Wednesday, June 30, 2010

There's a global love affair with Hitler, can Antichrist be far behind?

The Tribulation's second half is a period of intense persecution of Jews (and of Christians). Jesus Himself said that it was a time of persecution that never has been and never will be again. It is hard to imagine what could be worse than the Jewish Holocaust of WWII.

There are still people alive today who bear the Nazi concentration camp number tattooed on their arm, and will tell you that was a period of intense persecution. Any student of history will remember textbook photographs of emaciated internees lying in bunks, too weak to even arise and celebrate Allied deliverance. No one can forget the horrible and cruel tortures and ways the Nazis invented for the Jews to die. Millions of millions were herded into cattle cars and were killed. The cry "Never again!" is the motto of the Jewish Defense League. The Great Tribulation will make that time of Holocaust look like a picnic.

The great Tribulation will be worse than THIS!

The bible tells us that in the end time Israel will be alone. She will have no friends and all will be her enemy. The bible says ALL. (Zech 12:3; Zech 14:2). Her land will have been divided (Joel 3:2). The nation of Israel will have withstood many indignities but soon, real killing persecution is going to be upon them. And Jesus says when they see it coming, RUN.

We see the advance to that time now. Israel is globally condemned for protecting herself. She is pressured to concede land. She is haughtily ordered to allow or not allow apartment complex construction here or there, within their own borders. Helen Thomas was only one of the many who believe the Jews should "go back to where they came from: Germany and Poland" where they were killed by the millions not so coincidentally.

Coinciding with AntiSemitism, is the rise in Nazism worldwide. Yes. Hitler's back, and he's back by invitation. These are but a few of the articles I found published within the last week:

London: Pair jailed over racist messages
Two white supremacists have been jailed after being convicted of posting violent and vicious racist messages on the internet. Michael Heaton, 42, and Trevor Hannington, 58, described Jews as "scum" and called for them to be "destroyed". The "proud neo-Nazis" were unanimously cleared of soliciting murder at Liverpool Crown Court but Heaton was jailed on Friday for 30 months after being convicted of four counts of using threatening, abusive or insulting words likely to stir up racial hatred.

Pakistan: The Führer Cult: Germans Cringe at Hitler's Popularity
Germans are popular in India and Pakistan, but not always for the right reasons. Many in South Asia have nothing but admiration for Adolf Hitler and still associate Germany with the Third Reich. Everyday encounters with the love of all things Nazi makes German visitors cringe.

Latvia: Parade celebrates Nazi invasion
A parade to commemorate the day Nazi troops marched into Latvia during World War II is set to proceed on Thursday after a court on Tuesday overturned an earlier ban on the event. Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis and Foreign Minister Aivars Ronis said Wednesday in a joint statement that they were "puzzled and upset" by the decision of the district court, which reversed a ban on the event imposed by Riga city council. Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem called for "saner minds" to prevail. "To celebrate the anniversary of the Nazi invasion is to celebrate the mass murder of all those victimized by the Nazis in Latvia - primarily Jews, but also communists, Gypsies and the mentally ill," Zuroff said in a statement.

UK: Man jailed for Hitler ringtone
The man had programmed his Nokia telephone to play a speech in which the Nazi leader pledged the "destruction of world Jewry" if Germany was "dragged" into war, according to a story in the Daily Telegraph.

Hitler film exposes India's interest in dictator
Here, Hitler is not viewed as the personification of evil, but with an attitude of morally ambiguous fascination. He is seen as a management guru — akin to Machiavelli or Sun Tzu — by business students, and an object of wonder by people craving order amid the chaos of India.

The last sentence captures it. Hitler is an object of wonder by people craving order amid chaos. And things are not even chaotic now, like they will be when the conditions are set that will allow for Antichrist's rise. If Antiochus IV Epiphanes was an antichrist-type, if Emperor Nero was an antichrist-type, if Hitler was an antichrist-type, then the real Antichrist will arise and become an object of wonder to those who will be (by then) desperate to make order of the global chaos. The world will cling to his flatteries and promises. They will trust him to bring order to a chaotic world.

The world will have undergone earthquakes, famines, signs in the sun, moon, and stars. They will have endured at least three wars in rapid succession, and possibly more. They will be struck with terror at the loss of millions who had suddenly vanished in the blink of an eye: including their children. This loss likely will have caused a global economic meltdown, which is underway now but cannot survive the loss of millions in the workplace or the economy and will topple world economic regimes. The globe will be in chaos. The nations will crave peace and calm. This current longing for Hitler will increase into an insane clamor for someone, anyone, who can bring order among the chaos. Antichrist will promise it. They will love him for it. And they will be deceived.

Cracking the Plato code leads to...God

In interesting science and religion news, with a little philosophy thrown in, a Science historian cracks "the Plato code".

"A science historian at The University of Manchester has cracked “The Plato Code” – the long disputed secret messages hidden in the great philosopher’s writings. ... Dr Jay Kennedy, whose findings are published in the leading US journal Apeiron, reveals that Plato used a regular pattern of symbols, inherited from the ancient followers of Pythagoras, to give his books a musical structure. A century earlier, Pythagoras had declared that the planets and stars made an inaudible music, a ‘harmony of the spheres’. Plato imitated this hidden music in his books. The hidden codes show that Plato anticipated the Scientific Revolution 2,000 years before Isaac Newton, discovering its most important idea – the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics. The decoded messages also open up a surprising way to unite science and religion. The awe and beauty we feel in nature, Plato says, shows that it is divine; discovering the scientific order of nature is getting closer to God."

This brings up two concepts I will explore: mathematical harmony in nature, and the music that harmony makes as expressed by Pythagoras through today's sonification of the Large Hadron Collider's Higgs-Boson ("God particle"). Bear with me. There's pictures ;)

God said He is evident in nature. He said that it is so plain, on That Day no one will have any excuse for not seeing it.
since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)

I've often pointed to Fibonacci as one example of this. Fibonacci numbers are used in the analysis of exchange markets, in strategies such as Fibonacci retracement (in financial mathematics), and are used in computer algorithms such as the Fibonacci search technique. They also appear in biological settings, such as branching in trees, arrangement of leaves on a stem, the fruitlets of a pineapple, the flowering of artichoke, an uncurling fern and the arrangement of a pine cone. The sequence is used in architecture, math, seen in nature, music is based on it.

What IS the Fibonacci sequence that is prevalent the foundation of so many disciplines? The series begins with 0 and 1. After that, use the simple rule: Add the last two numbers to get the next. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987... and so on.  The end result is mathematically structured, architecturally pleasing, biologically intelligent, it is also beautiful--

Fibonacci in nature

Fibonacci in Architecture- in a spiral of the lighthouse stairs
In the proportions of a Greek Temple

In musical scales- "Notes in the scale of western music are based on natural harmonics that are created by ratios of frequencies. Ratios found in the first seven numbers of the Fibonacci series (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8) are related to key frequencies of musical notes. Fibonacci and phi relationships are often found in the timing of musical compositions. As an example, the climax of songs is often found at roughly the phi point (61.8%) of the song, as opposed to the middle or end of the song. In a 32 bar song, this would occur in the 20th bar." source

For laughs, Fibonacci in cartoon:
The above cartoon shows an unconventional sports application of the Fibonacci numbers (left two panels). (The right panel instead applies the Perrin sequence).

One form of divine revelation is nature through its creation which teaches us about God. Mathematicians have not been able to explain why this sequence is so ubiquitous across so many disciplines but acknowledge it occurs too frequently to call it an anomaly.

That Plato was able to see the divine in the universe and attribute it to scientific order was revolutionary in his day, when it was supposed that the many gods fighting with each other was what caused chaos in the heavens and upset for the people on earth. It was the reason he had to code his findings. It was blasphemy. His own teacher was executed for publicly discussing the concept and Plato was at risk for even thinking it. But he did think it.

Fallout for the Plato Code undoubtedly will be ongoing. The author says the impact of what Plato had coded is as big as if archaeologists opened a tomb and found Jesus diary. He also likened it to the missing link between science and religion...However, these things are not revolutionary for bible believers. (I hope). Paul wrote about in Romans thousands of years ago. The LORD'S harmonizing presence in nature is also expressed in the Psalms and in Job, among other books, that are even older than Romans. However, if this philosophy paper on the Plato Code has the impact on secular culture today in the mind of even one lost person, The Plato Code will be a treasure beyond all compare.

On to the second concept: music. Sorry this is long. I don't like long blog entries myself. The Plato Code guy said that "Plato used a regular pattern of symbols, inherited from the ancient followers of Pythagoras, to give his books a musical structure. A century earlier, Pythagoras had declared that the planets and stars made an inaudible music, a ‘harmony of the spheres’. Plato imitated this hidden music in his books." Wikipedia says this 'music' is not literally audible, but a harmonic and/or mathematical and/or religious concept."

It was made audible this week!

Immediately I thought of the new sound library from the folks at the Large Hadron Collider. Last week they announced that they had found a way to sonify, or put to sound, the music that the Higgs-Boson subatomic particle makes when it crashes and then reverberates. Their search for the Higgs-Boson, known as the "God Particle" is supposed to be the glue that holds the universe together.

In a background news article published in 2008 explains:
"In the wake of centuries of effort to seek deep connections between music and mathematics, a team today concludes that music does have geometry. More than 2000 years ago, Pythagoras discovered that pleasing musical intervals could be described using simple ratios. And the idea of the so-called musica universalis or "music of the spheres" emerged in the Middle Ages which said that the proportions in the movements of the celestial bodies - the sun, moon and planets - could be viewed as a form of music, inaudible but perfectly harmonious."

It IS viewed as a form of music, inaudible but perfectly harmonious as confirmed by an upload this week:

"But Richard Dobson - a composer involved with the project - says he is struck at how musical the products of the collisions sound. "We can hear clear structures in the sound, almost as if they had been composed. They seem to tell a little story all to themselves. They're so dynamic and shifting all the time, it does sound like a lot of the music that you hear in contemporary composition," he explained. Although the project's aim is to provide particle physicists with a new analysis tool, Archer Endrich believes that it may also enable us to eavesdrop on the harmonious background sound of the Universe. ... And Mr Endrich says that those who have been involved in the project have felt something akin to a religious experience while listening to the sounds. ... "It's so intriguing and there's so much mystery and so much to learn. The deeper you go, the more of a pattern you find and it's fascinating and it's uplifting." (It is God who made that pattern.)

You can go to the LHC sounds library (loads slow) and listen to the universe, the music of the spheres, the musica universalis, that Pythagoras proposed existed over 2500 years ago. Or click this link to an MP3 to listen to one of them and click here to read an explanation of what you are listening to.

Kepler, 20 centuries after Pythagoras, turned his attention to Pythagoras's concept of musica universalis, in studies on chronology and "harmony," the numerical relationships among music (Fibonacci numbers), mathematics and the physical world, and their astrological significance. He wrote in his Harmonice Munde (1619) that he wishes "to erect the magnificent edifice of the harmonic system of the musical scale . . . as God, the Creator Himself, has expressed it in harmonizing the heavenly motions."

Proving once again, that "since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)" 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Sound of Blasphemy, or Symphony?

We are told that in the end times, man will liken himself to God but deny God, being selfish and unholy (2 Timothy 3:1-5). They will always be learning but never able to come to knowledge of the truth (2 Tim 3:7-8). The Tower of Babel incident in Genesis shows man's earliest attempt to reach God by his own efforts and then in the process, setting God aside completely to celebrate his own accomplishment. In my opinion, the Large Hadron Collider experiment under the Alps in France-Swiss border is another Tower of Babel. This multi-million dollar experiment searches for the glue that holds the universe together, the Higgs-Boson particle that scientists think exists, and are trying to prove it. We Christians know that they only need search as far as Colossians 1:17, which says "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."Jesus is the glue that holds the universe together.

The LHC experiment re-creates the Big Bang, the theory that there was a bang at the start of time that exploded the material that contained the entire universe into the expanded universe we see today, rather than the literal creation account in Gen 1. (Ahem, no one has ever explained the two fatal flaws in the Big Bang theory: 1. Where did the material come from that was a tiny ball before it exploded, and 2. What exploded it? Something to ask a scientist next time you have a cocktail party conversation.)

A series of interesting and unique events hampered the long road to the Collider's initial start up, which I wrote about here. Anyway, the latest hubris to come out of the 17-mile ring of particle smashing big bang experiment under the Alps, is that the scientists got the notion to set the Higgs-Boson particle smash-moment to sound. They are making recordings of "the sound of God."

God particle signal is simulated as sound
Scientists have simulated the sounds set to be made by sub-atomic particles such as the Higgs boson when they are produced at the Large Hadron Collider. Their aim is to develop a means for physicists at Cern to "listen to the data" and pick out the Higgs particle if and when they finally detect it.

This article was more irreverent:

Large Hadron Collider: What does the 'God particle' sound like?
Who would have thought that the sound of God would be so whiney?
Scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland say they have simulated the noise that might be made when a Higgs boson particle - nicknamed the "God particle" - comes into being. And to the untrained ear it sounds a little bit like a bunch of coins spinning in a wine glass.

No it doesn't. It sounds like blasphemy. Anyway, if you want to listen, you can go here. It takes a while to load. There are several sound files and a blog explaining what they are.

It is good to explore the things of His creation, but not to the irreverent exclusion of Him who made it.

Below, the Large Hadron Collider:

Below, the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). Explanation: Is beauty in the eye of this beholder? Earlier this month, over Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean, a playful photographer with an eye for the sky took eight images and composed the above intriguing picture. The full fisheye frame shows everything above the horizon, including a lamp-illuminated landscape around the edges, and the zenith of the sky directly overhead. The image, however, may be more than beautiful -- it may also be a scavenger hunt. Can you find the photographer's tent, the slope of a volcano (active Piton de la Fournaise), a picturesque shoreline, and the lights of the nearby town (Saint Philippe)? One remarkable feature of the above image is that its center contains the very center of our Milky Way Galaxy.
Below, 2007 Crop Circle "Metatron" in wheat, UK, Sugar Hill:
Below: GOD:

A little more about lightning

I'd written about how lightning is part of God's vocabulary to a fallen world, here and here. Lightning is a fascinating natural event, and a highly dangerous one. This is the season for lightning strikes, as we have seen dramatically with the bolt hitting the Touchdown Jesus in Ohio

and the triple bolts that hit three skyscrapers simultaneously in Chicago the other day:

and last night's hit on the Parthenon in Greece:

Of course, the caption doesn't help matters any: "Hammer of Zeus: A flash of lightning illuminates the sky over the 2,500-year-old Ancient Parthenon temple, at the Acropolis hill during a heavy rainfall in Athens early this morning."

"Hammer of Zeus" indeed. The article below talks about lightning's power, and it is a powerful phenomenon on earth, more powerful than hurricanes and tornadoes, because of the contained energy inside a bolt. And to think, "He covers His hands with the lightning, And commands it to strike the mark." (Job 36:32)

"A Striking Presence"
"It's five times hotter than the surface of the sun, and it travels about 93,000 miles per second. Perhaps surprising to some, lightning is the second leading cause of storm-related deaths in the U.S. - exceeded only by floods. Right now is the most dangerous time, as June and July often have the highest frequency of lightning-related deaths, according to data from the National Weather Service."

Here is a chart of fatalities thus far in 2010 from the National Weather Service. It may seem counter-intuitive, but seeking safety from lighting outdoors you are better off in the open, rather than under a tree. One of the ten deaths so far this year was a gentleman in Indiana sheltering under a tree. And it goes without saying that if you are on a golf course, dispense with metal clubs or gardening tools. Squatting on the balls of your feet is best, because it minimizes your contact with the ground and reduces your height. This link brings you to other outdoor risk reduction tips.

The Tribulation ends with lightning. At the last bowl the angel pours out the bowl containing lightning, thunder, rumblings, and a tremendous earthquake.
The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. (Rev 16:17-18)
Lightning accompanied the giving of the Ten Commandments...

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” (Exodus 20: 18-19)

This speaks to something that is missing today: listening. God is and was and always will be the same. Lightning is used as a description of His appearance. He also sends lightning as a sign, as in the Exodus passage, and the people understand it. They acknowledge it as a sign of His awesome and fear-inducing presence and beg to have Moses speak for God to them instead of enduring the holy and incredible voice themselves. We don't listen to Him in that way any more in this day and age. One reason, of course, is that we have the Holy Spirit in us, and we have the bible to listen to. But He still speaks to the lost in these ancient ways, and declared it so:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20)
A "bolt from the blue" means no one expects lighting when there is blue sky. It is a complete surprise. At least it was to this man, who was outside, there was no thunder and no rain, yet a bolt from the blue hit his arm as he worked on a fence. The earliest citation of this phrase is Thomas Carlyle, in The French Revolution, 1837:

"Arrestment, sudden reality as a bolt out of the Blue, has hit strange victims."

Cinematic depictions of lighting bolts notwithstanding, when you see lightning, see God's power. I hope that when you see lightning, the suddenness of the knowledge of God's presence on earth and His power to love hits you and hits you hard. But also see within that power, an infinite love. He loves you, He knows you, and He wants you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pensacola Beach greed

The end time is a time when regard for human life is at an almost all-time low. The lowest point will be the Tribulation, but Paul explained that these end times would be perilous times, too, including overriding greed. The greed would be so pervasive that employers would cheat their workers and withhold pay. Millionaires would pile up treasure for themselves while millions can't afford bread. Jesus warned in several parables about clinging to riches of this earth at the expense of the poor. In 2 Tim 3:2, Paul exclaims about perilous times and one of the perils is loving money:
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money. Tim 3:1-2a)
Here is more than one verse about those who succumb to the perils of loving money:
Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him ... (Luke 16:14)
not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. (1 Tim 3:3)
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Tim 6:10)
Having money is not a problem. Money itself is not a problem. Loving money is a problem. A man cannot have two masters. With that in mind, I notice the issue of the BP oil spill and the wrestling match over Pensacola Beach. On June 23, the Escambia County Florida Sheriff's Department flew over Pensacola Beaches and the scope of the spill washing up on popular tourist-shores hit home. Here is but one screen shot, the video is at the link above:

On June 25, a quarter mile of Pensacola Beach was closed, marking the first time a beach was officially closed due to oil washing up.

"But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Tim 3:13). From bad to worse. And on June 26, the beach was re-opened, on the advice of a beach official, and against the advice of Federal Authorities.

On June 27, 400 people who had visited the beach sought emergency health care, citing respiratory ailments, headaches, nausea, and eye irritation.

On June 28, videographer Diana Stephens noted that though the water may look fine, it is not. Placing a porous fish filter in the rushing surf, it came away clogged with oil. She said that the filter is porous, like our skin, indicating that such oil toxins will penetrate our own metabolic system in short order if submerging any part of our bodies for even a short time. Children are especially at risk.

That these beaches are open is unconscionable. But the tourism industry is taking a hammering and apparently the beach official, schooled in science, health, and marine sciences, (not) was persuasive. They want the money. Tourism contributes 57 billion to Florida's economy. That's billion with a B.

From Knoxville News: "While the media have been heavily focused on the serious water pollution issue, not much coverage has been given to the air pollution issue. Journalists visiting the site have reported headaches and nausea from their trips covering the site. While many workers cleaning up the beach have gear to protect them from skin contact with the tar balls, I have yet to see any of them wearing respirators, and when reports of many sickened workers surfaced, BP's response was that they were suffering from a bout of food poisoning."

These children play on an oil soaked beach in Destin, FL.

 They playfully run back and forth from the water to their mother:
 Through this toxic oil minefield:

When the children realized how much oil they have on their skin, this little girl starts to cry and scream. "MOMMY, GET IT OFF! I DON'T WANT IT! I DON'T WANT THE OIL!!" The 4-min video is here.

Jesus thinks highly of children, and issues special warning about their ill-treatment. I wish that the first priority of the officials was the protection of our society's most vulnerable. But it isn't. It's money. They store up the expense of the lives and the health of their brothers and sisters on this earth. Perilous times indeed.

The language of God: earthquakes

In looking at ways God has spoken to us in the past and of the ways He has promised to speak to us in the future, we discover God's vocabulary. Among other ways that He has spoken to us, part of His language included fire and brimstone, hail, lightning, and earthquakes. The writer of Hebrews wrote in verses 1:1-2, "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world."

God has promised to speak to us again via earthquakes and this article explores the ways the LORD shakes us when He wants our attention. Previous entries in the series "Language of God" are here:

Language of God: Fire and Brimstone
Language of God: Lightning
Language of God: Hail

The Church Age is coming to an end. The trumpet will sound and believing Christians will disappear from the earth in the blink of an eye. The Tribulation will begin, signaling the last 7 years of this earth's history will conclude. The Apostles asked Jesus three questions about this particular time in history. First, they asked when the Temple will be thrown down (something Jesus had made reference to immediately prior to the Apostles' question.) They also asked what will be the sign of His coming and the signs of the end of the age. Jesus' answer to these three questions is recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. Note that the Apostles asked three questions, and though the main answer is considered to be in Matthew, that each of the other two Gospels offer slightly different information to complete the picture. Jesus' response is called "The Olivet Discourse" because the conversation was held on the Mt. of Olives and Jesus spent quite a bit of time explaining, Therefore, we spent quite a bit of time asking the Spirit to lead us into understanding.

One sign Jesus said will occur is that there will be "earthquakes in diverse places." Other translations spell it divers, or use the word various places. Jesus did not explicitly say that the number of earthquakes will rise in advance of the end. However, right after stating that there will be earthquakes, He said that the period of time the earthquakes & other signs will be occurring will be like birth pangs. Birth pangs increase in intensity and frequency as the new life approaches. This is a symbol that is easily understood and readily identifiable, therefore we can feel confident that the number of earthquakes will rise in number as the end comes near.

I read many, many interviews with United State Geological Survey (USGS) scientists, and other geologists, concerned about the number of earthquakes. The question is often put to them by Christians is: "Is the number of earthquakes increasing?" And to a one, they all say no. Now, intuitively, this does not make sense, because it seems that they are. But in searching the USGS site for quantifiable information, it got frustrating really fast. USGS changes the counting benchmark in the middle of a decade, making it impossible to compare apples and apples. Or the pages listing the number of "significant quakes" in a given year are missing. For example, the number of significant quakes over 7.0 had links to data for 1990-1998, but was missing '99, '02, '03, and '05-08.

All that aside, in searching diligently, there is still quantifiable data from USGS that shows earthquakes are on the increase. We see in the chart below, USGS source, that the number of times that the number of earthquakes in a given magnitude category has exceeded the average is quite frequent. (click to enlarge, and the number I inserted on the left is the number of times on average that that size quake occurs in a given year, again, by USGS source data.) In the last 11 years, the number of times the number of quakes has exceeded the average for 8.0+ is once, but it is an important once. See below for explanation. The number of times the average number of quakes has exceeded 7.0+ is also 1. But for magnitude 5 and 6, the number of times the average number of quakes in a year exceeded the average was 8 and 9 out of 11 times, respectively. So on the one hand, USGS says quakes are not increasing. On the other, their data says yes. Frustrated with attempting to quantify earthquake increases or decreases with any further specificity, it was then that I decided not to get lost in the details, and not to get lost searching for man's confirmation of God's word. So, let's look at types of earthquakes.

The year 2007 was an important marker. For the 8.0+ sized quakes you note occurred in 2007, that there were 4. I searched back to 1900 for how often an 8.0 quake occurs in any given year. The average is once. Half the years since 1900, there were 0 of that magnitude. Then in 2007 the number of times an 8.0+ quake occurred quadrupled. Statistically, when there is this long-line of a trend data (110 years!) and suddenly the increase is that large, it is extremely statistically significant. Statistical significance means that you have reduced the possibilities that it has occurred by chance. In math, the bigger the sample size, spread out over the longer period, the more solid the baseline. Any anomalies at that point are statistically significant. So on the surface 4 for that year looks innocuous but it really is a huge jump that should make any statistician's eyes pop out of his head.

In another case, we look to man's activities around the time when unusual earthquakes occur. A 6.2 quake occurred in February 2008 in Norway. A 6.2 quake is not so huge and being sparsely populated, no significant damage occurred nor were there any deaths. However, this quake was highly unusual. Concerned with climate change, man endeavored to build a seed vault deep in the arctic rock far away on the remote Island of Svalbard, Norway, near the town of Longyearben. This vault contains seeds from all the nations and are stored in a protected cave so that is there is wild global change event or famine, man can go get these seeds and maintain himself. A few days before Prince Charles and other dignitaries arrived to visit the seed vault's opening, also known as the Doomsday Vault, a 6.2 quake occurred. This location was chosen for the express reason that seismic activity rarely if ever occurs there. Earthquakes occur hundreds of miles away on the Norwegian mainland, but they are low in magnitude. The largest one on the mainland was 5.4 in 1904 and most eq's on mainland Norway are less than 4.0.

"On Thursday, Svalbard was at the center of the biggest earthquake in Norway's history, with a magnitude of 6.1. The shaking was felt at Longyearbyen. The quake occurred even though the vault's feasibility study assured that "there is no volcanic or significant seismic activity" in the area." (source) Another article concluded, "Earthquakes are not uncommon either on the Norwegian mainland or on its vast offshore continental shelf, but they generally measure less than 4 on the Richter Scale." So in looking at what Jesus said about earthquakes in diverse places, we see that an area of rare of any seismic activity suddenly has the largest quake ever at the exact time man was celebrating his Tower of Babel. [Above, this map from research institute NORSAR shows earthquakes registered that Thursday morning in 2008 in red.]

In another case of man's activity perhaps tying in with an unusual quake, the one this week in Ottawa is something to look at. It occurred in a diverse place, a place where seismic activity interrupting human activity is rare. It occurred at a time when the G8 and the G20 was about to open, another of man's hubristic endeavors where he relies on himself to resolve the unsolvable - this time in global economics. It was felt by millions upon millions of people in an area from Montreal to Ohio to Vermont to New Jersey. That's some quake. Immediately afterward, though, we were reassured that the Toronto quake was no threat to the G20. Hmmm.

Then there is the case of the Yellowstone quake swarm of Dec 2008 to January 2009. From December 26, 2008 and January 9, 2009 about 900 quakes occurred in rapid succession. Swarms are not unusual for Yellowstone, but this many are. And several of the quakes registered high-magnitude for Yellowstone, the highest being 3.9. An deviation from the pattern is what we look for, Jesus said that there would be earthquakes in "diverse places." At the time Yellowstone was rumbling, it came to the attention of millions around the world that Yellowstone is actually a supervolcano. When the realization set in as to the magnitude of a potential supervolcano eruption, it caused worry and panic worldwide.

Unbeknown to many (who eventually become inured to the disaster potentialities and tune out) another quake swarm occurred at Yellowstone this year. According to this article, it was the second largest swarm ever (after the '08-09 swarm). During the swarm of January 17-Feb. 22, there were 1,805 tremors - of which 22 were felt by people in the park as well as adjacent communities in Montana and Idaho. "Not only was the swarm the second-largest ever recorded at Yellowstone but it was longer in time and included more earthquakes than last year's swarm beneath Yellowstone Lake, which occurred in December 2008 and January 2009, according to the scientists." [emphasis mine]

Earthquakes are a sign of the end of the age, and not just numerical increase, but unusual locations, swarms, and impacts are part of God's lexicon. We need not turn to USGS to prove or disprove God's word. There will be earthquakes in diverse places. And today, there are earthquakes of different types and in different places. It is as simple as that.

God has used earthquakes to speak to His people in the past and will again in the future. In Acts 16:26, He used a quake to release Paul from prison. When Jesus died on the cross, a quake occurred, recorded in Matthew 27:54, "When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!" The quake was God speaking to humans ... and they understood. A few days later as Jesus rises from the grave there is another earthquake. Matthew 28:2 records it. "There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it." In Ezekiel 38:19 God promises to show Himself through an earthquake (among other things). "In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel."

During the Tribulation, an earthquake will occur in Jerusalem as described in Rev 11:13 where 7000 people will be killed. Later, in Rev 16:18, "Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake." Every mountain will crumble and every island will flee away.

God speaks in various ways. He spoke to Elijah when Elijah was fleeing Jezebel. God told Elijah to listen for Him. He sent the wind, but He was not in the wind (that time). He sent the fire, but He was not in the fire (that time). He sent the earthquakes, but He was not in the earthquake (that time). God spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice, and it was that voice that awed Elijah more that the demonstrable ways God had usually spoken. I hope that His still small voice is speaking to your heart. I hope you listen, now, for we read in Hebrews 12:25-29 the echo of the promise in Haggai 2:

"See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire."

I pray that you are in a place of spiritual acceptance to God, so that YOU cannot be shaken loose when the time comes. God speaks through earthquakes. Are you listening?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Why the rapture is biblically pre-tribulation. You don't have to wonder!

I've noticed in these last few years that the certainty with which Christians hold the rapture as occurring before the 7-year tribulation is weakening. For decades, hundreds of years even, Christians understood the bible to be clear on this teaching: that Christians forgiven by the blood of Christ, living in the church age, will be raptured to Jesus and then the Tribulation will start. Lately, people are beginning to revise their stance. They are becoming more and more favorable to the notion that actually, Christians will go through the tribulation after all.

First, did you ever wonder why this angst and revision is happening NOW, of all times? Because this is the age of Apathy, the age of the Laodicean lukewarm church, the Age of people not knowing their bible. It is the age of prosperity gospel, consumerism, and worldly things, which makes people want to finish life and activities here on earth before they go... because they can't really imagine heaven (being unfamiliar with the bible). On the other end of the scale, solid Christians are so in love with Jesus that their penitence extends to the 7 year Tribulation, thinking deep inside, they don't really deserve to escape.

It's all hogwash.

Satan is messing with your mind. Instead of encouraging each other with these words, we are fearful and confused. Whenever fear enters into the picture, satan is behind it. Whenever confusion enters the picture, satan is author of it. God is clear. Satan blinds. So let's take a look at what the bible says.

First, in the above scripture where Paul tells his brothers and sisters to encourage each other about the coming of the Lord, what would be so encouraging if before we get to the good stuff, we go through hell on earth? Demons biting people, oceans as blood, earthquakes so strong all the walls fall and all the mountains flee away? Paul said, "do not grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." We have hope. The hope of His promises! Here are a few of those promises:

You have to understand the purpose of the Tribulation to begin with. God's plan for the Tribulation (Time of Jacob's trouble) is directly and only for the Jews, and to destroy the nations that persecute the Jews.

First, the key passage of God's promise in Daniel 9:24-27. This is the foundation of the Tribulation, because it describes the decree of God's plan for the Jews. And also, importantly, it is the only place in the OT where the Messiah is called the Messiah directly. So we pay attention:

"Seventy sevens have been decreed for your people. . . . So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two sevens the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” The time of the decree is divided up into three parts:

7 'weeks' or 49 years, 62 'weeks' or 434 years, and 1 week or 7 years. In addition, these key verses tell us the plan of God for His people. 6 things --
1. to finish transgression of the Jews,
2. to put an end to sin,
3. to atone for wickedness,
4. to bring in everlasting righteousness,
5. to seal up vision and prophecy and
6. to anoint the most Holy (place) (Daniel 9:24).

The language is clear, 'seventy sevens are decreed for you people': the Jews. The clock stopped just shy of the last 7 years when Messiah was crucified. The church age was a mystery and hidden from man's knowledge, until Paul revealed it in Romans 11:25. The Jews had no idea that the seventy sevens would not be successive. Now, to Jeremiah. Remember, Daniel 9 is a KEY chapter and 9:24-27 is the central point in that chapter. But Jeremiah also describes God's plan. Jeremiah 30:3-11 gives the title of the Time, the effects on the Jews of that time, and His promise of that time (they shall be saved).

"For behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’ " Now these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah. “For thus says the LORD:

‘ We have heard a voice of trembling,
Of fear, and not of peace.
Ask now, and see,
Whether a man is ever in labor with child?
So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins
Like a woman in labor,
And all faces turned pale?
Alas! For that day is great,
So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it.
‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’
Says the LORD of hosts, (Jeremiah 30:6-11)

Jer 30 describes His work during that time: to destroy the nations that opposed Israel and to punish the Jews for their transgression. It is the final result of the covenant Genesis Abrahamic 'bless you curse you' promise in Genesis. Jeremiah 30 continues--

11 For I am with you,’ says the LORD, ‘to save you;
Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you,
Yet I will not make a complete end of you.
But I will correct you in justice,
And will not let you go altogether unpunished.’

It is a time of punishment. How and when God punishes/judges seems to me to be the moment when He uses the word "incurable." I wrote more at length about that point of no return, here. At a certain point He will punish, Jer 30:12 “For thus says the LORD:‘ Your affliction is incurable,"

So what of the saved Church Believers during the time of Jacob's Trouble? We are removed from that time and away from the place of trouble because we are not condemned. We are not under a decree of punishment. We are not under justice because the Ultimate Judge has already pardoned us! We are declared righteous and holy. Here are the verses:

Colossians 1:21-22: "And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight". The NIV says "free from accusation." Remember, the Tribulation is a time of justice and punishment, and we in the Church Age are "free from accusation."

1 Thess 5:9-11: "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." So we are not appointed to the Time of Jacob's wrath that Paul spoke of. Scriptures tell us just when that wrath is, it begins just prior to its mention in Rev 6:16-17 and ends in Rev 16:17 when the angel pours out the last bowl and cries "It is done!"

1 Thess 4:14-18 "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words."

God's plan for the end for the age is something He is dealing with for the Jews only, as the clock that stopped at Jesus' at year 483 of the decree is death is re-started at the moment of our departure to finish those last 7 years. Paul describes it thus: in Romans 11:25:

"I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in." I wrote more about the concept behind that statement, 'full number' as the central point, here. When the Church reaches the assigned number of people who are going to accept Christ, the fullness has been reached and we sail, 'coming in' to port in heaven, and the partial hardness of the Jews' hearts is lifted. When He lifts that partial hardening they will recognize Him when He saves them in the Gog-Magog battle "Then they will know I am the LORD" as Ezekiel 38:23 says. Before that moment, we will be gone.

We will be raptured prior to the time of Jacob's Trouble, because we are already perfected, holy and righteous in His eyes. We are not under a decree of punishment because we are blameless and free from accusation. We are not appointed to wrath. The Tribulation is the last seven years of a decree that involves the Jews. These are decrees and promises. To doubt them doubts the Word of God. Therefore, we CAN know. It is Pre-trib. Satan is trying to steal Christians' joy at His promise of pardon. Don't let satan do it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Christian scholar claims Jesus didn't die on the cross

And then urges us all not to get "emotional" about the "evidence"

Jesus did not die on cross, says scholar
"Jesus may not have died nailed to the cross because there is no evidence that the Romans crucified prisoners two thousand years ago, a scholar has claimed. The legend of his execution is based on the traditions of the Christian church and artistic illustrations rather than antique texts, according to theologian Gunnar Samuelsson. He claims the Bible has been misinterpreted as there are no explicit references the use of nails or to crucifixion - only that Jesus bore a "staurus" towards Calvary which is not necessarily a cross but can also mean a "pole". Mr Samuelsson, a committed Christian himself, admitted his claims are so close to the heart of his faith that it is easy to react emotionally instead of logically."

Wel, the bible says "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced." (Zechariah 12:10). Psalm 22:16 describes it "For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. " And Isaiah 53:5 describes it again: "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."

John 19:6 refers to the angry mob outside Pilate's house "As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!" But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him."

Mark 15:20 ... Then they led him out to crucify him. .... ... And they led him out to crucify him. ...Luke 23:33 "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left."

The method of execution defined as "Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross (of various shapes) and left to hang until dead. The term comes from the Latin crucifixio ("fixed to a cross", from the prefix cruci-, "cross", + verb figere, "fix or bind fast".) Crucifixion was in use particularly among the Persians, Seleucids, Carthaginians, and Romans from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD." Wikipedia

Why man needs to search outside of the bible for "proof" when all the proof one needs as to its own veracity is beyond me. Why a 'scholar' who claims Christ would deny His manner of death though it is clear in the bible is beyond me to understand. Except, that the bible proves itself again, where Luke said "Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved."

That scholar is "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith;" (2 Tim 3:7-8). The folly of those who search for proof of the bible outside of the bible and when they fail to find it, are at risk of the devil taking the word out of their hearts. I feel sorry for Mr Samuelsson. He is missing out on the perfect peace that passes all understanding. Always searching for something that he will never find is extremely exhausting, when, all along, he could have peace in the TRUTH.

White House Preparing National Online ID Plan: Mark of the Beast marches on to Babylon

According to the perfect and true bible, we know that during the time of Jacob's Trouble (Jer 30:4-7), known familiarly as The Tribulation (though not correctly) there will be a mark that all people on earth will be required to take. This mark is a mark of worship and allegiance to the Beast, the Antichrist. Taking the mark means you worship him - and lose your soul to hell forever (Rev 14:9-11). It also means you can participate in the economy, because you will be allowed to buy and sell. If you do not take the mark of Beast worship, you will not only be denied the opportunity to buy or sell food for instance, but you will be seized and have your head chopped off. (Rev 13:15, 20:4)

As dystopian as this sounds, as futuristic and impossible as it seems, it will happen. Not only will it happen, but it will happen exactly as it is described in Revelation. The only question marks are two-fold: does the technology exist to track and mark every person on the globe (and to hunt and seize those who refuse) and is there a collective will to accept it? It seems with the way the prophetic pieces are marching together so quickly that it may not be too far off. And it seems that both the above questions are nearing the answer YES.

Wednesday I researched whether the technology of the Mark of the Beast is even possible to implement. It is. Computers exist now that can handle the load of tracking the personal finances, location, and status of every person on the globe, which is information the mark of the beast would require at every point of purchase all around the world. And since that research a few days ago, a new science article has emerged that shows the technology is even MORE possible than it was a few days ago, and even more scary.

I'd written that the world's supercomputers are fast, really, really fast. The chart on the left shows the leap made when the world's fastest supercomputer was brought online, Jaguar, a Cray XT computer. Its 2008 capabilities were inconceivable only the year before. That is how fast technology is moving, and now the technology behind petaflops is looking to be obsolete as DARPA prepares to exceed the peta-calculations of quadrillion, into the quintillion. Their calculations make our own PCs look ancient and creaky. A super computer calculates in petaflops (quadrillions), which means that what a supercomputer can calculate in one second would take your computer ten hours for the same process. But Thursday, Network World published an article titled "Beyond the petaflop: DARPA wants quintillion-speed computers"

"Not known for taking the demure route, researchers at DARPA this week announced a program aimed at building computers that exceed current peta-scale computers to achieve the mind-altering speed of one quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) calculations per second. Dubbed extreme scale computing, such machines are needed DARPA says to "meet the relentlessly increasing demands for greater performance, higher energy efficiency, ease of programmability, system dependability and security." 10 hot energy projects that could electrify the world. DARPA says its Omnipresent High Performance Computing (OHPC) systems will involve all manner of new research and development."

Please note the name of the system: "Omnipresent". Omnipresent means "being everywhere at once," and only God has that capability. But because the Antichrist, who will be later possessed by Satan, wants to be God, he strives to be everywhere at once too. The Mark of the Beast will be a close attempt. Naming this processing capability "Omnipresent" positively gives me chills up my spine.

And in case you think this is all still in the Buck Rogers future, this link brings you to the Federal Government website official call for proposals.The call for proposals was issued on June 12, 2010. Now, combine the above information about the coming Mark, ECHELON, petaflop supercomputers in the quintillions, and Omnipresent, with this information published today:

White House Preparing National Online ID Plan
"The Obama administration is set to propose a new system for authenticating people, organizations and infrastructure on the Web. The proposed system for authenticating people, organizations and infrastructure on the web at the transactional level will require an identity ecosystem. ... Simply issuing a Web-friendly biometric identification card to everyone in the country, of course, wouldn't necessarily make anyone or anything more secure, including online transactions. As the report also notes, to be effective, security tools and technology must be complemented by education."

I feel reassured, don't you, knowing that the biometric card issued to everyone in the country will be accompanied by 'web-friendly, effective security tools? Like, really, really secure, so secure you could lose your head? The Mark of the Beast will come. Its technology is present and capable. And it looks like the will to accept this level of personal identification is here, too.

If you are saved you will not be here to face that choice. If you are not sure you are saved, this beautiful and convicting article from John MacArthur will help you: What kind of things do and do not prove the genuineness of saving faith? If you are not saved, then pray to the Holy Spirit to convict you of your sin. You need to believe and understand that your sins are keeping you from being with Jesus, and that once you die it is too late to ask Him to forgive you. If you do believe though that your sins are heinous in the eyes of a Righteous and Holy God, and you believe that Jesus is the only worthy One able to forgive, and you ask Him, He will. But first, pray to the Holy Spirit, He is waiting, eager, to help you understand these things. Do not delay. Soon the Beast will be Omnipresent.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pharmakeia: psychedelic drugs and spirituality

"Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer. “And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer; and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery." (Revelation 18:21-23)

Above, GIUSTO de' Menabuoi 1376-78 Fresco in the Baptistry, Cathedral, Padua

We know from many verses that God is against sorcery, astrology, witchcraft, etc.; God hates sorceries.

The curious thing is that the word in the verse, "nations were deceived by your sorcery" the root Greek word for sorcery is actually pharmakeia. It is the word from which we get pharmacy. In the Strong's it means "from pharmakeuó (to administer drugs)." It is further defined as "the use of medicine, drugs or spells."

I am of the opinion that the verse in Revelation is NOT saying that legal drugs administered by doctors is bad. I am concerned with a trend I am seeing these days toward a renewed and vigorous interest in psychedelic drugs. How this ties in with sorceries, you will discover when you read on...

The trend I speak of is not new. It is ancient, actually. But in the search for God, many people take the broad way, the fork in the road that leadeth to destruction. That road is the search for experience, not a submission to belief. They seek feelings, and when they cannot find them, they turn to drugs. A melding of drugs and the spiritual is the most dangerous kind of sorcery, because it dulls the senses and creates a false god: self.
Above, a picture of someone's imagined entheogen, with the title "awakening the divine within" and a video link promising "expanded perception."

An entheogen is a psychoactive substance used in a religious, shamanic or spiritual context. Peyote, LSD, DMT are all natural or synthetic substances that are ingested with the intent to find God inside us. The very name entheogen is from the root 'God inside us', note the "theo" as in theology, and "gens", created, as in Genesis.

The upsurge in psychedelic drugs as an accompaniment in the spiritual path was brought to the mass population in the late 1950s. In 1957 Life magazine published an article called "Seeking the Magic Mushroom." The article documented the use of peyote mushrooms in the religious ceremony of the indigenous Mazatec people of Mexico. "Anthony Russo, a colleague of Leary's, experienced psychedelic (or entheogenic) mushrooms during a trip to Mexico, and related the experience to Leary. In August 1960, Harvard professor Timothy Leary traveled to Cuernavaca, Mexico with Russo and ate mushrooms for the first time, an experience that drastically altered the course of his life. In 1965, Leary commented that he "learned more about... (his) brain and its possibilities... (and) more about psychology in the five hours after taking these mushrooms than... (he) had in the preceding fifteen years of studying and doing research in psychology." source. Later we saw the rush to India by the Beatles and others in search of gurus who seemed to have all knowledge,  shamanic experiences sought by Carlos Santana, and Mircea Eliade's seminal 1951 study "Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy" finally becoming more popular as a form of 'spiritual ecology' in the 1960s. Pharmakeia.

Above, Leary: "You have to go out of your mind to come to your senses."

The most famous experiment back in the Leary days was the Marsh Chapel Experiment (a.k.a. "the Good Friday Experiment"). It was administered by Walter N. Pahnke, a graduate student in theology at Harvard Divinity School, under the supervision of Leary. The goal was to see if psilocybin would act as reliable entheogen, or, as a drug that offered or enhanced individual spiritual insight in religiously predisposed subjects such as the seminary students.

It wasn't long after that when Leary became known to the Beatnik generation for his motto, "Turn on, tune in, drop out." The 'turn on' was LSD. What is less well-known was the context of the speech and the reason for the motto. It was Leary's friend Marshall McLuhan who challenged Leary to he come up with "something snappy" to promote the benefits of LSD. By the time Leary gave his speech in New York, he'd thought of a snappy catchphrase:

"Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present — turn on, tune in, drop out."

Pharmakeia. The ultimate sorcery, because it uses mind-altering drugs in a search for God and, worse, replaces God with the devil's lie: that the divine is within us. Therefore, this witchcraft activity also becomes idolatry and blasphemy in their worst senses.

Cut to today. One would think that with all the medical and scientific knowledge we've gained since the Leary days about the dangers of drugs and of the wonders of the brain, that we would have quit looking for God in a pill. No. Roland Griffiths is interested in entheogens and the spiritual, as they relate to patients suffering from dread diseases such as cancer. He has a lab in Johns Hopkins University, affectionately dubbed mushroom mecca, and is taking up where Leary left off, but with a focused purpose, more money, and better science. His initial paper is here. It is titled "Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance."

The God Chemical: Brain Chemistry And Mysticism
"But now, some researchers are using new technologies to try to understand spiritual experience. They're peering into our brains and studying our bodies to look for circumstantial evidence of a spiritual world. The search is in its infancy, and scientists doubt they will ever be able to prove — or disprove — the existence of God. ... "Andy Harvey, a ceremony participant, said peyote serves as a mediator between the human world and the divine. "Sometimes we ask the peyote to help us cleanse the illnesses away and cleanse our mental being, our spiritual being," he said. "And we believe that's what peyote does, too. That's why we call it a sacrament, a sacred herb."

Here is Griffiths' call for study participants:

"In recent years, scientists at some US universities have been conducting studies using entheogens, resuming research in pharmacology, psychology, creativity and spirituality that was suspended following the drug excesses of the 1960s.... ... participate in a scientific study of self-exploration and personal meaning brought about by the entheogen psilocybin, a psychoactive substance found in mushrooms used as a sacrament in some cultures, given in a comfortable, supportive setting."

The Apostles strongly urged believers not to use mind-altering drugs but to remain sober-minded and alert (1 Corinthians 15:34; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8; 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Peter 1:13; 4:7; 5:8). These prohibitions likely are designed to remind us that we must be vigilant against the wiles of the Devil (1 Peter 5:8), who seeks to ensnare us through deception. The Christian disciplines his body and keeps it under control 1 Corinthians 9:27, so that he is able to set his mind on things above, [not within] Colossians 3:2. And even if you are in a "supportive setting" the devil will still come in, and give you a "divine experience" you are not likely to forget. If you're lucky, it will be an experience you are unwilling to remember.

Revelation says that Babylon-ish sorceries will be condemned. The use of mind-altering drugs in combination with the search for spiritual truth is on the upswing with shamanism, neo-paganism, and even University sponsored experiments. If there is legitimized use of these mind-altering drugs in the context of "finding God", with the Restrainer on the earth and the Holy Spirit easily available to all, just imagine how it will be when the Resterainer is removed, and most of the world is laboring under the delusion. Leary's line comes to mind, but it will be more like "You will go out of your mind and never come to your senses."

Stay strong, Christian! Do not seek Him in your mind through drugs, but in truth and in spirit with a clear head and scripture before you. Ask that the eyes of your heart be enlightened. Tune in to the Holy Spirit! Turn on the lamp that cannot be hid! And soon, God knows, we will drop out of the world only to fly, not with drugs, but on His wings of Grace and Glory, to the home of Grace and Glory!

------comments are now closed-------

Couple tries to sell baby at Walmart

I hate to post these heartbreaking stories, and I promise that the next entry will be the one I am really working on, ("pharmakeia"), but this was too heart-rendingly appropriate of an example of the 2 Timothy verse which says:
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Tim 3:1-5)
In the bible, the term "without natural affection" is 'astorgos' which means family affection, or hard-hearted towards kindred.

Police: Calif couple tried to sell baby for $25 at Walmart

"SALINAS, Calif. -- A California couple faces child endangerment charges after police say they tried to sell their 6-month-old baby for $25 outside a Walmart store. Salinas police spokesman, Officer Lalo Villegas, said Thursday that Patrick Fousek, 38, and Samantha Tomasini, 20, were arrested early Wednesday, hours after Fousek allegedly approached two women outside Walmart and asked if they'd like to purchase his child. The women initially thought Fousek was joking, but when he became persistent, they became suspicious and reported it to police, Villegas said. "They did an outstanding job and gave our officers good information. I don't know if they're mothers but they definitely had that instinct to help," Villegas said. Fousek and Tomasini were arrested at 1 a.m. Wednesday at their home. Officers said the couple appeared high on methamphetamine and the house was in disarray. A police report also claimed that Tomasini told Child Protective Services, who took the baby, that she had breast-fed the infant while under the influence, Villegas said. The couple was also booked on charges of being under the influence of narcotics, and Fousek was also served with an extra charge of violating probation. Villegas did not have details of Fousek's previous brush with the law. The couple was expected to be in court for an arraignment Friday, at which time they would be assigned public defenders." -end article-

Christian, when you pray daily, pray for His soon coming. Not just for ourselves because our soul longs to be completely fulfilled with the promise of His glory. But pray FOR THE CHILDREN. These end times are perilous indeed, and none are more in peril than society's most vulnerable: children. Don't you long for the day when we are all in heaven, in our glorified bodies, and we see the children playing in complete happiness and perfect safety? Where their bruises and scars and hurts are healed and tears are wiped away by the Most High Himself? In addition to seeing Jesus myself and bowing before him as my most eagerly awaited  personal moment, which I treasure, the second most poignant moment for which I long is that when all the world's children are finally safe. May it be so, soon.

Lightning strikes twice, twice

A few days ago I published another installment of a series called "The Language of God" and the piece was about lightning. Lightning struck the Touchdown Jesus and set it catastrophically ablaze, if you remember. Also, I'd included a poignant story about a couple that was struck by lighting atop a mountain. The man survived, his love did not. The entry went on to describe biblical references to and instances of lighting, as part of the vocabulary God uses to make His presence known.

I do not want to make too much of this, but it is curious. The Telegraph UK published this story today:

The moment lightning struck twice in the same place at the same time: Stunning images as storm breaks over Chicago
This is the extraordinary moment a photographer captured bolts of lightning striking not one, but two Chicago landmarks at the same time. Electricity rushed down the lightning rods atop the The Willis Tower and the Trump Tower at the exact same instant last night. Seen through the rain from the Hancock Tower, the strikes lit up the sky around.
Bolt from the blue: Seen from the Hancock Tower, lighting strikes both the Willis Tower, right, and the Trump Tower in downtown Chicago as a severe storm rolls through the region last night
They came as severe storms rolled through the Windy City last night. There were tornado warnings as winds gusted to up to 80mph, and flooding closed some major roads. The Department of Streets and Sanitation said 450 'tree emergencies' had been reported - but fortunately there were no injuries. The storms grounded flights at O'Hare International Airport for nearly an hour. The Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower, is the city's tallest building at 108 stories and 1,451 feet. It was built in 1973

HT to Kimberly for the heads up.

I really hope this isn't photoshopped. Then again, maybe I do... Amazingly, despite over 450 lightning strikes, no one was injured. Praise God for that. After all, "He fills His hands with lightning bolts and directs them to their mark." (Job 36:32)

Word of the Week: Propitiation

We're losing the meaning of our uniquely Christian words. Biblical illiteracy is high. People don't understand the meaning of founda...