THE DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES
& THE "MARXIST PARADIGM"

by: S.R. Shearer

The Laodicean Church- which, unfortunately, bears a striking resemblance to the American Church- is referred to in Rev. 3:14-22 as being particularly apostate, but which nonetheless thought of itself as being blessed by God because of its great wealth; but Christ condemned it as worthy only of being vomited out of His mouth. The reason for its condition was that it had confused material wealth for spiritual wealth.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (i.e., vomit) thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich (with material things), and increased with goods (i.e., material goods), and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art (spiritually) wretched, and (spiritually) miserable, and (spiritually) poor, and (spiritually) blind, and (spiritually) naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." (Rev. 3:14-22)


INTRODUCTION: A LETTER
FROM ONE OF OUR SUBSCRIBERS

Recently we received a letter from a somewhat disgruntled subscriber (I will call him brother "R") who labeled us "Marxists." He wrote:

"Essays posted on the site (i.e., www.endtimesnetwork.com [now www.antipasministries.com - editor]) tend to characterize the gospel as a revolution of the poor against the rich, or at least they try to frame spiritual questions in the context of the Marxian class struggle paradigm ..."

He continues in a second letter:

"... don't you sometimes get a little uncomfortable with the notion that the rich elite are motivated 'solely' by a mindless desire to accumulate material possessions? There is no acknowledgment of their individuality in this claim ... Let me put it another way. Suppose we overheard a conservative Republican mutter, 'Those homosexuals are all the same. All they care about is buggery' [i.e., sodomy - editor]! How would we size up his attitude from a rational, Christian perspective? We would say that he demonizes homosexuals, i.e., he takes the pederast's salient vice and presents it as the sum total of the latter's personality. Applying the same standard to Antipas's description of the wealthy, may we not conclude they are also being demonized?"

This is, of course, not the only letter on this subject that we have received; nor is it the first time that we have been called "Marxists" - though I suppose by this standard, "R" would have consigned the Church in Jerusalem to "Marxist" status since, according to the Book of Acts, they "... had all things common" (Acts 2:44) and they were of "... one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common" (Acts 4:32). Nonetheless, the fact is there are a lot of people who feel like "R" does and are apparently bothered by our attitude towards the rich and money.

"R" takes exception to the broad brush we use with regard to the rich; he says that in doing so, we are failing to acknowledge their "individuality in this claim." He asserts that we are making the same mistake a conservative Republican makes when condemning homosexuals as a class without ever taking into account their own individual natures.

But let's look at the facts here. First, with regard to our imagined sympathy for the Political Left (socialism and communism) over and against the Political Right (capitalism) - it doesn't exist! We are favorably disposed to neither. That we tend to attack the Right more than the Left can be accounted for on one basis, and only one: THE COMMUNISTS AND THE SOCIALISTS DON'T SPREAD THEIR MISERY IN THE NAME OF CHRIST; BUT THE CAPITALISTS AND THE "CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY," WITH VERY RARE EXCEPTIONS, DO.

Second, "R" makes a mistake in comparing the danger of wealth to the danger of homosexuality, or any other type of sexual sin, or - for that matter - any kind of sin, e.g., idolatry (Ex. 20:4), blasphemy (Ex. 20:7), murder (Ex. 20:13), adultery (Ex. 20:14), stealing (Ex. 20:15), false witness (Ex. 20:16), covetousness (Ex. 20:17), envy (Rom. 1:29), debate (Rom. 1:29), deceit (Rom. 1:29), gossip (Rom. 1:29), anger (Col. 3:8), wrath (Col. 3:8), malice (Col. 3:8), filthy communication (Col. 3:8), etc.

THE DANGER OF MONEY

That's mixing apples with pears. Wealth - unlike the wrongdoings listed above - is, in and of itself, not sin. The truth is, money is a rather neutral thing. But this in no way lessens its danger. Why? - because money - in a very real way - is the thing that makes sin possible. It is the CATALYST that makes sin work. Like heat applied to a chemical reaction, it makes the process percolate, it makes it "bubble and boil," and "roll and go." Otherwise the two reagents in our chemical analogy here (sin and sinner) are likely to simply lie together in a dormant fashion without any kind of real interaction. Money brings the sinner (for example, you) and the sin (for example, fornication, adultery, drug use, etc.) into reaction with each other, and produces an outcome - the corruption of one's body and soul.

Money and wealth produce the "free time" and the opportunity necessary for an occasion to sin. It makes the women (or men) available for one's sexual indulgence; it buys the drugs; it purchases the liquor; it gives opportunity to malice and mischief on a grand scale; it buys the legislators, judges and government officials necessary to the corruption of society; it gives opportunity to murder and bloodshed; it buys respectability when none is deserved; it produces secrecy insofar as the corruption of one's character is concerned while at the same time offering a facade (the coiffeured hair, the pin striped suits, the Armani shirts, etc.) to hide behind; it buys safety from the backlash of society against one's conduct and misbehavior, and impunity against the vengeance of those one has harmed, etc. That's why men cherish money - and that's precisely why the Bible says -

"For the love of money is the ROOT OF ALL evil ..." (1 Tim. 6:10)

Now think about that! - the love of money is "THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL!!" That's exactly what the Bible says! If you disagree, your argument is not with us, but with the Bible! Think about it! - ALL evil; not just some evil, but ALL evil. And so much so that in the very next verse the Bible warns Christians to flee from it:

"But thou, O man of God, flee these things (i.e., the love of money and wealth) ..." (1 Tim. 6:11)

And listen here, we are not to casually walk away from it, but we are to FLEE from it! - much as one would flee before a raging fire.

MONEY AND THE "LOVE OF MONEY"

There are some, of course, who would say that it is possible for a man to live in close proximity to and in intimate relationship with great wealth and not use it as an opportunity to sin; that there is a difference to be remarked upon insofar as "money" and the "love of money" is concerned. But that is a very fine line to walk - and while there may be some who are able to navigate safely along this line, they are very much the exception rather than the rule, and you are taking a very grave chance in assuming that your life proves the exception rather than the rule.

That's a thin string to hang the weight of eternity on - your eternity. Not even Solomon, in all his wisdom and knowledge of God, was able to live in close relationship with wealth and not have it affect him adversely. What makes you think you will be able to accomplish what even Solomon was unable to do? Perhaps you can; maybe you will be able to rise above the temptation to sin that money affords. I've known people who have been able to do so.

Conceivably you may be one of those few who has the gift to do it [And if you do, you will, no doubt, be a person noted for your generosity in the God-given GIFT of "helps" and "giving" to the needs of the saints and to the "work of the ministry" - Rom. 12:13 and I Cor. 12:28]. But you need to think long and hard about whether you really possess such a gift - especially in light of Matt. 19:23-24:

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, THAT A RICH MAN SHALL HARDLY ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

"And again I say unto you, IT IS EASIER FOR A CAMEL TO GO THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE, THAN FOR A RICH MAN TO ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD." (Matt. 19:23-24)

Now, this is certainly not to say that sin isn't possible in the absence of money. After all, we are all sinners, rich and poor alike. Sin - as a principle - is resident in all of us, prince as well as pauper. We are all held in bondage to it. (Heb. 2:15) Indeed, the Bible says:

"For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ..." (Rom. 3:23)

And, the Bible goes on to say,

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8)

MONEY AND ITS RELATIONSHIP
TO THE POOR AND TO THE RICH

But the very real fact of the matter is, the occasion to sin is not quite as available to the poor (and we are not necessarily talking here about the criminal poor, just the poor, i.e., the working poor) as it is to the rich. And if, as is so often the case, virtue in this life is often no more than the absence of opportunity, then the poor are far less ravaged by the consequences of sin than are the rich - and, as a result, far less depraved in character and mind by its working. The truth is, the poor simply don't have the time or the money to indulge themselves in sin in quite the way the rich are able to do. To a great extent, money makes sin possible; it makes sin operative in our lives. When temptation arises, money makes it possible for one to translate his thoughts and temptations into action.

You're shocked by this? - this isn't what you learned in Sunday School? This isn't what your pastor told you? This isn't what you hear over the radio? This isn't what Michael Reagan and Rush Limbaugh say? This isn't what the Protestant Ethic is all about? Or the "American Dream?" This isn't what you learned at business school at Harvard or Yale? Maybe not, but it is, nonetheless, the truth! There is a consequence to sin, and the fact is, the more one has indulged himself in sin and the deeper he has plumbed its depths, the more depraved his character will be.

MONEY FACILITATES SIN

Yes! - I tell you the truth! Yes! - there is an outcome to one's individual acts of sin; to the QUANTITY of sin one has indulged himself in; even to the TYPE of sin one has participated in. That's the reality of the matter. There is a process to sin; a pathology to it. The big sins of life don't emerge out of nowhere. Every time one indulges himself in sin, his conscience is that much more seared to it (I Tim 4:2), and made that much less effective as a guide in avoiding the corruption of this life. As a result, little sins lead to bigger sins; little lies lead to bigger lies; the sexual dalliances of youth lead to the hideous sexual perversions and iniquities of adulthood (many of which are too heinous to mention here); malice and envy lead to murder and bloodshed. One thing leads to another, and then another, and still another, each worse than the former - AND MONEY FACILITATES THIS PROCESS; it hurries it along; it relentlessly pushes it forward; it greases the way.

Dom Helder Camara of Brazil has written:

"I used to think, when I was a child, that Christ might have been exaggerating when He warned about the dangers of wealth. Today I know better. I know how ... (impossible) it is to be rich and still keep the milk of human kindness. Money (or the desire for money) has a dangerous way of putting scales on one’s eyes, a dangerous way of freezing people’s hands, eyes, lips and hearts."

WHERE THERE IS MONEY THERE IS SIN

The reality of the matter is, more often than the BMW and SUV Christians of today would like to admit, there is more hope for those who reside in the neighborhoods of the poor than there is for those who live in the gated communities of "Yuppie Land" - many of which are Republican Party bastions (the party which most Christians seem to think is "God's party"). And more than that - and more than the followers of Kenneth Hagin, James Kennedy, Kenneth Copeland, James Robison, and Pat Robertson would like you to believe - there is far more salacious and degenerate modes of life and sexual deviance in the middle class suburbs of America (as any number of studies have noted) than there is in America's more poverty-stricken communities where the followers of the Democrats (which is - to hear some Religious Right advocates tell it - the "party of Antichrist") live. The only difference is, those in "Yuppie Land" are able to hide their sin more easily than those who live in America's poorer neighborhoods.

Where there is money, there is sin; and where there is lots of money, there is lots of sin. And where there is lots of sin, there depravity and corruption are to be found - and all the pin striped suits, and all the Armani shirts, and all the gucchi paraphernalia, and all Lancome perfume, and all the Este Lauder makeup, and all the Ralph Lauren cologne cannot hide that fact. Maybe man can be fooled, but not God! Man looks on the outside; but God looks on the inside. It's not without reason, then, that the Bible says:

"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

"And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are." (1 Cor. 1:26-28)

This is, of course, not what Religious Right Christians and the followers of James Robison, Paul Crouch, Tim LaHaye, etc. - all of whom have made their bed with the rich - want to hear, but it is, nonetheless, the truth.

THE SACRED BIAS OF THE SCRIPTURE
TOWARDS THE POOR AND AGAINST THE RICH

It is for precisely this cause that the Bible (and especially the New Testament) seems to be so much more favorably disposed to the poor than it is to the rich. A short perusal of the New Testament easily proves the point, For example, the Bible says of the rich:

"But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

"Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. (Luke 6:24-25)

And -

"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

"Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

"Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. (James 5:1-3)

And -

"For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways." (James 1:11)

And, of course -

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:25)

But of the poor, the Bible says:

"And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God." (Luke 6:20)

And -

"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" (James 2:5)

And finally, Jesus said:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:18)

What? The Bible favors the poor over the rich? - again, that's not what one hears today from the pulpits of America's churches. What is it about the church in America? Why is it always to be found on the side of the rich and against the poor? Could it be that today's church is more the servant of money than it is of God? Maybe "R" could answer this question for us? Probably not. He - like so many other Christians today - are so focused on the sin of the homosexuals and the radical feminists that he has been blinded to the master he really serves (i.e., money).

And the verses listed above are just a few of the verses that reveal the sacred bias of Scripture against the rich and in favor of the poor. There are, of course, a few verses that move in the opposite direction; but not many, and the sheer volume of Scripture in preference to the poor over and against the rich is staggering - hardly the kind of odds one would like to bet against when one's soul is at stake.

YOU CAN'T SERVE BOTH MONEY AND GOD

Jesus said,

"Lay NOT up for yourself treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also ... No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve (both) God and mammon (i.e., money)." [Mat. 6:19-24]

Now listen to this, and please listen carefully. Get this clearly in your mind: The Bible says that no man can serve two masters: you cannot serve both God and Mammon. YOU CAN'T DO IT! That's what the Bible says! There is no getting around it, and if you are trying to do so, the only person you may be kidding is yourself.

Money INVARIABLY leads away from God! Moreover, it not only opens up the way to sin, but it also promotes a second condition that is equally as dangerous to one's soul: WORLDLINESS; a condition of things that makes one feel more at home in this life than in the next. The fact is, money makes you comfortable in this life, and in doing so, it hides from you the very transient, ephemeral and fleeting nature of life in the "here and now." Anyone who tells you differently is lying to you - and so much so, that the Bible labels him an "ENEMY" of the Cross of Christ:

"For I have told you often before, and I say it again now with tears in my eyes, there are many who walk along the Christian road who have become THE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST. Their future is ... loss ... (for) all they think about is this life here on earth." [Phil. 3:18-19 (Amp.)]

MONEY IS A HINDRANCE TO THOSE
WHO WANT TO GO ON WITH GOD

Moreover, that's not all. Wealth is also a hindrance to those who want to go on with Christ; who want to surrender themselves wholly to His service. I have been young, and now I am old, but in all my life I have rarely seen the possession of money as anything else but an obstacle to one's walk with Christ - even to those who dearly love Christ, and who are deeply loved by Him in return. And I am not alone in thinking this, this is what the Scriptures suggest as well. Take the matter of the "rich young ruler" in Mark 10:17-25:

"And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

"And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

"Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

"And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

"Then Jesus beholding him LOVED him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: GO THY WAY, SELL WHATSOEVER THOU HAST, AND GIVE TO THE POOR, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

"And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

"And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

"And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:17-25)

This actually happened! This is not some story that Christ dreamed up to make a point - and consider what the "rich young ruler" would do NOW to change things around! But he can't! - he made his choice and he is stuck with it for all eternity!

THE GRIP OF MONEY ON OUR LIVES

Oh, I tell you the truth, the hold that wealth and money have on all of us is so great that only death has a tighter grip. Nonetheless, you must break its hold on you, for it's not without reason that the Bible warns:

"But THEY THAT WILL BE RICH FALL INTO TEMPTATION AND A SNARE, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, WHICH DROWN MEN IN DESTRUCTION AND PERDITION." (I Tim. 6:9)

Those who pursue money are in danger of perdition! To say this makes you angry at us? Why? - these are the Bible's words, not ours. Your anger should be directed at the Bible, not us.

You say, it won't happen to you. Money will never lead you astray. You are secure in your relationship with the Lord; secure in His love for you; God loves you too much to let you be ensnared by money. What happened to the "rich young ruler" will never happen to you. But, unfortunately, insofar as all this is concerned, this is not a matter of love, but a matter of CHOICE.

If it had only been a matter of love, then the "rich young ruler" would have had no problem. He obviously loved the Lord. Nor can it be said that Christ didn't love him. He did! The Bible says that He did (verse 21). Moreover, if the "Christian walk" and salvation revolved simply around the question of love, then everyone would be saved, for the Bible says,

"For God so loved the world (and that means everyone in the world), that he gave his only begotten Son ..." (John 3:16a)

But not everyone is saved! There is a part for man to play here - he must accept the Gift that God gave (i.e., His Son); that's what the next part of the verse means, to wit:

"... that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16b)

You must "believe on Him" for His love to reach you! So also with anyone who wants to go on with Him; to make his life count for something! Yes, Jesus loved the "rich young ruler." But the rich young ruler had to RESPOND to that love, and make the actual decision to go on with Him by relinquishing his wealth! By giving it all away! CHRIST LOVED THE MAN! - but Christ's love alone couldn't break the hold that wealth had on his heart! So also with our wealth! There has to be a response on our part.

WE SAY MONEY HAS NO HOLD ON US? WE'RE
THE EXCEPTION RATHER THAN THE RULE? - REALLY?

We say that money has no hold on us. But are we willing to give it up? Are we really? - and I don't mean here what Christ demanded of the "rich young ruler" - i.e., that he had to surrender all His wealth - but do we liberally give to the needs of the saints, not with a stingy and miserly heart, but liberally and copiously ASKING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN RETURN, NO FAVORS, AND NO RECOGNITION. The Bible says:

"Take heed that ye do not your alms (i.e., your giving to the needs of the saints, and the work of the ministry) before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

"Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

"But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

"That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. (Matt. 6:1-4)

Are we willing to live as if we possessed nothing? Are we able to resist the temptation to believe that because God has given us wealth that we are better than those whom God has not so blessed? Are we able to resist the temptation of being "high-minded" insofar as our wealth is concerned? Are we able - despite our wealth - to NOT trust in it, but rather to hope in God for our deliverance from the vicissitudes of life? Are we RICH in good works, READY TO DISTRIBUTE our wealth to those less fortunate?

And if all this is the case, do we account our ability to handle our wealth as a GIFT from God, not of our own making - and nothing more? Or do we believe that we have been blessed with our wealth because of something we have done? - because of some kind of innate quality in ourselves not possessed by our fellow-believers?

Be careful here! For how we answer these questions will determine eternity for us. The Bible says:

"Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

"That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

"Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation (i.e., charity towards the saints and the "work of the ministry") against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (I Tim 6:17-19)

WE MUST BE CAREFUL HOW WE ANSWER

Are we able do this? Are we really? This is a question only we and God can answer. But we must be careful how we answer.

Not many have such a gift, though they would like to believe that they do in order to justify their attachment to money - i.e., that their pursuit of wealth be seen by others as a "calling" from God; that they be seen by others as engaged in the accumulation of wealth not for their own sakes, but for the sake of God - and yet all the while very little of their money finds its way into the work of the ministry and the care of the saints, and most of it can be found invested in a beautiful home, a SUV, and a lavish life-style.

THE DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES

The Bible speaks of the "deceitfulness of riches" (Matt. 13:22, Mark 4:19) - i.e., that riches are a sham and a fraud - one of those things that makes one's Christian life UNPRODUCTIVE.

Yet knowing what the Bible says concerning this matter, most of us continue to believe that we are masters of it, WHILE WE ARE REALLY ITS SLAVES! - and all this despite the fact that money and riches are such fleeting and cursory things. Death comes to all men - the rich as well as the poor - and much sooner than most expect. Jesus says:

"... a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

"And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

"And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

"And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

"And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

"But God said unto him, THOU FOOL, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

"And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

"... life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. (Luke 12:15-20, 22-23)

Christ called the man here a FOOL - and He calls everyone who pursues wealth and trusts in riches "fools" - and this despite the fact that He forbids our use of the word - i.e., "whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire" (Matt. 5:22). Obviously, there is something here of great importance that He is trying to get across to us. The Bible says,

"For we brought nothing into this world, AND IT IS CERTAIN THAT WE CAN CARRY NOTHING OUT.

"And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (I Tim. 6:7-8)

"Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content." Unfortunately, that's not what today's Christians want to hear! But, nonetheless, whether you want to hear it or not, it's the truth.

THE "END OF DAYS" IS ABOUT MONEY

There is, therefore, a very somber and earnest reason that we come to grips now, while there is still time, with our love of money - BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THE "END OF DAYS" IS ALL ABOUT. IT IS ABOUT MONEY! You're surprised? You thought it was about "false signs and wonders," "false doctrine," etc. Well, it is that, but it is also about money! The Bible says:

"And he (i.e., the "false prophet") causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

"AND THAT NO MAN MIGHT BUY OR SELL, SAVE HE THAT HAD THE MARK or the name of the beast (i.e., the Antichrist), or the number of his name." (Rev. 13:16-17)

"Buying" and "selling?" - what's that all about? - it's about MONEY! Yes - again - the "Great Deception" of the "end of days" will involve false "signs and wonders," "false doctrine," the "New Age," false forms of ecumenicism, etc. But more than most Christians want to admit, it is also about money - that's what the "Mark of the Beast" is all about! - MONEY!

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO US PERSONALLY

What does that mean to us on a personal basis? - Well, it means this: We may be clear on the "New Age;" we may be doctrinally correct insofar as the Word of God is concerned; we may not be "taken in" by false "signs and wonders." But what about money? What is our connection with money? Does it have a hold on our life? Are we able to walk away from it? - and saying "Yes, we are able to do so" means nothing. It's what we do on THAT DAY that counts! Saying so means nothing. Doing something about it is what means something.

If we are unable to let go of our money now, if we are unable to give liberally NOW to the needs of the poor, the saints, and the "work of the ministry" (whatever that might mean in our lives) what makes us think that we will be able to walk away from our money then? I've used this example before, but it puts the point so succinctly, and so well (and in terms which are very understandable), that I will use it again: A wonderful Christian friend of mine [someone most of you probably know, if only by reputation (she is a well-known writer in Christian circles)] once told me a story about a friend of hers. It concerned a married man who had become infatuated with a female co-worker at his office. Soon he began to make excuses to meet her at the coffee machine; then they began to meet for lunch - and all the while, his conscience was warning him to stop.

But he didn't - after all, they were just being friends. Then the lunches turned to dinner - and now his conscience was screaming at him to stop, but he didn't. Finally, one evening he found himself in bed with her at a cheap motel - and now he thinks he can stop? Hardly! If he couldn't stop at the coffee machine, if he couldn't stop at the lunches, if he couldn't stop at the dinners, what makes him think that he could stop now as he is lying naked in bed with her? So also with all of us!! So also with our connection to money. If we can't give it up in the little things, what makes us think we will be able to give it up on "THAT DAY?"

Now is the time to affect a change in our hearts with regard to our money! Now! Don't wait until it's too late. Start now! We need to develop a habit of "giving" now! If we wait until THAT DAY, we will have waited too long. Habits of a lifetime are not changed overnight. Stinginess of heart does not simply evaporate away in a puff. Liberality must be cultivated and fostered; it must be nourished. It doesn't just happen! If we can't let go of our money now, we won't be able to let go of it then.

THE LAODICEAN CHURCH

Brothers and sisters, listen to me! We are living at the "end of the age?" We really are! And if that is the case - and it is - then the warning of Rev. 3:14-22 applies to us as to no other generation since the beginning of time! The warning exists for our specific edification; for our specific guidance; for our specific instruction; it applies to us in a very particular and consequential manner! And what is that warning? - it is this:

"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans (i.e., that church that holds sway at the "end of the age" - please see Things To Come by Dr. Dwight Pentacost of Dallas Theological Seminary) write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (vomit) thee out of my mouth.

Because thou sayest, I am rich (with material things), and increased with goods (i.e., material goods), and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art (spiritually) wretched, and (spiritually) miserable, and (spiritually) poor, and (spiritually) blind, and (spiritually) naked:

"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev. 3:14-22)

We are warned that we possess a "lukewarm" spirit; that we are neither "cold" nor "hot." As a result, we are in danger of being vomited out of His mouth. And why are we in this condition? - because our riches have turned us away from Christ. That's what the Bible says! No doubt, there are many other contributing factors which have led us as the Laodicean church to our present abominable condition, but Christ pins the principal blame on our relationship with riches and money. That may not be our assessment; we may lay the blame elsewhere, but that's Christ's assessment.

ASSESSING OUR REAL CONDITION BEFORE GOD

We, of course, would rather place the blame on anything else but our money! Money is such a comfortable thing - and besides as Rev. 3:14-22 suggests, we are in the habit of viewing money as a very evident token of God's favor towards us. But IT IS NOT! - and God says so! He says we have made a grave mistake in thinking so: "Because thou sayest, I am rich (with material things), and increased with goods (i.e., material goods), and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art (spiritually) wretched, and (spiritually) miserable, and (spiritually) poor, and (spiritually) blind, and (spiritually) naked ..."

In God's eyes, we are "wretched," "miserable," "poor," "blind," and "naked." Think about that for a minute. In God's eyes, we are in an utterly abject, degrading, and contemptible condition - and, according to the plain meaning of Rev. 3:14-22, it is principally due to our relationship with money. That's what the Word says! That is God's assessment! If you disagree, your argument is not with us but with the Bible!

TRIBULATION AS A GLORY TO GOD

God warns us to anoint our eyes with eyesalve so that we might see and appreciate more clearly what our condition is before it's too late; so that we can come to a realistic understanding of where we are before Him; to buy of Him "gold tried in the fire" before time catches up with us. Yes, that will mean tribulation, but the Bible says:

"... that we must through MUCH tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22)

And this is what will produce the "gold tried in the fire" that will get us through the times that lie before us, and so much so that, according to Paul, we should -

"... GLORY IN TRIBULATIONS also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

"And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Rom. 5:3-5)


Not exactly the attitude of most Christians today, is it?. Still, that is the attitude all of us must begin to cultivate in our lives - at least those of us who take God's Word seriously. That's what we are doing here in Forest Grove, British Columbia, Canada. That's what has led us to adopt the lifestyle that we have done - so that we can free up as much of our money as possible for the "work of the ministry" and tending to the needs of the saints that are among us here. (Please see our article, "A Plan Of Action For Antipas Ministries.")

FOLLOWING OUR EXAMPLE

We do this not necessarily because we think that it is "extra-spiritual" to do so, but because necessity is laid upon us if we are to continue in the work to which God has called us - ESPECIALLY INSOFAR AS THESE "LAST DAYS" ARE CONCERNED! We urge all of you to take note of what we are doing here in Sacramento. Sooner or later, those of you who really want to go on with the Lord in these "Last Days" are going to have to follow in our footsteps in your own local communities.

Get ready now! Remember what prophecy is all about: prophecy is like a road sign saying: "Slow down, sharp right hand turn ahead!" But if we fail to heed the sign, if we fail to slow down BEFORE we get to the turn, it will be too late to brake once we finally get there, and we will surely slide off the road and crash. Like a road sign, prophecy tells us things before they happen so that we can take evasive action before events catch up with us. If we wait until they finally overtake us, it will be too late to do anything - we will crash! Watch, therefore, for the "signs of the times," and don't wait to take action. You may wait too long! Jesus said,

"... When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matt. 16:2-3)

And Paul warns us,

"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." (I Thess. 5:4-6)

A FINAL NOTE TO "R"

All this to say, "No, 'R' - we are not "Marxists." Neither do we think in a "Marxist paradigm." But we do take seriously what the Bible says about money. And there is, of course, a corollary to all this: in this life, money INVARIABLE pollutes those who possess it, so that one can easily make the case that the rich are polluted or well on their way to being polluted. Maybe not always, but certainly most of the time. It's for this reason that the apostle James warns us against the rich:

"For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

"And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

"Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

"But ye have DESPISED THE POOR. Do not rich men OPPRESS you, and draw you before the judgment seats (i.e., what we today would call the bankruptcy court). [Note to "R" - sounds pretty Marxist, doesn't it "R?" What is the Apostle James trying to promote here - "CLASS WARFARE?" James wouldn't be allowed in the churches that you and your cohorts preside over, now would he?].

"Do not they (i.e., the rich) blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? [Note to "R" again - again, "R," wouldn't you say this pretty much "demonizes" the rich in a very sweeping and generalized way? Where is there any care by the Apostle James for their so-called "individuality" in this comment? If you condemn us in our characterization of the rich, than you must be consistent and condemn the Apostle James also!]

"If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

"But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. (James 2:2-9)

God bless all of you.

S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries

We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN" WEBSITES which are, for the most part, "in the tank" insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned - a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners in the abject poverty that American corporations have imposed on the peoples and nations the American military machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order," Inside the American New World Order System" and "The American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."]

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