WAS ISLAM MENTIONED IN REVELATION?

During my time at a cult church, its self-proclaimed anointed teacher asserted that Islam was the “great red dragon” of the Bible’s final book. I knew nothing back then of apologetics, the art of defending Scripture with well-studied arguments based upon a nuanced understanding of each verse’s context.

I’m currently editing How I Was Razed, a memoir of my time spent with that errant congregation, my rejection of God because he failed to heal my eyes, and how I eventually discovered what biblical Christianity is. Here’s an excerpt from the chapter of my manuscript which demonstrates why that cult’s leader was a complete impostor.

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Brother H’s teaching on Revelation chapter twelve was one of his most blatant misinterpretations. Now that I have removed his theological glasses, I can see that all seventeen verses actually refer to the incarnation of Christ as well as the battle between God and the Devil. Satan is the dragon mentioned in verse three, not Islam as our false teacher claimed. This truth is consistent all through scripture. The woman represents the nation of Israel. The sun, moon, and twelve stars refer to Jacob and his family. See Genesis 37:5-10 for the dreams of Joseph. The child isn’t the group of new converts but Christ. Satan tried to kill him at his birth and he was taken up into heaven after his resurrection. The woman fleeing into the wilderness is obviously not the elect Christians, particularly not members of Thee Church being flown to the Nahanni Valley to live in the city of refuge. I believe it more than likely has to do with Christ being taken to Egypt after Herod had all the boys in Bethlehem under two years old killed.

Some Christians believe this portion of Revelation refers to Israel during the great tribulation before Christ returns. Whichever is correct, Revelation chapter twelve can’t mean what Brother H forced it to say.

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In addition to this book, I’ve also written When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) and Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School). Please click here to check them out.

NO GRACE FOR NOT SAYING GRACE

Before being exiled five hundred miles from home to Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind in September of 1964, I had never heard of saying grace. This was because Dad was an atheist and Mom was nominally Lutheran. In this excerpt from Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), I described my reaction when I was suddenly confronted with this alien custom.

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Miss Boyce woke us up the next morning promptly at seven and told us to dress. When I saw the boys lining up in the hall, I joined them.

“You boys with sight hold the hands of the boys who don’t,” Miss. Boyce directed. I did as she said and waited.

Next, our supervisor led us down a road to a white and teal-coloured dilapidated building with grey shingles.

“That’s the Dining Hall,” one of the boys informed me.

The structure was similar to a gymnasium. Its vaulted ceiling and walls were painted pink. I felt the floor shake alarmingly as we walked across the brown linoleum to our tables.

I forget what we ate but it was most likely the usual porridge and toast with hot chocolate.

I was about to place a spoonful of porridge in my mouth when a boy said, “Uuuuuuuuuummmm! You’re supposed to wait until we say grace!” Not only did I not know what he meant but he had that gleeful tone in his voice which said he caught me committing a mortal sin.

“What’s grace?” I inquired.

“We have to thank God for our food or we’ll get in trouble.” I immediately put down my spoon and stared covetously at my breakfast.

After we waited for what seemed like ages, we all said the simple prayer: “God is good, God is great, Let us thank him for our food, Amen.” Waiting to eat and then saying a prayer seemed odd to me. I supposed that it was merely one of those activities I would have to endure until I returned home that afternoon.

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Instead of returning home after school, as I did when I attended Park Elementary in my home town of Fort Saskatchewan, , the Government of British Columbia kept me at Jericho until Christmas. Another inmate, Wendy Edey, wrote of that school and its horrible food on her Hope Lady blog. Click here  to read an account of the slop they fed us there. Click here to read more about my book as well as my writing bio.

 

CHILD-LIKE FAITH AND THE DANGERS OF ABUSING IT

 Do all Christian denominations teach the gospel? I learned from personal experience that some don’t. In fact, nobody at the Anglican and Lutheran churches taught me the way of salvation. I first heard it clearly in 1969 when I gave my life to Christ at a non-denominational Vacation Bible School. Had it not been for one saint and her desire to share The Way to heaven, I might still be ignorantly believing that all it takes to obtain eternal life is to be nice.
 
From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here’s an excerpt showing how little Sunday school teachers taught me. It’s a bit long but please scroll down and read it all the way through.
 
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Since Jericho had no chapels or other religious facilities, volunteers from surrounding congregations drove us to their churches. On my first Sunday morning in Jericho, I expected to play all day. My family were nominally Christian but we rarely attended
a place of worship.
 
“Which church do you belong to?” Mrs. Sandyford, our pleasant-voiced weekend supervisor, asked me that first Sunday. 
 
“Lutheran,” I answered. Since no volunteer drivers came from that denomination, I, and a few other boys, were driven to Saint Helen’s Anglican Church.
 
This building, with its stained glass windows and carved oak pews, was fancier than the Lutheran Church in Fort Saskatchewan. In front of me was a light brown kneeling pad, a piece of furniture I had never seen at my home church. I thought it was a foot rest until a
congregant rebuked me.
 
The woman who drove us to church strictly commanded us to sit still throughout our time with the adults. Even swinging one’s feet was grounds for a sharp whispered admonition.  

Usually, the congregation sung a few hymns, the words of which were totally incomprehensible to me, and then the minister gave a homily. I enjoyed that part of the service, especially the story featuring a donkey who knew how to count to seven and refused to work on the Lord’s Day. After more hymns were sung, the minister dismissed and sent us downstairs to Sunday School. 
 
I became an enthusiastic student of the Bible lessons. One Sunday, I shamed some sighted boys by knowing the answers regarding Moses and how he led the Children of Israel out of Egypt. 

After the lesson, we played with red, yellow, and blue play dough. Occasionally, we would draw pictures and make objects out of pipe cleaners. I thought it was a shame to stuff those soft colourful rods into such a filthy object as a pipe. Though I had only seen Dad smoke cigarettes and people on television smoking cigars, I imagined a pipe to be as filthy as an ashtray. 
 
Someone rang a small bell at the end of the class. Our teachers told us to stand outside the cubicles, where we had been studying or playing. The Sunday School leader then led us in a prayer about God blessing us and helping us be good so we could go to heaven.
 
Occasionally, we recited complex passages like the Lord’s Prayer or the Apostle’s Creed. I liked the line about Christ rising on the third day but most of the other words appeared to be mumbo jumbo filler. I also believed that saying the words in their exact order
would get me in God’s good book. Since I had no desire to burn in hell forever, I conscientiously recited what I was taught.
 
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Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this book and to order it.

CLUELESS ADMINISTRATORS BUILT SUNKEN GARDEN

Throughout the six years I spent in Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind, I knew instinctively that our minders had no understanding of our needs. This fact was repeatedly demonstrated whenever they took us to “see” the Ice-Capades, circuses, and ON sight-seeing tours of Vancouver. Even worse, they tore up a perfectly good field, where my schoolmates enjoyed playing soccer, and replaced it with an impressive garden for sighted visitors. From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here is just one example of the institution’s monumental thoughtlessness.

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Over the summer, the mud hole, formerly the field next to the school where my favourite tree grew, was transformed into a sunken garden. All the students were given an official tour of this replacement for our play area. A three-foot-high cement wall surrounded the garden and two sloping ramps led into it, one by the school and the other by the swimming pool and bowling alley complex. In the centre lay a grey gravel oval path inclosing a level turf. At each of the garden’s four corners, shrubs were planted.

At one end of this garden sat a jade-coloured cement statue of a girl riding a tortoise. I must admit that I envied that child. I imagined how splendid it would be to ride such a big and obliging creature. A large fountain and basin stood against the bowling alley’s wall. On occasions it would be turned on but it usually stood empty.

We immediately ran afoul of the authorities for playing in this new garden. Charlie rounded up a few boys for a soccer game one afternoon and the ball inevitably landed in the shrubs. I suppose the gardeners complained about their delicate bushes being trampled because our teachers and Mrs. Parker sternly warned us regarding our unintended vandalism. The entire junior dorm felt outraged. The adults had taken our perfectly good playing field and turned it into a garden for sighted people to look at. It abundantly proved to us how obtuse the school’s administrators were.

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Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. click here to read more about this book.

CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF THE DEMONIC KIND

To many people today, ouija boards, tarot cards, and similar occult tools seem like harmless amusements. My sisters, our neighbours, and I once believed that too. One afternoon in late August, 1969, something happened which shocked us and banished that dangerous notion from our minds. From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here is how it happened.

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Unfortunately, no one warned me how evil the occult was either. Sharon brought a game called Ka-Bala to our house one afternoon. It was shaped like a hubcap and was made of pale green plastic which glowed in the dark. Four equally-spaced miniature hands jutted out of its rim and a groove with letters and numbers ran along its edge. The whole object pivoted on a plastic base.

“You can talk to dead people with this thing,” she gushed. I felt intrigued by the possibility of actually communicating with real ghosts. I followed Sharon, Bonnie, and Diane into our basement.

My sister closed the curtains to make our bedroom as dark as possible. According to the instructions which Sharon read, we were supposed to rest our finger tips lightly on the hands. Then Sharon placed a marble in the groove on the Ka-bala. When the marble stopped rolling, the letter it was next to was what the spirit chose. Then the process would begin again. By that method, we could learn what the ghost wanted to tell us.

We asked it juvenile questions like who was in love with certain schoolmates and who would our friends marry. Once one of the girls asked a question in a vague fashion. The demon spelled out the word “WHO?” A chill went down my spine. Suddenly, this was no innocent game. The four of us realized that the spirit dimension was real. In the same way that Christ and his angels existed, so did Satan and his minions.

We stopped playing with that gadget after that. Maybe God intervened, using that situation to keep us from straying into the hands of the Devil. Whatever the case, all of us were taught a valuable lesson.

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Deliverance from Jericho

contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this book and to order it.

DOVE WORLD OUTRAGE CENTER MORE LIKE!

I usually promote my books and provide excerpts from them on this blog but a recent news story upset me so deeply that I must protest against it. The Dove World Outreach Center of Gainsville, Florida has recently announced that they will burn copies of the Qu’ran on September 11th to protest the terrorist attack which occurred nine years ago. The chief reason I’m upset is because this strident stunt will endanger Christians in Islamic lands. In fact, many of these believers, and westerners in general, could be murdered because of Pastor Terry Jones’ unchristian provocation.

Most Christians desire only to tell the world about the good news of Christ’s gift of salvation. Because everybody has sinned and come short of God’s standard, Christ voluntarily stepped in to take the punishment on the cross that should have been ours. All he asks is that we beg his forgiveness, accept his gift of eternal life, and yield ourselves to his will. The duty of Christians is to proclaim the wonderful news and become more Christ-like in their lives. Nobody does that perfectly but Christ does change the hearts of those who trust in him.

Now we have a boorish pastor, Terry Jones, about to pull a stupid stunt that makes Christians look like hateful bigots. Christ never lead an army against his enemies and neither should this rogue pastor take matters into his own hands wile endangering innocent believers. He ought to heed Romans 12:19 which says, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

This isn’t the first stupid stunt his unaffiliated church has pulled but it may well be the most infamous. I hope and pray that this callous leader and his crazed congregants will cancel the Qu’ran burning. If he goes through with it and innocent Christians are murdered, their blood will be on his hands and he’ll have to face God Almighty on Judgement Day. In fact, the Bible teaches that all people of other religions and false Christians alike will someday have to answer for their sins.

Would you like to escape eternal punishment? Ask Jesus Christ to come into your life and be in charge of it. Surrender yourself to him and he will exchange your sins for his righteousness.

If you would like further information about my books, click here.

WHEN SHOULD A CHRISTIAN DEMAND RIGHTS?

While we Christians are to turn the other cheek when insulted, as Christ said in Matthew 5:39, Brother H, the self-appointed lay minister at a cultic church I once attended, was correct about standing up for our legal rights. Paul invoked his Roman citizenship a number of times when wrongly accused. In Philippi, he was arrested contrary to Roman law. Acts 16:35-39 reads, “And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, ‘Let those men go.’ And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, ‘The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.’ But Paul said unto them, ‘They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.’ And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.”

Paul claimed his citizenship again in Acts 22:25-27. Luke recorded, “And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, ‘Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?’ When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, ‘Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.’ Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, ‘Tell me, art thou a Roman?’ He said, ‘Yea.'”

Paul stood up for his legal rights a third time when the Pharisees wanted him tried in Jerusalem. In Acts 25:11, he said. “For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.”

The previous paragraphs came from my upcoming memoir, How I Was Razed. It’s the story of how I was mislead by a cult, how I rejected God after fifteen years of not receiving my sight when I prayed for it, and how I eventually learned the truth about Christianity. My hope is to have this book in print next year.

I also have two memoirs in print. When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) tells the touching story of my long-eared companions and the amazing things I learned from them. Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) recounts what it was like to be sent to a distant institution for months at a stretch. Both paperbacks can be purchased by clicking here. Information about my writing and these books is also on that page.