time who were still waiting for Daniel’s great hope to be fulfilled, you see.Now let me set the stage. Politically speaking, Rome was scared of the Eastern Empire. Now if you’ll just focus in your mind a little map of Europe and that was the Roman Empire, this massive chunk of Europe. And technically it swept to the east. But by virtue of distance, across the Mediterranean, across the blazing desert to get to the east, there was a certain isolation in the east which caused Rome a lot of anxiety. And they were always fearful that what then became known as the Parthian Empire, the Eastern Empire made up of the Medes and the Persians and the old Babylonian territory, that Parthian Empire was always kind of an anxiety for Rome.

Rome, you know, had stretched its tentacles out as it were to rule the world but they never really felt very secure about the Parthian Empire. And they had become violent enemies, violent enemies. And they fought. In 55 B.C. they fought. In 40 B.C. they fought. And what’s fascinating is, you know where they always fought? The great empire in the west, the great empire in the east came together and guess where they always fought? Right along the coast of the Mediterranean, Syria, Jordan, Palestine. Israel was a little no man’s land between the powers of the east and the powers of the west. Now Rome was afraid of them.

And if you look at verse 3 of Matthew 2, it says, “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was,” what? “Troubled.” When he heard that Magi, oriental, Parthian kingmakers had arrived in Jerusalem he was rattled. And we’ll see more about that in a few minutes. Now, let me tell you a little more about what happens. By the time we get to the time of Christ the Magi are still in tremendous power in the east. Some of them used their power, their position, their skills, with a great amount of human wisdom. Some of them just really turned into awful people.

Like any scientist, any priest, any preacher any other skilled person of modern days, we can either apply our craft deceitfully or we can apply it honestly. Some of the Magi were honest and they exalted the craft of wisdom and political advice. Some of them were corrupt and they prostituted it. Both kinds were vary common in the Mediterranean era when Christ was born.

Let me introduce you to a couple of corrupt ones. Turn in your Bible to Acts 8. Acts 8, verse 4. “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the Word,” Acts 8:4 says. “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them, and the people with one accord gave heed to those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.” And it tells all about those. And you come to verse nine.

“But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously in the same city used sorcery and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one.” Some great one. “To whom they all gave heed from the least to the greatest saying, ‘This man is the great power of God.’” Now here is Simon, Simon Magus if you will, Simon the Magi. And here is a man who has prostituted his position into deceit as it were; he has sold himself to Satan. He used sorcery. You notice that? The root of that word is Magi, mageu, in the Greek. He used his Magi art in a prostituted manner.And later on he tried to buy the Holy Spirit and Peter really lays him out.

He says in verse 2O, “Your money perish with you, you have,” – verse 21 – “neither part nor lot in this matter.” Verse 22, “Repent of your wickedness.” Verse 23, “I perceive you are in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.” Boy, oh Peter didn’t mince any words.

Look at the 13th chapter of Acts, Acts 13:6. “And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos,” and this is, of course, Paul and Barnabas starting on the first missionary journey. And they’re in Cyprus, the little island there in the east coast of the Mediterranean, “the isle of Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus.” And it goes down in verse 8 and it says “Elymas, the sorcerer.” The Greek is Elymas the magos, Elymas the Magi.

Here’s another one who also has prostituted this craft, prostituted this strange pagan religion in order to seek the ends of Satan. And of course, he tried to mess up Paul. And Paul says, “Oh, full of all deceit and mischief, you child of the devil, you enemy of righteousness. Will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord and now behold the hand of the Lord is upon you,” – verse 11 – “and you will be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. Immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

Paul dealt with this one.And you see both Simon and Elymas were brought into the bondage of Satan himself who is the god of all astrologers and the god of all sorcerers. And, frankly, these were the kind of people that made intelligent folks in the Roman Empire despise such sorcerers. Philo the Roman says, “They are vipers, they are scorpions and they/other venomous creatures.” You see, these were the kind of people, the kind of Magi the Romans despised. But in the east, as I said, they were tremendously powerful men. And some among them, no question in my mind, were genuine men.Now at the time of Christ, at the time of Christ in the Eastern Empire, there was a ruling body called the Megistanes. You don’t need to…that’s not going to be on the quiz so you don’t need to worry about.

But there was a ruling house called the Megistanes, and those…this would be like the United States Senate. Okay. That’s just a name, Megistanes. And this ruling house ruled in the Parthian-Persian Empire at this time. Now listen, it was totally composed of Magi whose duty it was, now watch this, to have absolute choice for the selection of a king. They were kingmakers. And you know what happened? They had some real problems with the king that they had.

They wanted to fight Rome and knock off Rome. But they had a loser for a king, Phraates the Fourth. And Phraates the Fourth had been deposed. And listen, the Magi were looking for a new king, a new king of the east, a new king of the Eastern Empire who could come against Rome. When they arrived in Jerusalem Herod knew what was going on.

They were kingmakers and when they wandered around town saying, “Where is this new king of the Jews?” Herod got panicky. When suddenly these Persian kingmakers appeared in Jerusalem, no doubt traveling in full force with all their oriental pomp. And they use to wear conical hats with points on the top and big deals clear down to the bottom of their chin, and they rode Persian steeds not camels. And when they came in they didn’t come alone. The estimates of history are they came with Persian cavalry. When they came charging into the city of Jerusalem and Herod peeked out his little palace window, he flipped. These are powerful men, and to make it worse his army was out of the country on a mission. And the Bible says Herod was troubled. I guess he was. The word in the Greek is he was agitated like your washing machine, he was shaking. You see, Herod had a title.

You know what Herod’s title was? King of the Jews. He got it from Caesar Augustus. Caesar Augustus crowned him king of the Jews. And he realized the great dream of his life was to get that little buffer state under his power, and here he was in the middle of two huge contending empires. And all of a sudden this massive coterie of Persians arrive in the city and he is panicked. And they say, “We’re coming to find the new king.”

Now at the time Herod was close to death. And Caesar Augustus was really old and hanging by a thread. And since the retirement of Tiberius the Roman army didn’t even have a commander-in-chief. And they knew that this would be the time to bring about an eastern war against the west. It was right. And so Herod was shaking.You say, “Well, what were the Magi thinking?” I don’t know. Maybe, they had looked at it politically. Maybe they thought, “Oh, man, here comes the king.” And I think that that’s probably true but additionally I think they looked at it spiritually.

Because when they got to that little room in Bethlehem, the Bible says they worshipped Him. They saw more than just a king. I believe they saw the Messiah they had heard about from the days of Daniel. I think we have God-fearing, seeking gentiles. And it was two-fold. I’m sure they were thinking, “Maybe this is the Savior, the Savior who is called the Anointed One,” which is a term describing a king. “And maybe He will not only be the Savior, the Messiah, but maybe He will be the one who will gather all this people of the east together and go against the oppression of Rome.” By the way, the Magi knew that the people of Israel were on their side, not Rome’s.

And so that’s why they came into town and started asking the people where this new king was. They thought the people of Israel would be just as excited as they were. But you see the people of Israel were blinded by their unbelief. Isn’t it fascinating to you? It is to me, that the first people in the world to recognize the arrival of the King were gentiles. Gentiles. Does that tell you something about history? “He came unto His own and His own,” what? “Received Him not.” And Matthew follows that all the way through. The rejection of the King. Could this be the invincible monarch? They could crown Him.

They could take Him back and they could make Him king and they could unify the east. And with this great Messiah that Daniel had prophesied they could go against Rome with invincibility. And so into Jerusalem rides the group of Magi, kingmakers of the east on their fine Persian steeds, escorted by mounted cavalry. And so the stage is set. What happens after this? Come back next week. We don’t have time.Let me close by saying this. Isn’t it exciting to you how God controls history? Does that excite you? Now see, you looked at everything I said and you listened to it. And I talked to you for fifty minutes, and you know why it was so fascinating to you? Not because it was just a bunch of historical facts, but because you were seeing God at work.

History is His story. Long ago He picked out a man named Daniel, put him in a place to influence some men who would arrive in perfect timing. You say, “Well, why does Matthew present this? Why?” Listen. Matthew, all the way through his gospel is trying to tell the world that Jesus Christ is what? King. And just to make sure nobody misses it he has the most famous kingmakers in the world come and bow down at His feet. Do you see? It’s all a part of Matthew’s strategy. He’s the king. And if Israel isn’t going to acknowledge it, then God is going to drag a bunch of people from Persia to acknowledge it. He’s king.

God has master planned history. And the sad part of it is that the people who should have known, the people who should have known missed it. And the people from way off, who should have never guessed, showed up and worshipped. That’s history. Jesus came. Paul said, “To the Jew first, also to the Gentiles.” Jesus came and said, “I’m come not but for the lost sheep for the house of Israel.” Israel turned its back on Christ and He called a people from a no people. “He reached out to the Gentiles,” Romans says, “and grafted us in.” And the hint of that was right here in the very beginning.

Remember what it says, if…the Bible says if we don’t praise Him, what? The very rocks will cry out. And when the king arrived, beloved, when the king arrived, if His people wouldn’t praise Him then God will make sure that there’s somebody there to do it and there was. And you know in our world today they celebrate Christmas, pass around the Christmas cards, look at the wise men. They don’t understand the point. They don’t know the meaning. They don’t see who He is. But here and there, hither and yon, some of us do. Right? And there’s some of us who bow to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Next week we’re going to discuss Herod, what kind of a man he was, and why he panicked. And I’m going to tell you what the star was that led them to Bethlehem. Let’s pray.Father, it’s just really…it’s just beyond us to see how You work in history. With our little finite minds, we look at things and we think we understand and then we dig deep and deeper and deeper and, all of a sudden, we discover a world we never knew existed, a world of information a world of insight that expands in our minds Your incredible greatness, Your unequaled power and wisdom.

God, I thank You for the wise men, the Magi, however many there were and whatever their names were, who were seeking the King. And I feel grieved in my heart for the people of the King who didn’t want him. And I would pray, Lord, tonight that in our fellowship there are some who have been like the people of the King and turned their back on Him and said, “I don’t want Him.” “We will not have this man reign over us,” they said. Father, I pray that You convict their hearts. They be like those who came from afar and rejoiced with great joy and fell down and worshipped Him. Thank You also that You planned us to be a part of the church that bows before Him in worship. We’ll give you praise, Lord, for all that You have done that shows us Your mighty hand in Jesus name. Amen.

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My Father Is The Best Mother On Earth

Had tears running down when I read this?

Read on….. He was watering the plants in the posh gardens of an International school, heat and dust didn’t seem to affect him.

“Ganga Das, Principal Ma’am wants to see you — right now”…The last two words of the peon had lots of emphasis on them, trying to make it sound like an urgency.

He quickly got up, washed and wiped his hands and headed towards the Principal’s chamber. The walk from the garden to the office seemed never ending, his heart was almost jumping out of his chest.

He was trying all the permutation and combination, figuring out as to what has gone wrong that she wants to see him urgently…He was a sincere worker and never shirked his duties…knock knock…

“Madam, you called me?” “Come inside…” an authoritative voice made him further nervous…Salt n pepper hair, tied neatly in a french knot, a designer sari-sober and very classic, glasses resting on the bridge of her nose…She pointed out towards a paper kept on the table…”Read this”…

“B..but Ma’am I am an illiterate person. I can not read English. Ma’am please forgive me if I have done anything wrong… give me another chance… I am forever indebted to you for allowing my daughter to study in this school, free of cost… I could have never ever dreamt of such a life for my child..”

And he broke down almost trembling: “Hold on, you assume a lot…we allowed your daughter because she is very bright and you have been our sincere worker.. Let me call a teacher in, she will read it out and translate it to you… this is written by your daughter and I want you to read this.

“Soon enough the teacher was called and she started reading it, translating each line in Hindi…It read-“Today we are asked to write about Mother’s Day. I belong to a village in Bihar, a tiny village where medical help and education still seem like a far fetched dream.

Many women die every now and then while giving birth. My mother was one of them too, she could not even hold me in her arms. My father was the first person to hold me.. or perhaps the only person.

Everyone was sad.. as I was a girl and I had “eaten up” my own mother. My dad was instantly asked to remarry but he refused. My grandparents forced him by giving all logical, illogical and emotional reasons but he didn’t budge.

My grand parents wanted a grandson, they threatened him to remarry or else he would be disowned…He didn’t think twice… he left everything, his acres of land.. a good living, comfortable house, cattle and everything that counts for a good lifestyle in a village.

He came to this huge city with absolutely nothing — but me in his arms. Life was tough, he worked hard day and night.. raised me with tender love and utmost care.

Now I understand why suddenly he developed a dislike for things that I would love to eat when there was only one piece left in the platter…. he would say that he hated eating it and I would finish it considering that he did not like it…. but as I grew older I realised the reason and what sacrifice is all about.

He gave me the best possible comforts beyond his capacity. This school gave him a shelter, respect and the biggest gift — an admission to his daughter…If love and care defines a mother… then my father fits in there.

If compassion defines a mother, my father fits in well in that category too…If sacrifice defines a mother, my father dominates that category. So in a nut shell.. if a mother is made of love, care sacrifice and compassion… MY FATHER IS THE BEST MOTHER ON EARTH THEN.

On Mother’s Day, I would like to wish my father for being the best parent on earth… I salute him and say it with pride that the hardworking gardener working in this school is my father.

I know I may fail this test after my teacher reads this — but this would be a very small price one would pay towards an ode to the selfless love of my father. There was a deafening silence in the room… one could only hear soft sobbing of Ganga Das….

The harsh sun could not wet his clothes with sweat but soft words of his daughter had soaked his chest with tears…. he was standing there with hands folded. He took the paper from the teacher’s hands… held it close to his heart and sobbed.

Principal got up.. offered him a chair, glass of water and said something… but, strangely the crispness of her voice was taken over by a surprising warmth and sweetness….”Ganga Das.. your daughter is given 100/100 marks for this essay…

This is the best essay ever written about Mother’s Day in the history of this school. We are having the Mother’s Day gala event tomorrow and the entire School Management has decided to invite you as the Chief Guest for the event…

This is to honor all the love and sacrifice a man can do to raise his children… to show that you do not have to be a woman to be the perfect parent…And most importantly this is to reinforce/appreciate/acknowledge the strong belief of your daughter in you, to make her feel proud.. to make the entire school feel proud that we have the best parent on earth as stated by your daughter.”

“You are a True Gardner, who is not only looking after the gardens, but also nurturing the most precious flower of your life in such a beautiful way….””So Ganga Das, will you be our Chief Guest for the event?

This Was Your Life – An Animated Presentation of What Happens When We Die

WARNING: Prepare to Meet God Face to Face[SHARE THIS VIDEO & SAVE A SOUL]

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.

And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.

And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15

What IF YOUR ENTIRE LIFE was PLAYED Back From the Beginning? What IF You were to DIE TONIGHT and Stand Before the Judgment Seat of Christ? Will you make it? This Gospel Tract Depicts What Will Happen To You On Judgment Day.

Since it went into print in the 1960’s it has reached well over a Billion People, and Has Been Translated Into Almost Every single language…Here are a few testimonies about this gospel tract:

I was shaken back into the fear of the Lord from my backslidden state by THIS WAS YOUR LIFE! that I found on my seat in a subway train [Email]

In 1989 I was depressed and even suicidal. I was walking the streets of Nashville one night and I happened upon THIS WAS YOUR LIFE! laying on a grease spot in a parking lot. I read it, threw it down and then came back and read it again. In the months that followed I repented and was saved. [Texas]

Someone left a Chick tract on a restaurant table, which I read and a friend also gave a Chick tract to me. With that combination I turned from being a Hindu to a Christian. That was 10 years ago. I am now a pastor. M.B., Clovis, CAThe YouTUBE Version Can Be Shared BeLOW: ME TO CHRIST

Cauliflower, Peas and Potatoes

Cauliflower Peas and Potatoes – quick and easy recipe.

2 lbs. Cut frozen Cauliflower
1 bag of Frozen Peas
4 Large Potatoes cut
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp. Turmeric
1 Tbsp. Dhana Jeeru ( Coriander, Cumin powder)
1 Tbsp. Ginger Garlic Paste (1/4 ” piece of ginger, and 2 cloves of garlic crushed)
1 Green Chillies
1 Small bunch of Green Coriander (for garnish)

In 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil lightly fry the Ginger Garlic Paste, Coriander Cumin Powder, cut green chilli, and Turmeric. Boil the cut potatoes, and add Cauliflower and Peas to the fried spices above.

Add a cup of water, and cook on low heat till done.(10 mins.) Make sure you mix the spices with the Potatoes, Peas, and Cauliflower, thoroughly. Serve with a garnish of fresh green Coriander Leaves.

What The Magi Mean To Christmas


For my Parsi Zoroastrian friends from India!(THIS IS SO POWERFUL IT SHOULD BLOW YOUR MIND!)

The Statue of three Persian Magi raised in Brazil in honor of the 3 revered Zoroastrian priests who visited Jesus Christ when he was born and brought the first gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.. to the new born Jesus

Some Bible Scholars say that the Magi (wise men) may have been Zoroastrian priests, and astrologers from Persia, during the reign of King Cyrus or Darius.

The Bible says they came and worshiped the baby Jesus, and gave him the gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. The Magi are mentioned in the book of Daniel.

They probably heard the prophecies about the Messiah, from Daniel, who was a Jewish prophet captive in Babylon, during the reign of the Medo -Persian empire. Daniel had earlier correctly interpreted dreams for the King, and therefore he and the God of Israel were greatly respected even in Babylon!!

Is The Universe God? Why God Created The Universe!

The Universe is Not God. God created the Universe to Display His Glory and Majesty!

Of late a lot of people, and some even Christians throw around terms like “Karma”, “The Universe”, etc. not even knowing what they are talking about.

A lot of New Age Spirituality, is trying to creep into society, and even the Church. So please watch the Video above to gain clarity on the Truth. Just because “Truth Really Matters”

What Is The New Age Movement

The expression “New Age” came into existence in the 1970s and 1980s. It was promoted by the circulation of the New Age Journal and a book by Mark Satin called New Age Politics. Marilyn Ferguson’s best-selling Aquarian Conspiracy was a presentation of the social agenda and philosophical vision of the New Age.

Ferguson’s writing attained status as the unofficial scripture of the movement. As Russell Chandler, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, wrote in Understanding the New Age, “If Ferguson wrote the New Age ‘Bible,‘ Shirley MacLaine is its high priestess.”

Shirley MacLaine’s book, Out on a Limb, chronicles her reluctant conversion to New Age belief. This book describes her travels and studies, which include science fiction-like dimensions, out-of-body travel, contact with extraterrestrial beings, “trance channeling” (séances), and a “guided tour” of the unseen world.

MacLaine’s second book, Dancing in the Light, tells about her reach into the world of yoga, reincarnation, crystal power, Hindu mantras, and past-life recall experiences mediated through acupuncture. Her spirit guides informed her that each individual is God, and she passed along the “wisdom” that the person is unlimited. One only has to realize it (Chandler, page 6-2).

New Age thinking has its roots, then, in Eastern mysticism, which attempts to bypass the mind. There is a new organ of perception—the third eye—which gives spiritual light. One needs to get to the “psychic self” by training one’s self to ignore messages from the mind or to see that the mind is actually achieving “cosmic consciousness.” The mind can create reality.

Neil Anderson in his book, Walking Through the Darkness, writes this: “The New Age movement is not seen as a religion but a new way to think and understand reality.

It’s very attractive to the natural man who has become disillusioned with organized religion and Western rationalism. He desires spiritual reality but doesn’t want to give up materialism, deal with his moral problems, or come under authority” (page 22). Anderson goes on to summarize New Age thinking (pages 22–24) as follows:

(1) It is monism. The belief that all is one and one is all. History is not the story of humanity’s fall into sin and its restoration by God’s saving grace. Rather, it is humanity’s fall into ignorance and the gradual ascent into enlightenment.

(2) All is God. If all is one, including God, then one must conclude that all is God. It is pantheism—trees, snails, books, and people are all of one divine essence. A personal God who has revealed Himself in the Bible and in Jesus Christ is completely rejected. Since God is impersonal, the New Ager doesn’t have to serve Him. God is an “it,” not a “He.”

(3) There is a change in consciousness. If we are God, we need to know we are God. We must become cosmically conscious, enlightened, or attuned to the cosmic consciousness. Some who reach this enlightened status will claim to be “born again”—a counterfeit of biblical conversion.

The essential is not whether we believe or meditate, but whom we believe in and what we meditate upon. Christ is the true, personal, objective reality, as He said that He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

(4) A cosmic evolutionary optimism is taught. There is a New Age coming. There will be a new world order, a new world government. New Age thinkers believe that there will eventually be a progressive unification of world consciousness.

This, according to the Bible, is a counterfeit kingdom led by Satan himself. Christ has the true kingdom, and He will one day rule on earth with peace for all who accept Him as Savior and King (Revelation 5:13).

(5) New Agers create their own reality. They believe they can create reality by what they believe, and, by changing what they believe, they can change reality. All moral boundaries have been erased.

There are no absolutes because there is no distinction between good and evil. Nothing has reality until one says that it is reality or says that it is truth. If finite man can create truth, we are in desperate trouble in our society. Unless there are eternal absolutes from the eternal God, man will eventually be his own destruction.

(6) New Agers make contact with the kingdom of darkness. Calling a medium a “channeler” and a demon a “spirit guide” has not changed the reality of what they are. This is the kingdom of darkness of which Satan is the head.

Those involved in this kind of activity are in contact with a world that is totally opposed to the biblical God revealed to us in Jesus Christ, who defeated Satan (Matthew 4:1–11Colossians 2:15Hebrews 2:14–18).

The New Age movement is a counterfeit philosophy that appeals to the feelings of individuals, leading them to think that that they are God and can enhance their lives through their own person. The reality is that we are born, grow up, live a while on planet Earth, and die.

Humans are finite. We can never be God. We need someone greater than we who can provide us forgiveness and life eternal. Praise the Lord for the God-man, Jesus Christ. Through His death and bodily resurrection, He has won for us what we desperately need: forgiveness from God, a life of purpose and meaning in this life, and eternal life beyond the grave.

Don’t miss out on who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for you. Read John chapter 3. Ask Christ to be your Savior. Your life will be transformed, and you will know who you are, why you are here, and where you are going.

Christian View Of Psychics and Fortune Tellers

The Bible strongly condemns spiritism, mediums, the occult, and psychics (Leviticus 20:27Deuteronomy 18:10-13). Horoscopes, tarot cards, astrology, fortune tellers, palm readings, and séances fall into this category as well.

These practices are based on the concept that there are gods, spirits, or deceased loved ones that can give advice and guidance. These “gods” or “spirits” are demons (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

The Bible gives us no reason to believe that deceased loved ones can contact us. If they were believers, they are in heaven enjoying the most wonderful place imaginable in fellowship with a loving God. If they were not believers, they are in hell, suffering unending torment for rejecting God’s love and rebelling against Him.

So, if our loved ones cannot contact us, how do mediums, spiritists, and psychics get such accurate information? There have been many exposures of psychics as frauds. It has been proven that psychics can gain immense amounts of information on someone through ordinary means.

Sometimes by just using a telephone number through caller ID and an internet search, a psychic can get names, addresses, dates of birth, dates of marriage, family members, etc.

However, it is undeniable that psychics sometimes know things that should be impossible for them to know. Where do they get this information? The answer is from Satan and his demons. “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.

Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Acts 16:16-18 describes a fortune teller who was able to predict the future until the apostle Paul rebuked a demon out of her.

Satan pretends to be kind and helpful. He tries to appear as something good. Satan and his demons will give a psychic information about a person in order to get that person hooked into spiritism, something that God forbids.

It appears innocent at first, but soon people can find themselves addicted to psychics and unwittingly allow Satan to control and destroy their lives. Peter proclaimed, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

In some cases, the psychics themselves are deceived, not knowing the true source of the information they receive. Whatever the case and wherever the source of the information, nothing connected to spiritism, witchcraft, or astrology is a godly means of discovering information.

How does God want us to discern His will for our life? God’s plan is simple, yet powerful and effective: study the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and pray for wisdom (James 1:5).

Are There Many Paths To God?

Are There Many Paths to God?

There is only one way to heaven, and that is through Jesus Christ.
by Lee Strobel

Jesus often surprised people with teachings that cut across the grain of human nature. “Lose your life to save it.” “The first will be last.” “The meek will inherit the earth.” “Rejoice in persecution.” “Pray for your enemies.” “It’s better to give than to receive.” “Turn the other cheek.” These are revolutionary teachings.

But by far the most outrageous assertion that Jesus ever uttered is in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This claim rankles people like nothing else. It’s been called narrow-minded. It’s been called bigoted. It’s been called snobbish. Some of you are seekers and something inside of you chafes at the idea that Jesus is the only way to God, for you are living in a world where there seems to be endless options in virtually every area of life. For some of you this is a stumbling block to faith.

Why is this claim so controversial? One reason is that it strikes at the core of three great myths about religion.

Myth 1: All religions are basically the same.

The first myth is that all religions are basically the same. You’ve probably heard people say through the years that there may be distinctions between various world religions, but if you strip them down to their essentials, all religions fundamentally teach the same thing. In other words, all spiritual paths lead up the same mountain because all religions basically teach the brotherhood and the sisterhood of men and women and the universal fatherhood of God.

Let’s concede that there is some common ground shared by many of the world’s religions, especially when you look at the level of basic values and statements of belief about morality. Respectful dialogue between people who represent different faith systems is a great starting point. But, at the same time, there are significant differences between the world religions that cannot be papered over. In fact, with this one outlandish assertion, Jesus boldly puts Christianity in a class by itself, because if the path to God is through Jesus, then Christianity cannot be reconciled with any other religion.

The uniqueness of Christianity is rooted in the uniqueness of Jesus himself. Other religious leaders say, “Follow me and I’ll show you how to find the truth.” But Jesus says, “I am the truth.” Other religious leaders say, “Follow me and I’ll show you the way to salvation.” But Jesus says, “I am the way to eternal life.” Other religious leaders say, “Follow me and I’ll show you how you can become enlightened.” But Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” See the difference?

There are drastic and irreconcilable differences between Christianity and all other belief systems. Every other religion is based on people doing things through their struggling and through their striving to earn the good favor of God. They say people have to use a Tibetan prayer wheel, or they have to go on pilgrimages, or they have to give alms to the poor, or they have to avoid eating certain foods, or they have to perform a certain number of unspecified good deeds, or they have to pray in a certain way, or they have to go through a cycle of reincarnation. These are attempts to reach out to God.

But Jesus Christ is God reaching out to us. Jesus taught the opposite of what those other faiths teach. He said that nobody could do anything to merit heaven, so you might as well stop trying. He said that we’re all guilty of wrongdoing. That’s consistent with our experience. We know that not a single person here today would claim to be perfect.

Jesus also said that our wrongdoing separates us from our God because God is holy and perfect. Because God is a righteous judge who by his very nature must judge wrongdoing, our wrongdoing has to be paid for. Because he loves us, because Jesus and God are for us and not against us, Jesus voluntarily offered himself as our substitute to pay the penalty that we owe because of our wrongdoing. When we receive his sacrifice on our behalf, we become reunited with God forever.

This distinction is starkly demonstrated by comparing a parable that was taught by Jesus with a similar story that is found in Buddhist literature. Both stories involve sons who became rebellious and left home in a huff, but who later saw the error of their ways and decided to return home. But it’s the ending of the two stories that so clearly points out the difference.

In the Buddhist story, the errant son is required to work off the penalty for his past misdeeds through years and years of servitude. But the Christian parable of the prodigal son ends with the repentant son being warmly welcomed home by a loving father who showers him with undeserved forgiveness and undeserved grace.

There are other fundamental differences:

For instance, Christianity says that there is one eternal God who created the universe. But Hinduism says that everything is God; you are God, I am God, this podium is God. Islam denies that Jesus was God and that Jesus died for our sins. All religions are not the same.

While other religious leaders can offer wise sayings and helpful advice and insights, only Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, is qualified to offer himself as payment for our wrongdoing. No other religious leader even pretended to be able to do that. Theologian R.C. Sproul puts it this way, “Moses could mediate on the Law. Mohammed could brandish a sword. Buddha could give personal counsel. Confucius could offer wise sayings. But none of these men was qualified to offer an atonement for the sins of the world.” Jesus alone was qualified.

Myth 2: Christianity is simply one philosophy among many.

The second myth that Jesus dispels is related to the first myth. The second myth says that even though Christianity might be different, it’s just one philosophy among many, and it’s only as valid as any other religion. In other words, even if there are differences between religions, they all have equal claims on the truth. You have your truth, and I have my truth.

This myth is appealing because it seems to reflect the pluralistic attitude of the United States. On one level, that attitude is helpful. It is important that we are tolerant of people who believe differently than we do. The Bible tells us that those of us who are followers of Jesus need to be loving and respectful and accepting toward people of all faiths. Under our Constitution, all religious viewpoints are equally protected; anybody can believe whatever they want. But the problem is that some people jump to the erroneous conclusion that because different philosophies are equally protected, they must be equally valid. That’s just not the case.

The concept behind what our Supreme Court calls the “marketplace of ideas” is that truth and falsehood will grapple in unhindered debate, so that truth will prevail in the end. So even though all religions are equally protected under our Constitution, this has nothing to do whatever with whether they are based on truth.

A few years ago, in one of his classic columns, Mike Royco said in a tongue and cheek way that he was a member of what he called “The Church of Asylumism.” He explained that this church believes that there was an advanced civilization that lived in a distant galaxy millions of years ago. One day a few hundred of these aliens ate some tainted veggie dip and as a result, a virus hopelessly scrambled their brain. They tried to treat these victims, but nothing would work. So they decided to take them to an uninhabited planet that would serve as an asylum and where they could roam free and act goofy. That planet, Royco said, was earth. We’re all descendants of those aliens. Royco said, “You want proof? Read history books! Look at the newspaper! Look at the TV news! Then tell me this isn’t one big loony bin.”

Royco, I hope, was kidding about being part of the Church of Asylumism. But in this country people have the right to believe whatever they want. If there really was a church of asylumism, under our Constitution, it would be as equally protected as Willow Creek Community Church, as the Methodist denomination, as the Episcopalians or any other religious group. But friends, that would not mean that the teachings of the church of asylumism were true.

Of course, this gives anybody in the country freedom to make the claim, as Jesus did, that they are the way and the truth and the life; that they are the only way to God. The question is, how do we know that Jesus was telling the truth?

Jesus backs up his claim with unique credentials. Jesus authenticated his claim of being God by living a perfect life, by embodying the attributes of God, and by fulfilling dozens of prophecies written hundreds of years before Jesus came to this planet. Unlike other religious leaders, Jesus also authenticated who he was by performing great miracles in broad daylight, in front of skeptics. He demonstrated his mastery over nature. He demonstrated his mastery over sickness. He demonstrated his mastery over death by bringing Lazarus back to life after four days in a cold, damp tomb. In the most spectacular demonstration of his deity, Jesus fulfilled his own prediction by being resurrected from the dead, in an historical event that was witnessed by more than 500 people and that sparked a spiritual revolution that has been unparalleled in the history of the world.

Christianity is not just a philosophy; it is a reality. Jesus didn’t just claim that he is the one and only Son of God. He validated his claim with convincing evidence like nobody else in history.

Myth 3: Christians are narrow-minded to think Jesus is the only way to heaven.

The third myth says that Christians are narrow-minded and snobbish when they say that Jesus is the only way to heaven. If there were many roads to God and Christians were claiming, “Ours is the best,” I would agree they were being narrow and arrogant. But that’s not what Christians are saying. They are saying that somebody has got to pay the penalty for the obvious wrongdoings that keep us separated from God. By virtue of his sinlessness and by virtue of his divinity, Jesus is the only one qualified to be our substitute. That, friends, is the reality of the situation. It is not narrow-minded to act in accordance with the evidence and to pursue truth.

A few years ago, some friends’ baby girl developed jaundice, which is a disorder of the liver that caused her skin and the whites of her eyes to turn yellow. Of course her parents were very concerned, so they took the child to the pediatrician. The pediatrician told them jaundice is a potentially devastating disease, but it is also easily cured: all they had to do was to put the baby under a special light that stimulates healthy liver function.

The parents could have listened to this from the doctor and said, “That sounds too easy. Just put her under a light? What if instead we scrub her with soap and water and dip her in bleach? Certainly if we worked hard enough we could get her normal coloring back.”

The doctor would have looked at them and said, “You don’t understand. There is only one way to cure your daughter.” They could have replied, “What if we just ignore all this and pretend everything’s okay. The jaundice is your truth, doc; it’s not our truth. If we sincerely believe that, things will turn out for the best in the long haul.”

The doctor would have said, “You’re going to jeopardize the life of your child if you do that. There is only one way to cure her. You’re hesitant to pursue treatment because it sounds too easy. But look at the credentials on my wall. I’ve studied at medical school. I’ve used what I’ve learned to treat and to cure countless babies. Trust me.”

Would anybody accuse those parents of being narrow-minded if they trusted a doctor with credentials and pursued the only course of treatment that was going to cure their little girl? Of course not! That is not being narrow-minded. That is acting rationally and in accordance with the evidence.

Every person in this room has a terminal illness called “sin.” The reason those of us who follow Jesus cling to him so tightly is that he is the Great Physician who has the only cure. We could try to scrub away our sins with good deeds, but it will not work. We can sincerely think that there are other ways of dealing with it. But we would be sincerely wrong. The truth is that only the Great Physician offers a treatment that will erase the stain of sin. He has credentials and credibility to back him up. So when we turn to him, we’re not being narrow-minded. We are acting rationally and in accordance with the evidence.

In addition to not being narrow-minded, it is anything but snobbish for Christians to believe Jesus is the only way to heaven. For a Christian to act holier than thou is snobbish, but to believe that Jesus is the only way is not. Let’s pretend there are two country clubs. The first country club only admits people who have earned their membership. In order to get into this club, you have to obtain superior wisdom. You’ve got to fulfill a long list of demands. You’ve got to somehow attain certain spiritual advancement. You’ve got to go through cycles of reincarnation or whatever. Despite their best efforts, many people will not make the grade, and in the end, the door will be slammed in their face. They’re not going to be good enough. They’re not going to make the qualifications to get in.

This is what other religions are saying when they teach that people have to try and try to work their way to God. But Christianity is different. Christianity is like the country club that invites anyone who is interested, because Jesus has already paid for his or her membership. Rich or poor, black or white, regardless of your ethnic heritage, regardless of where you live, we would love to include you. The doors are wide open. Entry is not based on your qualifications. Entry is based only on you accepting Christ’s invitation. Which faith system is snobbish?

Christianity is unique. It cannot be reconciled with any other religion. It backs up its truth claims with the credentials and credibility of Jesus Christ, which cannot be duplicated by any other spiritual leader. That’s why when Jesus said he was the way and the truth and the life, history does not laugh; history has been revolutionized by Jesus.

This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made – Marathi Song

This is the day that the Lord has made
We will rejoice and be glad in it
How Great is our Lord
Gave Us Everything

He is our Redeemer, our Strength
Jesus is the Lord forever and ever

Ha Ha, Ha Ha, Ha-lle-lujah
Ho Ho, Ho Ho, Ho-san-nah
Ha Ha, Ha Ha, Ha-lle-lujah
Ho Ho, Ho Ho, Ho-san-nah

Let us go to His dwelling Place
Praise and worship Him
To the Lord of Heavens
Sing songs of praise

He is our Redeemer, our Strength
Jesus is the Lord forever and ever

Ha Ha, Ha Ha, Ha-lle-lujah
Ho Ho, Ho Ho, Ho-san-nah
Ha Ha, Ha Ha, Ha-lle-lujah
Ho Ho, Ho Ho, Ho-san-nah

Delicious Goat (Mutton) Curry with Indian Flat Bread (Paratha’s)

Easy Goat (Mutton) Curry with Indian Flat Bread (Parathas)- It’s so delicious!

2 lbs. Goat Meat
4 Potatoes
1 Fresh Tomato
2 Cups Broth (goat meat)
2 Tbsps. Yogurt
2 Tbsps. Sour Cream
1 Packet Butter Chicken Masala (spice from Indian store)
1 Large Onion Diced
2 Tbsps. Ginger Garlic Paste
2 or 3 Frozen Parathas

Cook the goat meat in a Pressure Cooker. Fry the Onions till they are light brown, add the Ginger Garlic Paste. Fry for 2 mins. Add the diced tomatoes and the entire packet of Butter Chicken spice, add the broth and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the Sour cream and Yogurt to thicken the gravy.

Add the Goat Meat, thoroughly mix with the gravy, add the billed potatoes and cook on low for 4 mins. Boil the cut potatoes in water for 15 mins. or until they are fork tender. Add the potatoes in the gravy above, and cook on low heat, so all the spice is absorbed.

In a cast iron pan, put 1 Tbsp. of Olive Oil, and fry the Parathas on both sides till they are lightly browned.

What Is Idolatry in the Bible? Its Definition and Significance

Idolatry Definition

According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Idolatry is “image-worship or divine honour paid to any created object.” Paul describes the origin of idolatry in Romans 1:21-25: men forsook God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (Romans 1:28).

The forms of idolatry are,

  • Fetishism, or the worship of trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc.
  • Nature worship, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, as the supposed powers of nature.
  • Hero worship, the worship of deceased ancestors, or of heroes.

Idolatry in the Bible

In Scripture, idolatry is regarded as of heathen origin, and as being imported among the Hebrews through contact with heathen nations. The first allusion to idolatry is in the account of Rachel stealing her father’s teraphim (Genesis 31:19), which were the relics of the worship of other gods by Laban’s progenitors “on the other side of the river in old time” (Joshua 24:2).

During their long residence in Egypt the Hebrews fell into idolatry, and it was long before they were delivered from it (Joshua 24:14Ezekiel 20:7). Many a token of God’s displeasure fell upon them because of this sin.

The first and second commandments are directed against idolatry of every form. Individuals and communities were equally amenable to the rigorous code. The individual offender was devoted to destruction (Exodus 22:20).

His nearest relatives were not only bound to denounce him and deliver him up to punishment (Deuteronomy 13:20-10), but their hands were to strike the first blow when, on the evidence of two witnesses at least, he was stoned (Deuteronomy 17:2-7).

To attempt to seduce others to false worship was a crime of equal enormity. An idolatrous nation shared the same fate. No facts are more strongly declared in the Old Testament than that the extermination of the Canaanites was the punishment of their idolatry, and that the calamities of the Israelites were due to the same cause (Jeremiah 2:17).

“A city guilty of idolatry was looked upon as cancer in the state; it was considered to be in rebellion, and treated according to the laws of war. Its inhabitants and all their cattle were put to death.”

Jehovah was the theocratic King of Israel, the civil Head of the commonwealth, and therefore to an Israelite idolatry was a state offense (1 Samuel 15:23), high treason. On taking possession of the land, the Jews were commanded to destroy all traces of every kind of the existing idolatry of the Canaanites.

The history of Israel is clearly outlined in the Bible. For generation after generation, they repeatedly fell prey to being drawn away from the Lord to serve false gods. This did not only happen to the common people, but to their kings, priests, and prophets, as well. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:4).

The sin of idolatry, or worshiping other gods, is in violation of the Law of God. As a matter of fact, it breaks the first two of the Ten Commandments. It is important to remember that disobedience is the original sin and therefore encompasses all sin. 

I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth (Ex. 20:2-4).

Excerpt from Beware the Sin of Idolatry by Bible Pathway

Quotes about Idolatry

“There is nothing so abominable in the eyes of God and of men as idolatry, whereby men render to the creature that honor which is due only to the Creator” – Blaise Pascal

“The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.” – A. W. Tozer

“Verily, we know not what an evil it is to indulge ourselves, and to make an idol of our will.” – Samuel Rutherford

“You don’t have to go to heathen lands today to find false gods. America is full of them. Whatever you love more than God is your idol.” – Dwight L. Moody

“As long as you want anything very much, especially more than you want God, it is an idol.” – A. B. Simpson

Bible Verses about Idolatry

  • 1 Corinthians 10:7-14 – Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
  • 1 John 5:21 – Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
  • Colossians 3:5 – Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
  • Isaiah 45:20 – “Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save.
  • Jonah 2:8 – “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.

What is Theosophy?

Theosophy is more of a philosophy of religion than a religion per se. The word theosophy comes from the Greek words theos “god” and sophia “wisdom”. Literally, theosophy means “divine wisdom.” The roots of this philosophy can be traced back to ancient Gnosticism, with borrowings from Greek philosophy and medieval mysticism. Modern theosophy also draws heavily on Hinduism.

The Theosophical Society was founded in New York in 1875 by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a Russian-born spiritualist, and Henry Steel Olcott, an American lawyer and newspaperman. Three years later, they moved the international base of operations for the Theosophical Society to India.

Theosophy teaches that all religions contain elements of the “Ancient Wisdom” and that wise men throughout history have held the secret of spiritual power. Those who have been enlightened by the divine wisdom can access a transcendent spiritual reality through mystical experience.

Like Hinduism, theosophy teaches reincarnation and a belief in karma. Theosophists also place their trust in the Mahatmas (literally, “Great Souls”), also referred to as the Great Masters or the Adepts—those who have reached an exalted state of existence and who possess the sum of the world’s accumulated knowledge. According to theosophists, these Mahatmas are directing the spiritual evolution of mankind.

In 1911, the Theosophical Society proclaimed the advent of a “World Teacher”—a young Hindu named Jiddu Krishnamurthi. Theosophists heralded this messianic character as the world’s hope of enlightenment, peace, and unity. However, a few years later, Krishnamurthi renounced his position as “World Teacher” and stopped claiming to be a messiah.

Although theosophists contend that their philosophy is compatible with Christianity (and with Buddhism, Hinduism, and all other religions), it is clear that theosophy is at odds with the Bible. Not only does the Bible refute the idea of reincarnation and karma (Hebrews 9:27), it also differs from theosophy on the following points:

1) Theosophy denies the existence of a personal, infinite God. The Bible plainly teaches the existence of a God who is both personal and infinite (Hebrews 1:1011:6).

2) Theosophy denies the need of forgiveness. The Bible proclaims all mankind to be in need of God’s forgiveness, available only through the death of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23-25).

3) Theosophy teaches that Christ was a “Great Soul” who inhabited the body of a man named Jesus for a few years (this is an ancient Gnostic heresy). The Bible teaches that Jesus is the eternal Son of God (John 1:1-14).

While the number of theosophists has dwindled through the years, the philosophy itself has had a marked influence. Theosophy has produced great interest in the Eastern religions among those in the West, leading to revivals of Hinduism and Buddhism. It has also heavily influenced the rise of other religious movements, such as Rosicrucianismunity, and the New Thought movement.

Theosophy seeks a higher wisdom, but it fails to recognize that there is no higher wisdom than is found in Jesus Christ, “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24).

The Old Rickshaw Puller From Tianjing

By Pastor Pervez Sethna [MUST READ]
In 1987, a 74-year old rickshaw puller by the name of Bai Fangli came back to his hometown planning to retire from his backbreaking job. There, he saw children working in the fields, because they were too poor to afford school fees.

Bai returned to Tianjin and went back to work as a rickshaw puller, taking a modest accommodation next to the railway station. He waited for clients 24 hours a day, ate simple food and wore discarded second-hand clothes he found. He gave all of his hard-earned earnings to support children who could not afford education.

In 2001, he drove his rickshaw to Tianjin YaoHua Middle School, to deliver his last installment of money. Nearly 90 years old, he told the students that he couldn’t work any more. All of the students and teachers were moved to tears.

In total, Bai had donated a total of 350,000 yuan to help more than 300 poor students continue with their studies. In 2005, Bai passed away leaving behind an inspiring legacy.

If a rickshaw-puller who wore used clothes and had no education can support 300 children to go to school, imagine what you and I can do with the resources we have to bring about positive change in our world!

How Do We Respond To The Ravi Zacharias Scandal?

In the aftermath of the shocking and tragic news about Ravi Zacharias’s private life, one of our ministry school grads, herself a longtime missionary with her husband, wrote to me, asking, “Would you consider writing something in regards to the Ravi scandal? I know this is sending believers into a whirlwind of confusion.”

She continued, “I guess what people are saying is how could a man who sounds so spiritual, lead so many to Jesus, be so deeply involved in willful sinning? When things like this happen to someone with such influence, it sends people into a whirlwind of doubt.”

How, then, should we respond after it was discovered that the late Zacharias was guilty of multiple instances of sexual misconduct and abuse? Over the weekend, it was revealed that HarperCollins, his long-time publisher, will no longer offer his resources following the results of RZIM’s investigation.

Many others are asking the same questions as the missionary who wrote me.

1. Anyone can lead a double life. For many years, I have told ministry leaders and ministry school students that it is all too easy to learn to lead a double life. And, on a certain level, all of us learn how to compartmentalize.

Let’s say that you’re an elementary school teacher dealing with a difficult financial situation that has you on the verge of bankruptcy. This has your attention during every waking moment of your life, except when you’re teaching the children. Then, you put on your smiling face, teach your lessons and act as if you didn’t have a care in the world.

Even parents learn to do it in the home, not wanting their children to see fear or anger or some other, negative emotion. We all learn to play-act on some level or another.

Sadly, it’s the exact same thing with ministers of the gospel. We learn to play-act too, even in ways that are noble at first.

You’re pastoring a church, and right before your Sunday sermon, you get terrible news about an old friend who committed suicide. But the cameras are on, and you’re about to start your live feed. Your people need some encouragement, so you ask God for help, and you preach with passion. Then, afterward, you break down and cry.

Or you’re flying overseas for a major series of meetings, and your flights are delayed, meaning that you get off the plane and have to go straight to the first service. You are jet lagged; your body has no idea what time it is, and your brain is fogged. Yet you ask God for grace, and to your amazement, the message hits home.

There was no time to pray, no time to prepare your thoughts, no time even to rest and recover. Yet the Spirit worked through you. Soon enough, this becomes a habit. No prayer. No preparation. Just ministry. You have become a professional—and I mean that in the worst sense of the word. It can happen to anyone.

It’s the same with entertaining secret sin in our lives. It may take years, even decades, before that sin catches up to us in a public, outward way. But all the while it is destroying us on the inside. All the while, we are becoming performers, having compartmentalized our lives. There is the public, ministry self and there is the private, hidden self.

The longer this goes on, the harder our hearts become. We become more hypocritical, more polished, more deviant. We not only compartmentalize our sin, but we rationalize it. We might even justify it. “I’m a man of God who sacrifices much for the ministry. Surely, I’m allowed some perks along the way!”

In New Testament times, Jesus had severe rebukes for many of the Pharisees. But from what we understand from other, contemporary sources, these men were highly respected religious leaders. Yet to some of them Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and greed. You blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may also be clean.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:25-27).

To repeat: this can happen to any of us. That’s why all of us should stop for a moment and ask ourselves, “Am leading a double life?”

The problem is that, for a Christian leader in particular, it is very hard to come clean and ask for help. Even if you are a loving husband who is a blue-collar worker and not a pastor or preacher, would you find it easy to tell your wife you were struggling with porn? Or you were getting pulled into an emotional relationship with a female co-worker?

How much harder is it for a Christian leader to come clean and ask for help? Yet that is what each of us need to do should we find ourselves struggling. Accountability, as painful as it is in the short term, is a God-send in the long term. (We’ll return to the subject of accountability later in this article.)

The tragedy is that if we do not stop and get help, we can lead two very distinct lives, to the point of completely deceiving ourselves. This alone should jar us into reality in the here and now.

2. God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable. When Paul wrote these words in Romans 11:29, he was speaking specifically of the nation of Israel. But we can see elsewhere in Scripture that the same principle can apply to individuals.

Sometimes, while reading Judges 16, I have been shaken to the core. There we are told that Samson, whom God gifted with supernatural strength and who had been raised up to deliver Israel from her enemies, slept with a Philistine prostitute. This was an especially heinous act, not only because it was a sexual sin but because it was a sexual sin with Israel’s arch enemy.

The text states that when the Philistines came to attack Samson in the middle of the night, “he got up. He grabbed the doors of the city gate and the two gateposts and pulled them out along with the bar. He put them on his shoulder and brought them to the top of the mountain near Hebron” (Judg. 16:3b).

Can you imagine that? He just had sex with a Philistine prostitute. He is guilty, and he is unclean. Yet he still has his supernatural strength. The gift still operates. How sobering, and how terrifying.

Just because someone is anointed doesn’t mean they are right with God. Just because someone is gifted by the Spirit doesn’t mean they are living holy lives.

Satan’s Lies About Reincarnation

In the Garden of Eden, Satan seemed to win an impressive victory. Little did he know that it was foreseen by God, and God would use it to serve His purposes.

However, in the temptation and fall of humanity, Satan laid five lies upon Eve either directly or indirectly that form the foundation for false religion. Not only did Satan not want humans to worship God, he wanted humans to in some form worship him. Let’s track the five lies and their resulting religious impulses.


God told Adam that if he ate from the tree, he would “surely die.” Genesis 2: 17, Satan promised Eve, “You surely shall not die.” Satan blatantly contradicted God with this lie. He continues this lie in modern religion with a lie called “reincarnation.”

This false teaching is that souls play a game of musical chairs with various bodies in this world. In this life you are one being, but after death you return as another. The hope is that one moves upward in this cycle and becomes better and better with each new habitation.

Reincarnation is based on the teaching of “Karma,” that everyone gets what he or she deserves. Evil is punished in the next life; and good is rewarded.

Hinduism is the most extreme of this reincarnation/karma system. Everyone is believed to be in one of five levels. There are four castes followed by the outcasts, which are those who were so evil in the previous life that they don’t merit any status in one of the four hierarchical castes.

Don’t be fooled, Christians. Reincarnation and karma are cruel hoaxes of the devil. Imagine saying to the poor or the abused, “You are getting what you deserved from your past life.” Imagine the wealthy and powerful saying, “Our position is deserved because of our past lives’ goodness. The lowly are here to serve us. They must do what we want.” 

Jesus says, “Love one another as I have loved you.” The Bible teaches tenderness toward the poor and outcast. It also teaches the responsibility of those blessed with resources and/or poor to share and care.

Reincarnation is the devil’s lie made believable. We don’t want to die. Satan says, “You won’t die.” You are reincarnated according to karma.


In the temptation, Satan encourages Eve to set aside God’s word for a substitute word from Satan. He promises that “her eyes will be opened.” Genesis 3: 5, He promises her an enlightened experience. According to Satan, he came to rescue her. Satan claims that God had been holding out.

Satan is promising a counterfeit religious experience. He wants humans to encounter him and think they are in touch with him as the real god. This is a belief in a transformation of consciousness that initiates us into “true spirituality.”

In Greek and Roman culture it showed up as a theory of “secret knowledge.” This secret knowledge teaching turns up in the Bible in I Timothy 6:20-21. “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.”

In our era, “secret knowledge” is a New Age specialty and is often referred to as “enlightenment.” This knowledge is gained by searching one’s soul. What it really is is an encounter with a spiritual being sent by Satan. One has this encounter either through transcendental meditation or hallucinogenic drugs.

CS Lewis wrote of these encounters in Screwtape Letters where fictional demon, Uncle Screwtape gives instructions to nephew, apprentice demon Wormwood, “I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalize and mythologize their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy (God).”

Satan offers religious experience that is counter to an experience with Jesus Christ through God’s word and the Holy Spirit. Spiritual experiences are not necessarily good things. They may be of Satan.


The third of Satan’s lies is “you will be like God.” What a thought! And there is some truth here. We are created in God’s image, so there is resemblance. However, most humans easily recognize that we are not God. So how can Satan adjust this lie for human consumption?

He extends the idea of divinity to everything that exists. “Humans are god. Nature is god. Why, everything is god.” This is the heart of pantheism, that “all is god,” and “god is all.” For a pantheist, final reality is spiritual, and matter is illusion. Pantheists deny the existence of the material world to escape.

In II Thessalonians 2, the Apostle Paul writes that the antichrist will “exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” 

Nikos Kazantzakis, the author of The Last Temptation of Christ, wrote, “It is not God who will save us—it is we who will save God, by battling, by creating, and transmuting matter into spirit.” Christianity teaches that humanity fell into sin and needs rescue.

Pantheism teaches the opposite, god fell and needs rescue. Matter and mind were at one time united in an entity called god. But matter and mind separated. This breach must now be healed by humans putting it back together again.

The Bible also teaches that God created the heavens and the earth. He declared it “good.” Matter is good. It’s a creation of God. Pantheism contends that matter is illusion, all is spiritual, and everything is god. According to this false belief system, we need to focus our souls on the wonderful connectedness of all things, and escape the material realm.


“You will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Satan trolled. (Genesis 3:5) Satan promised an experiential knowledge of good and evil. Humanity would now be able to choose between what is good and evil instead of a god imposing a code of right and wrong. The serpent was right that eating the fruit did give an experiential knowledge of good and evil, but what horrible knowledge it was.

In our age, this lie takes the form of relativism, “what is true for me might not be true for you.” Philosopher John Dewy believed morality like language is relative to a culture, and therefore no one has superior morality. Eastern religions too believe in relativism. If it’s true that God is everything, it follows that God is also evil. So Hinduism teaches that good and evil are only illusions.

Yen-Men, an Eastern teacher, writes, “If you wish the plain truth, be not concerned about right and wrong. The conflict between right and wrong is the sickness of the mind.” If evil doesn’t exist, then man’s real problem is ignorance. The solution is enlightenment.

With no objective standard for right and wrong, hideous crimes can be justified. When the objective standards of God are thrown out, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” shouts repeatedly the horrifying refrain of the book of Judges.


Genesis 3: 6, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” This is the subtle result of Satan’s lies. Eve is tempted and is attempting to sort out the temptation within herself without referring to God’s word.

When we ignore God’s word in moral choices, our human inclination is to think and to feel, not obey. God’s word was specific. “Do not eat.” But Eve liked the looks of the fruit and Adam caved to her desire. The words of God were not as important as the right sensation and Eve’s own logic.

We hear this philosophy today in the words of Woody Allen, “The heart wants what it wants.” Satan deceives with pleasure as the highest good and human thought as reasonable, while targeting God’s word as limiting, unreasonable, and/or false.

Some have sought to adjust hedonism by suggesting that we should maximize not individual happiness, but happiness for the greatest number. This too is dangerous. The problem is that 90 million Germans believed 6 million Jews limited their happiness. The Nazis then gassed the Jews.


Satan is a liar. The religions of this world, to this very day, turn on the lies he began in the garden. 

Never Again Go On The Path Of Sin

“गुनाह की राह”Rev. Tahira Ali Massey [YESHU Tere Sang]

गुनाह की राह पर फिर से कभी जाया न करो ;
अंधेरो पर कभी भी तुम यक़ीन लाया न करो ।=>

कि गम – मुसीबतो में ज़िंदगी चलेगी सदा ?मसीह के नाम से हर पल यहाँ मुसकाया करो ।…
अंधेरो पर कभी भी तुम यक़ीन लाया न करो ।=>

कदम तुम्हारे उठतें गुनाह की राहो में ;
बचोगे आज नज़र सूली पर उठाया करो ।…

अंधेरो पर कभी भी तुम यक़ीन लाया न करो ।=>
किसे कहोगे यहाँ यार सब फरेबी है ;मसीह है सच्चा उसे यार तुम बनाया करो ।…
अंधेरो पर कभी भी तुम यक़ीन लाया न करो ।

′′ The path of sin ′′ Rev. Tahira Ali Massey [YESHU with you]
Never go on the path of sin again and again
Don’t ever believe in darkness.=>
That sorrow – life will go on forever in difficulties?
Smile here every moment in the name of Christ….
Never believe in darkness.=>
When you take steps in the path toward sin;
You will be saved today, if you raise your eyes to the cross….
Never believe in darkness.=>
Whom will you trust here, all are frauds;
Christ is true make him friend….
Never believe in darkness.

Jai Jai Naam Yeshu Naam, Gayoon Mein SubhOShyam

Jai Jai Naam Yeshu Naam
Gaoon mein subhoshaam – 6

Balheen ka sahaara,
paapiyon ka dost hai Tu
Yeshu Tu hai kitna pyaara
Shabd na kaise bataoon? – 2

Jai Jai Naam Yeshu Naam
Gaoon mein subhoshaam – 4

Tujh mein bana rahoon to,
amrut phal laoon main
Gaoon teri jai sadaa to,
Tujh sa ban jaoon main – 2

Jai Jai Naam Yeshu Naam
Gaoon mein subhoshaam – 4

Tu hi hai jo mujhko bulaata
Deta hai jeevan jal
Teri shakti paaoon sadaa aur
Yojanaaye safal ho jaaye – 2

Jai Jai Naam Yeshu Naam
Gaoon mein subhoshaam – 12

Why believe in Christianity above all other Religions?

Critics often ask why we should believe in Christianity over all other religions in the world. How can it be that only Christianity is true?  If God exists, why can’t God use different religions?  Don’t all paths lead to God?  Skeptics ask these kinds of questions all the time, and unfortunately, few Christians have the answers.

Nevertheless, they cannot be different paths of the same God because they teach different gods, and contradict each other. And, none of the other religions have Jesus who claimed to be God in the flesh, fulfilled detailed prophecy, died on the cross, and three days later rose from the dead. Therefore, in an attempt to demonstrate why Christianity is true, and all other religious systems are false, I’ve prepared the following list of reasons for Christianity’s superiority.

There are such things as absolute truths

If truth is relative, then the statement that truth is relative is an absolute truth statement and would be a self-defeating statement by proving that truth is not relative.  But, if the truth is absolute, then the statement “truth is absolute” is true and not self-defeating.  It is true that truth exists.  It is true that truth will not contradict itself, as we have just seen.  It is true that you are reading this paper.

If we can see that there is such a thing as truth in the world, then we could also see that there can be spiritual truth as well.  It is not absurd to believe in spiritual absolutes anymore than physical or logical absolutes.  Even the statement that all religions lead to God is a statement held to be a spiritual absolute by many people.  This demonstrates that people do believe in spiritual truth.  Why?  Because truth exists.  However, not all that is believed to be true is true.  Furthermore, all belief systems cannot be true since they often contradict each other in profound ways – and the truth is not self-contradictory.

Religions contradict each other; therefore, they cannot all be true.

Mormonism teaches that there are many gods in existence and that you can become a god.  Christianity teaches that there is only one God, and you cannot become a god.  Islam teaches that Jesus is not God in the flesh – where Christianity does.  Jesus cannot be both God and not God at the same time.  Some religions teach that we reincarnate, while others do not.  Some teach there is a hell, and others do not.  They cannot all be true.  If they cannot all be true, it cannot be true that all religions lead to God.

Furthermore, it means that some religions are, at the very least, false in their claims to reveal the true God (or gods).  Remember, truth does not contradict itself.  If God exists, He will not institute mutually exclusive and contradictory belief systems in an attempt to get people to believe in Him.  God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33).  Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that there can be absolute spiritual truth and that not all systems can be true regardless of whether or not they claim to be true.  There must be more than a mere claim.

Fulfilled prophecy concerning Jesus

Though other religions have prophecies in them, none are 100% accurate as is the Bible; and none of them point to someone like Jesus who made incredible claims and performed incredible deeds.  The Old Testament was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born, yet the Old Testament prophesied many things about Jesus.  This is undoubtedly evidence of divine influence upon the Bible.

Please consider some of the many prophecies of Jesus in the following chart:

ProphecyOld Testament ProphecyNew Testament Fulfillment
Born of a virginIsaiah 7:14Matt. 1:1825
Born at BethlehemMicah 5:2Matt. 2:1
He would be preceded by a MessengerIsaiah 40:3Matt. 3:1-2
Rejected by His own peopleIsaiah 53:3John 7:57:48
Betrayed by a close friendPsalm 41:9John 13:26-30
His side piercedZech. 12:10John 19:34
CrucifixionPsalm 22:1,
Psalm 22:11-18
Luke 23:33;
John 19:23-24
Resurrection of ChristPsalm 16:10Acts 13:34-37

Fulfillment of prophecy can have different explanations.  Some state that the New Testament was written and altered to make it look as if Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy (but there is no evidence of that).  Others state that the prophecies are so vague that they do not count (but many of the predictions are not vague at all).  Of course, it is possible that God inspired the writers; and Jesus, who is God in the flesh, fulfilled these prophecies as a further demonstration of the validity of Christianity.

The claims and deeds of Christ

Christianity claims to be authored by God.  Of course, merely making such a claim does not make it true.  Anyone can make claims, but backing up those claims is entirely different.  Jesus used the Divine Name for Himself (John 8:58), the same Divine Name used by God when Moses asked God what His name was in Exodus 3:14.  Jesus said He could do whatever He saw God the Father do (John 5:19), and He claimed to be one with God the Father (John 10:3010:38).  Likewise, the disciples also called Him God (John 1:114John 10:27Col. 2:9).  By default, if Jesus is God in the flesh, then whatever He said and did would be true.  Since Jesus said that He alone was the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one can find God without Him (John 14:6), His words become incredibly important.

Again, making a claim is one thing.  Backing it up is another.  Did Jesus also back up His fantastic words with miraculous deeds?  Yes, He did.

The eyewitnesses recorded the miracles of Jesus, and the gospels have been reliably transmitted to us.  Therefore, we can believe what Jesus said about Himself for two reasons:  one, because what He said and did agree with the Old Testament; and two, because Jesus performed many convincing miracles in front of people who testified and wrote about what they saw Him do.

Christ’s resurrection

Within Christianity, the resurrection is vitally important.  Without the resurrection, our faith is useless (1 Cor. 15:14).  It was Jesus’ resurrection that changed the lives of the disciples.  After Jesus was crucified, the disciples ran and hid.  But when they saw the risen Lord, they knew that what Jesus had said and done proved that He was indeed God in the flesh, the Savior.

No other religious leader has died in full view of trained executioners, had a guarded tomb, and then rose three days later to appear to many many people.  This resurrection is proof of who Jesus is, and that He did accomplish what He set out to do: provide the only means of redemption for humanity.

Buddha did not rise from the dead.  Muhammad did not rise from the dead.  Confucius did not rise from the dead.  Krishna did not rise from the dead, etc.  Only Jesus has physically risen from the dead, walked on water, claimed to be God, and raised others from the dead.  He has conquered death.  Why trust anyone else?  Why trust anyone who can be held by physical death when we have a Messiah who is greater than death itself?


Why should anyone trust in Christianity over Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism, or anything else?  It is because there are absolute truths.  Only in Christianity are there accurately fulfilled prophecies of a coming Messiah.  Only in Christianity do we have the extremely accurate transmission of the eyewitness documents (gospels). So, we can trust what was originally written.  Only in Christianity do we have the person of Christ who claimed to be God, performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, who died and rose from the dead, and who said that He alone was the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).  All this adds to the legitimacy and credibility of Christianity above all other religions – all based on the person of Jesus.  It could not be that Jesus is the only Truth, and other religions also are the truth.

Either Jesus is true, and all other religions are false, or other religions are true, and Jesus is false.  There are no other options.  I choose to follow the risen Lord Jesus.