Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The United States in the Bible

Another Christian Nationalist uses the
Bible to prove America's "providential" destiny
by Brad Hart


Here is an interesting video I found while playing around on Godtube -- a priceless database for Christian zealotry. This particular video is one in a series entitled, The Prophesy Code, which expounds upon a number of alleged biblical prophesies regarding the last days. In this edition, Pastor Doug Batchelor, an evangelist of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, uses the Bible to explain the providential history and future of the United States.

Most of the biblical references that Batchelor cites come out of Revelation, which is not all that surprising since Revelation has been cited by most apocalyptic prophesy seekers. What is so surprising about Batchelor's understanding of biblical prophesy -- though he is certainly not alone in this respect -- is how much conjecture and innuendo he invokes when explaining the "prophesies" of the Bible and how they relate to the United States, etc.

One particular "prophesy" that I found interesting was that of the Catholic Church, which Batchelor proclaims to be "a great whore on many waters." To prove this belief, Batchelor points to Revelation 17 and how its verses allegedly declare the Catholic Church to be an abomination.

Batchelor's bizarre proclamation that the demise of the Catholic Church -- which he claims was the result of Napoleon Bonaparte -- would coincide with the rise of the United States is of particular interest. His interpretation of America's founding is full of typical Christian Nationalism, which he twists to support his biblical "prophesy." I especially enjoyed his assertion that the American colonists found a continent of "barren land" waiting for them to cultivate it. Obviously Batchelor is unaware of the millions of Native Americans who called this land home and were the unfortunate victims of disease, warfare, etc.

And then there is Batchelor's strange comparison of how the United States -- at least in our day -- will become a second Rome or Vatican of sorts. Batchelor preaches that the United States will somehow prevent open worship and will therefore, "speak as a dragon." Obviously Batchelor is appealing to the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine that the Lord's Sabbath is Saturday, and that the United States will at some future date prevent worship on that day.

Anyway, here is the video. It is a real "gem" so enjoy!

35 comments:

Pinky said...

When I was just a kid during World War II, Revelations was a popular subject for traveling evangelists. They got a lot of coverage in the local newspapers. People would come from far and wide just to hear their prognostications. And, I recall listening to a preacher sounding off from the pulpit that Adolph Hitler had to be the Anti-Christ.
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Weird stuff gets gullible people right where they live.
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Hoo Hah!

Brad Hart said...

Good example, Pinky. It seems that a major world crisis always brings out the "best" in evangelists...kind of Like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson after 9/11, blaming the Twin Tower attacks on Gays, the ACLU, and liberals in general.

Pinky said...

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They are always able to find some Scripture--no matter how far removed--to prove their point.
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Pretty much, it reminds me how the "Christian Nationalists" prove that our nation was founded on Christian principles. I'm surprised they don't have George Washington parting the waters in order to cross the Delaware with the Brits chasing him and getting swallowed up by the cascading waters.
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Still said...

Have you studied the book of Revelation? When you study chapters 12, 13 and 17 it is easy to see that the Catholic church is mentionned. Of course, it is not named but a lot of characteristics are given that allow you to draw that conclusion. Unfortunately, many people don't know or don't study their Bible for themselves. So it is not surprising that they don't understand many things.

Maybe you are surprised by what Doug Batchelor said concerning the Catholic Church in the video but he is not the only one saying this. People like Luther, Isaac Newton and others (even catholics) have said the same thing long before him.

As for America in the prophecies, study Revelation 12 and 13 (and refer also to the Book of Daniel, chapters 2 and 7). You will see that there are indications showing that the US is spoken about too.

Maybe it seems far fetched. But you cannot dismiss the truth of something just because it seems strange. When Paul spoke about the resurrection of the death, the greek people laughed at him. To them, it was folly. But as the Bible says, the folly of God is wiser that the wisdom of men.

So, let's study the scriptures.

Brad Hart said...

Still stated:

"Have you studied the book of Revelation? When you study chapters 12, 13 and 17 it is easy to see that the Catholic church is mentionned. Of course, it is not named but a lot of characteristics are given that allow you to draw that conclusion. Unfortunately, many people don't know or don't study their Bible for themselves. So it is not surprising that they don't understand many things."

Interpretation of the Bible is based exclusively on conjecture and biased guessing. Your interpretation of these chapters pointing to the Catholic Church is about as conclusive as my interpreting them to mean the Baptists, Mormons, etc. It is guesswork. As Pinky has already pointed out, you can find a biblical verse to support any and all positions ona any and all issues.

Brad Hart said...

Pinky states:

"Pretty much, it reminds me how the "Christian Nationalists" prove that our nation was founded on Christian principles. I'm surprised they don't have George Washington parting the waters in order to cross the Delaware with the Brits chasing him and getting swallowed up by the cascading waters."

Hehe! Be careful with what you say, Pinky. We don't want to give them any ideas! =)

Still said...

Brad,

You said:

"Interpretation of the Bible is based exclusively on conjecture and biased guessing."

This is where you are mistaken. While I will admit that it is possible to make mistakes (above all when trying to understand symbolic prophecies) or to twist the texts to fit a particular agenda, there are many prophecies that are clear (because written in plain language) for example, the chapter 24 in the book of Matthew. When there are symbols, the Bible itself gives the interpretation of these symbols. You don't have to guess. You just have to study the scriptures to find where the keys are (as they are scattered around in the biblical texts). It doesn't mean that it is easy but with time , a good concordance (it is even easier nowadays with the help of a computer and/or the internet) and the desire to study the Word of God, it is doable.

When trying to see if an interpretation is correct, just dismissing it and calling it "guesswork" is not enough. You have to come with an example showing why this interpretation is wrong or not convincing. Just dismissing something is not proving this thing wrong.

Pinky said...

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STILL writes, "So it is not surprising that [many people] don't understand many things."
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Agreed! So, what do you understand about synthesis, incarnation, and the word being made flesh?
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Huh?
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Still said...

Pinky,

Can you precise what you mean by these questions? Do you want to know what these expressions mean in the biblical perspective or do you want a deeper explanation?

Please precise.

Pinky said...

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To STILL: You ask me to be more precise about my questioning you regarding synthesis, incarnation, and the word being made flesh.
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How do you understand any relationship those concepts have with each other? I know what they mean.

Tom Van Dyke said...

My observation is the two of you are thumbwrestling in Crisco, as is customary on the internet. My observation is that Mr. Still called Mr. Pinky out on any Bible passage of his choice.

As I recall, Pinky, you called me out on William Ellery Channing's biblical challenge to the Holy Trinity and I responded in good faith with several passages from the Bible. You did not reply.

Made me feel like I'd wasted my time on you, frankly.

Mr. Still seems willing to engage you; should you want to argue the Bible against itself, I think you've found a worthy and willing foil. Try your luck, or else we all must suspect you're not quite sincere in your quest for truth and understanding and you just pop off with whatever crosses the top of your head.

I wouldn't want to think so low of you, as I've come to like you.

Pinky said...

TVD, maybe I owe you an apology?
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Sorry, I didn't mean to offend. But, maybe I have too many irons in the fire.
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Put a link to the discussion where you think I ignored your points regarding Channing. I'll try to explain myself. Keeping this site's slogan in mind, I don't want to get off on any tangent.
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As far as Still's points were concerned, I'm still waiting for a response.
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bpabbott said...

Regarding debate in Biblical interpretation, I think it to be rather pointless.

Interpretation of the Bible is a best left to the sensibilities and inclinations of the individual. What others think of it really doesn't matter.

Each individual is free to seek out the church that is most congruent with his line of thinking and should be encouraged to do so.

Anonymous said...

Ellen Gould White's name adds up to 666. Seems clear to me. She is the anti-Christ.

Anonymous said...

Stiil said that the Whore of Babylon is obviously Catholic Church. Who told you that? You did not come out with that out of empty air.
Most Biblical scholars said that Whore of Babylon is obviously Rome,that is goddess Roma on seven headed dragon,an Empire. The symbol goes back to Ishtar riding Tiamat in Babylonian myth.It could also be Isis riding seven heade Nilus,goddess of the Nile. Seven heads are the Delta area,with many waters.
remember when reading Revelation, it was written in time Domitian, the Roaman Emperor, who stepped up persecutions against Christians.Seven heads are seven hills of Rome.
666 is code for Nero.Some said that Domitian was reincarnation of Nero. Others said a general of the Parthians was reincarnation, who had a serious wound on his head,but recovered and fought Romans in the East. Keep in mind,John or whoever wrote Revelation intended to read and UNERSTOOD by those who were reading it at THAT time,NOT some end times. It was encouragement for Christians facing persecutions to hold on,because Jesus is coming SOON.to warn those who waver that they will be punished severly.

Pinky said...

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Something strange here.
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Both Still's and Annonymous's links have been broken and it appears some of the comments have been edited out.
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Why is that?

Still said...

Pinky,

Sorry for the delay. I don't go on the internet every day (I have a life :-) ). Concerning the broken links and the comments that you said have been edited out, I don't know. It is not my blog, so maybe you should check with the blog's owner. Sometimes there are some technical glitches...

Concerning your questions, here is what I have to say: John calls Jesus the Word and he said the Word was made flesh (incarnation) (see John 1:1-5 and John 1:14). Jesus came to reveal the Father and His character. This is a simple answer (but I don't know what you are looking for).

As for synthesis, I don't know what you mean by this.

To Bpabbot and Anonymous:

The Bible is the message of God to people of earth. As Peter said, prophecies are not to be the objects of personal interpretation (2Peter 1:20). There are meanings in these prophecies and while some are cryptics, not all propheties are obscure. Many are very clear. If we call ourselves christians, we have a duty to study what God wants us to understand. We are not here to follow our own ideas and then call them God's will.

Concerning biblical interpretation, we have to be careful to let the Bible interpret itself and to follow the leads that it gives to us. For example, how do we know that the Whore of Babylon is the Catholic Church (besides the fact that many authors, even catholics, recognized this along the centuries)? Well, we could start by Revelation 12. In it, we see the beast with the 7 seven heads trying to devore the Messiah. We know that Jesus lived during the Roman occupation of Palestine. And since we know (read the book of Daniel, chapters 7 and 8) that beasts represent nations we understand that this beast represent the Roman empire. A little bit further (Revelation 17) , we meet that woman riding the same beast. What is the meaning of a woman in the Bible? A woman is the symbol of the people of God or the church. When the church is faithful to God, it is represented by a pure woman (see Revelation 12:1) and when the church is unfaithful, it is called a prostitute or a whore (read Jeremiah 3:3 for example). So what do we see in Revelation 17? A woman (a church) called a prostitute (because she is unfaithful to God) riding a beast that we know to be the Roman empire. What church is it? We have more clues. It is said that this woman (church) is drunk with the blood of the God's people (Revelation 17:6). It is also said that the seven heads are also seven hills on which the woman sits (Revelation 17:9). Also, the fact that the woman is riding the beast shows an association between a church (the woman) and a state (the beast). Finally, it is said (Revelation 17:15) that the waters on which the prostitue sits represent nations, peoples, races and languages. Now, do we know a church which received her power from the Roman empire, which persecuted (for centuries) those who disagreed with her on spiritual matters, which is built on seven hills and which has also the power of a state and have a great influence over many nations, peoples, races and languages? I do. It is the Vatican.

As I said before, it is so obvious that even some catholics authors recognize that the Whore of Babylon is the Catholic Church.

Now, many people can be angry at this. But don't forget that when God calls His church a whore, it is not to put her down. It is just to describe what His people are doing when they are not faithful. God wants His people to come back to him and be faithful.

When Jesus met the adulterous woman, he didn't say that she was innocent. But he said: "I neither condemn you. Go and sin no more".

bpabbott said...

Still: >>The Bible is the message of God to people of earth.<<

Still,

I mean no offense, but take care not to confuse belief with knowledge.

You believe the Bible is the message of God to people of earth, correct?

Personally, I see no reason to believe any of it ... although I do find much of it to be proper and inspirational.

Bill Cork said...

Ya'll seem to be missing an important point. "Christian Nationalism" assumes the nation should be Christian, and that is a good thing.

Batchelor is saying that union of church and state is a very bad thing, a very beastly thing; that it was bad during the Middle Ages, that it will be bad when America starts enforcing religious doctrines.

This is why Seventh-day Adventists have always been for very strict separation of church and state.

Still said...

Bpabbott,

No offense taken. I should have mentionned that what I said was naturally for those who believe in God or take what the Bible says as truth. Thank you for bringing this precision.

But I'd like to add something: while I now believe that the Bible is the message of God, it was not the case in the past. I was not born a christian. But at one moment in my life I studied the Bible in depth and through my research discovered that what was in the book was true.

What is interesting in that in the Bible, God is not looking for a blind faith. He says: "Come and let's reason together". He wants people to test Him in order fir them to see His love. This is why it is interesting. You can find out for yourself if God exists or not, or if what is in the Bible is true or not. You don't need to take the word of someone else for granted. You can have your own experience (of course, it doesn't mean that you cannot read or use what other people have already learned. But what people say should always be proven).

Also, the purpose of my comments was to show that interpretation of Bible prophecies don't have to be based on conjectures and guesses. The Bible itself gives a lot of explanations about the meaning of such and such symbols. We don't need to guess. We just have to study.

Pinky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pinky said...

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Poor STILL who obviously does not know that what he/she claims is the way to discover the truth of God's being was an idea created by George Whitfield and has come to be known as the central doctrine of the Great Awakening.
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bpabbott said...

Still: >>We don't need to guess. We just have to study.<<

I agree. You've chosen to study the BIble in search of truth, and I've chosen to seek such from my observations and the verifiable observations of others.

The final judgement of these divergent paths might be the accuracy of the result ... or (and I think a better measure) is the degree to which the path is found suitable with the individual.

As we're drifting off topic, I'll consider this discussion closed.

Thanks

Bill Cork said...

Before this discussion is closed, I would like to suggest that the original poster of this item may need to offer an apology for misrepresenting Doug Batchelor.

As I noted above, you are all missing an important point. "Christian Nationalism" assumes the nation should be Christian, and that is a good thing.

Batchelor is saying that union of church and state is a very bad thing, a very beastly thing; that it was bad during the Middle Ages, that it will be bad when America starts enforcing religious doctrines.

This is why Seventh-day Adventists have always been for very strict separation of church and state, and opposed to "Christian nationalism.

Batchelor may take an approach to it that is different than yours; you may disagree with his methodology--but he's making the same point this blog seems to cherish!

Pinky said...

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Cuppla things.
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#1. Still writes, "As for synthesis, I don't know what you mean by this.
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The idea of synthesis--as used in conjunction with incarnation and the idea that the word became flesh means that human beings embody thoughts that are passed down from times before. So, to say that the word became flesh can be understood as the embodiment of a pre-existing idea in a subsequently existing human being.
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#2. Bill Cork, you seem to be contradicting yourself within your last post. Do you mean to say that it is a good thing when the church is a department of the state?
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Brad Hart said...

Cork stated:

"Before this discussion is closed, I would like to suggest that the original poster of this item may need to offer an apology for misrepresenting Doug Batchelor.

As I noted above, you are all missing an important point. "Christian Nationalism" assumes the nation should be Christian, and that is a good thing."


Are you kidding me??? The nation "should" be Christian?

I believe that you are the one who needs to apologize. This is simply a ridiculous statement.

As for Batchelor's views, again they are based strictly on personal opinion...nothing more.

Still said...

Pinky,

Thank you for the explanation. I really appreciate it. It is never too late to learn new things.

Concerning the expression "The word became flesh", it can mean both things at the same time, that is, the embodiment of an idea or ideas (for example, the idea that God is love ; or the justice of God... all of these ideas being what prophets like Moses, Isaiah or Jeremiah talked about in the Old Testament) and also the incarnation of Jesus who was also called "the word".

Brad:

Concerning what Bill Cork wrote, I think that you (and maybe Pinky) are misunderstanding what he meant. Bill Cork is just quoting Doug Batchelor who is also quoting someone else (a christian nationalist) who said that "the nation should be christian and that it is a good thing". It is the christian nationalist who made that statement, not Doug Batchelor nor Bill Cork. Doug Batchelor and Bill Cork are opposed to the church being a "department of the state" as Pinky said.

Pinky said...

STILL, I think I already admitted that I misunderstood Cork. It is difficult enough to understand what is being transmitted here on the 'Net, let alone when some person who doesn't understand or use any rules regarding quotations mixes quotes and their ideas in the same item.
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As far as incarnation, synthesis, and the word being made flesh is concerned, it appears that you go along with the idea that Jesus was an idea in God's mind and that God caused His idea to come into being as the man Jesus? Is that a correct assumption of what you think?

bpabbott said...

pink: << [...] Jesus was an idea in God's mind and that God caused His idea to come into being as the man Jesus [...] <<

Like Adam no?

Eve took a bit more work since he needed "materials" from Adam to construct her ;-)

I don't intend to offend, but hope for some deeper information on this topic so that I may understand such doctrine better.

Pinky said...

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Synthesis a doctrine?
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I don't think so. It's a concept.
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bpabbott said...

Pinky: >>Synthesis a doctrine? I don't think so. It's a concept.<<

If it is a concept established by a religious authority (is it?) then the concept is also a doctrine, no?

p.s. I don't much care for the paring of "religious authority" ... a bit of to oxymoronish for me :-(

Bill Cork said...

As I noted above, you are all missing an important point. "Christian Nationalism" assumes the nation should be Christian, and that is a good thing."

**Are you kidding me??? The nation "should" be Christian?**

Pay attention, please. I am attempting to define what you are bashing as "Christian Nationalism." This teaching says a Christian nation is a good thing.

Doug Batchelor does not say that.

You mangle him, now you mangle me.

The point is, he is against theocracy. Got it?

Pinky said...

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I'm finding it difficult to understand what Bill Cork is trying to say.
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Brian Tubbs said...

Let's be careful not to bash "GodTube" in general. There's a lot of great stuff on there. You've got all kinds of variety.

As for the prophecy stuff, I cringe when I hear pastors make such claims of certitude in their interpretations of things to come.

As a Christian and pastor, I believe the Bible - and I believe in biblical prophecy. BUT...I'm also humble enough to acknowledge (and frankly appreciate) the complexities, nuances, and mysteries of the biblical text.

Many pastors have reduced and frankly commercialized the Bible, and it's a real shame.

Still said...

Pastor Brian,

As a Christian and pastor, you certainly know that most bibical prophecies are not mysterious at all and are written in plain language (of course, not in English but they have been translated for us in the King James Bible for example). The only difficulty is to find them as they are scattered around in the Bible, meaning that you have to read the Word of God to find them (unfortunately, there is no book titled "Book of Prophecies" where all the biblical prophecies would be gathered together in one place :-) It coud have made the study easier (but maybe not, as the context of a prophecy is important to understand it too)). There are some other prophecies which are less clear as they use symbols and images not always familiar to people. But does it mean that we cannot explain them with certitude? I don't believe that. The Bible was given to men to be understood. It doesn't mean it will be easy but God intended men to search and understand the Scriptures (even Jesus said so).

Many people (included churchgoers) are clueless concerning prophecies but it is not because they don't understand them that others who study the Bible are not able to understand. Of course, those making particular claims can be wrong even if they are sincere (after all, even Jesus' disciples didn't fully understand the mission of the Savior). But the Bible students have to share their findings with others so that if there is something not altogather correct or even plainly wrong, it can be amended or corrected. This is why, Pastor, if you have a criticism (taken in the good meaning of the word) against what another pastor has said, you should say why you disagree with such and such argument. Just staying vague and speaking about the complexity or the mysteries of the biblical text is not humility. It is just making the waters murkier and entertaining confusion and doubts.