About your question/comments concerning so-called 'counterfeit Messiah' and Tom Harpur an' whatever:
I really don't wish to open up a can of contention, but most Christians don't have a clue about the on-going events from out of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Yet, they can eagerly tell you about how the world is becoming eviler still, assign the attributes of the Anti-Christ to any host of suspects and demonize those not sufficiently attached to their own ideology. To say the least, it's becoming a wild-eyed Christian world out there with all the mystic peddlers begging to be heeded. It's almost like standing before a multiplex theatre to choose your Sunday movie; the "Gospel of World Events", the "Gospel of Entertainment", the Gospel of Politics" ... even the "Gospel of the Tomb-Slayers" where sinners are merely exhumed and not "resurrected to newness of life".
This, in spite of the fact that the very definition of faith plainly states it as "the evidence of things unseen". They only know the gospel ABOUT Jesus and very little about the gospel OF Jesus; which is known as the "Gospel of the Kingdom" which is a gospel concerning "things unseen".
Neither do they have much of a clue about their dwelling "in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" or of their having been transferred to the Kingdom of God.
Everything seems to have been reduced to something akin to a childish blackboard containing the residue of erased sins and the dubious ability to tread water until Jesus comes.
You wrote: "In fact, he says the church claimed that Satan setup early counterfeits to confuse true followers and subvert the true message before Jesus was even born".
There has always been a conflict between truth and falsehood; between genuine and counterfeit, between the faithful and the unfaithful since the Garden of Eden. This is why it becomes exceedingly urgent for every Christian to be able to answer these two questions for themselves: Who is Jesus? and, Who is God and what is He like?
Otherwise, the very foundation of their Christian faith is at risk.
We have genuine earnest Christians today who consistently fail to comprehend the exalted position of Jesus in the eternal counsel of God; including the former 'Toronto Star' Religious Editor, Tom Harpur.
Not only do they own a blurred image of Jesus presently, they remain ill-equipped to discern a counterfeit.
In addition, we have sincere Christians falsely claiming that it is God who pays the wages of sin. This idea is near to blasphemy and clearly shows that they hold mistaken notions about God and who He is.
In Revelation 20:12, the plural books is used. We read that books will be opened at the last judgment. God only possesses the Book of Life. God rewards those who diligently seek after Him.
It is the evil one who possesses the Book of Death. As such, the wages of sin are paid by the evil one.
We know that he who commits sin finds himself alienated from the Living God and places himself, whether knowingly or unknowingly, in the service of the Evil One. The words of the Apostle Paul confirm this fact: "Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that leads to sin that leads to death or to obedience which leads to righteousness?
Again, we read: "Now to a laborer, his wages are not counted as a favor or a gift, but an obligation --- something owed to him"; "Every sin receives retribution; a reward or wage will be duly paid for every disobedience", (Rom 6:16; 4:4; Heb 2:2).
Our heavenly Father does not keep these records of sin, for there is not a single reason for Him to do so. Why would He keep the wage list of those people who did evil and therefore worked for His enemy?
When at the end of the Millennium the devil is thrown into the Second Death, he leaves behind a legacy, namely his bookkeeping. Until his very end he kept a record of all who had worked for him during their life on earth. The devil is entitled to pay the wages for every lawless act done for him on earth.
The wages paid by the devil will bring man into death. It says: The wages of sin is death, and Sin when it is full grown brings forth death. Outside of God there is no life, so the wages of sin --- of turning away from God --- has to be death. Therefore, when we fell prey to the powers of sin and death and thus ended up in the clutches of the Evil One, God's justice compelled Him to recognize the Devil's right and lawful entitlement to pay us the wages of death.
The book of life contains only the names of those who have done deeds of righteousness. It should of course be clear that this is not the perfect righteousness as it is given by Jesus. The dead will be judged according to what they have done. As for the perfectly righteous, they are in the new Jerusalem which is not in the vicinity of Hades or in the realm of Death. About them the bible says , that their names are written in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain, (Rev 13:8 and 21:27).
Its God earnest desire that no one should perish. This is what the Parable of the Peal speaks about. God, in effect, said to the Evil One: 'Give me all the pearls you have and I will surrender to you the Son of My Love, a pearl of exceeding beauty". The transaction was something to the image of exchanging a thousand tarnished copper pennies for the flawless ten-dollar gold piece.
Jesus, the 'Pearl of Great Price' was exchanged for all the guilt-ridden damaged and injured human beings of all times and of all places. He was "betrayed and put to death because of our misdeeds and was raised to secure our justification --- our acquittal, and to make our account balance, absolving us from all guilt before God", (Rom 4:25). The blood of Jesus, --- His life --- was the price that was demanded by the Evil One (not God) as lawful ransom to effect the repossession of the entire human race.
by ET101 on 2012/6/3 22:37:59
@EverestoSama; yes, please post the link.
Thanks for the responses. It wasn't so much the history channel that I make reference to (although I think I know the type of History channel documentaries you mean). I saw an interview with Tom Harpur who once was a professor of New Testament theology. He says he came across ancient documents with pagan accounts of Jesus-like figures pre-dating Jesus.
He says the early church dismissed Pagan accusations of forgery. In fact, he says the church claimed that Satan setup early counterfeits to confuse true followers and subvert the true message before Jesus was even born.