Religious scams and rackets are as old as the Bible. In fact, God's hatred for religious fraud and corruption is a major theme of the Bible, from the Torah of Moses all the way through to the Book of Revelation. It makes sense too, because religious corruption is all about religious leaders using God to manipulate and control people for personal advantage. Of course God hates being used like that, and must judge that behavior as wicked to separate Himself from it.
Hence, the picture to the left.
This is a picture of the magnificent Temple of YHWH in Jerusalem in the 1st century, condemned and declared desolate - empty - YHWH was not there - because of the scandalous religious scams being practiced there. In Matthew 23 Y'shua, the rightful Messiah of Israel, passed His righteous judgment on the place, after all attempts at reform had been ignored or rebuffed by the religious leaders then presiding. He condemned the place, and the system of corruption in operation there, and the people who held the keys to that system. He named the sins of that place. He named the sentence upon it. He said that sentence would come to pass in that generation. It did come to pass, just 37 years hence. In that generation the sentence was carried out when the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, just as Messiah had said. That whole corrupt system had to be destroyed, lest the Name of the Holy God continue being sullied by it.
All of this is proven out beyond reasonable doubt by the very facts of history itself. The message is clear: do not misrepresent the one and only living and holy God or you will pay a horrible price. While that continues to be so, there also continues to be hypocritical religious leaders and institutions that misrepresent God for personal gain - probably now more than ever. While religious scams seem to be wildly lucrative for a while, the horrible end result renders all such con games to be utter folly.
In fact, self-serving hypocritical religion has become so prevalent that it is now a cliché. For many, all trust in religion has gone, and God Himself is rejected by many because of it. This is an unjustified over-reaction, because the fault lies with men, not with God. Yet, the fact remains that in the 21st century, society is quick to criticize religion. We have some recent examples in the news.
Recently Joel Osteen has been condemned in social media for not opening the doors of his large and lavish Lakewood Church to those driven from their homes by Hurricane Harvey. After being criticized, the church was opened as a shelter and the incident has been addressed by Osteen. Whatever the case may be about that, condemnation of Osteen continues, as in this article:
Long before the television evangelist was accused of closing his church's doors to victims of Hurricane Harvey, Osteen has faced controversy for the wealth he has built through his teachings and various other ventures.
...Residing in a $10.5 million Houston mansion, Osteen reportedly banks over $55 million a year .. according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Critics have previously claimed that Osteen uses his ministry, which reaches the homes of over 100 million people, as a vehicle for self-promotion and building his own fortune.
Source: https:// www.thestreet.com/story/14292790/1/joel-osteen-has-built-a-vast-business-empire.html
Here is a strange case. An accusation of human trafficking and slavery against a church. Is it true? I don't know, but there are a number of compelling witnesses quoted in this Associated Press article:
An Associated Press investigation has found that Word of Faith Fellowship used its two church branches in Latin America’s largest nation to siphon a steady flow of young laborers who came on tourist and student visas to its 35-acre compound in rural Spindale.
Oliveira, who fled the church last year, is one of 16 Brazilian former members who told the AP they were forced to work, often for no pay, and physically or verbally assaulted. The AP also reviewed scores of police reports and formal complaints lodged in Brazil about the church’s harsh conditions.
“They kept us as slaves,” Oliveira said, pausing at times to wipe away tears. “We were expendable. We meant nothing to them. Nothing. How can you do that to people — claim you love them and then beat them in the name of God?”
Source: https:// apnews.com/52dc4fbe2fb64cec98740ad1e62b2115
While there is literally no end to cases of condemnation of religion, I will include just one more startling case, from a 2014 article entitled Pope Francis found guilty of child trafficking, rape, murder:
Yesterday defendants Pope Francis Bergoglio, Catholic Jesuit Superior General Adolfo Pachon and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby were found guilty of rape, torture, murder and trafficking of children. Five judges of the International Common Law Court of Justice in Brussels determined that the crimes occurred as recently as 2010. Since last March over 48 eyewitnesses have come forward to testify before this ICLCJ Court about the defendants’ activities as members of the Ninth Circle Satanic Child Sacrifice Cult. Source: http://childabuserecovery.com/pope-francis-found-guilty-of-child-trafficking-rape-murder/
There can be no doubt that we are now living in a time that closely parallels the 1st century scenario of Scripture. These are the last days. Just as Messiah condemned the false religionists of His day, He has just as surely condemned those falsely using His Name today. Scripture lumps all false religion at the end of the age under one name: Babylon the Great. Her end will come in this generation, and it will be even more horrific than what happened to the Temple system in 70 AD. This prophetic word is sure:
Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and she has become a habitation of demons, a prison of every unclean spirit ... for all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality, the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from the abundance of her luxury. Therefore in one day her plagues will come: death, mourning, and famine; and she will be utterly burned with fire; for the Lord God who has judged her is strong. Revelation 18:2,3,8
Before that happens, there is a warning for the righteous:
I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that you have no participation in her sins, and that you don't receive of her plagues, for her sins have reached to the sky, and God has remembered her iniquities. Revelation 18:4+5
Join us at 8 PM CST at Tsiyon.Net for our live meeting. We will learn much from the words of Messiah in Matthew 23.
Eliyahu ben David
Roof Damage at Tsiyon from Hurricane Harvey
We mentioned in our last Tsiyon News that we had some leaks from Hurricane Harvey. It turns out that there was damage to our Tsiyon Tabernacle roof due to the storm. However, the leaks did not significantly harm the inside of the building. We thought it prudent to repair it immediately, before another storm might cause damage inside the building. We patched and prepped the roof as needed, then coated the whole thing, as shown in pictures below.
Labor to do the job was donated by our awesome Tsiyon volunteers. Materials cost about $600. If anyone would like to help us with that, you can send your offering to:
Tsiyon A130-425 [Please make offering checks to: "Tsiyon"]
5701 W Slaughter LN
Austin, TX, USA, 78749
Blessings and Shalom!
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