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I was baptized a Catholic when I was about a month old. I went on to “receive” my First Holy Communion (at age 7, wearing a red mini-dress and fishnet stockings), after which I declared myself an atheist, and that was that. I was pulled from weekly religion classes and didn’t darken a church doorway again for decades.
Fast-forward nearly 30 years. I was born again on a deserted beach in South Australia. Knowing next to nothing about Christianity, I figured I was still somehow a Catholic, so I started attending Catholic mass every day (twice on Sundays) and was “confirmed” (a Catholic rite of passage) a few years later. I even considered becoming a nun.
Then one day while I was sitting all alone in a church after mass, God opened my eyes to the truth about Catholicism (that it’s not Christianity), and within a minute I was out the door. That was 16 years ago and haven’t been back since.
Here’s what God showed me that day: (more…)
When I was first born-again 20 years ago, I remember reading the phrase “pray without ceasing” in one of Paul’s letters and wondering how someone could possibly do that. At the time, prayer for me (because I was a Catholic) meant getting down on my knees and repeating vain repetitions that I either memorized, like the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary”, or read straight from a prayer book or prayer card, like a script. I could not understand how people would be able to be down on their knees reciting the Our Father or Hail Mary 24/7 and still carry out their daily duties, but I gave it my best shot. I bought rosary beads, chaplets, and any other prayer beads I could find at the Catholic store and started the daily recitations on my knees. Morning, noon and night, at pre-set times, you could find me in my room, mumbling vain repetitions and counting out beads as eagerly as Matthew had counted coins at his tax collector job before being sprung by Jesus. (more…)
The world is under the control of Satan: this is not news to anyone with knowledge of scripture. What does appear to be news, sadly, even to those who call themselves believers, is that God’s kingdom has already come.
All around us. (more…)
Sunday is the day that most Christians flock to church. They don their ‘Sunday-best’ and shine up their church faces to smile at other shined-up church faces. During the hour-long so-called worship service, they stand on command, sit on command, kneel on command, recite on command, sing on command, keep silent on command, and (most importantly) give money on command. This is what worship service is all about. After it’s over, they leave the church building and figure they’ve done their worshiping for the week. Then they go about their non-church lives.
Apparently these Christians didn’t get the memo: You don’t need to go into a building to be in church or to worship. If you’re born again, you’re already in church – God’s church, which is made up of born-again souls in human bodies. If you’re born again, you’re in church now, wherever you are. You’re in church all the time, and everything you do is your worship.
Everything you do is your worship.
Everything you do is your worship.
Make sure it’s worthy of God.
Jesus was not a fan of ritual during his ministry years on Earth. In the gospels, we see only two episodes that could be considered rituals – one was his baptism by John the Baptist, and the other was the Passover meal just before his crucifixion. Nothing he did in between could really be construed as ‘ritual’. Even his public prayers were in no way ritualized. He just talked to God the way I’m talking to you now. That’s what prayer is.
Contrast Jesus’ extreme lack of ritualized worship to the super-abundance of ritualized worship that characterizes most church services today. In some cases (Catholicism, for instance), the entire service is a ritual that is essentially just a performance, a show (as in “as show of piety”). There is nothing genuinely worshipful about it. You don’t even have to be a Catholic or even believe in God to take part in it; you just have to show up, preferably with your wallet.
Jesus said that God is looking for people to worship him in spirit and in truth. A ritualized worship service where everything is scripted and done on command is NOT worshiping in spirit and in truth. At the very best, it’s just “showing up”; at the very worst, it’s demon worship. Demons demand ritual and strict order in worship. God doesn’t: he just wants you to be yourself and do what you do, with him in mind.
This, here and now, is worship. I’m worshiping by writing, and you’re worshiping by reading.
This is what Jesus meant when he said to worship in spirit and in truth. He meant to be authentic. He meant to be real. Paul said to do all things as if unto God and to pray without ceasing. He meant to live your life knowingly and consciously in God’s presence. He meant to do your best at all times, and to look to God for help and guidance at all times. He meant to make your entire life your worship, not just one hour a week in a designated building.
Everything you do is your worship, from the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night. You are always in church. You are always in God’s presence.
Everything you do is your worship.
Let your life reflect that.
Prayer is the most powerful force in the universe. Through prayer, we open a direct line of communication with God who not only created the universe but is also able to completely destroy it, if he so chooses. This is the level of power we’re talking about. Paul says to “pray without ceasing”, which is what we do when we’re consciously in the presence of God. No words are needed. God is in the house, and we’ve got his full attention.
When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, he first warned them against reciting “vain repetitions” like the “heathen” do, but instead gave them examples of how to open a conversation with God. He said: Ask him to get you something good to eat today. He said: Tell him you’re looking forward to his kingdom coming to Earth. He said: Tell him that you want your will to align with his, so that your will and his will are one. He said: Call him “Dad”. Then, somewhere along the line, maybe in translation or maybe on purpose, these very different ideas for conversation-openers with God got all merged together into one long vain repetition and became the very thing that Jesus warned us about.
The “Our Father” (or “The Lord’s Prayer”) was never meant to be a “prayer”. At the very most, it could serve as the words for a song, but it shouldn’t be used for praying. Prayer is simply having a conversation with God: your spirit with his spirit. If you’re born-again, God’s your Dad. Imagine what your earthly Dad would think if you called out to him, he came running, and then you stood in front of him looking skywards or with your eyes closed, your hands folded in front of you or extended, palms upward, and you babbled on and on and on about something that didn’t have anything to do with your current problems or interests and wasn’t even reflective of what was going on in your mind at the time? And even when your father tried to interject to find out what it was that you wanted, you just kept babbling on and on as if you didn’t hear him? Imagine if you did that every single time you called to your father and he came running. What do you think he’d think about you? What would you think if your child did the same to you? At some point, I think you’d either stop listening to your child or you’d call for psychiatric intervention. Children of sane minds do not talk to their father like that.
And yet, this is exactly what God, our heavenly Father, hears from most of us when we ‘pray’. It’s sad, really, because God is our Dad. Jesus told us that. Our Dad created prayer as a means for us to talk to him and hear from him. We can talk to him just like we can talk to our earthly Dad. He loves it so much when we talk to him! There’s never a time when he’s not available or when it’s not convenient for him. He never says: Go away, I’m busy. He never says: Call me later. He never says: Hold the line; I’ve got another prayer coming in. He’s always ready and waiting and he’s always all ours. The line is always open. It’s not even necessary to say anything to him. You can just share that wonderful comfortable silence of being together alone with someone you love.
For the three and a half years that I was a Catholic, I took Paul’s words to “pray without ceasing” to mean that I should recite the “Hail Mary” all day long. And so I did. I “prayed” the rosary three times a day, morning, noon and night, which amounted to something like 150+ repetitions, book-ended by a dozen or so “Our Father’s” and two rounds of mass. I also, every day, prayed about an hour’s worth of vain repetitions to angels and to assorted Saints This-and-That, which was in complete violation of God’s commandment and edicts. I wouldn’t have done any of it had I known what I was doing was wrong, but I didn’t know. As a Catholic, I was not encouraged to read the Bible to get informed. Had I read the Bible, I would have known about vain repetitions and about not praying to angels and dead people. But Catholics are warned not to study the Bible on their own because (or so they’re told) they lack the ability to understand it without the help of a priest or other official minister of God.
As a Catholic, I was told God was my Heavenly Father, but I wasn’t told that I could get to know him one on one, like Jesus knew him. For Catholics, God is always addressed as thee and thou and thine; God is always out there somewhere – up in the sky or in a box at the side of the altar. He’s never right here, right now, with us, and he’s certainly never right here, right now, inside us. Not for Catholics. Only the pope and priests and some special dead people have a ‘direct connection’ with God. The rest of us rabble have to settle for repeating vain repetitions in the hopes that if we accumulate enough frequent prayer points, we might win a trip to Heaven with a stopover in purgatory.
Sadly, the idea of prayer is even used as a form of punishment in the Catholic organization. After we confess our sins to a priest (not having a direct line of communication with God, we have no other option but to tell our sins to a priest), we’re invariably told that our sins are forgiven as long as we go and “say” ten Hail Mary’s and a few Our Father’s. That’s all it takes. Mumble a few words, and you’re good to go. You don’t even have to mean them.
This is what prayer has become in the largest so-called Christian organization in the world: The most powerful force in the universe has been reduced to a hurried recitation of some old-fashioned words that don’t even really make any sense anymore. How Satan is laughing at us, if he still can! He knows (though most of us appear not to) how powerful prayer is, and how ready and willing God is to intervene at even the slightest change in our thought direction. Remember what Jesus said when he was arrested? He said all he had to do was ask God and he would immediately send 12 legions of angels to rescue him.
That’s a lot of angel power, 12 legions. He probably could have made do with just one angel, if all he wanted to do was get rescued. Twelve legions (approximately 58,000 angels) would have destroyed all of Israel and then some.
This is the kind of power I’m talking about when I say that prayer is the most potent force in the universe. God is not only willing but more than able to move Heaven and Earth for us; all we need to do is ask.
But sometimes we don’t even need to do that. The most powerful prayer I ever prayed was exactly two words long, and one of those words didn’t even make it past my lips. And here’s the kicker – I didn’t know I was praying. I was an atheist. Atheists don’t pray. The words came from a place so deep down inside me that I can only identify it, in hindsight, as my spirit. They were the last gasps of a soul so weighed down by sin that it could no longer properly form words. But God heard. However unintelligible those words were, God heard. He’d been waiting a long time to hear from me. Even before the second word had finished forming in me, he’d swooped down and caught me up in his arms. Had he not, I know now I would have fallen. Forever.
This is prayer. It’s not repetitious mumbling and fumbling with bead counters – no. Prayer is your spirit connecting with God’s spirit, even if you don’t know you’re doing it. Jesus says that God knows what we need even before we ask him. But he still needs to hear us ask; he still needs our permission.
Through prayer, we control the most powerful force in the universe. And not only is this force powerful, it’s completely devoted to us.
So the next time someone tells you to bow your head and pray, tell them you don’t pray in public; you pray in private, like Jesus told you to. Tell them you don’t repeat vain repetitions because God doesn’t hear them. And tell them what they’re doing isn’t praying and that it’s a waste of time.
And then go somewhere alone and pray that they, too, come to know God as their Dad.
If you’re genuinely born again, you’re a saint, not a sinner.
Yet how many times have you heard the phrase “We’re all sinners” in relation to Christians?
If you’ve heard it even once, that’s already one time too many.
Catholicism states that you can’t be a saint unless you’re dead and a pope decrees you’re a saint.
Then Catholics are told to pray to you and you get a day named after you and maybe even some made-in-China trinkets molded in your image.
That’s right – in total violation of what God says in the Old Testament about praying to dead people or making graven images, Catholicism orders you to do both, if you’re a ‘good Catholic’.
A sinner is someone who is unholy. Born-agains certainly have the potential to be unholy (we’ll have that potential, through our free will, until the day we die), but by definition we can’t be sinners because then God’s holy spirit wouldn’t be with us. And if God’s holy spirit isn’t with us, then we’re not, by definition, born again.
God’s holy spirit cannot be in the same place as an unholy spirit. The two are mutually exclusive. Where evil dwells, God’s spirit will not dwell. You can’t have demons and God’s spirit in you at the same time.
You cannot be holy and unholy.
So you see the difficulty with born-again Christians being told they’re sinners.
We’re born sinners, but we’re born again saints.
The next time a preacher calls you a sinner even knowing you’re a born-again Christian, tell that preacher he’s dead wrong. You’re a saint. And if the preacher or the pope has a problem with you calling yourself a saint, tell them to take it up with God.
This is the first of a ten-part series on the most important set of guidelines in human existence: the Ten Commandments. I’m not covering them in numerical order or even in order of importance. This isn’t a count-down; it’s a refresher.
The Ten Commandments are as equally relevant today as they were when they were given to Moses. In fact, they’re even more relevant. The main attack against the Commandments is that they’re “old-fashioned” and out of step with current realities. Nothing could be further from the truth.
God’s truth doesn’t change. Hemlines change; beauty ideals change; scientific theories come and go, but God’s truth remains as fresh and clear and refreshing as ever. And the worse it gets down here on Earth, the more we need God’s help and guidance.
Thank God for the Ten Commandments! They’re both your first and your last line of defence. They’re meant to be memorized as a “To Do” list and a “To Don’t” list; you should know them as automatically as you know your name.
The commandments aren’t meant as a way to interfere with your pleasure, but to keep you from making choices that will lead to pain.
If you find yourself wondering what you should do, look to Jesus, because the solution to every problem we’ll ever face during our time here on Earth was modeled by something Jesus either said or did. And, as we know, Jesus based his teachings on the Ten Commandments.
THOU SHALLT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY
The commandment I want to talk about today is the one concerning adultery. We are not, of course, to commit adultery. Sounds clear enough. But what exactly is adultery?
Jesus made himself more than a few enemies and even lost some followers over his clarification of what constitutes adultery. Adultery means to engage in sexual relations with someone you are not married to. It also includes fantasizing over someone (who may or may not be aware of your existence) and becoming “emotionally involved” in a romantic way with someone who is not your spouse. Adultery extends to relationships you have after you divorce your spouse. Jesus explained that if you divorce someone and then remarry while that person you divorced is still alive, then you’ve committed adultery and the person you marry commits adultery. And if your spouse remarries while you’re alive, your spouse commits adultery, as does the person your spouse ‘marries’.
From this, we can see that divorce is wrong because it almost always leads to multiple instances of adultery. Jesus explained that divorce only became an option because the people in Moses’ time were so hard-headed and hard-hearted. In other words – it was meant to be an option for people who weren’t obedient to God, meaning mostly everyone (but that shouldn’t include us). Divorce is only acceptable in God’s eyes if the spouses involved live celibately until the other dies.
Being obedient to God is only hard when you have a disobedient mindset. God’s rules aren’t difficult either to understand or to follow; as Jesus said, his burden is light. If you find God’s commandments difficult to follow or out-of-step with today’s world, that’s because you’re out-of-step with God and Jesus.
Mainstream Christianity has, of course, embraced divorce, which essentially means they condone adultery. The Catholic organization has even tried to camouflage the sin as a ‘re-do’ by offering to annul marriages that allegedly were not consummated. Annulling means legally treating the marriage as if it had never occurred, as if the marriage vows made before God can be rescinded or made null and void. In this, Catholicism is fooling no-one, least of all God. Jesus said that what God has joined, let no-one tear apart.
Marriage is for life. That means, you stay married until you or your spouse dies. If you find yourself in an abusive or love-less marriage, you separate from your spouse and live celibately. Meanwhile, you pray that God will help you find a way to heal your marriage. But you don’t divorce and you don’t remarry, not as long as your spouse is still alive.
Jesus didn’t mince his words, and neither do I. The world will not only tell you it’s your right to divorce for any number of reasons, and then the world will seduce you into remarrying while your spouse is still alive. General rule of thumb here is: If the world encourages or approves it, it’s almost guaranteed to be the wrong choice.
Jesus explained that the sole grounds for divorce is fornication. Now, for fornication to occur, there has to be a non-marital situation, otherwise it’s adultery. A good example of fornication as grounds for divorce can be found in Jesus’ parents. Mary showed a pregnancy shortly after her marriage to Joseph but before they had consummated their union (meaning they hadn’t yet had sex). Joseph knew that Mary hadn’t had sex with him prior to their marriage, so he had clear grounds to divorce her. However, because Joseph was obedient to and loved God, God told him the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy, and he agreed to continue with the marriage. What appeared to be fornication (Mary having sex before marrying Joseph) was instead a miraculous conception. Isaiah said that the Messiah was to be born of a virgin, and so he was.
Mainstream Christianity has skewed Jesus’ sole exception (fornication) to mean adultery. Catholics readily receive permission from “the Church” to divorce as long as they can prove adultery. But adultery was NEVER meant to be grounds for divorce. We see this in John 8, where Jesus forgives the adulterous woman while warning her not to commit that sin again. He didn’t advise her husband to find a good lawyer and file for divorce; he warned the weeping and repentant woman not to sin again.
As an escaped (and hopefully soon to be excommunicated) Catholic, I can honestly state that the problem with Catholicism is, well, everything. Catholicism consistently misrepresents the gospel because those in charge of that organization and those who laid the ground rules for it are blind and deaf; they aren’t born again; they haven’t got a clue what Jesus said. People who follow the advice of Catholic or other mainstream Christian organizations regarding divorce and adultery are classic examples of the blind leading the blind.
Someone out there needs to hear this today. Someone out there is “involved” where he or she shouldn’t be. You know that Jesus says that even to look at someone with lust is already to have committed adultery with them (if you or they are married). The best way to avoid this trap is to ask God to help you, to sincerely ask God to help you. Not in a lukewarm or half-hearted way, but to sincerely ask for help. Sin is not only knowing that you’re doing something wrong; sin is consciously persisting in doing something wrong even after you’ve been warned. God gives you second chances (think of the woman in John 8), but at some point, time’s up.
If you’re being tempted to sin, ask God for help. Don’t ask a minister or a friend; ask God. Ultimately, God is the only one who can really help you, so you might as well go right to the source, just like Jesus did when he was in our shoes.
One of the great mysteries in the New Testament is why the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus after the resurrection. Being the curious type, I dug around a bit online and found that the question tends generally to be avoided, but when it does come up, the scripted responses more or less go like this:
- Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Jesus (mistaking him for the gardener) because it was too dark to see properly, he was possibly standing some distance from her, and her vision was obscured by her tears;
- the disciples fishing on their boat didn’t recognize Jesus because he was too far away (on the shore) to see him properly;
- the disciples on the road to Emmaus didn’t recognize Jesus because they were “supernaturally” (not my term) kept from seeing his real features; and
- the disciples at home didn’t recognize him for the same reason.
I don’t buy any of these explanations. This is Jesus we’re talking about, not some casual acquaintance. Most of the disciples had spent every day of the past three years with him – eating with him, walking with him, sitting with him, listening to him. They knew his voice as well as they knew their own; they knew how he stood, how he walked, how he moved his hands and gestured with his body when he spoke. They knew his smell (we all have our own unique scent) and the special tone he used with each of them. They knew him as well as it was possible to know another human being, and on top of it all, they loved him intensely. They were consumed with grief over his death, and he was constantly on their mind.
So, with regards to the first and second points, even if it was pitch black, Mary would have recognized Jesus by his voice, if his voice were the same. And even if they were some distance from him, the disciples fishing would have recognized Jesus by his voice (if it were the same voice) or at least by his form, his height, his way of standing, moving, etc., if these characteristics were the same. Or did all of the disciples all of a sudden get myopic and hard of hearing?
When people I love pass away, I sometimes think I see them in the distance or hear their voice the next aisle over at the supermarket. Of course, it’s never them, but I rush to see if it is anyway. That’s quite a common phenomenon – to hear the voice of your lost loved one in the voice of stranger, or to see a stranger from behind and think it’s someone you used to know. I mention this, because I believe that when you’re grieving, you’re more likely to think that a stranger is your lost loved one than that your lost loved one is a stranger.
As for the third and fourth points, which are based on “supernatural” intervention, there is definitely something to that, but not in the way it is argued. Scripture says that the disciples’ eyes were “holden” so they could not see it was Jesus. Some people argue that this means that Jesus, post-crucifixion and pre-ascension, looked just like he always had, but the disciples couldn’t see him because God had blinded their physical senses. I would argue that quite the opposite is true – that Jesus did NOT look like he had looked before, and that the knowledge that this ‘stranger’ who didn’t look like Jesus was in fact Jesus was “holden” from the disciples on a spiritual level, not a physical one. Thus, their eventual recognition of Jesus was a spiritual recognition, not a physical one.
I have had personal experience with my eyes being “holden”. For three and a half years after I was born again (out of atheism), I was heavily invested in Catholicism. In fact, I was so heavily invested (as a lector, committee member, twice-daily mass attendee, etc.) and spent so much time in the church building, I was given a key to come and go as I pleased. I loved being in the building because I thought God lived there (that’s what Catholics are told to believe), and as a born-again, I always wanted to be where God was.
After three and a half years of intense involvement with Catholicism (even to the point of considering becoming a nun), I had what you might call a spiritual breakdown. Even though I was doing everything I was supposed to do as a “good Catholic”, I had lost my love and compassion for people that had been the chief characteristic of my early rebirth days. Even worse, I felt I was moving further and further away from Jesus and God. As blinded as I was by Catholic doctrines, I still knew enough to know that this was not the way things were supposed to be. So, down on my face I went, bawling my eyes out and begging God to take out of my life anything that was keeping me from doing his holy will.
I know now that God hears the cries of your heart, not the words of your mouth. Despite the stiltedness of my pre-packaged prayer, God heard my heart loud and clear that day. And a week later, he delivered.
I was sitting in church just after Sunday mass. It was about 11 in the morning, the sun streamed idyllically through the stained glass windows, and the air smelled like birthday cake from the newly extinguished candles on the altar. I loved that smell, and I loved the prettiness and coziness of being in what I thought was my Father’s house. I never wanted to leave.
Then, in the midst of my reverie, something happened that I can only describe as scales falling from my eyes. For the first time, I saw what kind of a place I was really in. It wasn’t God’s house. It was a pagan (demon) temple, and those statues that I had been told were angels and saints were actually idols that people were bowing down before and praying to (that I had bowed down before and prayed to). And the worst of it all was the crucifix – the life-size depiction of Jesus’ mangled corpse hanging like an inverted centrepiece over the altar. This was not a place where God was worshiped; this was a place where something quite the opposite was being worshiped. The coziness I felt turned to a chill. I wanted to get out of that place immediately, and did so. I never went back.
This is one of my experiences when my eyes were “holden” from the truth until I was ready, in my heart, to receive it. The candlesticks didn’t suddenly turn into writhing snakes or the statues into leering devils – no, not at all. Physically, the candlesticks and statues remained exactly the same both before and after my revelation. What had changed was how I saw them, not how they looked.
In the same way, the disciples’ eyes were “holden”. Jesus appeared as someone who didn’t look or sound or walk like Jesus, and the disciples couldn’t see that this person was Jesus because they were looking at him with the eyes of their head, not the eyes of their soul. When their hearts were open to receiving the knowledge, then they could ‘see’ that this person who looked like a stranger was, indeed, Jesus.
As with everything else in the Bible, if you want something clarified, just ask God. It’s not God’s goal to make his Word unknowable to you as some great mystery. On the contrary, he wants to reveal everything and to make it understandable even to a small child.
The truth of the matter is that Jesus wasn’t recognized by the disciples because he didn’t look like the Jesus they had known. They weren’t being prevented from seeing him as he was; they were being prevented from knowing who he was. It wasn’t the fault of darkness or distance (or even myopia): Jesus simply looked different.
In fact, Jesus states outright why he was unrecognizable – he told Mary that he had not yet ascended and for this reason she should not touch him. We know that our bodies will be ‘perfected’ when we go to heaven. Paul says they will be changed. Our Earthly bodies are flawed, while our heavenly bodies are perfect. When the disciples saw him post-crucifixion and pre-ascension, Jesus’ body was undergoing the process of being perfected. Jesus looks vastly different in heaven than he did on Earth, as will we. When Mary saw him at his empty tomb, he was still morphing into his perfect body. Keep in mind that Jesus told us that, in heaven, we would be “like the angels”, who are renowned for their physical beauty and are also genderless (neither male nor female). My guess is that the resurrected Jesus who Mary saw in the graveyard that morning was quite good-looking, whereas before his resurrection, Jesus was not, according to scripture, physically attractive.
Another key reason why Jesus didn’t look the same after his resurrection is that God works by faith, not by the witness of our senses. If Jesus had looked the same after his resurrection as he did before, people would not have to believe by faith that he was the Messiah. Remember how Jesus praised Peter for knowing by faith that he was sent by God? This is how we’re all to know that Jesus is who he said he was – by faith, through God’s spirit, not by the witness of our eyes.
Keep in mind, too, that the person we know as “Jesus” is not simply an animated body (although I did find one entry online entitled: “Was Jesus a Zombie?”). No, Jesus is not a zombie. He is first and foremost a spirit that cleaves to God’s spirit, as were all the prophets before him, and as are all true believers since his resurrection. This spiritual essence of Jesus (and of us) remains the same, regardless of what vessel it’s in. So, through the eyes of faith, we can know that Jesus is the Messiah and can recognize Jesus no matter what form he takes, just as we can recognize God’s spirit in other born-again believers.
Yet another (and a very practical) reason why Jesus did not appear in the same body is that it might have sparked a manhunt for him and put his followers at risk. If the authorities thought he hadn’t actually died on the cross, they might have tried to hunt him down so they could kill him once and for all. Everyone Jesus knew would have been suspected of harboring him as a fugitive, and it just wouldn’t have been Jesus’ style to put those he loved in harm’s way.
In contrast to his pre-ascension appearances, Jesus tells us that everyone will see him and know who he is when he returns at the end of time. There won’t be any mystery about it; no-one will need to announce who he is; God will give everyone the knowledge and everyone will see him at the same time. He won’t come wearing a tag that reads “Hello, my name is Jesus”. People will simply know he’s Jesus. It will be a spiritual recognition rather than a physical one. By the way, this is also how Jesus’ followers will not be deceived by the “man of perdition” who says he’s Jesus, but isn’t. They will rely on their spiritual senses, not their physical ones.
I would like to add here that while I am vehemently against Catholicism, I’m not against Catholics. I WAS a Catholic. I was baptized as a Roman Catholic when I was three weeks old, which is why I “returned to the fold” after I was born again. I thought I belonged there, I thought Catholics were my brothers and sisters, and God in his infinite wisdom let me believe it for a while, for his and my purposes. Allowing me to get to know Catholicism from an inside rather than an outside perspective enabled me to better understand how people could be so deceived by “doctrines of man”, since I myself had also been deceived.
Again – I’m not against Catholics; I’m against their belief system, just as I’m against the Islamic belief system (not against Muslims) and against the Judaic belief system (not against Jews). For the record, I’m against all organized religious systems of belief. So, I’m not a ‘Catholic-basher’, I’m a Catholicism-basher, or just an all-round general religion-basher. This is a very important distinction: I don’t hate people, I hate the lies they believe. When Jesus railed against the Sadducees and Pharisees, he wasn’t bashing people; he was bashing their belief system so that they might be jolted into questioning the ‘doctrines of man’ they had been taught (and in some cases forced) to believe, and, by questioning their beliefs, become open to receiving the truth. Like Jesus, we must also bash those erroneous belief systems so that those who want to know the truth may be freed.