Banks and Revelation 13
As we are seeing, individuals and organisations in the UK are vulnerable to sudden bank account closures. Current guidelines from banking trade body UK Finance provide a loophole whereby banks do not have to tell a customer why they are closing their account if it is not “appropriate or permissible”.
This is disturbing because the bank may be breaking the law. But since no closure reasons are given, it may be difficult to prove it! The banks have wriggle room.
Banks have no legal right to act as “thought police”
In reality, it seems recent closures are over the political views of an individual, or the ethical views of Christian organisations or individual Christians. Is this a form of Christian persecution and a prelude to the enforced financial control of Revelation 13?
In the above cases it could be argued that the banks are breaking Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: everyone has “the right to freedom of thought… and the freedom to manifest that in public”. So the banks have no legal right to act as “thought police”.
The Government now recognises there is a problem here, and city minister Andrew Griffith MP has been asked to investigate cases where lenders closed the accounts of individuals or companies whose beliefs they disagree with. But whatever government control is decided, it will be a “toothless tiger” unless, in general, banks are legally forced to provide the reason for closing an account. There can be no wriggle room!
Dr Graham Wade
Carrying your cross
The April/May issue of HEART included a photo of Pastor Christy Smith carrying a wooden cross on Brighton seafront. I have always found it looks strange when people carry crosses around town.
What Jesus endured on the cross was both commonplace (the Roman authorities in Judea crucified hundreds of Jews in the first century AD) and unique – as we appreciate Jesus’ divine sacrifice for permanently dealing with all of our offence against God.
Jesus’ cry of “Finished!” shows his suffering was a completed work, never needing repetition. So, for me, unlike the preaching that focuses on the person and work of Jesus, the modern carrying of crosses gives me an uncomfortable feeling.
Furthermore, the whole crucifixion procedure that Pontius Pilate (governor) was forced into ordering could lead to the victim dying too early on. The lictor (a Roman bodyguard) given the task of scourging had to judge that the severe lashing did not kill Jesus before crucifixion. The patibulum (horizontal or crossbar) would weigh up to 100lbs.
No-one would be able to carry more than that after scourging. Jesus may have been too weak even to carry this, as the Romans ordered Simon of Cyrene to carry it. The vertical timber (stauros) would already be fixed in the ground, waiting for the patibulum and victim to be drawn up and fixed.
So when people carry complete crosses, as portrayed in so many films, are they giving an inaccurate picture of what happened in Jesus’ journey? A complete cross of 300lb is not what Jesus carried after the lictor’s work.
But I think that we can all appreciate that after Pontius Pilate was humiliated by the Pharisees, he ordered that the accusation board above Jesus’ head on the cross would bear the words that honour Jesus through the ages: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”!
Robert Weissman (Rev),
Christian Jew Foundation Crawfordsburn,
Meaning of revival
‘Revival’ seems to be very much a buzz word again at the moment but what does it actually mean?
As biblical justification for ‘revival’, many Christians try appealing to any and every verse in the Old Testament where the English word ‘revive’ occurs, regardless of the original meaning and context.
This is terrible exegesis that leads to the Bible being made to say anything anybody wants it to. We mustn’t pluck out Old Testament verses about national Israel and spiritually apply them to the Church. Israel isn’t the Church.
The Church, the Body of Christ, is made up of people from all nationalities, who all have one key thing in common: they are all permanently in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit. This was never true of Israel.
Before Pentecost, when the Church was birthed, God anointed with his Spirit specific people at specific times in order to fulfil specific roles. This wasn’t a permanent indwelling and could be removed by God.
For example, 1 Samuel 16:14 describes how the Holy Spirit was removed from King Saul and in Psalm 51:11 King David prayed that the Holy Spirit might not be taken from him. This prayer isn’t relevant to New Testament believers who are permanently in-dwelt as a seal and guarantee of their salvation.
The fruit of a true move of the Holy Spirit is changed lives, not just for a few weeks but forever
As far as the New Testament is concerned, the word ‘revival’ isn’t found anywhere. Neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor any other biblical writer encouraged prayer for ‘revival’.
Christians most commonly appeal to the account of Pentecost in Acts 2 as a New Testament example of ‘revival’.
Pentecost was the birthing of the Church, not a ‘revival’. To revive something, it first has to be dead, or at least in danger of dying.
A true move of God will manifest itself by the Church first being stirred to fervent prayer, repentance, a renewed pursuit of holiness and the preaching of the Gospel to a lost world. The fruit of a true move of the Holy Spirit is changed lives, not just for a few weeks but forever.
There’s no doubt that God has poured out his Spirit on this nation at certain times and certain places, and lives have been changed. However, most Christians’ understanding of ‘revival’ isn’t based on Scripture, which allows false ‘revival’ and counterfeit moves of God to be embraced as being genuine.
To spot the counterfeit, you first have to be familiar with the genuine article.