On a personal note.
The dialog of religions.
The dialog of religions – Buddhism.
The unity of humanity is being given higher status than Christian truth. . / Article by Dr. Lothar Gassmann.
The dialog of religions – Judaism.
The destruction of the temple.
The dialog of religions – Secular Christianity – Catholicism.
Secular Christianity – Protestantism.
The dialog of religions – Islam.
What is true Religion?
Table – God’s plan of salvation and its effects on Creation.
Faith in Jesus Christ – the fixed point in the universe.
The voluntary nature of Christian faith.
The eternal existence of every human being.
The biblical Trinity and some other specifics of the biblical Christian faith.
In the kingdom of God there is only complete freedom of the will / Wilhelm Busch, book WB00, p. 123 ff.
Biblical Christianity and its claim to sole representation.
First of all – and just by way of exception – may I make a remark on a personal note. Some visitors to Immanuel.at have commented that the articles on this website are often too long and offer too little variety, so that readers are prone to switch to less challenging sites.
Unfortunately I have to admit that both comments are correct. But I must ask for understanding of the fact that we are reporting here about the Christian faith; and the world religions – as well, I am afraid, as some Christian denominations – have made the matter so complicated and confused, with their easily misunderstood and in some cases even false interpretations, that a certain amount of clarification and distinction is called for, if we want to give the reader authentic information and not just religious claptrap.
The saying that "brevity is the soul of wit" may well be justified when we are recounting witticisms. But with a theological subject – and what is more, when we are talking about Christian faith, which we need to set off not only against other religions but against falsified and transmogrified versions of our own, to such an extent that we have to speak of a radically transformed religion, a different religion altogether – it is twice as important for the interested reader to be given accurate and detailed information, including sufficient reference to the concrete background facts.
At Immanuel.at, as at any other good online information platform, readers are free to use the links to the individual topics provided at the start in order to choose what actually to read, out of the information provided, and what to pass over – because they know it already, perhaps, or personally judge it to be unimportant.
And it is these interested readers above all, in the last resort, to whom the information is addressed. Those readers who are looking for entertainment or just trying to pass the time, and who find the business of reading takes too long and is not entertaining enough, should simply switch – I am very sorry, but there it is – to other websites, more entertaining ones.
But now to get to grips with our subject – which is the comparison of the religions of this world, and the question whether all religions are really identical at the core.
In the year 2007 Melk Abbey in Lower Austria hosted the Waldszell Meeting, an ecumenical conference between the religions. At this conference, which lasted for several days, representatives of the four major world religions – Buddhism, Catholicism (Roman Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox), Judaism and Islam engaged in dialog in the hope of finding common ground under the heading of interreligious ecumenism. The leading idea of this ecumenical approach is the "utopian vision" of a community of all races, religions and ideologies dedicated to world peace, to be brought about by combining the powers of all human beings.
(See also Discourse 91: "Interreligious Ecumenism: Are the Religions Merely Different Paths to Salvation?")
The detailed statements made on that occasion can be read in the above Discourse. But seeing that the religions, and their content, seem to be becoming ever more important, at the present day above all, we would like in what follows to consider the key comments of the religious leaders represented at the conference with the aim of getting a brief look at their conception of the comparability of religions. After that we will give the relevant background information which makes it possible to come to an objective judgment of the facts.
Let us take first of all the Dalai Lama, the representative of Tibetan Buddhism, whose religion, as is well known, does not have a God and who is famous for not taking himself too seriously.
The 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso), Head of Tibetan Buddhism
There is much in our religions that they share: love that is practiced,
sympathy, forgiveness, tolerance, frugality, simplicity, self-discipline such as, for example,
celibacy for Catholic nuns and monks. Thus, there are many similarities, but the philosophy is
different. Some, Christians for example, believe in one God; others, such as we Buddhists, do
not. But the goal is the same: to strengthen the enthusiasm that is experienced with these
(Waldzell Meeting 2007 – https://religion.orf.at/)
There are two statements here that call for comment. First of all, the Dalai Lama speaks of love, forgiveness, tolerance etc. – buzz words, which of course you cannot afford to be without in today’s "politically correct" society. And then he mentions "Christians" and their belief in one God.
But as no Christians were invited to this meeting, but only the Catholic church, which – as we will see presently – can by no means be taken as representative, this confirms once again the fact that in today’s world, even among "specialists", the Catholic church is perceived as representing Christianity. This is a point of view which the Catholic church has of course disseminated for centuries – for reasons easy enough to understand.
But let us now hear what a representative of pluralistic religious theology has to say about Buddhism:
Perry Schmidt-Leukel, Professor of Systematic Theology and Religious
Studies, University of Glasgow.
The religious history of, for example, the eastern religions is not this
magnificent, pure, peaceable, tolerant history, as it has often been presented here. You will
indeed find people who will tell you, often subjectively with a good conscience, that a
religious war was never conducted in the name of Buddhism. And that is historically and
radically false …
The question here is to say, on the basis of special criteria of one’s own religion, special norms from one’s own religion: Must we really say that this concrete, other religion testifies to less truth, testifies to less good, testifies to less holiness than mine? Or must we not rather say: Yes, it is different in many ways, it is dissimilar in many ways, but in the end equal. And the theological conception that would permit such a model is that – now stated from a Christian point of view – God has revealed himself to all people. That there are no people - since people have existed – who have lived without any connection to the divine. And that this connection that God has with every person manifests itself also of course in the different cultures and religions of humanity …
(Conference on Buddhism at the Salzburg Education Centre St. Virgil. – https://religion.orf.at/)
Perry Schmidt-Leukel is a representative of pluralistic religious theology. This contests the view that Christianity is the religion superior to all others, and assumes that some religions at least, in terms of their understanding of divine reality and their power to transmit salvation, are of equal value.
If we now look at Professor Schmidt-Leukel’s above statements, when he asks:
"Must we really say that this concrete, other religion testifies to less truth?"
the whole problem of this way of thinking immediately becomes clear. If a theologian committed to Christian-Buddhist dialog compares Buddhism with Christianity – on the one side a religion without God, without a creator, the other with God, the creator of all things – and then observes:
"Or must we not rather say: Yes, it [the other religion] is different in many ways, it is dissimilar in many ways, but in the end equal"
we cannot help being reminded of the proverbial comparison of the cab horse with the race horse – from the point of view of the cab driver ("They’re both horses!"). In all these attempts to present the different religions as equally valid, their content ends up becoming a matter of indifference. And then, of course, you can abandon any claim to truth – in effect, it is unity at the expense of truth.
And precisely that is confirmed by the well-known Christian theologian and publicist Dr. Lothar Gassmenn in the text below:
World peace has suddenly become so important, that peace with God vanishes from view. The last but one is declared to be the last, but then the last itself is lost. People still talk about God, certainly, but he hardly has more than a spectator’s role any longer in human efforts to bring about peace. The kingdom of peace is here being built up, on this old earth, by a unified humanity acting for itself. By their "moral endeavor", human beings are supposed to bring about something God is no longer expected to provide. Christian truth is being watered down.
People no longer want to be told that Jesus Christ claims to be the truth in person, and the only way to God the Father. For the sake of political peace, people feel that they have to give the unity of humanity a higher status than Christian truth. They want the boundaries between religions to be dissolved. Jesus is to be regarded as just one founder of a religion out of many, but not as God’s only Son and Redeemer. His absolutist claims should not be allowed to stand in the way of that unification of humanity and resulting world peace which are the object of these aspirations and hopes. Peace with God gets lost along the way. Peace with God includes taking God’s will and his commandments seriously (Isa 48,18).
Anyone who breaks the fundamental first commandment in this way can on no account expect to obtain the peace of God, or even a lasting earthly peace – the most to be hoped for is a short-lived peace of appearances. The whole of the Bible’s history of salvation makes it plain that the people of God always lost true peace with their Lord at times when they thought it necessary to compromise with representatives of heathen religions.
Buddhism above all is seen by us in the west – perhaps partly thanks to the "crafty pragmatism" of the Dalai Lama – as the model of a tolerant, pluralistic religion, and the first part of the following parable, from Professor Schmidt-Leukel, seems to confirm it likewise.
Perry Schmidt-Leukel, Professor of Systematic Theology and Religious
Studies, University of Glasgow.
A Parable for Reflection.
Some men who had been born blind and were not familiar with elephants touched an elephant, each touching a different part of its body. The one touched the elephant’s leg, another the tail, a third its ear, a fourth its trunk. And then they were asked to describe the elephant: What is an elephant like? And they described it according to the part they touched. The one who touched the leg said: The elephant is like a tree trunk. The one who touched the trunk of the elephant said that it is like a liana and the one who touched its tail said that the elephant is like a fly whisk, which was widely used in India. And then they disputed with each other about the elephant, because they said that the other said something completely false about elephants. And this parable is used frequently today to present a pluralistic interpretation of religions in this way, i.e. that the religions perceive different aspects of the common reality and, instead of recognizing their complementarity, they become entangled in an argument with one another.
(Conference on Buddhism at the Salzburg Education Centre St. Virgil. – https://religion.orf.at/)
This parable is indeed a quite excellent one, because it is so vivid and thus easy to understand. The men born blind stand for the founders of the world religions, who – each for himself – believe themselves to be in possession of the truth, but in reality they have only "grasped" a more or less large sized part of it. And likewise their dispute over their divergent findings can be compared with the reality of things with admirable effect. Here we can very well understand the thesis of Professor Schmidt-Leukel, who suggests by analogy that if these people, rather than disputing, would only sit down together and exchange their various insights, perhaps they would get a whole lot closer to the truth in a very short time.
But unfortunately this is just the "western variant" of this parable, as Perry Schmidt-Leukel tells us. The second part, which follows below, is something the representatives of a pluralistic religion of unity prefer to keep quiet about.
Perry Schmidt-Leukel, Professor of Systematic Theology und Religious
Studies, University of Glasgow.
But this parable is not told in this way in Buddhism, because the point in Buddhism is entirely different. There it is, namely, a sighted king, who had the blind people led to this elephant. And the king is amused in the end about the argument of the blind men. And the context leaves no doubt that the sighted king represents Buddha. And the blind represent the rival religious teachers and masters in Buddha’s time. The context states even explicitly that the partial view of the others was not sufficient to attain redemption; only the complete view that the sighted king – who is thus not a blind man, i.e. the Buddha – has, can do this.
(Conference on Buddhism at the Salzburg Education Centre St. Virgil. – https://religion.orf.at/)
So here it’s back to the brutal reality of this world. No more tolerance or pluralism to be looked for in Buddhism – on the contrary, the Buddha is actually amused, in the end, by the argument of the blind men, because he is the seeing person with the benefit of sight.
From the Christian point of view, however, we could add something more:
The Buddha laughed too soon! With his arrogant attitude and pleasure in the others’ discomfiture, he provides the proof that he is himself blind and lacking in understanding. In actual fact it is far from being a matter of who sees the elephant or not. The elephant stands here for the realization of the truth, and so the realization of God. But God is spirit (Jn 4:24), and anyone who wants to know him must worship him in spirit and truth. So it is not a question of physical vision here, but of spiritual vision.
Now it is certainly true that we human beings, for the most part, are spiritually "born blind". But by contrast with the attitude of the Buddha in this parable, who lets the blind men carry on disputing and laughs at them, and so completely disqualifies Buddhism as a religion of salvation, Christianity points the right way: Christ does not laugh at these blind people, instead he makes them spiritually seeing. And neither does he compel them to convert to him; he rather leaves them free to decide for or against him.
I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness;
Jn 12,44 And Jesus cried out and
said, "He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.12,45 "He who
sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 12,46 "I have come as Light into the world, so that
everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. Jn 12,44-46;
For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.
Jn 9,39 And Jesus
said, "For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see,
and that those who see may become blind." 9,40 Those of the Pharisees who were
with Him heard these things and said to Him, "We are not blind too, are we?" 9,41 Jesus
said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’
your sin remains. Jn 9,39-41;
This, now, is indeed the way a loving God acts. The Buddha was a "seeing king", who was spiritually blind. He was one of those founders of religions – like Mohammed in Islam – who like blind men stand around the elephant and dispute, without knowing that they need not their eyes but their spirit, in order to come to the realization of God.
And here we can also now recognize why the Christian religion is the only religion of salvation – because it has a Redeemer, and does not depend, like other religions, on some kind of theory of self redemption. It is God Himself who reveals himself to all humanity in His Son. But Jesus Christ is not a demon who possesses the spirit of a human being without his or her consent. All human beings have the free choice either to believe in the Son of God or to reject him. Anyone who accepts him is redeemed and has eternal life; those who refuse him remain in their sins and are already judged. Anyone who – above all as an Anglican theologian – has failed to understand this has completely failed to grasp the nature of Christianity.
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Jn 3,16 "For God so loved the world, that He
gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have
eternal life. 3,17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but
that the world might be saved through Him. 3,18 "He who believes in Him is
not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not
believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Jn 3,16-18;
But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.
Jn 7,38 "He who believes in Me, as the
Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’" 7,39
But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for
the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. Jn 7,38-39;
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.
Jn 11,25 Jesus said to her, "I am the
resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 11,26
and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Rabbi David Rosen, President of the International Jewish Committee for
I do not believe that there is only one way. If God speaks to us in such
diversity, there must be different ways. I believe in my truth but I cannot say that it is
better than the truth of another.
(Waldzell Meeting 2007 – https://religion.orf.at/)
When we consider that according to the Jewish faith – as well as the Christian faith – the other two religions represented here are completely unbiblical (because Islam worships a false god, Allah, and Buddhism does not worship any god at all), the assertion that the truth of these religions is better than the truth of the Bible is – above all for a member of the Jewish clergy like Rabbi
David Rosen – an extremely alienating statement.
See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me.
Deut 32,39 ‘See now that I, I am He, And there is no god
besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand. 32,40 ‘Indeed, I lift up My hand to
heaven, And say, as I live forever. Deut 32,39-40;
Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.
Isa 43,10 "You are My witnesses," declares the LORD, "And My
servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am
He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. 43,11 "I,
even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me. 43,12 "It is I who have
declared and saved and proclaimed, And there was no strange god among you; So you are
My witnesses," declares the LORD, "And I am God. Isa 43,10-12;
Remember the former things long past, For I am God and there is no one like Me.
Isa 46,5 "To whom would you liken Me And make Me
equal and compare Me, That we would be alike? 46,6 "Those who lavish gold from the purse
And weigh silver on the scale Hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; They bow down,
indeed they worship it. 46,7 "They lift it upon the shoulder and carry it; They set it
in its place and it stands there. It does not move from its place. Though one may cry to
it, it cannot answer; It cannot deliver him from his distress. 46,8 "Remember this,
and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. 46,9 "Remember the former things
long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me.
Isa 46, 5- 9;
But this peculiar attitude on the part of a Jewish Rabbi at once becomes clearer when we consider the deeper biblical background.
On 1 July in the year 69 AD Titus, the son of the Roman emperor of the day Vespasian, was sent against Jerusalem as commander in chief of the army that was to end the Jewish war. In April 70 AD he attacked it with a host of four legions and numerous auxiliaries provided by allied kings (Josephus, Bell, 5,40-6,120). Titus besieged the city and surrounded it with a high wall (Josephus, Bell, 5,130-135.491-511; Tacitus, Hist. 5,1.10-14).
In early September 70 Jerusalem was then taken with a massacre, which Titus tried in vain to avoid(!), and as a result of famine. The Temple, to which 6000 Jews had withdrawn in view of a prophetic oracle which prophesied the final salvation of the sanctuary (Josephus, Bell, 6,285f), was destroyed by fire (Bell 6,220-270). Josephus claims that Titus vainly sought to the last to prevent the destruction of the Temple (Bell, 6,241.266). In this way Titus hoped to be released from any personal guilt for the misfortune of the Jews. But the soldiers, in blind rage, went against his orders (Bell, 6,254-259). The city was razed to the ground. Only the towers of the citadel were saved and strengthened, to be used as a military garrison.
If we look at the above reports of historians, it certainly was not the worldly power – the Roman general Titus, that is to say – who wanted to annihilate the Temple. Quite on the contrary – as Josephus writes, Titus had given orders to his troops to spare the Temple at all costs. But this whole war was decided on a level other than the worldly one. It was God the Almighty who had resolved that both the city and the Temple must be destroyed. And so Titus had the experience, probably for the first time in his life, of Roman legionaries refusing to obey an order of their general, and they went on to storm the Temple and burned it to the ground.
Now we need to ask, objectively speaking, whether this assertion that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was the will of God is actually confirmed by the Bible. And here we have, first of all, the lament of the Lord over Jerusalem in Lk 19,41-44:
They will level you to the ground, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another.
Lk 19, 41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, 19,42 saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.19,43 For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, 19,44 and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation." Lk 19,41-44;
Here, in Lk 19,43, the Lord not only prophesies the "barricade", the high wall, that is to say, that Titus would build in order to besiege Jerusalem, he also indicates that the besiegers would not leave one stone upon another in the city, which the historian Josephus then also confirms in the words "The city was razed to the ground" (see above).
In relation to the Temple, we then find the prophecy of its destruction in the Lord’s answer to the admiring words of the disciples about the glory of the Temple in Mt 24,1-2:
Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.
Mt 24,1 Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 24,2 And He said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down." Mt 24, 1- 2;
Now these are just prophecies of those events which would actually take place some 40 years later. We do not yet know, however, why God had resolved on the annihilation of this city and the Temple. But when we look more closely at an apparently inconspicuous statement of the Lord’s, we recognize some quite unexpected implications. In Jh 8,24 the Lord tells the Pharisees, who blamed him for his assertion that he was the Son of God on the grounds that he only had himself as witness (when according to the Jewish Law at least two witnesses were necessary), so his testimony could not be true.
Unless you believe that I am He (the Messiah), you will die in your sins.
Jn 8,21 Then He said again to them, "I go away,
and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come."
8,22 So the Jews were saying, "Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says,
‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?" 8,23 And He was saying to them, "You are from below,
I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 8,24 "Therefore I said
to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He (the Messiah),
you will die in your sins." Jn 8,21-24;
In the above biblical passage – both at Jh 8,21 and at Jh 8,24 – the Lord makes the prophecy "You will die in your sins". For the Pharisees to whom he was speaking, this statement above all was yet another proof of the fact that this Jesus of Nazareth had not the least idea of the Mosaic commandments. After all, they had the prescribed sacrificial ceremonies in the Law (the Torah) for the sin offering and the guilt offering, which were effective in releasing them from their sins. And in addition they had the tamid, the daily, ongoing sacrifice in the Temple whereby God granted them constant forgiveness for sins that could be forgiven.
Neither the Pharisees at that time, nor the majority of biblical commentators today, realize the fearful seriousness which underlies these few words "You will die in your sins". Here above all we have the key to the understanding of God’s actions in relation to his people of Israel. A superficial consideration permits us to recognize that of course it was not the Lord who was out of his depth – in reality, the Pharisees had no idea of the fact that 40 years later neither the Temple nor the altar would still exist, so it would no longer be possible for the priests to perform the prescribed sacrificial offerings on the Temple’s altar of sacrifice.
But the consequence was that all Israelites, from the destruction of the Temple and altar of sacrifice onward – and up to the present day (!) – have had no possibility of having their sins forgiven, and so, as the Lord prophesied, have died in their sins; and continue to die in their sins, if they do not convert to Jesus. And so, according to both Mosaic and Christian doctrine, all these many human beings are lost and will spend eternity in damnation.
Israel in the light of the Bible.
Based on the Old Testament
God has completely taken away his compassion from the house of
Israel (Hos 1:6). They are no longer his people (Hos 1:9). Only the house
of Judah will be saved by the Lord. Not by war, however, but by his Spirit
(Hos 1:7). And only in the Millennium, when the Son of God has entered on
his thousand years rule on earth (Hos 1:10; 2,18 Eze 34:25; Isa 2:4), will
the Lord once more accept Israel as his people (Hos 2:23; Jer 31:27-28).
Based on the New Testament
It is God’s will that we should listen to his Son (Mt 17:5). This same Son
of God has told us that anyone who rejects him rejects God as well (1Jn
2:23; Lk 10:16; Jn 5:22-23. 15:23). The people of Israel today deny the
Son of God and abuse him as an impostor and blasphemer. As a result of
this denial of the Son, Israel has also rejected the Father and so is a
God-less people. (Jn 8:24)
(See also "The pseudo‑Christian betrayal of the Israelites.")
So if even Rabbi Rosen, as representative of the Mosaic faith, confesses that his Jewish religion is just one of many "different ways", and is not even better than others – although his own Torah (the five Books of Moses) and the Jewish scriptures state that there is no God beside the God of Israel – it need not surprise us that the representative of the Catholic church as well, the Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast, advances the opinion in the passage below that Christianity like other religions is just "a door though which we go to the Ultimate".
Father David Steindl-Rast, Benedictine Monk Austria/USA:
As long as we consider our religion to be the only correct one and only tolerate
the others, we will not be able to make ourselves understood in the end. Then there is only
pious talk and politeness. But if we are aware that our religion, like every other, is a door
though which we go to the Ultimate, that can no longer be articulated, that can no longer be
expressed, then we can manage, with this possibility, where words and forms fail, to get along
nicely with one another.
(Waldzell Meeting 2007 – https://religion.orf.at/)
So this is the point of view of a Catholic theologian, namely that the Catholic religion, "(…) like every other, is a door through which we go to the Ultimate (…)". In this international dialog of religions, the Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast here gives expression to the view that the Catholic religion by no means enjoys a position of pre-eminence, but is just one religion among other religions. And this is just the same as that "religious pluralism" which Josef Ratzinger, in his "Document on the Doctrine of Salvation of the Roman Catholic Church", criticized and rejected in the strictest possible terms.
In a 36-page document on the doctrine of salvation of the Roman Catholic church, the Vatican repeated, in the year 2000, its doctrinal view that when it comes to redemption non-Christians are in a "highly defective situation". Furthermore, the other Christian churches suffer from errors, one reason for this being that they do not accept the pre-eminent position of the Pope.
The document triggered international protests. The Chairman of the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD) [Evangelical Church in Germany], Manfred Kock, spoke of a "setback for ecumenical togetherness". "Indications in Rome," said Kock, speaking in Hanover, "point to a standstill." Representing the Anglican church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, complains that the document neglects three decades of ecumenical dialog. The document is "a declaration of war on the churches of the Reformation," said the spokesman of the Catholic people’s church movement "Wir sind Kirche" ["We are the church"], Christian Weisner, speaking in Hanover. The lay Catholics’ movement urged the German Conference of Bishops to make it plain to the Vatican that this point of view is unacceptable. The claim to sole representation as the successor of Christ, they said, testified to an unhinged arrogance on the part of Rome.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls made it clear that Rome was continuing on the path of dialog. "The Holy See is not changing course in its relations with the other Christian confessions." The document is addressed first and foremost to Catholic theologians. At the same time it is also intended to encourage a dialog on all levels with other churches and with non-Christians. The paper was prepared by the Congregation of Faith, and was given the approval of Pope John Paul II. At the press conference for the presentation of the document, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who presides over the Congregation of Faith, said that some theologians "are being manipulative and overstepping the bounds of tolerance" when they put all religions on the same level.
In the Vatican’s view, clarification of the official Catholic position is necessary in order to combat "relativistic theories". These sought to justify "religious pluralism". The document further states that the revelation of Jesus Christ is "unambiguous and complete". To assert that the Christian doctrine of salvation is a supplement to those of other religions is in opposition to the faith of the Catholic church. In a theological balancing act, the Vatican writes in the paper that the "church of Christ" today is also present in other Christian churches. At the same time, in the Vatican’s view it continues to live on fully only in the Roman Catholic church, because the Pope is the successor of Peter, whom Jesus appointed as the first pastor on earth. The pre-eminent position of the Pope, it states, is the will of God.
SPIEGEL ONLINE Politik
As we can see from this, Fr. Steindl-Rast, as a Catholic theologian, holds a position in direct opposition to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and to the later Pope Benedict XVI, Josef Ratzinger. In his attempt to blot out the differences between the religions with a kind of "appeasement politics", the Benedictine monk – perhaps largely unconsciously – allows us to glimpse the background to his point of view.
When he says that "we will not be able to make ourselves understood in the end" if we continue to "consider our religion to be the only correct one", he confirms, first of all, that in his eyes his religion is not the only correct one. On the other hand he also gives a clear indication of what he basically thinks it is all about – he wants understanding between the religions.
Now understanding is certainly a good thing, and something to be aimed for when it brings benefit to all the parties. Thus to remain in the dialog dominated business milieu, an understanding between employers and employees can be approved when it ensures more profit for the former and an adequate pay rise for the latter. Strictly deplorable, on the other hand, is the notorious attempt to motivate the unions with gifts, in order to gloss over an unequal distribution of benefits (as in the case of VW for instance).
But here something very similar is being practiced. In the same way as these trade unionists have stopped representing the employees, so David Steindl-Rast is evidently no longer representing the Catholic church, let alone the Christian churches. As we learn from his resume, his real achievements are to be found in the field of Buddhist-Christian dialog and in "building bridges between religious traditions":
"After twelve years of training in the monastery and studies in Philosophy and Theology, Brother David was sent by his abbot to take part in Buddhist-Christian dialog, for which he received authorization from the Vatican in the year 1967. His Zen teachers were Hakkuun Yasutani Roshi, Soen Nakagawa Roshi, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and Eido Shimano Roshi. In 1968 he was one of the founders of the Center for Spiritual Studies, and in 1975 he received the Martin Buber Prize for his work in building bridges between religious traditions." (https://www.waldzell.org/site?page=147)
That is also the reason why this Benedictine monk can only chime in with the "holistic" point of view of the Dalai Lama: "The entire world is melting into one body, but it is multi-religious". Buddhism above all, which has absolutely nothing to offer its believers (not even a God), endeavors to compensate for this deficiency by putting itself on the same level as other religions.
And just as we felt obliged to remind Rabbi Rosen earlier of the utterances of his God (if he still believes in him?) in the Books of Moses and the prophets, we cannot refrain from reminding Fr. Stendl-Rast as well of the utterances of his Lord Jesus Christ (if he still believes in this person?) in the New Testament.
He who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.
Jn 10,1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 10,2 "But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. Jn 10, 1. 2;
Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
Jn 10,7 So Jesus said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you,
I am the door of the sheep. 10,8 "All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but
the sheep did not hear them. 10,9 "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will
be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10,10 "The thief comes only
to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Jn 10, 7-10;
For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.
Jn 18,37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.
Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." Jn 18,37;
I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Jn 14,6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. Jn 14, 6:
According to these above statements of the Son of God, which are
binding for a biblical Christian, there is no other way to the one and only God
than through Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. Everyone who
is of the truth recognizes his voice. Whoever does not proclaim Jesus Christ as
the only Savior of men proclaims a false gospel and is accursed according to Gal
1:9 (Greek anáthema Gal 1:8-9; 1Cor 16:22).
If any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
Gal 1,6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 1,7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 1,8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 1,9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! Gal 1, 6- 9;
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting.
2Jn 1,9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 1,10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 1,11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. 2Jn 1,9-11;
Just as the Israelites were abandoned by God two thousand years ago when they handed over the Son of God, their Messiah, to be crucified (Israel has been God-less for two thousand years.), so too God turned away from the Catholic church when it departed from the basis of Christian faith, the Bible, by falsifying the Ten Commandments, introducing idol worship in the cult of the Catholic "Mary" and the cult of the dead (the deceased Catholic "saints", Isa 8:19), and since then, like Moslems and Buddhists, has been worshiping idols (Rev 9:20).
Is the Catholic Church a Christian church?
When the unbelieving world speaks of Christianity, in nine
out of ten cases what is meant is the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church
has become practically synonymous with Christianity in the eyes of the
world. This is a massive error!
LUCIFER WORSHIPED IN VATICAN (Video)
Pope Francis on gays: "Who am I to judge them?"
The Bible on gays:
Rom 1,26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 1,27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
(See also Discourse 32: "Commentary on the manifesto "Dominus Jesus" of the Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.")
In this way the Catholic church has falsified the Word of God, maliciously betrayed its faithful and so has apostasized from the Christian faith. And our Lord Jesus Christ actually warned us of this very thing. But he also pointed out a quite straightforward method for checking whether a person or an organization is spreading lies, or is actually based on the foundations of the Bible and so entitled to call itself "Christian".
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Mt 7,15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in
sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 7,16 "You will know them by their
fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 7,17
"So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 7,18 "A good
tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 7,19 "Every tree
that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 7,20 "So then,
you will know them by their fruits. 7,21 "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord,
Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in
heaven will enter. Mt 7,15-21;
So we will know them by their fruits. Well, here are some of the fruits of the Catholic church:
o Thousands of cases worldwide of abuse by Catholic priests of children placed in their care – and these priests are supposedly in the "apostolic succession", and so should be followers of the apostles of Jesus Christ! The apostles of the Lord would turn away in horror.
o As a result of this child abuse by Catholic priests, the courts have imposed fines on the Catholic church worldwide amounting to hundreds of millions of euros – which of course is paid out of the collection plate. So donors to the Catholic church are financing child abuse by Catholic priests.
o Church tax and collections from Catholics make it possible for the hierarchy to afford superb residences, with a lifestyle of pot bellies and no work, and the Vatican has accumulated assets to the value of 220 billion euros! – And the Pope still urges people to keep on giving.
o The Vatican bank (the "Santo Spirito" or Holy Spirit bank!!!) has been shown to have practiced money laundering for its customers, and is suspected of having contracted for the assassination of a banker. – If the Holy Spirit was ever with this bank, he has long since left it.
You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?
Mt 23,32 Fill you up then the measure of your fathers.23,33
You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell? Mt 23,32-33;
With his full beard, horn-rimmed spectacles and brightly colored shirt, Lars Müller Marienburg could well be taken for a hipster as he cycles through town – if you didn’t notice the dog collar. Lars is a Christian minister, Evangelical Superintendent of Lower Austria in fact – a kind of ecclesiastical rank that on the Catholic scale would make him something like a bishop. And Lars is homosexual – a gay "bishop", in an Austrian federal state where a blue politician (now a member of the federal state government) once actually abused homosexuals in public as "faggots". Does this augur well?
This statement by the Evangelical Superintendent of St. Pölten – "In the way of the world, people couldn’t give a damn if some men love men or some women love women" – is of course
nonsense. As long as the Evangelical church persists in seeing itself as a Christian church, the basis of belief, for an Evangelical minister, must surely be the Christian Bible.
But then, of course, you would also expect it to be taken for granted that this minister has read his Bible, and is likewise familiar with such important biblical statements as even children learn in our schools – like the account of the Flood, and the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
But as it appears, the minister in question – , Evangelical Superintendent of St. Pölten, Austria – is completely unaware of these matters. Otherwise he couldn’t persist in uttering such perversities. The two biblical events – both the Flood (Gen 6:1-2; Jud 1:6; Gen 6:7), and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Jud 1:7) – were God’s punishment for the homosexual perversions of humanity at that time.
God brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly, and reduced the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter.
2Ptr2,2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 2,3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep; 2,4 for if God did not spare angels, when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; 2,5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 2,6 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter. 2Ptr 2, 2- 6;
You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.
Lev 18,22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. 18,23 Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion. Lev 18,22-23.
Men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another.
Rom 1,24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 1,25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
1,26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 1,27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. Rom 1,24-27;
On this basis, then, only two conclusions are possible:
o either this minister has never read the Bible – but then he shouldn’t be a minister – and certainly shouldn’t be an Evangelical Superintendent;
o or he has read the Bible and is familiar with these statements about gays and the "way of the world" as it is described in the Bible. But in that case he is lying through his teeth, and most definitely shouldn’t be an Evangelical minister.
So now the Evangelical church in Austria has even decided in favor of homosexual marriage. The argument of these gay "men of God" is as follows: "those arguments in the Bible which apparently speak against homosexuality are only to be found in the Old Testament, and are not against homosexuality as such but against prostitution." .
The biblical statements quoted above are for the most part taken from the New Testament, and they certainly do condemn homosexuality. So Paul for instance says, in Rom 1,27: "and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts.".
But these ministers with their burning desires see the matter differently. They think that now "this church has come a little bit closer to God.".
W H I C H G O D ? ? ?
Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, Rector of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo and Member of
the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
What follows for humankind from this divinely ordained diversity is that human
beings differ in their religions and principles of faith, and they will continue to do so until
Judgment Day. The differences in principles of faith and their continued existence are a Koranic
truth and also a truth of creation.
(Waldzell Meeting 2007 – https://www.waldzell.org/site?page=150)
For a biblical Christian it is actually shameful that a representative of a false faith, with a false God and false expectations of salvation, should apparently be the only member of this discussion group to see through these hypocritical attempts to make all religions equal. When
Ahmad Al-Tayyeb then makes the following statement, however,
"(…) if the adherents of western religions are afflicted by doubt, they seek empirical proofs – but this would then be knowledge, not faith. In Islam, doubt is ‘constantly accompanied by the Spirit, who checks to see whether a doctrine is still correct’. When a Moslem is afflicted by doubt, he has rules of conduct to guide him: ‘If you have doubt about Allah, you must call on Him, until you recover faith.’"
- we can see that it was not wisdom which enabled him to reach this insight, but simply and solely a lack of information – in the same way as the frequently quoted Koran teacher said, in response to the questions of his students: "The Koran you are not permitted to question, you must just learn it by heart." And this same attitude of mind could also be responsible for those problems with which Islam finds itself faced all over the world today. They want to discourage the faithful from asking too many questions, because then of course it would be "knowledge" rather than faith – but this at the same time results in other teachers, false teachers, coming to satisfy the thirst for knowledge of the Islamic faithful with false answers.
In connection with Islamic terrorism, Moslems in Europe are frequently confronted with the statement that the Koran urges Moslems to kill the unbelievers. This is then always rebutted with indignation, and with the counter-assertion that this kind of thing can be found nowhere in the Koran. But seeing that European politicians have read the Koran just as little as they (if they are Christians) have ever properly read their Bible, they believe what the Moslems tell them.
But if anyone takes the trouble, these passages can indeed be found in the Koran. And just to clarify this question once and for all – at least for visitors to Immanuel.at – let us here insert Sura 5:33 from the Koran:
In the name of Allah,
(See also Discourse 123 (and Sura 9:29!): "The Prophet Mohammed, the Koran, the Bible and true Christianity.")
Here we can see that the argument of some Moslems that this commandment is only intended to apply to war is perfectly correct. And the representatives of so-called Islamic State (IS) argue in just the same way. They too appeal to this commandment and to the fact that they are at war with the USA, Russia, Europe, Syria and Iran.
So in conclusion: please let us be spared the view that all these young men and women who have declared themselves willing to put an end to their lives as suicide bombers are mentally disturbed. They have only fallen into the "Koran trap". First they have been told that the Koran is sacred (having been given by the Archangel Gabriel to Mohammed in a cave), and then they are forbidden to question the Koran’s statements.
But we know, now, that at the time when the Koran was written (i.e. around 610-632 AD), the Jewish Torah (the five Books of Moses of the Old Testament) had already been in existence in written form for something like 850 years (Qumran), and the writings of the Christian New Testament had already existed in written form for some 400 years.
And when we study the Koran more closely, we can actually recognize that many statements are semantically almost identical with both the Jewish and the Christian scriptures. So for example the origin of the Koran’s universally familiar commandment that hands and feet be washed before entering the mosque for prayer (Quran, sura 5,6 / You tube video, read: at 10:18), is copied from a commandment in the Old Testament: 2nd Book of Moses (Exodus), chapter 30, verses 17-21 (Ex 30:17-21).
Of course Mohammed did "supplement" this biblical commandment a little, by making it mandatory not just for the priests (Aaron and his sons among the Israelites) but for all Moslems, and making them repeat the whole procedure five times a day, before praying with their face turned toward Mecca (the Kaaba). He also refers in the Koran to the biblical Trinity, with God the Father, God the Son and the "Mother of God" Mary when he writes:
Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah.
Koran-Sura 5,116 And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah’?" He will say, "Exalted are You! It was not for me to say to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed it is You who is Knower of the unseen. Quran, Sura 5,116;
In the announcement of the birth of Jesus by the Archangel Gabriel to Mary in Lk 1,26-35, when Mary asks the familiar question, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?", Gabriel reveals to her that her son will be called the Son of God:
For that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
Lk 1,34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" 1,35 The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. Lk 1,34-35;
But of course Mohammed could not leave this verse as it stands, seeing that he writes in Sura 19,35: "It does not befit Allah that He begets a son." So he replaces this verse with his own statements about "Allah’s way", and then
goes so far as to the following prophecy:
And He will teach him the book (Koran)? and wisdom and the torah and the gospel.
Koran-Sura 3,47 She said: How will I have a child, when no man touched me? The angel said: Such is Allah, He creates what he wills, when he decrees a matter, He only says to it "BE" – and it is. 3,48 And He will teach him
the book (Koran?) and wisdom and the
torah and the gospel. Quran, Sura 3,47-48;
So Allah will teach this child (Jesus) the gospel as well. – But Allah
could hardly teach the child the gospel, seeing that this child – Jesus Christ – was of
course himself the start of the gospel, and the New Testament was only going to be written
down in the subsequent hundred years. But this very gospel is something that Mohammed –
five hundred years later – would have done well to read, as then he would have been able
to learn that the third person of the Christian Trinity is not Mary, the mother of the
Lord, but the Holy Spirit.
From this we recognize that all these errors can hardly be laid to the charge of the Archangel Gabriel, who is of course supposed to have written the Koran. It appears that the self-appointed "prophet" Mohammed, in "compiling" his Koran, did not read the biblical scriptures with sufficient care or precisely consider the background to his "adaptations". And so in passing he expanded this biblical plagiarism with the addition of commandments and prohibitions which he thought would be useful – particularly in reinforcing his own position of power.
And so it is easy to understand that the Sura 5:33 of the "holy" Koran (see above) should include the commandment that the opponents of Mohammed "be killed, or crucified, or have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides". This is a predicament that Moslems cannot escape from except by three possible ways: either they deny it and lie to themselves, or they give up their religion, or they die "for Allah and the prophet". And Moslems just have to decide which answer to go for. .
Seeing that this Discourse is of course attempting to set off Christianity from other religions, we would like to conclude the analysis by inserting here a short contribution which comments on all four religions analyzed here from a Christian point of view, and moreover goes on to offer Christian alternatives.
The two most common ingredients in religions
are rules and rituals. Some religions are essentially nothing more than a list of rules, do’s and don’t’s, that a person must observe in order to be considered a faithful adherent of that religion, and
thereby, right with the God of that religion. Two examples of rules-based religions are Islam and Judaism. Islam has its five pillars that must be observed. Judaism has hundreds of commands and traditions that are to be observed. Both religions, to a certain degree, claim that by obeying the rules of the religion, a person will be considered right with God.
Other religions focus more on observing rituals instead of obeying a list of rules. By offering this sacrifice, performing this task, participating in this service, consuming this meal, etc., a person is made right with God. The most prominent example of a ritual-based religion is Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholicism holds that by being water baptized as an infant, by partaking in the Mass, by confessing sin to a priest, by offering prayers to saints in Heaven, by being anointed by a priest before death, etc., etc., God will accept such a person into Heaven after death. Buddhism and Hinduism are also primarily ritual-based religions, but can also to a lesser degree be considered rules-based.
True religion is neither rules-based nor ritual-based. True religion is a relationship with God. Two things that all religions hold are that humanity is somehow separated from God and needs to be reconciled to Him. False religion seeks to solve this problem by observing rules and rituals. True religion solves the problem by recognizing that only God could rectify the separation, and that He has done so. True religion recognizes the following:
1. We have all sinned and are therefore separated from God (Romans 3,23).
2. If not rectified, the just penalty for sin is death and eternal separation from God after death (Romans 6,23).
3. God came to us in the Person of Jesus Christ and died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserve, and rose from the dead to demonstrate that His death was a sufficient sacrifice (Romans 5,8; 1 Corinthians 15,3-4; 2 Corinthians 5,21).
4. If we receive Jesus as the Savior, trusting His death as the full payment for our sins, we are forgiven, saved, redeemed, reconciled, and justified with God (John 3,16; Romans 10,9-10; Ephesians 2,8-9).
True religion does have rules and rituals, but there is a crucial difference. In true religion, the rules and rituals are observed out of gratitude for the salvation God has provided – NOT in an effort to obtain that salvation. (…)
Although we always speak of religions here, and Christianity likewise is designated a religion by the world, actually it is not a religion at all. Christianity is a theocracy. In a theocracy – meaning the rule of God – God rules over His kingdom. But this does not mean that God rules in this world. Quite the opposite – up to the start of the Millennium (the Son of God’s Kingdom of Peace of a thousand years on earth) this world is handed over to Satan and is ruled by him.
(See also Discourse 1042: ""Are all governments of the world ordained by God?")
As we read in Lk 4,6 below, God has given Satan power over all the kingdoms of this world. He must carry on here that task he entered up right at the beginning, in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Human beings are tested by him with temptations and seductions, to see whether they shall be allowed to enter the Kingdom of God or remain in the kingdom of Satan (Eph 2,1-2). The one as the other, both here on this earth and after the end of the world, in the New Creation of Eternity
I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
Lk 4,5 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 4,6 And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 4,7 "Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours." 4,8 Jesus answered him, "It is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your GOD and serve Him only.’" Lk 4, 5- 8;
(See also Chapter 11: "The end of the world.")
(See also Chapter 14: "The New Creation.")
This handover of power happened after a battle in heaven, where Satan with a third of the angels in heaven rebelled against God (Rev 12:7-9). They fought against the Archangel Michael and the remaining two thirds of the angels, and lost the battle. After that – in the time while Jesus was still alive (Jh 14:30-31; Lk 10:17-18; Rev 12:12; Jh 12:31) – Satan and his angels were thrown down onto the earth (Rev 12:3-4).
So since then Satan has been ruling the world. And right at the start of his rule, Satan tried to seduce the Son of God himself, by offering him all these kingdoms of the world if he would fall down before him and worship him. But our Lord returned exactly the answer that Adam and Eve should have given, when Satan tempted them: "You shall worship the LORD your GOD and serve Him only." Had they done this, they would have saved humanity – right at the beginning of the creation – thousands of years of chaos on earth.
So anyone who resists Satan and his temptations enters the Kingdom of God. Now, the present Kingdom of God is not of this world, but is of a spiritual nature. God’s plan provides for three phases (or ages) of his dominion:
o the first, the spiritual phase, in which the Holy Spirit rules in the spirit of human beings who believe in Christ (the present time);
o the second, the earthly phase, where the Son of God rules on earth in the thousand year Kingdom of Peace (the Millennium);
o and the third, the heavenly phase, where God Himself rules in the New
Creation (in eternity).
I have inserted Table 09 below, where these three phases are reproduced along with their different sections.
Three phases and
The day of salvation and
the time of grace
The day of vengeance and the
favorable year of the LORD
The end of the world and
the New Creation
|The Battle in heaven
|The Battle of Armageddon
|The Last Fight
|Michael and his angels conquer
Satan and his angels
|Jesus Christ and his army in
heaven defeat Satan and Antichrist
|The LORD and the host of heaven
conquer Satan and his hosts
|Satan and his angels are thrown from heaven
Rev 12:9; Lk 10:18
|Satan is thrown into the
|Satan is thrown into the lake
|The resurrection of saints
after the death of the Lord
|The First Resurrection of the
|The Universal Resurrection
|The judgment: The prince of
this world has been expelled
|The judgment of wages at the First
Resurrection of the martyrs
|The Last Judgment -
the harvest is ripe
The Day of the LORD
|The day of God’s mercy. God
becomes man in His son
|The day of God’s wrath with
plagues, earthquake and fire
Rev 8:1-13; Rev 9:1-21
|The day of the Last Judgment
will be revealed with fire
God creates all new
|The sin has been defeated: It
|The regeneration of heaven
|The passing away of heaven
The new life
|The gospel: The truth brings
salvation for the world
|The renewed heaven and the
|The new created heaven and
the new created earth
God is with them
|The kingdom of the Holy Spirit:
The time of grace – God dwells
in the spirit of the believers
|The kingdom of the Son:
The time of peace – God dwells
with men in His temple
|The kingdom of the Father:
The Eternity – men dwell with
God. No temple any more
The spirit of God
|God will give the Holy Spirit to
those who ask Him
|God pours out His Spirit on his
male and female servants
|God’s Spirit dwells in
all of them
The first, the spiritual phase, is the rule of the Holy Spirit on earth in the children of the Kingdom – Christians of true belief.
This privilege was originally intended by God only for Israel. But when Israel rejected its Messiah and so broke its covenant with God, God dissolved this covenant with Israel and concluded a "New Covenant with all human beings who decide for him. In Mt 21:33-46 we can follow this biblical change of paradigm (Mk 2:21-22), when the Lord tells the Jews that they have been cast out from the Kingdom of God and that now a different people – namely all human beings who make the decision to believe in this one God – will be chosen as children of this Kingdom.
The Law and the Prophets (the Mosaic religion) were proclaimed until John;
Lk 16,16 "The Law and the Prophets
were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the
kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. Lk 16,16;
"Give me a fixed point in the universe and I will lift the world off its hinges."
The Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse (287-212 BC) was the first to discover the principle of the lever, and came to this remarkable theoretical conclusion.
In the reality of this world, faith in Jesus Christ is the thing that really lifts the world off its hinges. When the Son of God says:
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.
– he abrogates all the biological and physical laws of our world of space and time. The power whereby a human beings can realize this miracle is called faith. Faith is a power in human beings, as also are love, hatred, jealousy and so on. But whereas love, hatred and jealousy in most cases "break out" involuntarily, human beings can themselves activate the power of faith. In the Christian faith, what they have to do for this is place their trust in God and the Son of God. Trust – just that is what the Bible means by "faith".
In the miracles that the Lord worked on earth, he always says, "Your faith (your trust in me) has helped you."
Mt 9,22 Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.
Mk 10,52 Go; your faith has made you well.
Lk 7,50 Your faith has saved you; go in peace.
Lk 17,19 Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.
Mt 15,28 O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.
And this trust, this faith, then gives birth to a conviction. This is the faith of a biblical Christian: conviction.
He who believes in Him (Jesus Christ) is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already.
Jn 3,17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 3,18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Jn 3,17-18;
He who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
Jn 6,35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst." Jn 6,35;
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’
Jn 7,38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’" 7,39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. Jn 7,38-39;
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.
Jn 11,25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 11,26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" Jn 11,25-26;
He who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.
Jn 14,12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." Jn 14,12;
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father
but through Me." (Jn 14,6)
Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!"
Lk 9,35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" 9,36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen. Lk 9,35-36;
The faith of the true Christian is his or her conviction that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of this world.
But the Son of God is not merely the Savior of the world he is also the
judge of the world. Just because he voluntarily saved this world by his death, God the Father has also handed over all power in heaven and earth to the Son. And he – Jesus Christ – is also the one who at the end of the world, at the Last Judgment, will judge every individual human being to see whether this person, in his or her earthly life, has decided to believe in the Son of God or not.
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Mt 28,18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All
authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Mt 28,18;
He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father.
Jn 5,22 "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 5,23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
Now how are these people going to stand before this court whose judge they have denied on earth? These people are practically "suicides". They have rejected the one and only possibility which would be capable of releasing and redeeming them from sin in this world. They have denied the only mediator who can represent them before their God and declared that he does not exist. They will die the second death.
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus.
1Tim 2,3 This is good and acceptable
in the sight of God our Savior, 2,4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the
knowledge of the truth. 2,5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God
and men, the man Christ Jesus, 2,6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony
given at the proper time. 1Tim 2,3-6;
Whoever will call on the name of the LORD will be saved.
Rom 10,9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord,
and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10,10 for
with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he
confesses, resulting in salvation. 10,11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in
Him will not be disappointed." 10,12 For there is no distinction between Jew and
Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;
10,13 for "Whoever will call on the name of the LORD will be saved." Rom 10,9-13;
Should we pity such people? They are murderers! Self-murderers, that is to
say. And in such a case there can be no pity – either with God, or with human beings.
But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.;
Rev 21,8 "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable
and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part
will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
Rev 21, 8;
(See also Excursus 08: "The first and the second death.")
You will find at Immanuel.at a document which presents the essential events of the past, present and future of God’s creation in easily manageable compressed form. This is Table 09 (see also above), which I would warmly recommend the interested readers to take a look at. Don’t let the term ‘Table’ scare you off! It is just a listing which shows in a horizontal direction the comparable forms of manifestation of a certain event in different historical epochs, and in a vertical direction the different events in each of these temporal periods.
The essential thing about this presentation, though, is its biblical authenticity, as demonstrated by the links giving references to the relevant biblical passages in each case. This means you have demonstrable certainty that you are looking at the original biblical connections. This work has been carried out over decades of biblical research analysis, and offers readers the possibility of a comprehensive overview, so enabling them to develop a very much more profound understanding of the Bible.
But the fact that Jesus Christ has saved the world does not mean, of course, that the world is saved already. The world remains still in the power of Satan. What is at stake is the possibility of salvation for every individual human being. And this means final salvation – salvation from the second death.
The first death is the normal, biological, physical death of the body. But every human being has an eternal existence, and will come to life again in the resurrection, to appear before the judge Jesus Christ. And there it will be decided whether he or she will be permitted to enter the Kingdom of God, or whether they will have to go to eternal damnation in the kingdom of Satan. That is then the second death.
The eternal existence of every human being.
Every individual human being who leaves the amniotic sac
of his or her mother alive in being physically born – who is "born of
water" (amniotic fluid), that is to say (Jn 3:5) – receives a human
spirit (1Cor 2:11) from God (Jn 4:24) with eternal existence (Mt 25:46).
In the first, temporal and earthly part of their existence – in their
life, human beings have the possibility of deciding, in complete freedom,
without any compulsion and with the help of the spirit given them by God (Gen 2:7; 6:3),
whether or not they will give this God, the creator of all life, their
complete trust and entire love.
God will give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Rom 8,11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised
Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead
will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in
you.. Rom 8,11;
In the Resurrection (Rom 6:4-5),
from the spirit" (Mt 19:28; 1Pet 3:18; Jn 3:7), human beings are
again given a body (Mt 22:30; Jn 3:8; Rom 8:10-11), similar to that of
the Son of God after his resurrection (Jn 20:26-27).
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
1Cor 15,42 So also is the resurrection
of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable
body; 15,43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it
is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 15,44 it is sown a natural
body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is
also a spiritual body. 15,45 So also it is written, "The first MAN,
Adam, became a living soul." (Gen 2,7) The last Adam became a
life‒giving spirit. 15,46 However, the spiritual is not first,
but the natural; then the spiritual. 15,46 However, the spiritual is not first,
but the natural; then the spiritual. 15,47 The first man is from the earth,
earthy; the second man is from heaven. 15,48 As is the earthy, so also are
those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
15,49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image
of the heavenly. 1Cor 15,42-49;
With this spiritual body the human being
will then stand at the Last Judgment
before the Son of God, who has been given the task by God (Jn 5:22, 26-27)
of judging every human being on the basis of their earthly deeds and their
decision for or against God while still alive (Rom 2:16).
The Son of God said:
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know
Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you." Jn 14,15-17;
In the light of this, the well known evangelist and preacher Wilhelm
Busch said to his hearers, "You don’t need to accept the message I am giving
you. You can choose not to convert to Jesus. But just be aware that this means you
are choosing hell! You have complete freedom – it’s your choice!" (People who are unable to believe)
(See also Discourse 22: "Is
there such a thing as the immortality of the soul?")
For all those who would like to have it short and
The Biblical Trinity and some other specifics of the biblical Christian faith
Unlike all other religions in the world, biblical Christianity is not
a religion. It is a relation. A relationship with – or
connection to – God, as our Father in Heaven. That is why our Lord
Jesus Christ told us:
Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
Mt 23,9 9 "Do not call anyone on earth your
father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Mt 23,9;
So, in biblical Christianity, we do not call anyone on earth
our Father – the one and only Almighty God in heaven is our Father. In fact
God created not only us but all human beings, with Adam and Eve, our archaic parents, and is
therefore the father of us all. But very few people want to know anything
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
Jn 4,23 "But an hour is coming, and now
is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth;
for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 4,24 "God is
spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
And as Paul also confirms to us in his first letter to the
Corinthians, God’s Spirit dwells in us if we are God’s children.
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1Cor 3,16 Do you not know that you
are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
3,17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the
temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. 1Cor 3,16-17;
So this is a very similar connection to the one the Son of God had with the Father during his mission on earth:
Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?
Jn 14,10 Do you not believe that I am in the
Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to
you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding
in Me does His works. 14,11 Believe Me that I
am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of
the works themselves. Jn 14,10-11;
Finally, the Lord Jesus himself also tells us that the one
who loves him will be recognized by the fact that he will keep the word of
his Lord. And therefore the Father will love him, and both Father and Son
will come and make their abode with him (in his spirit).
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
Jn 14,22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him,
"Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to
us and not to the world?" 14,23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If
anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We
will come to him and make Our abode with him. 14,24 "He who does not
love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine,
but the Father’s who sent Me. 14,25 "These things I have spoken to you
while abiding with you. 14,26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the
Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to
your remembrance all that I said to you. Jn 14,22-26;
So, let us summarize: Paul tells us above, in 1Cor 3,16,
that the Holy Spirit dwells in us if we are children of God. The Lord Jesus
tells us above, in Jn 14,23, that the Father and the Son will come to us and
abide with us if we love the Son.
Thus we have united Father, Son and Holy
Spirit in our spirit!
It is therefore obvious that it is in the nature of spiritual beings to integrate
themselves both in the spirit of a human being, as well as in other spiritual beings. In their
spiritual form, they are non-material and can merge into each other, as when we empty one
glass of water into another on the material plane, and the two both waters become one (trinity).
However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands;
Acts 7,48 "However, the Most High does not
dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says (Isa 66,1-2):
7,49 ‘Heaven is my throne, and earth is the footstool of my feet; what
kind of house will you build for me?’ says the Lord; ‘ Or what place
is there for my repose? 7,50 ‘Was it not my hand which made all these
things?’ Acts 7,48-50;
In the biblical Christian faith, therefore, there is no rite, no liturgy, no
"masses", no priests, bishops, cardinals, popes or anything else like that.
Biblical Christian believers themselves are God’s temple and in their spirit
have immediate and direct connection with their heavenly Father.
For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
2Cor 6,14 Do not be bound together
with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness,
or what fellowship has light with darkness? 6,15 Or what harmony has
Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
6,16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?
And it is also this spirit of the children of God who will
live after the resurrection as a spiritual being in the eternal dimension
with our Father in heaven, after he has walked the path that our Lord Jesus
Christ has already gone before us as the first fruits (1Cor 15:20-28).
But you, when you pray, go into your inner room and pray to your Father who is in secret.
Mt 6,5 "When you pray, you are not to be
like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and
on the street corners (or on the "Wailing Wall"! / FH) so that they
may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
6,6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door
and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees
what is done in secret will reward you. 6,7 "And when you are praying, do
not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that
they will be heard for their many words. 6,8 "So do not be like them;
for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Mt 6,5-8;
Being allowed to enter the Kingdom of God is what the Bible calls "eternal life" – because the alternative of eternal damnation in hell cannot be described as "life" but can only be called existence. The verdict at the Last Judgment depends on whether a person has converted to Jesus Christ while still alive. This because in the eyes of God every violation of his commandments – every sin – can only be atoned for by the death of the person. And seeing that every human being has sinned, the whole of humanity is in the eyes of God worthy of death.
(See also Chapüter 13: "The Last Judgment.")
But since God, two thousand years ago, dissolved his covenant with Israel, because the Jews handed over his Son, their Messiah, to the cross, he has concluded a New Covenant with all human beings: the death of his Son on the cross would in future serve as a vicarious death for the sins of every human being, provided that the person in question has converted to faith in his Son Jesus Christ and the latter’s vicarious redeeming sacrifice.
(See also Discourse 103: "God’s New Covenant with all human beings.")
So we see that with God there is no compulsion. It is a completely voluntary decision on the part of every individual human being whether they choose to convert to him or not. This is something that the evangelist and preacher Wilhelm Busch – for whom I have the highest regard, though sadly now the late Wilhelm Busch – repeatedly emphasized to his hearers:
Look – if you don’t want to believe, you really don’t have to! Can I
tell you something? In the church there are still all kinds of compulsions enforced.
In the Kingdom of God, there is only an absolute freedom of the will. If you want to
live without God, you can do it! God offers himself to us. But we can refuse him. Do
you want to live without God? You may. Do you want to live without having made your
peace with God? You may. Do you want to live without prayer? You may. Do you want to
live without the Bible? You may. Do you want to transgress God’s commandments? You
may. Do you want to profane the Lord’s Day, be sexually promiscuous, drink, lie and
steal? You may.
Anyone who does not want this Savior whom God has sent to save sinners is at liberty to turn him down. Anyone who wants to go to hell can do just that. With God there are no compulsions. But please be clear on one point – you will have to live with the consequences. In Jesus God offers you peace, and the forgiveness of your sins. You can say, "I don’t need it! And I don’t want it either!" And you may live accordingly. But then you are not to suppose that in the last five minutes of your life, when you are on the point of death, you will still be able to grasp what God has been offering to you for the length of a whole lifetime. You are free to reject God’s offer of peace in Christ Jesus, but then you must live for all eternity without having made your peace with God. And that is hell.
Hell is the place where you have finally and truly succeeded in getting rid of God. You are no longer invited. There is nothing calling you any longer. Perhaps you may want to pray, but you can’t do it any more. Perhaps you may want to call on the name of Jesus, but you can’t remember it any longer. You don’t need to accept this message I have for you. You can forget about converting to belief in Jesus, if that is what you want. But be clear about what you are doing, because you are choosing hell – and you have absolute freedom to do so!
"But you were unwilling!" Jesus tells the people of Jerusalem. He did not compel them in any way. But what they chose was horrible! (Mt 23:37-38)
Wilhelm Busch (1897-1966) was a Pastor and youth worker in Essen, an
evangelist, preacher, writer and author.
(This extract and the photo are taken from the book "Jesus unser Schicksal" ["Jesus our Destiny"], by W. Busch, Schriftenmissions-Verlag Gladbeck/Westfalen [Scriptural Mission Publications, Gladbeck/Westphalia], ISBN 3-7958-0364-0)
Biblical Christianity and its claim to sole representation.
God is attainable for every single
person who desires it.