Sunday Faith News/Views 7-24-11: Seat of Satan Edition

In my Sunday Faith News/Views posts I connect politics and Christianity, because in my opinion, there is no separating the two until we leave this earth for our heavenly home. Along with rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, without the faith and confidence of God’s promises, and our own consciousness of morality through the Word of God, our Republic will be torn apart. Today In Views, a discussion of the “Seat of Satan,” and God’s will for a king for Israel, and how God’s will for America is viewed today. In News, the Catholic Church has made a bid to buy the debt-ridden, bankrupted Crystal Cathedral, “instant churches” are popping up everywhere including in public schools – even skating rinks, and remember the public service ads: Do You Know Where Your Children Are? The question today is, Do You Know What is Being Taught in your Child’s Public School?

Children Praying in Public Schools

 

The Seat of Satan:

Did you know there is a “Seat of Satan,” or that the Bible speaks of the Throne of Satan, a place where Satan dwells? If there is such a place, can it possibly be beautiful? Oh no, surely not! But…a CBN blogger, Erin, has visited the Seat of Satan on assignment after her boss read the letters to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor in Revelations. I have read them numerous times, but took the reference to “where Satan has his throne,” to be one more place where Satan made himself known to pagan worshippers. Erin and her crew wrote of their visit to the city of Pergamum, high on a Turkish mountaintop, and deemed it “breathtaking,” quite beautiful,” “not creepy.”

Pergamum Theater

 

How many of our views of Satan, the antichrist, or the end of the world have been shaped by medieval church tradition, Gothic novels or Hollywood? Or even – and no doubt, I’ll take some heat for this – the Left Behind books? When it comes to Satan, we’ve been programmed to expect horns and a pitchfork. Can we even hear the word “antichrist” without picturing the dreaded Triple-6 inked into someone’s forehead?

Who in his right mind wouldn’t run away from something like that? Satan is far more complex than that; otherwise, he wouldn’t be a threat. He’s no snarling Hollywood fiend; he’s the Great Deceiver, the Master Tempter, the Subtle Questioner.

In 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, Paul says that “Satan tries to make himself look like an angel of light. So why does it seem strange for Satan’s servants to pretend to do what is right?”(CEV)

Satan won’t always appear as chanting priests throwing Christian martyrs in the midst of a blazing altar, like the Pergamum of 2,000 years ago. Sometimes, he will appear with the subtlety of today’s Pergamum: a cool evening breeze over a mountaintop, a warm ray of afternoon sunlight on a piece of marble, the morning mist over a green valley.

But even that shouldn’t send a chill down your spine, because Jesus’ own brother James provides a simple solution: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) The idea behind the Greek word for “resist” there is just to stand. Don’t struggle, don’t throw a punch, don’t shout a curse, don’t even fall down and play dead: just stand.

Read this interesting and provocative article at CBN.com.

Revelation 2:12, the Apostle John is instructed to write down the visions he sees:

To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live — where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city — where Satan lives.

My Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary says of Pergamum:

Pergamum Altar in Pergamon Museum in Berlin

(282-133 B.C.) – Great wealth was accumulated and buildings of world renown were constructed during this period [Hellenistic]. The library was the second largest in the world; from the extensive local use of goatskin sheets in place of papyrus came the term pergamene “parchment.”…Pergamum became the capital of the province of Asia.

Signs of its splendor included a theater, Asclepium (healing center), gymnasium, and several temples…most notably the splendid temple of Zeus Soter.

The altar in the photo above is on display in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum. The base of the altar remains in the Pergamum Acropolis and is believed to be the base of the Zeus Temple and the altar, and perhaps the seat of Satan’s throne.

According to my Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of The Bible, Pergamum, also known as Pergamos is mentioned twice in the Bible: Revelations 1:11 when it is mentioned as one of the churches to receive John’s visions.

My amazing Zondervan NIV Atlas Of The Bible says Pergamum is in Western Turkey, 15 miles inland, east from the Agean coast, 80 miles north of Ephesus.

Pergamum photo courtesy of BiblePlaces.com

A king for Israel:

Carl Middleton at GOD’S ANSWER is always Jesus talks about Israel’s king, and how the Israelites insisted on having a “political king,” rather than a “spiritual King,” “wanting to be just like other nations around them….” While Carl’s article doesn’t go in this direction, don’t we see this in our politics today, with a President who yearns to be a part of the United Nation’s world vision, uninhibited by individual power and strength, individual character, individually created wealth which can serve the people of the world, as well as our own families and communities, and a national identity of one Nation under God. You will no doubt remember Obama saying America is not a Christian nation:

I’ve said before one of the great strengths of the United States is…, although we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens.

How often do Christians take liberties with “permissions” that we want to believe are God’s will for us? Do you believe God has a “permissive will?” Read Israel’s King here.

The Crystal Cathedral:

Years ago I was visiting family in Camarillo, California. We drove to the Crystal Cathedral for their annual Christmas program – the ones with angles flying overhead. I have to tell you, the whole thing was a disappointment – maybe because we were tired before we began the drive, I don’t know. There seemed to be little in the spirit of the birth of Christ, in the telling of it.  The Crystal Cathedral is a sad story of family power struggles and is now in bankruptcy court.

The Catholic Church has offered $50 Million for the church, with 1.2 million parishioners in the area: Source Christian Post

“The offer is straightforward and would provide creditors maximum relief in the shortest possible time,” Bishop Brown assured. “If the proposal is accepted, creditors could see resolution within the year and possibly sooner.”

Alan H. Martin, a bankruptcy attorney of the diocese, said his client would pay $50 million in cash within 30 days of the bankruptcy court’s approval of the reorganization plan. The diocese was also willing to help Crystal Cathedral Ministries “phase out its operations by offering a three-year leaseback plan for some of the buildings on campus including the four-story Family Life Center on Chapman Avenue,” the Orange County Register quoted him as saying.

Instant Churches:

Another Christian Post article reports instant churches sprouting up in public places to avoid the financial burdens seen with the Christian Cathedral.  Public Schools are one place mentioned where people are meeting to worship together. Just my opinion, but this won’t last long – only as long as it take the ACLU to find them and file a lawsuit. In New York City, city father’s have given public school churches a warning to move it on out by the end of the coming school year.

The decision came after the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled 2-1 last month that churches meeting in schools are unconstitutionally converting the schools into state-sponsored Christian churches, basically barring worship services from public buildings.

Some church advocates worry that the decision will spread to other parts of the country and prohibit church planters from keeping their doors open to Christians.

The justices wrote that it is “reasonable for the board to fear that allowing schools to be converted into churches might foster an excessive government entanglement with religion that advances religion.”

Meanwhile, the Alliance Defense Fund, the Christian legal group representing the Bronx church, says it is appealing the court’s ruling.

“Religious groups, including churches, shouldn’t be discriminated against simply because they want to rent a public building just like other groups can,” ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence said in a statement.

“The idea that people of faith may be singled out for discrimination is flagrantly contrary to the U.S. Constitution,” he said. “The 2nd Circuit greatly erred by not putting an end to the board’s continued defiance of the First Amendment.”

The operative word is “rent.” The churches are paying their fair share of utility costs, and I’m sure, leaving no trace of their Christian focus behind to corrupt the children. So where’s the beef?

I believe churches should accept no government funding whatsoever, which means you and I support our churches, and if we do not have the money for massive and magnificent brick, mortar and glass churches, we can “rent” a public facility. I’m thinking Christians renting space from a private Christian school is a good idea. Everyone is looking for honest income these days.

Here’s the problem we have now, from Daniel Pipes:

An undated posting at www.SoundVision.com posts a page titled “18 Tips for Imams and Community Leaders.” The 15th tip, “Establish a parents’ committee to monitor public schools,” has special interest. It starts by asking if the local public school is teaching 10-year-olds that Muslims are terrorists and misogynists? If so, parents are advised to set up a committee “to monitor public school curriculum and developments” and arrange for Muslims to deliver talks about Islam and Muslims. For instance, as Ramadan approaches, a parent should explain the holiday to the school or in a social studies class. When a high-profile “incident of terrorism where Muslims are the perpetrators” takes place, the committee should ask to discuss Islam and terrorism. More broadly, the committee should lobby on behalf of Muslim concerns.

Another website points to a far deeper agenda, that of da‘wa, or using taxpayer-funded schools to proselytize for Islam. www.DawaNet.com‘s goals are summed up by an article it hosts: “How to Make America an Islamic Nation.” But what concerns us is a page, “Dawa in public schools,” that portrays public schools as “fertile grounds where the seeds of Islam can be sowed inside the hearts of non-Muslim students. Muslim students should take ample advantage of this opportunity and present to their schoolmates the beautiful beliefs of Islam.” This, the website asserts, is best achieved through both direct and indirect steps. Direct means overt da‘wa:

  • Host Islamic exhibitions.
  • Start an Islamic newsletter.
  • Set up “Dawa tables” offering Islamic literature.
  • Carry “Dawa flyers” from the Islamic Circle of North America and pass them out to non-Muslims.
  • Place advertisements in the school paper with a toll-free telephone number for non-Muslims to call to learn more about Islam.
  • Establish one-to-one contacts with non-Muslim students (along gender lines: “It is advised that brothers work with non-Muslim boys and sisters work with non-Muslim girls”).

Indirect partially means creating a good image for Islam:

  • Found Muslim groups that portray Islam “in a positive way,” such as a Muslim Students Association, Islamic Circle, or Quran Study Group.
  • Engage in “simple actions that reflect living Islam,” such as saying “Insha Allah” (God willing), praying, and wearing Islamic-style clothing.
  • Take advantage of disasters to set up a disaster relief assistance booth to give “a very positive picture of Islam and Muslims.”

Or indirect means increasing consciousness of Islam:

  • Make use of the school newspaper: “Being a writer will give you ample opportunity to provide Islamically oriented articles which will Insha Allah [if God wishes] open the hearts and minds of readers.” Ideally, an article on Islam should appear in each issue. If the school does not allow overt preaching, “Alhamdu lillah, there are ways to circumvent this problem,” such as reporting on Islamic events or writing about Islamic holidays. “This way, you are still presenting an aspect of Islam without coming across as a preacher.” DawaNet.com also coyly instructs its adepts “to have a good rapport with the editor and the writing staff of the paper.”
  • Lobby to include Islamic dates on the school calendar.
  • Add books and magazines on Islam written by Muslims to the school library; if the library does not purchase them, raise the money to donate them.
  • Incorporate Islam into class projects. For example, “for a speech class, if there is freedom to choose a topic, an Islamic topic should be selected. Similar opportunities can be created in history, social science, writing and other classes.”

DawaNet.com concludes by reminding Muslims that the will of Allah, faith, and Muslim creativity combined to win victories in the past and can again in the future:

Schools and campuses are no exceptions as places where Islam can be victorious. … We should use every opportunity to sensitize non-Muslim peers and school staff to Islam and to establish an environment in which everywhere a non-Muslim turns, he notices Islam portrayed in a positive way, is influenced by it and eventually accepts Islam.

Comments: (1) This is a total perversion of the American public space, a blatant effort to suborn it to serve Islamic missionary purposes.

(2) Such an attempt by Islamists hardly comes as a surprise but rather complements their already in-place campaign to exploit textbooks and curricula supplements for da‘wa purposes.

(3) The “multikulti” spirit so prevalent in American schools today means that too many parents, teachers, and administrators find themselves virtually helpless to stand up to this assault on the traditional values of the public school.

This report going all the way back to 2007: Some say schools giving Muslims special treatment

What about “mostly Muslim public schools?” Here’s what is happening in Toronto – and is probably already happening here: Toronto Public School: Muslim Prayer, No Christian Prayer

Did you know that Muslim’s discovered America? Did you know that is taught in some PUBLIC SCHOOLS?

A new report by the non-profit Institute for Jewish and Community Research finds that American high school and elementary textbooks contain countless inaccuracies about Christianity, Judaism, Israel and the Middle East.

The Institute examined 28 of the most widely-used history, geography and social studies textbooks in America. It found at least 500 errors.

One book ignored the Jewish roots of Christianity, saying the faith was founded by a “young Palestinian” named Jesus.

Islamic Seminar

After the 9/11 attacks, the Massachusetts Board of Education funded a special seminar for K-12 teachers to learn about Islamic history and the Middle East.

The outreach coordinator at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies helped organize the seminar. Stotsky said she was shocked by the teachers’ lesson plans that came out of the week-long seminar.

“They ranged from having students make prayer rugs; describe what it would be like to go on a hajj–a pilgrimage; learn and memorize the five pillars of Islam; listen to and learn how to recite passages from the Koran; dress like a Muslim from a particular country.it was, to me, a clear violation of ethics involved in how one would expect children to learn about another culture. That they would literally go through the memorization and the learning of religious beliefs.”

“These are unacceptable practices in a public school,” she added. “In fact, they would be unacceptable academic practices in any school.”

Parents, if you have enough money to make yet another sacrifice, use that money to get your kids out of public schools. Please read this comprehensive article on teaching the ABC’s of Islam in our Public Schools.

  • Maggie … excellent word today on standing against Satan … who is real. If you don’t mind, I would like to add my two cents worth to yours Maggie.

    “The key to resisting the devil is … being subjected to God. How do we do that? Humble yourself before God. He gives grace to the lowly, those who depend on God’s strength … not their own … as they resist the devil and their own sinful desires of the flesh.

    As you said, the word … “resist” … means to stand against, oppose, withstand. Just “stand firm against the devil” and he will flee.

    Resist the devil … Satan cannot conquer you if you continue to resist. Strong as he is, God never permits Satan to conquer the believer who continues to resist him. Satan can not force the human will to do his bidding. Satan is to be looked upon as an enemy, and to be opposed as such; to be watched and guarded against with humility; because it’s not about our strength … it’s all about Jesus … His strength in us.

    When the submitted believer stands against and resists the devil; not in his own strength, but in the strength of God, trusting in the grace of God and in the blood and name of Jesus … Satan knows not what to do with him … he does not like the power of prayer, nor the strength of faith; and from which he leaves … in fact the Word says he flees.

    Notice James didn’t say to rebuke the devil, did he? In fact he never even mentioned speaking to the devil. Could one of the reasons be that by speaking to him, you are giving the devil the acknowledgement he wants from you? Remember, his downfall was … “pride” … the very opposite of the “humility” that James said to resist him in.”

    I loved your whole post today … great job again, Maggie.

    Blessings …

  • Carl, thanks for your encouraging words. Excellent comment and explanation of just how we go about “resisting” evil. Sending blessings back to you and yours.